Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 45.djvu/21

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NEW CHAPTERS IN THE WARFARE OF SCIENCE.

were eulogizing debauched princes like Louis XV, and using the unspeakably vile casuistry of Suarez in the education of tke priesthood as to the relations of men to women, the modesty of the papal authorities was so shocked by Linnæus's proofs of a sexual system in plants that for many years his writings were prohibited in the Papal States and in various other parts of Europe where clerical authority was strong enough to resist the new scientific current. Not until 1773 did one of the more broad-minded cardinals—Zelanda—succeed in gaining permission that Prof. Minasi should discuss the Linnæan system at Rome.

And Protestantism was quite as oppressive. In a letter to Eloius, Linnæus tells of the rebuke given to science by one of the great Lutheran prelates of Sweden, Bishop Svedberg. From various parts of Europe detailed statements had been sent to the Royal Academy of Science that water had been turned into blood, and well-meaning ecclesiastics had seen in this an indication of the wrath of God, certainly against the regions in which these nairacles had occurred and possibly against the whole world. A miracle of this sort appearing in Sweden, Linnæus looked into it carefully and found that the reddening of the water was caused by dense masses of minute insects. News of this explanation having reached the bishop, he took the field against it; he denounced this scientific discovery as "a Satanic abyss" (abyssum Satanæ), and declared "The reddening of the water is not natural," and "when God allows such a miracle to take place Satan endeavors, and so do his ungodly, self-reliant, self-sufficient, and worldly tools, to make it signify nothing." In face of this onslaught Linnæus retreated; he tells his correspondent that "it is difficult to say anything in this matter," and shields himself under the statement "It is certainly a miracle that so many millions of creatures can be so suddenly propagated," and "it shows undoubtedly the all-wise power of the Infinite."

The great naturalist, now grown old and worn with labors for science, could no longer resist the contemporary theology; he settled into obedience to it, and continued to adhere to the doctrine that all existing species had been created by the Almighty "in the beginning," and that since "the beginning" no new species had appeared.

Yet even his great authority could not resist the swelling tide; more and more vast became the number of species, more and more incomprehensible under the old theory became the newly ascertained facts in geographical distribution, more and more it was felt that the universe and animated beings had come into existence by some process other than special creation, and the question was constantly pressing, "By what process?"

Throughout the whole of the eighteenth century one man was