Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 8.djvu/425

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NATURAL HISTORY OF THE KANGAROO.

the Accademia del Cimento at Florence, under the presidency of Prince Leopold dei Medici. This Academy promised great things for science. It was open to all talent. Its only fundamental law was "the repudiation of any favorite system or sect of philosophy, and the obligation to investigate Nature by the pure light of experiment,"

The new Academy entered into scientific investigations with energy. Borelli in mathematics, Redi in natural history, and many others, pushed on the boundaries of knowledge. Heat, light, magnetism, electricity, projectiles, digestion, the incompressibility of water, were studied by the right method and with results that enriched the world.

The Academy was a fortress of science, and siege was soon laid to it. The votaries of scholastic learning denounced it as irreligious. Quarrels were fomented. Leopold was bribed with a cardinal's hat and drawn away to Rome; and, after ten years of beleaguering, the fortress fell: Borelli was left a beggar; Oliva killed himself in despair.[1]

From the dismissal of the scientific professors from the University of Salamanca by Ferdinand VII. of Spain, in the beginning of this century, down to sundry dealings with scientific men in our own land and time, we see the same war continued.

Joseph de Maistre, uttering his hatred of physical sciences, declaring that man has paid too dearly for them, asserting that they must be subjected to theology, likening them to fire—good when confined but fearful when scattered about this brilliant thinker has been the centre of a great opposing camp in our own time—an army of good men who cannot relinquish the idea that the Bible is a text-book of science.

[To be continued.]

 
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NATURAL HISTORY OF THE KANGAROO.
By ST. GEORGE MIVART, F. R. S.

THE kangaroos have now become familiar objects to all who visit our Zoölogical Gardens, or who are familiar with any considerable zoölogical museum.

Their general external form, when seen in the attitude they habitually assume when grazing (with their front limbs touching the ground),

  1. Napier, "Florentine History," vol. v., p. 485. Tiraboschi, "Storia della Literatura." Henri Martin, "Histoire de France." Jevons, "Principles of Science," vol. ii., pp. 36-40. Libri, in his "Essai sur Galilée," p. 37, says that Oliva was summoned to Rome and so tortured by the Inquisition that, to escape further cruelty, he ended his life by throwing himself from a window. For closing, by church authority, of the Academy, "I Secreti," instituted for scientific investigation at an earlier period, see reference to Porta in this article. On Porta, see Sprengel, "Histoire de la Médecine," vol. iii., p 239.