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The Great Events of World History, Volume 11! Featuring: HENRY HUDSON EXPLORES THE HUDSON RIVER, by Henry Cleveland GALILEO OVERTHROWS ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY, by Oliver Lodge BEGINNING OF BRITISH POWER IN INDIA, by Beckles Willson DUTCH SETTLEMENT OF NEW YORK, by David Valentine HARVEY DISCOVERS THE CIRCULATION OF THE BLOOD, by Thomas Huxley THE "DEFENESTRATION" AT PRAGUE – THE THIRTY YEARS' WAR, by Samuel Gardiner & Charles Horne FIRST AMERICAN LEGISLATURE, by Charles Campbell INTRODUCTION OF NEGROES INTO VIRGINIA – SPREAD OF SLAVERY AND THE CULTIVATION OF TOBACCO, by Charles Campbell & John Ludlow ENGLISH PILGRIMS SETTLE AT PLYMOUTH, by John Barry BIRTH OF MODERN SCIENTIFIC METHODS – BACON AND DESCARTES, by George Lewes SIEGE OF LA ROCHELLE – RICHELIEU RULES FRANCE, by Andrew White GREAT PURITAN EXODUS TO NEW ENGLAND – FOUNDING OF BOSTON, by John Palfrey TRIUMPH AND DEATH OF GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS AT LUETZEN, by Benjamin Chapman RECANTATION OF GALILEO, by Oliver Lodge EDUCATIONAL REFORM OF COMENIUS, by S.S. Laurie FIRST WRITTEN FREE CONSTITUTION IN THE WORLD – EARLIEST UNION AMONG AMERICAN COLONIES, by G. Hollister & John Marshall ABOLITION OF THE COURT OF STAR-CHAMBER – POPULAR REVOLT AGAINST CHARLES I, by Henry Hallam & Lord Macaulay FOUNDING OF MONTREAL, by Alfred Sandham PRESBYTERIANISM ESTABLISHED – MEETING OF THE WESTMINSTER ASSEMBLY, by David Masson MASANIELLO'S REVOLT AT NAPLES, by Alfred von Reumont PEACE OF WESTPHALIA – WAR OF THE FRONDE, by Arthur Hassall RELIGIOUS TOLERATION PROCLAIMED IN MARYLAND, by G.L. Davis GREAT CIVIL WAR IN ENGLAND – EXECUTION OF CHARLES I, by Lord Macaulay & Charles Knight CROMWELL'S CAMPAIGN IN IRELAND, by Frederic Harrison MOLIÈRE CREATES MODERN COMEDY, by Henry van Laun CROMWELL'S RULE IN ENGLAND – THE RESTORATION, by Thomas Carlyle, John Green & Samuel Pepys
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HENRY HUDSON EXPLORES THE HUDSON RIVER, by Henry Cleveland
GALILEO OVERTHROWS ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY, by Oliver Lodge
BEGINNING OF BRITISH POWER IN INDIA, by Beckles Willson
DUTCH SETTLEMENT OF NEW YORK, by David Valentine
HARVEY DISCOVERS THE CIRCULATION OF THE BLOOD, by Thomas Huxley
THE “DEFENESTRATION” AT PRAGUE – THE THIRTY YEARS’ WAR, by Samuel Gardiner & Charles Horne
FIRST AMERICAN LEGISLATURE, by Charles Campbell
INTRODUCTION OF NEGROES INTO VIRGINIA – SPREAD OF SLAVERY AND THE CULTIVATION OF TOBACCO, by Charles Campbell & John Ludlow
ENGLISH PILGRIMS SETTLE AT PLYMOUTH, by John Barry
BIRTH OF MODERN SCIENTIFIC METHODS – BACON AND DESCARTES, by George Lewes
SIEGE OF LA ROCHELLE – RICHELIEU RULES FRANCE, by Andrew White
GREAT PURITAN EXODUS TO NEW ENGLAND – FOUNDING OF BOSTON, by John Palfrey
TRIUMPH AND DEATH OF GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS AT LUETZEN, by Benjamin Chapman
RECANTATION OF GALILEO, by Oliver Lodge
EDUCATIONAL REFORM OF COMENIUS, by S.S. Laurie
FIRST WRITTEN FREE CONSTITUTION IN THE WORLD – EARLIEST UNION AMONG AMERICAN COLONIES, by G. Hollister & John Marshall
ABOLITION OF THE COURT OF STAR-CHAMBER – POPULAR REVOLT AGAINST CHARLES I, by Henry Hallam & Lord Macaulay
FOUNDING OF MONTREAL, by Alfred Sandham
PRESBYTERIANISM ESTABLISHED – MEETING OF THE WESTMINSTER ASSEMBLY, by David Masson
MASANIELLO’S REVOLT AT NAPLES, by Alfred von Reumont
PEACE OF WESTPHALIA – WAR OF THE FRONDE, by Arthur Hassall
RELIGIOUS TOLERATION PROCLAIMED IN MARYLAND, by G.L. Davis
GREAT CIVIL WAR IN ENGLAND – EXECUTION OF CHARLES I, by Lord Macaulay & Charles Knight
CROMWELL’S CAMPAIGN IN IRELAND, by Frederic Harrison
MOLIÈRE CREATES MODERN COMEDY, by Henry van Laun
CROMWELL’S RULE IN ENGLAND – THE RESTORATION, by Thomas Carlyle, John Green & Samuel Pepys
ALTHOUGH HENRY HUDSON WAS not the first discoverer of the waters to which his name was given, he was a bold sailor whose achievements justly gave him rank with the foremost navigators and explorers of his time. He was well versed in scientific navigation. His first recorded voyage was made in the service of the Muscovy or Russia Company of England in 1607. His object was to find a passage across the north pole to the Spice Islands (Moluccas), in the Malay Archipelago. Though failing in this purpose, he reached a higher latitude than had before been attained by any navigator.
