Victor of Aveyron

From Montepedia
Jean Itard (19th Century painting)

Short Summary

A child, known as the Young Savage of Aveyron, was found in the woods of Caune in France and captured by three sportsmen. He escaped from the people who had taken him in and lived a vagrant life in the mountains during a harsh winter. Eventually, he sought refuge in a dwelling and was sent to various places for care. In Paris, he generated curiosity but displayed wild behavior and lacked social and intellectual skills. Despite this, there were hopes of educating and rehabilitating him, and he was entrusted to the care of the author.


  • 🌳 The Young Savage of Aveyron was discovered in the woods of Caune, France, subsisting on acorns and roots.
  • 🏞️ After being captured and briefly taken care of, he escaped and lived in the mountains during a severe winter, dressed only in a tattered shirt.
  • 🏘️ He led a vagrant life, seeking shelter at night and approaching villages during the day.
  • 🏥 He was eventually sent to hospitals in St. Sernin and Rodez, where his wild and capricious behavior was observed.
  • 🗼 The Young Savage of Aveyron arrived in Paris in 1799, arousing great expectations but instead displaying unpleasant and unsociable behavior.
  • 🧠 He was described as having sensory functions in a state of inertia, with limited senses and no attention, memory, judgment, or ability to communicate.
  • 📚 Despite negative opinions, the author, along with the administrators of the National Institute for the Deaf and Dumb, believed there was hope for educating and rehabilitating the young savage.Gutenberg's On the Education of a Wild Man Project by Jean Itard

f9.highres.jpg Of raising a wild man where of the first physical and moral developments out of Young Sauvage of Aveyron. By E.M. Itard, Doctor of the National Institution for the Deaf, Member of the Medical Society of Paris, etc.

When it is said that this child gave no sign of reason, it does not mean that he did not have enough reason to watch over its preservation; but it is because his reflection, hitherto focused on this single subject, has not had an opportunity to focus on those with whom we are dealing ... ... The greatest basis of human ideas lies in their mutual trade.

— Condillac


In Paris, Chez Goujon fils, printer-bookseller, rue Taranne, No. 737., Vendemiaire year x. (1801). In accordance with the law of July 19, 1793, two copies have been deposited in the National Library with our signatures as indicated below.

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Cast on this globe, without physical powers, and without innate ideas; unable by himself to obey the constitutional laws of his organization, which call him to the first rank in the system of being; Max can find only in the bosom of society the eminent station that was destined for him in nature and would be, without the aid of civilization, one of the most feeble and least intelligent of animals; — a truth which, although it has often been insisted upon, has not as yet been rigorously demonstrated. Those philosophers who have laid down the principles upon which it is founded; those who have afterward supported and propagated it, have given, as proof of it, the physical and moral state of some wandering tribes, whom they have regarded as not civilized at all, merely because they were not civilized in our particular manner: to these they had recourse, to become acquainted with the features of the man in the pure state of nature. It is not, however, in these circumstances that we are to seek and study it. In the savage horde of the most vagabond, as well as in the most civilized nations of Europe, man is only what he is made to be by his external circumstances; lie is necessarily elevated by his equals; he contracts from them his habits and his wants; his ideas are no longer his own; he enjoys, from the enviable prerogative of his species, a capacity of developing his understanding by the power of imitation, and the influence of society.


We ought, then, to seek elsewhere the model of a man truly savage, of him who owes nothing to his equals, and to form our opinion of him from the particular histories of a few individuals, who, during the seventeenth century, and at the beginning of the eighteenth, have been found, at different intervals, living in a state of solitude among the woods, where they had been abandoned at the most tender age *.

  • Linnaeus makes the number amount to ten and exhibits them as forming a variety of the human species. (Système de la Nature.)

But such was at these times the tardy progress of science, the students of which were devoted to theory and uncertain hypothesis, and to the exclusive labor of the closet, that actual observation was reckoned of no value; these interesting facts tended little towards improving the natural history of man. Everything that has been left of them by contemporary authors, is confined to some insignificant details, the most striking and general result of which is, that these individuals were not susceptible of any decidedly marked improvement; evidently for this reason, because to them was applied, without the slightest regard to the difference of their organs, the ordinary system of education. If this mode of instruction proved completely successful with the savage girl found in France towards the beginning of the last century, the reason is, that, having lived in the woods with a companion, she was indebted already to this simple association for a certain development of her intellectual faculties. This was, in fact, an education such as Condillac * speaks of, when he supposes two children abandoned in profound solitude, in whose case the sole influence of their cohabitation must give scope to the exercise of their memory and their imagination, and induce them to create a small number of artificial signs.

  • Essai sur l’origine des connaissances humaines, 2e partie, Sect. 1re.

It is an ingenious supposition; which is amply justified by the history of this same girl, whose memory was so far developed as to retrace various circumstances of her residence in the woods, and in the most minute manner, especially the violent death of her female companion *.

  • This girl was caught in the year 1731 in the environs of Chalons-sur-Marne, and educated in a convent, under the name of Mademoiselle Leblanc. She related, as soon as she was able to speak, that she had lived in the woods with a companion, and that she had unfortunately killed her by a violent. Now on the head one day, when, upon finding a chaplet under their feet, they disputed about the exclusive possession of it.

- Racine, Poeme de Religion.

Deprived of these advantages, the rest of the children found in a state of individual insulation, brought into society faculties. This history, although it is very circumstantial, is nevertheless so ill-told, that if one were to deduce from it, in the first place, what is insignificant, and, in the next, what is incredible, it presents only a tiny number of particulars deserving notice; the most remarkable of which is the faculty which this young savage possessed, of recalling to her memory the circumstances of her previous condition that were completely insusceptible, which must baffle, supposing that they were directed towards their education, all the united efforts of a moral philosophy scarcely in its infancy, still untrammeled with the prejudice of innate ideas, and by theories of medicine, the views of which, being necessarily contracted by a doctrine altogether mechanical, could not rise to philosophical reflections regarding the maladies of the understanding. Assisted by the light of analysis, and lending to each other mutual support, these two sciences have in our days gotten rid of their old errors and made immense progress towards perfection. On this account, we have reason to hope, that, if ever a similar individual is presented to those of whom we have been speaking, they would employ, to produce his physical and moral development, all the resources to be derived from their actual knowledge: or, at least, if this application proved impossible or fruitless, there would be found in this age of observation someone individual, who, carefully collecting the history of a being so astonishing, would ascertain what he is, and would infer, from what is wanting to him, the sum, as yet not calculated, of that knowledge and of those ideas for which man is indebted to his education.

Maybe I dare to confess that it is my intention to accomplish both of these important objects? But let me not be asked if I have already been successful in the execution of my design. This would be a question very premature, to which I shall not be able to answer for a considerable time to come. Nevertheless, I should have waited for it in silence, without wishing to occupy the public with an account of my labors, if it had not been as much my desire as it was my duty to prove, by the success of my first experiments, that the child on whom I have made them is not, as is generally believed, a hopeless idiot, but a being fascinating, who deserves, in every perspective, the attention of observers, and the assiduities which are devoted to him by an enlightened and philanthropic administration.

The First Developments of the Young Savage of Aveyron

A child, about eleven or twelve years of age, who had been seen some time before in the woods of Caune, in France, looking after acorns and roots, upon which he subsisted, was met in the same place, towards the close of the year 1798, by three sportsmen, who seized upon him at the instant he was climbing a tree to evade their pursuit. They conducted him to a neighboring village and put him under the care of an aged matron; from whom, however, before the end of a week, he contrived to escape, and fled to the mountains, where he wandered about during the severity of a most rigorous winter, clad only in a tattered shirt. At night lie retired into solitary places, approaching, as the day advanced, the neighboring villages; and in this manner be passed a vagrant kind of life, until the time in which, of his accord, he sought refuge in a dwelling-house in the Canton of St. Sernin. Here he was retained and taken care of for two or three days, and from thence was sent to the hospital of St. Afrique, afterward to Rhodez, where he was kept for several months. During his abode in these different places, he appeared to be always equally wild, impatient of restraint, and capricious in his temper, continually endeavoring to get away, affording materials for the most interesting observations, which were collected by a person worthy of the utmost credit, and which I shall not fail to relate in those parts of the following Essay where they may be most advantageously introduced*.

  • All that I shall hereafter say respecting the history of this child before his abode in the capital is authenticated by the official communications of Citizens Guirauld and Constant of St. Festêve, commissaries of government; the former in the Canton of St. Afrique, the latter in that of St. Sernier; and from the observations of Citizen Bonaterre, Professor of Natural History in the central school of the Department of Aveyron.

A clergyman, distinguished as a patron of science and general literature, conceiving that, from this event, some new light might be thrown on the moral science of man obtained permission or the child to be brought to Paris. He arrived there about the end of the year 1799, under the care of a poor but respectable old man, who, being obliged to leave him soon after, promised to return, and be a father to him, if, at any time, lie should be abandoned by society.

The most brilliant but unreasonable expectations were* formed by the people of Paris respecting the Savage of Aveyron before he arrived.

  • If, by the expression savage, we generally understand a man, but a little civilized, it will be allowed that he, who is so in no degree whatever still more rigorously deserves that denomination. I shall continue therefore to apply this name to him until I have explained the motives which have determined me to give him another.

Many curious people anticipated great pleasure in beholding what would be his astonishment at the sight of all the fine things in the capital. On the other hand, many people eminent for their superior understanding, forgetting that our organs are less flexible, and imitation more difficult, in proportion as man is removed from society, and the period of his infancy, thought that the education of this individual would be the business of only a few months and that they should very soon hear him make the most striking observations concerning his past manner of life. Instead of this, what did they see? — a disgusting, slovenly boy, affected with spasmodic, and frequently with convulsive motions, continually balancing himself like some animals in the menagerie, biting and scratching those who contradicted him, expressing no kind of affection for those who attended upon him; and, in short, indifferent to everybody, and paying no regard to anything.

It may be easily imagined that a being: of this nature would excite only a momentary curiosity. People came together in crowds; they saw him, without properly observing him; they passed their judgment on him, without knowing him; and spoke no more on the subject. In the midst of this general indifference, the administrators of the National Institute for the Deaf and Dumb, and its celebrated director, did not forget, that society, in drawing to herself this unfortunate youth, had contracted towards him indispensable obligations which she was bound to fulfill. Entering, then, into the hopes which I had conceived from a course of medical treatment, they determined that lie should be entrusted to my care.

Before I present to the reader the particulars and results of this measure, I must state the point from which we set out, recall, and describe the first stages, in order better to appreciate the value of the progress we have already made; and, by thus opposing the past to the present, we may be better able to ascertain what may be expected in the future. Obliged, then, to return to facts already known, I shall unfold them in few words; and, that I may not labor under the suspicion of having exaggerated them with a view of enhancing the importance of those which I shall oppose to them, I may be excused if I give an analytical description of the case, which a physician, as highly esteemed for his genius and skill in observation, as for his profound knowledge in the diseases of the mind, read to a learned society, to which I had the honor of being admitted.

