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The Dinner Of The Elect

"It appears as but yesterday, and yet, nevertheless, it was at the
beginning of the year 1788. We were dining with one of the brethren at
the Academy--a man of considerable wealth and genius. The conversation
became serious; much admiration was expressed on the revolution of
thought which Voltaire had effected, and it was agreed that it was his
first claim to the reputation he enjoyed. We concluded that the
revolution must soon be consummated; that it was indispensable that
superstition and fanaticism should give way to philosophy, and we began
to calculate the probability of the period when this should be, and
which of the present company should live to see it. The oldest
complained that they could hardly flatter themselves with the hope; the
younger rejoiced that they might entertain this very probable
expectation; and they congratulated the Academy especially for having
prepared this great work, and for having been the rallying point, the
centre, and the prime mover of the liberty of thought.

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