His next venture (1608), for the same company, was for “finding a passage to the East Indies by the northeast,” but he failed to pass in that direction beyond Nova Zembla, and returned to England. These two failures discouraged the Muscovy Company, but did not daunt Henry Hudson. Again he determined to sail the northern seas, and the story of his third great voyage and its results is here given to the reader.
Hudson, whose mind was completely bent upon making the discovery which he had undertaken, now sought employment from the Dutch East India Company. The fame of his adventures had already reached Holland, and he had received from the Dutch the appellations of the bold Englishman, the expert pilot, the famous navigator. The company were generally in favor of accepting the offer of his services, though the scheme was strongly opposed by Balthazar Moucheron, one of their number, who had some acquaintance with the arctic seas. They accordingly gave him the command of a small vessel, named the Half Moon, with a crew of twenty men, Dutch and English, among whom was Robert Juet, who had accompanied him as mate on his second voyage. The journal of the present voyage, which is published in Purchas’ Pilgrims, was written by Juet.
He sailed from Amsterdam March 25, 1609, and doubled the North Cape in about a month. His object was to pass through the Vaygats, or perhaps to the north of Nova Zembla, and thus reach China by the northeast passage. But after contending for more than a fortnight with head winds, continual fogs, and ice, and finding it impossible to reach even the coast of Nova Zembla, he determined to abandon this plan, and endeavor to discover a passage by the northwest. He accordingly directed his course westerly, doubled the North Cape again, and in a few days saw a part of the western coast of Norway, in the latitude of 68°. From this point he sailed for the Faroe Islands, where he arrived about the end of May.
Having replenished his water-casks at one of these islands he again hoisted sail, and steered southwest, in the hope of making Buss Island, which had been discovered by Sir Martin Frobisher, in 1578, as he wished to ascertain if it was correctly laid down on the chart. As he did not succeed in finding it, he continued this course for nearly a month, having much severe weather and a succession of gales, in one of which the foremast was carried away. Having arrived at the 45th degree of latitude, he judged it best to shape his course westward, with the intention of making Newfoundland. While proceeding in this direction he one day saw a vessel standing to the eastward, and wishing to speak her he put the ship about and gave chase; but finding as night came on that he could not overtake her he resumed the westerly course again.
On July 2d he had soundings on the Grand Bank of Newfoundland, and saw a whole fleet of Frenchmen fishing there. Being on soundings for several days he determined to try his luck at fishing; and the weather falling calm he set the whole crew at work to so much purpose that, in the course of the morning, they took between one and two hundred very large cod. After two or three days of calm the wind sprang up again, and he continued his course westward till the 12th, when he first had sight of the coast of North America. The fog was so thick, however, that he did not venture nearer the coast for several days; but at length, the weather clearing up, he ran into a bay at the mouth of a large river, in the latitude of 44°. This was Penobscot Bay, on the coast of Maine.
He already had some notion of the kind of inhabitants he was to find here, for a few days before he had been visited by six savages, who came on board in a very friendly manner and ate and drank with him. He found that from their intercourse with the French traders they had learned a few words of their language. Soon after coming to anchor he was visited by several of the natives, who appeared very harmless and inoffensive; and in the afternoon two boats full of them came to the ship, bringing beaver-skins and other fine furs, which they wished to exchange for articles of dress. They offered no violence whatever, though we find in Juet’s journal constant expressions of distrust, apparently without foundation.
They remained in this bay long enough to cut and rig a new foremast, and being now ready for sea the men were sent on shore upon an expedition that disgraced the whole company. What Hudson’s sentiments or motives with regard to this transaction were we can only conjecture from a general knowledge of his character, as we have no account of it from himself. But it seems highly probable that, if he did not project it, he at least gave his consent to its perpetration. The account is in the words of Juet, as follows: “In the morning we manned our scute with four muskets and six men, and took one of their shallops and brought it aboard. Then we manned our boat and scute with twelve men and muskets, and two stone pieces, or murderers, and drave the salvages from their houses, and took the spoil of them, as they would have done of us.” After this exploit they returned to the ship and set sail immediately. It does not appear from the journal that the natives had ever offered them any harm or given any provocation for so wanton an act. The writer only asserts that they would have done it if they could. No plea is more commonly used to justify tyranny and cruelty than the supposed bad intentions of the oppressed.
He now continued southward along the coast of America. It appears that Hudson had been informed by his friend, Captain John Smith, that there was a passage to the western Pacific Ocean south of Virginia, and that, when he had proved the impossibility of going by the northeast, he had offered his crew the choice either to explore this passage spoken of by Captain John Smith or to seek the northwest passage by going through Davis Strait. Many of the men had been in the East India service, and in the habit of sailing in tropical climates, and were consequently very unwilling to endure the severities of a high northern latitude. It was therefore voted that they should go in search of the passage to the south of Virginia.
In a few days they saw land extending north, and terminating in a remarkable headland, which he recognized to be Cape Cod. Wishing to double the headland, he sent some of the men in the boat to sound along the shore, before venturing nearer with the ship. The water was five fathoms deep within bow-shot of the shore, and, landing, they found, as the journal informs us, “goodly grapes and rose-trees,” which they brought on board with them. He then weighed anchor and advanced as far as the northern extremity of the headland. Here he heard the voice of someone calling to them, and, thinking it possible some unfortunate European might have been left there, he immediately despatched some of the men to the shore. They found only a few savages; but, as these appeared very friendly, they brought one of them on board, where they gave him refreshments and also a present of three or four glass buttons, with which he seemed greatly delighted. The savages were observed to have green tobacco and pipes, the bowls of which were made of clay and the stems of red copper.
The wind not being favorable for passing west of this headland into the bay, Hudson determined to explore the coast farther south, and the next day he saw the southern point of Cape Cod, which had been discovered and named by Bartholomew Gosnold in the year 1602. He passed in sight of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, and continued a southerly course till the middle of August, when he arrived at the entrance of Chesapeake Bay. “This,” says the writer of the journal, “is the entrance into the King’s river, in Virginia, where our Englishmen are.” The colony, under the command of Newport, consisting of one hundred five persons, among whom were Smith, Gosnold, Wingfield, and Ratcliffe, had arrived here a little more than two years before, and if Hudson could have landed he would have enjoyed the satisfaction of seeing and conversing with his own countrymen, and in his own language, in the midst of the forests of the New World. But the wind was blowing a gale from the northeast, and, probably dreading a shore with which he was unacquainted, he made no attempt to find them.