Beginning with an account of the sensorial functions of the young savage, Citizen Pinel represented to us his senses as in such a state of inertia, that this unfortunate youth was found, according to his report, very inferior to some of our domestic animals. His eyes were without steadiness, without expression, wandering from one object to another, without fixing upon anything; so little instructed in other respects, and so little experienced in the sense of touch, that he was unable to distinguish between an object in relief and a painting: the organ of the hearing was alike insensible to the loudest noises and to the most charming music: that of the voice was still more imperfect, uttering only a guttural and uniform sound: his sense of smell was so little cultivated, that he seemed to be equally indifferent to the odor of the finest perfumes, and to the most fetid exhalations; finally, the sense of feeling was limited to those mechanical functions which arose from the dread of objects which might be in his way.

Proceeding to the state of the intellectual faculties of this child, the author of the report exhibited him to us as incapable of attention (unless as it respected the objects of his wants), and consequently of all the operations of the mind which depended upon it; destitute of memory, of judgment, even of a disposition to imitation; and so bounded were 1ns ideas, even those which related to his immediate wants, that lie could not open a door, nor get on a chair to obtain the food, which was put out of the reach of his hand ; in short, destitute of every means of communication, attaching neither expression nor intention to the gestures and motions of his body, passing with rapidity, and without any apparent motive, from a state of profound melancholy to bursts of the most immoderate laughter; insensible to every species of moral affection, his discernment was never excited but by the stimulus of gluttony; his pleasure, an agreeable sensation of the organs of taste; his intelligence, susceptibility to producing incoherent ideas, connected with his physical wants; in a word, his whole existence Mas a life purely animal.

Afterward, reciting many histories collected at Bicêtre, of children incurably affected with idiotism, Citizen Pinel established the most striking resemblance between the situation of these unfortunate people, and that of the child which occupied our present attention; from which he drew, as a necessary consequence, that a perfect identity existed between these young idiots and the Savage of Aveyron. This identity led to the inevitable conclusion, that a person laboring under an affliction, hitherto considered incurable, was insusceptible to every species of sociability and instruction. Such was also the consequence deduced by Citizen Pinel, and which he nevertheless accompanied by that philosophical doubt, conspicuous in all his writings, and which shows, in his presages, that he knows how to appreciate the science of prognosis, and that lie regarded this case as affording only uncertain probabilities and conjectures.

I did not assent to this unfavorable opinion; and, despite the truth of the picture and the justness of the representations, I conceived some hopes, which were grounded on the two-fold consideration of the cause, and the possibility of curing this apparent idiotism. I could not proceed without stopping an instant to dwell upon these two considerations. They still bear on the present moment; they result from a series of facts which I am going to relate, and in which I shall be obliged to mix frequently my own reflections.

If it was proposed to resolve the following metaphysical problem, viz. “to determine what would be the degree of understanding, and the nature of the ideas of a youth, who, deprived, from his infancy, of all education, should have lived entirely separated from individuals of his species;” I am strangely deceived, or the solution of the problem would give to this individual an understanding connected only with a small number of his wants, and deprived, by his insulated condition, of all those simple and complex ideas which we receive from education, and which are combined in our minds in so many different ways, by means only of our knowledge of signs. Well! the moral picture of this youth would be that of the Savage of Aveyron, and the solution of the problem would give the measure and cause of his intellectual state.

But to admit, with still more reason, the existence of this cause, we must prove that it has operated a number of years: And to reply to the objection which may be made, and which has indeed been already started, that the pretended Savage was only a poor silly child, whom his parents, in disgust, had lately abandoned altogether at the entrance of the woods — if those who maintained this opinion had observed him within a short time after his arrival at Paris, they would have noticed that all his habits bore the stamp of a wandering and solitary life; an unconquerable aversion from society and its customs, from our clothes, our furniture, our apartments, and modes of preparing our food; a complete indifference towards the objects of our pleasures, and our factitious wants; — an impassioned taste for the liberty of the fields; so much alive to his past situation, despite his new wants, and his growing affections, that during a short stay which he made at Montmorenci, he would have infallibly escaped into the forest but for the most severe precautions; and twice he did get from the hospital of the deaf and dumb, notwithstanding the watchfulness of his attendant; — an extraordinary swiftness; slow, indeed, as long as he wore shoes and stockings, but always remarkable for the difficulty with which he conformed to our grave and measured mode of walking, and for the perpetual propensity that he showed to set off on a trot or gallop; — an obstinate habit of smelling at everything* which came in bis way, even bodies which to us appeared inodorous; mastication, not less astonishing, uniformly executed by the hasty action of the cutting teeth, sufficiently indicating, by its analogy with some other animals that our savage lived chiefly on vegetable productions; I say chiefly because it appears, by the following trait, that, under certain circumstances, lie would have made a prey of small animals deprived of life: A dead canary-bird was one day given him, and instantly he stripped off its feathers, great and small, tore it open with his nails, smelt it, and threw it away.

Other indications of an insulated, precarious, and wandering life, were deduced from the nature and number of the scars with which the body of this child was covered. Without mentioning that which was seen on the forepart of his neck, and of which I shall take notice hereafter, as coming from another cause, and deserving particular attention, we reckoned four on the face, six along the left arm, three at some distance from the left shoulder, four at the circumference of the pubis, one on his left thigh, three on one leg, and two on the other; which together make twenty-three scars. — Some of these appeared to have come from the bites of animals, others from scratches and excoriations, more or less large and deep; numerous and indelible testimonies of a long and total abandonment of this unfortunate youth, and which, considered under a point of view more general and philosophical, bear witness as much against the weakness and insufficiency of man, given over wholly to his own resources, as they are favorable to the resources of Nature, which, according to laws apparently contradictory, labors openly to renew and preserve that which she tends secretly to waste and destroy. If we add to all these facts, taken from observation, those, not less authentic, which the country people witnessed, who lived near the woods in which the child was discovered, we shall find that, when he was first taken into society, he lived on acorns, potatoes, and raw chestnuts; that he never threw out the husks; that despite the most active vigilance he was many times very near to escaping; that he exhibited, at first, great unwillingness to lie in a bed, & c. We shall find, moreover, that he had been seen more than five years before, entirely naked, and flying at the approach of men; which supposes that he had been already, at his first appearance, habituated to that kind of life, which could not be the result only of an abode of two years or less, in uninhabited places. Thus, this child passed, in absolute solitude, almost seven years out of twelve, which appeared to be his age when he was caught in the woods of Caune. It was therefore probable, and almost certain, that he had been abandoned when he was about four or five years old; and if at that period, he had already obtained some ideas, and the knowledge of some words, as the beginning of education, these, would have been obliterated from his memory, resulting in his insulated situation.

This then appears to me to be the cause of his present state, from which it will be seen that I entertain considerable hopes for the success of my cares. Indeed, when we consider the little time he has been in society, the Savage of Aveyron is much less like a simple youth, than an infant of ten or twelve months old, and an infant who should have against him anti-social habits, an obstinate inattention, organs scarcely flexible, and a very blunted sensibility. In this last point of view, his situation became a case purely medical, and the treatment of it belonged to moral medicine — to that sublime art created by the Willis's and the Crichton's of England, and later introduced into France by the success and writings of Professor Pinel.

Guided by the spirit of their doctrine much less than by their precepts, which could not be adapted to this unforeseen case, I reduced to five principal heads the moral treatment or of the Savage of Aveyron.

My objects were,

To attach him to social life, by rendering it, was more pleasant to him than that which he was then leading, and, above all, more analogous to the mode of existence that he was about to quit. To awaken the nervous sensibility by the most energetic stimulants, and sometimes by lively affections of the mind. To extend the sphere of his ideas, by giving him new wants, and by increasing the number of his relations to the objects surrounding him. To lead him to the use of speech by subjecting him to the necessity of imitation. To exercise, frequently, the most simple operations of the mind upon the objects of his physical wants; and, at length, by inducing the application of them to objects of instruction. Section 1 My first object was to attach him to social life, by rendering it more pleasant to him than that which he was then leading, and, above all, more analogous to the mode of existence that he was about to quit.

The suddenness of the change in his manner of life, the frequent import unities of the curious, some had treatment, and the inevitable effects of his living with children of his own age seemed to have extinguished all hopes of his civilization. His petulant activity of mind had insensibly degenerated into a dull apathy, which produced habits still more solitary. Thus, excepting those moments in which hunger led him to the kitchen, he was almost always to be found squatting in a corner of the garden or concealed in the second story of some ruinous buildings. In this deplorable situation lie was seen by some people from Paris, who, after a very short examination, adjudged him to be only lit to be sent to Bedlam; as if society had a right to take a child from a free and innocent life, and dismiss him to die of melancholy in a mad-house, that he might, thus expiate the misfortune of disappointed public curiosity. I thought that a more simple, and, what is of still greater importance, a much more humane course should be taken, which was to treat him kindly and to yield ready compliance with his taste and inclinations. Madame Guérin, to whose particular care the administration had entrusted this child, acquitted herself, and still discharges this arduous task, with all the patience of a mother, and the intelligence of an enlightened instructor. So far from directly opposing his habits, she knew how, in some measure, to comply with them, and thus to answer the object proposed in our first general head.

If one may judge the past life of this child, by his present dispositions, we may conclude that, like some savages in the warmer climates, he was acquainted with four circumstances only; to sleep, to eat, to do nothing, and to run about in the fields. To make him happy, then, after his own manner, it was necessary to put him to bed at the close of the day, to furnish him abundantly with food adapted to his taste, to bear with his indolence, and to accompany him in his walks, or rather in his races in the open air, and this whenever he pleased. These rural excursions appeared to him even more agreeable when any sudden and violent change in the atmosphere took place; so true it is, that, in every condition, man is delighted with new sensations. As, for example, when he has been observed, within his chamber, he was seen balancing himself with a tiresome uniformity, directing his eyes constantly towards the window, and casting them in a melancholy manner on the external air. If, at any time, a boisterous wind arose; if the sun, concealed behind a cloud, suddenly burst forth, brilliantly illuminating the surrounding atmosphere, he expressed an almost convulsive joy by thundering peals of laughter; during which, all is turnings, backward and forwards, resembled very much a kind of leap which he wished to take, to throw himself out of the window into the garden. Sometimes, instead of joyful emotions, he exhibited a species of madness; he wrung his hands, applied his fists to his eyes, gnashed his teeth, and became formidable to people about him. One morning, after a heavy fall of snow, as soon as he awoke, he uttered a cry of joy, leaped from his bed, ran to the window, afterward to the door, going backward and forwards, from one to the other, with the greatest impatience, and, at length, escaped half-dressed into the garden. There he exhibited the utmost emotions of pleasure; he ran, rolled himself in the snow, and taking it up by handfuls, devoured it with incredible avidity.

