“Some thirty or forty years ago, in France, Auguste Comte – a pupil of the Ecole Polytechnique, who had remained for years at the establishment as a repetiteur of Transcendent Analysis and Rationalistic Mechanics – awoke one fine morning with the very irrational idea of becoming a prophet.
In America, prophets can be met with at every street corner; in Europe, they are as rare as black swans. But France is the land of novelties. Auguste Comte became a prophet; and so infectious is fashion, sometimes, that even in sober England he was considered, for a certain time, the Newton of the nineteenth century.
The epidemic extended, and for the time being, it spread like wildfire over Germany, England, and America. It found adepts in France, but the excitement did not last long with these. The prophet needed money: the disciples were unwilling to furnish it.
The fever of admiration for a religion without a God cooled off as quickly as it had come on; of all the enthusiastic apostles of the prophet, there remained but one worthy of any attention.
It was the famous philologist Littre, a member of the French Institute, and a would-be member of the Imperial Academy of Sciences, but whom the archbishop of Orleans maliciously prevented from becoming one of the “Immortals.””
H. P. Blavatsky