He continued to ply to the south for several days, till he reached the latitude of 35° 41′, when he again changed his course to the north. It is highly probable that if the journal of the voyage had been kept by Hudson himself we should have been informed of his reasons for changing the southerly course at this point. The cause, however, is not difficult to conjecture. He had gone far enough to ascertain that the information given him by Captain Smith with respect to a passage into the Pacific south of Virginia was incorrect, and he probably did not think it worth while to spend more time in so hopeless a search. He therefore retraced his steps, and on August 28th discovered Delaware Bay, where he examined the currents, soundings, and the appearance of the shores, without attempting to land. From this anchorage he coasted northward, the shore appearing low, like sunken ground, dotted with islands, till September 2d, when he saw the highlands of Navesink, which, the journalist remarks, “is a very good land to fall with and a pleasant land to see.”
The entrance into the southern waters of New York is thus described in the journal: “At three of the clock in the afternoon we came to three great rivers. So we stood along to the northernmost, thinking to have gone into it, but we found it to have a very shoal bar before it, for we had but ten foot water. Then we cast about to the southward and found two fathoms, three fathoms, and three and a quarter, till we came to the southern side of them; then we had five and six fathoms, and anchored. So we sent in our boat to sound, and they found no less water than four, five, six, and seven fathoms, and returned in an hour and a half. So we weighed and went in and rode in five fathoms, oozy ground, and saw many salmons, and mullets, and rays very great.” The next morning having ascertained by sending in the boat that there was a very good harbor before him, he ran in and anchored at two cables’ length from the shore. This was within Sandy Hook Bay.
He was very soon visited by the natives, who came on board his vessel, and seemed to be greatly rejoiced at his arrival among them. They brought green tobacco, which they desired to exchange for knives and beads, and Hudson observed that they had copper pipes and ornaments of copper. They also appeared to have plenty of maize, from which they made good bread. Their dress was of deerskins, well cured, and hanging loosely about them. There is a tradition that some of his men, being sent out to fish, landed on Coney Island. They found the soil sandy, but supporting a vast number of plum-trees loaded with fruit, and grapevines growing round them.
The next day, the men, being sent in the boat to explore the bay still farther, landed, probably on the Jersey shore, where they were very kindly received by the savages, who gave them plenty of tobacco. They found the land covered with large oaks. Several of the natives also came on board, dressed in mantles of feathers and fine furs. Among the presents they brought were dried currants, which were found extremely palatable.
Soon afterward five of the men were sent in the boat to examine the north side of the bay and sound the river, which was perceived at the distance of four leagues. They passed through the Narrows, sounding all along, and saw “a narrow river to the westward, between two islands,” supposed to be Staten Island and Bergen Neck. They described the land as covered with trees, grass, and flowers, and filled with delightful fragrance. On their return to the ship they were assaulted by two canoes; one contained twelve and the other fourteen savages. It was nearly dark, and the rain which was falling had extinguished their match, so that they could only trust to their oars for escape. One of the men, John Colman, who had accompanied Hudson on his first voyage, was killed by an arrow shot into his throat, and two more were wounded. The darkness probably saved them from the savages, but at the same time it prevented their finding the vessel, so that they did not return till the next day, when they appeared, bringing the body of their comrade. Hudson ordered him to be carried on shore and buried, and named the place, in memory of the event, Colman’s Point.
He now expected an attack from the natives, and accordingly hoisted in the boat and erected a sort of bulwark along the sides of the vessel, for the better defence. But these precautions were needless. Several of the natives came on board, but in a friendly manner, wishing to exchange tobacco and Indian corn for the trifles which the sailors could spare them. They did not appear to know anything of the affray which had taken place. But the day after two large canoes came off to the vessel, the one filled with armed men, the other under the pretence of trading. Hudson, however, would only allow two of the savages to come on board, keeping the rest at a distance. The two who came on board were detained, and Hudson dressed them up in red coats; the remainder returned to the shore. Presently another canoe, with two men in it, came to the vessel. Hudson also detained one of these, probably wishing to keep him as a hostage, but he very soon jumped overboard and swam to the shore. On the 11th Hudson sailed through the Narrows and anchored in New York Bay.
He prepared to explore the magnificent river which came rolling its waters into the sea from unknown regions. Whither he would be conducted in tracing its course he could form no conjecture. A hope may be supposed to have entered his mind that the long-desired passage to the Indies was now at length discovered; that here was to be the end of his toils; that here, in this mild climate, and amid these pleasant scenes, was to be found that object which he had sought in vain through the snows and ice of the Arctic zone. With a glad heart, then, he weighed anchor on September 12th, and commenced his memorable voyage up that majestic stream which now bears his name.
The wind only allowed him to advance a few miles the first two days of the voyage, but the time which he was obliged to spend at anchor was fully occupied in trading with the natives, who came off from the shore in great numbers, bringing oysters and vegetables. He observed that they had copper pipes, and earthen vessels to cook their meat in. They seemed very harmless and well disposed, but the crew were unwilling to trust these appearances, and would not allow any of them to come on board. The next day, a fine breeze springing up from the southeast, he was able to make great progress, so that he anchored at night nearly forty miles from the place of starting in the morning. He observes that “here the land grew very high and mountainous,” so that he had undoubtedly anchored in the midst of the fine scenery of the Highlands.
When he awoke in the morning he found heavy mist over-hanging the river and its shores and concealing the summits of the mountains. But it was dispelled by the sun in a short time, and taking advantage of a fair wind he weighed anchor and continued the voyage. A little circumstance occurred this morning which was destined to be afterward painfully remembered. The two savages, whom he held as hostages, made their escape through the portholes of the vessel and swam to the shore, and as soon as the ship was under sail they took pains to express their indignation at the treatment they had received, by uttering loud and angry cries. Toward night he came to other mountains, which, he says, “lie from the river’s side,” and anchored, it is supposed, near the present site of Catskill Landing. “There,” says the journal, “we found very loving people and very old men, where we were well used. Our boat went to fish and caught great store of very good fish.”
