Popular Science Monthly/Volume 40/March 1892/New Chapters in the Warfare of Science: Astronomy I

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
Popular Science Monthly Volume 40 March 1892  (1892) 
New Chapters in the Warfare of Science: Astronomy I
By Andrew Dickson White
 

THE

 

POPULAR SCIENCE

 

MONTHLY.



MARCH, 1892.




NEW CHAPTERS IN THE WARFARE OF SCIENCE.

XV. ASTRONOMY.

By ANDREW DICKSON WHITE, LL. D., L. H. D.,

EX-PRESIDENT OF CORNELL UNIVERSITY.

PART I.

THE next great series of battles was fought regarding the relations of the earth to the heavenly bodies. In the early Church, astronomy^ like other branches of science, was very generally looked upon as futile, in view of the doctrine, so prominent in the New Testament, that the earth was in its last days. At best, the heavenly bodies were only objects of pious speculation. Some theologians, remembering the beautiful poetic vision of the morning stars singing together, revived an old theory that the heavenly lights have immortal souls. Tertullian's view of the solar system is seen in his theory that an eclipse of the sun was simply a sign of the wrath of God against unbelief. St. Augustine gave forth as final truth in sacred science a statement, based upon the Psalms, that "the heavens are like a curtain"; but his view of any scientific study is shown by his ejaculation, "What concern is it to me whether the heavens as a sphere inclose the earth in the middle of the world, or overhang it on either side?"

The prevailing view in the Church was based upon the declarations in Genesis that a solid vault — a "firmament" — was extended above the earth, and that the heavenly bodies were simply lights hung within it. This view plays a great part in the sacred theory established so firmly by the monk Cosmas in the sixth century. Having based his plan of the universe upon various texts in the Old and New Testaments, and having made it a vast oblong box, covered by the solid "firmament," he brings in an additional 578 THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY,

view from Scripture to account for the planetary movements, and develops at length the theory that the sun and planets are moved and the " windows of heaven " opened and shut by angels ap- pointed for that purpose.

How intensely real this way of looking at the universe was, we find in the writings of St. Isidore, the greatest leader of ortho- dox thought in the seventh century. He affirms that since the fall of man, and on account of it, the sun and moon shine with a feebler light ; but he proves from a text in Isaiah that when the world shall be fully redeemed these " great lights " will shine again in all their early splendor.* But despite these authorities and their theological finalities, the evolution of scientific thought continued, its main germ being the geocentric doctrine — the doc- trine that the earth is the center, and that the sun and planets revolve about it.

This doctrine was of the highest respectability : it had been developed at a very early period, and had been elaborated until it accounted well for the apparent movements of the heavenly bodies; its final name— " Ptolemaic theory "—carried weight; and, having thus come from antiquity into the Christian world, it was finally acquiesced in and universally held to agree with the letter and spirit of Scripture, f

Wrought into this foundation, and based upon it, there was developed in the middle ages, by means of Scriptural texts and theological reasonings, a new sacred system of astronomy, which became one of the great treasures of the universal Church— the last word of revelation.

Three great men mainly reared this structure. First was the unknown who gave to the world the treatises ascribed to Dio- nysius the Areopagite. It was unhesitatingly believed that these were the work of St. Paul's Athenian convert, and therefore vir- tually by St. Paul himself. Though now known to be spurious, they were then considered a treasure of inspiration, and an Em-

��* For Tevtullian's view of an eclipse of the sun, see the Ad Scapulam, cap. iu, m Migne. Patr. Lat, i, p. 701. For passage cited from Clement of Alexandria, see edition of T. Clark, Edinburgh, 1869, vol. ii, p. 868. For typical statements by St. Augustine, see De Genesi, ii, cap. ix, in Migne, Patr Lat., tome xxxiv, pp. 2Y0, 271. For St. Isidore, see the De Ordine Creaturarum, cap. v, in Migno, Patr. Lat., Ixxxiii, pp. 923-925 ; also, 1000, 1001. For Cosmas's view, see his Topographia Christiana in Montfau9on, Col. Nov. Patrum, ii, p. 150, and elsewhere as cited in my chapter on " Geography."

f As to the respectability of the geocentric theory, etc., see Crete's Plato, vol. m, p. 257; also Sir G. C. Lewis's Astronomy of the Ancients, chap, iii, sec. 1, for a very thought- ful statement of Plato's view, and differing from ancient statements. For plausible elabo- ration of it, and for supposed agreement of Scripture with it, see Fromundus, Anti-Aris- tarchus, Antwerp, 1631 ; also Melanchthon's Initia Doctrinae Physics. For an admirable statement of the theological view of the geocentric theory, antipodes, etc., see Eicl^en, GescUclite der St/stem der Miitelalterlichen Wcltanscliauung, pp. 618 et scq.

�� � NEW CHAPTERS IN THE WARFARE OF SCIENCE. 579

peror of the East sent them to an Emperor of the West as the most worthy of gifts. In the ninth century they were widely made known in western Europe, and became a fruitful source of thought, especially on the whole celestial hierarchy ; thus the old ideas of astronomy were vastly developed; and the heavenly hosts were classed and named in accordance with indications scat- tered through the sacred Scriptures.

The next of these three great theologians was Peter Lombard, professor at the University of Paris. About the middle of the twelfth century he gave forth his collection of "Sentences," or Statements by the Fathers, and this remained until the end of the middle ages the universal manual of theology. In it was espe- cially developed the theological view of man's relation to the uni- verse. The author tells the world : " Just as man is made for the sake of God — that is, that he may serve Him, — so the universe is made for the sake of man, — that is, that it may serve Jiim ; there- fore is man placed at the middle point of the universe, that he may both serve and be served.

The vast significance of this view, and its power in resisting any real astronomical science, we shall see, especially in the time of Galileo.

The great triad of thinkers culminated in St. Thomas Aquinas, the sainted theologian, the glory of the mediaeval Church, the " Angelic Doctor," the most marvelous intellect between Aristotle and Newton ; he to whom it was believed that an image of the Crucified had spoken words praising his writings. Large of mind, strong, acute, yet just — even more than just — to his opponents, he gave forth, in the latter half of the thirteenth century, his Cyclopaedia of Theology, the " Summa." In this he carried the sacred theory of the universe to its full development. With great power and clearness he brought the whole vast system, material and spiritual, into its relations to God and man.*

Such was the vast system developed by these three leaders of mediaeval thought ; and now came the man who wrought it yet more deeply into European belief, the poet divinely inspired who made the system part of the world's life. Under the touch of Dante the empyrean and the concentric heavens, paradise, purga- tory, and hell, were seen of all men ; the God Triune seated on his throne upon the circle of the heavens as real as the Pope seated

  • For the contribution of the pseudo-Dionysius to mediaeval cosmology see Dion., Areo-

pagita, De Cselcst. hierarch. vers. Joan. Scoti, in Migne, Patr. Lat., cxxii. For the contri- bution of Peter Lombard, see Pet. Lomb., Libr. Sent. II, i, 8 ; IV, i, 6, 7. For the citations from St. Thomas Aquinas, see the Summa, ed. Migne, especially Qusest. LXX, tome i, pp. 11V4-1184:; also Quaest. XLVII, Art. iii. For good general statement, see Milman, Latin Christianity, iv, 191 et seq ; and for relation of Cosmas to these theologians of western Europe, see Milman, as above, viii, 228, note.

