Quesnay, Francis

, a celebrated French physician, was born at Merey, near Mont fort- Lamaury, a small town of the isle of France, in the year 1694. He was the son of a labourer, and worked in the fields till he was sixteen years of age; though he afterwards became first physician in ordinary to the king of France, a member of the Academy of Sciences at Paris, and of the Royal Society of London. He did not even learn to read till the period above-mentioned, when one of the books in which he first delighted was the “Maison Rustique.” The surgeon of the village gave him a slight knowledge of Greek and Latin, with some of the first principles of his art after which he repaired to the capital, where he completed his knowledge of it. Having obtained the requisite qualifications, he first practised his profession at Mantes but M. de la Peyronie, having discovered his talents, and thinking them lost in a small town, invited him to Paris, to be secretary to an academy of surgery, which he was desirous to establish. To the first collection of memoirs published by this society Quesnay prefixed a preface, which is considered as one of the compietest performances of the kind. The gout at length disqualified him for the practice of surgery, and he applied himself to medicine, wherein he became no less | eminent. Towards the latter end of life his early taste for agricultural studies revived, and he became a leading man in the sect of ceconomists, who afterwards made so bad a use of their influence, by circulating democratical principles. Quesnay had many good qualities, among which were humanity and charity, with a strong mind and philosophical equality of temper, under the pains of the gout. He lived to the age of eighty, and in his very last years involved himself so deeply in mathematical studies that he fancied he had discovered at once the two great problems, of the trisection of an angle, and the quadrature of the circle. He died in December 1774. Louis XV. was much attached to Quesnay, called him” son penseur,“his thinker; and, in allusion to that name, gave him three pansies, or” pensees," for his arms.

His first essay on blood-letting was published in 1730, under the title of “Observations sur les Effets de la Saignee, avec des Remarques critiques sur la Traité de Silva” and a second edition, considerably enlarged, was printed in 1750. He had published another work, entitled “L’Art de Guerir par la Saigne*e,Paris, 1736, in which he recommends blood-letting in many diseases. In the same year appeared his “Essai Physique sur i’Economie Animale,” in two volumes 12mo, reprinted in 1747, in three volumes. This work, however, was deemed very imperfect by Haller, and is in fact characterized by a love of hypothesis, rather than by the details of experience and observation. In 1743, his “Preface des Memoires de T Academic de Chirurgie,” already mentioned. In 1744 he published his “Recherches critiques et historiques sur TOrigine, sur les divers Etats, et sur les Progres, de la Chirurgie en France,” which called forth some replies oa the alleged inaccuracy of some of the historical statements. His other publications were entitled, “Testament de M. de la Peyronie du 18 Avril, 1747” Examen impartial des Contestations! des Medecins et des Chirurgiens de Paris,“1748, 12mo;” Memoire présenté au Roi par son premier Chirurgien, ou l‘on examine la Sagesse de l’Ancienne Legislation sur l’Etat de la Chirurgie en France,“4to” Traité de la Suppuration,“12mo and” Traité de la Gangrene,“12mo; all in the year 1749. And lastly, his” Traité des Fievres continues," 1753, in two volumes. 1

1

Eloy, —Dict. Hist. de Medicine. Rees’s Cyclopædia.

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