Popular Science Monthly/Volume 40/April 1892/New Chapters in the Warfare of Science: Astronomy II

Popular Science Monthly Volume 40 April 1892  (1892) 
New Chapters in the Warfare of Science: Astronomy II by Andrew Dickson White


Last in series






WHILE news of triumphant attacks upon him and upon the truth he had established were coming in from all parts of Europe, Galileo prepared a careful treatise in the form of a dialogue, exhibiting the arguments for and against the Copernican and Ptolemaic systems, and offered to submit to any conditions that the Church tribunals might impose if they would allow it to be printed. At last, after discussions which extended through eight years, they consented, imposing a humiliating condition;—the preface written in accordance with the ideas of Father Ricciardi, Master of the Sacred Palace, and signed by Galileo, in which the Copernican theory was virtually exhibited as a play of the imagination, and not at all as opposed to the Ptolemaic doctrine reasserted in 1616 by the Inquisition under the direction of Pope Paul V.[1].

This new work of Galileo—the "Dialogo"—appeared in 1632, and met with prodigious success. It put new weapons into the hands of the supporters of the Copernican theory. The pious preface was laughed at from one end of Europe to the other. This roused the enemy. The Jesuits, Dominicans, and the great majority of the clergy returned to the attack more violent than ever, and in the midst of them stood Pope Urban VIII, most bitter of all. His whole power was now thrown against Galileo. He was touched in two points: first, in his personal vanity, for Galileo had put his arguments into the mouth of one of the persons in the dialogue and their refutation into the mouth of another; but, above all, he was touched in his religious feelings. Again and again he insisted to all comers on the absolute and specific declarations of Holy Scripture, which prove that the sun and heavenly bodies revolve about the earth, and declared that to gainsay them is simply to dispute revelation. Certainly, if one ecclesiastic more than another ever seemed not under the care of the Spirit of Truth, it was Urban VIII in all this matter.

Herein was one of the greatest pieces of ill fortune that has ever befallen the older Church. Had Pope Urban been broadminded and tolerant like Benedict XIV, or had he been taught moderation by adversity like Pius VII, or had he possessed the large scholarly qualities of Leo XIII, now reigning, the vast scandal of the Galileo case would never have burdened the Church: instead of devising endless quibbles and special pleadings to escape responsibility for this colossal blunder, its defenders could have claimed forever for the Church the glory of fearlessly initiating a great epoch in human thought.

But it was not so to be. Urban was not merely Pope, he was also a prince of the house of Barberini, and therefore doubly angry that his arguments had been publicly controverted.

The opening strategy of Galileo's enemies was to forbid the sale of his work; but this was soon seen to be unavailing, for the first edition had already been spread throughout Europe. Urban now became more angry than ever, and both Galileo and his works were placed in the hands of the Inquisition. In vain did the good Benedictine, Castelli, urge that Galileo was entirely respectful to the Church; in vain did he insist that "nothing that can be done can now hinder the earth from revolving," He was dismissed in disgrace, and Galileo was forced to appear in the presence of the dread tribunal without defender or adviser. There, as was so long concealed, but as is now fully revealed, he was menaced with torture again and again by express order of Pope Urban, and, as is also thoroughly established from the trial documents themselves, forced to abjure under threats, and subjected to imprisonment by command of the Pope; the Inquisition deferring in this whole matter to the papal authority. All the long series of attempts made in the supposed interest of the Church to mystify these transactions have at last failed. The world knows now that Galileo was subjected certainly to indignity, to imprisonment, and to threats equivalent to torture, and was at last forced to pronounce publicly and on his knees his recantation, as follows:

"I Galileo being in my seventieth year, being a prisoner and on my knees, and before your Eminences, having before my eyes the Holy Gospel, which I touch with my hands, abjure, curse, and detest the error and the heresy of the movement of the earth."[2]

He was vanquished indeed, for he had been forced, in the face of all coming ages, to perjure himself. To complete his dishonor, he was obliged to swear that he would denounce to the Inquisition any other man of science whom he should discover to be supporting the "heresy of the motion of the earth."

