• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Half Title
 Frontispiece
 Title Page
 Preface
 Table of Contents
 Genius and the natural science...
 Genius and the fine arts
 Genius and poetry
 Genius and physical science
 Genius and mechanical inventio...
 Advertising
 Back Cover
 Spine






Title: Early genius and remarkable records of its achievements
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE TURNER PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00027948/00001
 Material Information
Title: Early genius and remarkable records of its achievements
Alternate Title: Memorials of early genius
Physical Description: 310, 10 leaves of plates : ill. (some col.) ; 18 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Thomas Nelson & Sons ( Publisher )
Publisher: T. Nelson and Sons
Place of Publication: London
Edinburgh
New York
Publication Date: 1874
Copyright Date: 1874
 Subjects
Subject: Genius -- Biography -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Natural history -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Physical sciences -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Inventions -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Biographies -- 1874   ( rbgenr )
Publishers' catalogues -- 1874   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1874
Genre: Biographies   ( rbgenr )
Publishers' catalogues   ( rbgenr )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
collective biography   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
Scotland -- Edinburgh
United States -- New York -- New York
 Notes
General Note: Added title page, engraved.
General Note: Publisher's catalogue follows text.
General Note: Plates printed in sepia.
Statement of Responsibility: by the Author of Success in life, Memorials of the dawn of the reformation in Europe, etc.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00027948
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: notis - ALG5904
oclc - 34182558
alephbibnum - 002225629

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Front Matter
        Front Matter
    Half Title
        Half Title
    Frontispiece
        Page i
    Title Page
        Page ii
        Page iii
        Page iv
    Preface
        Page v
        Page vi
    Table of Contents
        Page vii
        Page viii
    Genius and the natural sciences
        Page 9
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    Genius and poetry
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    Genius and physical science
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    Advertising
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Full Text



















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II




EARLY GENIUS,



AND


REMARKABLE RECORDS OF ITS ACHIEVEMENTS.





BY THE AUTHOR OF
"Success in Life," "Memorials of the Dawn of the
Reformeation in Europe," &'c.







We know the arduous strife, the eternal laws
To which the triumph cf all good is given,
High sacrifice, and labour without pause
Even to the death; else wherefore should the eve
Of man converse with immortality."
|WORDSWORTH.







LONDON:
T. NELSON AND SONS, PATERNOSTER ROW;
EDINBUIL H oi;AND NEW YORK.
Si7T


















PREFACE.



tHE varied examples which the following nar-
ratives of the victories of Early Genius ex-
hibit, afford evidence no less of the still
higher worth of moral excellence and the
power of that divine teaching which the gospel alone
affords. Without its sanctifying influence, even the
genius of Chatterton and the gentle and lovable char-
acter of Shelley prove all in vain as means for attaining
the lofty station which their great gifts seemed to promise
in their dawn; while in Milton and Newton we behold
the sublimest intellects that ever elevated man above
his species bowing down with reverent humility before
the far nobler truths which the Word of God reveals.
As records of genius thus dignified by Christianity,
and accomplishing success only by exertions adequate
to the worth of their high aim, the following biographi-
cal sketches are offered to the reader. In the noble
lives which they chronicle, he will find a stimulus to
honourable exertion; while they prove how arduous
have been the struggles by which even the most gifted
have attained to imperishable honours and noble re-
wards.






















CONTENTS.





Q1vnins sb the atnrd u$denes.
I. ROGER BACON, .... .. .. .. 9
TI. ASTROLOGY, ...... .. .. 18
III. GALILEO, ........ .. 23
IV. THE INQUISITION, . .. .. 33
V. NEWTON, .. .. .., .. 42
VI. THE SYSTEM OF THE UNIVERSE, .. 50


Seniuds usb the fiint artz.
I. GIOVANNI CIMABUE, .... .. 62
II. GIOTTO, .. .... .. .. .. 72
III. SYMBOLISM, .. .. .. .. 82
IV. THE WORKS OF GIOTTO, .... .. 91
V. TIE FRIENDS OF GIOTTO, .. .. .. 97
VI. THE DUOMO OF FLORENCE, ., .. 1. .. 105
VII. MICHAEL ANGELO, .. .. 0. .. 111
VIII. POPE JULIUS II., .. .. .. .. 126
IX. THE LAST JUDGMENT, ,. .. .. 134
X. THE CLOSE, .. .. .. .. 143
XI. RAPHAEL, .. .. .. .. 152
XII. SIR CHRISTOPHER WREN, .. .. *1 .. 155



Senias ant bletrp.
I. DANTE AND MILTON, .. ...... 163
II. DANTE AND BEATRICE, ........ 170
III. DANTE AND GIOTTO, .... .. 1








viii CONTENTS.

IV. THE EXILE,...... .... 187
V. MILTON, ............ 199
VI. THE GREAT REBELLION, .. ... 204
VII. CHATTERTON, .. .. .. .. .. 213
VIII. ANTIQUARIAN INVENTIONS, .. .. .. 232
IX. LONDON, .... .. .. .. 249
X. KIRKE WHITE AND SHELLEY, .. .. 259


Senius anb 'Sphical (Sdinzc.
I. NAPIER, HALES, BLACK, DAVY, .... .. 265


(Snims at b gecithanicl Intbntio
I. ARCHIBALD, EARL OF DUNDONALD, .... .. 295
I. JAMES WATT, ... .. .. 303














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CHAPTER I.
ROGER BACON.
E propose in the following pages to sketch the
careers of some illustrious men to whose
energy, courage, and intelligence-to whose
fearless love of truth, and enthusiasm for
knowledge-the world has been largely indebted for its
moral and intellectual advancement. The reader, by
studying these careers, and taking to heart the impor-
tant lessons which they teach, will be the better fitted
to undertake the responsibilities imposed upon him, as
upon every man, of doing what good he may in his
sphere of duty, and of contributing, in however small
a measure, to the aggregate of human happiness.
Philosophy, which, literally rendered, signifies the
love of truth, has come, through the influence of a
widely prevalent scepticism at the era of the French
Revolution, to be regarded by many as so far inimical
to truth, that the Philosophic Spirit has been fre-
quently made use of as a term synonymous with the
essential source of infidelity. The spirit of inquiry,
however, so thoroughly harmonizes with the consti-
tution of our moral nature, that the most violent pre-
judices can only temporarily retard its progress, though







10 GENIUS AND THE NATURAL SCIENCES.

they have not always been ineffectual in diverting it from
the right path. It is a curious feature in the history of
both mental and physical sciences, that nearly all their
first steps have been made to appear as opposed to re-
vealed truth, and the philosopher has been compelled to
meet the divine as a jealous and intolerant opponent.
That this has originated frequently in the avowed infidel-
ity of the philosopher cannot be questioned, yet it has
far oftener been caused by the narrow-minded dogmatism
of the theologian, who refused to submit the arguments
of his opponents to the test oi inquiry. Voltaire and
other philosophers of the French school, ignorant of any
other Christianity than the corrupt system of popery that
arrogated the exclusive right to that title in their un-
happy country, fondly flattered themselves that their
teaching had already given the death-blow to that long-
enduring superstition. Christianity, however, which is
the highest embodyment of Divine truth, has nothing to
fear from the most rigorous investigation of all subordi-
nate truths. Bacon discussed the system of Aristotle in
the spirit of honest philosophical inquiry, and was de
nounced by the monks of the thirteenth century as a
heretic. Galileo proclaimed to the theologians of the
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, that the earth re-
volved round the sun, and was condemned as a daring
atheist, who defied alike the voice of the church, and the
truth of the Bible. We smile now at the history of such
futile bigotry; yet the same spirit has been manifested no
less strongly in our own day, where even the most re-
verent inquirers into the great truths of nature, have
been challenged by the misdirected zeal of the champions
of revelation, who would compel the uninstructed multi-
tude to believe that the Word of God is irreconcilable
with the discoveries of science. In all this the philoso-
pher has generally been far less to blame than the theo-
logian. The former migcit justly ask the latter if lie






ROGER BACON.' 11

really believes in the divine origin of the Bible, that he
so timidly guards its declarations from investigation. It
is the true spirit of Protestantism to encourage the utmost
investigation of its dogmas. It has nothing to fear even
from the perverted labours of the sceptic, far less from
the honest inquiries of the philosopher. We may rest
assured that the book of Nature cannot ultimately con-
tradict the book of Revelation, for the author of both is
the same; and the same spirit of reverent and teachable
investigation should guide us in the perusal of the one as
of the other. In this spirit it was that the greatest of
all philosophers, Newton, disclosed the secret springs that
guide the vast universe in all the complex motions of
the spheres; learning at every step to view with deeper
reverence and holy awe the Creator and Sustainer of all
things: The great God, the first cause from whence all
secondary causes and all natural laws proceed.
Such was the principle that actuated the great Christian
philosopher, and in the same spirit the Christian poet
writes-

Happy the man, who sees a God employed
In all the good and ill that checker life
Resolving all events, with their effects
And manifold results, into the will
And arbitration wise of the Supreme.
Did not his eye rule all things, and intend
The least of our concerns (since from the least
The greatest oft originate;) could chance
Find place in his dominion, or dispose
One lawless particle to thwart his plan;
Then God might be surprised, and unforeseen
Contingence might alarm him, and disturb
The smooth and equal course of his affairs.
This truth Philosophy, though eagle-eyed
In nature's tendencies, oft overlooks;
And, having found his instrument, forgets,
Or disregards, or, more presumptuous still,
Denies the power that wields it. God proclaims
His hot displeasure against foolish men,
Th,.t live an tlheist life: involves the Heavens







12 GENIUS AND THE NATURAL SCIENCES.

In tempests; quits his grasp upon the winds,
And gives them all their fury; bids the plague
Kindle a fiery boil upon the skin,
And putrefy the breath of blooming Health.
He calls for Famine, and the meagre fiend
Blows mildew from between his shrivelled lips,
And taints the golden ear. He springs his mines,
And desolates a nation at a blast.
Forth steps the spruce Philosopher, and tells
Of homogeneal and discordant springs
And principles; of causes, how they work
By necessary laws their sure effects;
Of action and reaction: he has found
The source of the disease, that nature feels,
And bids the world take heart and banish fear
Thou fool, will thy discovery of the cause
Suspend th' effect, or heal it ? Has not God
Still wrought by means since first he made the world?
And did he not of old employ his means
To drown it? What is his creation less
Than a capacious reservoir of means
Form'd for his use, and ready at his will?
Go, dress thine eyes with eye-salve; ask of him,
Or ask of whomsoever he has taught;
And learn, though late, the genuine cause of all."

Popular superstition and vulgarprejudice have continued
even to our own day to associate the name of Roger
Bacon, one of the greatest of English philosophers, with
the puerile conceptions of scientific inquiry that prevailed
in his own day. "The learned monk," says one of his
biographers, "searching for the philosopher's stone in
his laboratory, aided only by infernal spirits, was substi-
tuted for the sagacious advocate of reform in education,
reading, and reasoning; and-what was equally rare-the
real inquirer into the phenomena of nature."
Roger Bacon was born near Ilchester in Somersetshire,
about the year 1214. Wonderfully little is known of the
early history of this eminent man, who stood foremost
among English philosophers until the appearance of
his great namesake in the seventeenth century. His
father seems to have been a comfortable English yeoman,





ROGER BACON. 13
and by him his son was sent to Oxford to acquire that
learning for which we may presume the young student
early manifested a strong desire. After residing there
for a time, he proceeded to Paris according to the usual
custom of that period, the university of Paris being then
considered the chief seat of learning in the world. The
theology of that day was altogether opposed to the
Philosophical Spirit. A few years before the birth of
Bacon, a council at Paris condemned and burnt the works
of Aristotle as they then existed in the mutilated trans-
lations from eastern versions of the original. Towards
the middle of the thirteenth century, the philosophy of
Aristotle found many zealous, but not very wise main-
tainers. Some of the most active religious orders of the
Romish church espoused the cause, and arrogated to him
the exclusive title of the Philosopher." Bacon," says
one of his biographers, in no sense became an Aristote-
lian, except in that which comprehends all who are ac-
quainted with the opinions and methods of the Greek
philosopher. Better versed in the original than most of
his contemporaries, he freely criticises all he meets with,
(especially the merit of the translations, all which he says
he would burn, if he could,) and is himself an early and
sufficient proof that the absurdities of his contemporaries
ought not to be called 'Aristotelian,' any more than
Aristotle himself 'the Philosopher.' Bacon could read
Aristotle without danger of falling into idolatry: his an-
tagonists could have erected a system of verbal disputes
upon the Principia of Newton, if they had possessed it."
From Paris Bacon returned to Oxford with a doctor's
degree from the former University, and soon after he
took on him the vows of a Franciscan, which bound him
to poverty, manual labour, and study. The manual
labour, however, which he practised, was probably com-
prised in the use of his pen, and the researches of the
laboratory, and we have good reason for believing that






14 GENIUS AND THE NATURAL SCIENCES.
the vow of poverty was still less attended to, as he tells
us himself that in the course of twenty years he expended
2000 lives on books and instruments; an outlay amount-
ing to a very considerable sum of money in those days.
The labours of Bacon, and the opinions which he advo-
cated, speedily won for him the enmity of the monks of
Oxford, and he found the obstinate ignorance and bigotry
of his contemporaries far more insufferable obstacles to
his scientific inquiries than all the difficulties which beset
him in the laboratory. His biographer remarks-" The
enmity of his brethren soon began to show itself: the
lectures which he gave in the University were prohibited,
as well as the transmission of any of his writings beyond
the walls of his convent. The charge made against him
was that of magic, which was then frequently brought
against those who studied the sciences, and particularly
chemistry. The ignorance of the clergy of that time as
to mathematics or physics was afterwards described by
Anthony-a-Wood, who says that they knew no property
of the circle except that of keeping out the devil, and
thought the points of a triangle would wound religion.
Brought up to consider philosophy as nearly allied to, if
not identical with, heresy itself, many of them might per-
haps be honest believers in its magical power; but we can
hardly doubt that there were a few more acute minds, who
saw that Roger Bacon was in reality endeavouring to evoke
a spirit whose influence would upset the power they had
acquired over the thoughts of men, and allow them to
read and reflect, without fear of excommunication, or the
necessity of inquiring what council had authorised the
book. The following detached passages from the Opus
M ajus contain opinions, no doubt, which its author was
in the habit of expressing :-
'Most students have no worthy exercise for their
heads, and therefore languish and stupify upon bad trans-
lations, which lose them both time and money. Ap-






ROGER BACON. 15
pearances alone rule them, and they care not what they
know, but what they are thought to know by a senseless
multitude. There are four principal stumbling-blocks in
the way of arriving at knowledge-authority, habit, ap-
pearances as they present themselves to the vulgar eye,
and concealment of ignorance combined with ostentation
of knowledge. Even if the first three could be got over
by some great effort of reason, the fourth remains ready.
Men presume to teach before they have learnt, and fall
into so many errors, that the idle think themselves happy
in comparison-and hence both in science and in common
life we see a thousand falsehoods for one truth. And
this being the case, we must not stick to what we hear
and read, but must examine most strictly the opinions of
our ancestors, that we may add what is lacking, and cor-
rect what is erroneous, but with all modesty and allow-
ance. We must, with all our strength, prefer reason to
custom, and the opinions of the wise and good to the per-
ceptions of the vulgar: and we must not use the triple
argument; that is to say, this has been laid down, this
has been usual, this has been common, therefore it is to
be held by. For the very opposite conclusion does much
better follow from the premises. And though the whole
world be possessed by these causes of error, let us freely
hear opinions contrary to established usage.' "
The Opus. Miajus, from which this passage is extracted,
owes, probably, much of its peculiar form to the circum-
stances under which it was produced. The enmity and
bigoted opposition of the Franciscans had completely de-
barred its author from publishing his discoveries, or
even, as it would seem, reducing them to an accessible
form in writing. In the year 1265, Clement IV. ascended
the Papal throne. He was a native of St. Gilles, in Lan-
guedoc, and while holding the rank of Cardinal Bishop of
Sabina, had filled the office of Legate in England. There
he learned of Bacon's wonderful discoveries, but was de-






16 GENIUS AND THE NATURAL SCIENCES.
barred by the jealousy and ignorance of the order to
which the learned friar belonged, from making himself
fully acquainted with them. It is not certain whether
any interview took place between Bacon and the Papal
Legate while in England, but at any rate his wish to be
made acquainted with the discoveries of the great English
philosopher had been communicated to the latter, and it
no doubt afforded him consolation, in the midst of the
persecution he underwent from ignorance and bigotry,
to obtain such marks of sympathy from one who was
himself an able scholar and an eminent dignitary of the
Church. We find accordingly, that so soon as Bacon
learned that the Bishop of Sabina had been elected head
of the Church, he availed himself of the known sympathy
of the new Pope with his pursuits, to free himself from the
trammels to which he had been so long subjected. Bacon
in this manifested a degree of courage and independence
not easily appreciable now; for, setting aside the injunc-
tions of his superiors, and without affording them any op-
portunity of challenging his conduct, he wrote to Clement
IV., reminding him of the wish he had expressed to see
a written treatise of his philosophical opinions, and the
discoveries he had made. To this he speedily received
a reply, renewing the former request, and requiring him
to draw up his work in all haste, and forward it to him,
whatever might be the commands of his superiors, or the
nature of the vows by which he had bound himself on
entering his order. Bacon would appear to have availed
himself of this opportunity of communicating with the
Pope, to try to enlist his powerful interest on his behalf,
and thereby secure his escape from the ignorant and
bigoted thraldom to which he was subjected. The letter
was no doubt forwarded with the utmost secrecy, and the
Pope, in his reply, requires him to point out, with similar
caution, by what means he can best promote his liberation.






