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

ust 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.