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Title: Galileo Galilei and the Roman Curia
Author: Gebler, Karl von
Language: English
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_2 vols. Demy 8vo. Cloth, 32s._

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_2 vols. Demy 8vo. Cloth, 24s._

BURCKHARDT. Authorized Translation by S. G. C. MIDDLEMORE.

    “The whole of the first part of Dr Burckhardt’s work deals
    with what may be called the Political Preparation for the
    Renaissance. It is impossible here to do more than express a
    high opinion of the compact way in which the facts are put
    before the reader.... The second volume of Dr. Burckhardt’s
    work is, we think, more full and complete in itself, more rich
    in original thought, than the first. His account of the causes
    which prevented the rise of a great Italian drama is very clear
    and satisfying.”—_Saturday Review._


                             GALILEO GALILEI
                         _AND THE ROMAN CURIA_.

                        _FROM AUTHENTIC SOURCES._

                            KARL VON GEBLER.

                          MRS. GEORGE STURGE._


               C. KEGAN PAUL & CO., 1, PATERNOSTER SQUARE.



It is the desire of every author, every prosecutor of research, that the
products of his labours, the results of his studies, should be widely
circulated. This desire arises, especially in the case of one who has
devoted himself to research, not only from a certain egotism which clings
to us all, but from the wish that the laborious researches of years,
often believed to refute old and generally-received errors, should become
the common property of as many as possible.

The author of the present work is no exception to these general rules;
and it therefore gives him great pleasure, and fills him with gratitude,
that you, Madam, should have taken the trouble to translate the small
results of his studies into the language of Newton, and thus have
rendered them more accessible to the English nation.

But little more than two years have elapsed since the book first appeared
in Germany, but this period has been a most important one for researches
into the literature relating to Galileo.

In the year 1869 Professor Domenico Berti obtained permission to inspect
and turn to account the Acts of Galileo’s Trial carefully preserved
in the Vatican, and in 1876 he published a portion of these important
documents, which essentially tended to complete the very partial
publication of them by Henri de L’Epinois, in 1867. In 1877 M. de
L’Epinois and the present writer were permitted to resuscitate the famous
volume, which again lay buried among the secret papal archives; that
is, to inspect it at leisure and to publish the contents in full. It
was, however, not only of the greatest importance to become acquainted
with the Vatican MS. as a whole, and by an exact publication of it to
make it the common property of historical research; it was at least of
equal moment to make a most careful examination of the material form and
external appearance of the Acts. For the threefold system of paging had
led some historians to make the boldest conjectures, and respecting one
document in particular,—the famous note of 26th February, 1616,—there
was an apparently well-founded suspicion that there had been a later
falsification of the papers.

While, on the one hand, the knowledge gained of the entire contents of
the Vatican MS., for the purpose of my own publication of it,[1] only
confirmed, in many respects, my previous opinions on the memorable trial;
on the other hand, a minute and repeated examination of the material
evidence afforded by the suspicious document, which, up to that time,
had been considered by myself and many other authors to be a forgery
of a later date, convinced me, contrary to all expectation, that it
indisputably originated in 1616.

This newly acquired experience, and the appearance of many valuable
critical writings on the trial of Galileo since the year 1876, rendered
therefore a partial revision and correction of the German edition of this
work, for the English and an Italian translation, absolutely necessary.
All the needful emendations have accordingly been made, with constant
reference to the literature relating to the subject published between
the spring of 1876 and the spring of 1878. I have also consulted several
older works which had escaped my attention when the book was first

May the work then, in its to some extent new form, make its way in the
British Isles, and meet with as friendly a reception there as the German
edition has met with in Austria and Germany.

To you, Madam, I offer my warm thanks for the care with which you have
executed the difficult and laborious task of translation.

Accept, Madam, the assurance of my sincere esteem.

                                                      KARL VON GEBLER.[2]

    MERAN, _1st April, 1878_.


The Vatican Manuscript alluded to in the foregoing letter, and constantly
referred to in the text, was published by the author in the autumn of
1877, under the title of “Die Acten des Gallileischen Processes, nach
der Vaticanischen Handschrift, von Karl von Gebler.” Cotta, Stuttgard.
This, with some introductory chapters, was intended to supersede the
Appendix to the original work, and to form a second volume, when a new
German edition should be called for. It did not, however, appear to me
that any purpose would be served by reprinting all the Latin and Italian
documents of the Vatican MS. in this country, as students who wish
to consult them can easily procure them as published in the original
languages in Germany, and I hope for a wider circle of readers than that
composed exclusively of students. I therefore proposed to Herr von Gebler
to give the History, Description, and Estimate of the Vat. MS., etc.,
in an Appendix, together with a few of the more important documents; to
this, with some suggestions, as for instance, that some of the shorter
documents should be given as notes to the text, he fully agreed, with the
remark that I must know best what would suit my countrymen. The Appendix,
therefore, differs somewhat both from the original Appendix and from the
introductory portions of the new volume, for these also were revised for
the Translation.

The translations from Latin and Italian documents have been made from the
originals by a competent scholar, and all the more important letters and
extracts from letters of Galileo have been compared with the Italian. The
Table of Contents, headings to and titles of the chapters, and Index,
none of which exist in the original, have been added by myself.

                                                             JANE STURGE.

    SYDENHAM, _November, 1878_.



The author of this work died at Gratz on the 7th of September, 1878. In
devoting a few lines to his memory we have not a long and distinguished
career to describe, for a brief span of life was all that was granted
him, but to the last moment he sought to turn it to the best account.

The present work has enjoyed a wide circulation in Germany, but few of
its readers could have known anything of the author but his name. The
protracted studies which form the basis of it, the skilful handling of
documentary material which seemed to betray the practised historian,
must have suggested a man of ripe years, whose life had been passed in
study, as the author; no one certainly would have sought him among the
young officers of a cavalry regiment, whose tastes generally lie in any
direction rather than that of historical research.

Karl von Gebler was the son of Field-marshal Wilhelm von Gebler, and
was born at Vienna in 1850. Although early destined for the military
career, he laid the foundations of a superior education in the grammar
schools. Having passed through the gymnasium, in 1869 he joined the 7th
regiment of the line as a private, and before long attained the rank of
lieutenant in the 4th regiment of Dragoons. Being an excellent draftsman
and skilled in military surveying, he was often employed on the general’s
staff in drawing maps. In addition to his extensive knowledge of military
affairs, he had many of the accomplishments befitting his calling; he was
an excellent shot and a bold rider. But the duties of a cavalry officer
were soon too limited for his active mind and intellectual tastes, and
he sought also to win his spurs on the fields of literature. He occupied
his leisure in translating the work of a French staff officer, “Success
in War,” to which he made some additions. He also published “The True
Portrait of a Royal Hero of the 18th Century,” in a newspaper; and
finally, “Historic Sayings.”

A night ride, undertaken in the performance of his official duties, from
which he returned at daybreak to exercise at the riding school, brought
on severe hemorrhage and inflammation of the lungs. The two physicians
who attended him gave him up; in a consultation at his bedside, prudently
held in Latin, they gave him twenty-four hours to live. One of them
having taken leave, the other returned to the patient, who, with quiet
humour, greeted him with the classic words, “Morituri te salutant!” The
worthy doctor found, to his horror, that the patient had understood all
that had passed, and had no easy task to persuade him that his case was
not so bad after all. He had, however, in consequence of some local
circumstances, already ordered the coffin.

Gebler’s constitution surmounted the danger; by the spring he was able to
join his parents at Gratz. But his health had sustained so severe a shock
that he was compelled to abandon the military career. His parents removed
to Gries, near Botzen, for the sake of a milder climate on his account.
Here he revived wonderfully; he seemed to have taken a new lease of
life, and devoted himself altogether to literary pursuits. The critical
studies before mentioned of the assumed historic sayings of great men,
and among them of Galileo’s famous dictum, “E pur si muove,” brought him
into closer acquaintance with this hero of science. He accumulated so
large a material for a biographical sketch of the great Italian, that
the limits of an essay seemed too narrow, and he resolved to undertake a
more comprehensive work on the subject, which he thought would fill up
a gap in German literature. In the autumn of 1875 the work, which had
occupied him four years, was completed. It was not a little gratifying
to the young author that one of the first publishers in Germany, Cotta,
of Stuttgard, undertook the publication on very favourable terms, and
brought it out in 1876. It met with great approval, and brought him
into association with many eminent literary men in Italy and Germany.
Galileo’s own country was foremost in recognition of his services. The
academies of Padua and Pisa, and the Accadémia dei Lincei sent him
special acknowledgments, and King Victor Emmanuel rewarded him with the
order of the Crown of Italy.

Before this work was finished he had removed with his father, having
in the meanwhile lost his mother, to Meran, and during the first year
of his residence there his health improved so much that he was able to
take part in social life, and to enlarge the sphere of his labours and
influence. Society in this little town owed much in many ways to the
intellectual and amiable young officer. Whenever a good and noble cause
required support, his co-operation might be reckoned on. In common with
many other lovers of art and antiquity, he took a lively interest in the
preservation and restoration of the Maultasch-Burg, which promises to be
one of the chief sights of Meran. Unhappily he did not live to see the
completion of the work.

With increase of health his zest for work increased also, and he
addressed himself to a great historical task. The subject he selected
was the Maid of Orleans. The preliminary studies were difficult in a
place destitute of all aids to learning. His researches were not confined
to the collection of all the printed material; in 1876 he had planned
to search out the documentary sources wherever they were to be found,
but before this he made close studies in the field of psychology and
mental pathology. The work of Ruf on the subject, the learned chaplain
of a lunatic asylum, attracted his attention, and he entered into
communication with the author. Ruf’s great experience and philosophical
acquirements were of great service to Gebler in his preliminary studies
on Joan of Arc. But the project was not to be carried out. Just as he was
about to write the second chapter, an essay of Berti’s at Rome occasioned
him to enter on fresh studies on Galileo.

Domenico Berti, who had examined the original Acts of Galileo’s trial,
though, as his work shows, very superficially, spoke contemptuously of
the German _savans_, comparing them with blind men judging of colours, as
none of them had seen the original Acts in the Vatican. This had special
reference to the document of 26th February, 1616, which the German
writers on the subject, and Gebler among them, declared to be a forgery.
Being a man of the strictest love of truth, this reproach induced him,
in spite of his health, which had again failed, in May, 1877, to go to
Rome, where he obtained access to the Vatican. For ten weeks, in spite of
the oppressive heat, he daily spent fourteen hours in the Papal Archives,
studying and copying with diplomatic precision the original Acts of
Galileo’s trial. As the result of his labours, he felt constrained to
declare the document in question to be genuine. Actuated only by the
desire that truth should prevail, in the second part of his work, written
at Rome, he without hesitation withdrew the opinion he had previously
advocated as an error.

His first work had made a flattering commotion in the literary world, but
the additional publication called forth a still more animated discussion
of the whole question, which the readers of this journal will not have
forgotten. Gebler took part in it himself, and, then suffering from
illness, wrote his reply from a sick bed.

His sojourn in Rome had sadly pulled him down. On his return home, in
July, 1877, he had lost his voice and was greatly reduced. But in October
of the same year he once more roused himself for a journey to Italy.
The object of the previous one was to follow his hero in yellow and
faded historic papers, but this time the task he had set himself was to
pursue the tracks of Galileo in all the cities and places in any way
connected with his memory. The result of these travels was an article in
the _Deutsche Rundschau_, No. 7, 1878, “On the Tracks of Galileo.” In
this paper Gebler again dispels some clouds in which Galileo’s previous
biographers had enveloped him. We in these less romantic days are quite
willing to dispense with the shudder at the stories of the dungeon, etc.,
and are glad to know that Galileo was permitted to enjoy a degree of
comfort during his detention not often granted to those who come into
collision with the world.

“On the Tracks of Galileo” was Gebler’s last literary work. His strength
of will and mental powers at length succumbed to his incurable malady.
The mineral waters of Gleichenberg, which he had been recommended to
try, did him more harm than good. He wrote thence to a friend, “I am
in a pitiable condition, and have given up all hope of improvement.”
Unfortunately he was right. He had overtasked his strength. His zeal
for science had hastened his end, and he may well be called one of her

His last days were spent at Gratz, where his boyhood had been passed, and
he rests beside his only brother. Both were the pride and joy of their
father, now left alone.

In appearance Karl von Gebler was distinguished and attractive looking.
No one could escape the charm of the freshness and originality of his
mind, in spite of constant ill health. The refined young student, with
the manners of a man of the world, was a phenomenon to his fellow-workers
in the learned world. We have heard some of them say that they could not
understand how Gebler could have acquired the historian’s craft, the
technical art of prosecuting research, without having had any special
critical schooling.

The writer of these lines will never forget the hours spent with this
amiable and, in spite of his success, truly modest young man in his snug
study. The walls lined with books, or adorned with weapons, betrayed at
a glance the character and tastes of the occupant, while a pendulum clock
dating from the time of Galileo recalled his work on the first observer
of the vibrations of the pendulum to mind. He always liked to wind up the
venerable timepiece himself, and took a pleasure in its sonorous tones.
When I once more entered the study after his death, the clock had run
down, the pendulum had ceased to vibrate, it told the hour no more.


While Italy and France possess an ample literature relating to Galileo,
his oft-discussed fate and memorable achievements, very little has been
written in Germany on this hero of science; and it would almost seem as
if Copernicus and Kepler had cast the founder of mechanical physics into
the shade. German literature does not possess one exhaustive work on
Galileo. This is a great want, and to supply it would be a magnificent
and thankworthy enterprise. It could only, however, be carried out by a
comprehensive biography of the famous astronomer, which, together with a
complete narrative of his life, should comprise a detailed description
and estimate of his writings, inventions, and discoveries. We do not
feel ourselves either called upon or competent to undertake so difficult
a task. Our desire has been merely to fill up a portion of the gap in
German literature by this contribution to the Life of Galileo, with a
hope that it may be an incentive to some man of learning, whose studies
qualify him for the task, to give our nation a complete description of
the life and works of this great pioneer of the ideas of Copernicus.

We have also set ourselves another task; namely, to throw as much light
as possible, by means of authentic documents, on the attitude Galileo
assumed towards the Roman curia, and the history of the persecutions
which resulted from it. To this end, however, it appeared absolutely
necessary to give, at any rate in broad outline, a sketch of his aims
and achievements as a whole. For his conflict with the ecclesiastical
power was but the inevitable consequence of his subversive telescopic
discoveries and scientific reforms. It was necessary to make the intimate
connection between these causes and their historical results perfectly

In the narration of historical events we have relied, as far as possible,
upon authentic sources only. Among these are the following:—

1. Galileo’s correspondence, and the correspondence relating to him
between third persons. (Albèri’s “Opere di Galileo Galilei.” Vols. ii.,
iii., vi., vii., viii., ix., x., xv., and Suppl., in all 1,564 letters.)

2. The constant reports of Niccolini, the Tuscan ambassador at Rome, to
his Government at Florence, during and after Galileo’s trial. (Thirty-one
despatches, from August 15th, 1632, to December 3rd, 1633.)

3. The Acts of the Trial, from the MS. originals in the Vatican.

4. The collection of documents published, in 1870, by Professor Silvestro
Gherardi. Thirty-two extracts from the original protocols of the sittings
and decrees of the Congregation of the Holy Office.[3]

5. Some important documents published by the Jesuit Father Riccioli, in
his “Almagestum novum, Bononiæ, 1651.”[4]

We have also been careful to acquaint ourselves with the numerous French
and Italian Lives of Galileo, from the oldest, that of his contemporary,
Gherardini, to the most recent and complete, that of Henri Martin, 1869;
when admissible, we have cautiously used them, constantly comparing them
with authentic sources. As the part of the story of Galileo of which
we have treated is that which has been most frequently discussed in
literature, and from the most widely differing points of view, it could
not fail to be of great interest to us to collect and examine, as far as
it lay in our power, the views, opinions, and criticisms to be found in
various treatises on the subject. We offer our warm thanks to all the
possessors of private, and custodians of public libraries, who have most
liberally and obligingly aided us in our project.

One more remark remains to be made. Party interests and passions have, to
a great extent, and with but few exceptions, guided the pens of those who
have written on this chapter of Galileo’s life. The one side has lauded
him as an admirable martyr of science, and ascribed more cruelty to the
Inquisition than it really inflicted on him; the other has thought proper
to enter the lists as defender of the Inquisition, and to wash it white
at Galileo’s expense. Historical truth contradicts both.

Whatever may be the judgment passed on the present work, to one
acknowledgment we think we may, with a good conscience, lay claim: that,
standing in the service of truth alone, we have anxiously endeavoured to
pursue none other than her sublime interests.

                                                         KARL VON GEBLER.

    MERAN, _November, 1875_.



                                 PART I.

                     CONFLICT WITH THE ROMAN CURIA._

                               CHAPTER I.


    Birth at Pisa.—Parentage.—His Father’s Writings on
    Music.—Galileo destined to be a Cloth Merchant.—Goes to the
    Convent of Vallombrosa.—Begins to study Medicine.—Goes to
    the University of Pisa.—Discovery of the Synchronism of the
    Pendulum.—Stolen Lessons in Mathematics.—His Hydrostatic
    Scales.—Professorship at Pisa.—Poor Pay.—The Laws of
    Motion.—John de’ Medici.—Leaves Pisa.—Professorship at
    Padua.—Writes various Treatises.—The Thermoscope.—Letter to
    Kepler.—The Copernican System.—“De Revolutionibus orbium
    Cœlestium”                                                           3

                               CHAPTER II.


    Term of Professorship at Padua renewed.—Astronomy.—A New
    Star.—The Telescope.—Galileo not the Inventor.—Visit to Venice
    to exhibit it.—Telescopic Discoveries.—Jupiter’s Moons.—Request
    of Henry IV.—“Sidereus Nuncius.”—The Storm it raised.—Magini’s
    attack on Galileo.—The Ring of Saturn.—An Anagram.—Opposition
    of the Aristotelian School.—Letter to Kepler                        16

                              CHAPTER III.

                          REMOVAL TO FLORENCE.

    Galileo’s Fame and Pupils.—Wishes to be freed from Academic
    Duties.—Projected Works.—Call to Court of Tuscany.—This change
    the source of his Misfortunes.—Letter from Sagredo.—Phases of
    Venus and Mercury.—The Solar Spots.—Visit to Rome.—Triumphant
    Reception.—Letter from Cardinal del Monte to Cosmo II.—The
    Inquisition.—Introduction of Theology into the Scientific
    Controversy.—“Dianoja Astronomica.”—Intrigues at Florence           27

                               CHAPTER IV.

                         ASTRONOMY AND THEOLOGY.

    Treatise on Floating Bodies.—Controversy with Scheiner about
    the Solar Spots.—Favourable reception of Galileo’s Work
    on the subject at Rome.—Discussion with the Grand Duchess
    Christine.—The Bible brought into the controversy.—Ill-fated
    Letter to Castelli.—Caccini’s Sermon against Galileo.—Lorini
    denounces the Letter to the Holy Office.—Archbishop Bonciani’s
    attempts to get the original Letter.—“Opinion” of the
    Inquisition on it.—Caccini summoned to give evidence.—Absurd
    accusations.—Testimony of Ximenes and Attavanti in Galileo’s
    favour                                                              42

                               CHAPTER V.

                            HOPES AND FEARS.

    Galileo’s Fears.—Allayed by letters from Rome.—Foscarini’s
    Work.—Blindness of Galileo’s Friends.—His Apology to the
    Grand Duchess Christine.—Effect produced by it.—Visit to
    Rome.—Erroneous opinion that he was cited to appear.—Caccini
    begs pardon.—Galileo defends the Copernican System at Rome.—His
    mistake in so doing                                                 59

                               CHAPTER VI.

                         PROHIBITION TO GALILEO.

    Adverse “Opinion” of the Inquisition on Galileo’s
    Propositions.—Admonition by Bellarmine, and assumed Absolute
    Prohibition to treat of the Copernican Doctrines.—Discrepancy
    between Notes of 25th and 26th February.—Marini’s
    Documents.—Epinois’s Work on Galileo.—Wohlwill first doubts
    the Absolute Prohibition.—Doubts confirmed by Gherardi’s
    Documents.—Decree of 5th March, 1616, on the Copernican
    System.—Attitude of the Church.—Was the Absolute Prohibition
    ever issued to Galileo?—Testimony of Bellarmine in his
    favour.—Conclusions                                                 76

                              CHAPTER VII.

                      EVIL REPORT AND GOOD REPORT.

    Galileo still lingers at Rome.—Guiccardini tries to effect
    his Recall.—Erroneous idea that he was trying to get the
    Decree repealed.—Intrigues against him.—Audience of Pope Paul
    V.—His friendly assurances.—His Character.—Galileo’s return to
    Florence                                                            91

                              CHAPTER VIII.

                       THE CONTROVERSY ON COMETS.

    Studious Seclusion.—Waiting for the Correction of the Work
    of Copernicus.—Treatise on Tides.—Sends it to Archduke
    Leopold of Austria.—The Letter which accompanied it.—The
    three Comets of 1618.—Galileo’s Opinion of Comets.—Grassi’s
    Lecture on them.—Guiducci’s Treatise on them, inspired
    by Galileo.—Grassi’s “Astronomical and Philosophical
    Scales.”—Galileo’s Reply.—Paul V.—His Death.—Death of Cosmo
    II.—Gregory XV.—“Il Saggiatore” finished.—Riccardi’s “Opinion”
    on it.—Death of Gregory XV.—Urban VIII.                             98

                               CHAPTER IX.

                     MAFFEO BARBERINI AS URBAN VIII.

    His Character.—Taste for Letters.—Friendship for Galileo when
    Cardinal.—Letters to him.—Verses in his honour.—Publication of
    “Il Saggiatore” with Dedication to the Pope.—Character of the
    Work.—The Pope’s approval of it.—Inconsistency with the assumed
    Prohibition                                                        108

                               CHAPTER X.

                              PAPAL FAVOUR.

    Galileo goes to Rome to congratulate Urban VIII. on his
    Accession.—Favourable reception.—Scientific discussions
    with the Pope.—Urban refuses to Revoke the Decree of 5th
    March.—Nicolo Riccardi.—The Microscope.—Galileo not the
    Inventor.—Urban’s favours to Galileo on leaving Rome.—Galileo’s
    reply to Ingoli.—Sanguine hopes.—Grassi’s hypocrisy.—Spinola’s
    harangue against the Copernican System.—Lothario Sarsi’s reply
    to “Il Saggiatore.”—Galileo writes his “Dialogues”                 114

                                PART II.


                               CHAPTER I.

                   THE “DIALOGUES” ON THE TWO SYSTEMS.

    Origin of the “Dialogues.”—Their popular style.—Significance
    of the name Simplicius.—Hypothetical treatment of the
    Copernican System.—Attitude of Rome towards Science.—Thomas
    Campanella.—Urban VIII.’s duplicity.—Galileo takes his MS. to
    Rome.—Riccardi’s corrections.—He gives the _Imprimatur_ on
    certain conditions.—Galileo returns to Florence to complete the
    Work                                                               127

                               CHAPTER II.


    Death of Prince Cesi.—Dissolution of the Accadémia dei
    Lincei.—Galileo advised to print at Florence.—Difficulties and
    delays.—His impatience.—Authorship of the Introduction.—The
    _Imprimatur_ granted for Florence.—Absurd accusation from the
    style of the Type of the Introduction                              138

                              CHAPTER III.

                    THE “DIALOGUES” AND THE JESUITS.

    Publication of the “Dialogues.”—Applause of Galileo’s friends
    and the learned world.—The hostile party.—The Jesuits
    as leaders of learning.—Deprived of their monopoly by
    Galileo.—They become his bitter foes.—Having the _Imprimatur_
    for Rome and Florence, Galileo thought himself doubly
    safe.—The three dolphins.—Scheiner.—Did “Simplicius” personate
    the Pope?—Conclusive arguments against it.—Effect of the
    accusation.—Urban’s motives in instituting the Trial               151

                               CHAPTER IV.


    Symptoms of the coming Storm.—The Special Commission.—Parade of
    forbearance.—The Grand Duke intercedes for Galileo.—Provisional
    Prohibition of the “Dialogues.”—Niccolini’s Interview
    with the Pope and unfavourable reception.—Report of it to
    Cioli.—Magalotti’s Letters.—Real object of the Special
    Commission to find a pretext for the Trial.—Its discovery in
    the assumed Prohibition of 1616.—Report of the Commission, and
    charges against Galileo                                            163

                               CHAPTER V.

                          THE SUMMONS TO ROME.

    Niccolini’s attempt to avert the Trial.—The Pope’s
    Parable.—The Mandate summoning Galileo to Rome.—His grief
    and consternation.—His Letter to Cardinal Barberini.—Renewed
    order to come to Rome.—Niccolini’s fruitless efforts
    to save him.—Medical Certificate that he was unfit to
    travel.—Castelli’s hopeful view of the case.—Threat to bring
    him to Rome as a Prisoner.—The Grand Duke advises him to
    go.—His powerlessness to protect his servant.—Galileo’s mistake
    in leaving Venice.—Letter to Elia Diodati                          175

                               CHAPTER VI.

                       GALILEO’S ARRIVAL AT ROME.

    Galileo reaches Rome in February, 1632.—Goes to the Tuscan
    Embassy.—No notice at first taken of his coming.—Visits
    of Serristori.—Galileo’s hopefulness.—His Letter to
    Bocchineri.—Niccolini’s audience of the Pope.—Efforts of the
    Grand Duke and Niccolini on Galileo’s behalf.—Notice that
    he must appear before the Holy Office.—His dejection at the
    news.—Niccolini’s advice not to defend himself                     191

                              CHAPTER VII.


    The first hearing.—Galileo’s submissive attitude.—The events
    of February, 1616.—Galileo denies knowledge of a special
    Prohibition.—Produces Bellarmine’s certificate.—Either the
    Prohibition was not issued, or Galileo’s ignorance was
    feigned.—His conduct since 1616 agrees with its non-issue.—The
    Inquisitor assumes that it was issued.—“Opinions” of Oregius,
    Inchofer and Pasqualigus.—Galileo has Apartments in the Palace
    of the Holy Office assigned to him.—Falls ill.—Letter to
    Geri Bocchineri.—Change of tone at second hearing hitherto an
    enigma.—Now explained by letter from Firenzuola to Cardinal Fr.
    Barberini.—Galileo’s Confession.—His Weakness and Subserviency     201

                              CHAPTER VIII.

                          THE TRIAL CONTINUED.

    Galileo allowed to return to the Embassy.—His
    hopefulness.—Third hearing.—Hands in his Defence.—Agreement
    of it with previous events.—Confident hopes of his
    friends.—Niccolini’s fears.—Decision to examine Galileo under
    threat of Torture.—Niccolini’s audience of the Pope.—Informed
    that the Trial was over, that Galileo would soon be Sentenced,
    and would be Imprisoned.—Final Examination.—Sent back to
    “_locum suum_.”—No evidence that he suffered Torture, or was
    placed in a prison cell                                            217

                               CHAPTER IX.

                      THE SENTENCE AND RECANTATION.

    The Sentence in full.—Analysis of it.—The Copernican
    System had not been pronounced heretical by “Infallible”
    authority.—The special Prohibition assumed as fact.—The
    Sentence illegal according to the Canon Law.—The Holy Office
    exceeded its powers in calling upon Galileo to recant.—The
    Sentence not unanimous.—This escaped notice for two hundred
    and thirty-one Years.—The Recantation.—Futile attempts to
    show that Galileo had really altered his opinion.—After the
    Sentence, Imprisonment exchanged for Banishment to Trinita de’
    Monti.—Petition for leave to go to Florence.—Allowed to go to
    Siena                                                              230

                               CHAPTER X.

                             CURRENT MYTHS.

    Popular Story of Galileo’s Fate.—His Eyes put out.—“E pur si
    Muove.”—The Hair Shirt.—Imprisonment.—Galileo only detained
    twenty-two Days at the Holy Office.—Torture.—Refuted in 18th
    Century.—Torture based on the words “_examen rigorosum_.”—This
    shown to be untenable.—Assertion that the Acts have been
    falsified refuted.—False Imputation on Niccolini.—Conclusive
    Evidence against Torture.—Galileo not truly a “Martyr of
    Science”                                                           249

                                PART III.

                         _GALILEO’S LAST YEARS._

                               CHAPTER I.

                      GALILEO AT SIENA AND ARCETRI.

    Arrival at Siena.—Request to the Grand Duke of Tuscany
    to ask for his release.—Postponed on the advice of
    Niccolini.—Endeavours at Rome to stifle the Copernican
    System.—Sentence and Recantation sent to all the Inquisitors
    of Italy.—Letter to the Inquisitor of Venice.—Mandate
    against the publication of any new Work of Galileo’s,
    or new Edition.—Curious Arguments in favour of the old
    System.—Niccolini asks for Galileo’s release.—Refusal,
    but permission given to go to Arcetri.—Anonymous
    accusations.—Death of his Daughter.—Request for permission
    to go to Florence.—Harsh refusal and threat.—Letter to
    Diodati.—Again at work.—Intervention of the Count de Noailles
    on Galileo’s behalf.—Prediction that he will be compared to
    Socrates.—Letter to Peiresc.—Publication of Galileo’s Works in
    Holland.—Continued efforts of Noailles.—Urban’s fair speeches      267

                               CHAPTER II.


    Galileo’s Labours at Arcetri.—Completion of the “Dialoghi delle
    nuove Scienze.”—Sends it to the Elzevirs at Leyden.—Method
    of taking Longitudes at Sea.—Declined by Spain and offered
    to Holland.—Discovery of the Libration and Titubation of the
    Moon.—Visit from Milton.—Becomes blind.—Letter to Diodati.—On a
    hint from Castelli, petitions for his Liberty.—The Inquisitor
    to visit him and report to Rome.—Permitted to live at Florence
    under restrictions.—The States-General appoint a Delegate to
    see him on the Longitude question.—The Inquisitor sends word
    of it to Rome.—Galileo not to receive a Heretic.—Presents
    from the States-General refused from fear of Rome.—Letter to
    Diodati.—Galileo supposed to be near his end.—Request that
    Castelli might come to him.—Permitted under restrictions.—The
    new “Dialoghi” appear at Leyden, 1638.—They founded Mechanical
    Physics.—Attract much notice.—Improvement of health.—In 1639
    goes to Arcetri again, probably not voluntarily                    284

                              CHAPTER III.

                          LAST YEARS AND DEATH.

    Refusal of some Favour asked by Galileo.—His pious
    Resignation.—Continues his scientific Researches.—His
    pupil Viviani.—Failure of attempt to renew Negotiations
    about Longitudes.—Reply to Liceti and Correspondence with
    him.—Last discussion of the Copernican System in reply to
    Rinuccini.—Sketch of its contents.—Pendulum Clocks.—Priority
    of the discovery belongs to Galileo.—Visit from
    Castelli.—Torricelli joins Viviani.—Scientific discourse on his
    Deathbed.—Death, 8th Jan., 1642.—Proposal to deny him Christian
    Burial.—Monument objected to by Urban VIII.—Ferdinand II. fears
    to offend him.—Buried quietly.—No Inscription till thirty-two
    years later.—First Public Monument erected by Viviani in
    1693.—Viviani directs his heirs to erect one in Santa
    Croce.—Erected in 1738.—Rome unable to put down Copernican
    System.—In 1757 Benedict XIV. permits the clause in Decree
    forbidding books which teach the new System to be expunged.—In
    1820 permission given to treat of it as true.—Galileo’s work
    and others not expunged from the Index till 1835                   299


      I. HISTORY OF THE VATICAN MANUSCRIPT                             319

     II. DESCRIPTION OF THE VATICAN MANUSCRIPT                         330

    III. ESTIMATE OF THE VATICAN MANUSCRIPT                            334

     IV. GHERARDI’S COLLECTION OF DOCUMENTS                            341

      V. DECREE OF 5TH MARCH, 1616                                     345

     VI. REMARKS ON THE SENTENCE AND RECANTATION                       347


ALBÈRI (Eugenio): “Le opere di Galileo Galilei.” Prima edizione completa
condotta sugli autentici manoscritti Palatini. Firenze, 1842-1856.

    *“Sul Processo di Galileo. Due Lettere in risposta al giornale
    S’opinione.” Firenze, 1864.

ANONYM: “Der heilige Stuhl gegen Galileo Galilei und das astronomische
System des Copernicus.” Historisch-politische Blätter für das katholische
Deutschland; herausgegeben von G. Phillips und G. Görres. Siebenter Band.
München, 1841.

    “Galileo Galilei. Sein Leben und seine Bedeutung für die
    Entwickelung der Naturwissenschaft.” Die Fortschritte der
    Naturwissenschaft in biographischen Bildern. Drittes Heft.
    Berlin, 1856.

    “Galileo Galilei.” Die Grenzboten. XXIV. Jahrgang. I. Semester.
    Nr. 24. 1865.

*ARDUINI (Carlo): “La Primogenita di Galileo Galilei rivelata dalle sue
lettere.” Florence, 1864.

BARBIER (Antoine Alexandre): “Examen critique et complément des
dictionnaires historiques les plus répandus.” Paris, 1820. Article

*BERTI (Prof. Domenico): “La venuta di Galileo Galilei a Padova. Studii.
Atti del Reale Istituto Veneto di scienze, lettere ed arti, dal Novembre
1870 all’ ottobre 1871.” Tomo decimosesto, seria terza, dispensa quinta,
ottava, nono e decima. Venezia, 1870, 1871.

    *“Copernico e le vicende del Sistema Copernicano in Italia
    nella seconda metà del secolo XVI. e nella prima del secolo
    XVII.” Roma, 1876.

    “Il Processo originale di Galileo Galilei, pubblicato per la
    prima volta.” Roma, 1876.

    “La Critica moderna e il Processo contro Galileo Galilei.”
    (Nuova Antologia, Gennajo, 1877 Firenze.)

BOUIX (L’Abbé): “La condamnation de Galilée. Lapsus des écrivains, qui
l’opposent à la doctrine de l’infaillibilité du Pape.”—Revue des Sciences
ecclésiastiques. Arras-Paris, février et mars, 1866.

CANTOR (Professor Dr. Moritz): “Galileo Galilei.” _Zeitschrift für
Mathematik und Physik._ 9. Jahrgang. 3. Heft. Leipzig, 1864.

    “Recensionen über die 1870 erschienenen Schriften Wohlwill’s
    und Gherardi’s über den Galilei’schen Process.” _Zeitschrift
    für Mathematik und Physik._ 16. Jahrgang. 1. Heft. 1871.

CASPAR (Dr. R.): “Galileo Galilei. Zusammenstellung der Forschungen und
Entdeckungen Galilei’s auf dem Gebiete der Naturwissenschaft, als Beitrag
zur Geschichte der neueren Physik.” Stuttgart, 1854.

CHASLES (Prof. Philarète): “Galileo Galilei, sa vie, son procès et ses
contemporains d’après les documents originaux.” Paris, 1862.

*COMBES (Louis): “Galilée et L’Inquisition Romaine.” Paris, 1876.

DELAMBRE (Jean Baptiste Joseph): “Histoire de l’astronomie ancienne.”
Paris, 1821.

ECKERT (Professor Dr.): “Galileo Galilei, dessen Leben und Verdienste um
die Wissenschaften.” Als Einladung zur Promotionsfeier des Pädagogiums.
Basel, 1858.

EPINOIS (Henri de L’): “Galilée, son procès, sa condamnation d’après des
documents inédits.” Extrait de la Revue des questions historiques. Paris,

    *“Les Pièces du Procès de Galilée, précédées d’un
    avant-propos.” Rome, Paris, 1877 v. Palmé société Générale de
    Librairie Catholique.

    *“La Question de Galilée, les faits et leurs conséquences.”
    Paris Palmé, 1878.

FIGUIER (Louis): “Galilée.” Vies des savants illustres du dix-septième
siècle. Paris, 1869.

FRIEDLEIN (Rector): “Zum Inquisitionsprocess des Galileo Galilei.”
_Zeitschrift für Mathematik und Physik._ 17. Jahrgang. 3. Heft. 1872.

GHERARDI (Prof. Silvestro): “Il Processo Galileo riveduto sopra documenti
di nuova fonte.” _Rivista Europea._ Anno 1. Vol. III. Firenze, 1870.[6]

    “Sulla Dissertazione del dott. Emilio Wohlwill. Il processo di
    Galileo Galilei.” Estratto della _Rivista Europea_. Firenze,

*GILBERT (Prof. Ph.): “Le Procès de Galilée d’après les Documents
contemporains.” Extrait de la Revue Catholique tomes I., II. Louvains,

GOVI (Gilberto): “Intorno a certi manuscritti apocrifi di Galileo.”
Torino, 1869. Estr. dagli Atti della Accadémia delle Scienze di Torino
Vol. V. Adunanza del 21 Nov. 1869.

    “Intorno a tre lettere di Galileo Galilei tratte dall’ archivio
    dei Gonzaga.” Bollettino di bibliografia e di storia delle
    scienze matematiche e fisiche pubblicato da B. Boncompagni.
    Tomo III. Roma, 1870.

GOVI (Gilberto): “Il S. Offizio, Copernico e Galileo a proposito di un
opuscolo postumo del P. Olivieri sullo stesso argomento.” Torino, 1872.

*GRISAR (Prof. H. S. J.): “Der Galilei’sche Process auf der neuesten
Actenpublicationen historisch und juristisch geprüft.” _Zeitschrift für
Kath. Theol._ II. Jahrgang, pp. 65-128. Innsbruck.

JAGEMANN: “Geschichte des Lebens und der Schriften des Galileo Galilei.”
Neue Auflage. Leipzig, 1787.

LIBRI: “Galileo Galilei, sein Leben und seine Werke.” Aus dem
Französischen mit Anmerkungen von F. W. Carové. Siegen und Wiesbaden,

MARINI (Mgr. Marino): “Galileo e l’inquisizione.” Memorie
storico-critiche. Roma, 1850.

MARTIN (Henri Th.): “Galilée, les droits de la science et la méthode des
sciences physiques.” Paris, 1868.

NELLI (Gio. Batista Clemente de): “Vita e commercio letterario di Galileo
Galilei.” Losanna (Firenze), 1793.

OLIVIERI (P. Maurizio-Benedetto Ex. generale dei domenicani e Commissario
della S. Rom. ed Univer. Inquisizione): “Di Copernico e di Galileo
scritto postumo ora per la prima volta messo in luce sull’ autografo per
cura d’un religioso dello stesso istituto.” Bologna, 1872.

PARCHAPPE (Dr. Max): “Galilée, sa vie, ses découvertes et ses travaux.”
Paris, 1866.

*PIERALISI (Sante, Sacerdote e Bibliotecario della Barberiniana): “Urbano
VIII. e Galileo Galilei: Memorie Storiche.” Roma, 1875. Tipografia
poliglotta della L. P. di Propaganda Fide.

    *“Correzioni al libro Urbano VIII. Galileo Galilei proposte
    dall’ autore Sante Pieralisi con osservazione sopra il processo
    originale di Galileo Galilei pubblicato da Domenico Berti.”
    Settembre, 1876.

REITLINGER (Prof. Edmund): “Galileo Galilei.” Freie Blicke.
Populärwissenschaftliche Aufsätze. Berlin, 1875.

REUMONT (Alfred von): “Galilei und Rom.” Beiträge zur italienischen
Geschichte. 1 Bd. Berlin, 1853.

REUSCH (Professor Dr. F. H.): “Der Galilei’sche Procesz.” Ein Vortrag.
Historische Zeitschrift; herausgegeben von Prof. Heinrich von Sybel. 17.
Jahrgang. 1875. 3. Heft.

REZZI (M. Domenica): “Sulla invenzione del microscopio, giuntavi una
notizia delle Considerazioni al Tasso attribuite a Galileo Galilei.”
Roma, 1852.

*RICCARDI (Prof. Cav. Pietro): “Di alcune recenti memorie sul processo e
sulla condanna del Galilei. Nota e Documenti aggiunti alla bibliografia
Galileiana.” Modena, 1873.

RICCIOLI (P. Jo. Bapt.): “Almagestum novum.” Bonioniae, 1651.

ROSINI (M. Giovanni): “Per l’inaugurazione solenne della statua di
Galileo.” Orazione. Pisa, 1839 (2 Oct).

ROSSI (Prof. Giuseppe): “Del Metodo Galileiano.” Bologna, 1877.

*SCARTAZZINI (Dr. T. A.): “Der Process des Galileo Galilei.” _Unsere
Zeit._ Jahrgang 13. Heft 7 and 18.

    *“Il processo di Galileo Galilei e la moderna critica tedesca.”
    _Revista Europea_, Vol. IV. Part V., Vol. V. Parts I and II., 1
    and 16 Jan. 1878.

*SCHNEEMANN (P. S. J.): “Galileo Galilei und der Römische Stuhl.” Stimmen
aus Maria Laach. Kath. Blättern. Nos. 2, 3, 4, Feb. Mar. April, 1878.

SNELL (Dr. Carl): “Ueber Galilei als Begründer der mechanischen Physik
und über die Methode derselben.” Jena, 1864.

TARGIONI TOZZETTI: “Notizie degli aggrandimenti delle scienze fisiche in
Toscana.” Firenze, 1780. (Contains in Vol. ii.: “Vita di Galileo scritta
da Nic. Gherardini.”)

VENTURI (Cav. Giambattista): “Memorie e lettere inedite finora o disperse
di Galileo Galilei.” Modena, 1818-1821.

VIVIANI: “Raconto istorico della vita di Galileo Galilei.” (Enthalten im
XV. Bande der Opere di Galileo Galilei. Prima edizione completa. Firenze,

VOSEN (Dr. Christian Hermann): “Galileo Galilei und die Römische
Berurtheilung des Copernicanischen Systems.” Broschürenverein Nr. 5.
Frankfurt am M. 1865.

WOHLWILL (Dr. Emil): “Der Inquisitionsprocess des Galileo Galilei.
Eine Prüfung seiner rechtlichen Grundlage nach den Acten der Römischen
Inquisition.” Berlin, 1870.

    *“Ist Galilei gefoltert worden? Eine kritische Studie.”
    Leipzig, 1877.

    “Zum Inquisitionsprocesz des Galileo Galilei.” _Zeitschrift für
    Mathematik und Physik._ 17. Jahrgang. 2. Heft. 1872.

*WOLYNSKI (Dott. Arturio): “Lettere inedite a Galileo Galilei.” Firenze,

    *“Relazione di Galileo Galilei colla Polonia esposte secondo i
    documenti per la maggior parte non pubblicati.” Firenze, 1873.

    “La Diplomazia Toscana e Galileo Galilei.” Firenze, 1874.





    Birth at Pisa.—Parentage.—His Father’s Writings on
    Music.—Galileo destined to be a Cloth Merchant.—Goes to the
    Convent of Vallombrosa.—Begins to study Medicine.—Goes to
    the University of Pisa.—Discovery of the Isochronism of the
    Pendulum.—Stolen Lessons in Mathematics.—His Hydrostatic
    Scales.—Professorship at Pisa.—Poor Pay.—The Laws of
    Motion.—John de’ Medici.—Leaves Pisa.—Professorship at
    Padua.—Writes various Treatises.—The Thermoscope.—Letter to
    Kepler.—The Copernican System.—“De Revolutionibus Orbium

The same memorable day is marked by the setting of one of the most
brilliant stars in the firmament of art and the rising of another in the
sphere of science, which was to enlighten the world with beams of equal
splendour. On the 18th February, 1564, Michael Angelo Buonarotti closed
his eyes at Rome, and Galileo Galilei first saw the light at Pisa.

He was the son of the Florentine nobleman, Vincenzo Galilei, and of
Julia, one of the ancient family of the Ammanati of Pescia, and was
born in wedlock, as the documents of the church clearly attest.[7]
His earliest years were spent at Pisa, but his parents soon returned
to Florence, which was their settled home. Here he received his early
education. His father had distinguished himself by his writings on the
theory of music, particularly the mathematical part of it.[8] They were
not merely above mediocrity, but aimed at innovation, and if they did not
achieve reform, it was to be attributed to the conservative spirit then
reigning in Italy, which asserted itself in every department of life, and
especially in the spheres of art and science.

Galileo’s father had no property. His income was but scanty, and the
fates had endowed him with a numerous family instead of with fortune.[9]
Under these untoward circumstances he at first destined the little
Galileo, as is related by Gherardini, his earliest biographer, to a
career by no means distinguished, though advantageous in a material point
of view, and one that conferred much of their wealth on the Florentines,
so that it was held in high esteem—he was to be a cloth dealer. But the
young noble first received the education befitting his station, that is,
a very mediocre teacher instructed him in the Humanities.[10] Fortunately
for the clever young scholar, he was handed over to the pious brethren of
the convent of Vallombrosa for further education. Here he at once made
rapid progress. He acquired great facility in the classics. His thorough
study of the masterpieces of antiquity was of the greatest advantage to
him. He doubtless thereby laid the foundation of the admirable style to
which he afterwards, in some measure, owed his brilliant successes.

Galileo had a great variety of talent. Besides ardent pursuit of the
solid branches of learning, he had considerable skill in drawing and
music, in which he afterwards attained so much perfection that his
judgment was highly esteemed, even by great artists.[11] He played the
lute himself with the skill of a master. He also highly appreciated
poetry. His later essays on Dante, Orlando Furioso, and Gerusalemme
Liberata, as well as the fragment of a play, bear witness to his lively
interest in _belles lettres_. But from his earliest youth he showed
the greatest preference for mechanics. He made little machines with
an ingenuity and skill which evinced a really unusual talent for such

With these abilities his father must soon have arrived at the conclusion
that his son was born for something better than for distributing wool
among the people, and resolved to devote him to science; only it was
necessary that the branch of it to which he turned his attention should
offer a prospect of profit. Medicine was decided on as the most likely
to be lucrative, although it may not seem the one most suited to his

On 5th November, 1581, Galileo, then just seventeen, entered the
University of Pisa.[13] Even here the young medical student’s
independent ideas and aims made way for themselves. At that time any
original ideas and philosophical views not derived from the dogmas of
Aristotle were unheard of. All the theories of natural science and
philosophy had hitherto been referred to theology. It had been held
to be the Alpha and Omega of all human knowledge. But now the period
was far advanced in which it was felt to be necessary to cast off the
narrow garments fashioned by religion, though at first the will to
do so exceeded the power. A stir and ferment agitated men’s minds. A
period of storm and stress had begun for the study of nature and the
philosophical speculation so closely connected with it. Men did not as
yet possess energy and ability for direct advance, so they turned with
real fanaticism to ancient learning, which, being independent, and not
based on religious notions, afforded them satisfaction. Under these
circumstances recurrence to the past was real progress.

Unconditional surrender to the ideas of others, entire adoption
of opinions, some of which were not too well verified, might suit
mediocrity, but it could not suffice for the powerful mind of Galileo,
who was striving to find out the truth for himself. The genius of the
young student rebelled fiercely against rigid adherence to an antiquated
standpoint. To the horror of the followers of Aristotle, who were quite
taken aback at such unheard-of audacity, he resolutely attacked in
public disputations many oracular dicta of their great master hitherto
unquestioned, and this even then made him many enemies, and acquired for
him the epithet of “the Wrangler.”[14]

Two circumstances occur during Galileo’s student years, which, in their
main features, are not without historical foundation, although in detail
they bear an anecdotal impress. One, which is characteristic of Galileo’s
observant eye, shows us the student of nineteen devoutly praying in the
Cathedral at Pisa; but he seems to have soon wearied of this occupation,
for he dreamily fixed his eye on the Maestro Possenti’s beautiful lamp,
hanging from an arch, which, in order to light it more readily, had
been moved out of its vertical position and then left to itself. The
oscillations were at first considerable, became gradually less and less,
but notwithstanding the varying distances, they were all performed in
the same time, as the young medical student discovered to a nicety by
feeling his pulse. The isochronism of the vibrations of the pendulum was

The other story refers to Galileo’s first mathematical studies.
Gherardini relates that he was scarcely acquainted with the elements of
mathematics up to his twentieth year, which, by the by, seems almost
incredible. But while he was diligently studying medicine at Pisa, the
court of Tuscany came there for some months. Among the suite was Ostilio
Ricci, governor of the pages, a distinguished mathematician and an old
friend of the Galilei family; Galileo, therefore, often visited him. One
morning when he was there, Ricci was teaching the pages. Galileo stood
shyly at the door of the schoolroom, listening attentively to the lesson;
his interest grew greater and greater; he followed the demonstration of
the mathematical propositions with bated breath. Strongly attracted by
the science almost unknown to him before, as well as by Ricci’s method
of instruction, he often returned, but always unobserved, and, Euclid in
hand, drank deeply, from his uncomfortable concealment, of the streams
of fresh knowledge. Mathematics also occupied the greater part of his
time in the solitude of his study. But all this did not satisfy his
thirst for knowledge. He longed to be himself taught by Ricci. At last he
took courage, and, hesitatingly confessing his sins of curiosity to the
astonished tutor, he besought him to unveil to him the further mysteries
of mathematics, to which Ricci at once consented.

When Galileo’s father learnt that his son was devoting himself to Euclid
at the expense of Hippocrates and Galen, he did his utmost to divert him
from this new, and as it seemed to him, unprofitable study. The science
of mathematics was not then held in much esteem, as it led to nothing
practical. Its use, as applied to the laws of nature, had scarcely
begun to be recognised. But the world-wide mission for which Galileo’s
genius destined him had been too imperiously marked out by fate for
him to be held back by the mere will of any man. Old Vincenzo had to
learn the unconquerable power of genius in young Galileo, and to submit
to it. The son pursued the studies marked out for him by nature more
zealously than ever, and at length obtained leave from his father to bid
adieu to medicine and to devote himself exclusively to mathematics and

The unexpected successes won by the young philosopher in a very short
time in the realm of science, soon showed that his course had now been
turned into the proper channel. Galileo’s father, who, almost crushed
with the burden of his family, could with difficulty bear the expense
of his son’s residence at the University, turned in his perplexity to
the beneficence of the reigning Grand Duke, Ferdinand de’ Medici, with
the request that, in consideration of the distinguished talents and
scientific attainments of Galileo, he would grant him one of the forty
free places founded for poor students at the University. But even then
there were many who were envious of Galileo in consequence of his unusual
abilities and his rejection of the traditional authority of Aristotle.
They succeeded in inducing the Grand Duke to refuse poor Vincenzo’s
petition, in consequence of which the young student had to leave the
University, after four years’ residence, without taking the doctor’s

In spite of these disappointments, Galileo was not deterred, on his
return home, from continuing his independent researches into natural
phenomena. The most important invention of those times, to which he was
led by the works of Archimedes, too little regarded during the Middle
Ages, was his hydrostatic scales, about the construction and use of which
he wrote a treatise, called “La Bilancetta.” This, though afterwards
circulated in manuscript copies among his followers and pupils, was not
printed until after his death, in 1655.

Galileo now began to be everywhere spoken of in Italy. The discovery of
the movement of the pendulum as a measurement of time, the importance
of which was increasingly recognised, combined with his novel and
intellectual treatment of physics, by which the phenomena of nature were
submitted, as far as possible, to direct proof instead of to the _a
priori_ reasoning of the Aristotelians, excited much attention in all
scientific circles. Distinguished men of learning, like Clavius at Rome,
with whom he had become acquainted on his first visit there in 1587,[18]
Michael Coignet at Antwerp, Riccoboni, the Marquis Guidubaldo del Monte,
etc., entered into correspondence with him.[19] Intercourse with the
latter, a distinguished mathematician, who took the warmest interest in
Galileo’s fate, became of the utmost importance to him. It was not merely
that to his encouragement he owed the origin of his excellent treatise
on the doctrine of centres of gravity, which materially contributed to
establish his fame, and even gained for him from Del Monte the name of
an “Archimedes of his time,” but he first helped him to secure a settled
and honourable position in life. By his opportune recommendation in 1589,
the professorship of mathematics at the University of Pisa, just become
vacant, was conferred on Galileo, with an income of sixty scudi.[20]
It is indicative of the standing of the sciences in those days that,
while the professor of medicine had a salary of two thousand scudi, the
professor of mathematics had not quite thirty kreuzers[21] a day. Even
for the sixteenth century it was very poor pay. Moreover, in accordance
with the usage at the Italian Universities, he was only installed for
three years; but in Galileo’s needy circumstances, even this little help
was very desirable, and his office enabled him to earn a considerable
additional income by giving private lessons.

During the time of his professorship at Pisa he made his grand researches
into the laws of gravitation, now known under the name of “Galileo’s
Laws,” and wrote as the result of them his great treatise “De Motu
Gravium.” It then had but a limited circulation in copies, and did not
appear in print until two hundred years after his death, in Albèri’s
“Opere complete di Galileo Galilei.” Aristotle, nearly two thousand
years before, had raised the statement to the rank of a proposition, that
the rate at which a body falls depends on its weight. Up to Galileo’s
time this doctrine had been generally accepted as true, on the mere word
of the old hero of science, although individual physicists, like Varchi
in 1544, and Benedetti in 1563, had disputed it, maintaining that bodies
of similar density and different weight fall from the same height in
an equal space of time. They sought to prove the correctness of this
statement by the most acute reasoning, but the idea of experiment did not
occur to any one. Galileo, well aware that the touchstone of experiment
would discover the vulnerable spot in Aristotelian infallibility, climbed
the leaning tower of Pisa, in order thence to prove by experiment, to the
discomfiture of the Peripatetic school, the truth of the axiom that the
velocity with which a body falls does not depend on its weight but on its

It might have been thought that his opponents would strike sail after
this decisive argument. Aristotle, the master, would certainly have
yielded to it—but his disciples had attained no such humility. They
followed the bold experiments of the young professor with eyes askance
and miserable sophistries, and, being unable to meet him with his own
weapons of scientific research, they eagerly sought an opportunity of
showing the impious and dangerous innovator the door of the _aula_.

An unforeseen circumstance came all at once to their aid in these
designs. An illegitimate son of the half-brother of the reigning Grand
Duke,—the relationship was somewhat farfetched, but none the less ominous
for Galileo—John de’ Medici, took an innocent pleasure in inventing
machines, and considered himself a very skilful artificer. This ingenious
semi-prince had constructed a monster machine for cleaning the harbour of
Leghorn, and proposed that it should be brought into use. But Galileo,
who had been commissioned to examine the marvel, declared it to be
useless, and, unfortunately, experiment fully confirmed the verdict.
Ominous head-shakings were seen among the suite of the deeply mortified
inventor. They entered into alliance with the Peripatetic philosophers
against their common enemy. There were cabals at court. Galileo,
perceiving that his position at Pisa was untenable, voluntarily resigned
his professorship before the three years had expired, and migrated for
the second time home to Florence.[23]

His situation was now worse than before, for about this time, 2nd July,
1591, his father died after a short illness, leaving his family in very
narrow circumstances. In this distress the Marquis del Monte again
appeared as a friend in need. Thanks to his warm recommendation to the
Senate of the Republic of Venice, in the autumn of 1592 the professorship
of mathematics at the University of Padua, which had become vacant, was
bestowed on Galileo for six years.[24] On 7th December, 1592, he entered
on his office with a brilliant opening address, which won the greatest
admiration, not only for its profound scientific knowledge, but for its
entrancing eloquence.[25] His lectures soon acquired further fame, and
the number of his admirers and the audience who eagerly listened to his,
in many respects, novel demonstrations, daily increased.

During his residence at Padua, Galileo displayed an extraordinary and
versatile activity. He constructed various machines for the service
of the republic, and wrote a number of excellent treatises, intended
chiefly for his pupils.[26] Among the larger works may be mentioned his
writings on the laws of motion, on fortification, gnomonics (the making
of sun-dials), mechanics, and on the celestial globe, which attained a
wide circulation even in copies, and were some of them printed long
afterwards—the one on fortification not until the present century;[27]
others, including the one on gnomonics, are unfortunately lost. On the
wide field of inventions two may be specially mentioned, one of which
was not fully developed until much later. The first was his proportional
circle, which, though it had no special importance as illustrative of
any principle, had a wide circulation from its various practical uses.
Ten years later, in 1606, Galileo published an excellent didactic work
on this subject, dedicated to Cosmo de’ Medici, and in 1607 a polemical
one against Balthasar Capra, of Milan, who, in a treatise published in
1607, which was nothing but a plagiarism of Galileo’s work disfigured by
blunders, gave himself out as the inventor of the instrument. Galileo’s
reply, in which he first exhibited the polemical dexterity afterwards
so much dreaded, excited great attention even in lay circles from its
masterly satire.[28] The other invention was a contrivance by which heat
could be more exactly indicated. Over zealous biographers have therefore
hastened to claim for their hero the invention of the thermometer, which,
however, is not correct, as the instrument, which was not intended to
measure the temperature, could not be logically called a thermometer, but
a thermoscope, heat indicator. Undoubtedly it prepared the way by which
improvers of the thermoscope arrived at the thermometer.[29]

Before proceeding further with Galileo’s researches and discoveries, so
far as they fall within our province, it seems important to acquaint
ourselves with his views about the Copernican system. From a letter of
his to Mazzoni, of 30th May, 1597,[30] it is clear that he considered
the opinions of Pythagoras and Copernicus on the position and motion of
the earth to be far more correct than those of Aristotle and Ptolemy.
In another letter of 4th August of the same year to Kepler, he thanks
him for his work, which he had sent him, on the Mysteries of the
Universe,[31] and writes as follows about the Copernican system:—

    “I count myself happy, in the search after truth, to have so
    great an ally as yourself, and one who is so great a friend
    of the truth itself. It is really pitiful that there are so
    few who seek truth, and who do not pursue a perverse method
    of philosophising. But this is not the place to mourn over
    the miseries of our times, but to congratulate you on your
    splendid discoveries in confirmation of truth. I shall read
    your book to the end, sure of finding much that is excellent
    in it. I shall do so with the more pleasure, because _I have
    been for many years an adherent of the Copernican system_, and
    it explains to me the causes of many of the appearances of
    nature which are quite unintelligible on the commonly accepted
    hypothesis. _I have collected many arguments for the purpose
    of refuting the latter_; but I do not venture to bring them to
    the light of publicity, for fear of sharing the fate of our
    master, Copernicus, who, although he has earned immortal fame
    with some, yet with very many (so great is the number of fools)
    has become an object of ridicule and scorn. I should certainly
    venture to publish my speculations if there were more people
    like you. But this not being the case, I refrain from such an

In an answer from Grätz, of 13th October of the same year, Kepler
urgently begs him to publish his researches into the Copernican system,
advising him to bring them out in Germany if he does not receive
permission to do so in Italy.[33] In spite of this pressing request of
his eminent friend, however, Galileo was not to be induced to bring
his convictions to the light yet, a hesitation which may not appear
very commendable. But if we consider the existing state of science,
which condemned the Copernican system as an unheard of and fantastic
hypothesis, and the religious incubus which weighed down all knowledge
of nature irrespective of religious belief, and if, besides all this,
we remember the entire revolution in the sphere both of religion and
science involved in the reception of the Copernican system, we shall be
more ready to admit that Galileo had good reason to be cautious. The
Copernican cause could not be served by mere partisanship, but only
by independent fresh researches to prove its correctness, indeed its
irrefragability. Nothing but the fulfilment of these conditions formed a
justification, either in a scientific or moral point of view, for taking
part in overturning the previous views of the universe.

Before the powerful mind of Copernicus ventured to question it, our earth
was held to be the centre of the universe, and about it all the rest
of the heavenly bodies revolved. There was but one “world,” and that
was our earth; the whole firmament, infinity, was the fitting frame to
the picture, upon which man, as the most perfect being, held a position
which was truly sublime. It was an elevating thought that you were on
the centre, the only fixed point amidst countless revolving orbs! The
narrations in the Bible, and the character of the Christian religion
as a whole, fitted this conception exceedingly well; or, more properly
speaking, were made to fit it. The creation of man, his fall, the flood,
and our second venerable ancestor, Noah, with his ark in which the
continuation of races was provided for, the foundation of the Christian
religion, the work of redemption;—all this could only lay claim to
universal importance so long as the earth was the centre of the universe,
the only world. Then all at once a learned man makes the annihilating
assertion that our world was not the centre of the universe, but revolved
itself, was but an insignificant part of the vast, immeasurable system
of worlds. What had become of the favoured status of the earth? And this
indefinite number of bodies, equally favoured by nature, were they also
the abodes of men? The bare possibility of a number of inhabited worlds
could but imperil the first principles of Christian philosophy.

The system of the great Copernicus, however, thanks to the anonymous
preface to his famous work, “De Revolutionibus Orbium Cœlestium,”
had not, up to this time, assumed to be a correct theory, but only a
hypothesis, which need not be considered even probable, as it was only
intended to facilitate astronomical calculations. We know now that
this was a gigantic mistake, that the immortal astronomer had aimed
at rectifying the Ptolemaic confusion, and was fully convinced of the
correctness of his system; we know that this unprincipled Introduction
is by no means to be attributed to Copernicus, but to Andreas Osiander,
who took part in publishing this book, which formed so great an epoch
in science, and whose anxious soul thereby desired to appease the
anticipated wrath of the theologians and philosophers. And we know
further that the founder of our present system of the universe, although
he handled the first finished copy of his imperishable work when he was
dying, was unable to look into it, being already struck by paralysis,
and thus never knew of Osiander’s weak-minded Introduction, which had
prudently not been submitted to him.[34]

A few days after receiving a copy of the great work of his genius,
Copernicus died, on 24th May, 1543; and his system, for which he had been
labouring and striving all his life, was, in consequence of Osiander’s
sacrilegious act, reduced to a simple hypothesis intended to simplify
astronomical calculations! As such it did not in the least endanger
the faith of the Church. Even Pope Paul III., to whom Copernicus had
dedicated his work, received it “with pleasure.” In 1566 a second edition
appeared at Basle, and still it did not excite any opposition from the
Church. It was not till 1616, when it had met with wide acceptance among
the learned, when its correctness had been confirmed by fresh facts, and
it had begun to be looked upon as true, that the Roman curia felt moved
to condemn the work of Copernicus until it had been corrected (_donec

Having thus rapidly glanced at the opposition between the Copernican
system and the Ptolemaic, which forms the prelude to Galileo’s subsequent
relations with Rome, we are at liberty to fulfil the task we have set
ourselves, namely, to portray “Galileo and the Roman Curia.”



    Term of Professorship at Padua renewed.—Astronomy.—A New
    Star.—The Telescope.—Galileo not the Inventor.—Visit to Venice
    to exhibit it.—Telescopic Discoveries.—Jupiter’s Moons.—Request
    of Henry IV.—“Sidereus Nuncius.”—The Storm it raised.—Magini’s
    attack on Galileo.—The Ring of Saturn.—An Anagram.—Opposition
    of the Aristotelian School.—Letter to Kepler.

The first six years of Galileo’s professorship at Padua had passed
away, but the senate were eager to retain so bright a light for their
University, and prolonged the appointment of the professor, whose renown
was now great, for another six years, with a considerable increase of

As we have seen, he had for a long time renounced the prevailing views
about the universe; but up to this time he had discussed only physical
mathematical questions with the Peripatetic school, the subject of
astronomy had not been mooted. But the sudden appearance of a new
star in the constellation of Serpentarius, in October, 1604, which,
after exhibiting various colours for a year and a half, as suddenly
disappeared, induced him openly to attack one of the Aristotelian
doctrines hitherto held most sacred, that of the unchangeableness of the
heavens. Galileo demonstrated, in three lectures to a numerous audience,
that this star was neither a mere meteor, nor yet a heavenly body which
had before existed but had only now been observed, but a body which had
recently appeared and had again vanished.[36] The subject, though not
immediately connected with the Copernican question, was an important
step taken on the dangerous and rarely trodden path of knowledge of
nature, uninfluenced by dogmatism or petrified professorial wisdom.
This inviolability of the vault of heaven was also conditioned by the
prevailing views of the universe. What wonder then that most of the
professors who had grown grey in the Aristotelian doctrine (Cremonio for
instance, Coressio, Lodovico delle Colombo, and Balthasar Capra) were
incensed at these opinions of Galileo, so opposed to all their scientific
prepossessions, and vehemently controverted them.

The spark, however, which was to set fire to the abundant inflammable
material, and to turn the scientific and religious world, in which doubt
had before been glimmering, into a veritable volcano, the spark which
kindled Galileo’s genius and made him for a long time the centre of that
period of storm and stress, was the discovery of the telescope.

We will not claim for Galileo, as many of his biographers have
erroneously done, priority in the construction of the telescope. We rely
far more on Galileo’s own statements than on those of his eulogists, who
aim at effect. Galileo relates with perfect simplicity at the beginning
of the “Sidereus Nuncius,” published at Venice in 1610, that he had heard
about ten months ago that an instrument had been made by a Dutchman,
by means of which distant objects were brought nearer and could be
seen very plainly. The confirmation of the report by one of his former
pupils, a French nobleman, Jean Badovere of Paris, had induced him to
reflect upon the means by which such an effect could be produced. By
the laws of refraction he soon attained his end. With two glasses fixed
at the ends of a leaden tube, both having one side flat and the other
side of the one being concave and of the other convex, his primitive
telescope, which made objects appear three times nearer and nine times
larger, was constructed. But now, having “spared neither expense nor
labour,” he had got so far as to construct an instrument which magnified
an object nearly a thousand times, and brought it more than thirty
times nearer.[37] Although, therefore, it is clear from this that the
first idea of the telescope does not belong to Galileo, it is equally
clear that he found out how to construct it from his own reflection and
experiments. Undoubtedly also the merit of having made great improvements
in it belongs to him, which is shown by the fact that at that time,
and long afterwards, his telescopes were the most sought after, and
that he received numerous orders for them from learned men, princes and
governments in distant lands, Holland, the birthplace of the telescope,
not excepted.[38] But the idea which first gave to the instrument
its scientific importance, the application of it to astronomical
observations, belongs not to the original inventor but to the genius of
Galileo. This alone would have made his name immortal.[39]

A few days after he had constructed his instrument, imperfect as it
doubtless was, he hastened with it to Venice, having received an
invitation, to exhibit it to the doge and senate, for he at once
recognised its importance, if not to the full extent. We will now let
Galileo speak for himself in a letter which he wrote from Venice to his
brother-in-law, Benedetto Landucci:—

    “You must know then that about two months ago a report was
    spread here that in Flanders a spy-glass had been presented to
    Prince Maurice, so ingeniously constructed that it made the
    most distant objects appear quite near, so that a man could
    be seen quite plainly at a distance of two _miglia_. This
    result seemed to me so extraordinary that it set me thinking;
    and as it appeared to me that it depended upon the theory of
    perspective, I reflected on the manner of constructing it,
    in which I was at length so entirely successful that I made
    a spy-glass which far surpasses the report of the Flanders
    one. As the news had reached Venice that I had made such an
    instrument, six days ago I was summoned before their highnesses
    the signoria, and exhibited it to them, to the astonishment of
    the whole senate. Many noblemen and senators, although of a
    great age, mounted the steps of the highest church towers at
    Venice, in order to see sails and shipping that were so far off
    that it was two hours before they were seen steering full sail
    into the harbour without my spy-glass, for the effect of my
    instrument is such that it makes an object fifty _miglia_ off
    appear as large and near as if it were only five.”[40]

Galileo further relates in the same letter that he had presented one of
his instruments to the senate, in return for which his professorship at
Padua had been conferred on him for life, with an increase of salary to
one thousand florins.[41]

On his return to Padua he became eagerly engrossed in telescopic
observation of the heavens. The astonishing and sublime discoveries
which were disclosed to him must in any case have possessed the deepest
interest for the philosopher who was continually seeking to solve
nature’s problems, and were all the more so, since they contributed
materially to confirm the Copernican theory.

His observations were first directed to the moon, and he discovered that
its surface was mountainous, which showed at all events that the earth’s
satellite was something like the earth itself, and therefore by no means
restored it to the aristocratic position in the universe from which it
had been displaced by Copernicus. The milky way, as seen through the
telescope, revealed an immense number of small stars. In Orion, instead
of the seven heavenly bodies already known, five hundred new stars were
seen; the number of the Pleiades, which had been fixed at seven, rose to
thirty-six; the planets showed themselves as disks, while the fixed stars
appeared as before, as mere bright specks in the firmament.

But the indefatigable observer’s far most important discovery, in its
bearing on the Copernican theory, was that of the moons of Jupiter,
in January 1610. As they exhibited motions precisely similar to those
which Copernicus had assumed for the whole solar system, they strongly
fortified his theory. It was placed beyond all doubt that our planet
was not the centre of all the heavenly bodies, since Jupiter’s moons
revolved round him. The latter was brought, so to speak, by the discovery
of his attendants, into relations with the earth which, considering
the prevailing views, were humiliating enough, and the more so since
Jupiter had four satellites while the earth had only one. There remained,
however, the consoling assurance that he and they revolved round our

In honour of the reigning house of his native country, and as an
acknowledgment of favours received from it (for since the accession of
Cosmo II.[42] Galileo had been in high favour), he called Jupiter’s moons
“Medicean stars.” The urgent solicitude of the French court to gain, by
Galileo’s aid, a permanent place on the chart of the heavens, is very
amusing. Thus, on 20th April, 1610, he received a pressing request, “in
case he discovered any other fine star, to call it after the great star
of France, Henry IV., then reigning, the most brilliant in the whole
universe, and to give it his proper name of Henry rather than that of the
family name of Bourbon.” Galileo communicated this flattering request, as
he seems to have considered it, with much satisfaction to the secretary
of the Tuscan court, Vincenzo Giugni, in a letter from Padua, on 25th
June, 1610,[43] as an evidence of the great importance attached to his
telescopic discoveries. He added that he did not expect to find any more
planets, as he had already made many very close observations.

Galileo published by degrees all the discoveries he had made at Padua,
of which we have only noticed the most important, in the work before
mentioned, the “Sidereus Nuncius”; it was dedicated to the Grand Duke,
Cosmo II., and the first edition appeared at Venice, in March, 1610.

Although the unexpected discoveries which Galileo had made with his
telescope had confirmed his opinion that the system of Copernicus was
the only one consistent with the facts of nature, had indeed made it his
absolute conviction, he had not yet ventured to defend it in his works.
He contented himself with stating bare facts, without showing their
relation to the ideas of Copernicus, leaving this to the learning and
insight of the reader. Moreover, the logical inferences from Jupiter’s
moons must surely stare every thoughtful man in the face, and so indeed
they did in a way very unwelcome to the scientific conservatives.

The storm raised by Galileo’s latest announcements was tremendous. People
heard with amazement the extraordinary things which the new invention had
brought to light, and paid a just tribute of admiration to the man to
whose labours it was due. But these discoveries were so directly opposed
to the traditional natural philosophy, still regarded as the highest
wisdom, that the “Sidereus Nuncius” had met with many opponents. It must
however be borne in mind that at the time of its first publication very
few of the learned were in a position to convince themselves with their
own eyes of the correctness of the appearances seen with the telescope,
simply because they had not the instrument at hand. From this cause, even
Kepler did not see the satellites of Jupiter till 30th August, 1610. But
men so free from jealousy and prejudice as Kepler (who, on reading the
“Sidereus Nuncius,” at once recognised the truth of the discoveries, and
said with enthusiasm that “Galileo had in this book given evidence of the
divinity of his genius”[44]), have at all times been rare.

At first, therefore, the majority of the learned world shook their heads
incredulously about the phenomena announced by the “Nuncius,” especially
in Italy, where envy lent its aid to bring an armed opposition into the
field. Little did it at first avail that Kepler, renowned as the first
astronomer in Germany, was on the side of the “Sidereus Nuncius”; for
in May of the same year he had a reprint of the work issued at Prague,
with an introduction in which he expressed his entire conviction of the
truth of the telescopic discoveries made known by it, and answered all
objections.[45] In vain. These new discoveries were too revolutionary
to be believed. Even upright and estimable scientific men, like Welser
in Augsburg, and Clavius at Rome, did not give credit to Galileo’s
statements until they learnt better by their own observations. The
latter, who was the first mathematician in Rome in his day, even said
“he laughed at the pretended satellites of Jupiter; you must construct a
telescope which would first make them and then show them.” Let Galileo
hold his own opinions, and he (Clavius) would hold his.[46]

But the leader of an unworthy agitation in Italy against Galileo was
a man who assumed this attitude from very different motives from the
sacred service of science. This was the well-known Professor Magini,
astronomer at the university of Bologna, who, next to Galileo, enjoyed
the highest reputation for learning in Italy. He could not brook that
his famous countryman should all at once obtain the highest fame with
seven-league boots, leaving a pigmy like himself far behind, by means of
the discoveries made known in his “Sidereus Nuncius.” He must not only be
refuted, the refutation must be circulated as widely as possible. But
the most repulsive feature in Magini’s conduct towards Galileo is his
double-facedness. He never openly ventured with any work into the arena
himself, but incited others all the more from behind concealment.[47]
Even if we do not, with Martin Hasdal and Alexander Sertini, accuse him
of being exactly the instigator of the famous libel “Peregrinatio contra
Nuncium Sidereum,” published by his assistant, Martin Horky, against
Galileo in 1610, which excited the indignation of all the right-minded
learned world, we cannot acquit him of complicity with him, and of
having had a hand, more or less, in that pamphlet. The suspicion is
strongly confirmed by the ostentation with which Magini, when told of
the publication of the “Peregrinatio,” drove the author, with disgust
and ridicule, out of his house, and took occasion to assert on all hands
that he had nothing whatever to do with the shameful act of his famulus,
an assertion in strange contradiction with the excuse afterwards made
by Horky to Kepler.[48] By Kepler’s advice Galileo did not do him the
honour of answering. The task was undertaken by Wedderburn, a Scotchman,
formerly a pupil of Galileo’s, and Antonio Roffeni, professor of
philosophy at the university of Bologna; the former at Padua during the
same year, the latter at Bologna in 1611.[49]

Meanwhile, in July, 1610, Galileo had observed a new appearance in the
heavens by means of his telescope, the ring of Saturn. In consequence,
however, of the imperfection of the instrument, it did not appear like a
ring, but Saturn looked like a triple star. Galileo, who on the one hand
did not wish to make the new discovery public until he had sufficiently
observed it, yet feared on the other that some one might claim priority,
at once communicated it in a letter from Padua, 30th July, 1610,[50] to
his influential friend Belisario Vinta, chief secretary of state to Cosmo
II., but urgently begged him to keep it a secret. But even this did not
seem sufficient to secure his right to the first observation of Saturn,
so he announced it to his friends in the following absurd anagram:—


Kepler puzzled for a long time over this enigma, and at last only made
out the barbaric line, “Salve umbistineum geminatum Martia proles,” which
he incorrectly applied to the planet Mars. At length, after repeated
requests, and after Julian de’ Medici, Tuscan ambassador at the Imperial
court, had been charged by the Emperor to ask for a solution, he complied
with the illustrious wish, and in a letter to Julian of 13th November,
1610,[51] gave the following startling explanation:—

    Altissimum Planetam tergeminum observavi.

The learned and semi-learned world of Italy had not yet had time to
become reconciled to the surprising discoveries announced in the
“Sidereus Nuncius” of March in the same year, when the asserted triple
nature of Saturn contravened the prevailing idea that there was nothing
new to be discovered in the heavens. The recognition of Galileo’s
telescopic discoveries made way very slowly. From the first he spared
no pains in popularising them. He did this repeatedly in public
lectures, and with so much success that he could write to Vinta: “even
the most exalted personages, who have been most vehement in attacking
my doctrines, at length gave up the game for lost, and acknowledged,
_coram populo_, that they were not only convinced but ready to defend
them against those philosophers and mathematicians who ventured to attack

But it was only at the University of Padua that Galileo could report
such rapid progress; and until the Maginis, Clavios, and others were
convinced by their own eyes, and confirmed to their own party the
truth of Galileo’s disclosures, he had to sustain a hard struggle with
incredulity, malice, and peripatetic fanaticism. Some rabid Aristotelians
went so far as to say that Galileo’s telescope was so constructed as to
show things that did not exist! Nor did it mend the matter much when
he offered 10,000 scudi to any one who should construct so cunning an
instrument.[53] Others resolutely refused even to look through the
telescope, giving it as their firm conviction that they would not be
able to see appearances which Aristotle had not said a word about in
all his books! The answer that Aristotle was not acquainted with the
telescope, and could not have known anything of telescopic appearances,
rebounded without effect from the petrified infallibility of Aristotelian
wisdom. Nor must it be supposed that these short-sighted conservatives
only numbered a few would-be _savans_ of the Peripatetic school; on the
contrary, celebrities like Cesare Cremonino da Cento, and Julius Libri,
denied Galileo’s discoveries _a priori_.[54] When Libri died in December,
1610, without having been willing to look through a telescope, and
protesting against Galileo’s “absurdities,” Galileo wrote in a letter of
17th December that this rigid opponent of his “absurdities,” as he was
never willing to look at them from earth, might perhaps see them on his
way to heaven![55]

Some passages from a letter of Galileo’s to Kepler, of 19th August,
1610, will best show how some of these men of science turned away with a
righteous awe from the inconvenient recognition of the truth. Galileo
writes among other things:—

    “You are the first and almost the only person who, even after
    but a cursory investigation, has, such is your openness of mind
    and lofty genius, given entire credit to my statements.... We
    will not trouble ourselves about the abuse of the multitude,
    for against Jupiter even giants, to say nothing of pigmies,
    fight in vain. Let Jupiter stand in the heavens, and let the
    sycophants bark at him as they will.... In Pisa, Florence,
    Bologna, Venice, and Padua many have seen the planets; but
    all are silent on the subject and undecided, for the greater
    number recognise neither Jupiter nor Mars and scarcely the
    moon as planets. At Venice one man spoke against me, boasting
    that he knew for certain that my satellites of Jupiter, which
    he had several times observed, were not planets because they
    were always to be seen with Jupiter, and either all or some
    of them, now followed and now preceded him. What is to be
    done? Shall we side with Democritus or Heraclitus? I think, my
    Kepler, we will laugh at the extraordinary stupidity of the
    multitude. What do you say to the leading philosophers of the
    faculty here, to whom I have offered a thousand times of my own
    accord to show my studies, but who with the lazy obstinacy of
    a serpent who has eaten his fill have never consented to look
    at planets, nor moon, nor telescope? Verily, just as serpents
    close their ears, so do these men close their eyes to the light
    of truth. These are great matters; yet they do not occasion me
    any surprise. People of this sort think that philosophy is a
    kind of book like the Æneid or the Odyssey, and that the truth
    is to be sought, not in the universe, not in nature, but (I
    use their own words) _by comparing texts_! How you would laugh
    if you heard what things the first philosopher of the faculty
    at Pisa brought against me in the presence of the Grand Duke,
    for he tried, now with logical arguments, now with magical
    adjurations, to tear down and argue the new planets out of



    Galileo’s Fame and Pupils.—Wishes to be freed from Academic
    Duties.—Projected Works.—Call to Court of Tuscany.—This change
    the source of his Misfortunes.—Letter from Sagredo.—Phases of
    Venus and Mercury.—The Solar Spots.—Visit to Rome.—Triumphant
    Reception.—Letter from Cardinal del Monte to Cosmo II.—The
    Inquisition.—Introduction of Theology into the Scientific
    Controversy.—“Dianoja Astronomica.”—Intrigues at Florence.

Galileo’s fame, especially through his telescopic discoveries, and partly
also through the exertions of his noisy opponents, had long extended
beyond the narrow bounds of Italy, and the eyes of all central Europe
were directed to the great astronomer. Numbers of pupils flocked to him
from all countries, so that no lecture room in Padua was large enough to
hold them. There were some distinguished personages among them, such as
the Archduke Ferdinand of Austria, the Landgrave Philip of Hesse, the
princes of Alsace, Mantua, etc., who mostly came to attend the lectures
of the versatile master on fortification. It is, however, another fable
of over zealous biographers to state that even Gustavus Adolphus,
the hero of the thirty years’ war, went to school for some months to

This close occupation, with lectures and private lessons of all kinds,
took him too much away from his own studies, and after twenty years’
professorship Galileo longed for a post in which he could prosecute
his own researches, and devote himself to the completion of his works,
free from academic duties. A letter from Padua, even in the spring of
1609,[58] shows his longing for this salaried leisure. But he is aware
that the republic can never offer him such a post, “for it would not be
suitable to receive a salary from a free state, however generous and
magnanimous, without serving the public for it; because if you derive
benefit from the public, you have the public to please, and not a mere
private person.” He also mentions that he can only hope for such a favour
from some absolute sovereign; but it must not be supposed that he wishes
for an income without doing anything for it; he was in possession of
various inventions, was almost daily making new ones, and should make
more if he had the necessary leisure. Galileo adds that it has always
been his intention “to offer them to his own sovereign and natural lord
before any other, that he may dispose of them and the inventor according
to his pleasure; and if it seemed good to his serene highness to accept
it, to present him not only with the jewel but with the casket also.”

This first attempt of Galileo’s, however, to gain a footing at the court
of Tuscany seems to have been unsuccessful. At any rate in the extant
correspondence of this period there is not a word more on the subject;
and a few months later, after the construction of the telescope, he
thankfully accepted the chair of mathematics at Padua offered to him for
life by the republic. But this invention and the consequent discoveries
had meanwhile acquired such vast importance, and had, as we have seen,
raised such a storm in the whole educated world, that it now appeared
very desirable to the court of Tuscany to attach to itself for ever the
man on whom the eyes of scientific Europe were fixed.

The first steps towards this end were taken when Galileo went to Florence
in the Easter recess of 1610 to show his telescopic discoveries to Cosmo
II., especially the stars which bore the name of the reigning house.
We afterwards find Galileo entering eagerly into the negotiations which
followed. In the letter to Vinta before mentioned, of May 7th, 1610,
he presses for a decision, for, he says, observing that day after day
goes by, he was determined to set a definite purpose before him in the
ordering of the life that may be left to him, and to devote all his
powers to perfect the fruits of his previous efforts and studies, from
which he might look for some fame. He then mentions the conditions on
which he at present serves the republic, perhaps in order that they might
be guided by it at Florence; but what he lays most stress on is that it
is of the utmost moment to him that leisure should be assured him for
the completion of his labours, by his being freed from the obligation to
give public lectures; but it will always confer on him the highest honour
to give lectures to his sovereign, to whom also he will dedicate all his

The same letter is also of the highest interest as giving us an insight
into the scientific projects he was then cherishing. He communicates to
the Tuscan secretary of state the works the completion of which lies so
near his heart. He says:—

    “The works which I have to finish are chiefly two books _de
    systemate, seu constitutione universi_, a vast project full
    of philosophy, astronomy, and geometry; three books _de motu
    locali_, an entirely new science, for no other inquirer,
    ancient or modern, has discovered any of the wonderful
    phenomena which I show to be present in natural and induced
    motion; I may therefore with perfect justice call it a new
    science discovered by me from its first principles; three
    books on mechanics, two relating to the demonstration of the
    principles and fundamental propositions, one containing the
    problems; although others have treated of the same subject,
    what has been hitherto written upon it is neither as to extent
    nor in other respects a fourth part of what I am writing. I
    have also various smaller works in view on matters connected
    with nature, such as _de sono et voce_, _de visu et coloribus_,
    _de maris æstu_, _de compositione continui_, _de animalium
    motibus_, and others. I am also thinking of writing some books
    for the soldier, not only to cultivate his mind, but to teach
    him by select instruction all those things connected with
    mathematics which it would be an advantage to him to know, as,
    for instance, castrametation, military tactics, fortification,
    sieges, surveying, estimate of distances, artillery, the use of
    various instruments, etc.”[59]

We regard with astonishment the wonderful versatility which we find
displayed in Galileo’s works. And amongst them are not only all the
larger ones announced in the above letter; his important telescopic
discoveries and his ceaselessly active mind led him far to surpass the
bounds he had set himself, for he was the first to infuse conscious life
into the slumbering idea of the Copernican system.

