Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/599

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581
NEW CHAPTERS IN THE WARFARE OF SCIENCE.

which it is founded; the text from the Psalms and the explicit declaration of St. Paul to the Romans, "Their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world."

D'Ailly attempts to reason, but he is overawed, and gives to the world virtually nothing.

Still, the doctrine of the antipodes lived and moved: so much so, that the eminent Spanish theologian Tostatus, even as late as the age of Columbus, feels called upon to protest against it as "unsafe." He has shaped the old missile of St. Augustine into the following syllogism: "The apostles were commanded to go into all the world and to preach the gospel to every creature; they did not go to any such part of the world as the antipodes; they did not preach to any creatures there; ergo, no antipodes exist."

The warfare of Columbus the world knows well—how the Bishop of Ceuta worsted him in Portugal; how sundry wise men of Spain confronted him with the usual quotations from the Psalms, from St. Paul, and from St. Augustine; how, even after he was triumphant, and after his voyage had greatly strengthened the theory of the earth's sphericity, with which the theory of antipodes was so closely connected, the Church by its highest authority solemnly stumbled and persisted in going astray. In 1493 Pope Alexander VI, having been appealed to as an umpire between the claims of Spain and Portugal to the newly discovered parts of the earth, issued a bull laying down upon the earth's surface a line of demarkation between the two powers. This line was drawn from north to south a hundred leagues west of the Azores; and the Pope in the plenitude of his knowledge declared that all lands discovered east of this line should belong to the Portuguese and all west of it should belong to the Spaniards. This was hailed as an exercise of divinely illuminated power by the Church; but difficulties arose, and in 1506 another attempt was made by Pope Julius II to draw the line three hundred and seventy leagues west of the Cape Verd Islands. This, again, was supposed to bring divine wisdom to settle the question, but shortly overwhelming difficulties arose; for the Portuguese claimed Brazil, and, of course, had no difficulty in showing that they could reach it by sailing to the east of the line, provided they sailed long enough. The lines laid down by Popes Alexander and Julius may still be found upon the maps of the period, but their bulls have quietly passed into the catalogue of ludicrous errors.

Yet the theological barriers to this geographical truth yielded but slowly. Plain as it had become to scholars, they hesitated to declare it to the world at large. Eleven hundred years had passed since St. Augustine had proved its antagonism to Scripture, when Gregory Reysch gave forth his famous encyclopædia, the Margarita Philosophica. Edition after edition was issued, and