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resisted as well as they could. At length, about midnight, came officers requiring Savonarola, Domenico, and Silvester Maruffi to accompany them to the Signory. Savonarola, after taking an affecting farewell of the monks, surrendered himself with his two companions, and amidst cruel insults and blows was conducted to prison. The tidings flew to Rome, and the delighted pope empowered the vicar to grant full absolution for every crime committed in the tumult.
Savonarola was repeatedly put to the torture. For some time the anguish of his dislocated frame, and the burning coals placed beneath his feet, failed to wring from him such confession as his adversaries desired. A villain named Ceccone, a man whose life had once been saved by Savonarola, engaged for a certain sum to falsify the documents and to substitute his pretended report of Savonarola's confession for the true one. At last, reiterated tortures extorted some admissions from the accused, which he afterwards denied. His body was feeble, he said, and the same agony might produce a repetition of the same concessions, but he remained by all that he had ever taught. His meditations on the fifty-first and thirty-first Psalms, written in prison, record his deep self-abasement and his childlike trust in the Saviour. They are the last utterances of a heart-broken man taking refuge in the mercy of his God. The day of execution came.
'I separate thee,' said the bishop of Vasona to the martyr, 'from the militant and triumphant church of God.'
From the church militant,' said Savonarola; 'from the church triumphant thou canst not.' In the great square of Florence a scaffold was erected, at which some of Savonarola's friends were compelled to labour through the night. The same crowds were gathered which had pressed before to see the fiery trial. This time they were not to be disappointed. The prisoners were sentenced as heretics, to be hung and afterwards burnt. Domenico and Maruffi were first executed, and then Savonarola, who expired without a word, after a last gaze on that fierce and fickle populace whom he had longed to reclaim and to ennoble. As says Lenau• His face it hath a holy calm, His silence is a blessed
That wafts him solace down the air.' The fire did its work, and the ashes of the dead were thrown from the old bridge into the Arno. Thus perished this Christian patriot and reformer, after a career not unmarked by some grave errors, with a temperament too impetuous, at a period too early, in a land too unfavourable, for the success he aimed at; but
who did, with a devout and earnest spirit, the work it was given him to do, toiling by the light he had, and leaving the result with Heaven. The grand conviction of his life may be summed up in the noble words of Milton, when God commands to take the trumpet and blow a sonorous or a jarring blast, it lies not in man's will what he shall say or what he shall conceal.'
ART. II. (1.) The Stars and the Earth, or Thoughts upon Space,
Time, and Eternity. 1847. London: Baillière. (2.) Outlines of Astronomy. By Sir John F. W. HERSCHEL, BART., K.H., &c. &c. Second Edition.
London: Longman, 1849. (3.) Report on American Meteorites. By CHARLES Upham SAEPARD,
M.D., Professor of Chemistry, South Carolina, &c. 1848. New
Haven, U. S.: Hamlen. MACAULAY'S · History of England is now in its fifth edition; Layard's Nineveh' is in its third; and within a few weeks of the issue of a second edition of Sir John Herschel's 'Astronomy,' it was out of print, and a new issue, equivalent to a third edition, is now on sale. So large a demand as these successive editions imply is a silent but most striking tribute to the interest of the subjects discussed in those works, and the skill of the writers who have handled them. A reviewer may, in these circumstances, safely take for granted, that instead of entering into a critical analysis of works, already judged and approved by his, and their readers, he may profitably make them the occasion of an excursus into regions of speculation, which such volumes have rendered patent to all. We propose to do so on the present occasion with Sir John Herschel's delightful work. It does not call for formal praise. The younger Herschel occupies the first rank among astronomers. He is second only to Humboldt in extensive and minute acquaintance with all the physical sciences, and is his equal in wide general culture and fine taste, and in skill as a writer. This is so well known, and so fully appreciated, that we say no more on the subject, but quote at once a passage from Sir John's preface, which will justify the use which we make of his work, and serve as a text for our present remarks.
If proof were wanted of the inexhaustible fertility of astronomical science in points of novelty and interest, it would • suffice to adduce the addition to the list of members of our system of no less than eight new planets and satellites during the preparation of these sheets for the press.'—P. viii.
From the inexhaustibly fertile field here referred to, we select one point for consideration, and invite our readers, for a brief space, to the discussion of an argument touching the Nature of the Stars and their Inhabitants.
To prevent any misconception as to the scope of what follows, we wish it to be understood at the very outset, that we shall enter into no discussion as to the probability or improbability of the heavenly bodies being inhabited. We shall take for granted that they possess inhabitants, or rather shall put the question thus: “If the stars are inhabited, is it probable that the dwellers on them resemble those on this star, or Earth, or is it more likely that they are non-terrestrial beings, unlike us, and our plant, and animal companions, and different in different stars?
We are not anxious to compel the conclusion, that all the stars are inhabited. Many of the excellent of the earth have held that they universally are, and that, too, by rational creatures; and have thought that the denial of this did injustice to our own convictions, and to the omnipotence and bounty of God. But our standard of Utilitarianism can never be a safe one by which to estimate the works of him whose ways are not as our ways, nor does it require the view supposed.