This memorable letter of Galileo’s soon brought the court of Tuscany
to a decision. Fourteen days later, 22nd May, Vinta wrote to him, as a
preliminary, that the Grand Duke seemed well disposed to recall him to
his native country and to grant all his wishes.[60] He promised to inform
Galileo as soon as it was all settled. On 5th June he wrote that Cosmo
II. was willing to nominate him as first philosopher and mathematician
of the University of Pisa, with an annual stipend of 1000 Florentine
scudi, without any obligation to live at Pisa or to give lectures. Vinta
requested Galileo to let him know whether he agreed to these conditions,
in order that he might have the necessary application drawn up in
Galileo’s name, as well as the decree and rescript; the time of their
publication shall be left to Galileo, and meanwhile all shall be kept
secret.[61] Galileo wished particularly that nothing should be known at
Venice of these negotiations, which did not place his gratitude to the
republic which had shown him so much favour in the best light, until all
was decided and therefore irrevocable.

Having declared himself entirely satisfied with the proposed conditions,
in a letter to the secretary of state, the only alteration being that he
should like not only to be first mathematician at Pisa, but also first
mathematician and philosopher to the Grand Duke himself,[62] the decree
summoning him to the court of Tuscany in this twofold capacity was issued
on 12th July, 1610.

Notwithstanding all the great advantages which this new post secured to
him, it was a very bad exchange for Galileo from the free republican
soil to the doubtful protection of a princely house which, although very
well disposed towards him, could never offer so decided an opposition
to the Roman curia as the republic of Venice. It was indeed the first
step which precipitated Galileo’s fate.[63] In the Venetian republic
full liberty of doctrine was really enjoyed, in religious Tuscany it was
only nominal. In Venice politics and science were secure from Jesuitical
intrigues; for when Pope Paul V. thought proper to place the contumacious
republic under an interdict in April, 1606, the Jesuit fathers had been
compelled to quit the soil of Venice “for ever.”[64] In Tuscany, on the
contrary, where they felt quite at home, their influence weighed heavily
on everything affecting their own interests, and especially therefore
on politics and science. Had Galileo never left the pure, wholesome
air of the free city for the stifling Romish atmosphere of a court, he
would have escaped the subsequent persecutions of Rome; for the republic
which, not long before, had been undaunted by the papal excommunication
of their doge and senate, would assuredly never have given up one of its
university professors to the vengeance of the Inquisition.

At the beginning of September, 1610, Galileo, to the no small displeasure
of the Paduans, left their university, at which eighteen years before
he had found willing reception and support when his longer tarriance
at Pisa had become impossible; deserted his noble friends, Fra Paolo
Sarpi, Francesco Sagredo, and others; and proceeded to the capital of
the court of Tuscany on the lovely banks of the Arno, where at first,
it is true, much honour was done him, but where afterwards envy,
jealousy, narrowness, ill will, and fanaticism combined together to his
destruction. One of his most devoted friends, Francesco Sagredo, foresaw
it. When Galileo left Venice he was in the East, in the service of the
republic, and did not return till the spring of 1611, when he wrote
a remarkable letter to his friend at Florence. After having heartily
expressed his regret at not finding Galileo on his return home, he
states his doubts about the step his friend had taken. He asks, among
other things, “where will he find the same liberty as in the Venetian
territory? And notwithstanding all the generous qualities of the young
ruler, which permitted the hope that Galileo’s merits will be justly
valued, who can promise with any confidence that, if not ruined, he may
not be persecuted and disquieted on the surging billows of court life,
by the raging storms of envy?” It is evident from another passage in the
letter that Galileo’s behaviour had made a bad impression at Venice,
where they had not long before raised his salary to a thousand florins,
and conferred his professorship on him for life; towards the end of the
letter Sagredo lets fall the ominous words that he “was convinced _that
as Galileo could not regain what he had lost_, he would take good care to
hold fast what he had gained.”[65]

Only a month after Galileo’s arrival at Florence he made a fresh
discovery in astronomy which eventually contributed to confirm the
Copernican theory, namely, the varying crescent form of the planet Venus.
With this the important objection to the new system seemed to be removed,
that Venus and Mercury did not exhibit the same phases of light as the
moon, which must be the case if the earth moved, for they would vary
with her position in the universe. Galileo communicated this appearance,
which entailed conclusions so important, and which he therefore wished
to investigate more thoroughly before making it known, to his friend and
correspondent Julian de’ Medici at Prague, in an alphabetical enigma, as
in the case of the singular appearance of Saturn. It was as follows:

    “Hæc immatura a me jam frustra leguntur o y.”[66]

Having fully convinced himself by nearly three months’ observations
that Venus and Mars exhibited phases similar to those of the moon, he
made it known in two letters of 30th December[67] to Father Clavius, at
Rome, and to his former distinguished pupil Benedetto Castelli, abbot of
the congregation of Monte Cassino, in Brescia; and in a letter of 1st
January, 1611, he sent the following solution of the anagram to Julian
de’ Medici:—

    “Cynthiæ figuras æmulatur mater amorum.”

In this letter he draws the important conclusions, first that none of the
planets shine by their own light, and secondly “that necessarily Venus
and Mercury revolve round the sun; a circumstance which was surmised of
the other planets by Pythagoras, Copernicus, Kepler, and their followers,
but which could not be proved by ocular demonstration, as it could now
in the case of Venus and Mercury. Kepler and the other Copernicans may
now be proud to have judged and philosophised correctly, and it may well
excite disgust that they were regarded by the generality of men of book
learning as having little understanding and as not much better than

At this time Galileo was also eagerly occupied with a phenomenon which
was to be a further confirmation of the Copernican view of the universe,
the spots on the sun. By attentively observing their motions on the
sun’s disk he afterwards discovered the sun’s motion on its own axis,
a fatal blow to the Ptolemaic system. Although to science it may be
quite indifferent whether Galileo, or Fabricius, or the Jesuit father
Scheiner first espied the spots on the sun (for they all lay claim to the
discovery), for us it has its importance, because the bitter contention
between Galileo and Scheiner on the subject materially contributed to set
the stone rolling which, in its fall, was no less disastrous to the moral
greatness of Galileo than to the erudition of Rome.

In consideration of the intense interest excited by Galileo’s
“epoch-making” discoveries, the Roman curia, which still held it to be
one of its most important duties to guard mankind as much as possible
from precocious knowledge, was of course eager to learn more about them,
and above all, of the conclusions which the discoverer drew from them.
It must also have appeared of great importance to Galileo to acquaint
the Roman _savans_ and dignitaries of the Church with his scientific
achievements, for the authority and influence then exercised by them over
the free progress of science made their opinions of the utmost moment
to him. They must, if possible, be first made to see the premises with
their own eyes, that they might afterwards be able to comprehend and
assent to the conclusions. Galileo clearly saw this, as appears from a
letter of 15th January, 1611, to Vinta[69] (who was then with the court
at Pisa), in which he urgently begs permission for a visit to the papal
residence. The request was not only immediately granted, but the court
placed a litter at his disposal, undertook to defray all his expenses,
and directed the Tuscan ambassador at Rome to prepare quarters for him
at the embassy and to entertain him during the whole of his stay.[70]
Meanwhile, however, Galileo was attacked by an illness which delayed his
journey for nearly two months. On 22nd March he received a cordial letter
of introduction[71] from Michel Angelo the younger to Cardinal Barberini,
afterwards Urban VIII., and on the next day he set out provided with his
most convincing arguments, namely several excellent telescopes.

He was received with the greatest honour. His triumphs were really
extraordinary, so great that they were sure to secure for him numerous
personal enemies in addition to the opponents of his doctrines. He
exhibited the oft discussed appearances to cardinals and learned men
through the telescope, and, whenever he could, dispelled their doubts by
the incontrovertible evidence of their own eyes. People could not refuse
to believe this, and Galileo’s success in the papal city was complete. Of
still greater importance, however, was the opinion given on 24th April
by four scientific authorities of the Roman College, on the character
“of the new astronomical discoveries of an excellent astronomer,” at the
request of Cardinal Robert Bellarmine. This commission, consisting of
the learned fathers Clavius, Griemberger, Malcotio, and Lembo, confirmed
what they had long denied and ridiculed, convinced by the evidence of
their own senses of the truth of the facts maintained by Galileo.[72] By
this opinion of the papal experts his discoveries received, to a certain
extent, the sanction of the Church, and became acknowledged truths. The
care with which the mention of Galileo’s name is avoided both in the
request and the opinion is remarkable.

Attentions of all sorts were heaped upon the astronomer. Pope Paul V.
granted him a long audience and graciously assured him of his unalterable
good will, which however did not remain quite unaltered in the sequel.
The highest dignitaries of the Church testified their admiration; the
Accadémia dei Lincei (of the Lynxes), founded six years before by Prince
Cesi, made the renowned guest a member; when he took his departure at the
beginning of June he left behind him in the metropolis of catholicism as
many sincere friends and admirers as envious foes, the fate of all really
great men.

A letter from Cardinal del Monte of 31st May, 1611, to Cosmo II., best
shows how successful Galileo’s visit to Rome was. He writes with real

    “Galileo has during his stay at Rome given great satisfaction,
    and I think he must have felt it no less himself, for he had
    the opportunity of showing his discoveries so well that to all
    clever and learned men in this city they seemed no less true
    and well founded than astonishing. Were we still living under
    the ancient republic of Rome, I verily believe there would have
    been a column on the Capitol erected in his honour. It appeared
    to me to be my duty to accompany his return with this letter,
    and to bear witness to your Highness of the above, as I feel
    assured that it will be agreeable to you, since your Highness
    entertains such gracious good will towards your subjects, and
    to distinguished men like Galileo.”[73]

But the watchful Inquisition had already directed its attention to
the man who had made such portentous discoveries in the heavens. How
far this had gone we unfortunately do not exactly know. The only well
authenticated indication we possess is the following notice in the
protocols of the sittings of the Holy Congregation: “Feria iii. die,
17 Maii, 1611. Videatur an in Processu Doctoris Cæsaris Cremonini sit
nominatus Galilaeus Philosophiæ ac Mathematicæ Professor.”[74] This is
the first time that the name of Galileo occurs in the papers of the
Congregation of the Holy Office, and it was in the midst of the applause
which greeted him in the eternal city. Whether, and in what way, this
official query was answered is not to be found in the documents of the
Inquisition. But it looks ominous that there should be an inquiry about a
connection between Galileo and Cremonini who was undergoing a trial. The
causes and course of the trial of Cremonini by the Inquisition are not
yet known. All that is known is that he was Professor of the philosophy
of Aristotle at the University of Padua; and it appears from the letters
of Sagredo to Galileo, that his lectures and writings had given rise to
suspicions of atheism. For the rest, Cremonini was all his life one of
Galileo’s most decided enemies.

The very triumphs of Galileo and his telescopic discoveries were
the causes, to a great extent, of those ceaseless and relentless
persecutions which were to restrict his labours and embitter his life.
The Aristotelians perceived with rage and terror the revolutionary
discoveries of this dangerous innovator were surely, if slowly, gaining
ground. Every one of them, with its inevitable logical consequences,
pulled down some important stone in the artistic structure of their views
of nature; and unless some measures were taken to arrest the demolition,
it was clear that the venerable edifice must fall and bury the inmates
beneath the ruins. This must be averted at any price, even at the price
of knowledge of the acts of nature. If Galileo’s reformed physics offered
no point of attack, his astronomy did; not indeed in the honourable
contest of scientific discussion, but by bringing theology into the field
against science.

Galileo had never openly proclaimed his adoption of the earth’s double
motion, but the demonstration of his telescopic observations alone
sufficed to make it one of the burning questions of the day. What were
the phases of Venus and Mercury, the motions of the solar spots, and
above all Jupiter and his moons, this little world within our large
one, as Galileo afterwards called it himself,[75] but telling proofs of
the truth of the Copernican theory? The question of the two systems had
been hitherto an exclusively scientific one. How else could the famous
philosopher and astronomer Nicholas of Casa, who taught the double motion
of the earth in the fifteenth century, have gained a cardinal’s hat?
How could the German, Widmanstadt, have explained his theory, which was
based upon the same principles, to Pope Clement VII. in 1533? How could
learned men like Celio Calganini, Wurteis, and others, have given public
lectures on the subject in Italy in the second half of the sixteenth
century? Neither Casa, however, nor Widmanstadt, Calganini, Wurteis, nor
even Copernicus, had ventured openly to declare war with the school of
Aristotle, nor to overthrow by the crushing evidence of experiment the
dogmas of natural science based upon philosophy and _a priori_ arguments
alone. These learned men had been tolerated because they fought with the
same weapons as the followers of Ptolemy, logic and philosophy. They did
not possess the powerful lever of direct evidence, because they were
not acquainted with the telescope. But Galileo, with his fatal system
of demonstration by observation of nature, was far too dangerous a foe.
Peripateticism was no match for the home thrusts of arguments obvious
to the senses, and its defenders were well aware that if they would not
yield their position they must call in some other ally than mere science.
And they adopted the means best adapted for putting a temporary drag on
the wheels of truth, and for ruining Galileo; in order to prop up the
failing authority of Aristotle they called in the inviolable authority of
Holy Scripture!

This dragging of the Bible into what had previously been a purely
scientific controversy, a proceeding which proved so fatal to Galileo,
must not however, as has been done by several authors, be attributed
solely to party considerations or even personal motives. This is
absolutely false. Greatly as these factors were concerned in it, it must
be admitted that at first they were only incidentally mixed up with it.
The multitude of the learned, who still adhered entirely to the old
system of the universe, and regarded the theories of Copernicus (not yet
based on ocular demonstration) as mere fantasies, were really aghast at
the telescopic discoveries of Galileo which threatened to overturn all
their previous beliefs. The learned, and still more the semi-learned,
world of Italy felt the ground tremble beneath their feet; and it seemed
to them as if the foundations of all physics, mathematics, philosophy,
and religion, were, with the authority of Aristotle, which had reigned
for two thousand years, being borne to the grave. This did not present
itself to them as progress but as sacrilege.

A young fanatic, the monk Sizy (the same who seven years later was broken
on the wheel for political crimes at Paris), was the first to transfer
what had been a purely scientific discussion to the slippery arena of
theology. At the beginning of 1611 he published at Venice a work called
“Dianoja Astronomica”[76] in answer to the “Sidereus Nuncius,” in which
he asserted that the existence of the moons of Jupiter was incompatible
with the doctrines of Holy Scripture. He appropriately dedicated his
book to that semi-prince of the blood, John de’ Medici, who was known
to be the mortal enemy of Galileo. The author, as we learn from his own
work, was one of those contemptible men who carefully abstained from even
looking through a telescope, although firmly convinced that the wonders
announced by Galileo were not to be seen. Galileo did not vouchsafe
to defend himself from this monkish attack any more than from Horky’s
libel the year before. He contented himself with writing on the back of
the title page of the copy still preserved in the National Library at
Florence the following lines from Ariosto:—

    “Soggiunse il duca: Non sarebbe onesto
    Che io volessi la battaglia torre,
    Di quel che m’ offerisco manifesto,
    Quando ti piaccia, innanci agli occhi torre.”[77]

But Galileo’s envious foes at once consorted with the, at all events,
honourable fanatics of the old school, and eagerly seized the opportunity
of pursuing their miserable designs “to the glory of God and imperilled
religion.” It was in Florence itself, in the palace of the Tuscan
Archbishop Marzimedici, who had once studied under Galileo at Pisa,
that secret consultations were held, presided over by this prelate, how
the inconvenient philosopher and his revolutionary system might best be
ruined. They even then went so far as to request a preacher to hurl at
Galileo from the pulpit the accusation, more dangerous than any other
in the sixteenth century, that he was attacking the Bible with his
doctrines. But for this time these pious gentlemen had gone to the wrong
man, for the priest, seeing through the foul purpose of the commission,
declined it.

Galileo had not the slightest knowledge of the secret conspiracy which
was plotting against him, and was first roused from the security into
which he had been lulled by the brilliant success of his visit to Rome
by a letter from his friend there, Cigoli the painter, of 16th December,
1611.[78] But he did not at first attach to these communications the
importance they deserved, and it was not until several months afterwards
that he addressed himself to Cardinal Conti, who was very friendly
to him, to ask how far the Holy Scriptures did really favour the
Aristotelian views of the universe, and whether the Copernican system
contradicted them.

Conti answered him in a letter of 7th July, 1612,[79] that the statements
of Holy Scripture were rather against the Aristotelian principle of
the unchangeableness of the heavens than in favour of it, for all the
fathers had held the contrary opinion. But the case was different with
the doctrine of the earth’s revolution round the sun, as held by the
Pythagoreans, Copernicus and others. This certainly did not seem to agree
with Holy Scripture, unless it was assumed that it merely adopted the
customary mode of expression. But, added the cardinal, that was a method
of interpretation to be employed only in case of the greatest necessity.
Diego di Zuñiga had indeed explained in this way, conformably with the
Copernican opinions, the passage in which Joshua commanded the sun to
stand still; but the explanation was not generally admitted.

Father Lorini also, professor of ecclesiastical history at Florence,
afterwards a ringleader of the base intrigues against Galileo and an
informant against him, wrote to him 5th November, 1612,[80] to deny a
report that he had publicly preached against Galileo. He only confessed
to having given it as his opinion, in a conversation about the two
systems, that the View of this _Ipernic_, or whatever his name might
be, appeared to be contrary to Holy Scripture. Galileo wrote in a
letter of 5th January, 1613,[81] to Prince Cesi: “The good man is so
well acquainted with the author of these doctrines that he calls him
_Ipernic_. You can see how and by whom poor philosophy suffers.” It
appears also from the same letter that Galileo was now well aware of the
intrigues being carried on against him in Florence, for he says among
other things: “I thank you and all my dear friends very much for your
anxiety for my protection against the malice which is constantly seeking
to pick quarrels even here, and the more so since the enemy is so near at
hand; but as they are but few in number, and their ‘league,’ as they call
it among themselves, is but of limited extent, I laugh at it.”



    Treatise on Floating Bodies.—Controversy with Scheiner about
    the Solar Spots.—Favourable reception of Galileo’s work
    on the subject at Rome.—Discussion with the Grand Duchess
    Christine.—The Bible brought into the controversy.—Ill-fated
    Letter to Castelli.—Caccini’s Sermon against Galileo.—Lorini
    denounces the Letter to the Holy Office.—Archbishop Bonciani’s
    attempts to get the original Letter.—“Opinion” of the
    Inquisition on it.—Caccini summoned to give evidence.—Absurd
    accusations.—Testimony of Ximenes and Attavanti in Galileo’s

While the storm which was to burst over Galileo’s head was thus slowly
gathering, he was making important progress in the departments of physics
and mechanics.

His treatise on the motion of floating bodies led to very important
results.[82] In it he again took the field against the Peripatetic
philosophers, and refuted the assertion of Aristotle that the floating
or partial immersion of bodies in water depended chiefly on their
form, for by his approved method of studying the open book of nature
he clearly showed the error of that opinion. In this work Galileo laid
the foundations of hydrostatics as mostly held to this day. The old
school rose up once more to refute him, as a matter of course; but their
polemics cut a pitiful figure, for the champions of antiquated wisdom had
in their impotence mostly to content themselves with wretched sophisms as
opposed to Galileo’s hard facts, and as a last resort to insist on the
authority of Aristotle.

The combatants who took the field with various writings to defend
the Peripatetic school against these fresh attacks of Galileo were
the professors Giorgio Corressio, Tommaso Palmerini, Lodovico delle
Colombo, in 1612, and in 1613 Vincenzo di Grazia. Corressio was answered
by Benedetto Castelli; but the work, which is preserved in MS. in the
National Library at Florence, was not published, out of pity for his
opponent who, in the meantime, had been overtaken by severe misfortune.
Although professing to be a Roman Catholic, he was discovered to
belong to the Greek Non-Uniat church, which entailed the loss of his
professorship at the University of Pisa. Galileo intended himself to
answer Palmerini, but while he was doing so Palmerini died, and not
wishing to fight a dead man, he laid his reply aside. The lame objections
of the other two received a brilliant refutation in a work published in
1615 by Castelli. From the original MS., however, in the National Library
at Florence, which is mostly in Galileo’s handwriting, it is evident that
he was the real author.[83]

During the same year in which he had so alarmed the Peripatetics by the
treatise on floating bodies, he was much occupied with the controversy
with the Jesuit father, Scheiner, before mentioned, professor of
mathematics at Ingolstadt, about the solar spots and the priority of
their discovery. In three letters to Welser of Augsburg (published there
in 1612) he had claimed for himself, under the pseudonym of “Apelles,”
the earliest observation of these appearances, and explained them
conformably to the traditional opinions. He propounded the ingenious idea
that these spots were a multitude of little planets, passing over the
sun’s disk as they revolved round the earth. By this clever explanation
he secured the applause of all the Peripatetic school, and proclaimed
himself the decided foe of Galileo. Challenged to do so by Welser,
Galileo replied in three letters addressed to him, in which “Apelles”
came off but poorly.[84] Galileo convincingly refuted his opponent’s
explanation of the spots, and brilliantly defended his own right to the
priority of their discovery by appealing to witnesses to whom he had made
it known in 1610. These letters, together with Scheiner’s, were published
in March, 1613, under the title “History and Explanation of the Solar
Spots,”[85] with a fine portrait of Galileo, and a dedication to his
illustrious friend Salviati, of the “Accadémia dei Lincei.”

The publication of this work was of especial significance, because it was
the first in which Galileo decidedly takes the side of the Copernican
system. This accounts for the extraordinary sensation made by these
essays. The controversy on the two systems came more and more to the
front. And yet, notwithstanding all this, no theological scruples seem
at first to have been felt at Rome, even in the highest ecclesiastical
circles. On the contrary, we find the cardinals Maffeo Barberini[86]
(afterwards Pope Urban VIII.), and Federigo Borromeo,[87] thanking
Galileo in the most friendly terms for sending them his work, and
expressing their sincere admiration for the researches described in it.
And Battista Agucchia, then one of the first officials at the court of
Rome, and afterwards secretary of Pope Gregory XV., in a similar letter
of thanks,[88] not only fully endorsed these opinions, but expressed his
firm belief that they would in time be universally acknowledged, although
now they had many opponents, partly from their novelty and remarkable
character, and partly from the envy and obstinacy of those who had from
the first maintained the contrary view.

The scientific circles of the university town of Pisa were far less
friendly to the Copernican ideas than the higher ecclesiastics at the
papal residence. Father Castelli, who in October of the same year was
called to the chair of mathematics at this university, reports in a
letter of 6th November,[89] in which he tells Galileo what reception
he had met with from the heads of the college, that the proveditor of
the university, Mgr. d’Elci, had expressly forbidden him at his first
interview to treat in his lectures of the double motion of the earth, or
even to take occasion in any digression to mention it as probable!

An accidental circumstance, however, was the immediate cause of turning
the controversy into the channel which proved so fatal to Galileo. One
day in December, 1613, Castelli and several other learned men were guests
at the Grand Duke’s table at Pisa, where the court was then staying. The
conversation turned chiefly on the remarkable phenomena of the Medicean
stars, whose veritable existence in the heavens Boscaglia, professor
of physics at the university, was constrained with a heavy heart to
confirm, in answer to a question of the Grand Duke’s mother, Christine.
Castelli eagerly seized the opportunity of applauding Galileo’s splendid
discovery. Boscaglia, a Peripatetic of the purest water, could not master
his displeasure, and whispered meanwhile to the Grand Ducal mother that
all Galileo’s telescopic discoveries were in accord with the truth,
only the double motion of the earth seemed incredible, nay impossible,
as the Holy Scriptures were clearly opposed to it. The repast was then
over, and Castelli took leave; but he had scarcely left the palace when
he saw Christine’s porter hastening after him and calling him back. He
obeyed, and found the whole company still assembled in the Grand Duke’s
apartments. Christine now began, after a few introductory remarks, to
attack the Copernican doctrines, appealing to Holy Scripture. Castelli
at first made some humble attempts to avoid bringing the Bible into
the controversy; but as this was of no avail he resolutely took the
theological standpoint, and defended the modern views of the universe
so impressively and convincingly that nearly all present, even the
Grand Duke and his consort, took his side, and the Duchess dowager alone
made any opposition. Boscaglia, however, who had been the cause of the
unedifying scene, took no part whatever in the discussion.

Castelli hastened to apprise Galileo of this incident, but remarked
expressly in his striking letter that it appeared to him that the Grand
Duchess Christine had merely persisted in opposition, in order to hear
his replies.[90]

This then was the provocation to that famous letter of Galileo’s to
his friend and pupil Castelli, in which for the first time theological
digressions occur, and which therefore, although by no means intended
for publication, was to be eagerly turned to account by his opponents,
and to form the groundwork of the subsequent trial. From what has been
related it will be seen that the reproach often brought against Galileo
that it was he who first introduced the theological question into the
scientific controversy about the two systems is entirely unwarranted.
On the contrary, these explanations to Castelli, of 21st December, bear
telling testimony to the indignation which Galileo felt in seeing the
Scriptures involved in a purely scientific discussion, and that the right
of deciding the question should even be accorded to them. He sharply
defines the relation in which the Bible stands to natural science,
marking the limits which it can only pass at the expense of the healthy
understanding of mankind. As a good Catholic he fully admits that the
Scriptures cannot lie or err, but thinks that this does not hold good of
all their expositors. They will involve themselves in sad contradictions,
nay, even in heresies and blasphemy, if they always interpret the Bible
in an absolutely literal sense. Thus, for instance, they must attribute
to God hands, feet, and ears, human feelings such as anger, repentance,
hatred, and make Him capable of forgetfulness and ignorance of the future.

“As therefore,” continues Galileo, “the Holy Scriptures in many places
not only admit but actually require a different explanation from what
seems to be the literal one, it seems to me that they ought to be
reserved for the last place in mathematical discussions. For they, like
nature, owe their origin to the Divine Word; the former as inspired by
the Holy Spirit, the latter as the fulfilment of the Divine commands;
it was necessary, however, in Holy Scripture, in order to accommodate
itself to the understanding of the majority, to say many things which
apparently differ from the precise meaning. Nature, on the contrary, is
inexorable and unchangeable, and cares not whether her hidden causes and
modes of working are intelligible to the human understanding or not, and
never deviates on that account from her prescribed laws. It appears to
me therefore that no effect of nature, which experience places before
our eyes, or is the necessary conclusion derived from evidence, should
be rendered doubtful by passages of Scripture which contain thousands
of words admitting of various interpretations, for every sentence of
Scripture is not bound by such rigid laws as is every effect of nature.”

Galileo goes on to ask: if the Bible, in order to make itself
intelligible to uneducated persons, has not refrained from placing even
its main doctrines in a distorted light, by attributing qualities to God
which are unlike His character and even opposed to it, who will maintain
that in speaking incidentally of the earth or the sun it professes to
clothe its real meaning in words literally true? Proceeding on the
principle that the Bible and nature are both irrefragable truths, Galileo
goes on to draw the following conclusions.

“Since two truths can obviously never contradict each other, it is
the part of wise interpreters of Holy Scripture to take the pains to
find out the real meaning of its statements, in accordance with the
conclusions regarding nature which are quite certain, either from the
clear evidence of sense or from necessary demonstration. As therefore the
Bible, although dictated by the Holy Spirit, admits, from the reasons
given above, in many passages of an interpretation other than the
literal one; and as, moreover, we cannot maintain with certainty that
_all_ interpreters are inspired by God, I think it would be the part of
wisdom not to allow any one to apply passages of Scripture in such a
way as to force them to support, as true, conclusions concerning nature
the contrary of which may afterwards be revealed by the evidence of
our senses or by necessary demonstration. Who will set bounds to man’s
understanding? Who can assure us that everything that can be known in
the world is known already? It would therefore perhaps be best not to
add, without necessity, to the articles of faith which refer to salvation
and the defence of holy religion, and which are so strong that they are
in no danger of having at any time cogent reasons brought against them,
especially when the desire to add to them proceeds from persons who,
although quite enlightened when they speak under Divine guidance, are
obviously destitute of those faculties which are needed, I will not say
for the refutation, but even for the understanding of the demonstrations
by which the higher sciences enforce their conclusions.

I am inclined to think that the authority of Holy Scripture is intended
to convince men of those truths which are necessary for their salvation,
and which being far above man’s understanding cannot be made credible
by any learning, or any other means than revelation by the Holy Spirit.
But that the same God who has endowed us with senses, reason, and
understanding, does not permit us to use them, and desires to acquaint us
in any other way with such knowledge as we are in a position to acquire
for ourselves by means of those faculties, _that_ it seems to me I am not
bound to believe, especially concerning those sciences about which the
Holy Scriptures contain only small fragments and varying conclusions; and
this is precisely the case with astronomy, of which there is so little
that the planets are not even all enumerated.”

Having emphatically declared that thus dragging the Bible into a
scientific controversy was only a subterfuge of his opponents, who,
feeling that they could not successfully fight him on his own ground, had
entrenched themselves behind an unassailable bulwark, Galileo proceeds
to discuss the well known passage in Joshua which the Aristotelians were
fond of adducing to demonstrate the contradictions between the modern
views and Holy Scripture. His object is to beat his adversaries with
their own weapons, by showing that if this passage is taken literally,
and God really arrested the sun in his course in answer to Joshua’s
prayer, and thus prolonged the day, it makes the incorrectness, nay the
impossibility, of the Ptolemaic system quite clear, while the Copernican
agrees with it very well. According to the Ptolemaic ideas, Galileo goes
on, the sun has two motions, the annual one from west to east, and the
daily one from east to west. Being diametrically opposed to each other,
they cannot both be the sun’s own motions. The annual motion is the one
which belongs to it; the other originates in the _primum mobile_, which
carries the sun round the earth in twenty-four hours and occasions day
and night. If therefore God desired to prolong the day (supposing the
Ptolemaic system to be the right one) He must have commanded, not the
sun but the _primum mobile_, to stand still. Now, as it is stated in the
Bible that God arrested the sun in its course, either the motions of the
heavenly bodies must be different from what Ptolemy maintained them to
be, or the literal meaning must be departed from, and we must conclude
that the Holy Scriptures, in stating that God commanded the sun to stand
still, meant the _primum mobile_, but, accommodating themselves to the
comprehension of those who are scarcely able to understand the rising and
setting of the sun, said just the opposite of what they would have said
to scientifically educated people. Galileo also says that it was highly
improbable that God should have commanded the sun alone to stand still,
and have allowed the other stars to pursue their course, as all nature
would have been deranged by it without any occasion, and his belief
was that God had enjoined a temporary rest on the whole system of the
universe, at the expiration of which all the heavenly bodies, undisturbed
in their mutual relations, could have begun to revolve again in perfect
order: doubtless his inmost conviction, although to us it sounds like

At the close of this long letter he explains how the literal sense of the
passage accords with the Copernican system. By his discovery of the solar
spots the revolution of the sun on its axis is demonstrated; moreover it
is also very probable that the sun is the chief instrument of nature,
the heart of the universe so to speak, and not only, as is known with
certainty, is the source of light to the planets revolving round it, but
also lends them their motion. If, further, we accept with Copernicus a
revolution of the earth, at any rate a diurnal motion on its own axis, it
would certainly suffice merely to stop the sun in his course, in order
to bring the whole system to a standstill, and thus to prolong the day
without disordering nature.[91]

Castelli saw nothing ominous in this exhaustive reply to the Grand
Duchess Christine’s objections, and took care to give it a wide
circulation by means of numerous copies. Galileo’s enemies, however,
eagerly grasped the dangerous weapon thus guilelessly placed in their
hands by his friend. They ingeniously gave a meaning to the epistle which
exactly adapted it to their purpose. They turned Galileo’s emphatic
opinion that the Scriptures had no business in a scientific controversy
into the reproach that he assailed the universal authority of the Bible;
by making Joshua’s miracle the subject of his disquisitions he laid
himself open to the cutting remark that the statements of Holy Scripture
must be protected from the arbitrary interpretations of profane laymen.

Gherardini, the worthy bishop of Fiesole, who was apparently entirely
unaware of the existence of Copernicus, was so enraged about the system
that Galileo had defended that he publicly insulted him, and threatened
to bring the matter before the Grand Duke. He could only be pacified
by being informed that the founder of that system was not any man then
living in Tuscany, but a German who had died seventy years before,
and that his work had been dedicated to Pope Paul III., and had been
graciously accepted by him.

Meanwhile, the league formed in Florence against Galileo had found in
Father Caccini, a Dominican monk, the right tool for setting on foot
the long-desired scandal. He had had some experience in misuse of the
pulpit, for he had before this got up a scene in church at Bologna. And
as the favourable moment for action had now arrived, Caccini appeared
as Galileo’s first public accuser by thundering out a fierce sermon
against the astronomer and his system on the fourth Sunday after Advent,
1614, in the church of Santa Maria Novella, at Florence. He showed his
wit by selecting as the two texts for his philippic the tenth chapter
of Joshua and the first chapter of Acts. He began with the words: _Viri
Galilæi quid statis aspicientes in cœlum_: “Ye men of Galilee, why
stand ye gazing up into heaven?” Astronomy was thus happily introduced
into the pulpit. The furious preacher asserted that the doctrine taught
by Galileo in Florence, of the earth’s revolution round the sun, was
quite irreconcilable with the Catholic religion, since it glaringly
contradicted several statements in Holy Scripture, the literal meaning
of which, as adopted by the fathers, was opposed to it. And, as he
further asserted that no one was permitted to interpret the Bible in any
other sense than that adopted by the fathers, he as good as denounced
the doctrine as heretical. The sermon ended with a coarse attack on
mathematicians in general, whose science he called an invention of the
devil; and with a wish that they should be banished from all Christian
states, since all heresies proceeded from them.

As was to be expected, the affair caused a great sensation. Father Luigi
Maraffi, a Dominican monk distinguished for his learning, who was all
his life an admirer of Galileo, told him in a letter of 10th January,
1615,[92] how heartily he regretted this miserable exhibition. He said,
among other things: “I have been extremely annoyed at the scandal which
has taken place, and the more so because the author of it is a brother of
my order; for, unfortunately, I have to answer for all the stupidities
(_tutte le bestialità_) which thirty or forty thousand brothers may and
do actually commit.” This sentence has caused all Galileo’s biographers
who mention this letter, with the exception of Nelli,[93] to conclude
that Maraffi was the general of the order of Dominicans; yet a glance at
the _Scriptores Ordinis Prædicatorum_, etc., edited by the Fathers Quetif
and Echard, would have shown them that from 1612 to 1629 Father Seraphin
Secco, of Pavia, was general, and was succeeded by Nicholas Ridolfi.[94]
Perhaps, however, Father Maraffi bore the title of a preacher of the
Dominican order, which fully explains his letter to Galileo.[95]

Galileo thought of complaining to the ecclesiastical authorities of the
insult which had been offered him, and of demanding satisfaction. But
Prince Cesi, whom he consulted about it, strongly advised him, if any
steps were taken against Caccini, to keep himself entirely out of the
affair and to avoid all mention of the Copernican theory; for Cardinal
Bellarmine, the first authority of the sacred college, had told him
(Cesi) that _he held the opinion to be heretical, and that the principle
of the earth’s double motion was undoubtedly contrary to Holy Scripture_.
In this complicated state of affairs the prince recommended that several
mathematicians should complain of the public insults to the science of
mathematics and its disciples. But he gave another express warning to
leave the Copernican system entirely alone, or they might take occasion
at Rome to consult whether the further spread of this opinion was to
be permitted or condemned. Cesi added that in that case it would very
likely be condemned, as the Peripatetic school was in the majority there,
and its opponents were generally hated; besides, it was very easy to
prohibit and suspend.[96]

Although Galileo took this hint, and the affair of Caccini was prudently
allowed to drop, it must be regarded as the first impetus to all the
later persecutions of Galileo.

The questionable merit of having brought Galileo’s affairs before
the tribunal of the Inquisition belongs to Father Lorini, a friend
of Caccini, and brother of the same order. Galileo’s fatal letter to
Castelli had fallen into his hands; and when, later on, thanks to
Caccini’s zeal, a great ferment began about it in monkish circles at
Florence, Lorini was moved to send a denunciation of the letter and a
copy of it secretly to the Holy Office at Rome. The whole statement,
which was addressed to Cardinal Mellini, President of the Congregation
of the Index, is couched in a most artful and miserable style. The
denunciator, too cowardly and too cunning to mention Galileo by name
(for he still had powerful friends even among the highest dignitaries of
the Church), only speaks of the “Galileists” in general, “who maintain,
agreeably to the doctrine of Copernicus, that the earth moves and the
heavens stand still.” He even ascribes the enclosed letter to Copernicus,
in order to leave the honoured philosopher quite out of the question.
Lorini goes on to say: “all the fathers of this (his own) devout convent
of St. Mark find many passages in this letter which are suspicious, or
presumptuous, as when it says that many expressions of Holy Scripture
are indefinite; that in discussions about natural phenomena the lowest
place must be assigned to them; that the commentators have often been
mistaken in their interpretations; that the Holy Scriptures should
not be mixed up with anything but matters of religion; that in nature
philosophical and astronomical evidence is of more value than holy and
Divine (which passages your reverence[97] will find underlined by me in
the said letter, of which I send an exact copy); and, finally, that when
Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, we must only understand that the
command was addressed to the _primum mobile_, as this itself is the sun.”
In these statements Lorini perceives great peril for the Church; he is
indignant “that they (the Galileists) should explain the Holy Scriptures
after their own fashion, and differently from the usual interpretation
of the fathers, and should defend an opinion which the Holy Scriptures
appear to be entirely opposed to.... They tread the entire philosophy of
Aristotle, of which scholastic philosophy has made so much use, under
foot,” he exclaims: “in short, to show how clever they are, they (the
Galileists) say a thousand shameless things and scatter them abroad in
our city, which holds fast to the Catholic faith, both from its own
good spirit and the watchfulness of our august rulers.” He feels moved
to inform the cardinal of all this, that he may keep an eye on it, and
that if any remedy seems called for he may take the necessary measures.
After this ominous hint he hypocritically adds: “I, who hold that all
those who call themselves Galileists are orderly men and good Christians,
but a little over wise and self conceited in their opinions, declare
that I am actuated by nothing in this business but zeal for the sacred
cause.” After this assurance he begs that this letter of his, (“I do not
say the enclosed letter,”) he hastens to add in a parenthesis, “may be
kept secret and considered merely a friendly exchange of opinion between
servant and master,” and not as a legal deposition.[98] In conclusion, he
expressly mentions the celebrated sermon of Caccini, probably in order
that he might be called as a witness against Galileo, an object which,
as we shall see, was attained.

In consequence of this denunciation the Holy Office felt itself called
upon at once to institute a secret inquiry about the astronomer. As
Lorini had only been able to show a copy of Galileo’s letter to Castelli
in confirmation of his accusations, it appeared to the Inquisition to be
of great importance to obtain possession of the original, written and
signed by Galileo. To attain this end the worthy gentlemen acted on the
principle that “the end sanctifies the means.” Cardinal Mellini, under
date of 26th February, ordered the secretary of the Holy Congregation to
write to the Archbishop of Pisa and the Inquisitor there, that they were
to procure that document “in a skilful manner.” On the very next day the
order was despatched.[99]

It happened that a few days later Castelli, who had returned from a short
stay at Florence to Pisa, paid a visit to the archbishop, Francesco
Bonciani. He seized the opportunity of executing his commission. With
this end in view he began by adjuring the father, who was quite taken
aback by such an exhortation, to give up certain extravagant opinions,
particularly that of the revolution of the earth, adding that it would
be to his salvation, while to hold them would be to his ruin, for those
opinions (to say nothing of their folly) were dangerous, repulsive,
and mischievous, for they were directly opposed to Holy Scripture. The
philosophical arguments with which the archbishop tried to convert
Castelli to orthodox astronomy rose to a climax in the profound remark
that as all things (_creatura_) had been created for the use and benefit
of man, it was obvious that the earth could not move like a star.[100]
After giving this affectionate counsel to Castelli he offered the same
for Galileo, and declared himself ready to demonstrate to all the
world the folly of that opinion. But, in order to do it successfully,
he must first acquaint himself thoroughly with Galileo’s arguments;
and, therefore (and now comes the gist of the matter) he urgently begs
Castelli to let him see Galileo’s apologetic letter.

Fortunately it was no longer in Castelli’s possession, for he had
returned it to the author. For not only did he not in the least perceive
the trap that was laid for him, but was so innocent as to inform Galileo
of the request and warmly to second it.[101] But Galileo had suspicions,
and delayed to reply. The archbishop was annoyed, and reported in two
letters to Rome, of 8th and 28th of March,[102] that Castelli was
convinced that he only wanted to see the letter out of curiosity, and
as the common friend of both had written to Galileo; still Galileo had
not sent it. Bonciani therefore asks “whether he shall be more open with
Castelli?” But this time cunning did not attain its end; at the repeated
urgency of Castelli,[103] Galileo at last sent him a mere copy without
signature, and with the express reservation that he was not to let it go
out of his hands. From a letter of Castelli’s[104] to Galileo we learn
that in obedience to this injunction Castelli read it to the archbishop
in presence of several canons, and that he diplomatically concealed his
annoyance at the failure of his intrigue, and put a good face on it, for
Castelli adds with great satisfaction that the archbishop had highly
praised Galileo’s demonstrations, and lauded to the ecclesiastics present
the modesty and reverence for Holy Scripture therein displayed.

So Cardinal Mellini had to content himself with a copy of Galileo’s
criminated epistle, to lay before the consultor of the Holy Office for
his opinion. He pronounced that some words and phrases occurred in
the document that were unsuitable; but, although at first sight they
looked ill, they were capable of being taken in a good sense, and were
not of that nature that they could be said to deviate from Catholic

Meanwhile a papal mandate had been issued, under date of 19th March,
to summon Caccini as a witness, as being specially well informed about
Galileo’s errors.[106] He appeared before the holy tribunal the very
next day, and eloquently poured forth his accusations; but, although
upon oath, he did not adhere very strictly to truth. For not only did he
denounce the opinion of Copernicus as _quasi_ heretical, being opposed
to all scholastic theology and to the customary interpretation of many
passages of Scripture, and assert that these doctrines were to be found
both in the letter to Castelli and in the purely scientific treatise
on the solar spots, but added the far more serious charge that he had
heard that Galileo maintained the three following propositions: “God is
not a self existent being, but an accident; God is sentient because the
Divine sentiments reside in Him; the miracles said to be performed by the
saints are not real miracles.” He further says that Galileo is at any
rate “suspicious in religious matters,” because he belongs to “a certain
Accadémia dei Lincei,” and corresponds with the godless Fra Paolo Sarpi
at Venice, and with many dissolute Germans. More absurd deductions from
real facts can hardly be conceived. To make a hotbed of heresy out of
an academy founded by Prince Cesi, a man of known piety, and to place
Galileo’s religion in doubt on account of his scientific correspondence
with magnates of science like Sarpi, Welser, Kepler, etc., was almost
like madness.[107]

In confirmation of his damaging statements Caccini appealed to the
testimony of a Dominican, Ferdinand Ximenes, and a young nobleman,
Attavanti. Both of them were afterwards called in November of the
same year. It then came out that Caccini was not only an eavesdropper
but a bad listener. Attavanti, who moreover was far more a disciple
of the Dominicans than of Galileo, had once had a discussion with
Ximenes, in their convent of Santa Maria Novella, about the proposition
concerning the nature of the Godhead, but it originated entirely in
scholasticism and had nothing to do with Galileo. Caccini, listening
behind a partition, caught something of the conversation; and, thinking
that Attavanti was a well instructed follower of Galileo, and was
merely repeating what he had taught him, explained the fragments of
the disputation in his own fashion, and formed them into these stupid
accusations. It also appeared from the evidence of Ximenes and Attavanti
that neither of them knew of anything suspicious about Galileo, except
that he propounded the doctrine of the double motion of the earth.[108]

After the favourable testimony of Ximenes and Attavanti the evidence of
Caccini was only so far of importance that it gave rise to an inquiry
into the “History and Explanation of the Solar Spots.”[109] This, and the
oft discussed letter to Father Castelli then, were the grounds upon which
Galileo’s enemies based the accusation of philosophical and theological



    Galileo’s Fears.—Allayed by letters from Rome.—Foscarini’s
    work.—Blindness of Galileo’s Friends.—His Apology to the
    Grand Duchess Christine.—Effect produced by it.—Visit to
    Rome.—Erroneous opinion that he was cited to appear.—Caccini
    begs pardon.—Galileo defends the Copernican system at Rome.—His
    mistake in so doing.

Galileo knew no more than the rest of the world of the secret proceedings
of the Inquisition against him and his system. He had only discovered
that some Dominican monks wanted to make use of his letter to Castelli
to effect the condemnation of the Copernican doctrines, and that they
were spreading all sorts of calumnies against him based upon it. Fearing
that the copy of it on which they relied might have been tampered
with, he sent a correct copy on 16th February, 1615, to his sincere
friend Mgr. Dini at Rome, with a request that he would forward it to
the mathematician, Father Griemberger, and perhaps even to Cardinal
Bellarmine. Galileo observed in the accompanying letter that he had
written the one to Castelli “_currente calamo_,” that since then he had
made many researches into the subject therein discussed, and announced
the speedy completion of a larger work, in which he should carry out
his reasoning far more in detail; as soon as it was finished he would
send it to Mgr. Dini. (This was his great Apology to the Grand Duchess
Christine.) In conclusion, he bitterly complains that his enemies were
daily increasing in number, and, in order to injure him the more, were
spreading the strange report among the people that he was the founder
of the system of the double motion of the earth, which gave rise to
incidents like that with Bishop Gherardini.[110]

The philosopher, who it is evident was a good deal discomfited, received
in reply consolatory assurances from Mgr. Dini and others of his
ecclesiastical friends. But they earnestly advised him to treat the
subject of the Copernican system purely from the mathematical, physical
point of view, and carefully to avoid religious discussion. This hint
came rather late in the day, and could not now be of much use to Galileo,
when his doctrines were already attacked as heretical, although secretly
at that time, and the accusation was based on the purely scientific work
on the solar spots. War had been declared with the Copernican system in
the name of the Bible.

Galileo’s letters to Mgr. Dini of 16th February and 28th March,[111]
plainly show how unwillingly he had been driven into the theological
field by his opponents. After he had in the second letter decidedly
rejected Dini’s suggestion that he should treat the Copernican system
merely as a hypothesis, he added that it had been his earnest desire to
keep strictly to his part as a man of science, and not to be compelled to
defend his astronomical system against religious scruples. He entirely
agrees with those who say that the task of bringing natural science into
agreement with Holy Scripture should be left to theologians, and shows
that he has been compelled to defend himself on this dangerous ground.
He says besides that his letter to Castelli was not originally intended
to go any farther, and regrets that Castelli had had copies made of it
without his knowledge.

It is a noteworthy circumstance that at the very time when the secret
denunciation had been laid before the tribunal of the Inquisition at
Rome, all the letters and reports which Galileo received from Rome, even
from trustworthy friends, Mgrs. Dini, Ciampoli, and Prince Cesi, were
calculated to allay his anxious fears. None of those persons, although
in influential positions, and likely it would seem to have been better
informed, knew, as appears from their correspondence with Galileo,
anything of the proceedings which were being instituted at Rome against
him and the Copernican system. The Inquisition knew well enough how to
keep its secrets. On 28th February[112] Mgr. Ciampoli writes confidently
to Galileo that, notwithstanding all the inquiries he had made, he could
learn nothing of any measures against him or the new doctrines; he sets
down the whole rumour to the incautious talk of some hot-headed fellow.

On 7th March[113] Dini tells Galileo that Cardinal Bellarmine had said
“he did not think that the work of Copernicus would be prohibited, and
the worst that would happen would be that some addition would be made to
it, stating that this theory was only accepted to explain phenomena,[114]
or some such phrase, and with this reservation Galileo would be able to
discuss the subject whenever he had occasion.” Under the same date Prince
Cesi tells Galileo that a work had just been published by a Dominican
monk, which brilliantly defended the opinion of Copernicus and made it
agree with Holy Scripture. He adds that the work could not have appeared
more opportunely.[115]

But what seems the most strange are the express and repeated assurances
of the cardinals Barberini, Del Monte, and Bellarmine, to Galileo,
through Dini and Ciampoli, that so long as he did not go beyond the
province of physics and mathematics, nor enter into any theological
interpretations of Scripture, he had nothing to fear.[116] How could
Cardinal Bellarmine, who had not long before expressly stated to Prince
Cesi that the new system was not compatible with the doctrines of Holy
Scripture, and who, as a member of the Inquisition, must have been
aware of the transactions which had been going on about Galileo since
5th February, give these assurances so directly opposed to the truth?
And yet these three prelates afterwards gave many proofs of good will
towards Galileo. How then is their ambiguous conduct to be explained? It
was simply that they were friendly to Galileo, but not to his doctrines.
They certainly desired to shield his person, and afterwards honestly
endeavoured to do so even under most difficult circumstances; but the
system he defended, which endangered the faith of the Church, must be
suppressed at all hazards. In order to this end it appeared advisable
to keep it a secret from Galileo that the statement of Copernicus that
the earth moved was assailed from the theological standpoint, until the
Holy Office had issued the interdict against its circulation and defence.
It was thus that they prudently rounded the rocks which the dreaded
dialectics of the clever Tuscan had exposed to view.

And the nearer the period was drawing when the verdict of the Church
was to be pronounced on the Copernican theory, and the more eagerly the
secret inquiries about Galileo were being prosecuted, the more confident
became the tone of the letters of his friends from the very city where
this ominous web was being woven. It seems as if all Galileo’s trusty
adherents had been struck with blindness, for we should not be justified
in doubting the sincerity of a Dini, a Ciampoli, and a Cesi, men who
afterwards proved by their actions their true friendship for the great
astronomer. On 20th March the evidence of Caccini was taken, and on the
21st Ciampoli communicates to Galileo the consoling observations of the
cardinals Del Monte and Bellarmine mentioned above. Ciampoli also adds
to these comforting assurances by telling him that Foscarini’s work was
no doubt in great danger of being prohibited by the Congregation of
the Holy Office to take place next month, _but only because it meddled
with matters concerning Holy Scripture_. He goes on to say with real
satisfaction that he can only confirm his previous information, and that
all this noise originated with four or five persons who are hostile
to Galileo; he and Dini had taken all possible pains to find out this
assumed agitation, but had discovered absolutely nothing. He repeats this
most decidedly in a letter of a week later;[117] and in another of 16th
May[118] he cannot at all understand what has so disconcerted Galileo,
and adds that it was no longer doubtful that the Copernican doctrine
would not be prohibited, and expresses his conviction that it would be
a great satisfaction to every one if Galileo would come to Rome for a
time, and the more so because he had heard that many of the Jesuits
were secretly of Galileo’s opinion, and were only keeping quiet for the

A private note enclosed in a letter from Prince Cesi to Galileo, of June
20th, is equally sanguine. He tells him that Foscarini’s work, of which a
new and enlarged edition is to appear immediately, has had great success
at Rome, and that the opponents of Galileo and of the new system are much
cast down about it; he adds that neither the author of that treatise nor
the doctrines in question are in any danger, if only a little prudence
is exercised. Cesi even thinks that the new edition, in which the author
refutes all the objections to his work, will satisfy the ecclesiastical
authorities, convince opponents, and put an end to the whole business.
“Then,” continues the prince confidently, “when every difficulty is
removed and attack rendered impossible, the doctrine will be so fully
permitted and recognised, that everybody who wishes to maintain it will
be at liberty to do so, as in all other purely physical and mathematical

This is the last letter we have from Galileo’s friends of this period.
From this date to the time of his stay in Rome, in 1616, there are no
letters to him extant. This is the more to be regretted, as the gap
occurs at a very interesting juncture. Perhaps after the Copernican
doctrines were condemned Galileo may have destroyed this correspondence
out of regard for his friends, for it may have contained allusions to
very delicate matters.

Meanwhile, after having been repeatedly urged to it by Mgr. Dini,[120]
he had completed his great apologetic treatise, in the form of a letter
to the Grand Duchess Dowager, Christine. As it accurately defines the
standpoint which Galileo desired to take as a natural philosopher and
sincere Catholic, with respect to the Church of Rome, it seems necessary
to give a sketch of its contents.

Galileo begins with the motive of his Apology. Several years ago he
had made many discoveries in the heavens, the novelty of which, and
the vast consequences they involve, which are opposed to many of the
principles of the modern Aristotelian school, have incensed no small
number of professors against him, as if he had placed these phenomena in
the heavens with his own hands in order to overturn nature and science.
Placing a greater value on their own opinions than on truth, these men
had taken upon themselves to deny the existence of these discoveries,
whereas if they had only consented to observe them, they would have
been convinced. Instead of this, they assailed the new discoveries with
empty arguments, and worst mistake of all, interwove them with passages
of Scripture which they did not understand. But when the majority of
the scientific world was convinced with its own eyes, so that it was
impossible any longer to doubt the truth of these phenomena, their
opponents tried to consign them to oblivion by obstinate silence; and
when that did not avail they took another course. Galileo says that he
should pay no more heed to these attacks than to former ones, at which,
confident of the final result, he had always laughed, but they seek to
cast an aspersion on him which he dreads more than death. His opponents,
knowing that he favoured the opinion of the double motion of the earth,
and thereby attacked the Ptolemaic and Aristotelian principles, and
perceiving since the universal recognition of his observations that they
could never combat him successfully on the field of natural philosophy,
are trying now to make a shield for their false statements out of a
fictitious piety and the authority of Holy Scripture. They have therefore
first tried to spread the opinion that the views he defends are opposed
to the Bible, and therefore heretical and worthy of condemnation. They
then easily found some one to denounce them from the pulpit, and he
hurled his anathemas not only at the Copernican doctrines, but against
mathematicians in general. They also gave out that the modern views of
the system of the universe would shortly be pronounced heretical by the
highest authorities.

Galileo then points out that Copernicus, the originator of these
doctrines, was not only a good Catholic, but a priest highly esteemed
by the Roman curia, both for his learning and piety. He had dedicated
his famous work: “De Revolutionibus Orbium Cœlestium,” to Pope Paul
III., and no one had felt any scruples about his doctrines, although
some ill-disposed persons want to have the book pronounced heretical,
without ever having read, to say nothing of studied it. As an adherent of
the Copernican theory, Galileo now feels compelled, in order to justify
himself, to discuss in detail these arguments from Scripture brought
forward by his opponents, and he hopes to prove that he is animated by
a greater zeal for true religion than his adversaries; for he by no
means demands that the book should not be condemned, but that it should
not be condemned without being understood or even looked at. Before
proceeding to discuss these arguments, he protests that he will not only
always be ready publicly to rectify the errors he may from ignorance
have fallen into on religious matters in this treatise, but that it
was not in the least his intention to enter into dispute with any one
on such subjects; it is rather his desire, by these remarks, to incite
others to deliberations useful to the Church. As to the decision about
the Copernican system, we must bow to the opinions of the ecclesiastical
authorities, and should it be adverse to him, let his work be torn up and
burnt, for he had neither wish nor intention to promote results that were
not catholic and pious.

After this long and cautious introduction, Galileo comes to the matter
itself,—the discussion of the principles of exegesis of Scripture with
respect to natural science. He employs the same arguments as in his
letter to Castelli, only more in detail, and cites several passages
from St. Augustine in support of his views, as to how far questions of
natural philosophy should be left to the understanding and to science.
He also quotes a saying of Cardinal Baronius: “The Holy Spirit intended
_to teach us how to go to heaven, and not how the heavens go_.” Galileo
then illustrates by examples how derogatory it will be to the dignity of
Holy Scripture if every unauthorised scribbler is permitted to adduce
passages from it in support of his views, which he often does not
interpret rightly; and experience shows the futility of this method of
proof. He then turns to the claim of theologians to enforce upon others
in scientific discussions opinions which they hold to agree with passages
of Scripture, while maintaining that they are not bound to explain the
scientific phenomena which are opposed to their decisions. In support of
this they affirm that theology is the queen of all the sciences, and need
not condescend to accommodate herself to the teachings of other sciences
far beneath her: they must submit to her as their sovereign, and modify
their conclusions accordingly. This leads Galileo to some considerations
which he will here set forth, that he may learn the opinions of others
more expert on such questions than he is, and to whose decisions he is
always ready to bow.

He is in doubt whether some ambiguity has not crept in for want of more
precision in defining why theology is entitled to be called a queen. It
must either be because all that is taught by other sciences is comprised
in and explained by theology, only in a higher sense; or because theology
treats of a subject which far surpasses in importance all the subjects
of which profane science treats. But even the theologians themselves
will hardly maintain that the title belongs to theology in the first
sense; for no one can say that geometry, astronomy, music, and medicine,
are better treated of in Scripture than in the writings of Archimedes,
Ptolemy, Boccius, and Galen. It appears then that the royal prerogative
of theology must be derived from some other source. Galileo here remarks:—

    “If then theology occupies herself solely with the highest
    problems, maintains her throne by reason of the supreme
    authority conferred on her, and does not condescend to the
    lower sciences as not affecting salvation, the professors of
    theology should not assume authority on subjects which they
    have not studied. For this is just as if an absolute ruler
    should demand, without being a physician or an architect, that
    people should treat themselves, or erect buildings, according
    to his directions, to the great peril of poor sick people and
    obvious ruin of the edifices.”

Galileo then demonstrates the vast difference between doctrinal and
exact sciences, and says that in the latter opinions cannot be changed
to order. Supported by the authority of St. Augustine, he maintains
that opinions on natural science which have been proved to coincide
with actual facts cannot be set aside by passages of Scripture, but
these must be explained so as not to contradict the indisputable results
of observation. Those, therefore, who desire to condemn an opinion in
physics must first show that it is incorrect. But it must be made the
subject of close investigation, and then a different result will often be
obtained from the one desired. Many learned men who intended to refute
the Copernican theory have been changed, by examination, from opponents
to enthusiastic defenders of it. In order to banish it from the world,
as many desired, it would not be enough to shut the mouth of any one
individual, it would be necessary to prohibit not only the writings of
Copernicus and his followers, but astronomy altogether. But to suppress
his work now, when new discoveries are daily confirming his theory, after
it has been quietly submitted to for so many years, appears to Galileo
like opposition to truth itself; and to permit the book and condemn the
doctrine would be still more pernicious to the souls of men, for it would
allow them the opportunity of convincing themselves of the truth of an
opinion which it was a sin to believe. To forbid astronomy altogether
would be like rejecting hundreds of passages of Scripture which teach us
how the glory of God is revealed in all His works, which are best to be
studied in the open book of nature.

Galileo then applies these general principles to the Copernican theory.
According to many, it ought to be pronounced erroneous because it is
opposed to the apparent meaning of many passages in the Bible, while
the opposite opinion is to be believed _de fide_. He sharply defines
two kinds of scientific questions: those on which all man’s researches
can only lead to probability and conjecture, as for instance, whether
the stars are inhabited or not; and those on which, by experience,
observation, and inevitable deduction, we either have attained certainty
or may safely reckon on doing so,—as whether the earth or the heavens
move. In the first case, Galileo is decidedly of opinion that it behoves
us to be guided by the literal sense of Scripture; in the second, he
repeats what he has said before, that two truths can never contradict
each other. The Bible speaks of the sun as moving and of the earth
as standing still to accommodate itself to the understanding of the
people, and not to confuse them, otherwise they might refuse to believe
the dogmas which are absolutely _de fide_. For the same reason the
fathers have spoken about things not appertaining to salvation, more
in accordance with usage than actual facts, and he confirms this by
quotations from St. Jerome and St. Thomas.

Even the general agreement of the fathers in the interpretation of any
passage of Scripture of scientific import should, in Galileo’s opinion,
only confer authority on it when the question has been discussed by many
fathers with knowledge of both sides. But this is not the case with the
question of the double motion of the earth, for it had not come up at
all at that time, and it could not occur to the holy fathers to dispute
it, for the current opinion was in entire agreement with the literal
meaning of the Bible. It was not enough to say that the fathers had all
believed that the earth stood still, and that therefore it was to be
held _de fide_, for it was very possible that they never investigated
it, and only held it as generally current. If they had done so and found
it deserving of condemnation, they would have said so, but it had never
been discovered that they had. The writings of Diego di Zuñiga show, on
the contrary, that when some theologians began to consider the Copernican
theory, they did not find it erroneous or contrary to Scripture.
Moreover, no argument could be drawn from an unanimous opinion of the
fathers, for some of them spoke of the sun as stationary, others of the
_primum mobile_.

Galileo declares himself ready to sign an opinion of wise and well
informed theologians on the Copernican theory. Since no investigation
of it was instituted by the ancient fathers, it might be done now by
theologians fitted for it, who, after they had carefully examined all
the scientific arguments for and against, would establish on a firm
footing what was dictated to them by Divine inspiration. He once more
lays great stress on the need of first convincing one’s self of the
actual facts of nature under the guidance of science, and then proceeding
to interpret texts of Scripture. He is indignant with those who, from
malice or blinded by party interest, say that the Church should draw
the sword without delay, since she possesses the power. As if it was
always desirable to do whatever was in our power! He shows that the
fathers were not of that opinion, but agreed with him, and exclaims
to these wranglers: “Try first to refute the arguments of Copernicus
and his followers, and leave the task of condemning them to those to
whom it belongs; but do not hope to find among the fathers, who were as
discreet as they were far-seeing, or in the wisdom of Him who cannot
err, those hasty conclusions to which you are led by personal interests
and passions. It is doubtless true that concerning these and similar
statements which are not strictly _de fide_, his Holiness the Pope has
absolute authority to approve or condemn; _but it is not in the power of
any human being to make them true or false, or other than they de facto

This lengthy treatise concludes with a disquisition on the passage in
the book of Joshua, which he treats in the same way as in the letter to

Notwithstanding all the care Galileo exercised in this apology[121] not
to give any handle to his enemies, it contained far too many liberal and
merely human principles not to do the author more harm than good in the
eyes of the orthodox party, both on religious and scientific questions.
His opponents saw this plainly enough, and agitated against him all the
more vehemently at Rome.

Ominous reports reached the astronomer, who was anxious enough before;
but he could not any how learn anything definite about these attacks,
only so much eked out, that something was brewing against him, and that
it was intended to interdict the Copernican theory. Galileo thought he
could best meet these intrigues by his personal appearance at Rome; he
wanted to learn what the accusations against him were, and to show that
there was nothing in them; he desired energetically to defend the new
system, to aid truth in asserting her rights. So, early in December,
1615, provided with cordial letters of introduction from the Grand Duke,
he set out for Rome.[122]

Some older authors, and recently Henri Martin,[123] have repeated as a
fact the report circulated at the time by Galileo’s enemies,[124] that
this visit to Rome was by no means so voluntary as he thought fit to give
out. Martin appeals in support of this view to a letter of Mgr. Querenghi
to Cardinal Alexander d’Este, of 1st January, 1616,[125] in which he
says that the philosopher had been _cited_ to appear at Rome, that he
might explain how he made his doctrines, which entirely contradict Holy
Scripture, agree with it. Martin also states that the Tuscan ambassador
at Rome, in a despatch of 11th September, 1632, announced that a document
had been discovered in the books of the Holy Office, which showed that
Galileo had been summoned to Rome in 1616; and finally, this otherwise
excellent biographer of Galileo adds some grounds of probability which,
however, are not conclusive. Besides, these arguments, in the face of
other facts, are not valid. Even if Galileo’s contemporary letters from
Rome, in which he repeatedly expresses his satisfaction that he had come
there,[126] are not relied upon, and are regarded merely as a consistent
carrying out of the fiction, his statement on his trial of 12th April,
1633, bears clear witness that Martin is in error. Being asked if he
came at that time to Rome of his own accord, or in consequence of a
summons, he answered: “In the year 1616 I came to Rome of my own accord,
without being summoned.”[127] It was impossible that he should then have
persisted in the assumed fiction, for he could not have denied before
the Inquisition a summons issued by itself seventeen years before, since
it would certainly have been entered in their registers.[128] According
to the statement of the Tuscan ambassador mentioned above, such a
document had been discovered _one_ year previously in the protocols of
the Holy Office. But in the face of the question put at the examination
this does not seem very credible. Moreover, in none of the documents now
open to historical research relating to the transactions of 1616, is
there any such record to be found, nor anything to indicate that this
visit of Galileo’s to Rome did not originate with himself.

Neither does the flattering reception he met with at all agree with
the assumed secret summons. Nevertheless, his correspondence with
Picchena, successor in office to Vinta, though very cautious, shows
that notwithstanding the comforting assurances he had received from his
friends at Rome, he found that a zealous agitation was going on, not
only against the doctrines he advocated, but against himself.[129] In
another letter of 8th January, 1616, he says he sees every day what a
good idea it was to come here, for he had found so many snares laid for
him that it would have been quite impossible not to be caught by one or
other of them, and he would not have been able to extricate himself for
a long time, perhaps never, or only with the greatest difficulty. He is
confident that he shall now very soon destroy the traps of his enemies,
and be able to justify himself in a way that will bring all their
unworthy calumnies to light. They have spread the false report that he
was in disgrace at the grand ducal court in consequence of the enormity
of his offence, and that the proceedings against him had the Grand Duke’s
entire approval. Now, as the cordial introductions given him by Cosmo II.
proved precisely the contrary, the assertions of his enemies would lose
all credit, and he would be believed all the more, so that he should be
able to justify himself completely.[130]

Judging, however, from a letter written fourteen days later to the Tuscan
Secretary of State, Galileo had not found it so easy to defend himself as
he anticipated. Indeed it seems to have been a very complicated business.
A passage from the letter above mentioned will give an idea of it:—

    “My business is far more difficult, and takes much longer owing
    to outward circumstances, than the nature of it would require;
    because I cannot communicate directly with those persons
    with whom I have to negotiate, partly to avoid doing injury
    to any of my friends, partly because they cannot communicate
    anything to me without running the risk of grave censure.
    And so I am compelled, with much pains and caution, to seek
    out third persons, who, without even knowing my object, may
    serve as mediators with the principals, so that I may have
    the opportunity of setting forth, incidentally as it were,
    and at their request, the particulars of my interests. I have
    also to set down some points in writing, and to cause that
    they should come privately into the hands of those whom I wish
    should see them; for I find in many quarters that people are
    more ready to yield to dead writing than to living speech, for
    the former permits them to agree or dissent without blushing,
    and then finally to yield to the arguments used—for in such
    discussions we have no witnesses but ourselves, whereas people
    do not so readily change their opinions if it has to be done

Galileo at length succeeded by his strenuous efforts in freeing himself
from all false accusations and in refuting the slanders of Caccini.
His affairs took so favourable a turn that the monk found it advisable
to pay an obsequious visit of several hours to Galileo, humbly begged
pardon for his previous conduct, offered any satisfaction in his power,
and assured Galileo that the agitation going on was not in any way to
be laid at his door.[132] But he could not refrain from trying to prove
that the Copernican doctrines were erroneous, in which however he had no
more success than in convincing Galileo of his sincerity, for he wrote to
Picchena that he had found in Caccini “great ignorance and a mind full
of venom.”[133]

But Galileo had only performed half his task by the happy adjustment of
the difficulties affecting himself; the more important and grander part
of it, the preservation of the Copernican system from the interdict of
the Church, had yet to be accomplished. His letter of 6th February to
Picchena tells him of the favourable turn in his own affairs, as well as
of the noble purposes by which he was animated. He writes:—

    “My business, so far as it concerns myself, is completed; all
    the exalted personages who have been conducting it have told me
    so plainly, and in a most obliging manner, and have assured me
    that people are fully convinced of my uprightness and honour,
    and of the devilish malice and injustice of my persecutors. As
    far as this point is concerned, therefore, I might return home
    without delay, but there is a question concerning my own cause
    which does not concern myself alone, but all those who, during
    the last eighty years, have advocated in printed works or
    private letters, in public lectures or private conversations,
    a certain opinion, not unknown to your Grace, on which they
    are now proposing to pronounce judgment. In the conviction
    that my assistance may be of use in the investigation of the
    matter, as far as a knowledge of those truths is concerned
    which are proved by the science to which I have devoted myself,
    I neither can nor ought to neglect to render this assistance,
    while I shall thereby follow the dictates of my conscience and
    Christian zeal.”[134]

This was magnanimous, and Galileo was entitled, as few others were,
to appear as the advocate of science. But unfortunately his warm and
perhaps too solicitous efforts for the Copernican cause had a result
precisely opposite to the one he intended. He was still under the great
delusion that the Roman curia must above all things be convinced of
the correctness of the Copernican doctrines. He therefore sought out
scepticism on the subject everywhere in the eternal city, combated it
eagerly and apparently with signal success. In many of the first houses
in Rome, such as the Cesarini’s, Ghislieri’s, and others, he unfolded
before numerous audiences his views about the construction of the
universe. He always began these discourses by carefully enumerating all
the arguments for the Ptolemaic system, and then proved that they were
untenable by the telling arguments with which his own observations had so
abundantly supplied him; and as he not seldom added the biting sarcasm of
his wit to serious demonstration, thus bringing the laugh on his side, he
prepared signal defeats for the orthodox views of nature.[135]

But by this method he obviously took a false standpoint. He would not see
that the Romanists cared far more for the authority of Scripture than for
the recognition of the laws of nature; that his system, running counter
to orthodox interpretation of the Bible, was opposed to the interests of
the Church. And as his tactics were founded upon a purely human way of
looking at things, and he erroneously imagined that the true system of
the universe would be of greater importance, even to the servants of the
Church, than her own mysteries, it was but a natural consequence of these
false premises that, instead of attaining his end, he only widened his
distance from it.



    Adverse Opinion of the Inquisition on Galileo’s
    Propositions.—Admonition by Bellarmine, and assumed Absolute
    Prohibition to treat of the Copernican Doctrines.—Discrepancy
    between Notes of 25th and 26th February.—Marini’s
    documents.—Epinois’s Work on Galileo.—Wohlwill first doubts
    the Absolute Prohibition.—Doubts confirmed by Gherardi’s
    Documents.—Decree of 5th March, 1616, on the Copernican
    system.—Attitude of the Church.—Was the Absolute Prohibition
    ever issued to Galileo?—Testimony of Bellarmine in his

The Inquisition, perhaps still incensed by Galileo’s active propagandism,
even among the learned world of Rome, and by his brilliant defence of the
new system, now hastened to bring to a conclusion the transactions which
had been going on for a considerable time against it. A decree of 19th
February, 1616, summoned the Qualifiers of the Holy Office (they were not
judges exactly, but had to give their opinion as experts) and required
them to give their opinion on the two following propositions in Galileo’s
work on the solar spots:—

I. The sun is the centre of the world, and immovable from its place.

II. The earth is not the centre of the world, and is not immovable, but
moves, and also with a diurnal motion.[136]

In accordance with the papal decree, these theologians met four days
afterwards, at 9 a.m. on 23rd February, and published the result of their
deliberations the next day, as follows:—

The first proposition was unanimously declared to be false and absurd
philosophically, and formally heretical, inasmuch as it expressly
contradicts the doctrines of Holy Scripture in many passages, both
if taken in their literal meaning and according to the general
interpretation and conceptions of the holy Fathers and learned

The second proposition was declared unanimously “to deserve the like
censure in philosophy, and as regards theological truth, to be at least
erroneous in the faith.”[137]

The Vatican MS. reports the further steps taken against Galileo as the
chief advocate of the Copernican system, as follows:—

    “Thursday, 25th February, 1616. The Lord Cardinal Mellini
    notified to the Reverend Fathers the Assessors and the
    Commissary of the Holy Office, that the censure passed by the
    theologians upon the propositions of Galileo—to the effect
    particularly that the sun is the centre of the world, and
    immovable from its place, and that the earth moves, and also
    with a diurnal motion—had been reported; and His Holiness has
    directed the Lord Cardinal Bellarmine to summon before him the
    said Galileo, and admonish him to abandon the said opinion;
    and in case of his refusal to obey, that the Commissary is to
    intimate to him, before a notary and witnesses, a command to
    abstain altogether from teaching or defending this opinion
    and doctrine, and even from discussing it; and if he do not
    acquiesce therein, that he is to be imprisoned.”[138]

This is followed in the Vatican MS. by a record intended to look like an
official report on the course of the proceedings ordained above. Every
unbiassed reader will expect to find in it either that Galileo refused to
obey the admonitions of the cardinal, and that the Commissary-General of
the Inquisition then issued the other strict injunction, or that Galileo
immediately submitted, in which case the official of the Inquisition
would not have had to interfere. Instead of this we find the following
document, couched half in a narrative tone, half like the report of a

    “Friday, the 26th.—At the Palace, the usual residence of the
    Lord Cardinal Bellarmine, the said Galileo having been summoned
    and brought before the said Lord Cardinal, was, in presence
    of the Most Revd. Michael Angelo Segnezzio, of the order of
    preachers, Commissary-General of the Holy Office, by the said
    Cardinal warned of the error of the aforesaid opinion, and
    admonished to abandon it; and immediately thereafter, before
    me and before witnesses, the Lord Cardinal Bellarmine being
    still present, the said Galileo was by the said Commissary
    commanded and enjoined, in the name of His Holiness the Pope,
    and the whole Congregation of the Holy Office, to relinquish
    altogether the said opinion that the sun is the centre of the
    world and immovable, and that the earth moves; nor henceforth
    to hold, teach, or defend it in any way whatsoever, verbally or
    in writing; otherwise proceedings would be taken against him in
    the Holy Office; which injunction the said Galileo acquiesced
    in and promised to obey. Done at Rome, in the place aforesaid,
    in presence of Badino Nores, of Nicosia, in the kingdom of
    Cyprus, and Augustino Mongardo, from a place in the Abbacy
    of Rottz, in the diocese of Politianeti, inmates of the said
    Cardinal’s house, witnesses.”[139]

The discrepancy between this record and that of 25th February is obvious:
that says that the Pope had ordered that Cardinal Bellarmine should
admonish Galileo to renounce the opinions of Copernicus, and only _in
case he should refuse_, was the Commissary to issue the order to him to
abstain from teaching, defending, or discussing those opinions. Here in
the report of the 26th we read, that “immediately after” the admonition
of the cardinal, the Commissary issued this stringent order, and with the
significant modification, “nor to hold, teach, or defend it in any way
whatsoever.” In this report of the proceedings it is not expressly stated
whether Galileo at first refused or not, but, according to the wording of
the report, it is almost impossible that he could have done so, since it
represents that the Cardinal’s admonition was followed immediately by the
_absolute_ prohibition from the Commissary. But such a mode of procedure
was by no means in accordance with the papal ordinance, and would rather
have been an arbitrary deviation from it.

Until within the last ten years, in all the works, great or small, which
treat of Galileo’s trial, we find this absolute prohibition which he was
said to have received related as an established historical fact. It was
the sole legal ground on which the indictment was based against Galileo
sixteen years later, and he was condemned and sentenced by his judges by
an ostentatious appeal to it. Up to 1850 not a single document had been
seen by any of the authors who wrote so confidently of the stringent
prohibition of 1616, which confirmed its historical truth. And yet it
could but exist among the inaccessible archives relating to the trial
of Galileo, since the Inquisitors relied upon it in 1633, and it was
the pole and axis of the famous trial. And what the world had accepted
in good faith on the somewhat doubtful veracity of the Inquisition was
at length, apparently confirmed by the testimony of Mgr. Marino Marini,
prefect of the Vatican Archives. In that year he published at Rome a
book entitled, “Galileo e l’Inquisizione, Memorie storico-critiche,”
which, as the author stated, was founded upon the original documents
of the trial. It actually contained many “extracts” from the original
protocols; and founded upon documentary materials accessible only to
the author, it was encircled with the convenient halo of inviolability.
And for nearly twenty years no serious objection was raised to it. Many
historians did shake their heads and say that the work of the right
reverend gentleman was as much like a glorification of the Inquisition
as one egg to another, and some were not much impressed by the author’s
high-flown assertion that “the entire publication of the documents would
only redound to the glory of the Inquisition,”[140] but drily remarked
that it was really a great pity that Mgr. Marini had allowed so splendid
an opportunity to slip of performing a great service alike to history
and the Church, while the fragments produced were of little value to
either one or the other. None of this served to refute a single sentence
of the apology in question. It became, on the contrary, notwithstanding
its obvious partizanship, the chief source for subsequent narratives
of the trial. And it could not fail to be so; for even taking this
partizanship into account, how could the dates given be doubted? Could
any one suspect a misrepresentation of the whole subject? Did suspicions
of an arbitrary use and distortion of the documents at the author’s
command seem justified? Assuredly not. Besides, the papal archivist
appealed with apparent scrupulous exactness to the Roman MS. Although,
therefore, the light thrown by Marini on the trial of Galileo seemed
to be one-sided, the correctness of his facts in general admitted of no
doubt. Among these the special prohibition of 1616 played a conspicuous
part. It is laid before the reader as beyond all question, and fully
confirmed by documents. The author, however, prudently refrained from
publishing these “documents” verbatim,—the reports of the Vatican MS. of
25th and 26th February. The discrepancy between them would then have come
to light. That was to be avoided, and so Marini, by the approved method
of rejecting all that did not suit his purpose, concocted from the two
reports a story of the assumed prohibition to Galileo so precise as to
leave nothing to be desired.[141]

In 1867 Henri de L’Epinois surprised the learned world with his work,
“Galilée, son Procès, sa Condemnation d’après des Documents inédits.” He
reproduced for the first time in full the most important documents which
had been at Marini’s command. It now came to light how unjustifiably he
had used them. Epinois printed the important reports of 25th and 26th
February verbatim. But the story of the prohibition of 1616 had so firmly
rooted itself in history, that neither Epinois himself nor the next
French historian, Henri Martin, who published a comprehensive work on
Galileo based on the published documents, thought of disturbing it.

It was not until 1870 that doubts began to be entertained, in Germany
and Galileo’s own country, simultaneously and independently, of the
authenticity of the prohibition of 1616. In Germany it was Emil Wohlwill
who first shook this belief after careful and unbiassed investigation
of the Roman MS. published by Epinois, by his excellent treatise: “Der
Inquisitions Process des Galileo Galilei. Eine Prüfung seiner rechtlichen
Grundlage nach den Acten der Römischen Inquisition.” (The Trial of
Galileo Galilei. An Examination into its Legal Foundation by the Acts
of the Roman Inquisition.) And just when German learning was seeking
to prove by keen critical discussion the untenableness of the usual
narrative, the document was published in Italy which raised Wohlwill’s
conjectures to certainty.

Up to 1870 the conclusion that Galileo did not for a moment resist the
cardinal’s admonition, but submitted at once, could only be drawn, as
it was drawn by Wohlwill, partly from the wording of the report of
the proceedings of 26th February, 1616, partly from Galileo’s sincere
Catholic sentiments, for he was to the end, from conviction, a true son
of the Church. However much there might be to justify the conclusion,
therefore, it was founded only on probability, was confirmed by no
documents, and was therefore open to assault. It was attacked by
Friedlein in a review of Wohlwill’s brochure.[142] But when Friedlein
was trying to prove that Galileo must have resisted the cardinal’s
admonitions, and only submitted to the peremptory threats of the official
of the Inquisition, the document had been already published in Italy
which placed the question beyond doubt. This is an extract of the
protocol of the sitting of the Congregation of the Holy Office of 3rd
March, 1616, and forms part of the collection of documents published by
Professor Silvestro Gherardi in the _Rivista Europea_, 1870. It is as

                                                “_3rd March, 1616._

    “The Lord Cardinal Bellarmine having reported that Galileo
    Galilei, mathematician, had in terms of the order of the
    Holy Congregation been admonished to abandon (deserendam)
    [disserendam (discuss) was the word originally written] the
    opinion he has hitherto held, that the sun is the centre of
    the spheres and immovable, and that the earth moves, and had
    acquiesced therein; and the decree of the Congregation of
    the Index having been presented, prohibiting and suspending
    respectively the writings of Nicholas Copernicus (De
    Revolutionibus orbium cœlestium....) of Diego di Zuñiga on Job,
    and of Paolo Antonio Foscarini, Carmelite Friar—His Holiness
    ordered this edict of prohibition and suspension respectively,
    to be published by the Master of the Palace.”[143]

This document, as Gherardi justly perceived, is of far greater importance
than merely for the evidence it affords that Galileo at once submitted
to the Cardinal’s admonition; it permits the conclusion, almost to a
certainty, that a proceeding like that described in the note of 26th
February never took place. It is clear from the above that Cardinal
Bellarmine was giving a report of the proceedings of 26th February at a
private sitting of the Congregation of the Holy Office under the personal
presidency of the Pope. His report agrees precisely with the papal
ordinance of 25th February: he had admonished Galileo to give up the
Copernican doctrines, and he had consented. This was to all appearance
the end of the business. The cardinal does not say a word about the
stringent proceedings said to have taken place in his presence before
notary and witnesses. And yet this part of it would have been of far
greater importance than the first. It may perhaps be said that it was
not the cardinal’s business to report the doings of the Commissary of
the Inquisition. But the objection is not valid; for in the first place
the conditions did not exist which would have justified the interference
of the Commissary, and in the second, his report would certainly also
have been given at the sitting where the proceedings of 26th February
were reported. But in the note of 3rd March there is not a trace of the
report of Brother Michael Angelo Segnitius de Lauda. It is, however,
so incredible that no communication should be made to the Congregation
about the most important part of the proceedings of 26th February, and
that Cardinal Bellarmine should not have made the slightest reference
to it in his report, that this document of 3rd March, 1616, discovered
by Professor Gherardi, would be sufficient of itself to justify the
suspicion that the course of the proceedings on 26th February, 1616, was
not at all that reported in the note relating to it in the Vatican MS.,
but was in accordance with the papal ordinance of 25th February, and
ended with the cardinal’s admonition.