The next morning, September 16th, the men were sent again to catch fish, but were not so successful as they had been the day before, in consequence of the savages having been there in their canoes all night. A large number of the natives came off to the ship, bringing Indian corn, pumpkins, and tobacco. The day was consumed in trading with the natives and in filling the casks with fresh water, so that they did not weigh anchor till toward night. After sailing about five miles, finding the water shoal, they came to anchor, probably near the spot where the city of Hudson now stands. The weather was hot, and Hudson determined to set his men at work in the cool of the morning. He accordingly, on the 17th, weighed anchor at dawn and ran up the river about fifteen miles, when, finding shoals and small islands, he thought it best to anchor again. Toward night the vessel, having drifted near the shore, grounded in shoal water, but was easily drawn off by carrying out the small anchor. She was aground again in a short time in the channel, but, the tide rising, she floated off.
The two days following he advanced only about five miles, being much occupied by his intercourse with the natives. Being in the neighborhood of the present town of Castleton, he went on shore, where he was very kindly received by an old savage, “the governor of the country,” who took him to his house, and gave him the best cheer he could. At his anchorage also, five miles above this place, the natives came flocking on board, bringing a great variety of articles, such as grapes, pumpkins, beaver and otter skins, which they exchanged for beads, knives, and hatchets or whatever trifles the sailors could spare them. The next day was occupied in exploring the river, four men being sent in the boat, under the command of the mate, for that purpose. They ascended several miles and found the channel narrow and in some places only two fathoms deep, but after that seven or eight fathoms. In the afternoon they returned to the ship. Hudson resolved to pursue the examination of the channel on the following morning, but was interrupted by the number of natives who came on board. Finding that he was not likely to gain any progress this day, he sent the carpenter ashore to prepare a new foreyard, and in the mean time prepared to make an extraordinary experiment on board.
From the whole tenor of the journal it is evident that great distrust was entertained by Hudson and his men toward the natives. He now determined to ascertain, by intoxicating some of the chiefs, and thus throwing them off their guard, whether they were plotting any treachery. He accordingly invited several of them into the cabin and gave them plenty of brandy to drink. One of these men had his wife with him, who, the journal informs us, “sate so modestly as any one of our countrywomen would do in a strange place”; but the men had less delicacy, and were soon quite merry with the brandy. One of them, who had been on board from the first arrival of the ship, was completely intoxicated, and fell sound asleep, to the great astonishment of his companions, who probably feared that he had been poisoned, for they all took to their canoes and made for the shore, leaving their unlucky comrade on board. Their anxiety for his welfare, however, soon induced them to return, and they brought a quantity of beads, which they gave him, perhaps to enable him to purchase his freedom from the spell that had been laid upon him.
The poor savage slept quietly all night, and when his friends came to visit him the next morning they found him quite well. This restored their confidence, so that they came to the ship again in crowds, in the afternoon, bringing various presents for Hudson. Their visit, which was one of unusual ceremony, is thus described in the journal: “So, at three of the clock in the afternoon, they came aboard and brought tobacco and more beads and gave them to our master, and made an oration, and showed him all the country round about. Then they sent one of their company on land, who presently returned and brought a great platter full of venison, dressed by themselves, and they caused him to eat with them. Then they made him reverence, and departed, all save the old man that lay aboard.”
At night the mate returned in the boat, having been sent again to explore the river. He reported that he had ascended eight or nine leagues, and found but seven feet of water and irregular soundings.
It was evidently useless to attempt to ascend the river any farther with the ship, and Hudson therefore determined to return. We may well imagine that he was satisfied already with the result of the voyage, even supposing him to have been disappointed in not finding here a passage to the Indies. He had explored a great and navigable river to the distance of nearly a hundred forty miles; he had found the country along the banks extremely fertile, the climate delightful, and the scenery displaying every variety of beauty and grandeur; and he knew that he had opened the way for his patrons to possessions which might prove of inestimable value.
It is supposed that the highest place which the Half Moon reached in the river was the neighborhood of the present site of Albany, and that the boats being sent out to explore ascended as high as Waterford, and probably some distance beyond. The voyage down the river was not more expeditious than it had been in ascending; the prevalent winds were southerly, and for several days the ship could advance but very slowly. The time, however, passed agreeably in making excursions on the shore, where they found “good ground for corn and other garden herbs, with a great store of goodly oaks and walnut-trees, and chestnut-trees, ewe-trees and trees of sweetwood in great abundance, and great store of slate for houses, and other good stones”; or in receiving visits from the natives, who came on the ship in numbers. While Hudson was at anchor near the spot where the city bearing his name now stands, two canoes came from the place where the scene of the intoxication had occurred, and in one of them was the old man who had been the sufferer under the strange experiment. He brought another old man with him, who presented Hudson with a string of beads, and “showed all the country there about, as though it were at his command.” Hudson entertained them at dinner, with four of their women, and in the afternoon dismissed them with presents.
He continued the voyage down the river, taking advantage of wind and tide as he could, and employing the time when at anchor in fishing or in trading with the natives, who came to the ship nearly every day, till on October 1st he anchored near Stony Point.
The vessel was no sooner perceived from the shore to be stationary than a party of the native mountaineers came off in their canoes to visit it, and were filled with wonder at everything it contained. While the attention of the crew was taken up with their visitors upon deck, one of the savages managed to run his canoe under the stern and, climbing up the rudder, found his way into the cabin by the window, where, having seized a pillow and a few articles of wearing-apparel, he made off with them in the canoe. The mate detected him as he fled, fired at and killed him. Upon this, all the other savages departed with the utmost precipitation, some taking to their canoes and others plunging into the water. The boat was manned, and sent after the stolen goods, which were easily recovered; but as the men were returning to the vessel, one of the savages, who were in the water, seized hold of the keel of the boat, with the intention, as was supposed, of upsetting it. The cook took a sword and lopped his hand off, and the poor wretch immediately sank. They then weighed anchor and advanced about five miles.