�� � 58o THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

in tlie chair of St. Peter ; the seraphim, cherubim, and thrones, surrounding the Almighty, as real as the cardinals surrounding the Pope ; the three great orders of angels in heaven as real as the three great orders, bishops, priests, and deacons, on earth ; and the whole system of spheres each revolving within the one above it and all moving about the earth, subject to the primum mobile, as real as the feudal system of western Europe, subject to the emperor.*

Let us look into this vast creation— the highest achievement of theology — somewhat more closely.

Its first feature shows an evolution : the earth is no longer the flat plain inclosed by four walls and solidly vaulted above, as theologians of previous centuries had believed it, under the in- spiration of the monk Cosmas ; it is no longer a mere flat disk with sun, moon, and stars hung up to give it light, as the earlier cathedral sculptors had figured it ; it has become a globe at the center of the universe. Encompassing it are ten successive, transparent spheres, nine of them rotated by angels about the earth, and each carrying one of the heavenly bodies with it : that nearest the earth carrying the moon; the next. Mercury; the next, Venus ; the next, the sun ; the next three. Mars, Jupiter, and, Saturn. The tenth heaven, inclosing all these, was the em- pyrean This was immovable,— the boundary between creation and the great outer void; and here, in a light which no one can enter, the Triune God sat enthroned— the "music of the spheres rising to him as they move.

In attendance upon the Divine Majesty, thus enthroned are vast hosts of angels, and these are divided into three hierarchies, one serving in the empyrean, one in the heaven between the empyrean and the earth, and one on the earth. _

Each of these hierarchies is divided into three choirs or orders; the first, into the orders of Seraphim, Cherubim, and Thrones; and the main occupation of these is to chant inces- santly, to " continually cry " the divine praises.

The order of thrones conveys God's will to the second hie- rarchy—which serves in the movable heavens. This second hierarchy is also made up of three orders. The first of these, the

��* For the central sun, hierarchy of angels, and concentric circles, see Dante, Paradiso, canto xxYiii. For the words of St. Thomas Aquinas, showing to Virgil and mnte the great theologians of the middle ages, see canto x, and in Dean Plumptres trans- lation, vol. ii, pp. 66 et seg.; also Botta, Dante, pp. 350, 351. As to Dante s deep re- ligious feeling and belief in his own divine mission, see J. R. Lowell, Among my Books vol i p. 36. For a remarkable series of colored engravings showing Dante s whole 'cosmology, see La Materia della Divina Commcdia di Dante dichiarata in vi tavole da Michelangelo Caetani, published by the monks of Monte Casslno, to whose kindness the wfiter is indebted for bis copy.

�� � NEW CHAPTERS IN THE WARFARE OF SCIENCE. 581

order of Dominions, receives the divine commands ; the second, the order of Powers, moves the heavens, sun, moon, planets, and stars, opens and shuts the " windows of heaven," and brings to pass all other celestial phenomona ; the third, the order of Em- pire, guards the others.

The third and lowest hierarchy is also made up of three orders. First of these are the Principalities — the guardian spirits of nations and kingdoms : next come Archangels ; these protect religion, and bear the prayers of the saints to the foot of God's throne : finally, come Angels ; these care for earthly affairs in general — one being appointed to each mortal, and others taking charge of the qualities of plants, metals, stones, and the like. Throughout the whole system, from the great Triune God to the lowest group of angels, we see at work the mystic power attached to the triangle and sacred number three — the same which gave the triune idea to ancient Hindoo theology, which developed the triune deities in Egypt, and which transmitted this theological gift to the Christian world, especially through the Egyptian monk Athanasius.

Below the earth is hell. This is tenanted by the angels who rebelled under the lead of Lucifer^ prince of the seraphim — the former favorite of the Trinity ; but of these rebellious angels, some still rove among the planetary spheres, and give trouble to the good angels ; others pervade the atmosphere about the earth — carrying lightning, storm, drought, and hail. Others infest earth- ly society, tempting men to sin; but Peter Lombard and St. Thomas Aquinas take pains to show that the work of these devils is, after all, but to discipline man or to mete out deserved punish- ment.

All this vast scheme had been so knit into the Ptolemaic view and interwoven with it by the use of biblical texts and theological reasonings that the resultant system of the universe was consid- ered impregnable and final. To attack it was blasphemy.

This system stood for centuries. Great theological scientists in following ages, like Vincent de Beauvais and Cardinal d'Ailly, devoted themselves to showing not only that it was supported by Scripture, but that it supported Scripture. Thus was the geocen- tric theory imbedded in the beliefs and aspirations, in the hopes and fears, of Christendom down to the middle of the sixteenth century.*

  • For the earlier sacred cosmology of Cosmas, with citations from Montfati^on, see my

chapter on Geography. For the views of the mcdiasval theologians, see foregoing notes in this chapter. For the passages of Scripture on which the theological part of this structure was developed, see especially Romans viii, 38 ; Ephesians i, 21 ; Colossians i, 16, and ii, 15 ; and innumerable passages in the Old Testament. As to the music of the spheres, see Dean Plumptre's Dante, vol. ii, p. 4, note. For an admirable summing up of the mediaeval

�� � 582 THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY,

But, on the other hand, there had been planted, long before, the germs of the heliocentric theory. In the sixth century before our era, Pythagoras, and after him Philolaus, had suggested the movement of the earth and planets about a central fire ; and three centuries later, Aristarchus had restated the main truth with striking precision. Here comes in a proof that the antagonism between theological and scientific methods is not confined to Christianity; for this statement brought upon Aristarchus the charge of blasphemy, and drew after it a cloud of prejudice which hid the truth for six hundred years :— not until the fifth century of our era does it timidly appear in the thoughts of Martianus Capella : then it is again lost to sight for a thousand years, until in the fifteenth century, distorted and imperfect, it appears in the writings of Cardinal Nicholas de Cusa.

But in the shade cast by the vast system which had grown from the mind of the great theologians and from the heart of the great poet there had come to this truth neither bloom nor fruitage.

Quietly, however, the soil was receiving enrichment and the air warmth. The processes of mathematics were constantly im- proved, the heavenly bodies were steadily observed, and at length appeared, far off from the centers of thought, on the borders of Poland, a plain, simple-minded scholar, who first fairly uttered to the modern world the truth — now so commonplace, then so astounding, — that the sun and planets do not revolve about the earth, but that the earth and planets revolve about the sun ; and this man was Nicholas Copernicus.

