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Gustave de Beaumont - French Aristocracy

france bourbon tocqueville king

Gustave de Beaumont was born in France in 1802, a few months after the dictatorship of Napoleon Bonaparte (1769–1821) began. The youngest son of Jules de Beaumont and Rose Preau de la Baraudiere, Gustave and his three siblings grew up comfortably on the farm of Chateau de la Borde. The countryside they called home was near the town of Beaumont-la-Chartre, where their father served as mayor. The town was located in the province of Sarthe, a rural and politically volatile region of France.

The aristocratic (wealthy upper class) Beaumont family had a long tradition of loyalty to the king. When the dictatorship of Napoleon ended in 1814, the Bourbon dynasty returned to the monarchy of France under the reign of King Louis XVIII (1755–1824). Young Gustave completed his schooling and went on to study law. When he reached the age of eligibility, he was appointed as an apprentice magistrate (local judge) in the courts because of his family's loyalty.

About this time, Gustave met another young magistrate who was to become a lifelong friend. Three years his junior, Alexis de Tocqueville was as idealistic and ambitious as Beaumont. Together the young nobles plunged into an intense course of studies including English, philosophy, history, and politics.

Charles X (1757–1836) ascended the throne in 1824 and a crisis began brewing in France. The storm broke on July 25, 1830, in the form of the French Revolution. The Bourbon dynasty was once again in exile and Charles X, who was the last Bourbon king of France, left for England three days later. Louis Philippe ascended the throne as the head of the House of Orleans. He was from the line of kings who had originally taken the monarchy from the Bourbons. Public loyalties were immediately divided.

Beaumont was in Paris at the time of the Revolution and survived the battle as well as the ensuing politics. He and Tocqueville retained their jobs as magistrates but both men found themselves in a dilemma. Like most nobility they were caught between the requirements of the new monarchy and loyalty to the Bourbon dynasty and family traditions.

A lithograph of Alexis de Tocqueville, friend and associate of Gustave de Beaumont. French government officials, Beaumont and Tocqueville went to America to conduct research on the prison system as a way of escaping the turmoil of the French Revolution as well as study the new democratic government and culture of the United States. (The Library of Congress)

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almost 7 years ago

I found this article very interesting, but did not completely answer my question or give me direction. I am looking for a king of france (of the Bourbon era) who had 2 sons. One of the son's was exiled (or left on his own) due to falling in love with a commoner, and settled in French Canada. I am trying to find out who this king and/or the son is. Do you have any info that would give me that info? Or could you connect me with a course who could?