+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

convict the accused, are still more extraordinary.
They were:

1. A note of introduction from a Hungarian

2. The fact that certain persons had been
called upon who were compromised in the
revolution of 1848.

3. The possession of a pamphlet advocating
the cause of Hungary.

4. Words implying an acquaintance with

On the strength of these proofs Mr. Bunce
passed above thirty days amidst all the
horrors of an Austrian state prison; in filth,
misery, and hopelessness. Nor can it be said
how long this imprisonment might have
lasted, had he not, by means of his friends,
succeeded in informing the United States
Consul of his position. His communication to
that official, and the protest which the latter
forwarded to the Government at Vienna,
effected an immediate change in his position.
He was allowed to take a daily walk in a
paved courtyard; and the Major, who had all
along treated him with great harshness, took
advantage of the earliest occasion that presented
itself to assure him, " in the most soft
and winning manner," that he had not hitherto
been aware of the disgraceful treatment to
which Mr. Bunce was exposed; that he felt a
sincere respect for the Americans, and that
he lamented the long but necessary delays of
the investigation. It seems that, after the
Consul's protest, Mr. Bunce's confinement had
been prolonged for the express purpose of
enabling the Major to make this apology.
But, since it was considered to be extremely
unsafe to allow a man, who was still smarting
under insult and brutality, to go at large,
ere time had softened the asperity of his feelings,
the American traveller was taken from
Grosswardein to Pesth, and there, for a time,
confined in the house of the Chief of the

At length, owing to the very serious manner
in which the American Government and the
United States Press treated the incarceration
of one of their fellow-citizens, and with the
fear, perhaps, of retaliatory measures before
their eyes, the powers that be, at Vienna,
resolved, reluctantly, and with a very ill
gracenot to acknowledge Mr. Bunce's innocence,
and their own mistake; not to condole
with his sufferings, and apologise for their
own rash and unjust suspicionsbut to rid
themselves of a prisoner, whom they were not
sufficiently powerful to punish, in a manner
at once the most summary and the most
offensive to his feelings. He was placed in
custody of two gendarmes, who escorted him
to the frontiers of Bavaria; where they thrust
him over the black and yellow barrier which
marks the limits of the Austrian Empire.
Happy was Mr. Bunce to stand, again, a
free man upon soil comparatively free. As he
journeyed forward, on his road to Ratisbon,
he compared his own fate with the fate of
those for whom no Consul or Ambassador
interferedover whose safety no mighty
nation watched. If hea stranger, and a
mere bird of passagehad suffered so much,
on such slight suspicion, what must be the
fate of those who were really and truly
in the power of his late tormentors; who
were known as their political antagonists;
who had confronted them in battle; and
direst of allwho had, at one time, triumphed
over those who now held them in bondage?
He turned away, with a sigh for the vanquished;
and, let us hope, with a prayer, that
mercy may reign in the councils of the rulers
of men!

In this country, people will sometimes be
found to complain of the difficulties which
obstruct the arrest of notorious evil-doers.
Amidst the hardships to which our own
system in this respect sometimes exposes us,
we are prone to forget that the forms of
which the criminal avails himself for his protection,
were introduced for the purpose of
shielding the timorous against the caprices,
the rancour, or the persecution of a reigning
faction. In other countries, criminal justice
is less likely to be defeated. The thief and
the murderer may be arrested on suspicion;
and it is easy either to mislead, or to bully,
or starve and beat him, into a confession of
his crime. But the same system is equally
handy, if it is thought necessary to oppress
and ruin an innocent man. A criminal prosecution
on the continent is a pitched battle
between the judge and the culprit, and their
state trials are almost always summary and
effective. But the example of Mr. Bunce
shows how much the innocent may be made
to suffer along with the guilty, and how
small the chances are of escape when the
same man acts as accuser, witness for the
prosecution, and judge, while the prisoner,
arrested on suspicion, is expected to criminate


NOT long ago five or six young men, having
arrived at the conclusion that the enunciation
of their several opinions on various questions
should, in common justice to mankind, take
effect within the hearing of a more numerous
auditory than they then commanded, resolved
to assemble a club for the discussion of questions
"affecting the social, moral, and political
condition of the human race." The field of
speculation was extensive, including every
theory, and every range of subject. There
was no bye-law in the constitution of the club
that could prevent an ambitious member from
disputing Newton's law of gravitation; no
fine restricted him from exulting in the social
and artistic perfectitude of the middle ages;
he might attempt to prove that the French
won the battle of Waterloo, or that two and
two sometimes make five, with perfect impunity.