The next day Hudson descended about seven leagues and anchored. Here he was visited in a canoe by one of the two savages who had escaped from the ship as he was going up. But fearing treachery, he would not allow him or his companions to come on board. Two canoes filled with armed warriors then came under the stern and commenced an attack with arrows. The men fired at them with their muskets and killed three of them. More than a hundred savages now came down upon the nearest point of land to shoot at the vessel. One of the cannon was brought to bear upon these warriors, and at the first discharge two of them were killed and the rest fled to the woods.
The savages were not yet discouraged. They had doubtless been instigated to make this attack by the two who escaped near West Point, and who had probably incited their countrymen by the story of their imprisonment, as well as by representing to them the value of the spoil, if they could capture the vessel, and the small number of men who guarded it. Nine or ten of the boldest warriors now threw themselves into a canoe and put off toward the ship, but a shot from the cannon made a hole in the canoe and killed one of the men. This was followed by a discharge of musketry, which destroyed three or four more. This put an end to the battle, and in the evening, having descended about five miles, Hudson anchored in a part of the river out of the reach of his enemies, probably near Hoboken.
Hudson had now explored the bay of New York and the noble stream which pours into it from the north. For his employers he had secured a possession which would beyond measure reward them for the expense they had incurred in fitting out the expedition. For himself he had gained a name that was destined to live in the gratitude of a great nation through unnumbered generations. Happy in the result of his labors and in the brilliant promise they afforded, he spread his sails again for the Old World on October 4th, and in a little more than a month arrived safely at Dartmouth, in England.
The journal kept by Juet ends abruptly at this place. The question therefore immediately arises whether Hudson pursued his voyage to Holland, or whether he remained in England and sent the vessel home. Several Dutch authors assert that Hudson was not allowed, after reaching England, to pursue his voyage to Amsterdam; and this seems highly probable when we remember the well-known jealousy with which the maritime enterprises of the Dutch were regarded by King James.
Whether Hudson went to Holland himself or not, it seems clear from various circumstances that he secured to the Dutch Company all the benefits of his discoveries, by sending to them his papers and charts. It is worthy of note that the earliest histories of this voyage, with the exception of Juet’s journal, were published by Dutch authors. Moreover, Hudson’s own journal, or some portion of it at least, was in Holland, and was used by De Laet previously to the publication of Juet’s journal in Purchas’ Pilgrims. But the most substantial proof that the Dutch enjoyed the benefit of his discoveries earlier than any other nation, is the fact that the very next year they were trading in Hudson River, which it is not probable would have happened if they had not had possession of Hudson’s charts and journal.
WHEN THE COPERNICAN SYSTEM of astronomy was published to the world (1543) it had to encounter, as all capital theories and discoveries in science have done, the criticism, and, for some time, the opposition, of men holding other views. After Copernicus, the next great name in modern science is that of Tycho Brahe (1546-1601), who rejected the theory of Copernicus in favor of a modified form of the Ptolemaic system. This was still taught in the schools when two mighty contemporaries, geniuses of science, rose to overthrow it forever.
These men were Galileo Galilei—commonly known as Galileo—and Kepler, both astronomers, though Galileo’s scientific work covered also a much wider field. He is regarded to-day as marking a distinct epoch in the progress of the world, and the following account of his work by the eminent scientist, Sir Oliver Lodge, expresses no more than a just appreciation of his great services to mankind.
Galileo exercised a vast influence on the development of human thought. A man of great and wide culture, a so-called universal genius, it is as an experimental philosopher that he takes the first rank. In this capacity he must be placed alongside of Archimedes, and it is pretty certain that between the two there was no man of magnitude equal to either in experimental philosophy. It is perhaps too bold a speculation, but I venture to doubt whether in succeeding generations we find his equal in the domain of purely experimental science until we come to Faraday. Faraday was no doubt his superior, but I know of no other of whom the like can unhesitatingly be said. In mathematical and deductive science, of course, it is quite otherwise. Kepler, for instance, and many men before and since, have far excelled Galileo in mathematical skill and power, though at the same time his achievements in this department are by no means to be despised.
Born at Pisa on the very day that Michelangelo lay dying in Rome, he inherited from his father a noble name, cultivated tastes, a keen love of truth, and an impoverished patrimony. Vincenzo de Galilei, a descendant of the important Bonajuti family, was himself a mathematician and a musician, and in a book of his still extant he declares himself in favor of free and open inquiry into scientific matters, unrestrained by the weight of authority and tradition. In all probability the son imbibed these precepts: certainly he acted on them.
Vincenzo, having himself experienced the unremunerative character of scientific work, had a horror of his son’s taking to it, especially as in his boyhood he was always constructing ingenious mechanical toys and exhibiting other marks of precocity. So the son was destined for business—to be, in fact, a cloth-dealer. But he was to receive a good education first, and was sent to an excellent convent school.
Here he made rapid progress, and soon excelled in all branches of classics and literature. He delighted in poetry, and in later years wrote several essays on Dante, Tasso, and Ariosto, besides composing some tolerable poems himself. He played skilfully on several musical instruments, especially on the lute, of which indeed he became a master, and on which he solaced himself when quite an old man. Besides this, he seems to have had some skill as an artist, which was useful afterward in illustrating his discoveries, and to have had a fine sensibility as an art critic, for we find several eminent painters of that day acknowledging the value of the opinion of the young Galileo.
Perceiving all this display of ability, the father wisely came to the conclusion that the selling of woollen stuffs would hardly satisfy his aspirations for long, and that it was worth a sacrifice to send him to the university. So to the university of his native town he went, with the avowed object of studying medicine, that career seeming the most likely to be profitable. Old Vincenzo’s horror of mathematics or science as a means of obtaining a livelihood is justified by the fact that while the university professor of medicine received two thousand scudi a year, the professor of mathematics had only sixty; that is thirteen pounds a year, or seven and a half pence a day. So the son had been kept properly ignorant of such poverty-stricken subjects, and to study medicine he went.
