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westward. But they had not sailed above a fort night in this wide ocean before the men began to murmur; for observing the wind to set constantly from east to west, they apprehended there would be no possibility of returning, and therefore concluded they must inevitably perish if they missed the land they were made to expect. Their fears however were in some measure dissipated on the nineteenth, when they observed some birds flying over their ships, and saw abundance of weeds driving by them on the twenty-second. Having continued their course westward for some time longer, and meeting with no land, the seamen began again to mutiny, and were near upon resolving to throw their admiral overboard, and endeavour to return to Europe ; but happily for Columbus, they were once more pacified by seeing birds, weeds, and even a shrub with berries upon it swim by them, which gave them fresh hopes that land was at no great distance. ACcordingly, on the eleventh of October, about ten at night, the admiral first discovered a light upon the island of Guanabani, or St. Salvador, which last name he gave it, in consideration that the sight of it delivered him and his men from their fears of perishing. In the morning the ships anchored near the island, which the natives beheld with the greatest astonishment, whilst the admiral went ashore in his boat, and took possession of the country in the name of their Catholic majesties. The poor people were extremely pleased with the beads and other toys the Spaniards distributed amongst them, and followed Columbus and his people wherever they went, seeming to adore them as if they were come from Heaven. From this island they sailed to Cuba and Hispaniola, whence they departed for Europe, and arrived at Palos on the thirteenth of March 1493, where a solemn procession and thanksgiving were made for their return, and the admiral was received by their Catholic majesties with the greatest honours.-Columbus afterwards made three voyages to this new world, which yet has not taken its name from him, as one might naturally expect it would have done, but from Americo Vespucio, a Florentine by birth, who was sent in 1497, by Emanuel king of Portugal, to continue the discoveries begun by Columbus.

63. Galileo.

GALILEO, one of the most celebrated mathematicians, and greatest geniuses of the seventeenth century, was the natural son of Vinzenzo Galileo, a nobleman of Florence. In his youth, he had an extreme fondness for the study of philosophy and the mathematics ; and made an extraordinary progress in the sciences; whence, in 1592, he was chosen professor of mathematics in the university of Padua; soon after which he wrote a treatise of mechanics, and shewed the manner of finding the alloy of mixed metals, by means of the height of a statical balance. While he was professor at Padua, it is said, that having heard of those glasses said to be invented by James Metius in Holland, by means of which distant objects appeared to be brought near, he reflected with such application on the nature of those glasses, that without ever having seen any of them, he invented the telescope. With this instrument he was the first who discovered the four satellites of Jupiter, and made observations on the Heavens, that will render his name immortal. In 1611, Cos

mo II., grand duke of Tuscany, made him professor of mathematics at Pisa ; and soon after, inviting him to Florence, gave him the title of his first philosopher and mathematician. In 1612, having observed the spots in the sun, he printed an account of that discovery in the following year at Rome; in which, and in some other pieces, he ventured to assert the truth of the Copernican system, and brought several new arguments to confirm it. Upon this he was cited to appear before the inquisition at Rome, in 1615, where he was charged with heresy, for maintaining that the sun was the centre of our system, and that the earth turns round on its own axis by a diurnal motion ; both which propositions were declared contrary to the word of God; and having been detained by the inquisition at Rome for upwards of a year, Cardinal Bellarmine made him promise not to defend this system, either by word or writing; but Galileo did not keep his word; he went on making new discoveries in the Heavens, and sixteen years after, published his dialogue on the systems of Ptolemy and Copernicus, in which he undertook to prove, that the sun was really immoveable; and that the earth turned round it. This work having made much noise, Galileo was again cited before the inquisition at Rome, where in 1633, he was obliged, by a decree, to abjure his system, as erroneous and heretical; and was condemned to remain in prison, as long as the Cardinal Inquisitors should think fit, and his printed books were burnt at Rome. They, however, some time after, were contented with sending him into the dominions of the duke of Tuscany, where he was confined to the little town of Arcetri, with its territory. He was the author of several noble inventions and discoveries, besides

those already mentioned, particularly in astronomy, he discovered the trepidation or vibration of the moon; as also the inequalities or mountains on its surface. By the frequent eclipses of Jupiter's satellites, which be called the Medicean stars, he had thoughts of finding out the longitude, and composed his tables with their motions. In geometry he invented the Sycloid or Trochoid, and in mechanics, he first found out the exact degree of celerity in the descent of bodies, by the force of gravitation. He had likewise a taste for architecture and painting, and played well on musical instruments. He lost his sight two years before his death, which happened at Florence in 1642, when he was seventy-eight years of age. Many of his works have been unhappily lost, by the folly of his wife, who was persuaded by her confessor to deliver them to him, in order to be burnt.-Wonders of Nature and Art.

64. Absence of Mind. An absent man is generally either a very weak, or a very affected man; he is, however, a very disagreeable man in company. .. He is defective in all the common offices of civility; he does not enter into the general conversation, but breaks into it from time to time, with some start of his own, as if he waked from a dream. He seems wrapped up in thought, and possibly does not think at all; he does not know his most intimate acquaintances by sight, or answers them as if he were at cross purposes.

He leaves his hat in one room, his cane in another, and would probably leave his shoes in a third, if his buckles, though awry, did not save them. This is a sure indication, either of a mind so weak that it cannot beat above one object at a time, or so affected that it would be supposed to be wholly engrossed by some very great and important object. Sir Isaac Newton, Mr. Locke, and perhaps five or six more since the creation, may have had a right to absence, from the intense thought which their investigations required; but such liberties cannot be claimed by, nor will be tolerated in any other persons.

No man is, in any degree, fit for either business or conversation, who does not command his attention to the present object, be what it will. When I see a man absent in mind, I choose to be absent in body; for it is almost impossible for me to stay in the room, as I cannot stand inattention and awkwardness. I would rather be in


with a dead man than with an absent one; for if the dead man affords me no pleasure, at least he shews me no contempt; whereas the absent man very plainly, though silently, tells me that he does not think me worth his attention. Besides, an 'absent man can never make


the characters, customs, and manners of the company. He may be in the best companies all his lifetime, if they will admit him, and never become the wiser : we may as well converse with a deaf man as an absent one. It is, indeed, a practical blunder to address ourselves to a man who, we plainly perceive, neither hears, minds, nor understands us.-Chesterfield.


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