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Diary Of Laurent Clerc's Voyage From France To America In 1816

Creator: Laurent Clerc (author)
Date: 1816
Publisher: American School for the Deaf
Source: Available at selected libraries
Figures From This Artifact: Figure 2  Figure 3  Figure 4  Figure 5  Figure 6  Figure 7  Figure 8  Figure 9  Figure 10  Figure 11  Figure 12  Figure 13  Figure 14

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The weather having become gloomy and cold, we passed all the evening in our cabin. Some slept sitting, some read, some wrote, some talked together, and after supper and prayer, our companions having gone to bed, M. Gallaudet and I remained in our cabin. He showed me the recital of his voyage from America to England; of all that he had done during his residence in this last country, and of his voyage from England to France. That busied us till eleven o'clock when we retired.


I think it necessary to say here that I have been in London, and that I was there whilst Mr. Gallaudet was there also. He saw me with that The Abbe Sicard and two of my French friends at a lecture which we gave to the English public. I also saw him but I was too busied, and I did not give enough attention to him to enable me to recognize him when he came to Paris. I did not recollect him until after some time.


Wednesday, June the 26th. The whole day was bad, the weather always windy, the sea always agitated, the wind always contrary, so that we made but little way. My friend M. Gallaudet always indisposed, and all my companions melancholy. Indeed, all that were well were wearisome. Moreover, how much we wished to be in New York, but we ought to have patience. This day was without controversy, the worst we have passed since we left Havre. The evening principally tired us, we did not know what to do. One while we ascended upon deck, another while we descended into our cabin; one while it was fine weather, another while it rained, although it was the best season of the year.


I talked a little with M. Wilder. We spoke at first of Proctor and afterwards of marriage. He asked me if I should like to marry a deaf and dumb lady, handsome, young, virtuous, pious and amiable. I answered him that it would give me much pleasure but that a deaf and dumb gentleman and a lady suffering the same misfortune could not be companions for each other, and that consequently a lady endowed with the sense of hearing and with the gift of speech was and ought to be preferable and indispensable to a deaf and dumb person. Mr. Wilder replied nothing, but I am sure that he found my argument just.


Thursday, June the 27th. How idle I have been! It was almost nine o'clock when I awoke. I sat at table to breakfast as soon as I was up. After breakfast, I passed all the morning upon deck at work. I had three days of my diary in arrears. I finished them that I may be less busied in the following days, and when M. Gallaudet had corrected my blotted paper, I wrote it fair in my stitched book. And when I had finished it I came again upon deck, and whilst I recreated myself, I perceived upon the surface of the water several fishes, named porpoises (marsonins), which amused themselves by appearing and then vanishing out of sight. We all took pleasure in looking upon them. Hardly had we lost sight of them when one of our companions cried: "Ho there! My friends, ho there! There is a monster, a horrible monster! See! Yes, see there!" We all ran toward him and had a strong desire to see that large animal. We cast our eyes this way and that way, but in vain. We could discover nothing. It appears that the monster was afraid and had fled. We stood some moment, hoping that the animal would appear again, but seeing that he did not come, we returned to sit in our places. We soon went to dinner, after which I ascended again upon deck. By turns I studied, sitting in the sunshine. I talked with M. Gallaudet who spoke to me of the American deaf and dumb, and especially of Miss Alice, of her father, of her mother, of her brother and of Miss Gilbert and of her marriage, and of her extreme intelligence. We were going to continue our conversation when one came to give us notice that supper was served. We ceased there our conversation with regret and descended to supper. After supper we all ascended again upon deck, and M. Gallaudet and I took up again the thread of our conversation, which continued till nine o'clock, at which time we went to prayer and to bed.


M. Gallaudet gave me different pieces of his composition written in English. They are so precious that I will keep them. I am then going to copy them here, and when I shall have copied them I shall translate them into French. That exercise will serve much to perfect me in English.




The morning is as sweet as the smile of an infant. We have slept in safety, for God has preserved us. "In Him we live and move and have our being." The morning is calm like the breast of the innocent, but who is innocent save the Angel of God! We all have sinned, and our breasts have been like the troubled sea, gloomy and agitated. Christ once bade the waves cease and they were still. We alone by his grace can calm the storm that agitates our bosoms and shed a sweet calm over them like the calm of this morning. Let us always trust in him.


Another day, another week is almost fled. The sun sinks beneath the wave of the west. The night will soon enshroud us in its gloom- so there will be a bright morning beyond the grave for all who trust in Jesus-the morning of an eternal day which will be cheered with the lustre of the Glory of God. Oh let us be prepared for that day, that we may rejoice and be glad in its beams. Let us trust in Christ who will be the sun of eternity.

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