It would not be a painful, but a pleasant thing, surely, to learn that some of the stars, such as the new planet Flora, were great gardens, like Eden of old before Adam was created; gardens of God, consecrated entirely to vegetable life, where foot of man or beast had never trod, nor wing of bird or insect fanned the breeze; where the trees never crackled before the pioneer's torch, nor rang with the woodman's axe, but every flower' was born to blush unseen, and waste its sweetness on the desert air.'
Neither is it the remembrance of the Arabian Nights, nor thought of Aladdin's lamp, that makes us add that we should rejoice to learn that there was such a thing as an otherwise uninhabited star, peopled solely by magnificent crystals. What a grand thing a world would be, containing, though it contained nothing else, columns of rock crystal like icebergs, and mountains of purple amethyst, domes of rubies, pinnacles and cliffs of emeralds and diamonds, and gates and foundations of precious stones, such as John saw in the Holy Jerusalem descending out of heaven! All who reach the Happy Land are to enter heaven as little children, and it may please God, besides other methods of instruction, to teach his little ones his greatness and his power, by showing them such a world as we have imagined.
And even if some heavenly messenger, Gabriel that stands in the presence of God,' or one of the other angels that excel in strength, should descend amongst us, and proclaim, 'There is no life of any kind in any star but the earth,' should we be entitled to murmur at the news. Such is the pride and selfishness of man, that he does not hesitate to proclaim any world a desert, from which himself or his fellows are excluded. But even if it should be certain that every star but the earth is a ball of lifeless granite, or barren lava, it would be for us, if we were wise, to say of it, as the Psalmist would have said,
Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?' In the most deserted and solitary of worlds, as we might call it, God is present. The fulness of him that filleth all in all, fills it; the Saviour and the Holy Spirit are there. If our ears were not stopped like the deaf adder's, we should, if visitants of such an orb, hear a voice say, 'Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest
is holy ground. We leave, then, the question of the universal habitation of the heavenly bodies untouched, and intend, moreover, to refer chiefly to the nature of the stars, and not to that of their inhabitants. The character or quality of the dwellers in the heavenly bodies is, doubtless, a more generally attractive topic than that of their habitations, as most thoughtful men would consider the most forlorn and degraded savage a more truly interesting object than the grandest palace. Our only hope, however, in the meanwhile, of ascertaining anything concerning the dwellers in the stars is founded upon what we can discover concerning the stars themselves.
The direction in which our argument must proceed may be stated in a word. If we made out a rude structure on the summit of a cliff, to have all the characters of an eagle's nest, we should fairly enough infer that its inhabitants were, or had been, eagles; if we were satisfied that another erection was a beavers' dam, we should judge that beavers dwelt within. A bee-hive would imply bees; a burrow, foxes; a mole-hill, moles; and so if among the heavenly bodies, we discover stars identical with our earth, we may pretty safely infer that they are, or may be, or may have been, inhabited by beings like ourselves. Direct observations on the dwellers in the stars, if dwellers there be, it is not likely we shall ever succeed in making. Of the inhabitants of the sun we shall probably never know more, than that the Apostle John saw in vision an angel in it; and as for the nearest of the heavenly bodies, we may be thankful that in early life, we did all see with our own eyes, as the reader knows he did, the man in the moon, as it is not likely that any of us who have reached maturer years shall ever see him again. Isaac Taylor thinks that our sun 'may be a world of 'bliss, the abode of creatures endowed with incorruptibility and immutability;' in a word, Heaven.* Others, whose names we are glad to leave in oblivion, have looked upon the sun as the world of woe. John Foster thought that its inhabitants might be
square, orbicular,' or, as he shrewdly adds, of any other form.'t We are not about to emulate these authors. The question we shall try to answer is the much simpler one—' Are the stars and their inhabitants terrestrial or non-terrestrial, earthly or non-earthly?'
Great men have held it probable that the stars are terrestrial in nature—i. e., fashioned of the same materials, and generally constructed like the earth. Sir Isaac Newton was of this opinion. So, to some extent, were Laplace and the elder Herschel. Humboldt has adopted it, and Mulder, the distinguished chemist of Holland. "Isaac Taylor, in his 'Physical Theory of another Life,'has enlarged upon it with characteristic ingenuity and eloquence. It has been widely brought before the public by Professor Nichol, and the author of the Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation, and thus it has become a subject of popular interest.
The question may at first sight appear to be one, which, however attractive to the unscientific, cannot be pronounced upon by them; and such certainly is its character. Yet it may be curious to inquire what the decision of the general public is likely to be on a subject so alluring to unreined speculation; and it has been strongly held by certain of the advocates of the telluric or terrestrial nature of the heavenly bodies, that the untutored perception of analogy, and the unaided common sense of mankind, would justify the conclusion, which they favour. Nay, it has been urged that the prejudices of the more lettered and scientific portion of the public incline them to prefer the theory of a non-terrestrial chemistry, although it is difficult to see how this can be the case. To satisfy all parties, however, we shall in the first place try, if possible, to learn what the socalled common sense verdict is, or rather would be, and as we can appeal to no existing document as formally recording it, we shall suppose a jury impanelled to try the question of the chemical identity of our globe and the sidereal universe.
All fellows of colleges and of royal societies shall be excluded: all doctors of all kinds, all professors, lecturers, and the teaching class: all clergymen, lawyers, naval and military officers, civil engineers, and in general every man who puts a title before, or prints letters after his name. All critics, re
* Physical Theory of Another Life, p. 210.
+ Life, vol. i. p. 204.