Many have wondered at this abjuration, and on account of it have denied to Galileo the title of martyr. But let such gainsayers consider the circumstances. Here was an old man—one who had reached the allotted threescore years and ten, broken with disappointments, worn out with labors and cares, dragged from Florence to Rome, with the threat from the Pope himself that if he delayed he should be "brought in chains"; sick in body and mind, given over to his oppressors by the grand duke who ought to have protected him, and on his arrival in Rome threatened with torture. What the Inquisition was he knew well. He could remember but as yesterday the burning of Giordano Bruno in that same city for scientific and philosophic heresy; he could remember, too, that only eight years before this very time De Dominis, Archbishop of Spalatro, having been seized by the Inquisition for scientific and other heresies, had died in a dungeon, and that his body and his writings had been publicly burned.

To the end of his life, nay, after his life was ended, the persecution of Galileo was continued. He was kept in exile from his family from his friends, from his noble employments, and held rigidly to his promise not to speak of his theory. When, in the midst of intense bodily sufferings from disease, and mental sufferings from calamities in his family, he besought some little liberty, he was met with threats of committal to a dungeon. When at last a special commission had reported to the ecclesiastical authorities that he had become blind and wasted with disease and sorrow, he was allowed a little more liberty, but that little was hampered by close surveillance. He was forced to bear contemptible attacks on himself and on his works in silence; to see the men who had befriended him severely punished; Father Castelli banished; Ricciardi, the Master of the Sacred Palace, and Ciampoli the papal secretary, thrown out of their positions by Pope Urban and the Inquisitor at Florence reprimanded for having given permission to print Galileo's work. He lived to see the truths he had established carefully weeded out from all the Church colleges and universities in Europe, and when in a scientific work he happened to be spoken of as "renowned," the Inquisition ordered the substitution of the word "notorious."[3]

And now measures were taken to complete the destruction of the Copernican theory, with Galileo's proofs of it. On the 16th of June, 1633, the Holy Congregation, with the permission of the reigning Pope, ordered the sentence upon Galileo, and his recantation, to be sent to all the papal nuncios throughout Europe, as well as to all archbishops, bishops, and inquisitors in Italy and this document gave orders that the sentence and abjuration be made known "to your vicars, that you and all professors of philosophy and mathematics may have knowledge of it, that they may know why we proceeded against the said Galileo, and recognize the gravity of his error, in order that they may avoid it, and thus not incur the penalties which they would have to suffer in case they fell into the same."[4]

As a consequence of this, the professors of mathematics and astronomy in various universities of Europe were assembled and these documents were read to them. To the theological authorities this gave great satisfaction; the Rector of the University of Douay, referring to the opinion of Galileo, wrote to the papal nuncio at Brussels, "the professors of our university are so opposed to this fanatical opinion that.they have always held that it must be banished from the schools: in our English college at Douay this paradox has never been approved and never will be."

Still-another step was taken: the Inquisitors were ordered, especially in Italy, not to permit the publication of a new edition of any of Galileo's works, nor of any similar writings. On the other hand, theologians were urged, now that Copernicus and Galileo and Kepler were silenced, to reply to them with tongue and pen. Europe was flooded with these theological refutations of the Copernican system.

To make all complete, there was prefixed to the index of the Church, forbidding "all writings which affirm the motion of the earth," a bull signed by the reigning Pope, which, by virtue of his infallibility as a divinely guided teacher in matters of faith and morals, clinched this condemnation into the consciences of the whole Christian world.

From the mass of books which appeared under the auspices of the Church immediately after the condemnation of Galileo, for the purpose of rooting out every vestige of the hated Copernican theory from the mind of the world, two may be taken as typical The first of these was a work by Scipio Chiaramonti, dedicated to Cardinal Barberini. Among his arguments against the double motion of the earth may be cited the following:

"Animals, which move, have limbs and muscles; the earth has no limbs or muscles, therefore it does not move. It is angels who make Saturn, Jupiter, the sun, etc., turn round. If the earth revolves, it must also have an angel in the center to set it in motion; but only devils live there; it would therefore be a devil who would impart motion to the earth. . . .

"The planets, the sun, the fixed stars, all belong to one species—namely, that of stars—they therefore all move or all stand still. It seems, therefore, to be a grievous wrong to place the earth, which is a sink of impurity, among the heavenly bodies, which are pure and divine things."

The next, which I select from the mass of similar works, is the Anticopernicus Catholicus of Polacco. It was intended to deal a finishing stroke at Galileo's heresy.

In this it is declared: "The Scripture always represents the earth as at rest, and the sun and moon as in motion; or, if these latter bodies are ever represented as at rest. Scripture represents this as the result of a great miracle.". . .

