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QUESNAY, François - BELLIAL DES VERTUS, le Sieur de (attrib.)

Essai sur l'administration des terres.

Paris: chez Jean-Thomas Hérissant, 1759 Stock Code: 118440
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Attributed to Quesnay

First edition of a work which has been attributed to Quesnay since it expresses many Physiocratic beliefs, in particular those relating to agriculture and its importance to the country's economy.

Scholarship, both past and present, remains divided on its authorship. Higgs refused to acknowledge the work to be Quesnay's (he lists it as by le Sieur de Bellial des Vertus), and an article by Pierre le Masne and Gabriel Sabbagh argues that the work was actually authored by Quesnay's disciple and collaborator, Charles Richard de Butré, and that Quesnay was himself influenced by the Essai prior to its publication. However, a number of other bibliographical works (Barbier, INED, WorldCat) have continued to cite Quesnay as the author, an opinion convincingly supported in recent years by the New School.

Essai sur l'administration des terres is bound together with a first edition of L'art de cultiver les peupliers d'Italie by Pelée de Saint-Maurice, published in Paris in 1762. This short treatise provides readers with advice on cultivating the poplar tree which was introduced in France in 1745 and quickly became the preferred tree for river and canal banks.

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2 works in 1 volume (see below), octavo (200 x 122 mm). Contemporary mottled calf, red morocco label to spine, compartments and raised bands elaborately decorated in gilt, marbled endpapers, edges red.


Engraved head- and tailpieces.


Bookplate and Bibliotheque d'Hauteville library ticket to front pastedown. With the contents page repositioned after the avertissement. Spine ends and corners bumped, extremities lightly rubbed, endpapers a little marked and browned with contents lightly foxed, a very good copy.


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