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The Abbé Lesueur
« It was on his lap that we learned to distinguish good from evil. It was he who began our primary schooling, the education that influences one's entire life and that made us, if not distinguished men, then at least gentlemen. »
(Letter to his cousin Eugénie de Grancey, October 10, 1831)

The life of Abbé Louis Lesueur, which began on November 1, 1751 at Ansauvillers in the Oise, is inntimately connected with the history of the Clérel de Tocqueville family, of which he was entirely a member. In effect, before being the tutor to Alexis and his brothers, he had already been responsible for the education of their father Hervé, who had been orphaned. It was also Hervé who saved the Abbé from the danger he faced in 1792 by being a nonjuring priest, taking him into his Paris home, and then sending him into hiding in Picardy. This episode confirmed the mutual trust that existed between the two men, and brought the Abbé into the inner circle of the Tocqueville family, where he successively looked after the education of Hippolyte, Edouard, and Alexis, of whom he was particularly fond. From him Alexis learned reading and writing, Latin, and the classics. Obviously, the Abbé also looked after his religious instruction, which, given the priest's convictions and his austere piety, was somewhat Jansenist in nature. Although he achieved rather mixed results in terms of spelling, everything seems to indicate that the Abbé influence with regards to Alexis's development and generally open mind was decisive, and that the complicity between the master - whom Alexis affectionately called "Bébé" - and his pupil lasted well after the age of childhood lessons.
Abbé Lesueur died on June 30, 1831 at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, while still under the roof of Hervé de Tocqueville, who was the principal signatory of his death certificate. The news of his death reached Alexis in the midst of his travels in the United States, and it seems to have left him inconsolable for quite some time, as seen from the painfully sad letters he sent to his family concerning this "second father" that he had lost, and how he regretted not being at his bedside.  play sound extractlire l'extrait sonore  

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Birth certificate of the Abbé Lesueur

Birth certificate of the Abbé Lesueur
© AD Oise

Death certificate for the Abbé Lesueur dated June 30, 1831

Death certificate for the Abbé Lesueur dated June 30, 1831
© AD Yvelines

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