Letter from Galileo to Tuscan Secretary of State  (excerpt)

January 23, 1616

 My business is far more difficult, and takes much longer owing to outward circumstances, than the nature of it would require; because I cannot communicate directly with those persons with whom I have to negotiate, partly to avoid doing injury to any of my friends, partly because they cannot communicate anything to me without running the risk of grave censure.  And so I am compelled, with much pains and caution, to seek out third persons, who, without even knowing my object, may serve as mediators with the principals, so that I may have the opportunity of setting forth, incidentally as it were, and at their request, the particulars of my interests.  I have also to set down some points in writing, and to cause that they should come privately into the hands of those whom I wish should see them; for I find in many quarters that people are more ready to yield to dead writing than to living speech, for the former permits them to agree or dissent without blushing, and then finally to yield to the arguments used—for in such discussions we have no witnesses but ourselves, whereas people do not so readily change their opinions if it has to be done publicly....

Source: Karl Von Gebler, Galileo Galilei, p. 73  (1879).          

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