François Quesnay, the French founder of the physiocratic school of political economy, was born in 1694 in Méré, Seine-et-Oise, the son of an agricultural labourer. Unable to read until he was eleven, and orphaned at thirteen, he was largely self-taught. Sometimes he would leave home at dawn and walk the thirty miles to Paris to buy a book, reading it on the way back. By the age of sixteen he had read Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, and Montaigne. He was apprenticed to a Parisian engraver in 1711, then turned to medicine while studying botany and physics in the village where he lived, registering with a college of surgeons to become a master surgeon in Paris in 1718, practising at Mantes. A royal surgeon in 1723, in 1730 he published his <…
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Crehan, Stewart. "François, Marquis de Quesnay". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 15 November 2004
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