"These writings must be prohibited, because they teach certain principles about the position and motion of the terrestrial globe repugnant to Holy Scripture and to the Catholic interpretation of it, not as hypotheses but as established facts. . . .

"It is possible to work with the hypotheses of Copernicus so as to explain many phenomena. . . . Yet it is not permitted to argue on his premises except to show their falsity."

Speaking of Galileo's book, Polacco says that it "smacked of Copernicanism," and that, "when this was shown to the Inquisition, Galileo was thrown into prison and was compelled to utterly abjure the baseness of this erroneous dogma."

As to the authority of the cardinals in their decree, Polacco asserts that, since they are the "Pope's Council" and his "brothers" their work is one, except that the Pope is favored with special divine enlightenment.

Having shown that the authority of the Scriptures, of popes, and of cardinals is against the new astronomy, he gives a refutation based on physics. He asks: "If we concede the motion of the earth, why is it that an arrow shot into the air falls back to the same spot, while the earth and all things on it have, in the mean time, moved very rapidly toward the east? Who does not see that great confusion would result from this motion?"

Next he argues from metaphysics, as follows: "The Copernican theory of the earth's motion is against the nature of the earth itself, because the earth is not only cold but contains in itself the principle of cold; but cold is opposed to motion, and even destroys it—as is evident in animals, which become motionless when they become cold."

Finally, he clinches all with a piece of theological reasoning, as follows: "Since it can certainly be gathered from Scripture that the heavens move above the earth, and since a circular motion requires something immovable around which to move, . . . the earth is at the center of the universe."[5]

But any sketch of the warfare between theology and science in this field would be incomplete without some reference to the treatment of Galileo after his death. He had begged to be buried in his family tomb in Santa Croce; this request was denied. His friends wished to erect a monument over him; this, too, was refused. Pope Urban said to the ambassador Niccolini that "it would be an evil example for the world if such honors were rendered to a man who had been brought before the Roman Inquisition for an opinion so false and erroneous; who had communicated it to many others, and who had given so great a scandal to Christendom." In accordance, therefore, with the wish of the Pope and the orders of the Inquisition, Galileo was buried ignobly, apart from his family, without fitting ceremony without monument, without epitaph. Not until forty years after did Pierrozzi dare write an inscription to be placed above his bones; not until a hundred years after did Nelli dare transfer his remains to a suitable position in Santa Croce, and erect a monument above them. Even then the old conscientious hostility burst forth: the Inquisition was besought to prevent such honors to "a man condemned for notorious errors"; and that tribunal refused to allow any epitaph to be placed above him which had not been submitted to its censorship. Nor has that old conscientious consistency in hatred yet fully relented: hardly a generation since has not seen some ecclesiastic like Marini or De Bonald or Rallaye or De Gabriac, suppressing evidence, or torturing expressions, or inventing theories to blacken the memory of Galileo and save the reputation of the Church. Nay, more, there are school histories, widely used, which in the supposed interest of the Church, misrepresent in the grossest manner all these transactions in which Galileo was concerned. Sancta simplicitas! The Church has no worse enemies than those who devise and teach these perversions. They are simply rooting out, in the long run, from the minds of the more thoughtful scholars, respect for the great organization which such writings are supposed to serve. Their work is just as futile as that of writers of school histories which in the supposed Protestant interest misrepresent the Roman doctrine of indulgences[6]

The Protestant Church was hardly less energetic against the new astronomy than the mother Church had been. The sacred science of the first Lutheran Reformers was transmitted as a precious legacy, and in the next century was made much of by Calovius His great learning and determined orthodoxy gave him leadership in the Lutheran Church. Utterly refusing to look at ascertained facts, he cited the turning back of the shadow upon King Hezekiah's dial and the standing still of the sun for Joshua, denied the movement of the earth, and denounced the Copernican view as clearly opposed to Scripture. To this day his arguments are repeated by sundry orthodox leaders of American Lutheranism.

