Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 17.djvu/82

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elers, such as Cook, La Perouse, Franklin, Livingstone, meteorologists like Crocé-Spinelli, who in their ardor for discovery have succumbed to ungenial climates, to the attacks of savages, to hunger, tempest, or to an irrespirable atmosphere. All honor to these men, and to the noble army of which they may be taken as representatives! They have fallen in the cause of science, but they have undergone no persecution, and may hence be regarded as victims rather than martyrs.

We turn to another class: illustrious inventors and discoverers not a few have been clearly and decidedly persecuted; hunted down by mob-violence, imprisoned, or even judicially murdered; but these inflictions are to be traced not to their scientific discoveries, speculations, and writings, but to their religious or political opinions. When the house of Priestley was sacked and burned by the rabble of Birmingham, and when his very life was endangered, it was not the chemist and physicist but the so-called "Jacobin" and Socinian whom Midland roughdom sought to crush. It is not, we believe, generally known that the attack on Priestley's house was headed by the town-crier, a man of the name of Sugar, who rang his bell and exclaimed:

"Pile up the wood higher,

I am Sugar, the crier;
By my desire

This place was set on fire!"

This man and his doggerel are only worth our notice as proof of the official countenance lent to the outrage. It is utterly incredible that a town-crier would thus avowedly act as the ringleader of a mob unless sure of the connivance of his superiors.

If Campanella was put seven times to the torture, on one occasion for forty hours in succession; if he passed twenty-seven of the best years of his life in loathsome dungeons; if, after his release, he narrowly escaped the rage of a brutal populace, it was not as the champion of the Copernican system of astronomy, the refuter of mediæval Aristotelianism, but as a patriot who longed to deliver southern Italy from the tyranny of Spain, that he suffered. Still we may concede that like all the reformers of science he must have aroused the hatred and jealousy of many of the learned, who would doubtless use against him whatever influence they possessed.

Servetus was certainly a learned physician, and is by some ranked as one of the forerunners of Harvey. But his judicial murder by Calvin was due solely to his theological opinions. The merits of Bernard Palissy, not merely as the creator of modern fictile art, but as an able physicist, chemist, and geologist, can not be contested. He shocked the philosophasters and sophists of his day by maintaining that fossil shells were not, as was then supposed, mere freaks of Nature, but the remains of extinct animals. He dared to deny that stones were capable of growth. He pointed out the possibility of artesian wells. With