But his natural bent showed itself even here. For praying one day in the cathedral, like a good Catholic as he was all his life, his attention was arrested by the great lamp which, after lighting it, the verger had left swinging to and fro. Galileo proceeded to time its swings by the only watch he possessed—viz., his own pulse. He noticed that the time of swing remained, as near as he could tell, the same, notwithstanding the fact that the swings were getting smaller and smaller.
By subsequent experiment he verified the law, and the isochronism of the pendulum was discovered. An immensely important practical discovery this, for upon it all modern clocks are based; and Huyghens soon applied it to the astronomical clock, which up to that time had been a crude and quite untrustworthy instrument.
The best clock which Tycho Brahe could get for his observatory was inferior to one that may now be purchased for a few shillings; and this change is owing to the discovery of the pendulum by Galileo. Not that he applied it to clocks; he was not thinking of astronomy, he was thinking of medicine, and wanted to count people’s pulses. The pendulum served; and “pulsilogies,” as they were called, were thus introduced to and used by medical practitioners.
The Tuscan court came to Pisa for the summer months—for it was then a seaside place—and among the suite was Ostillio Ricci, a distinguished mathematician and old friend of the Galileo family. The youth visited him, and one day, it is said, heard a lesson in Euclid being given by Ricci to the pages while he stood outside the door entranced. Anyhow, he implored Ricci to help him into some knowledge of mathematics, and the old man willingly consented. So he mastered Euclid, and passed on to Archimedes, for whom he acquired a great veneration.
His father soon heard of this obnoxious proclivity, and did what he could to divert him back to medicine again. But it was no use. Underneath his Galen and Hippocrates were secreted copies of Euclid and Archimedes, to be studied at every available opportunity. Old Vincenzo perceived the bent of genius to be too strong for him, and at last gave way. With prodigious rapidity the released philosopher now assimilated the elements of mathematics and physics, and at twenty-six we find him appointed for three years to the university chair of mathematics, and enjoying the paternally dreaded stipend of seven and a half pence a day.
Now it was that he pondered over the laws of falling bodies. He verified, by experiment, the fact that the velocity acquired by falling down any slope of given height was independent of the angle of slope. Also, that the height fallen through was proportional to the square of the time.
Another thing he found experimentally was that all bodies, heavy and light, fell at the same rate, striking the ground at the same time. Now this was clean contrary to what he had been taught. The physics of those days were a simple reproduction of statements in old books. Aristotle had asserted certain things to be true, and these were universally believed. No one thought of trying the thing to see if it really were so. The idea of making an experiment would have savored of impiety, because it seemed to tend toward scepticism, and cast a doubt on a reverend authority.
Young Galileo, with all the energy and imprudence of youth—what a blessing that youth has a little imprudence and disregard of consequences in pursuing a high ideal!—as soon as he perceived that his instructors were wrong on the subject of falling bodies, instantly informed them of the fact. Whether he expected them to be pleased or not is a question. Anyhow, they were not pleased, but were much annoyed by his impertinent arrogance.
It is, perhaps, difficult for us now to appreciate precisely their position. These doctrines of antiquity, which had come down hoary with age, and the discovery of which had reawakened learning and quickened intellectual life, were accepted less as a science or a philosophy than as a religion. Had they regarded Aristotle as a verbally inspired writer, they could not have received his statements with more unhesitating conviction. In any dispute as to a question of fact, such as the one before us concerning the laws of falling bodies, their method was not to make an experiment, but to turn over the pages of Aristotle; and he who could quote chapter and verse of this great writer was held to settle the question and raise it above the reach of controversy.
It is very necessary for us to realize this state of things clearly, because otherwise the attitude of the learned of those days toward every new discovery seems stupid and almost insane. They had a crystallized system of truth, perfect, symmetrical; it wanted no novelty, no additions; every addition or growth was an imperfection, an excrescence, a deformity. Progress was unnecessary and undesired. The Church had a rigid system of dogma which must be accepted in its entirety on pain of being treated as a heretic. Philosophers had a cast-iron system of truth to match—a system founded upon Aristotle—and so interwoven with the great theological dogmas that to question one was almost equivalent to casting doubt upon the other.
In such an atmosphere true science was impossible. The life-blood of science is growth, expansion, freedom, development. Before it could appear it must throw off these old shackles of centuries. It must burst its old skin, and emerge, worn with the struggle, weakly and unprotected, but free and able to grow and to expand. The conflict was inevitable, and it was severe. Is it over yet? I fear not quite, though so nearly as to disturb science hardly at all. Then it was different: it was terrible. Honor to the men who bore the first shock of the battle!
Now, Aristotle had said that bodies fell at rates depending on their weight. A five-pound weight would fall five times as quick as a one-pound weight; a fifty-pound weight fifty times as quick, and so on. Why he said so nobody knows. He cannot have tried. He was not above trying experiments, like his smaller disciples; but probably it never occurred to him to doubt the fact. It seems so natural that a heavy body should fall quicker than a light one; and perhaps he thought of a stone and a feather, and was satisfied.
Galileo, however, asserted that the weight did not matter a bit; that everything fell at the same rate—even a stone and a feather, but for the resistance of the air—and would reach the ground in the same time. And he was not content to be pooh-poohed and snubbed. He knew he was right, and he was determined to make everyone see the facts as he saw them. So one morning, before the assembled university, he ascended the famous leaning tower, taking with him a one-hundred-pound shot and a one-pound shot. He balanced them on the edge of the tower, and let them drop together. Together they fell, and together they struck the ground. The simultaneous clang of those two weights sounded the death-knell of the old system of philosophy, and heralded the birth of the new.
But was the change sudden? Were his opponents convinced? Not a jot. Though they had seen with their eyes and heard with their ears, the full light of heaven shining upon them, they went back muttering and discontented to their musty old volumes and their garrets, there to invent occult reasons for denying the validity of the observation, and for referring it to some unknown disturbing cause.