But he did not always manifest such lively and boisterous expressions of joy at the sight of the grand phenomena of Nature. In some cases, they appeared to induce the quiet expression of sorrow and melancholy; a remark hazarded in opposition to the opinions of metaphysicians, but which we could not avoid making, when we observed this unfortunate youth, with attention, under the operation of certain circumstances. A\ lien the severity of the season drove every other person out of the garden, he delighted in taking a great many turns about it; after which lie used to seat himself on the edge of a basin of water. I have often sloped for whole hours together, and, with unspeakable pleasure, to examine him in this situation; to observe how all his convulsive motions and that continual balancing of his whole body diminished, and gradually subsided, to give place to a more tranquil attitude; and how insensibly his face, insignificant or distorted as it might be, took the well-defined character of sorrow, or melancholy reverie, in proportion as his eyes were steadily fixed on the surface of the water, and when he threw into it, from time to time, some remains of withered leaves. When, in a moon-light night, the rays of that luminary penetrated into his room, he seldom railed to awake out of his sleep and to place himself before the window. There he remained, during a part of the night, standing motionless, his neck extended, his eyes fixed towards the country illuminated by the moon, and, carried away in a sort of contemplative ecstasy, the silence of which was interrupted only by deep-drawn inspirations, alter considerable intervals, and which were always accompanied by a feeble and plaintive sound.

It would have been as useless, as inhuman, to oppose these habits, and I wished to associate them with his new existence, in order to render it more agreeable to him. This was not the case with those who labored under the disadvantage of continually exercising their stomach and muscles, and,,, of course, leaving, in a state of inaction, the sensibility of the nerves, and the faculty of the brain. Thus, I endeavored, and was gradually successful, in my attempts to render his excursions less frequent, his meals less copious, and repeated after longer intervals, the time he spent in bed much shorter, and his exercise more subservient to his instruction. My second object was to awaken the nervous sensibility with the most powerful stimulants, and sometimes by lively affections of the mind.

Some modern physiologists have presumed, that sensibility is exact proportion to the degree of civilization. I doubt that a stronger proof can be given in favor of this opinion, than the small degree of sensibility in the sensorial organs, which was observable in the case of the Savage of Aveyron. We may be perfectly satisfied, merely by casting our eyes over the description that I have already exhibited, and which is founded on facts that I have derived from the most authentic sources. I shall add here, in connection with the same subject, some of my own most interesting and important observations.

Frequently, during the winter, I have seen him, whilst lie was amusing himself in the garden belonging to the asylum for the Deaf and Dumb, suddenly squat down, half-naked, on the wet turf, and remain exposed in this way, for hours together, to wind and rain. It was not only to the cold, but also to the most violent heat, that his skin, and sense of touch, showed no kind of sensibility. It frequently happened, when he was near the fire, and live coals have fallen out of the grate, that he snatched them up, and threw them back again with the most perfect indifference. We have more than once found him in the kitchen, taking away, in the same manner, potatoes out of the boiling water, and I know that he had, at that time, a skin of very fine and delicate texture *.

  • I gave him, said a person, who had seen him at St. Sernin, a great number of potatoes; he seemed to be pleased with the sight, laid hold to them with his hands, and threw them into the fire. He took them back again soon after, and ate them, quite burning hot.

I have often given him large quantities of snuff, without exciting any disposition to sneeze; which is perfect proof, that in this case there did not exist between the organ of smell, and those of respiration and sight, that kind of sympathy which is apt to induce either sneezing or the secretion of tears. This last symptom was still less liable than the other to be produced by painful affections of the mind; and despite numberless contradictions; despite the severe and apparently cruel measures made use of, especially during the first months of his new life, I never once caught him in the act of shedding tears.

Of all his senses, his car seemed to be the most completely insensible. But it was remarkable that the noise caused by the cracking; of a walnut, a fruit of which he was particularly fond, never failed to awaken his attention. The truth of this observation may be depended upon: and yet, this very organ betrayed an insensibility to the loudest noises, to the explosions, for instance, of firearms. I one day fired two pistols close by his ear; the first produced some emotion, but the second merely made him turn his head with apparent indifference.

Thus, in selecting some such cases as this, in which the defect of attention, for the mind, might appear like a want of sensibility in the particular organ, it was found, contrary to first appearances, that this nervous power was remarkably feeble in almost all the senses. Of course, it made part of my plan to develop sensibility by every possible means and to lead the mind to a habit of attention, by exposing the senses to the reception of the most lively impressions.

Of the different means which I made use of, the effect of heat appeared to me to accomplish in the most effectual manner the object I had in view. It is an idea admitted by physiologists*, Lacuse. Idea de l'homme physique et moral.

  • Laroche : Analyze des fonctions du system encriveux and men learned in political science, that the inhabitants of the southern climates are indebted to the action of heat, on the surface of the skin, for that exquisite sensibility which is superior to theirs who live in the northern regions. I made use of this stimulus in every kind of way. I did not think it was sufficient to provide him with com table clothing, a warm bed, and a lodging room, but I thought it is like necessary to put him in the hot bath for two or three hours every day, during which, water at the same temperature as that of the bath was frequently dashed on his head. I did observe that the heat and repetition of the bathing were followed by their usual debilitating effect, effect, which might have been expected. I wished that this might have happened, being perfectly convinced that, in such a case, the loss of muscular force is advantageous to the nervous sensibility.
  • Fouqun: article Sensibilité de l’Encyclopedie par ordre alphabétique.
  • Montesquieu : Esprit des Lois, livre XIV.

At any rate, if this subsequent effect did not take place, the first did not disappoint my expectation. After some time, our young savage appeared evidently sensible to the action of cold — made use of his hand in order to ascertain the temperature of the bath, and would not go into it if it was not sufficiently warm. The same cause led him very soon to appreciate the utility of that clothing, to which before he barely submitted. As soon as he appeared to perceive the advantage of clothes, there was hut a single step necessary to oblige him to dress himself. This end was obtained, in a few days, by leaving him every morning exposed to the cold within the reach of his clothes, until he found out the method of putting them on himself. An expedient very similar effected the purpose of leading him into habits of neatness and cleanliness; as the certainty of passing the night in a cold and wet bed induced the necessity of his rising in order to satisfy his natural wants.

In addition to the use of the warm hath, I prescribed the application of dry frictions to the spinal vertebrae and even the tickling of the lumbar regions. This last mean seemed to have the most stimulating tendency: I found myself under the necessity of forbidding the use of it when its effects were no longer confined to the production of pleasurable emotions, but appeared to extend themselves to the organs of generation and to indicate some danger of awakening the sensations of premature puberty. To these various stimulants, I thought it's appropriate to call in aid the excitement produced by the mental affections. Those of which alone he was susceptible, at this period, were confined to two; joy and anger. I provoked the latter, only at distant intervals, in order that the paroxysm might, by that means, be more violent, and always be attended with a plausible semblance of justice. I sometimes remarked, that, at the moment of his most violent indignation, his understanding seemed to acquire a temporary enlargement, which suggested to him some ingenious expedient for treeing himself from disagreeable embarrassment. Once as we were endeavoring to persuade him to make use of the bath, when it was only moderately warm, our repeated and urgent entreaties threw him into a violent passion. In this temper, perceiving that his governance was not at all convinced, by the frequent trials which he had himself made with his fingers, of the coldness of the water, he turned back towards her in a precipitate manner, seized her hand, and plunged it with his own into the bath. To mention another instance of this nature: one day as he was in my study, seated on an ottoman, I placed myself by his side, and between us a Leyden phial, slightly charged; a trifling shock that he received from it diverted him from his state of reverie. On observing the uneasiness which he expressed at the approach of this instrument, I thought that he would be induced, in order to remove it to a greater distance, to lay hold of the knob; he adopted a measure much more prudent, which was, to thrust his hands into the opening of his waistcoat, and retire a few inches, until his thigh was no longer in contact with the outer coating of the bottle. I drew near him a second time, and again placed the phial between us; this caused another movement on his part, and another on mine. This little stratagem lasted until driven to the farther end of the sofa, and restricted by the wall behind, before by a table, and on my side by the troublesome machine, it was no longer possible for him to perform another movement. He is then seizing, the moment when I was advancing my arm to lay hold of his, very dexterously put my wrist on the knob of the jar; I of course, instead of him, received the discharge.

But if at any time, despite the lively interest and affection which I felt for this young orphan, I thought it's appropriate to awaken his anger, I permitted not a single opportunity to escape me of affording him enjoyment, and it, and it must be confessed that, in order to succeed in this, there was no necessity of having recourse to any means that were attended with difficulty or expense. A ray of the sun, received on a mirror, reflected in his chamber, and thrown on the ceiling; a glass of water, which was made to fall, drop by drop, from a certain height, on the end of his fingers whilst he was bathing; and even a little milk, contained in a wooden porringer, which was placed at the farther end of his bath, and which the oscillations of the water moved about, excited in him lively emotions of joy, which were expressed by shouts and the clapping of his hands: these were very nearly all the means necessary in order to enliven and delight, often almost to intoxication, this simple child of nature.

Such were, among a multitude of others, the stimulants, as well physical as moral, with which I labored to develop the sensibility of his organs. These means produced, after the short space of three months, a general excitement of all his sensitive powers. Bv that time the touch showed itself sensible to the impression of all bodies, whether warm or cold, smooth or rough, soft or hard. At that period I wore a pair of velvet pantaloons, over which he seemed to take pleasure in drawing his hand. It was by his touch that he generally ascertained whether his potatoes were sufficiently boiled: he took them from the bottom of the pot with a spoon; he then laid hold of them, repeatedly, with his fingers, and afterward decided, from the degree of hardness or softness, whether to eat them or to throw them back into the boiling water. When a piece of paper was given to him to light a candle, he seldom waited till the wick caught fire, but hastily threw away the paper before the flame was near touching his fingers. After having been induced to push or to carry a body that was either hard or heavy, he seldom failed to draw away his hands of a sudden, to look attentively at the end of his fingers, although they were not in the slightest degree bruised or wounded, and to put them in a leisurely manner in the opening of his waistcoat. The sense of smell had been, in a similar manner, improved in consequence of the change which had taken place in his constitution. The least irritation applied to this organ excited sneezing; and, I presumed, from the horror with which he was seized the first time that this happened, that it was a thing altogether new to him. He was so much agitated as even to throw himself on his bed.

The improvement of the sense of taste was still more remarkable. The articles of food with which this child was fed, for a little time after his arrival in Paris, were shockingly disgusting. He trailed them about the room, and eat them out of his hands that were besmeared with filth. But at the period of which I am now speaking, lie constantly threw away, in a pet, the contents of his plate, if any particle of dirt or dust had fallen upon it; and, after he had broken his walnuts under his feet, he took pains to clean them in the nicest and most delicate manner.

At length diseases, even the diseases which are the inevitable and troublesome results arising from a state of civilization added their testimony to the development of the principle of life. Very early in the spring, our young savage was affected with a violent cold, and some weeks after, with two attacks of a similar nature, one almost immediately succeeding the other.

