particular persons). It grew up insensibly into a custom for every
academician to repeat these elogiums at his reception; it was laid
down as a kind of law that the public should be indulged from time
to time the sullen satisfaction of yawning over these productions.
If the reason should afterwards be sought, why the greatest geniuses
who have been incorporated into that body have sometimes made the
worst speeches, I answer, that it is wholly owing to a strong
propension, the gentlemen in question had to shine, and to display a