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The chateau de Baugy

While Alexis de Tocqueville was working hard to make a name for himself on the political scene, his brother Édouard, after a failed military career and his marriage to Alexandrine Ollivier, put his efforts into his family life. The young couple decided to move into the estate of Baugy, one of the many properties belonging to the Ollivier family. It consisted of a recently-built house and a large park that featured a number of small bodies of water and many outbuildings. It no doubt lacked a bit of character, in comparison with the ancestral homes of the Tocquevilles, but it gave Edouard and Alexandrine and their five children, who were all born at Baugy in the 1830s, all of the comfort of a sedentary existence organized around the life of the family.

« It's a charming thing to see that 'happiness' is born of honesty and order. Throughout this house there is an atmosphere of reason and morality, which bit by bit enters into you. Everywhere there is comfort, but luxury is nowhere to be found; everything runs smoothly, as if by itself, and without the hand of the master ever being perceptible. »
(Letter to Gustave de Beaumont,
January 12, 1835)

An 1846 list of domestics employed to look after the estate and its inhabitants is testimony enough of the very great comfort enjoyed by "Les Edouards", the nickname given by Alexis de Tocqueville to his brother's family. Before his marriage in 1835, Tocqueville wanted to move to Baugy, as he appreciated the bucolic charm and great peace that it afforded. He returned there, in the company of his wife, in 1835, 1836 and 1838 to find the ideal conditions in which to work on the second volume of Democracy in America. After this, however, he had to renounce his long stays at Baugy because Marie Mottley, who did not get along with her in-laws, enjoyed these visits much less than her husband. Edouard, for the rest of his life, remained attached to his family duties, his economical nature, and the role of important person in the arrondissement of Compiègne. An avid botanist, like most members of his family, he presided at the founding of Compiègne's Agricultural Society on August 30, 1834, and published several brochures on agricultural economics. The park of the chateau de Baugy, with its complex system of still-water canals and its large chestnut trees, still bears the trace today of the careful attention that its owner brought to it for a majority of the 19th century.

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Chateau de Baugy

Chateau de Baugy
© AD de l'Oise

Archives

1846 census of the inhabitants of Baugy

1846 census of the inhabitants of Baugy
© AD de l'Oise

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