ROGER BACON. 17
The work which is known as Bacon's Opus Majus, was
forwarded to Rome, by the hands of John of London, a
favourite pupil of the philosopher, within two years after
the accession of Clement IV. to the Popedom. Doubt-
loss the learned monk joyfully anticipated the accom-
plishment of all his wishes, by securing the patronage of
the head of the Church; and he evidently drew it up with
the most prudential care, so as to avoid any expression
of sentiments likely to awaken the jealousy of the Church.
To this we must mainly ascribe that peculiar character
alluded to in the following remarks:-" The charge of
heresy appears to be by no means so well founded as a
Protestant would wish. Throughout the whole of his
writings Bacon is a strict Roman Catholic, that is, he ex-
pressly submits matters of opinion to the authority of the
Church, saying that if the respect due to the vicar of the
Saviour, 'vicarius Salvatoris,' alone, and the benefit of
the world, could be consulted in any other way than by
the progress of philosophy, he would not, under such
impediments as lay in his way, proceed with his under-
taking for the whole Church of God, however much it
might entreat or insist. His zeal for Christianity, in its
Latin or Western form, breaks out in every page; and all
science is considered with direct reference to theology,
and not otherwise. But at the same time, to the credit
of his principles, considering the book-burning, heretic-
hunting age in which he lived, there is not a word of any
other force except that of persuasion. He takes care to
have both authority and reason for every proposition that
he advances; perhaps, indeed, he might have experienced
forbearance at the hand of those who were his persecu-
tors, had he not so clearly made out prophets, apostles.
and fathers to have been partakers of his opinions. But
let not your Serenity imagine,' he says, 'that I intend to
excite the clemency of your Holiness, in order that the
papal majesty should employ force against weak authors
(425) 2






18 GENIUS AND THE NATURAL SCIENCES.

and the multitude, or that my unworthy self should raise
any stumblingblock to study.' Indeed the whole scope
of the first part of the work is to prove, from authority
and from reason, that philosophy and Christianity cannot
disagree; a sentiment altogether of his own revival, in an
age in which all philosophers, and mathematicians in
particular, were considered as at best of dubious ortho-
doxy."
Unhappily, however, for Bacon, his powerful patron
died before he could interpose in his behalf. Nothing
certain is known as to the reception his work met with at
the Papal court. Some writers have affirmed that it re-
ceived the highest approbation of the Pope, which he
testified by extending his patronage to the bearer; while
others have insinuated that he lent the sanction of his
authority to Bacon's enemies, who had already assailed
him as a heretic. There is every reason to believe, how-
ever, that the Pope had scarcely time to make himself
acquainted with the contents of the Opus Majus, before
he was seized with his last illness. There is something
exceedingly painful in the history of those great teachers
of mankind who have thus had to struggle with the folly
and the malevolence of an ignorant generation for per-
mission to accomplish a task pregnant with blessings to
their own and other times; and the case was one of slen-
der hope indeed which in the thirteenth century depended
on the liberality of a Pope to counteract the intolerance
of the Church.



CHAPTER II.

ASTROLOGY.

THE death of Clement overthrew all the bright hopes
which had cheered the philosopher in his cell. The






ASTROLOGY. 19

great and good Robert Grostete, Bishop of Lincoln, who
has been termed the moral, as Bacon was the intellectual,
light of that age, was an early friend of the philosopher,
and one of the very few of his contemporaries who could
understand, and sympathize with, his pursuits. Bacon
speaks of him and of his friend Adam de Morisco, as
students standing apart from the herd, and penetrating
the mysteries of things. De Morisco, like Bacon,
had assumed the habit of a friar, and experienced his
share of the restraints of the cloister, though known by
the title of the Illustrious Doctor." In the year 1234,
we find Friar Bacon, conjoined with Robert GrostOte,
in the execution of a royal ordinance for the better regu-
lation of the University of Oxford. But the good bishop
died in 1253, long before Bacon had rejoiced in that
bright but transitory gleam of better fortune, which was
followed by deeper shadows clouding his path.
The death of Clement extinguished his hopes, but he
was allowed to remain free from open persecution for
some years afterwards. It was not till the year 1278
that the appointment of Jerome d'Ascoli, the general of
the Franciscan order, to act as the Legate of the Pope,
Nicholas III., at the Court of France, inspired the English
Franciscans with courage to renew their attack on the
great philosopher.
Bacon, then sixty-four years old, was accordingly sum-
moned to Paris, (Dr. Jebb implies that he had already
removed his residence there to another convent of his
order,) where a council of Franciscans, with Jerome at
their head, condemned his writings, and committed him
to close confinement. According to Bale, or Balseus,
(cited by Dr. Jebb,) the charge of innovation was the
pretext, but of what kind was not specified: according to
others, the writings of Bacon upon astrology were the
particular ground of accusation. We cannot learn that
any offer of pardon was made to the accused upon his






20 GENIUS AND THE NATURAL SCIENCES.

recantation of the obnoxious opinions, as usual in such
cases; which, if we may judge from the Opus Majus,
Bacon would have conceived himself bound to accept, at
least if he recognized the legality of the tribunal. A
confirmation of the proceeding was immediately obtained
from the court of Rome. During ten years, every effort
made by him to procure his enlargement was without
success. The two succeeding pontiffs had short and busy
reigns; but on the accession of Jerome, (Nicholas IV.,)
Bacon once more tried to attract notice. He sent to that
pope, it is said, a treatise on the method of retarding the
infirmities of old age, the only consequence of which was
increased rigour and closer confinement. But that which
was not to be obtained from the justice of the Pope, was
conceded to private interest, and Bacon was at last re-
stored to liberty by the intercession of some powerful
nobles, but who they were is not mentioned. Some say
he died in prison; but the best authorities unite in stating
that he returned to Oxford, where he wrote a compendium
of theology, and died some months, or perhaps a year
and a half, after Nicholas IV., who died April 1292."
The great points by which Bacon is popularly known
are the discovery of gunpowder, and the conception of
the telescope, afterwards realized to such wondrous pur-
pose in the hands of his great successor, Galileo. To
these, however, the credulity of his contemporaries, and
the exaggerations of popular ignorance, have added
numerous strange and extravagant fables, so that the fame
of the illustrious English philosopher has well nigh dis-
appeared amid the accumulation of childish conceits with
which the name of Friar Bacon is associated.
It is curious to find how vulgar wonder thus overloads
the names of the world's greatest benefactors. The old
English poet, Gower, has embodied some of the popular
legends of his time, in which the wonders that have been
more generally ascribed to Bacon are told as the deeds






ASTROLOGY. 21
of the great scholar and patriot, Bishop Grostete. Thus,
in one of his tales, he remarks,-

"For of the great clerke, Grostete,
I read how ready that he was,
By his learning, a head of brass
To make, and forge it for to tell
Of such things as befell."
Our juvenile readers are no doubt familiar with the
old legend which represents Friar Bacon pondering how
by his magical art he could strengthen England against
her foes. He resolved to surround the whole island
with impregnable walls of brass, and having for this pur-
pose constructed his magical Brazen Head, he awaited
with patience its utterance of the words of wisdom that
should reveal to him the means of accomplishing his
patriotic intentions. Time passed on, however, and the
Brazen Head maintained unbroken silence, till at length
the philosopher and magician, exhausted with his fruit-
less vigils,withdrew to his cell for needful repose, leaving
one of his pupils to watch the mysterious Head, and
summon him on the slightest appearance of intending
speech. The new watcher was rewarded after a time
by the Head uttering these brief words: TIME IS !"
"If that is all it has to say," thought the pupil, it
were a pity to disturb the Friar from his slumbers."
He accordingly continued his vigils, and after another
solemn pause, the Head again spoke with equal brevity:
TIME WAS !" This, however, seemed to the pupil
fully as trifling an attempt at speech as the former,
and so he left his master to sleep on, until he was
awoke by an astounding crash, as the head closed its
oracular utterances by exclaiming, TIME IS PAST !"
and then shivering into atoms; and so," says the old
nursery-tale, Friar Bacon missed the opportunity of
surrounding England with walls of brass." The tale
most probably originated in some allegorical allusion,







22 GENIUS AND TIE NATURAL SCIENCES.

possibly to his great discovery of gunpowder, which, with
the brazen guns, manned by her invincible seamen, has
effectually accomplished the object the Friar is said to
have aimed at.
Friar Bacon appears not only to have been a man alto-
gether beyond his own age, but one of those remarkable
spirits who seem to anticipate the discoveries of future
generations, and leave nothing new for after-times. It is
an astonishing proof of the necessity of civilization being
far advanced before nations can ever avail themselves of
the discoveries of genius. Bacon appears to have antici-
pated even some of the greatest men of the nineteenth
century in important discoveries in science; yet it required
their re-discovery by later ages, to appreciate their
worth. To the men of the thirteenth century the tele-
scope was scarcely more available than the discovery
of the art of printing would be to a nation of savages
who had yet to learn the meaning of a written language.
The influence of Bacon, however, was doubtless con-
siderable, even on the ages immediately succeeding his
own time. To us his life is pregnant with further
evidence of the enmity of superstition and Romish
intolerance, to all the noblest interests of man. It
teaches us the value of perfect toleration for the freest
inquiry into the great secrets of nature, and while we
endeavour in our search after these great truths ever to
do it in a reverent spirit, and with a child-like confidence
in the infallible teachings of Revelation; it also warns us
to beware of rashly mistaking the conclusions we may
draw from Scripture as themselves infallible. This it is
that has led even honest, though mistaken men, hastily to
pronounce the philosopher a heretic, who makes known
to us some great truth of nature; startling, and therefore
suspicious from its novelty.






GALILEO. 23



CHAPTER III.

GALILEO.

SIMILAR in fate to the great English philosopher is the
noble Tuscan, who first discovered for us "the magic tube,"
devised long before in the Franciscan's cell, and experi-
enced the same rewards for the wondrous truths he
revealed to man, as had been accorded to Bacon by the
intolerance of his contemporaries. Strange indeed must
it seem to the intelligent student of nature, that he who
in so marvellous a manner taught us anew that "the
heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament
showeth his handy-work," should have been doomed to
the dungeons of the Roman Inquisition, as a heretic who
contravened the truths of Revelation.
Galileo was the son of Vincentio Galilei, a noble
Florentine, who distinguished himself by his scientific
knowledge and study of music, and by the great learning
and erudition he displayed in maintaining his views.
His chief work, entitled A Discourse on the Music of
the Ancients and Moderns," was printed in a large folio
volume at Florence, in 1581, and. has supplied a store
of criticism and research for successive historians of the
musical art.
Vincentio Galilei shared in the vicissitudes that have
marked the nurture of so many of the gifted sons of
Florence, and on the 15th of February, 1564, his son
Galileo was born at Pisa. The youth of the great
Tuscan philosopher was passed amid many hardships,
schooling him into the hardy pursuit of his great future
work, by the difficulties he had to encounter in ac-
quiring the rudiments of learning. At the age of
nineteen he was placed by his father at the University







24 GENIUS AND THE NATURAL SCIENCES.

of Pisa, where he speedily manifested the peculiar bent
of his mind for research, and distinguished himself by
his extraordinary powers of application. The first work
by Galileo that excited notice, and evinced the pos-
session of that originality of thought and spirit of
philosophic observation which afterwards produced such
wonderful results, was an essay on the Hydrostatic
Balance. The young student had been designed by his
father for the medical profession, but he soon showed
an extreme unwillingness to tie himself down to the
formal and petty routine of duties required by that
valuable but engrossing profession. Fortunately his
essay on the hydrostatic balance attracted the notice of
Guido Ubaldi, a learned Pisan, who at once perceived the
acute powers of reasoning and the unwonted spirit of
philosophic investigation which was displayed in it.
Ubaldi cultivated the acquaintance of the ingenious
scholar, and by his counsel and example assisted him in
choosing the course of study most likely to forward him
in the development of those great powers of mind that
he had already proved himself to possess. Under his
auspices the study of medicine was abandoned, and his
attention was thereafter almost exclusively fixed on
geometry and experimental philosophy. Vincentio Galilei
had watched with pleasure the early development of his
great powers of mind, and in selecting for him the medi-
cal profession, had been guided by a reasonable prudence
and foresight, which led him to anticipate that it would
prove the ready path to success and worldly prosperity.
It was not, therefore, without regret, as well as considerable
opposition, that he was prevailed on to sanction the aban-
donment of the lucrative profession of medicine for those
higher walks of science that promised at best only a very
precarious and stinted reward. The elder Galilei, however,
was reluctantly turned from his own schemes of worldly
aggrandizement for his son by the decided bent which

























9o





Ale.



HIMM















ti 11
IIV-- ..II
,, ..... ..._




9, ---
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CATHEDRAL OF PISA






GALILEO. 25

the latter displayed for those abstruse walks of science on
which he had thus early entered Thenceforth Galileo
entered on that important career which he was to pursue
with such untiring zeal, and such wondrous results for
all future times, through the years of a long life of
unusual health and vigour.
The history of nearly all great discoverers exhibits the
most wonderful results originating from the most insig-
nificant means; and, in this respect, one of Galileo's
earliest advances on the science of his age was apparently
occasioned by his observation of what appears a trifling
occurrence. One of the most remarkable buildings
throughout the whole Italian peninsula is the Cathedral
of Pisa, with its famous Campo Santo, adorned with some
of the most singular and interesting specimens of early
Art, and its baptistry and belfry, all grouping together
within the wide open area at the western extremity of
the town. The Duomo or Cathedral of Pisa was begun
in the eleventh century, and completed during the great
era of the revival of Italian Art. Statues and sculptures,
paintings, carvings, and Mosaics, all unite to enrich its
magnificent interior, and to associate with it such great
names as Andrea del Sarto, Salvator Rosa, Giovanni da
Bologna, Nicolo Pisano, and the like men of note at that
interesting period. But the simple incident that associ-
ates with it the name of the great Tuscan philosopher sur-
passes in interest all that we attach to the gorgeous works
of these masters of painting and sculpture. Walking
in the aisle of this splendid Cathedral, Galileo was struck
by observing the oscillation of one of the great lamps
that hung suspended from the lofty ceiling. Thousands
before had seen the same phenomenon and passed on,
without thinking that so trifling an incident could be
worth a moment's notice. To Galileo, however, it was
like the apple whose fall is said to have suggested to the
mindl of Newton the mighty law that guides revolving






26 GENIUS AND THE NATURAL SCIENCES.
worlds. He drew from it the hitherto unknown law of
oscillation,-a fragment of that universal principle re-
served for Newton to discover,-by which a simple
pendulum sustained by a fixed point moves by regular
vibrations, and has thus been made available for the
measurement of time. The results of these observations
of Galileo, however, derive far greater value from their
effect on his own mind, than even from the useful purposes
to which they have since been applied. The first use to
which he applied his observation of the equality, or near
equality, of the time of vibration of a pendulum, according
to its less or greater length, was to the practical aid of
medicine, by enabling the physician to apply it in the
same way for testing the state of a patient's pulse, as has
since been done by means of a watch with its seconds
hand. It led him on to other inquiries, and meanwhile
served to confirm the high anticipations that had been
already formed of his future greatness.
Guido Ubaldi, the learned Pisan, who had been the
first to recognize the high gifts of the youthful Galileo,
continued to manifest the same generous interest in his
progress. By the exertions of Ubaldi on his behalf, he
was introduced to the Grand Duke Ferdinand I. de'
Medici, by whom he was appointed, in 1589, to the chair
of mathematics at Pisa. The emoluments of this ap-
pointment were not great, but the duties which thereby
devolved on him were altogether congenial to his tastes
and previous studies, and he availed himself of the leisure
it afforded him to carry on a series of experiments on
motion, which, now that he understood all the great, and
then undiscovered, truths involved in them, assume a
singular interest when we consider this early investigation
of them. Much of their influence, like that of his pre-
vious observations on oscillation, derive their chief value
from the indirect effects that resulted from them. He
perceived that nearly all the scholastic dogmas by which






GALILEO. 27
the world had been content to be satisfied for centuries,
were wholly untenable, and that laws had been assumed
as those which guided the natural principles of motion,
which proved, on examination, to be utterly false. Al-
ready had Copernicus challenged the established opinions
of all men, and denied that our little globe of earth was
the one unmoving centre round which the inconceivably
vast sphere of the fixed stars daily revolved. Copernicus,
however, had guarded the promulgation of his great dis-
coveries by the most cautious and modest assumption
of mere hypothetical inquiry; and, countenanced as he
was by some of the most influential leaders in the Church
of Rome, he escaped the charge of heresy, while at the
same time he produced a general spirit of inquiry which
was slowly preparing men's minds for the reception of
the truth. Galileo was among the first to free himself
from the slavish fetters of authority and received opinions.
He set himself to investigate the arguments on which the
old and complex Ptolemaic system was based, and speed-
ily found that its infinite series of vast crystalline spheres,
whose ever-moving interchange of melody,-produced by
a cumbrous machinery of cycles and epicycles, excentrics
and primum mobile,-instead of resulting in the Music of
the Spheres," was no better than a jangling tissue of
absurdity, when tested by such laws of nature as were
already understood.
The system on which the natural philosophy of the
schoolmen was based, was indeed one well calculated to
excite the astonishment and contempt of a calm philo-
sophic inquirer. But it was on that very account all the
movie dangerous to assail it. The simplicity of the Coper-
nican system, when brought into comparison with it, soon
won the favour of those who were capable of appreciating
the proofs that speedily appeared of it, greater accord-
ance with known phenomena. Galileo, says a recent
writer, soon discovered and proved the futile nature of
I






2? GENIUS AND THE NATURAL SCIENCES.

the objections then usually made against it, which were
founded on a complete ignorance of the laws of mechanics,
or on some misapplied quotations from Aristotle, the
Bible, and the Fathers; and having also observed, that
many who had at first believed the former system, had
changed in favour of the latter, while none of those at-
tached to the latter changed to the Ptolemaic hypothesis
-that the former required almost daily some new emen-
dation, some additional chrystalline sphere, to accommo-
date itself to the varying aspects of the celestial pheno-
mena-that the appearance and disappearance of new
stars contradicted the pretended incorruptibility of the
heavenly bodies, together with other reflections which he
has collected in his dialogues,-he became a convert to
the Copernican system, and, in his old age, its most con-
spicuous martyr. So strong, however, were the religious
prejudices on the subject of the quiescence of the earth,
that Galileo thought it prudent to continue to lecture on
the hypothesis of Ptolemy, until time should afford a
favourable opportunity to destroy the visionary fabric by
incontestable facts."
Galileo was only in his twenty-fifth year when he ob-
tained the Chair of Mathematics in the University of
Pisa; but he soon proved his fitness for it by discoveries
which were very partially appreciated by his contem-
poraries. One of the first of the established dogmas
which he undertook to overturn was, that bodies of un-
equal weights would fall through the same altitude in
unequal times, corresponding to the relative difference of
their weights. This doctrine, the futility of which is now
known almost to every child, was held to with all the
obstinacy of bigoted ignorance. The youngest of our
readers have probably seen the simple and beautiful ex-
periment of a feather and a piece of lead or a sovereign,
dropt at the same moment within an exhausted receiver,
when both reached the bottom at the same moment.



























































-





















S .
