Let us see now whether the ensuing historical events agree better with
this suspicious note. Two days after the sitting of 3rd March, in
accordance with the order of Paul V., the decree of the Congregation of
the Index on writings and books treating of the Copernican system was
published. It ran as follows:—

    “And whereas it has also come to the knowledge of the said
    Congregation, that the Pythagorean doctrine—which is false
    and altogether opposed to Holy Scripture—of the motion of the
    earth, and the quiescence of the sun, which is also taught by
    Nicholas Copernicus in _De Revolutionibus orbium Cœlestium_,
    and by Diego di Zuñiga in (his book on) Job, is now being
    spread abroad and accepted by many—as may be seen from a
    certain letter of a Carmelite Father, entitled, _Letter of
    the Rev. Father Paolo Antonio Foscarini, Carmelite, on the
    opinion of the Pythagoreans and of Copernicus concerning the
    motion of the earth, and the stability of the sun, and the new
    Pythagorean system of the world, at Naples, printed by Lazzaro
    Scorriggio, 1615_: wherein the said father attempts to show
    that the aforesaid doctrine of the quiescence of the sun in the
    centre of the world, and of the earth’s motion, is consonant
    with truth and is not opposed to Holy Scripture. Therefore, in
    order that this opinion may not insinuate itself any further
    to the prejudice of Catholic truth, the Holy Congregation has
    decreed that the said Nicholas Copernicus, _De Revolutionibus
    orbium_, and Diego di Zuñiga, on Job, be suspended until they
    be corrected; but that the book of the Carmelite Father, Paolo
    Antonio Foscarini, be altogether prohibited and condemned, and
    that all other works likewise, in which the same is taught, be
    prohibited, as by this present decree it prohibits, condemns,
    and suspends them all respectively. In witness whereof the
    present decree has been signed and sealed with the hands and
    with the seal of the most eminent and Reverend Lord Cardinal
    of St. Cecilia, Bishop of Albano, on the 5th day of March,

In this decree, as is strikingly pointed out by Emil Wohlwill, a
distinction is drawn between two classes of writings: those which
advocate the positive truth of the Copernican system—which are absolutely
interdicted and condemned; and those to which, by some modifications, a
hypothetical character can be given—these are to be suspended until the
needful corrections have been made. This indicated the precise attitude
which the Church thought to take with regard to the Copernican system.
As a mere working hypothesis it was not dangerous to the Roman Catholic
religion; but as irrefragable truth it shook its very foundations. They
were, therefore, determined at Rome that it should not make way as
truth—it was to be tabooed, banished, and if possible stifled; but as a
mathematical hypothesis, the use of which was obvious even to the Romish
_savans_, it might be allowed to stand. The cardinal’s admonition and
the decree are in logical agreement with this intention. Galileo was to
“renounce” the opinions of Copernicus, that is he was not to maintain
them as established fact; as a hypothesis, like the rest of the world he
might retain them. But according to the document of 26th February, entire
silence was enjoined upon Galileo upon the subject of the double motion
of the earth, for in the injunction neither to hold, teach, or defend
it in any way (_quovis modo_), the hypothetical treatment was obviously

Perhaps it may be said that they wanted to get rid of the most
distinguished and therefore most dangerous defender of the Copernican
system, who by his telescopic discoveries had made the controversy a
burning question of the day. But this conjecture does not stand the test
of close investigation, for Galileo’s work on the solar spots, which was
based upon the sun’s being stationary, was not placed upon the index of
forbidden or suspicious books. And in all the proceedings of the curia
against him at that period, the friendly feeling for him personally, of
powerful patrons in the Church, is obvious, and it makes any specially
rigorous action against him very improbable. We have also other
indications that this categoric prohibition to Galileo had not then been,
_de facto_, issued.

His letters of this epoch afford the strongest evidence. We cannot
expect to find in them precise information about the proceedings of
26th February, as it was contrary to the rules of the Inquisition to
make public its secret orders, under the severest penalties; but they
contain no trace of the deep depression which would have been caused by
the stringent orders of the Holy Office against him personally. On the
contrary, he writes on the 6th March (the day following the issue of the
decree) to Picchena: “I did not write to you, most revered sir, by the
last post, because there was nothing new to report; as they were about to
come to a decision about that affair which I have mentioned to you _as a
purely public one, not affecting my personal interests_, or only so far
as my enemies very inopportunely want to implicate me in it.” He goes on
to say that he alludes to the deliberations of the Holy Office about the
book and opinions of Copernicus; and mentions with evident satisfaction,
that the purpose of Caccini and his party to have that doctrine denounced
as heretical and contrary to the faith had not been attained, for the
Holy Office had simply stated that it did not agree with Holy Scripture,
and therefore only prohibited the books which maintained, _ex professo_,
that the Copernican doctrine was not contrary to the Bible. Galileo
then tells him more particularly what the decree contained, and that
the correction of the works of Copernicus and Zuñiga was entrusted to
Cardinal Gaetaori. He emphatically states that the alterations will be
confined to such passages as aim to prove the agreement of the modern
system with Scripture, and “here and there a word, as when Copernicus
calls the earth a star.” He adds: “I have, as will be seen from the
nature of the case, no interest in the matter, and should not, as I said
before, have troubled myself about it, had not my enemies drawn me into
it.” He means by this that the prohibition to try and make the doctrine
of the double motion square with Scripture was indifferent to him; he
would never have concerned himself with theology if he had not been
driven to it. He then goes on: “It may be seen from my writings in what
spirit I have always acted, and I shall continue to act, so as to shut
the mouth of malice, and to show that my conduct in this business has
been such that a saint could not have shown more reverence for the Church
nor greater zeal.”[145]

In the next letter to Picchena, six days later, Galileo repeats what
he has said about the correction of the work of Copernicus, and says
emphatically that it is clear that no further restrictions will be
imposed. From a reply from Galileo’s faithful friend, Sagredo, to letters
unfortunately not extant, it is evident that he had by no means expressed
himself as cast down by the issue of the affair. Sagredo writes in the
best of spirits: “Now that I have learnt from your valued letters the
particulars of the spiteful, devilish attacks on and accusations against
you, and the issue of them, which entirely frustrates the purposes of
your ignorant and malicious foes, I, and all the friends to whom I have
communicated your letters and messages, are quite set at rest.”[146]

It is clear, then, from Galileo’s correspondence, that he took the decree
of the Inquisition pretty coolly, and speaks with satisfaction of the
trifling alterations to be made in Copernicus’s work. How could the man,
who was forbidden to “hold, teach, or defend” the repudiated doctrine “in
any way,” write in this style?

A document issued by Cardinal Bellarmine himself, relating to these
transactions, is of the utmost importance to the assertion that no such
prohibition had ever been issued to Galileo. After the publication of
the decree of 5th March he remained three months at Rome. His enemies
took advantage of this to spread a false report that he had been obliged
formally to recant, and absolutely to abjure his opinion. Galileo
seems to have been indignant at this; he pacified his adherents who
sent anxious inquiries to their master, and complained bitterly of the
unscrupulousness of his enemies, for whom no means of injuring him were
too bad. But in order to confute these calumnies and guard himself
against them in future, before leaving Rome he begged a certificate from
Cardinal Bellarmine to prove the falsity of this perfidious fiction. This
dignitary consented, and wrote the following declaration:—

    “We, Robert Cardinal Bellarmine, having heard that it is
    calumniously reported that Signor Galileo Galilei has in our
    hand abjured, and has also been punished with salutary penance,
    and being requested to state the truth as to this, declare,
    that the said Signor Galileo has not abjured, either in our
    hand, or the hand of any other person here in Rome, or anywhere
    else, so far as we know, any opinion or doctrine held by him,
    neither has any salutary penance been imposed upon him; but
    only the declaration made by the Holy Father and published by
    the sacred Congregation of the Index, has been intimated to
    him, wherein it is set forth that the doctrine attributed to
    Copernicus, that the earth moves round the sun, and that the
    sun is stationary in the centre of the world, and does not move
    from east to west, is contrary to the Holy Scriptures, and
    therefore cannot be defended or held. In witness whereof we
    have written and subscribed these presents with our hand this
    26th day of May, 1616.”[147]

Wohlwill has clearly shown the discrepancies between this document and
that of 26th February; he has pointed out that even if, as Martin thinks,
“the secrets of the Inquisition had to be kept at any price, even at the
expense of truth,”[148] it would not have put forth so downright a lie
in _optima forma_ as the cardinal’s testimony contained, if the assumed
prohibition had really been given to Galileo by the Commissary-General of
the Inquisition. This prohibition might easily have been passed over in
silence, while the calumnious reports might have been refuted. But the
cardinal was not content with that, and stated expressly that Galileo had
“only” been personally informed of the decree of the Congregation of the
Index about the Copernican system. While this attestation of Bellarmine’s
glaringly contradicts the second part of the note of 26th February, it
not only entirely accords with the papal ordinance of the 25th, but also
with Bellarmine’s report of the proceedings of 26th February in the
private sitting of the Congregation of 3rd March. This proves that the
cardinal certified nothing more nor less than what had actually taken
place. It leads therefore to the following conclusions:—

1. Galileo did not receive any prohibition, except the cardinal’s
admonition not to defend nor hold the Copernican doctrine.

2. Entire silence on the subject was therefore not enjoined upon him.

3. The second part of the note in the Vatican MS. of 26th February, 1616,
is therefore untrue.

These three facts are indisputable, and the subsequent course of
historical events will confirm them step by step, while it can by
no means be made to tally with the assumed strict injunction of the
Commissary-General. Next however, the question immediately arises,
Through whose means did the falsehood get into the acts of the trial,
and was it _bona_ or _mala fide_? Historical research can only partially
answer this question. All these notifications were entered by a notary
of the Inquisition, and probably that of 26th February, 1616, also. Did
he, perhaps merely from officious zeal, enter a note of an official
proceeding as having actually taken place, which undoubtedly was to have
taken place under certain circumstances, but in their absence did not
occur, or even were not to be permitted at all in consequence of papal
instructions? Or was the notary simply the tool of a power which had long
been inimical to Galileo, and which, incensed at the failure for the time
of its schemes against him, sought to forge secret fetters for future
use by the entry of the fictitious note? We have no certain knowledge
of the motives and influences which gave rise to the falsification; as
however we can scarcely believe in the officious zeal of, or independent
falsification by, the notary himself, the conjecture gains in probability
that we are concerned with a lying, perfidious trick of Galileo’s
enemies,[149] which, as we shall see later on, signally fulfilled its

Wohlwill, Gherardi, Cantor, and we ourselves have long been of opinion
that this note originated, not in 1616, but in 1632, in order to legalise
the trial of Galileo. But after having repeatedly and very carefully
examined the original acts of the trial, preserved among the papal
secret archives, we were compelled to acknowledge that the material
nature of the document entirely excludes the suspicion of a subsequent
falsification.[150] The note was not falsified in 1632; no, in 1616
probably, with subtle and perfidious calculation, a lie was entered which
was to have the most momentous consequences to the great astronomer.



    Galileo still lingers at Rome.—Guiccardini tries to effect
    his recall.—Erroneous idea that he was trying to get the
    Decree repealed.—Intrigues against him.—Audience of Pope Paul
    V.—His friendly assurances.—His Character.—Galileo’s return to

Galileo had humbly submitted, had witnessed the issue of the decree of
5th March by the august council; he knew that the only correct doctrine
of the system of the universe had been reduced to the shadow of a
hypothesis, and yet he could not make up his mind to leave the capital of
the hierarchy where such a slap in the face had been given to science.
The story told in most works on Galileo, that though he had submitted
to the Holy Office he afterwards used his utmost endeavours to effect a
reversal of the decree, is another of the firmly rooted and ineffaceable
mistakes of history. It originated in the reports of the Tuscan
ambassador, Guiccardini, to the Grand Duke.[151]

This diplomatist, who was no great friend of Galileo’s, found himself
in an awkward position; he had been, on the one hand, enjoined by his
sovereign to support Galileo as far as it lay in his power, while on the
other he knew that the influential female members of the house of Medici
were very anxious to maintain the good relations of Tuscany with the Holy
See; and he tried to extricate himself from this dilemma by urgently
seeking to effect the recall of the inconvenient guest to Florence.
This object runs through all the ambassador’s despatches to Cosmo II.
He could not depict in colours too glaring the passion, fanaticism, and
pertinacity with which, in spite of all advice to the contrary, Galileo
defended the Copernican cause at Rome, though he was thereby doing it
more harm than good. The long report of Guiccardini to the Grand Duke,
of 4th March, 1616,[152] held to be authentic by most of Galileo’s
biographers, is couched in this tone. Among other things a dramatic scene
is narrated which was the immediate cause of the condemnation of the
Copernican system. Cardinal Orsini, one of Galileo’s warmest friends, to
whom the Grand Duke had sent an autograph letter of introduction, had
spoken to the Pope in favour of Galileo in the consistory of 2nd March.
The Pope replied that it would be well if he would persuade Galileo to
give up this opinion. Orsini then tried to urge the Pope further, but he
cut him short, saying that he had handed over the whole affair to the
Holy Office. No sooner had Orsini retired than Bellarmine, the celebrated
Jesuit theologian, was summoned to the Pope, and in the conversation that
ensued it was determined that this opinion of Galileo’s was erroneous and

Guiccardini must have been greatly misinformed to send reports so
incorrect to his court. As we have seen, on 19th February the Qualifiers
of the Holy Office were summoned to pronounce an opinion on the
Copernican doctrines, and as the result Galileo was summoned seven days
later to appear before Bellarmine, who informed him of the decree, and
admonished him to renounce the prohibited doctrine. But all this seems
to have escaped the acuteness of the Tuscan ambassador. He supposes that
the catastrophe had been brought about by a fit of papal anger! On 4th
March he only knows what was known the next day to all the world—by the
decree of the Congregation of the Index—that the writings of Copernicus
and other authors on the subject of the double motion were to be partly
condemned, partly corrected, and partly prohibited.

Guiccardini in this despatch represented, on the one hand, the
difficulties into which the imprudent astronomer “might” bring himself
by his vehemence, and on the other the embarrassment in which those
who took his part would be placed; he reminded the Grand Duke of the
attitude which his house had at all times assumed in the past towards
such attacks on the Church of God, and of the services it had rendered to
the Inquisition, adding that he “could not approve that we should expose
ourselves to such annoyances and dangers without very good reason, and a
different prospect from that of great damage.” The most potent argument,
however, which he saved for the close of his long epistle of 4th March,
as the climax, was the endeavour to inspire Cosmo II. with the fear that
his brother, Cardinal Carlo de’ Medici, who was just coming to Rome,
would compromise himself by his relations with Galileo.

From Galileo’s correspondence with Picchena, we learn in contradiction to
this despatch what it was that induced him to linger at Rome after the
issue of the decree of 5th March. He did not wish to return to Florence
under the impressions produced by the alarming reports of Guiccardini
and the rumours spread by many of his opponents. It is evident that he
was aware of what was said of him from a passage in a letter to Picchena
of 6th March. After expressing a fear that somebody not friendly to him
might represent his affairs to the Tuscan Secretary of State and others
in a false light, he entreats Picchena to maintain, until his return,
the good opinion of him which his sincerity deserves. He is convinced
that the arrival of Cardinal de’ Medici will relieve him from the need of
uttering one word of self-justification, as he will hear at once what an
excellent reputation he enjoyed at the Court of Rome. He then goes on, as
if directly refuting Guiccardini’s accusations:—

    “Then your Grace will learn, above all, with what composure
    and moderation I have conducted myself, and what regard I
    have had for the honour and good repute of those who have
    eagerly tried to injure mine and certainly your Grace will be
    surprised. I say this to you, most honoured sir, in case any
    false accusations of the kind should reach your ears from any
    quarter; and I hope that credit will be given to a party not
    adverse to me, so that a more just understanding may be arrived

Meanwhile Galileo’s position became more favourable, because the Pope
received the submissive philosopher very graciously on 11th March,
and gave him an audience which lasted three-quarters of an hour. He
seized the opportunity of speaking to Paul V. of the intrigues of his
enemies, and of some of the false accusations against him; to which the
Pope replied that he was well aware of the rectitude and sincerity of
his sentiments. And when Galileo, in conclusion, expressed his fears
of the perpetual persecutions of relentless malice, the Pope consoled
him by saying that he need not fear, for he was held in so much esteem
by himself and the whole Congregation, that they would not listen to
these calumnies, and as long as he occupied the chair of St. Peter,
Galileo might feel himself safe from all danger. Paul V. also repeatedly
expressed his readiness to show his favour by his actions.

Galileo hastened on the very next day to make known the favourable
result of this audience to Picchena, the Secretary of State, in a
long letter.[153] The effect of it, however, was quite different from
what he probably expected. The Court of Tuscany, which had been not a
little disquieted by Guiccardini’s alarming despatch, thought it a good
opportunity to press upon Galileo, now that his fame was so brilliantly
re-established, to leave Rome and return to Florence. This was the tenor
of Picchena’s reply of 20th March.[154] Their highnesses, evidently still
under the impression of Guiccardini’s letter, implored Galileo to be
quiet, and no longer to discuss this dangerous subject, but to return.

Encouraged by the Pope’s friendly words, however, Galileo showed no
disposition to take these plain hints, and we learn from his further
correspondence that his tarriance at Rome was fully approved by the
Tuscan Court. Thus we read in a letter of 26th March: “As to my return,
unless his Highness wishes it otherwise, I shall, in accordance with your
commands, await the arrival of his Reverence the Cardinal.” And further
on: “After the arrival of the Cardinal I shall stay here as long as his
Highness or the Cardinal pleases.”[155]

To the great annoyance of Guiccardini, Galileo remained three months
longer at Rome—beneath those skies which, according to the ambassador,
must prove dangerous to him in consequence of his vehement temperament,
“especially at a time when the ruler of the eternal city hates
science and polite scholars, and cannot endure these innovations and
subtleties.” This portrait of Paul V. was undoubtedly a correct one.
He cared very little for learning, and displayed a harsh and sometimes
savage character; while the inviolability of the dogmas of the Church,
ecclesiastical privileges, and blind obedience to the faith, were
supreme in his eyes. We will just remind our readers that it was Paul V.
who, just after his elevation to the papacy, had a poor wretch, named
Piccinardi, beheaded, because, for his private amusement, he had written
a biography of Clement VIII., in which he was not very aptly compared
with the Emperor Tiberius, although the work was not intended for
publication,—a sentence which occasioned great consternation.

At a time, therefore, when the tiara was worn by a man of this character,
the atmosphere of Rome might certainly have been dangerous to an ardent
explorer in the fields of natural science. But as Galileo did not suffer
any sort of papal persecution during his stay there, it is obvious that
the character drawn of him by Guiccardini was very much exaggerated. This
also refutes the constantly reiterated fable that Galileo was eagerly
trying to get the decree of 5th March repealed. The vehement agitation
imputed to him by the ambassador, and this bold attempt, would have been
speedily followed by penalties. But history knows nothing at this period
of misunderstandings between Galileo and the Church; indeed we possess
a document which entirely contradicts the reports of Guiccardini. This
is a letter from Cardinal del Monte to the Grand Duke at the time of
Galileo’s departure from Rome, written expressly “to bear witness that
he was leaving with the best reputation and the approval of all who have
had transactions with him; for it has been made manifest how unjust the
calumnies of his enemies have been.” The cardinal adds, “that having
conversed much with Galileo, and being intimate with those who were
cognisant of all that had taken place, he could assure his Highness that
there was not the least imputation attaching to the philosopher.”[156]

But to return to the course of events. The Tuscan ambassador continued to
send disquieting letters to the Grand Duke about Galileo in order that
he might be recalled. He wrote in a despatch of 13th May: “ ... Galileo
seems disposed to emulate the monks in obstinacy, and to contend with
personages who cannot be attacked without ruining yourself; we shall soon
hear at Florence that he has madly tumbled into some abyss or other.”[157]

Cosmo II., not a little alarmed by these gloomy prognostications of his
ambassador, and really in care for the revered philosopher, at length
issued the order for his long-desired return. Picchena then wrote the
following drastic letter to Galileo, on 23rd May:—

    “You have had enough of monkish persecutions, and know now what
    the flavour of them is. His Highness fears that your longer
    tarriance at Rome might involve you in difficulties, and would
    therefore be glad if, as you have so far come honourably out
    of the affair, you would not tease the sleeping dog any more,
    and would return here as soon as possible. For there are
    rumours flying about which we do not like, and the monks are
    all powerful. I, your servant, would not fail to warn you, and
    to inform you, as in duty bound, of the wishes of our ruler,
    wherewith I kiss your hand.”[158]

Galileo complied without delay with Cosmo’s wishes, and set out on his
homeward journey on the 4th of the following month.



    Studious Seclusion.—Waiting for the Correction of the Work of
    Copernicus.—Treatise on Tides.—Sends it to Archduke Leopold
    of Austria.—The Letter which accompanied it.—The three Comets
    of 1618.—Galileo’s Opinion of Comets.—Grassi’s Lecture on
    them.—Guiducci’s Treatise on them inspired by Galileo.—Grassi’s
    “Astronomical and Philosophical Scales.”—Galileo’s Reply.—Paul
    V.—His Death.—Death of Cosmo II.—Gregory XV.—“Il Saggiatore”
    finished.—Riccardi’s “Opinion” on it.—Death of Gregory
    XV.—Urban VIII.

Seven years passed by, during which Galileo lived a secluded and studious
life in the Villa Segni, at Bellosguardo, near Florence, without
publishing any new work. How could he do so? The acceptance and further
application of the Copernican system was the mainspring of all his
scientific pursuits, of which, multifarious as they were, the principle
of the double motion of the earth was both foundation and keystone. The
general permission to employ the theory as a working hypothesis was of
little service to him. The lofty structure of correct knowledge of our
universe could not be raised on a pedestal of sand; it required the
imperishable marble of truth. Galileo was compelled to withhold the
results of his researches until, perchance, some altered state of things
should change the mind of the papal court, at present so inimical to the
Copernican cause. The publication of any researches in accordance with
the Copernican system appeared especially dangerous, until the promised
corrections had been made in the famous work of the Canon of Frauenburg,
which had been temporarily placed on the Index. These corrections would
give more precise information as to how they wished the new doctrine
handled at Rome, what limits had been set by ecclesiastical despotism to
researches into nature. Galileo watched with great anxiety the labours
of the papal censors, and tried to hasten them through his friend Prince
Cesi.[159] This eager interest in the earliest possible publication of
the corrections is another thing which does not accord with the assumed
stringent prohibition of February 26th. What difference would it have
made to Galileo whether any facilities were offered for the discussion of
the Copernican theory or not, if absolute silence on the subject had been
enjoined on him?

During this period, when he could not venture to have the results of his
various researches published, he was careful to make them known to some
friends of science by means of long letters, numerous copies of which
were then circulated in Europe. Very few of them, unfortunately, have
come down to us, but there is one of them that deserves special notice.
It indicates precisely Galileo’s position: on the one hand he feels
constrained to make way for the recognition of the truth; but on the
other, as a good Catholic, and from regard to his personal safety, he
does not wish to clash with ecclesiastical authority. This letter, too,
adds weight to the conclusion _that there was no prohibition enjoining
absolute silence on the Copernican theory on Galileo_.

During his last stay at Rome, at the suggestion of Cardinal Orsini, he
had written a treatise on the tides in the form of a letter to that
dignitary, dated January 8th,[160] in which he expressed his firm
conviction, erroneously as we now know, that this phenomenon could
only be explained on the theory of the double motion of the earth. He
represented it as an important confirmation of the truth of it. In May,
1618, he sent a copy of this treatise to the Archduke Leopold of Austria,
who was friendly to him, and was a brother of the Grand Duchess. But as
since it was written the decree of March 5th had been issued, which only
permitted discussion of the subject as a hypothesis, Galileo thought it
advisable to add a sort of accompaniment to his treatise, in which he
took the utmost pains to comply with the conditions imposed by the Church
on her dutiful and orthodox son. He wrote:—

    “With this I send a treatise on the causes of the tides, which
    I wrote rather more than two years ago at the suggestion of
    his Eminence Cardinal Orsini, at Rome, at the time when the
    theologians were thinking of prohibiting Copernicus’s book and
    the doctrine enounced therein of the motion of the earth, which
    I then held to be true, until it pleased those gentlemen to
    prohibit the work, and to declare that opinion to be false and
    contrary to Scripture. Now, knowing as I do, that it behoves
    us to obey the decisions of the authorities, and to believe
    them, since they are guided by a higher insight than any to
    which my humble mind can of itself attain, I consider this
    treatise which I send you merely to be a poetical conceit, or
    a dream, and desire that your Highness may take it as such,
    inasmuch as it is based on the double motion of the earth, and
    indeed contains one of the arguments which I have adduced in
    confirmation of it. But even poets sometimes attach a value to
    one or other of their fantasies, and I likewise attach some
    value to this fancy of mine. Now, having written the treatise,
    and having shown it to the Cardinal above-mentioned, and a few
    others, I have also let a few exalted personages have copies,
    in order that in case any one not belonging to our Church
    should try to appropriate my curious fancy, as has happened
    to me with many of my discoveries, these personages, being
    above all suspicion, may be able to bear witness that it was
    I who first dreamed of this chimera. What I now send is but
    a fugitive performance; it was written in haste, and in the
    expectation that the work of Copernicus would not be condemned
    as erroneous eighty years after its publication. I had intended
    at my convenience, and in the quiet, to have gone more
    particularly into this subject, to have added more proofs, to
    have arranged the whole anew, and to have put it into a better
    form. But a voice from heaven has aroused me, and dissolved all
    my confused and tangled fantasies in mist. May therefore your
    Highness graciously accept it, ill arranged as it is. And if
    Divine love ever grants that I may be in a position to exert
    myself a little, your Highness may expect something more solid
    and real from me.”[161]

On reading such passages one really does not know which to be the most
indignant at,—the iron rule by which a privileged caste repressed the
progress of science in the name of religion, or the servility of one
of the greatest philosophers of all times in not scorning an unworthy
subterfuge in order to disseminate a grain of supposed truth in the world
without incurring personal danger.

But in spite of all precautions, in spite of “chimeras,” “fictions,”
“fantasies,” and even “the voice from heaven,” the circulation of this
treatise, based upon the theory of the double motion, would have been
an infringement of the assumed absolute prohibition to Galileo, while,
thanks to the ingenious accompaniment, it in no way clashed with the
decree of 5th March. Galileo’s conduct shows plainly enough that he
humbly submitted to the ecclesiastical ordinance, but there is not a
trace of the prohibition to discuss the doctrine “in any way.”

Little, however, as Galileo desired to engage, thus hampered, in any
perilous controversies, the next time it was nature herself who enticed
him into the field in which his genius and his polemical ingenuity
acquired for him both splendid triumphs and bitter foes.

In August, 1618, three comets appeared in the heavens, and the brilliant
one in the constellation of the Scorpion strongly attracted the attention
of astronomers. Although it was visible until January, 1619, Galileo
had very little opportunity of observing it, as he was confined to his
bed by a severe and tedious illness.[162] But he communicated his views
on comets to several of his friends, and among others to the Archduke
Leopold of Austria, who had come to see the sick philosopher.[163] He
did not consider them to be real heavenly bodies, but merely atmospheric
appearances, columns of vapour which rise from earth to the skies, to a
very considerable height, far beyond the moon, and become temporarily
visible to the inhabitants of the earth, in the well-known form of a
comet, by the refraction of the sun’s rays. As he judged comets to be
without substance, and placed them on a par with mock suns and the aurora
borealis, he concluded that they could have no parallax determinations.

In the same year, 1619, a Jesuit, Father Grassi, delivered a lecture on
the three comets in the Roman College, in which he gave out that such
phenomena were not mere appearances, but real heavenly bodies; copies of
this lecture were widely circulated, and Galileo was strongly urged by
his adherents to publish his opinion. He was prudent enough to evade for
the time a fresh controversy, which, in the existing critical state of
affairs, might bring him into danger, and apparently took no part in the
scientific feud which was brewing. But he induced his learned friend and
pupil, Mario Guiducci, consul of the Academy at Florence, to publish a
treatise on comets. Numerous alterations and additions, however, which
are found in the original MS. in the Palatina Library at Florence, attest
that he had a direct share in the editorship.[164] The opinions hitherto
held by philosophers and astronomers on this subject were discussed,
and the author’s own—that is Galileo’s—expounded. Grassi’s views were
sharply criticised, and he was reproachfully asked why he had passed over
Galileo’s recent astronomical discoveries in silence.

Grassi, who recognised the real originator of the work, in the reply
which he issued a few months later entirely ignored the pupil, that he
might the more vigorously attack the master. Under the pseudonym of
_Lothario Sarsi Sigensano_, he published a pamphlet against Galileo,
entitled, “The Astronomical and Philosophical Scales.”[165] It is
written with caustic bitterness, and is a model of Jesuitical malice
and cunning. The comet question was for the time a secondary matter with
Grassi, and he begins with a personal attack on Galileo, by disputing the
priority of several of his most important discoveries and inventions, and
reproaching him, with pious indignation, with obstinate adherence to a
doctrine condemned by theologians. Up to this point he is only angry and
spiteful, but as he goes on he becomes cunning. He sets up for a warm
defender of the Peripatetic physics, and attacks the Copernican system,
and its advocate Galileo, to compel him either to ignominious silence or
dangerous demonstrations. Under pretext of meeting Guiducci’s reproach
that he (Grassi) had taken Tycho as his authority, he asks whether it
would have been better to follow the system of Ptolemy, which had been
convicted of error, or that of Copernicus, which every God-fearing
man must abhor, and his hypothesis, which had just been condemned? In
discussing the causes of the movements of comets, it seemed to him that
the arguments were insinuated on which the forbidden doctrines were
based. “Away!” he exclaims in righteous indignation, “with all such
words so offensive to truth and to every pious ear! They were prudent
enough certainly scarcely to speak of them with bated breath, and not to
blazon it abroad that Galileo’s opinion was founded upon this pernicious

Thus attacked, Galileo prepared to defend himself. The greatest caution
was necessary, for Grassi was backed by the powerful party of the
Jesuits, who made a great boast of this work.[166] The letters of this
period from Prince Cesi and Galileo’s ecclesiastical friends at Rome
show that they were very anxious that he should not make the influential
order of Jesuits his enemies by a direct collision with them. But as they
saw the absolute necessity of a reply, they gave him all sorts of good
advice, how to parry the attack without incurring their hatred. They
were of opinion that he should not honour an adversary concealed behind
a pseudonym with a reply written by himself, but should depute the task
to a pupil, or, if he intended to conduct his defence in person, clothe
his reply in the form of a letter instead of a treatise, not addressed
to Sarsi himself, but to one of his own party.[167] He decided for the
latter; and adopting a hint from Mgr. Ciampoli,[168] he addressed the
reply to Mgr. Cesarini, one of his most devoted friends and dauntless

But the completion of this afterwards famous rejoinder was delayed for
two years, and its publication, which, according to custom with all works
by members of the Accadémia dei Lincei, was undertaken by the Society,
was delayed fully another year owing to the scruples of Prince Cesi and
other “lynxes.” Galileo’s procrastination is to be explained partly by
his continued ill health, but more so by the position of affairs at Rome
as well as in Tuscany, which was by no means encouraging for a contest
with a Jesuit.

The imperious Paul V. was still the reigning Pope, and his good will
towards Galileo would certainly only have lasted so long as he was
entirely submissive. His dialectic reply, which was pervaded by cutting
irony aimed at a father of the order of Jesuits, even sometimes making
him appear ridiculous, could not have been much to the taste of a Pope to
whom the inviolability of the Church and her ministers was all in all. It
is characteristic of this pontiff that, as appears from the negotiations
with James I., he seriously claimed the right of deposing kings, and
called every attempt to make him relinquish this claim “a heretical
proceeding,” and pronounced the writings of some Venetian ecclesiastics
who disputed it, to be worse than Calvinistic. Just as this stern
pontiff was gathered to his fathers (16th January, 1621), in consequence
of an attack of apoplexy on the occasion of the celebration of the
victory on the Weissenberg, and the good-natured and infirm old man,
Gregory XV., ascended the papal chair, Galileo sustained a blow which was
most disastrous to him. This was the death, on 28th February, 1621, of
his kind protector and patron, Cosmo II. The protection of an energetic
prince who sincerely respected him, which he had hitherto enjoyed, was
replaced by the uncertain favour of a feminine government, as the widowed
Grand Duchess, whose tendencies were thoroughly Romish, assumed the
regency for Ferdinand II., who was still in his minority.

Under these circumstances Galileo was but little inclined to bring out
his reply; and perhaps the time when they were founding the Propaganda
at Rome, and enrolling Loyola and Xavier among the saints, did not seem
very opportune. From the new Pope personally there was nothing to fear.
The phlegmatic little man, who was so bowed down by age and sickness
that those about him often feared to lay complicated business matters
before him, lest he should entirely break down, was certainly not likely
to inspire awe; besides, Gregory had expressed himself to Ciampoli very
favourably of Galileo.[169] But the Pope’s infirmities made it all the
more necessary to proceed with caution; for they allowed the Romish
administration to exercise full sway. And the man who guided it with
almost sovereign authority was the Pope’s nephew, Cardinal Lodovico
Lodovisi, a former pupil and therefore zealous friend of the Jesuits.

Nevertheless Galileo’s adherents, and especially his clerical friends at
Rome, considered it absolutely necessary to publish his reply as soon as
possible, with the precautions before mentioned, because his opponents
construed his silence into a triumph for Grassi and the Aristotelian
school.[170] Prince Cesi, Mgrs. Cesarini and Ciampoli—the latter of whom
meanwhile had become Secretary of the Papal Briefs to Gregory XV., a post
which he also held under his successor, Urban VIII., until he fell into
disgrace about Galileo—urged him repeatedly to finish his reply.[171]

Francesco Stelluti, a member of the Accadémia dei Lincei, a learned
friend of Galileo’s, did indeed at this time (June, 1622) bring out
a work against “Lothario Sarsi,” but he only defended Guiducci, and
studiously avoided touching on the reproaches cast on Galileo, in order
not to anticipate him.[172]

At length, in October of the same year, Galileo sent the MS. of his
celebrated work, “Il Saggiatore” (The Assayer), to Mgr. Cesarini, at
Rome.[173] For five months it passed from hand to hand among the members
of the Accadémia dei Lincei, who carefully criticised it, and with
Galileo’s consent, altered the passages which might possibly have been
taken advantage of by his enemies to renew their intrigues against him.
The Jesuits meanwhile had got wind of the completion of the reply, and
did their utmost to get hold of one of the numerous copies of the MS.;
but Cesarini, Cesi, Ciampoli, and the other “Lynxes,” took good care of
them, well knowing that if the Jesuits once made acquaintance with this
crushing reply, they would use every endeavour to prevent its receiving
the _imprimatur_.[174] This was granted on 2nd February, 1623, by the
supreme authorities of the censorship, not only without hesitation, but
they spoke of the work in very favourable and flattering terms. The
opinion—which was drawn up by Father Nicolo Riccardi, a former pupil of
Galileo’s, who will often be mentioned in the sequel, then examiner, and
afterwards even Magister Sacrii Palatii—was as follows:—

    “By command of the Master of the Palace I have read the work,
    ‘Il Saggiatore,’ and not only have I detected nothing in it
    which is contrary to good morals, or deviates from the divine
    truth of our religion, but I have found in it such beautiful
    and manifold observations on natural philosophy, that I think
    our age will not have to boast merely of having been the
    inheritor of the labours of earlier philosophers, but also of
    having been the discoverer of many secrets of nature which they
    were not able to penetrate, thanks to the subtle and solid
    researches of the author, whose contemporary I think myself
    happy to be, for now the gold of truth is no longer weighed
    wholesale and with the steelyard, but with the delicate scales
    used for gold.”[175]

The commencement of the printing was again delayed till the beginning
of May,[176] and then proceeded but slowly, for it was not until 27th
May that Ciampoli sent the first two sheets of the “Saggiatore” to
the author, in order to prove to him the falseness of a report which
had meanwhile gained currency, that the printing of the work had been

An event then took place which seemed likely to produce a great change
in Galileo’s relations with Rome; indeed in the whole attitude of
ecclesiastical authority towards the free progress of science. At all
events, as we shall see, Galileo flattered himself with this hope, and
not without some justification. On 8th July, 1623, Gregory XV. succumbed
to age and infirmity in the second year of his pontificate. The man who
at the age of fifty-five was now elevated to the papacy, not only did
not in the least resemble his immediate predecessors, but his tendencies
were in striking contrast to theirs. He was previously Cardinal Maffeo
Barberini, and now ascended the papal throne as Urban VIII.



    His Character.—Taste for Letters.—Friendship for Galileo when
    Cardinal.—Letters to him.—Verses in his honour.—Publication of
    “Il Saggiatore,” with Dedication to the Pope.—Character of the
    Work.—The Pope’s approval of it.—Inconsistency with the assumed

Scarcely any Pope has left to posterity so accurate a delineation of his
character and aims in his own trenchant utterances as Urban VIII. When
shown the marble monuments of his predecessors, he proudly observed that
he “would erect iron ones to himself.” And the fortress of Castelfranco
on the Bolognese frontier (called, in honour of his Holiness, Fort
Urbino), the new breastworks of the Castle of St. Angelo, the Vatican
Library turned into an arsenal, the new manufactory of arms at Tivoli,
and finally the costly harbour of Civita Vecchia, are so many silent
testimonies to the cherished desire of this _pontiff_ to transform the
eternal city into an inviolable symbol in stone of the temporal power
of the Pope, and to accredit himself as a true mediæval vicegerent of
Christ with the two-edged sword of the world. His athletic physique
and iron energy were ever the vigorous executors of his ideas. In his
self-sufficiency he disdained to take counsel with the Sacred College,
saying that he “knew better than all the cardinals put together,” and
boldly set himself above all ancient constitutions, alleging the unheard
of reason that “the sentence of a living Pope was worth more than all the
decrees of a hundred dead ones.” And finally, to leave his flock, the
Christian peoples, in no manner of doubt about his pastoral humility, he
revoked the resolve of the Romans never again to erect a monument to a
Pope in his lifetime, saying, “such a resolution could not apply to a
Pope like himself.”

The desire for unlimited temporal power rises like a column out of the
life of Urban VIII. Still it is not destitute of the embellishments of
art, poetry, and love of learning. It is no fiction that this imperious
pontiff found pleasure in turning passages of the Old and New Testaments
into Horatian metre, and the song of Simeon into two sapphic strophes!
His numerous and often cordial letters to Galileo bear witness also of
his interest in science and its advocates; but if these scientific or
poetic tastes clashed for a moment with the papal supremacy, the patron
of art and science had to give place at once to the ecclesiastical ruler,
who shunned no means, secret or avowed, of making every other interest
subservient to his assumption of temporal and spiritual dominion.

It is simply a psychological consequence of these traits of character,
that arbitrary caprice, the twin brother of despotic power, often played
an intolerable part in his treatment of those who came in contact with

This then was the character of the new head of the Catholic Church, on
whom Galileo placed great hopes for the progress of science in general,
and the toleration of the Copernican system in particular, though they
were to result in bitter disappointment. Yet to all appearance he was
justified in hailing this election, for not only was Urban VIII. a
refreshing contrast to his immediate predecessors, who cared little for
art or science, but as Cardinal Maffeo Barberini, he had for years shown
the warmest friendship for and interest in Galileo.

Many letters from this dignitary to Galileo which have come down to us
bear witness to this.[179] Thus he wrote to him from Bologna on 5th June,
1612: “I have received your treatise on various scientific questions,
which have been raised during my stay here, and shall read them with
great pleasure, both to confirm myself in my opinion, _which agrees with
yours_, and, with the rest of the world, to enjoy the fruits of your rare
intellect.”[180] The words, “in order to confirm,” etc., have led some
not very careful writers to conclude that, at all events when cardinal,
Urban VIII. was a follower of Copernicus. But this is quite beside the
mark. For the work in question was the one on floating bodies, with
which, though the Peripatetics got the worst of it, neither Ptolemy or
Copernicus had anything to do. A little more attention would have saved
Philarete Chasles and others from such erroneous statements.

Another letter to Galileo from the cardinal, 20th April, 1613, after the
publication of his work on the solar spots, shows the interest he took in
the astronomer and his achievements. He writes:—

    “Your printed letters to Welser have reached me, and are very
    welcome. I shall not fail to read them with pleasure, again and
    again, which they deserve. This is not a book which will be
    allowed to stand idly among the rest; it is the only one which
    can induce me to withdraw for a few hours from my official
    duties to devote myself to its perusal, and to the observation
    of the planets of which it treats, if the telescopes we have
    here are fit for it. Meanwhile I thank you very much for your
    remembrance of me, and beg you not to forget the high opinion
    which I entertain for a mind so extraordinarily gifted as

But the cardinal had not confined himself to these assurances of esteem
and friendship in his letters, but had proved them by his actions in 1615
and 1616, by honestly assisting to adjust Galileo’s personal affairs
when brought before the Inquisition. And Maffeo Barberini attributed the
success then achieved in no small degree to his own influence, and used
even to relate with satisfaction when Pope, that he had at that time
assisted Galileo out of his difficulties. But here we must remind those
authors who represent Barberini, when cardinal, as a Copernican, in order
to paint his subsequent attitude as Pope in darker hues than history
warrants, that although in 1615 and 1616 he exerted himself for Galileo
personally, he in no way sought to avert the condemnation of the system.

In 1620, however, Barberini gave Galileo a really enthusiastic proof of
his esteem. He celebrated his discoveries in some elegant and spirited
verses, in which astronomy was allied with morality, and he sent them to
Galileo, under date of 28th August, with the following letter:—

    “The esteem which I always entertain for yourself and your
    great merits has given occasion to the enclosed verses. If
    not worthy of you, they will serve at any rate as a proof of
    my affection, while I purpose to add lustre to my poetry by
    your renowned name. Without wasting words, then, in further
    apologies, which I leave to the confidence which I place in
    you, I beg you to receive with favour this insignificant proof
    of my great affection.”[182]

When this dignitary, who was generally regarded as a friend and protector
of science, had ascended the papal chair, the “Accadémia dei Lincei”
hastened to dedicate “Il Saggiatore” to his Holiness, in order to spoil
the sport of the author’s enemies beforehand.

To the annoyance of Galileo’s opponents and delight of his friends,
by the end of October, 1623, “Il Saggiatore” appeared. This work
is a masterpiece of ingenuity; for the author not only dexterously
avoids falling into the snares laid for him by Father Grassi, but
prepares signal defeats for him. Galileo takes his attack on him,
“The Astronomical and Philosophical Scales,” paragraph by paragraph,
throws light on each, and disputes or confutes it. And it is done in so
sparkling and spirited a style, and the reasoning, pervaded by cutting
sarcasm, is so conclusive, that “Il Saggiatore” certainly deserves to be
called a model of dialectic skill. Our limits preclude going further
into its scientific contents. For our purpose it will suffice to say
that Galileo took occasion in it to lash many errors in Grassi’s work
unmercifully, and thereby incurred the eternal hatred of the all powerful
Jesuit party. Thus it was to a great extent the purely scientific
“Saggiatore” which subsequently conjured up the tragic element in
Galileo’s fate.

Another interesting point in the work is the way in which Galileo replies
to Grassi’s interpellations about the system of the universe. Admirable
as is the ingenuity with which he performs this ticklish task, one
cannot sympathise with the denial of his inmost convictions. He parries
the provocations of his adversary by demonstrating that the Ptolemaic
and Copernican doctrines had nothing to do with the controversy about
comets, and that this question was only raised by “Sarsi” in order to
attack him (Galileo). He adds the ambiguous remark: “As to the Copernican
hypothesis, I am fully convinced that if we Catholics had not to thank
the highest wisdom for having corrected our mistake and enlightened our
blindness, we should never have been indebted for such a benefit to
the arguments and experiences of Tycho.”[183] He then shows that the
Copernican system, “which, as a pious Catholic, he considers entirely
erroneous and completely denies,” perfectly agrees with the telescopic
discoveries, which cannot be made to agree at all with the other systems.
But since, in spite of all this caution, a defence of the new system
might have been detected in these statements, Galileo hastens to the
conciliatory conclusion, that since the Copernican theory is condemned
by the Church, the Ptolemaic no longer tenable in the face of scientific
research, while that of Tycho is inadequate, some other must be sought

Notwithstanding all this fencing, however, no one can fail to see in
“Il Saggiatore” an underhand defence of the Copernican system, as is
evident from the passages quoted. Such a vague discussion of it as this,
however, did not compromise Galileo according to the decree of 5th March,
1616; but “Il Saggiatore” would have directly contravened the assumed
absolute injunction to silence on that system of 26th February, and
Galileo would certainly not have ventured to write in this style if the
Commissary-General of the Holy Office had, in 1616, solemnly forbidden
him to discuss the said doctrine in any way whatever (_quovis modo_).
This is another proof that this famous prohibition was not issued to
Galileo in the form in which it occurs in the archives of 26th February.

“Il Saggiatore” was, indeed, denounced to the Inquisition in 1625,
by Galileo’s opponents, as containing a concealed endorsement of the
Copernican system, and a motion was made in the Congregation of the Holy
Office to prohibit it, or at any rate to have it corrected; but it was
not carried, and the party only prepared a defeat for themselves. In
consequence of the denunciation, a cardinal was charged to investigate
the matter, and to report upon it. He selected Father Guevara, General
of the Theatines, to assist him, who, after careful examination of
the work in question, spoke in high praise of it, recommended it most
warmly to the cardinal, and even gave him a written statement, in which
he explained that the opinion of the earth’s motion, even if it had
been maintained, would not have appeared to him a reason for condemning
it.[184] Even Urban VIII., who, we must suppose, was perfectly acquainted
with the proceedings of 1616, does not appear to have had any scruples
about “Il Saggiatore,” for he had it read aloud to him at table,
immediately after its publication,[185] and, as Galileo was assured,
enjoyed it highly.[186]



    Galileo goes to Rome to congratulate Urban VIII. on his
    Accession.—Favourable Reception.—Scientific discussions
    with the Pope.—Urban refuses to Revoke the Decree of 5th
    March.—Nicolo Riccardi.—The Microscope.—Galileo not the
    Inventor.—Urban’s favours to Galileo on leaving Rome.—Galileo’s
    reply to Ingoli.—Sanguine hopes.—Grassi’s hypocrisy.—Spinola’s
    harangue against the Copernican System.—Lothario Sarsi’s reply
    to “Il Saggiatore.”—Galileo writes his “Dialogues.”

On the accession of Urban VIII. Galileo formed a project of offering his
congratulations to the new Pope at Rome, and of using all his personal
influence on the occasion to obtain toleration for the Copernican system,
now no longer opposed by the weighty influence of Cardinal Bellarmine,
for he had died two years before. But he first consulted his friends at
Rome, whether he would be well received, and especially by his Holiness.
He wrote among other things to Prince Cesi, on 9th October, 1623: “I
have in my head plans of no small importance for the learned world, and
perhaps can never hope for so wonderful a combination of circumstances
to ensure their success, at least so far as I am able to conduce to
it.”[187] Cesi, who well understood Galileo’s mode of speaking, confirmed
him in his intentions in his answer of 21st October, and urged him to
carry out his project speedily. “It is necessary for you to come, and
you will be very welcome to his Holiness,” wrote the Prince.[188] Thomas
Rinuccini, brother of the Archbishop of Fermo, of whom Galileo made
the same inquiries, replied as commissioned by the new Pope’s nephew,
Cardinal Francesco Barberini, that Urban VIII. would always be pleased
to receive him, and told him that he had had a long audience of the Pope
himself three days ago, of which he reported to Galileo:—

    “I swear to you that nothing pleased his Holiness so much
    as the mention of your name. After I had been speaking of
    you for some time, I told him that you, esteemed sir, had an
    ardent desire to come and kiss his toe, if his Holiness would
    permit it, to which the Pope replied that it would give him
    great pleasure, if it were not inconvenient to you, and if the
    journey would not be injurious to your health; for great men
    like you must spare themselves, that they may live as long as

Galileo now resolved to go to Rome as soon as he could, but his uncertain
health and the unprecedentedly bad weather, which had laid whole tracts
of land under water, delayed his departure. His friends at Rome wrote
meanwhile again and again, encouraging him to set out, for the Pope,
Cardinal Barberini, and all his exalted patrons and numerous adherents
were longing for his presence;[190] and Mgr. Ciampoli assured him that
he “would find that his Holiness had a special personal affection for

At length, on the 1st April, Galileo was able to set out, although the
state of his health was still such that he could only perform the journey
in a litter. He reached Aquasparta on 8th April, spent a fortnight with
Prince Cesi in his fine place there, and discussed the affairs which
lay so near his heart with his learned and influential friend. He did
not arrive in Rome till towards the end of April. The long-expected
guest would have been sure of a distinguished reception, even without
the Grand Duchess Christine’s letter[192] of recommendation to her son,
Cardinal de’ Medici. Every one was aware of the favour which the new Pope
entertained for the great astronomer. His old adherents, therefore,
received him with greater delight than ever; and his enemies, for the
time, only ventured to clench their fists behind his back. His letters
of this period express the great satisfaction which this flattering
reception afforded him.[193] The prospect did not indeed look quite
so favourable for his cause. Within six weeks he had had six long
audiences of Urban VIII., had been most affably received by him, and
had found opportunity to lay before him all his arguments in defence
of the Copernican system;[194] but he would not be convinced, and in
one of these discussions tried to turn the tables, and to convince the
advocate of the modern system of its incorrectness, in which he met with
no success. And not only did Urban, in spite of his esteem for Galileo,
turn a deaf ear to his arguments, but he would not grant his petition for
toleration of the new doctrine; on this point he was quite inexorable.

In vain did Galileo obtain the support of several of the cardinals who
were friendly to him, to gain permission from the supreme ruler of
Christendom to teach the Copernican system _as true_. The Pope said to
Cardinal Hohenzollern, who, at Galileo’s request, warmly took up the
question, and had observed in a conversation on it with Urban, that great
caution was required in dealing with it, “that the Church neither had
condemned nor ever would condemn the doctrine as heretical, but only as
rash.”[195] This language was, as Henri Martin justly observes,[196] more
than wanting in precision; for in the first place the Church had never
condemned it at all, either as “heretical” or “rash,” for the Qualifiers
of the Holy Office never mean the “Church”; and in the second place,
this commission had, in 1616, not condemned this opinion as “rash,” but
“foolish and absurd philosophically, and formally heretical,” and this
without the papal confirmation, so that no condemnation by the Church
could be said to exist.

Galileo, finding that Urban, with all his friendly feeling towards
him personally, would never be persuaded to revoke the decree of 5th
March, 1616, resolved to return home after a stay of six weeks at
Rome. There was little to be gained by remaining longer. As soon as
the attitude which Urban intended to assume towards the prohibited
doctrine became evident, Galileo’s clerical adherents as far as possible
avoided expressing themselves on the subject, and the moderate party
among the Romanists merely advised him to take care that his scientific
speculations did not contradict Holy Scripture.

Father Nicolo Riccardi, who was much attached to Galileo and took a great
interest in his subsequent trial, was very ingenious in maintaining a
safe neutrality between the two systems. This good man, to whom from his
eloquence, or as others said because he was so fat, the King of Spain
had given the nickname of “Il Padre Mostro,” prudently agreed neither
with the Ptolemaic nor the Copernican system, but contented himself with
a view as peculiar as it was convenient. He saw no difficulty in the
stars being moved, as we see them to be moved in the vault of heaven, by
angels, a proceeding which demanded nothing on our part but wonder and

Meanwhile Galileo’s stay at Rome had been of essential service to
science, although in quite a different way from that which he intended
on his arrival. In 1622 a certain Jacob Kuppler, from Cologne, came
to Rome with a microscope made by a relative of his, a Dutchman of
the name of Drebbel, in order to lay the new discovery, of which
Drebbel claimed to be the inventor,[198] before the papal government.
Kuppler, however, died before he had an opportunity of exhibiting his
instrument to the court. Soon afterwards many other microscopes were
sent to Rome, where, however, no one knew how to use the complicated
instrument. Galileo not only at once perceived its use, but greatly
improved it.[199] He afterwards sent many of these improved instruments
to his friends, and before long his microscopes were in as great request
as his telescopes.[200] In order to rectify a mistake that has been
often repeated, that Galileo was the inventor of this instrument of
such vast importance to science, we mention here that he never claimed
this merit himself; it was his eulogist, Viviani, who first claimed it
for him, and his thoughtless followers have repeated it. Galileo had
indeed, as he mentions in his “Il Saggiatore,” discovered a method of
using the telescope to magnify objects as early as 1610, but it required
an over-zealous biographer to claim Galileo as the inventor of the
microscope from this. It was, however, he who, in 1624, brought the
microscope to a degree of perfection on which for a long time no advance
was made.

Urban VIII. heaped favours of all sorts on Galileo before his departure.
He promised him a pension for his son,[201] three days afterwards he sent
him a splendid picture, then again two medals—one of silver, the other
of gold, and quite a number of Agnus Dei[202]; poor consolation, it is
true, for the disappointment of the great expectations with which he came
to Rome. However, he did not return to Florence entirely without hope.
Although there could be no longer any expectation of a public revocation
of the famous decree, he was fain to believe that it would not be rigidly
kept to, and thought that, supported by his papal patron, he should be
able ingeniously to circumvent it. He was far from thinking that the
fetters placed by the ecclesiastical power on the free course of the
Copernican doctrine were removed, but he was of opinion that they were
considerably loosened. And ensuing events, as well as all the news which
Galileo received from his friends at Rome, were calculated to confirm the
idea. The Pope, wishing to give a strong official proof of his favour,
had himself addressed a letter to the Grand Duke of Tuscany, in which,
to the no small chagrin of Galileo’s enemies, he had not only done full
justice to his services to science, but had laid special stress on his
religious sentiments. In this letter of 7th June, 1624, Urban first
mentioned Galileo’s great discoveries, “the fame of which will shine on
earth so long as Jupiter and his satellites shine in heaven.” And after
declaring that he felt a true fatherly affection for so great a man, his
Holiness continued:—

    “We have observed in him not only the literary distinction,
    but also the love of religion and all the good qualities
    worthy of the papal favour. When he came to congratulate us on
    our accession, we embraced him affectionately, and listened
    with pleasure to his learned demonstrations which add fresh
    renown to Florentine eloquence. We desire that he should not
    return to his native country without having received by our
    generosity manifold proofs of our papal favour.... And that you
    may fully understand to what extent he is dear to us, we wish
    to give this brilliant testimony to his virtues and piety. We
    are anxious to assure you that we shall thank you for all the
    kindness that you can show him, by imitating or even surpassing
    our fatherly generosity.”[203]

With his hopes raised still higher by these unusually gracious words of
his papal patron, Galileo ventured, soon after his return from Rome, to
reply to a refutation of the Copernican system, which in 1616 had been
addressed to him as its most distinguished advocate in the then favourite
form of a public letter, by a certain Ingoli, then a lawyer at Ravenna,
and afterwards secretary of the Propaganda at Rome. Ingoli, though an
adherent of the old system, was at the same time a sincere admirer of
Galileo, so that his arguments against the theory of the double motion
of the earth were characterised by great objectivity. After the events
of 1616, Galileo had wisely refrained from answering it; in 1618,
however, it had been done by another corypheus of science, Kepler, in his
“Extracts from the Astronomy of Copernicus,”[204] in which he valiantly
combated Ingoli’s objections. But the latter did not consider himself
beaten, and replied in a letter addressed to a chamberlain of Paul V.

Now, after the lapse of eight years, Galileo thought that, protected by
the favour of Urban VIII., he might venture on a reply to Ingoli. But he
again took care in writing it not to come into collision with the decree
of 5th March. With the assumed imperious prohibition of February, 1616,
this step of Galileo’s can be no more made to agree than his sending
his treatise on the tides to the Archduke Leopold of Austria, 1618, or
the publication of “Il Saggiatore.” Galileo undertakes, in the reply to
Ingoli, to defend the Copernican doctrine under a double pretext. On the
one hand, he says he wishes to show that, as he had given currency to
the new system of the universe before it was condemned by ecclesiastical
authority, he had not been the defender of an improbable or unreasonable
idea; on the other hand, he wishes to prove to the Protestant Copernicans
in Germany, that in Catholic Italy the views of their great countryman
had not been rejected from ignorance of their great probability, “but
from reverence for Holy Scripture, as well as zeal for religion and
our holy faith.” After this ingenious introduction, and an assurance
that he had no intention whatever of representing the forbidden doctrine
_as true_, he proceeds with equal politeness and vigour to refute all
Ingoli’s objections.[205]

In spite of this diplomatic introduction, however, his friends at Rome,
well aware of the malice of his enemies, and having had but a few months
before to defend “Il Saggiatore,” urgently dissuaded him from having this
rather warm defence of a forbidden doctrine printed.[206] He gave heed to
their warnings, and so this reply was only circulated in numerous copies
among the learned world in Italy.

Meanwhile the reports which Galileo was constantly receiving from his
friends at Rome tended to increase his confidence in the favourable
influence which Urban’s personal liking for him, and his taste for art
and science, were likely to exercise on tolerance of the Copernican
system. Thus his devoted adherent Guiducci, in several letters of 6th,
13th and 24th September, 1624,[207] told him, that through the mediation
of the Jesuit father, Tarquinio Galuzzi, he had had several interviews
with Galileo’s former bitter adversary, Father Grassi, who had said that
Galileo’s theory that the phenomena of the tides were to be attributed to
the double motion of the earth “was very ingenious,” and that when the
truth of these opinions was unanswerably established, the theologians
would bestir themselves to alter the interpretation of those passages of
Scripture which refer to the earth as being stationary! The guileless
Guiducci added confidentially, quite taken with this Jesuit’s amiability,
that he had not noticed any great aversion to the new system in Grassi,
indeed he did not despair of estranging “Lothario Sarsi” from Ptolemy.

Two months later, however, the same correspondent told Galileo that
a violent harangue had been delivered in the Jesuit College at
Rome against the adherents of the new doctrine, by Father Spinola,
and some time afterwards he sent him a copy of it;[208] but as it
attacked all those who did not profess to be followers of an antiquated
Peripateticism, it made but little impression on Galileo, and that little
was entirely effaced when Mgr. Ciampoli wrote to him, on 28th December,
1625, that he had acquainted the Pope with several passages of his reply
to Ingoli, and that he had highly approved them.[209]

Before long Guiducci found out how bitterly he had been deceived in
Grassi, and what a miserable game he had been playing with him as
Galileo’s friend. The memory of the favours by which the Pope had
distinguished the great Tuscan when at Rome had scarcely died away when
Grassi threw aside the mask, and “Lothario Sarsi” exhibited himself in
a new and revised edition, fulminating rage and venom against Galileo
and his system. Notwithstanding the hypocritical moderation exhibited
to Guiducci, he had not forgotten the mortifying defeat which “Il
Saggiatore” had subjected him to, and, though circumstances had prevented
him from defending himself at once, he had by no means given up the
intention of doing so. Two years having elapsed since Galileo’s visit to
Rome, Grassi thought he might venture, under pretext of a reply to “Il
Saggiatore,” to publish a new attack on its author. It was entitled, in
bad Latin: “Ratio ponderum Libræ et Simbellæ, etc. Autore Lothario Sarsi
Sigensano.” It contained many personal accusations against Galileo, and
the work altogether was characterized by a blind hatred, which repeatedly
led the author into very foolish statements. For instance, Grassi tried
incidentally to prove by very ingenious arguments that Galileo’s physics
would lead to the denial of the real presence in the Lord’s Supper![210]
But the enraged Jesuit went still further, and gave his readers pretty
plainly to understand that since Galileo agreed on many questions of
physics with Epicurus, Telesius, and Cardanus, he must also approve their
godlessness, which strange assertion, however, he did not venture to
sustain by any evidence.

To Galileo it seemed an encouraging sign of the times that it was
considered desirable to seek a publisher for these accusations from a
member of the Roman College away from the papal residence. Grassi’s
effusions came out at Paris in 1626, and at Naples in 1627. The
very unfavourable reception of the work at Rome, except among a few
pettifogging enemies of Galileo, also tended to confirm him in his
unfortunately mistaken opinion that Rome, under the pontificate of
Urban VIII., would have little or nothing to object to in the rich
harvest promised by the researches of Copernicus and Kepler, as well
as by his own discoveries in the field of science. He thought he could
reckon on papal tolerance, if only the defence of the new system were so
circumspectly handled as not to clash with the oft-mentioned decree of
the Congregation.

On this assumption he had resolved, immediately after his return from
Rome, to carry out the great work which he had long projected, and
which, from the vast scientific knowledge it displayed, combined with a
brilliant style, was to meet with greater success and favour than had
ever been attained by any scientific work. This was his “Dialogues on the
Two Principal Systems of the World.”





    Origin of the “Dialogues.”—Their Popular Style.—Significance
    of the name Simplicius.—Hypothetical treatment of the
    Copernican System.—Attitude of Rome towards Science.—Thomas
    Campanella.—Urban VIII.’s Duplicity.—Galileo takes his MS.
    to Rome.—Riccardi’s Corrections—He gives the _Imprimatur_ on
    certain Conditions.—Galileo returns to Florence to complete the

It is a curious fact that the very work which was destined to be one of
the most powerful levers in obtaining general recognition for the true
order of the universe originated in what we now know to be an erroneous
idea. The famous book, “Dialogues on the Two Principal Systems of the
World, the Ptolemaic and Copernican,”[211] arose out of the treatise on
the tides which Galileo wrote at Rome, in 1616, at the suggestion of
Cardinal Orsini.[212] The important influence of these “Dialogues,” both
on science and the subsequent fate of the author, obliges us to discuss
them more particularly.

The book contains a great deal more than is promised by the title; for
the author included in it, in connection with the discussion of the two
systems, nearly all the results of his researches and discoveries in
science, extending over nearly fifty years. He also endeavoured to write
in a style which should be adapted not for the learned world alone, but
which would be both intelligible and attractive to every educated person;
and in this he attained complete success, for he wished by means of
this book to extend as widely as possible a knowledge of the true order
of nature. The form of the work was most happily chosen. The results
of the researches of a lifetime were not given to the reader in a work
redolent of the pedantry of the professor’s chair, in which scientific
demonstrations drag on with wearisome monotony, but in the lively form
of dialogue, which admitted of digressions and gave the author scope for
displaying his seductive eloquence, his rare skill in dialectics and
biting sarcasm—in short, for his peculiarly brilliant style.

The dialogue is carried on by three interlocutors, two of whom adduce the
scientific reasons for the double motion of the earth, while the third
honestly tries to defend the opinions of the Aristotelian school with
all the scientific means at his disposal, and as these did not suffice,
with the arts of sophistry also. If he has but little success, the fault
lies with the cause he advocates. Galileo gave to the defenders of the
Copernican system the names of his two famous pupils and friends, neither
of them then living, Filipo Salviati, of Florence, and Giovan Francesco
Sagredo, senator of Venice, thereby erecting a better monument to them
than he could have done in marble. Salviati is the special advocate of
the Copernican theory. Sagredo takes the part of an educated layman,
intelligent, impartial, and desirous to learn. The advocate of the
Ptolemaic system was called briefly Simplicius, a pseudonym over which
the learned have often puzzled their heads. Did he give this name of
simpleton satirically to the champion of the ancient system, or was
it merely an allusion to Simplicius, the commentator of Aristotle, as
Galileo stated in his “Avviso al lettore?”

The selection of this name is characteristic of the ambiguous attitude
which the author maintains in his “Dialogues.” The sarcastic vein is
obvious throughout, but is ingeniously concealed behind a mask intended
to inspire confidence. Salviati conducts the arguments for the Copernican
theory with such convincing force and clearness, and annihilates so
completely all the objections of the unfortunate Simplicius, that no
unbiassed reader can fail to perceive the scientific superiority of the
modern theory to the old. And as Galileo conscientiously puts in the
mouth of the Peripatetic philosopher every possible argument in favour of
the Aristotelian cause, as well as the objections to the other side, the
total defeat of its advocate is a victory all the more brilliant for the
immortal Canon of Frauenburg.

The condition that the Copernican doctrine is only to be employed as a
hypothesis is ostensibly fully complied with. If Salviati or Sagredo
demonstrate to Simplicius the untenableness of some Ptolemaic axiom, or
add an important stone to the Copernican structure, Galileo hastens to
interpolate some remark to weaken the impression. It must be confessed,
however, that the agreement of this “hypothesis” with all the phenomena
of nature is as clear as daylight; and when, for instance, it is said
that the final decision in the present controversy rests neither with
mathematics and physics, nor with philosophy and logic, but solely with
a “higher insight,” or when Salviati repeatedly asserts that he does
not in the least wish to maintain the truth of the Copernican doctrine,
but applies the word “possibly” to it, or speaks of it as a “fantasia”
or “vanissima chimera,” the reader cannot fail to perceive that these
prudent reservations, which always occur at critical passages, are made
with the sole purpose of rendering the publication of the work possible.

The preface and conclusion have no logical agreement with the contents of
the “Dialogues,” and owe their origin to the same motive. In the preface
the ecclesiastical prohibition of 1616 to teach that the earth moves, is
actually called a “salutary edict” (_un salutifero editto_)! The reader
learns further, to his no small astonishment, that the purpose of this
comprehensive work is to refute the wholly unfounded opinion which has
gained much credit abroad, that this adverse judgment of Rome was not the
result of mature deliberation, but merely of the hasty impulse of judges
who were not qualified to decide on these questions of natural science.
Galileo asserts that his zeal did not permit him to keep silence in face
of those audacious accusations, and that being in possession of all the
circumstances connected with that prudent decision, he felt constrained
to bear witness to the truth before all the world. In bringing forward
here all his speculations on the Copernican doctrine, he wished to show
that at Rome, where he had taken part in the consultations, they had been
fully aware of all the arguments which could be adduced in favour of the
new doctrine.[213]

On the origin of this singular introduction, a point on which divergent
and often unwarranted opinions prevail, we shall enter in detail in its
right place.

The conclusion of the work, which is divided into four “days,” agrees
no better with the rest of the contents than the preface. Although
the Copernicans everywhere gain the day, Galileo takes care, for very
good reasons, not to draw any conclusions from it on the fourth day.
The discussion ends apparently without coming to any result. Salviati
disclaims any wish to force an opinion on any one which seemed to him
a “chimera” or a “paradox.” Addressing himself to Sagredo, he remarks
that Sagredo had often agreed with the opinions he had expressed, but
he thinks that this was often more from their originality than their
conclusiveness. Having therefore thanked him for his “polite indulgence,”
he apologises to Simplicius for the eagerness of his language, and
assures him that he had no intention of offending him, but rather of
inducing him to communicate his sublime ideas (!), which would certainly
be instructive to himself. In conclusion, they agree to meet again for a
final discussion.[214]

Did Galileo really intend to add a fifth day? Martin thinks it probable,
“for,” he says, “Galileo might at that period still have hoped that the
ecclesiastical authorities would tolerate the new system during his
lifetime, especially should some new discovery, as, for instance that
of a small annual parallax of the fixed stars, afford certain proof
in favour of his system. In that case Galileo would have been at last
allowed to express his opinions without reserve.”[215] We think it very
possible, indeed probable, that Galileo did intend to add a fifth day
at a favourable opportunity, in which he would have given the result of
the previous discussions; but he certainly was not waiting for “some new
discovery.” It was his firm conviction that none was wanted, since his
telescopic observations amply proved the truth of his theory; neither
would the most convincing discovery have enabled him to express his
views without reserve, for they had by no means been condemned by the
clergy from want of proof, but as “foolish and absurd philosophically and
formally heretical.”

We are quite aware that certain writers who have assumed the task of
defending the action of the curia against Galileo, maintain that the
ecclesiastical party objected to the new system because its accordance
with the phenomena of nature had not been sufficiently proved.[216] But
even were this granted, in view of the opposition raised on scientific
grounds and the rooted attachment to old opinions, every unbiassed person
must demur to the assumption that in the attitude of Rome towards the
Copernican question the interests of science had any influence whatever.
It could not be an advantage to science to trammel free discussion. The
subsequent harsh proceedings against Galileo, when seventy years of age,
the hostile and peremptory attitude which Rome maintained towards him
until his death, as well as towards the new system and all discussion
of it, bear ample testimony, in our opinion, that the clergy had the
interests of science very little at heart, and that their sole desire
was to maintain the foundation-stone in its place on which the ingenious
structure of the Christian Catholic philosophy was raised; namely, the
doctrine that mother earth is the centre of the universe.

In December, 1629, Galileo had completed his ill-fated work on the
two systems, except the introduction and a few finishing strokes.
He announced this to his friends in sundry letters,[217] and told
Prince Cesi in two letters of 24th December, 1629, and 13th January,
1630, that he intended coming to Rome to see to the printing of the
“Dialogues.”[218] The prince in his reply expressed entire approval of
the project, and encouraged Galileo to set out for Rome very soon, “where
he would have no further trouble about the proofs than to give such
orders as he pleased.”[219]

Altogether the position of affairs seemed remarkably favourable for the
publication of the “Dialogues.” Galileo’s devoted adherent, Castelli,
had been summoned to Rome in 1624 by Urban VIII., and enjoyed great
consideration with the powerful family of Barberini, to whose youngest
scion, Taddeo, he gave instruction in mathematics. This long-tried friend
informed Galileo in a letter of 6th February,[220] that Father Riccardi,
who meanwhile had been raised to the office of chief censor of the press
(Magister Sacri Palatii) had promised his ready assistance in Galileo’s
affairs. Castelli also expressed his conviction that, as far as Riccardi
was concerned, he would find no difficulty. Another piece of information
in the same letter, however, was not quite so satisfactory; the personage
second in importance at the papal court, Urban’s brother, Cardinal
Antonio Barberini, had, when Castelli told him of the completion of the
“Dialogues,” said nothing particular against the theory itself, so far
as it was treated as a hypothesis, but had made the just remark that the
earth, if it revolved round the sun, must be a star, an idea “which was
too far opposed to theological truth.” Castelli appeased the cardinal
by assuring him that Galileo had weighty arguments against this, and it
is characteristic of the prevailing confusion of ideas on astronomical
subjects, that Barberini thought this possible, and that Castelli wrote
to Galileo that he would not find it hard to steer clear of this rock.
Another instance of the trammels placed by religion on the advancement of

A second letter of Castelli’s to Galileo of 16th March, 1630, contains
far more important and encouraging intelligence. According to this,
Thomas Campanella[221] had told the Pope at an audience, that a short
time before he had tried to convert some German nobles to the Catholic
faith, that he had found them favourably disposed, but when they heard of
the prohibition of the Copernican system, they were so indignant that he
could do nothing more with them. To this Urban replied: “It never was
our intention; and if it had depended upon us, that decree would not have
been passed.”[222] These pregnant words, coolly uttered by Urban, when
repeated to Galileo were well calculated to mislead him into infringing
the decree, in the spirit if not in the letter. They seem, however, to
have been at least as incorrect as the reply reported on the same subject
to Cardinal Hohenzollern in 1624. Urban entirely forgot that he had not
interceded in any way in 1616 for the astronomical system threatened with
condemnation. And his conduct showed that he must have been a party to
it. We need only call to mind how inexorable he had been on the question
in 1624 to Galileo himself, and how sternly he afterwards allowed
proceedings to be taken against him. Urban could only have acted in this
way because he was convinced of the danger of the Copernican system to
the Christian philosophy. And he was far too shrewd not to perceive how
the modern views threatened a religion based upon ancient astronomy.
His remark to Campanella, therefore, was nothing but smooth words, and
this is fully confirmed by subsequent events. But they could not fail
to inspire Galileo with confidence that under Urban VIII. an ingenious
circumvention of the decree would give no offence at the Vatican. Besides
this, Castelli reported in the same letter that Mgr. Ciampoli, who
was also well informed, was firmly convinced that Galileo’s personal
appearance at Rome would immediately remove any difficulty that might
occur about publishing the “Dialogues.”[223] Another letter from Castelli
of 6th April urged him to set out for the papal residence, where, to
quote the words of Ciampoli, “they were longing for him more than for a
lady love.”[224]

Full of hope from these promising reports, on 3rd May Galileo arrived
at Rome with the MS. of his “Dialogues.” And events during his two
months’ stay seemed to realise his expectations. Soon after his arrival
he had a long audience of Urban VIII., and wrote on 18th May in high
spirits to Florence:—“His Holiness has begun to treat my affairs in a
way that permits me to hope for a favourable result.”[225] Riccardi
also met Galileo, as was to be expected from Castelli’s letters, in
the most obliging way. Galileo showed him his work with the express
request that he would examine it closely. The papal censor, however,
could not but perceive, with all his personal regard for Galileo, that
in his “Dialogues” he had by no means always kept, _de facto_, within
the limits of hypothetical treatment of the Copernican system, and in
some parts had far exceeded them. He decided, therefore, both as his
official duty and in the interest of Galileo himself, to have the book
altered to the hypothetical standpoint. Many corrections were to be
made, and both preface and conclusion were to be altered so as to agree
with them. Riccardi intrusted the first task to his official assistant,
Father Rafael Visconti, who seemed well qualified for it in his capacity
of professor of mathematics. He executed it with equal prudence and
ingenuity, improved many passages, and finally approved the work thus

The middle of June had meanwhile arrived, and Galileo was anxious to
leave Rome on account of the heat. But Riccardi wished to look through
the “Dialogues” once more after they had been revised by Visconti, before
giving them his _imprimatur_. Galileo represented that this second
revision was not customary, and succeeded in inducing Riccardi _to grant
permission for the printing for Rome_.[226]

On the other hand, Galileo undertook to fashion the beginning and end
of the work in accordance with a plan of the supreme authorities of
the censorship. There were also still a few passages to be personally
discussed with the author; and as he was unable to stay longer at Rome
without danger to his health, which was already beginning to suffer,
it was agreed that he should return in the autumn, and meanwhile[227]
he would prepare the index and the dedication to the Grand Duke, and
revise the preface and conclusion. The main condition, however, under
which Riccardi gave the book his _imprimatur_, was that after its final
completion it should be submitted to him; and in order to avoid loss of
time, he engaged to look it through sheet by sheet, and to send each at
once to press after inspection. As was usual in the case of members of
the Accadémia dei Lincei, the work was to be published in the name of
this society, and the president, Prince Cesi, was to see it through the

So at the end of June[228] Galileo returned to Florence with his MS. and
the ecclesiastical _imprimatur_, which was granted _bona fide_ for Rome
without reserve. There were indeed sundry conditions attached to it, to
be arranged privately; but they seemed to present so little difficulty,
that a few days after he left on 29th June, Niccolini reported to Cioli
that Signor Galileo left last Wednesday, perfectly satisfied, and with
his affairs quite settled.[229]

But events were now at hand which long deferred Galileo’s ardent desire
to see the results of his unwearied researches and labours speedily given
to the world, and which involved complications afterwards taken advantage
of by his enemies to effect the ruin of their great opponent.



    Death of Prince Cesi.—Dissolution of the Accadémia dei
    Lincei.—Galileo advised to print at Florence.—Difficulties and
    Delays.—His Impatience.—Authorship of the Introduction.—The
    _Imprimatur_ granted for Florence.—Absurd Accusation from the
    style of the Type of the Introduction.

Six weeks had scarcely elapsed after Galileo’s return from Rome, when he
received from his friend Francesco Stelluti the startling intelligence of
the death of his influential patron, Prince Cesi, who had been snatched
away on 1st August by an attack of fever, after a few days’ illness.[230]
This was a great blow to Galileo. It was not only that he lost in the
prince an adherent, as influential as he was devoted, but his death just
then was of the greatest moment on account of the “Dialogues.” There
was, perhaps, no one so well qualified to forward their publication as
Cesi, who, as president of the Accadémia dei Lincei, seemed just the man
for it. The Academy, deprived of its strongest support, was gradually
dissolved, after the hand was wanting which knew how to weave its
multitudinous threads into a firm and solid fabric.

Only the third week after the prince’s death, Galileo felt the first
effects of his heavy loss. In a letter of 24th August, Castelli urgently
advised him “for many most weighty reasons which he did not wish just
then to commit to paper, to have the work printed at Florence, and as
soon as possible.”[231] Castelli added that he had inquired of Father
Visconti whether this would present any difficulties, to which he had
replied that there was nothing to prevent, and he (Visconti) desired
above all things that the work should see the light. Galileo was the
more ready to fall in with this proposition because the plague, which
had made fearful ravages in North Italy, had now made its appearance in
Tuscany, and the precautionary measures taken by the neighbouring States
made all intercourse with them, and especially with the States of the
Church, very tedious and often impossible. Galileo therefore at once
took the needful steps for publishing his book at Florence. He applied
to the Inquisitor-General of the city, to the Vicar-General, and to
the political authorities for permission, and it was granted without
hesitation on 11th September, 1630.[232]

Galileo next addressed himself to Riccardi; represented to him the great
obstacles to publishing the work at Rome, and therefore asked permission
to publish it at Florence. This was the beginning of troubles. The chief
of the Roman censorship at first roundly refused, and when Galileo urged
his request again, he informed him through the Tuscan ambassador at the
papal court, Francesco Niccolini, that the work must be sent in for final
revision as agreed upon, without which he should never have consented to
the publication. Castelli also wrote to Galileo on 21st September,[233]
as commissioned by Riccardi, that as his coming himself to Rome, as
originally agreed upon, was rendered impossible by the outbreak of the
plague, he had better send the manuscript to Riccardi, in order that he
and Mgr. Ciampoli might make the final corrections. Castelli said further
that Riccardi was still very favourably disposed to Galileo, and that
when his work had undergone this censorship, he could send it to press
in Florence as well as anywhere else. After this Galileo made inquiries
whether, under present circumstances, a large packet of MSS. could be
sent safely over the border. But he was everywhere met with a negative,
and the remark that mere letters scarcely passed. In vain he applied
to the postmaster, in vain he appealed to the Grand Ducal secretary of
state, Bali Cioli, for help; no means could be devised, under the strict
close of the frontiers, whereby the bulky work could be transmitted to
Rome with any prospect of safety.

Greatly disconcerted, Galileo represented this state of things to
Riccardi, and offered to send, at any rate, the preface and conclusion
of the “Dialogues,” that the ecclesiastical authorities might alter
these important parts of the work as seemed good to them, and said that
he was willing to designate the Copernican views mentioned in the book
as mere chimeras, paralogisms, dreams, and fantasies, which, as is well
known, was afterwards actually done. As to the final revision, Galileo
proposed that Riccardi should entrust it to some one at Florence.
Exceedingly annoyed by all these obstacles to an early publication of
his “Dialogues,” Galileo at the same time asked the Tuscan ambassador,
Niccolini, and his wife, who were well disposed towards him, to try and
induce Riccardi, whom he had often seen at their house, to accept this
proposal. And what friends and colleagues of the chief censor and other
eminent men had failed in, was accomplished by the delicate mediation
of a lady. On 19th October, 1630, Caterina Niccolini wrote to Galileo,
that the Padre Maestro, who was heartily devoted to him, would obligingly
excuse him from sending the whole work; let him send the introduction and
conclusion, but on condition that the whole MS. should be revised before
publication by some competent person at Florence, and by a theologian
empowered by the ecclesiastical authorities, who must belong to the
Benedictine order. Father Riccardi proposed Father Clement for the task.
The ambassador’s wife added, however, commissioned by the Master of the
Palace, that if this choice were not agreeable to Galileo, he might
himself propose a suitable person, who would be empowered to act.[234]

And, in fact, Father Clement was not to Galileo’s taste, and he proposed
Father Hyacinthe Stephani, counsellor to the Holy Inquisition at
Florence, who was approved by Riccardi. This ecclesiastic revised the
work very thoroughly, and—so at least Galileo reports[235]—was moved
to tears at many passages by the humility and reverent obedience which
the author had displayed. Having made some insignificant corrections,
suggested by extra caution, he gave the “Dialogues” his approval, and
declared that the famous author should be begged to publish them rather
than have obstacles placed in his way.

Riccardi, notwithstanding his friendship for Galileo, seems to have been
of a different opinion. The preface and conclusion had been sent, but
he had allowed weeks and months to pass without letting Galileo hear
anything of them, to say nothing of sending them back. Castelli once
wrote to Galileo that he had met Riccardi, and that he had told him that
these portions were now quite in order, and that he would send them to
Galileo immediately; but months again went by without his fulfilling his

Galileo was in despair, and on 7th March, 1631, addressed a long letter
to Bali Cioli, in which he first related the course of the negotiations
respecting the “Dialogues”[236] in detail, and then asked for the
powerful intervention of his Highness the Grand Duke, at Rome, to bring
the business to a conclusion, so that he (Galileo) might enjoy while he
lived these fruits of the labours of over fifty years. Little did Galileo
foresee what dire results these “fruits” were to bring. On 8th March
his request was granted, and he was informed that Niccolini, at Rome,
would be commissioned in the name of the Grand Duke to hasten as much
as possible the termination of the negotiations with the Master of the

Galileo was all the more pleased with the success of this attempt,
because meanwhile, weary of the long delays, he had begun to have his
“Dialogues” printed. This is confirmed by a letter from him of 20th March
to his learned friend, Cesare Marsili, in which he says that six sheets
of his work, which would consist of fifty or more, were finished.[238] We
may here remark that this proceeding of Galileo’s has been the subject of
severe and unjustifiable blame on the part of some authors actuated by
party spirit. It seems the less called for, since Galileo made no secret
of the printing having been begun, and he was not reproached for it at
the subsequent trial before the Inquisition. He quite supposed that after
Father Stephani had inspected and sanctioned the work, all the conditions
were fulfilled. He therefore considered Riccardi’s consent to the
publication in Florence as certain. It never occurred to him that after
all this he would raise new difficulties.

A report of Niccolini’s of 19th April to Cioli[239] confirmed him in this
supposition, and rejoiced his heart, as there seemed to be an immediate
prospect of an end to these tiresome negotiations. Niccolini wrote that
he and his wife had a little while before had a long conversation with
Father Riccardi about Galileo’s affairs, which had resulted in his
promising to grant permission for the publication, but with the addition
of a declaration, for his own protection, which he was to forward to
Niccolini in a few days. On the 28th Niccolini received it, but instead
of its containing the promised _imprimatur_, it required new clauses
and imposed fresh conditions on the publication. The chief censor
indeed acknowledged, at the beginning of this letter, that he had given
the _imprimatur_ to the work, but stated that it was only with the
reservation that the author should make some alterations as agreed upon,
and send his book to Rome to be published, where with the help of Mgr.
Ciampoli all difficulties would have been overcome. “Father Stephani,”
continues Riccardi, “has no doubt subjected the book to a conscientious
revision; but as he was not acquainted with the Pope’s views, he had no
power to give any approval which would enable me to sanction the printing
without incurring the danger both to him and myself that unpleasantnesses
might arise, if things were still found contrary to the proscriptions.”
Riccardi then asserts that he had no greater desire than to serve the
Grand Duke, but he considers that it must be done so as to prevent any
danger to his Highness’s reputation. And this would not be the case if
he gave his _imprimatur_, as it was not his province to give it for
Florence,[240] while it would be secured by his assuring himself that
everything was in accordance with the commands of his Holiness. “When I
have inspected the beginning and end of the work,” he continued, “I shall
easily discover what I want to know, and will then give a certificate
that I have approved the whole work.”