Copernicus had been a professor at Rome, and even as early as 1500 had announced his doctrine there, but more in the way of a scientific curiosity or paradox, as it had been previously held by Cardinal de Cusa, than as the statement of a system repre- senting a great fact in nature. About thirty years later one of his disciples, Widmanstadt, had explained it to Clement VII; but it still remained a mere hypothesis, and soon, like so many others, disappeared from the public view. But to Coperni- cus, steadily studying the subject, it became more and more a reality, and as the truth grew within^himhe^see med to feel that

cosmology in its relation to thought in general, see Rydberg, Magic of the iliddle Ages, chapter i, whose admirable summary I have followed closely. For charts showmg the continuance of this general view down to the beginning of the sixteenth century, see the various editions of the Margarita Philosophica, especially that of Strasburg, 1508, astro- nomical part. For interesting statements regarding the trinities of gods in ancient Egypt, see Sharpe, History of Egypt. The present writer once heard a lecture in Cairo, from an eminent Scotch Doctor of Medicine, to account for the ancient Hindoo and Egyptian sacred threes and trinities. The lecturer's theory was that when Jehovah came down into the garden of Eden and walked with Adam in "the cool of the day," he explained his trmne character to Adam, and that from Adam it was spread abroad to the various ancient nations.

�� � NEW CHAPTERS IN THE WARFARE OF SCIENCE. 583

at Rome lie was uo longer safe. To announce his discovery there as a theory or a paradox might amuse the papal court, but to an- nounce it as a truth — as the truth — was a far different matter. He therefore returned to his little town in Poland.

To publish his thought as it had now developed was evidently dangerous even there, and for more than thirty years it lay slum- bering in the mind of Copernicus and of the friends to whom he had privately intrusted it.

At last he prepares his great work on the Revolutions of the Heavenly Bodies, and dedicates it to the Pope himself. He next seeks a place of publication : he dares not send it to Rome, for there are the rulers of the older Church ready to seize it ; he dares not send it to Wittenberg, for there are the leaders of Protestant- ism no less hostile; it is therefore intrusted to Osiander, at Nu- remberg.*

��* For germs of heliocentric theory planted long before, etc., see Sir G. C. Lewis ; and for a succinct statement of the claims of Pythagoras, Philolaus, Aristarchus, and Martianus Capella, see Hoefer, Ilistoire de I'Astronomie, 1873, p. 107 et seq. ; also, Heller, Geschichte der Physik, Stuttgart, 1882, vol. i, pp. 12, 13 ; also, pp. 99 et seq. For germs among thinkers of India, see Whewell, vol. i, p. 277 ; also, Whitney, Oriental and Linguistic Studies, New York, 1874; Essay on the Lunar Zodiac, p. 345. For the views of Vincent de Beauvais, see his Speculum Naturale, edition of 1480, lib. xvi, cap. 21. For Cardinal d'-\illy's view, see his Ymago Mundi, 1490, treatise De Concordia Astronomicae Veritatis cum Theologia.

For general statement of De Cusa's work, see Draper, Intellectual Development of Europe, p. 512. For skillful use of De Cusa's view in order to mitigate censure upon the Church for its treatment of Copernicus's discovery, see an article in the Catholic World for January, 1869. For a very exact statement, in a spirit of judicial fairness, see Whew- ell, History of the Inductive Sciences, p. 275 and pp. 379, 380. In the latter, Whewell cites the exact words of De Cusa in the De Docta Ignorantia, and sums up in these words : " This train of thought might be a preparation for the reception of the Copernican sys- tem ; but it is very different from the doctrine that the sun is the center of the planetary system." Whewell says; " De Cusa propounded the doctrine of the motion of the earth more as a paradox than a reality. We can not consider this as any distinct anticipation of a profound and consistent view of the truth." On De Cusa, see also Heller, vol. i, p. 216. For Aristotle's views, and their elaboration by St. Thomas Aquinas, see the De Coelo et Mundo, sec. xx, and elsewhere in the latter. It is curious to see how even such a biog- rapher as Archbishop Vaughan slurs over the angelic doctor's errors. See Vaughan's Life and Labors of St. Thomas of Aquin, pp. 459, 460.

Copernicus's Danger at Borne. — The Catholic World for January, 1869, cites a speech of the Archbishop of Mechlin, before the University of Louvain, to the effect that Coper- nicus defended his theory at Rome, in 1500, before two thousand scholars; also, that an- other professor taught the system in 1528, and was made apostolic notary by Clement Vin. All this, even if the doctrines taught were identical with those of Copernicus, as finally developed, which is simply not the case, avails nothing against the overwhelming testimony that Copernicus felt himself in danger — testimony which the after-history of the Copernican theory renders invincible. The very title of Fromundus's book, already cited, published within a few miles of the archbishop's own cathedral, and sanctioned expressly by the theological faculty of that same University of Louvain in 1630, utterly refutes the archbishop's idea that the Church was inclined to treat Copernicus kindly.

�� � 584 THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

But Osiander's courage fails liim : lie dares not launch tlie new thouglit boldly. He writes a groveling- preface, endeavoring to excuse Copernicus for his novel idea, and in this he inserts the apologetic lie that Copernicus propounds the doctrine of the earth's movement not as a fact, but as a hypothesis ; he declares that it is lawful for an astronomer to indulge his imagination, and that this is what Copernicus has done.

Thus was the greatest and most ennobling, perhaps, of scien- tific truths^ — a truth not less ennobling to religion than to science — forced in coming before the world to sneak and crawl.*

On the 24th of May, 1543, the newly printed book arrived at the house of Copernicus. It was put into his hands ; but he was on his death-bed. A few hours later he was beyond the reach of the conscientious men who would have blotted his reputation, and perhaps have destroyed his life.

Yet not wholly beyond their reach. Even death could not be trusted to shield him. There seems to have been fear of ven- geance upon his corpse, for on his tombstone was placed no record of his life-long labors, no mention of his great discovery ; but there was graven upon it simply a prayer : " I ask not the grace accorded to Paul ; not that given to Peter ; give me only the favor

The title is as follows : " Anti-Aiistarchus sive Orbis-TerrEe Immobilis in quo decretum S. Con'»re"-ationis S. R. E. Cardinalium I.qC.XVI adversus Pythagorico-Copernicanos editum defenditur, Antwerpias, MDCXXXI." L'Epinois, Galilee, Paris, 1867, lays stress, p. 14, on the broaching of the doctrine by De Cusa, in 1435, and by Widmanstadt in 1533, and their kind treatment by Eugenius IV and Clement VII, but this is absolutely worth- less in denying the papal policy afterward. Lange, Geschichte des Materialismus, vol. i, pp. 217, 218, while admitting that De Cusa and Widmanstadt sustained this theory, and received honors from their respective popes, shows that, when the Church gave it serious consideration, it was condemned. There is nothing in this view unreasonable. It would be a parallel case to that of Leo X, at first inclined toward Luther and others, in their " squabbles with the begging friars," and afterward forced to oppose them. That Coper- nicus felt the danger is evident, among other things, by the expression in the preface : " Statim me explodendiim cum tali opinione damitant." For dangers at Wittenberg, see Lange, Geschichte des Materialismus, vol. i, p. 217.