LEANING TOWER OF PISA






GALILEO. 29

This same experiment Galileo showed without the inter-
vention of the air-pump, by ascending to the top of the
celebrated Campanile or leaning tower of Pisa, from
whence he dropped objects differing very considerably in
weight, and observed that they reached the ground within
a very slight interval of one another. This difference
Galileo rightly attributed to the unequal resistance of the
air,-a disturbing medium which is removed in the ex-
periment conducted on a small scale within the exhausted
receiver,-and he showed that the comparatively trifling
interval between the time of their reaching the ground
completely disproved the old theory, as there was not
the slightest agreement between it and the different
weights of the bodies referred to. It is at all times, how-
ever, easier to believe than to reason, and while the great
majority of mankind are content to take for granted the
statements that are affirmed as true on all points not
directly affecting their previous opinions, none are so ob-
stinately prejudiced against new truths as those who have
adopted their belief without investigation. It was, how-
ever, those who claimed the name of philosophers that
most bitterly opposed Galileo, for the first experiments
which he performed publicly at Pisa were witnessed by
an immense concourse of spectators, who testified enthu-
siastic admiration of their novelty and beauty.
The opposition now shown to Galileo by the partisans
of the ancient philosophy was of the bitterest and most
rancorous description. They saw the whole system to
which they bigotedly clung threatened with overthrow by
his arguments and demonstrations, and instead of oppos-
ing him with the same fair weapons, they raised against
him such a host of annoyances and persecution, that he
was at length compelled to resign his chair at Pisa.
The philosophers of Pisa having thus banished the
only one from among them who was capable of teaching
others, because he was himself a diligent student of the






30 GENIUS AND THE NATURAL SCIENCES.

great book of nature, Galileo proceeded to Florence.
rThere he met with a warm reception from some of his
friends,- and particularly from his old patron and adviser,
Guido Ubaldi, through whose influence he was introduced
to some of the chief noble families of Tuscany, and soon
after the mathematical chair of the University of Padua
was conferred on him for the limited period of six years.
There he prosecuted his inquiries with increased success,
and, within the period Gf his first appointment, he invented
the thermometer, and the proportional compass or sector,
in addition to writing several valuable treatises on
mechanics, spherical astronomy, and other subjects which
came within the range of his public instructions. On the
expiration of his first engagement in 1599, the senate re-
appointed him for a similar period, at a greatly advanced
salary, and it was a second time renewed, with additional
advantages. This he repayed by many important con-
tributions to science, and particularly by the discovery on
which his fame more surely rests than perhaps on any of
the great truths he made known to his fellow-men. The
year 1609," says one of his biographers, "was signalized
by a discovery on the part of Galileo, which forms one of
the most solid foundations of his glory. In the month of
April a rumour was circulated in Venice that a Dutch-
man had presented to Count Maurice of Nassau an
instrument, by which means distant objects appeared as
if they were near at hand. On this slight and cursory
hint Galileo immediately applied himself to discover
whether the thing was possible, conformably with the
passage of the luminous rays through spherical glasses of
various forms. Some attempts made with lenses which
he had at hand produced the desired effect; and next day
he gave an account of his success to his friends, which,
in fact, was nothing less than the invention of the teles-
cope. A short time afterwards he presented several of
these instruments to the senate of Venice, accompanied






GALILEO. 31

with a description in which he unfolded the immense
consequences for nautical and astronomical observations
wlich would certainly result from the discovery; and in
recompense of his ingenuity his commission as professor
was continued for life, with an allowance of salary triple
that which he had previously received. Galileo neglected
nothing calculated to evince his gratitude, or to add to
the claims which had merited these favours. Indefatiga-
ble in his researches, he invented the microscope; he
also improved his telescope, and soon brought it to a
state fit to be applied to the observation of the heavens.
He then perceived what as yet no mortal eye had ever
seen; the surface of the moon, like that of the earth,
bristled with high mountains and ploughed with deep
valleys; Venus presenting, like the moon, phases which
prove her rotundity; Jupiter environed with four satel
lites, who accompany him in his course; the milky way;
the nebule; in a word, the whole heavens bespangled
with a countless multitude of stars too small to be even
perceived by the naked eye. It is more easy to conceive
than describe the surprise and delight which the first view
of so many wonders must have inspired him withal, as
well as the admiration which they could not fail to pro-
duce when they were known. A few days having sufficed
to pass them in review, he hastened to announce his
observations to the world in a publication entitled Nun-
cius Sidereus, or Celestial Courier, which he dedicated to
the princes of Medici, and which he continued at intervals,
in proportion as he discovered new objects. He also
observed that Saturn sometimes appeared under the form
of a simple disc, and sometimes with two appendages
which seemed two small planets; but it was reserved for
another astronomer, Huygens, to demonstrate that these ap-
pearances were produced by the ring with which Saturn is
surrounded. Galileo also discovered moveable spots on
the globe or disc of the sun, whom the peripatetics had







32 GENIUS AND THE NATURAL SCIENCES.

declared incorruptible, and did not hesitate from these to
infer the rotation of that planet. He remarked that
feeble light which, in the first and last quarters of the
moon, renders visible, by means of the telescope, the
part of her disc which is not then directly enlightened
by the sun; and he concluded rightly that this effect
was owing to the light reflected towards the moon by the
earth. The continued observation of the spots of the
moon satisfied him that that planet always presents
nearly the same aspect; but in these he nevertheless
recognized a species of periodic oscillation, to which he
gave the name of liberation, the exact laws of which were
afterwards made known by Dominic Cassini. In a word,
not less profound in following new truths to their conse-
quences than subtile in discovering them, Galileo per-
ceived the use to which the motions and eclipses of the
satellites of Jupiter might be turned for the measure of
longitudes; and he even undertook to make a sufficient
number of observations of these stars to enable him to
construct tables for the use of navigators."
It was unfortunate for Galileo that he was tempted to
quit his honoured position at Padua, and to accept of the
invitation of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, who named
him Mathematician extraordinary, and invited him to
forsake the Venetian states for the capital of Tuscany.
Florence probably had many attractions for him as a man
of science, in addition to those peculiar claims it pos-
sessed from the residence there of some of his oldest
friends. Nevertheless, he speedily found reason to re-
pent his leaving a position of honour and liberal encour-
agement under the independent government of the Vene-
tian republic, for any amount of reward that the Duke oi
Tuscany could offer, tramelled as he was by subservient
bondage to the Court of Rome.






TIE INQUISITION. 33


CHAPTER IIT.

THE INQUISITION.

TrlE Jesuits had always entertained a rancorous hatred
of Galileo, originating in his adhesion to the party
in Padua by whom they had been expelled from the
Venetian state. They therefore lost no time in assailing
him as the promulgator of dangerous and anti-Christian
opinions. He had declared the moon to be irregular in
its surface, like our own earth, and had even affirmed
the possibility of its being inhabited. He had assigned
to the fixed stars a distance immensely beyond that which
the old philosophers had determined as the limits of the
system. The planet Jupiter had been shown by him to
be attended with satellites, which he styled, in honour of
his Florentine patron, Medicean stars; and Saturn ap-
peared through his imperfect instruments, as three planets
conjoined. He even went so far as to affirm that there
were spots on the sun! And all this in direct contra-
diction to the absurd dogmas of the schoolmen, by which
it was affirmed that all the celestial bodies were perfectly
round, self-luminous, and uncorrupted by any terrestrial
tarnish!
The discoveries of Galileo were reported by the Jesuits
to the Inquisition at Rome, as falsehoods invented by
him for the overthrow of the true religion, Some of his
opponents affirmed that they had looked through the
newly invented glasses whole nights, and seen nothing of
all that he had affirmed, and doubted not but they were
pure fictions invented to deceive the people. Ridicule
was resorted to as well as falsehood, and every means
adopted to undermine the credit and injure the character
of the great philosopher. Galileo wrote many letters in
his own justification, and indignantly repelled the accusa-
(425) 3






34 GENIUS AND TIHE NATURAL SCIENCES.

Lions of his enemies. He rejects the attempt to impose
on him the reconcilement of the Bible with the Coperni-
can theory, and in his letter to the Grand Duchess of
Tuscany, remarks,-" I am inclined to believe that the
intention of the sacred Scriptures is to give mankind the
information necessary for their salvation, and which, sur-
passing all human knowledge, can by no other means be
accredited than by the mouth of the Holy Spirit. But I
do not hold it necessary to believe that the same God
who has endowed us with senses, with speech, and with
intellect, intended that we should neglect the use of these,
and seek by other means for knowledge which they are
sufficient to procure us; especially in a science like as-
tronomy, of which so little notice is taken m the Scrip-
tures, that none of the planets, except the sun and moon,
and once or twice only Venus, under the name of Lucifer,
are so much as named there. This therefore being
granted, I think that in the discussion of natural pro-
blems we ought not to begin at the authority of texts of
Scripture, but at sensible experiments and necessary de-
monstrations; for from the divine word sacred Scripture
and nature did both alike proceed; and I conceive that,
concerning natural effects, that which either sensible ex-
perience sets before our eyes, or necessary demonstrations
prove unto us, ought not upon any account to be called
in question, much less condemned, upon the testimony
of Scripture texts, which may under their words couch
senses seemingly contrary thereto." Therefore, first let
these men apply themselves to examine the arguments of
Copernicus and others, and leave the condemning of them
as erroneous and heretical to whom it belongs; yet let
them not hope to find such rash and precipitate deter-
minations in the judicious and holy fathers, or in the ab-
solute wisdom of Him who cannot err, as those into which
they suffer themselves to be hurried by some particular
affection or interest of their own In these and such





THE INQUISITION. 35
other positions, which are not directly articles of faith,
no man doubts but his holiness has always an absolute
power of admitting or condemning them; but it is not in
the power of any creature to make them to be true or false,
otherwise than of their own nature and in fact they are."
These opinions, addressed as a noble defence of the
right of private judgment, are alone proof of the great-
ness of Galileo above the men of his age; nevertheless
they failed of effect. The Inquisition armed against him
all her terrors, and Caccmi was ordered to draw up depo-
sitions against him. He averted for a time the designs
of his enemies by a personal appearance at Rome, where
he so ably defended himself as to silence his persecutors.
In March 1616, he was admitted to an audience by the
Pope, Paul V., who assured him of his personal safety,
but at the same time positively required him to refrain
from teaching the heretical doctrines of Copernicus, as to
the motion of the earth. To this Galileo was forced to
consent, and immediately thereafter he left Rome in
disgust. This was accomplishing the very object that
his enemies aimed at. The most certain method of
reaching Galileo," says a recent writer, "was by pro-
hibiting the doctrine of Copernicus. Neither the argu-
ments which he urged in support of his opinions, nor the
justice which they were forced to render to his know-
ledge, his merit, and even his catholicity, could prevent
an assembly of theology, named by the Pope, from coming
to the following conclusion:-' To maintain that the sun
is placed immovable in the centre of the world, is an
opinion absurd in itself, false in philosophy, and formally
heretical, because it is expressly contrary to the Scrip-
tures; to maintain that the earth is not placed in the
centre of the world, that it is not immovable, and that it
has even a daily motion of rotation, is also an absurd pro-
position, false in philosophy, and at least erroneous ir
point of faith.' Confounded at this deliverance, Galileo






36 GENIUS AND THE NATURAL SCIENCES.
employed all the arguments which the truth suggested to
him in defence of a doctrine which his observations had
rendered indubitable; but his c were unavailing; his
reasoning were disregarded; a e had not showed
sufficient deference to the d .... .the holy office, he
was personally interdicted from pr.fessing in future the
opinions which had just been condemned.
Galileo returned to Florence in 1617, and resumed,
with what grief may be easily imagined, the course of his
astronomical labours. But his love for these sublime
truths, of which he considered himself as the depositary,
increasing in proportion to the efforts made to extinguish
it, he undertook to silence, if he could not persuade, his
adversaries, by collecting into a body all the physical
proofs of the motion of the earth, and the constitution of
the heavens; and during sixteen entire years he was en-
gaged in this work. All that the finest genius could
imagine in point of ingenuity, or the purest taste admit
in point of elegance, he employed to render the truth
attractive.
But if great genius was required for the composition
of such a work, equal address was necessary to obtain
permission to publish it; and this Galileo undertook to
procure even in Rome itself. In 1630 he proceeded to
that city, and having waited on the master of the sacred
palace, boldly presented his work as a collection of new
scientific fancies, at the same time requesting him to have
the goodness to examine it scrupulously, to retrench what-
ever might appear to him exceptionable, and indeed to
criticise it with the greatest severity. The prelate, not
suspecting any thing, read it once and again; handed it to
one of his colleagues for his opinion; and not seeing any
thing reprehensible in the work, set his hand to the most
ample approbation of its contents. But the permission
thus obtained was not sufficient; for in order to profit by
it, the work must be printed at Rome, and the numerous






THE INQUISITION. 37
enemies of Galileo in that city would not have failed to
explode the mine which the philosopher was himself
charging to blow them up. On the pretext of some dif-
ficulty of communication between Rome and Florence.
occasioned by a contagious distemper which then pre-
vailed, Galileo accordingly wrote to the master of the
sacred palace, soliciting permission to print his work at
Florence, on the condition of having it again examined
in that city. But the prelate, who perhaps began to sus-
pect some deception, made difficulties; pointed out to
Galileo a new censor; and demanded to see the approba-
tion which he had previously given, in order, as he said,
to revise the terms in which it had been conceived. With
this request Galileo could not refuse to comply; but the
prelate having once got hold of the document, refused to
restore it, or to give any answer in explanation of his
conduct, so that Galileo, after making every effort to re-
cover it, and even causing it to be demanded by the am-
bassador of Tuscany, was compelled to abandon the pur-
suit as hopeless; and, contenting himself with the appro-
bation of the censor of Florence, which he now managed
to obtain, he published his work in 1632."
The opponents of Galileo were not to be baffled, either
by his ingenious defence, or by a degree of favour that
had been extended to him by Pope Urban VIII. They
persuaded the pontiff that a part of the treatise had been
written expressly to turn him into ridicule, and accord-
ingly, notwithstanding the mediation of the Grand Duke
of Tuscany, and the exertions of his ambassador at the
papal court, the work of Galileo was condemned by the
Inquisition, and himself summoned to answer for his
opinions before that dread tribunal. He was now in the
sixty-ninth year of his age, and suffering under infirmities
that rendered such a journey peculiarly trying. Imme-
diately on his arrival in Rome, he was put under arrest,
and on the following morning he was visited by the Con-






38 GENIUS AND THE NATURAL SCIENCES.
missary of the Holy Inquisition, who, with many profes-
sions of friendship, urged him to repair the great scandal
which he had given to all Italy by the heretical doc-
trine of the motion of the earth.
The result is well known. The great Tuscan philoso-
pher was compelled, on his knees, to swear to a series of
propositions which affirmed the immoveability of the earth
and the movement of the sun round it every twenty-four
hours. His book was prohibited to be published or read.
He was himself condemned to the prison of the Inquisi-
tion during its pleasure, and finally he had to declare-
I abjure, curse, and detest the error and heresy of the
motion of the earth, and promise never more to assert,
verbally or in writing, that the sun is the centre of the
system, and immoveable; or that the earth is not the
centre of the universe, or that it is moveable!" Rising from
his knees, after this solemn act of mockery, the aged
philosopher turned to one who stood near him, and ex-
claimed, E pur se muove-It moves for all that !" The
whole procedure has been well characterized as one of
the most remarkable acts of intolerant ignorance and
bigoted folly to be found in the history of science. It is
altogether humiliating; we feel ashamed of our common
humanity, as we look on the haughty display of dogmatic
bigotry and blindness in the judges; nor is it relieved by
all the palliating circumstances that can be affirmed on
behalf of the great Galileo,-the greatest and wisest man
of his time,-solemnly pronouncing a lie! The whole
wording of the sentence of the Inquisition is a curious
specimen of the assumed infallibility of Rome. The fol-
lowing are its concluding words:-" Having seen and ma-
turely considered the merits of your cause, with your said
confessions and excuses, and every thing else which ought
to be seen and considered, we have come to the under-
written final sentence against you. Invoking, therefore,
the most holy name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of his