As to the other branch of the reformed Church, Turretin, Calvin's famous successor, even after Kepler and Newton had established the theory of Copernicus and Galileo, put forth his compendium of theology, in which he proved from a multitude of scriptural texts that the heavens, sun, and moon move about the earth, which stands still in the center,[7] In England we see similar theological efforts even after they had become utterly futile: among the strict churchmen, the great Dr. South denounced the Royaf Society as "irreligious," and among the Puritans the eminent John Owen declared that Newton's discoveries were "built on fallible phenomena and advanced by many arbitrary presumptions against evident testimonies of Scripture." Even Milton seems to have hesitated between the two systems. At the beginning of the eighth book of Paradise Lost he makes Adam state the difficulties of the Ptolemaic system, and then brings forward an angel to make the usual orthodox answers: later, Milton seems to lean toward the Copernican theory, for, referring to the earth, he says:

"Or she from west her silent course advance
With inoffensive pace, that spinning sleeps
On her soft axle, while she faces even
And bears thee soft with the smooth air along."

Yet English orthodoxy continued to assert itself. In 1794 John Hutchinson, professor at Cambridge, published his Moses' Principia, a system of philosophy in which he sought to build up a complete physical system of the universe from the Bible. In this he assaulted the Newtonian theory as "atheistic," and led the way for similar attacks by such Church teachers as Horne, Duncan Forbes, and Jones of Nayland. But one far greater than these involved himself in this view. That same limitation of his reason by the simple statements of Scripture which led John Wesley to declare that "unless witchcraft is true, nothing in the Bible is true," led him, while giving up the Ptolemaic theory and accepting in a general way the Copernican, to suspect the demonstrations of Newton. Happily, his inborn nobility of character lifted him above any bitterness or persecuting spirit, or any imposition of doctrinal tests which could prevent those who came after him from finding their way to the truth.

But in the midst of this vast expanse of theologic error signs of right reason began to appear, both in England and America. Noteworthy is it that Cotton Mather, bitter as was his orthodoxy regarding witchcraft, accepted, in 1721, the modern astronomy fully, with all its consequences.

In the following year came an even more striking evidence that the new scientific ideas were making their way in England. In 1722 Thomas Burnet published the sixth edition of his "Sacred Theory of the Earth." In this he argues as usual to establish the scriptural doctrine of the earth's stability; but in his preface he sounds a remarkable warning. He mentions the great mistake into which St. Augustine led the Church regarding the doctrine of the antipodes, and says, "If within a few years or in the next generation it should prove as certain and demonstrable that the earth is moved, as it is now that there are antipodes, those that have been zealous against it, and engaged the Scripture in the controversy, would have the same reason to repent of their forwardness that St. Augustine would now, if he were still alive."

Fortunately, too. Protestantism had no such power to oppose the development of the Copernican ideas as the older Church had enjoyed. Yet there were some things in its warfare against science even more indefensible. In 1772 the famous English expedition for scientific discovery sailed from England under Captain Cook. Greatest by far of all the scientific authorities chosen to accompany it was Dr. Priestley. Sir Joseph Banks had especially invited him. But the clergy of Oxford and Cambridge interfered. Priestley was considered unsound in his views of the Trinity; it was evidently suspected that this might vitiate his astronomical observations; he was rejected, and the expedition crippled.

The orthodox view of astronomy lingered on in other branches of the Protestant Church. In Germany even Leibnitz attacked the Newtonian theory of gravitation on theological grounds, though he found some little consolation in thinking that it might be used to support the Lutheran doctrine of consubstantiation.

In Holland the Calvinistic Church was at first strenuous against the whole new system, but we possess a comical proof that Calvinism even in its strongholds was powerless against it. For in 1642 Blaer published at Amsterdam his book on the use of globes, and, in order to be on the safe side, devoted one part of his work to the Ptolemaic and the other to the Copernican scheme, leaving the benevolent reader to take his choice.[8]

Nor have efforts to renew the battle in the Protestant Church been wanting in these latter days. The attempt in the Church of England in 1864 to fetter science, which was brought to ridicule by Herschel, Bowring, and De Morgan; the assemblage of Lutheran clergy at Berlin in 1868 to protest against "science falsely so called," are examples of these. Fortunately, to the latter came Pastor Knak, and his denunciations of the Copernican theory as absolutely incompatible with a belief in the Bible, dissolved the whole assemblage in ridicule.

In its recent dealings with modern astronomy the wisdom of the Catholic Church in the more civilized countries has prevented its yielding to some astounding errors into which one part of the Protestant Church has tumbled heedlessly.

