Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/408

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useless rigor followed the first procedure. Provided that the culprit spoke no more about the motion of the earth, the court of Rome would like nothing better than to make the most of a great mind that for a moment had gone astray, but whose genius and whose scientific fame were intact. After the trial, Galileo remained three months in Rome, and was kindly received by the sovereign pontiff. In fact, the rumor having spread that he had been punished by the Holy Office and obliged to retract and to do penance, he obtained from Cardinal Bellarmin a certificate to the contrary effect. All that was done, said the cardinal, was to forbid him defending or upholding the system of Copernicus. What advantage could it have been to drag Galileo down from the high position he occupied in the world's opinion? It was enough, for the purposes of his judges, if they could shut his mouth.

In this they supposed they had succeeded, but here they failed to take account of the overmastering impulse to propagate truth, which is the very essence of scientific genius. Galileo could neither erase from his mind a belief that rested on a demonstration, nor refuse to employ it in advancing to fresh discoveries, nor abstain from speaking of it with those who consulted him with regard to their own astronomical labors, or took an interest in his. In his retirement at the Belvedere, where, since his return from Rome, he led a more secluded life than ever, he received, as in former times, numerous visits, nearly all prompted by the love of science. He was still the recognized and admired head of the scientific movement in Italy. Why should he not converse about the cardinal proposition of the earth's motion with the young savants who came to ask his advice and to receive his instruction? A distinguished Italian narrates how, having spent a few days with him, after the close of his first trial, he heard from Galileo's mouth the exposition of the Copernican system, was converted to his ideas, and himself then converted Campanella to that doctrine.

Hence the submission of Galileo was only apparent. Later he was justly charged with having broken his promise. Still, he avoided compromising himself publicly, and in his first work, "Il Saggiatore," which is a model of keen, clever irony, he hardly ventured to write anything touching on the system of Copernicus. Presently the election of a new pontiff inspired him with the hope that the court of Rome might relax its rigor. Urban VIII., of the family of Barberini, was a Florentine, a lover of letters, well disposed toward the Academy of the Lincei, and especially friendly to Galileo, to whom he had addressed, while yet a cardinal, some verses conceived in a vein of eulogy. Galileo went to Rome to see him, had six long audiences with him, was presented by him with a picture, medals, agnus deis, and a pension for his son, and doubtless talked with him about the great subject which filled his mind. We can only guess at what was