Chapter 41 [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.]


The Eureka Stockade.

The Consequence of Some Pirates Wanting on Quarter-Deck a Rebellion.

At last the deputation was before King Rede, whose shadow by moonshine, as he held his arm a la Napoleon, actually inspired me with reverence; but behold! only a marionette was before us. Each of his words, each of his movements, was the vibration of the telegraphic wires directed from Toorak. He had not a wicked heart; some knew him for his benevolence, and he helped many an honest digger out of trouble. Once I had seen him with my mate, Paul Brentani, about manufacturing bricks from the splendid clay of Gravel-pits. Mr. Rede received us as a gentleman, and, by way of encouragement, said to Paul, “Je veux bien vous aider, car tout est encore a batir a Ballaarat, et il nous faut des briques — revenez me voir.” And yet, on the goldfield, this man was feared by the few who could not help it, respected by the many — detested by all, because he was the Resident Commissioner — that is, all the iniquities of officialdom at the time were indiscriminately visited on his gold-lace cap, which fact so infatuated his otherwise not ordinary brains, that they protruded through his eyes, whenever he was sure he had to perform a dooty. I would willingly turn burglar to get hold of the whole of the correspondence between him and Toorak. I feel satisfied I would therein unravel the MYSTERY of the Eureka massacre.

Rede, after all, was neither the right man, nor in the right place, for Sir Charles Hotham.

Sub-inspector Taylor, with his silver-lace cap, blue frock, and jingling sword, so precise in his movement, so Frenchman-like in his manners, such a puss-in-boots, after introducing the deputation, placed himself at the right of the Commissioner, and never spoke; though, on accompanying us from the bridge, having recognised me, he said, “We have been always on good terms with the diggers, and I hope we may keep friends still;” — and gave me a smile of sincerity. He, perhaps, was ignorant, as well as the deputation, that, on quarter-deck, some pirates wanted a rebellion.

At the left of Mr. Rede, there was a gentleman who inspired us with confidence. His amiable countenance is of the cast that commands respect, not fear. The ugliness of his eyes prejudices you against him at first; let him, however, turn them upon you, in his own benevolent way, you are sure they mean no harm: within a pair of splendid whiskers, of the finest blond, there is such a genteel nose and mouth, such a fine semi-serious forehead, that the whole is the expression of his good sound heart, that loves truth, even from devils. It was Charles Henry Hackett, police magistrate.

The place of our palaver was exactly one yard down hill, near the old gum tree, in front of the present Local Court.

Mr. Rede asked our names, and cautioned us that our message would be reported at head-quarters. He who had a gang of the vilest spies at his bidding, perhaps, indeed, forced upon him, now suspected us as such, and told us pretty plainly, that he thought it not prudent to take us to his residence, the camp being prepared against a supposed attack from the diggers.

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], pages 53-54

Editor’s notes:
a la Napoleon = (French) “in the manner of Napoleon”, or “in the style of Napoleon” (“a la” is short for “à la mode de”, “in the manner of”)

*Je veux bien vous aider, car tout est encore a batir a Ballaarat, et il nous faut des briques — revenez me voir = (French) “I want to help you, because everything is still to build a Ballaarat, and we need bricks — come back to me” (*rough translation)

marionette = (French) “puppet”

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