Though sundry leaders in the older Church have committed the absurd error of allowing a text-book and sundry review articles to appear which grossly misstate the Galileo episode, with the certainty of ultimately undermining confidence in her teachings among her more thoughtful young men, she has kept clear of the folly of continuing to tie her teachings, and the acceptance of our sacred books, to an adoption of the Ptolemaic theory.

Not so with American Lutheranism. In 1873 was published in St. Louis, at the publishing house of the Lutheran Synod of Missouri, a work entitled Astronomische Unterredung, the author being well known to be a late president of a Lutheran Teachers' Seminary.

No attack on the whole modern system of astronomy could be more bitter. On the first page of the introduction the author, after stating the two theories, asks, "Which is right?" and says: "It would be very simple to me which is right, if it were only a question of human import. But the wise and truthful God has expressed Himself on this matter in the Bible. The entire Holy Scripture settles the question that the earth is the principal body (Hauptkörper) of the universe, that it stands fixed, and that sun and moon only serve to light it."

The author then goes on to show from Scripture the folly not only of Copernicus and Newton, but of a long line of great astronomers in more recent times. He declares: "Let no one understand me as inquiring first where truth is to be found—in the Bible or with the astronomers. No, I know that beforehand—that my God never lies; never makes a mistake; out of His mouth comes only truth, when He speaks of the structure of the universe, of the earth, sun, moon, and stars. . . .

"Because the truth of the Holy Scripture is involved in this, therefore the above question is of the highest importance to me. . . . Scientists and others lean upon the miserable reed (Rohrstab) that God teaches only the order of salvation, but not the order of the universe."

Very noteworthy is the fact that this late survival of an ancient belief based upon text-worship is found not in the teachings of any zealous priest of the mother Church, but in those of an eminent professor in that branch of Protestantism which claims special enlightenment.[9]

Nor has the warfare against the dead champions of science been carried on by the older Church alone.

On the 10th of May, 1859, Alexander von Humboldt was buried. His labors bad been among the glories of the century, and his funeral was one of the most imposing that Berlin had ever seen: among those who honored themselves by their presence was the prince regent, afterward the Emperor William I; but of the clergy it was observed that none were present save the officiating clergyman and a few regarded as unorthodox.[10]

We return now to the sequel of the Galileo case.

Having gained their victory over Galileo, living and dead, having used it to scare into submission the professors of astronomy throughout Europe, conscientious churchmen exulted. Loud was their rejoicing that the "heresy," the "infidelity," the "atheism" involved in believing that the earth revolves about its axis and moves around the sun had been crushed by the great tribunal of the Church, acting in strict obedience to the expressed will of one Pope and the written order of another. As we have seen, all books teaching this hated belief were put upon the Index of books forbidden to Christians, and that Index was prefaced by a bull enforcing this condemnation upon the consciences of the faithful throughout the world, and signed by the reigning Pope.

The losses to the world during this complete triumph of theology were even more serious than at first appears: one must especially be mentioned. There was then in Europe one of the greatest thinkers ever given to mankind—René Descartes.[11] Mistaken though many of his theories were, they bore a rich fruitage of truth. The scientific warriors had stirred new life in him, and he was working over and summing up in his mighty mind all the researches of his time The result would have made an epoch in history. His aim was to combine all knowledge and thought into a Treatise on the World, and in view of this he gave eleven years to the study of anatomy alone. But the fate of Galileo robbed him of all hope, of all courage; the battle seemed lost; he gave up his great plan forever.

But ere long it was seen that the triumph was really a prodigious defeat. From all sides came proofs that Copernicus and Galileo were right; and although Pope Urban and the Inquisition held Galileo in strict seclusion, forbidding him even to speak regarding the double motion of the earth; and although this condemnation of "all books which affirm the motion of the earth" was kept on the Index; and although the papal hull still bound the "Index" and the condemnations in it on the consciences of the faithful; and although colleges and universities under Church control were compelled to teach the old doctrine;—it was seen hy clear-sighted men everywhere that this victory of the Church was a disaster to the victors.

New champions pressed on. Campanella, full of vagaries as he was, wrote his Apology for Galileo, though for that and other heresies, religious and political, he seven times underwent torture.