  • Osiander, in a letter to Copernicus, dated April 20, 1541, had endeavored to reconcile

him to such a procedure, and ends by saying, " Sic enim placidiores reddideris peripatheticos et theologos quos contradicturos nietuis." See Apologia Tychonis in Kepleri Opera Omnia, Frisch's edition, vol. i, p. 246. Kepler holds Osiander entirely responsible for this preface. Bertrand, in his Fondateurs de 1' Astronomic moderne, gives its text, and thinks it possible that Copernicus may have yielded " in pure condescension toward his disciple." But this idea is utterly at variance with expressions in Copernicus's own dedicatory letter to the Pope, which follows the preface. For a good summary of the argument, see Figtiier, Savants de la Renaissance, pp. 378, 379 ; see, also, citation from Gassendi's Life of Coper- nicus, in Flammarion, Vie de Copernic, p. 124. Mr. John Fiske, accurate as he usually is, in his Outlines of Cosmic Philosophy, appears to have followed Laplace, Delambre, and Petit into the error of supposing that Copernicus, and not Osiander, is responsible for the preface. For the latest proofs, sec Menzer's translation of Copernicus's work. Thorn, 1879, notes on pp. 3 and 4 of the appendix.

�� � Ni:W CHAPTERS IN THE WARFARE OF SCIENCE. 585

whicli Thou didst show to the thief on the cross." Not till thirty- years after did a friend dare write on his tombstone a memorial of his discovery.*

The preface of Osiander, pretending that the book of Coperni- cus suggested a hypothesis instead of announcing a truth, served its purpose well as regards the book itself. During nearly seventy years the Church authorities evidently thought it best not to stir the matter, and in some cases professors like Calganini were al- lowed to present the new view purely as a hypothesis. There were, indeed, mutterings from time to time on the theological side, but there was no great demonstration against the system until 1616. Then, when the Copernican doctrine was upheld by Galileo as a truth, and proved to be a truth by his telescope, the book was taken in hand by the Roman curia. The statements of Copernicus were condemned "until they should be corrected," and the corrections required were simply such as would substitute for his conclusions the old Ptolemaic theory.

That this was their purpose was seen in that year when Gali- leo was forbidden to teach or discuss the Copernican theory, and when were forbidden " all books which affirm the motion of the earth." Henceforth to read the work of Copernicus was to risk damnation, and the world accepted the decree, f

There was, indeed, in Europe one man who might have done much to check this current of unreason which was to sweep away so many thoughtful men on the one hand from scientific knowledge, and so many on the other from Christianity. This

  • See Figuier, Savants de la Renaissance, p. 380 ; also, Flammarion, Vie de Copernic,

p. 190,

f The authorities deciding this matter in accordance with the wishes of Pope Paul V and Cardinal Bcllarmine were the Congregation of the Index, or cardinals having char"-e of the Index Librorum Prohibitorum, Recent desperate attempts to fasten the responsibility on them as individuals seem ridiculous in view of the simple fact that their work was sanc- tioned by the highest Church authority, and required to be universally accepted by the Church. Eleven different editions of the Index in my own possession prove this. Nearly all of these declare on their title-pages that they are issued by order of the pontiff of the period, and each is prefaced by a special papal biill or letter. See especially the Index of 1664, issued under order of Alexander VII, and that of 1761, under Benedict XIV. Co- pernicus's statements were prohibited in the Index ^^ donee corrir/nnfur.' Kepler said that it ought to be worded ■donee explieeiur." See Bertrand, Fondateurs de I'Astronomie moderne, page 57. De Morgan, pages 57-60, gives the corrections required by the Index of 1620. Their main aim seems to be to reduce Copernicus to the groveling level of Osian- der, making of his discovery a mere hypothesis ; but occasionally they require a virtual giving up of the whole Copernican doctrine— e. g., "correction" insisted upon for chapter viii, p. 6. For a scholarly account of the relation of the Prohibitory and Expingatory In- dexes to each other, see Mendham, Literary Policy of the Church of Rome; also, Reusch, Index der verbotenen Bucher, Bonn, 1855, vol. ii, chaps, i and ii. For a brief but very careful statement, see Gebler, Galileo Galilei, English translation, London, 1879, chap, i; see, also, Addis and Arnold's Catholic Dictionary, article Galileo, p. 8.

�� � 586 THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.'

was Peter Apian. He was one of the great mathematical and astronomical scholars of the time. His brilliant ahilities had made him the astronomical teacher of the Emperor Charles V ; his work on geography had brought him a world-wide reputa- tion ; his work on astronomy brought him a patent of nobility ; his improvements in mathematical processes and astronomical instru- ments brought him the praise of Kepler and a place in the history of science : never had a true man a better opportunity to do a great deed. When Copernicus's work appeared, Apian was at the height of his reputation and power : a quiet, earnest plea from him, even if it had been only for ordinary fairness and a suspen- sion of judgment, must have carried much weight. His devoted pupil, Charles V, who sat on the thrones of Germany and Spain, must at least have given a hearing to such a plea. But, unfortu- nately, Apian was a professor in an institution of learning under the strictest Church control— the University of Ingolstadt. ^ His foremost duty was to teach safe science— to keep science within the line of scriptural truth as interpreted by theological pro- fessors. His great opportunity was lost. Apian continued to maunder over the Ptolemaic theory and astrology in his lecture- room. As to the attacks on the Copernican theory, he neither supported nor opposed them ; he was silent ; and the cause of his silence should never be forgotten so long as any church asserts its title to control university instruction.*

Doubtless, many will exclaim against the Koman Catholic Church for this; but the simple truth is that Protestantism was no less zealous against the new scientific doctrine. All branches of the Protestant Church— Lutheran, Calvinist, Angli- can—vied with each other in denouncing the Copernican doctrine as contrary to Scripture; and, at a later period, the Puritans showed the same tendency.

Said Martin Luther : " People gave ear to an upstart astrologer who strove to show that the earth revolves, not the heavens or the firmament, the sun and the moon. Whoever wishes to ap- pear clever must devise some new system, which of all systems is of course the very best. This fool wishes to reverse the entire science of astronomy ; but sacred Scripture tells us that Joshua commanded the sun to stand still and not the earth." Melanch- thon, mild as he was, was not behind Luther in condemnmg Copernicus. In his treatise on the Elements of Physics, pub- lished six years after Copernicus's death, he says : " The eyes are witnesses that the heavens revolve in the space of twenty-four

  • For Peter Apian, see Madler, Geschichte der Astrouomie, Braunschweig, 1873, vol. i,

p. 141. For evidences of the special favor of Charles V, see Delarabre, Histoire de I'Astrono- mie du Moyen Age, p. 390 ; also Briihns, in the AUgemeine deutsche Biographic. For an attempted apology for him, see Giinther, Peter and Philipp Apian, Prag, 1882, p. 62.