THE INQUISITION. 39

most glorious Virgin Mother, Mary, by this our final sen-
tence, which, sitting in council and judgment for the
tribunal of the reverend masters of sacred theology, and
doctors of both laws, our assessors, we put forth in this
writing touching the matters and controversies before us,
between the magnificent Charles Sincerus, doctor of both
laws, fiscal proctor of this holy office of the one part, and
you, Galileo Galilei, an examined and confessed criminal
from this present writing now in progress as above of the
other part, we pronounce, judge, and declare, that you,
the said Galileo, by reason of these things which have
been detailed in the course of this writing, and which, as
above, you have confessed, have rendered yourself vehe-
mently suspected by this holy office of heresy; that is
to say, that you believe and hold the false doctrine, and
contrary to the holy and divine Scriptures, namely, that
the sun is the centre of the world, and that it does not
move from east to west, and that the earth does move.
and is not the centre of the world; also that an opinion
can be held and supported as probable after it has been
declared and finally decreed contrary to the Holy Scrip-
ture, and consequently that you have incurred all the
censures and penalties enjoined and promulgated in the
sacred canons, and other general and particular constitu-
tions against delinquents of this description. From which
it is our pleasure that you be absolved, provided that,
first, with a sincere heart and unfeigned faith, in our pre-
sence, you abjure, curse, and detest the said errors and
heresies, and every other error and heresy contrary to
the Catholic and apostolic church of Rome, in the form
now shown to you. But, that your grievous and perni-
cious error and transgression may not go altogether un-
punished, and that you may be made more cautious in
future, and may be a warning to others to abstain from
delinquencies of this sort, we decree that the book of the
S)ialogues of Galileo Galilei be prohibited by a public






40 GENIUS AND THE NATURAL SCIENCES.

edict, and we condemn you to the formal prison of this
holy office, for a period determinable at our pleasure;
and by way of salutary penance, we order you, during
the next three years, to recite once a week the seven
penitential psalms, reserving to ourselves the power of
moderating, commuting, or taking off the whole or part
of the said punishment and penance."
It has been affirmed by many that the aged philosopher
was even subjected to the horrid torture of the rack be-
fore he yielded to abjure what he knew to be true. Such
would seem to be implied by the words which occur in
his judgment, rigorosum examen, and the intestinal hernia
with which he was ever after afflicted seems to corro-
borate the fact. We almost hesitate in deciding whether
the honour of humanity seems to suffer more by the ready
yielding of the philosopher to abjure the truth; or by
the cruelty of his intolerant judges, in proceeding to
such extremities to subdue his great mind to their narrow
standard! However it was, the spirit of the. old man
was broken; persecution had amply done its work. Af-
flictions followed closely to darken his closing years. In
1634, he lost a beloved daughter, who was the greatest
comfort and sole stay of his declining years. He was
allowed to return to Arcetri, where he witnessed his
daughter breathe her last. He was not, however, relieved
from the sentence of the Inquisition. He was kept there
in close confinement, and after two years passed in soli-
tude and restraint, he was subjected to still greater rigour,
owing to fresh suspicions with which his enemies had
succeeded in inspiring the Pope. He had been allowed
to visit Florence, but that relaxation of his severe sen-
tence was altogether withdrawn. He had attempted to
solace his hours of loneliness and sorrow by the composi-
tion of a work known as his Dialogues on Motion." It
was written under the terrors of inquisitorial oversight,
and was such a work as he conceived could furnish no






THE INQUISITION. 41
cause of offence to the familiars of the Holy Office.
Nevertheless such was the terror which their proceedings
had inspired, that no one could be found daring enough
to undertake the printing of it, and some years elapsed
ere at length a Dutch printer was induced to do what
no one in Italy would venture upon. Finally, within
two years after the loss of his daughter, he became
totally blind, and the last days of the old man were
passed in darkness and sorrow, relieved only by the anti-
cipation which doubtless cheered him even in the prison
of the Inquisition, that other generations would appre-
ciate the great lessons which his own age had forbid to
be promulgated; shutting their eyes against the most
wondrous revelations of science, and sealing his lips, lest
he should reveal to them the glories of God in the works
of creation. It was while thus suffering under the weight
of years and misfortunes, that Milton visited him as he
passed through Italy, while yet hope and youth and
bright anticipations cheered the great poet, whose closing
days were so nearly to resemble those of the noble Tus-
can whom he celebrated in immortal song.
Galileo appears to have been a most loveable charac-
ter in all the relationships of private life. Somewhat hasty
in temper, but easily reconciled, and exceedingly affec-
tionate and forgiving. He was generous to a fault, la-
vishing on his relatives and friends every thing that he
thought would gratify them, so as frequently to embar-
rass himself thereby. He entered heartily into all the
social enjoyments of life, and retained even in extreme
old age much of the vivacity of early youth. He ex-
celled in music, painting, and poetry, and was altogether
one of those men of genial and kindly temperament, who
can find in all circumstances, and nearly in all society
some sources of enjoyment. It becomes the more pain-
ful to reflect on such a man, bowed down beneath the
weight of such harsh inflictions, expiring amid the sus-







42 GENIUS AND THE NATURAL SCIENCES.

picions and cruelties of the persecutors of truth, and the
miseries which had followed in their train. He died at
Arcetri on the 8th of January, 1642, in the 78th year of
his age. The associations that linger about this interest-
ing spot are thus beautifully alluded to in Rogers's Italy i-

We hail
Thy sunny slope, Arcetri, sung of old
For its green wine; dearer to me, to most,
As dwelt on by that great Astronomer,
Seven years a prisoner at the city gate,
Let in but in his grave-clothes. Sacred he,
His villa,-justly was it called the Gem --
Sacred the lawn, where many a cypress threw
Its length of shadow, while he watched the stars!
Sacred the vineyard, where, while yet his sight
Glimmered, at blush of morn he dressed his vines,
Chanting aloud in gaiety of heart
Some verse of Ariosto. There unseen,
In manly beauty MILTON stood before him,
Gazing with reverent awe-MILTON, his guest,
Just then come forth all life and enterprise;
iHe in his old age and extremity,
Blind, at noon-day exploring with his staff;
His eyes upturned as to the golden sun,
His eye-balls idly rolling. Little then
Did GALILEO think whom he received;
That in his hand he held the hand of one
Who could requite him-who would spread his name
O'er lands and seas-great as himself, nay greater;
Milton as little that in him lie saw,
As in a glass, what he himself should be,
Destined so soon to fall on evil days
And evil tongues-so soon, alas, to live
In darkness, and with dangers compassed round,
And solitude !"



CHAPTER IV.

NEWTON.

ONE year after the death of Galileo, a prisoner of the
Inquisition, though at large in his own villa of Arcetri






NEWTON. 43
without the gates of Florence, Isaac Newton, the great
Christian philosopher, was born at the manor-house of
Woolsthorpe, in Lincolnshire. The old manor-house is a
plain but substantial dwelling, beautifully situated in a
sheltered valley, beside the river Witham, and there on
the 25th December, O.S., 1642, Newton first saw the light.
His mother, the daughter of a neighboring squire, had
been left a widow within a few months after her marriage,
and he himself was ushered into the world prematurely,
so feeble and diminutive a child, that the attendants, who
had been successively despatched for medical aid, were
astonished to find him in life on their return.
T nder such melancholy circumstances was this helpless
infant born into this world; feeble and delicate, beyond
even the common lot, while yet destined through a busy
lifetime to devote the activity of youth and manhood, and
the vigour of a ripe old age, to the profoundest discoveries
in science, and the production of writings that the universal
suffrages of a century of the greatest activity in every
department of science and learning, still pronounce pre-
eminent above all the productions of human intellect.
The accounts that have been preserved of the early
years of Newton are replete with lively interest. Like
many other boys who have afterwards risen to eminence,
he is said to have proved but a dull and inattentive
scholar,-not from any tardiness in the development of
his mental faculties, but rather from their early activity;
so that, already occupied with his own lively fancies, they
were slow to lend a ready attention to the dull routine of
elementary studies. An occurrence of a very simple
nature is said to have first stirred in him the ambition to
excel in the ordinary studies of his age. The boy imme-
diately above him in his class had treated him with
cruelty, and at length kicked him so severely in the
stomach as to occasion him very great pain. It affords a
pleasing proof of the natural nobleness of his disposition,






44 GENIUS AND THE NATURAL SCIENCES.
that he seems to have sought no other revenge than that
of excelling his persecutor. He immediately applied
himself with great diligence to his studies, till he suc-
ceeded in getting above him in the school, and the stimu-
lus once received, he never rested till he had attained the
top of his class.
The first original bent which Newton's mind displayed
was that of mechanical invention. He early provided
himself with a complete assortment of little tools,-saws,
hammers, files, and the like, which he acquired great
dexterity in handling; and while his companions were
busy in the play-ground, the little philosopher would be
industriously labouring in some quiet corner to complete
some original mechanical contrivance, or to perfect the
model of one that had excited his interest.
In his twelfth year, he was sent to the public school
at Grantham. There chanced at this time to be a wind-
mill erecting in the neighbourhood, which immediately
attracted his attention;-he daily employed his leisure
time in watching its progress, and acquired so thorough
a knowledge of the machinery, that he constructed a
small working model of it, which he placed on the top of
the house where he lodged, and delighted himself and his
young friends by observing it put in motion by the wind.
The machinery was so complete a copy of the original as
to excite general admiration; but this he farther improved
upon by an ingenious contrivance for propelling it by
means of a mouse, which was stimulated to exert its
power by unavailing attempts to reach some corn placed
over its head. This he styled his miller, and by means
of this motive power he gratified himself by observing the
action of the machinery in his study.
The next mechanical contrivance of Isaac was a water-
clock. On the top of an upright box he placed another,
adapted as a reservoir of water, which was perforated with
a small hole, and by the continual dropping of the water






NEWTON. 45
a float was kept in motion that turned the index of the
dial-plate as it rose. The young inventor perfected this
ingenious contrivance with such care, that it was used as
a clock long after his departure, by Mr. Clarke, a surgeon,
with whom he lodged while at Grantham; and Dr. Stukely
records a conversation he held with him many years
afterwards, at the Royal Society, on the value of such
instruments, and the obstacles to their perfection and
durability.
Newton is described at this time as "a sober, silent,
thinking lad," fond of retirement, and little disposed to
quarrel with his own company. Yet with all this love
of retirement, he manifested no shade of misanthropy.
He was the same active little philosopher among his
school-fellows as in his own study, and delighted in ap-
plying his constructive talents to their aid. He intro-
duced the flying of paper kites, and laboured with as
much zeal in calculating their most effective form and
proportions, and determining the position for attaching
the string and tail, as ever he did in maturer years to
ascertain the laws of motion of the heavenly bodies.
It was his delight, also, to construct paper lanterns, which
he attached to the tail of the kites in a dark night, and
filled the country round with portentous rumours of
meteors and fiery flying comets. He amused himself
likewise with the use of his pencil, in which he obtained
great proficiency, varying his occupations again by em-
ploying his constructive abilities in framing his most
successful productions; and to this, as he grew older, he
added that of writing verse, occasionally superadding
these efforts of his muse, as a further adornment to his
drawings. Few of these early productions have been
preserved; but the strict subjection of the imaginative
faculties to the other mental powers, which he invariably
displayed, renders it improbable that such early efforts
exhibited much poetic fervour.






46 GENIUS AND THE NATURAL SCIENCES.

But while the studious scholar was employed, as we have
described, in amusing himself with ingenious manifesta-
tions of mechanical skill, his attention seems to have been
directed thus early to the movements of the heavenly
bodies. We have already described his construction of
a water-clock, and the completion of this, with the diffi-
culties experienced in regulating its action, probably sug-
gested the idea of a more perfect means for the measure-
ment of time. By carefully noting the shifting shadows
as they moved along the walls and neighboring roofs of
his lodging at Grantham, he succeeded in providing what
may be styled a natural dial for his own use; and this he
followed up by tracing out one, corrected by the obser-
vations of successive years, upon one of the walls of the
house, which was long afterwards referred to as a good
time-piece by the neighbourhood, under the name of
Isaac's dial.
From these pleasing and significant recreations, Newton
was recalled to Woolsthorpe at the age of fifteen, to
assist in the farming operations of the small estate at-
tached to the old manor-house, and to qualify himself for
the position he was then supposed destined to occupy as
a country squire. It will hardly excite wonder that the
young philosopher proved no adept at farming. He was
too busy with his sun-dials for the correct measurement
of time, to trouble himself much with what might be
deemed the useful occupation of it. The perusal of a
book," says his best biographer, Sir David Brewster, the
execution of a model, or the superintendence of a water-
wheel of his own construction, whirling the glittering
spray from some neighboring stream, absorbed all his
thoughts when the sheep were going astray, and the
cattle were devouring or treading down the corn." Very
useless occupations, doubtless, they must have appeared
for the hereditary farmer of Woolsthorpe.
It fortunately chanced at this time that one of his






NEWTON. 47
uncles, who was rector at a village some few miles dis-
tant, found him one day seated under a hedge, with his
book in his hand, and so intensely absorbed with his
subject, as not to observe the intruder. His uncle was
surprised, on examining the book, to find he was deep in
the solution of a mathematical problem. He immediately
employed his influence with his mother to allow him to
resume his studies, and as his assistance was not likely
to be greatly missed on the farm, he was forthwith sent
back to Grantham school, whence he proceeded in a few
months to the University of Cambridge, and entered on
the real studies of his life at Trinity College.
Of his early studies at Cambridge even less is known
than of his juvenile proceedings at Grantham. His re-
served and meditative habits were little calculated to
attract particular notice at a busy university, where close
study implied no superior mental faculties or peculiar
genius. His own note-books furnish us with the inter-
esting fact that in 1664 he purchased a prism,-the simple
instrument which he turned to such grand results, that
Roubilliac has represented him in the marble statue that
adorns the ante-chapel of Trinity College, holding a prism
in his hand, and looking upward, as if engaged in deep
thought on the mysterious secrets of light.
The progress of Newton at the university is now only
apparent from its own records. In 1668 he took his
degree of Master of Arts; the same year he was appointed
to a senior fellowship, and the following year he suc-
ceeded Dr. Barrow in the Lucasian Professorship of
Mathematics. The period of his appointment to this
honourable office nearly coincides with some of his grand-
est discoveries.
During the year 1666," says Sir David Brewster,
" he had applied himself to the grinding of optic glasses
of other figures than spherical, and having, no doubt, ex-
perienced the impracticability of executing such lenses,






48 GENIUS AND THE NATURAL SCIENCES.
the idea of examining the phenomena of colour was one
of those sagacious and fortunate impulses which more
than once led him to discovery." The wonderful powers
of the telescope, then so recently called into being, were
well calculated to excite the philosophic mind to aim at
perfecting it. Only half a century before had Galileo,
while at Venice, been struck by the rumour of such a dis-
covery,-a tube containing glass lenses, that brought
distant objects near at hand. We have already detailed
the proceedings of the great Tuscan philosopher. The
idea instantly struck him as one of the utmost value to
science, and by the knowledge he possessed of the pro-
perty of the glass lenses, he constructed several telescopes
of increasing power, the last of which magnified nearly a
thousand times. The very first time he directed this new
instrument to the heavens, he discovered three of Jupiter's
moons.
Newton applied his investigations to the discovery of
the properties of light itself. By means of a prism he
examined the curious phenomena of different colours
termed the prismatic hues; and after having defined the
regular appearance and relative position of each hue, he
observed that the red rays were invariably the least bent
from the straight line, and the violet rays the most so,
and that each colour has its own specific and unchanging
angle of refraction; from whence he drew the important
conclusion that light consists of rays differing in colour
and refrangibility.
No sooner had Newton established this important truth,
than he proceeded to apply it to remove the imperfection of
that valuable instrument the telescope. The cause of its
defects at once became apparent, for, since the rays of
every different colour were refracted at a different angle,
they must each converge to a different focus; and hence
in the refracting telescope the eye must receive the per-
fect image of the object formed by the rays of one colour,






NEWTON. 49
and a series of imperfect and confused ones occasioned
by the radiations of the other colours at their different
angles. Satisfied of this, Newton at once abandoned all
idea of further improvement in this kind of telescope,
and by applying the principle of reflection, at length
completed an instrument which has formed the basis of
all the improvements in the telescope. We shall not
attempt to explain the value of this new principle further
than to state, that as he found all colours are reflected
regularly, so that the angle of reflection is equal to the
angle of incidence, the divergence of the rays was thus
corrected, and the image restored to a uniform combina-
tion of the rays of light before it was received on the eye.
Amid these interesting speculations, Newton was forced
to quit Cambridge by the breaking out of the plague
there in 1666, and more than two years elapsed before he
made any further progress in the subject.
It was while spending this period of retirement at
Woolsthorpe Manor-House, that the first idea occurred to
him of that wonderful law of gravitation that finally
resulted in the system of the universe, which forms the
main subject of his immortal work, the Principia. The
popular account of this interesting suggestive thought is
well known. Sitting one day in his garden at Wools-
thorpe, he observed an apple fall from a neighboring
tree; and reflecting on the power of that principle of
gravitation by which it was thus brought to the earth, he
arrived at that magnificent theory which he afterwards
demonstrated to the world.
The latest biographer of Newton, while admitting that
the idea occurred to him at this period, and while seated
in his garden, has thrown a doubt on this popular anec-
dote. But resting as it does on very early tradition, and
having been related by M. Biot, on the authority of Pem-
berton, the contemporary and friend of Newton, there
seems no object gained by challenging so natural and
probable a narrative.
(425) 4






50 GENIUS AND THE NATURAL SCIENCES.

An aged apple-tree in the garden of the old manor-
house long attracted notice by the tradition which asso-
ciated it with a discovery so important. It was blown
down about sixteen years since, but the present owner of
Woolsthorpe has had an arm chair formed out of the wood,
and in this form it still remains near its old site as an
interesting memorial of the great philosopher whose
youth and manhood were passed there, and whose most
important reflections were followed out beneath its shade.



