Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/410

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important be considered the publication of his work to be. The chief fruit of his address was that he escaped a second revision of the text, which would have been made at Rome had the work been printed there. Galileo chose rather to deal with the inquisitor at Florence, to whom Father Riccardi had delegated his powers, but who, doubtless at the solicitation of the grand-duke, exercised these powers with less rigor than would have been used at the Sacred Palace. We can imagine the wrath manifested by the court of Rome; in fact, despite all its finesse, it had been outwitted by an Italian shrewder even than itself, by a fellow-countryman of Macchiavelli.

Would Galileo have been so eager for the publication of his work, if he had foreseen the dangers to which he exposed himself by publishing it? The sovereign pontiff, immediately upon receipt of the book, in the beginning of August, 1632, was highly incensed, charged Galileo with having made an unhandsome return for his kindness, and would on the spot have referred the author and the book to the tribunal of the Holy Office, had he not been restrained by the importunities of the embassador Niccolini, and his fear of offending the Grand-duke of Tuscany. "Galileo," said Urban, "has not acted with out deliberation, has not sinned through ignorance; he was perfectly well aware of the difficulties of the case, for I myself have made them clear to him." These expressions of dissatisfaction on the part of the sovereign pontiff would seem to show that, in the interviews of which we have spoken, the two friends had touched on the delicate question of the earth's motion, and that, by a process of self-illusion quite natural under the circumstances, each had supposed he had convinced the other. The pope was angry at Galileo, as at one in whom he had for a long time mistakenly reposed confidence—as though a fraud had been practised upon him; this feeling, which had broken the bond of their old friendship, explains the harshness with which Urban treated the friend of his youth. Nor had Galileo been less mistaken with regard to the disposition of the pope's mind. He flattered himself that he should find in him an indulgent judge of his astronomical theories, while in point of fact he was wounding Urban in his most sacred convictions. Had he known that the pope was so opposed to the system of Copernicus, doubtless he never would have braved the wrath of one whose power was unlimited, or affronted a tribunal from which there was no appeal.

On receipt of the "Dialogues," Urban instructed a commission to examine the book and report to him. As soon as the report came into his hands, he commanded the inquisitor at Florence to communicate to Galileo a formal summons to appear in October before the commissary-general of the Holy Office in Rome. Galileo, then seventy years of age, and suffering from hernia, asked the authorities to take into consideration his age and his malady, and to dispense him from the journey. The Grand-duke of Tuscany interceded for him. But