From Tailor's Son to Enlightened Abbé

Alyssa Goldstein Sepinwall

in The Abbe Gregoire and the French Revolution

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2005 | ISBN: 9780520241800
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520931091 | DOI:
From Tailor's Son to Enlightened Abbé

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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This chapter begins its journey in Lorraine, four decades before the Revolution, where a child named Baptiste Henry was born to modest artisans named Bastien Grégoire and Marguerite Thiébaut. Aided by scholarships and endowed with unusual intelligence, young Henri exhausted every opportunity he received for schooling and soon asked his teachers to place him in a religious seminary. Henri, however, was not only an aspiring cleric but also an ambitious provincial intellectual. Even while training in the church, Henri Grégoire vied for notoriety in the provincial academies and societies that were so important to late eighteenth-century intellectual life; an extrovert, his search for good conversation also led him to make myriad friends. Though previous biographies have overlooked this, he was to he particularly influenced by a quasi-Masonic group called the Société des Philantropes of Strasbourg.

Keywords: Lorraine; Baptiste Henry; Bastien Grégoire; Marguerite Thiébaut; seminary; church; Société des Philantropes; Strasbourg; Henri Grégoire

Chapter.  8493 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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