„I cannot say whether I will still be doing geometry ten years from now. It also seems to me that the mine has maybe already become too deep and unless one finds new veins it might have to be abandoned. Physics and chemistry now offer a much more glowing richness and much easier exploitation. Also, the general taste has turned entirely in this direction, and it is not impossible that the place of Geometry in the Academies will someday become what the role of the Chairs of Arabic at the universities is now.“
Letter to d'Alembert (1781) cited in R. Laubenbacher, D. Pengelly: Mathematical Expeditions: Chronicles by the Explorers (1999) Springer, pp. 233–234.