Chapter 44 [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.]


Accingere gladio tuo super femur tuum.

On Friday, December 1st, the sun rose as usual. The diggers came in armed, voluntarily, and from all directions: and soon they were under drill, as the day before. So far as I know, not one digger had turned to work. It may have happened, that certain Cornishmen, well known for their peculiar propensity, of which they make a boast to themselves, to pounce within an inch of their neighbour’s shaft, were not allowed to indulge in “encroaching.” This, however, I assert as a matter of fact, that the Council of the Eureka Stockade never gave or hinted at any order to stop the usual work on the gold-field.

Towards ten o’clock, news reached our camp that the red coats were under arms, and there would be another licence-hunting.

The flames did not devour the Eureka Hotel with the same impetuosity as we got up our stockade. Peter Lalor gave the order: Vern had the charge, and was all there with his tremendous sword. “Wo ist der Raffaello! Du, Baricaden bauen,” and all heaps of slabs, all available timber was soon higgledy-piggledy thrown all round our camp. Lalor then gave directions as to the position each division should take round the holes, and soon all was on the “qui vive.”

Had Commissioner Rede dared to rehearse the farce of the riot-act cracking as on Gravel-pits, he would have met with a warm reception from the Eureka boys. It was all the go that morning.

No blue or red coat appeared. — It was past one o’clock: John Bull must have his dinner. Lalor spoke of the want of arms and ammunition; requested that every one should endeavour to procure of both as much as possible, but did certainly not counsel or even hint that stores should be pressed for it.

A German blacksmith, within the stockade was blazing, hammering and pointing pikes as fast as his thick strong arms allowed him: praising the while his past valour in the wars of Mexico, and swearing that his pikes would fix red-toads and blue pissants especially. He was making money as fast as any Yankee is apt on such occasions, and it was a wonder to look at his coarse workmanship, that would hardly stick an opossum, though his pikes were meant for kangaroos and wild dogs.

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 57-58

Editor’s notes:
accingere gladio tuo super femur tuum = (Latin) “gird your sword on your thigh”; from Psalm 44:4 in the Latin Vulgate Bible [in various other Bibles, this is in Psalm 45:4, as the numbering of the Psalms varies between different versions of the Bible]

blue pissants = police (in colonial Victoria, the police wore blue coats)

John Bull = a personification of Britain, or England in particular; in this context, “John Bull” is a reference to the officials of the British colonial administration in Victoria

red toads = soldiers (British soldiers wore red coats)

accingere gladio tuo super femur tuum:
Biblia Sacra Vulgatae Editionis, Nicolaum Pezzana [Nicolas Pezzana], Venetiis [Venice, Italy], 1669, page 407 (accessed 20 January 2013)
P. V. Higgins. Commentary on the Psalms, M. H. Gill & Son, Dublin, 1913, page 81
Psalm 45”, New Advent [Psalm 45:4] (accessed 9 January 2013)
Psalms 44:4 : Douay-Rheims Bible parallel: Christian Community, New Jerusalem, Clementine Latin Vulgate, Biblia Sacra Vulgatam”, Veritas Bible (accessed 9 January 2013)
Liber Psalmorum”, The Latin Library [“Psalmus 44”] (accessed 9 January 2013)

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