CHAPTER V.

THE SYSTEM OF THE UNIVERSE.

NEWTON returned to Cambridge in 1668, where we
soon afterwards find him engaged in applying his recent
discoveries as to the nature of light to the construction
of a telescope calculated to obviate the defects that had
heretofore limited the powers of that instrument. His
success was such as must have amply realized his highest
expectations. This first reflecting telescope ever executed,
though only six inches long, and constructed with very
imperfect materials, was yet found nearly equal in power
to a six-foot instrument on the old principle. It was sent
to the Royal Society of London at. the request of some
of the most eminent scientific men of that day, and the
same year a minute description of the instrument and the
principle of its construction, was published in the Philo-
sophical Transactions." This telescope is still in the
possession of the Royal Society. It is carefully preserved
in the library at Somerset House, as one of the most
valued treasures of the Society, and on the stand of it a
plate bears the following inscription:-
INVENTED BY SIR ISAAC NEWTON,
AND MADE WITH HIS OWN IANDS, 1671.






THE SYSTEM OF THE UNIVERSE. 51
Newton's discovery of the fundamental properties of
light swept away a cumbrous array of illogical definitions
by which ignorance had sought to satisfy itself, and
account for the phenomena which he at once reduced to
simple laws. Sir David Brewster thus beautifully ex-
hibits the effects of Newton's Theory of Light in reveal-
ing the means by which the beauty and diversity that
nature displays is produced: If," says he, "the objects
of the material world had been illuminated with white
light, all the particles of which possessed the same degree
of refrangibility, and were equally acted upon by the
bodies on which they fall, all nature would shine with a
leaden hue, and all the combinations of external objects,
and all the features of the human countenance, would
have exhibited no other variety than that which they
possess in a pencil-sketch or a China ink drawing. The
rainbow itself would have dwindled into a nar ow arch of
white light; the stars would have shone through a grey
sky; and the mantle of a wintry twilight would have
replaced the golden vesture of the rising and the setting
sun; but He who has exhibited such matchless skill in
the organization of material bodies, and such exquisite
taste in the forms upon which they are modelled, has
superadded that ethereal beauty which enhances their
permanent qualities, and presents them to us in the ever-
varying characters of the spectrum. Without this the
foliage of vegetable life might have filled the eye and
fostered the fruit which it veils; but the youthful green
of its spring would have been blended with the dying
yellow of its autumn. Without this the diamond might
have displayed to science the beauty of its forms, and
yielded to the arts its adamantine virtues, but would have
ceased to shine in the chaplet of beauty, and to sparkle
in the diadem of princes. Without this, the human
countenance might have expressed all the sympathies of
the heart, but 'the purple light of love' would not have






52 GENIUS AND THE NATURAL SCIENCES.

risen on the cheek, nor the hectic flush been the herald
of its decay."
From these valuable, but secondary observations, how-
ever, we turn to his grand idea of the universality of
the law of gravitation, which we have already seen
suggested to the reflective mind of Newton, and which
he now proceeded to test by the laborious calculations of
mathematical science. No incident recorded in the life
of Newton so distinctly exhibits the sound character of
his clear and philosophic mind as that which he displayed
when he proceeded to apply his theory of gravitation to
account for the orbitual motions of the earth. Being
absent from books, he took the common estimate then
received of the measurement of the earth, which differed
nearly ten miles in every degree from the true one,-the
consequence of which was, that the force of gravity
differed by a sixth from that which is observable in the
true motion of the moon in her orbit; from which he
concluded that some other cause must co-operate with
this force in producing its motion. Being unable to
discover this supposed second force, he at once laid these
speculations aside, and returned to the investigations in
optics, which we have described. It was not till sixteen
years later that an occurrence of a very interesting nature
led him to resume the subject. At a meeting of the
Royal Society, the measurement of a degree of the
meridian, which had been executed by M. Pichard three
years before, became the subject of conversation. From
this Newton calculated the diameter of the earth, and
immediately resumed his calculations as to the effect of
gravity on the moon. In the progress of his calculation
from these new data, finding that it manifestly tended
towards the long-wished-for result, he was thrown into
such a state of excitement, that he was unable to pro-
ceed, and had to entreat one of his friends to complete it
for him. The result was such as to confirm his previous






THE SYSTEM OF THE UNIVERSE. 53
ideas, establishing this grand law of universal gravitation
as ruling the motions of the spheres, and binding into one
great family the remotest stars that spangle the nightly
sky.
It is obvious from the promptness with which Newton
availed himself of the new data as to the circumference
of the earth, that the conviction of this power had never
been abandoned by him; and now, after so many years
of suspense, the influence of such a result on his mind
might well excite in him these unwonted feelings. No
sooner had he recognized this universal law in its first
results, than he pursued it to its remotest consequences,
with a boldness of thought never before displayed in
science. The whole material universe, with all the com-
plicated movements of the heavenly bodies, were at once
presented to his mind as the result of one grand, simple,
and all-pervading force.
Who that considers the vastness of these truths thus
disclosed to the mind of Newton, will wonder that in the
great philosopher should be found also the humble Chris-
tian;-that he who had learned so much more than any
other of the secrets of Creation, and who had discovered
in the objects of the astronomer's investigation evidences
of an all-pervading power and governance undreamt-of
before, should, more than any other, acknowledge the
force of that declaration, The heavens declare the glory
of God, and the firmament showeth forth his handy-
work." His thoughts on this memorable occasion might
well be rendered in the words of the great divine, Dr.
Chalmers, whose recent and sudden death has excited so
universal a feeling of regret. "In yon gilded canopy
of heaven we see the broad aspect of the universe, where
each shining point presents us with a sun, and each sun
with a system of worlds,-where the Deity reigns in all
the grandeur of His high attributes, where He peoples
immensity with His wonders and travels in the great-






54 GENIUS AND THE NATURAL SCIENCES.
ness of His strength through the dominions of one vast
and unlimited monarchy."
We have already witnessed the intolerance and bigotry
which followed the great Tuscan philosopher through
every step of his magnificent disclosures. No Inquisition
watched with blind jealousy over the great discoveries of
the English philosopher, yet the same spirit of ignorant
narrow-mindedness assailed the truths he made known.
So much was he affected by the acrimony and abuse with
which he was assailed, that he determined on suppressing
the Third Book of his Principia, which contains the
theory of comets. Fortunately, however, the solicitations
of his friends induced him to submit to their desire for
the publication of the entire work, which appeared in a
complete form in the year 1687.
Some idea may be formed of the profundity of the
discoveries which this work contained, from the fact that
only two or three of Newton's contemporaries throughout
Europe were capable of understanding it. A work,"
says his recent biographer, which is memorable not only
in the annals of one science or of one country, but which
will form an epoch in the history of the world, and will
ever be regarded as the brightest page in the records of
human reason." The extent of knowledge which Newton
forthwith deduced from his great discovery is scarcely
conceivable to ordinary minds. He at once calculated the
quantity of matter in the sun, and in all the planets that
have satellites. He further proved the specific gravity
of each, by means of which he at once determined their
relative weight, and following out with patient sagacity
the just deductions from the universal law, he discovered
the cause of tides, of the spherical form of the planets,
as modified by the revolution of each round its own axis;
and of the motion of comets, and their relation as mem-
bers of our solar system.
But fiom these marvellous disclosures of science, we






THE SYSTEM OF THE UNIVERSE. 55
turn to the interesting studies with which the great
Christian philosopher solaced his leisure. It is delightful
to find the humble and teachable spirit of the Christian
allied to such gigantic powers of intellect. To the infidel
philosophers of France it appeared altogether unaccount-
able that the discoverer of the primary laws of the uni-
verse should have spent his time in writing a series o
Letters on the existence of a Deity; or that he should have
seriously devoted himself to the study of the prophetic
writings of the Old Testament Scriptures, and of the
mysterious revelations of the Apocalypse.
To Newton's great mind, however, the book of Reve-
lation appeared as the work of the same hand that built
the sky, and called into being the innumerable stars
whose vastness and immensity were better understood by
him than by any one who had before sought to investi-
gate their secrets. No amount of knowledge excited him
to presumption, but, on the contrary, we find him exhibit-
ing the docility of a child in the investigation of every
new truth, and the humility of one who felt that he had
only discovered enough to see how vast and unsearchable
are the depths of knowledge in God's works, which will
employ eternity in searching them out. Far more than
any one before, Newton had learned that The heavens
declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his
handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night
unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor
language wherein their voice is not heard. Their line is
gone out through all the earth, and their words to the
end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for
the sun, which is as a bridegroom coming out of his
chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.
His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his
circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from
the heat thereof. The law of the Lord is perfect."
The sole acknowledgment of his great mental powers







56 GENIUS AND THE NATURAL SCIENCES.

which Newton had yet received was his appointment to
the chair of Mathematics at Cambridge, and this had pre-
ceded his most important discoveries. A great change
now, however, occurred to him, influencing the character
and occupations of his future life. He had reached his
fifty-third year, without a single token of recognition by
his country of aught that he had accomplished in the
cause of science. His friends had in vain endeavoured
to obtain from Government some addition to the strait-
ened income which, up to this time, had received no
augmentation since his appointment to the Lucasian
Chair. One of his early college friends, Charles Montague,
afterwards Earl of Halifax, who had sat along with him
in the Convention Parliament, had ever continued to look
up to him with the veneration and love of a disciple, and
co operated with him on various occasions in promoting
the objects the great philosopher had at heart. In 1694,
Montague was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer,
and one of the first uses he made of his elevation was
to recommend Newton to the office of Warden of the
Mint, with a salary of 600 a-year.
In fulfilment of the duties of his new office, Newton
had now to exchange the seclusion of a College life, with
the pleasing occupation of his scientific investigations, for
the bustling scenes of the capital. Under his able super-
intendence, the entire money of the realm was renewed
within two years after his appointment, and four years
after his removal to London he was promoted to the
Mastership of the Mint, an office worth from twelve to
fifteen hundred pounds a-year. Honours now flowed
upon the great philosopher. He was elected one of the
earliest foreign members of the Royal Academy of Sciences
at Paris; in 1701 he was again chosen as the representa-
tive of his University in the British Parliament; and in
1705, Queen Anne conferred on him the honour of knight-
hood while on a visit to the University of Cambridge.






TIE SYSTEM OF THE UNIVERSE. 57
It is unnecessary to follow into minuter details the
history of the greatest philosopher of any age or coun-
try, whom it has been the honour and privilege of Eng-
land to give birth to, and to cherish. About the year
1722, he made arrangements for the publication of a third
edition of the Principia, which appeared with numerous
additions in 1726. Though advancing towards the al-
lotted term of human life, his faculties still retained all
their vigour. His habits were of the simplest character,
his diet remarkably temperate, consisting principally of
vegetables and fruit, and his mode of living plain and
unostentatious, yet characterized by the utmost genero-
sity. He latterly declined all invitations, and was equally
unwilling to break in on his domestic peace with the
bustle of numerous guests. Yet he was eminently social
in his tastes, and delighted in the society of a few con-
genial friends, among whom he would occasionally dis-
close the splendid theories which his great discoveries in
astronomy suggested to his mind. His mind remained
strong and vigorous to the last; and on Monday the 20th
of March, 1727, he expired in the eighty-fifth year of his
age.
The body of the great philosopher lay in state in the
Jerusalem Chamber, and was thence borne to its last
resting-place, near the entrance to the choir in West-
minster Abbey. His funeral was attended by the most
learned and noble in the land. The pall was borne by
the Lord High Chancellor, the Dukes of Roxburghe and
Montrose, and the Earls of Pembroke, Sussex, and Mac-
clesfield, all fellows of the Royal Society, and who doubt-
less felt that in bearing the body of Newton to the tomb,
they were not conferring, but receiving honour. A costly
monument was erected to his memory, whereon is en-
graved a Latin inscription, which, after recording his
great discoveries, thus sums up his character:-" An as-
siduous, sagacious, and faithful interpreter of nature,







58 GENIUS AND THE NATURAL SCIENCES.
antiquity, and the Holy Scriptures; he asserted in his
philosophy the majesty of God, and exhibited in his life
the simplicity of the Gospel. Let mortals rejoice that
such a one has existed-AN ORNAMENT TO THE HUMAN
RACE !"
On the pedestal of the fine statue erected in his own
college at Cambridge, this brief inscription is carved,

Qui genus humanum ingenio superavit.
Who surpassed all men in genius.

But "the pomp of heraldry," or sculpture's nobler
honours, can yield but a poor and insufficient tribute to
the worth of this the greatest of men. The reputation
of others, the sages of their time, has waned with the in-
creasing knowledge of succeeding ages;-they that have
shone as bright suns, illuminating their own generations,
have waxed dim with the increasing light that their own
discoveries gave birth to;-but the reputation of Newton
increases with the discoveries of his successors,-the
noblest of them seem but as the flames that wait around
this great high priest of nature and truth,-the highest
intellect bows down with the greatest reverence before
his master-mind.
Newton appears to have shone in every relation of
life. He was generous without ostentation, and so un-
bounded in his charity as frequently to embarrass himself.
He cherished the great principles of religious toleration
at a period when they were little understood, and ex-
pressed his abhorrence of every form of persecution; while
he boldly defended the rights of his university and the
great principles of Protestantism, when James II. covertly
sought to pave the way for the re-establishment of Popery
in England, by ordering the University of Cambridge to
admit Father Francis, an ignorant monk of the Benedictine
order, to the rank and privileges of a Master of Arts. He
bore an active share in the Revolution that followed, by which






THE SYSTEM OF THE UNIVERSE. 5)
Parliament in 1688, and lent the aid of his powerful in-
tellect to the concocting of those measures, from the
enactment of which his countrymen have ever since dated
the permanent establishment of national liberty. He was
in every respect a noble man, and the truest exhibition
the world has ever witnessed of a CHRISTIAN PHILO-
SOPHER.
Such are the noble manifestations of worth and true
greatness which have excited the admiration of every
succeeding age. But among all the characteristics of his
mind which excite our wonder and delight, none are so
remarkable as his modesty; a modesty which originated
in the vastness of his discoveries. Looking far beyond
all other men into the secrets of the universe, the great-
ness that it disclosed to him only convinced him of the
boundless depths of creation yet unexplored, to which
even his knowledge must be altogether limited and im-
perfect. He knew well the worth of what he had accom-
plished, and, when circumstances compelled him, could
vindicate his claims to his discoveries, and assert their
just value as fundamental truths in science; yet he ex-
claimed a little before his death, I do not know what I
may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have
been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and
diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother
pebble, or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great
ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me."
When we reflect on the character of Newton, and all
that he has accomplished for the human race, we are lost
in admiration at the greatness, the modesty, and the
simplicity of the man. His great predecessor, Bacon,
declared that his demonstration of the Inductive Philo-
sophy put ordinary men on a level with men of genius.
This was an overstatement and exaggeration, in as far as
it overlooked the necessary superiority of genius while
using the same instrument as the man of ordinary facul-






60 GENIUS AND THE NATURAL SCIENCES.
ties. In Newton's case, however, it could be far more
justly said that he supplied a key to the whole system of
nature, by which hypothesis was supplanted, and philo-
sophic reasoning almost rendered superfluous, so that it
only remained for the future student of science to enlarge
his powers of observation by material means, and to
multiply his store of facts, and then applying to these
the great laws established by Newton, at once to reduce
the whole to order and system.
Newton presents the remarkable instance of a disco-
verer, who at the end of nearly a century and a half after
the promulgation of his chief discoveries,-during which
time the objects of his chief study have become the sub-
ject of keenest investigation in an age remarkable for
scientific activity,-still retains, by universal consent, the
pre-eminent position of unequalled genius in the history
of the human race. He was the first to introduce the
beautiful principle on which the reflecting telescope is
constructed, yet how vast the strides that have been
made since his time in the improvement of this instru-
ment. Herschell considered that his ten feet telescope
possessed a power of penetrating space that enabled him
to descry a star twenty-eight and a half times farther off
than those we see with the naked eye. If we reflect
for a moment on the vast distance of the very nearest of
these, and multiply it by that increase of power, how
vastly enlarged is the sphere of our observation. Yet
that is a trifle when compared with the Rosse telescope,
that has astonished the scientific world in our own day,
and promises to form a new epoch in the history of
sciences. Its powers almost exceed the ordinary defini-
tions of arithmetic. It could descry a cluster of stars
consisting of 5000 individuals, were it situated three
hundred thousand times deeper in space than Sirius pro-
bably is! This wonderful instrument has searched the
heavens, and still we return from its observations to the






TIHE SYSTEM OF THE UNIVERSE. 61
great laws established by Newton, and to the nobler sim-
plicity of his Christian faith, and acknowledge him as
the greatest among the sons of genius. With the teach-
able docility of a child, and yet with the earnest perse-
verance of high intellectual activity, he read from the
great book of nature her marvellous and untold laws,
whereby the universe is ruled; he explained to all that
God governed the world by laws wonderful in their
simplicity; while yet he taught others by his example
that therein he the more discovered the majesty and in-
finite power of the Creator and Preserver of all things.
God not only has created all things, but all things subsist
only by his sustaining power, as completely as they owed
their first being to his word. He literally creates the
universe every moment. Every instant is a new morning
of creation. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the be-
ginning and the ending; the Creator, the Sustainer, the
Provider, in whom we live, move, and have our being."