This sentence is, to say the least, very obscure. Riccardi had had these
two portions of the work in his possession for months, and could long
before have discovered from them what he wanted to know. Or had he not
condescended to look at them? This seems scarcely credible, and is in
direct opposition to what he said to Castelli months before. But a desire
to spin the matter out is evident enough from this obscure sentence as
well as the rest of the letter. The Master of the Palace then proposed,
if it were still impossible to forward the work, to send the ordinances
of his Holiness to the Inquisitor at Florence, in order that he, after
assuring himself that they had been complied with, might give the
_imprimatur_. When Niccolini expressed his suspicions that these delays
had been caused by some intrigues of Galileo’s enemies, Riccardi assured
him that no one but friends of the famous astronomer had spoken to him on
the subject, and that there really had been no cabal of any sort.[241]

When Galileo received the news of this letter, which, contrary to all his
expectations, once more removed all hope of an end of these transactions
into the far future, he could not repress his ill humour. This is plain
enough from a letter to Cioli of 3rd May. He begins with the tart remark:
“I have read what the Father Master of the Palace has written about the
publication of the ‘Dialogues,’ and perceive, to my great vexation, that
after keeping me for nearly a year without coming to any conclusion, he
means to pursue the same course with his Holiness, namely, to delay and
spin out everything with empty words, which it is not easy to put up
with.” He then bitterly complains that this letter of Riccardi’s, instead
of the promised _imprimatur_, contains nothing but fresh delays on the
pretext of conditions with which he had complied several months before,
and in such a way as to prove to his Holiness and all who were willing to
be convinced that he had done so. “And since I perceive,” he continues
bitterly, “that my affairs are afloat on a vast and boundless ocean,
while the publication of my book is of the utmost importance to me, as
I wish to see the fruits of my labours secured, I have been considering
various ways by which it might be accomplished; but the authorization
of his Holiness is indispensable for all.” Galileo then says that in
order to come to some result it might be of the highest importance some
day, and that as soon as possible, to be summoned to appear before his
Highness, with the Inquisitor and Father Stephani. He would like to
show them the work with all the corrections from the hands of Fathers
Riccardi, Visconti, and Stephani, in order that, in the first place,
they might see how trivial the alterations were, and in the second,
how submissively and reverently he had designated all the evidence and
arguments which appeared to confirm an opinion not approved by the
authorities, as dreams, chimeras, and nullities. He concludes by saying:
“Those present will then perceive how true and just my doctrines are, and
that I have never entertained other views or opinions than those held by
the most venerable and holy fathers of the Church.”[242]

The Grand Duke, Ferdinand II., however, with all his good will towards
his chief mathematician, was by no means inclined to interfere personally
in the matter. He was desirous to use all the influence he possessed to
bring about a decision at Rome, but it no more occurred to him now to
exercise his rights as sovereign ruler, than it did afterwards when he
gave up the infirm philosopher, at nearly seventy years of age, to the
Roman tribunal. Galileo’s suggestion, therefore, that the Grand Duke
should, to some extent, take the initiative was by no means acceptable,
and was not followed. The summons to the Inquisitor and Father Stephani
to appear with Galileo before the Grand Duke never came; Niccolini,
however, made fresh efforts to bring about a solution of the question at
Rome. He went to the Master of the Palace and strongly represented to him
that through the dedication the Grand Duke himself was greatly interested
in the publication of this work, at the head of which his exalted name
was placed.[243] Galileo finally succeeded, on 24th May, in inducing
Riccardi to address a letter to Fra Clemente Egidio, the Inquisitor
at Florence, in which he left it entirely to him, after examining the
work, to grant permission for the publication or not. The Master of the
Palace again expressly mentioned in this letter that he had given the
authorization to print, but with the reservation that the necessary
alterations should be made, and that after further revision it should
go to press in Rome, which conditions, however, had not been able to be
fulfilled owing to the plague. The most interesting parts of the letter
for us are the hints which Riccardi gives the Inquisitor, in the course
of it, as to the Pope’s views on the subject, which are to guide him
in sanctioning the work. Title as well as contents are only to relate
to the mathematical aspects of the Copernican system, and so that “the
absolute truth of this view is never conceded, but made to appear as mere
hypothesis, and without reference to Scripture.”[244] “It must also be
explained,” continued Riccardi, “that this work is only written to show
that all the arguments which can be adduced in favour of this view were
well known; that therefore the sentence of 1616 was not to be attributed
to ignorance at Rome, and the beginning and end of the book must agree
with this statement, _which portions, properly arranged, I will send from
here_. By observance of these precautions the work will meet with no
obstacles at Rome, and your reverence will be able to gratify the author,
as well as to serve his Highness, who has shown so warm an interest in
the matter.”[245] The Inquisitor replied on 31st May that he would act in
accordance with the received instructions. He says further that he had
given the MS. to Stephani, as a very eminent man and counsellor of the
Holy Office, to be revised again, and this time in accordance with the
papal instructions; also that Galileo consented most willingly to all the

But it would almost appear as if Riccardi had again repented of the
steps he had taken for the final settlement of the business, for weeks
and months passed before Fra Clemente Egidio received the preface and
conclusion. Not till Niccolini, at Galileo’s request, had repeatedly
urged him to send them, could he be induced to do so, after a further
delay of two months, and then, as the ambassador graphically describes
the situation, not “till formally pulled by the hair.”[247] In the letter
of 19th July, 1631, which accompanied them, Riccardi empowered the author
to alter the style of the revised introduction as he pleased, and to
ornament it rhetorically, but so that the sense should remain the same.
As to the conclusion, he made the vague remark that it must be based upon
the same argument as the beginning.[248]

This seems to be the place to enter into the oft discussed question of
the real authorship of this remarkable introduction. Some, who rely upon
the letter of Riccardi’s above quoted, attribute it to him; others even
maintain that it owes its origin to Urban VIII. himself; while, on the
other hand, some are of opinion that Galileo had the chief share in it,
though assuredly only because he considered that it would secure his
object—permission to publish the “Dialogues.” All these opinions contain
some truth, contradictory as they seem; the truth lies between them.
After careful examination of the documents relating to the subject, the
historical facts appear to be as follows:—

When Galileo was at Rome in the early part of the summer of 1630, in
order to submit his “Dialogues” to the Roman censorship, an introduction
was sketched for him, which he was to complete at Florence, and on his
intended return to Rome in the autumn to lay it and the whole manuscript
before the Master of the Palace for final revision.[249] From the good
understanding which then existed between Riccardi, Mgr. Ciampoli, and
Galileo, and from the contents of the introduction, we may conclude
with certainty that the sketch was made with Galileo’s concurrence, or
even that the main idea of it was his own. For on close examination we
find that the idea on which the whole introduction turns—namely, that it
was by no means ignorance of the scientific arguments in favour of the
Copernican system which led to the verdict of 1616—is precisely the same
as that stated by Galileo in his reply to Ingoli in 1624.[250] As we are
aware, since the plague prevented Galileo from returning to Florence
or sending the whole MS., he sent the introduction and conclusion to
the chief censor, who kept them for months, and did not return them to
the Inquisitor at Florence till 19th July. From Riccardi’s letter we
learn two facts: firstly, that he had only concerned himself with the
introduction, leaving the conclusion to the author with the vague remark
we have quoted; and secondly, that Galileo’s preface must have undergone
considerable alterations by the chief censor, as he gave him leave to
alter the style but not the sense. There can be no more doubt that the
Pope had some hand in the final composition of the preface than that it
was not penned by himself. Riccardi appeals in both his _ex officio_
letters to the Inquisitor of 24th May and 19th July, to the “views” and
commands of his Holiness; and when the great storm afterwards burst,
the Master of the Palace loudly asserted that in Galileo’s affairs he
had always and in everything acted in concert with the papal secretary,
Mgr. Ciampoli, and the latter appealed decidedly to special commands of
Urban’s.[251] Riccardi and Ciampoli indeed paid for this indiscretion
with the loss of their posts, but Cantor has aptly remarked on the
subject that, “evidence of the falsity of a statement was never yet
afforded by the fact of the witnesses being compelled to silence or
suffering punishment.”[252]

With the arrival at last of the preface and conclusion, all the obstacles
which had threatened the continuation of the printing of the “Dialogues”
were removed. Stephani, who was charged by the Inquisitor at Florence to
undertake the final censorship, was not the man to place difficulties
in the way of the appearance of the book. He took great care, however,
that the Pope’s commands as to the treatment of the Copernican doctrines
should, as far as the letter went, be strictly obeyed. The “Dialogues,”
from beginning to end, were opposed to the spirit both of the decree of
5th March, 1616, and the papal ordinances, and there was great _naiveté_
in the idea that the fine-spun preface and the various little diplomatic
arts which Galileo employed in the course of his work could disguise its
real meaning from the learned world. But that was not Stephani’s affair;
for the MS. as a whole had been sanctioned by Father Visconti and had
received the _imprimatur_ for Rome from the authorities of the censorship.

The delay about the preface, which, according to Riccardi’s orders, was
to be printed before the book, had two results out of which Galileo’s
enemies afterwards tried to make capital for their intrigues, and which
must therefore find mention here. The printing had been long in hand
and was proceeding when the preface arrived. It was therefore necessary
to print it on a separate sheet, which, according to Riccardi’s orders,
was placed at the beginning of the book. For technical reasons, also,
it was printed in different type from the rest of the work. From these
two insignificant circumstances, Galileo was afterwards reproached with
having by the outward form destroyed the inner connection between the
introduction and the book; and with having thus, to some extent, intended
to indicate that it had nothing to do with the “Dialogues.”[253] This was
at the time when one party was setting every lever in motion to find
cause for accusation against Galileo. The book itself, which appeared
with the double _imprimatur_ of the ecclesiastical censorship of Rome
and Florence, afforded no legal ground for it. We will not, however,
anticipate the historical course of these memorable events, but will
carefully follow them step by step.



    Publication of the “Dialogues.”—Applause of Galileo’s Friends
    and the Learned World.—The hostile Party.—The Jesuits
    as Leaders of Learning.—Deprived of their Monopoly by
    Galileo.—They become his bitter Foes.—Having the _Imprimatur_
    for Rome and Florence, Galileo thought himself doubly
    safe.—The Three Dolphins.—Scheiner.—Did “Simplicius” personate
    the Pope?—Conclusive Arguments against it.—Effect of the
    Accusation.—Urban’s Motives in instituting the Trial.

By the beginning of January, 1632, the printing of the “Dialogues” was
so far advanced, that on the 3rd Galileo had the satisfaction of telling
his friend, Cesare Marsili, at Bologna, that the work would be completed
in ten or twelve days.[254] It did not, however, appear till February.
On the twenty-second of that month Galileo presented his book to the
Grand Duke, to whom it was dedicated, and to the other members of the
house of Medici.[255] On the twenty-third he sent at first thirty-two
copies to Cesare Marsili.[256] He had a large number of copies handsomely
bound for his powerful friends and patrons at Rome, but they could not
be despatched immediately, since, owing to the continued prevalence of
the plague, they would have had to be purified in the quarantine houses,
which might have injured them. It was not till May that two unbound
copies reached the papal residence in a roundabout way.[257] One of
these came into the hands of Cardinal Francesco Barberini, who lent it
to Father Castelli. In a letter to Galileo of 26th September, 1631,[258]
he had vowed that, after the appearance of the “Dialogues,” he would
read no other book but that and the Breviary; and in a letter of 29th
May,[259] he now expressed to the author his admiration of his work,
which surpassed all his expectations. Shortly afterwards, Count Filippo
Magalotti, who was on very friendly terms with Galileo, and from his
relationship to the Barberinis, was an influential personage, imported
eight copies from Florence, and, as charged by the author, presented
one copy each to Cardinal Antonio Barberini, to the Tuscan ambassador
Niccolini, Father Riccardi, Mgr. Serristori, counsellor of the Holy
Office, and the Jesuit Father Leon Santi.[260]

While these few copies were being eagerly devoured by impatient
readers at Rome, and passed rapidly from hand to hand, the book had
been circulating in the rest of Italy in spite of the difficulties of
communication. The applause which this famous work called forth from
all men of independent minds was unexampled, and was only equalled
by the bitterness and consternation it excited among the scientific
conservatives. The learned world of Italy was divided into two hostile
camps: that of Ptolemy on the one side, that of Copernicus-Galileo on
the other. In the one were to be found progress, recognition of truth,
free independent thought and research; in the other blind worship of
authority and rigid adherence to the old school. And the latter party was
far the most numerous; it was also reinforced by those, of whom there
were a considerable number, who opposed the great reformer of science
from interested motives. Besides this, the academic corporations were not
favourable to him, because he so dangerously revolutionised the modern
methods of teaching. The university of his native city seemed especially
adverse to him. It had carried its animosity so far a few years before
as to try to deprive him of the income which he enjoyed as its first
mathematician by the Grand Ducal decree of 12th July, 1620, though,
thanks to the energetic remonstrances of some influential patrons, the
attempt was not successful.[261]

In addition to all this there is another consideration, which played a
much larger part in the sad story of Galileo’s trial than is generally
supposed. The clergy, and especially the Jesuits, had hitherto had
a monopoly of science. Everybody knows how assiduously it had been
cultivated in ancient times in the cells and schools of the convents, and
that the ecclesiastical orders were the guardians and disseminators of
learning, while among both populace and nobles ignorance flourished like
a weed. When by the natural law of progress the nations of Europe emerged
from the simplicity of childhood into the storm and stress period of
youth; when inventions,—especially printing,—and above all the discovery
of America, began to spread knowledge and culture among the masses, it
was once more the servants of Rome who, justly estimating the spirit of
the age, placed themselves, so to speak, in the van of the intellectual
movement, that they might guide its course. The strongest evidence that
the Church was in exclusive possession of the highest mental powers
is afforded by the Reformation; for the first stirrings of doubt, of
critical, philosophical speculation, arose in the bosoms of the Roman
Catholic clergy. All the reformers, from Abelard and Arnold of Brescia,
to Huss and Luther, sprang, without exception, from among them.

Just at the juncture when the split into two creeds threatened to divide
the joints and marrow of the supreme power of the Church, the man
appeared who most effectually contributed to restore it by founding a
new ecclesiastical order, with a very peculiar organisation. This was
Ignatius Loyola. And if we seek for the explanation of the profound
influence gained by this corporation in all parts of the world, and
every grade of society, we shall find it in four factors: the highest
enthusiasm for the common cause; willing obedience to the central
authority—the general for the time being; utter unscrupulousness as
to means; and the supremacy which knowledge always confers. Far from
occupying themselves, like the Protestant clergy, exclusively with
theology, there was no branch of knowledge that was not cultivated by
these champions of the Church; indeed they stood for a century at the
summit of learning.[262] And now, in the most recent epoch of that
stigmatised century, Galileo the layman steps forth upon the arena of
the science of the heavens and the earth, and teaches the astonished
world truths before which the whole edifice of scholastic sophistry must
fall to the ground. The Jesuit monopoly of the education of youth and of
teaching altogether, became day by day more insecure, and the influence
of the society was threatened in proportion. Was it to be wondered at
that the pious fathers strained every nerve in this final conflict for
mastery, and in the attempt to prevent their world-wide mission of
educating the people from being torn from their hands? This explains why
the reformers of science appeared just as dangerous to them as those of
religion; and they resisted the former, as they had done the latter, with
all the resources at their command.

Galileo, as one of the most advanced pioneers of science, was in the
highest degree inconvenient to the Jesuits; members of their order
had also repeatedly measured lances with the great man in scientific
discussion—Fathers Grassi and Scheiner, for instance—with very
unfortunate results, by no means calculated to make the Society of Jesus
more favourable to him. But now that his “Dialogues on the Two Systems of
the World” had appeared, which, as every intelligent man must perceive,
annihilated with its overwhelming mass of evidence the doctrines of the
old school, and raised the modern system upon its ruins, the Jesuits set
every lever in motion, first to suppress this revolutionary book, and
then to compass the ruin of the author.

Riccardi himself remarked to Count Magalotti at that time: “The Jesuits
will persecute Galileo with the utmost bitterness.”[263]

Besides, they found welcome allies in the overwhelming majority of the
rest of the clergy. With them the theological considerations we have
mentioned formed the motive. And the louder the applause with which
the independent scientific world greeted Galileo’s latest remarkable
work, the fiercer burnt the flame of ecclesiastical hate. There can be
no doubt that the full significance of the “Dialogues” had not been
apprehended by any of the censors to whom they had been submitted. This
is obvious from the fact that they seriously thought that the diplomatic
preface, and a few phrases in the work itself, would suffice to make it
appear innocuous. The commotion made by the book in the scientific and
theological world convinced them of their mistake.

Meanwhile, Galileo in Florence gave himself up to unmixed delight at the
brilliant success of his “Dialogues.” His learned friends and followers,
such as Fra Bonaventura Cavalieri, Giovan Batista Baliani, Castelli,
Fra Fulgenzio Micanzio, Alfonzo Antonini, Campanella, and many others,
expressed to him in repeated letters, and often with genuine enthusiasm,
their admiration of his splendid work,[264] not one of them had any
foreboding that it was to bring its grey-headed author before the bar of
the Inquisition; and Galileo himself least of all. He expected violent
opposition from his scientific opponents, and was prepared to engage in
the contest, but he considered himself quite secure from ecclesiastical
persecution. Had not influential personages at Rome, Cesi, Mgr.
Ciampoli, Cesarini, and Castelli, been urging him for years to finish
his work, the tendency of which they well knew?[265] And when it was
at last complete, it was these same friends, as well meaning as they
were influential, who had done their best to forward the publication.
Besides, the book had appeared not only with the _imprimatur_ and under
the protection of the Inquisition at Florence, as prescribed, and with
the permission of the political authorities of the city, but Galileo
could show also the _imprimatur_ of the Pater Magister Sacri Palatii,
which was not at all usual with works not printed at Rome.[266] He
considered this a double security; Jesuitism, on the contrary, contrived
afterwards to forge an indictment out of this unusual circumstance. Not
a word had appeared in print without having been read by the organs of
papal scrutiny and having received the sanction of the Church. Might
not the author well look forward to the publication of his work with
perfect tranquillity, and feel himself secure from any collision with the
ecclesiastical authorities? Undoubtedly, if he had not made the solemn
promise sixteen years before, “_entirely to renounce the opinion that the
sun is the centre of the universe, and is stationary, and that the earth
on the contrary moves, and neither to hold the same, nor in any way to
teach or defend it in speaking or writing_.”

Galileo’s proceedings at this time, as before and after, prove that
he was totally unaware of this assumed prohibition; anyhow, he pays
not the slightest attention to it. He sends copies of his work to the
most eminent persons at Rome; is delighted at its immense success;
arms himself for defence against the indignant Aristotelians, but
never thinks of a conflict with the ecclesiastical authorities, which,
sincere Catholic as he was, would have given him great pain apart
from consequences. Even in June and July there were some ill-disposed
persons, to the great annoyance of Riccardi, zealously trying to
discover something in the book which could be formulated into an
accusation against the author. The title page was adorned with a drawing
of three dolphins, one with the tail of another in its mouth, with
an insignificant motto above it.[267] This illustration was impugned
because it had not been submitted to ecclesiastical approbation, and they
expatiated with more malice than wit upon the meaning of the mysterious
device. It was a great relief to Riccardi’s mind when it was pointed
out by Count Magalotti that the same illustration appeared on almost
all the works which issued from the press of Landini at Florence, where
the “Dialogues” had been printed. This bait, then, had not taken, and
Galileo’s foes, worthy members of the Society of Jesus, had to find some
other mode of ensnaring him. They now brought against him the twofold
reproach, that the preface was printed in different type from the rest
of the book, which was true; and that several weighty arguments which
the Pope had brought against the Copernican system in conversation with
Galileo, though they might perhaps have been adduced in the MS., were
not in the printed book; this was a lie.[268] The truth however at
once came to light, for these “weighty arguments” were reduced to one,
which was brought forward at the conclusion of the “Dialogues.” But
Jesuitism, as we shall soon see, drew very singular conclusions from
the very natural circumstance that it was mentioned by Simplicius,
the defender of Ptolemy. The brethren of Father Grassi and Father
Scheiner,[269]—the latter of whom had been for a few months at Rome, and
was greatly incensed at the “Dialogues,”—well knew how to lay hold of the
Pope by his most vulnerable points, his personal vanity and boundless
ambition, which made him feel every contradiction like an attack on his
authority. They were assiduous in confirming Urban in his opinion that
the Copernican doctrine endangered the dogmas of the Christian Catholic
faith in the highest degree, and now represented that the publication of
the “Dialogues” was an incalculable injury to the Church. Besides this,
they persuaded the Pope that in his latest work Galileo had again, though
this time under concealment, entered into theological interpretations of
Holy Scripture. They thus stigmatised him as a rebel against the papal
decrees, who had only obtained the licence from Riccardi by cunning
devices,—a misrepresentation of the facts which, however, did not fail
of its effect on Urban. This is conclusively proved by the despatches of
Niccolini to Cioli of 5th and 11th September, 1632, of which we shall
have to speak more particularly.[270]

The crowning point of the intrigues of Galileo’s foes was, however,
the cunning assertion that _by Simplicius no other was intended than
Urban VIII. himself_; and they actually made him believe it. One would
scarcely have thought this possible with this shrewd Pope, who was so
well-disposed towards Galileo; but it is beyond all question that it was
so, and it put him in a boundless rage. It is decidedly indicated by
his attitude towards Galileo at the trial, especially at the beginning
of it. At that time it put him in such ill humour to be spoken to about
Galileo, that all who interested themselves for him agreed that it was
better not to confer with Urban himself, but with Cardinal Barberini
or the ministers.[271] The repeated attempts also made by Galileo and
his friends, even years afterwards, to convince Urban that it had never
entered his head to insult him, and that it was a cunning slander, prove
that for a long time the Pope had taken Simplicius for his counterfeit.

As this manifest falsehood is revived by certain writers, even at this
time of day, as having been Galileo’s real intention, it seems necessary
to throw a little more light on it. The telling remarks which Albèri
makes on the subject might well suffice to show the absurdity of the
imputation. He says that in the first place the attachment and devotion
always shown by Galileo towards Urban, to the sincerity of which numerous
letters bear witness, exclude all idea of so perfidious an act; and in
the second, that it was Galileo’s own interest to retain the goodwill
of his powerful patron, and not frivolously to fritter it away.[272]
But we pass from this argument _ad absurdum_ to one _ad concretum_.
Simplicius is said to be Urban VIII. But not appropriately, for he was
no such headstrong Peripatetic as is represented by Simplicius; had he
been so, it was impossible that in 1624 he should have enjoyed having “Il
Saggiatore” read to him at table, that cutting satire on the Aristotelian
wisdom in general, and the wisdom of Father Grassi in particular; and
that in the next year he should have been so much pleased with Galileo’s
reply to Ingoli.

Galileo’s enemies founded their assertion on the circumstance that at the
end of the work Simplicius employs an argument which the Pope himself
had brought forward in repeated conversations in 1624 with Galileo,
and on the weight of which he plumed himself not a little.[273] It
consisted of the reflection, undoubtedly more devout than scientific,
that God is all-powerful, so that all things are possible to Him, and
that therefore the tides could not be adduced as a _necessary_ proof
of the double motion of the earth without limiting His omnipotence.
This pious objection is received by both Salviati and Sagredo with the
utmost reverence. The former calls it heavenly and truly admirable, and
the latter thinks that it forms a fitting conclusion to the discussion,
which opinion is acted upon.[274] The Pope’s argument is thus by no means
made to appear ridiculous, but quite the contrary. As to the main point,
Simplicius says expressly that “he had this argument from a very eminent
and learned personage.” If this means Urban VIII., it is plain that
Simplicius cannot be Urban VIII. Q.E.D.[275]

In writing his “Dialogues,” Galileo found himself in a difficult
position. As he brought forward all the arguments of the disciples of
Ptolemy against the new system, the vain pontiff would have been sorely
offended if he had not introduced his. But who should mention it, if not
Simplicius? Galileo might think that Urban would not perhaps like to see
his argument treated as the original suggestion of Simplicius, who did
not appear in a brilliant light, and devised the expedient of making him
quote it, as that of “a very eminent and learned personage,” whereby he
would imagine that he had steered clear of every obstacle. But there was
no security against calumny. How little idea Galileo could have had of
making Urban ridiculous under the guise of Simplicius appears also from
the fact that in 1636, when seeking full pardon from the Pope, and when
he would be most anxious not to irritate him, he had just completed his
famous work, “Dialogues on the Modern Sciences,” in which Simplicius
again plays the part of defender of the ancient principles; and that he
published it in 1638, just when, in view of the unfavourable answer of
1636, he was begging at least for the favour of being nursed at Florence.
There can be no doubt that this suspicion materially contributed to
injure Galileo’s cause. Pieralisi, indeed, makes an assertion as novel as
it is untenable, that this bold slander was first heard of in 1635, and
therefore not until after the famous trial; and in his book, “Urban VIII.
and Gal. Galilei,”[276] he devotes a chapter of forty-six pages to prove
this latest novelty. But all his arguments are upset by the following
passage by Galileo in a letter to his friend Micanzio on 26th July, 1636:—

    “I hear from Rome that his Eminence Cardinal Antonio Barberini
    and the French ambassador have seen his Holiness and tried to
    convince him that I never had the least idea of perpetrating
    so sacrilegious an act as to make game of his Holiness, as my
    malicious foes have persuaded him, and which was the primary
    cause of all my troubles.”[277]

Pieralisi is acquainted with these words, and seeks to weaken their
indisputable force as evidence in a lengthy disquisition; but an
impartial critic only sees in this the apologist of Urban VIII., who
desires, at all hazards, to shield him from the suspicion of having
been actuated in the matter of Galileo’s trial by personal motives,
which will always be recognised in history as a fact, though it is
also an exaggeration of some historians to maintain that it was the
actual starting-point of the whole process, Urban having wished to
revenge himself for this assumed personal insult.[278] No, it had its
effect, but was not the chief motive. The Jesuits had inspired the Pope
with the opinion that the “Dialogues” were eminently dangerous to the
Church, more dangerous and abhorrent even than the writings of Luther
and Calvin,[279] and he was highly incensed at the representation that
Galileo had shamefully outwitted Father Riccardi, Mgr. Ciampoli, and
even his Holiness himself, in obtaining the licence. Offended majesty,
the determination to guard the interests of the Church and the authority
of the Bible, indignation at Galileo’s assumed cunning, and annoyance
at having been duped by it,—these were the motives which impelled Urban
VIII. to the deed called the institution of the trial of the Inquisition
against Galileo.



    Symptoms of the Coming Storm.—The Special Commission.—Parade of
    Forbearance.—The Grand Duke intercedes for Galileo.—Provisional
    Prohibition of the “Dialogues.”—Niccolini’s Interview
    with the Pope and unfavourable Reception.—Report of it to
    Cioli.—Magalotti’s Letters.—Real Object of the Special
    Commission to find a Pretext for the Trial.—Its Discovery in
    the Assumed Prohibition of 1616.—Report of the Commission and
    Charges against Galileo.

As we have seen, even during the months of June and July a ferment
had already begun in certain circles at Rome about the “Dialogues.”
Complaints and accusations were rife, the Pope was artfully worked
upon—these were the first portents of the heavy storm which was to
break over Galileo’s head. The Master of the Palace went about Rome in
great fear for himself as well as for Galileo, and told his troubles to
Count Magalotti.[280] At the beginning of August, Riccardi begged him
to deliver up the eight copies of the “Dialogues” which Magalotti had
brought to Rome, with the assurance that he would return them in ten days
at the latest. It was not in Magalotti’s power to grant this request, the
books having, as we know, long ago passed into other hands.[281]

A few days later the first thunderclap broke over Galileo. His publisher,
Landini, at Florence received instructions, though for the time they were
only provisional, forbidding the further sale of the “Dialogues.” The
succeeding scenes of the melancholy drama quickly followed. A special
commission was instituted at Rome by order of the Pope to investigate the
whole affair. Urban afterwards repeatedly stated with great emphasis to
Niccolini, that it was out of regard for the Grand Duke, as well as for
Galileo, that the very unusual measure was taken of not referring his
cause directly to the Holy Office, but to a separate congregation.[282]

It is altogether a characteristic trait in all the proceedings of
the Roman curia against Galileo, that there was a parade of great
consideration for and forbearance towards him although strictly within
the limits of their real intentions. Even the favour ostensibly shown
to him of referring his cause to a preliminary commission, composed of
theologians and mathematicians, was not so great in reality as it was
trumpeted to be at the Vatican. It was composed of persons by no means
favourable to him, and all the endeavours of Niccolini and other powerful
friends of Galileo to have influential persons who were friendly to him
put on the commission, such as Fathers Castelli and Campanella, were
frustrated by the Pope. It occasioned a dangerous threat to be held
over the undaunted Campanella, who energetically exerted himself in the

Meanwhile disquieting rumours had reached Florence, and Galileo
recognised with terror his dangerous position, though not to its full
extent; this perhaps was as yet foreseen by no one. He appealed in full
confidence to his friendly young sovereign for protection, and found
a willing ear. On the 24th August a note on this business was sent to
Niccolini, by order of the Grand Duke. It is clear that Ferdinand’s
efforts to assist Galileo were sincere from the circumstance that,
although the letter was written in Cioli’s name, Galileo was the author
of it, as appears from the original draft in his handwriting in the
Palatina Library at Florence.

The Grand Duke in this letter expresses his surprise that a book which
had been laid before the supreme authorities at Rome by the author
in person, had been carefully read there again and again, as well as
afterwards at Florence, and at the author’s request had been altered as
seemed good to the authorities, and had finally received the _imprimatur_
both there and here, should now after two years be considered suspicious
and be prohibited. The astonishment of his Highness was the greater,
because he knew that neither of the main opinions treated of were
positively confirmed, but only the reasons for and against brought
together; and this was done, as his Highness knew for certain, for the
benefit of the Holy Church itself, in order that on subjects which in
their nature are difficult to understand, those with whom the decision
rests may see, with less expenditure of time and trouble, on which side
the truth lies, and bring it into agreement with Holy Scripture. The
Grand Duke was of opinion that this opposition must be directed rather
against the person of the author than against his book, or this or that
opinion, ancient or modern. In order, however, to convince himself of
the merits or misdemeanours of his servant, his Highness desires that
that which is granted in all disputes and before all tribunals should be
permitted to him,—to defend himself against his accusers. The Grand Duke
therefore urges that the accusations brought against the work, which have
caused it to be prohibited, may be sent here for the author, who stands
firmly on his innocence, to see them. He is so convinced that all this
originates in the calumnies of envious and malicious persecutors, that he
has offered his sovereign to leave the country and renounce his favour
unless he can palpably prove how pious and sincere his sentiments on
these subjects have always been and still are. The letter concludes with
the commission, by the Grand Duke’s orders, to take the necessary steps
towards the fulfilment of his most reasonable request.[284]

On the same day on which this despatch went off, a mandate was issued
from Rome, which not only confirmed the provisional prohibition of the
“Dialogues,” but requested Landini to send all the copies in stock to
Rome. He replied that all the copies had been delivered to the purchasers.

Niccolini on receipt of the Grand Duke’s order hastened to carry it out,
but met with more bitter and obstinate opposition than either he or the
Tuscan court had expected. On 4th September, when the ambassador was
about to execute his mission at the Vatican, the Pope met him bluntly
with the words: “Your Galileo has ventured to meddle with things that he
ought not, and with the most important and dangerous subjects which can
be stirred up in these days.” Niccolini remarked that the philosopher
had not published his work without the approval of the Church, to which
the Pope angrily rejoined that Galileo and Ciampoli had deceived him,
especially Ciampoli, who had dared to tell him that Galileo would be
entirely guided by the papal commands, and that it was all right; he
had not either seen or read the work, and this was all he had known
about it. His Holiness then made bitter complaints against the Master
of the Palace, adding, however, that he had been deceived himself, for
he had been enticed by fair speeches to approve the book, and by more
fair speeches to allow it to be printed at Florence, without at all
complying with the form prescribed by the Inquisitor, and with the name
of the Roman censor of the press, who had nothing whatever to do with
works which did not appear at Rome. Niccolini then ventured to say, that
he knew that a special congregation was appointed to try this affair,
and as it might happen (as was the case) that there might be persons
on it unfavourable to Galileo, he humbly petitioned that Galileo might
have an opportunity of justifying himself. Urban answered curtly: “In
these affairs of the Holy Office, nothing is ever done but to pronounce
judgment, and then summon to recant.” “Does it not then appear to your
Holiness,” answered the ambassador, “that Galileo should be informed
beforehand of the objections to, scruples and criticisms respecting his
book, and of the points to which the Holy Office takes exception?” “The
Holy Office,” replied the Pope, angrily, “as I told you before, does
not proceed in that way, and does not take that course, nor does it
ever give such information beforehand: it is not the custom. _Besides,
Galileo knows well enough what the objections are, if he only chooses
to know, because we have talked to him about it, and he has heard them
all from ourself._” Niccolini now urged that the work was dedicated to
the Grand Duke, and written by one of his most eminent servants; he
hoped, therefore, that Galileo would be treated with indulgence. Urban
replied that he had even prohibited books dedicated to himself, and that
in matters where it was a question of endangering religion, the Grand
Duke also was bound, as a Christian prince, to co-operate in enforcing
penalties. Niccolini had therefore better write plainly to his Highness
that he (the Pope) warned him not to meddle with things which he could
not come out of with honour. The undaunted ambassador now expressed
his conviction that his Holiness would not allow them to go so far as
entirely to prohibit the book, which had received sanction, without at
least hearing Galileo. But Urban replied, _that this was the least that
could happen to him, and he had better take care that he was not summoned
before the Holy Office_. The Pope then assured Niccolini that the
preliminary commission was composed of theologians and men well versed in
science, all grave and pious men, who would weigh every particular, word
for word, for it was a question of the most godless business which could
ever be discussed. He also charged the ambassador to tell his sovereign
that the doctrine was in the highest degree sinful; everything would be
maturely considered; his Highness had better not interfere, and must be
on his guard. In conclusion, the Pope not only imposed the strictest
secrecy on Niccolini as to what he had been told, but desired that the
Grand Duke also should be charged to keep the secret, adding that he
“had acted with great consideration for Galileo, by having impressed
upon him what he knew before, and by not referring his affairs, as he
ought to have done, to the Holy Office, but to a specially-appointed
congregation.” Urban added the bitter remark that his behaviour towards
Galileo had been far better than Galileo’s towards him, for he had
deceived him.

In the narration of the whole of this interesting conversation between
the Pope and the Tuscan ambassador, we have given an almost literal
translation of the Italian original of Niccolini’s report of it to
Cioli, of 5th September, 1632.[285] Urban’s last angry expression caused
Niccolini to remark in his despatch that he found “ill will here too;
and as for the Pope, he could not be more against poor Galileo than
he was.” He then said that he had communicated Cioli’s letter of 24th
August to the Master of the Palace, and that Riccardi thought they would
hardly condemn the “Dialogues” altogether, but only alter some passages
which really were objectionable. He had also offered, as far as he could
do so without incurring censure or transgressing rules, to inform the
ambassador at once of what was going to be done, adding however, that he
must be cautious, for he had already felt the lash in this matter. He
then complained that they had not acted in accordance with his letter
to the Inquisitor, that the introduction was printed in different type
from the rest of the work, and that the conclusion did not agree with the
introduction. Towards the end of the despatch, Niccolini says that “it
will be better to act without any temper in this business, and rather to
negotiate with the ministers and Cardinal Barberini than with the Pope
himself, because he obstinately persists that it is a hopeless case, and
if you dispute it, or threaten anything, or are defiant, his Holiness
lets fall hard words and has no respect for anybody.”

The conclusion of Cioli’s reply of 19th September to this ominous
despatch of Niccolini’s gives us an insight into the attitude which the
Tuscan Government, even at that time, desired to assume towards the papal
chair in this unfortunate business. Cioli writes:—

    “His Highness has heard the letters of your excellency of the
    4th and 5th, and by this affair of Signor Mariano and that of
    Signor Galileo he was placed in so much difficulty that I do
    not know how it will be. I know well that his Holiness will
    never have to blame the ministers for giving bad advice.”[286]

Two letters from Count Magalotti,[287] who was usually well informed,
arrived almost at the same time as this despatch. Both bear the date
of 4th September; one is to Mario Guiducci, the other to Galileo, who
in a letter of 23rd August, which is lost, had expressed his anxiety
to Magalotti lest his work should be pronounced suspicious, and
the Copernican doctrine condemned as heretical by the authorities.
Magalotti’s news was, on the whole, reassuring. According to the opinions
of persons who are generally present at the sittings of the Congregation
of the Holy Office, he thought he could assure Galileo that it would
never go so far as for the Copernican system to be condemned by the
_supreme authority_.[288] He thought, with Riccardi, that they would
not entirely prohibit the “Dialogues,” but only correct them, so as to
sustain the decree of 5th March, 1616. He also urgently advised, like
Niccolini, that they should arm themselves with the utmost patience, and
rather confer with Cardinal Barberini than with Urban, “for reasons
which it is not necessary to discuss here.”

Neither Galileo himself, nor Magalotti, nor his other friends, ever
thought of any personal danger to him; Niccolini and the Grand Duke might
perhaps have been more sharp-sighted, but they were bound to silence. The
threads, however, of this great intrigue can only be disentangled by the
later historian, who has watched the progress of the whole melancholy
drama. Two facts are perfectly obvious to the attentive observer: the
first, that at Rome, with the Pope at their head, they were determined
to bring Galileo to trial before the Inquisition; and the second, that
they did not yet clearly see how it was to be done with some shadow of
justice. To find this out was the real purpose of the appointment of
the special congregation, which Urban had boasted of as a signal act
of forbearance towards Galileo. All the objections to the book were
subjects rather for accusation against the censors who had sanctioned it
than against the author, who had submitted it to them, altered it, and
again submitted the alterations. The responsibility for the publication
really rested not with the author, but with those who had sanctioned
it. The Pope’s accusation, however, that Galileo had coaxed them to
give the permission by fair speeches, was too indefinite to institute a
trial upon, and neither did the irregular quotation of the _imprimatur_
of the Master of the Palace, nor the typographical difference between
the preface and the rest of the book offer sufficient ground for a
legal prosecution. In this difficult case, therefore, it required all
the Romish craft and legal sophistry at command, to find a pretext for
bringing Galileo to trial before the Inquisition, which should, at any
rate according to Romish principles, justify it in the eyes of the world.

The preliminary commission appointed by Urban VIII. was to perform this
by no means easy task in brilliant style. It was certainly very much
lightened by a discovery in the acts of the trial of Galileo in 1616,
which was evidently a surprise to them—the note of 26th February, 1616.

What vast importance they at once thought fit to assign to this
annotation without signature, we learn from a despatch of Niccolini’s
to Cioli, of 11th September.[289] Niccolini refers in it to a recent
interview with the Master of the Palace. He had again strongly advised
that nothing be done in a hurry, and that time must be gained, for the
Pope was firmly convinced that religion was really imperilled, for the
work did not treat of mathematics, but of Holy Scripture, religion, and
faith, and the orders respecting the printing of the work had not been
complied with, for the opinion of the author was not merely indicated,
but expressed in many places in the most decided and unsuitable manner.
After Riccardi had assured the ambassador that all efforts to get
Campanella and Castelli put on the preliminary commission had failed,
but that he (Riccardi) would do his best to defend Galileo, both from
friendship for him, and to serve his Highness, and because he had given
the permission to print, he confided to Niccolini, under seal of profound
secrecy, as of the highest importance, “_that it had been discovered in
the books of the Holy Office, that sixteen years ago, it having been
heard that Galileo entertained that opinion, and disseminated it in
Florence, he was summoned to Rome, and forbidden by Cardinal Bellarmine,
in the name of the Pope and the Holy Office, to hold that opinion, and
this alone is enough to ruin him entirely_.”[290]

This communication of Riccardi’s contains an obvious mis-statement,
namely, that any document had been found showing that Galileo had been
_summoned_ to Rome in 1616. As we have seen,[291] all the historical
documents show that he was not summoned, but that his visit was
entirely voluntary. This verbal statement of Riccardi’s, unsupported
by any document, is of no value as evidence, compared with the letters
of Galileo of that period, and his depositions afterwards before his
judges, who were accurately informed of all the previous proceedings.
The second part of his communication to Niccolini is also far from
precise. He does indeed say that Galileo, in 1616, had in the name of
the Pope and the Holy Congregation been forbidden (_prohibito_), “il
poter tenere questo opinione,” but according to the father’s account this
prohibition was communicated to him by Cardinal Bellarmine. Riccardi is
evidently not precisely instructed, and does not know that, according to
the notification of 26th February, 1616, Galileo received an absolute
prohibition before notary and witnesses.

We shall see the part this “document” was destined to play in the
proceedings against Galileo.

The preliminary commission had just then, after about a month’s session,
completed its labours, and submitted to the Pope a long memorial on the
Galileo affair. The document begins with a concise statement of the
course of the negotiations about the publication of the “Dialogues,” and
then the three following indictments were brought against the author:—

(1) Galileo has transgressed orders in deviating from the hypothetical
treatment by decidedly maintaining that the earth moves and the sun is
stationary. (2) He has erroneously ascribed the phenomena of the tides
to the stability of the sun and the motion of the earth, which do not
exist; (3) and he has further been deceitfully silent about the command
laid upon him by the Holy Office, in the year 1616, which was as follows:
“To relinquish altogether the said opinion that the sun is the centre
of the world and immovable, and that the earth moves; nor henceforth to
hold, teach, or defend it in any way whatsoever, verbally or in writing,
otherwise proceedings would be taken against him by the Holy Office,
which injunction the said Galileo acquiesced in and promised to obey.”

Then follows the remark: “It must now be considered what proceedings
are to be taken, both against the person of the author and against the
printed book.” Yet the nature of these proceedings is not in any way
discussed in the document, but it now refers more in detail in five
counts to the historical events, from the time when the “Dialogues”
were submitted in Rome in 1630, to the publication in Florence in 1632.
A sixth count considers that the following points in the “Dialogues”
themselves must be laid to the author’s account:—

    “1. That without orders and without making any communication
    about it, he put the _imprimatur_ of Rome on the title page.

    “2. That he had printed the preface in different type, and
    rendered it useless by its separation from the rest of the
    work; further, that he had put the saving clause at the end in
    the mouth of a simpleton, and in a place where it is hard to
    find; that it is but coolly received by the other interlocutor,
    so that it is only cursorily touched upon, and not fully

    “3. That he had very often in the work deviated from the
    hypothesis, either by absolutely asserting that the earth
    moves, and that the sun is stationary, or by representing
    the arguments upon which these views rest as convincing and
    necessarily true, or by making the contrary appear impossible.

    “4. That he had treated the subject as undecided, and as if he
    were waiting for, though he does not expect, explanation.

    “5. That he contemns authors who are of a contrary opinion, and
    those whom Holy Church chiefly employs.

    “6. That he perniciously asserts and sets forth that, in the
    apprehension of geometrical matters, there is some equality
    between the Divine and human mind.

    “7. That he had represented it to be an argument for the truth
    that Ptolemaics go over to the Copernicans, but not _vice

    “8. That he had erroneously ascribed the tides in the ocean to
    the stability of the sun and the motion of the earth, which do
    not exist.”

The special commission, however, by no means draws the conclusion from
all these errors and failings, that the “Dialogues” should be prohibited,
but says: “All these things could be corrected, if it was thought that
the book to which such favour should be shown were of any value.”

Immediately after this follows the seventh point, saying that “the author
had transgressed the mandate of the Holy Office of 1616, ‘that he should
relinquish the said opinion,’ etc.—down to, ‘and promised to obey.’”[292]

Herewith the memorial of the preliminary commission concludes. It draws
no conclusions from the facts adduced, but leaves that to his Holiness
the Pope. The last count confirms Galileo’s chief offence: he is guilty
of having disobeyed a special mandate of the ecclesiastical authorities,
has broken a solemn promise made before a notary and witnesses. Such a
crime, according to inquisitorial usage, demanded severe punishment. The
perfidy of 1616 had signally triumphed.



    Niccolini’s Attempt to avert the Trial.—The Pope’s
    Parable.—The Mandate summoning Galileo to Rome.—His Grief
    and Consternation.—His Letter to Cardinal Barberini.—Renewed
    Order to come to Rome.—Niccolini’s fruitless Efforts
    to save him.—Medical Certificate that he was unfit to
    Travel.—Castelli’s hopeful View of the Case.—Threat to bring
    him to Rome as a Prisoner.—The Grand Duke advises him to
    go.—His Powerlessness to protect his Servant.—Galileo’s Mistake
    in leaving Venice.—Letter to Elia Diodati.

Only a few days later, on 15th September, the Pope informed the Tuscan
ambassador through one of his secretaries, Pietro Benessi, that he
(Urban) hereby notified to him, out of esteem for his Highness the
Grand Duke, that he could do no less than hand Galileo’s affairs over
to the Inquisition. At the same time the strictest secrecy as to this
information was enjoined both on the Grand Duke and Niccolini, with a
threat that otherwise they would be proceeded against according to the
statutes of the Holy Office.[293]

Niccolini was astounded by this news, and hastened, two days afterwards,
to the Pope, to make a final attempt to avert the danger of a trial
before the Inquisition for Galileo. But his urgent though respectful
solicitations met with no response. Urban indeed said that “Signor
Galileo was still his friend,—but that opinion had been condemned sixteen
years before.” He then expatiated, as he had so often done before, on the
danger of the doctrine, and ended by saying that Galileo’s book was in
the highest degree pernicious. When Niccolini remarked that he thought
the “Dialogues” might be altered to the prescribed form, instead of
being prohibited altogether, the Pope answered affably by telling him a
parable about Cardinal Alciato. A manuscript was submitted to him with
the request that, in order not to spoil the fair copy, he would mark the
places requiring alteration with a little wax. The cardinal returned
it without any marks at all. The author thanked him, and expressed his
satisfaction that he had not found anything to find fault with, as there
was not a single mark; but the cardinal replied that he had not used any
wax, for if he had, he must have gone to a wax chandler’s, and dipped the
whole work into melted wax in order to amend it thoroughly.[294] Thus had
Cardinal Alciato enlightened the unfortunate author in his day, and Urban
enlightened Niccolini by quoting the story, to which he could only reply
with a forced smile, that nevertheless he “hoped his Holiness would allow
them to treat Galileo’s work as indulgently as possible.”

Niccolini’s efforts had been in vain, and measures were laid with almost
breathless haste to deliver Galileo up to the Inquisition. This was
finally effected in the sitting of the Congregation of the Holy Office of
23rd September, 1632, when it was pronounced that he had transgressed the
prohibition of 26th February, 1616, and concealed it when he obtained the
_imprimatur_. In a document of the Vatican Manuscript we have the papal
mandate which followed this sentence. It runs as follows:—

    “23rd September, 1632. His Holiness charges the Inquisitor at
    Florence to inform Galileo, in the name of the Holy Office,
    that he is to appear as soon as possible in the course of the
    month of October, at Rome before the Commissary-General of the
    Holy Office. He must also obtain a promise from Galileo to
    obey this order, which the Inquisitor is to give him in the
    presence of a notary and witnesses, but in such a way that
    Galileo may know nothing about them, so that if he refuse and
    do not promise to obey, they may, if necessary, bear witness to

On 1st October the Inquisitor carried out this order, which Galileo had
to certify by the following attestation:—

    1st October, 1632, at Florence. “I, Galileo Galilei, certify
    that on the day indicated the order has been delivered to me by
    the honourable Father Inquisitor of this city, by command of
    the Holy Congregation of the Holy Office at Rome, to go to Rome
    in the course of the present month, October, and to present
    myself before the Father Commissary of the Holy Office, who
    will inform me what I have to do. I will willingly obey the
    order in the course of this month October. And in testimony
    thereto I have written these presents.”

    “I, Galileo Galilei wrote _manu propria_.”[296]

This mandate to present himself before the Inquisition quite overwhelmed
Galileo, as is evident from his correspondence of that period. He was
totally unprepared for it. Scarcely recovered from a severe complaint
in the eyes, which had lasted several months and had prevented him from
using them, otherwise suffering in health, and at an advanced age, he was
now to go to Rome in the midst of the plague, which had broken out again
with increased virulence, and entailed strict quarantine regulations, in
order to give account of himself before the dread tribunal. No wonder
that it dismayed him, and in spite of his promise “willingly to obey
the order in the course of this month, October,” we find him making
every effort to get out of it. On 6th October he wrote in the greatest
excitement to Cioli, who was just then with the Grand Duke at Siena, that
he was in the greatest consternation at this summons to appear before the
Inquisition at Rome, and as he was well aware of the importance of the
matter, he would come to Siena to lay his schemes and plans before his
Highness, for he had more than one in his head, and to consult him about
the steps to be taken.[297]

This journey, however, was not undertaken, as the court soon returned to

Galileo’s deep depression is most evident from a long letter of 13th
October addressed to a cardinal of the Barberini family,[298] which was
to reach him through Niccolini. Galileo remarks first that he and his
friends had foreseen that his “Dialogues” would find opponents, but he
had never imagined that the envious malice of some persons would go so
far as to persuade the authorities that they were not worthy to see the
light. He goes on to say that the summons before the Inquisition at Rome
had caused him the deepest grief, for he feared that such a proceeding,
usual only in the case of serious delinquents, would turn the fruits of
all his studies and labours during many years, which had lent no little
repute to his name with the learned all over the world, into aspersions
on his fair fame. “This vexes me so much,” continues Galileo, “that
it makes me curse the time devoted to these studies in which I strove
and hoped to deviate somewhat from the beaten track generally pursued
by learned men. I not only repent having given the world a portion of
my writings, but feel inclined to suppress those still in hand, and
to give them to the flames, and thus satisfy the longing desire of my
enemies to whom my ideas are so inconvenient.” After this desperate cry
from his oppressed soul, he expresses his conviction that, burdened
with seventy years and many bodily sufferings, increased by constant
sleeplessness, he shall not reach the end of this tedious journey—made
more arduous by unusual difficulties—alive. Impelled by the instinct
of self-preservation common to all men, he ventures to ask the good
offices of the cardinal. He begs him to represent his pitiable condition
to the wise fathers in Rome, not to release him from giving account of
himself, which he is most anxious to do, as he is sure that it will only
tend to his advantage, but only that it may be made easier for him to
obey. There are two ways of doing this. One is for him to write a minute
and conscientious vindication of all that he has said, written, or done
since the day when the conflict began on Copernicus’s book and his new
system. He is certain that his sincerity and his pure, zealous, and
devout attachment to the holy Church and its supreme head, would be so
obvious from this statement, that every one, if he were free from passion
and party malice, must confess that he had behaved so piously and like
a good Catholic, that not even any of the fathers of the Church to whom
the epithet _holy_ is applied, could have shown more piety. He asserts
and will indisputably prove, by all the works he has written on this
subject, that he has only entered into the controversy out of zeal for
the holy Church, with the intention of imparting to her servants that
knowledge which one or other of them might wish to possess, and which
he had acquired by long study, as it treated of subjects difficult to
understand and different from the learning generally cultivated. He will
also show how many opinions contained in the writings of the fathers of
the Church had been an encouragement to him, and how he was “finally
confirmed in his intention by hearing a short but holy and admirable
address, which came unexpectedly, like an echo of the Holy Spirit, from
the lips of a personage eminent in learning and revered for his sanctity
of life.” But for the present he will not give this admirable saying, nor
the speaker’s name, as it does not seem prudent or suitable to involve
any one in the present affair which concerns him personally alone.[299]
Having in a touching manner begged that what he should write may be read,
and declared that should his vindication not give satisfaction on all
points he will reply in detail to objections, he proceeds to the second
means of averting the journey to Rome.

He only wishes that his adversaries would be as ready to commit to paper
what they have perhaps verbally and _ad aures_ said against him, as he
was to defend himself in writing. If they will not accept his written
vindication, and still insist upon a verbal one, there was an Inquisitor,
Nuncius, archbishop, and other high officials of the Church at Florence,
whose summons he was quite ready to obey. He says:—“It appears to me
that things of much greater importance are decided by this tribunal.
And it is not likely that under the keen and watchful eyes of those who
examined my book with full liberty to omit, to add, and to alter as
seemed good to them, errors so weighty could escape that the authorities
of this city should be incompetent to correct or punish them.” This
passage again clearly indicates that Galileo knew nothing whatever of the
prohibition of 1616; that he had no idea of having broken his word to the
ecclesiastical authorities. His only thought is of a revision of his work
as the result of a conviction that it contained errors.[300]

The letter to the cardinal concludes with the following assurance:—“If
neither my great age, nor my many bodily infirmities, nor the deep
concern I feel, nor the wearisomeness of a journey under the present
most unfavourable circumstances, are considered sufficient reasons, by
this high and sacred tribunal, for granting a dispensation, or at least
a delay, I will undertake the journey, esteeming obedience more than

Niccolini could not deliver this letter to the cardinal immediately, as
he was just then absent from Rome. He received however, at the same time,
an urgent petition from another quarter. Michael Angelo the younger wrote
to this dignitary, with whom he was on friendly terms, and entreated
him, out of consideration for the philosopher’s age and infirmities, to
use his powerful influence to get his affairs settled at Florence.[302]
But there was a long delay before Galileo’s letter was delivered to the
cardinal. The ambassador wished first to consult Castelli, whom the
Grand Duke had appointed as his counsel in Galileo’s affairs, whether it
was to be delivered. Niccolini had doubts about these explanations, and
expressed them both in a letter to Galileo of 23rd October,[303] and in
a despatch to Cioli of the 24th.[304] In the former Niccolini says that
he thinks Galileo’s letter is more calculated to incense them against
him than to pacify them, and the more he asserted that he could defend
his work the more it would be thought that it ought to be condemned. He
thinks that a delay will be granted to the accused of his journey to
Rome, but that he will not be released from it on any consideration.
Niccolini gave him the following friendly hint as to the attitude he
should maintain: “It appears desirable not to enter into any defence
of things which the Congregation do not approve, but to submit and to
recant what the cardinals may desire; for to speak as a Christian, one
must not maintain anything, but what they, as the highest tribunal, that
cannot err, please.”[305] By such conduct the ambassador hopes for an
easier solution of the question; not, however, without its coming to an
actual trial, and Galileo may even be somewhat restricted in his personal
liberty. He has great doubts about the passage referring to an “admirable
address, which came unexpectedly like an echo of the Holy Spirit from the
lips of a personage eminent in learning and revered for his sanctity of
life,” as he thinks that if the letter is handed to the cardinal, he will
hand it to the Congregation, and the cardinals may request to be informed
who this personage is. At all events he would like first to consult
Castelli, who was not just then at Rome.

The result of the consultation was, however, to deliver the letter to
Barberini. Niccolini reported to Galileo on 6th November,[306] that he
had received it in a very friendly spirit, and was altogether very kindly
disposed towards him. The ambassador does not doubt that a delay will at
any rate be granted, that Galileo may make the journey to Rome with less
inconvenience.[307] We learn from a document in Gherardi’s archives, that
Galileo’s petitions were discussed at a sitting of the Congregation of
the Holy Office held on 11th November, in presence of the Pope, but that
he would not grant them, and decreed that Galileo must obey, and ordered
that the Inquisitor at Florence should be written to that he might compel
Galileo to come to Rome.[308]

Niccolini, meanwhile, was unwearied in trying to get Galileo’s proposals
accepted. He went to Cardinal Ginetti, who was a member of the
Congregation and in high favour with the Pope, and to Mgr. Boccabella,
assessor of the Holy Office, and represented to both Galileo’s great
age, his failing health, and the peril to his life of a journey through
quarantine and plague. But as both prelates, on whom as members of the
Holy Office strict secrecy was imposed, “only heard what he had to say,
and answered nothing,” Niccolini went to the Pope himself, to make one
more attempt. Having as he thought put the imperious pontiff into the
best of humours, by assuring him that the unfortunate _savant_ was
ready to render prompt obedience to every command, he laid all the
circumstances before him, and used all his eloquence to awaken pity for
the infirm old man. But in vain. Niccolini asked at last whether his
Holiness had not seen Galileo’s letter to Cardinal Barberini; and he
said he had, but in spite of all that the journey to Rome could not be
dispensed with. “Your Holiness incurs the danger,” replied Niccolini,
“considering Galileo’s great age, of his being tried neither in Rome nor
Florence; for I assure your Holiness that he may die on the way under
all these difficulties combined with so much anxiety.” “He can come very
slowly (_pian piano_) in a litter, with every comfort, but he really must
be tried here in person. May God forgive him for having been so deluded
as to involve himself in these difficulties, from which we had relieved
him when we were cardinal.” This was the Pope’s stern reply to the
ambassador’s urgent representations. And when he remarked that it was the
sanction given to the book here which had occasioned all this, because
from the signature, and the orders given to the Inquisitor at Florence,
they felt quite secure, and had proceeded without scruple, Urban broke
out into violent complaints about the conduct of Father Riccardi and
Mgr. Ciampoli, and repeated that it was a question of a most pernicious

Niccolini, seeing that his efforts were in vain retired, but only to
hasten to Cardinal Antonio Barberini, and to entreat him to take up the
cause of this persecuted man. But the cardinal made the pertinent excuse
that he could not act against the Pope’s will, but he would procure all
possible relaxation of the strict quarantine regulations for Galileo.
Niccolini could not even obtain any definite promise of delay; and,
much discomfited and with profound sorrow, he communicated the results
of his sincere and unwearied endeavours in a letter to Galileo of 13th
November, 1632, and a despatch to Cioli of the same date.[310]

A few days after the receipt of this bad news, on 19th November, Galileo
was summoned before the Inquisitor at Florence for the second time, in
accordance with the papal mandate of 11th November. He sent the following
report of it on 20th November, to Rome:—

    “I have again summoned Galileo Galilei, who said that he was
    perfectly willing to go to Rome, and only hesitated on account
    of his advanced age, his evident ill health, the circumstance
    that he was under medical treatment, and many other things. I
    then charged him to comply with the order to go to Rome, and in
    presence of a notary and two witnesses gave him a respite of
    one month. He again appeared quite willing, but I do not know
    whether he will go. I told him what I had received.”[311]

On 9th December the papal orders were issued to the Inquisitor at
Florence, as soon as the month had elapsed, to _compel_ Galileo to set
out for Rome.[312] Niccolini wrote to Cioli on the 11th[313] and to
Galileo on the 12th[314] December, that he had again tried to procure a
longer respite, but had found it impossible. He moreover strongly advised
Galileo to set out as soon as possible, and stay for at least twenty
days’ quarantine somewhere within the territory of Siena, as this prompt
obedience would be greatly to his advantage at Rome.

But the time appointed had nearly elapsed, and Galileo made no
preparations for starting. Shortly before it terminated, in accordance
with his instructions, the Inquisitor at Florence sent his vicar to him.
On 18th December the Inquisitor sent the following report to Rome:—

    “My vicar found Galileo Galilei in bed. He told him he was
    quite willing to come, but in these times he had no heart for
    it; besides, just now, owing to having been attacked by sudden
    illness, he was not in a condition to set out. He has sent me
    the enclosed medical certificate. So that I have not failed to
    do my duty.”[315]

The medical certificate, dated 17th December, gives a clear idea of the
physical condition of this much-tried man, and we therefore give it in
full. It is signed by the doctors Vettorio de Rossi, Giovanni Ronconi,
and Pietro Cervieri, and is as follows:—

    “We, the undersigned physicians, certify that we have examined
    Signor Galileo Galilei, and find that his pulse intermits
    every three or four beats, from which we conclude that
    his vital powers are affected, and at his great age much
    weakened. To the above are to be ascribed frequent attacks of
    giddiness, hypochondriacal melancholy, weakness of the stomach,
    sleeplessness, and flying pains about the body, to which others
    also can testify. We have also observed a serious hernia with
    rupture of the peritoneum. All these symptoms are worthy of
    notice, as under the least aggravation they might evidently
    become dangerous to life.”[316]

But much importance does not seem to have been attached to this
certificate at Rome; and in a despatch of 26th December, Niccolini
expressed his fears to Cioli lest the ecclesiastical authorities at
Florence should receive extreme orders.[317] Castelli also, in a letter
of 25th December, urged his old master to set out.[318] But in this,
as in all his letters of this period, he shows that he had no idea of
the real moment to Galileo of the proceedings going on at Rome, and he
was altogether ill informed about the course things were taking.[319]
Probably great reserve was maintained towards this faithful adherent
of Galileo, who was also to be his advocate. Castelli always consoled
him with the assurance that, to the best of his belief, the final
decision of the holy tribunal would never be against him.[320] Even in
his letter of 25th December, Castelli says that he only considers it
necessary for Galileo to set out for Rome, because he entertained a
singular notion that Galileo’s cunning persecutors desired nothing more
than that he should not come to Rome, in order that they might decry
him as an obstinate rebel; for he had not committed any crime against
the Holy Office! It is plain that the worthy Father Castelli was not
very sharp-sighted, as he had abundantly proved before by giving up the
original of the celebrated letter of Galileo’s to him of 21st December,

On 30th December, the fears mentioned by Niccolini in his despatch of
26th December were realised. On that day a papal mandate was issued to
the Inquisitor of Florence, which said that neither his Holiness nor
the Holy Congregation could or would tolerate such evasions; it must
therefore be proved whether Galileo’s state was really such that he
could not come to Rome without danger to his life. His Holiness and the
Holy Congregation would therefore send a commissioner, with a physician,
to Florence, who would visit Galileo and make a true and trustworthy
report on his condition, and if he were in a state to travel, bring him a
prisoner in irons to Rome (_carceratum et ligatum cum ferris_). If, out
of consideration for his health, or other danger to life, his coming must
be postponed, as soon as he had recovered and the danger was over, he was
to be brought a prisoner in irons to Rome. The document concluded with
the remark that the papal commissioner and the physician would travel at
Galileo’s expense, because he had not obeyed the command to appear at
Rome when his condition would have permitted it.[321]

To avert these extreme measures from being actually carried out, the
Grand Duke told Cioli to write to Galileo on 11th January, 1633, that he
(Ferdinand) took a sincere interest in the affair, and regretted that he
was unable to spare him the journey, but it was at last necessary that he
should obey the supreme authorities. In order that he might perform the
journey more comfortably, he would place one of the grand ducal litters
and a trustworthy guide at his disposal, and would also permit him to
stay at the house of the ambassador, Niccolini, supposing that he would,
within a month, be released from Rome.[322]

The pitiful impotence of an Italian ruler of that day in face of the
Roman hierarchy is obvious in this letter. His sovereign does not dare to
protect the philosopher—the greatest of whom Italy can boast—from papal
persecution, but was obliged to give him up to the dreaded Inquisition.
It must not, however, be supposed that the young Ferdinand, then only
twenty-two, because he had been brought up in the strictest Romish
fashion by the two Grand Duchesses and Cioli, acted otherwise than any
other Italian ruler would have done in the like situation. Not one of
them would have had courage, nor have been independent enough of Rome,
to put an energetic veto on a papal mandate like this. The Venetian
Republic, in which it had been established as an axiom by Paolo Sarpi
that “the power of rulers is derived immediately from God, and spiritual
as well as temporal things are subject to it,” was the only State of
Italy which would have asserted its sovereignty and would never have
delivered up one of its officials to the Roman will. Galileo now
suffered a bitter penalty for his former thankless conduct to the Free
State. The grand ducal orders had to be unconditionally obeyed; and as
any further delay might entail the worst consequences, Galileo fixed 20th
January for his departure.[323]

Before setting out, however, on the 15th of the month, he addressed a
long letter to the celebrated jurist and advocate in the parliament of
Paris, Elia Diodati (not to be confounded with Johannes Diodati, the
translator of the Bible), who corresponded with the most learned men
of the time, and took a lively interest in Galileo’s studies and fate.
Some parts of this letter show how well this strictly theistic, or
more properly, Roman Catholic _savant_, knew how to bring the modern
astronomy into agreement with Christian philosophy and the Bible, and
this from real conviction, for this letter to his friend at Paris was
quite private. From this we may conclude that even his celebrated
demonstrations to Father Castelli, of 21st December, 1613, and the still
more elaborate ones to the Grand Duchess Christine, 1615, were the result
of honest conviction, and were not, as his enemies maintained, mere
dialectic fencing, intended to bring Scripture and the Copernican theory
into agreement. We give these interesting passages of the letter as well
as those which refer to Galileo’s unhappy situation:—

    “I am sorry that the two books of Morin[324] and Fromond[325]
    did not reach me till six months after the publication
    of my ‘Dialogues,’ because otherwise I should have had an
    opportunity of saying much in praise of both, and of giving
    some consideration to a few particular points, especially to
    one in Morin and to another in Fromond. I am quite astonished
    that Morin should attach so great a value to astrology, and
    that he should pretend to be able, with his conjectures (which
    seem to me very uncertain) to establish its truth. It will
    really be a wonderful thing, if, as he promises, he raises
    astrology by his acuteness to the first rank among human
    sciences, and I await such a startling novelty with great
    curiosity. As to Fromond, who proves himself to be a man of
    much mind, I could have wished not to see him fall into, in my
    opinion, a grave though wide-spread error; namely, in order
    to refute the opinions of Copernicus, he first hurls scornful
    jests at his followers, and then (which seems to me still
    more unsuitable), fortifies himself by the authority of Holy
    Scripture, and at length goes so far as to call those views
    on these grounds nothing less than heretical. That such a
    proceeding is not praiseworthy seems to me to admit of very
    easy proof. For if I were to ask Fromond, who made the sun,
    the moon, the earth, and the stars, and ordained their order
    and motions, I believe he would answer, they are the creations
    of God. If asked who inspired Holy Scripture, I know he would
    answer, the Holy Spirit, which means God likewise. The world is
    therefore the work and the Scriptures are the word of the same
    God. If asked further, whether the Holy Spirit never uses words
    which appear to be contrary to things as they really are, and
    are only so used to accommodate them to the understandings of
    rude, uncultivated people, I am convinced that he would reply,
    in agreement with the holy fathers, that such is the usage of
    Scripture, which, in a hundred passages, says things for the
    above reason, that if taken literally, are not only heresies,
    but blasphemies, since they impute to God, anger, repentance,
    forgetfulness, etc. But if I were to ask Fromond, whether God,
    in order to accommodate Himself to the understanding of the
    multitude, ever alters His creations, or whether nature, which
    is God’s handmaid, and is not changeable at man’s desire, has
    not always observed, and does not still maintain, her usual
    course in respect to motion, form, and relative positions of
    the various parts of the universe—I am certain that he would
    answer, the moon has always been spherical, although for a
    long period the people thought she was flat; he would say,
    in fine, that nothing ever changes in nature to accommodate
    itself to the comprehension or notions of men. But if it be so,
    why, in our search for knowledge of the various parts of the
    universe, should we begin rather with the words than with the
    works of God? Is the work less noble or less excellent than
    the word? If Fromond, or any one else, had settled that the
    opinion that the earth moves is a heresy, and if afterwards,
    demonstration, observation, and necessary concatenation should
    prove that it does move, into what embarrassment he would have
    brought himself and the holy Church. But if, on the contrary,
    the works are indisputably proved to vary from the literal
    meaning of the words, and we give the Scriptures the second
    place, no detriment to Scripture results from this. Since, in
    order to accommodate themselves they often ascribe, even to God
    Himself, entirely false conditions, why should we suppose that
    in speaking of the earth or the sun they should keep to such
    strict laws, as not to attribute conditions to these creations,
    out of regard for the ignorance of the masses, which are
    opposed to fact? If it be true that the earth moves and the sun
    stands still, it is no detriment to Holy Scripture, since it
    speaks of things as they appear to the people.

    “Many years ago, when the stir about Copernicus was beginning,
    I wrote a letter[326] of some length, in which, supported by
    the authorities of numerous fathers of the Church, I showed
    what an abuse it was to appeal so much to Holy Scripture in
    questions of natural science, and I proposed that in future
    it should not be brought into them. As soon as I am in less
    trouble, I will send you a copy. I say, in less trouble,
    because I am just now going to Rome, whither I have been
    summoned by the Holy Office, which has already prohibited
    the circulation of my ‘Dialogues.’ I hear from well-informed
    parties that the Jesuit fathers have insinuated in the highest
    quarters that my book is more execrable and injurious to the
    Church than the writings of Luther and Calvin. And all this
    although, in order to obtain the _imprimatur_, I went in person
    to Rome, and submitted the manuscript to the Master of the
    Palace, who looked through it most carefully, altering, adding,
    and omitting, and even after he had given it the _imprimatur_,
    ordered that it should be examined again at Florence. The
    reviser here, finding nothing else to alter, in order to show
    that he had gone through it carefully, contented himself
    with substituting some words for others, as, for instance,
    in several places, ‘Universum’ for ‘Nature,’ ‘quality’ for
    ‘attribute,’ ‘sublime spirit’ for ‘divine spirit,’ excusing
    himself to me for it by saying that he foresaw that I should
    have to do with fierce foes and bitter persecutors, as has
    _indeed come to pass_.”[327]



    Galileo reaches Rome in February, 1632.—Goes to the Tuscan
    Embassy.—No Notice at first taken of his Coming.—Visits
    of Serristori.—Galileo’s Hopefulness.—His Letter to
    Bocchineri.—Niccolini’s Audience of the Pope.—Efforts of the
    Grand Duke and Niccolini on Galileo’s behalf.—Notice that
    he must appear before the Holy Office.—His Dejection at the
    News.—Niccolini’s Advice not to defend himself.

On 20th January this palsied old man set out, borne in a litter, on his
arduous journey to Rome.[328] Near Ponte a Centino, on the frontiers of
the States of the Church, in the unhealthy flats of the vale of Paglia,
he had to submit to a long quarantine, which, in spite of Niccolini’s
repeated efforts, had only been shortened two days.[329] He could not
resume his journey for twenty days, but arrived at length, on 13th
February, at Rome, in good preservation, and alighted at the hotel of
the Tuscan Embassy, where he was most kindly received by Niccolini.
On the next day Niccolini informed Cioli that “Signor Galilei arrived
yesterday evening in good health at this house.” He mentioned further
that Galileo had already called on Mgr. Boccabella, not as an official
personage, as he had resigned his office of assessor to the Holy Office
a fortnight ago, but as a friend who showed great interest in his fate,
and to take his advice as to the conduct to be observed. Galileo had
already introduced himself to the new assessor. Niccolini concluded his
despatch by saying that to-morrow, in the course of the forenoon, he
would introduce Galileo to Cardinal Barberini, and ask him for his kind
mediation with his Holiness, and beg him, in consideration of Galileo’s
age, his reputation, and his ready obedience, to allow him to remain at
the hotel of the embassy, and not to be taken to the Holy Office.[330]

This request was tacitly granted for the time being, and afterwards
officially confirmed. To Galileo’s great surprise, no notice was
taken of his presence at Rome for some time. Cardinal Barberini gave
him a friendly hint, not at all _ex officio_, that he had better
keep very retired in the ambassador’s house, not receive any one,
nor be seen out of doors, as any other conduct might very likely be
to his disadvantage.[331] Of course the _savant_, anxious as he was,
scrupulously obeyed the admonition, and awaited the event in quiet
retirement, though with great impatience. Not the smallest instruction
was issued by the Holy Office; to all appearance it did not in the least
concern itself about the arrival of the accused which it had urged so
strenuously. But it was appearance only. For only two days after he
came, Mgr. Serristori, counsellor to the Holy Office (the same to whom
a year before Count Magalotti had, by Galileo’s wish, presented one of
the eight copies of the “Dialogues” brought to Rome), called several
times on Galileo, but always said expressly that his visits were entirely
of a private character and originated with himself. But as he always
discussed Galileo’s cause very particularly, there is good reason to
think that he was acting under orders from the Holy Office, who wanted to
discover the present sentiments and defensive arguments of the dreaded
dialectician, that they might act accordingly at the trial,—a measure
entirely in accordance with the traditional practice of the Holy Office.
Niccolini put this construction on the Monsignore’s visits,[332] but
not so Galileo. For although he perceived that in all probability
they were “approved or suggested by the Holy Congregation,” he was far
from thinking any evil, and was delighted that this officer of the
Inquisition, his “old friend and patron,” should “cleverly give him an
opportunity of saying something by way of expressing and confirming his
sincere devotedness to the holy Church and her ministers,” and that he
apparently listened to it all with great approval.[333] He thinks this
course pursued by the Inquisition “may be taken to indicate the beginning
of mild and kindly treatment, very different from the threatened
cords, chains, and dungeons;”[334] indeed, while he assumes that these
conferences are held at the instigation of the authorities, “and for the
purpose of gaining some general information,” he thankfully acknowledges
“that in this case they could not proceed in any way more favourable to
him or less likely to make a sensation.”[335] However, in the sequel
he was to discover soon enough, that they cared nothing whatever about
making a sensation at Rome, and that even in this respect they did not
spare him in the least.

At this period, as his letters show, Galileo was very hopeful. On 19th
February he wrote to Cioli, that to all appearance the threatened storm
had passed, so that he did not allow his courage to sink as if shipwreck
were inevitable, and there were no hope of reaching the haven; and the
more so as, obedient to his instructor, in the midst of stormy billows he—

    “Was taking his course with modest sail set.”[336]

This instructor was Niccolini, who strongly advised Galileo “to be always
ready to obey and to submit to whatever was ordered, for this was the
only way to allay the irritation of one who was so incensed, and who
treated this affair as a personal one.”[337] It is clear that by this
personal persecutor no other than Urban VIII. can be intended.

The same cheerful confidence is expressed in a letter of Galileo’s of
25th February to Geri Bocchineri. One passage in it deserves special
attention. It is as follows:—

    “We” (Niccolini and Galileo) “hear at last that the many and
    serious accusations are reduced to one, and that the rest have
    been allowed to drop. Of this one I shall have no difficulty
    in getting rid when the grounds of my defence have been heard,
    which are meanwhile being gradually brought, in the best way
    that circumstances allow, to the knowledge of some of the
    higher officials, for these are not at liberty to listen freely
    to intercession, and still less to open their lips in reply. So
    that in the end a favourable issue may be hoped for.”[338]

A despatch of Niccolini’s to Cioli of two days later explains the nature
of this chief accusation:—

    “Although I am unable to say precisely what stage Galileo’s
    affair has reached, or what may happen next, as far as I can
    learn the main difficulty consists in this—that these gentlemen
    maintain that in 1616 he was ordered neither to discuss the
    question nor to converse about it. He says, on the contrary,
    that those were not the terms of the injunction, which were
    that _that doctrine was not to be held nor defended_. He
    considers that he has the means of justifying himself, because
    it does not at all appear from his book that he does hold
    or defend the doctrine, nor that he regards it as a settled
    question, as he merely adduces the reasons _hinc hinde_. The
    other points appear to be of less importance and easier to get

It is in the highest degree significant that Galileo—as is evident from
Niccolini’s report above—from the first decidedly denies ever having
received an injunction not to discuss the Copernican theory _in any way_;
all that he knows is that it is not to be held nor defended; that is,
_all that he knows fully agrees with the note of 25th February, 1616; and
with the decree of the Congregation of 5th March, 1616_. Accordingly he
does not consider that he has gone beyond the orders of the authorities,
and thinks that he can prove it even from the book itself.

On 27th February the Tuscan ambassador had a long audience of the Pope,
officially announced Galileo’s arrival at Rome, and expressed the hope
that as he had shown his readiness to submit to the papal judgment
and the enlightened opinion of the Congregation, the Pope would now
be convinced of his devout reverence for spiritual things, especially
in reference to the matter in hand. The Pope found it convenient not
to take any notice of this indirect question, and replied that he had
shown Galileo a special and unusual favour in allowing him to stay at
Niccolini’s house instead of in the buildings of the Holy Office; and he
had only done so because he was a distinguished official of the Grand
Duke’s, and it was out of respect for his Highness that he had granted
this exceptional favour to his subject. In order to enhance its value,
Urban also told the ambassador that even a noble of the house of Gonzaga,
a relative of Ferdinand’s, had not only been placed in a litter and
brought under escort to Rome by command of the Holy Office, but had been
taken at once to the Castle and kept there for a long time, until the
trial was ended. Niccolini hastened to acknowledge the greatness of the
favour, expressed his warmest thanks for it, and ventured to plead that
in consideration of Galileo’s age and infirm health the Pope would order
that the trial should come on soon, so that he might return home as soon
as possible. Urban replied that the proceedings of the Holy Office were
generally rather tedious, and he really did not know whether so speedy
a termination could be looked for, as they were still engaged with the
preliminaries of the trial. Urban had by this time become warm, and went
off into complaints of Ciampoli and the rest of his evil counsellors;
he also remarked that although Galileo had expressly stated in his
“Dialogues” that he would only discuss the question of the double motion
of the earth hypothetically, he had, in adducing the arguments for it,
spoken of it as settled, and as if he agreed with it. In conclusion the
Pope said: _Moreover, Galileo had acted contrary to the injunction given
him in 1616 by Cardinal Bellarmine in the name of the Holy Congregation._
Niccolini mentioned in defence of Galileo all that he had told him about
this accusation, but the Pope adhered obstinately to his opinion. The
ambassador came away from this audience with the scant consolation that,
at all events, Urban’s personal embitterment against Galileo was a little
appeased.[340] We may remark here that what the Pope said about the
proceeding of 26th February, 1616, is just as inaccurate as Riccardi’s
communication to Niccolini was at that time.[341]

Both Niccolini and the Grand Duke were unwearied in their good offices
for Galileo. The former urgently commended his case to Cardinal Antonio
Barberini, senr., who said he was exceedingly well disposed to Galileo,
and regarded him as a very eminent man; but added that it was a dangerous
question, which might easily introduce some fantastic religious doctrines
into the world, and especially at Florence, where men’s wits were so
subtle and over curious.[342] The Grand Duke, at Galileo’s request, sent
letters of introduction to the Cardinals Scaglia and Bentivoglio (the
well-known statesman and historian), who, as Niccolini had learnt, were
members of the Congregation.[343] Ferdinand also thanked the Pope, in an
official letter through Cioli to Niccolini, for the favour of allowing
Galileo to stay at the embassy, ending with a request that the business
might be concluded as soon as possible.[344]

When Niccolini delivered this message to Urban on 13th March, he told
him that it would be absolutely necessary to summon Galileo to the Holy
Office as soon as the trial came on, because it was the usage and it
could not be departed from. Niccolini again urged Galileo’s health, his
age, and willingness to submit to any penalties; but Urban replied,
“It would not do to act otherwise. May God forgive Galileo for having
intruded into these matters concerning new doctrines and Holy Scripture,
when it is best to keep to universally recognised opinions. May God help
Ciampoli, also, about these new notions, as he seemed to have a leaning
towards them, and to be inclined to the modern philosophy.” The Pope
then expressed his regret at having to “subject Galileo, who had been
his friend, with whom he had often held confidential intercourse, and
eaten at the same table, to these annoyances; but it was in the interests
of religion and faith.” Niccolini remarked, that when Galileo was heard
he would be able, without difficulty, to give satisfactory explanations
of everything; to which Urban replied: “He would be heard when the time
came; but there was one argument which had never been answered, namely,
that God was omnipotent, and therefore everything was possible to Him;
but if so, why should we impose any necessity upon Him?” This was, as we
know, the argument brought forward by Urban in his intimate conversation
with Galileo in 1624, and which at the end of the “Dialogues” he had
put into the mouth of Simplicius as originating “with a very exalted
and learned personage.” Niccolini prudently replied that he did not
understand these matters, but he had heard it said of Galileo that he
did not hold the doctrine of the earth’s double motion as true, but said
that it could not be denied that as God could have created the world in
a thousand ways, He could have created it in this way. Urban replied
with some irritation: “It is not for man to impose necessity upon God.”
Niccolini, who saw that the Pope was getting angry, tried to pacify
him by saying that Galileo was here on purpose to obey and to recant
everything which could be injurious to religion. He then adroitly turned
the subject, and returned to the request that his Holiness would have
compassion on Galileo, and allow him to remain at the embassy. Urban
merely replied that he would have special apartments assigned to Galileo,
the best and most comfortable in the Holy Office. With this Niccolini had
to be content.

In concluding the despatch of 13th March to Cioli, in which he reported
this interview, he says:—[345]

    “When I returned home I told Galileo in part the conversation
    with his Holiness, but not for the present, that it was
    intended to summon him to the Holy Office, because I am
    convinced that this news would cause him the deepest concern,
    and he would be in the greatest anxiety till the time came. I
    have thought all the more that it was best to act thus, as no
    further particulars are as yet known about his citation; for
    the Pope told me in reference to the speedy settlement of the
    business, that he did not know what hope there was of it, but
    that all that was possible would be done.”

Meanwhile, Ferdinand II., in spite of the increasingly unpromising
aspect of affairs, continued indefatigably to sustain his ambassador’s
efforts. The latter and Galileo, in two letters of 19th March,[346]
asked the Grand Duke to send letters of recommendation to the eight
other cardinals who composed the Holy Congregation, like those he had
sent to their eminences Bentivoglio and Scaglia, lest they should feel
themselves slighted, and the Grand Duke readily granted the request.[347]
The prelates, however, received these letters with mixed feelings, and
excused themselves from answering them, as it was forbidden them in their
capacity as members of the Holy Office; some even hesitated to receive
the letters at all, and it was not till Niccolini pointed out that
Cardinal Barberini and others had received them, that they consented to
do so.[348] These letters had evidently produced the happiest effect
with the Cardinals Scaglia and Bentivoglio. They united, as Niccolini
reported on the 19th to Cioli, in protecting Galileo. Scaglia even read
the celebrated “Dialogues,” and, which was more to the purpose, that he
might, with the help of Castelli,[349] who was best qualified to do it,
explain the offending passages in a conciliatory spirit.

All this time Galileo, as is evident from his letters, was entertaining
the most confident hopes of the favourable issue of his cause, and
the final triumph of truth over falsehood.[350] Neither he nor his
indefatigable friends, Niccolini and Castelli, could, it is true, learn
anything definite about the actual state of the trial. The members of
the Congregation, who alone could have given any information, kept the
secrets of the Inquisition very close, as indeed they were bound to do
under the heaviest penalties. The month of March passed by before the
Holy Tribunal opened any direct official intercourse with Galileo. April
was now come, and with it the storm which had been so long gathering
burst over his head.