�� � NEW CHAPTERS IN THE WARFARE OF SCIENCE. 587

hours. But certain men, either from the love of novelty, or to make a display of ingenuity, have concluded that the earth moves ; and they maintain that neither the eighth sphere nor the sun revolves. . . . Now, it is a want of honesty and decency to assert such notions publicly, and the example is pernicious. It is the part of a good mind to accept the truth as revealed by God and to acquiesce in it." Melanchthon then cites passages from the Psalms and from Ecclesiastes, which he declares assert positively and clearly that the earth stands fast, and that the sun moves around it, and adds eight other proofs of his proposition that " the earth can be nowhere if not in the center of the uni- verse," So earnest does this mildest of the Reformers become, that he suggests severe measures to restrain such impious teach- ings as those of Copernicus.*

While Lutheranism was thus condemning the theory of the earth's movement, other branches of the Protestant Church did not remain behind. Calvin himself took the lead, in his Com- mentary on Genesis, by condemning all who asserted that the earth is not at the center of the universe. " Who," he said, " will venture to place the authority of Copernicus above that of the Holy Spirit ? " Turretin, Calvin's famous successor, even after Kepler and ISTewton had virtually completed the theory of Coper- nicus and Galileo, put forth his compendium of theology, in which he proved, from a multitude of scriptural texts, that the heavens, sun, and moon move about the earth, which stands still in the center. In England we see similar theological efforts, even after they had become evidently hopeless. Hutchison's Moses' Principia, Dr. Samuel Pikes's Sacred Philosophy, the writings of Bishop Home, Bishop Horsely, and President Forbes contain most earnest attacks upon the ideas of Newton ; such attacks being based upon Scripture. Dr. John Owen, so famous in the annals of Puritanism, declared the Copernican system a " delusive and arbitrary hypothesis, contrary to Scripture " ; and even John Wes- ley declared the new ideas to tend toward " infidelity." \

And Protestant peoples were not a whit behind Catholic in fol- lowing out such teachings. The people of Elbing made them-

��* See the Walsch edition of Luther's works, 1743, p. 2260; also the Tischreden; also Melanchthon's Initia DoctrinaB Physicae. This treatise is cited under a mistalccn title by the Catholic World, September, 1870. The correct title is as given above ; it will be found in the Corpus Reformatorum, ed. Bretschneider, Halle, 1846. (For the above passage see vol. xiii, pp. 216, 217; also, Madler, vol. 1, p. 176; also, Lange, Geschichte des Materialismus, vol. i, p. 217; also, Prowe, Ueber die Abhangigkeit des Copernicus, Thorn, 1865, p. 4 . also note, pp. 5, 6, where text is given in full.)

f On the Teachings of Protestantism as regards the Copernican theory, see citations in Canon Farrar's History of Interpretation, preface, xviii ; also, Rev. Dr. Shiekls, of Prince- ton, The Final Philosophy, pp. 60, 61.

�� � 588 THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

selves merry over a farce in wliicli Copernicus was the main ob- ject of ridicule. The people of Nuremberg, a Protestant strong- hold, caused a medal to be struck with inscriptions ridiculing the philosopher and his theory.

Why the people at large took this view is easily understood when we note the attitude of the guardians of learning, both Catholic and Protestant, in that age. It throws great light upon sundry claims by modern theologians to take charge of public in- struction and of the evolution of science. So important was it thought to have " sound learning " guarded, and " safe science " taught, that in many of the universities, as late as the end of the seventeenth century, professors were forced to take an oath not to hold the " Pythagorean " — that is, the Copernican idea — as to the movement of the heavenly bodies. As the contest went on, pro- fessors were forbidden to make known to students the facts re- vealed by the telescope. Special orders to this effect were issued by the ecclesiastical authorities to the universities and colleges of Pisa, Innspruck, Louvain, Douay, Salamanca, and others ; during generations we find the authorities of these universities boasting that these godless doctrines were kept away from their students. It is touching to hear such boasts made then, just as it is touching now to hear sundry excellent university authorities boast that they discourage the reading of Mill, Spencer, and Darwin. Nor were such attempts to keep the truth from students confined to the Roman Catholic institutions of learning. Strange as it may seem, nowhere were the facts confirming the Copernican theory more carefully kept out of sight than at Wittenberg ; the univer- sity of Luther and Melanchthon. About the middle of the six- teenth century there were at that center of Protestant instruction two astronomers of a very high order, Rheticus and Reinhold: both of these, after thorough study, had convinced themselves that the Copernican system was true, but neither of them was allowed to tell this truth to his students. Neither in his lecture announcements nor in his published works did Rheticus venture to make the new system known, and he at last gave up his pro- fessorship and left Wittenberg, that he might have freedom to seek and tell the truth. Reinhold was even more wretchedly humiliated. Convinced of the truth of the new theory, he was obliged to advocate the old ; if he mentioned the Copernican ideas, he was compelled to overlay them with the Ptolemaic. Even this was not thought safe enough, and in 1571 the subject was in- trusted to Peucer. He was eminently " sound," and denounced the Copernican theory in his lectures as " absurd and unfit to be introduced into the schools."

To clinch anti-scientific ideas more firmly into German Prot- estant teaching. Rector Hensel wrote a text-book for schools en-

�� � NEW CHAPTERS IN THE WARFARE OF SCIENCE. 589

titled " The Restored Mosaic System of the World/' whicli shoAved the Copernican astronomy to be unscriptural.

Doubtless this has a far-off sound ; yet its echo comes very near modern Protestantism in the expulsion of Dr. Woodrow by the Presbyterian authorities in South Carolina ; the expulsion of Prof. Winchell by the Methodist Episcopal authorities of Ten- nsesee ; the expulsion of Prof. Toy by the authorities of another Protestant sect in Kentucky ; the expulsion of the professors at Beyrout under authority of the American Board of Commis- sioners for Foreign Missions — all for holding the doctrines of modern science, and in the last years of the nineteenth century.

"When Protestants talk of the " bigotry " of the Roman Catho- lic Church, they will do well to remember that it is impossible to imagine such Catholic authorities as Cardinal Gibbons, Arch- bishops Ireland and Kenrick, and Bishops Keane and Spalding, sanctioning such suicidal folly as this. The Mother Church has learned something.*

But the new truth could not be concealed ; it could neither be laughed down nor frowned down. Many minds had received it, but within the hearing of the papacy only one tongue appears to have dared to utter it clearly. This new warrior was that strange mortal, Giordano Bruno, He was hunted from land to land, until at last he turned on his pursuers with fearful invectives. For this he was imprisoned during six years, then burned alive, and his ashes scattered to the winds, f Still, the new truth lived on. Ten years after the martydom of Bruno the truth of Coper- nicus's doctrine was established by the telescope of Galileo.