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fir
.. Ak4 ~ ,i ,. _, .\





--:-








CHAPTER I.

GIOVANNI CIMABUE.

N the preceding chapters we have directed the
reader's attention to what great men, by
assiduous labour and unfailing perseverance,
have accomplished for humanity in the world
of science. We shall now proceed to show that no less
has been achieved in the world of art. And the reader
will do well to remember that mankind can no more do
without the artist than without the philosopher. For
it is specially the province of the former to cultivate the
emotional side of man's nature, to refine his taste, to de
velop his imaginative faculties, and to accustom him to
the pursuit of a lofty ideal of grace, beauty, and purity.
In early life, extraordinary capacity rarely indeed
fails to manifest its powers; yet even the strongest
minds are swayed by external circumstances, and it
often seems as if some slight and altogether fortui-
tous chance had determined the bent of men of
genius, and pointed out for them the path whereon to






GIOVANNI CIMABUE. 63

win worthy achievements. That peculiar genius which
manifests itself in the production of works of Art, has
oftener than any other, exhibited itself as a ruling passion
forming with the opening mind; and in no case is this
more strikingly apparent than in the history of Cimabue
and Giotto, the illustrious revivers of Art in the thir-
teenth century.
Giovanni Cimabue, the child of a noble Italian ances-
try, was born at Florence in the year 1240. It has justly
been contended by recent writers that the period was by
no means so entirely destitute of every feeling for Art,
and every opportunity of studying its powers, as Vasari,
the historian of Italian Art, has represented, and numerous
writers that succeeded him have endeavoured to demon-
stiate. The period was, on the contrary, altogether
favourable for the enlistment of popular sympathy in
behalf of a great painter.
The Arts had already become the handmaid of religion.
The Cathedral of Pisa was rising in its magnificence of
form, uniting the beauties of sculpture and architecture;
and,-what was of far greater importance in its perma-
nent influence on the development of every form of
genius,-free institutions were springing up in nearly all
the northern States of Italy. But although Cimabue
may not have a just claim to the title of The Father of
Modern Painting" in its strictest sense, there is yet
sufficient in his interesting and remarkable history, as one
of the foremost leaders in the revival of Italian Art, to
command our admiration and attract us to the study of
his life.
Giovanni, as the scion of a noble house, enjoyed the
advantages of education at a period when such were
rarely thought of even for the sons of princes. It should
probably, indeed, be received as a proof of the early
genius displayed by the ardent boy, that he was sent by
his parents, when a mere youth, to study under the care







64 GENIUS AND THE FINE ARTS.
of the Brothers of the Convent of Santa Maria Novella,
at Florence. He was probably destined thus early for
the Church, in which his own abilities and his family's
influence would hold out the promise of high, perhaps
even the highest, honours, that were attainable within its
pale. The noble boy, however, was gifted with a way-
ward genius that spumed at the ordinary restraints and
the dull routine of the school-room. Already his mind
displayed its future bent, and the school-book, instead of
affording the theme of a dull and tedious task, was
decorated with the rude crayon drawings of the embryo
painter.
We can fancy the horror and indignation of the old
monk when he discovered the pastime of his wayward
pupil. School-books in the thirteenth century were very
different things from the penny primers and sixpenny
hornbooks of our own school days. The young Gio-
vanni would have to con his task on some quaint
illumined missal, probably now worth its weight in gold,
if it still exist on the dusty. shelves of some monastic
library, or, better prized, among the literary treasures of
London or Paris. We fear the professors of Greek and
Latin in the Convent of Santa Maria Novella would adopt
such summary measures to convince their erratic pupil of
the grave nature of his offence, as would most probably
suffice to give him a hearty disgust at learning in general.
Whatever was the reason, it is certain that his parents
freed him from the necessity of pursuing the bent of his
genius under such troublesome circumstances, and he was
soon afterwards placed under the care of some of the
ablest artists of the time, to acquire a knowledge of the
art of painting, which possessed such strong attractions
for him.
When the great capital of the Roman world was
sinking under the degeneracy and corruption that was
working the overthrow of that vast empire, the Em-






GIOVANNI CIMABUE. 65
peror Constantine, in the 328th year of the Christian
era, founded the city that still bears his name, on the
site of the ancient city of Byzantium, on the narrow
channel of the Bosphorus, which connects the Sea of
Marmora with the Euxine or Black Sea. The choice
was admirable, and in every way suited for a great com-
mercial city, had the same wisdom characterized its
government which was displayed in planting it at this
connecting point, as the link between the eastern and
western continents. For a time it flourished as the seat
of learning and the Arts. Its imperial founder enriched
it with treasures of Art taken from all parts of the Roman
world, and soon made it outvie its older rival. The
luxury and dissipation, as well as the seeds of decay and
dissolution, that had already taken root in the huge
and unwieldy Roman empire, were not to be eradicated
by a change of locality of the imperial city. The ener-
vated but still refined Greeks did indeed cultivate the
Fine Arts, with a taste and enthusiasm altogether un-
known among the ruder natives of the ancient Italian
peninsula. Painting, sculpture, Mosaic work, and the
illumination of missals, were cultivated there with ardour
and considerable success. But the empire of the east
was destined to rude shocks preparatory to its final
overthrow. It was taken from the degenerate Greeks in
the year 1204, and continued in the hands of their con-
querors, the Franks, for fifty-seven years. It was then
retaken by the Greeks in 1261, under the Emperor
Michael Paleologus. Strange scenes were thenceforth
enacted under the sway of the Greek emperors. The
fanatic hordes of Crusaders, driven by the excited elo-
quence of Peter the Hermit, swept across the country,
and perished in thousands around its walls, ere they
could reach the Asiatic shores. The successors of Con-
stantine, the Christian Emperor, bartered the key to the
eastern continent for mercenary bribes, or by duplicity
(425) 5






66 GENIUS AND THE FINE ARTS.

and fraud involved those emissaries of the apostles of
the crusades in famine and destruction. The enervated
empire of the east long trembled in the balance. At
length the hour of retribution came. The fanatic hordes
which had been roused by the Moslem prophet within
the bosom of the Asiatic continent, swept with resistless
fury across the narrow straits that divided it from Eu-
rope, and in the year 1453, the capital of the Eastern
empire fell.
The invasion of Christendom by the followers of the
false prophet was calculated to strike every kingdom of
Europe with dismay. Its consequences, however, were
altogether beneficial, and by the immense influence it
exercised on the future progress of Europe, manifested in a
striking manner that overruling Providence which guides
the course of human affairs, and makes what seems the
most adverse circumstances work out the accomplish-
ment of beneficent designs. By this means the numerous
valuable manuscripts which had been transcribed and
preserved by the learned Greeks, were sent forth from
their long hiding in the libraries of the convents and
churches of the Eastern empire, when it was no longer
able to preserve them from destruction, and were returned
to the scholars of Italy and the south of Europe, just
when the struggle for civil liberty against the decaying
system of feudal lordship had prepared them to appreciate
these treasures of ancient learning.
Along with the Greek scholars, who were driven from
their native land by the invasion of Mahomet II., and by
their learning and the manuscripts they brought with
them, aided so largely in preparing Europe for the
Reformation of the sixteenth century, there also fled
into Italy numerous painters and sculptors, who also
contributed towards that revival of the Arts that took
place at an earlier period. The Greek painters, however,
had found their way to Italy long before the final over-






GIOVANNI CIMABUE. 67
throw of Constantinople, and at the time when the
youthful Giovanni Cimabue was incurring the indignant
censure of the monks of Santa Maria Novella for his
thoughtless defacing of their literary treasures by his
crayon sketches, the church of the convent had been
intrusted to some Greek artists, and was then being
decorated, according to their ideas, in the highest style of
the Arts.
To these Greek artists the young Cimabue was forth-
with committed, as their pupil, and the progress that he
made soon showed how much more congenial were their
instructions, than the dull tasks of the monkish professors
of Greek and Latin. The ability of these foreign artists
was undoubtedly small indeed, and it is even said by
Pilkington, following the early Italian historians, that they
were merely employed to repair the decaying works of
earlier times. At that time," says he, the Governor
of Florence invited some ordinary Greek artists to that
city, who were employed in one of the churches to repair
the decayed paintings, and Cimabue, already prepos-
sessed in favour of the art, spent whole days in observing
their manner of working, to the entire neglect of his
school education. So strong an attachment to those
Greek painters prevailed with his father to indulge him
in a study to which his genius seemed evidently to direct
him; and he placed Cimabue with them as a disciple,
flattering himself with a hope which appeared prophetic,
that he would one day render himself remarkably eminent.
He received the instructions of his masters with such
eager delight, and applied himself so incessantly to prac-
tice, that in a short time he proved far superior to his
directors in his taste for design and colouring, and painted
with equal readiness in fresco and in distemper; not only
designing historical subjects but also portraits after the
life, which at that time was considered as a wonderfully
effort of Art." To the example thus set by him in the






68 GENIUS AND TIE FINE ARTS.
interesting field of portraiture, we owe the preservation
of his own likeness, painted by his contemporary, Simone
Memmi, of Sienna, on the walls of the Chapel degli
Spagnuoli, in the Church of Santa Maria Novella, where
the ardent youth first entered to become the pupil of its
monks and its Greek painters.
It must not be supposed, however, that the bright
Genius who was to win for himself the title of the Father
of Italian Painting, was so entirely seduced from learning
by the attractions of the Arts as to grow up a mere
painter, ignorant of the treasure of sacred and profane
literature from whence the future themes of his pencil
were to be drawn. On the contrary, he is described by
Vasari, as well studied in all the literature of his age,
and proud no less of his learning than of his artistic
skill. The pleasures of Art would indeed absorb his
whole thoughts for a time, but he no doubt speedily
discovered the value and the necessity of learning, and
applied the same vigorous powers to it which mastered
the difficulties of his favourite occupation. He is de-
scribed indeed as exhibiting a haughty and disdainful
temperament, and excessive sensitiveness of disposition.
He was no less proud of his high lineage than of his
reputation as an artist, and displayed both personally and
in his works the bold and daring spirit of Michael Angelo,
without that grace and gentleness of Raphael, which led
the passionate Italians to apply to him the epithet
"divine."
Cimabue displayed great versatility of genius. He
excelled as an architect and a Mosaic worker, no less
than as a painter. He established a school at Florence
from which great painters proceeded, and he especially,
the glorious Giotto, who, with no proud birth, and no
advantages derived from a noble ancestry, rose to the
attainment of enduring and worthy fame, by his own
noble genius. The enthusiasm excited by the first great






GIOVANNI CIMABUE. 69

y-orks of Cimabue affords a characteristic illustration of
the fervour of that sensitive and highly excitable people.
Yet it is only when compared with the imbecile works of
his predecessors that we are able to appreciate the
applause of his enthusiastic fellow-countrymen. Mrs.
Jamieson, the critical historian of the Italian painters,
remarks of Cimabue:-He executed many pictures in the
famous Church of St. Francis, at Assisi, in the decoration
of which many of the best artists of the thirteenth and
fourteenth centuries were employed. Judging from the
fragments which remain, he showed a decided improve-
ment in drawing, in dignity of attitude, and in the
expression of life, but still the figures have only just so
much of animation and significance as are absolutely
necessary to render the story or action intelligible. There
is no variety, no express imitation of nature. Being
recalled by his affairs to Florence, about 1270, he painted
there the most celebrated of all his works, the Madonna
and infant Christ, for the Church of Santa Maria Novella.
This Madonna, of a larger size than any which had been
previously executed, had excited in its progress great
curiosity and interest among his fellow-citizens, for Cima-
bue refused to uncover it to public view: but it happened
about that time that Charles of Anjou, brother of Louis
IX., being on his way to take possession of the kingdom
of Naples, passed through Florence, and was received
and feasted by the nobles of that city; and among other
entertainments, they conducted him to visit the atelier
of Cimabue, which was in a garden near the Porta Santa
Piero: on this festive occasion the Madonna was unco-
vered, and the people in joyous crowds hurried thither to
look upon it, rending the air with exclamations of delight
and astonishment, whence this quarter of the city ob-
tained and has kept ever since the name of the Borgo
Allegri. The Madonna, when finished, was carried with
great pomp from the atelier of the painter to the church






70 GENIUS AND THE FINE ARTS.

for which it was destined, accompanied by the magistrates
of the city, by music, and by crowds of people in solemn
and festive procession. This well-known anecdote has
lent a venerable charm to the picture, which is yet to be
seen in the Church of Santa Maria Novella; but it is
difficult in this advanced state of art to sympathise with
the naive enthusiasm it excited in the minds of a whole
people six hundred years ago. Though not without a
certain grandeur, the form is very stiff, with long lean
fingers and formal drapery, little varying from the Byzan-
tine models; but the infant Christ is better, the angels on
either side have a certain elegance and dignity, and the
colouring in its first freshness and delicacy had a charm
hitherto unknown. After this Cimabue became famous
in all Italy."
Modern historians of the Italian Arts have combated
the right of Cimabue to enjoy the title which has been
awarded to him for centuries, of Father of Modern
Painting," and have enlarged on his haughty and disdain-
ful manner, his proud bearing and fiery temperament;
yet after all he possessed some of the most valuable
characteristics of a noble and generous mind. He inspired,
by his skill and enthusiasm, a hearty sympathy in the
popular mind for the art which he was restoring to its true
position, as a source of national instruction and high men-
tal gratification. He devoted himself with all the energy
of a powerful and well-regulated mind to attain to this
noble eminence, as the instructor of his people; and he
manifested at the same time that true characteristic of a
generous mind, the readiness to impart his knowledge to
others. He nobly paved the way for his own overthrow
in the triumph of his great pupil Giotto. Let it never
be forgot by those who labour to disparage his long-con-
ceded right to the title of Father of Modern Painting,"
as he who first returned to nature for the true models of
art, that his claim to such is far more effectually esta-






GIOVANNI CIMABUE, 71

blished by his undisputed right to that of" the Father of
Modern Painters."
Cimabue was born in the dawn of a great revival, and
he experienced the fate of the morning star, whose light
is eclipsed in the bright morning beams. Dante, the
friend of Giotto, exclaims, in his Vision of Purgatory:-

"0 powers of men! how vain your glory, nipt
E'en in its height of verdure, if an age
Less bright succeed not. Cimabue thought
To lord it over painting's field; and now
The cry is Giotto's. and his name eclipsed."

Nevertheless Cimabue enjoyed, while he lived, all the
honours and rewards that await upon worthy achievements.
He lived chiefly at Florence, but his fame extended
throughout the kingdoms of Italy, and he attained the
age of sixty, honoured as one of whom his country might
be proud. He died in his native city about the year
1302,-for the exact date has not been noted by his bio-
graphers,-and was borne in honourable procession to
the Church of Santa Maria del Fore, where he lies interred.
The following brief but pointed epitaph was inscribed on
his tomb, in proof of the high estimation that was awarded
to him-
"Cimabue thought he held the mastery over the field of painting;
So did he, living;-now he holds his place among the stars of heaven."
The countenance of Cimabue, as represented in the por-
trait of him still preserved in the Church of Santa Maria
Novella at Florence, exhibits a noble and manly ex-
pression, though disfigured with the ridiculous monk's
hood, which is so frequent an appendage to the likenesses
of the early poets and painters of Italy. The profile is
beautifully moulded, yet with a very marked expression
of thought, tinged in a slight degree with the aristocratic
hauteur which is ascribed to him. However the modern
connoisseur may smile at the enthusiasm of the early Flor-






72 GENIUS AND TIE FINE ARTS.

entines, bearing the Madonna of Cimabue in festive tri-
umph, amid music, and the shouts of the applauding popu-
lace, to the church whose altar it was destined to adorn,
there can be no question that Cimabue was one of the
foremost to give that impetus to Italian Art which finally
led on to such noble results. Bearing in view the noble
enthusiasm by which he was stimulated in early years,
and the generosity with which he imparted his acquire-
ments to others,-of which our next chapter presents a
more ample illustration,-it were hard indeed to rob him
of the fame he has so long enjoyed, because the impetus
he gave to the Arts was followed by a corresponding and
progressive triumph.



CHAPTER I.

GIOTTO.