On the 7th, Niccolini went to Cardinal Barberini by his desire, and was
informed on behalf of the Pope and the Congregation, that, in order to
decide Galileo’s cause, they could not avoid citing him to appear before
the Holy Office, and as it was not known whether it could be all settled
in the course of two hours, perhaps it would be necessary to detain him
there. Barberini continued that “out of respect for the house in which
Galileo had been staying, and for Niccolini as grand ducal ambassador,
and in consideration of the good understanding which had always existed
between his Highness and the papal chair, especially in matters relating
to the Inquisition, they had not failed to inform him (Niccolini) of
this beforehand, not to be wanting in respect for a prince so zealous
for religion.” After Niccolini had warmly thanked the cardinal for the
attention shown by the Pope and the Congregation to the Grand Duke, and
to himself as his ambassador, he pleaded Galileo’s age and health,—he
had again been suffering severely from a fresh attack of the gout,—and
finally the deep grief he would feel, and earnestly begged that his
eminence would consider whether it would not be possible to permit him
to return every evening to sleep at the embassy. As to secrecy, the
strictest silence might be enjoined on him under threat of the severest
penalties. But the prelate was not of opinion that such a permission was
to be expected; he proffered, however, every comfort for Galileo that
could be desired, and said that he would neither, as was customary with
accused persons, be treated as a prisoner, nor be placed in a secret
prison; he would have good rooms, and perhaps even the doors would not be

Niccolini reported this notification to Cioli on 9th April,[351] and
added the following interesting information:—

    “This morning I also conversed with his Holiness on the
    subject, after having expressed my thanks for the communication
    made to me; the Pope again gave vent to his displeasure that
    Galileo should have discussed this subject, which appears to
    him to be very serious, and of great moment to religion. Signor
    Galileo thinks, nevertheless, that he can defend his statements
    on good grounds; but I have warned him to refrain from doing
    so, in order not to prolong the proceedings, and to submit
    to what shall be prescribed to him to believe respecting the
    motion of the earth. He has fallen into the deepest dejection,
    and since yesterday has sunk so low that I am in great concern
    for his life.”

From this, then, we learn that up to 8th April Galileo was still
intending to defend his opinions before the Holy Tribunal; and that it
was only on the urgent expostulation of the ambassador, whom he knew
to be his sincere friend, that he gave up all idea of opposition, and
resolved upon entire and passive submission. How hard it was for him to
yield is evident from the concluding sentence of Niccolini’s despatch.



    The First Hearing.—Galileo’s submissive Attitude.—The Events
    of February, 1616.—Galileo denies Knowledge of a Special
    Prohibition.—Produces Bellarmine’s Certificate.—Either the
    Prohibition was not issued, or Galileo’s Ignorance was
    feigned.—His Conduct since 1616 agrees with its non-issue.—The
    Inquisitor assumes that it was issued.—Opinions of Oregius,
    Inchofer, and Pasqualigus.—Galileo has Apartments in the Palace
    of the Holy Office assigned to him.—Falls ill.—Letter to Geri
    Bocchineri.—Change of Tone at second Hearing hitherto an
    Enigma.—Now explained by Letter from Firenzuola to Cardinal Fr.
    Barberini.—Galileo’s Confession.—His Weakness and Subserviency.

On 12th April Galileo appeared in great distress of mind, for his first
hearing in the Palace of the Inquisition, before the Commissary-General
of the Holy Office, Father Vincenzo Maccolani da Firenzuola, and the
fiscal attorney of the Holy Tribunal, Father Carlo Sincero. In all
his answers to the Inquisitor, he is actuated by one idea—that of
shortening the proceedings and averting a severe sentence by submissive
acquiescence. This resigned attitude must be borne in mind in order to
form a correct judgment of his depositions before the dread tribunal.[352]

According to the rules of the Inquisition, an oath is administered to
the accused that he will speak the truth, and he is then asked whether
he knows or conjectures the reason of his citation. Galileo replied that
he supposed he had been summoned to give an account of his last book. He
was then asked whether he acknowledged the work shown him, “Dialogo di
Galileo Galilei, Linceo,” which treats of the two systems of the world,
as entirely his own; to which he replied after a close examination of
the copy, that he acknowledged all that it contained to have been written
by himself. They then passed to the events of 1616. The Inquisitor wishes
to know whether Galileo was at that time in Rome, and for what reason.
He deposed that he certainly came to Rome in that year, and because he
had heard that scruples were entertained about the Copernican opinions,
and he wished to know what opinion it was proper to hold in this matter,
in order to be sure of not holding any but holy and Catholic views. This
deposition seems to be a misrepresentation of the real state of the case;
for we know that he went to Rome with a twofold purpose in 1616: on the
one hand, to frustrate the intrigues of his enemies, Fathers Lorini,
Caccini, and their coadjutors; and on the other, to avert the threatened
prohibition of the Copernican doctrines by his scientific demonstrations.
The motive of his journey to Rome is not in any way altered by the fact
that he did not succeed in his object, and that he then submitted to the
admonition of Cardinal Bellarmine of 26th February, and to the decree of
5th March.

The Inquisitor asked whether he came at that time to Rome of his own
accord, or in consequence of a summons. “_In the year 1616 I came of my
own accord to Rome, without being summoned_,” was the decided answer.
The conferences were then spoken of, which Galileo had at that time
with several cardinals of the Holy Office. He explained that these
conferences took place by desire of those prelates, in order that he
might instruct them about Copernicus’s book, which was difficult for
laymen to understand, as they specially desired to acquaint themselves
with the system of the universe according to the Copernican hypothesis.
The Inquisitor then asked what conclusion was arrived at on the subject.

    _Galileo_: “Respecting the controversy which had arisen on
    the aforesaid opinion that the sun is stationary, and the
    earth moves, it was decided by the Holy Congregation of the
    Index, that such an opinion, considered as an established
    fact, contradicted Holy Scripture, and was only admissible
    as a conjecture (_ex suppositione_), as it was held by

    _Inquisitor_: “Was this decision then communicated to you, and
    by whom?”

    _Galileo_: “This decision of the Holy Congregation of the Index
    was made known to me by Cardinal Bellarmine.”

    _Inquisitor_: “You must state what his Eminence Cardinal
    Bellarmine told you about the aforesaid decision, and whether
    he said anything else on the subject, and what?”

    _Galileo_: “Signor Cardinal Bellarmine signified to me that
    the aforesaid opinion of Copernicus might be held as a
    conjecture, as it had been held by Copernicus, and his eminence
    was aware that, like Copernicus, I only held that opinion as
    a conjecture, which is evident from an answer of the same
    Signor Cardinal to a letter of Father Paolo Antonio Foscarini,
    provincial of the Carmelites, of which I have a copy, and in
    which these words occur: ‘It appears to me that your reverence
    and Signor Galileo act wisely in contenting yourselves with
    speaking _ex suppositione_, and not with certainty.’ This
    letter of the cardinal’s is dated 12th April, 1615.[354] It
    means, in other words, that that opinion, taken absolutely,
    must not be either held or defended.”

Galileo was now requested to state what was decreed in February, 1616,
and communicated to him.

    _Galileo_: “In the month of February, 1616, Signor Cardinal
    Bellarmine told me that as the opinion of Copernicus, if
    adopted absolutely, was contrary to Holy Scripture, it must
    neither be held nor defended, but that it might be held
    hypothetically, and written about in this sense. In accordance
    with this I possess a certificate of the said Signor Cardinal
    Bellarmine, given on 26th May, 1616, in which he says that the
    Copernican opinion may neither be held nor defended, as it is
    opposed to Holy Scripture, of which certificate I herewith
    submit a copy.”[355]

    _Inquisitor_: “When the above communication was made to you,
    were any other persons present, and who?”

    _Galileo_: “When Signor Cardinal Bellarmine made known to
    me what I have reported about the Copernican views, some
    Dominican fathers were present, but I did not know them, and
    have never seen them since.”

    _Inquisitor_: “Was any other command communicated to you on
    this subject, in the presence of those fathers, by them or any
    one else, and what?”

    _Galileo_: “I remember that the transaction took place as
    follows: Signor Cardinal Bellarmine sent for me one morning,
    and told me certain particulars which I was to bring to the
    ears of his Holiness before I communicated them to others.[356]
    But the end of it was that he told me that the Copernican
    opinion, being contradictory to Holy Scripture, must not be
    held nor defended. It has escaped my memory whether those
    Dominican fathers were present before, or whether they came
    afterwards; neither do I remember whether they were present
    when the Signor Cardinal told me the said opinion was not to be
    held. It may be that a command was issued to me that I should
    not hold nor defend the opinion in question, but I do not
    remember it, for it is several years ago.”

    _Inquisitor_: “If what was then said and enjoined upon you as a
    command were read aloud to you, would you remember it?”

    _Galileo_: “I do not remember that anything else was said or
    enjoined upon me, nor do I know that I should remember what
    was said to me, even if it were read to me. I say freely what
    I do remember, because I do not think that I have in any way
    disobeyed the injunction, that is, have not by any means held
    nor defended the said opinion that the earth moves and the sun
    is stationary.”

The Inquisitor now tells Galileo that the command which was issued to him
before witnesses contained: “that he must neither hold, defend, nor teach
that opinion in any way whatsoever.”[357] Will he please to say whether
he remembers in what way and by whom this was intimated to him.

    _Galileo_: “_I do not remember that the command was intimated
    to me by anybody but by the cardinal verbally_; and I remember
    that the command was, _not to hold nor defend_. It may be
    that, ‘and _not to teach_’ was also there. I do not remember
    it, neither the definition ‘in any way whatsoever’ (_quovis
    modo_), but it may be that it was; for I thought no more about
    it, nor took any pains to impress the words on my memory, as
    a few months later I received the certificate now produced,
    of the said Signor Cardinal Bellarmine, of 26th May, in
    which the injunction given me, _not to hold nor defend_ that
    opinion, is expressly to be found. The two other definitions
    of the said injunction which have just been made known to me,
    namely, _not to teach_, and _in any way_, I have not retained
    in my memory, I suppose, because they are not mentioned in the
    said certificate, on which I rely, and which I have kept as a

Galileo thus repeats for the fifth time that he is only aware of the
injunction which agrees with the decree of the Congregation of the
Index of 5th March, 1616. He can likewise only remember that Cardinal
Bellarmine told him of the decree of the Holy Congregation; that a
_command_ was issued to him, as the Inquisitor asserts, he is not aware;
but true to his resolve to make no direct contradiction, he says: “It
may be, but I do not remember it.” But the Inquisitor treats the issue
of the “command” as an established fact; and Galileo, to whom it may
have appeared somewhat indifferent whether he was merely informed of the
decree of the Congregation, or whether a command in conformity with it
was issued to him before witnesses, submissively adopts this assumption
of the Inquisitor. He then informs Galileo “that this command issued to
him before witnesses contained that he must not in any way hold, defend,
nor teach that opinion.” Galileo, to whom the two additions, “in any
way whatever” and “nor teach,” sound new, entrenches himself behind
his stereotyped answer, “I do not remember it.” Then he appeals to the
certificate given him by Cardinal Bellarmine on 26th May, 1616, which
does not mention either of these two definitions. To the repeated query
_who_ intimated the command to him, he invariably replies: “Cardinal
Bellarmine.” He obviously supposes that the Inquisitor regards the
cardinal’s communication as the _command_. Galileo’s depositions do not
contain a word from which it can be inferred that (as the document of
26th February reports), after the cardinal’s communication, any further
instruction was given him by the Father Commissary of the Inquisition in
the name of the Pope and the Holy Congregation, under threat of a trial
before the Inquisition. But it is incredible that this most important
proceeding should have entirely escaped Galileo’s memory. There are but
two alternatives: either it did not take place, and, of course, Galileo
cannot remember it; or his ignorance is feigned.

Galileo’s attitude before the Inquisition is such that the latter
supposition does not seem altogether unjustifiable; but we must assume
with Wohlwill, who has analysed the trial with great judicial acumen,
and whom we have followed on many points discussed above, that Galileo
would only have availed himself of such a lie and misrepresentation, if
it would have helped him before the tribunal of the Inquisition. But the
advantage of denying any actual proceeding of 26th February is by no
means evident. On the contrary, Galileo must have seen—supposing him to
make false depositions—from the Inquisitor’s questions that he had the
protocol of 26th February before him. Of what avail then could a fiction
be in face of this document? Of none whatever. It would rather injure his
cause by stamping him as a liar. Wohlwill has pointed out that it would
have been a masterpiece of cunning to play out the comedy of assumed
ignorance from beginning to end of the trial in so consistent a manner,
never contradicting himself, as appears from Galileo’s depositions. His
simplest replies would then have formed parts of a complex tissue of
falsehood, and it would be astonishing that throughout the whole course
of the trial he should never for a moment deviate from his difficult part.

While the complexity of such a mode of defence renders the assumption
of Galileo’s denial, to say the least, improbable, there are other more
weighty arguments to show that he states before his judges all that he
knows about the proceedings in 1616. These arguments consist of all
Galileo’s statements and actions with which we are acquainted, during the
seventeen years from 1616-1632, and they form the strongest evidence
for the credibility of his depositions. We recur first, simply to the
letters of the time of the first trial, in which there is not only no
trace of the assumed absolute prohibition, but Galileo openly expresses
his satisfaction that his enemies have not succeeded in obtaining an
entire prohibition of the Copernican theory, and he again and again
mentions that the hypothetical discussion of it still remains open. And
the attitude maintained by him during the seventeen years towards the new
system is in entire conformity with the decree of the Congregation of the
Index of 5th March, 1616, which was in force for everybody, but not with
the categorical prohibition of the Commissary-General of the Holy Office.
This is shown by his eagerness to get his work on Copernicus published
in the very year 1616; by his sending the treatise on the tides to the
Archduke Leopold of Austria, in 1618; by the discussion of the Copernican
theory in his “Il Saggiatore,” in 1623; by his efforts in 1624 to get
the clause of 5th March, 1616, abolished by the new, and, as he thought,
more tolerant Pope (there is no trace that he tried to get any special
prohibition to himself revoked); by his reply to Ingoli of the same
date, which treated exclusively of the marked defence of the Copernican
theory; and finally, by the writing of the famous “Dialogues” themselves,
in which he made every endeavour not to come into collision with the
published decree of 1616, while the very authorship of the work would
have infringed an absolute command to silence on the Copernican system.

We now go back to the first hearing of Galileo. Although his statements,
in spite of his submissiveness, obviously contradict the assertion of the
Inquisitor, that he had, in 1616, received an injunction not to hold,
teach, or defend the Copernican opinions in any way, the Inquisitor does
not take the least pains to solve the enigma. Everything is also omitted
on the part of the judges which might have cleared up the point; for
example, to summon the witnesses, whose names are on the note of 26th
February, 1616, and confront them with the accused. And as no attempt is
made to account for his ignorance of the prohibition, and it is simply
taken for granted, it must be allowed that Galileo’s judges, to say
the least, were guilty of a great breach of judicial order, in using,
without any close examination, a paper as a valid document on the trial,
which was destitute of nearly all the characteristics of one, namely,
the signatures of the accused, of the notary and witnesses, and in spite
of three contradictory depositions of the accused. No special arguments
are needed to prove that this breach of order did not proceed from
mere carelessness. And so, immediately after the accused has declared
that he does not remember any command but that intimated to him by
Cardinal Bellarmine, we find the Inquisitor asking him: Whether, after
the aforesaid command was issued to him, he had received any permission
to write the book which he had acknowledged to be his, and which he
afterwards had printed?

    _Galileo_: “After receiving the command aforesaid, I did not
    ask permission to write the book acknowledged by me to be mine,
    because I did not consider that in writing it I was acting
    contrary to, far less disobeying, the command not to hold,
    defend, or to teach the said opinion.”

The Inquisitor now asks to be informed whether, from whom, and in what
way, Galileo had received permission to print the “Dialogues.” Galileo
briefly relates the whole course of the negotiations which preceded
the printing. As his narrative agrees entirely with what we know, it
is not reproduced here. The Inquisitor then asks: Whether, when asking
permission to print his book, he had told the Master of the Palace about
the command aforesaid, which had been issued to him by order of the Holy

    _Galileo_: “I did not say anything about that command to the
    Master of the Palace when I asked for the _imprimatur_ for the
    book, for I did not think it necessary to say anything, because
    I had no scruples about it; for I have neither maintained
    nor defended the opinion that the earth moves and the sun
    is stationary in that book, but have rather demonstrated
    the opposite of the Copernican opinion, and shown that the
    arguments of Copernicus are weak and not conclusive.”

With this deposition, the last part of which is quite incorrect, the
first hearing closed. Silence having been imposed on Galileo on oath
on subjects connected with his trial, he was taken to an apartment in
the private residence of the fiscal of the Holy Office in the buildings
of this tribunal. Here he enjoyed (as appears from his own letters and
Niccolini’s reports) kind and considerate treatment. On 16th April he
wrote to Geri Bocchineri:—

    “Contrary to custom, three large and comfortable rooms have
    been assigned to me, part of the residence of the fiscal of
    the Holy Office, with free permission to walk about in the
    spacious apartments. My health is good, for which, next to God,
    I have to thank the great care of the ambassador and his wife,
    who have a watchful eye for all comforts, and far more than I


Niccolini had been permitted to board Galileo, and his servants took the
meals to his rooms, so that Galileo could keep his own servant about
him, and he was even allowed to sleep in the buildings of the Holy
Office.[359] No obstacle was placed in the way of free correspondence
between Galileo and Niccolini. The former wrote to his exalted friend
and patron daily, and he replied, openly expressing his opinions,
without exciting any observation.[360]

While, therefore, as far as his material situation was concerned, nothing
but favours unheard of in the annals of the Inquisition were shown him,
nothing was left undone to find the best method of effecting his moral
ruin. At the beginning of April, when the actual trial was to come on,
his faithful friend and advocate, Father Castelli, who was as well versed
in theology as he was in mathematics, was sent away from Rome and not
recalled until Galileo, who had been meanwhile condemned, had left the

Three days after the first examination the three counsellors of the
Inquisition, Augustine Oregius, Melchior Inchofer, and Zacharias
Pasqualigus delivered their opinions about the trial of Galileo. Oregius
declared that “in the book superscribed ‘Dialogues of Galileo Galilei,’
the doctrine which teaches that the earth moves and that the sun is
stationary is _maintained_ and _defended_.” Inchofer’s statements (he
drew up two) declared that “Galileo had not only taught and defended
that view, but rendered it very suspicious that he was inclined to it,
and even held it to this day.” Both these attestations were supported by
a memorial, in which the opinions given were founded on passages quoted
from the “Dialogues.”[362] The first sought to prove that Galileo in his
book had treated the stability of the sun and its central position in the
universe, not as a hypothesis, but in a definite manner; the second, that
in it Galileo had taught, defended, and held the doctrine of the earth’s
motion round the sun.

Zacharias Pasqualigus gave in three opinions. In the first he expresses
his view that Galileo, by the publication of his “Dialogues,” had
infringed the order given him by the Holy Office not in any way to
hold the Copernican Opinion, nor to teach nor defend it in writing or
speaking, in respect to _teaching_ and _defending_, and it was very
suspicious that he _held_ it.

In his second opinion, Pasqualigus argues, by quoting passages from the
“Dialogues,”[363] that although in the beginning of the book Galileo
had stated that he should treat the doctrine of the double motion only
as a hypothesis, he had in the course of it departed from hypothetical
language, and sought to prove it by decisive arguments.

Finally, in his third opinion, Pasqualigus recurs to the special
prohibition of 1616, and argues at length that Galileo has overstepped it
both as regards teaching and defending, and is very strongly open to the
suspicion of holding it.[364]

By these declarations Galileo’s cause was as good as decided. His
transgression of the command of the Holy Office, and particularly of the
special prohibition of 26th February, 1616, was proved beyond a doubt. Of
his guilt there could be no question—neither could there be any of the

The prolonged deprivation of exercise in the open air, which had been
so essential to the old man’s health,[365] combined with great mental
agitation, at length threw him on a sick bed. He wrote on 23rd April to
Geri Bocchineri:—

    “I am writing in bed, to which I have been confined for sixteen
    hours with severe pains in my loins, which, according to my
    experience, will last as much longer. A little while ago I had
    a visit from the commissary and the fiscal who conduct the
    inquiry. They have promised and intimated it as their settled
    intention to set me at liberty as soon as I am able to get up
    again, encouraging me repeatedly to keep up my spirits. I place
    more confidence in these promises than in the hopes held out to
    me before, which, as experience has shown, were founded rather
    upon surmises than real knowledge. I have always hoped that my
    innocence and uprightness would be brought to light, and I now
    hope it more than ever. I am getting tired of writing, and will

The second examination of Galileo took place on 30th April. It has
hitherto astounded all those who have studied this famous trial; for
while at the close of his first depositions, Galileo decidedly denied
having defended the Copernican system in his “Dialogues,” and even
asserted that he had done just the contrary, at the second hearing,
almost without waiting for the Inquisitor’s questions, he makes a humble
declaration, which, roundabout as it is, contains a penitent confession
that he had defended it in his book. The cause of this change in Galileo
is explained by a most interesting letter from the Commissary-General
of the Inquisition, Father Vincenzo Maccolani da Firenzuola, who was at
that time with the Pope in the Castle of Gandolfo, to Cardinal Francesco
Barberini. This letter of 28th April, 1633, first published in full by
Pieralisi, the learned librarian of the Barberiana at Rome, whom we have
so often quoted, is as follows:[367]—

    “In compliance with the commands of his Holiness, I yesterday
    informed the most eminent Lords of the Holy Congregation of
    Galileo’s cause, the position of which I briefly reported.
    Their Eminences approved of what has been done thus far,
    and took into consideration, on the other hand, various
    difficulties with regard to the manner of pursuing the case,
    and of bringing it to an end. More especially as Galileo has
    in his examination denied what is plainly evident from the
    book written by him; since in consequence of this denial there
    would result the necessity for greater rigour of procedure
    and less regard to the other considerations belonging to
    this business. Finally I suggested a course, namely, that
    the Holy Congregation should grant me permission to treat
    extra-judicially with Galileo, in order to render him sensible
    of his error, and bring him, if he recognises it, to a
    confession of the same. This proposal appeared at first sight
    too bold, not much hope being entertained of accomplishing
    this object by merely adopting the method of argument with
    him; but upon my indicating the grounds upon which I had made
    the suggestion, permission was granted me. That no time might
    be lost, I entered into discourse with Galileo yesterday
    afternoon, and after many arguments and rejoinders had passed
    between us, by God’s grace I attained my object, for I brought
    him to a full sense of his error, so that he clearly recognised
    that he had erred, and had gone too far in his book. And to all
    this he gave expression in words of much feeling, like one who
    experienced great consolation in the recognition of his error,
    and he was also willing to confess it judicially. He requested,
    however, a little time in order to consider the form in which
    he might most fittingly make the confession, which, as far as
    its substance is concerned, will, I hope, follow in the manner

    I have thought it my duty at once to acquaint your Eminence
    with this matter, having communicated it to no one else; for
    I trust that his Holiness and your Eminence will be satisfied
    that in this way the affair is being brought to such a point
    that it may soon be settled without difficulty. The court will
    maintain its reputation: it will be possible to deal leniently
    with the culprit; and whatever the decision arrived at, he will
    recognise the favour shown him, with all the other consequences
    of satisfaction herein desired. To-day I think of examining
    him in order to obtain the said confession; and having, as
    I hope, received it, it will only remain to me further to
    question him with regard to his intention, and to impose
    the prohibitions upon him; and that done, he might have the
    house[368] assigned to him as a prison, as hinted to me by your
    Eminence, to whom I offer my most humble reverence.

    Rome, 28th April, 1633.

    Your Eminence’s humble and most obedient servant,

                                          FRA VINCᵒ DA FIRENZUOLA.”

The second hearing did not take place on the 28th, as Firenzuola
proposed, but not till the 30th, perhaps on account of Galileo’s
indisposition. He had again to take an oath that he would speak the
truth, after which he was requested to state what he had to say. He then
began the following melancholy confession:—

    “In the course of some days’ continuous and attentive
    reflection on the interrogations put to me on the 16th of
    the present month, and in particular as to whether, sixteen
    years ago, an injunction was intimated to me by order of the
    Holy Office, forbidding me to hold, defend, or teach ‘in any
    manner,’ the opinion that had just been condemned,—of the
    motion of the earth and the stability of the sun,—it occurred
    to me to re-peruse my printed dialogue, which for three years I
    had not seen, in order carefully to note whether, contrary to
    my most sincere intention, there had, by inadvertence, fallen
    from my pen anything from which a reader or the authorities
    might infer not only some taint of disobedience on my part, but
    also other particulars which might induce the belief that I had
    contravened the orders of the Holy Church. And being, by the
    kind permission of the authorities, at liberty to send about
    my servant, I succeeded in procuring a copy of my book, and
    having procured it I applied myself with the utmost diligence
    to its perusal, and to a most minute consideration thereof. And
    as, owing to my not having seen it for so long, it presented
    itself to me, as it were, like a new writing and by another
    author, I freely confess that in several places it seemed to
    me set forth in such a form that a reader ignorant of my real
    purpose might have had reason to suppose that the arguments
    adduced on the false side, and which it was my intention to
    confute, were so expressed as to be calculated rather to compel
    conviction by their cogency than to be easy of solution. Two
    arguments there are in particular—the one taken from the solar
    spots, the other from the ebb and flow of the tide—which in
    truth come to the ear of the reader with far greater show of
    force and power than ought to have been imparted to them by
    one who regarded them as inconclusive, and who intended to
    refute them, as indeed I truly and sincerely held and do hold
    them to be inconclusive and admitting of refutation. And, as
    excuse to myself for having fallen into an error so foreign to
    my intention, not contenting myself entirely with saying that
    when a man recites the arguments of the opposite side with the
    object of refuting them, he should, especially if writing in
    the form of dialogue, state these in their strictest form, and
    should not cloak them to the disadvantage of his opponent,—not
    contenting myself, I say, with this excuse,—I resorted to that
    of the natural complacency which every man feels with regard
    to his own subtleties and in showing himself more skilful than
    the generality of men, in devising, even in favour of false
    propositions, ingenious and plausible arguments. With all this,
    although with Cicero ‘_avidior sim gloriae quam satis est_,’
    if I had now to set forth the same reasonings, without doubt
    I should so weaken them that they should not be able to make
    an apparent show of that force of which they are really and
    essentially devoid. My error, then, has been—and I confess
    it—one of vainglorious ambition, and of pure ignorance and

    This is what it occurs to me to say with reference to this
    particular, and which suggested itself to me during the
    re-perusal of my book.”[369]

After making this humiliating declaration, Galileo was allowed
immediately, to withdraw. No questions were put to him this time. But
he must have thought that he ought to go still further in the denial
of his inmost convictions, further even than Father Firenzuola had
desired in his extra-judicial interview, further than the Inquisition
itself required. He did not consider the penitent acknowledgment of the
“error” into which he had fallen in writing his “Dialogues” sufficient.
The Inquisition was to be conciliated by the good resolution publicly
to correct it. He therefore returned at once to the court where the
sacred tribunal was still sitting, and made the following undignified

    “And in confirmation of my assertion that I have not held and
    do not hold as true the opinion which has been condemned, of
    the motion of the earth and the stability of the sun,—if there
    shall be granted to me, as I desire, means and time to make a
    clearer demonstration thereof, I am ready to do so: and there
    is a most favourable opportunity for this, seeing that in the
    work already published, the interlocutors agree to meet again
    after a certain time to discuss several distinct problems of
    nature, connected with the matter discoursed of at their
    meetings. As this affords me an opportunity of adding one or
    two other ‘days,’ I promise to resume the arguments already
    adduced in favour of the said opinion, which is false and has
    been condemned, and to confute them in such most effectual
    method as by the blessing of God may be supplied to me. I
    pray, therefore, this sacred tribunal to aid me in this good
    resolution, and to enable me to put it in effect.”[370]

It is hard to pass an adverse judgment on such a hero of science; and
yet the man who repeatedly denies before his judges the scientific
convictions for which he had striven and laboured for half a century,
who even proposes in a continuation of his monumental work on the two
chief systems of the world to annihilate all the arguments therein
adduced for the recognition of the only true system, can never be
absolved by the historical critic from the charge of weakness and
insincere obsequiousness. It was, however, the century the opening of
which had been ominously marked by the funeral pile of Giordano Bruno,
and but eight years before, the corpse of Marc’Antonio de Dominis,—the
famous Archbishop of Spalato, who had died suddenly in the prisons of
the Engelsburg during his trial before the Inquisition,—had, after the
sentence of the Holy Tribunal, been taken from its resting place and
publicly burnt in Rome, together with his heretical writings.



    Galileo allowed to return to the Embassy.—His
    Hopefulness.—Third Hearing.—Hands in his Defence.—Agreement
    of it with previous Events.—Confident Hopes of his
    Friends.—Niccolini’s Fears.—Decision to examine Galileo under
    threat of Torture.—Niccolini’s Audience of the Pope.—Informed
    that the Trial was over, that Galileo would soon be sentenced,
    and would be imprisoned.—Final Examination.—Sent back to
    “_locum suum_.”—No Evidence that he suffered Torture or was
    placed in a Prison Cell.

On the day on which the second hearing had taken place, at Firenzuola’s
suggestion to the Pope, Galileo was permitted, in consideration of his
age and infirmities, to return to the hotel of the Tuscan ambassador,
on oath not to leave it, not to hold any intercourse with any one but
the inmates of the house, to present himself before the Holy Office
whenever summoned, and to maintain the strictest silence about the
course of the trial.[371] On the very next day Niccolini wrote to Cioli
with great satisfaction: “Signor Galileo was yesterday sent back to
my house when I was not at all expecting him, and although the trial
is not yet ended.”[372] The Tuscan Secretary of State replied on 4th
May, with the curt observation: “His Highness was much pleased at the
liberation of Signor Galileo,” and immediately adds the ill-humoured and
unworthy remark: “It appears to me that I must remind your Excellency
that when I wrote to you to entertain Signor Galileo at the embassy, the
time specified was one month, and the expenses of the remaining time
must fall upon himself.”[373] Niccolini replied with ill-concealed
indignation: “It would not become me to speak of this subject to Galileo
while he is my guest; I would rather bear the expense myself, which only
comes to fourteen or fifteen scudi a month, everything included; so that
if Galileo should remain here the whole summer, that is six months, the
outlay for him and his servant would amount to about from ninety to a
hundred scudi.”[374]

Galileo, who had no idea that his generous protector, Niccolini, had even
had to go into unpleasant questions about his support, was entertaining
the most confident hopes of a successful and speedy termination of
his trial. Although his letters of this period are unfortunately not
extant,[375] we see from the answers of his correspondents what sanguine
accounts he sent them. Geri Bocchineri wrote on 12th May:

    “I have for a long time had no such consolatory news as
    that which your letter of the 7th brought me. It gives me
    well-founded hopes that the calumnies and snares of your
    enemies will be in vain; and in the end, the annoyances
    involved in the defence, maintenance, and perhaps even
    increase, of your reputation, can be willingly borne, as
    you undoubtedly have borne them, since you have gained far
    more than you have lost by the calamity that has fallen upon
    you! My pleasure is still more enhanced by the news that you
    expect to be able to report the end of the affair in the next

But many a post day was to pass over, many a letter from Galileo to be
received, before his trial was to come to the conclusion he so little

On 10th May he was summoned for the third time before the Holy Tribunal,
where Father Firenzuola, the Commissary-General of the Inquisition,
informed him that eight days were allowed him in which to write a defence
if he wished to submit one. But Galileo handed it in _at once_,[377]
from which we may conclude that he had been informed of this proceeding
beforehand. It was as follows:—

    “When asked if I had signified to the Reverend Father, the
    Master of the Sacred Palace, the injunction privately laid
    upon me, about sixteen years ago, by order of the Holy Office,
    not to hold, defend, or ‘in any way’ teach the doctrine of the
    motion of the earth and the stability of the sun, I answered
    that I had not done so. And not being questioned as to the
    reason why I had not intimated it, I had no opportunity to add
    anything further. It now appears to me necessary to state the
    reason, in order to demonstrate the purity of my intention,
    ever foreign to the employment of simulation or deceit in
    any operation I engage in. I say, then, that as at that time
    reports were spread abroad by evil-disposed persons, to the
    effect that I had been summoned by the Lord Cardinal Bellarmine
    to abjure certain of my opinions and doctrines, and that I had
    consented to abjure them, and also to submit to punishment for
    them, I was thus constrained to apply to his Eminence, and
    to solicit him to furnish me with an attestation, explaining
    the cause for which I had been summoned before him; which
    attestation I obtained, in his own handwriting, and it is
    the same that I now produce with the present document.[378]
    From this it clearly appears that it was merely announced to
    me that the doctrine attributed to Copernicus of the motion
    of the earth and the stability of the sun must not be held
    or defended, and ... [Here the MS. is defaced] beyond this
    general announcement affecting every one, any other injunction
    in particular was intimated to me, no trace thereof appears
    there. Having, then, as a reminder, this authentic attestation
    in the handwriting of the very person who intimated the command
    to me, I made no further application of thought or memory with
    regard to the words employed in announcing to me the said order
    not to hold or defend the doctrine in question; so that the
    two articles of the order—in addition to the injunction not to
    ‘hold’ or ‘defend’ it—to wit, the words ‘nor to teach it’ ‘in
    any way whatsoever’—which I hear are contained in the order
    intimated to me, and registered—struck me as quite novel and as
    if I had not heard them before; and I do not think I ought to
    be disbelieved when I urge that in the course of fourteen or
    sixteen years I had lost all recollection of them, especially
    as I had no need to give any particular thought to them,
    having in my possession so authentic a reminder in writing.
    Now, if the said two articles be left out, and those two only
    be retained which are noted in the accompanying attestation,
    there is no doubt that the injunction contained in the latter
    is the same command as that contained in the decree of the
    Sacred Congregation of the Index. Whence it appears to me that
    I have a reasonable excuse for not having notified to the
    Master of the Sacred Palace the command privately imposed upon
    me, it being the same as that of the Congregation of the Index.

    Seeing also, that my book was not subject to a stricter
    censorship than that made binding by the decree of the Index,
    it will, it appears to me, be sufficiently plain that I adopted
    the surest and most becoming method of having it guaranteed
    and purged of all shadow of taint, inasmuch as I handed it
    to the supreme Inquisitor at the very time when many books
    dealing with the same matters were being prohibited solely in
    virtue of the said decree. After what I have now stated, I
    would confidently hope that the idea of my having knowingly
    and deliberately violated the command imposed upon me, will
    henceforth be entirely banished from the minds of my most
    eminent and wise judges; so that those faults which are seen
    scattered throughout my book have not been artfully introduced
    with any concealed or other than sincere intention, but have
    only inadvertently fallen from my pen, owing to a vainglorious
    ambition and complacency in desiring to appear more subtle than
    the generality of popular writers, as indeed in another ...
    [MS. defaced] deposition I have confessed: which fault I shall
    be ready to correct by writing whenever I may be commanded or
    permitted by your Eminences.

    Lastly, it remains for me to pray you to take into
    consideration my pitiable state of bodily indisposition, to
    which, at the age of seventy years, I have been reduced by ten
    months of constant mental anxiety and the fatigue of a long
    and toilsome journey at the most inclement season—together
    with the loss of the greater part of the years of which,
    from my previous condition of health, I had the prospect.
    I am persuaded and encouraged to do so by the clemency and
    goodness of the most eminent lords, my judges; with the hope
    that they may be pleased, in answer to my prayer, to remit
    what may appear to their entire justice ... to such sufferings
    as adequate punishment—out of consideration for my declining
    age, which too, I humbly commend to them. And I would equally
    commend to their consideration my honour and reputation,
    against the calumnies of ill-wishers, whose persistence in
    detracting from my good name may be inferred from the necessity
    which constrained me to procure from the Lord Cardinal
    Bellarmine the attestation which accompanies this.”[379]

This touching appeal to the mercy of the judges of the Holy Office can
scarcely be read without feelings of the profoundest pity for the unhappy
old man, who, in the evening of his days, felt compelled by dread of the
stake to deny his scientific convictions.

In looking at the defence in a judicial light, in spite of mistrust in
the truthfulness of the accused, for which there is some justification,
it must be allowed that his statements about the proceedings of sixteen
years before, agree entirely with all his letters and actions from 1616
to 1632. In view of this state of the case, Galileo’s remark in his
defence that “he had received that certificate from the very person who
had intimated the command to him,” possesses increased significance. His
whole defence is intended to convince the judges that the two particulars
“not to teach” and “in any way” were unknown to him up to the day of his
first hearing, or, as he says, to avoid direct contradiction, “he had
lost all recollection of them.” He obviously thinks that the gravity
of the indictment lies in these words. But he seems to be absolutely
ignorant of their having been issued to him after the previous admonition
of the Cardinal, by the Commissary-General of the Inquisition, with
the threat that “otherwise they would proceed against him in the Holy
Office,” indeed, by the above remark he decidedly contradicts it.
Apologists of the Inquisition at any price, of the stamp of Mgr. Marini,
do not fail to adopt the only means left to them, and call Galileo’s
defence “childish evasions unworthy of so great a man, which are sure
signs of guilt.”[380] We are of opinion, on the contrary, that the
confident hopes of a favourable issue of his trial, by which, as appears
from the replies of his correspondents and Niccolini’s despatches,
Galileo was animated up to the last moment, by no means comport with
consciousness of guilt.

After his defence had been received, and the same obligations imposed on
him on oath as after the second hearing, he was allowed to return to the
embassy. The nearer the time approached when the old man’s illusions were
to be dispelled, the more sanguine was the intelligence he sent to his
friends. He reminds one of a consumptive patient, full of hope when in
the last stage of his disorder. Galileo receives in reply to his letters
the congratulations of his friends on the, as they suppose, doubtless
favourable issue of his trial. Cardinal Capponi writes on 21st May, that
he had never expected anything else.[381] Bocchineri, Guiducci, Agguinti,
Cini, and others heartily express their satisfaction;[382] the Archbishop
of Siena, Ascanio Piccolomini, Galileo’s devoted friend, invites him, in
expectation of his speedy dismissal from Rome, to come and see him at
Siena, that he may await the extinction of the plague at Florence.[383]
Galileo accepts the friendly invitation, and informs Bocchineri that
he intends to go to Siena immediately after the end of the trial.[384]
Archbishop Piccolomini even offers his impatiently expected guest a
litter for the journey.[385] A favour granted to Galileo just at the
last, on the urgent solicitation of Niccolini, and quite unheard of in
the annals of the Inquisition, might have increased these confident
hopes. He was permitted to take the air for the sake of his health in
the gardens of the Castle of Gandolfo, to which, however, he was always
conveyed in a half-closed carriage, as he was not to be seen in the

Niccolini, however, did not share the hopes of his famous guest, and for
very good reasons. He had had an audience, on 21st May, of the Pope and
Cardinal Barberini, who had told him in answer to his inquiries when the
trial might be expected to end, that it would probably be concluded in
the congregation to take place in about a fortnight. After reporting this
in his despatch to Cioli of 22nd May, Niccolini continues: “I very much
fear that the book will be prohibited, unless it is averted by Galileo’s
being charged, as I proposed, to write an apology. Some ‘salutary
penance’ will also be imposed upon him, as they maintain that he has
transgressed the command communicated to him by Cardinal Bellarmine in
1616. I have not yet told him all this, because I want to prepare him for
it by degrees, in order not to distress him. It will also be advisable to
observe silence about this in Florence, that he may not hear it from his
friends there; and the more so, as it may turn out otherwise.”[387] It
was indeed “to turn out otherwise,” but in a way that even Niccolini did
not in the least suspect.

A momentary lull now took place in Galileo’s trial—the preparation for
the great catastrophe that was to take all the world by surprise. Sultry
silence reigned for four weeks. No one, not even Niccolini, could learn
anything about the progress of the affair; the thunderbolt had already
fallen which was to crush the accused before it was known to anyone
beyond the Holy Congregation. His fate had been sealed in a private
meeting of it presided over by the Pope. Unfortunately we have no written
notes of the proceedings of this highly interesting sitting. From two
documents, which agree entirely in essentials, we simply know what the
decrees were which minutely prescribed the final proceedings to be taken
against Galileo. One of these documents is derived from the Vatican
collection of the acts of Galileo’s trial; the other is reproduced in
Gherardi’s collection of documents, and belongs to the MS. originals of
the decrees drawn up in the sittings of the Holy Congregation in the
archives of the Inquisition.

It is decreed in both documents[388] which agree almost verbatim: To try
Galileo _as to his intention, and under threat of torture_; if he kept
firm, he was to be called upon to recant before a plenary assembly of
the Congregation of the Holy Office, condemned to imprisonment according
to the judgment of the Holy Congregation, and ordered in future not
to discuss, either in writing or speaking, the opinion that the earth
moves and the sun is stationary, nor yet the contrary opinion, under
pain of further punishment for contumacy; further, the work, “Dialogo di
Galileo Galilei, Linceo,” was to be prohibited. And in order to make this
known everywhere, copies of the sentence were to be sent to all papal
envoys, and all inquisitors into heretical crimes, and specially to the
Inquisitor of Florence, who was to proclaim it in a full conclave of the
Congregation, and read it publicly to a majority of the professors of
mathematics summoned for the purpose.

It is noteworthy that it was expressly decreed that Galileo was to be
enjoined, “nor yet to discuss the contrary opinion,” the Ptolemaic.
They obviously accredited the clever dialectician with the skill, under
pretext of defending the old system, of demonstrating exactly the
contrary. It therefore seemed most prudent to impose absolute silence on
him on this delicate subject.

Two days after the course of the proceedings had been secretly determined
on, the Pope gave audience to Niccolini, who once more came to beg for
a speedy termination of the trial. Urban VIII. said that it had already
been terminated, and that within the next few days Galileo would be
summoned before the Holy Office to hear his sentence. The ambassador,
who was terrified at this unexpected intelligence, hastened to implore
his Holiness, out of respect for his Highness the Grand Duke, to mollify
the severity which the Holy Congregation might perhaps have thought it
necessary to exercise; and added obligingly that the great complaisance
shown to the Grand Duke in the matter of Galileo was fully appreciated,
and that the Grand Duke was only awaiting the end of the business to
express his gratitude in person. The Pope replied, with equal suavity,
that his Highness need not take this trouble, as he had readily granted
every amelioration to Galileo out of affection for him; but as to his
cause, they could do no less than prohibit that opinion, because it
was erroneous and contrary to Holy Scripture, dictated _ex ore Dei_;
as to his person, he would, according to usage, be imprisoned for a
time, _because he had transgressed the mandate issued to him in 1616_.
“However,” added Urban, “after the publication of the sentence we will
see you again, and we will consult together so that he may suffer as
little distress as possible, since it cannot be let pass without some
demonstration against his person.” In reply to Niccolini’s renewed urgent
entreaties that his Holiness would extend his accustomed mercy to the
pitiable old man of seventy, the Pope said that “he would at any rate be
sent for a time to some monastery, as for instance, St. Croce; for he
really did not know precisely what the Holy Congregation might decree
(?!), but it was unanimous and _nemine discrepante_ in intending to
impose a penance on Galileo.”

The very same day the ambassador sent a detailed despatch about this
audience to Cioli,[389] and remarked at the end that he had simply
informed Galileo of the approaching end of the trial, and of the
prohibition of his book, but had said nothing about the personal
punishment, in order not to trouble him too much at once; the Pope had
also enjoined this, that Galileo might not distress himself yet, and
“because perhaps in the course of the proceedings things might take a
better turn.”

Galileo’s trial now proceeded strictly according to the programme settled
by the Congregation of the Holy Office under the papal presidency. On the
evening of Monday, 20th June, Galileo received a summons from the Holy
Office to appear the next day.[390] In this final hearing the accused
was to be questioned, under threat of torture, about his intention, that
is, as to his real conviction concerning the two systems. On the morning
of the 21st Galileo appeared before his judges. After he had taken the
usual oath, and had answered in the negative the query whether he had any
statement to make, the examiner began as follows:—

Interrogated whether he holds or has held, and how long ago, that the sun
is the centre of the world and that the earth is not the centre of the
world, and moves, and also with a diurnal motion;

He answered: “A long time ago, _i.e._, before the decision of the Holy
Congregation of the Index, and before the injunction was intimated to me,
I was indifferent, and regarded both opinions, namely, that of Ptolemy
and that of Copernicus, as open to discussion, inasmuch as either one or
the other might be true in nature; but after the said decision, assured
of the wisdom of the authorities, I ceased to have any doubt; and I held,
as I still hold, as most true and indisputable, the opinion of Ptolemy,
that is to say, the stability of the earth and the motion of the sun.”

Being told that from the manner and connection in which the said opinion
is discussed in the book printed by him subsequently to the time
mentioned—nay, from the very fact of his having written and printed
the said book, he is presumed to have held this opinion after the time
specified; and being called upon to state the truth as to whether he
holds or has held the same;

He answered: “As regards the writing of the published dialogue, my motive
in so doing was not because I held the Copernican doctrine to be true,
but simply thinking to confer a common benefit, I have set forth the
proofs from nature and astronomy which may be adduced on either side;
my object being to make it clear that neither the one set of arguments
nor the other has the force of conclusive demonstration in favour of
this opinion or of that; and that therefore, in order to proceed with
certainty we must have recourse to the decisions of higher teaching, as
may be clearly seen from a large number of passages in the dialogue in
question. I affirm, therefore, on my conscience, that I do not now hold
the condemned opinion, and have not held it since the decision of the

Being told that from the book itself and from the arguments adduced on
the affirmative side,—namely, that the earth moves and that the sun is
immovable,—it is presumed, as aforesaid, that he holds the opinion of
Copernicus, or at least that he held it at that time; and that therefore,
unless he make up his mind to confess the truth, recourse will be had
against him to the appropriate remedies of the law;

He answered: “I do not hold, and have not held this opinion of Copernicus
since the command was intimated to me that I must abandon it; for the
rest, I am here in your hands,—do with me what you please.” Being once
more bidden to speak the truth, otherwise recourse will be had to
torture, the terrified old man answered with the resignation of despair:
“I am here to obey, and I have not held this opinion since the decision
was pronounced, as I have stated.”

In the protocol of the trial the concluding sentence follows immediately
after this last answer of Galileo’s: “And as nothing further could be
done in execution of the decree (of 16th June), his signature was
obtained to his deposition, and he was sent back to his place.”[391]

There is not in this document, nor in any other extant, the slightest
trace that torture was actually applied to Galileo, as has long and
even recently been fabled. Since the publication of it by Epinois
has acquainted us with the decree of 16th June, none such can be
expected ever to be found. In that decree the course of the final legal
proceedings was precisely indicated. But it was only the _threat_ of
torture that was prescribed, after which recantation and sentence of
imprisonment were to follow. The execution of this threat, then, would
have been a gross, and under the circumstances, incredible violation of
the decrees of the Holy Office itself. Moreover, the assumed torture of
Galileo is opposed, as we shall see by and by, to various historical
facts. When the whole course of the trial is unrolled before our eyes, we
shall go more deeply into the region of fable and malicious fabrication.

But as we pursue the path of history, we come upon an error which Mgr.
Marini’s peculiar mode of interpretation has given rise to. He takes the
concluding words of the protocol of the trial of 21st June, “remissus
fuit ad locum suum,” to mean that Galileo was sent back to the Tuscan
embassy.[392] Now, it is indisputable, from a despatch of Niccolini’s to
Cioli of 26th June, 1633, that after the hearing of the 21st June, the
accused was detained in the buildings of the Holy Office, and did not
leave them till the 24th.[393]

We have no information whatever as to the treatment he met with this time
in the buildings of the Holy Office. Was he put into the apartments he
had occupied before, or was he confined in a prisoner’s cell? From the
considerate treatment in outward things which Galileo met with during his
trial at Rome, it may perhaps be concluded _that he never was thrown into
the dungeons of the Inquisition_.



    The Sentence in full.—Analysis of it.—The Copernican
    System had not been pronounced heretical by “Infallible”
    Authority.—The Special Prohibition assumed as Fact.—The
    Sentence illegal according to the Canon Law.—The Holy Office
    exceeded its powers in calling upon Galileo to recant.—The
    Sentence not unanimous.—This escaped notice for two hundred
    and thirty-one Years.—The Recantation.—Futile attempts to
    show that Galileo had really altered his Opinion.—After the
    Sentence, Imprisonment exchanged for Banishment to Trinita de’
    Monti.—Petition for leave to go to Florence.—Allowed to go to

On Wednesday, 22nd June, 1633, in the forenoon, Galileo was conducted
to the large hall used for melancholy proceedings of this kind, in the
Dominican Convent of St. Maria sopra la Minerva, where, in the presence
of his judges and a large assemblage of cardinals and prelates of the
Holy Congregation, the following sentence was read to him:—

    WE, Gasparo del titolo di S. Croce in Gierusalemme Borgia;
        Fra Felice Centino del titolo di S. Anastasia, detto d’Ascoli;
        Guido del titolo di S. Maria del Popolo Bentivoglio;
        Fra Desiderio Scaglia del titolo di S. Carlo detto di Cremona;
        Fra Antonio Barberino detto di S. Onofrio;
        Laudivio Zacchia del titolo di S. Pietro in Vincola detto di
          S. Sisto;
        Berlingero del titolo di S. Agostino, Gessi;
        Fabricio del titolo di S. Lorenzo in pane e perna, Verospi,
          chiamato Prete;
        Francesco di S. Lorenzo in Damaso Barberino, e
        Martio di S. Maria Nuova Ginetti Diaconi;

    by the grace of God, cardinals of the Holy Roman Church,
    Inquisitors General, by the Holy Apostolic see specially
    deputed, against heretical depravity throughout the whole
    Christian Republic.

    Whereas you, Galileo, son of the late Vincenzo Galilei,
    Florentine, aged seventy years, were in the year 1615
    denounced to this Holy Office for holding as true the false
    doctrine taught by many, that the sun is the centre of the
    world and immovable, and that the earth moves, and also with
    a diurnal motion; for having disciples to whom you taught
    the same doctrine; for holding correspondence with certain
    mathematicians of Germany concerning the same; for having
    printed certain letters, entitled “On the Solar Spots,” wherein
    you developed the same doctrine as true; and for replying to
    the objections from the Holy Scriptures, which from time to
    time were urged against it, by glossing the said Scriptures
    according to your own meaning: and whereas there was thereupon
    produced the copy of a document in the form of a letter,
    purporting to be written by you to one formerly your disciple,
    and in this divers propositions are set forth,[394] following
    the hypothesis of Copernicus, which are contrary to the true
    sense and authority of Holy Scripture:

    This Holy Tribunal being therefore desirous of proceeding
    against the disorder and mischief thence resulting, which went
    on increasing to the prejudice of the Holy Faith, by command of
    his Holiness and of the most eminent Lords Cardinals of this
    supreme and universal Inquisition, the two propositions of the
    stability of the sun and the motion of the earth were by the
    theological “Qualifiers” qualified as follows:

    The proposition that the sun is the centre of the world
    and does not move from its place is absurd and false
    philosophically and formally heretical, because it is expressly
    contrary to the Holy Scripture.

    The proposition that the earth is not the centre of the world
    and immovable, but that it moves, and also with a diurnal
    motion, is equally absurd and false philosophically, and
    theologically considered, at least erroneous in faith.

    But whereas it was desired at that time to deal leniently with
    you, it was decreed at the Holy Congregation held before his
    Holiness on the 25th February, 1616, that his Eminence the Lord
    Cardinal Bellarmine should order you to abandon altogether the
    said false doctrine, and, in the event of your refusal, that an
    injunction should be imposed upon you by the Commissary of the
    Holy Office, to give up the said doctrine, and not to teach it
    to others, nor to defend it, nor even discuss it; and failing
    your acquiescence in this injunction, that you should be
    imprisoned. And in execution of this decree, on the following
    day, at the Palace, and in the presence of his Eminence, the
    said Lord Cardinal Bellarmine, after being gently admonished
    by the said Lord Cardinal, the command was intimated to you by
    the Father Commissary of the Holy Office for the time before a
    notary and witnesses, that you were altogether to abandon the
    said false opinion, and not in future to defend or teach it in
    any way whatsoever, neither verbally nor in writing; and upon
    your promising to obey you were dismissed.

    And in order that a doctrine so pernicious might be wholly
    rooted out and not insinuate itself further to the grave
    prejudice of Catholic truth, a decree was issued by the Holy
    Congregation of the Index, prohibiting the books which treat of
    this doctrine, and declaring the doctrine itself to be false
    and wholly contrary to sacred and divine Scripture.

    And whereas a book appeared here recently, printed last year
    at Florence, the title of which shows that you were the
    author, this title being: “Dialogue of Galileo Galilei on the
    Two Principal Systems of the World, the Ptolemaic and the
    Copernican”; and whereas the Holy Congregation was afterwards
    informed that through the publication of the said book, the
    false opinion of the motion of the earth and the stability
    of the sun was daily gaining ground; the said book was taken
    into careful consideration, and in it there was discovered a
    patent violation of the aforesaid injunction that had been
    imposed upon you, for in this book you have defended the said
    opinion previously condemned and to your face declared to be
    so, although in the said book you strive by various devices
    to produce the impression that you leave it undecided, and in
    express terms as probable: which however is a most grievous
    error, as an opinion can in no wise be probable which has been
    declared and defined to be contrary to Divine Scripture:

    Therefore by our order you were cited before this Holy Office,
    where, being examined upon your oath, you acknowledged the book
    to be written and published by you. You confessed that you
    began to write the said book about ten or twelve years ago,
    after the command had been imposed upon you as above; that you
    requested licence to print it, without however intimating to
    those who granted you this licence that you had been commanded
    not to hold, defend, or teach in any way whatever the doctrine
    in question.

    You likewise confessed that the writing of the said book is in
    various places drawn up in such a form that the reader might
    fancy that the arguments brought forward on the false side
    are rather calculated by their cogency to compel conviction
    than to be easy of refutation; excusing yourself for having
    fallen into an error, as you alleged, so foreign to your
    intention, by the fact that you had written in dialogue, and
    by the natural complacency that every man feels in regard to
    his own subtleties, and in showing himself more clever than
    the generality of men, in devising, even on behalf of false
    propositions, ingenious and plausible arguments.

    And a suitable term having been assigned to you to prepare
    your defence, you produced a certificate in the handwriting
    of his Eminence the Lord Cardinal Bellarmine, procured by
    you, as you asserted, in order to defend yourself against
    the calumnies of your enemies, who gave out that you had
    abjured and had been punished by the Holy Office; in which
    certificate it is declared that you had not abjured and had
    not been punished, but merely that the declaration made by
    his Holiness and published by the Holy Congregation of the
    Index, had been announced to you, wherein it is declared that
    the doctrine of the motion of the earth and the stability of
    the sun is contrary to the Holy Scriptures, and therefore
    cannot be defended or held. And as in this certificate there
    is no mention of the two articles of the injunction, namely,
    the order not “to teach” and “in any way,” you represented
    that we ought to believe that in the course of fourteen or
    sixteen years you had lost all memory of them; and that this
    was why you said nothing of the injunction when you requested
    permission to print your book. And all this you urged not
    by way of excuse for your error, but that it might be set
    down to a vainglorious ambition rather than to malice. But
    this certificate produced by you in your defence has only
    aggravated your delinquency, since although it is there stated
    that the said opinion is contrary to Holy Scripture, you have
    nevertheless dared to discuss and defend it and to argue its
    probability; nor does the licence artfully and cunningly
    extorted by you avail you anything, since you did not notify
    the command imposed upon you.

    And whereas it appeared to us that you had not stated the full
    truth with regard to your intention, we thought it necessary
    to subject you to a rigorous examination, at which (without
    prejudice, however, to the matters confessed by you, and
    set forth as above, with regard to your said intention) you
    answered like a good Catholic. Therefore, having seen and
    maturely considered the merits of this your cause, together
    with your confessions and excuses above mentioned, and all that
    ought justly to be seen and considered, we have arrived at the
    underwritten final sentence against you:—

    Invoking, therefore, the most holy name of our Lord Jesus
    Christ and of His most glorious Mother, and ever Virgin Mary,
    by this our final sentence, which sitting in judgment, with the
    counsel and advice of the Reverend Masters of sacred theology
    and Doctors of both Laws, our assessors, we deliver in these
    writings, in the cause and causes presently before us between
    the magnificent Carlo Sinceri, Doctor of both Laws, Proctor
    Fiscal of this Holy Office, of the one part, and you Galileo
    Galilei, the defendant, here present, tried and confessed as
    above, of the other part,—we say, pronounce, sentence, declare,
    that you, the said Galileo, by reason of the matters adduced in
    process, and by you confessed as above, have rendered yourself
    in the judgment of this Holy Office vehemently suspected of
    heresy, namely, of having believed and held the doctrine—which
    is false and contrary to the sacred and divine Scriptures—that
    the sun is the centre of the world and does not move from
    east to west, and that the earth moves and is not the centre
    of the world; and that an opinion may be held and defended as
    probable after it has been declared and defined to be contrary
    to Holy Scripture; and that consequently you have incurred
    all the censures and penalties imposed and promulgated in the
    sacred canons and other constitutions, general and particular,
    against such delinquents. From which we are content that you
    be absolved, provided that first, with a sincere heart, and
    unfeigned faith, you abjure, curse, and detest the aforesaid
    errors and heresies, and every other error and heresy contrary
    to the Catholic and Apostolic Roman Church in the form to be
    prescribed by us.

    And in order that this your grave and pernicious error and
    transgression may not remain altogether unpunished, and that
    you may be more cautious for the future, and an example to
    others, that they may abstain from similar delinquencies—we
    ordain that the book of the “_Dialogues of Galileo Galilei_” be
    prohibited by public edict.

    We condemn you to the formal prison of this Holy Office during
    our pleasure, and by way of salutary penance, we enjoin that
    for three years to come you repeat once a week the seven
    penitential Psalms.

    Reserving to ourselves full liberty to moderate, commute, or
    take off, in whole or in part, the aforesaid penalties and

    And so we say, pronounce, sentence, declare, ordain, condemn
    and reserve, in this and any other better way and form which we
    can and may lawfully employ.

    So we the undersigned Cardinals pronounce.

      F. Cardinalis de Asculo.
      G. Cardinalis Bentiuolus.
      Fr. Cardinalis de Cremona.
      Fr. Antonius Cardinalis S. Honuphrij.
      B. Cardinalis Gypsius.
      Fr. Cardinalis Verospius.
      M. Cardinalis Ginettus.[395]

Before proceeding to narrate the consequences of this sentence to the
culprit (namely, his recantation and punishment), this seems to be the
place to subject this memorable document to a critical review, to show
how far the sentence pronounced on Galileo had a legal basis, even
on Romish principles. To this end it will be necessary to follow the
construction of the sentences step by step, for only in this way can a
correct opinion be formed of the accordance of this cunningly devised
structure with the actual state of things.

The sentence begins with a condensed historical review of the
transactions of 1615, obviously based on the denunciations of Lorini,
and the evidence of Caccini of 20th March, 1615. Immediately afterwards
follows the well-known opinion of the theological Qualifiers on the
principles of Copernicus. This is plainly to justify the measures taken
in consequence by the ecclesiastical authorities against his doctrine and
its most distinguished advocate. For immediately after follows, first a
recapitulation of the report registered in the Vatican MS. of the events
of 25th and 26th February, 1616, and then the decree of the Congregation
of the Index of 5th March, 1616, “by which those books were prohibited
which treat of the aforesaid doctrine, and the same was declared to
be false and entirely contrary to Holy and Divine Scripture.” The
sentence then comes to the occasion of the trial of Galileo, namely, his
“Dialogues,”—and states: firstly, that by this book he had transgressed
the special prohibition of 1616;[396] secondly, that his statement
therein, which is almost incredible, that he had left the Copernican view
undecided and as only _probable_, is a “gross error,” since a doctrine
cannot in any way be probable (_probalis_) which has already been found
and declared to be “contrary to Holy Scripture.”

The first point, from the standpoint of the Inquisition, which treated
the note of 26th February, 1616, as an authentic document, is certainly
correct; the second, even according to the maxims of Rome, is not to
the purpose. According to these maxims a proposition can only be made
into a dogma by “infallible” authority, namely, by the Pope speaking _ex
cathedra_, or by an Œcumenical Council; and on the other hand, it is
only by the same method that an obligation can be laid upon the faithful
to consider an opinion heretical. But a decree of the Congregation of
the Index does not entail the obligation; for, although by virtue of
the authority conferred on it, it can enforce obedience and inflict
punishment, its decrees are not “infallible.” They can, however, be
made so, according to ecclesiastical views, either by the subsequent
express confirmation of the Pope by a brief in his name, as supreme head
of the Christian Catholic Church; or by the decree of the Congregation
being originally provided with the clause: “_Sanctissimus confirmavit
et publicari mandavit._” But the decree of 5th March, 1616, is neither
confirmed by a subsequent brief, nor does it contain that special
formula; and, therefore, in spite of this decree, which declared the
opinion of Copernicus to be “false and contrary to Holy and Divine
Scripture,” it might still be considered as undecided, and even probable,
because the decree might be fallible, and did not entail the obligation
to adopt its sentence as an article of faith.[397] This must also have
been the view of the ecclesiastical authorities of the censorship, who
had given Galileo’s book the _imprimatur_, and thereby, as H. Martin
justly remarks,[398] relieved the author of responsibility, not in
anything relating to the assumed special prohibition, but concerning the
accordance of the work with the published decree. Point 2, therefore,
seems as unjustifiable as it is untenable. The sentence now gives a brief
_résumé_ of the confessions made by Galileo during the examination,
which are employed to confirm his guilt. The twofold reproach is
urged against him, as of special weight, that he began to write his
“Dialogues” after the issue of the assumed prohibition, and that he said
nothing about it in obtaining the _imprimatur_ of the censors; thus the
special prohibition was treated as an established fact—on the one hand,
his disobedience to an injunction of the ecclesiastical authorities
was proved, and on the other, the _imprimatur_ was obtained on false
pretences, and was null and void.

After a rather weak recapitulation of the declaration so unedifying to
posterity, made by Galileo at his second hearing, the sentence proceeds
to the discussion of an authentic document which formed the chief defence
of the accused: the certificate given him in 1616 by Cardinal Bellarmine.
The authors of the sentence had at this point a delicate and difficult
task to perform. The object was to uphold the inviolability of the “note”
of 26th February, 1616—this main support of the whole indictment—and by
no means to make this attestation appear at variance with the actual
circumstances, or it would have become an important argument in favour
of the accused. Nay, to avoid this rock, material for the accusation
had to be found in the words of the certificate itself. And thus we
find this document, which, as Wohlwill pertinently remarks,[399] by the
words “but only” directly denies the assumed stringent prohibition of
1616, singularly enough, thanks to the sophistry of the Roman lawyers,
forming a weighty argument in the sentence for the Inquisitors: “But
this certificate,” it says, “produced by you in your defence, has only
aggravated your delinquency; since although it is there stated that the
said opinion is contrary to Holy Scripture, you have nevertheless dared
to discuss and defend it, and to argue its probability.”

But as here they again had to refer to the protecting _imprimatur_ of
the ecclesiastical censors, they hasten to add: “nor does the licence,
artfully and cunningly extorted by you, avail you anything, since you did
not notify the command imposed upon you.”

One cannot help drawing the conclusion, that if the attestation of
Cardinal Bellarmine is accepted as true, “the command imposed” did not
exist, and of course could not be communicated by Galileo to the censors.

In the clause of the sentence referring to the attestation, a passage is
dexterously interwoven, which ascribes the decree of 5th March, 1616, to
the Pope; while, as we know, it belongs officially to the Congregation
alone. The words are these: “But merely that the declaration made by
his Holiness (_fatta da nostro Signore_), and published by the Holy
Congregation of the Index, had been announced to you.”

Undoubtedly Pope Paul V. wished the decree made and privately instigated
it, as Urban VIII. did the sentence against Galileo; and in this sense
the former may be attributed to the one and the latter to the other,
and the condemnation of the Copernican theory to both. But in this they
acted as private persons, and as such they were not (nor would they now
be), according to theological rules, “infallible.” The conditions which
would have made the decree of the Congregation, or the sentence against
Galileo, of dogmatic importance, were, as we have seen, wholly wanting.
Both Popes had been too cautious to endanger this highest privilege of
the papacy by involving their infallible authority in the decision of a
scientific controversy; they therefore refrained from conferring their
sanction, as heads of the Roman Catholic Church, on the measures taken,
at their instigation, by the Congregation “to suppress the doctrine of
the revolution of the earth.” Thanks to this sagacious foresight, Roman
Catholic posterity can say to this day, that Paul V. and Urban VIII. were
in error “as men” about the Copernican system, but not “as Popes.” For
us there remains the singular deduction, that the sentence on Galileo
rests again and again, even on the principles of the ecclesiastical court
itself, on an illegal foundation.

After a brief mention of the rigid examination of 21st June, the
sentence comes to formulate the judgment more particularly. According to
this Galileo is, (1) “in the judgment of this Holy Office, vehemently
suspected of heresy, namely, of having believed and held the doctrine
which is false and contrary to the Sacred and Divine Scriptures ... and
that an opinion may be held and defended as probable after it has been
declared and defined to be contrary to Holy Scripture;” (2) and that
consequently he has incurred all the censures and penalties imposed in
the sacred canons against such delinquents. “From which we are content
that you be absolved, provided that first you abjure, curse, and detest
the aforesaid errors and heresies in the form to be supplied by us.”

Point 1, according to Romish regulations about making an opinion an
article of faith, in its relation to heresy appears to be illegal and
incorrect. Galileo had not laid himself open to suspicion of heresy
because he had inclined to a doctrine discovered to be contrary to
Scripture by the fallible Congregation of the Index. Point 2 must also,
therefore, be illegal, which says that Galileo had “consequently”
incurred all the censures and penalties adjudged to such criminals by the
canon law.

Galileo could never have been legally condemned on suspicion of heresy
from his “Dialogues.” In the first place, because neither he nor any
other Catholic was bound by the decree of 5th March, 1616, to regard
the confirmation of the old system or the rejection of the new as an
article of faith; in the second place, because the _imprimatur_ of the
ecclesiastical authorities relieved him from all responsibility. But he
could be condemned for disobedience to the assumed special prohibition of
26th February, 1616. In the sentence this forms the only legal basis of
the indictment and condemnation. How far this prohibition is historically
credible, we think we have sufficiently demonstrated in the course of our

And when we consider the penalties which follow from this sentence, based
partly upon incorrect, and partly upon false accusations, we find that
the Inquisition, by compelling Galileo to recant with a threat of other
and severer penalties, _far exceeded its powers_. The Holy Tribunal
was empowered to punish the “disobedience” of the philosopher with
imprisonment and ecclesiastical penances, and to forbid him to discuss
the opinion in writing or speaking, but it had no authority to extort
from Galileo, or any one else, such a confession on an opinion which had
not been defined by “infallible” authority.

This is openly admitted even by high theological authority: “_In fact
an excess of authority and an injustice did take place_;” “but,” the
reverend gentleman hastens to add, “certainly not from malice, but from a
mistake,”[400]—a lenient opinion which we are unable to share.

Whether any scruples were expressed, or any dissentient voices heard
in this ecclesiastical court about the manifold illegalities in the
proceedings against the famous accused, we do not know, no notes having
come down to us of the private discussions and transactions of the Holy
Tribunal. But there is one fact which leads us to conclude that all the
judges did not consent to this procedure, and that the sentence was not
unanimous: _at the head of the sentence ten Cardinals are enumerated as
judges, but the document is signed by seven only, and besides this there
is the express remark: “So we, the undersigned cardinals, pronounce”_!
Singularly enough, two hundred and thirty-one years passed by, during
which much that is valuable was written about Galileo, and a great deal
more that was fabulous, before this significant circumstance was noticed
by any author. The merit of having first called attention to it belongs
to Professor Moritz Cantor, in 1864.[401] The three cardinals who did
not sign were, Caspar Borgia, Laudivio Zacchia, and Francesco Barberini,
the Pope’s nephew, whom we have repeatedly found to be a warm patron and
protector of Galileo.

Professor Berti offers as an explanation of the absence of the three
signatures, that the Congregation in the name of which the sentence was
passed consisted of ten members, but that at the last sitting seven only
were present, so that seven only could sign, and adds, as it appears to
us unwarrantably, “that it by no means follows that the three absentees
were of a contrary opinion.”[402]

Pieralisi does not find the matter so simple, and devotes seven large
pages to account for the absence of the three prelates from the
Congregation. “Cardinal Borgia,” he says, “was on very bad terms with
Urban VIII., because he had addressed the Pope in a loud voice in a
consistory, and the Pope had imperiously told him to be quiet and to
go away.”[403] But it has been proved that even after this scene the
cardinal appeared at the consistories up to 12th February, 1635, although
there were complaints that he took walks in Rome instead of attending
the sittings of the Propaganda and the Holy Office. But it is not likely
that this cardinal, whose name stands at the head of the sentence,
would have absented himself from the final sitting without some good
reason. Pieralisi thinks that he was more friendly to Galileo than the
other cardinals, an opinion for which there is no evidence and which
proves nothing. Even Pieralisi confesses that he can find no reason for
the absence of Cardinal Zacchia, but assigns the following motive for
that of Cardinal Francesco Barberini: “He probably wished to uphold the
right enjoyed by the cardinal nephews, and afterwards by the secretaries
of state, of sometimes abstaining from voting in order to reserve to
themselves greater freedom in the treatment of public, private, and
political affairs.” The insufficiency of this explanation is too obvious
to need comment. Pieralisi himself comes to the conclusion that these
dignitaries did not wish to append their signatures to the famous
sentence, which is much the same thing as the conjecture that they did
not agree to it.

In accordance with this sentence, certainly not passed unanimously by
the members of the Holy Tribunal, which forms one of the foulest blots
in the melancholy annals of the Inquisition, Galileo was compelled
immediately after hearing it to make the following degrading recantation,
humbly kneeling, before the whole assembly:—

    “I, Galileo Galilei, son of the late Vincenzo Galilei,
    Florentine, aged seventy years, arraigned personally before
    this tribunal, and kneeling before you, most Eminent and
    Reverend Lord Cardinals, Inquisitors general against heretical
    depravity throughout the whole Christian Republic, having
    before my eyes and touching with my hands, the holy Gospels
    swear that I have always believed, do now believe, and by God’s
    help will for the future believe, all that is held, preached,
    and taught by the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Roman Church. But
    whereas—after an injunction had been judicially intimated to
    me by this Holy Office, to the effect that I must altogether
    abandon the false opinion that the sun is the centre of the
    world and immovable, and that the earth is not the centre of
    the world, and moves, and that I must not hold, defend, or
    teach in any way whatsoever, verbally or in writing, the said
    doctrine, and after it had been notified to me that the said
    doctrine was contrary to Holy Scripture—I wrote and printed
    a book in which I discuss this doctrine already condemned,
    and adduce arguments of great cogency in its favour, without
    presenting any solution of these; and for this cause I have
    been pronounced by the Holy Office to be vehemently suspected
    of heresy, that is to say, of having held and believed that
    the sun is the centre of the world and immovable, and that the
    earth is not the centre and moves:—

    Therefore, desiring to remove from the minds of your Eminences,
    and of all faithful Christians, this strong suspicion,
    reasonably conceived against me, with sincere heart and
    unfeigned faith I abjure, curse, and detest the aforesaid
    errors and heresies, and generally every other error and sect
    whatsoever contrary to the said Holy Church; and I swear that
    in future I will never again say or assert, verbally or in
    writing, anything that might furnish occasion for a similar
    suspicion regarding me; but that should I know any heretic, or
    person suspected of heresy, I will denounce him to this Holy
    Office, or to the Inquisitor and ordinary of the place where
    I may be. Further, I swear and promise to fulfil and observe
    in their integrity all penances that have been, or that shall
    be, imposed upon me by this Holy Office. And, in the event of
    my contravening, (which God forbid!) any of these my promises,
    protestations, and oaths, I submit myself to all the pains
    and penalties imposed and promulgated in the sacred canons
    and other constitutions, general and particular, against such
    delinquents. So help me God, and these His holy Gospels, which
    I touch with my hands.

    I, the said Galileo Galilei, have abjured, sworn, promised, and
    bound myself as above; and in witness of the truth thereof
    I have with my own hand subscribed the present document of
    my abjuration, and recited it word for word at Rome, in the
    Convent of Minerva, this twenty-second day of June, 1633.

    I, Galileo Galilei, have abjured as above with my own hand.”[404]

Certain Catholic writers express the hope, at the expense of truth, for
the sake of Galileo’s salvation and honour, that he really had, from
conviction, renounced the opinion which he had been labouring for and
advocating up to old age. Indeed, the super-Catholic author of an essay,
called “The Holy See against Galileo Galilei and the Astronomical System
of Copernicus,”[405] does not hesitate to say: “Probably the physical
absurdities of his (Galileo’s) doctrine had achieved a victory for the
voice of reason and religion.”[406] Undoubtedly there were many physical
difficulties in the way of a general acceptance of the new doctrines
(especially the prevailing incorrect ideas about the specific gravity
of the air),[407] and they were only finally overcome by the discovery
of the law of gravitation by the genius of Newton; but they were not
so great as to prevent men, like Kepler, Descartes, Gassendi, Diodati,
Philip Landsberg, Joachim Rhäticus, and others, and above all, the great
Italian reformer of physics and astronomy, from, even at that time,
recognising the truth of the new theory. It does not appear, either, that
the author of that article had much faith in his own conjecture, for he
proceeds to a demonstration, from opposite premises, which was for a time
much in vogue with the Jesuitical defenders of the Inquisition against
Galileo, and which must therefore be briefly mentioned.

This was nothing less than an attempt to show that even if Galileo held
the Copernican system to be the only true one, he could, thanks to the
wording of the formula of recantation, utter it without doing violence
to his conscience; or, what is now known to be truth.[408] Galileo swore
that he never had believed and never would believe (1) “that the sun was
the centre of the earth and immovable.” That he could easily do, says our
author, for, in relation to the fixed stars, the sun by no means forms
the centre; and heavy bodies on the earth fall towards its centre and not
towards the sun, which, also, in this sense, was not the centre! There
was no difficulty for Galileo in recanting that the sun was immovable,
for he had himself concluded from the motion of the spots that it
revolved on its own axis.[409] As to the earth, he abjured it as an error
(2) that “the earth is not the centre;” quite right, for it is the centre
for heavy bodies: and it was not said—“the centre of the universe;” (3)
“that the earth moves;” vast efforts of sophistry were necessary to make
this desperately precise proposition square with the arguments of this
curious casuist. He therefore says, that as, according to the wording,
it is not the diurnal motion of the earth that is in question, this
proposition has quite a different meaning, in which, on the one hand, it
must be said that the earth is immovable, and on the other, that it is
only motion through the air from one place to another that is excluded.
The earth may certainly, both in relation to its physical conformation
and in contrast to what goes on upon it, be called immovable![410] At
the time when these lines were written, in 1875, the author of this
article in the “Historisch-politischen Blättern” was unknown to us.
Afterwards, through the liberality of the Bavarian Government, among
other works relating to Galileo in the Royal Library, the following
were lent to us:—(1) “Di Copernico e di Galileo, scritto postumo del P.
Maurizio-Benedetto Olivieri, Ex. generale dei domenicani e Commissario
della S. Rom. ed Univ. Inquisizione ora per la prima volta messo in luce
sull’ autografo per cura d’un religioso dello stesso istituto. Bologna,
1872”; (2) “Il S. Officio, Copernico e Galileo a proposito di un opusculo
postumo del P. Olivieri sullo stesso argomento apunti di Gilberto Govi.
Torino, 1872.” To our no small surprise we found, on reading the former,
that it had by no means “seen the light” for the first time in 1872, but
had appeared thirty-one years before in a literal German translation, as
the article above mentioned in the “Historisch-politischen Blättern,”
with a few insignificant alterations, and a different title, the old
one being given in a note. Neither the editor of the first Italian work
of Olivieri, the Dominican monk, Fra. Tommaso Bonora, nor the author of
the above rejoinder,[411] Gilberto Govi, had, as appears from what they
say, the least idea of this singular fact. In Germany, Professor Clemens
of Bonn, was universally believed to be the author of this article,
which excited great attention; so firmly was it held, that Professor
Moritz Cantor, in a notice of the present work, gave no credence to
our discovery, but stated in his critique, “The anonymous writer was
not Olivieri, but Professor Clemens of Bonn.”[412] Upon this we sent
Professor Cantor the essay from the “Historisch-politischen Blättern” and
Bonora’s work for examination, when he was constrained to be convinced by
the sight of his own eyes.

The wretched attempt thus to clear the Inquisition, by Olivieri’s
method, of the reproach of having extorted an oath from Galileo entirely
against his convictions, is unworthy of refutation. By impartial
posterity the oath is and must be regarded as perjury, and is all the
more repulsive because the promise was coupled with it that, “if he met
with a heretic, or person suspected of heresy,” he would denounce him
to the authorities of the Church; that is, the master would denounce
his disciples—for by a “heretic, or any one suspected of heresy,” the
adherents of the Copernican system must be chiefly understood—to the
persecution of the Inquisition! The taking of this degrading oath may,
under the circumstances, be excused, but it never can be justified.

After this painful act of world-wide interest had been completed, Galileo
was conducted back to the buildings of the Holy Office. Now that he and
the Copernican system had been condemned with becoming solemnity by the
Holy Office, Urban VIII. magnanimously gave the word for mercy; that is,
Galileo was not, as the sentence prescribed, detained in the prisons of
the Inquisition, but a restricted amount of liberty was granted him.
The Roman curia never entirely let go its hold upon him as long as he
lived. On the day after the sentence was passed, the Pope exchanged
imprisonment for temporary banishment, to the villa of the Grand Duke of
Tuscany at Trinita de’ Monti, near Rome,[413] whither Niccolini conducted
his unfortunate friend on the evening of 24th June, as we find from the
despatch before quoted from him to Cioli of 26th of the month.[414]

We learn from the same source that while Galileo took the prohibition of
his book, of which he was aware beforehand, with tolerable composure,
the unexpected proceedings of the Holy Office against him personally,
affected him most deeply. Niccolini did his best to rouse him from his
deep depression, but at first with little success.[415] Galileo longed
to leave Rome, where he had suffered so much, and therefore addressed the
following petition to Urban VIII.:—

    “Most Holy Father! Galileo Galilei most humbly begs your
    Holiness to exchange the place assigned to him for his prison
    near Rome, for some other in Florence, which may appear
    suitable to your Holiness, in consideration of his poor health,
    and also because the petitioner is expecting a sister with
    eight children from Germany, to whom no one can afford help and
    protection so well as himself. He will receive any disposition
    of your Holiness as a great favour.”[416]

But in the Vatican the opinion prevailed that to allow Galileo to return
to Florence already would be a superfluity of indulgence. The Pope said
to Niccolini: “We must proceed gently, and only rehabilitate Galileo
by degrees.”[417] Still Urban was disposed to grant the ambassador’s
request, and to alter the penalty so far as to allow the exile to go to
Siena, to the house of the Archbishop Ascanio Piccolomini, whom we know
as a warm friend of Galileo’s. Niccolini’s urgent entreaties succeeded
in obtaining a papal decree of 30th June, ordering Galileo to go by the
shortest route to Siena, to go to the Archbishop’s at once, to remain
there, and strictly to obey his orders; and he was not to leave that city
without permission from the Congregation.[418] Galileo was informed of
this decree on 2nd July by the Commissary-General of the Inquisition,
Father Vincenzo Maccolani di Firenzuola, in person.[419] On 10th July,
Niccolini reported to Cioli: “Signor Galileo set out early on Wednesday,
6th July, in good health, for Siena, and writes to me from Viterbo, that
he had performed four miles on foot, the weather being very cool.”[420]



    Popular Story of Galileo’s Fate.—His Eyes put out.—“E pur si
    Muove.”—The Hair Shirt.—Imprisonment.—Galileo only detained
    twenty-two Days at the Holy Office.—Torture.—Refuted in 18th
    Century.—Torture based on the words, “_examen rigorosum_.”—This
    shown to be untenable.—Assertion that the Acts have been
    falsified refuted.—False Imputation on Niccolini.—Conclusive
    Evidence against Torture.—Galileo not truly a “Martyr of

Before following Galileo’s fate to the end, so far as his relations with
the curia are concerned, it seems desirable to glance at the fables and
exaggerations, mostly originating in malice and fierce partisanship,
which, in defiance of the results of the latest historical research, are
not only circulated among the public at large, but introduced, to some
extent, even in works which profess to contain history.

According to these legends, Galileo languishes during the trial in
the prisons of the Inquisition; when brought before his judges, he
proudly defends the doctrine of the double motion; he is then seized by
the executioners of the Holy Office, and subjected to the horrors of
torture; but even then—as heroic fable demands—he for a long time remains
steadfast; under pain beyond endurance he promises obedience, that
is, the recantation of the Copernican system. As soon as his torn and
dislocated limbs permit, he is dragged before the large assembly of the
Congregation, and there, kneeling in the penitential shirt, with fierce
rage in his heart, he utters the desired recantation. As he rises he is
no longer able to master his indignation, and fiercely stamping with his
foot, he utters the famous words: “E pur si muove!” He is, therefore,
thrown into the dank dungeons of the dreaded tribunal, where his eyes are
put out!

The blinding of Galileo is a creation of the lively popular mind, which,
with its love of horrors, embellishes tragical historical events by
fictitious additions of this kind, just suited to the palates of people
accustomed to coarse diet. Galileo’s subsequent loss of sight may
have given rise to the fable, which first appeared in the “History of
Astronomy” by Estevius.[421] It is not known who was the inventor of the
assumed exclamation, “E pur si muove,” which sounds well, and has become
a “winged word;” but besides not being historic, it very incorrectly
indicates the old man’s state of mind; for he was morally completely
crushed. Professor Heis, who has devoted a treatise to the origin of this
famous saying, thinks that he has discovered its first appearance in the
“Dictionnaire Historique,” Caen, 1789;[422] Professor Grisar tells us,
however, in his studies on the trial of Galileo, that in the “Lehrbuch
der philosophischen Geschichte,” published at Würzburg, 1774, fifteen
years earlier, by Fr. N. Steinacher, the following edifying passage

“Galileo was neither sufficiently in earnest nor steadfast with his
recantation; for the moment he rose up, when his conscience told him that
he had sworn falsely, he cast his eyes on the ground, stamped with his
foot, and exclaimed, ‘E pur si muove.’”[423]

Besides the fact that these words are not attributed to Galileo by any of
his contemporaries, not even the best informed, the fallacy of the whole
story is obvious; for the witnesses of this outbreak, his judges, in
fact, would assuredly not have allowed so audacious a revocation of his
recantation to escape unpunished; it is, indeed, impossible to conjecture
what the consequences would have been; the recusant would certainly not
have been released two days afterwards from the buildings of the Holy

Although this dramatic scene is not mentioned as worthy of credit by
any modern historian,[424] it is different with the hair shirt in which
Galileo is said to have performed the humiliating act. Libri, Cousin,
Parchappe, and very recently Louis Combes,[425] all gravely relate that
the philosopher had to recant “en chemise.”