Herein was fulfilled one of the most touching of prophecies. Years before, the opponents of Copernicus had said to him, " If your doctrines were true, Venus would show phases like the moon." Copernicus answered : " You are right ; I know not what to say ; but God is good, and will in time find an answer to this objection." The God-given answer came when in ICll the rude telescope of Galileo showed the phases of Venus.|

  • For treatment of Copernican ideas by the people, see The Catholic World, as above ;

also, Melanchthon, uhi supra ; also, Prowe, Copernicus, Berlin, 1383, vol. i, p. 269, note ; also, pp. 279, 280; also Miidler, i, p. 167. For Rector Hensel, see Rev. Dr. Shield's Final Philosophy, p. 60. For details of recent Protestant efforts against evolution doctrines, see my chapter on The Fall of Man and Anthropology, in this series.

f For Bruno, see Bartholmcss, Vie de Jordano Bruno, Paris, 1S4G, vol. i, p. 121 and pp. 212 d scq.\ also Berti, Vita di Giordano Bruno, Firenze, 1868, chapter xvi ; also Whcwell, vol. i, pp. 272, 273. That Whewell is somewhat hasty in attributing Bruno's punishment entirely to the Spaccio della Bestia Trionfante will be evident, in spite of Montucla, to any one who reads the account of the persecution in Bartholmess or Berti ; and, even if Whewell be right, the Spaccio would never have been written but for Bruno's indignation at ecclesiastical oppression. See Tiraboschi, vol. vii, pp. 466 el seq.

X For the relation of these discoveries to Copernicus's work, see Delambre, Histoire de

�� � 590 THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

On this new champion, Galileo, the whole war was at last concentrated. His discoveries had clearly taken the Copernican theory out of the list of hypotheses, and had placed it hefore the world as a truth. Against him, then, the war was long and bit- ter. The supporters of what was called "sound learning" de- clared his discoveries deceptions and his announcements blas- phemy. Semi-scientific professors, endeavoring to curry favor with the Church, attacked him with sham science ; earnest preach- ers attacked him with perverted Scripture ; theologians, inquisi- tors, congregations of cardinals, and at last two popes dealt with him, and, as was supposed, silenced his impious doctrine forever.*

I shall present this warfare at some length because, so far as I can find, no careful summary of it has been given in our lan- guage, since the whole history was placed in a new light by the revelations of the trial documents in the Vatican Library, hon- estly published for the first time by M. L'Epinois, in 18G7, and since that by Gebler, Berti, Favaro, and others.

The first important attack on Galileo began in 1610, when he announced that his telescope had revealed the moons of the planet Jupiter. The enemy saw that this took the Copernican theory out of the realm of hypothesis, and they gave battle immediately. They denounced both his method and its results as absurd and impious. As to his method, professors bred in the " safe science " favored by the Church argued that the only way of studying the universe was by comparing texts of Scripture ; and, as to his re- sults, they insisted, first, that Aristotle knew nothing of these new revelations ; and, next, that the Bible showed by all applicable types that there could be only seven planets ; that this was proven by the seven golden candlesticks of the Apocalypse, by the seven- branched candlestick of the tabernacle, and by the seven churches of Asia ; that from Galileo's doctrine consequences must logically result destructive to Christian truth : bishops and priests therefore warned their flocks, and multitudes of the faithful besought the Inquisition to deal speedily and sharply with the heretic, f

��I'Astronomie Moderne, discours pr^liminaire, p. xiv ; also Laplace, Systeme du Monde, vol. i, p. 326 ; and for more -areful statements, Keplcri Opera Omni, edit. Frisch., tome ii, p. 464. For Copornieus's prophecy, see Cantu, Histoirc Universelle, vol. xv, p. 473 (Cantu is an eminent Eoman Catholic).

  • A very curious example of this sham science employed by theologians is seen in the

argument, frequently used at that time, that, if the earth really moved, a stone falling from a height would fall back of the point immediately below its point of starting. This is used by Fromundus with great effect. It appears never to have occurred to him to test the matter by dropping a stone from the topmast of a ship ; Benzenburg has experiment- ally demonstrated just such an aberration in falling bodies as is mathematically required by the diurnal motion of the earth. See Jevons, Principles of Science, pp. 388, 389, in one volume, second edition, 1877.

f See Delambre on the discovery of the satellites of Jupiter as the turning-point with

�� � NEW CHAPTERS IN THE WARFARE OF SCIENCE. 591

In vain did Galileo try to prove the existence of satellites by showing them to the doubters through his telescope : they either declared it impious to look, or, if they did look, denounced the satellites as illusions from the devil. Good Father Clavius de- clared that " to see satellites of Jupiter, men had to make an in- strument which would create them." In vain did Galileo try to save the great truths he had discovered by his letters to the Benedictine Castelli and the Grand Duchess Christine, in which he argued that literal biblical interpretation should not be applied to science ; it was answered that such an argument only made his heresy more detestable ; that he was " worse than Luther or Calvin."

The war on the Copernican theory, which up to that time had been carried on quietly, now flamed forth. It was declared that the doctrine was proved false by the standing still of the sun for Joshua, by the declarations that " the foundations of the earth are fixed so firm that they can not be moved," and that the sun " runneth about from one end of the heavens to the other." *

But the little telescope of Galileo still swept the heavens, and another revelation was announced — the mountains and valleys in the moon. This brought on another attack. It was declared that this, and the statement that the moon shines by light reflected from the sun, directly contradict the statement in Genesis that the moon is " a great light." To make the matter worse, a painter, placing the moon in a religious picture in its usual position be- neath the feet of the Blessed Virgin, outlined on its surface mount- ains and valleys ; this was' denounced as a sacrilege logically re- sulting from the astronomer's heresy.

Still another struggle was aroused when the hated telescope revealed spots upon the sun, and their motion indicating the sun's rotation. Monsignor Elci, head of the University of Pisa, forbade the astronomer Castelli to mention these spots to his stu- dents. Father Busaeus, at the University of Innspruck, forbade

��the heliocentric doctrine. As to its effects on Bacon, see Jevons, Principles of Science, p. 638, as above. For argument drawn from the candlestick and seven churches, sec De- lambre, p. 20.

  • For prmcipal points as given, see Libri, ITistoire des Sciences mathematiques en

Italic, vol. iv, p. 211 ; De Morgan, Paradoxes, p. 26, for account of Father Clavius. It is interesting to know that Clavius, in his last years, acknowledged that " the whole system of the heavens is broken down, and must be mended." Cantu, Histoire Universclle, vol. XV, p. 478. See Th. Martin, Galilee, pp. 34, 208, and 266 ; also Heller, Geschichte der Physik, Stuttgart, 1882, vol. i, p. 866. For the original documents, see L'Epinois, pp. 34 and 36. Martin's translation seems somewhat too free. See also, Gebler, Galileo Galilei, English translation, London, 1879, pp. 76-78; also Gebler, Acten des Galileischen Process, for careful copies of the documents ; also Reusch, Der Process Galilei's und die Jesuitcu, Bonn, 1879, chapters ix, x, xi. See also full official text in L'Epinois, and also the ex- tract given by Gebler, Galileo Galilei, p. 78.

