Jules Dumont D'Urville - Childhood

Childhood

Dumont was born at Condé-sur-Noireau. His father, Gabriel Charles François Dumont d’Urville and Bailiff of Condé-sur-Noireau (1728–1796) was, like his ancestors, responsible for the court of Condé. His mother Jeanne Françoise Victoire Julie (1754–1832) came from Croisilles, Calvados and was a rigid and formal woman coming from an ancient family of the rural nobility of Lower Normandy. He was weak and often sickly. After the death of his father when he was six, his mother’s brother, the Abbot of Croisilles, played the part of his father and from 1798 was in charge of his education. The Abbot taught him Latin, Greek, rhetoric and philosophy. From 1804 Dumont studied at the lycée Impérial in Caen. In Caen’s library he began to read the encyclopédists and the reports of travel of Bougainville, Cook and Anson, and he became deeply passionate about these matters. At the age of 17 years he failed the physical tests of the entrance exam to the École Polytechnique and he therefore decided to enlist in the navy.

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