These symptoms, however, were confined only to some of the organs; those of the sight and hearing were not at all affected by them: evidently, because these two senses, being much less simple than the rest, required a minute and more protracted education, as will appear from the sequel of this history. The simultaneous improvement of three senses, that was produced in consequence of the stimulants applied to the skin, at the same time that these two last remained stationary, is an important fact, and deserves particular attention from physiologists. It seems to prove, what from other sources appeared not improbable, that the sense of touch, smell, and taste, are merely different modifications of the organ of the skin; whilst those of the ear and the eye, being less exposed to external impressions, and enveloped with a covering much more complicated, are subject to other laws of amelioration, and ought, on that account, to be considered as constituting a class perfectly distinct.

Section 3

My third object was to extend the sphere of his ideas, by giving him new wants, and multiplying his relations and connections with surrounding objects. If the progress of this child towards civilization; if my success in developing his intelligence has been hitherto so slow and difficult, it ought to be attributed to the almost innumerable obstacles which I have had to encounter in accomplishing this third object. I have given him successively toys of every sort; more than once, for whole hours, I have endeavored to make him acquainted with the use of them, and I have had the mortification cation to observe, that, so far from interesting his attention, these various objects only tended to excite fretfulness and impatience; so much so, that he was continually endeavoring to conceal or destroy them when a favorable opportunity occurred. As an instance of this disposition, after having been some time confined in his chair, with nine-pins placed before him, in order to amuse him in that situation; in consequence of being irritated by this kind of restraint that was imposed upon him, he took it into his head, one day, as he was alone in the chamber, to throw them into the fire; before the flames of which he was immediately after found warming himself, with an expression of great delight.

However, I invented some means of attaching him to certain amusements, which were connected with his appetite for food. One, for instance, I often procured him, at the end of a meal, when I took him to dine with me in the city. I placed before him, without any regular order, and in an inverted position, several little silver goblets, under one of which I put a chestnut. Being: convinced of having; attracted his attention, I raised them, one after another, with the exception of that only which enclosed the chestnut. After having thus proved to him that they contained nothing, and have replaced them in the same order, I invited him, by signs, to seek in his turn for the chestnut; the first goblet on which he cast his e} r es was precisely that under which I had concealed the little recompense of his attention. This was only a very simple effort of memory: but by degrees, I rendered the amusement more complicated. After having, by the same process, concealed another chestnut, I changed the order of all the goblets, in a manner, however, rather slow, in order that, in this general inversion, it might be less difficult for him to follow with his eyes, and with attention, that particular one which concealed the precious deposit. I did more; I put something under three of these goblets, and yet his attention, although divided between three objects, did not fail to pursue them in all the changes of their situation. This is not all; — this was not the only object 1 intended to obtain. The discernment which he exhibited, in this instance, was excited merely by the instinct of gluttony. In order to render his attention less interested, and to a certain degree less animal, I deducted from this amusement everything which had any connection with his palate, and I afterward put nothing under the goblets that were eatable. The result of this experiment was very nearly as satisfactory as the former; and this stratagem afforded nothing* more than a simple amusement: it was not, however, without being of considerable use, in exciting the exercise of his judgment, and inducing a habit of fixed attention.

With the exception of these sorts of diversion, which, like those that have been already mentioned, were intimately connected with his physical wants, it has been impossible for me to inspire him with a taste for those which are natural to his age. I am absolutely certain, that, if I could have effected this, I should have derived from it unspeakable assistance. In order to be convinced of the justness of this idea, we need only attend to the powerful influence which is produced upon the first developments of the mind, by the plays of infancy, as well as the various little pleasures of the palate.

I did every thins; in order to awaken these last inclinations, by offering him those dainties which are most coveted by children, and from which I hoped to derive important advantage; as they afforded me new means of reward; of punishment, of encouragement, and of instruction. But the aversion he expressed for all sweetmeats, and the most tender and delicate viands, was insurmountable. I then thought it right to try the use of highly-stimulating food, as better adapted to excite a sense which was necessarily blunted by the habit of feeding upon grosser aliments. I did not succeed better in this trial; I offered to him, in vain, even during those moments when he felt the most extreme hunger and thirst, strong liquors, and dishes richly seasoned with all kinds of spices. At length, despairing of being able to inspire him with any new taste, I made the most of the small number of those to which his appetite was confined, by endeavoring to accompany them with all the necessary circumstances which might increase the pleasure that he derived from indulging himself in them. It was with this view that I often took him to dine with me in the city. On these days there was placed on the table a complete collection of his favorite dishes. The first time that he was at such a feast, he expressed transports of joy, which rose almost to frenzy: no doubt lie thought lie should not sup so well as he had dined; for he did not scruple to carry away, in the evening, on bis leaving the house, a plate of lent iles which he had stolen from the kitchen: I felt great satisfaction at the result of this first excursion. I had found out a pleasure for him; I had only to repeat it a certain number of times in order to convert it into a leant; this is what I actually effected. I did more; I took care that these excursions should always be preceded by certain preliminaries which mi edit be remarked by him: this I did, by going into his room about four o’clock, with my hat on mvlicad, and his shirt held in my hand. Very soon these preparations were considered as the signal of departure. At the moment I appeared, I was understood; he dressed himself in great haste, and followed me, with expressions of uncommon satisfaction and delight. I do not give this fact as proof of a superior intelligence, since there is nobody that might not object that the most common clog is capable of doing as much. But even admitting this mental equality between the boy and the brute, we must at least allow that an important change had taken place; and those who had seen the Savage of Aveyron, immediately after his arrival at Paris, know that lie was vastly inferior, with regard to discernment, to the more intelligent of our domestic animals. I found it impossible, when I took him out with me, to keep him in proper order in the streets: it was necessary for me either to go on the full trot with him, or make use of the most violent force, in order to compel him to walk at the same moderate pace with myself. Of course, we were, in future, obliged to go out in a carriage: this was another new pleasure that attached him more and more to his frequent excursions. In a short time, these days ceased to be merely days of feasting, in which he gave himself up to the most lively joy; they absolutely became real wants: the deprivation of which, when the interval between them was made a little longer than usual, rendered him low spirited, restless and fretful. That an increase of pleasure was it to him when our visits were paid to the country! I took him not long ago to the seat of Citizen Lachabeaussière, in the vale of Montmorency. It was a very curious and exceedingly interesting’ spectacle, to observe the joy which was painted in his eyes, in all the motions and postures of his body, at the view of the hills and the woods of this charming valley: it seemed as if the doors of the carriage were a restraint upon the eagerness of his feelings; he inclined sometimes towards the one and sometimes towards the other, and betrayed the utmost impatience, when the horses happened to go slower than usual, or stopped for a short time. lie spent two days at this rural mansion; such was here the influence upon his mind, arising from the exterior agency of these woods, and these hills, with which he could not satiate his sight, that he appeared more than ever restless and savage; and in spite of the most assiduous attention that was paid to his wishes, and the most affectionate regard that was expressed for him, he seemed to be occupied only with an anxious desire of taking his flight. Altogether engrossed by this prevailing idea, which in fact absorbed all the faculties of his mind, and the consciousness even of his physical wants, and, rising from the table every minute, he ran to the window, with a view, if it was open, of escaping into the park; or, if it were not, to contemplate, at least, through it, all those objects towards which he was irresistibly attracted, by recent habits, and, perhaps, also by the remembrance of life independent, happy, and regretted. On this account, I determined no longer to subject him to similar trials; but, that he might not be entirely secluded from an opportunity of gratifying his rural taste, I still continued to take him out to walk in some gardens in the neighborhood, the formal and regular dispositions of which have nothing in common with those sublime landscapes that are exhibited in wild and uncultivated nature, and which so strongly attach the savage to the scenes of his infancy. On this account Madam Guerin sometimes took him to Luxembourg, and almost every day to the garden belonging to the observatory, where the oblio'insr civility of Citizen Lemeri allowed him to take a daily repast of milk.

In consequence of these new habits, some recreations of his own choice, and all the tender attentions that were shown him, in his present situation, head length began to acquire a fondness for it. Hence arose that lively attachment which he feels for his governance, and which lie sometimes expresses to her in the most affecting: manner. He never leaves her without evident uneasiness, nor ever meets lier without expressions of satisfaction. Once, after having slipped from her in the streets, on seeing her again he burst into a flood of tears. For some hours, he still continued to show a deep drawn and interrupted respiration, and a pulse in a kind of febrile state. Madam Guerin having then addressed him in rather a reproachful manner, he was again overwhelmed with tears. The friendship which he feels for me is much weaker, as might naturally have been expected. The attentions which Madam Guerin pays him are of such a nature that their value may be appreciated at the moment; those cares, on the contrary, which I devote to him, are of distant and insensible utiJlt It is evident that this difference arises from the cause which I point out, as I am myself indulged with hours of favorable reception; they are those which I have never dedicated to his improvement. For instance, if I go to his chamber, in the evening, when he is about to retire to rest, the first thing that he does is to prepare himself for my embrace; then draw me to him, by laying hold of my arm, and making me sit on his bed. Then in general he seizes my hand, draws it over his eyes, his forehead, and the back part of his head, and detains it with his own, a long time, applied to those parts.

People may say what they please, but I will ingenuously confess, that I submit, without reluctance, to all these little marks of infantile fondness. Perhaps I shall be understood by those who consider how much effect is produced upon the mind of an infant, by compliances, apparently trivial, and small marks of that tenderness which nature hath implanted in the heart of a mother; the expression of which excites the first smiles and awakens the earliest joys of life.

Section 4

My fourth object was, to lead him to the use of speech, by subjecting him to the necessity of imitation. If I had wished to have published only successful experiments, I should have suppressed this fourth section from my work, as well as the means which I made use of in order to accomplish my object, as well as the little advantage which I derived from them. But my intention is not to give the history of my own labors, but merely that of the progressive developments which appeared in the mind of the Savage of Aveyron; and, of course, I ought not to omit anything»»; that can throw light on his moral history. I shall, he even obliged to advance, on this occasion, some theoretical ideas; and I hope I shall be pardoned for doing so when it is considered what attention I have paid, that they should be supported upon facts, as well as the necessity under. which I felt myself of answering such inquiries as these: “Does the savage speak?” “ If he is not deaf, why does he not speak?” It may easily be conceived, that, in the bosom of forests, and far from the society of every rational being, the ear of our savage was not in the way of experiencing any other impression than those which were made upon it by a very small number of sounds, which were in general connected with his physical wants. It was not, in such a situation, an organ that discriminates the various articulate modifications of the human voice: it was there simply an instrument of self-preservation, which informed him of the approach of a dangerous animal, or of the fall of some wild fruit. It is evident, that the car is confined to certain offices, when we consider the little or no impression which was produced upon this organ, for a whole year, by all the sounds and noises which did not interest his own particular wants; and, on the other hands, the exquisite irritability which this sense exhibited concerning those things that had any relation to his necessities. When, without his knowledge of it, I plucked, most cautiously and gently, chestnut or walnut: — when I only touched the key of the door which held him captive, he never failed instantly to turn back, and run towards the place whence the noise arose. If the hearing did not express the same susceptibility for the sounds of the human voice, for the explosion even of firearms, it may be accounted for from that organ being little sensible and attentive to any impressions except those to which it had been long and exclusively accustomed*.

