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An Attempt to Prove the Motion of the Earth by Observations
Made by:
Robert Hooke
Fellow of the Royal Society. *Senec. Nat. Qu. lib. I. cap.
30. `Nè miremur tam tardè erui quæ tam altè jacent.

Wether the Earth move or stand still hath been a Problem, that since Copernicus revived it, hath much exercised the Wits our best modern Astronomers and Philosophers, amongst which notwithstanding there hath not been any one who hath found out a certain manifestation either of the one or the other Doctrine. The more knowing and judicious have for many plausible reasons adhered to the Copernican Hypothesis: But the generality of others, either out of ignorance or prejudice, have rejected it as a most extravagant opinion.

To those indeed who understand not the grounds and principles of Astronomy, the prejudice of common converse doth make it seem so absurd, that a man shall as soon perswade them that the Sun doth not shine, as that it doth not move; and as easily move the Earth as make them believe that it do's so already. For such Persons I cannot suppose that they should understand the cogency of the Reasons here present ed, drawn from the following observations of Parallax, much less therefore can I expect their belief and assent thereunto; to them I have only this to say, 'Tis not here my business to instruct them in the first principles of Astronomy, there being already Introductions enough for that purpose: But rather to furnish the Learned with an experimentum crucis to determine between the Tychonick and Copernican Hypotheses.

That which hath hitherto continued the dispute hath been the plausibleness of some Arguments alledged by the one and the other party, with such who have been by nature or education prejudiced to this or that way. For to one that hath been conversant only with illiterate persons, or such as understand not the principles of Astronomy and Geometry, and have had no true notion of the vastness of the Universe, and the exceeding minuteness of the Globe of the Earth in comparison therewith, who have confined their imaginations & fancies only within the compass and pale of their own walk and prospect, who can scarce imagine that the Earth is globous, but rather like some of old, imagine it to be a round plain covered with the Sky as with a Hemisphere, and the Sun, Moon, and Stars to be holes through it by which the Light of Heaven comes down; that suppose themselves in the center of this plain, and that the Sky doth touch that plain round the edges, supported in part by the Mountains; that suppose the Sun as big as a Sieve, and the Moon as a Chedder Cheese, and hardly a mile off.

That wonder why the Sun, Mo on, and Stars do not fall down like Hail-stones; and that will be martyr'd rather then grant that there may be Antipodes, believing it absolutely impossible, since they must necessarily fall down into the Abyss below them: For how can they go with their feet towards ours, and their heads downwards, without making their brains addle.

To one I say, thus prejudiced with these and a thousand other fancies and opinions more ridiculous and absurd to knowing men, who can ever imagine that the uniformity and harmony of the Celestial bodies and motions, should be an Argument prevalent to perswade that the Earth moves about the Sun: Whereas that Hypothesis which shews how to salve the appearances by the rest of the Earth and the motion of the Heavens, seems generally so plausible that none of these can resist it. Now though it may be said, 'Tis not only those but great Geometricians, Astronomers and Philosophers have also adhered to that side, yet generally the reason is the very same.

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