Pierre Simon Laplace...on the store of higher knowledge
Astronomy, considered in its entirety , is the finest monument of the human mind, the noblest essay of its intelligence. Seduced by the illusions of the senses and of self-pride, for a long time man considered himself as the center of the movement of the stars. His vainglory has been punished by the terrors which its own ideas have inspired. At last the efforts of several centuries brushed aside the veil which concealed the system of the world. We discover ourselves upon a planet, itself almost imperceptible in the vast extent of the solar system, which in its turn is only an insensible point in the immensity of space. The sublime results to which this discovery has led should console us for our extreme littleness, and the rank which it assigns to the earth. Let us treasure with solicitude, let us add to as we may, this store of higher knowledge, the most exquisite treasure of thinking beings.
-Exposition du Systeme du Monde, 1796