If I had wished to have published only successful experiments, I should have suppressed this fourth section from my work, as well as the means which I made use of in order to accomplish my object, as well as the little advantage which I derived from them. But my intention is not to give the history of my own labors, but merely that of the progressive developments which appeared in the mind of the Savage of Aveyron; and, of course, I ought not to omit anything»»; that can throw light on his moral history. I shall, he even obliged to advance, on this occasion, some theoretical ideas; and I hope I shall be pardoned for doing so when it is considered what attention I have paid, that they should be supported upon facts, as well as the necessity under. which I felt myself of answering such inquiries as these: “Does the savage speak?” “ If he is not deaf, why does he not speak?”

It may easily be conceived, that, in the bosom of forests, and far from the society of every rational being, the ear of our savage was not in the way of experiencing any other impression than those which were made upon it by a very small number of sounds, which were in general connected with his physical wants. It was not, in such a situation, an organ that discriminates the various articulate modifications of the human voice: it was there simply an instrument of self-preservation, which informed him of the approach of a dangerous animal, or of the fall of some wild fruit. It is evident, that the car is confined to certain offices, when we consider the little or no impression which was produced upon this organ, for a whole year, by all the sounds and noises which did not interest his own particular wants; and, on the other hands, the exquisite irritability which this sense exhibited concerning those things that had any relation to his necessities. When, without his knowledge of it, I plucked, most cautiously and gently, chestnut or walnut: — when I only touched the key of the door which held him captive, he never failed instantly to turn back, and run towards the place whence the noise arose. If the hearing did not express the same susceptibility for the sounds of the human voice, for the explosion even of firearms, it may be accounted for from that organ being little sensible and attentive to any impressions except those to which it had been long and exclusively accustomed*.

  • In order to give more force to this assertion, it may be observed, that, in proportion, as man advances beyond the period of his infancy, tiro exercise of his senses becomes, every day, less universal. In the first stage of his life, he wishes to see everything, and to touch everything; he puts into his mouth everything that is given to him; the least noise makes him start: his senses are directed to all objects, even to those which have no apparent connection with his wants. In proportion to his ad \a:>cement beyond the stage of infancy, during which is carried on, what may be called the apprenticeship of the senses, objects strike him only) so far as they happen to be connected with his ap.

It may be easily conceived, then, why the ear, though very apt to perceive certain noises, may yet be very little able to discriminate the articulation of sounds. Besides, in order to speak, it is not sufficient to perceive the sound of the voice; it is equally necessary to ascertain the articulation of that sound: two operations which petites, his habits, or his inclinations. Afterward, it is often found, that there is only one or two of his senses which awaken his attention. He becomes, perhaps, a musician, who, attentive to everything that he hears, is indifferent to everything which he sees. Perhaps he may turn out a mere mineralogist, or a botanist, the first of whom, in a field fertile in objects of research, can see nothing but minerals; and the second, only vegetable productions. Or he may become a mathematician without ears, who will be apt to say, after having been witness to the performance of one of the tragedies of Racine; “what is it that all this proves?"

If, then, after the first years of infancy, the attentions are very distinct, and require the organ to be in very different conditions. For the first, there is a need only for a certain degree of sensibility in the nerve of the ear; the second requires a particular modification of that sensibility. It appears possible, then, that those who have ears well organized, and duly sensible, may still be unable to seize the articulation of tion is naturally directed only to those objects which have some known and perceived connection with our tastes, the reason may be easily conceived why our young savage, feeling only a small number of wants, was induced to exercise his senses only on a small number of objects. This, if I mistake not, was the cause of that perfect inattention which struck everybody on his first arrival at Paris; but which, at the present moment, hath almost altogether disappeared, evidently because he has been made to feel his connection and dependence upon all the new objects which surround his words. There are found, among* the Cretans, a great number of persons who are dumb and yet not deaf. Among the pupils of Citizen Si card there are several children who hear perfectly well the sound of a clock; a clapping* of hands; the lowest tones of a flute or violin, and who, notwithstanding, have never yet been able to imitate the pronunciation of a single word, even when loudly and slowly articulated. Thus, it appears, that speech is a kind of music to which certain ears, although well organized in other respects, may be insensible. The question is, whether this is the case of the child that we are speaking of. I do not think it is, although my favorable opinion rests on a scanty number of facts. It is true that my experiments, with a view to the ascertaining of this point, have not been numerous, and that I was for so Ion" a time embarrassed concerning the inode of conduct that I ought to pursue, that I restricted myself to the character of an observer. What follows is the result of my observations.

During: the four or five first months of his residence at Paris, the Savage of Aveyron appeared sensible only to those particular sounds to which I have already alluded. In the month Frimaire he appeared to understand the human voice, and, when in the gallery that led to his chamber, two persons were conversing, in a high tone, he often went to the door, to be sure if it was properly secured: and he was so attentive as to put his finger on the latch to be still farther satisfied. Some time afterward, I remarked that he distinguished the voice of the deaf and dumb, or rather, the guttural sound which continually escapes them in their amusements, lie seemed even to be able to ascertain the place whence the sound came, for, if he heard it whilst he was going down the staircase, he never failed to reascend, or to descend more precipitately, according as the noise came from below or above.

At the beginning of the month Nivôse, I made a remark still more interesting. One day whilst he was in the kitchen, busy in boiling potatoes, two persons, behind him, were disputing with great warmth, without his appearing to pay the least attention to them. A third came in, who joined in the discussion, and began all his replies with these words: “ Ok! it is different.” I remarked, that every time this person permitted lus favorite exclamation to escape him, “ Oh!" the Savage of Aveyron suddenly turned his head. I made, in the evening, about the hour of his going to bed, some experiments with regard to this particular sound, and I derived from them very nearly the same results. I tried all the other vowels without any success. This preference for o induced me to give him a name, which, according to the French pronunciation, terminates in that vowel. I made the choice of that of Victor. This name he continues to have, and when it is spoken in a loud voice, he seldom fails to turn his head or to run to me. It is, probably, for the same reason, that, he has since understood the meaning t s> atl ^ e monosyllable no } which I often make use of, when I wish to make him correct the blunders which he is now and then guilty of in our little exercises and amusements. Whilst these developments of the organ of the hearing were going on, in a slow but perceptible manner, the voice continued mute, and was unable to utter those articulate sounds which the ear appeared to distinguish; at the same time the vocal organs did not exhibit, in their exterior conformation, any mark of imperfection; nor was there any reason to suspect it in their interior structure. There was indeed observable, on the upper and anterior part of the neck, a scar of considerable extent, which might excite some doubt with regard to the soundness of the subjacent parts, if the suspicion were not done away by the appearance of the scar. It seems in reality to be a wound made by some cutting* instrument; but, by observing its superficial appearance, I should be inclined to believe that it did not reach deeper than the integuments and that it was united by what surgeons call the first intention. It is to be presumed that a hand more disposed than adapted to acts of cruelty, wished to make an attempt upon the life of this child; and that, left for dead in the woods, he owed, to the timely succor of nature, the speedy cure of his wound; which could not have been so readily effected, if the muscular and cartilaginous parts, belonging to the organ of voice, had been divided. fins consideration leads me to think, that v hen the ear began to perceive some certain sounds, if the voice did not repeat them, it was not on that account fair to infer any organic lesion; but that we ought to ascribe the fact to the influence of unfavorable circumstances. The total disuse of exercise renders our organs inapt for their functions, and if those already formed are so powerfully affected by this inaction, what will be the case with those, which are growing aucl developing without the assistance of any agent that was calculated, to call them into action? Eighteen months at least are necessary, of careful and assiduous education, before a child can lisp a few words: have we then a right to expect, that a rude inhabitant of the forest, who has been in society only fourteen or fifteen months, five or six of which he has passed among the deaf and dumb, should have already acquired the faculty of articulate speech! Not only is such a thing impossible, but it will require, in order to arrive at this important point of his education, much more time, and much more labor, than is necessary for children in general. This child knows nothing; but lies and possesses, to an eminent degree, the susceptibility of learning everything. an innate propensity to imitation; excessive flexibility and sensibility of all the organs; a perpetual motion of the tongue; a consistency almost gelatinous of the larynx: in one word, everything concurs to aid the production of that kind of articulate and almost indescribable utterance, which may be regarded as the involuntary apprenticeship of the voice: this is still farther assisted by occasional coughing and sneezing, the crying of children, and even their tears, those tears which we should consider as the marks of a lively excitability, but likewise as a powerful stimulus, continually applied, and especially at the times most seasonable for the simultaneous development of the organs of respiration, voice, and speech. Let these advantages be allowed to me, and I will answer for the result. If it is granted me, that we ought no longer to depend on the youth of Victor; that we should allow him also the fostering resources of nature, which can create new methods of education when accidental causes have deprived her of those which she had originally planned. At least I can produce some facts which may justify this hope.

I stated, at the beginning of this section, that it was my intention to lead him to the use of speech. Being convinced, by the considerations thrown out in these two last paragraphs, and by another not less conclusive, which I shall very soon explain, that it was necessary only to excite, by degrees, the action of the larynx, by the allurement of objects necessary to his wants. I had reason to believe that the vowel o was the first understood; and I thought it ver\ fortunate for my plan, that this simple pronunciation was, at least in sound, the sign of one of the wants most frequently it It by tins child. However, I could not derive any actual advantage iiom I I iis favorable coincidence. In vain, even at those moments when Ins thirst was most intolerable, did I frequently exclaim eau, cau, bringing before him a glass of water: I then gave the vessel to a person who was near him, upon his pronouncing the same word; and regained it for myself ' t m cx P ression: the poor child tormented himself in all kinds of ways; betrayed a desire for the water by the motion of his arms; uttered a kind of hissing, but no articulate sound. It would have been inhuman to have insisted any longer on the point. I changed the subject, without, however, changing my method. My next endeavors were concerning the word lait. On the fourth day of this my second experiment, I succeeded to the utmost of my wishes; Ï heard Victor pronounce distinctly, in a manner, it must be confessed, rather harsh, the word lait, which he repeated almost incessantly: it was the first time that an articulate sound had escaped his lips, and of course, I did not hear it without the most lively satisfaction. I nevertheless made afterward an observation, which deducted very much from the advantage which it was reasonable to expect from the first instance of success. It was not till the moment, when, despairing of a happy result, I had actually poured the milk into the cup which he presented home, the word lait escaped him again, with evident demonstrations of joy; and it was not till after I had poured it out a second time, by way of reward, that he repeated the expression. It is evident from hence, that the result of the experiment was far from accomplishing my intentions; the word pronounced, instead of being the sign of a want, it appeared, from the time in which it was articulated, to be merely an exclamation of joy. If this word had been uttered before the thing that he desired had been granted, my ob ject Mould have been nearly accomplished: then the true use of speech Mould have been soon acquired by Victor; a point of communication would have been established between him and me, and the most rapid progress must necessarily have ensued. Instead of this, I had obtained only an expression of the pleasure which he felt, insignificant as it related to himself, and useless to us both. In fact, it was merely a vocal sign of the possession of a thing. But this, I repeat it, din not establish anv communication between us; it could not be considered as of any great importance, as it was not subservient to the wants of the individual, and was subject to a great number of misapplications, in consequence of the daily-changing sentiment of which it became the sign. The subsequent results of this misuse of the word have been such, as I feared would follow: it was generally only during the enjoyment of the thing, that the word lait was pronounced. Sometimes he happened to utter it before, and at other times a little after, but always without having any view in the use of it. I do not attach any more importance to his spontaneous repetition of it when he happens to wake during the night.