The official document, although it goes very much into detail as to the
way in which the oath was performed, says nothing of the shirt, and these
authors should have said nothing either. The doubtful source in which
this fable originated is an anonymous and very confused note on a MS. in,
the Magliabechiana Library at Florence, where among other nonsense we
find: “the poor man (Galileo), appeared clad in a ragged shirt, so that
it was really pitiable.”[426] We agree with Epinois,[427] that history
requires more authentic testimony than that of an anonymous note.

But upon what testimony, then, do a large number of authors speak with
much pathos of the imprisonment which Galileo had to undergo? No sort
of documents are referred to as evidence of the story; this is quite
intelligible, for none exist. Or is the rhetorical phrase, “Galileus nunc
in vinculis detinetur,”[428] contained in a letter of May, 1633, from
Rome, from Holstein to Peiresc, to be taken as evidence that Galileo was
really languishing in the prisons of the Inquisition? One glance at the
truest historical source for the famous trial,—the official despatches
of Niccolini to Cioli, from 15th August, 1632, to 3rd December, 1633,
from which we have so freely quoted,—would have convinced any one that
Galileo spent altogether only twenty-two days (12-30th April, and
afterwards 21-24th June, 1633) in the buildings of the Holy Office; and
even then, not in a prison cell with grated windows, but in the handsome
and commodious apartment of an official of the Inquisition. But such
writers do not seem to have been in the habit of studying authorities;
thus, for example, in the “Histoire des Hérésies,” by P. Domenico
Bernini, and in the “Grande Dictionnaire Bibliographique” of Moreri, we
find it stated that Galileo was imprisoned five or six years at Rome!
Monteula, in his “Histoire des Mathematiques,” and Sir David Brewster, in
his “Martyrs of Science,” reduce the period, perhaps from pity for the
poor “martyr,” to one year; Delambre, however, felt no such compassion,
and says in his “Histoire de l’Astronomie Ancienne,” that Galileo was
condemned to an imprisonment which lasted “several years”! Such an error
is the more surprising from the last celebrated author, as we know that
trustworthy extracts from the original acts of the Vatican MS. were in
his hands.[429] Even in a very recent work, Drager’s “Geschichte der
Conflicte zwischen Religion und Wissenschaft,” Leipzig, 1875 (“History
of the Conflicts between Religion and Science”), it is seriously stated
that Galileo was detained three years in the prisons of the Inquisition!

Thus we see that the fable of Galileo’s imprisonment has been adopted by
several authors without any historical foundation, and this is to a far
greater extent the case with the famous story of the torture to which he
is said to have been subjected. As it has held its ground, although only
sporadically, even up to the most recent times,[430] it seems incumbent
on us to go more deeply into this disputed question.

Curiously enough, it is towards the end of the eighteenth century that
we find the first traces of this falsehood, and from the fact that three
_savans_, Frisi,[431] Brenna,[432] and Targioni,[433] who wrote lives of
Galileo at that time, raised a protest against it. Although they were
not then able, as we are now, to base their arguments upon the Acts of
the trial, they had even then authentic materials in their hands—the
despatches between Niccolini and Cioli,[434] then recently published by
Fabroni—which rendered it utterly improbable that the old man had been
placed upon the rack. These materials were thoroughly turned to account
eighty years later by T. B. Biot, in his essay, “La verité sur le procès
de Galilei.”[435] He clearly showed from the reports of the ambassador
that Galileo had neither suffered torture during his first stay in the
buildings of the Holy Office, from 12-30th April, when he daily wrote to
Niccolini,[436] and was in better health when he returned to the embassy
than when he left it;[437] nor during the three days of his second
detention, from 21-24th June, at the end of which he was conducted by
Niccolini, on the evening of the 24th, to the Villa Medici.[438] On 6th
July he set out thence, “in very good health,” for Siena, and in spite of
his advanced age performed four miles on foot for his own pleasure,[439]
which an infirm old man of seventy, if he had suffered torture a
fortnight before, would surely not have been able to do.

But all these plain indications go for nothing with some historians,
whose judgment is warped by partisanship, and who are not willing to give
up the notion that Galileo did suffer the pangs of torture. And so we
find this myth, at first mentioned by a few authors as a mere unauthentic
report, assuming a more and more distinct form, until it is brought
forward, with acute and learned arguments, as, to say the least, very
probable, by Libri, Brewster, Parchappe, Eckert, and others.

These writers base their assertion on the following passage in the

    “And whereas it appeared to us that you had not stated the full
    truth with regard to your intention, we thought it necessary to
    subject you to a rigorous examination (_examen rigorosum_), at
    which (without prejudice however, to the matters confessed by
    you, and set forth as above with regard to your said intention)
    you answered like a good Catholic.”

These writers assert, on the one hand, that the expression “_examen
rigorosum_,” in the vocabulary of the Inquisition could mean nothing
but torture; and on the other, they take the expression that Galileo
had “answered as a good Catholic” under _examen rigorosum_, to mean
that they had extorted from him a confession as to his intention, and
conclude that torture had been resorted to. But on closer scrutiny of the
wording of the passage, the meaning appears to be exactly the contrary;
for the sentence in parenthesis says plainly that Galileo had “answered
as a good Catholic” “_without prejudice_” to his previous depositions
or the conclusions which his judges had previously arrived at as to his
intention, and which Galileo persistently denied. His Catholic answer
consisted in his repeated assurance that he did not hold the opinion of
Copernicus, and had not held it after the command to renounce it had been
intimated to him. The Inquisition could but call this a Catholic answer,
as Galileo thereby entirely renounced the condemned doctrine.[440]

We turn now to the other assertion of these writers, that “_examen
rigorosum_” means torture. This is in a general sense correct, if by
torture the actual application of it is not intended. But they take the
passage in the sentence for decisive evidence that torture was actually
carried out, in which they are mistaken, as the following passage from
the “Sacro Arsenale” undoubtedly proves: “If the culprit who was merely
taken to the torture chamber, and there undressed, or also bound, without
however being lifted up, confessed, it was said that he had confessed
under torture and under _examen rigorosum_.”[441] The last expression
then by no means always implies the actual application of torture. Dr.
Wohlwill knows this passage, and the sentence therefore only proves to
him that Galileo was taken into the torture chamber; what took place
there, whether the old man was actually tortured, or whether they
contented themselves with urging him to speak the truth, and threatening
him with the instruments they were showing him (a degree of torture
called _territio realis_), appears shrouded in mystery to Dr. Wohlwill.
In spite of his acquaintance with the literature of the Inquisition, he
has fallen into a mistake. He thinks that the _territio realis_ was
the first degree of torture.[442] But this was not the case. Limborch’s
work, “Historia Inquisitionis,” with which Wohwill does not seem to be
acquainted, contains definite information on the point. He says that
there were five grades of torture, which followed in regular order, and
quotes the following passage verbatim from Julius Clarus: “Know then that
there are five degrees of torture: First, the threat of the rack; second,
being taken into the torture chamber; third, being undressed and bound;
fourth, being laid upon the rack; fifth, turning the rack.”[443] The
_territio realis_ was therefore by no means the first degree of torture;
the first was the threat of torture, still outside the torture chamber in
the ordinary court, called _territio verbalis_,[444] which proceeding we
find in the examination of Galileo on 21st June. The expression “_examen
rigorosum_” in the sentence, appears therefore, taking it to indicate
torture in a general sense, fully justified by historical facts.

It would be more difficult to prove that “_examen rigorosum_” in the
sentence meant actual torture, or _territio realis_. According to the
rules of the Holy Office, a number of strict regulations were prescribed
for the procedure, which began with taking the accused into the torture
chamber, and the neglect of any one of them made the whole examination
null and void. The most important were as follows: First, a short final
examination had to take place outside the torture chamber, at which
the accused was told that he had better confess, or recourse will be
had to torture. (This took place precisely according to the rules of
the Holy Office at Galileo’s trial at the examination on 21st June.)
If the accused persisted, and if in a special Congregation for this
case the necessity of recourse to torture had previously been agreed
upon[445] (this must have taken place in the Congregation of 16th June),
the judge had to order the removal of the accused, to the torture
chamber by a special formal decree, as follows:—“Tunc D.D. sedentes ...
visa pertinacia et obstinatione ipsius constitati, visoque et mature
considerato toto tenore processus ... decreverunt, ipsum constituum esse
torquendum tormento funis pro veritate habendo.... Et ideo mandaverunt
ipsum constitutum duci ad locum tormentorum.”[446]

Second, a notary of the Inquisition had to be present in the torture
chamber, and the judges had to see “that he noted down not only all the
answers of the accused, but all his expressions and movements, every word
that he uttered on the rack, even every sigh, cry, and groan.”[447]

Third, within twenty-four hours after his release from the torture
chamber, the accused had to ratify all his utterances under the torments
of the rack, or under threat of them, in the usual court. Otherwise the
whole proceeding was null and void.[448]

Of all these documents, which must have existed if actual torture had
been employed, or even if Galileo had been taken into the torture
chamber, there is not a trace in the Acts of the trial in the Vatican.
Dr. Wohlwill[449] and Dr. Scartazzini[450] assert, with more boldness
than evidence, that most of these documents did exist, but that
afterwards, and in the present century, as the whole of the documents
have been tampered with for a special purpose, these compromising papers
have been withdrawn! The Vatican MS. contains one document which, one
would think, is indisputable evidence that only the _territio verbalis_
was employed against Galileo. We allude to the Protocol of the last
examination of 21st June. Up to the final answer of the accused the
questions of the Inquisitor agree _verbatim_ with the formula of
examination which the “Sacro Arsenale” gives for questioning as to the
Intention;[451] but when, if it was intended to proceed to torture or
even to take Galileo into the torture chamber, the decree about it
should follow, we find instead the concluding sentence: “_Et cum nihil
aliud posset haberi in executionem decreti habita eius subscriptione
remissus fuit ad locum suum._” This is, up to the words “_in executionem
decreti_,” the usual concluding sentence of the last examination when it
ended without torture.[452] These exceptional words refer to the decree
of 16th June, 1633, which minutely described the judicial proceedings to
be taken against Galileo, and by which certainly the _threat_ of torture,
but by no means actual recourse to it, was ordained by the Pope and the
Sacred Congregation.[453]

The concluding sentence of the last examination of Galileo being on
the one hand in exact agreement with the decree of 16th June, and on
the other being a precise and definite statement, is a strong proof
of the correctness of the opinion long defended by calm and impartial
historians, like Albèri, Reumont, Biot, Cantor, Bouix, Troussart, Reusch,
and even the passionate opponent of Rome, Prof. Chasles, that Galileo’s
feeble frame was never subjected to the horrors of torture. Wohlwill also
acknowledges the force of this concluding sentence—if it be genuine. He
thinks these words are a falsification in the present century, while
originally Galileo’s last answer was followed by the necessary decree for
proceeding to torture, and then by the protocol about the proceedings in
the torture chamber. Dr. Scartazzini goes even further than Wohlwill, and
maintains that not only the concluding sentence, but the whole protocol
of the examination of 21st June, as now found in the Vatican MS., is a
later falsified insertion. We shall see why he thinks so by and by.

We may remark in passing, from our own experience, that it is always
venturesome to affirm that there are falsifications in a MS. without even
having seen it, to say nothing of having examined it. Thus, for instance,
a glance at the original shows on material grounds that there can be no
suspicion of falsification or later insertion in the protocol of 21st
June. Both pages on which it is written, fols. 452, 453, are second pages
to fols. 413 and 414, on which the protocol of Galileo’s trial of 12th
April begins. A later insertion is therefore an impossibility. Besides,
the protocol of 21st June ends in the middle of fol. 435 ro, and, after
a space of scarcely two fingers’ breadth follows an annotation of 30th
June, 1633, in exactly the same handwriting as the annotations of 16th
June, 1633, 23rd September, 9th and 30th December, 1632. This really
seems to render the bold conjecture of falsification wholly untenable.

The unquestioned genuineness of Galileo’s signature, which concludes
this as well as all the other protocols, is also a guarantee of its
authenticity. Dr. Scartazzini has taken advantage of our information
that this signature, unlike all Galileo’s others, is in a very trembling
hand, to assert that it is not genuine. We are of opinion that a forger
would have taken every pains to make the signature as much like the
others as possible, and certainly would not have written in remarkably
trembling characters. No; this signature, which is unmistakably like the
rest, reflects his fearful agitation, and is by no means a forgery of the
nineteenth century.

Let us see now why Dr. Scartazzini insists that not only the concluding
sentence, but the whole protocol of 21st June, is a falsification. The
reason is not far to seek. As we have seen, according to the rules of the
Inquisition, if Galileo had really suffered torture, or if they had only
proceeded to _territio realis_ against him, within twenty-four hours of
leaving the torture chamber he would have had to confirm the depositions
made there, in the ordinary court. But the passing of the sentence and
the recantation took place on the 22nd, on the day therefore on which the
tortured Galileo would have had to ratify these depositions, and not till
after this could the sentence be legally drawn up. Dr. Scartazzini sees
plainly enough that Galileo’s ratification, the drawing up and passing
of the sentence, and the recantation, could not possibly all have taken
place in one morning. But he finds his way out of this _cul-de-sac_ in
a remarkably simple manner; he boldly asserts that the date is false,
that the last examination was not on 21st June, but earlier, perhaps
on the 17th! The whole protocol, therefore, must be false. Of course
Dr. Scartazzini has not a shadow of evidence to give for his assertion.
He contents himself with the singular reason that the papal decree of
16th June did not admit of a delay of five or six days, but would be at
once carried out.[454] This arbitrary assertion is contradicted by the
official report of Niccolini to Cioli of 26th June, 1633, in which he
says that Galileo was summoned on Monday evening to the Holy Office, and
went on Tuesday morning to learn what was wanted of him; he was detained
there, and taken on Wednesday to the Minerva.[455] The dates given by
Niccolini agree precisely with those of the protocol of Galileo’s last
hearing, which is assumed to be false! In face of this evidence, so
conclusive for any serious historian, Dr. Scartazzini remarks: “the
Tuscan ambassador’s memory must have failed him, whether involuntarily
or voluntarily.”[456] We leave all comment on this kind of historical
evidence to the reader.

But we must raise a decided protest, in the name of impartial
history, against the way in which Dr. Scartazzini, in order to lend
some probability to the above remark, afterwards tries to make out
that Niccolini had repeatedly sent romances to Florence, in order to
represent to the Grand Duke, who was so anxious about Galileo, how much
he (Niccolini) had exerted himself for him, and had actually achieved.
Thus Dr. Scartazzini comes to the conclusion, which must excite the ire
of every right-minded person, that “the Tuscan ambassador, Niccolini,
is a liar.”[457] Niccolini then, Galileo’s noblest, most devoted, and
indefatigable friend, who was at his side in every difficulty, and
certainly did more for him at Rome than was ordered at Florence, and
perhaps even more than was approved,—this historical figure, worthy of
our utmost reverence,—was a liar! Happily it is with Dr. Scartazzini
alone that the odium of the accusation rests; in the annals of _history_,
the name of Niccolini stands untarnished, and every Italian, every
educated man, will think with gratitude of the man who nobly and
disinterestedly stood by the side of Galileo Galilei at the time of his
greatest peril. Honour be for ever to his memory!

We give, in conclusion, one more instance of a curious kind of evidence
that Galileo really was subjected to torture. Professor Eckert thinks he
knows with “almost geometrical certainty that Galileo suffered torture
during the twenty-four hours which he spent before the Inquisition.”
In proof of this assertion the author says: “In conclusion, the two
hernias which the unfortunate old man had after his return is a proof
that he must have endured that kind of torture called _il tormento della
corda_.”[458] This shrewd conclusion falls to the ground in face of
the medical certificate of 17th December, 1632, wherein among the rest
we find: “We have also observed a serious hernia, with rupture of the
peritoneum.”[459] And further, this certificate affords indisputable
evidence that both his age[460] and his state of health, in consequence
of the rupture, were sufficient to protect him against torture according
to the rules of the Holy Office.[461] Galileo would have had to be
professionally examined by a physician and surgeon, and, according to
their written report, he would either have been subjected to torture,
or a dispensation would have been granted against it, and all this
would have been minutely recorded in the Acts of the trial.[462] It is
needless to say that among these papers there is not a trace either of
any protest of Galileo’s, nor of the certificates of the physicians of
the Holy Office; and that according to the protocol of the hearing of
21st June, it never went so far, and the Pope himself, as the decree of
16th June undoubtedly proves, never intended that it should.

No, Galileo never suffered bodily torture, nor was he even terrified by
being taken into the torture chamber and shown the instruments; he was
only mentally stretched upon the rack, by the verbal threat of it in the
ordinary judgment hall, while the whole painful procedure, and finally
the humiliating public recantation, was but a prolonged torture for the
old man in his deep distress. Libri, Brewster, and other rhetorical
authors have desired to stamp Galileo as a “martyr of science” in the
full sense of the words. But this will not do for two reasons, as Henri
Martin[463] justly points out. In the first place, Galileo did not suffer
torture; and in the second, a true martyr, that is, a witness unto blood,
never under any circumstances, not even on burning coals, abjures his
opinions, or he does not deserve the name.

For the sake of Galileo’s moral greatness, his submission may be
regretted, but at all events greater benefit has accrued from it to
science, than if, in consequence of a noble steadfastness which we should
have greeted with enthusiasm, he had perished prematurely at the stake
or had languished in the dungeons of the Inquisition. It was after the
famous trial that he presented the world with his immortal “Dialoghi
delle Nuove Scienze.”





    Arrival at Siena.—Request to the Grand Duke of Tuscany
    to ask for his release.—Postponed on the advice of
    Niccolini.—Endeavours at Rome to stifle the Copernican
    System.—Sentence and Recantation sent to all the Inquisitors
    of Italy.—Letter to the Inquisitor of Venice.—Mandate
    against the Publication of any New Work of Galileo’s
    or New Edition.—Curious Arguments in favour of the Old
    System.—Niccolini asks for Galileo’s release.—Refusal,
    but permission given to go to Arcetri.—Anonymous
    accusations.—Death of his Daughter.—Request for permission
    to go to Florence.—Harsh refusal and threat.—Letter to
    Diodati.—Again at work.—Intervention of the Count de Noailles
    on his behalf.—Prediction that he will be compared to
    Socrates.—Letter to Peiresc.—Publication of Galileo’s Works in
    Holland.—Continued efforts of Noailles.—Urban’s fair speeches.

Galileo arrived safely at Siena on 9th July, and was most heartily
welcomed by Ascanio Piccolomini.[464] But neither his devoted kindness,
nor stimulating converse with his friend, who was well versed in
science, and the learned Alessandro Marsili, who lived at Siena, could
make him forget that he was still a prisoner of the Inquisition, and
that his residence there was compulsory. He longed for liberty, the
highest earthly good, and next to this for Florence, which had become
a second home to him. In order to attain this fervent desire, on 23rd
July he addressed a letter to Cioli,[465] with an urgent request that
his Highness the Grand Duke, to please whom Urban VIII. had done so
much, would be graciously pleased to ask the Pope, on whose will alone
it depended, for his release. Only five days afterwards, Galileo
received tidings from Cioli that Ferdinand II. had in the kindest
manner consented to make the attempt, and that Niccolini was already
commissioned to petition at the Vatican, in the name of the Grand Duke,
for a full pardon for his chief philosopher.[466] But the ambassador
had good reasons for thinking that it was too soon, and that it would
certainly be in vain to ask for Galileo’s entire release, and replied to
this effect to Cioli, adding the advice not to do anything in it till
autumn.[467] It was therefore decided at Florence, in consideration of
Niccolini’s doubts and his intimate knowledge of affairs at Rome, not
to intervene with the Pope in favour of Galileo for two months, which
decision was communicated by Bocchineri to the prisoner at Siena in a
letter of 13th August.[468]

While Galileo was bearing his banishment in Siena, which Ascanio
Piccolomini did all in his power to ameliorate, with resignation, and
was even diligently at work on his “Dialoghi delle Nuove Scienze,” war
was being waged with great vigour against the Copernican doctrine at
Rome, and the utmost efforts were being made to stifle it in Catholic
countries in general, and in Italy in particular. Urban VIII. first
visited with severe punishment all those dignitaries of the Church who,
in virtue of their official position, had conduced to the publication
of the “Dialogues.” Father Riccardi was deprived of his office, and the
Inquisitor at Florence was reprimanded for having given permission to
print the work.[469] In accordance with a decree passed in the sitting
of the Congregation of 16th June, 1633, the sentence on, and recantation
of, Galileo were sent to all the nunciatures of Europe, as well as to
all archbishops, bishops, and inquisitors of Italy. The form in which
this commission was issued to the ecclesiastical dignitaries is of great
historical interest. One of the letters which accompanied the decree and
ordered its publication has been preserved to us by Father Polacco in his
“Anti-Copernicus Catholicus,” published at Venice in 1644.[470] It was
addressed to the Inquisitor at Venice, and was as follows; the rest were
probably similar:—

    Most Reverend Father,—

    Although the treatise of Nicholas Copernicus, ‘De
    Revolutionibus Orbium Celestium,’ had been suspended by the
    Congregation of the Index, because it was therein maintained
    that the earth moves, but not the sun, but that it stands
    still in the centre of the world (which opinion is contrary to
    Holy Scripture); and although many years ago, Galileo Galilei,
    Florentine, was forbidden by the Congregation of this Holy
    Office to hold, defend, or teach the said opinion in any way
    whatsoever, either verbally or in writing; the said Galileo
    ventured nevertheless to write a book signed Galileo Galilei
    Linceus; and as he did not mention the said prohibition, he
    extorted licence to print, and did then actually have it
    printed. He stated, in the beginning, middle, and end of it,
    that he intended to treat the said opinion of Copernicus
    hypothetically, but he did it in such a manner (though he ought
    not to have discussed it in any way) as to render himself
    very suspicious of adhering to this opinion. Being tried on
    this account, and in accordance with the sentence of their
    Eminences, my Lords, confined in the prison of the Holy Office,
    he was condemned to renounce this opinion, to remain in prison
    during their Eminences’ pleasure, and to perform other salutary
    penances; as your Reverences will see by the subjoined copy of
    the sentence and abjuration, which is sent to you that you may
    make it known to your vicars, and that you and all professors
    of philosophy and mathematics may have knowledge of it; that
    they may know why they proceeded against the said Galileo, and
    recognise 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.

                    Your Reverences, as brother,

                                         Cardinal of St. Onufrius.

    Rome, 2nd July, 1633.

Again it is worthy of note, that even in this letter it was deemed
necessary to lay special stress on the circumstance that Galileo had
acted contrary to a special prohibition issued several years before. But
then, to be sure, this formed the only _legal_ ground for the proceedings
against him.

From a letter from Guiducci to Galileo from Florence of 27th August,[471]
we learn the manner in which the publication had taken place there, on
the 12th. Both the documents were read aloud in a large assembly of
counsellors of the Holy Office, canons and other priests, professors
of mathematics and friends of Galileo, such as Pandolfini, Aggiunti,
Rinuccini, Peri, and others, who had been invited to the ceremony. This
proceeding was followed in all the more important cities of Italy, as
well as in the larger ones of Catholic Europe. It is characteristic
of the great split which existed in the scientific world about the
Copernican system, that Professor Kellison, Rector of the University of
Douai, wrote in reply to a letter of the Nuncio at Brussels, who had sent
the sentence and recantation of Galileo to that academy: “The professors
of our university are so opposed to that fanatical opinion (_phanaticæ
opinioni_), that they have always held that it must be banished from the
schools.... In our English college at Douai this paradox has never been
approved, and never will be.”[472]

The Roman curia, however, did not confine itself to trying to frighten
all good Catholics from accepting the Copernican doctrine by as wide a
circulation as possible of the sentence against Galileo; but in order to
suppress it altogether as far as might be, especially in Italy, all the
Italian Inquisitors received orders neither to permit the publication of
a new edition of any of Galileo’s works, nor of any new work.[473] On the
other hand, the Aristotelians, who had been very active since the trial,
were encouraged to confute the illustrious dead, Copernicus and Kepler,
and the now silenced Galileo, with tongue and pen. Thus in the succeeding
decades the book market was flooded with refutations of the Copernican

In fighting truth with falsehood very curious demonstrations were sure
now and then to come to light on the part of the adherents of the wisdom
of the ancients. We will here only mention a book dedicated to Cardinal
Barberini, which appeared in 1633: “Difesa di Scipione Chiaramonti
da Cesena al suo Antiticone, e libro delle tre nuove stelle, dall’
opposizioni dell’Autore de’ due massimi sistemi Tolemaico e Copernicano,”
in which such sagacious arguments as the following are adduced against
the doctrine of the double motion of the earth:—

    “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 centre 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.”[475]

But although Galileo was condemned to silence, there were courageous and
enlightened men who, in spite of the famous sentence of the Inquisition,
not only rejected such absurdities but made energetic advance along the
new paths. At the Vatican, however, they seemed disposed, as we shall
soon see, to make Galileo answerable for the defence of the Copernican
system in Italy. For instance, at the beginning of November the Tuscan
ambassador thought the time was come to take steps for obtaining pardon
for Galileo with some prospect of success; and at an audience of the
Pope on 12th November he asked, on behalf of the Grand Duke, for the
prisoner’s release. Urban replied somewhat ungraciously, that he would
see what could be done, and would consult with the Congregation of the
Holy Office; but he remarked that it had come to his ears that some
people were writing in defence of the Copernican system. Niccolini
hastened to assure him that Galileo was not in the least implicated
in it, and that it was done entirely without his knowledge. Urban
answered drily, that he had not been exactly informed that Galileo had
anything to do with it, but he had better beware of the Holy Office. In
spite of reiterated urgent entreaty, Niccolini could get nothing more
definite about Galileo’s release than the above evasive promise, and he
communicated the doubtful success of his mission to Cioli in a despatch
of 13th November,[476] in rather a depressed state of mind.

Urban was not disposed to grant a full pardon to Galileo, and therefore
made a pretext of the Congregation to the ambassador, as if the decision
depended upon it, whereas it rested entirely with himself. Niccolini,
however, still persisted in his efforts. He went to Cardinal Barberini
and other members of the Holy Office, warmly recommending him to their
protection.[477] Meanwhile an indisposition of the Pope, which lasted
fourteen days, delayed the decision, as the Congregation did not venture
to come to any without his concurrence. At length he made his appearance
in the sitting of the Congregation of 1st December, and through the
mediation of Cardinal Barberini, the petition for Galileo’s release was
at once laid before him.[478] It was refused; but he was to be permitted
to retire to a villa at Arcetri, a _miglio_ from Florence, where he was
to remain until he heard further; he was not to receive any visits, but
to live in the greatest retirement.[479] Niccolini informed him of this
amelioration of his circumstances in a letter of 3rd December,[480] with
the expression of great regret that he could not at present obtain his
entire liberation. He added that the Pope had charged him to say that
Galileo might go to Arcetri at once, that he might receive his friends
and relations there, but not in large numbers at one time, as this might
give rise to the idea that he was giving scientific lectures. A few days
after the receipt of this letter Galileo set out for Arcetri.[481]

No sooner had he reached his villa, called “il Giojello,” which was
pleasantly situated, than he made it his first care to thank Cardinal
Barberini warmly for his urgent intercession, which had, however, only
effected this fresh alleviation of his sad fate.[482] Some rhetorical
historians make Galileo’s two daughters leave the Convent of St. Matteo,
which was certainly within gunshot of “Giojello,” in order to tend their
old and suffering father with childlike and tender care; a touching
picture, but without any historical foundation. On the contrary, it was
really one of Galileo’s greatest consolations to pay frequent visits to
his daughters, to whom he was tenderly attached, at St. Matteo, when
permitted to do so by the Holy Office. It was also a great satisfaction
to him that on a very early day after his arrival at Arcetri the Grand
Duke came from Florence, and paid the convict of the Inquisition a long

But while Galileo was once more partaking of some pleasures, the
implacable malice of his enemies never slumbered. There were even
some who would have been glad to know that he was for ever safe in the
dungeons of the Inquisition. As, however, he gave them no pretext on
which they could, with any shadow of justice, have seized him, they had
recourse to the most disgraceful means—to lying, anonymous denunciation,
in which his enlightened and therefore disliked friend, the Archbishop
Ascanio Piccolomini, was ingeniously involved. On 1st February, 1634,
the following communication, without signature, was received at the Holy
Office at Rome from Siena:—

    Most Reverend Sirs,—

    _Galileo has diffused in this city opinions not very Catholic_,
    urged on by this Archbishop, his host, who has suggested to
    many persons that Galileo had been unjustly treated with so
    much severity by the Holy Office, and that he neither could nor
    would give up his philosophical opinions which he had defended
    with irrefragable and true mathematical arguments; also that he
    is the first man in the world, and will live for ever in his
    works, to which, although prohibited, all modern distinguished
    men give in their adherence. Now since seeds like these, sown
    by a prelate of the Church, might bring forth evil fruit, a
    report is made of them.[484]

Although this cowardly denunciation did not bear any immediate
consequences either to Piccolomini or Galileo, events which took place
soon after show most clearly the unfavourable impression it produced at
the Vatican. Galileo, who was very unwell, asked permission of the Pope,
through the mediation of his faithful friend Niccolini, to move into
Florence for the sake of the regular medical treatment which he required,
and which he could not well have at the villa outside the city.[485] As
if to dye his tragic fate still darker, just while he was awaiting the
result of Niccolini’s efforts, his favourite daughter Polissena, or by
her conventual name Marie Celeste, was taken so ill that her life was
soon despaired of.

It was on one of the last days of March that Galileo was returning to
his villa with a physician from a visit to his dying daughter at the
Convent of St. Matteo, in deep depression of spirits. On the way the
physician had prepared him for the worst by telling him that the patient
would scarcely survive till the morning, which proved to be the case.
On entering his house in anguish of soul, he found the messenger of the
Inquisition there, who in the name of the Holy Office gave him a strict
injunction to abstain from all such petitions in future, unless he
desired to compel the Inquisition to imprison him again. This unmerciful
proceeding had been ordered by a papal mandate of 23rd March.[486] The
Inquisitor at Florence reported on it on 1st April to Cardinal Barberini,
as follows:—

    “I have communicated to Galileo what was commanded by your
    Eminence. He adduced as an excuse that he had only done it on
    account of a frightful rupture. But the villa he lives in is
    so near the city that he can easily have the physicians and
    surgeons there, as well as the medicines he requires.”[487]

A passage in a letter from Galileo to Geri Bocchineri at Florence, of
27th April, shows that the excuse was no empty pretext, and that he
urgently needed to have medical aid always at hand. He says:—

    “I am going to write to you about my health, which is very
    bad. I suffer much more from the rupture than has been the
    case before; my pulse intermits, and I have often violent
    palpitation of the heart; then the most profound melancholy has
    come over me. I have no appetite, and loathe myself; in short,
    I feel myself perpetually called by my beloved daughter. Under
    these circumstances I do not think it advisable that Vincenzo
    should set out on a journey now, as events might occur at any
    time which might make his presence desirable, for besides what
    I have mentioned, continued sleeplessness alarms me not a

A letter to Diodati at Paris, from Galileo, of 25th July, is also
of great interest; an insight may be gained from it, not only into
his melancholy state of mind, but it also contains some remarkable
indications of the motives for the fierce persecution on the part of
Rome. We give the portions of the letter which are important for our

    “I hope that when you hear of my past and present misfortunes,
    and my anxiety about those perhaps still to come, it will
    serve as an excuse to you and my other friends and patrons
    there (at Paris), for my long delay in answering your letter,
    and to them for my entire silence, as they can learn from
    you the unhappy turn which my affairs have taken. According
    to the sentence pronounced on me by the Holy Office, I was
    condemned to imprisonment during the pleasure of his Holiness,
    who was pleased, however, to assign the palace and gardens
    of the Grand Duke near the Trinità dei Monti, as my place of
    imprisonment. As this was in June of last year, and I had been
    given to understand that if I asked for a full pardon after the
    lapse of that and the following month, I should receive it, I
    asked meanwhile, to avoid having to spend the whole summer and
    perhaps part of the autumn there, to be allowed, on account of
    the season, to go to Siena, where the Archbishop’s house was
    assigned to me as a residence. I staid there five months, when
    this durance was exchanged for banishment to this little villa,
    a _miglio_ from Florence, with a strict injunction not to go
    to the city, and neither to receive the visits of many friends
    at once, nor to invite any. Here, then, I was living, keeping
    perfectly quiet, and paying frequent visits to a neighbouring
    convent, where two daughters of mine were living as nuns; I
    was very fond of them, especially of the eldest, who possessed
    high mental gifts, combined with rare goodness of heart, and
    she was very much attached to me. During my absence, which
    she considered very perilous for me, she fell into a profound
    melancholy, which undermined her health, and she was at last
    attacked by a violent dysentery, of which she died after six
    days’ illness, just thirty-three years of age, leaving me in
    the deepest grief, which was increased by another calamity.
    On returning home from the convent, in company with the
    doctor who visited my sick daughter shortly before her death,
    and who had just told me that her situation was desperate,
    and that she would scarcely survive till the next day, as
    indeed it proved, I found the Inquisitor’s Vicar here, who
    informed me of a mandate from the Holy Office at Rome, which
    had just been communicated to the Inquisitor in a letter from
    Cardinal Barberini, that I must in future abstain from asking
    permission to return to Florence, _or they would take me back
    there (to Rome), and put me in the actual prison of the Holy
    Office_. This was the answer to the petition, which the Tuscan
    ambassador had presented to that tribunal after I had been nine
    months in exile! From this answer it seems to me that, in all
    probability, my present prison will only be exchanged for that
    narrow and long-enduring one which awaits us all.

    From this and other circumstances, which it would take too long
    to repeat here, it will be seen that the fury of my powerful
    persecutors continually increases. They have at length chosen
    to reveal themselves to me; for about two months ago, when
    a dear friend of mine at Rome was speaking of my affairs to
    Father Christopher Griemberger, mathematician at the college
    there, this Jesuit uttered the following precise words:—‘_If
    Galileo had only known how to retain the favour of the fathers
    of this college, he would have stood in renown before the
    world, he would have been spared all his misfortunes, and could
    have written what he pleased about everything, even about the
    motion of the earth._’ From this you will see, honoured Sir,
    that it is not this opinion or that which has brought, and
    still brings about my calamities, _but my being in disgrace
    with the Jesuits_.

    I have also other proofs of the watchfulness of my persecutors.
    One is that a letter from some foreigner, I do not know from
    whom, addressed to me at Rome, where he supposed me still to
    be, was intercepted, and delivered to Cardinal Barberini. It
    was fortunate for me, as was afterwards written to me from
    Rome, that it did not purport to be an answer to one from
    me, but a communication containing the warmest praises of my
    “Dialogues.” It was seen by many persons, and, as I hear,
    copies of it were circulated at Rome. I have also been told
    that I might see it. To add to all this, there are other mental
    disquietudes and many bodily sufferings oppressing me at the
    age of over seventy years, so that the least exertion is a
    torment and a burden to me. In consideration of all this, my
    friends must be indulgent to me for omissions which look like
    neglect, but really arise from inability.”[489]

This deep dejection, however, could not last long with a man of so
active a mind as Galileo. The impulse which had been implanted in him
to investigate the problems of nature was too strong to be repressed by
either mental or bodily sufferings. So far from it, it was this which,
ever re-asserting itself with its normal energy, helped him to bear
them with resignation, and he often forgot his painful situation in his
scientific speculations. Thus, but a few months after his daughter’s
death, we find him rousing himself and eagerly at work again on his
masterpiece, the “Dialoghi delle Nuove Scienze.”[490] He also resumed
his extensive scientific correspondence, of which unfortunately, and
especially of the following year, 1635, the letters of his correspondents
only have mostly come down to us.[491]

While the prisoner of Arcetri was thus eagerly fulfilling his great
mission to his age, his friends were exerting themselves in vain to
obtain at least an extension of his liberty. The Count de Noailles,
French ambassador at Rome, had once attended Galileo’s lectures at Padua,
and had become so enthusiastic an adherent, that he afterwards told
Castelli that he must see Galileo once more before leaving Italy, even if
he walked fifty miles on purpose.[492] He therefore united his efforts
with Niccolini’s to obtain some amelioration for Galileo. But in vain. At
an audience which Niccolini had on 8th December, 1634, Urban said indeed
that he esteemed Galileo very highly, and was well disposed towards him;
but all remained as before.[493]

In the year 1634 the band of dauntless men, who again and again
ventured to attempt to obtain Galileo’s liberty from the papal chair,
was increased by the celebrated officer of state and man of learning,
Fabri von Peiresc. Like Noailles, he had attended Galileo’s lectures
at Padua,[494] had since been one of his most ardent admirers, and had
long maintained friendly intercourse with Cardinal Francesco Barberini.
Peiresc now interceded eagerly with this prelate for Galileo, and even
ventured openly to say, in a long and pressing letter of 5th December,
1634, to Barberini:—[495] ... “Really such proceedings will be
considered very harsh, and far more so by posterity than at present, when
no one, as it appears, cares for anything but his own interests. Indeed,
it will be a blot upon the brilliance and renown of the pontificate
of Urban VIII., unless your Eminence resolves to devote your special
attention to this affair....” On 2nd January, 1635, Barberini wrote
a long letter in reply,[496] in which he was prolix enough on many
subjects, but about Galileo he only made the dry remark, towards the end
of the letter, that he would not fail to speak to his Holiness about it,
but Peiresc must excuse him if, as a member of the Holy Office, he did
not go into the subject more particularly. In spite of this, however,
only four weeks later, Peiresc again urged Barberini, in a letter of
31st January,[497] to exert his powerful influence on behalf of Galileo.
Peiresc justified his zeal by saying, “that it arose as much from
regard for the honour and good name of the present pontificate, as from
affection for the venerable and famous old man, Galileo; for it might
well happen, by a continuance of the harsh proceedings against him, that
some day posterity would compare them with the persecutions to which
Socrates was subjected.”[498]

Galileo, who had received copies of these letters, thanked Peiresc most
warmly in a letter of 21st February, 1635, for his noble though fruitless
efforts, and added the following remarkable words:—

    “As I have said, I do not hope for any amelioration, and this
    because I have not committed any crime. I might expect pardon
    and favour if I had done wrong, for wrong-doing affords rulers
    occasion for the exercise of clemency and pardon, while towards
    an innocent man under condemnation, it behoves them to maintain
    the utmost severity, in order to show that they have proceeded
    according to law. But believe me, revered sir, and it will
    console you to know it, this troubles me less than would be
    supposed, for two grounds of consolation continually come to
    my aid: one of these is, that in looking all through my works,
    no one can find the least shadow of anything which deviates
    from love and veneration for the Holy Church; the other is my
    own conscience, which can only be fully known to myself on
    earth and to God in heaven. He knows that in the cause for
    which I suffer, many might have acted and spoken with far more
    learning and knowledge, but no one, not even among the holy
    fathers, with more piety and greater zeal for the Holy Church,
    nor altogether with purer intentions. My sincerely religious,
    pious spirit would only be the more apparent if the calumnies,
    intrigues, stratagems, and deceptions, which were resorted to
    eighteen years ago to deceive and blind the authorities, were
    brought to the light of day.”[499]

If the issue of the assumed stringent prohibition of 1616 were admitted,
this letter would be a piece of hypocrisy as glaring as it was
purposeless; for in that case Galileo would not have been an innocent
man under condemnation, who had committed no crime, and his conscience
could not have consoled him in his painful situation. What he wrote to
Peiresc about his religious spirit was also quite true, Galileo really
was a truly religious man; his own revolutionary discoveries had not for
a moment given rise to any doubts in his mind of supernatural mysteries
as taught by the Roman Catholic Church. All his letters, even to his
most intimate friends, proclaim it indisputably. He also perfectly well
knew how to make his researches and their results agree with the dogmas
of his religion, as is clear from his explanations to Castelli, Mgr.
Dini, and the Grand Duchess Christine. The strangest contradictions were
continually arising from this blending of a learned man striving to
search out the truths of nature, and a member of the only true Church
bound in the fetters of illusive credulity. Thus, at the end of 1633,
he did not hesitate to act in opposition to his solemn oath, literally
construed, by secretly sending a copy of his condemned and prohibited
“Dialogues” to Diodati, at Paris, that they might be translated into
Latin, and thus be more widely circulated. In 1635 the work really
appeared in a Latin translation, from the press of the Elzevirs, in
Holland, edited by a Strasburg professor, Mathias Bernegger, in order
that no suspicion might rest upon Galileo of having had anything to do
with it.[500] Such an act was very improper for a pious Catholic, and
Galileo really was one. In the following year, however, he told his old
friend, Fra Fulgenzio Micanzio, at Venice, with great delight, that
Bernegger had brought out by the same publishers the Apology to the Grand
Duchess Christine of 1615, in Italian with a Latin translation. The
secret translator, concealed under the pseudonym of Ruberto Robertini
Borasso, was also Diodati.[501] In a letter to Micanzio, as well as in
another of 12th July, Galileo expressed an ardent wish that a large
number of copies of it might be introduced into Italy, “to shame his
enemies and calumniators.”[502] As we know, this letter to the Grand
Duchess contained nothing but a theological apology for the Copernican
system, so that what gratified Galileo so much in its publication, was
that the world would now learn that he, who had been denounced as a
heretic, had always been an orthodox Christian, into whose head it had
never entered, as his enemies gave out, to attack the holy faith. Martin
is quite justified in saying that “the reputation of a good Christian and
true Catholic was as dear to Galileo as that of a good astronomer.”[503]

While Galileo was enjoying the twofold satisfaction of seeing his
“Dialogues” attain a wider circulation (they had meanwhile been
translated into English),[504] and yet of being acknowledged as a pious
subject of the Roman Catholic Church, the Count de Noailles continued
his efforts at Rome, before his approaching departure from Italy, to
obtain pardon for Galileo. Castelli, who, in consequence of his too great
devotion to Galileo and his system, had been banished for three years
from Urban’s presence, had at length, by the end of 1635, been taken
into favour again,[505] and reported faithfully to Galileo all the steps
taken to procure his liberty. The utmost caution had been exercised in
order to attain this end.[506] Count Noailles and Castelli had persuaded
Cardinal Antonio Barberini, in repeated interviews, that nothing had been
further from Galileo’s intention than to offend or make game of Urban
VIII., upon which the cardinal, at the request of the French ambassador,
promised to intercede with his papal brother for Galileo. On 11th July
Noailles made the same assurances to the Pope at an audience, whereupon
he exclaimed: “Lo crediamo, lo crediamo!” (We believe it), and again
said that he was personally very well disposed to Galileo, and had
always liked him; but when Noailles began to speak of his liberation,
he said evasively that _this affair was of the greatest moment to all
Christendom_. The French diplomatist, who knew Urban’s irritable temper,
did not think it advisable to press him further, and consoled himself for
the time, even after this cool reply, with the thought that the brother
cardinal had promised to use his good offices for Galileo.

Castelli informed Galileo in a letter of 12th July[507] of all this, and
advised him to write a letter of thanks to Cardinal Antonio for his kind
intercession, which he at once did.[508] Noailles placed all his hopes on
a farewell audience with the Pope, in which he meant to ask for Galileo’s
pardon. On 8th August he drove for the last time to the Vatican. Urban
was very gracious, and when Galileo’s affairs were introduced he even
promised at last to bring the subject before the Holy Congregation.[509]
Noailles told Cardinal Antonio of this most favourable result with joyful
emotion, who said at once: “Good! good! and I will speak to all the
cardinals of the Holy Congregation.”[510] They were apparently justified
in entertaining the most sanguine hopes, but the future taught them that
all this was nothing but fair speeches with which Urban had taken leave
of the French ambassador. For there can be no doubt that if the Pope,
with his absolute power, had been in earnest about Galileo’s liberation,
the Congregation would not have been slow to comply with his wishes.
Galileo, however, remained as before, a prisoner in his villa at Arcetri,
which he had meanwhile bought, and the papal favour, of which a promise
had been held out, was limited to allowing him, at the end of September,
to accept an invitation from the Grand Duke to visit him at his Villa
Mezzomonte, three miles from Florence,[511] and on 16th October to
leave his place of exile for one day to greet the Count de Noailles, at
Poggibonsi, in passing through it on his way to France.[512] This was the
extent of the papal clemency for the present, and it was not till the old
man was quite blind and hopelessly ill, with one foot in the grave, that
any humane feeling was awakened for him at the Vatican.



    Galileo’s Labours at Arcetri.—Completion of the “Dialoghi delle
    Nuove Scienze.”—Sends it to the Elzevirs at Leyden.—Method
    of taking Longitudes at Sea.—Declined by Spain and offered
    to Holland.—Discovery of the Libration and Titubation of the
    Moon.—Visit from Milton.—Becomes Blind.—Letter to Diodati.—On
    a hint from Castelli petitions for his Liberty.—The Inquisitor
    to visit him and report to Rome.—Permitted to live at Florence
    under Restrictions.—The States-General appoint a Delegate to
    see him on the Longitude Question.—The Inquisitor sends word
    of it to Rome.—Galileo not to receive a Heretic.—Presents
    from the States-General refused from fear of Rome.—Letter to
    Diodati.—Galileo supposed to be near his End.—Request that
    Castelli might come to him.—Permitted under Restrictions.—The
    new “Dialoghi” appear at Leyden, 1638.—They founded Mechanical
    Physics.—Attract much Notice.—Improvement of Health.—In 1639
    goes to Arcetri again, probably not voluntarily.

Galileo was unceasingly active in his seclusion at Arcetri. In the year
1636 he completed his famous “Dialoghi delle Nuove Scienze.”[513] He also
exerted himself, like a loving father who wishes to see his children
provided for before he dies, about the preservation and republication
of his works which were quite out of print. But all these efforts were
frustrated by envy, ecclesiastical intolerance, and the unfavourable
times. His cherished scheme of bringing out an edition of his collected
works could neither be carried out by the French mathematician, Carcavy,
who had warmly taken up the subject,[514] nor by the Elzevirs through
the mediation of Micanzio.[515] He had also to give up his project of
dedicating his “Dialoghi delle Nuove Scienze” to the German Emperor,
Ferdinand II., and of publishing them at Vienna, as he learnt from his
friend and former pupil there, Giovanni Pieroni, that his implacable
foes, the Jesuits, were all-powerful; that Ferdinand himself was entirely
under their influence; and moreover that his bitterest foe, Father
Scheiner, was just then at Vienna.[516] In the following year, however
(1637), Pieroni succeeded by his prudent and untiring efforts, during
the temporary absence of Scheiner, in obtaining a licence for Galileo’s
latest work,[517] and afterwards one at Olmütz also; but meanwhile he had
sent the MS. by Micanzio[518] to be printed by the Elzevirs at Leyden,
and, under the circumstances described by Pieroni, he did not prefer to
bring out his book at a place where his bitterest enemies were in power.

He was at this time also deeply interested in a subject which originated
as far back as 1610. It had occurred to him soon after the discovery
of Jupiter’s moons, by a series of observations of them, to make
astronomical calculations and tables which would enable him to predict
every year their configurations, their relative positions and occasional
eclipses with the utmost precision; this would furnish the means of
ascertaining the longitude of the point of observation at any hour of
the night, which appeared to be of special importance to navigation.
For hitherto the eclipses of the sun and moon had had to be employed
for the purpose, which, however, on account of their rarity and the
want of precise calculation, were neither entirely to be relied on nor
sufficient. Galileo had offered his discovery,—the practical value of
which he overrated,—in 1612, to the Spanish Government, and in 1616
tedious negotiations were carried on about it, which however led to
no result, were then postponed till 1620, and in 1630 entirely given
up.[519] Now (August, 1636,) as he heard that the Dutch merchants
had even offered a premium of thirty thousand scudi to any one who
should invent a sure method of taking longitudes at sea, he ventured,
without the knowledge of the Inquisition, to offer his invention to the
Protestant States-General. Diodati at Paris was the mediator in these
secret and ceremonious negotiations. On 11th November, Galileo’s offer
was entertained in the most flattering manner in the Assembly of the
States-General, and a commission was appointed, consisting of the four
_savans_, Realius, Hortensius, Blavius, and Golius, to examine into the
subject and report upon it.[520]

While Galileo was impatiently waiting for the decision that was never
come to, he made his last great telescopic discovery, although suffering
much in his eyes, that of the libration and titubation of the moon, about
which he wrote his remarkable letter to Alfonso Antonini, bearing the
signal date: “Della mia carcere di Arcetri li 10 febbrajo 1637.”[521]

The complaint in Galileo’s eyes grew rapidly worse. By the end of June
the sight of the right eye was gone, and that of the other diminished
with frightful rapidity from a constant discharge.[522] But in spite of
this heavy calamity, combined with his other sufferings, his interest
in science did not diminish for a moment. Even at this sad time we
find him carrying on a brisk correspondence with the learned men of
Germany, Holland, France, and Italy, continuing his negotiations with
the States-General with great zest,[523] as well as occupying himself
perpetually with astronomy and physics. He was indeed often obliged to
employ the hand of another;[524] but his mind worked on with undiminished
vigour, even though he was no longer able to commit to paper himself the
ideas that continually occupied him.

On 2nd September he received a visit from his sovereign, who came to
console and encourage him in his pitiable situation.[525] A few months
later an unknown young man, of striking appearance from his handsome face
and the unmistakable evidences which genius always exhibits, knocked
at the door of the solitary villa at Arcetri: it was Milton, then
twenty-nine years of age, who, travelling in Italy, sought out the old
man of world-wide fame to testify his veneration.[526]

In December of the same year Galileo became permanently quite blind, and
informed Diodati of his calamity on 2nd January, 1638, in the following

    “In reply to your very acceptable letter of 20th November, I
    inform you, in reference to your inquiries about my health,
    that I am somewhat stronger than I have been of late, but alas!
    revered sir, Galileo, your devoted friend and servant, has been
    for a month totally and incurably blind; so that this heaven,
    this earth, this universe, which by my remarkable observations
    and clear demonstrations I have enlarged a hundred, nay, a
    thousand fold beyond the limits universally accepted by the
    learned men of all previous ages, are now shrivelled up for
    me into such narrow compass that it only extends to the space
    occupied by my person.”[527]

Up to the time when Galileo entirely lost his sight, absolutely
nothing had been able to be done for his liberation at Rome. Even the
faithful Castelli wrote on 12th September, to Galileo’s son Vincenzo,
that he had not been able to do anything whatever for his father; but
he piously adds, “I do not fail every morning at holy mass to pray the
Divine Majesty to comfort him, to help him, and to grant him His Divine
grace.”[528] This precisely indicates the hopeless state of Galileo’s
affairs. Just then, during the first few days of December of the same
year, darkness closed round him for ever; and not long afterwards, 12th
December, Castelli suddenly wrote to him, that he had been given to
understand that Galileo had not been forbidden in 1634 to send petitions
_direct_ to the Holy Office, but only through other persons.[529] When
the decided papal rescript of 23rd March, 1634,[530] is compared with
this curious interpretation of it, there can be no doubt that it was
intended to enable the curia to take a more lenient view without direct
collision with a former mandate. Galileo at once sent Castelli’s letter
to the Tuscan Court, with a request for instructions, as he did not wish
to do anything without the concurrence of his sovereign.[531] He was
informed that he had better draw up a petition to the Holy Office, and
get it handed in at Rome through Castelli.[532] The latter had meanwhile
informed himself under what formalities Galileo should make his request,
and sent him on 19th January, 1638,[533] a draught of the petition, with
the remark that it must be sent, together with a medical certificate,
direct to the assessor of the Congregation of the Holy Office; this
Galileo immediately did. The petition was as follows:—

    “Galileo Galilei, most humble servant of your most worthy
    Eminence, most respectfully showeth that whereas, by command
    of the Holy Congregation, he was imprisoned outside Florence
    four years ago, and after long and dangerous illness, as the
    enclosed medical certificate testifies, has entirely lost his
    eyesight, and therefore stands in urgent need of medical care:
    he appeals to the mercy of your most worthy Eminences, urgently
    intreating them in this most miserable condition and at his
    advanced age to grant him the blessing of his liberty.”

The utmost caution was exercised at Rome before granting this
petition. No confidence was placed in the medical certificate; but
the Inquisitor-General of Florence, Father Fanano, was instructed to
visit Galileo and to make an exact report of his health, and whether it
was to be feared, if he lived at Florence, that he would promote the
propagation of his errors.[534] Fanano at once conscientiously executed
his commission, and on 13th February, 1638, sent the following report to
Cardinal Francesco Barberini:—

    “In order the better to execute his Holiness’s commission, I
    went myself, accompanied by a strange physician, an intimate
    friend of mine, to see Galileo, quite unexpectedly, at his
    villa at Arcetri, to find out the state he was in. My idea
    was not so much by this mode of proceeding to put myself in a
    position to report on the nature of his ailments, as to gain
    an insight into the studies and occupations he is carrying on,
    that I might be able to judge whether he was in a condition, if
    he returned to Florence, to propagate the condemned doctrine
    of the double motion of the earth by speeches at meetings. I
    found him deprived of his eyesight, entirely blind; he hopes
    for a cure, as the cataract only formed six months ago, but at
    his age of seventy the physician considers it incurable. He has
    besides a severe rupture, and suffers from continual weariness
    of life and sleeplessness, which as he asserts, and it is
    confirmed by the inmates of his house, does not permit him one
    hour’s sound sleep in the twenty-four. He is besides so reduced
    that he looks more like a corpse than a living man. The villa
    is a long way from the city, and the access is inconvenient, so
    that Galileo can but seldom, and with much inconvenience and
    expense, have medical aid.[535] His studies are interrupted by
    his blindness, though he is read to sometimes; intercourse
    with him is not much sought after, as in his poor state of
    health he can generally only complain of his sufferings
    and talk of his ailments to occasional visitors. I think,
    therefore, in consideration of this, if his Holiness, in his
    boundless mercy, should think him worthy, and would allow him
    to live in Florence, he would have no opportunity of holding
    meetings, and if he had, he is so prostrated that I think it
    would suffice, in order to make quite sure, to keep him in
    check by an emphatic warning. This is what I have to report to
    your Eminence.”[536]

This report at last opened the eyes of Urban VIII. as to Galileo’s real
condition. The cry of distress from the blind old man, approaching
dissolution, was too well justified to be wholly ignored, and a partial
hearing was given to it at all events, at a sitting of the Congregation
held on 25th February, under the presidency of the Pope.[537] But a full
release, in spite of the information that Galileo was more like a corpse
than a living man, still appeared too dangerous to be ventured on. On 9th
March Galileo received from the Inquisitor-General, Father Fanano, the
following communication:—

    “His Holiness is willing to allow you to remove from your villa
    to the house which you own in Florence, in order that you may
    be cured of your illness here. But on your arrival in the city
    you must immediately repair, or be taken, to the buildings of
    the Holy Office, that you may learn from me what I must do and
    prescribe for your advantage.”[538]

Galileo availed himself of the permission to return to his little
house, Via della Costa, at Florence, on the very next day. Here the
Inquisitor-General, as charged by the Holy Office, informed him, “for
his advantage,” of the order, _not to go out in the city under pain of
actual imprisonment for life and excommunication, and not to speak with
any one whomsoever of the condemned opinion of the double motion of the
earth_.[539] It was also enjoined upon him not to receive any suspicious

It is characteristic of the mode of proceeding of the Inquisition, that
Fanano set Galileo’s own son, who was nursing him with the tenderest
affection, to watch over him. The Inquisitor enjoined upon Vincenzo
to see that the above orders were strictly obeyed, and especially to
take care that his father’s visitors never stayed long. He remarks, in
a report to Francesco Barberini of 10th March, that Vincenzo could be
trusted, “for he is very much obliged for the favour granted to his
father to be medically treated at Florence, and fears that the least
offence might entail the loss of it; but it is very much to his own
interest that his father should behave properly and keep up as long as
possible, for with his death a thousand scudi will go, which the Grand
Duke allows him annually.” In the opinion of the worthy Father Fanano,
then, the son must be anxious for his father’s life for the sake of the
thousand scudi! In the same letter the Inquisitor assured Barberini that
he would himself keep a sharp look out that his Holiness’s orders were
strictly obeyed, which, as we shall soon see, he did not fail to do.

Galileo’s confinement in Florence was so rigorous that at Easter a
special permission from the Inquisition was required to allow him to go
to the little Church of San Giorgio, very near his house, to confess,
to communicate, and to perform his Easter devotions,[540] and even
this permission only extended expressly to the Thursday, Good Friday,
Saturday, and Easter Sunday.[541] On the other hand, as appears from
the dates of his letters,[542] he was allowed, during June, July, and
August, to go several times to and fro between his villa at Arcetri and

Galileo was now once more to discover how rigidly he was watched by the
Inquisition. His negotiations with the States-General, in spite of the
urgent intercession of such men as Diodati, Hortensius, Hugo Grotius,
Realius, Constantine Huyghens (Secretary of the Prince of Orange, and
father of the celebrated Christian Huyghens), and others, had not led to
any result. His proposed method of taking longitudes at sea, well worked
out as it was theoretically, presented many difficulties in practical
application. His methods of precisely determining the smallest portions
of time, and of overcoming the obstacles occasioned by the motion of the
vessel, did not prove to be adequate.[543] He had endeavoured, in a long
letter to Realius of 6th June, 1637,[544] to dismiss or refute all the
objections that had been made; but this did not suffice, and although the
States-General acknowledged his proposal in the main in the most handsome
terms, even accepted it, and offered him a special distinction (of which
presently), it appeared necessary to have some personal consultation
on the subject with the inventor. For this purpose, Hortensius, who
had also a great desire to make Galileo’s acquaintance, was to go to
Florence.[545] The Inquisitor-General heard that a delegate was coming
from Germany to confer with Galileo on the subject. He at once reported
this on 26th June to Rome,[546] whence he received instructions under
date of 13th July from the Congregation of the Holy Office, that Galileo
_must not receive the delegate if he were of a heretical religion, or
from a heretical country_, and the Inquisitor will please communicate
this to Galileo; on the other hand, there was nothing to prevent the
interview _if the person came from a Catholic country, and himself
belonged to the Catholic religion_; only, in accordance with the previous
regulations, the doctrine of the double motion of the earth must not be
spoken of.[547]

A few days after the Inquisitor had delivered his instructions to
Galileo, the German merchants of the name of Ebers residing in Florence,
presented him in the name of the Dutch Government with a very flattering
letter, and a heavy gold chain, as a recognition of his proposals and
a pledge of the ultimate adjustment of the negotiations. The envoys
of the States-General found Galileo very ill in bed, his blinded eyes
continually running and very much inflamed. He _felt_ the gold chain,
which he could not see, and had the letter read to him. He then handed
the chain back to the merchants, on the plea that he could not keep it
now, as the negotiations had been interrupted by his illness and loss of
sight, and he did not at all know whether he should ever be in a position
to carry them through.[548] The real motive, however, was nothing but
fear of the Inquisition,[549] and as the sequel showed, he was quite
right. Fanano sent a report on 25th July of all these circumstances
to Cardinal Barberini at Rome. It is so characteristic that we cannot
refrain from giving it:—

    “The person who was to come to see Galileo has neither appeared
    in Florence, nor is likely to appear, so far as I am informed;
    but I have not yet been able to learn whether in consequence
    of some hindrance on the journey or from some other cause. I
    know, however, that presents for Galileo and a letter to him
    have come to some merchants here. A highly estimable person,
    who is in my confidence, and has spoken with the person who
    has the presents and letter in charge, told me that both bear
    the seal of the Dutch Government; the presents are in a case,
    and may be gold or silver work. Galileo has steadily refused
    to accept either the letter or the presents, whether from fear
    of incurring some danger, on account of the warning I gave
    him on the first news of the expected arrival of an envoy,
    or whether because he really could not perfect his method of
    taking longitudes at sea, and is not in a state to do it; for
    he is now quite blind, and his head is more in the grave than
    fit for mathematical studies. Insurmountable difficulties had
    also occurred in the use of the instruments indicated by him.
    Besides, it is said here, that if he had fully brought his plan
    to perfection, his Highness (Ferdinand II. of Tuscany) would
    never have permitted it to pass into the hands of renegades,
    heretics, or enemies of the allies of his house. This is what I
    have to report to your Eminence.”[550]

The news that Galileo had not accepted the distinction offered him by
the Dutch Government gave great satisfaction at Rome; and Urban VIII.
even charged the Inquisitor at Florence, by a mandate of 5th August, to
express to Galileo the gratification of the Holy Congregation at his
conduct in this affair.[551]

About this time he was sunk so low, physically as well as mentally,
that he and every one thought his dissolution was at hand. In a letter
to Diodati of 7th August, in which he told him of his interview with
the German merchants at Florence, he expressed the fear that “if his
sufferings increased as they had done during the last three or four days,
he would not even be able to dictate letters.”[552] He added, perhaps in
reference to the Inquisitor’s intimation of 13th July: “It would be a
fruitless undertaking if Signor Hortensius were to take the trouble to
come and see me, for if he found me living (which I do not believe), I
should be quite unable to give him the least satisfaction.”

His profound vexation about the regulations imposed upon him in this
matter by the Roman curia is very evident in a letter to Diodati of 14th
August. He writes:—

    “As ill luck would have it, the Holy Office came to know of
    the negotiations I was carrying on about the geographical
    longitude with the States-General, which may do me the
    greatest injury. I am extremely obliged to you for having
    induced Signor Hortensius to give up his intended journey, and
    thereby averted some calamity from me which would probably
    have been in store for me if he had come. It is indeed true
    that these negotiations ought not to do me any harm, for the
    just and obvious reasons that you mention, but rather to bring
    me fame and honour, if my circumstances were but like those
    of other men, that is, if I were not pursued by misfortune
    more than others. But having been often and often convinced by
    experience of the tricks fate plays me, I can but expect from
    its obstinate perfidy, that what would be an advantage to any
    one else will never bring anything but harm to me. But even in
    this bitter adversity I do not lose my peace of mind, for it
    would be but idle audacity to oppose inexorable destiny.”[553]

Galileo, who thought his hours were numbered, dictated his will on 21st
August, in the presence of a notary and witnesses, and directed that he
should be buried in the family vault of the Galilei in the Church of
Santa Croce at Florence.[554] On 8th September the Grand Duke paid the
dying astronomer, as was supposed, a visit of two hours, and himself
handed him his medicine.[555]

It had been for a long time a cherished wish of Galileo’s to have with
him during the evening of his days his most devoted and favourite
disciple, Father Castelli.[556] But the professorship which he held at
Rome made the attainment of this wish difficult. As it was now supposed
that a speedy death would deprive the world of the great philosopher,
the Grand Duke requested through Niccolini at Rome that Castelli might
come to Florence, for a few months at least, that he might yet receive
from the lips of his dying master many ideas of importance for science,
which he might not perhaps confide to any but his trusted friend.[557]
After some difficulties were surmounted, he actually received the papal
consent, but only on condition that a third person should always be
present during the conversations with Galileo.[558] Early in October
Castelli arrived in Florence, where the Inquisitor-General, as charged by
the Holy Office, gave him permission to visit Galileo, with the express
prohibition, _under pain of excommunication, to converse with him on the
condemned doctrine of the earth’s double motion_.[559] The permission,
however, to visit Galileo seems to have been very limited, for Castelli
repeatedly wrote to Cardinal Francesco Barberini, with the most urgent
entreaties to obtain an extension of it for him from the Pope. Castelli
protests in this letter that he would rather lose his life than converse
with Galileo on subjects forbidden by the Church. He gives as a reason
for the need of more frequent interviews that he had received from
the Grand Duke the twofold charge to minister to Galileo in spiritual
matters, and to inform himself fully about the tables and ephemerides of
the Medicean stars, because the Prince Giovanni Carlo, Lord High Admiral,
was to take this discovery to Spain.[560] The cardinal replied that in
consideration of these circumstances, Urban VIII. granted permission for
more frequent visits to Galileo, under the known conditions;[561] but the
official permission, was not issued until about November.[562] Nothing is
known in history, however, of the Lord High Admiral’s having ever taken
Galileo’s method of taking longitudes to the Peninsula.

During the same year (1638), the Elzevirs at Leyden issued Galileo’s
famous work: “Discourses on and Demonstrations of Two New Sciences
appertaining to Mechanics and Motion.”[563] This work, known under the
abridged title, “Dialoghi delle Nuove Scienze,” was dedicated to the
Count de Noailles, in grateful remembrance of the warm interest which he
had always shown in the author.[564] It is the most copious and best of
all Galileo’s writings, and he himself valued it more highly than any of
the others.[565] In it he created the new sciences of the doctrine of
cohesion in stationary bodies, and their resistance when torn asunder;
also that of phoronomics, and thereby opened up new paths in a field
of science that had been lying fallow. He must, indeed, be regarded as
the real founder of mechanical physics. It is not our province to enter
farther into the contents of this work, or its importance for science.
It has, however, some significance in our historical review of Galileo’s
relations with the curia, for it excited immense attention in all learned
circles, and increasingly attracted the notice of the scientific world
to the prisoner of the Inquisition. This was by no means agreeable to
the Romanists, who would have been glad to see him sink into oblivion.
Galileo now again received communications from all countries, some of
them expressing the highest admiration of his new work, and others asking
more information on many of the theories expounded. And we now behold
the shattered old man of seventy-four, only partially recovered from his
severe illness, carrying on an extensive correspondence full of the most
abstruse problems in physics and mathematics.[566]

In January, 1639, as his health had so far improved as to allow the hope
to be indulged that he might be spared some time longer, he returned
to his villa at Arcetri, not to leave it again alive. Was this move a
voluntary one? We have no document which finally settles the question.
But we hold ourselves justified in doubting it. Not only because it is
difficult to reconcile a voluntary return to Arcetri with his previous
efforts to obtain permission to reside in Florence, but there is a later
letter from him bearing the expressive date: “From the Villa Arcetri,
my perpetual prison and place of exile from the city.”[567] And when
the wife of Buonamici, who was distinguished for her mental powers,
gave him a pressing invitation to Prato, which is only four miles from
Florence, he reminds her in his reply of 6th April, 1641, that “he was
still a prisoner here for reasons which her husband was well aware of”;
he then presses her to visit him at Arcetri, adding: “Do not make any
excuses, nor fear that any unpleasantness may accrue to me from it, for
I do not trouble myself much how this interview may be judged by certain
persons, as I am accustomed to bearing many heavy burdens as if they were
quite light.”[568] From such utterances it is clear that Galileo had
little pleasure in residing at Arcetri, and that therefore his second
banishment from Florence was not voluntary, but was the result of a papal



    Refusal of some Favour asked by Galileo.—His pious
    Resignation.—Continues his scientific Researches.—His
    pupil Viviani.—Failure of attempt to renew Negotiations
    about Longitudes.—Reply to Liceti and Correspondence with
    him.—Last Discussion of the Copernican System in reply to
    Rinuccini.—Sketch of its Contents.—Pendulum Clocks.—Priority
    of the discovery belongs to Galileo.—Visit from
    Castelli.—Torricelli joins Viviani.—Scientific discourse on his
    Deathbed.—Death, 8th Jan., 1642.—Proposal to deny him Christian
    Burial.—Monument objected to by Urban VIII.—Ferdinand II. fears
    to offend him.—Buried quietly.—No Inscription till thirty-two
    years later.—First Public Monument erected by Viviani in
    1693.—Viviani directs his Heirs to erect one in Santa
    Croce.—Erected in 1738.—Rome unable to put down Copernican
    System.—In 1757 Benedict XIV. permits the Clause in Decree
    forbidding Books which teach the new System to be expunged.—In
    1820 permission given to treat of it as true.—Galileo’s Work
    and others not expunged from the Index till 1835.

We now come to the last three years of Galileo’s life.

From two documents published by Professor Gherardi,[570] we learn that
in 1639 Galileo once more asked at Rome for some favours not specified,
but that they were absolutely refused by the Pope. From this time Galileo
came no further into direct contact with the Roman curia. He had been
compelled to give up all hope of any amelioration of his lot from the
implacable Urban VIII. So he ended his days quietly and resigned, as the
prisoner of the Inquisition, in his villa at Arcetri. Castelli also, who
(as his letters to Galileo of 1639 bear witness)[571] had warmly exerted
himself on his behalf with Cardinal Barberini and other influential
persons, had probably come to the conclusion that nothing more could
be done for his unfortunate friend, for from this time we find nothing
in his letters to Galileo but scientific disquisitions and spiritual

This indicates the two interests which occupied the latest period
of Galileo’s life—deep piety and scientific meditations. His utter
hopelessness and pious resignation are very clearly expressed in the
brief sentence he used often to write to Castelli: “Piace cosi a Dio,
dere piacere cosi ancora a Noi.”[573] (If it please God, it ought also to
please us.) He never omitted in any letter to his old friend and pupil to
commend himself in conclusion to his prayers,[574] and in his letter of
3rd December, 1639, he added: “I remind you to persevere in your prayers
to the all-merciful and loving God, that He will cast out the bitter
hatred from the hearts of my malicious and unhappy persecutors.”

The lofty genius with which nature had endowed Galileo never displayed
itself in so striking and surprising a manner as during these last three
years. No sooner were his physical sufferings in some measure relieved,
than he occupied himself in scientific speculations, the results of which
he partly communicated to his great pupil and subsequent biographer,
Viviani, by word of mouth, and partly dictated them to some of those
about him. The society of young Viviani, then eighteen years of age, who,
by permission of the Inquisition, spent the last two years and a half of
the old master’s life near him,[575] was the greatest comfort to him,
and he conceived a fatherly affection for the talented youth. We owe it
partly to the assistance and stimulus given by Viviani that the aged
Galileo worked on to the end in improving and enlarging his “Dialoghi
delle Nuove Scienze,” made a number of additions, and added new evidence
of great importance to science in two supplementary dialogues.[576]

During this last period of his life also, he again took up the
negotiations with the States-General, broken off by his severe illness
in 1638. After he became blind he had given up all his writings,
calculations, and astronomical tables relating to the Medicean stars, to
his old pupil, Father Vincenzo Renieri, in order that he might carry them
further; he was well adapted for the task, and executed it with equal
skill and zeal.[577] The new ephemerides were just about to be sent to
Hortensius, when Diodati informed Galileo of his sudden death in a letter
of 28th October, 1639.[578] The three other commissioners charged by
the States-General with the investigation of Galileo’s proposal having
also died one after another, in quick succession, it was difficult to
resume the negotiations. The interest of the Netherlanders in Galileo’s
scheme (perhaps from its acknowledged imperfection) had also evidently
cooled, and his proposal to replace the commissioners was not carried
out, although he offered to send Renieri to Holland to give all needful
explanations by word of mouth. Galileo’s death then put an end to these
fruitless negotiations.[579]

At the beginning of 1640 Fortunio Liceti, a former pupil of Galileo’s,
published a book on the phosphorescent Bolognian stone. In the fiftieth
chapter of this work he treats of the faint light of the side of the moon
not directly illuminated by the sun, and rejects the view advocated
by Galileo in his “Sidereus Nuntius,” that it arises from a reflection
of the sun’s rays striking our earth, which the earth reflects to our
satellite, who again reflects them to us. Galileo was undecided whether
it were not best to take no notice of Liceti’s objections, the scientific
value of which he did not estimate very highly, when a letter from Prince
Leopold de’ Medici, brother of the reigning Grand Duke, relieved him of
his doubts.[580] This prince, who has gained a permanent name in the
history of science by founding the celebrated “Accadémia del Cimento,”
invited Galileo to give him his views on Liceti’s objections.[581] This
challenge sufficed to rouse all the blind old man’s dialectic skill,
though he was then seventy-six and bowed down by mental and bodily
sufferings. He dictated a reply, in the form of a letter to Prince
Leopold, which occupies fifty large pages in the extant edition of his
“Opere,” and in fire, spirit, mastery of language, and crushing argument,
it is quite a match for the most famous controversial works of his

A most interesting direct correspondence then ensued between Galileo
and Liceti, which was carried on from June, 1640, to January, 1641, in
which not this question only was discussed, but Galileo took occasion
to express his opinions, with great spirit and learning, on the modern
Peripatetic school and philosophy, on Aristotle himself, and his
fanatical followers. These letters of the venerable hero of science are
characterised by ostensible politeness pervaded by cutting irony, which
makes them instructive and stimulating reading.[583]

Ten months before his death, thanks to an indiscreet question from one
of his former pupils, a last opportunity occurred of speaking of the
Copernican system. Francesco Rinuccini, Tuscan resident at Venice, and
afterwards Bishop of Pistoja, having apparently forgotten that the master
had solemnly abjured that opinion, and had even been compelled to promise
to denounce its adherents wherever he met with them to the Inquisition,
informed him in a letter of 23rd March, 1641,[584] that the mathematician
Pieroni asserted that he had discovered by means of the telescope a small
parallax of a few seconds in some of the fixed stars, which would place
the correctness of the Copernican system beyond all question. Rinuccini
then goes on to say, in the same breath, that he had lately seen the
manuscript of a book about to appear, which contained an objection to
the new doctrine, and made it appear very doubtful. It was this: because
we see exactly one half of the firmament, it follows inevitably that the
earth is the centre of the starry heavens. Rinuccini begs Galileo to
clear up these doubts for him, and to help him to a more certain opinion.

This was the impulse to Galileo’s letter of 29th March, 1641,[585] which,
as Alfred Von Reumont truly says,[586] whether jest or mask, had better
never have been written. There is no doubt that it must not be taken in
its literal sense. Precisely the same tactics are followed as in the
letter which accompanied the “Treatise on the Tides,” to the Grand Duke
of Austria in 1618, and in many passages of the “Dialogues on the Two
Systems.” Galileo conceals his real opinions behind a thick veil, through
which the truth is only penetrable by the initiated. The cautious course
he pursued in this perilous answer to Rinuccini is as clever as it is
ingenious, and appears appropriate to his circumstances; but it does
not produce a pleasant impression, and for the sake of the great man’s
memory, one would prefer to leave the subject untouched.

We will now examine this interesting letter more closely. When we call
to mind the disquisitions on the relation of Scripture to science, which
Galileo wrote to Castelli in 1613, and to the Grand Duchess Christine
in 1615, the very beginning is a misrepresentation only excusable on
the ground of urgent necessity. He says: “The incorrectness of the
Copernican system should not in any case be doubted, especially by us
Catholics, for the inviolable authority of Holy Scripture is opposed
to it, as interpreted by the greatest teachers of theology, whose
unanimous declaration makes the stability of the earth in the centre,
and the revolution of the sun round it, a certainty. The grounds on
which Copernicus and his followers have maintained the contrary fall to
pieces before the fundamental argument of the Divine omnipotence. For
since this is able to effect by many, aye, endless means, what, so far
as we can see, only appears practicable by one method, we must not limit
the hand of God and persist obstinately in anything in which we may
have been mistaken.[587] And as I hold the Copernican observations and
conclusions to be insufficient, those of Ptolemy, Aristotle, and their
followers appear to me _far more delusive and mistaken, because their
falsity can clearly be proved without going beyond the limits of human

After this introduction Galileo proceeds to answer Rinuccini’s question.
He treats that argument against the Copernican system as delusive, and
says that it originates in the assumption that the earth stands still
in the centre, and by no means from precise astronomical observation.
_He refutes, therefore, the scientific objection to the new doctrine._
Speaking of the assumed discovery of Pieroni, he says, that if it should
be confirmed, however small the parallax may be, _human science must
draw the conclusion from it that the earth cannot be stationary in the
centre_. But in order to weaken this dangerous sentence, he hastens to
add, that if Pieroni might be mistaken in thinking that he had discovered
such a parallax of a few seconds, those might be still more mistaken who
think they can observe that the visible hemisphere never varies, not
even one or two seconds; for such an exact and certain observation is
utterly impossible, partly from the insufficiency of the astronomical
instruments, and partly from the refraction of the rays of light.

As will be seen, Galileo takes great care to show the futility of the
new arguments brought into the field against the Copernican system.
It therefore seems very strange that some writers, and among them the
well-known Italian historian, Cesare Cantu, suppose from this letter that
at the close of his life Galileo had really renounced the prohibited
doctrine from profound conviction![589] The introduction, and many
passages thrown in in this cautious refutation, must, as Albèri and
Henri Martin justly observe, be regarded as fiction, the author having
the Inquisition in view; it had recently given a striking proof of its
watchfulness by forbidding the author of a book called “De Pitagorea
animarum transmigratione,” to apply the epithet “clarissimus” to
Galileo, and it had only with great difficulty been persuaded to permit
“notissimus Galileus”![590]

A short time before the close of Galileo’s brilliant scientific career,
in spite of age, blindness, and sickness, he once more gave striking
evidence of the genius which could only be quenched by death. It will
be remembered that the inadequacy of his proposed chronometer had been
the chief obstacle to the acceptance by the States-General of his method
of taking longitudes at sea. Now, in the second half of the year 1641,
it occurred to him, as is confirmed beyond question by Viviani, who
was present,[591] though the idea is generally ascribed to Christian
Huyghens, of adding a pendulum to the then very imperfect clocks, as
regulator of their motion. As this was sixteen years before Huyghens made
known his invention of pendulum clocks, priority indisputably belongs to
Galileo. But it was only permitted to the blind master to conceive the
great idea—he was not to carry it out. It was his intention to employ the
eyes and hands of his son Vincenzo, a very clever mechanician, to put
his idea in practice, and he told him of his plan. Vincenzo was to make
the necessary drawings according to his father’s instructions, and to
construct models accordingly. But in the midst of these labours Galileo
fell ill, and this time he did not recover.[592] His faithful pupil,
Castelli, who probably foresaw the speedy dissolution of the revered old
man, came to see him about the end of September, 1641. In October, on the
repeated and urgent invitation of Galileo, Torricelli joined Castelli
and Viviani, not to leave the Villa Arcetri until they left it with
Galileo’s coffin. Torricelli was then thirty-three, and the old master
had discerned his eminent talents from a treatise on the theory of motion
which he had sent him.[593] Castelli was not permitted to stay till the
close. At the beginning of November he had to return to Rome, leaving
Galileo, Torricelli, and Viviani eagerly occupied with the completion of
the “Dialoghi delle Nuove Scienze.”

On 5th November Galileo was attacked by an insidious hectic fever, which
slowly but surely brought him to the grave.[594] Violent pains in his
limbs threw him on a sick bed, from which he did not rise again. In spite
of all these sufferings, which were augmented by constant palpitation
of the heart and almost entire sleeplessness, his active mind scarcely
rested for a moment, and he spent the long hours of perpetual darkness
in constant scientific conversation and discussions with Torricelli and
Viviani, who noted down the last utterances of the dying man with pious
care. As they chiefly related to the “Dialoghi delle Nuove Scienze,” they
are to be found in the two supplementary Dialogues added to that work.

On 8th January, 1642, the year of Newton’s birth, having received the
last sacraments and the benediction of Urban VIII., Galileo breathed his
last, at the age of nearly seventy-eight years. His son Vincenzo, his
daughter-in-law Sestilia Bocchineri, his pupils Torricelli and Viviani,
and the parish priest, were around his bed.[595] And when Vincenzo closed
his father’s sightless eyes for their last long sleep, they gave not a
thought at Rome to the severe loss sustained by science by Galileo’s
death, but only prepared in hot haste to guard the interests of the
Church, and as far as it lay in their power, to persecute the Cæsar of
science even beyond the grave. The aim was now, as far as possible, to
extinguish his memory, with which so many perils for Rome were bound up.

Even around his bier the struggle began. Some pettifogging theologians
went so far as to wish that Christian burial should be denied him, and
that his will should be declared null and void, for a man condemned
on suspicion of heresy, and who had died as a prisoner of the
Inquisition, had no claim to rest in consecrated ground, nor could he
possess testamentary rights. A long consultation of the ecclesiastical
authorities in Florence, and two circumstantial opinions from them were
required to put these fanatics to silence.

Immediately after Galileo’s death his numerous pupils and admirers made a
collection for a handsome monument to the famous Tuscan. The Inquisitor,
Fanano, at once sent word of this to Rome, and received a reply by order
of the Pope, dated 23rd January, that he was to bring it in some way to
the ears of the Grand Duke that it was not at all suitable to erect a
monument to Galileo, who was sentenced to do penance by the tribunal of
the Holy Office and had died during that sentence; good Catholics would
be scandalised, and the reputation of the Grand Duke for piety might
suffer. But if this did not take effect, the Inquisitor must see that
there was nothing in the inscription insulting to the reputation of the
holy tribunal, and exercise the same care about the funeral sermon.[596]

Besides this, Urban VIII. seized the next opportunity of giving the
Tuscan ambassador to understand that “it would be a bad example for the
world if his Highness permitted such a thing, since Galileo had been
arraigned before the Holy Office for such false and erroneous opinions,
had also given much trouble about them at Florence, and had altogether
given rise to the greatest scandal throughout Christendom by this
condemned doctrine.”[597] In the despatch in which Niccolini reported
these remarks of the Pope to his Government, he advised that the matter
be postponed, and reminded them that the Pope had had the body of the
Duchess Matilda, of Mantua, removed from the Carthusian convent there,
and buried at St. Peter’s at Rome, without saying a word to the Duke
about it beforehand, excusing himself afterwards by saying that all
churches were papal property, and therefore all the bodies buried in them
belonged to the clergy! If, therefore, they did not wish to incur the
danger of perhaps seeing Galileo’s bones dragged away from Florence, all
idea must be given up for the present of suitably celebrating his memory.

Niccolini received an official reply that there had been a talk of
erecting a monument to Galileo, but that his Highness had not come to any
decision, and proper regard would certainly be paid to the hints received
from the Pope.[598] The weak Ferdinand II. did not venture to act in the
least against the heartless Pope’s wishes. Even Galileo’s desire in his
will to be buried in the vault of his ancestors in the Church of Santa
Croce, at Florence, was not respected. His mortal remains were placed in
a little obscure room, in a side chapel belonging to the Church, called
“the Chapel of the Novitiate.” He was buried according to the desire of
Urban VIII., very quietly, without any pomp. No monument nor inscription
marked his resting place; but though Rome did all she could to obliterate
the memory of the famous philosopher, she could not effect that the
immortal name of Galileo Galilei should be buried in the grave with his
lifeless remains.