And Kepler comes: he leads science on to greater victories. Copernicus, great as he was, could not disentangle scientific reasoning entirely from the theological bias. The doctrines of Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas as to the necessary superiority of the circle had vitiated the minor features of his system, and left breaches in it through which the enemy was not slow to enter; but Kepler sees these errors, and by wonderful genius and vigor he gives to the world the three laws which bear his name, and this fortress of science is complete. He thinks and speaks as one inspired. His battle is severe. He is solemnly warned by the Protestant Consistory of Stuttgart "not to throw Christ's kingdom into confusion with his silly fancies," and as solemnly ordered to "bring his theory of the world into harmony with Scripture": he is sometimes abused, sometimes ridiculed, sometimes imprisoned. Protestants in Styria and Würtemberg, Catholics in Austria and Bohemia press upon him; but Newton, Halley, Bradley, and other great astronomers follow, and to science remains the victory.[12]

Yet this did not end the war. During the seventeenth century, in all France, after all the splendid proofs added by Kepler, no one dared openly teach the Copernican theory, and Cassini, the great astronomer, never declared it. In 1672 the Jesuit, Father Riccioli. declared that there were precisely forty-nine arguments for the Copernican theory and seventy-seven against it. Toward the end of the seventeenth century, after the demonstrations of Sir Isaac Newton, even Bossuet, the great Bishop of Meaux, the foremost theologian that France has ever produced, declared it contrary to Scripture.

Nor did matters seem to improve rapidly in the following century. In England, John Hutchinson, as we have seen, published in 1724 his Moses' Principia maintaining that the Hebrew Scriptures are a perfect system of natural philosophy, and are opposed to the Newtonian system of gravitation; and, as we have also seen, he was followed by a long list of noted men in the Church. In France, two eminent mathematicians published in 1748 an edition of Newton's Principia; but, in order to avert the censure of the Church, they felt obliged to prefix to it a statement absolutely false. Three years later, Boscovich, the great mathematician of the Jesuits, used these words: "As for me, full of respect for the Holy Scriptures and the decree of the Holy Inquisition, I regard the earth as immovable; nevertheless, for simplicity in explanation I will argue as if the earth moves; for it is proved that of the two hypotheses the appearances favor that idea."

In Germany, especially in the Protestant part of it, the war was even more bitter, and it lasted through the first half of the eighteenth century. Eminent Lutheran doctors of divinity flooded the country with treatises to prove that the Copernican theory could not be reconciled with Scripture.

In the theological seminaries and in many of the universities where clerical influence was strong they seemed to sweep all before them; and yet at the middle of the century we find some of the clearest-headed of them aware of the fact that their cause was lost.[13]

In 1757 the most enlightened perhaps in the whole line of the popes, Benedict XIV, took up the matter, and the Congregation of the Index secretly allowed the ideas of Copernicus to be tolerated. Yet in 1765 Lalande, the great French astronomer, tried in vain at Rome to induce the authorities to remove Galileo's works from the Index. Even at a date far within our own nineteenth century the authorities of many universities in Catholic Europe, and especially those in Spain, excluded the Newtonian system: in 1771 the greatest of them all, the University of Salamanca, being urged to teach physical science, refused, making answer as follows: "Newton teaches nothing that would make a good logician or metaphysician; and Gassendi and Descartes do not agree so well with revealed truth as Aristotle does,"

Vengeance upon the dead also has continued far into our own century. On the 5th of May, 1829, a great multitude assembled at Warsaw to honor the memory of Copernicus and to unveil Thorwaldsen's statue of him.

Copernicus had lived a pious, Christian life; he had been beloved for unostentatious Christian charity; with his religious belief no fault had ever been found; he was a canon of the Church at Frauenberg, and over his grave had been written the most touching of Christian epitaphs. Naturally, then, the people expected a religious service; all was understood to be arranged for it; the procession marched to the church and waited. The hour passed, and no priest appeared; none could be induced to appear. Copernicus, gentle, charitable, pious, one of the noblest gifts of God to religion as well as to science, was evidently still under the ban. Five years after that, his book was still standing on the Index of books prohibited to Christians.