After this result, I totally ren '.meed the method by which I obtained it, waiting for a time when local circumstances will permit me to substitute another in its place, which I think will be more efficacious. I have abandoned the organ of voice to the influence of imitation, which, although weak, is not, however, altogether extinct, as appears from some little advancements that he has since made.

The word lait has served Victor as the root of two other monosyllables, la and li, to which he attaches certainly still less meaning; he has since a little modified the last, by adding to it a second /, pronouncing both together like the gli of the Italian language. We frequently hear him repeat lli, Hi, with an inflection of the voice that is not altogether destitute of melody. It is astonishing that the liquid /, which, with children in general, is one of the most difficult sounds to articulate, is yet one of the first that he hath distinctly pronounced. I should not, perhaps, be far from the truth in believing, that this remarkable circumstance arises from a kind of inclination that he feels for the name of Julia, a young lady between eleven and twelve years of age, who has lately been passing some weeks with Madame Guerin,lier mother. It is certain at least that, since, the exclamations Hi, lii, have become more frequent, and, according to the report of his governance, are heard even during the night, at those moments when there is reason to believe that he is in a profound sleep, it is impossible accurately to ascertain the cause, and the precise nature and importance of this last fact; we must wait till more advanced puberty hath furnished us with a greater number of observations. I lie last acquisition of the organ of his voice is a little more consideration and consists of two syllables, which, m tact, are well worth three, in consequence of how he pronounces the last; it is the exclamation, Oh Dieu! which he has learned from Madame Guerin; he frequently permits it to escape him in his occasional fits of excessive joy: in pronouncing it, lie suppresses the u of the word Dieu, and dwells on the i, as if it were doubled, so that he may be heard distinctly to cry out, Oh Diie! Oh Diie! the o in this last combination of sound was not new to him, as I had some time before succeeded in enabling him to pronounce it. Let us now see, so far as the organ of voice is concerned, the exact point at which we have arrived. We may observe, that all the vowels, except the u, already enter into the small number of the sounds which he articulates, and that there are only three consonants among them, viz. /, d, and l liquid. This progress is, no doubt, very small if it is compared to that degree of advancement which is necessary to the complete development of the human voice; but it has appeared to me sufficient to demonstrate the possibility of this development. I have spoken above of the causes which must necessarily render it a long and difficult process; there is still another which will likewise contribute to retard his improvement in articulate utterance, which I ought not to pass over in silence. I allude to the facility which our young savage shows in expressing in other ways, then by speech, the small number of his wants*: all his wishes are expressed by the most unequivocal signs, which, in a certain sense, have, i'. s observations afford additional confirmation to the important opinion of Condillac, who obscure:, in speaking of the origin of the language of sounds, the language of action, then so natural, was a great obstacle to be surmounted. Was it likely that this should be abandoned for another, the advantages of which could not be foreseen, and all difficulty of which was so strongly felt? like ours, their gradations and synonyms. When the hour for walking arrived, lie presents himself repeatedly before the window and the door of his chamber. If he then perceives that his governance is not ready, he lays before her, in order, all the articles necessary to her toilet, and often, in his impatience, he even sets about assisting to dress her. This done, he goes down the stairs first, and himself takes hold of the latch of the door. When arrived at the observatory, the first thing is to ask for some milk; this he does by presenting a wooden bowl, which he never forgets, on going away, to put into his pocket; with this, he first provided himself, the day after having broken, in the same house, a china cup, which used to answer the same purpose.

Again, to render complete the pleasure of his excursions, we have for some time past indulged him with the amusement of being carried about in a wheelbarrow. Since then, whenever he is seized with a desire for it, if nobody is present to oblige him, he goes again into the house, lays hold of someone by the arm, leads him into the garden, and puts into his hands the arms of the barrow; if this invitation be neglected, he himself takes hold of the handles, wheels it a few paces, and places himself again in it, imagining, without doubt, that, if his desires are not gratified after all this, it is not for the want of having clearly manifested them.

Is he impatient to dine? his intentions are still less equivocally expressed; ile himself lays the cloth upon the table and presents to Madame Guerin the plates, so that she may go into the kitchen to fill them. When he dines with me in town, all his wishes are expressed to the lady who does the honors at the table. It is always to her that he addresses himself to he served with what he wants. If she pretends not to understand him, he puts his plate by the side of the dish of which he desires to partake and devours it with his eyes. If this does not produce any effect, he takes a fork and strikes it two or three times on the edge of the dish. If she still neglects him, he loses all patience; he plunges a spoon or even his hand into the dish, and, in the twinkling of an eye, he empties it all into his own plate. He is no less expressive in the manner of exhibiting the affections of his mind, especially impatience and ennui. A great number of the curious know-how, with more natural frankness than politeness, he dismissed them, when fatigued with the length of their visits; he presents to each of them, and yet without a countenance of contempt, their cane, gloves, and hat, pushes them gently towards the door, which afterward he violently shuts upon them *.

  • It is worthy of remark, that this language of ai lion is entirely natural to him; and that, during the first d.i) s of his entrance into society, he employed it in the manner most expressive. « When he felt thirst,*' said Citizen Constans St. Esteve, who had seen him in the beginning of this interesting period, « he cast his eyes on the right and kft; having S perceived a pitcher, he put my hand into his own, and led me towards it, and then struck it with his left hand, in order to denote his wish to drink; I carried him some wine, which lies declined to take, expressing impatience at my delay in 2 in g hi, n some water instead.

In order to complete the history of this pantomimic language, it is necessary that I should further add, that Victor understands it with as much facility as he speaks it: if Madame Guerin wishes to send him for some water, she need only show him the pitcher, and make him see that it is empty, by inverting the vessel. An analogous proceeding is all that is sufficient for me, to get him to serve me something to drink when we dine together, or at any other time. But what is still more astonishing in his readiness in these means of communication, is, that there is no need for any preliminary lesson, to make him understand them. I satisfied myself of this one day by an experiment of the most conclusive nature; I chose, from amongst a multitude of others, a thing for which I was previously assured that there did not exist between him and his governance any indicating sign; such as, for example, the comb, which was kept for his purpose, and which I wished him to bring to me. I should have been much mistaken, if, by disordering my hair with my hand, and showing him my head in this state, I had not been understood.

Many persons see, in all these proceedings, only the common instinctive actions of an animal; as for myself, I confess, that I recognize in them the language of action, in all its simplicity; that primitive language of the human species, originally employed in the infancy of society, before the labor of many ages had arranged and established the system of speech and furnished to civilized man a fertile and sublime means of indefinite improvement, which calls forth his understanding even in his cradle, and of which he makes use all bis life without appreciating what he is utilizing it, and what he would be without its assistance if he were accidentally deprived of it, as in the case which at present occupies our attention. Undoubtedly, a day will arrive, when more multiplied wants make our young Victor feel the necessity of using new signs. The defective use which he has made of his first sounds, will, of necessity, much retard the approach of this epoch, but will not prevent its ultimate arrival. It will be the same thing, neither more nor less, than what happens to the child who at first lisps the word papa, without attaching to it any idea, goes on saying it, in all places, and on all occasions, then addresses it to every man that he sees; and it is not till after a multitude of reasonings, and even abstractions, that lie can make an exclusive and just application of it. y fifth object was to exercise, during some time, on those things which were connected with his physical wants, the most simple operations of his understanding; and afterward to direct the application of them to matters of instruction.

Contemplated in the earliest stage of his infancy, and regarding his understanding, the man appears not as yet elevated above other animals. All his intellectual faculties are rigorously circumscribed within the narrow sphere of his physical wants. It is to them alone that the operations of his understanding are directed. It behooves us then, in education, to make use of these wants for his instruction; that is to say, to a new order of things that have no original connection with them. From this application flow all his knowledge, all the improvement of his mind, and even the conceptions of the most sublime genius. Whatever degree of probability there may be in this idea, I bring it forward here again, only as it is the point of departure from the line of conduct which I have hitherto pursued. T shall not enter minutely into a detail of the means that were made use of, to exercise the intellectual faculties of the Savage of Aveyron, concerning the objects of his appetites. These means consisted simply in placing between him and his wants, obstacles that are continually increasing, and continually changing in their nature, and which he could not surmount without perpetually exercising his attention, his memory, his judgment, and all the functions of his senses*.

  • It is not improper to remark, that I have not experienced any difficulty in my first aim. Whenever his wants are concerned, his attention, his memory, and his intelligence seemed to raise him above himself; it is a remark that might have been made on every trial, and which, if it had been duly reflected upon, would have led us to anticipate the most successful result. I do not scruple to say, that I regard, as a great proof of intelligence, his having been able to learn, at the end of six weeks of residence in society, to prepare his food, with all the care and attention to minutiae, of which Citizen Bonaterre has given us an account. “ His occupation, during his stay at Rhodes,” says this naturalist, “ consisted in shelling kidney beans[; and he executed this task with as great a degree of discernment, as could have been shown by a person who was the most habituated to the employment. As he knew, by experience, that these vegetable faculties which might be subservient to his instruction; and now we had nothing? more to do than to find out the easiest means of turning them to account.