It was not till thirty-two years later, when Urban VIII. had long been in
his grave, and more lenient views were entertained about Galileo at the
Vatican, that Fra Gabriel Pierozzi, Rector of the Novices of the Convent
of Santa Croce, ventured to adorn Galileo’s grave with a long bombastic
inscription.[599] In 1693 Viviani, whose greatest pride it was to sign
himself “Discépolo ultimo di Galileo,” erected the first public monument
to his immortal master. The front of his handsome house in the Via San
Antonio was made to serve for it, for he placed the bronze bust of
Galileo, after the model of the famous sculptor, Giovanni Caccini, over
the door. A long eulogy on Galileo was engraved over and on both sides of

But Viviani was not content with thus piously honouring the memory of the
master; in his last will he enjoined on his heirs to erect a splendid
monument to him, which was to cost about 4000 scudi, in the Church of
Santa Croce.[601] Decades, however, passed after Viviani’s death before
his heirs thought of fulfilling his wishes. At length, in 1734, the
preliminary steps were taken by an inquiry from the Convent of Santa
Croce, whether any decree of the Holy Congregation existed which would
forbid the erection of such a monument in the Church? The Inquisitor at
Florence immediately inquired of the Holy Office at Rome whether it would
be permitted thus to honour a man “who had been condemned for notorious
errors.”[602] The opinion of the counsellors of the Holy Office was
taken. They said that there was nothing to prevent the erection of the
monument, provided the intended inscription were submitted to the Holy
Congregation, that they might give such orders about it as they thought
proper.[603] This opinion was confirmed by the Congregation of the Holy
Office on 16th June, 1734.[604] And so the pompous monument to Galileo,
which displayed the tastelessness of the age, and was not completed till
four years later, could be raised in the Church of Santa Croce, this
pantheon of the Florentines, where they bury their famous dead, and of
which Byron finely sings in “Childe Harold”:—

    “In Santa Croce’s holy precincts lie
    Ashes which make it holier, dust which is
    Even in itself an immortality,
    Though there were nothing save the past, and this,
    The particle of those sublimities
    Which have relapsed to chaos:—here repose
    Angelo’s, Alfieri’s bones, and his,
    The starry Galileo, with his woes;
    Here Machiavelli’s earth returned to whence it rose.”[605]

On 12th March, 1737, Galileo’s remains were removed, in presence of all
the professors of the University of Florence, and many of the learned
men of Italy, with great solemnity and ecclesiastical pomp, from their
modest resting-place to the new mausoleum in a more worthy place in the
Church of Santa Croce itself, and united with those of his last pupil,

It had long been perceived at Rome that, in spite of every effort,
it was vain to try to bury the Copernican system with Galileo in the
grave. It could no longer greatly concern the Roman curia that Galileo’s
memory was held in high honour, when the cause for which he suffered had
decidedly gained the victory. It was by a singular freak of nature that
in the very same year which closed the career of this great observer of
her laws, another who was to complete the work begun by Copernicus and
carried on by Galileo, entered upon his. He it is, as we all know, who
gave to science those eternal forms now recognised as firmly established,
and whose genius, by the discovery of the law of gravitation, crowned
the edifice of which Copernicus laid the foundations and which Galileo
upreared. During the lifetime of the latter, and the period immediately
succeeding his death, the truth of the system of the earth’s double
motion was recognised by numerous learned men; and in 1696, when
Newton published his immortal work, “Philosophiæ naturalis principia
Mathematica,” it became thoroughly established. All the scientific world
who pursued the paths of free investigation accepted the Copernican
system, and only a few ossified devotees of the old school, in common
with some theological philosophers, still raised impotent objections to
it, which have been continued even up to this day by some wrong-headed

At Rome they only accommodated themselves to the new system slowly and
reluctantly. In 1757, when it was no longer doubted by any one but a few
fanatics, the Congregation of the Index thought the time was come for
proposing to Pope Benedict XIV. to expunge the clause from the decree
of 5th March, 1616, prohibiting all books which teach that the sun is
stationary and the earth revolves. This enlightened pontiff, known as
a patron of the arts and sciences, entirely agreed, and signified his
consent on 11th May, 1757.[608] But there still remained on the Index
the work of Copernicus, “De Revolutionibus Orbium Cœlestium,” Diego di
Zuñiga’s “Commentary on the Book of Job” (these two works, however, only
“donec corrigantur,” but this was quite worthless for strict Catholics as
far as the work of Copernicus was concerned, as since the announcement of
these “corrections” by the decree of 15th May, 1620, no new edition had
appeared), Foscarini’s “Léttera sópra l’opinione de i Pittagorici e del
Copernico della mobilità della Terra et stabilità del Sole, e il nuove
Pittagorico Sistéma del Mondo,” Kepler’s “Epitome astronomiæ Copernicæ,”
and finally, Galileo’s “Dialogo sopra i due Massimi Sistémi del Mondo.”
This last work had indeed been allowed to appear in the edition of
Galileo’s collected works,[609] undertaken at Padua in 1744, which had
received the prescribed ecclesiastical permission; but the editor, the
Abbot Toaldo, had been obliged expressly to state in an introduction
that the theory of the double motion can and must be regarded only as a
mathematical hypothesis, to facilitate the explanation of certain natural
phenomena. Besides this, the “Dialogues on the Two Principal Systems” had
to be preceded by the sentence on and recantation of Galileo, as well as
by an Essay “On the System of the Universe of the Ancient Hebrews,” by
Calmet, in which the passages of Scripture bearing on the order of the
world were interpreted in the traditional Catholic fashion.[610]

The celebrated French astronomer Lalande, as he himself relates,[611]
tried in vain when at Rome, in 1765, to get Galileo’s works expunged from
the Index. The Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation of the Index objected
that there was a sentence of the Congregation of the Holy Office in
existence which must first be cancelled, but this was not done, and all
remained as before; and even in the edition of the Index of 1819, strange
to say, the five works mentioned above were to be found as repudiated by
the Roman curia!

It then happened in the following year, 1820, that Canon Joseph Settele,
professor of optics and astronomy at the Archive-gymnasium at Rome,
wrote a lesson book, “Elementi d’astronomia,” in which the Copernican
system, in accordance with the results of science, was treated _ex
professo_. The Master of the Palace, Philip Anfossi, to whom in his
capacity of chief censor of the press the book was submitted, demanded
under appeal to the decree of 5th March, 1616, still in force, that the
doctrine of the double motion should be only treated hypothetically, and
refused the _imprimatur_ until the MS. had been altered. Canon Settele,
however, was not disposed to make himself ridiculous in face of the whole
scientific world by compliance with these antiquated conditions, and
appealed to Pope Pius VII., who referred the matter to the Congregation
of the Holy Office. Here at last some regard was had to the times, and
in the sitting of 16th August, 1820, it was decided that Settele might
treat the Copernican system as established, which was approved by Pius
VII. without hesitation. Father Anfossi could not, after this decision,
prevent the work from publication as it was, but he resolutely pointed
out the contradiction between this permission and the decree of 5th
March, 1616, and published a treatise entitled: “Can any one who has
made the Tridentine Confession, defend and teach as a thesis, and as
an absolute truth and not a mere hypothesis, that the earth revolves
and the sun is stationary?”[612] This gave rise to discussions in the
College of Cardinals of the Holy Inquisition as to the attitude to be
adopted by ecclesiastical authority towards the Copernican system, which
had been universally adopted for more than a century. In the sitting of
11th September, 1822, they finally agreed, with express reference to the
decree of the Index Congregation of 10th May, 1757, and 16th August,
1820, “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.”[613] This decree
was ratified by Pius VII. on 25th September.

But full thirteen years more went by until, in 1835, when the new edition
of the catalogue of prohibited books appeared, the five works in which
the theory of the double motion was maintained and defended were expunged
from the list.

It was not until 1835, therefore, that the last trace was effaced of the
memorable warfare so long and resolutely waged by ecclesiastical power
against the superior insight of science. If it is denied to history to
surround the head of Galileo, the greatest advocate of the new system,
with the halo of the martyr, ready to die for his cause, posterity
will ever regard with admiration and gratitude the figure of the man,
who, though he did not heroically defend the truth, was, by virtue of
his genius, one of her first pioneers, and had to bear for her sake an
accumulation of untold suffering.




We know next to nothing of the history of the Vatican MS. up to the time
when Napoleon I. took possession of the papal city. During this period,
when proud Rome had sunk so low as to be a department of France, in
1811, by the mandate of the then ruler of the world, the treasures of
the Vatican archives were removed from Rome to Paris. Among them was
the volume containing the Acts of Galileo’s trial. It is not known how
Napoleon’s special attention came to be directed to them; but it is
certain that he requested Alexander Barbier, then State Librarian, to
furnish him with a detailed report about them.[615] Barbier handed it
to the Minister of Worship and Instruction. He also proposed that the
whole of the documents should be printed, in the interests of historical
truth, in the original Latin and Italian, with a French translation. The
proposal was approved by the Emperor, and the volume was handed over to
Barbier that he might have the translation made.

When the convulsions of 1814 had swept Napoleon out of Paris, and
transported him to Elba, and the Bourbons again ruled France, the Roman
curia repeatedly took steps to regain possession of the volume.

After the return of Pius VII. to Rome in 1814, after his compulsory
residence at Fontainebleau, Mgr. Marini was staying at Paris as Papal
Commissary, in order to demand from the new French Government the
restitution of the archival treasures taken by Napoleon from the Holy
See. He first applied for the Acts of Galileo’s trial to the Minister
of the Interior, who referred him to the Count de Blacas, Minister of
the Royal Household.[616] He assured Marini that he would have a search
instituted in the royal library.[617] He wrote on the same day to Barbier
charging him to search for the documents, and to report to him on their
historical value.[618] Barbier’s answer is too characteristic not to be

                 “A Son Excellence le Ministre de la Maison du Roi,
                                           Paris, 5 Decembre, 1814.


    Je m’empresse de répondre à la lettre par laquelle votre
    Excellence me fait l’honneur de me demander s’il existe, dans
    le dépôt général des bibliothèques de S.M. ou dans l’une de ses
    Bibliothèques particulières, des pièces qui faisaient partie
    des Archives Pontificales et qui sont reclamées par le garde de
    ces Archives, savoir le procès de Galilée.

    _Il y a plus de trois aus que je possède le procès de Galilée._

    Rien n’est plus célèbre que ce procès dans l’histoire des
    Sciences et dans celle de l’Inquisition. Aussi s’en est on
    occupé avec un grand zèle jusqu’à ces derniers temps; ce qui
    est probablement cause qu’ après l’avoir examiné avec tante
    l’attention qu’il merite, _je n’y ai remarqué ancun détail qui
    ne soit connu_ (sic). L’importance de ce recueil consiste donc
    principalement dans la réunion des pièces qui ont motivé, dans
    le XVIIᵉ siècle, la condamnation d’un habile astronome, pour
    une opinion qui est généralement enseignée aujourd’hui dans
    toutes les écoles, même ecclésiastiques.

                    Je suis, Monseigneur, etc.,


It is clear that Barbier expected to find support in the Acts of the
trial for the assumed torture of Galileo; and as they reported nothing
of the kind, and could not report anything consistently with the facts
of history, the librarian entirely overlooked the vast importance of the
papers. After this report Count Blacas felt no scruple about letting the
Papal Commissary have them. On 15th December the minister wrote a note to
Barbier, asking him for the volume of documents, that he might himself
hand it to Marini.[620] He also wrote to the Papal Commissary that the
documents had been found, and that it would give him great pleasure to
deliver them to him.[621] Marini accordingly went three times to the
minister’s hotel, and once to the Tuileries, but without success. He
therefore begged, in a letter of 28th January, 1815, to have a day and
hour appointed for an audience.[622] To his dismay he received in reply
a letter from Count Blacas of 2nd February, 1815, saying that the King
himself wished to look through the trial of Galileo, that the MS. was in
his majesty’s cabinet, and therefore could not be given up immediately,
but it should be done as soon as the King had returned it.[623]

Marini was therefore on the track of the documents, though he did not
get them. But only twenty-four days after he received this explanation
the famous hundred days occurred, and Louis XVIII. left his palace in
the darkness of night for Ghent. Napoleon had scarcely set out for St.
Helena, and the legitimate sovereign made his entry into Paris, than we
find the Papal Commissary again eagerly trying to get back the precious
MS.[624] But what must have been his dismay when he was informed by Count
Pradel, temporary successor of Count Blacas, on 6th November, 1815,
that the documents were no longer to be found in the King’s cabinet,
and that it was not known what had become of them.[625] Further efforts
were fruitless. All that he could get from the French Government was the
doubtful promise that the papers should be restored when found.

Two years later, in August, 1817, he again attacked Count Pradel on the
subject,[626] and was assured that they were not in the cabinet of the
royal palace; he might have a search made among the archives in the
Louvre, they might have been put aside there.[627] Marini suspected that
the papers had been purloined, and asked the minister of police, Count
Decazes, to help him in his search. He, however, referred him to the
Minister Of the Interior,[628] that is, to the place where he had begun
his inquiries three years before. Afterwards he applied to the president
of the ministry, the Duke of Richelieu, and to the influential M. de
Lainé, but with no more success than before.

In 1820 Venturi applied to Delambre, Secretary of the Academy of
Sciences, with the request to get for him, if possible, extracts from
and copies of the Acts of the trial, as he was urgently in want of them
for the second volume of his “Memorie e lettere inedite fuora o disperse
di Galileo Galilei.” Delambre eagerly took up the question. Some light
is thrown on the steps he took by the following note to Barbier of 27th
June, only published a few months ago:—

    “Le secretaire perpétuel de l’Académie pour les Sciences
    Mathématiques est venu pour avoir l’honneur de converser
    avec M. Barbier, sur un article intéressant de biographie
    astronomique, le procés de Galilée et les pièces originales
    dont M. Barbier a été longtemps dêpositaire. Il desire
    cette conversation pour lui-même et pour M. Venturi, etc.,

Three days later Delambre wrote to Venturi that the original Acts
certainly had been at Paris some years ago, but had disappeared, and it
was not now known whether they were still there or had been taken away.
He told him that during the Empire the publication and translation of
the documents had been projected, but political events had prevented it
from being carried out; the extracts, however, then made, and the French
translation which had been begun, were in existence. These, which M.
Barbier had placed at Delambre’s disposal, he sent to Venturi. Delambre
expressed his great regret that the material which he could obtain was
not complete; but he consoled himself with the opinion that by the
publication of the documents in Riccioli’s “Almagestum novum,” 1651,
and in the first volume of Venturi’s work, nothing essential would be
wanting; and “that unfortunate business, which would be ridiculous if
it were not so repulsive, is now as widely known as can be desired.”
Delambre, as it seems, was only concerned with the clearing up of the
torture question; and as the fragments which had come to his knowledge
contained no evidence of torture, and as he might have been informed by
Barbier that there was no trace of it in any of the papers, he wrote as
above in calm conviction to Venturi.

Eight years afterwards Count Darü, who was intending to bring out his
work on astronomy, made inquiries of Barbier about the existence of the
Acts of Galileo’s trial. The information he received must have been
wholly unsatisfactory, as appears from the following letter from the
Count to Barbier of 16th October, 1828:—

    “J’ai reçu Monsieur ... les deux lettres que vous m’avez fait
    l’honneur de m’écrire. J’ai trouvé, joint à la seconde, le
    billet de M. l’abbé Denina[630] qui prouve que la traduction du
    procès de Galilée a existé au moins en partie. Du reste, nous
    en avions déjà la preuve par l’extrait de M. Delambre. _Je suis
    persuadé que le procès existe quelque part à Paris_, et ce me
    semble, il doit se trouver dans quelque bibliothèque du roi,
    peut être même aux Archives de la liste civile. J’en parlerai a
    M. le baron de la Bouillerie.

                          Recevez, etc.,


But Darü’s further inquiries seem to have been unsuccessful; anyhow, the
long-sought-for volume remained concealed for seventeen years longer. In
1845 Gregory XVI. requested Pelegrino Rossi, French ambassador at Rome,
who was devoted to the papacy, to use his influence to get the Acts
restored, if they should be discovered at Paris. This shows that it was
disbelieved at Rome that they could not be found. At first Rossi’s urgent
mediation only obtained the assurance from Louis Philippe that the Pope’s
cherished wish should be fulfilled, provided that the papers should be
found, but on the express condition that they should be published entire
at Rome. And as the curia, of course, promised to comply, the MS. which
had been mysteriously concealed for thirty-one years was “found” and

In 1848-9, when the Papal See was attacked by the revolutionary spirit
which pervaded Europe, the fugitive Pope, Pius IX., confided the
hardly-won documents to the prefect of the Secret Archives, Marino
Marini. He not only took good care of them, but took the opportunity of
fulfilling the obligation to the French Government incurred on their
restoration. On 12th April, 1850, the Pope returned from Gaeta to his
capital under the protection of French bayonets, and his thoughts must
soon have recurred to these documents, for on 8th May of the same year he
presented them to the Vatican Library. In the same year, also, Marini’s
work, “Galileo Galilei e l’Inquizione,” appeared at Rome, intended to be
the fulfilment of the French conditions.

We purposely say “intended to be,” for they were not really so at all.
The entire contents of the Vatican MS. were thereby by no means given
to the public, but such a sight of it as the editor thought proper, and
which was, as far as possible, an apology for the Inquisition. Instead of
the full original text of the Acts, the world only received disjointed
extracts, arbitrary fragments—in many instances nothing at all. Perhaps
it was perceived at head-quarters that a comparison of Marini’s work with
the documents would bring strange things to light, for they were suddenly
removed from the too public Vatican Library and placed among the papal

And for a long time there seemed to be no disposition to place these
important historical materials at the disposal of independent historians.
Thus we learn from Albèri, editor of “Le Opere di Galileo Galilei,”
Florence, 1842-1856, in 16 vols, in which all the materials for the
history of Galileo are collected, that Marini had made obliging offers
to him about the Vatican MS.; but his death put an end to the hopes thus
raised, and Albèri had to content himself with reproducing the extracts
and documents given by Venturi and Marini. It is obvious that the MS.
was not accessible to him, or he would surely have included the Acts in
his great work. Professor Moritz Cantor, who asked to see them ten years
later, met with no better success. He complains bitterly in his essay,
“Galileo Galilei,” that the attempts he made through the good offices of
an eminent _savant_, with Father Theiner, keeper of the Secret Archives,
had been without avail.

However, though neither Albèri nor Cantor attained their wish, Henri de
L’Epinois, a few years later, was more successful. In the introduction
to his work, “Galilée, son procès sa Condemnation,” 1867, he relates
that in a conversation with Theiner at Rome, he expressed his regret at
the inadequacy of Marini’s book, and his desire to see the subject of
Galileo’s trial cleared up. Theiner liberally responded to this appeal
by placing the documents at his disposal. But Epinois had only just
made hasty copies of the most important, and indices of others, when
he was compelled by urgent private affairs to return to France. The
copies of the Vatican MS. which he took with him were therefore in many
respects inaccurate and incomplete, and even the indices left much to be
desired. Nevertheless, historical research will always be indebted to
Epinois for publishing his notes, in spite of their shortcomings, which
were best known to himself.[632] The melancholy picture of Galileo’s
trial was first presented in faithful outline, and it became possible to
weave the story with approximate accuracy. Many details, however, were
still wanting; and though the fictitious stories of many writers were
considerably checked by Epinois’s communications, some scope was still
left for them. What was wanted was the entire publication of the Vatican
MS., and if possible with diplomatic precision.

Nine years again went by, during which Epinois seems to have found no
opportunity of completing his work. Meanwhile, Professor Domenico Berti
asked for the favour of a sight of the papers, and in 1876 he was engaged
in Theiner’s room in copying the documents.[633] In the same year his
work, “Il Processo Originale di Galileo Galilei,” appeared, bearing upon
the title page the unwarranted addition, “publicato per la prima volta da
Domenico Berti.” Epinois had been the first to publish the Vatican MS.,
though only partially; the words would only have been correct if Berti
had published them complete. This he professes to have done,[634] but as
five documents are wanting, and the contents of fifty others only shortly
given, it cannot be regarded as complete.

Besides these unfortunate lapses, Berti’s publication is very
disappointing to the historian. Instead of giving the reader as good an
idea as possible of this interesting MS., the documents are taken out of
all connection, and given numbers and superscriptions of which there is
not a trace in the original, and the marking of the folios is omitted.
“Improvement” of the orthography, punctuation, etc., is consistently
carried out. One of the numberings is quite left out (the oldest, upper
paging), and, following Epinois, he reads the second incorrectly.

In the same year in which Berti’s book appeared, Sante Pieralisi received
an invitation from high quarters to inspect the volume. He accepted the
flattering offer with no small satisfaction, but does not seem to have
known how to turn it to account. He confined himself to comparing the
most important documents in Epinois and Berti with the originals, and to
giving a list, by no means complete, of their deviations from them.[635]

In consequence of the controversy as to the genuineness of the document
of 26th February, 1616, we resolved in the spring of 1877 to attempt to
get a sight of the papers, our sole reason being the desire to see for
ourselves whether external evidence was for or against falsification, or
whether any certain conclusions could be drawn from it. We had then no
idea whatever of publishing the Vatican MS. ourselves, as we at that time
considered Berti’s publication of it to be nearly complete.

Through the good offices of the Austrian ambassador, we were promised
that when we came to Rome, Cardinal Simeoni, Secretary of State, would
permit us to see the documents. Two days afterwards we were on our way
to Rome, and soon had the volume in our hands. As we turned over the
pages with a curiosity easy to be imagined, and compared it with Berti’s
publication, we discovered, to our no small surprise, its many omissions
and inaccuracies. The idea then occurred to us of making a copy of all
the documents in the collection with the greatest possible precision. Not
the least “improvement” should be made; the text should be reproduced
exactly, with its peculiar orthography, accentuation, and punctuation,
its abbreviations, errors, and special marks, so far as it was possible
by means of typography.

We made known our intention to the first prefect of the Vatican Library,
Mgr. Martinuzzi, to whom Cardinal Simeoni had referred us; he not only
made not the slightest objection, but showed great interest in our
project. During our long daily tarriance in the Vatican afterwards, he
was most obliging, and heaped attentions upon us which lightened the

We might have been engaged about three weeks in copying the MS., sending
the pages copied during the day to Messrs. Cotta, at Stuttgard, to be
printed, when we were surprised one morning by a visit in the Vatican
from M. de L’Epinois. He told us that he had been two months at Rome,
and had undertaken a correction of Berti’s book from the original. We
informed him of our enterprise, which he spoke of as “quite a different
thing”; and when we returned his call, he again spoke of a correction
of Berti, and regretted that he had not copied the whole MS. Of any
intention of publishing it complete he said not a word. We therefore
contentedly went on with our work; the copying was nearly finished and
the printing in progress, when one afternoon on our return from the
Vatican we found a letter from Epinois, in which he said that he had not
had time to call on us again, and informed us of the speedy appearance of
his complete publication of the Vatican MS., and that we should receive
a copy in a few days. This announcement was most surprising. We went at
once to seek M. de L’Epinois, but learnt that he had left Rome early that

Our work was too far advanced to be given up, and so we went on, in the
hope that even now there might be some little place in the world for it.
By the time Epinois’s book reached us the copying was finished, and we
were correcting the proofs by the originals. It was not without value,
even for our enterprise, for we compared our proofs with it line by
line and word by word, made notes of deviations, and then went to the
Vatican to see which was right. We readily acknowledge that in this way
we discovered and corrected many errors which had crept into our copy.
The variations which still exist are all well known to us, and are left,
either because Epinois is mistaken, or we consider our reading to be the
best. This is not the place for a criticism of his work; we will only
bear witness, after comparing it with the original, to its accuracy.



The Acts of the two trials of Galileo, of 1615-16 and 1632-33, which
are stitched together, and to which several other documents are added
relating to the surveillance of Galileo until his death, and the
erection of his monument, form a pretty thick quarto volume, twenty-two
centimeters broad and thirty high.

It is done up in a loose sheet of white paper, which can lay no claim to
veneration from age, and is in an equally loose green pasteboard cover,
which may boast of historic antiquity, as may also the faded and frail
red strings by which the volume is fastened. The cover is too short
and too narrow, so that the edges get mercilessly rubbed. In this way,
unfortunately, many a letter, word and even signature in these precious
papers have been lost, and it is high time to protect them from further

The documents are only slightly fastened together in places, and you can
see from the outside how far the Acts of the first trial extend. This
slight fastening also enables you to see that all the blank pages, of
which there are 194, are partly reverse sides, partly second pages of
documents, and it may easily be discovered to which document each blank
page belongs. In some cases these second pages have been cut away, as
appears from the broad piece left. The suspicion from this that important
documents have been withdrawn seems inadmissible, for the pages cut out,
as is seen from those left, which correspond with the rest, belonged to
finished documents, and the abstraction of a document would certainly
not have been betrayed by leaving a broad strip behind.

The paging is in the greatest confusion. On the title page, in the right
hand corner, are the figures 949, and under them 336. The historical
introduction, by an unknown hand, prefixed to the papers, is numbered
337-340. The first document bears the double paging


the upper number being struck through. On folio


a third paging begins with 1, on the right hand lower edge. The triple
numbering goes on regularly to




the uppermost and oldest paging is discontinued. Folios 384-386, blank
pages of the Acts of the first trial, only bear the double paging,
probably because, being blank, they were not paged until the papers of
both trials were put together.

The double paging may be thus explained. The old numbering comprises all
the documents belonging to 1616; and as it is to be seen on the title
page, as well as the words: “Ex archivo S. Offij,” and Vol. 1181, it
is clear that these documents were originally comprised in a volume of
the Archives of the Holy Office numbered 1181. The Acts of the second
trial, 1632-33, must have belonged to another volume, as appears from
the paging, as the first document bears the number 387, but the number
of the volume is not traceable. When the Acts of 1616 and 1632-33 were
bound together, in order to form a continuous paging, the old numbers of
the first trial were struck through, and the paging continued backwards,
reckoning from the first folio of the second trial.

The Introduction helps to determine the time when the two parts were
united. It only extends to the mention of Galileo’s defence; it is clear,
therefore, that it was written after 10th May (the date of the defence),
and before 21st June, the date of the last examination, while the
numbering, which is that of the second paging only, shows that the union
had taken place. The title page also is included in the second paging. We
may therefore conclude that the authorship of the Introduction and the
joining of the Acts up to 10th May, 1633, is to be attributed to the same

The object of this report undoubtedly was to give the Pope and
Congregation, before their final verdict on Galileo; a _résumé_ of the
whole affair from its beginning. The united Acts were the vouchers. The
drawing up of such a _résumé_ was part of the ordinary proceeding in
every trial before the Inquisition, and it had to be circulated among the
cardinals and qualifiers before the final sitting[636]. As in Galileo’s
case this final sitting took place on 16th June, under the personal
presidency of the Pope, it is in exact agreement with this that both the
summary and paging referred to in it only extend to the events of 16th

As to the addition of the further documents, it may be observed that
after the papers were put together the collection ended with six second
pages, of which four, 448, 449, 450, 451, belonged to the opinion of
Pasqualigus; and two, 452, 453, to the protocol of the examination of
Galileo of 12th April, 1633. The annotation about the decree of 16th
June, 1633, was written on the reverse side of the last second page, 451,
forming part of the above-named document, and the three previous pages
were left blank. The protocol on the Constitute of Galileo of 21st June
was written on the blank sheets of 12th April. On the remaining space
(half of 453 and the reverse side) two notes were made—the first about
the mandate of 30th June, to send the sentence and recantation to all
Inquisitors, etc., and the permit to Galileo to go to Siena; the second
note reports that Firenzuola issued the order to Galileo on 2nd July. The
rest of the documents which the Vatican MS. now contains must have been
added as they came in, or when there were several to be added. The paging
was, of course, continuously carried out.

The last document but one of the collection is a short historical summary
of the process. Berti says that this must have been drawn up at least a
year after its conclusion,[637] but Pieralisi[638] has pointed out that
he should have said, at least a century. The origin of it is plain: when
the inquiry of Fra Paolo Antonio Ambr*** of 8th June, 1734, came in as
to the erection of a monument in Santa Croce, this _résumé_ was drawn up
to put the cardinals, who might not know much about it, in possession of
the chief facts of Galileo’s trial. In the Vatican MS. the sheet of paper
containing the _résumé_ is stitched to the letter of Fra. Ambr*** and
the decision of the cardinals written on the fourth page. If any doubts
remain that this summary was written in 1734, they will disappear on
comparing it with the extracts, published by Gherardi, of the protocol
of the sitting of 16th June of that year. In this we find, within
parentheses, the most important part of the summary, followed by the
decision of the cardinals, in almost verbatim translation from Italian
into Latin. The date and purpose of the summary are therefore made clear.



We now proceed to the examination of the documents contained in this
famous volume. They differ in historical value, for they are not all
as Professor Berti says,[639] original documents, but often copies,
and more or less cursory annotations. Those only can be considered
original documents which have autograph signatures; as all the letters
in the MS. with one exception,[640] the protocol of the examination of
Caccini, and the protocols of the examinations of Galileo; those of the
depositions of Ximenes and Attavanti are copies sent by the Inquisitor
at Florence to the Holy Office, and there is therefore no question of
their authenticity. The rest of the MS. consists mainly of annotations on
the decrees relating to the trial, decrees and mandates of the Pope and
Holy Congregation, or notices of their execution. _But the original Acts
corresponding with these annotations are not comprised in the Vatican
MS._ Moreover, a careful examination of the Vatican Acts with Gherardi’s
Documents shows, that especially after the conclusion of the trial till
Galileo’s death, many papal decrees were issued of which there is no
mention in the Vatican MS. So far as this, therefore, it must be looked
upon as an incomplete source. But on the other hand, there is no doubt
that the Acts of the trial itself lie before us altogether.

Dr. Emil Wohlwill, of Hamburg, has recently expressed the suspicion
that a short time before the MS. was removed from the Archives of the
Holy Office to France, the Acts of the trial underwent alterations
with a special purpose, in the expectation that the Archives would be
robbed, and that after the return of the volume in 1846, through Mgr.
Marino Marini, Prefect of the Papal Archives, these alterations were
completed![641] Wohlwill takes all the preliminary report—the origin of
which is clear, and in accordance with the rules of the Inquisition—for
a forgery intended to influence “readers outside the Vatican.” He also
thinks that the opinion of the qualifier of the Holy Office at the head
of the Acts is a later addition. The object of this no one can make out,
and Dr. Wohlwill himself can give no satisfactory reason for it. As he
had only Epinois’s first edition of the Vatican MS. (1867), and Berti’s
imperfect publication in his hands, he often draws incorrect conclusions.
It is hardly necessary to say that Dr. Wohlwill’s bold conjectures turn
out to be phantoms on an actual examination of the papers, and this will
certainly be confirmed by Epinois, Berti, Pieralisi, and all who have
seen them. This is not the place to refute Wohlwill’s suspicions, as we
have done so elsewhere.[642] It only remains for us to give the material
evidence which indisputably proves that the annotation of 26th February
neither is nor can be a later falsification.

As is well known, before we had inspected these documents we had fully
adopted the suspicion, expressed by Dr. Wohlwill in Germany, and
Professor Gherardi in Italy, that the “document” of 26th February,
1616, was of a later origin, in order to afford a pretext, according
to the ideas of the time, for bringing the inconvenient author of the
“Dialogues on the Two Systems” to trial for disobedience to an order of
the Sacred Congregation, though the work seemed to be protected by the
ecclesiastical _imprimatur_. We confess that we went to Rome with but
little hope of finding external evidence for or against the genuineness
of the document. It had been long in Professor Berti’s hands, and he had
defended it with learned dialectics, while the controversy would have
been closed by adducing material evidence. It seemed to us, therefore,
sufficient inducement to undertake a journey to Rome, if it should
enable us to confirm, on external grounds, that the document was not
a falsification, even though its genuineness might not be capable of

Contrary to all our expectations, after a repeated, careful, and we
may say, entirely objective examination, we must pronounce _that the
suspicion of a later origin is not tenable_.

Now for the reasons. The note of 26th February begins on the same page as
that of the 25th, and they are in precisely the same ink and handwriting.
As, however, in case of a forgery, the perpetrator would not have been
so unskilful as to add a note in different ink and writing under another
sixteen years old, but would have written both on another sheet, and
carefully incorporated them with the Acts, we had to find out whether
it was possible that the pages on which the notes are found (folios 378
vo. and 379 ro.), could have been afterwards added to the Acts. This was
found to be impossible. It is excluded by two circumstances.

1. Folios 378 vo. and 379 ro. are _second_ pages to existing documents;
and folio 378 belongs to 377, on which is written the famous opinion of
the Qualifiers of the Holy Office on the two propositions of Galileo,
taken from the work on the Solar Spots. Folio 379 again belongs to folio
357, which is a page of the protocol of the examination of Caccini.

2. In this collection of the Acts of the trial, all the paper on which
the documents of the Holy Office were written at Rome, bears the same
watermark,—a dove in a circle,—which is not found on any of the paper
of later date. This mark is distinctly visible on the folios bearing the
notes of 25th and 26th February.

As from this evidence the idea of a later insertion of the papers had
to be given up, there was still one suspicion left—that the two notes
had been written in 1632 on blank sheets of Acts of 1616, of which there
are so many, and the authentic notice of 25th February removed. But
this hypothesis could not be maintained in face of the fact that, as a
scrupulous comparison showed, several other annotations of 1616 are in
the same hand as those of 25th and 26th February, while it is not to be
found in any document of the later trial.

In the face of these decisive facts it seems no longer justifiable to
maintain that the note of 26th February is a _later_ falsification.
Nevertheless, Professor Moritz Cantor, of Heidelberg, has conjectured,
and Dr. Scartazzini has told us for certain, how the “falsifiers” went
to work. In the _Revista Europa_, vol. iv. part v., 1st December, 1877,
Dr. Scartazzini propounds his theory with an effrontery which is most
convincing to a layman and astounding to the initiated. And yet it
is entirely upset by one simple practical observation. His theory is
that the page on which the genuine protocol of the proceedings of 26th
February was written was cut out, that this was concealed by folding
the edge the other way, while space was found for the existing forgery
by transposing blank sheets. Now for our observation: Dr. Scartazzini
quotes only the second paging, which was done _after_ the assumed
forgery, and it therefore permitted a transposition of pages according
to the pleasure—not of the forger, but of Dr. Scartazzini. In 1632
there was a regular numbering from 949-992, originating in 1616, and no
transposition of the Acts could have been made on Scartazzini’s plan,
without entirely disturbing it. His theory therefore belongs to the realm
of impossibilities.

But firmly as it is now established that the document of 26th February,
1616, is not a later forgery, it is equally certain that the proceedings
did not take place in the rigid manner described in that annotation.
In the course of this work we have become acquainted with the various
reasons which conclusively prove that the annotation contains a downright
untruth, exaggeration, or misrepresentation. To all these reasons one
more may now be added. Had the course of events been that recorded in the
annotation, so important an act would have been made into a protocol,
and would have been signed by Galileo, the notary, and witnesses. Only a
document of this kind would have afforded conclusive evidence on another
trial. We learn from another document of the trial that such a proceeding
was a part of the precautionary measures of the Inquisition, in order
that the accused might not be able to deny what had happened. When on 1st
October, 1632, Galileo was summoned before the Inquisitor at Florence,
who issued the command to him to present himself at Rome in the course of
the month, Galileo had to state in writing that he had received the order
and would obey it; no sooner had he left the room than it was entered by
a notary and witnesses who had been concealed in an adjoining apartment,
and affirmed under Galileo’s signature that they had been present when he
“promised, wrote, and signed the above.”[643]

If these measures were so strictly observed in the case of this much less
important act, we may be tolerably certain that they would not have been
omitted in the far more important one of 1616, if the stringent command
had really been issued to Galileo by the Commissary-General in the name
of the Pope and the Holy Congregation, before notary and witnesses, to
maintain henceforth absolute silence, in speaking and writing, about the
Copernican system. Such a document would have furnished the Holy Office
with legal grounds for bringing Galileo to trial in case of his breaking
his word, and for punishing his disobedience; in short, for subjecting
him to the consequences of this categorical injunction.

Did such a protocol ever exist? As we doubted the fact of the stringent
intimation, we did not believe that such a document ever had existed.
Nevertheless, when at Rome, we eagerly sought to discover whether,
contrary to all expectation, this most important document was extant,
or to learn anything about it. It might perhaps be in the Archives of
the Holy Inquisition, in which, in 1848, Professor Gherardi had found
such valuable notes about the trial of Galileo. We therefore addressed
a memorial to the then Secretary of State, Cardinal Simeoni, in which
we made a concise statement of the present state of the researches
relating to Galileo’s trial, remarking that though the suspicion of
a falsification was not tenable, the correctness of the note of 26th
February seemed doubtful, and could only be acknowledged as trustworthy
if either the original protocol, or some confirmatory notice, were
discovered in the Archives of the Inquisition. In the course of four
weeks we received the following reply:—

    “Illm̃o Signore,

    In sequito della richiesta fattasi da V. S. Illm̃a di avere dei
    documenti relativi a Galileo, mi recai a premura di commetterne
    le opportune indagini. Praticatesi le più diligenti ricerche,
    vengo informato non esistere affatto negli Archivi i documenti
    che si desideravano.

    Nel portare ciò a sua notizia, ho il piacere di dichiararle i
    sensi della mia distinta stima—

        Di V. S. Illm̃a,

                        Affmo per servirla,

                                            GIOVANNI CARD. SIMEONI.

    Roma 20 Luglio, 1877.”

By this decisive information it is established that _now_, at any
rate, _no other document is extant relating to the proceedings of 26th
February, 1616, than the well-known annotation_. Was this also the
case in 1632, when Galileo was arraigned for disobedience and signally
punished? The history of the trial, the otherwise incomprehensible
attitude of the Interrogator towards Galileo, are strongly in favour
of an affirmative answer. From his first examination to his defence,
Galileo persistently denies having received any other command than the
warning of Cardinal Bellarmine, neither to hold nor defend the Copernican
doctrine, while the Interrogator maintains that a command was issued to
him before a notary and witnesses “not in any way to hold, teach, or
defend that doctrine.” The contradiction is obvious. In confirmation of
his deposition, Galileo brings an autograph certificate from Cardinal
Bellarmine which fully agrees with it. One would then have expected
to see the Interrogator spare no pains to convict Galileo on this
turning-point of the trial. The production of a legal protocol about
the proceeding of 26th February would have cleared up the whole affair
and annihilated Galileo’s defence. But as it was not produced, and the
Interrogator, singularly enough, omits all further inquiry into Galileo’s
ignorance of the absolute prohibition, and simply takes it for granted,
we may conclude that in 1633 no other document existed about the Act
of 26th February than this note without signature. It must therefore
be admitted by the historical critic that one of the heaviest charges
against Galileo was raised on a paper of absolutely no legal value, and
that sentence for “disobedience” was passed entirely on the evidence of
this worthless document.



In the course of this work we have always acknowledged the authenticity
of the documents first published by Gherardi in his “Il Processo Galileo:
Riveduto Sopra documenti di nuove fonte,” in the _Rivista Europea_,
vol. iii., 1870, and our story has in many cases been based on them. It
behoves us, therefore, to give the reasons which place their authenticity
beyond question. These are to be found, first, in the origin of the
collection; secondly, by comparing the documents with others universally
acknowledged to be authentic.

On the first point we refer to the professor’s account prefixed to the
documents. In December, 1848, he came to Rome, and was at first, though
only for a short time, deputy to the parliament summoned by Pius IX.,
then held, in quick succession, the offices of member of the assembly
for framing a constitution, Secretary of State, and finally Minister
of Instruction to the Revolutionary Government. These offices greatly
facilitated Gherardi’s historical researches, and he pursued them with
ardour even amidst the turmoil of revolution. His attention was specially
directed to the discovery of the original documents of Galileo’s trial.
Even in December, 1848, he found opportunity to make a search in the
Archives of the Palace of the Inquisition, which was carefully guarded
by the soldiers and agents of the Provisional Government to save these
historical treasures from the fury of the mob. Gherardi had hoped to
get a sight of the complete collection of the Acts, which had two years
before been brought back from Paris. But this hope was not fulfilled, for
as we know, during the Revolution, these documents were in the hands of
Mgr. Marino Marini, Prefect of the Secret Archives. So Gherardi had to
content himself with seeking more or less evident traces of the trial
among the Archives left in the greatest confusion and partly hastily
plundered by the fugitive custodians. It was not without difficulty that
he discovered, what was before unknown, that the Acts of the Inquisition
were divided into two classes: the first contains the protocols of the
sittings and decrees of the Holy Congregation, sometimes in full and
sometimes merely extracts. The folios containing these were marked
Decreta. The second class contains the protocols of the examinations of
accused persons and witnesses, all Acts relating to trials, and finally
the sentences passed. These folios were marked Processus. There was a
third register marked Rubricelle, which served as an index to everything
relating to any person or cause.

As there were not nearly so many gaps in the Decreta as in the Processus,
Gherardi turned his attention, the Rubricelle in hand, to the former. He
began to make extracts from the documents relating to Galileo’s trial,
and had already made ten, when he came upon a collection of papers
containing thirty-two of such extracts, all relating to the trial. To
these papers was added an extract from a letter from Count Blacas, from
Prague, of 20th January, 1835, in which he stated that he had repeatedly,
but without success, instituted a search for the Acts of Galileo’s trial,
which had been detained at Paris since 1815, and that nothing would give
him greater pleasure, should they come into his hands, than to deliver
them to his Holiness, but this was not a suitable time to renew the
demand for them.

It is clear from this letter that the curia made at least one attempt to
regain possession of the Vat. MS. between 1820 and 1845, and Gherardi
concludes from the circumstance that this letter was found with the
said collection that a copy of it had been sent to the Count, perhaps
to show him that it was desired to put all the papers relating to
Galileo’s cause together—a project intended to urge the Count to renewed
efforts for their recovery. Be that as it may, the important thing is
that Gherardi, having convinced himself of the entire agreement of his
ten extracts (the most important), with the corresponding ones in the
collection, concluded that the other twenty-two were correct, and did not
make any more extracts.

In April, 1849, in spite of the precautions taken, the Archives of
the Inquisition seemed no longer safe from the mob, and were removed,
with other ecclesiastical libraries, to the Apollinarius church, where
Gherardi was again able to look at them. But it was but for a moment,
as he decidedly declined all responsibility for a collection of such
immense historical value. Moreover, the advance of the French army to
Rome to effect the restoration of Pius IX., would have left him but
little time for historical researches. On 4th July, in consequence of
the capitulation of the municipal council, the French General Ouidinot
marched at the head of his troops into “liberated” Rome, while Garibaldi
left it on the other side with his 4000 volunteers, and with him all the
patriots who had specially distinguished themselves in the service of the
Republic during its short existence. Among these was Gherardi, who turned
his steps towards Genoa, where he lived for his studies during his exile.
On leaving Rome he had only been able to take ten extracts with him, and
had now to wait for an opportunity of completing them by those in the
Archives of the Inquisition, and he waited patiently twenty-one years.
In 1870 the time at length came. He gives us no further particulars as
to how he succeeded in getting the collection into his hands again, but
simply says that he did so, and no longer delayed to give this valuable
historical material to the world.

The history of Gherardi’s Documents is of itself a pledge of their
authenticity, and it is absolutely confirmed by comparing them with the
corresponding documents of the Vatican MS. We have compared them line
for line and word for word, and have found that they contain nothing
Whatever that in the least diverges from those Acts. On the contrary,
they throw light on and complete them, and in some cases agree with them
verbatim—perhaps the best possible proof of the authenticity of both.



989. Fol. 380 ro. 38

Sacræ Congregationis Illustrissimorum S.R.E. Cardinalium, à S.D.N.
PAVLO Papa V. Sanctàq. Sede Apostolica ad Indicem Librorum, eorumdemq;
permissionem, prohibitionem, expurgationem, et impressionem, in vniuersa
Republica Christiana specialiter deputatorum, vbiquè publicandum.

    Cvm ab aliquo tempore citra, prodierint in lucem inter alios
    nonnulli Libri, varias hæreses, atq; errores continentes,
    Ideo Sacra Congregatio Illustrissimorum S. R. E. Cardinalium
    ad indicem deputatorum, nè ex eorum lectione grauiora in
    dies damna in tota Republica Christiana oriantur, eos omninò
    damnandos, atque prohibendos esse voluit; Sicuti præsenti
    Decreto pœnitus damnat, et prohibet vbicumq; et quouis idiomate
    impressos, aut imprimendos. Mandans, vt nullus deinceps
    cuiuscumque gradus, et conditionis, sub pœnis in Sacro Concilio
    Tridentino, et in Indice Librorum prohibitorum contentis, eos
    audeat imprimere, aut imprimi curare, vel quomodocumque apud
    se detinere, aut legere; Et sub ijsdem pœnis quicumque nunc
    illos habent, vel habuerint in futurum, locorum Ordinarijs, seù
    Inquisitoribus, statim à præsentis Decreti notitia exhibere
    teneantur, Libri autem sunt infrascripti, videlicet.

    _Theologiæ Calvinistarŭ Libri tres, auctore Conrado
    Schlufferburgio. | Scotanus Rediuiuvs, siue Comentarius
    Erotematicus in tres prio- | res libros, codicis, &._

    _Grauissimæ quæstionis Christianarum Ecclesiarum in
    Occidentis’, | præfertim partibus ab Apostolicis temporibus
    ad nostram vsque | ætatem continua successione, &. statu:
    historica explicato, Au- | ctore Jacobo Vsserio Sacræ Theologiæ
    in Dulbiniensi[645] Academia | apud Hybernos professore._

    _Federici Achillis Ducis Vuertemberg. Consultatio de Pincipatu
    | inter Provincias Europæ habita Tubingiæ in Illustri Collegio
    | Anno Christi 1613._

    _Donnelli Enucleati, siue Commentarium Hugonis Donelli, de Iure
    | Ciuili in compendium ita redactorum &._

    Et quia etiam ad notitiam præfatæ Sacræ Congregationis
    peruenit, falsam illiam doctrinam Pithagoricam, diuinæq;
    scripturæ omnino aduersantem, de mobilitate Terræ, et
    immobilitate Solis, quam Nicolaus Copernicus de reuolutionibus
    orbium cœlestium, et Didacus Astunica in Job etiam docent,
    iam diuulgari et à multis recipi; sicuti videre est ex
    quadam epistola impressa cuiusdam Patris Carmelitæ, cui
    titulus, Lettera del R. Padre Maestro Paolo Antonio Foscarini
    Carmelitano, sopra l’opinione de Pittagorici, e del Copernico,
    della mobilità della Terra, e stabilità del Sole, et il nuouo
    Pittagorico Sistema del Mondo, in Napoli per Lazzaro Scoriggio
    1615. in qua dictus Pater ostendere conatur, præfatam doctrinam
    de immobilitate Solis in centro Mundi, et mobilitate Terræ,
    consonam esse, veritati, et non aduersari Sacræ Scripturæ: Ideo
    nè vlteriùs huiusmodi opinio in perniciem Catholicæ veritatis
    serpat, censuit dictos Nicolaum Copernicum de reuolutionibus
    orbium, et Didacum Astvnica in Job, suspendendos esse donec
    corrigantur. Librum verò Patris Pauli Antonij Foscarini
    Carmelitæ omninò prohibendum, atque damnandum; aliosq́; omnes
    Libros pariter idem docentes prohibendos, Prout præsenti
    Decreto omnes respectiuè prohibet, damnat, atque suspendit. In
    quorum fidem præsens Decretum manu, et sigillo Illustrissimi &
    Reuerendissimi D. Cardinalis S. Cæciliæ Ep̃i Albaneñ signatum,
    et munitum fuit die 5. Martij 1616.

    P. Episc. Albanen. Card. S. Cæciliæ.

               Locus † sigilli.       _Registr. fol. 90._

    _F. Franciscus Magdalenus Capiferreus Ord. Prædic. Secret._

ROME, Ex Typographia Cameræ Apostolicæ. M.DCXVI.



We give the Sentence and Recantation as given by Giorgio Polacco in his
work, “Anticopernicus Catholicus seu de terræ Statione, et de salis motu,
contra systema Copernicanum, Catholicæ Assertionis,” pp. 67-76, Venice,
1644. Everything indicates that these are the only authentic copies of
the originals, while the opinion adopted by many authors that the Latin
texts published by P. Riccioli in his “Almagestum Novum,” 1651, are
the originals, is not tenable on close examination, for it is obvious
that they are translated from the Italian. According to the rules of
the Inquisition, sentences and recantations were written in the mother
tongue,[647] that they might be generally understood. P. Olivieri,
General of the Dominicans and Commissary of the Inquisition, also says
in his posthumous work, “Di Copernico e di Galileo,” Bologna, 1872, p.
62, “We find the history of it, etc., in the sentence passed on Galileo,
which is given in many works in a Latin translation. I take it from
Venturi, who gives it in the Italian original.”

Professor Berti, in his “Il Processo originale di Galileo Galilei,” etc.,
pp. 143-151, has given the Sentence and Recantation in a Latin text which
agrees precisely with Riccioli’s, even in some misprints. He says that
they are taken from some MS. copies in the Archivio del Santo, at Padua,
and thinks that they are the very copies sent by the Cardinal of St.
Onufrio, at the command of the Pope, to the Inquisitor at Padua in 1633.
Incited by this remark, when at Padua we went to inspect these valuable
MSS. But what was our surprise on being told that these documents had
already been sought for in vain at the request of Dr. Wohlwill, and that
no one remembered to have seen them. Professor Berti will perhaps have
the goodness to clear the matter up. The documents were probably only
exact copies of Riccioli’s text.


    Noi Gasparo del titolo di S. Croce in Gierusalemme Borgia.
        Fra Felice Centino del titolo di S. Anastasis, detto d’Ascoli.
        Guido del titolo di S. Maria del Popolo Bentivoglio.
        Fra Desiderio Scaglia del titolo di S. Carlo detto di Cremona.
        Fra Antonio Barberina detto di S. Onofrio.
        Laudiviò Zacchia del titolo di S. Pietro in Vincola detto di
          S. Sisto.
        Berlingero del titolo di S. Agostino, Gessi.
        Fabricio del titolo di S. Lorenzo in pane e perna. Verospi,
          chiamato Prete.
        Francesco di S. Lorenzo in Damaso Barberino, e
        Martio di S. Maria Nuova Ginetti Diaconi.

    Perla misericordia di Dio della S. R. E. Cardinali in tutta
    la repubblica cristiana contra l’eretica pravità Inquisitori
    Generali della S. Sede Apostolica specialmente deputati.

    Essendo che tu Galileo, figliolo del qu. Vincenzo Galilei
    Fiorentino dell’ età tua d’ anni 70 fosti denonciato del
    1615 in questo S. Officio, che tenessi come vera la falsa
    dottrina da molti insegnata, che il Sole sia centro del mondo
    et immobile, e che la terra si muova anco di moto diurno:
    Che avevi alcuni discepoli, a’ quali insegnavi la medesima
    dottrina: Che circa l’ istessa tenevi corrispondenza con alcuni
    Matematici di Germania: Che tu avevi dato alle stampe alcune
    lettere intitolate delle Macchie Solari, nelle quali spiegavi
    l’ istessa dottrina, come vera: Et che all’ obbiezioni, che
    alle volte ti venivano fatte, tolte dalla Sacra Scrittura
    rispondevi glossando detta Scrittura conforme al tuo senso.
    E successivamente fu presentata copia d’ una scrittura sotto
    forma di lettera, quale si diceva essere stata scritta da te
    ad un tale già tuo discepolo, ed in essa seguendo la posizione
    di Copernico, si contengono varie proposizioni contro il vero
    senso, ed autorità della sacra Scrittura.

    Volendo per ciò questo S. Tribunale provvedere al disordine
    ed al danno, che di quì proveniva, et andava crescendosi con
    pregiudizio della Santa Fede; d’ ordine di Nostro Signore, e
    degli Emin. Signori Cardinali di questa suprema, et universale
    Inquisizione, furono dalli Qualificatori Teologi qualificate
    le due proposizioni della stabilità del Sole e del moto della
    terra; cioè.

    Che il Sole sia centro del Mondo, et immobile di moto locale,
    è proposizione assurda e falsa in filosofia, e formalmente
    eretica per essere espressamente contraria alla sacra Scrittura.

    Che la terra non sia centro del mondo, nè immobile, ma che si
    move etiandio di moto diurno, è parimenti proposizione assurda,
    e falsa in filosofia, e considerata in teologia, ad minus
    erronea in fide.

    Ma volendosi per allora proceder teco con benignità, fu
    decretato nella S. Congregazione tenuta avanti Nostro Signore
    à 25 Febbraro 1616. Che l’ Eminentissimo Signor Cardinale
    Bellarmino ti ordinasse che tu dovessi onninamente lasciare
    la detta dottrina falsa, e ricusando tu di ciò fare, che dal
    Commissario del S. Uffizio ti dovesse esser fatto precetto
    di lasciar la detta dottrina, e che non potessi insegnarla
    ad altri, nè difenderla, nè trattarne; al qual precetto non
    acquietandoti, dovessi esser carcerato; et in esecuzione
    dell’ istesso decreto, il giorno seguente nel Palazzo, et
    alla presenza del suddetto Eminentissimo Signore Cardinale
    Bellarmino, dopo essere stato dall’ istesso Signor Cardinale
    benignamente avvisato et ammonito, ti fu dal Padre Commissario
    del Santo Uffizio di quel tempo fatto precetto, con notaro e
    testimonii, che onninamente dovessi lasciar la detta falsa
    opinione, e che nell’ avvenire tu non la potessi, nè difendere,
    nè insegnare in qual si voglia modo, nè in voce, nè in scritto;
    et avendo tu promesso d’ obbedire fosti licenziato.

    Et acciocchè si togliesse affatto così perniciosa dottrina,
    e non andasse più oltre serpendo, in grave pregiudizio della
    cattolica verità, usci decreto della Sacra Congregazione dell’
    Indice, col quale furono proibiti i libri, che trattano di tal
    dottrina, et essa dichiarata falsa, et onninamente contraria
    alla sacra e divina Scrittura.

    Et essendo ultimamente comparso quà un libro stampato in
    Fiorenza l’ anno prossimo passato, la cui inscrizione mostra
    che tu ne fossi l’ autore, dicendo il titolo: _Dialogo di
    Galileo Galilei delli due massimi sistemi del Mondo, Tolemaico
    e Copernicano_. Et informata appresso la sacra Congregazione,
    che con l’ impressione di detto libro ogni giorno più prendeva
    piede la falsa opinione del moto della terra, e stabilità del
    Sole; fu il detto libro diligentemente considerato, e in esso
    trovata apertamente la transgressione del suddetto precetto
    che ti fu fatto, avendo tu nel medesimo libro difesa la detta
    opinione già dannata, et in faccia tua per tale dichiarata,
    avvenga che tu in detto libro con varii raggiri ti studii di
    persuadere, che tu la lasci, come idecisa et espressamente
    probabile. Il che pure è errore gravissimo, non potendo in modo
    niuno essere probabile un’ opinione dichiarata e definita per
    contraria alla Scrittura divina.

    Che perciò d’ ordine nostro fosti chiamato a questo Santo
    Uffizio, nel quale con tuo giuramento esaminato riconoscesti
    il libro come da to composto, e dato alle stampe. Confessasti,
    che dieci o dodici anni sono in circa, dopo essersi fatto il
    precetto come sopra, cominciasti a scrivere detto libro. Che
    chiedesti la facoltà di stamparlo, senza, però significare a
    quelli che ti diedero simile facoltà, che tu avessi precetto di
    non tenere, difendere, nè insegnare in qualsivoglia modo tal

    Confessasti parimenti che la scrittura di detto libro è in più
    luoghi distesa in tal forma, che il lettore potrebbe formar
    concetto, che gli argomenti portati per la parte falsa fossero
    in tal guisa pronunciati, che più tosto per la loro efficacia
    fossero potenti a stringere, che facili ad esser sciolti;
    scusandoti d’ esser incorso in errore tanto alieno, come
    dicesti, dalla tua intenzione, per aver scritto in Dialogo,
    e per la natural compiacenza, che ciascuno ha delle proprie
    sottigliezze, e del mostrarsi più arguto del comune degli
    uomini, in trovar, anco per le proposizioni false, ingegnosi et
    apparenti discorsi di probabilità.

    Et essendoti stato assegnato termine conveniente a far le tue
    difese producesti una fede scritta di mano dall’ Eminentissimo
    signor Cardinale Bellarmino da te procurata come dicesti,
    per difenderti dalle calunnie de tuoi nemici, da’ quali ti
    veniva opposto, che avevi abiurato, e fossi stato penitenziato
    dal santo Offizio. Nella qual fede si dice, che tu non avevi
    abiurato nè meno eri stato penitenziato, ma che ti era solo
    stata denunciata la dichiarazione fatta da Nostro Signore e
    pubblicata dalla santa Congregazione dell’ Indice, nella quale
    si contiene, che la dottrina del moto della terra, e della
    stabilità del Sole sia contraria alle sacre Scritture, e però
    non si possa difendere, nè tenere; e che perciò non si facendo
    menzione in detta fede delle due particole del precetto,
    cioè _docere, et quovis modo_ si deve credere che nel corso
    di quattordici o sedici anni, ne avessi perso ogni memoria;
    e che per questa stessa cagione avevi taciuto il precetto,
    quando chiedesti licenza di poter dare il libro alle stampe.
    E tutto questo dicevi non per scusar l’ errore, ma perchè sia
    attribuito non a malizia, ma a vana ambizione. Ma da detta fede
    prodotta da te in tua difesa restasti maggiormente aggravato,
    mentre dicendosi in essa, che detta opinione è contraria
    alla sacra Scrittura, hai nondimeno ardito di trattarne, di
    difenderla, e persuaderla probabile; nè ti suffraga la licenza
    da te artificiosamente, e callidamente estorta, non avendo
    notificato il precetto che avevi.

    E parendo a noi, che non avevi detta intieramente la verità
    circa la tua intenzione, giudicassimo esser necessario
    venir contro di te al rigoroso esame, nel quale (senza però
    pregiudizio alcuno delle cose da te confessate, e contro di
    te dedotte come di sopra, circa la detta tua intenzione)
    rispondesti cattolicamente. Per tanto visti, et maturamente
    considerati i meriti di questa tua causa, con le suddette tue
    confessioni, e scuse, e quanto di ragione si doveva vedere
    e considerare, siamo venuti contro di te all’ infrascritta
    difinitiva sentenza.

    Invocato dunque il Santissimo Nome di Nostro Signore Gesù
    Cristo, e della sua gloriosissima Madre sempre Vergine Maria,
    per questa nostra difinitiva sentenza, la quale sedendo pro
    tribunali, di Conseglio e parere dei Reverendi Maestri di
    sacra Teologia, et Dottori dell’ una e l’ altra legge nostri
    Consultori, proferiamo in questi scritti, nella causa e cause
    vertenti avanti di noi tra il Magnifico Carlo Sinceri dell’
    una e dell’ altra legge Dottore, Procuratore fiscale di
    questo Santo Offizio per una parte, e te Galileo Galilei reo,
    quà presente processato, e confesso come sopra dall’ altra.
    Diciamo, pronunciamo, sentenziamo, dichiariamo, che tu Galileo
    suddetto per le cose dedotte in processo, e da te confessate,
    come sopra, ti sei reso a questo Santo Offizio veementemente
    sospetto d’ eresia, cioè d’ aver creduto, e tenuto dottrina
    falsa, e contraria alle sacra, e divine Scritture, che il
    Sole sia centro della terra, e che non si muova da oriente ad
    occidente, e che la terra si muova, e non sia centro del mondo;
    e che si possa tenere difendere per probabile una opinione
    dopo d’ esser stata dichiarata, difinita per contraria alla
    sacra Scrittura; e conseguentemente sei incorso in tutte le
    censure, e pene da’ Sacri Canoni, et altre Constituzioni
    generali, et particolari, contro simili delinquenti imposte, e
    promulgate. Dalle quali siamo contenti, che sii assoluto, pur
    che prima con cuor sincero, et fede non finta avanti di noi
    abiuri, maledichi, et detesti li suddetti errori, et eresie, e
    qualunque altro errore, et eresia contraria alla cattolica et
    apostolica Romana Chiesa, nel modo che da noi ti sarà dato.

    _Et acciocchè questo tuo grave, e pernicioso errore, e
    transgressione non resti del tutto impunito_, e sii più cauto
    nell’ avvenire; et esempio agli altri, che s’astenghino da
    simili delitti. Ordiniamo che per pubblico editto sia proibito
    il libro de’ _Dialoghi di Galileo Galilei_.

    Ti condanniamo al carcere formale di questo S. Offizio per
    tempo ad arbitrio nostro, e per penitenze salutari t’imponiamo,
    che per tre anni a venire dichi una volta la settimana li sette
    Salmi Penitenziali.

    Riservando a noi facoltà di moderare, mutare, o levar in tutto
    o in parte le suddette pene, e penitenze.

    E cosi diciamo, pronunciamo, sentenziamo, dichiariamo,
    ordiniamo, condenniamo, e riserviamo in questo, et in ogni
    altro miglior modo, e forma, che di ragione potemo, e dovemo.

    Ita pronunciamus nos Cardinales infrascripti.

      F. Cardinalis De Asculo.
      G. Cardinalis Bentiuolus.
      F. Cardinalis De Cremona.
      Fr. Antonius Cardinalis S. Honuphrij.
      B. Cardinalis Gypsius.
      F. Cardinalis Verospius.
      M. Cardinalis Ginettus.


    Io Galileo Galilei figlio de q. Vincenzo Galilei da Fiorenza
    dell’ età mia d’ anni 70 constituito personalmente in judicio,
    et inginocchio avanti di voi Eminentissimi, e Reverendissimi
    Signori Cardinali in tutta la Christiana Republica contro
    l’heretica pravità Generali Inquisitori havendo avanti gli
    occhi miei li Sacrosanti Evangeli, quali sono con le proprie
    mani, giuro che sempre ho creduto, credo adesso, e con l’aiuto
    di Dio crederò per l’ avenire, tutto quello, che tiene,
    predica, et insegna la Santa Cattolica, et Apostolica Romana
    Chiesa. Ma perche da questo S. Officio per haverio doppo
    d’ essermi stato con precetto dall’ istesso giuridicamente
    intimato, che omninamente dovessi lasciare la falsa opinione,
    Che il Sole sia centro del Mondo, et immobile, e che la
    terra non sia Centro, e che si muova, e che non potessi
    tenere, difendere, ne insegnare in qual si voglia modo,
    ne in voce, ne in scritto la detta falsa dottrina, e dopò
    dessermi stato notificato, che detta dottrina è contraria
    alla Sacra scrittura, scritto, e dato alle stampe un libro
    nel quale tratto l’ istessa dottrina già dannata et apporto
    ragioni con molta efficacia a favor d’essa, senza apportar
    alcuna solutione, son stato giudicato vehementemente sospetto
    d’heresia, cioè d’haver tenuto, e creduto, che il Solo sia
    centro del Mondo, et immobile, e che la terra non sia centro, e
    si muova.

    Per tanto volendo io levare dalle menti dell’ Eminenze Vostre,
    e d’ ogni fedel Christiano, questa vehemente sospittione,
    contro di me ragionevolmente conceputa, con cuor sincero, e
    fede non finta, abiuro, maledico, e detesto li sudetti errori,
    et heresie, e generalmente ogni e qualunque altro errore, e
    setta contraria alla sudetta Santa Chiesa; E giuro che per l’
    avenire, non dirò mai più, ne asserirò in voce, ò in scritto
    cose tali, per le quali si possi haver di me simil sospittione;
    ma se conoscero alcuno heretico, ò che sia sospetto d’heresia
    lo denuntiarò à questo Santo Officio ò vero all’ Inquisitore,
    et ordinario del luogo, ove me trovero.

    Giuro anco, e promesso d’adempire, et ossevra re intieramente,
    tutte le penitenze, che mi sono state, ò mi saranno da questo
    Santo Officio imposte. Et contravenendo io ad alcuna delle
    dette mie promesse, proteste, ò giuramenti (il che Dio non
    voglia) mi sottopongo a tutte le pene, e castighi, che sono da
    Sacri Canoni, et altri Constitutioni Generali, e particolari
    contro simili delinquenti imposte, e promulgate; Cosi Dio m’
    aiuti, e questi suoi santi Evangelij, che tocco con le proprie

    Io Galileo Galilei sopradetto ho abiurato, giurato, e promesso,
    e mi sono obligato come sopra, et in fede del vero di propria
    mia mano hò sottoscritto la presente Cedola di mia abiuratione,
    e recitata di parola in parola in Roma nel Convento della
    Minerva questo di 22 Giugno 1633.

    Io Galileo Galilei hò abiurato come di sopra di mano propria.


[1] “Die Acten des Gallileischen Processes, nach der Vaticanischen
Handschrift, von Karl von Gebler.” Cotta, Stuttgard, 1877.

[2] The above letter is adapted from a draft of one addressed to the
Italian Translator, the letter to myself not having, unfortunately, been
sent before the Author’s death, nor found among his papers afterwards. He
had written but a few weeks before that he would send it shortly, and as
it would probably have been almost exactly similar to the above, I have
availed myself of it, the Author’s father having sent me a copy with the
necessary alterations and authorised its use.—TR.

[3] See Appendix IV.

[4] Riccioli, vol. i. part ii. pp. 496-500.

[5] In the references the name only of the author is given. Albèri’s
“Opere” is designated Op. Those marked * are new for the English

[6] This is the writing referred to when Gherardi is quoted.

[7] Compare Nelli, vol. i. pp. 24, 25, and Opere xv. p. 384. The
strange mistake, which is without any foundation, that Galileo was an
illegitimate child, was set afloat soon after his death by Johann Victor
Rossi (Janus Nicius Erythræus) in his “Pinacotheca Illustrium Virorum,”
Cologne, Amsterdam, 1643-1648, and afterwards carelessly and sometimes
maliciously repeated. Salviati has published the marriage certificate of
5th July, 1563, of Vincenzio di Michel Angelo di Giovanni Galilei and
Giulia degli Ammanati Pescia.

[8] Many of these essays, which have never been printed, are among the
valuable unpublished MSS. in the National Library at Florence.

[9] Galileo had a younger brother, Michel Angelo, and three sisters,
Virginia, Elenor, and Livia. The former married a certain Benedetto
Landucci, the latter Taddeo Galetti. Galileo was very kind to his brother
and sisters all his life, assisted them in many ways, and even made great
sacrifices for their sakes.

[10] Nelli, vol. i. pp. 26, 27.

[11] Op. xv. (Viviani), p. 330; and Op. vi. p. 18.

[12] Op. xv. (Viviani), p. 328.

[13] The correctness of this date is indisputable, as according to Nelli,
vol. i. p. 29, it was found in the university registers. It is a pity
that Albèri, editor of the “Opere complete di Galileo Galilei,” Florence,
1842-1856, relied for the date on Viviani, who is often wrong.

[14] Op. xv. (Viviani), p. 331; also Jagemann, p. 5.

[15] Op. xv. (Viviani), p. 332; also Nelli, vol. ii. pp. 722, 723.

[16] Op. xv. (Viviani), p. 334.

[17] Nelli, vol. i. pp. 32, 33.

[18] That Galileo had been in Rome before 8th January, 1588, a fact
hitherto unknown to his biographers, is clear from the letter of that
date addressed from Florence to Clavius. (Op. vi. pp. 1-3.)

[19] See their letters to Galileo. (Op. viii. pp. 1-13.)

[20] About £13.—[TR.]

[21] About 7¼_d._ 100 kreuzers = the Austrian florin.

[22] Op. xv. (Viviani), p. 336; and Nelli, vol. i. p. 44.

[23] Op. xv. (Viviani), pp. 336, 337; Nelli, vol. i. pp. 46, 47; Venturi,
vol. i. p. 11.

[24] See the decree of installation of 26th Sept. (Op. xv. p. 388.)

[25] Op. viii. p. 18; Nelli, vol. i. p. 51.

[26] Op. xv. (Viviani), pp. 337 and 389.

[27] Published by Venturi, 1818, vol. i. pp. 26-74.

[28] Op. xv. (Viviani), pp. 339, 340.

[29] Op. xv. (Viviani), pp. 337, 338.

[30] Op. ii. pp. 1-6.

[31] “Prodromus Dissertationum Cosmographicarum.”

[32] Op. vi. pp. 11, 12.

[33] Op. viii. pp. 21-24.

[34] See Humboldt’s “Cosmos,” vol. ii. pp. 345, 346, and 497-499.

[35] Op. xv. p. 390. His salary at first was 72 Florentine zecchini =
£18, and rose by degrees to 400 zecchini = £100. (Op. viii. p. 18, note

[36] Some fragments of these lectures are extant, and are included by
Albèri in the Op. v. part ii.

[37] Op. iii. (“Astronomicus Nuncius,” pp. 60, 61.) In his “Saggiatore”
also he relates the circumstance in precisely the same way, only adding
that he devised the construction of the telescope in one night, and
carried it out the next day.

[38] Nelli, pp. 186, 187.

[39] History has acknowledged the optician Hans Lipperhey, of Middelburg,
to be the inventor of the telescope. Compare the historical sketch in
“Das neue Buch der Erfindungen,” etc., vol. ii. pp. 217-220. (Leipzig,
1865.) The instrument received its name from Prince Cesi, who, on
the advice of the learned Greek scholar Demiscianus, called it a

[40] Op. vi. pp. 75-77.

[41] See the decree of the senate, 25th Aug., 1609 (Op. xv. pp. 392-393.)

[42] Cosmo II. showed all his life a sincere attachment to his old
teacher, Galileo. From 1605, before Cosmo was reigning prince, Galileo
had regularly given him mathematical lessons during the academical
holidays at Florence, and had thereby gained great favour at the court of

[43] Op. vi. pp. 107-111.

[44] See the letter of Martin Hasdal from Prague, of 15th April, 1610,
to Galileo (Op. viii. pp. 58-60); also a letter from Julian de’ Medici,
Tuscan ambassador at the Imperial court, to Galileo, from Prague, 19th
April, 1610. (Wolynski, “Lettere inedite,” etc., p. 20.)

[45] This reprint bore the following superscription: “Joannis Kepleri
Mathematici Cæsarei Dissertatio cum Nuncio Sidereo nuper ad mortales
misso a Galilaeo Galilaeo Mathematico Patavino.” Comp. Venturi, vol. i.
pp. 99-120.

[46] Op. vi. p. 121, note 1.

[47] Compare the letters of Martin Hasdal, Alexander Sertini, and Kepler
to Galileo in 1610. (Op. viii. pp. 60-63, 65-68, 82-85, 88, 89, 101,

[48] See the letter which Kepler wrote about it to Galileo on 25th Oct.
1610. (Op. viii. pp. 113-117.)

[49] Wedderburn’s reply was called: “Quatuor Problematum, quæ Martinius
Horky contra Nuncium Sidereum de quatuor Planetis novis proposuit”;
Roffeni’s, “Epistola apologetica contra cœcam peregrinationem cujusdam
furiosi Martini cognomine Horky editam adversus, Nuncium Sidereum.”

[50] Op. vi. pp. 114, 115.

[51] Op. vi. p. 127.

[52] May 7th, 1610. (Op. vi. pp. 93-99.)

[53] Op. vi. p. 165.

[54] Op. xv. (Viviani), p. 343.

[55] Op. vi. p. 129.

[56] Op. vi. pp. 116-118. Ponsard in his drama, “Galileo,” of which a
third edition appeared at Paris in 1873, in which he mostly turns history
upside down, in Act i. sc. iii. and iv. takes off capitally the proud and
silly opposition of the Aristotelians.

[57] Comp. Op. xv. p. 397, note 11, also Venturi, vol. i. pp. 19, 20.
Jagemann (p. 52) even believes “that Gustavus Adolphus, who created an
entirely new science of warfare which set all Europe in consternation and
terror, had derived his wonderful knowledge from Galileo”!

[58] Op. vi., 71-75. It is unfortunately unknown to whom this letter was
addressed; but, as appears from the contents, it must have been to some
one high in office at the court of Tuscany.

[59] It is not known that these last mentioned treatises ever appeared.
As not the least trace of them is to be found, and yet numerous
particulars have come down to us of other works afterwards lost, it may
be concluded that these essays were never written.

[60] Op. viii. pp. 63, 64.

[61] Op. viii. pp. 73, 74.

[62] Op. vi. p. 112.

[63] Libri justly says, p. 38: “this mistake was the beginning of all his

[64] In a letter from Galileo to his brother Michel Angelo, of May
11th, 1606, he describes the somewhat comical scene of the nocturnal
deportation of the Jesuits from the city of Lagunes. (Op. vi. p. 32.)

[65] Op. viii. p. 146-150.

[66] 11th Dec., 1610. (Op. vi. p. 128.)

[67] Op. vi. pp. 130-133 and 134-136.

[68] Op. vi. pp. 137, 138.

[69] Op. vi. p. 139, 140.

[70] Op. vi. p. 140, note 1. See also Vinta’s answer to Galileo, 20th
Jan. 1611 (Wolynski, “Lettere inedite,” p. 27); also the Grand Duke’s
letter to his ambassador at Rome, Giovanni Niccolini, of 27th Feb., 1611
(Wolynski, “La Diplomazia Toscana e Gal. Galilei,” p. 10).

[71] Pieralisi has first published this letter in his work “Urban VIII.
and Galileo Galilei,” p. 41.

[72] See, for Bellarmine’s request and the opinion, Op. viii. pp. 160-162.

[73] Op. viii. p. 145.

[74] Gherardi’s Collection of Documents: Doc. i.

[75] Op. vi. p. 274.

[76] The full title was: “Dianoja Astronomica, Optica, Physica, qua
Siderei Nuncii rumor de quatuor Planetis a Galilaeo Galilaeo Mathematico
celeberrimo, recens perspicilli cujusdam ope conspectis, vanus redditur.
Auctore Francisco Sitio Florentino.”

[77] Op. vi. p. 94, note 1; and xv. “Bibliografia Galileiana,” p. vi.

[78] This letter reports the facts above mentioned. (Op. viii. p. 188.)

[79] Op. viii. pp. 222-224.

[80] Op. viii. pp. 241, 242.

[81] Op. vi. pp. 194-197.

[82] “Discorso al Serenissimo D. Cosimo II., Gran-Duca di Toscana intorno
alle cose che stanno in su l’aqua o che in quella si muovano.”

[83] Op. viii. p. 231, note 2; Nelli, p. 318; Venturi, vol. i. pp. 195,

[84] Dated 4th May, 14th August, and 1st December, 1612.

[85] “Istoria e Dimostrazioni intorno alle Macchie Solari, e loro
accidenti comprese in tre lettere scritte al Sig. Marco Velsero da
Galileo Galilei.”

[86] Letter of 20th April, 1613. (Op. viii. p. 262.)

[87] Letter of 26th May, 1613. (Op. viii. p. 271.)

[88] Letter of 8th June, 1613. (Op. viii. pp. 274, 275.)

[89] Op. viii. pp. 290, 291.

[90] Op. viii. pp. 291-293.

[91] Op. ii. pp. 6-13.

[92] Op. viii. pp. 337, 338.

[93] Vol. i. p. 397.

[94] Comp. Govi, p. 47.

[95] Epinois, “La Question de Galilei,” p. 43.

[96] Op. viii. pp. 337-343.

[97] The title of “Eminence” was first given to cardinals by Pope Urban
VIII. in 1630.

[98] See Lorini’s Denunciations, fol. 342, Vat. MS. According to Epinois
this letter was of the 5th, but Gherardi publishes a document which shows
it to have been of the 7th. (Gherardi’s Collection of Documents, Doc. ii.)

[99] Vat. MS. 347 vo.; also Gherardi’s Documents, Doc. ii.

[100] See Castelli’s letter to Galileo, 12th March, 1615, in which this
visit is described. (Op. viii. pp. 358, 359.)

[101] In the letter before quoted of 12th March.

[102] Marini, pp. 84-86, and Vat. MS. fol. 349, 350.

[103] Op. viii. p. 365.

[104] Op. viii. pp. 369, 370.

[105] Vat. MS. fol. 341.

[106] Vat. MS. fol. 352 ro.; and Gherardi’s Documents, Doc. iii.

[107] Compare the text of Caccini’s evidence. (Vat. MS. fol. 353 ro.-358

[108] See the protocol of both these examinations. (Vat. MS. fol. 371
ro.-373 vo.)

[109] Vat. MS. fol. 375 vo., and Gherardi’s Documents, Doc. v.

[110] Op. ii. pp. 13-17.

[111] Op. ii. pp. 17-26.

[112] Op. viii. pp. 350-353.

[113] Op. viii. pp. 354-356.

[114] As we should say, “as a working hypothesis.” [TR.]

[115] This was the work which was condemned and absolutely prohibited by
the Congregation of the Index a year later: “Lettera del R. P. Maestro
Paolo Antonio Foscarini, Carmelitano, sopra l’opinione de i Pittagorici e
del Copernico della mobilità della Terra e stabilità del Sole, e il nuovo
Sisteme del Mondo.” (For Cesi’s letter, Op. viii. pp. 356-358.)

[116] See Dini’s letter to Galileo, March 14th, 1615 (Op. viii. p. 360);
and of August 18th, 1615 (Wolynski, “Lettere Inedite,” p. 34); and
Ciampoli’s of March 21st (Op. viii. pp. 366, 367.)

[117] Op. viii. p. 368.

[118] Op. viii. pp. 376, 377.

[119] Op. viii. pp. 378, 379.

[120] See his letter to Galileo, May 16th, 1615. (Op. viii. pp. 376, 377.)

[121] Op. ii. pp. 26-64. It did not appear in print until twenty-one
years later, in Strasburg.

[122] See the letters of Cosmo II., November 28th, to his ambassador
Guicciardini, at Rome, to Cardinal del Monte, Paolo Giordano Orsini, and
Abbot Orsini; also to Cardinal Orsini, of December 2nd. (Wolynski: “La
Diplomazia Toscana e Gal. Galilei,” pp. 18-20.)

[123] Page 69.

[124] Compare the letters of Sagredo from Venice of 11th March and 23rd
April, 1616, to Galileo at Rome. (Op. Suppl. pp. 107-113. Also Nelli,
vol. i. p. 414.)

[125] Op. viii. p. 383.

[126] See his letters of 12th Dec., 1615, and 8th Jan., 1616, to the
Tuscan Secretary of State, Curzio Picchena, at Florence. (Op. vi. pp.
211, 212, 214, 215.)

[127] Vat. MS. fol. 414 vo.

[128] Compare also Wohlwill, p. 86, note 1.

[129] See his letters to Picchena of 26th Dec., 1615, and 1st Jan., 1616.
(Op. vi. pp. 213, 214.)

[130] Op. vi. pp. 215, 216.

[131] 23rd Jan., 1616. (Op. vi. pp. 218, 219.)

[132] Letter to Picchena, 6th Feb. (Op. vi. p. 222.)

[133] Letter to Picchena. (Op. vi. pp. 225-227.)

[134] Op. vi. pp. 221-223.

[135] See the letter of Mgr. Queringhi, from Rome, of 20th January, 1616,
to Cardinal Alessandro d’Este. (Op. viii. p. 383.)

[136] Che il sole sij centre del mondo, et per consequenza im̃obile di
moto locale.

Che la Terra non è centro del mondo, ne im̃obile, ma si move secondo se
tutta etia di moto diurno. (Vat. MS. fol. 376 ro.)

[137] Sol est centrũ mundi, et omnino im̃obilis motu locali;

Censura: Omnes dixerunt dicta propositionẽ ẽe stultã et absurdam in
Philosophia, et formaliter hereticã, quatenus contradicit expresse
sententijs sacre scripture in multis locis. Secundũ proprietate verbor̃,
et secundũ communẽ expositionẽ, et sensũ. Sanct. Patr. et Theologor̃

Terra non est centr. mundi, nec im̃obilis, sed secundũ se tota, movetur
et moto diurno.

Censura: Omnes dixerunt, hanc propositionẽ recipẽ eandẽ censura in
Philosophia; et spectando veritatẽ Theologicã, at minus ẽe in fide
erronea. (Vat. MS. folio 377 ro.)

[138] Die Jovis, 25th Februarij, 1616.

Illᵐᵘˢ. D. Cardˡⁱˢ. Millinus notificavit R.R. pp. D.D. Asseosʳ.
et Commiss. Sᵗⁱ. Officij, quod relata censura P.P. Theologorũ ad
propositⁿᵉˢ. Gallilei Mathemᶜⁱ., q. Sol sit centrũ mundi, et im̃obilis
motu locali, et Terra moveatur et motu diurno; Sᵐᵘˢ. ordinavit Illᵐᵒ.
D. Cardˡⁱ. Bellarmᵒ., ut vocet corã se dᵐ. Galileum, eumq. moneat ad
deserendas dᵃᵐ. op̃onem, et si recusaverit parere, P. Comissˢ. cora Noto
(Notario) et Testibus faciat illi preceptum, ut ĩo (omnino) abstineat
huõi (huiusmodi) doctrina, et op̃onem docere, aut defendere, seu de ea
tractare, si vero nõ acquieverit, carceretur. (Vat. MS. folio 378 vo.)

[139] Die Veneris, 26th eiusdem.

In Palatio solite habitⁿⁱˢ: dⁱ: Illᵐⁱ: D. Cardⁱˢ: Bellarmⁱ. et in
mãsionib. Domⁿⁱˢ. sue Illᵐᵒ: Idem Illᵐᵘˢ: D. Cardˡⁱˢ: vocato supradᵗᵒ.
Galileo, ipsoq. corã D. sua Illᵐᵃ: ex̃nte (existente) in p̃ntia adm. R.
p. Fĩs Michaelis Angeli Seghitij de Lauda ord. Pred. Com̃issarij qualis
sᵗⁱ. officij predᵐ. Galileũ monuit de errore supradᵗᵉ op̃onis, et ut
illa deserat, et successive, ac icõtinenti in mei &, et Testiũ & p̃nte
ẽt adhuc eodem Illᵐᵒ. D. Cardˡⁱ. supradᵒ. P. Com̃issˢ. predᵗᵒ. Galileo
adhuc ibidem p̃nti, et Constituto precepit, et ordinavit ... [Here the
MS. is defaced. Two words are wanting, the second might be nome (nomine);
the first began with a p (proprie?) but is quite illegible.] Sᵐⁱ. D. N.
Pape et totius Congregⁿⁱˢ. sᵗⁱ. officij, ut supradᵗᵃ. oponione q. sol
sit cẽ: trum mundi, et im̃obilis, et Terra moveatur omnino relinquat,
nec eã de Cetero qᵒvis mõ teneat, doceat, aut defendat, verbo, aut
scriptis, al̃s (alias) coñ ipsũ procedetur ĩ (in) Sᵗᵒ. offo., cui
precepto Idem Galileus aequievit, et parere promisit. Sub. quib. & actum
Rome ubi subra p̃ntibus ibidẽ R.D. Badino Nores de Nicosia ĩ Regno
Cypri, et Augustino Mongardo de loco Abbatie Rose, dioc. Politianeñ
(Poletianensis) familiarib. dⁱ. Illᵐⁱ. D. Cardˡⁱˢ. Testibus. (Vat. MS.
folio 379 ro, 379 vo.)

