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The Daily Volcano Quote: a state of stupid security 6 April 2009

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While we are all sufficiently affected by changes in the moral and political world — by the fall of empires and the rise of republics — by the terrors of wars abroad, and of peace establishments and reform meetings at home, — we survey, with unaccountable indifference, the operations which are perpetually going on in the natural world; the various wonders which are constantly presented to us, both on the surface and in the interior of the earth; the majesty of mountains, and the stupendous depth of the lakes and valleys they enclose; the boundless expanse of the ocean, or the sublimer horrors of volcanic explosion, with all the awful phenomena which accompany it. Even in those parts of the world which are most exposed to those tremendous visitations — where, in the short space of one night, a country rich in fertility and cultivation, may be overwhelmed by torrents of liquid fire — cities the most splendid and populous be buried beneath stones and ashes, or ingulphed in the bosom of the earth, — the inhabitants live in a state of stupid security, regardless of the wonders which surround them, and unmoved even by the dangers which, sooner or later, may be fatal to them.

The Edinburgh Review, vol. LXIV (October 1819), p. 430. Anonymous review of Edward Daniel Clarke, The Gas Blow-pipe; or Art of Fusion, by burning the Gaseous Constituents of Water (London, 1819).

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