Great Economists Since Petty and Boisguilbert
Edited by Gilbert Faccarello and Heinz D. Kurz
Education, Surgery and Medicine François Quesnay and Physiocracy François Quesnay was born into a family of well-to-do ploughmen in the little parish of Méré (near Versailles) on 4 June 1694. The story goes that he only began reading and writing at the age of 11 but that he then went on to study Latin and Greek by himself. What is sure is that after his father’s death in 1707 he became the pupil of a surgeon named Jean de la Vigne. With a view to finding a more lucrative profession, Quesnay started an apprenticeship (1711–16) with the engraver Pierre de Rochefort in Paris. He also registered for courses at the Faculty of Medicine and the famous College of Surgery of Saint-Côme. He abandoned engraving and received his letters as a Master in Surgery on 9 August 1718. He had married Jeanne-Catherine Dauphin, the daughter of a minor craftsman from Paris, on 30 January 1717 and they settled down in the city of Mantes to the west of Paris where Quesnay set up as a surgeon. His skill enabled him to become a respected practitioner and he was involved in the controversy on blood-letting with the physician Jean-Baptiste Silva. In 1734 Quesnay became personal surgeon to the Duke of Villeroy and left Mantes for Paris. While under the patronage of Villeroy, Quesnay was also being looked after by François Gigot de La Peyronie, first surgeon to the King, who introduced Quesnay into the Surgeon’s College...
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