Chapter 45 [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.]


Populus ex terra crescit: multitudo hominum est populus; ergo, multitudo hominum ex terra crescit.

Between four and five o’clock of same afternoon, we became aware of the silly blunder, which proved fatal to our cause. Some three or four hundred diggers arrived from Creswick-creek, a gold-field famous for its pennyweight fortunes — grubbed up through hard work, and squandered in dissipation among the swarm of sly-grog sellers in the district.

We learned from this Creswick legion that two demagogues had been stumping at Creswick, and called the diggers there to arms to help their brothers on Ballaarat, who were worried by scores, by the perfidious hounds of the Camp. They were assured that on Ballaarat there was plenty of arms, ammunitions, forage, and provisions, and that preparations on a grand scale were making to redress once for all the whole string of grievances. They had only to march to Ballaarat, and would find there plenty of work, honour, and glory.

I wonder how honest Mr. Black could sanction with his presence, such suicidal rant, such absurd bosh of that pair of demagogues, who hurried down these four hundred diggers from Creswick, helpless, grog-worn, that is, more or less dirty and ragged, and proved the greatest nuisance. One of them, Michael Tuehy, behaved valiantly and so I shall say no more.

Of course something must be done. Thonen was the purveyor. The Eureka butcher on the hill gave plenty of meat, and plenty of bread was got from all the neighbouring stores, and paid for. A large fire was lit in the middle of the stockade, and thus some were made as comfortable as circumstances admitted; others were quartered at the tents of friends; the greater part, soon guessing how they had been humbugged, returned to their old quarters.

Arms and ammunition were our want. Men were there enough; each and all ready to fight: such was the present excitement; but blue and red coats cannot be driven off with fists alone. Lalor gave all his attention to the subject, but would not consent yet to press stores for it.

Vern was perpetually expecting every moment his German Rifle Brigade. Have patience till to-morrow.

In the evening a report was made to the Council, that a reinforcement of soldiers from Melbourne was on the road. Captains Ross and Nealson hastened with their divisions across the bush to intercept the expected troops, so as to get at their arms and ammunition. All proved in vain.

When a revolution explodes as conspired and planned by able leaders, it is usually seen that it was their care from the very beginning, that arms and ammunition should be at hand when and wherever required; while usury, ambition, or vengeance lavishly provide the money to render the revolution popular: but we had never dreamed of making any preparation, because we diggers had taken up arms solely in self-defence; and as up to Saturday the Council of the Eureka Stockade counted in the majority honest men, themselves hard-working diggers, they would not turn burglars or permit anybody to do so in their name.

Truly, I heard from Manning, that a certain committee kept on their hallucinated yabber-yabber at the Star Hotel. I never was there, and know nothing about Star blabs. They, with the exception of Vern, were not with us, thank God; up to Saturday four o’clock any how.

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 58-59

Editor’s notes:
blue and red coats = police (who wore blue coats) and soldiers (who wore red coats)

*populus ex terra crescit: multitudo hominum est populus: ergo, multitudo hominum ex terra crescit = (Latin) “the people grow out of the earth: and the people were a multitude of men: therefore, a multitude of men from the earth grows” (*rough translation) [note: an almost identical phrase appears in Opera Omnia by Johann Gottlieb Heineccius (1681–1741)]

Io. Gottlieb Heineccii. Opera Omnia, Fratrum de Tournes, Genevae [Geneva, Switzerland], 1771, page 60 [section CIII (103): “populus ex terra crescit. Multitudo hominum est populus. Multitudo ergo hominum ex terra crescit”] [the author’s name is also rendered as Johann Gottlieb Heinecke, or Johann Gottlieb Heineccius] (accessed 9 January 2013)
Johann Gottlieb Heineccius”, (accessed 9 January 2013)

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