GIOVANNI Cimabue, the haughty descendant of the
nobles of Florence, strolling one day through the lovely
Campagna that stretches around his native city beneath
the lovely blue Italian sky, was attracted by the intent-
ness with which a young shepherd boy was poring over a
piece of slate which he held in his hand. The painter
drew near, and was surprised to find that the young pea-
sant was drawing, by means of a bit of pointed stone, a
picture of one of his flock, which grazed at a little dis-
tance. The sketch was vigorous and correct, for Giotto,
the peasant-boy, had long amused himself, and beguiled
his tedious and half-idle hours, while tending his flocks
on the Campagna, by sketching figures and objects of any
kind that attracted his notice. Cimabue was astonished
and delighted at the performance of the untutored boy,
and asked him if he would accompany him to Florence,







GIOTTO. 73

and learn the art for which he showed so intuitive a capa-
city. We can fancy the delight with which the eager
yet bashful boy would seize on the proffered opportunity
of following out the delightful amusements of his idle
hours, and exchanging the shepherd's crook for the pencil
and the palette of the painter. Giotto declared himself
well content to follow the generous stranger to the neigh-
bouring city, and become his pupil and assistant in the
noble art. The father of the boy, a humble herdsman of
the name of Rondone, who tended his flocks in the valley
of Vespignano, was appealed to by Cimabue, and gladly
consented that his son should follow him, and forsake the
flocks of the Campagna, which had served for his earliest
study.
The memory of this picturesque and interesting story
still lingers as a pleasing association with these broad
Italian plains. Imagination pictures there the earnest
shepherd-boy, absorbed in his self-taught art, while his
flocks are spreading abroad to graze on the rich verdure
that surrounds him. Rogers, in his delightful Italian
scenes, associates both the peasant Giotto and the noble
of Florence with the Camnpagna, as he exclaims-

"'Tis morning. Let us wander through the fields
Where Cimabue found a shepherd boy,
Tracing his idle fancies on the ground;
And let us from the top of Fiesole,
Whence Galileo's glass by night observed
The phases of the moon, look round below
On Arno's vale, where the dove-coloured steer
Is ploughing up and down among the vines.
While many a careless note is sung aloud,
Filling the air with sweetness-and on thee,
Beautiful FLORENCE."

Here at least our obligations to Cimabue are unques-
tionable. If we owe the less to him as an artist, we are the
more deeply indebted to him as the generous patron who






74 GENIUS AND THE FINE ARTS.

drew from poverty and obscurity the genius who has ex-
ercised so wide and enduring an influence on the Arts, and
with no niggard or jealous hand lavished on him all the
aid and instruction which it was his fortune to be able to
bestow. Honoured be the name of the noble Florentine,
who by his generosity linked his name with that of the
gifted peasant whose works and influence so far eclipsed
his own.
There is something peculiarly significant in the em-
ployment in which we find Giotto engaged while tending
his flocks. He was to restore to the Arts the grace and
beauty of nature, which had altogether disappeared from
the traditional forms of the Greek painters, and which
had obtained very slight aid from the bolder advances of
his master. We find him in the Campagna, with nature
for his model, not seeking to discover in his own untu-
tored fancy an inventive faculty that should supersede
the grace and beauty of nature, but turning to her, as tihe
true painter and the true poet will ever do, in her sin-
plest and most familiar forms.
Cimabue having undertaken the education of the
shepherd-boy, neglected no means to accomplish tlie
object he aimed at, of training him up as his successor inl
the noble art. Giotto was not then fourteen years of
age, and no doubt entirely destitute of all learning. To
this therefore his noble patron first directed his attention.
and placed him for instruction in the scholarship which
was then most in repute, under the care of Brunetto
Latini, the same teacher to whom the nobly-born D)ante
was committed for the acquirement of those branches of
learning necessary to fit him for his destined duties as a
leader and magistrate of Florence.
Very little information is preserved to us of the in-
tercourse between Cimabue and Giotto, in their mutual
relations of friend and pupil. There is every reason, how-
ever, for believing that it was altogether pleasing and






GIOTTO. 75

satisfactory. Giotto was at the age of twenty-six when
he lost his friend and master. He was already celebrated
as a painter, and his society sought by the most influen-
tial men of his time. Doubtless, among the crowd of
friends and fellow-citizens that followed the noble Floren-
tine to his tomb in the Church of Santa Maria Novella,
where he had first been attracted by the labours of the
Greek decorators, none mourned his loss more deeply and
sincerely than the great artist who owed to his generous
patronage his introduction to learning and the Arts, and
to the society of the noble and honoured among the
citizens of Florence. Cimabue's generosity doubtless
met an ample reward in the success of his pupil, but he
was otherwise repaid for his kindness. Mrs. Jamieson,
who has visited Italy, and examined the works of its
early painters with the zeal of an enthusiast, guided by
a sound discriminating taste, remarks:-" When Giotto
lost his friend and master he was already an accomplished
man as well as a celebrated painter, and the influence of
his large original mind upon the later works of Cimabue
is distinctly to be traced."
Giotto was speedily engaged on the most important
public works, and rapidly improved in grace and beauty
of expression. In many of his paintings he has intro-
duced the portraits of eminent contemporaries, and to
this practice, exhibited in one of his very earliest public
efforts, we owe the preservation of a singularly interesting
likeness of the great poet Dante in his youthful years,
while yet the bright visions of love and hope were
present in his mind, and he shared in the honours and the
duties of a noble citizen of Florence. The first re-
corded performance of Giotto," says the historian of the
early Italian painters, was a painting on the wall of the
Palazzo della Podesti, or council-chamber of Florence,
in which were introduced the portraits of Dante, Brunetto
Latini, Corso Donati, and others. Vasari speaks of these






76 GENIUS AND THE FINE ARTS.
works as the first successful attempts at portraiture in
the history of modern Art. They were soon afterwards
plastered or whitewashed over during the triumph of the
enemies of Dante; and for ages, though known to exist,
they were lost and buried from sight. The hope of
recovering these most interesting portraits had long been
entertained, and various attempts had been made at dif-
ferent times without success, till at length, as late as
1840, they were brought to light by the perseverance
and enthusiasm of Mr. Bezzi, an Italian gentleman, now
residing in England. On comparing the head of Dante,
painted when he was about thirty, prosperous and distin-
guished in his native city, with the later portraits of him
when an exile, worn, wasted, embittered by misfortune
and disappointment and wounded pride, the difference of
expression is as touching as the identity in feature is
indubitable.
The attention which in his childhood Giotto seems to
have given to all natural forms and appearances, showed
itself in his earlier pictures; he was the first to whom it
occurred to group his personages into something like a
situation, and to give to their attitudes and features the
expression adapted to it: thus, in a very early picture of
the Annunciation he gave to the Virgin a look of fear;
and in another, painted some time afterwards, of the
Presentation in the Temple, he made the Infant Christ
shrink from the priest, and turning, extend his little arms
to his mother-the first attempt at that species of grace
and naivet6 of expression afterwards carried to perfection
by Raffaelle. These and other works painted in his
native city so astonished his fellow-citizens, and all who
beheld them, by their beauty and novelty, that they seem
to have wanted adequate words in which to express the
excess of their delight and admiration, and insisted that
the figures of Giotto so completely beguiled the sense
that they were mistaken for realities;"-a common-place






GIOTTO. 77
enlogium, the author justly adds, merited only by the most
common-place and mechanical painters. Nevertheless it
must be regarded as the honest though ill-expressed
language of admiration which his performances elicited
from his fellow-countrymen.
The fame of Giotto soon spread through Italy, and the
high character of his works exercised its influence on the
taste of the age. The reputation of his marvellous skill
extended to the court of Rome, and a messenger was
despached by the Pope to invite him there. The papal
throne was at this time occupied by the haughty and
turbulent Benedetto Gaetani, who succeeded Celestine V.
in 1294, and assumed the title of Boniface VIII. The
history of this early patron of the Arts abounds with
some of the most remarkable of those strange and fright-
fill manifestations of vice and unrestrained ambition
which so frequently mark the history of that succession
of priestly rulers who claim their office as the heirs of
St. Peter. Celestine had only held that coveted summit
of earthly grandeur and power for a few months, when he
was persuaded by the Cardinal Gaetani to abdicate,
on the ground of incapacity. No sooner had Gaetani
stepped into the throne of his wretched dupe than he
committed him a prisoner to the Castle of Fumone, where
he died shortly afterwards, as was generally believed, of
famine. Boniface was one of the most haughty asserters
of the supremacy of the Pope over all kings and nations,
no less in temporal than in spiritual affairs. He was the
first to grant those plenary indulgences as the reward of a
pilgrimage to Rome, which had previously been reserved
as the exclusive prize of those who perilled their lives
for the recovery of the Holy Sepulchre from the Infidels;
and by this means he brought vast sums of money into
the Roman treasury. Boniface, however, soon involved
himself in a contest that demanded all the wealth of the
Church's coffers to canry it out. His Legate to France,-






78 GENIUS AND THE FINE ARTS.

a minion for whom he had created a bishopric within that
kingdom, without the French King's consent,--behaved
with such insolence to the French monarch, Philip le Bel,
that he commanded his arrest. Upon this Boniface ex.
communicated the King, placed his kingdom under inter-
diet, and wrote to Albert of Austria, declaring him King
by right of his supreme authority, and inviting him to
make war against France. Philip assembled the states of
the kingdom, and laid before them a series of charges
against his haughty opponent; accusing him of simony,
heresy, licentiousness, and sorcery; and appealing against
him to a general council. Such was Pope Boniface VIII.,
whose messenger arrived at Florence to invite the rising
artist, Giotto, to visit his Holiness at Rome.
A curious anecdote is related of the first interview
between Giotto and the messenger of the Pope. The
latter was apparently as fully impressed with the great-
ness and condescension of his Holiness, and of the im-
portance of his messenger, as the French Legate, whose
haughtiness involved his master in a struggle that only
ended with his life. It no doubt appeared to him an act
of favour on the part of the Pope requiring the posses-
sion of very peculiar and rare gifts in Giotto to account
for it; and he accordingly demanded that the artist
should produce in his presence some evidence of his skill
that would satisfy him he was the person whom the Pope
desired to see. Giotto immediately produced a piece of
paper, and with a single sweep of his pencil produced a
circle so perfect that it appeared a miracle to behold."
The anecdote must be regarded as furnishing no less
conclusive evidence of the simplicity of the age, and
the very slight advances that the predecessors of Giotto
had made in the Arts, than of the skill and freedom with
which Giotto could handle his pencil. Nevertheless, it
was at once accepted by the messenger of Pope Boniface
as an indisputable proof of his Dre-eminent talents, and






GIOTTO. 79

the story has passed into a familiar Italian proverb: -
"1 Rounder than the O of Giotto," meaning thereby an
impossibility.
Whatever may have been the inferences deduced from
this feat of Giotto's pencil, he proceeded forthwith to
Rome, and produced there incontrovertible evidence of
his high genius. He was employed to decorate the
ancient Basilica of St. Peter's-the Cathedral Church
which was demolished to make way for the gorgeous
edifice whose dome now towers high above the churches
and palaces of the Roman capital. It must be borne in
remembrance that at that early period the art of painting
in oil was altogether unknown. Pictures were then
frequently painted in fresco, an art derived from the
practice of the ancient Greeks, in which carefully selected
colours were laid on the wet plaster with no other vehicle
than water, and, hardening along with the plaster, they be-
came thoroughly incorporated with it, so as to be destruc-
tible only with the wall on which they were traced. By
another process, styled bythe Italians a tempera, and which
is known in England by the name of distemper painting,
the colours were mixed with water, thickened with the
white of egg, or the juice derived from the young shoots
of the fig-tree. The surface in this case was generally
well-seasoned board; and by this means all the moveable
pictures of the early Italian artists were executed, for
nearly two centuries. Another process, however, by
which extensive works for decorating the walls and ceil-
ings of churches and large public buildings were executed,
was Mosaic, where the colouring is produced by means of
numerous small pieces of pebble, coloured glass, or mar-
bles, producing an effect somewhat similar to tapestry or
ladies' worsted work. It was by means of the latter
process that Giotto executed his celebrated picture of the
Navicella, or ship; an allegorical design intended to
represent the vessel of the Church Jassing through all






80 GENIUS AND THE FINE ARTS.

the dangers and vicissitudes with which its course is
beset, and rejoicing in the triumphs that it achieves.
Since the days of Giotto, the venerable Basilica, or old
Church, has disappeared, or been buried beneath the
mighty fabric of St. Peter's, which took more than a
century to complete, and employed in its progress some
of the greatest Geniuses that have adorned the revival of
the Arts. It engaged the genius and tasked the resources
of Bramante, San Gallo, Raphael, Peruzzi, Michael An-
gelo and his pupil, Barozzi; with others of great though
inferior note. It taxed no less the energies of the bold
and unscrupulous pontiffs, Julius II., Leo X., and Paul
III.,-names memorable in the history of the REFORMA-
TION, no less than in that of the revival of Art. When
we consider that it was to secure the treasures required
to rear this gorgeous fabric, that Tetzel was sent forth on
his scandalous mission for the sale of indulgences; and
that it was to stay such unhallowed imposture that
Luther's voice was first heard, and his first journey
undertaken to Rome; we learn to look on the magnificent
and matchless fabric of St. Peter's as a monument of
that mighty movement by which the papal usurpation
was shorn of its most cherished assumptions. To return,
however, to our more legitimate theme:-The old Basi.
lica, a large structure, measuring above 300 feet in length,
has been swept away, all but a small portion that is
preserved as a subterraneous vault under the pavement of
the modern building. Nevertheless, the singular allegory
wrought by Giotto at the close of the thirteenth century,
still remains. It is now in the vestibule of the modern
Cathedral, an object of singular interest to every student
of the history of the Arts, and of their revival in modern
Europe. A ship is seen, tossed on a tempestuous sea.
The winds which rage around the beleaguered vessel
are personified as demons, characterized by the utmost
hideousness of form and by every variety of malignant






GIOTTO, 81
expression. Th'e vessel is freighted with the Apostles,
the Fathers of the New Testament Church, while over
head are seen the Patriarchs and Prophets who heralded
and longed for the coming of the Kingdom of Christ.
Foremost of all, on the right side of the picture, Christ
appears walking on the sea, and stretching forth his hand
to rescue the Apostle Peter, who sinks faithless, affrighted
at the winds and waves.
Such was the teaching vouchsafed to the ardent Italians
at that early period, by the great reviver of the Arts.
The allegory is a noble one. The lesson it might be
expected to teach is altogether such as we would wish
still to communicate to the gay triflers who luxuriate in
that sunny clime beneath Italy's soft blue skies; but the
Arts, though a refining and ennobling study, never have
proved very effective moral teachers, for all that sanguine
enthusiasts seek to prove. The Navicella of Giotto, the
ship of the Church, has been watched with interest by
thousands, generation after generation; but few, if any,
have ever thought while gazing on it, of the strange con-
trast between that tempest-tossed barque with the trem-
bling disciples, and the fainting Peter reaching forth for
safety to the Saviour's hand; and the vast hierarchy, with
its haughty pontiff, its luxurious cardinals and bishops,
and all the attendants of unrestrained ambition and shame-
less license, claiming to be that Church which Christ sent
forth as the world's ark to breast the tempests of ages.
We shall see, however, in the further history of the
Arts, the same curious question returning, as to their
power and influence as instruments for the moral teaching
of the nations.





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82 GENIUS AND THE FINE ARTS.



CHAPTER III.

SYMBOLISM.

WE have already alluded to the painting of the Greek
artists during the first ages of Christianity; but the
origin of the early Christian painting and of the peculiar
models of Byzantine Art which exercised so great an
influence on its revivers in Italy, is a subject possessing
very high interest for us. We find in its history, indeed,
a very striking index of the changing phases of the
Church, and of the motives that actuated its teachers in
the gradual development of that system that had attained
to a definite and established formula before the Arts again
appeared, in the fourteenth century, pregnant with as
intense vitality as that which possessed the genius of
Greek Art in the age of Pericles.
There can be no question that the models of ancient
Art, the magnificent works of the great sculptors of
Greece, exercised a very great and beneficial influence
on the progress of the Arts, when they revived in Europe,
towards the close of the thirteenth century; nevertheless,
it must be borne in remembrance that Christian Art, as it
has been styled, originated in an entirely different source,
beginning at the rudiments, and progressing altogether
independent of these ancient models, until the period
referred to. Frequent allusion has been made to the
Greek artists as the earliest Italian painters, and the first
instructors of Cimabue; but these must not be confounded
with the descendants of Zeuxis or Apelles. They were
chiefly the monkish limners and illuminators, who found
protection and encouragement at the luxurious court of
Constantinople, long after incessant wars and famine had
driven them from the distracted kingdom of Italy. The






SYMBOLISM. 83
early Christians, when they began to employ the Arts in
the decoration of their churches, were strangely divided
between their desire for appropriate adornment and their
dread of any thing that should seem to sanction the
idolatrous erection of images in the heathen temples.
The interpretation of the second commandment was as
rigidly exclusive of all making of images among the early
Christians, as it ever had been among the Jews; and
many of the fathers, as Tertullian, in his discourse De
Idololatria," inveigh against artists as the practisers of an
infamous occupation, and write of them very much in the
style in which stage-players have been regarded by the
Romish Church in a later age. It is a curious fact that it
is only by a decree of the present Pope, that the latter
class are permitted to be buried in consecrated ground.
Even after the Fine Arts had been partially admitted
as a fit means for decorating places of worship, decrees of
councils were again and again passed against representa-
tions of our Saviour; and the earliest authorities on the
subject expressly condemn all imitative art as an approach
to heathen idolatry. They were accordingly confined to
those mystic emblems which form a subsidiary feature in
the later decorations of Christian architecture, and which
the superstitious veneration of some modern theologians
for what they regard as Primitive Christianity has led
them to aim at reviving. These sacred symbols, which
were at first few and simple, gradually increased with the
natural demand for variety and increasing power in this
novel language of instruction. The monogram of Christ,
variously written, was one of the earliest. To this was
added the cross, signifying Redemption; the fish, Baptism;
the lamb, our Saviour; the dove, the Holy Spirit; the
serpent or dragon, Sin; the ship, the Church; and many
others derived from the same source; as the cock, the
palm, the vine-branch, the anchor, the spear and nails,
the cup, &c. This was in fact to create a new language






