Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/123

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THE SCIENTIFIC SOCIETIES OF ITALY.

put under the patronage of one of the saints—St. John, the "apostle of hidden visions," being chosen, to whose church they repaired in order to gain his assistance in their troubles. But all this only increased the duke's resentment, and young Cesi saved himself from his father's wrath by flight, while Stelluti and De Filiis were sent home under guard.

Though separated, they found means of correspondence. Eckius did not escape so easily. It appears that while in Holland he was compelled to take a man's life in order to save his own, but so clearly in the right that he was not even put upon trial.

The duke, with dark treachery, through pretended friendship, secured from Eckius the names of all the witnesses and his personal enemies, then hurried them to Rome to appear against him before the ecclesiastical authorities. His rooms were ransacked for any damaging evidence against him; and his instruments and manuscripts destroyed.

After lying concealed until almost starved he surrendered, when he was turned over to a troop of soldiers to be returned to Holland.

But, though footsore and weary from the forced marches, the scientific spirit was still alert and uppermost. His observations of natural history, written during this unhappy journey, he sent, together with the drawings illustrating them, to Rome, where they, with other valuable manuscripts of the Academy, were kept treasured in the Albani Library until the French invasion.

The year 1609 was a memorable one in the annals of the Academy, as it was of science in general, as the date of the invention of the telescope. When, in the spring of this year, a rumor of the accidental discovery at Middelburg of the magnifying power of certain lenses, which suggested to the alert mind of Galileo the telescope, reached Italy, Della Porta, in a letter dated August 28th, from Naples to Cesi, gives a drawing of a telescope with a reference for its principles to his work on Optics, published in 1589. Since Porta did not see the telescope until Galileo brought his to Rome in 1611, the Neapolitan, by his own great knowledge of optics, conceived of the correct principle on which it must be built, and thus far forestalls Galileo; but—and the but is here all-important—Porta simply made a sketch, while Galileo built the instrument. The records of the Academy of this date determine that the words "telescope" and "microscope" were first used by Frederico Cesi. "In 1609 the Government of Venice made a considerable present to Signor Galileo, of Florence, Professor of Mathematics at Padua, and increased his annual stipend by one hundred crowns, because, with diligent study, he found out a rule and measure by which it is possible to see places thirty miles dis-

vol. xlii.—8