58. Here d’Alembert refers to the various royal societies of sciences, literature, the arts, and professions that existed in several of the monarchies of western and central Europe. He was a member of several of them himself, and aspired to belong to others, particularly the most coveted of all, the Académie Française, which he entered in 1754. Ultimately he became its perpetual secretary. In the Encyclopedia, appropriately, he wrote the series of articles having to do with the academies of France and all Europe. Intrigue and unfairness did indeed darken the histories of some of these honorary associations, but for the most part they were great instruments of progress in the sciences and the arts.


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