Mr. Ticknor in later years gave the following account of an interesting scene he witnessed in Rome at this time. It was written down immediately by one of those who heard it.
The first time I ever saw Bunsen he was introduced to me at Gottingen, in 1816, by one of the professors, and I was told that he had been two years private tutor to one of my countrymen, Mr. William B. Astor. He was then on his way to Rome to be private secretary to Niebuhr. A year and a half afterwards, when I went to Rome, I found him there, a married man. I witnessed a very extraordinary scene there,—the celebration of the three-hundredth anniversary of Luther's burning the Papal bull, got up right under the nose of the Pope! It was very curious. It was in October, 1818. I had just arrived in Rome, coming from Germany, and was very much among the Germans,—with Niebuhr and Bunsen, Brandes and Mad. de Humboldt. Niebuhr thought of getting up the celebration, and at first intended to have it in his own palazzo; but he changed the plan, and arranged that it should be held in a large room at Brandes's lodgings, he being connected with the legation. There was nobody present but twenty or thirty Germans, except Thorwaldsen, who, being a Dane, was all one as a German, and myself, who was invited as a kind of German. Bunsen read something between a speech and a sermon; and there were prayers, that he had translated from the English Prayer-Book. Brandes read them, and there was a great sensation produced in the room. What Bunsen said was fine and touching. At the end, Niebuhr—who always reminded me of the Rev. Dr. Channing, a small man, with a great deal of soul in his face—went up to Bunsen, meaning to say some words of thanks. He held out both hands to him, and then he was completely overcome; he fell on his neck and wept loud, and I assure you there were not many dry eyes in the room.