"The Tartars had been confined to Asia, and the Turks were ceasing to be a menace. Comets had been humbled by Halley, and as for earthquakes, though they were still formidable, they were so interesting that men of science could hardly regret them. Western Europeans were growing rapidly richer, and were becoming lords of all the world: they had conquered North and South America, they were powerful in Africa and India, respected in China and feared in Japan. When to all this were added the triumphs of science, it is no wonder that the Europeans of the 17th century felt themselves to be fine fellows, not the miserable sinners that they still proclaimed themselves on Sundays." -- Bertrand Russell "History of Western Philosophy"