The edition of the Index published in 1819 was as inexorable toward the works of Copernicus and Galileo as its predecessors had been; but in the year 1820 came a crisis. Canon Settele, Professor of Astronomy at Rome, had written an elementary book in which the Copernican system was taken for granted. The Master of the Sacred Palace, Anfossi, as censor of the press, refused to allow the book to be printed unless Settele revised his work and treated the Copernican theory as merely a hypothesis. On this Settele appealed to Pope Pius VII, and the Pope referred the matter to the Congregation of the Holy Office. At last, on the 10th of August, 1820, it was decided that Settele might teach the Copernican system as established, and this decision was approved by the Pope. This aroused considerable discussion, but finally, on the 11th of September, 1822, the cardinals of the Holy Inquisition graciously agreed that "the printing and publication of works treating of the motion of the earth and the stability of the sun, in accordance with the general opinion of modern astronomers, is permitted at Rome." This decree was ratified by Pius VII, but it was not until thirteen years later, in 1835, that the condemnation of works defending the double motion of the earth was left out of the Index.

This was not a moment too soon, for, as if the previous proofs had not been sufficient, each of the motions of the earth was now absolutely demonstrated anew, so as to be recognized by the ordinary observer. The parallax of fixed stars, shown by Bessel as well as other noted astronomers in 1838, clinched forever the doctrine of the revolution of the earth around the sun, and in 1851 the great experiment of Foucault with the pendulum, showed to the human eye the earth in motion around its own axis. To make the matter complete, this experiment was publicly made in one of the churches at Rome by the eminent astronomer, Father Secchi, of the Jesuits, in 1852—just two hundred and twenty years after the Jesuits had secured Galileo's condemnation.[14]

