Untitled: Excerpt of Sir Joseph Banks’ MS Journal

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As a scientific explorer for King George III, Joseph Banks’ account of the volcano represents how information was recorded during expeditions of volcanoes. This excerpt from Banks’ journal shows how descriptive he is of the mountain. Banks speaks of what materials form the crater; however, unlike modern scientific accounts, the excerpt contains little measurements or precise data. Instead, Joseph Banks focuses on the emotions invoked by the volcano; he writes that “The scene of desolation all around is almost inconceivable.” His focus on the sublime suggests that scientific accounts of volcanoes remained concerned with awe-inspiring depictions, and that science in general was still fascinated by the might and immensity of an often mysterious nature.