Chapter 19 [The Eureka Stockade, by Raffaello Carboni, 1855]

[Editor: This is a chapter from The Eureka Stockade by Raffaello Carboni. A glossary has been provided to explain various words and phrases that may be unfamiliar to modern readers.]


Una scintilla, sparasi la bomba, spalanca a multitudini la tomba.

The following story was going the rounds of the Eureka. There was a licence-hunt; the servant of the Rev. P. Smyth, the priest of the Catholic church, Bakery-hill, went to a neighbouring tent to visit a sick man. While inside, a trooper comes galloping up at the tent-door, and shouts out, “Come out here, you d——d wretches! there’s a good many like you on the diggings.” The man came outside, and was asked if “he’s got a licence?” The servant, who is a native of Armenia, answers, in imperfect English, that he is a servant to the priest. The trooper says, “Damn you and the priest,” and forthwith dismounts for the purpose of dragging Johannes M’Gregorius, the servant, along with him. The servant remonstrates by saying he is a disabled man, unable to walk over the diggings. This infuriates the trooper, he strikes and knocks down the poor disabled foreigner, drags him about, tears his shirt — in short, inflicting such injuries on the poor fellow, that all the diggers present cried out “shame! shame!”

Commissioner Johnson rides up, and says to the crowd about him, that he should not be interrupted in the execution of his “dooty.” The priest hears of his servant’s predicament, comes to the spot, hands a five-pound note to Johnson as bail for his servant’s appearance the next day at the police-office.

The following morning, Johannes M’Gregorius is charged with being on the gold-fields without a licence. The poor foreigner tries to make a defence, but was fined five pounds. Commissioner Johnson now comes in and says, M’Gregorius is not charged with being without a licence, but with assaulting the trooper Lord — ridiculous! This alters the case. The trooper is called, and says the old story about the execution of “dooty,” that is, licence-hunting.

A respectable witness takes his oath that he saw the trooper strike the foreigner with his clenched fist, and knock him down.

The end of the story is in the Ballaarat tune, then in vogue: “Fined £5; take him away.”

Raffaello Carboni. The Eureka Stockade: The Consequence of Some Pirates Wanting on Quarter-Deck a Rebellion, Public Library of South Australia, Adelaide, 1962 [facsimile of the 1855 edition], page 28

Editor’s notes:
*una scintilla, sparasi la bomba, spalanca a multitudini la tomba = (Italian) “a spark, shooting the bomb, he opens multitudes a tomb” (*rough translation)

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