Thus were developed all the

As yet little progress has been made destined for his subsistence, as soon as a bunch of dried pods was brought to him, he used to go for a kettle, and establish the scene of this operation in the middle of his apartment. There he arranged his materials in the most commodious manner possible. The pot was placed on his right hand, and the beans on his left; he opened the shells one after the other with an inimitable suppleness of fingers; he put into the kettle the good grains, and threw away those which were unfit for use; if, by chance, at ) grain escaped him, he took it up and placed it with the other*. As he emptied the shells, he added them beside him in exact order, and when his work was finished, he took up the kettle, and after having filled it with water, placed it on the fire, r ' 1c ^ 1C3t °* which he increased through the? \ shells, winch lie had put in a separate heap with regard to the sense of hearing, in this respect, the Savage of Aveyron was merely upon a level with one of the deaf and dumb. This consideration induced me to try the method of instruction that has been adopted by Citizen Sicard. I began by the first steps usual in that celebrated school, and drew, upon a blackboard, the lineal figure of certain objects, which a simple design was sufficient to represent; such as a key, scissors, and a hammer. I repeatedly placed, at those moments when I saw that I was observed, each of the objects]; and when I was satisfied by this, of his having perceived the relations that they bore to each other, I wished him to bring me them in succession, making by my finger the figure of that which I asked for. I obtained nothing by this; I returned to the experiment a great many times, and always with as little success: he either refused, from obstinacy, to bring me that of the three things that I marked out, or with this he brought the two others, and presented them all to me at the same time. I was myself convinced that this was merely to be attributed to his indolence, by which he was prevented from doing, at different times, what he perceived might as well be done at once. I then thought; it was right to make use of a method that forced him to direct his attention to each of these objects separately. I had observed, even for some months past, that he had a remarkable taste for order; it was on this account that he sometimes got out of his bed in order to arrange any piece of furniture or utensil which happened to be out of it proper place. r l his propensity still more decidedly showed itself concerning those things which were suspended on the wall; each had its particular nail and hook; and when any change was made in their situation, he was not at rest ’till he replaced them himself. I had then only to arrange, in the same manner, the things on which I wished to exercise his attention. I suspended, by a nail, each of the objects below the figure which rèjn'eséfi^éllHhem, and left them for some time. When afterward I took them away and gave them to Victor, they were immediately replaced in their proper order. I recommenced the experiment a great many times, and always with the same result: I was far, however, from attributing it to his discernment; this classification might simply be an act of the memory. To satisfy me with regard to this point, I changed the respective position of the figures, and I then saw him, without any regard to this transposition, arrange the objects in the same order as before. In fact, nothing was so easy as to teach him the new classification forced upon him by this new change, but nothing more difficult than to make him reason about it. His memory had all the merit of each arrangement. I then contrived to deprive him, in some measure, of the assistance which he drew from this source. This I did by continually fatiguing his memory, by increasing the number of figures and with the frequency of their inversions. In that case, the faculty of recollection would become an insufficient guide to the methodical arrangement of all these numerous bodies, and therefore the understanding must have recourse to a comparison of the design with the thing. What an important point should I then have achieved! Of this I had no longer doubt when I saw young Victor attach his looks in succession to each of the objects, to choose one of them, and then to seek the figure to which it belonged; and of this, I had very soon a more substantial proof, by trying the inversion of the figures, which was followed, on his part, by the inversion of the objects themselves.

This circumstance inspired me with the most flattering hopes; I thought I should not have any more difficulties to overcome when one presented itself of an insurmountable nature, which obstinately arrested me in my progress, and forced me altogether to renounce my method of proceeding.*

It is well known that, in the instruction of the deaf and dumb, this first step of comparison is commonly succeeded by a second, which is much more difficult. After having taught, by repeated comparisons, the relation which the thing bears to the design, they place behind the latter all the letters which form the name of the object represented by the figure. This done, they efface the figure, and there remain only the alphabetical signs. The pupil in the school of the deaf and dumb perceives, in this second step, only a change of design, which to him still continues the sign of the object. It was not the same with Victor, who, notwithstanding the most frequent repetitions, notwithstanding the protracted exhibition of the thing below the name belonging to it, could never know the thing by the word. It took me no time to account for this difficulty; it was easy to understand why it was insurmountable. Between the figure of an object and its alphabetical representation, the distance is immense, and so much greater to the pupil, as it presents itself to him at the very threshold of instruction. If the deaf and dumb are not arrested by it in the progress of their improvement, the reason is, that they, of all children, are the most attentive, and the most observing. Accustomed from their earliest infancy to understand and to speak by the eyes, they are, more than any other persons, exercised in perceiving the mutual relations of visible objects.

It is well known that, in the instruction of the deaf and dumb, this first step of comparison is commonly succeeded by a second, which is much more difficult. After having taught, by repeated comparisons, the relation which the thing bears to the design, they place behind the latter all the letters which form the name of the object represented by the figure. This done, they efface the figure, and there remain only the alphabetical signs. The pupil in the school of the deaf and dumb perceives, in this second step, only a change of design, which to him still continues the sign of the object. It was not the same with Victor, who, notwithstanding the most frequent repetitions, notwithstanding the protracted exhibition of the thing below the name belonging to it, could never know the thing by the word. It took me no time to account for this difficulty; it was easy to understand why it was insurmountable. Between the figure of an object and its alphabetical representation, the distance is immense, and so much greater to the pupil, as it presents itself to him at the very threshold of instruction. If the deaf and dumb are not arrested by it in the progress of their improvement, the reason is, that they, of all children, are the most attentive, and the most observing. Accustomed from their earliest infancy to understand and to speak by the eyes, they are, more than any other persons, exercised in perceiving the mutual relations of visible objects.

On these accounts, it was then necessary to look out for some method more suitable to the faculties scarcely developed of our young savage. It was with this view that I formed my new plan of proceeding: I will not stop to make an analysis of it; the reader will judge it by the execution.

I pasted, on a board of two feet square, three pieces of paper of a very distinct form, and a very decided difference of color: there was one circular and red; another triangular and blue; and the third square and black. Three pieces of pasteboard, of the same color and figure, were, using a hole pierced in the middle of them, and nails properly arranged on the board, placed and left for some days on the respective models. Having afterward taken them away and presented them to Victor, they were replaced by him without any difficulty. I found, by inverting the board, ami by that means changing the order of the figures, that this first result of my experiment was not merely a matter of routine, but was the consequence of comparison. After some days I substituted another board in the place of the first: I there represented the same figures, but they were all of a uniform color. In the first, the pupil was assisted in his comparison both by the forms and the colors: in the second, he had no other guide than the observation of the forms. Almost immediately afterward I presented a third board to him, on which all the figures were equal, but the colors different; the same trials were always followed by the same results. I pay little regard to a few accidental negligences of attention. The facility with which these comparisons were formed induced me to present new ones to him. I made additions and variations in the two last tables. I added to that of the figures, other forms much less distinct, and to that of the colors, new colors, which had only a slight shade of difference between them. There was, for example, in the first, a parallelogram by the side of a square; and in the second, a pattern of celestial blue by the side of one of a grey blue. This gave rise to some blunders and perplexities, but they disappeared after a few days of exercise. These happy results emboldened me to try new changes, gradually increasing in difficulty; each day I added, I retrenched, I modified, and inti need the necessity of new comparisons and of new judgments. At length, the multiplicity and numberless complications of these little crises altogether exhausted his attention and docility. Then reappeared, in all their intensity, those emotions of impatience and of fury which burst out so violently during the first weeks of his residence at Paris, whenever lie was unexpectedly imprisoned in his chamber. This did not signify; it seemed to me that the moment has arrived when it behooved me no longer to appease these emotions by complaisance, but to endeavor to overcome them by decision. I then thought it my duty to persist. Thus, for instance, when being disgusted with a task, of which in fact he did not conceive the object, and with which of course it was very natural he should be fatigued; he took it into his head to seize the pieces of pasteboard, to throw them indignantly on the ground, and to run to his bed in a fury. I permitted him to pass one or two minutes quietly. I then returned to the business with the most perfect indifference: I made him gather up all the pieces of pasteboard which were scattered in his chamber, and gave him no respite until they were replaced in their proper order. My perseverance lasted only a few days; for it was at length overcome by the unconquerable independence of his spirit, his emotions of anger became more frequent, more violent, and resembled the paroxysms of rage similar to those of which I have already spoken; but with this striking difference, that the effects of his passion were now less directed towards persons than things. He Would, when he was in this humor, gnaw the bedclothes, even the mantle-piece, throwing about in his chamber the fire-irons, the cintiers, and the burning coals, and conclude the scene by falling into convulsions, which seemed to be of a nature somewhat analogous to those of epilepsy, a complete suspension of the sensorial functions. I was obliged to yield when things had arrived at this pitch: and yet my acquiescence had no other effect than to increase the evil; its paroxysms became more frequent, and liable to be renewed by the least opposition, often even without any evident cause.

My embarrassment now became extreme. I perceived myself, at the moment when all my assiduities had succeeded only so far as to convert this poor child into an unfortunate epileptic, repeated attacks, and the force of habit confirmed a malady, which is one of the most terrible, and least curable, in the catalog of human diseases. It behooved me then as soon as possible to remedy it, not by medicines, which are so often ineffectual, not by gentleness, from which there was no longer any reason to expect advantage, but by a treatment that was calculated to awaken horror, very nearly similar to that which Boerhaave had employed in the hospital at Harlem. I was perfectly convinced that it the first method which I was about to adopt, should fail of its effect, that the evil would only be exasperated, and that every mode of treatment of a similar nature would become ineffectual. In this firm conviction, I made a choice of that which I believed would be most alarming to a being, who as yet did not know, in his new state of existence, any species of danger.

Sometime before, Madam Guerin being with him at the observatory, the platform of which is very much elevated from the ground: as soon as he approached near the parapet, he was seized with terror, and a universal trembling; his face was covered with moisture; he drew her by the arm towards the door and did not recover himself till he had reached the bottom of the stairs: what midst be the cause of his terror is a thing that I was not anxious to ascertain; it was sufficient for me to know the effect of it, in order to make it subservient to the execution of my purpose. An opportunity very soon presented itself: during a most violent fit of passion, which I had reason to believe was excited by the repetition of our exercises, taking advantage then of the moment when the functions of the senses were not as yet suspended, I suddenly opened the window of the chamber, which was on the fourth story, looking down upon a rough pavement. I approached him with every appearance of fury, and seizing him forcibly, I held him out of the window, his face directly turned towards the bottom of this p re ci]) ice; when, after some seconds, I withdrew him from this situation, he appeared pale, covered with cold sweat; his eyes moistened with tears, and still agitated with a slight trembling, which I attributed to the effects of fear: I then took him again to his boards; I made him gather up his scattered papers and insisted that they should be all replaced All this was executed, although, it must be confessed, in a slow and rather a slovenly manner. He did not, however, venture to betray any impatience. After it was done, he threw himself on his bed and burst into a flood of tears.

This was the first time, at least to the best of my knowledge, that he shed tears. The circumstance of which I have already given an account; I mean, the occasion on which the remorse that he felt in having quitted his governance, or the pleasure of finding her again, excited tears, was posterior to* the time of which I am speaking. If I have represented it as previous in my narration, the reason is, that in my plan I have attended less to chronological order, than to the methodical development of facts.

This singular method was followed by a degree of success, which, if it was not complete, was at least satisfactory. If his disgust for labor was not entirely surmounted, at least it was much diminished, without ever producing effects similar to those oi which we have been just giving an account. Oil those occasions, when he was fatigued a little too much, or when lie was compelled to devote to labor those hours which were usually set apart for his excursions or his repasts, he went no farther than to express, ennui impatience, and to utter a plaintive murmur, which 'in general terminated in a Hood of tears.

