labors they had, within two months of their foundation, constructed a great planisphere upon which they drew both the ancient and modern systems of astronomy.
But evil days came. Investigations, questionings, or any sort of freedom of thought was never looked upon with favor by the ecclesiastical authorities of Rome. Columbus had appeared before the great Council of Salamanca to have his claims of the sphericity of the earth and the existence of an attainable antipodes pronounced by the dignitaries "contrary to Scripture and absurd in philosophy"; but he, with a persistence inconsistent with a good Catholic, at last sailed across the waters and discovered what his judges declared did not exist.
Copernicus had written and submitted to Pope Paul III a system of astronomy which was also pronounced contrary to Scripture and erroneous in philosophy, and the books were condemned and publicly burned.
Bruno had just been silenced by fire for upholding this Copernican system and other heresies; Porta was soon to appear before Pope Paul III for trial and to be warned against resorting to the black arts, because of his scientific. attainments; and Galileo was to undergo more shameful treatment for "thinking different to what the Dominicans allowed." So, when Cesi and his friends began their investigations of Nature, studies which had hitherto brought nothing but disturbance, unrest, and revolt at the authorized doctrines, it is not surprising that efforts were made to stop them.
The young men were asked if they had not the works of Aristotle and of Thomas Aquinas, both accepted authorities by the Church for centuries; and if so, why not be content with them, for surely they did not imagine they were greater than these masters in science? But these tactics did not avail. Then appeal was made to Cesi's parents. The old duke was a man of domineering disposition and violent passions, and was unscrupulous of means in gaining his end.
He was told his son's morals were being undermined by his associates, and sought to alienate him from them, but without success.
Attempts were made to reach him through his mother, by arousing her fears as to his morals; but she, with a mother's instinct, could not be poisoned against him.
The duke threatened dissolution of the Academy by force. On Christmas-day young Cesi called his friends together, and, in order to remove all suspicions against immorality, recast their constitution and laws, by which it was ordered that all future meetings should be opened by reading one of the Psalms of David and by prayer. According to the custom of the times, the Academy was