They saw that if they gave way on this one point they would be letting go their anchorage, and henceforward would be liable to drift along with the tide, not knowing whither. They dared not do this. No; they must cling to the old traditions; they could not cast away their rotting ropes and sail out on to the free ocean of God’s truth in a spirit of fearless faith.
Yet they had received a shock: as by a breath of fresh salt breeze and a dash of spray in their faces, they had been awakened out of their comfortable lethargy. They felt the approach of a new era. Yes, it was a shock, and they hated the young Galileo for giving it them—hated him with the sullen hatred of men who fight for a lost and dying cause.
We need scarcely blame these men; at least we need not blame them overmuch. To say that they acted as they did is to say that they were human, were narrow-minded, and were the apostles of a lost cause. But they could not know this;they had no experience of the past to guide them; the conditions under which they found themselves were novel, and had to be met for the first time. Conduct which was excusable then would be unpardonable now, in the light of all this experience to guide us. Are there any now who practically repeat their error, and resist new truth? who cling to any old anchorage of dogma, and refuse to rise with the tide of advancing knowledge? There may be some even now.
Well, the unpopularity of Galileo smouldered for a time, until, by another noble imprudence, he managed to offend a semiroyal personage, Giovanni de’ Medici, by giving his real opinion, when consulted, about a machine which De’ Medici had invented for cleaning out the harbor of Leghorn. He said it was as useless as it in fact turned out to be. Through the influence of the mortified inventor he lost favor at court; and his enemies took advantage of the fact to render his chair untenable. He resigned before his three years were up, and retired to Florence.
His father at this time died, and the family were left in narrow circumstances. He had a brother and three sisters to provide for. He was offered a professorship at Padua for six years by the Senate of Venice, and willingly accepted it. Now began a very successful career. His introductory address was marked by brilliant eloquence, and his lectures soon acquired fame. He wrote for his pupils on the laws of motion, on fortifications, on sun-dials, on mechanics, and on the celestial globe: some of these papers are now lost, others have been printed during the present century.
Kepler sent him a copy of his new book, Mysterium Cosmographicum, and Galileo, in thanking him for it, writes him the following letter:
“I count myself happy, in the search after truth, to have so great an ally as yourself, and one who is so great a friend of the truth itself. It is really pitiful that there are so few who seek truth, and who do not pursue a perverse method of philosophizing. But this is not the place to mourn over the miseries of our times, but to congratulate you on your splendid discoveries in confirmation of truth. I shall read your book to the end, sure of finding much that is excellent in it. I shall do so with the more pleasure, because I have been for many years an adherent of the Copernican system, and it explains to me the causes of many of the appearances of nature which are quite unintelligible on the commonly accepted hypothesis. I have collected many arguments for the purpose of refuting the latter; but I do not venture to bring them to the light of publicity, for fear of sharing the fate of our master, Copernicus, who, although he has earned immortal fame with some, yet with very many (so great is the number of fools) has become an object of ridicule and scorn. I should certainly venture to publish my speculations if there were more people like you. But this not being the case, I refrain from such an undertaking.”
Kepler urged him to publish his arguments in favor of the Copernican theory, but he hesitated for the present, knowing that his declaration would be received with ridicule and opposition, and thinking it wiser to get rather more firmly seated in his chair before encountering the storm of controversy. The six years passed away, and the Venetian Senate, anxious not to lose so bright an ornament, renewed his appointment for another six years at a largely increased salary.
Soon after this appeared a new star—the stella nova of 1604—not the one Tycho had seen—that was in 1572—but the same that Kepler was so much interested in. Galileo gave a course of three lectures upon it to a great audience. At the first the theatre was overcrowded, so he had to adjourn to a hall holding one thousand persons. At the next he had to lecture in the open air. He took occasion to rebuke his hearers for thronging to hear about an ephemeral novelty, while for the much more wonderful and important truths about the permanent stars and facts of nature they had but deaf ears.
But the main point he brought out concerning the new star was that it upset the received Aristotelian doctrine of the immutability of the heavens. According to that doctrine the heavens were unchangeable, perfect, subject neither to growth nor to decay. Here was a body, not a meteor but a real distant star, which had not been visible and which would shortly fade away again, but which meanwhile was brighter than Jupiter.
The staff of petrified professorial wisdom were annoyed at the appearance of the star, still more at Galileo’s calling public attention to it; and controversy began at Padua. However, he accepted it, and now boldly threw down the gauntlet in favor of the Copernican theory, utterly repudiating the old Ptolemaic system, which up to that time he had taught in the schools according to established custom.
The earth no longer the only world to which all else in the firmament were obsequious attendants, but a mere insignificant speck among the host of heaven! Man no longer the centre and cynosure of creation, but, as it were, an insect crawling on the surface of this little speck! All this not set down in crabbed Latin in dry folios for a few learned monks, as in Copernicus’ time, but promulgated and argued in rich Italian, illustrated by analogy, by experiment, and with cultured wit; taught not to a few scholars here and there in musty libraries, but proclaimed in the vernacular to the whole populace with all the energy and enthusiasm of a recent convert and a master of language! Had a bombshell been exploded among the fossilized professors it had been less disturbing.
But there was worse in store for them. A Dutch optician, Hans Lippershey by name, of Middleburg, had in his shop a curious toy, rigged up, it is said, by an apprentice, and made out of a couple of spectacle lenses, whereby, if one looked through it, the weather-cock of a neighboring church spire was seen nearer and upside down. The tale goes that the Marquis Spinola, happening to call at the shop, was struck with the toy and bought it. He showed it to Prince Maurice of Nassau, who thought of using it for military reconnoitring. All this is trivial. What is important is that some faint and inaccurate echo of this news found its way to Padua and into the ears of Galileo.