84 GENIUS AND TIE FINE ARTS.

by which to communicate ideas to the people; but, as
might have been expected, it speedily proved too strait-
ened for their demands, and the Church was content to
condemn the idolatry, while it made use of the means it
had formerly denounced as directly leading to it. The
great change," says R. N. Wornum, in his History of
Painting, respecting the toleration of images which took
place in the third and fourth centuries was doubtless
owing to the rapidly increasing stability of Christianity;
it could afford to be tolerant: the result however justified
the fears of the early dignitaries of the Church, and for
many centuries the principal ecclesiastics protested against
the growing abuse of images, pictorial as well as plastic.
The Gnostics appear to have been the first who had
recourse to their use. The churches were painted to a
considerable extent, probably as early as the beginning of
the fourth century. The first notice of this use of paint-
ing occurs in a canon of the Council held at Illiberis
(Granada) in Spain about 305 A. D., which decreed that
there should be no images in the churches, and that that
which was revered and adored should not be painted on
the walls-a Canon which has since been explained as
referring only to the Trinity, and not to saints or martyrs,
as these were not adored.
Towards the close of the fourth century images appear
to have increased; an interesting letter of Epiphanius,
Bishop of Salamis, to John, Bishop of Jerusalem, is pre-
served by St. Jerome, and in it the following remarkable
passage occurs:-' On my journey through Anablata, a
village in Palestine, I found a curtain at the door of the
church, on which was painted a figure of Christ or some
saint, I forget which. As I saw that it was the image of
a man, which is against the command of the Scriptures,
I tore it down, and gave it to the church authorities, with
the advice to use it as a winding sheet for the next poor
person who might have occasion for one, and bury it%'






SYMBOLISM. 85
Many other notices however occur in the Greek and
Latin writers of the fourth century which show that the
dread of a restoration of Paganism through the influence
of images had very generally ceased; and in some in-
stances the painters are even exhorted to celebrate the
glories of the martyrs with their colours.
Paulinus, Bishop of Nola, introduced paintings into two
churches dedicated to St. Felix, which he built at Nola
and at Fondi at the close of this century; and these paint-
ings were probably among the earliest decorations of their
class in Italy. The reason given by the Bishop for these
decorations is remarkable and highly creditable to him.
Drunkenness appears to have been a common vice of that
period; and the annual celebration of the festivals of the
saints, by bringing many illiterate people together, was
the immediate cause of many gross excesses and debauch-
ery. To mitigate this disgraceful state, Paulinus had
recourse to the decoration of the churches with Bible
stories and illustrations of the lives of the martyrs, trust-
ing by this means to elevate the feeling of the populace,
and to draw them from their gross sensuality to the
contemplation of a higher state, and to a more worthy
expenditure of their leisure hours. It was a noble effort
at popular education by the best means probably in his
power; but his success was doubtless little commensurate
with his intentions.
Throughout the fifth century it became a gradually
more prevalent custom to decorate the churches erected
in honour of the saints with illustrations of their martyr-
doms, in colours and in Mosaics; the latter style became
eventually preferred as more durable, and being more
costly, it was a greater evidence of devotion-not to the
saint, but to the cause in which he suffered.
Sixtus III., and Leo the Great or St. Leo, are con-
spicuous among the first who carried this mode of decora-
tion to a magnificent degree: the great apsis of the choir






86 GENIUS AND THE FINE ARTS.

of the Church of St. Paul, outside the walls of Rome, is
still adorned with the Mosaics executed by the order of
Leo: similar works were executed for Hilarius in the
Church of St. John on the Lateran, and Simplicius
decorated that of Santa Maria Maggiore at Rome. The
example of these Popes was followed by the Emperor
Maximian at Ravenna; the Mosaics executed by his
orders in the Church of St. Stephen still exist.
All these works, as well as many others that have
perished, were executed in the fifth century; from which
it is evident that at this time it was a general practice to
decorate the churches with pictures and statues; and the
artists of the period must have been considerably nume-
rous, though wholly unknown at present. The grosser
form of Christian idolatry commenced from this period;
a populace unable to read, and obsessed by a superstition
commensurate with its ignorance, was not likely to appre-
ciate exactly the nature or purport of these images which
their bishops had set up; and instead of examples of
fortitude and incentives to a higher intellectuality, they
were looked upon as holy images and mediators, and,
from mere moral records or spiritual symbols, were con-
verted into material saints, and became the objects of
gross idolatry. What earlier prelates had foreseen and
warned against in vain, was in vain resisted by contem-
porary dignitaries of the Church; and notwithstanding
several edicts of Councils against the adoration of images,
their use gradually prevailed, and, surviving all the
efforts of the Iconoclasts in the eighth and ninth centuries,
finally triumphed throughout the whole of Christendom,
both in the western and in the eastern empire."
The progressive movement of the Church, however,
from the mere hieroglyphic symbols to the actual ad-
mission of pictorial representations of our Saviour, the
Virgin, &c., was not the abandonment of the one for the






SYMBOLISM, 87

other, but only the extension of the former, and the
adoption of more intelligible symbols.
The Saviour and the Virgin and Child were only more
comprehensive emblems of redemption; the Blessed Vir-
gin, as the Queen of Heaven, was undoubtedly at first
intended as typical of RELIGION; and we find them very
early having recourse to the classic fables, and adopting
Orpheus, Apollo, Pluto, &c., to express corresponding
ideas in the Scripture narrative, or in the legends of the
Church
From this hasty review of the early stages of Christian
Art, the reader will be better able to understand the
choice of subject adopted by Giotto for his first great
work in the Basilica of St. Peter's. The ship, we have
seen, was early adopted as an emblem of the Church,
being, in fact, only another use of one of the types of
Old Testament history. If we are to regard the great
Italian painter, like his contemporary and friend Dante,
as a teacher of the people by means of his art, we must
look upon the picture of the Navicella, as a sermon
written up before them from the story of the deluge,
wherein they are warned of the mighty waste of waters
that covers the heathen world, from whence there is no
safety but in the ark of Christ's Church. Demons, even
temptations, vices, and horrible lusts, assail it on every
side; it is in the midst of a dark and howling tempest
that threatens to overwhelm it. Nevertheless, its guides
are the apostles and martyrs of the Church; its crew are
the true believers; and such is the beneficence and
power of its Captain, Christ, that even amid that dread
abyss of waters,-the chaos of sin which the unregenerate
world presents around it,-the disciple may venture forth
to walk to Jesus, who stretches out his hand to save
him from perishing. Such is the sermon that Giotto's
Mosaic was meant by him to express: but, alasl the






88 GENIUS AND THE FINE ARTS.
churchh he pointed to was no ark of safety, and the tem-
pest then gathering amid such thick darkness that few
indeed saw the True Ark, amid that waste of waters.
So peculiar and enduring has been the influence of this
symbolic origin of Christian Art, that it has established a
fixed form of countenance for Christ and the chief apostles,
and has even been followed so closely as in many cases
to adhere to the assigned colours of their robes. Various
singular traditions are related by some of the early fathers
to give authority to some of these practices. Previous
to the final adoption of this standard, some singular dis-
cussions took place among the divines of the early church
relative to it. The prophetic language of Isaiah was made
the basis of more than one view of the subject; and a
very important controversy, so far as the Arts are con-
cerned, was originated by St. Cyril, from the prophet's
description of the Messiah:-" He shall grow up as a
tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground; he hath
no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there
is no beauty that we should desire him." This, it was
insisted, was what the painter must realize, and conse-
quently the Saviour must be represented altogether de-
void of beauty, and in the most unattractive form. The
language of Art, however, is so opposed to this idea, that
had such a conception been insisted upon, it must have
led to the abandonment of such representations altogether.
The Pope Adrian I., and many of the fathers of that early
age, refused to trammel the Arts by so literal an interpre-
tation of the language of prophecy, and thenceforth the
artist was encouraged to aim at the most exalted imper-
sonation of manly beauty. Another passage from the
same prophet however gave form to the symbolic charac-
ter in which Christ was at first chiefly represented:-
He shall feed his flock like a shepherd, he shall gather
the lambs with his arms, and carry them in his bosom,
and shall gently lead those that are with young." As-







SYMBOLISM. 89
suming this as the guiding thought, our Saviour appears
in nearly all the earliest paintings in the character of a
shepherd.
Most of our readers are no doubt familiar with a spurious
letter pretending to be written by Lentulus, a Roman
officer in Judmea, to the Roman Senate, giving an account
of Christ, and a minute description of his personal ap-
pearance. The letter is obviously a monkish forgery of
the most barefaced description. It does not appear to
have been known earlier than the eleventh century, and
may be considered rather as embodying a description of
the style of expression adopted by the artists before that
time, than as having given the law to later painters.
However this may be, it corresponds to the early portraits
of Christ, and to that style of expression which has ever
since been adhered to. He is there described as-" A
man of stately figure, dignified in appearance, with a coun-
tenance inspiring veneration, and which those who look
upon it may love as well as fear. His hair, rather dark
and glossy, falls down in curls below his shoulders, and is
parted in the middle after the manner of the Nazarenes.
The forehead is smooth and remarkably serene; the face
without line or spot, and agreeably ruddy. The nose and
mouth are faultless; the beard is thick and reddish, of the
colour of the hair, not long, but div ided; the eyes bright,
and of a varied colour."
But far more ingenious are some of the superstitious
inventions which this spirit of religious embodyment of
the church's dogmas by means of pictorial art gave rise to.
One story affirmed that on that eventful day when the
ancient ceremonial law was about to be abrogated by the
sacrifice of Him whom all previous sacrifices had fore-
shadowed as types or emblems, a strange miracle was
wrought by our Saviour to perpetuate the remembrance
of his humanity. As he toiled along the steep path that
led to the rock of Calvary where all was to be finished,






90 GENIUS AND THE FINE ARTS.

one of the women who followed him, weeping over his
sufferings, presented to him a handkerchief with which
to wipe the great drops of sweat from his face; and on
receiving it back again, it was found to bear an exact pic-
ture of the Saviour's face! Such was the monkish legend,
and in proof of it, they professed to produce the identical
cloth with the divine countenance thus miraculously im-
pressed upon it. It is hardly to be wondered at that so
marvellous a legend should have been received with
credulous admiration by the ignorant and superstitious
worshippers of the middle ages, and accordingly the gross
idolatry to which it gave rise excited the indignation of
some of the early councils of the Church. Nearly akin
to this is another tradition, which is thus related in the
History of Painting:-" Abgarus, King of Edessa, in
Mesopotamia, who was confined from sickness, from
which the treatment of his physicians gave him no relief,
having heard of the miracles performed by Christ in
Judmea, sent a messenger to him to invite him to come
to Edessa to cure him of his complaint. This messen-
ger was a certain Ananias, who was a painter, and Ab-
garus had ordered him that, if he could not persuade
Christ to come to him, he was at least to bring his por-
trait. Ananias delivered his letter, and on account of
the crowd around him retired to an eminence close by,
and there attempted to make a drawing of his face.
This, either owing to Christ's repeated movements, or, as
Damascenus says, the refulgence of his countenance, he
found it impossible to do. Christ himself, however, ac-
complished his purpose for him: having called for water
to wash his face with, he wiped it with a linen cloth,
which he gave, with an answer for Abgarus, to Ananias,
who found Christ's likeness imprinted on it. Abgarus,
as he had anticipated, was cured by the touch of this
portrait, and it became afterwards an object of universal
veneration at Edessa, until it was removed to Constan-






THE WORKS OF GIOTTO. 91

tinople by Nicephorus Phocas, in the second year of his
reign, A.D. 964. It was subsequently carried to Rome,
where it is still preserved in the church of San Silvestro
in Capite."
Such are some of the strange superstitions which no
doubt exercised an influence on the Arts, and helped to
determine the form of expression since adhered to. But
the Byzantine painters were no less conventional in form
than in feature; wandering in this respect wide apart from
nature, and thereby rendering the revival of Art the more
remarkable in the hands of such eminent geniuses as
Giotto, who adhered to the time-honoured forms and
expression of these rude and lifeless draftsmen, and yet
infused into them life and spirit, and expanded the type
of the Divine Countenance, and of the apostles' features,
into that sweet grace and beauty which has led him to be
compared with the great Raphael, his pre-eminent suc-
cessor in the same glorious art.



CHAPTER IV.

THE WORKS OF GIOTTO.

GIOTTO had now attained the highest reputation as an
artist, and had called into being a lively sympathy for the
Arts, by means of his own creative genius. He executed
other important works for Pope Boniface, one of which,
the Institution of the Jubilee of 1300, still remains on
the Lateran at Rome. From thence Giotto proceeded to
Padua, where he engaged in new and extensive works,
many of which still remain, and are described by those
who have examined them, as wonderful for the variety
and the inventive genius displayed in them. At Padua
Giotto met with his friend Dante and to his fertile fancy






92 GENIUS AND THE FINE ARTS.

it has been supposed by some that Giotto was indebted
for some of the suggestions he has embodied with so
much vigour. It is probably hardly necessary to adopt
such an idea, as the great painter was undoubtedly well
able to conceive, as well as to execute, the works that still
remain as evidence of the great vigour and masterly
power of his pencil. Nevertheless, it is an interesting
idea to conceive of the great Italian poet, for ever ban-
ished from his beautiful Florence," communing with the
Florentine painter, and discussing with him the treatment
of those vigorous pictures that still adorn the crypt of
the Chapel of Arena at Padua. The name of Giotto
will ever be pleasingly associated with that of the great
Italian poet, as he who has preserved to us a living
memorial of him in those young and happy years, while
yet hope and love mingled with his ambition, and he
shared in the honours and the sympathy of his fellow-
countrymen.
Giotto's fame now led his aid to be courted for the de-
coration of every important public edifice in Italy, nor
must we forget, while thus describing his triumphant
progress as a painter, that he excelled in other arts no
less. The taste of the Italian architects early led them
to separate the belfry from the body of the church, so as
to admit of its receiving any amount of ornament, and
being raised to any degree of elevation, without being
greatly subjected to the proportions of the building of
which it forms an appendage. The consequence of
this happy practice has been the erection of numerous
Campanili, or bell-towers, throughout Italy, many of
them of great elevation, and singular beauty. Foremost
among all these Campanili, is the magnificent tower de-
signed by Giotto for the Cathedral of Florence. It is
universally pronounced by far the most elegant bell-tower
in Italy, though not so lofty as that of Cremona. It is
267 feet high, and was constructed by Giotto in 1324.






THE WORKS OF GIOTTO. 93
The plan is a perfect square, forty-five feet on each side.
Externally it is divided into five compartments or stories,
each of them differing entirely from the others; and in-
ternally there are six floors, each of which is vaulted with
stone. The style is an Italianized Gothic, bearing con-
siderable resemblance in its details to that which was
adopted by Sir Christopher Wren in the west towers of
Westminster Abbey and elsewhere. Though in this re-
spect it is a work of art open to the criticism of those
who insist on a rigid adherence to the established examples
of early architecture, it nevertheless fully merits all the
encomiums it has received as a work of singular grace
and beauty. Giotto, it is said, designed an elegant spire,
eighty-five feet in height, which was intended to surmount
the tower. It is now finished, with a nearly flat roof,
which is not seen from below.
The following interesting account from Mrs. Jamieson's
Memoirs of the Early Italian Painters contains a sketch
of the latter years of his life, including some curious de-
tails we have not met with elsewhere:-" By the time
Giotto had attained his thirtieth year, he had reached
such hitherto unknown excellence in Art, and his cele-
brity was so universal, that every city and every petty
sovereign in Italy contended for the honour of his pre-
sence and his pencil, and tempted him with the promise
of rich rewards. For the lords of Arezzo, of Rimini, and
Ravenna, and for the Duke of Milan, he executed many
works, now almost wholly perished. Castruccio Castri-
cani, the warlike tyrant of Lucca, also employed him;
but how Giotto was induced to listen to the offers of this
enemy of his country is not explained. Perhaps Cas-
truccio, as the head of the Ghibelline party, in which
Giotto had apparently enrolled himself, appeared in the
light of a friend rather than an enemy: however this may
be, a picture which Giotto painted for Castruccio, and in
which he introduced the portrait of the tyrant, with a






94 GENIUS AND TIE FINE ARTS.
falcon on his fist, is still preserved in the Lyceum at
Lucca. For Guido da Polente, the father of that hapless
Francesca di Rimini, whose story is so beautifully told
by Dante, he painted the interior of a church; and for
Malatesta di Rimini, (who was father of Francesca's hus-
band,) he painted the portrait of that prince in a bark,
with his companions and a company of mariners; and
among them, Vasari tells us, was the figure of a sailor,
who, turning round with his hand before his face, is in the
act of spitting in the sea, so life-like as to strike the be-
holders with amazement. This has perished; but the figure
of the thirsty man stooping to drink, in one of the fres-
coes at Assisi, still remains, to show the kind of excellence
through which Giotto excited such admiration in his con-
temporaries;-a power of imitation, a truth in the expres-
sion of natural actions and feelings, to which painting had
never yet ascended or descended. This leaning to the
actual and the real has been made a subject of reproach,
to which we shall hereafter refer.
It is said, but this does not rest on very satisfactory
evidence, that Giotto also visited Avignon, in the train
of Pope Clement V., and painted there the portraits of
Petrarch and Laura.
About the year 1327, King Robert of Naples, the
father of Queen Joanna, wrote to his son the Duke of
Calabria, then at Florence, to send to him, on any terms,
the famous painter Giotto, who accordingly travelled to
the court of Naples, stopping on his way in several cities,
where he left specimens of his skill. He also visited
Orvieto for the purpose of viewing the sculpture with
which the brothers Agostino and Agnolo were decorating
the cathedral, and not only bestowed on it high commen-
dation, but obtained for the artists the praise and patron-
age they merited. There is at Gaeta a Crucifixion painted
by Giotto, either on his way to Naples or on his return,
in which he introduced himself kneeling in an attitude of





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