  1. As to the general style of the attacks, see Fromundus's book, cited above, passim, but especially the heading of chapter vi, and the argument in chapters x and xi. For interesting reference to one of Fromundus's arguments, showing, by a mixture of mathematics and theology, that the earth is the center of the universe, see Quetelet, Histoire des Sciences mathématiques et physiques, Bruxelles, 1864, p. 170; also, Mädler, Geschichte der Astronomie, vol. i, p. 274
  2. For various utterances of Pope Urban against the Copernican theory at this period, see extracts from the original documents given by Gebler. For punishment of those who had shown some favor to Galileo, see various citations, and especially those from the Vatican manuscript, Gebler, p. 216. As to the text of the abjuration, see L'Epinois; also Polacco, Anticopernicus, etc., Venice, 1644; and for a discussion regarding its publication, see Favaro, Miscellanea Galileana, p. 804.
  3. It is not probable that torture in the ordinary sense was administered to Galileo, though it was threatened. See Th. Martin, Vie do Galilée, for a fair summing up of the case. For the substitution of the word "notorious" for "renowned" by order of the Inquisition, see Martin, p. 227.
  4. For a copy of this document, see Gebler, p. 269. As to the spread of this and similar documents notifying Europe of Galileo's condemnation, see Favaro, pp. 804, 805.
  5. For Chiaramonti's book and selections given, see Gebler as above, p. 271. For Polacco, sec his work as cited, especially Assertiones i, ii, vii, xi, xiii, lxxiii, clxxxvii, and others. The work is in the White Library at Cornell University. The date of it is 1644.
  6. For the persecutions of Galileo's memory after his death, see Gebler, Wohlwill, but especially Th. Martin, p. 243, and elsewhere. For the persecution of Galileo's memory, see Th. Martin, chapters ix and x. For documentary proofs, see L'Epinois. For a collection of the slanderous theories invented against Galileo, see Martin, final chapters and appendix. Both these authors are devoted to the Church, but, unlike Monsignor Marini, are too upright to resort to the pious fraud of suppressing documents or interpolating pretended facts.
  7. For Calovius, see Zoeckler, Geschichte, vol. i, pp. 684 and 763. For Calvin and Turretin, see Shields, The Final Philosophy, pp. 60, 61.
  8. For the attitude of Leibnitz, Hutchinson, and the others named toward the Newtonian theory, see Lecky, History of England in the Eighteenth Century, chap. ix. For John Wesley, see also his Compendium of Natural Philosophy, being a Survey of the Wisdom of God in the Creation, London, 1784. See also Leslie Stephen, Eighteenth Century, vol. ii, p. 413. For Owen, see his works, vol. xix, p. 310. For Milton, see place cited. For Cotton Mather's view, see The Christian Philosopher, London, 1721, especially pp. 16 and 17. For the case of Priestley, see Weld, History of the Royal Society, vol. ii, p. 56, for the facts and the admirable letter of Priestley upon this rejection. For Humboldt, see his Life, by Bruhns and Lassell, London, 1873, vol. ii, p. 411. For Blaer's book, see his L'Usage des Globes, Amsterdam, 1642.
  9. For the amusing details of the attempt in the English Church to repress science, and of the way in which it was met, see De Morgan, Paradoxes, p. 42. For Pastor Knak and his associates, see the Revue des Deux Mondes, 1868. For the recent Lutheran works against the Copernican astronomy, see among others Astronomische Unterredung zwischen einem Liebhaber der Astronomie und mchreren berühmten Astronomer der Neuzeit. J. C. W. L. St. Louis, 1873.
  10. See Bruhns and Lassell, Life of Humboldt, London, 1873, vol. ii, p. 411.
  11. For Descartes's discouragement, see Humboldt, Cosmos, London, 1851, vol. iii, p. 21; also, Lange, Geschichte des Materialismus, vol. i, p. 222, where the letters of Descartes are given, showing his despair, and the relinquishment of his best thoughts and works in order to preserve peace with the Church; also, Saisset, Descartes et ses Précurseurs, pp. 100 et seq.; also, Jolly, Histoire du Mouvement intellectuel au XVIe Siècle, vol. i, p. 390.
  12. For Campanella, see Amabile, Fra Tommaso Campanella, Napoli, 1882, especially vol. iii; also, Libri, vol. iv, pp. 149 et seq. Fromimdus, speaking of Kepler's explanation, says, "Vix teneo ebullientem risum." This is almost equal to the New York Church Journal, speaking of John Stuart Mill as "that small seiolist," and of the preface to Dr. Draper's great work as "chippering." How a journal, generally so fair in its treatment of such subjects, can condescend to such weapons, is one of the wonders of modern journalism. For the persecution of Kepler, see vol. i, p. 392; also Heller, Geschichte der Physik, vol. i, pp. 281 et seq.; also Reuschle, Kepler und die Astronomie, Frankfurt a. M., 1871, pp. 87 et seq.; also Professor Sigwart, Kleine Schriften pp. 211 et seq. There is poetic justice in the fact that these two last-named books come from Würtemberg professors. See also the New Englander for March, 1884, p. 178.
  13. For Cassini's position, see Henri Martin, Histoire de France, vol. xiii, p. 175. For Riccioli, see Daunou, Études Historiques, vol. ii, p. 439. For Bossuet, see Bertrand, p. 41. For Hutchinson, see Lyell, Principles of Geology, p. 48. For Wesley, see his work, already cited. As to Boscovich, his declaration, mentioned in the text, was in l746, but in 1785 he seemed to feel his position in view of history, and apologized abjectly: Bertrand, pp. 60, 61. See also Whewell's notice of Le Sueur and Jacquier's introduction to their edition of Newton's Principia. For the struggle in Germany, see Zoeckler, Geschichte der Beziehungen zwischen Theologie und Naturwissenschaft, vol. ii, pp. 45 et seq.
  14. For good statements of the final action of the Church in the matter, see Gebler; also Zoeckler, Geschichte der Beziehungen, etc., ii, 352. See also Bertrand, Fondateurs de l'Astronomie moderne, p. 61; Flammarion, Vie de Copernic, chap. ix. As to the time when the decree of condemnation was repealed, there have been various pious attempts to make it earlier than the reality. Artaud, p. 307, cited in an apologetic article in the Dublin Review, September, 1865, says that Galileo's famous dialogue was published in 1744, at Padua, entire, and with the usual approbations. The same article also declares that in 1818 the ecclesiastical decrees were repealed by Pius VII in full Consistory. Whewell accepts this; but Cantu, an authority favorable to the Church, acknowledges that Copernicus's work remained on the Index as late as 1835 (Cantu, Histoire universelle, vol. xv, p. 483); and with this Th. Martin, not less favorable to the Church, but exceedingly careful as to the facts, agrees; and the most eminent authority of all. Prof. Reusch, of Bonn, in his Index der verbotenen Bücher, Bonn, 1885, vol. ii, p. 396, confirms the above statement in the text exactly as I made it in 1871. For a clear statement of Bradley's exquisite demonstration of the Copernican theory by reasonings upon the rapidity of light, etc., and Foucault's exhibition of the rotation of the earth by the pendulum experiment, see Hoefer, Histoire de l'Astronomie, pp. 492 et seq. For more recent proofs of the Copernican theory, by the discoveries of Bunsen, Bischoff, Benzenburg, and others, see Jevons, Principles of Science.