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which placed beyond a doubt the existence of such an instrument. The idea instantly filled his mind as one of the utmost importance to science; and so thoroughly was he acquainted with the properties of lenses, that he not only discovered the principle of its construction, but was able to complete a telescope for his own use. Into one end of a leaden tube, he fitted a spectacle-glass plane on one side and convex on the other, and in the other end he placed another spectacle-glass concave on one side and plane on the other. He then applied his eye to the concave glass, and saw objects pretty large and pretty near him.” They appeared three times nearer, and nine times larger in surface, than to the naked eye. He soon after made another, which represented objects above sixty times larger; and, sparing neither labour nor expense, he finally constructed an instrument so excellent, as "to show things almost a thousand times larger, and above thirty times nearer to the naked eye.”
There is, perhaps, no invention that science has presented to man so extraordinary in its nature, and so boundless in its influence, as that of the telescope. To the uninstructed mind, the power of seeing an object a thousand miles distant, as large and nearly as distinct as if it were brought within a mile of the observer, must seem almost miraculous; and to the philosopher, even, who thoroughly comprehends the principles upon which it acts, it must ever appear one of the most elegant applications of science. To have been the first astronomer in whose hands such a gift was placed was a preference to which Galileo owed much of his future reputation.
No sooner had he completed his telescope than he applied it to the heavens, and on the 7th January, 1618, the first day of its use, he saw round Jupiter three bright little stars lying in a line parallel to the ecliptic, two to the east, and one to the west of the planet. Regarding them as ordinary stars, he never thought of estimating their distances. On the following day, when he accidentally directed his telescope to Jupiter, he was surprised to see the three stars to the west of the planet. To produce this effect it was requisite that the motion of Jupiter should be direct, though, according to calculation, it was actually retrograde. In this dilemma he waited with impatience for the evening of the 9th, but unfortunately the sky was covered with clouds. On the 10th he saw only two stars to the east-a circumstance which he was no longer able to explain by the motion of Jupiter. He was therefore compelled to ascribe the change to the stars themselves; and upon repeating his observations on the 11th, he no longer doubted that he had discovered three planets revolving round Jupiter. On the 13th January he for the first time saw the fourth satellite.*
This discovery, though of the utmost importance in itself, derived an additional value from the light which it threw on the true system of the universe. While the earth was the only planet enlightened by a moon, it might naturally be supposed that it alone was habitable, and was therefore entitled to the pre-eminence of occupying the centre of the system; but the discovery of four moons round a much larger planet deprived this argument of its force, and created a new analogy between the earth and the other planets. When Kepler received the 66 Sidereal Messenger," the work in which Galileo announced his discovery in 1610, he perused it with the deepest interest; and while it confirmed and extended his substantial discoveries, it dispelled at the same time some of those harmonic dreams which still hovered among his thoughts. In the “ Dis
* Simon Marius, mathematician to the Marquis of Brandenburg, assures us that he discovered the satellites of Jupiter in November, 1609.
sertation" which he published on the discovery of Galileo, he expresses his hope that satellites will be discovered round Saturn and Mars,—he conjectures that Jupiter has a motion of rotation about his axis,- and states his surprise, that, after what had been written on the subject of telescopes by Baptista Porta, they had not been earlier introduced into observatories.
In continuing his observations, Galileo applied his telescope to Venus, and in 1610 he discovered the phases of that planet, which exhibited to him the various forms of the waxing and the waning moon. This fact established beyond a doubt that the planet revolved round the sun, and thus gave an additional blow to the Ptolemaic system. In his observations on the sun, Galileo discovered his spots, and deduced from them the rotation of the central luminary. He observed that the body of Saturn had handles attached to it; but he was unable to detect the form of its ring, or render visible its minute satellites. On the surface of the moon he discovered her mountains and valleys, and determined the curious fact of her libration, in virtue of which parts of the margin of her disk occasionally appear and disappear. In the Milky Way he descried numerous minute stars which the unassisted eye was unable to perceive; and as the largest fixed stars, in place of being magnified by the telescope, became actually minute brilliant points, he inferred their immense distance as rendered necessary by the Copernican hypothesis. All his discoveries, indeed, furnished fresh arguments in favour of the new system; and the order of the planets and their relation to a central sun may now be considered as established by incontrovertible evidence.
While Galileo was occupied with these noble pursuits at Pisa, to which he had been recalled in 1611, his generous patron, Cosmo II. Grand-duke of Tuscany, invited him to Florence, that he might pursue with uninterrupted leisure his astronomical observations, and carry on his correspondence with the German astronomers. His fame had now resounded through all Europe ;—the strongholds of prejudice and ignorance were unbarred ;-and the most obstinate adherents of ancient systems acknowledged the meridian power of the day-star of science. Galileo was ambitious of propagating the great truths which he contributed so powerfully to establish. He never doubted that they would be received with gratitude by all.-by the philosopher as the consummation of the greatest efforts of human genius,-and by the Christian as the most transcendent displays of Almighty power. But he had mistaken the disposition of his species, and the character of the age. That same system of the heavens which had been discovered by the humble ecclesiastic of Frauenberg, which had been patronised by the kindness of a bishop, and published at the expense of a cardinal, and which the pope himself had sanctioned by the warmest reception, was, after the lapse of a hundred years, doomed to the most violent opposition, as subversive of the doctrines of the Christian faith. On no former occasion has the human mind exhibited such a fatal relapse into intolerance. The age itself had improved in liberality ;-the persecuted doctrines themselves had become more deserving of reception ;-the light of the Reformed faith had driven the Catholics from some of their most obnoxious positions ;-and yet, under all these circumstances, the church of Rome unfurled her banner of persecution against the pride of Italy, against the ornament of his species, and against truths immutable and eternal.
In consequence of complaints laid before the Holy Inquisition, Galileo was summoned to appear at Rome in 1615, to answer for the heretical opinions which he had promulgated. He was charged with wo maintaining as true the false doctrine held by
many, that the sun was immoveable in the centre of the world, and that the earth revolved with a diurnal motion ;—with having certain disciples to whom he taught the same doctrine ;-with keeping up a correspondence on the subject with several German mathematicians;—with having published letters on the solar spots, in which he explained the same doctrine as true ;-and with having glossed over with a false interpretation the passages of Scripture which were urged against it.” The consideration of these charges came before a meeting of the Inquisition, which assembled on the 25th February, 1616; and the court, declaring their disposition to deal gently with the prisoner, pronounced the following decree :-" That Cardinal Bellarmine should enjoin Galileo to renounce entirely the above-recited false opinions; that, on his refusal to do so, he should be commanded by the commissary of the Inquisition to abandon the said doctrine, and to cease to teach and defend it; and that, if he did not obey this command, he should be thrown into prison.”' On the 26th of February Galileo appeared before Cardinal Bellarmine, and, after receiving from him a gentle admonition, he was commanded by the commissary, in the presence of a notary and witnesses, to desist altogether from his erroneous opinions; and it was declared to be unlawful for him in future to teach them in any way whatever, either orally or in his writings. To these commands Galileo promised obedience, and was dismissed from the Inquisition.
The mildness of this sentence was no doubt partly owing to the influence of the Grand-duke of Tuscany, and other persons of rank and influence at the papal court, who took a deep interest in the issue of the trial. Dreading, however, that so slight a punishment might not have the effect of putting down the obnoxious doctrines, the Inquisition issued a decree denouncing the new opinions as false and