The seed fell on good soil. All that night he sat up and pondered. He knew about lenses and magnifying-glasses. He had read Kepler’s theory of the eye, and had himself lectured on optics. Could he not hit on the device and make an instrument capable of bringing the heavenly bodies nearer? Who knew what marvels he might not so perceive! By morning he had some schemes ready to try, and one of them was successful. Singularly enough it was not the same plan as the Dutch optician’s: it was another mode of achieving the same end. He took an old small organ-pipe, jammed a suitably chosen spectacle glass into either end, one convex, the other concave, and, behold! he had the half of a wretchedly bad opera-glass capable of magnifying three times. It was better than the Dutchman’s, however: it did not invert.
Such a thing as Galileo made may now be bought at a toy-shop for I suppose half a crown, and yet what a potentiality lay in that “glazed optic tube,” as Milton called it. Away he went with it to Venice and showed it to the Seigniory, to their great astonishment. “Many noblemen and senators,” says Galileo, “though of advanced age, mounted to the top of one of the highest towers to watch the ships, which were visible through my glass two hours before they were seen entering the harbor, for it makes a thing fifty miles off as near and clear as if it were only five.” Among the people, too, the instrument excited the greatest astonishment and interest, so that he was nearly mobbed. The Senate hinted to him that a present of the instrument would not be unacceptable, so Galileo took the hint and made another for them. They immediately doubled his salary at Padua, making it one thousand florins, and confirmed him in the enjoyment of it for life.
He now eagerly began the construction of a larger and better instrument. Grinding the lenses with his own hands with consummate skill, he succeeded in making a telescope magnifying thirty times. Thus equipped he was ready to begin a survey of the heavens. The first object he carefully examined was naturally the moon. He found there everything at first sight very like the earth, mountains and valleys, craters and plains, rocks, and apparently seas. You may imagine the hostility excited among the Aristotelian philosophers, especially, no doubt, those he had left behind at Pisa, on the ground of his spoiling the pure, smooth, crystalline, celestial face of the moon as they had thought it, and making it harsh and rugged, and like so vile and ignoble a body as the earth.
He went further, however, into heterodoxy than this: he not only made the moon like the earth, but he made the earth shine like the moon. The visibility of “the old moon in the new moon’s arms” he explained by earth-shine. Leonardo had given the same explanation a century before. Now, one of the many stock arguments against Copernican theory of the earth being a planet like the rest was that the earth was dull and dark and did not shine. Galileo argued that it shone just as much as the moon does, and in fact rather more—especially if it be covered with clouds. One reason of the peculiar brilliancy of Venus is that she is a very cloudy planet. Seen from the moon the earth would look exactly as the moon does to us, only a little brighter and sixteen times as big—four times the diameter.
Wherever Galileo turned his telescope new stars appeared. The Milky Way, which had so puzzled the ancients, was found to be composed of stars. Stars that appeared single to the eye were some of them found to be double; and at intervals were found hazy nebulous wisps, some of which seemed to be star clusters, while others seemed only a fleecy cloud.
Now we come to his most brilliant, at least his most sensational, discovery. Examining Jupiter minutely on January 7, 1610, he noticed three little stars near it, which he noted down as fixing its then position. On the following night Jupiter had moved to the other side of the three stars. This was natural enough, but was it moving the right way? On examination it appeared not. Was it possible the tables were wrong? The next evening was cloudy, and he had to curb his feverish impatience. On the 10th there were only two, and those on the other side. On the 11th two again, but one bigger than the other. On the 12th the three reappeared, and on the 13th there were four. No more appeared. Jupiter, then, had moons like the earth—four of them in fact!—and they revolved round him in periods which were soon determined.
The news of the discovery soon spread and excited the greatest interest and astonishment. Many of course refused to believe it. Some there were who, having been shown them, refused to believe their eyes, and asserted that although the telescope acted well enough for terrestrial objects, it was altogether false and illusory when applied to the heavens. Others took the safer ground of refusing to look through the glass. One of these who would not look at the satellites happened to die soon afterward. “I hope,” says Galileo, “that he saw them on his way to heaven.”
The way in which Kepler received the news is characteristic, though by adding four to the supposed number of planets it might have seemed to upset his notions about the five regular solids.
He says: “I was sitting idle at home thinking of you, most excellent Galileo, and your letters, when the news was brought me of the discovery of four planets by the help of the double eye-glass. Wachenfels stopped his carriage at my door to tell me, when such a fit of wonder seized me at a report which seemed so very absurd, and I was thrown into such agitation at seeing an old dispute between us decided in this way, that between his joy, my coloring, and the laughter of us both, confounded as we were by such a novelty, we were hardly capable, he of speaking, or I of listening.
“On our separating, I immediately fell to thinking how there could be any addition to the number of planets without overturning my Mysterium Cosmographicon, published thirteen years ago, according to which Euclid’s five regular solids do not allow more than six planets round the sun. But I am so far from disbelieving the existence of the four circumjovial planets that I long for a telescope to anticipate you if possible in discovering two round Mars—as the proportion seems to me to require—six or eight round Saturn, and one each round Mercury and Venus.”
As an illustration of the opposite school I will take the following extract from Francesco Sizzi, a Florentine astronomer, who argues against the discovery thus:
“There are seven windows in the head—two nostrils, two eyes, two ears, and a mouth; so in the heavens there are two favorable stars, two unpropitious, two luminaries, and Mercury alone undecided and indifferent. From which and many other similar phenomena of nature, such as the seven metals, etc., which it were tedious to enumerate, we gather that the number of planets is necessarily seven.
“Moreover, the satellites are invisible to the naked eye, and therefore can have no influence on the earth, and therefore would be useless, and therefore do not exist.
“Besides, the Jews and other ancient nations as well as modern Europeans have adopted the division of the week into seven days, and have named them from the seven planets: now if we increase the number of the planets this whole system falls to the ground.”
To these arguments Galileo replied that whatever their force might be as a reason for believing beforehand that no more than seven planets would be discovered, they hardly seemed of sufficient weight to destroy the new ones when actually seen. Writing to Kepler at this time, Galileo ejaculates:
“Oh, my dear Kepler, how I wish that we could have one hearty laugh together! Here, at Padua, is the principal professor
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