During the eighteenth century a remarkable change swept over Europe. The dominant spirit of the time ceased
to be artistic as in the Renaissance, or religious as in the Reformation, or military as during the savage civil
wars that had followed. The central figure of the world was no longer a king, nor a priest, nor a general.
Instead, the man on whom all eyes were fixed, who towered above his fellows, was a mere author, possessed
of no claim to notice but his pen. This was the age of the arisen intellect.
The rule of Louis XIV, both in its splendor and its wastefulness,...