Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 67.djvu/133

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127
GALILEO.

GALILEO.
By EDWARD S. HOLDEN, ScD., LL.D.

U. S. MILITARY ACADEMY.

IV.

WHEN the master of the palace examined the published book he discovered that Galileo had not obeyed the orders and injunctions given to him by the Holy Office on February 26, 1616, sixteen years previously. Therefore the imprimatur for Rome was wrongly attached. Galileo did not inform the Inquisitor at Florence of the aforesaid injunctions and orders. Therefore the imprimatur for Florence was obtained by a ‘ruse.’ Such was substantially the theory held by Galileo's judges at Rome. It was, in strictness, true. The command of the Holy Office (February 26, 1616) not to hold, teach or defend the Copernican opinion had been violated in the Dialogues (as indeed it had been violated less flagrantly in Il Saggiatore and in the letter on the tides). The orders of Riccardi were obeyed in form but not in substance. If the text of the Dialogues had been submitted at Rome, the Roman imprimatur would never have been given.

Finally, the general prohibition of March 5, 1616, not to teach the Copernican opinion had been disobeyed in the Dialogues, as in the two preceding publications. That no proceedings had been taken regarding the two last-named books did not in their eyes excuse the issuance of the former.

If Galileo had merely desired to promulgate the Copernican truths it would have been perfectly easy and safe for him to have printed his book in Germany, with or without his name. But he wished for an Italian triumph even more than for the spreading of a doctrine that he knew to be true.

The Dialogues were received on all hands with the greatest interest. Galileo's friends were delighted as they before had been with Il Saggiatore. They expected a similar reception for his new book, and Galileo beyond a doubt shared their expectations. Castelli—who was in favor with the Pope, and in Rome—wrote that he should read nothing else but the Dialogues and his Breviary. The enemies of Galileo were for the moment paralyzed with anxiety and rage. The arguments of the Dialogues were more dangerous than those of Il Saggiatore even. Its attack on Aristotelianism and orthodoxy was even more insidious and vigorous. The upper classes of Italy have always