�� � 592 THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

the astronomer Scheiner, who had also discovered the spots and proposed a safe explanation of them, to allow the new discovery to be known there. At the College of Douay and the University of Louvain this discovery was expressly placed under the ban, and this became the general rule among the Catholic universities and colleges of Europe. The Spanish universities were especially intolerant of this and similar ideas, and up to a recent period they were strictly forbidden in the most imx3ortant university of all — that of Salamanca.'*

Such are the consequences of placing the instruction of men's minds in the hands of those mainly absorbed in saving men's souls. Nothing could be more in accordance with the idea re- cently put forth by sundry ecclesiastics, Catholic and Protestant, that the Church alone is empowered to promulgate scientific truth or direct university instruction. But science gained the victory here also. Observations of the solar spots were reported not only from Galileo, in Italy, but from Fabricius, in Holland. Father Scheiner then endeavored to make the usual compromise between theology and science. He promulgated a pseudo-scientific theory, which only provoked derision.

The war became more and more bitter. The Dominican father, Caccini, preached a sermon from the text, " Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven?" and this wretched pun upon the great astronomer's name ushered in sharper weapons ; for, before Caccini ends, he insists that " geometry is of the devil," and that " mathematicians should be banished as the authors of all heresies." The church, authorities gave Caccini promotion.

Father Lorini proved that Galileo's doctrine was not only heretical but " atheistic," and besought the Inquisition to inter- vene. The Bishop of Fiesole screamed in rage against the Coper- nican system, publicly insulted Galileo, and denounced him to the grand duke. The Archbishop of Pisa secretly sought to entrap Galileo and deliver him to the Inquisition at Rome. The Arch- bishop of Florence solemnly condemned the new doctrines as un- scriptural ; and Paul V, while petting Galileo, and invitmg him as the greatest astronomer of the world to visit Rome, was secretly moving the Archbishop of Pisa to pick up evidence against the astronomer.

But by far the most terrible champion who appeared against the new astronomy was Cardinal Bellarmin, one of the greatest theologians the world has known. He was earnest, sincere, and learned, but insisted on making science conform to Scripture. The weapons which men of Bellarmin's stamp used were purely theological. They held up before the world the dreadful conse-

��* See Ticknor, History of Spanish Literature, vol. iii.

�� � NEW CHAPTERS IN THE WARFARE OF SCIENCE. 593

quences wMcli must result to Cliristian theology were the heav- enly bodies proved to revolve about the sun and not about the earth. Their most tremendous engine against Galileo was the statement that " his pretended discovery vitiates the whole Chris- tian plan of salvation." Father Lecazre declared that " it casts suspicion on the doctrine of the incarnation." Others declared that it " upsets the whole basis of theology ; that if the earth is a planet, and only one among several planets, it can not be that any such great things have been done specially for it as the Christian doctrine teaches. If there are other planets, since God makes nothing in vain, they must be inhabited ; but how can these in- habitants be descended from Adam ? How can they trace back their origin to Noah's ark ? How can they have been redeemed by the Saviour ? " Nor was this argument confined to the theolo- gians of the Roman Church ; Melanchthon, Protestant as he was, had already used it in his attacks on Copernicus and his school.

In addition to this prodigious theological engine of war there was kept up a fire of smaller artillery in the shape of texts and scriptural extracts.

But the war grew still more bitter, and some weapons used in it are worth examining. They are very easily examined, for they are to be found on all the battle-fields of science; but on that field they were used with more effect than on almost any othsr. These weapons are the epithets " infidel " and " atheist." The battle-fields of science are thickly strewn with these. They have been used against almost every man who has ever done anything new for his fellow-men. The list of those who have been de- nounced as " infidel " and " atheist" includes almost all great men of science, general scholars, inventors, and philanthropists. The purest Christian life, the noblest Christian character, have not availed to shield combatants. Christians like Isaac Newton, Pascal, Locke, Milton, and even Fenelon and Howard, have had this weapon hurled against them. Of all proofs of the existence of a God, those of Descartes have been wrought most thoroughly into the minds of modern men ; yet the Protestant theologians of Holland sought to bring him to torture and to death by the charge of atheism, and the Roman Catholic theologians of France prevented any due honors to him at his burial.*

These epithets can hardly be classed with civilized weapons. They are burning arrows; they set fire to masses of popular prejudice, always obscuring the real question, sometimes destroy-

  • For various objectors and objections to Galileo by his contemporaries, see Libri, His-

toire des Sciences mathematiques en Italic, vol. iv, pp. 233, 234 ; also Martin, Vie de Gali- lee. For Father Lecazrc's argument, see Flammarion, Mondes imajiinaires et r^els, 6i^me edition, pp. 315, 316. For Melanchthon's argument, see his Initia, in Opera, vol. iii, Halle, 1846.

VOL. XL. — 41

�� � 594 THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

ing the attacking party. They are poisoned weapons. They pierce the hearts of loving women ; they alienate dear children ; they injure man after life is ended, for they leave poisoned wounds in the hearts of those who loved him best — fears for his eternal salvation, dread of the divine wrath upon him. Of course, in these days these weapons, though often effective in vexing good men and in scaring good women, are somewhat blunted ; indeed, they not infrequently injure the assailants more than the assailed. So it was not in the days of Galileo ; they were then in all their sharpness and venom.* Yet worse even than these weapons was the attack by the Archbishop of Pisa.

This man, whose cathedral derives its most enduring fame from Galileo's deduction of a great natural law from the swing- ing lamp before its altar, was not an archbishop after the noble mold of Borromeo and F^nelon and Cheverus. He was, sadly enough for the Church and humanity, simply a zealot and in- triguer : he perfected the plan for entrapping the great astron- omer.

Galileo, after his discoveries had been denounced, had written to his friend Castelli and to the Grand Duchess Christine two letters to show that his discoveries might be reconciled to Script- ure. On a hint from the Inquisition at Rome, the archbishop sought to get hold of these letters and exhibit them as proofs that Galileo had uttered heretical views of theology and of Scripture, and thus to bring him into the clutch of the Inquisition. The archbishop begs Castelli, therefore, to let him see the original letter in the handwriting of Galileo. Castelli declines ; the arch- bishop then, while, as is now revealed, writing constantly and bitterly to the Inquisition against Galileo, professes to Castelli the greatest admiration of Galileo's genius and a sincere de- sire to know more of his discoveries. This not succeeding, the archbishop at last throws off the mask and resorts to open attack.

The whole struggle to crush Galileo and to save him would be amusing were it not so fraught with evil. There were intrigues and counter-intrigues, plots and counter-plots, lying and spying ; and, in the thickest of this seething, squabbling, screaming mass of priests, bishops, archbishops, and cardinals, strove two popes, Paul V and Urban VIII. It is most suggestive to see in this crisis of the Church, at the tomb of the prince of the apostles, on the eve of the greatest errors in church policy the world has known, in all the intrigues and deliberations of these consecrated

  • For curious exemplification of the way in which these weapons have been hurled, see

lists of persons charged with " infidelity " and " atheism," in Le Dictionnaire des Ath^es, Paris, An. viii ; also Lecky, History of Rationalism, vol. ii, p. 50. For the case of Des- cartes, see Saisset, Descartes et ses Precurseurs, pp. 103, 110.