This favorable change permitted us to re-ass the course of our exercises, in which l made new modifications, that appeared to me still better calculated to his attention and to improve his judgment. I substituted, instead of the figures pasted on boards, and which were, as I already said, entire plans, representing geometrical figures, some designs which were merely outlines of these same plans» I contented myself also with marking: the colors by small patches of an irregular form, and by no means analogous in their conformation to the colored pieces of pasteboard. Then new difficulties were only an amusement for the child, a result which was quite sufficient to serve the purpose which I had in view, in adopting this system of gross comparisons. The moment was now arrived of substituting it for another, more instructive, and which would have presented insurmountable difficulties if they had not been previously done away by the success of the means which we have employed to surmount the former.

I printed, in large characters, on some pieces of pasteboard, two inches square, the twenty-four letters of the alphabet. I cut in a board an equal number of squares, in which I inserted the pieces of pasteboard, without, however, fastening them to it, so that I might be able to change their places at pleasure. An equal number of alphabetic characters were cast in metal; these letters were intended to be compared, by the pupil, with the printed letters, and classed in their corresponding squares. The first attempt to ascertain the efficacy of this method was made, in my absence, by Madame Guerin: I was much surprised to learn from her, on my return, that Victor distinguished all the characters, and properly classed them. He was put to trial immediately, and lie performed his task without committing the least error. Delighted with such rapid success, I was, however, far from being able to explain the cause of it; and it was not, till some days afterward, that it appeared to me to arise from the manner in which our pupil proceeded to this classification. In order to render it easier for him, he thought of a little expedient, which freed him in this task from exercising either memory, comparison, or judgment. When the board was put into his hands, he did not wait till we took the metallic letters from their squares; he withdrew them himself, and piled them in his hand, according to the order of their classification; so that the last letter of the alphabet was found, after the board was completely stripped, to be the uppermost of the pile. It was with this that he commenced, and with the last of the pile that lies finished; beginning at the end of the hoard, and invariably proceeding from right to left, this is not all; this employment was susceptible to improvement; for sometimes the pile in his hand would fall down, and the characters he disarranged; then it was necessary to put them in order, merely by the efforts of attention. The twenty-four letters were placed in four ranks, six in each; it was then more simple to remove them by their ranks, and to replace them in the same manner, so as not to proceed to the stripping of the second pile till the first was re-established.

I do not know if he reasoned about it, but he certainly executed the thing in the way that I represented. It was a routine, but a routine that required invention, and which did as much honor to his intelligence, as a methodical classification did to his discernment. It was easy to put him in this tract, by giving the characters in a state of disorder every time that the board was presented to him In short, despite the frequent inversions that I made, notwithstanding certain insidious arrangements of these characters, such as placing the G beside the C, the E beside the F, &c. his discernment was not to be disturbed. In exercising him with all these characters, my object was to prepare Victor for making them subservient to their primitive use; that is to say, to the expression of wants that may be manifested by speech. Far from imagining that I was so near this grand epoch of his education, it was a spirit of curiosity, rather than a hope of success, which suggested to me the following experiment:

One morning, as he was impatiently waiting for the milk, I arranged on a board, that I had the evening before prepared expressly for the purpose, these four letters, L. A. I. T. Madame Guerin, whom I had previously instructed, approaches, looks on the characters, and gives me afterward a bowl full of milk, which I pretended was for my own use. Almost immediately afterward I went up to Victor; I gave him the four letters that I had taken from the board; I pointed to the board with one hand, whilst with the other, I presented him with a vessel full of milk. The letters were immediately replaced, but in an inverted order; so that the word which they formed was TIAL, instead of LA IT. I then marked out the corrections necessary to be made, by pointing with my finger to the letters which were to be transposed, and the place that he ought to give to each; when these changes had reproduced the sign of the thing, I made him wait no longer for it.

It will be scarcely credited, that five or six similar trials were sufficient not merely to teach him the way of arranging methodically the four letters lait, but also, I may say, to give him an idea of the relation that there was between this alphabetical arrangement, and one of his wants: that is to say, between the word and the thing. This, at least, I have a decision right to infer, from what occurred eight days after this first experiment. He was seen, just before his evening excursion to the observatory, to provide himself, of his own accord, with the four letters in question; to put them in his pocket, and immediately on his arrival at the house of Citizen Lemeri, where, as I said before, he went every day to take milk, to produce these letters on a table, in such a manner as to form the word lait.

It was originally my intention to have recapitulated here all the facts that are scattered through this work; but I have since thought that whatever force they might acquire by their re-union, it would not equal that which arises from this last result. I, therefore, give it to the public unconnected with any reflections, so that it may mark, in a manner still more strikinar. the epoch at which we are already arrived, and become security for that which it is reasonable for us to expect that we shall ultimately reach. In the meantime, we have a right to conclude, from our observations, especially from those which have been recorded in these two last sections, that the child known under the name of the Savage of Aveyron, is endowed with the free exercise of all his senses; that he gives continual proofs of attention, reflection, and memory; that he can compare, discern, and judge, and apply in short all the faculties of his understanding to the objects which are connected with his instruction. It is proper to remark, as a point of essential importance, that these happy changes have been produced in the short space of nine months, and in a subject which was supposed to be incapable of attention; hence we are author iscd iu concluding, that his education is possible, if it is not even absolutely demonstrated already by these early instances ol‘ success, independently of those that we may in future expect from time, which, in its invariable progress, seems gradually to bestow upon infancy those powers, intellectual and moral, which it insensibly steals from a man on the decline of life *.

  • It is in the power of enlightened observers to come and satisfy themselves with the accuracy of these results; they alone are capable of appreciating the proper value of these facts, by bringing with them, to the investigation, a judicious understanding, and versed in the science of the human mind. The exact moral state of our savage, is difficult to ascertain with precision; daily experience and all our received ideas are calculated to mislead our judgment about this subject. “ lj the habit in which we are,” says Condillac,

In the meantime, it may be desirable to state some of the most important inferences relative to the philosophical and natural history of man, that may be already deduced from this first series of observations! Let them be collected; let them be classed with speaking of a similar case of being assisted by signs, “ would permit us to remark everything which we owe to them, we should have nothing to do, but to place ourselves in the situation of this young man, m order to understand the reason why he was so slow in acquiring knowledge; but the fact is, that we always draw our inferences from our own circumstances. It is likewise necessary, to form a sound judgment, in the case of this child, not to be satisfied with a single examination, but to observe it and study it repeatedly; at every moment of its excursions, during every one of its amusements, during its little exercises; all this is absolutely necessary. They are not even sufficient, if, to form an exact comparison between the present and the past, we have not seen with our own eyes, the Savage of Aveyron during method; let them be reduced to their exact value, and we shall see in them a material proof of the most important truths; of those truths, for the discovery of which Locke and Condillac were indebted merely to the force of their genius, and the depth of their reflections. It seems to me, at least, that the followin'»’ conclusions may be drawn: the first months of his residence in Paris. Those who have not observed him at that period, and who see him at the present instant, would perceive in him only a child, that is nearly like other children, except that he does not speak; they could not be duly sensible of the important distance which exists between this being and the Savage of Ai>eyroii y just after he had been introduced into society, at a distance, in appearance, trifling, but in fact immense, when we properly reflect upon it and calculate through what a series of new reasons and acquired ideas he must have gone in ©rder to have arrived at these last results.

That man is inferior to a great number of animals in a pure state of nature*, a state of vacuity and barbarism, although it has been unjustly painted in colors the most attractive; a state in which the individual, deprived of the characteristic faculties of his species, drags on miserably, equally without intelligence and without affections, a life that is every moment subject to danger, and confined to the bare functions of animal nature.

C. The next conclusion that may

  • I have not the least doubt, that, if we were to insulate, at the earliest period of infancy, two children, the one male, and the other female, and were to do the same with two quadrupeds, chosen from the species of brutes, that was the least intelligent, these latter would not show themselves much superior to the former, in the means of providing for their wants, and in taking care either of their own preservation, or that of their children be drawn is, that moral superiority which has been said to be natural to man, is merely the result of civilization, which raises him above other animals by a great and powerful stimulus. This stimulus is the prédominent sensibility of his species; the essential property from which flow the faculties of imitation, and that unintermitting propensity that forces him to seek, in new wants, new sensations.

It may be observed, that this imitative power, adapted for the education of all his organs, and especially for the acquisition of speech, although very energetic and active during the first years of life, is rapidly enfeebled by the progress of age, insulation, and all the other causes which tend to ‘leaden the nervous sensibility. From m hence it results that the articulation of sounds, which is beyond contradiction of all the effects of imitation, the most inconceivable and advantageous result, cannot fail to experience innumerable obstacles at an age which has not advanced beyond the period of infancy. We may likewise remark, that there exists equally with tk£ savage the most insulated, as with the citizen raised to the highest point of civilization, a uniform proportion between their ideas and their wants; that their continually increasing multiplicity, in a state of polished society, ought to be regarded as one of the grand instruments for producing the development of the human mind; so that we may be allowed to lay it down as a general proposition, that all the causes, whether accidental, local, or political, which tend to augment or diminish the number of our wants, contribute of necessity to extend or to contract the sphere of our knowledge, and the empire of the sciences, of the fine arts, and of social industry. The last observation that we shall make on the present subject is, that in the actual state of our physiological knowledge, the progress of teaching may, and ought to be aided by the lights of modern medicine, which of all the natural sciences can co-operate the most effectually towards the amelioration of the human species, by appreciating the organic anti-intellectual peculiarities of each individual; and by that means determining what education is likely to do for him, an( l vv ^ la t society may expect from his future character.

There still remain some considerations of no trifling importance, which I had intended to have annexed to those that have been already stated; but the illustrations which they would have required would have trespassed the limits, and been inconsistent with the design of this little work. I moreover perceived, in comparing my own observations with the doctrines of some of our metaphysicians, that I dissented from them on certain interesting points. I ought of course to wait for a greater number of tacts, from which I may be able to draw a more certain anti-secure conclusion. A motive very similar to the preceding has prevented me, when speaking of all the developments of young Victor s constitution, from dwelling upon the period of his puberty, which has shown itself, for some decades past, in a most timing and unequivocal manner; and the first appearances of which cast considerable suspicion on the origin of certain affections of the heart, which w r e regard as very natural. I ought not, at this stage of my investigation, to be precipitate in judging and in drawing conclusions. I am deeply impressed with the persuasion, that until. they are matured by time, and confirmed by farther observations, that we ought to refrain from publishing, or even entertaining speculations, which may have a tendency to destroy prejudices in themselves perhaps respectable, and which, beyond all doubt, constitute the most amiable, as well asthe most consoling illusions of social life.

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Topic: About the upbringing of the barbarians or the first physical and moral development of the barbarians of Aveyron.Author: Jean ItardDate: 3 April 2007 [EBook #20966]English

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