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His family

His brothers: Édouard

Edouard de Tocqueville as a young man

Edouard de Tocqueville as a young man
© AD Manche/A. Poirier

Edouard was clearly the brother to whom Alexis felt the closest. He was only five years older and though he had, like Hippolyte, embarked on a military career at the beginning of the Restoration, he was obliged to resign in 1822 due to poor health, a condition he shared with Alexis. He overcame this setback by a successful bourgeois marriage to Alexandrine Ollivier, whom he married in June 1829. She was none other than the daughter of "baron" Ollivier, the governor the Banque de France, who was also a deputy and then a peer under the Restoration. This marriage brought him an immense fortune and made him the overseer of an enormous agricultural domain in the Oise: the domaine de Baugy. Edouard willingly threw himself into dealing with questions of agronomy and horticulture.

« His five children, eight grandchildren, a wife in the saddest of conditions, fish, leeches, and good works fill his life so completely that it would in a sense be stealing his soul to take him away from his home. »
(Letter to Gustave de Beaumont, December 24, 1858)

But what brought Edouard and Alexis together was a sort of intellectual complicity, which ended only at the establishment of the Second Empire, when Edouard decided - against the advice of his brother, who was determined to leave political life - to stand for office in the Legislature.

Family portrait (detail of Edouard and his mother)

Family portrait; Anonymous, private collection
© AD Manche/A. Poirier

Photographic portrait of Edouard de Tocqueville

Photographic portrait of Edouard de Tocqueville
© AD Manche/A. Poirier

The conflict erupted violently, and Alexis de Tocqueville condemned and rejected his elder brother's actions in no uncertain terms. Nevertheless, the ultimate defeat of Edouard's candidacy quickly smoothed things over.

« Nothing-not the destruction of liberty or my renunciation of public life or my country's debasement or my friends' exile or self-imposed banishment-has ever caused me as much bitterness as this profound disagreement between us. »
(Letter to Edouard, Feburary 14, 1852, Tocqueville Archives)

Of the three brothers, Edouard was thus the only one to have not managed to hold public office, but he was also the only one to have founded a family, on which he lavished great attention. Alexis sometimes spoke ironically of the large role that family matters played in the life of his brother, even though he willingly considered this family as his own. Of his five nieces and nephews, he felt particularly close to the eldest, Hubert, who was also his godson, and to whom he enjoyed giving profuse "paternal" advice to help him select a career and a wife. Alexis seems to have considered Hubert his spiritual heir, and saw him as the one who would carry on the family tradition.

Archives

Admission to the Maison Militaire du Roi

Admission to the Maison Militaire du Roi, 1816
© Archives de l'armée de terre

Note from the First Bureau concerning the state of Edouard de Tocqueville's health

Note from the First Bureau concerning the state of Edouard de Tocqueville's health, 1821
© Archives de l'armée de terre

Certificate given to Edouard de Tocqueville after his visit to the hospital

Certificate given to Edouard de Tocqueville after his visit to the hospital
© Archives de l'armée de terre

Report to the minister concerning Edouard de Tocqueville

Report to the minister concerning Edouard de Tocqueville
© Archives de l'armée de terre

Resignation from the office of Regent of the Banque de France

Resignation of M. Ollivier from the office of Regent of the Banque de France, 1827
© Banque de France

Resignation of Ollivier d'Augustin-Charles-Alexandre

Resignation of Ollivier d'Augustin-Charles-Alexandre, 1827
© Banque de France

Marriage contract between Louis Edouard de Tocqueville and Alexandrine Denise Ollivier

Marriage contract between Louis Edouard de Tocqueville and Alexandrine Denise Ollivier
© CHAN

Death certificate from Louis Édouard de Tocqueville

Death certificate from Louis Édouard de Tocqueville, private collection
© AD Manche / Poirier

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