�� � NEW CHAPTERS IN THE WARFARE OF SCIENCE. 595

leaders of the Cliurch, no more evidence of the guidance or pres- ence of the Holy Spirit than in a caucus of New York politicians at Tammany Hall.

But the opposing powers were too strong : in 1615 Galileo was summoned before the Inquisition at Rome, and the mine which had been so long preparing was sprung. Sundry theologians of the Inquisition having been ordered to examine two propositions which had been extracted from Galileo's letters on the solar spots, solemnly considered these points during about a month and ren- dered their unanimous decision as follows : " The first proposition, that the sun is the center and does not revolve about the earth, is foolish, absurd, false in theology, and heretical, because expressly contrary to Holy Scriptures " j and " the second j^roposition, that the earth is not the ceriter but revolves about the sun, is absurd, false in philosophy, and, from a theological point of vieiv at least, opposed to the true faith."

The Pope himself, Paul V, now intervened again : he ordered that Galileo be brought before the Inquisition. Then the greatest man of science in that age was brought face to face with the great- est theologian — Galileo was confronted by Bellarmin. Bellarmin shows Galileo the error of his opinion and orders him to renounce it. De Lauda, fortified by a letter from the Pope, gives orders that the astronomer be placed in the dungeons of the Inquisition should he refuse to yield. Bellarmin now commands Galileo, " in the name of his Holiness the Pope and the whole Congregation of the Holy Ofiice, to relinquish altogether the opinion that the sun is the center of the world and immovable, and that the earth moves, nor henceforth to hold, teach, or defend it in any way whatsoever, verbally or in writing." This injunction Galileo ac- quiesces in and promises to obey.*

This was on the 26th of February, 1G16, About a fortnight later the Congregation of the Index, moved thereto, as the letters and documents now brought to light show, by Pope Paul V, sol- emnly rendered a decree that "the doctrine of the double motion of the earth about its axis and aboid the sun is false and entirely contrary to Holy Scripture " ; and that this opinion must neither be taught nor advocated. The same decree condemned all writings of Copernicus and "all ivritings which affirm the motion of the earth." The great work of Copernicus was interdicted until cor- rected in accordance with the views of the Inquisition ; and the works of Galileo and Kepler, though not mentioned by name at

  • I am aware that the theory proposed by Wohlwill and deyeloped by Gebler denies

that this injunction and promise were ever made by Galileo, and holds that the passage was a forgery devised later by the Church rulers to justify the proceedings of 1632 and 1633. This would make the conduct of the Church worse, but the better authorities consider the charge not proved. A careful examination of the documents seems to disprove it.

�� � 596 THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

that time, were included among those implicitly condemned as " affirming the motion of the earth."

The condemnations were inscribed upon the Index ; and, finally, the papacy committed itself as a judge and teacher to the world hy prefixing to the Index the usual papal bull giving its moni- tions the most solemn papal sanction. To teach or even read the works denounced or passages condemned was to risk persecution in this world and damnation in the next. Science had apparently lost the decisive battle.

For a time after this judgment Galileo remained in Rome, apparently hoping to find some way out of this difficulty ; but he soon discovered the hollowness of the protestations made to him by ecclesiastics, and, being recalled to Florence, remained in his hermitage near the city in silence, working steadily, indeed, but not publishing anything save by private letters to friends in vari- ous parts of Europe.

But at last a better vista seemed to open before him. Cardinal Barberini, who had seemed liberal and friendly, became pope under the name of Urban VIII. Galileo at this conceived new hopes, and allowed his continued allegiance to the Copernican systei to be known. New troubles ensued. Galileo was induced to visit Rome again, and Pope Urban tried to cajole him mto silence, personally taking the trouble to show him his errors by argument. Other opponents were less considerate, for works appeared attacking his ideas-works all the more unmanly, smce their authors knew that Galileo was restrained by force from defending himself. Then, too, as if to accumulate proofs of the unfitness of the Church to take charge of advanced mstruction, his salary as a professor at the University of Pisa was taken from him, and sapping and mining began. Just as the Arch- bishop of Pisa some years before had tried to betray him with honeyed words to the Inquisition, so now Father Grassi tried it, and, after various attempts to draw him out by flattery, suddenly denounced his scientific ideas as "leading to a denial of the real presence in the eucharist."

For the final assault upon him a park of heavy artillery was at last wheeled into place. It may be seen on all the scientific battle-fields. It consists of general denunciation; and in 1631 Father Melchior Inchofer, of the Jesuits, brought his artillery to bear upon Galileo with this declaration : " The opinion of the earth's motion is of all heresies the most abominable, the most pernicious, the most scandalous; the immovability of the earth is thrice sacred ; argument against the immortality of the soul, the existence of God, and the incarnation, should be tolerated sooner than an argument to prove that the earth moves."

From the other end of Europe came a powerful echo. From

�� � the shadow of the Cathedral of Antwerp, the noted theologian, Fromundus, gave forth his famous treatise, the Anti-Aristarchus. Its very title-page was a contemptuous insult to the memory of Copernicus, since it paraded the assumption that the new truth was only an exploded theory of a pagan astronomer. Fromundus declares that "sacred Scripture fights against the Copernicans." To prove that the sun revolves about the earth he cites the passage in the Psalms which speaks of the sun "which cometh forth as a bridegroom out of his chamber." To prove that the earth stands still, he quotes a passage from Ecclesiastes, "The earth standeth fast forever." To show the utter futility of the Copernican theory, he declares that if it were true, "the wind would constantly blow from the east"; and that "buildings and the earth itself would fly off with such a rapid motion that men would have to be provided with claws like cats to enable them to hold fast to the earth's surface." Greatest weapon of all, he works up, by the use of Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas, a demonstration from theology and science combined, that the earth must stand in the center, and that the sun must revolve about it.[1]


Rule Segment - Span - 40px.svg Rule Segment - Span - 40px.svg Rule Segment - Flare Left - 12px.svg Rule Segment - Span - 5px.svg Rule Segment - Circle - 6px.svg Rule Segment - Span - 5px.svg Rule Segment - Flare Right - 12px.svg Rule Segment - Span - 40px.svg Rule Segment - Span - 40px.svg
  1. For Father Inchofer's attack, see his Tractatus Syllepticus, cited in Galileo's letter to Deodati, July 28, 1634. For Fromundus's more famous attack see his Anti-Aristarchus, already cited, passim, but especially the heading of chapter vi, and the argument in chapters x and xi. A copy of this work may be found in the Astor Library at New-York, and another in the White Library at Cornell University. For interesting reference to one of Fromundus's arguments, showing, by a mixture of mathematics and theology, that the earth is the center of the universe, see Quetelet, Histoire des Sciences mathématiques et physiques, Bruxelles, 1864, p. 170; also Mädler, Geschichte der Astronomie, vol. i, p. 274.