To the Editors of the Sydney Morning Herald.
GENTLEMEN, In your article upon Californian Morals, in Monday's Herald, you quote (with disapproval) the following passage from reso-
lutions passed at a public meeting held in San Francisco for considering the circum- stances connected with the late disastrous conflagration in that city, and for adopting measures for preventing the recurrence of a like calamity. "If the authorities have not the moral courage to prevent such passengers from landing, the citizens generally be re- quested to rise in their might and cause such vessels to export back again the said con-
I presume you will admit the two following propositions, and if so, you must also neces- sarily admit the conclusions:—
1st. Every independent nation may of right protect itself against inundation of foreign
2nd. Great Britain is pouring her criminals by shiploads and thousands into Van Die-
men's Land, whence they may and do with the greatest facility spread themselves over the neighbouring colonies, where they arrive and whence they depart as free men.
Therefore the citizens of California and other countries similarly situated must of necessity and in self-defence rise in their might and cause such vessels to export back again their living cargoes.
The case is unprovided for by any existing law, and cannot be guarded against by any law that may be passed, without an infraction of that policy which pervades free and liberal governments of offering an asylum to the virtuous poor of all lands ; and any man who is not charged with crime is supposed to be untainted. The Australasian colonies, how- ever, are in an exceptional state, and must continue to be so while the present transpor- tation system shall exist. The presumption with respect to men going from these colonies may fairly be, that they are not untainted.
If the Consular certificate required by the San Francisco resolutions should be insisted
on, how could it be granted to any one with whose history the Consul was not personally acquainted ?
In Van Diemen's Land such a certificate might be accorded with safety, because there it is known who are and who are not convicts, in the other colonies that cannot be known nor ascertained.
The people of the Cape rose in their might and sent the ship away that conveyed pri- soners to their shores, because they knew them to be prisoners. The people of San Francisco will do the same, because they can- not know that they are not convicts.
I am, gentlemen, yours &c.,
BEM'S COURAGE AND CLEMENCY DURING THE CAMPAIGN.—In private Bem was retired in his manners and habits, silent in company, and re- served in his communications, even to those nearest to him. To one of his staff, who in- quired what was to be done the next day, Bem answered, "Can you keep a secret?" ''Yes." "Ah, so can I." The cleverest spy could never make out any of his movements. Every morning the troops were paraded in marching order, and orders were then first given out. Sometimes they were to march straight to the field of battle; at others, sent back to their quarters, without any one being able even to guess, beforehand, which would happen. Bem would overlook many faults in favour of a fighting man, but be never pardoned an officer who retreated unless he contested every inch of the way. No one near him dared speak of the possibility of retreating. His own courage seemed to consist in an absolute unconsciousness of danger; and he was often vexed and disappointed to find that all men had not the same feeling. To prisoners, Bem was humane in the highest degree. Every Austrian officer was generously treated who fell into his hands. He secured them their horses and private property. On entering Her- mannstadt, Puchner's orders and diplomas were found, and Bem immediately sent them to him by two non-commissioned officers, whom, perhaps out of gratitude, the Austrians attempted to take prisoners. Colonel Koppet was taken prisoner near Hermannstadt. When in Klausenburg this officer had distinguished himself from his comrades by his delicacy to- wards the conquered, and the disgust he openly showed towards the Wallack allies of Urban. Bem received him with every mark of respect, and told him he might choose his own place of residence. He allowed him even to go to his family, who were in the Austrian for- tress of Zemeavar. It is sad to relate that this officer broke his parole, again took up arms
against the Hungarians, and re-entered Trans- sylvania with the Russians, as a general in the Austrian service. Nor was this the only in-
stance in which imperial officers misused the leniency of the Hungarians. We believe they argued that it was no breach of honour not to observe their parole when given to a rebel. We leave our readers to characterise this
sophistry as it deserves.—The British Quart- terly Review.
BEM'S DUEL WITH A YOUNG POLISH OFFICER: LISTON'S SURGICAL SKILL. Bem again visited England in 1847. Weak and emaciated by a
wound received thirty-one years before, he was now so lame that he could hardly move, even with crutches. When a young man, a quarrel
with a Polish officer of artillery had ended in a meeting with pistols. Fortune gave the officer the first fire; and Bem fell wounded in the thigh. The officer raised his hat and wished him good morning. "Stop," cried Bem, "it's my turn now;" and, leaning on his elbow, he coolly took his aim and sent a ball through his antagonist's heart. Bem's wound, although the ball had never been extracted, did not, for many years, prevent him from following the active life we have described. In Paris, how- ever, it caused him so much suffering that he
submitted to an operation at the hands of the celebrated Dupuytren. After an hour's agony Dupuytren declared the ball was in such position, imbedded in bone, that it required
other instruments to extract it than those he had brought with him, and that he must return and finish the operation next day. Bem told him to do what he liked with him then, but
that he would not hear of any second experi- ment. On this Dupuytren said nothing further could be effected, and the ball was left where it was. For some years afterwards the pain diminished, but returned again with, greater violence in 1846. Bem was now en-
tirely without means of support, broken down in health, and requiring the best surgical skill, and careful nursing. In this state he pre- sented himself before Lord Dudley Stuart, a name it is scarcely possible to mention with- out expression of admiration for the constancy with which he has devoted himself to protect and aid the sufferers in the cause of Poland,
or we may say of freedom. It was contrary to the rules of the Polish Association to afford any assistance to new claimants; but, thanks to Lord Dudley Stuart, the urgent wants of Bem were allowed to form an exception. A poor pittance was granted him weekly, and his admission was obtained to the hospital of Uni- versity College, where he was placed under the care of Mr. Liston. The operation which Dupuytren had been attempting for an hour and failed in was performed in less than five minutes. But many months elapsed before Bem was sufficiently recovered to leave the hospital, and he was obliged to return even a second time, before he was dismissed as cured. —The British Quarterly Review.
SAGACITY OF THE NATIVES IN TRACING A TRAIL.—Like the American Indians they can go from one place to another in a straight line, without any track or even the sun to guide them. But it is in tracking that they excel most. No mark on the ground escapes their eye. If a beast leaves the impression of its
claw or any other trace of its march, if a twig is broken or a withered leaf turned over, they at once perceive it. The stones and rocks beat marks for their eyes, which we can never see. I have made them stoop down and put the finger on the track which they saw and yet
perceived nothing. The creek, or even river, gives no protection against them. They will find your footprint in the sand, or on the peb- bles at the bottom of the water, from which your tread has removed the thin coat of mud, or green slime, which was there. This is it that gives them their supremacy, and their food in the forest, where the white man can literally find nothing to eat. They are invaluable on this account for finding horses and rattle, which they seldom fail to do, when all efforts of the stockman fail. —Henderson's Excursions and Adventures in New South Wales.