[140] Marini, p. 42.

[141] Marini, pp. 93, 94, and 141.

[142] In the _Zeitschrift für mathematischen u. naturwissenschaftlichen
Unterricht_, 1st series, part iv., pp. 333-340. See the controversy
between Dr. Wohlwill and Dr. Friedlein in the _Zeitschrift für
Mathematik_, etc., 17th series. Part ii., pp. 9-31; part iii., pp. 41-45;
part v., pp. 81-98.


                                        _Feria V. die III. Martii, 1616._

Facta relatione per Illumum. D. Cardᵉᵐ. Bellarminum quod Galilaeus
Galilei mathematicus monitus de ordine Sacrae Congregationis ad
deserendam (prima stava scritto chiarissimamente, _disserendam_)
opinionem quam hactenus tenuit quod sol sit centrum spherarum,
et immobilis, terra autem mobilis, acquievit; ac relato Decreto
Congregationis Indicis, qualiter (o, variante, quod) fuerunt prohibita et
suspensa respective scripta Nicolai Cupernici (De revolutionibus orbium
cœlestium....) Didaci a Stunica, in Job, et Fr. Pauli Antonii Foscarini
Carmelitæ, SSmus. ordinavit publicari Edictum, A. P. Magistro S.
Palatii hujusmodi suspensionis et prohibitionis respective. (Gherardi’s
Documents, Doc. vi.)

[144] See this decree in full, Appendix, p. 345.

[145] Op. vi. pp. 231-233.

[146] Op. Suppl. 109-112.

[147] Noi Roberto Cardinale Bellarmino havendo inteso che il Sigʳ Galileo
Galilei sia calumniato, ò imputato di havere abiurato in mano nr̃a, et
anco di essere stato perciò penitenziato di penitenzie salutari; et
essendo ricercati della verità diciamo, che il suddetto S. Galileo no
ha abiurato i mano nr̃a nè di altra qua in Roma ne meno ĩ altro luogo
che noi sappiamo alcuna sua opinione o dottrina, nè manco hà ricevuto
penitenzie salutarj, nè d’altra sorte, ma solo, ql’è stata denunziata la
dichiarazione fatta da Nr̃o Sigʳᵉ: e publicata dalla Sacra Congregⁿᵉ:
dell’indice, nella quale si cotiene che la dottrina attribuita al
Copernico che la terra si muova intorno al sole, e che il sole stia nel
centro del Mõdo senza muoversi da oriente ad occidente sia cõtraria
alle sacre scritture, e però nõ si possa difendere nè tenere. Et in fede
di ciò habbiamo scritta, e sotto-scritta la presẽte di nr̃a propria mano
questo di 26 di Maggio, 1616. Il me desimo di sopra, Roberto Cardˡᵉ.
Bellarmino. (Vat. MS., 423 ro and 427 ro.)

[148] Martin, pp. 79, 80.

[149] Prof. Riccardi has stated this conjecture in the Introduction (p.
17) to his valuable collection of documents relating to the trial of
Galileo, published in 1873.

[150] For the particulars, see Appendix, “Estimate of the Vat. MS.”

[151] Pietro Guiccardini had relieved his predecessor, Giovanni
Sicculini, of his post on 14th May, 1611, when Galileo was still at Rome.
Guiccardini remained there till 27th November, 1621.

[152] Op. vi. pp. 227-230.

[153] See Galileo’s letter to Picchena, from Rome, of 12th March. (Op.
vi. pp. 233-235.)

[154] Wolynski’s “Lettere inedite,” etc., p. 36.

[155] Op. vi. pp. 235-237.

[156] Op. viii. p. 385.

[157] Op. vi. p. 238, note 2. See these despatches verbatim in Wolynski’s
“La Diplomazia Toscana e Gal. Galilei,” p. 22.

[158] Op. vi. p. 238, note 2.

[159] See letter from Cesi to Galileo. (Op. viii. pp. 389, 390.)

[160] Op. ii. pp. 387-406.

[161] Op. vi. pp. 278-281.

[162] Op. xv. (Viviani), p. 350.

[163] Nelli, vol. i. p. 432.

[164] Op. iv. p. 16. This appears also from a letter from Galileo of 19th
June, 1619, to Cardinal Maffeo Barberini, afterwards Pope Urban VIII.,
accompanying the treatise. (See this letter in “Pieralisi,” pp. 63, 64;
and “Guitoloni et Gal. Galilei,” Livorno, 1872, vol. i. p. 263.)

[165] “Libra Astronomica ac Philosophica qua Galilæi Galilæi opiniones de
cometis a Mario Guiduccio in Florentina Academia expositæ, atque in lucem
nuper editæ examinatur a Lothario Sarsi Sigensano.” (Op. iv. pp. 63-121.)

[166] See the letter of Mgr. Ciampoli of 6th December, 1619, to Galileo.
(Op. viii. pp. 430, 431.)

[167] Compare the letters of Stelluti (27th January, 1620) to Prince
Cesi, 4th March and 18th May, 1620; and from Mgr. Ciampoli, 18th May,
1620, to Galileo. (Op. viii. pp. 436-439, and 441-443.)

[168] See his letter of 12th and 17th July, 1620, to Galileo. (Op. viii.
p. 447; Wolynski, “Lettere inedite,” etc., p. 59.)

[169] See Ciampoli’s letter to Galileo, 27th May, 1623. (Op. ix. p. 30.)

[170] Compare Cesarini’s letters to Galileo of 23rd June, 1621, and 7th
May, 1622. (Op. ix. pp. 5 and 18.)

[171] See his letters to Galileo in 1621 and 1622. (Op. ix. pp. 11-14 and
16-18; and Wolynski, “Lettere,” etc., p. 65.)

[172] “Scandaglio della Libra Astronomica e Filosofica di Lothario Sarsi
nella controversia delle Comete, e particolarmente delle tre ultimamente
vedute l’anno 1618, di Giovanni Battista Stelluti da Fabriano dottor di

[173] “Il Saggiatore, nel quale con bilancia esquisita e quista si
ponderano le cose contenute nella Libra Astronomica e Filosofica di
Lothario Sarsi Sigensano.”

[174] See Cesarini’s letter to Galileo, 12th January, 1623. (Op. ix. pp.

[175] Op. ix. p. 26.

[176] See Ciampoli to Galileo, 6th May, 1623. (Wolynski, “Lettere,” etc.,
p. 68.)

[177] See Ciampoli’s Letter to Galileo, 27th May, 1623. (Op. ix. p. 30.)

[178] See Ranke: “Die römischen Päpste,” etc., vol. ii. p. 531, etc.

[179] See Op. viii. pp. 173, 206, 208, 209, 262, 427; ix. p. 31.

[180] Op. viii. p. 206.

[181] Op. viii. p. 262.

[182] Op. viii. p. 451. Pieralisi in his work, “Urban VIII. and Galileo
Galilei,” Rome, 1875, pp. 22, 27, gives Barberini’s ode, which is in
Latin, and consists of nineteen strophes, as well as a commentary on it,
which has not been printed by Campanella. See also pp. 65, 66, Galileo’s
reply to Barberini, in which he expresses his warm thanks and his
admiration of the poetry. This is not in Albèri’s work.

[183] Op. iv., “Saggiatore,” p. 172.

[184] See for these transactions the letter of Mario Guiducci, from Rome,
to Galileo, of 18th April, 1625. (Op. ix. pp. 78-80.)

[185] Cesarini’s letter to Galileo, 28th October, 1623. (Op. ix. pp. 43,

[186] Rinuccini’s letters to Galileo, 3rd November and 2nd December,
1623. (Op. Suppl. p. 154; and ix. p. 50.)

[187] Op. vi. pp. 289, 290.

[188] Op. ix. pp. 42, 43.

[189] Letter of 20th October. (Op. ix. pp. 40, 41.)

[190] See Rinuccini’s letter to Galileo of 2nd December, 1623; and
Guiducci’s of 18th December. (Op. ix. pp. 48-53.)

[191] Compare Ciampoli’s letter to Galileo of 16th March, 1624. (Op. ix.
p. 55.)

[192] Op. ix. p. 56.

[193] Compare his letter from Rome of 8th June to Cesi, who was then at
Aquasparta. (Op. vi. pp. 295-297.)

[194] Ibid.

[195] ... “Fu da S. Santita risposto come S. Chiesa non l’avea dannata,
ne era per dannarla per eretica, ma solo per temeraria.” Comp. Galileo’s
letter to Cesi, 8th June. (Op. vi. pp. 295-297.)

[196] Page 92.

[197] Comp. Galileo’s letter to Cesi, 8th June, before mentioned.

[198] History has assigned the merit of this valuable discovery to
Zacharias Jansen, a spectacle maker of Middelburg, from whose workshop
the first microscope went forth near the end of the 16th century,
probably in 1590.

[199] Rezzi, pp. 8-10 and 36-40.

[200] Op. vi. p. 297; ix. p. 64.

[201] Galileo was never married, but he had a son who was legitimised in
1619 by Cosmo II., and two daughters, by Marina Gamba, of Venice. His
daughters took the veil in the Convent of S. Matteo, at Arcetri. The
mother of his children afterwards married a certain Bartolucci, with
whom Galileo subsequently entered into friendly correspondence, which
was quite in accordance with the state of morals and manners in Italy at
that period. The pension of sixty dollars was granted in 1627, but owing
to the religious exercises attached as a condition, Galileo’s son did
not accept it. It was then transferred to a nephew, but, as he proved
unworthy of it, to Galileo himself, with an increase of forty dollars,
but with the condition, as it was derived from two ecclesiastical
benefices, that he should adopt the tonsure, to which he consented. He
drew the pension which thus irregularly accrued to him as long as he

[202] Op. vi. p. 295.

[203] Op. ix. pp. 60, 61; Pieralisi, pp. 75, 76.

[204] This work was placed upon the Index of prohibited books by a decree
of 10th March, 1619.

[205] Op. ii. pp. 64-115.

[206] See Guiducci’s letter to Galileo from Rome, 18th April, 1625. (Op.
ix. pp. 78-80.)

[207] Op. ix. pp. 65-71; Suppl. pp. 162-164.

[208] See Guiducci’s letters to Galileo of 8th, 15th, and 22nd November,
21st and 27th December, 1624; and 4th January, 1625. (Op. Suppl. pp.

[209] Op. ix. p. 97.

[210] Op. iv. pp. 486, 487.

[211] “Dialogo di Galileo: dove nei congressi di quattro giornate si
discorre sopra i due Massimi Sistemi del Mondo Tolemaico e Copernicano,
proponendo indeterminatamente le ragioni filosofiche e naturali tanto per
l’una parte, che par l’altra.”

[212] Comp. Galileo’s letters of 7th Dec., 1624, and 12th Jan, 1630, to
Cesare Marsili (Op. vi. pp. 300 and 355); also Cesi’s letter to Galileo,
12th Oct., 1624 (Op. ix. p. 71).

[213] Op. i. (“Dialogo di Galileo Galilei,” etc.), pp. 11, 12.

[214] Op. i. pp. 501-503.

[215] Martin, p. 99.

[216] Comp. for example the essay: “Der Heilige Stuhl gegen Galileo
Galilei u. das astronomische System des Copernicus”; also Marini, pp.

[217] Op. vi. pp. 333-336.

[218] Ibid. pp. 333 and 336.

[219] Op. ix. p. 167.

[220] Ibid. pp. 173-175.

[221] This celebrated Dominican monk, who in 1599 had been condemned
by Spanish despotism to imprisonment for life, ostensibly for having
taken part in the insurrection in Calabria, but in fact for his liberal
opinions, had been released by Urban VIII. in 1626, under pretext of
a charge of heresy. After having been detained for three years for
appearance’s sake, in the palace of the Holy Office, he had, after 1629,
been at large in Rome. Campanella was one of Galileo’s most zealous
adherents, and, so far as his imprisonment permitted, he had corresponded
with him for years. A letter of his to Galileo of 8th March, 1614, is
noteworthy (Op. viii. pp. 305-307), in which he entreats him to leave
all other researches alone and to devote himself solely to the decisive
question of the system of the universe. In conclusion he makes the
singular offer to cure Galileo, who was then lying ill, by means of
“the astrological medicine”! In 1616, when the Copernican theory had
been denounced by the Inquisition as heretical, the Inquisitor Cardinal
Gaetani applied to Campanella, who was widely known for his learning,
to give his opinion on the relation of the system to Holy Scripture. In
compliance with this demand, Campanella wrote a brilliant apology for
Galileo, in which the expert theologian and mathematician brought the
system into agreement with the Bible. But even the zealous demonstrations
of the imprisoned philosopher did not avail to avert the decree of the
Sacred Congregation.

[222] “Non fu mai nostra intenzione, e se fosse toccato a noi non si
sarrebe fatto quel decreto.” (Op. ix. p. 176.)

[223] Op. ix. pp. 176, 177.

[224] “Che lei è desiderata piu che qualsivoglia amatissima donzella.”
(Op. ix. p. 178.)

[225] Op. ix. p. 188.

[226] In the narration of this most important transaction we have
followed the memorial which, later on, at the beginning of the trial of
Galileo, was handed to the Pope by the preliminary commission. This is an
authentic document, agreeing as far as it relates to these transactions
with Galileo’s correspondence. (Op. vi. pp. 274-277; Suppl. pp. 233-235.)
It is inconceivable how Albèri (Op. Suppl. p. 238, note 2) can have
fallen into the mistake of supposing that Galileo had not received the
_imprimatur_ at all, though he himself publishes documents which prove
the contrary; as, for instance, the letter of Visconti to Galileo of 16th
June, 1630 (Suppl. p. 235); Galileo’s to Cioli of 7th March, 1631 (Op.
vi. pp. 374-376); a letter of Riccardi’s to the Tuscan ambassador at
Rome, Niccolini, of 28th April, 1631 (Op. ix. pp. 243, 244); and finally,
a letter from Niccolini to Cioli of Sep., 1632 (Op ix. pp. 420-423).
Martin also expresses his surprise at this error of Albèri’s (p. 102,
note 2).

[227] Op. ix. pp. 193 and 205.

[228] Op. vi. p. 346, note 2.

[229] Wolynski, “La Diplomazia Toscana e Gal. Galilei,” p. 35.

[230] Op. ix. pp. 198, 199.

[231] Ibid. pp. 201, 202.

[232] Op. vi. p. 375. In the first edition of the “Dialogues,” this
permission to print is to be seen at the beginning of the book. They are
also reproduced in the Latin translation of the work (Strasburg, 1635, in

[233] Op. ix. pp. 205, 206.

[234] See Caterina Niccolini’s letter to Galileo. (Op. ix. p. 209.)

[235] Op. vi. p. 375.

[236] In the history of these negotiations we have to a great extent
followed Galileo’s narrative. (Op. vi. pp. 374-377.) Besides this, we
have made use of two authentic documents, the memorial of the preliminary
commission, before mentioned, to the Pope (Vat. MS. fol. 387 ro.-389
vo.), and the protocol of the trial of Galileo, 12th April, 1633 (Vat.
MS. 413 ro.-419 ro.)

[237] Compare the letter of Geri Bocchineri, private secretary at the
Court of Tuscany, to Galileo (Op. ix. pp. 225, 226), and the letter of
Cioli to Niccolini of 8th March, in which the latter is charged, in the
name of the Grand Duke, to support Galileo’s cause to the utmost with the
Master of the Palace. (Wolynski, “La Diplomazia Toscana,” etc., p. 39.)

[238] Op. vi. pp. 377, 378.

[239] Op. ix. pp. 242, 243.

[240] The Roman censorship only granted licences to works published at
Rome itself.

[241] See this letter from Riccardi to Niccolini. (Op. ix. pp. 243, 244.)

[242] Op. iv. pp. 382-284.

[243] See Niccolini to Galileo, 25th May, 1631. (Wolynski, “Lettere
inedite,” etc., p. 83.)

[244] ... “Si che non mai si conceda la verita assoluta ma solamente la
hipotetica, e senza la Scrittura, a questa opinione ...”

[245] Vat. MS. fol. 390 ro.

[246] Ibid. fol. 390 vo.

[247] Letter of 19th July, 1631. (Op. ix. p. 246.)

[248] See this important letter of Riccardi’s to the Inquisitor at
Florence. (Vat. MS. fol. 393 ro.)

[249] See points 1 and 3 of the memorial which was handed to the Pope at
the first examination of Galileo by the preliminary commission. (Vat. MS.
fol. 388.)

[250] Comp. p. 120.

[251] Marini, p. 127. Pieralisi tries to convince the reader that
Ciampoli acted quite despotically in the matter; and says that when
Riccardi refers to “the Pope,” it was not Maffeo Barberini, but Mgr.
Ciampoli, “Giovanni Ciampoli non Maffeo Barberini era il Papa”! p. 113, a
statement which, considering Urban’s despotic character and the absence
of historical proof, appears very arbitrary.

[252] _Zeitschrift für Mathematik u. Physik._ 9th Series, Part 3, p. 184.

[253] Marini, pp. 116, 117; Op. Suppl. pp. 324, 325.

[254] Op. vi. p. 389.

[255] Ibid. p. 390.

[256] Ibid.

[257] Op. ix. p. 271.

[258] Ibid. p. 253.

[259] Op. ix. pp. 270-272.

[260] Op. Suppl. p. 319.

[261] Comp. Nelli, vol. i. pp. 504, 505; Op. vi. p. 104, note 2; ix. pp.
163-165, 192; Suppl. p. 234.

[262] Comp. on this subject the chapters on “Die Gesellschaft Jesu” in
“Kulturgeschichte in ihrer natürlichen Entwicklung bis zur Gegenwart,” by
Fr. v. Hellwald, Augsburg, 1874, pp. 691-966.

[263] ... “I Gesuiti lo persequiterano acerbissimamente.” (See
Magalotti’s letter to Mario Guiducci, from Rome, of 7th Aug., 1632. Op.
Suppl. p. 321)

[264] See their letters. (Op. ix. pp. 264-267, 270-272, 276-282.)

[265] See their letters to Galileo. (Op. ix. pp. 25, 72, 97, 166-168,
174-177, 210, 255; Suppl. p. 181.)

[266] On the reverse side of the title page of the “Dialogues” stands:—

  “Imprimatur, si videbitur Rever. P. Magistro Sacri Palatii Apostolici.
                    A. Episcopus Bellicastensis Vices gerens.

  Imprimatur. Fr. Nicolaus Ricardus, Sacri Apostolici Palatii Magister.

  Imprimatur Florentiæ; ordinibus consuetis servatis. 11 Septembris 1630.
                    Petrus Nicolinus Vic. Gen. Florentiæ.

  Imprimatur. Die 11 Septembris 1630.
                    Fra Clemens Egidius Inquisit. Gen. Florentiæ.

  Stampisi. A. di 12 di Settembre 1630.
                    Niccolò dell’Altella.”

[267] It is reproduced in Venturi, vol. ii. p. 117.

[268] See on all this the two detailed letters of Count Magalotti to
Mario Guiducci, from Rome, of 7th August and 4th September, 1632. (Op.
Suppl. pp. 318-329.)

[269] Scheiner had two years before published a work called “Rosa
Ursina,” in which he again fiercely attacked Galileo, and stoutly
maintained his unjustifiable claims to the first discovery of the solar
spots. Galileo did not directly answer him in his “Dialogues,” but dealt
him some side blows, and stood up for his own priority in the discovery
with weighty arguments. Castelli, in a letter to Galileo of 19th June,
1632 (Op. ix. p. 274), gives an amusing description of Scheiner’s
rage. When a priest from Siena praised the book in his presence at
a bookseller’s, and called it the most important work that had ever
appeared, Scheiner left the shop, pale as death, and trembling with
excitement in every limb. But he did not always thus curb his rage. The
natural philosopher, Torricelli, who afterwards became famous, a pupil
of Castelli’s, reported to Galileo, in a letter of 11th September, 1632
(Op. ix. p. 287), a conversation he had had with Scheiner about the
“Dialogues.” Although he shook his head about them, he had concurred
in Torricelli’s praise, but could not help remarking that he found the
frequent digressions tedious; and no wonder, for they often referred to
himself, and he always got the worst of it. He broke off the conversation
by saying that “Galileo had behaved very badly to him, but he did not
wish to speak of it.” In a letter of 23rd February, 1633, to Gassendi
(Op. ix. p. 275), Scheiner is less reserved. Rage and fury evidently
guided his pen, and he complains bitterly that Galileo had dared in his
work to “lay violent hands” on the “Rosa Ursina.” Scheiner was doubtless
one of the most zealous in instituting the trial against Galileo,
although Targioni (vol. i. p. 113, note _a_) overshoots the mark in
making him his actual accuser.

[270] Op. ix. pp. 420-425.

[271] See Magalotti’s letter to Guiducci of 4th September, 1632 (Op.
Suppl. p. 324); and Niccolini’s report to Cioli of 5th September (Op. ix.
p. 422).

[272] Op. ix. p. 271, note 1.

[273] Comp. Niccolini’s report to Cioli of 13th March, 1633. (Op. ix. p.

[274] Op. i. “Dialogo di Galileo Galilei,” etc., p. 502.

[275] This point has been recently thoroughly discussed by Henri Martin.
Comp. pp. 159-168.

[276] Pages 34-38, etc.

[277] ... “Che fu il primo motere di tutti i miei travagli.” (Op. vii. p.

[278] This erroneous idea is found among a large number of historians;
for instance, Biot (_Journal des Savans_, July-Oct. 1858), pp. 464, 465;
Philarète Chasles, pp. 129, 130, 208; Reumont, p. 336; and Parchappe, p.
206. Epinois (pp. 56, 57) and Martin (pp. 159-168) have merely given the
importance to this circumstance which it deserves, for it really was of
great moment in the course of the trial.

[279] “ ... E da buona banda intendo i Padri Gesuiti aver fatto
impressione in testa principalissima che tal mio libro è piu esecrando e
piu pernicioso per Santa Chiesa, che le scritture di Lutero e di Calvino
...” (Letter from Galileo to Elia Diodati of 15th Jan., 1633, Op. vii. p.
19. Comp. also his letter to King Ladislaus of Poland, Op. vii. p. 190.)

[280] See the letter of Magalotti to Guiducci, before mentioned, of 7th
August, 1632. (Op. Suppl. pp. 318-323.)

[281] Op. Suppl. p. 319.

[282] See the despatches of Niccolini to Cioli of 5th and 18th Sep.,
1632. (Op. ix. pp. 422 and 426.)

[283] See Campanella’s letters to Galileo of 31st August and 25th Sep.,
1632. (Op. ix. pp. 284 and 294.)

[284] Op. vii. pp. 3, 4.

[285] Op. ix. pp. 420-423.

[286] Il Serenissimo Padrone ha sentito le lettere di V. E. de 4 et 5, et
per questa materia del Sig. Mariano e per quella del Sig. Galileo resta
in tanta alterazione chio non so come le cose passarano; so bene che S.
Santita non havera mai cagione di dolessi de ministri ni de mali consigli
lora. (Wolynski, “La Diplomazia Toscana,” etc., p. 45.)

[287] Op. Suppl. pp. 324-330.

[288] It never did in fact come to this; for the _supreme authority_ is
the Pope, speaking _ex cathedra_, or an Œcumenical Council.

[289] Op. ix. pp. 423-425.

[290] ... “Ma sopra tutte le cose dice, con la solita confidenza e
segretezza, essersi trovato ne’ libri del S. Offizio, che circa a 16 anni
sono essendosi sentito che il Signor Galilei aveva questa opinione, e
la seminara in Fiorenza, e che per questo essendo fatto venire a Roma,
gli fu proibito in nome del Papa e del S. Offizio dal Signor Cardinale
Bellarmino il poter tenere questa opinione, _e che questo solo é bastante
per rovinarlo affatto_.”

[291] Comp. pp. 71, 72.

[292] Vat. MS. fol. 387 ro.-389 vo.

[293] See Niccolini’s despatch to Cioli of 18th September, 1632. (Op. ix.
pp. 425-428.)

[294] Niccolini’s despatch to Cioli, 18th September, 1632. (Op. ix. pp.

[295] Vat. MS. p. 394 vo.

[296] After Galileo’s signature follow the autograph attestations of the
notary and witnesses, of whose presence Galileo knew nothing. (Vat. MS.
fol. 398 ro.)

[297] Op. vii. p. 6.

[298] The address does not indicate which of the Cardinals Barberini, but
it is clear from Niccolini’s despatch of 13th November, 1632, to Cioli,
that it was to Cardinal Antonio, jun., nephew of the Pope, and not, as
Albèri assumes, to Cardinal Antonio, sen., the Pope’s brother.

[299] There is no clue whatever as to who this personage was. From what
Galileo says, it must have been some high ecclesiastical dignitary.

[300] On this point also a passage in a letter of Campanella’s to Galileo
of 22nd October, 1632 (Op. ix. p. 303), is worth mentioning. He says:
“They are doing all they possibly can here in Rome, by speaking and
writing, to prove that you have acted contrary to orders.”

[301] Op. vii. pp. 7-13.

[302] Vat. MS. fol. 403 ro.

[303] Op. ix. pp. 304-306.

[304] Ibid. pp. 428, 429.

[305] Niccolini was mistaken if he thought that this tribunal was,
according to ecclesiastical notions, infallible.

[306] Op. ix. p. 311.

[307] See Niccolini to Cioli, 6th November. (Wolynski, “La Diplomazia,”
etc., p. 50.)

[308] Gherardi’s Collection of Documents, Doc. vii.

[309] The cup of papal wrath had by this time been emptied on Ciampoli’s
head. He had been deprived of his important office as Secretary of the
Papal Briefs, and in order to remove him from Rome he was made Governor
of Montalto, and entered on his post at the end of November. (See the
letters of Castelli to Galileo. Op. ix. pp. 306, 313-316.)

[310] For these documents, from which the above narrative is taken, see
Op. ix. pp. 312, 313 and 429, 430.

[311] Vat. MS. fol. 401 ro.

[312] Gherardi’s Documents, and Vat. MS. fol. 402 vo.

[313] Op. ix. pp. 430, 431.

[314] Ibid. pp. 318, 319.

[315] Vat. MS. fol. 406 ro.

[316] Ibid. pp. 407 ro.

[317] Op. ix. p. 431.

[318] Ibid. pp. 319, 320.

[319] See Castelli’s Letters to Galileo of 2nd and 16th Oct., 1632. (Op.
ix. pp. 295-298, and 299-301.)

[320] See his letters. (Op. ix. pp. 306, 307, and 313-315.)

[321] “30th Dec. 1632, a Nativitate. Sanctissimus mandavit Inquisitori
rescribi quod Sanctitas Sua et Sacra Congregatio nullatenus potest et
debet tolerare hujusmodi subterfugia et ad effectum verificandi an
revera in statu tali reperiatur quod non possit ad urbem absque vitae
periculo accedere. Sanctissimus et Sacra Congregatio transmittet illuc
commissarium una cum medicum qui illum visitent ut certam et sinceram
relationem faciant de statu in quo reperitur, et si erit in statu tali
ut venire possit illum carceratum et ligatum cum ferris transmittat. Si
vero causa sanitatas et ob periculum vitae transmissio erit differenda,
statim postquam convaluerit et cessante periculo carceratus et ligatus
ac cum ferris transmittat. Commissiarius autem et medici transmittantur
ejus sumptibus et expensis quid se in tali statu et temporibus constituit
et tempore oportuno ut ei fuerat preceptum venire et facere contempsit.”
(Gherardi’s Documents, Doc. x.; and Vat. MS. fol. 409 vo.)

[322] Op. ix. pp. 322, 323. This last observation of the Grand Duke’s,
only meaning that he reckoned on a speedy release for Galileo, afterwards
gave Cioli occasion, as we shall see by-and-by, for a most mean act
towards Galileo.

[323] It is incomprehensible how many of Galileo’s biographers, even
Parchappe (p. 216) and H. Martin (p. 120), who had Albèri’s work at
command, fix the 15th as the date. And yet we have a letter of Galileo’s
to the Cardinal de Medici of the 15th Jan. (Op. vii. pp. 15, 16), asking
if he had any commissions, in which he expressly mentions “the 20th
instant” as the day of his departure.

[324] “Famosi et antiqui problematis de telluris motu vel quiete hactenus
optata solutio: ad Em. Card. Richelium Ducem et Franciæ Parem. A. Jo.
Bapt. Morino apud Gallos et Bellajocensibus Francopolitano Doct. Med.
atque Paris. Mathematum professore. Terra stat in æternum; Sol oritur et
occidit. Eccles. Cap. I. Parisiis apud tuctorem juxta Pontem novum 1631,
in 40.”

[325] “Liberti Fromondi in Acad. Lovaniensi S. Theolog. Doctoris et
Professoris ordinarii. Ant.-Aristarchus, sive orbis terræ immobilis.
Liber unicus, in quo decretum S. Congreg. S. R. E. Cardinalium anno
1616, adversus Pythagorico-Copernicanos editum defenditur. Antverpiæ ex
officina Plantiniana 1631, in 40.”

[326] The letter to the Grand Duchess Christine.

[327] Op. vii. pp. 16-20.

[328] The Inquisitor informed the Holy Office, two days later, that
Galileo had left Florence on the 20th. (Vat. MS. fol. 411 ro.; and
Gherardi’s Documents, Doc. xii.)

[329] Comp. Niccolini’s letter to Galileo of 5th Feb., 1633. (Op. ix. p.

[330] Niccolini’s despatch to Cioli of 14th Feb. (Op. ix. p. 432.)

[331] See Niccolini’s despatches to Cioli of 16th and 19th Feb. (Op. ix.
pp. 432, 433.)

[332] See Niccolini’s despatch to Cioli of 19th Feb.

[333] See Galileo’s letter to Cioli of 19th Feb. (Op. vii. pp. 20-22.)

[334] Ibid.

[335] Comp. Galileo’s letter to Geri Bocchineri of 25th Feb. (Op. vii. p.

[336] Op. vii. pp. 20-22.

[337] See Niccolini’s despatch to Cioli of 19th Feb.

[338] Op. vii. p. 22.

[339] Op. ix. 434.

[340] In the account of this conversation we have followed Niccolini’s
despatch to Cioli of 27th Feb. (Op. ix. pp. 434-436.)

[341] Comp. pp. 171, 172.

[342] Op. ix. pp. 434-436.

[343] Ibid. pp. 330-332.

[344] Op. vii. p. 27; and ix. p. 436; also Wolynski, “La Diplomazia,”
etc., p. 57.

[345] Op. ix. pp. 436-438.

[346] Op. ix. p. 438; and vii. p. 228.

[347] See Geri Bocchineri’s Letters to Galileo and Cioli, both of 26th
March, 1633: the former, Wolynski, “Lettere inedite,” etc., p. 89; the
latter, Op. ix. p. 336.

[348] Op. ix. p. 441.

[349] Op. ix. p. 338.

[350] See Galileo’s letters to G. Bocchineri of 5th and 12th, and to
Cioli of 12th and 19th March. (Op. vii. pp. 24-28.)

[351] Op. ix. pp. 438, 439.

[352] Vat. MS. fol. 413 vo. 419 ro.

[353] We have before stated that Copernicus did not at all consider his
doctrine a hypothesis, but was convinced of its actual truth. It was
Osiander’s politic introduction which had given rise to the error which
was then generally held.

[354] Prof. Berti has first published this interesting letter in full in
his “Copernico e le vicende Sistema Copernicano in Italia,” pp. 121-125.

[355] Vat. MS. fol. 423 ro.

[356] No explanation is to be found anywhere of this mysterious
notification. The protocols of the trial show that none took place before
the Inquisitor. These “particulars,” therefore, as they are not mentioned
again in the course of the trial, and play no part in it, may have been
chiefly of a private nature.

[357] These are the precise words of this ominous passage in the
annotation of 26th February, 1616, which appear to have been considered
absolutely decisive by the Inquisitor.

[358] Op. vii. p. 29. The rest of the letter is about family affairs.

[359] Comp. Niccolini’s despatch to Cioli of 16th April. (Op. ix. pp.
440, 441.) During our stay in Rome in the spring of 1877, Leone Vincenzo
Sallua, the Father Commissary-General of the Holy Office, was kind
enough to show us the apartments occupied by Galileo in the Palace of
the Inquisition. The rooms are all large, light, and cheerful, and on
one side you enjoy the prospect of the majestic dome of St. Peter’s,
and on the other of the beautiful gardens of the Vatican. It is worthy
of note that all the rooms assigned to Galileo and his servant are
entirely shut off by a single door, so that but one key was required
to make the inmates of these handsome apartments prisoners. With all
its consideration for Galileo’s person, the Inquisition never forgot
a certain prudence which had perhaps become a second nature to it. We
prefix a little ground plan of the rooms, made by ourselves on the spot.

[360] See despatch of 23rd April. (Op. ix. p. 441.)

[361] See Op. ix. pp. 334, 339, 345, 346, 354, 355. Pieralisi tries to
palliate even this act, but without much success. (Comp. pp. 134, 135.)

[362] Thanks to the kindness of Prof. Riccardi, of Modena, in whose
valuable library there is, among other treasures, a copy of Galileo’s
“Dialogues” of 1632, I was enabled to compare Inchofer’s quotations with
a copy of the very edition which was in the hands of the consultators of
the Holy Office. I am able to state that Inchofer quotes them verbatim,
or makes faithful extracts without altering the sense. The last quotation
only, 25, is a little confused. (Vat. MS. fol. 439 vo.)

[363] Pasqualigus seldom cites verbatim, but makes short quotations; and
in comparing them with Galileo’s works, I have found the sense given

[364] See all these opinions and the arguments, Vat. MS. fol. 429 ro. 447

[365] There is a passage in a letter of Galileo’s to Geri Bocchineri
of 25th February, 1633, in which he says: “The cessation of all bodily
exercise which, as you know I am accustomed to take for the benefit of
my health, and of which I have now been deprived for nearly forty days,
begins to tell upon me, and particularly to interfere with digestion,
so that the mucus accumulates; and for three days violent pains in the
limbs have occasioned great suffering, and deprived me of sleep. I hope
strict diet will get rid of them.” (Op. vii. p. 23.) Since this time two
months had elapsed without Galileo’s having been in the open air. Even
the Inquisitors saw, as we shall find, that a change must be made in the
regulations, if they did not wish to endanger his life.

[366] Op. vii. p. 30.

[367] Pages 197, 198.

[368] Niccolini’s.

[369] Vat. MS. fol. 419 ro. 420 vo.

[370] Vat. MS. fol. 420 vo. 421 ro.

[371] Vat. MS. fol. 421 vo.

[372] Op. ix. pp. 441, 442.

[373] Wolynski, “La Diplomazia Toscana,” etc., p. 61.

[374] See Niccolini to Cioli, 15th May, 1633. (Op. ix. p. 442.)

[375] Galileo’s letters between 23rd April and 23rd July, just the most
interesting time, are entirely wanting, which can scarcely be altogether

[376] Op. ix. p. 353.

[377] See the protocol of the hearing of 10th May, 1633. (Vat. MS. fol.
422 ro.)

[378] At his first hearing Galileo had only been able to show a copy of
this certificate, but now produced the original.

[379] Vat. MS. fol. 425 vo.

[380] Comp. Marini, pp. 98-100.

[381] Op. ix. p. 357.

[382] See their letters (Op. ix. pp. 355-364; and Suppl. pp. 350, 351).

[383] See his letters to Galileo (Op. Suppl. pp. 248-250).

[384] Op. ix. p. 359.

[385] Ibid. p. 365.

[386] See Niccolini’s despatches to Cioli of 29th May. (Op. ix. p. 443.)

[387] Op. ix. pp. 442, 443.


                                           “Feria V. Die XVI. Junii 1633.

Galilaei de Galileis Florentini in hoc S. Off. carcerati et ob ejus
adversam valetudinem ac senectutem cum praecepto de non discedendo
de domo electae habitationis in urbe, ac de se repraesentando toties
quoties sub poenis arbitrio Sacrae Congregationis habilitati proposita
causa relato processu et auditis notis, S.ᵐᵘˢ decrevit ipsum Galilaeum
interrogandum esse super intentione et comminata ei tortura, et si
sustinuerit, previa abjuratione de vehementi in plena Congregatione S.
Off. condemnandum ad carcerem arbitrio Sac. Congregationis, Injunctum ei
ne de cetero scripto vel verbo tractet ampluis gnovis modo de mobilitate
terræ, nec de stabilitate solis et e contra sub poena relapsus. Librum
vero ab eo conscriptum cuititutus est Dialogo di Galileo Galilei Linceo
(publice cremandum fore (_sic_) ma cassato) prohibendum fore. Praeterea
ut haec omnibus innotescant exemplaria Sententiae Decretumque perinde
transmitti jussit ad omnes nuntios apostolicos, et ad omnes haereticae
pravitatis Inquisitores, ac praecipue ad Inquisitorem Florentiae qui eam
sententiam in ejus plena Congregatione, Consultoribus accersitis, etiam
et coram plerisque Mathematicae Artis Professoribus publice legatur.”
(Gherardi’s Documents, Doc. xiii.; and Vat. MS. fol. 451 vo.)

It was then apparently at first determined publicly to burn Galileo’s
book, and it was not till after the decree had been committed to writing
that it was altered. At whose instigation this was done, whether at that
of the Pope, or in consequence of the remonstrances of some more lenient
members of the Congregation, such as the Cardinals Barberini, Borgia, and
Zacchia, cannot be decided.

[389] Op. ix. pp. 443, 444, from which the above account is taken.

[390] See Niccolini’s despatch to Cioli, 26th June. (Op. ix. pp. 444,

[391] Et cu nihil aliud posset haberi in executione decreti habita eius
subscriptione remissus fuit ad locum suum. (Vat. MS. fol. 453 ro.)

[392] “Cioè al palazzo del Ministro di Toscana,” says Marini, p. 62.

[393] The passage in Niccolini’s despatch is as follows: “Il Signor
Galilei fu chiamato lunedi (20) sera al S. Uffizio, ove si trasferi
martedi (21) mattina conforme all’ ordine, per sentire qual che potessero
desiderare da lui, ed essendo ritenuto, fu condotto mercoledi (22) alla
Minerva avanti alli Sig. Cardinali e Prelati della Congregazione, dove
non solamente gli fu letta la sentenza, ma fatto anche abiurare la sua
opinione, ... la qual condannazione gli ful subito permutata da S. B. in
una relegazione o confine al giardino della Trinita de’ Monti, dore io lo
condussi venerdi (24) sera....” (Op. ix. pp. 444, 445.)

[394] Galileo’s letter to Castelli of 21st December, 1613.

[395] Appendix VI.

[396] It is very remarkable that Jagemann, in his book on Galileo, which
appeared in 1784 (New Ed. 1787, pp. 86, 95), doubts the fact of such a
special prohibition. Of course he is acquainted only with the sentence
published by Riccioli, and surmises that he invented the passage in which
the special prohibition is mentioned, “in order to justify the harsh
proceedings of the Court of Rome under Urban VIII.” So that ninety years
ago, without anything to go by but the wording of the sentence, Jagemann
suspected that this strict prohibition was never issued to Galileo, and
says,—“Neither does this decree agree with the information given above on
all points,” _i.e._, in letters of Galileo and Guiccardini of 1616.

[397] Compare the excellent essay: “La Condemnation de Galilée. Lapsus
des écrivains qui l’opposent a la doctrine de l’infallibilité du Pape,”
von Abbé Bouix. Also Pieralisi, pp. 121-131; and Gilbert’s “La Procés
de Galilée,” pp. 19-30. We may remark here, that according to these
principles the doctrine of Copernicus was not made heretical by the
sentence of the Inquisition, because the decree never received the Pope’s
official ratification. To confirm this statement we subjoin some remarks
by theological authorities. Gassendi remarks in his great work, “De motu
impresso a motore translato” (Epist. ii. t. iii. p. 519), published nine
years after the condemnation of Galileo, on the absence of the papal
ratification in the sentence of the Holy Tribunal, and that therefore
_the negation of the Copernican theory was not an article of faith_.
As a good priest he recognises the high authority of a decision of the
Congregation, and subjects his personal opinions to it. Father Riccioli,
in his comprehensive work, “Almagestum novum,” published nine years after
Gassendi’s, reproduces Gassendi’s statement word for word (t. i., pars.
2, p. 489), and entirely concurs in it, even in the book which was meant
to refute the Copernican theory at all points (pp. 495, 496, and 500).
Father Fabri, a French Jesuit, afterwards Grand Penitentiary at Rome,
says in a dissertation published there in 1661 against the “Systema
Saturnium,” of Huyghens (p. 49), that as no valid evidence can be adduced
for the truth of the new system, the authorities of the Church are quite
right in interpreting the passages of Holy Scripture relating to the
system of the universe literally; “but,” he adds, “if ever any conclusive
reasons are discovered (which I do not expect), _I do not doubt that
the Church will say that they are to be taken figuratively_,” a remark
which no priest would have made about a doctrine pronounced heretical by
infallible authority. Caramuel, a Spanish Benedictine, who also discussed
the future of the Copernican theory, defines the position still more
clearly than Fabri. In his “Theologia fundamentalis,” published at Lyons
in 1676 (t. i., pp. 104-110), after defending the decree and sentence of
the Congregation, he discusses the attitude which the Church will take
in case the system should prove indisputably true. In the first place
he believes this will never happen, and if it does, _it could never be
said that the Church of Rome had been in error, as the doctrine of the
double motion of the earth had never been condemned by an Œcumenical
Council, nor by the Pope speaking ex cathedra, but only by the tribunal
of cardinals_.

It is interesting to find that Descartes, Galileo’s contemporary, put
the same construction on the matter. He wrote on 10th January, 1634,
to Father Mersenne: “_As I do not see that this censure has been
confirmed either by a Council or the Pope, but proceeds solely from the
congregation of the cardinals_, I do not give up hope that it will not
happen to the Copernican theory as it did to that about the antipodes,
which was formerly condemned in the same way.” (Panthéon littéraire,
Œuvres philosophiques de Descartes, p. 545.)

[398] Page 141.

[399] Page 60.

[400] Abbé Bouix, p. 229.

[401] _Zeitschrift für Math. und Physik._ 9th series. Part 3, pp. 194,

[402] “I Cardinale Inquisitori componenti la Congregazione, in cui nome
la sentenza è fatta, erano in numero di dieci. Nell’ ultima Congregazione
se ne trovarono presenti solo sette; quindi sette solo sono sottoscritti.
Da cio non può in nessuna maniera desumersi che i tre mancanti fossero di
parere contrario.” (“Processo originale,” etc., p. 149, note 1.)

[403] “Urbano VIII. e Galileo Galilei,” pp. 218-224.

[404] Appendix VI.

[405] Vol. vii. of the “Historisch-politischen Blätter für das
Catholische Deutschland.” Munich, 1841.

[406] Ibid. p. 578.

[407] The reproach which the apologists of the Inquisition are fond of
bringing against Galileo, that he knew nothing about the specific gravity
of the air, is incorrect, as appears from his letter to Baliani of 12th
March, 1613 (published for the first time in 1864 by Signor Giuseppe
Sacchi, director of the library at Brera, where the autograph letter is
to be seen), in which Galileo describes a method he had invented for
determining the specific gravity of the air.

[408] See the essay before mentioned, p. 583.

[409] Ibid. pp. 580, 581.

[410] Ibid. pp. 581, 582.

[411] It carefully refutes the assertion made by Father Olivieri, that
the Holy Office had prohibited the Copernican doctrine from being
demonstrated as true, and condemned its famous advocate, Galileo, because
it could not then be satisfactorily proved scientifically, and Galileo
had supported it with arguments scientifically incorrect. If we can
believe the ex-general of the Dominicans, the Inquisition in 1616 and
1633 was only the careful guardian of science!

[412] _Augsburger Allgemeine Zeitung, Beilage_, No. 93, 2nd Aug, 1876.

[413] Gherardi’s Documents, Doc. xv.

[414] Compare p. 228, note 3.

[415] Niccolini’s despatch to Cioli, 3rd July, 1633. (Op. ix. p. 445.)

[416] Vat. MS. fol. 453 ro.

[417] Niccolini’s despatch to Cioli of 3rd July.

[418] Vat. MS. fol. 453 ro. and 454 vo.

[419] Ibid. fol. 453 vo.

[420] Op. ix. p. 447.

[421] Fabroni, “Vitæ Italorum.” Pisa, 1778, vol. i. p. 144.

[422] Heis, “Das Unhistorische des dem Galilei in dem Munde gelegten: ‘E
pur si muove.’” Munich, 1868.

[423] “Der Galileischen Process auf Grund der neuesten Actenpublicationen
historisch und juristisch geprütf.” Von Prof. H. Grisar, S. J.
_Zeitschrift für Kathol. Theologie._ 2nd series. Innsbrück, 1878.

[424] Ferry, author of the article “Galilée” in “Dictionnaire de
Conversation,” Paris, 1859, undoubtedly believes the story. But the
man who makes Galileo be born at Florence, study at Venice, and become
Professor at Padua directly afterwards, thinks that Galileo did nothing
more for science after his condemnation, and, that (in 1859) his works
were still on the Index, can hardly be reckoned among historians.

[425] Louis Combes’s “Gal. et L’Inquisition Romaine,” Paris, 1876, is a
pamphlet of no scientific value whatever, distinguished by astounding
ignorance of the Galileo literature. The author complains that the
original documents relating to the trial are buried among the secret
papal archives, and that nothing more is known of them than what Mgr.
Marini has thought fit to communicate! The publication, then, of the most
important documents of the Vat. MS., by Epinois, 1867, seems to have
escaped the notice of M. Louis Combes!

[426] Nelli, vol. ii. p. 562, note 2.

[427] Page 69, note 2.

[428] Venturi, vol. ii. p. 182; Nelli, vol. ii. p. 537.

[429] See Appendix: History of the Vat. MS.

[430] See Dr. Emil Wohlwill’s “Ist Galileo gefoltert worden.” Leipzig,

[431] “Elogio del Galilei.” Livorno, 1775.

[432] In Fabroni, “Vitæ Italorum,” i.

[433] “Notizie degli aggrandimenti delle scienze fosiche in Toscana.” i.
Firenze, 1780.

[434] “Lettere inedite di uomini illustri.” Firenze, 1773-75.

[435] _Journal des Savans_: July, Aug., Sep., Oct., 1858.

[436] Niccolini’s despatch to Cioli, 25th April. (Op. ix. p. 441.)

[437] Niccolini to Cioli, 3rd May. (Op. ix. p. 442.)

[438] Niccolini to Cioli, 26th June. (Op. ix. pp. 444, 445.)

[439] Niccolini to Cioli, 10th July. (Ibid. p. 447.)

[440] Even Wohlwill allows, p. 29, that the opinion that “Catholic
answer” means answer under torture is not tenable.

[441] “Il Reo, che solamente condotto al luogo della tortura ò quivi
spogliato, ò pur anco legato senza però esser alzato, confessa dicesi
haver confessato ne’ tormenti, e nell’ esamina rigorosa.” (“Sacro
Arsenale overo Prattica dell’ Officio della Santa Inquisitione.” Bologna,
1865, Mesini’s ed. p. 412.)

[442] Page 25.

[443] “Gradus torturae olim adhiberi soliti fuerunt quinque, qui certo
ordine fuerunt inflicte, quos describit Julius Clarus ‘in pract crim.’
§ Fin. qu. 64, versic. ‘Nunc de gradibus,’ ubi ita ait, ‘Scias igitur,
quod quinque sunt gradus torturae; scilicet Primo, minae de torquendo.
Secundo: conductio ad locum tormentorum. Tertio, spoliato et ligatura.
Quarto, elevation in eculeo. Quinto, squassatio.” (Philippi a Limborch
S.S. Theologiae inter Remonstrantes Professoris, Historia Inquisitionis.
Amstelodami apud Henricum, Westenium, 1692, p. 322.)

[444] Prof. P. Grisar also remarks in his critique of Wohlwill’s last
work (_Zeitschrift für Kath. Theol._ ii. Jahrgang, p. 188), that in the
language of the old writers on criminal law, the _territio verbalis_ was
often included in the expression torture, and appeals to Julius Clarus,
Sentent. crimin. lib. 5, § Fin. qu. 84, nr 31; Francof. 1706, p. 318;
Sigism. Scaccia, de judiciis, lib. 2. c. 8. nr 276; Francof. 1669, p. 269.

[445] “Sacro Arsenale,” p. 155.

[446] Ibid. pp. 157, 161, 165.

[447] Ibid. p. 157; Salleles, “De materiis tribunalium S. Inquisitionis,”
reg. 361, nos. 110, 117.

[448] Ibid. p. 410; Limborch, p. 325.

[449] In his brochure, “Ist Galilei gefoltert worden.”

[450] “Il Processo di Galileo Galilei e la Moderna Critica Tedesca,” III.
_Revista Europea_, vol. v., fasc. ii., 1878.

[451] Page 214.

[452] “Sacro Arsenale,” pp. 62, 64.

[453] The passage in the decree is: “Sᵐᵘˢ. decrevit ipsum (Galileo)
interrogandum esse super intentione, etiam comminata ei tortura et si
sustenuerit, previa abiuratione de vehementi in plena Congregatione S.O.
condemnandum ad carcerem,” etc. (Vat. MS. Fol. 451 vo.) Wohlwill says
that the first part of this decree has had about as many interpretations
as authors who have quoted it. This may in no small degree be due to the
fact that it was not known whether the original reading was _et_ or _ac_
sustinuerit. As it is now decided in favour of _et_, perhaps an agreement
may be come to, and the more so as several students of Galileo’s trial
have adopted a translation which agrees as to the meaning, to which
we ourselves, now that the _et_ is unquestionable, adhere. H. Martin,
Pro. Reusch, Dr. Scartazzini, Pro. P. Grisar, Epinois in his latest
work, and the present writer, translate: “His Holiness ordained that
he (Galileo) was to be examined as to his intention, to be threatened
with torture, and if he kept firm (to his previous depositions) after
_abjuration de vehementi_, he was to be sentenced to imprisonment by the
whole Congregation of the Holy Office,” etc. Whatever may be thought of
the translation, one thing is certain, that by this decree the threat of
torture was ordained, but assuredly not its execution.

[454] “Il Processo di Gal. Gal.,” etc.: _Revista Europea_, vol. v., fasc.
ii. p. 232, 1878.

[455] Op. ix. pp. 444, 445.

[456] “Il Processo di Gal. Gal.,” etc.: _Revista Europea_, vol. v., fasc.
ii., 16th January, 1878, p. 233.

[457] Ibid. p. 247.

[458] “Galileo Galilei; dessen Leben,” etc., Basle, 1858, p. 16.

[459] Vat. MS. fol. 407.

[460] “Farinacci, de indiciis et tortura,” a. 41.

[461] Th. del Bene, “De officio S. Inquisitionis,” vol. i. p. 574.

[462] “Sacro Arsenale,” pp. 171, 172.

[463] Page 197.

[464] Op. ix. p. 372.

[465] Op. vii. pp. 31, 32.

[466] Comp. the letters of Cioli and Geri Bocchineri to Galileo of 28th
July. (Op. ix. pp. 278, 279.)

[467] Niccolini’s despatch to Cioli of 7th August. (Op. ix. p. 447.)

[468] Op. ix. pp. 383, 384.

[469] Vat. MS. fol. 476 vo. and 493 ro.; also Gherardi’s Documents, Doc.

[470] Page 68.

[471] Op. ix. pp. 390-392.

[472] Vat. MS. fol. 544.

[473] Op. x. pp. 75-77, 81; Suppl. pp. 362, 363.

[474] Henri Martin (pp. 386-388) gives an interesting list of works
published against the Copernican system between 1631 and 1638, up
therefore to the time of Newton.

[475] Venturi, vol. ii. p. 127.

[476] Op. ix. pp. 447, 448.

[477] Comp. Niccolini’s despatch to Cioli, 3rd Dec. (Op. ix. p. 448.)

[478] Vat. MS. fol. 534 ro.

[479] Vat. MS., fol. without paging after 534; also Gherardi’s Documents,
Doc. xx.

[480] Op. ix. pp. 407, 408.

[481] At the close of this year two documents were published which have
often been used as historical sources for the story of Galileo’s trial;
namely, (1) a narration by Francesco Buonamici of the famous trial; and
(2) an assumed letter of Galileo’s to his friend and correspondent,
Father Vincenzo Renieri, intended to give a concise history of the
trial. The first has been pronounced by historical research to be quite
worthless, even if not, as H. Martin (p. 185) thinks, a forgery; the
second as decidedly apocryphal, so that neither are mentioned here.
(Comp. Op. ix. pp. 449-452; vii. pp. 40-43; and the valuable treatise by
G. Guasti: “Le relazioni di Galileo con alcuni Pratesi a proposito del
Falso Buonamici scopalto del Signor H. Martin.” Archivo Storico Italiano.
Firenze, 1873, vol. xvii.)

[482] See Galileo’s letter to Barberini, 17th December, 1633. (Vat. MS.
fol. 541 ro.)

[483] Op. x. pp. 2 and 11.

[484] Vat. MS. fol. 547.

[485] Vat. MS. fol. 549.

[486] Vat. MS. fol. 550 vo.; and Gherardi’s Documents, Doc. xxii.

[487] Vat. MS. fol. 551 ro.

[488] Op. vii. p. 44.

[489] Op. vii. pp. 46-51.

[490] Op. x. pp. 66-69; 71-74; vii. pp. 56, 57.

[491] Op. vii. pp. 52-58; x. 41-134; Suppl. pp. 271-278.

[492] Castelli’s letter to Galileo, 2nd Dec., 1634. (Op. x. p. 64.)

[493] Castelli’s letter to Galileo, 9th Dec., 1634. (Op. x. p. 65.)

[494] Comp. Peiresc’s letters to Galileo, 26th Jan., 1634 (Op. x. pp.
8-11), and to Card. Barberini, 5th Dec., 1635 (Op. x. p. 94).

[495] Op. x. pp. 94-96. In Albèri the date of this letter is wrongly
given as 1635; Pieralisi has found the original of it in the Barberiana,
with date 5th Dec., 1634. (Pieralisi, pp. 304-310.)

[496] Op. x. pp. 96-98. In Albèri this letter is dated 1636 instead of

[497] Op. x. pp. 98, 99. Date wrongly given in Albèri as 13th instead of
31st Jan. See Pieralisi, pp. 313-317.

[498] These words were written in a truly prophetic spirit; for such a
parallel was actually drawn by Voltaire in (vol. iv. p. 145) his “Essai
sur les mœurs et l’esprit des nations, et sur les principaux faits de
l’histoire, depuis Charlemagne jusquà Louis XIII.”

[499] Op. Suppl. pp. 361-363.

[500] Op. x. pp. 25-33; vii. pp. 52, 53, and 128.

[501] Op. x. pp. 29-33; vii. p. 140.

[502] Op. vii. pp. 65, 66, and 67, 68; also Galileo’s letter to
Bernegger, 15th July, 1636. (Op. vii. pp. 69, 70.)

[503] Page 222.

[504] Comp. Galileo’s letter to Giovanni Buonamici, 16th August, 1636.
(Op. vii. pp. 139, 140.)

[505] See Castelli’s letter to Galileo of 2nd June, 1635, in which he
says that “he had at last been again permitted to kiss his Holiness’s
toe.” (Op. x. pp. 100.)

[506] Comp. the letters of Castelli and the Count de Noailles to Galileo
of 19th April and 6th May, 1636. (Op. x. pp. 149, 150, and 153.)

[507] Op. x. pp. 159, 160.

[508] Op. x. pp. 161 and 163.

[509] See Castelli’s letter to Galileo, 9th August. (Op. x. pp. 163, 164.)

[510] Ibid.

[511] Op. Suppl. p. 280.

[512] Op. x. p. 172.

[513] Comp. Galileo’s letters to Micanzio at Venice of 21st and 28th June
1636. (Op. vii. pp. 63-66.)

[514] Op. x. pp. 88, 89, 104, 105, 116-118, 191, 192; vii. pp. 132, 154,

[515] Op. x. pp. 157, 158, 165, 170, 171, 213; vii. 63, 64, 67, 68, 71,
138, 253.

[516] Op. x. pp. 66-69, 108-111, 127-130.

[517] Pieroni to Galileo, 9th July, 1637. (Op. x. pp. 222-226.)

[518] Comp. Op. vii. pp. 138, 139, 152, 153; x. pp. 167 and 184.

[519] Comp. Op. vi. pp. 238-276, 338-346.

[520] Op. vii. pp. 73-93, and 136, 137.

[521] Op. iii. pp. 176-183.

[522] Comp. Galileo’s letter to Diodati of 4th July, 1637. (Op. vii. p.

[523] Comp. Op. vii. pp. 163-174, 190-204; x. pp. 215-218, 228-248;
Suppl. pp. 282-284.

[524] Op. vii. p. 193.

[525] Op. x. pp. 231, 232.

[526] ... “Here I found and called upon the celebrated Galileo, now
become old and a prisoner of the Inquisition,” says Milton. Unfortunately
we know nothing more of this interesting meeting. (Comp. Reumont, p. 405.)

[527] Op. vii. p. 207. See on Galileo’s total blindness, “Sull’epoca vera
e la durata della cecità del Galileo,” Nota del Angelo Secchi: (Estratta
dal Giornale Arcadico, Tomo liv nuova serie); and “Sull’ nella epoca
della completa cecità del Galileo,” Risposta di Paolo Volpicelli al
chiaris e R. P. A. Secchi, Roma, 1868.

[528] Op. x. p. 232.

[529] Op. x. pp. 248, 249.

[530] Comp. p. 275, note 1.

[531] Galileo’s letter to Guerrini, an official at the Tuscan Court, 19th
December. (Op. vii. pp. 204, 205.)

[532] Guerrini to Galileo, 20th December. (Op. x. pp. 249, 250.)

[533] Op. x. pp. 254, 255.

[534] Gherardi’s Documents, Doc. xxiii.

[535] This passage directly contradicts the remark on this subject in
the report of Fra Clemente, the Inquisitor, of 1st April, 1634; his
successor, Fra Fanano, seems to have been more favourable to Galileo.

[536] Op. x. pp. 280, 281.

[537] Gherardi’s Documents, Doc. xxiv.

[538] Op. x. p. 286.

[539] Fanano’s letter to Cardinal F. Barberini of 10th March, 1638. (Op.
x. p. 287.)

[540] Gherardi’s Documents, Doc. xxv.

[541] Letter of the Vicar of the Holy Office at Florence to Galileo, of
28th March, 1638. (Op. x. p. 292.)

[542] Op. vii. pp. 211-216.

[543] See letters from Hortensius and Realius to Galileo of 26th Jan. and
3rd Mar. 1637 (Op. vii. pp. 95-99, 100-102); letter from Const. Huyghens
to Diodati, 13th April, 1637 (Op. vii. pp. 111-113).

[544] Op. vii. pp. 163-174.

[545] Op. vii. pp. 181-189.

[546] Vat. MS. fol. 554 ro.

[547] Vat. MS; fol. 555 vo.; and Gherardi’s Documents, Doc. xxvi.

[548] On all this see Galileo’s letter to Diodati of 7th Aug., 1638. (Op.
vii. pp. 214-216.)

[549] Comp. Nelli, vol. ii. pp. 678, 679, and Venturi, vol. ii. p. 285.

[550] Vat. MS. fol. 553 ro.; and Op. x. 304, 305, where it is dated 23rd
instead of 25th July.

[551] Vat. MS. fol. 556 vo.; and Gherardi’s Documents, Doc. xxvii.

[552] Op. vii. p. 215.

[553] Op. vii. pp. 216-218.

[554] Op. xv. p. 401; Nelli, vol. ii. p. 838.

[555] Op. xv. (Viviani), p. 371.

[556] Comp. Castelli’s letters to Galileo of 29th May and 30 July, 1638.
(Op. x. pp. 300, 310-313.)

[557] Cioli’s despatch to Niccolini of 9th Sept., 1638. (Op. x. pp. 313,

[558] Niccolini’s despatches to Cioli of 15th and 25th Sept. (Wolynski,
“La Diplomazia Toscana,” etc., pp. 68, 69.)

[559] Fanano’s letter to Card. Barberini of 4th Oct. (Op. x. p. 314.)

[560] See Castelli’s letters to Card. F. Barberini of 2nd, 9th, and 16th
Oct., in Pieralisi, pp. 291-296; and another of 23rd Oct., 1638, on an
unnumbered page between fols. 552 and 553 of the Vat. MS. p. 175.

[561] See Card. Barberini’s letters to Castelli of 16th and 30th Oct.
(Pieralisi, pp. 294, 295, and 298.)

[562] Vat. MS. fol. 557 vo.

[563] “Discorsi e Dimostrazione Matematiche intorno a due Scienze
attenenti alla Meccanica e ai Movimenti Locali. Con una Appendice del
Centro di gravita di alcuni Solidi.”

[564] See Galileo’s letter to the Count de Noailles of 6th March, 1638,
and his answer of 20th July. (Op. vii. pp. 209-211, and x. pp. 308-310.)

[565] Comp. Op. vii. pp. 44, 46, 57, 70.

[566] Op. vii. pp. 218-226; x. pp. 316, 317, 320, 321.

[567] “Dalla Villa Arcètri, mio continuato carcere ed esilio dalla
città.” (Letter from Galileo to Cassiano dal Pozzo in Rome, of 20th Jan.,
1641, Op. vii. p. 351)

[568] Op. vii. pp. 364, 365.

[569] Pieralisi thinks (“Urbano VIII. and Galileo Galilei,” p. 264) that
it was left to Galileo’s option during the last few years to reside
either at Arcetri or Florence, and that his preference for his villa led
him to choose the former; a statement for which Pieralisi has no proof to
offer, and which is strongly opposed to what we have mentioned above.

[570] Gherardi’s Documents, Docs. xxviii. and xxix.

[571] Castelli’s letters to Galileo of 29th Jan., 12th Feb., 1639. (Op.
x. pp. 325, 326, and 328, 329.)

[572] Op. x. pp. 340-348, 356, 357, 363-365, 367, 368, 385-387, 392-394,
396, 397, 407, 408; Suppl. pp. 287-290.

[573] Op. x. pp. 280 and 308.

[574] Comp. his letters to Castelli of 8th and 19th Aug., 1st and 3rd
Sep., 3rd and 18th Dec., 1639. (Op. vii. pp. 232-236, 238, 239, and 242,

[575] Op. xv. (Viviani), p. 360.

[576] Op. vii. pp. 238, 239; xiii. pp. 267-332; xv. pp. 358-360.

[577] See his letters to Galileo in 1639 and 1640. (Op. x. pp. 336, 339,
340, 350, 351, 362, 363, 382, 383, 402, 419, 420; also xv. (Viviani), pp.
356, 357.)

[578] Op. vii. pp. 240, 241.

[579] Comp. Op. vii. pp. 243-254. In 1648 Renieri was intending to bring
out Galileo’s calculations about the satellites of Jupiter, and their
application to navigation, which he had completed by long years of
labour, when his death occurred after a short illness. The papers were
then lost, but were afterwards discovered by Albèri, who arranged them
and incorporated them in the “Opere di Galileo Galilei,” v.

[580] Comp. Galileo’s letter to Daniele Spinola of 19th Man, 1640. (Op.
vii. pp. 256-258.)

[581] Letter from Prince Leopold de’ Medici to Galileo, 11th Mar., 1640.
(Op. vii. p. 254.)

[582] Op. vii. pp. 261-310; iii. pp. 190-237.

[583] See this correspondence. (Op. vii. pp. 317-333, 336-350, 352-358.)
Liceti published a large book in 1642, in reply to Galileo’s letter to
Prince Leopold de’ Medici. The latter, in which Galileo had made some
alterations, was, with his consent, printed with Liceti’s reply.

[584] Op. vii p. 360.

[585] Op. vii. pp. 361-363.

[586] Page 419.

[587] This is precisely the same argument, only in other words, brought
forward by Simplicius at the end of the “Dialogues on the Two Chief
Systems.” (Comp. p. 160.)

[588] This passage calls the passage in “Il Saggiatore” to mind, where
Galileo speaks of Copernicus, Ptolemy, and Tycho.

[589] See “Allgemeine Weltgeschichte,” by Cesare Cantu. Freely rendered
for Catholic Germany, from the 7th edition, by Dr. J. A. M. Brühl, p. 540.

[590] Comp. Renieri’s letter to Galileo of 6th March, 1641. (Op. x. pp.
408, 409.)

[591] See his letter of 20th August, 1659, to Prince Leopold de’ Medici.
(Op. xiv. pp. 339-356.)

[592] Seven years after Galileo’s death, Vincenzo was occupied in
constructing the first pendulum clock after these drawings and models,
when he suddenly fell ill and died. For all this see Albèri’s excellent
essay: “Dell’orologio a pendolo di Galileo Galilei e di due recenti
divinazioni del meccanismo da lui imaginato.” (Op. Suppl. pp. 333-358;
Nelli, vol. ii. pp. 688-738.)

[593] Comp. Torricelli’s letters to Galileo of 15th March, 27th April,
1st and 29th June, 17th August, and 28th September, 1641. (Op. x. pp.
412, 413, 417, 418, 420, 421, 423-426, 432, 433.) Also Galileo’s letter
to Torricelli of 27th September, 1641. (Op. vii. pp. 365-367.)

[594] See Rinuccini’s letter to Prince Leopold de’ Medici, 15th November,
1641. (Op. x. 436, 437.)

[595] For this and the preceding, see Op. xv. (Viviani), pp. 360, 361;
and Nelli, vol. ii. pp. 839, 840.

[596] Gherardi’s Documents, Doc. xxx.

[597] Niccolini’s despatch to the Tuscan Secretary of State of 25th
January, 1642. (Op. xv. pp. 403, 404.)

[598] Despatch of the Tuscan Secretary Condi to Niccolini of 29th
January, 1642 (Op. xv. p. 404.)

[599] Op. xv. p. 405.

[600] See for more on the subject, Nelli, vol. ii. pp. 850-867.

[601] Nelli, vol. ii. pp. 874-876.

[602] Letter of the Inquisitor Fra Paolo Ambr. of 8th June, 1734, to the
College of Cardinals at Rome. (See Vat. MS. fol. 558 ro.)

[603] Vat. MS. fol. 561 vo.

[604] Vat. MS. fol. 561 vo., and Gherardi’s Documents, Doc. xxxii.

[605] Canto iv., stanza liv.

[606] See the document about the exhumation. (Op. xv. pp. 407-409.)

[607] For instance, Dr. Carl Schöffer, in his _brochure_: “Die Bewegungen
der Himmelskörper. Neue and unbewegliche Beweise, dass unsere Erde im
Mittelpunkte des Weltalls steht, und die Sonne, Mond und Sterne sich um
dieselbe bewegen.” Brunswick, 1854. (“The Motions of the Heavenly Bodies.
New and indisputable proofs that our Earth is the centre of the Universe,
and that Sun, Moon, and Stars, revolve round it”).

[608] Habito verbo cum Sanctissimo, omittatur decretum, quo prohibentur
omnes libri docentes immobilitatem solis, et mobilitatem terræ.
(Olivieri, p. 94, or “Hist.-polit. Blätter,” p. 585.)

[609] “Opere di Galileo Galilei divise in quattro Tomi, in questa nuova
edizione accresciute di molte cose inedite.” In Padova, 1744. “Nella
stamperia del Seminario appresso Gio. Manfrè,” Tomi iv. in 4ᵒ.

[610] Comp. Olivieri, p. 96, or “Hist.-polit. Blätter,” p. 587, and Op.
xv. Bibliografia Galileiana, pp. xxvi., xxvii.

[611] “Traité d’astronomie” Paris, 1792, p. 421.

[612] “Se possa difendersi ed insegnore, non come semplice ipotesi ma
come verissima, e come tesi, la mobilità della terra e la stabilità
del sole da chi ha fatta la professione di fede di Pio IV. quaestione

[613] “Dichiarono permessa in Roma la stampa e la publicazione operum
tractantium de mobilitate terrae et immobilitate solis, juxta communem
modernorum astronomorum opinionem.” (Olivieri, p. 97, or “Hist.-polit.
Blätter,” p. 588.)

[614] Somewhat abridged, as are also the Description and Estimate of the
Vat. MS.—[TR.]

[615] See for this and what immediately follows, “Le Manuscrit Original
du Procès de Galilée,” par L. Sandret. _Revue des Questions historiques_,
1 Oct., 1877, pp. 551-559.

[616] Marini, p. 144.

[617] Ibid. pp. 144, 145.

[618] See Sandret’s Essays before cited, p. 553.

[619] Ibid. pp. 553, 554.

[620] Sandret, p. 554.

[621] Marini, pp. 145, 146.

[622] Marini, p. 146, 147; Sandret, pp. 554.

[623] Marini, p. 147; Sandret, p. 555.

[624] Marini, p. 147.

[625] Marini, p. 147.

[626] Ibid. p. 148.

[627] Ibid. p. 148.

[628] Ibid. p. 151.

[629] Sandret, p. 556, note 1.

[630] Denina was at Paris from 1805 till his death in 1813, and may
therefore have seen the Acts, which were in Paris from 1811, as well as
the translation which was begun.

[631] Sandret, pp. 556, 557.

[632] _Revue des questions historiques_, Paris, July, 1867.

[633] ... “e avemmo fra le mani il desiderato volume nella stanza
del padre Theiner testè rapito dolorosamente ai vivi.” (“Il Processo
Originale,” etc., p. x.)

[634] “Egli è adunque per la prima volta che i due processi Galeleiani
sono publicati nella loro integrità.” Page xii.

[635] See “Correzioni al libro Urbano VIII. e Galileo Galilei proposte
dall’ autore Sante Pieralisi con osservazioni sopra il Processo Originale
di Galileo Galilei publicato da Domenico Berti.” Roma, 30 Settembre,
1876, pp. 9-16.

[636] “Quando si havra a terminare qualche causa al S. Off. appartenente
converra, che prima ai formi il caso in cui brevemente si ristringano
ineriti della causa e tutti i punti substantiale del processo, etc....
Poscia mandatalo a ciascuno de Sig Consultori entrera con esso loro
opportunamente nella Congregatione,” etc. (“Sacro Arsenale,” etc.
Bologna, 1665. Masini’s ed., pp. 345, 346).

[637] “Il Processo originale di Gal. Galilei,” etc. Rome, 1876, p. 138,
note 1.

[638] “Correzioni al libro Urbano VIII. e Gal. Galilei,” etc. Rome, 1876,
pp. 44-46.

[639] “Il Processo originale di Gal. Galilei,” etc., p. v.

[640] The Denunciation of Lorini. The signature, however, obviously once
existed, but being on the edge of the paper has been effaced in the
course of time.

[641] “Ist Galilei gefoltert worden.” Von Emil Wohlwill. Leipzig, 1877.

[642] “Ist Galilei gefoltert worden.” Gegenbetrachtungen von K. v.
Gebler. Die Gegenwart.

[643] Vat. MS. fol. 398 ro.

[644] This decree is given in a printed copy in the volume containing the
Vat. MS. We give it on a reduced scale.

[645] Misprint for _Dubliniensi_.

[646] Abridged. [TR.]

[647] Cæsar Carena: “De officio Sanctissime Inquisitionis et modo
procedendi in causis fidei.” Cremona, 1641, p. 416.


    Accadémia dei Lincei, 36, 106, 136.
      Dissolution of, 138.

    Alciato, Cardinal, 176.

    Anagram on Ring of Saturn, 24.
      On Crescent form of Venus, 33.

    Apology to Grand Duchess Christine, 64-70.

    Aristotle, 6, 10.

    Astronomical and Philosophical Scales, the, 102.

    Barberini, Antonio, 132.
      Cardinal, 35, 192, 199, 241, 242.
      Maffeo, 44.
      As Urban VIII., 108-113.

    Bellarmine, Cardinal, 35, 61, 62, 77, 78.
      His Certificate to Galileo, 88, 205, 219.

    Boccabella, 191.

    Bocchineri, Geri, Galileo’s Letters to, 209, 212.
      Letter to Niccolini, 218.

    Bonciani, 55, 56.

    Borgia, Caspar, 241, 242.

    Boscaglia, 45.

    Bruno Giordano, 216.

    Caccini, 51-53, 57, 58, 73, 74, 202.

    Campanella, Thomas, 133, 164, 171, 180.

    Capra, Balthazar, 12, 17.

    Castelli, 33, 43-46, 55, 132-134, 138, 185, 186, 210, 282, 296.

    Cesi, Prince, 41, 52, 53, 62, 63, 114, 132, 136.
      Death of, 138.

    Cioli, 140, 141, 144, 169, 193, 194, 217.

    Clavius, 22, 33, 35.

    Colombo, Lodovico delle, 43.

    Comets of 1618, 101.
      Galileo’s opinion on, 101.

    Conti, Cardinal, 40.

    Copernicus, 13.
      His “Revolutionibus Orbium Cœlestium,” 14, 75.
      Osiander’s Introduction to, 15.

    Copernican System, 12-14, 37, 40.
      Refutations of, 270, 271.
      Galileo’s last Discussion of, 303.

    Corressio, Giorgio, 43.

    Cosmo II., de’ Medici, 20, 21, 30, 93.
      Death of, 105.

    Cremonini, 36, 37.

    Decree of 5th March, 1616, 84. Appendix, 345.

    “De Motu Gravium,” 9.

    Dialogues on the Two Systems, 127-131.
      Imprimatur for, 135-150, 156.
      Introduction to, 147, 148.

    Dialoghi delle Nuove Scienze, 284, 297.

    “Dianoja Astronomica,” 39.

    Dini, 59-64.

    Diodati, Elia, Galileo’s Letters to, 188, 276, 294.

    Dominis, Marc’ Antonio de, 216.

    Ferdinand II., de’ Medici, 145.
      Letter to the Pope, 164, 165.
      Good Offices for Galileo, 196-198.
      Visits him at Arcetri, 273.
      At Florence, 295.

    Firenzuola, Maccolani da, 201, 217, 218, 248.
      Letter to Card. Barberini, 213-215.

    Foscarini on the Copernican System, 61, 63.

      Birth at Pisa, 3.
      Early years, 4.
      Goes to University of Pisa, 5.
      Studies Medicine, 5.
      Discovery of Isochronism of Pendulum, 6.
      First study of Mathematics, 7.
      Professor at Pisa, 9.
      Resigns, 11.
      Professor at Padua, 11, 16, 19.
      Writes Treatises, 11.
      Inventions, 12.
      Makes a Telescope, 17.
      Exhibits it at Venice, 18.
      Telescopic Discoveries, 19, 20.
      Magini’s attack, 22, 23.
      Letter to Kepler, 26.
      Galileo’s Pupils, 27.
      Letter to Vinta, 29.
      Removal to Florence, 31.
      First Visit to Rome, 35, 36.
      First Notice by Inquisition, 36.
      Treatise on Floating Bodies, 42.
      Letter to Castelli, 46-50.
      Denounced to Inquisition, 53.
      Apology to Grand Duchess Christine, 64-70.
      Visit to Rome in 1616, 70-75.
      Admonished to renounce the Copernican System, 77.
      Assumed special Prohibition to treat of it, 77-84.
      Lingers at Rome, 91-97.
      Goes to Bellosguardo, 98.
      Work on Tides, 99, 100.
      His opinion of Comets, 101.
      Grassi’s attack, 102.
      “Il Saggiatore,” 106, 107, 111-113.
      Visit to Rome in 1624, 114, 115.
      Attempts to get Decree of 1616 repealed, 115-117.
      Galileo’s Children, 118.
      Reply to Ingoli, 120.
      Dialogues on Two Systems, 127-135.
      Negotiations about the Imprimatur, 139-150.
      Publication of the Dialogues, 151, 152.
      Accusations, 157, 174.
      Summons to Rome, 175.
      Letter to Antonio Barberini, 178-180.
      Threat to bring him in chains to Rome, 186.
      Arrival at Rome, 191.
      The Trial, 201-229.
      Confession, 214-216.
      Defence, 219, 220.
      Sentence, 230-234.
      Recantation, 243, 244.
      Sent to Trinita de’ Monti, 247.
      Goes to Siena, 248.
      Current Myths, 249-263.
      His Eyes not put out, 250.
      “E pur si muove,” 250, 251.
      The Hair Shirt, 251.
      Imprisonment, 252.
      Torture Refuted, 253-263.
      Life at Siena, 267-273.
      Goes to Arcetri, 272, 273.
      His daughters, 273.
      Anonymous denunciation, 264.
      Petition to go to Florence refused, 274, 275.
      Death of his daughter, 275.
      Letter to Diodati, 276.
      His works translated into Latin, 280, 281.
      Labours at Arcetri, 284, 285.
      Method of taking Longitudes, 285, 286.
      Becomes blind, 287.
      Goes to Florence, 290.
      Strict Surveillance, 290, 291.
      Return to Arcetri, 298.
      Last Years, 299-315.
      Letter to Rinuccini, 304, 305.
      Last illness and death, 307.
      Persecutions after death, 308.
      Private Funeral, 309.
      Remains removed to Santa Croce, 310.
      His Works on the Index till 1835, 315.

    Galilei, Julia, 3.

    Galilei, Vincenzo, 3, 4, 11.

    Galilei, Vincenzo, son of Galileo, 191, 306.

    Gherardi, Silvestro, 82, 83, 90.

    Govi Gilberto, his work on Galileo, 246.

    Grassi, 121, 122, 123.
      His Lecture on Comets, 102.

    Grazia, Vincenzo di, 43.

    Gregory XV., 105.
      Death of, 107.

    Griemberger, 35, 59.

    Guiccardini, 91, 92, 93, 95.

    Guiducci, 121, 122.
      His Treatise on Comets, 102.

    Henry IV. of France, 20.

    “Il Saggiatore,” 106, 107, 111, 113.

    Ingoli on the Copernican System, 120.

    Inquisition first notices Galileo, 36.

    Jesuits, the, and Galileo, 153-155, 277.

    Kepler, 13, 21, 23, 24, 120.

    Kuppler, Jacob, 117.

    “La Bilancetta,” 8.

    Landini, 157, 163, 166.

    Lembo, 35.

    Leopold of Austria, Archduke, 99, 101.

    L’Epinois, Henri de, 81. Appendix, 325, 326, 328.

    Libri, Julius, 25.

    Liceti, Fortunio, 301, 302.

    Longitudes at Sea, method of taking, 285, 286, 292, 295, 301.

    Lorini, 41, 53-55, 202.

    “Lothario Sarsi Sigensano,” 102.

    Magalotti, Count, 152, 155, 157, 163, 169.

    Magini, 22, 23.

    Malcotio, 35.

    Mandate summoning Galileo to Rome, 176.

    Maraffi, 51, 52.

    Marini Marino, 80, 81.

    Marsili, 151.

    Medicean Stars, 20.

    Medici, Julian de’, 24, 33.
      John de’, 10, 39.
      Cosmo II. de’, _see_ Cosmo.
      Ferdinand II. de’, _see_ Ferdinand.

    Mellini, 55, 56.

    Michael Angelo, 3.
      The younger, 35, 181.

    Microscope, the, 117, 118.

    Monte, Cardinal del, 9, 11, 36, 96.

    Myths about Galileo refuted, 249-263.

    Newton 244, 311.

    Niccolini, 136, 140, 142, 145, 181, 191, 193, 194, 195, 197, 199,
        200, 209, 217, 218, 225, 248.
      Intercession for Galileo, 166-168.
      Attempts to avert the Trial, 175, 176, 182, 183.
      Asks for Galileo’s Pardon, 272.
      Accusations against, 261, 262.

    Noailles, Count de, 278, 282, 283.

    Note of 25th February, 1616, 77.
      Of 26th February, 1616, 78.

    Olivieri Benedetto’s work on Galileo, 246.

    Opinion of the Holy Office on Galileo’s Propositions, 76.

    Orsini, 92, 99.

    Osiander, Andreas, 15.

    Padua, University of, 11, 16, 19.

    Palmerini, 43.

    Paul III., 15.

    Paul V., 35, 94, 95, 104, 239.
      Death of, 105.

    Peiresc, Fabri de, 278.
      Letter from Galileo to, 279.

    Pendulum Clocks, 306.

    Picchena, 72, 73, 74, 93, 94, 96.
      Letter to, 86, 87.

    Piccolomini, Ascanio, 248, 267, 268, 274.

    Pieralisi, 161, 162, 213, 242.

    Pisa, Experiments from Leaning Tower of, 10.
      University of, 5.

    Pius VII., 314.

    Plan of Galileo’s rooms in Palace of Inquisition, 209.

    Prohibition, Special, to Treat of Copernican System, 78, 89, 90, 113.
      Discovery of, 163, 171, 172.

    Protocol of 3rd March, 1616, 82.

    Querenghi, 71, 75.

    Recantation, 243, 244.
      Publication of, 268.
      Letter ordering it, 269.

    Riccardi, 117, 132, 135, 139, 143, 145, 146, 148, 157, 171, 172, 268.

    Ricci, Ostilio, 7.

    Ring of Saturn, 24.

    Rinuccini’s Inquiries of Galileo, 303.
      Galileo’s reply to, 304, 305.

    “Sacro Arsenale,” 255, 258.

    Sarpi, Paolo, 32.

    Sagredo, Francesco, 32.

    Salviati, 44.

    Scartazzini, Dr., 259-262.

    Scheiner, 43.
      His “Rosa Ursina,” 158.

    Sentence on Galileo, 230-234.
      Analysis of, 234-242.

    Serristori, 192.

    Settele’s Astronomy, 313.

    “Sidereus Nuncius,” 17, 21, 24.

    “Simplicius,” did he personate Urban VIII.? 159-162.

    Sincero, Carlo, 201.

    Sizy, 39.

    Solar Spots, 34.
      Work on, 44, 58.

    Special Commission on Galileo’s cause, 164.
      Its Memorial to the Pope, 172-174.

    Stelluti’s reply to Lothario Sarsi Sigensano, 106.

    Stephani, 141, 142, 145.

    Telescope, the, 16-25.
      Inventor of, 18.

    Thermoscope, the, 12.

    Trial of Galileo, 201-229.

    Torricelli, 306.

    Torture, question of, 253-263.

    Urban VIII., 107, 183, 225, 239, 248.
      Character of, 108, 109.
      Friendship for Galileo, 109-111.
      Favours to him, 118, 119.
      Change of tone, 159.

    Vatican MS., History of, Appendix, 319.
      Description of, 330.
      Estimate of, 334.

    Venice, Republic of, 31, 32.
      Exhibition of Telescope at, 18.

    Venus, Crescent form of, 32, 33.

    Vinta, Belisario, 24, 34.

    Viviani, 300, 310.

    Wedderburn, 23.

    Welser, 22, 43.

    Wohlwill, Emil, 81, 88, 90, 257, 259.

    Zacchia, Cardinal, 241, 242.

    Zuñiga, Diego di, 41, 84, 312.


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