Chapter 65 [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.]


Ecce homo.

On Monday morning, the fresh air had restored me a little strength. We had an important arrival among us. It was the Editor of The Times newspaper, arrested for sedition. All silver and gold lace, blue and red coats in the Camp rushed in to gaze on this wild elephant, whose trunk it was supposed, had stirred up the hell on Ballaarat.

Henry Seekamp is a short, thick, rare sort of man, of quick and precise movements, sardonic countenance; and one look from his sharp round set of eyes, tells you at once that you must not trifle with him. Of a temper that must have cost him some pains to keep under control, he hates humbug and all sort of yabber-yabber. His round head of tolerable size, is of German mould, for the earnestness of his forehead is corrected by the fullness of his cheeks, and a set of moustachios is the padlock of his mouth, whose key is kept safe in his head, and his heart is the turn-key. When his breast is full, and he must make it clean, its gall will burn wherever it falls, and set the place a blazing. To keep friends with such a cast of mind, whose motto is Nelson’s, you must do your duty; never mind if you sink a shicer, bottom your shaft any how. You are his enemy if you are or play the flunky; he will call you a “thing,” and has a decided contempt for “incapables.” Hence, his energy was never abated, though the whole legion of Victorian red-tape wanted to dry his inkstand, and smother his lamp in gaol. That there are too many fools at large, he knows, because he has travelled half the world, what he can not put up with, is their royal cant, religious bosh, Toorak small-beer, and first and foremost, their money-grubbing expertness. Hence, now and then, his ink turns sour, and thereby its vitriol burns stronger. The Times, of which he is the founder, is the Overseer of Ballaarat, and the Dolce far niente will not prosper.

Our literary prisoner was literally insulted, and could not look with enough contempt on all those accursed asses braying (at him) “The Times!” “The Times!

I felt for him very much, and joined conversation with him in French. I state it as a matter of fact, that there and then I had the presentiment that all the spies pointed me out there, and only there and then as his accomplice. Towards ten o’clock we were ordered to fall in, in four rows. Now the Camp officials and their myrmidons were in their glory. They came to number their prey, and mark out a score of heads to make an “example” of, for the better conduct of future generations. Unfortunately for my red hair, fizzing red beard, and fizzing red moustachios, my name was taken down after the armed ruffian and the anonymous scribbler, and followed by that of the nigger-rebel.

It was odious to see honourable, honest, hard-working men made the gazing stock of a parcel of pampered perverted fools, for the fun of “a change;” to gratify their contempt for the blue-shirt and thick boots who had dared, mucky and muddy, to come out of their deep wet holes to hamper these gods of the land in their dog’s game of licence-hunting!

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 83-84

Editor’s notes:
dolce far niente = (Italian) “pleasant idleness”, or “sweet idleness” (literally, “sweet doing nothing”)

ecce homo = (Latin) “behold the man”; in Christian iconography, “ecce homo” refers to a painting or sculpture of Jesus wearing a crown of thorns; derived from a reference to Jesus Christ by Pontius Pilate, when he presented Jesus to a hostile crowd, in John 19:5 in the Latin Bible: “exiit ergo Iesus portans spineam coronam et purpureum vestimentum et dicit eis ecce homo” (“Jesus then came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold, the Man!””) [although used in different contexts, the words “ecce homo” also appear in Psalm 52:9, Matthew 11:19, Matthew 12:10, and Luke 7:34]

moustachios = moustache, particularly with hair growing down the sides of the mouth in the style sometimes referred to as “handle-bars”

myrmidons = minions, or loyal followers, especially those who carry out orders unquestioningly or unscrupulously (from the Myrmidons, a legendary people of Greek history)

shicer = an unproductive mine

ecce homo:
John 19:5”, Online Multilingual Bible (accessed 10 January 2013)
John 19”, New Advent (accessed 10 January 2013)
John 19:5 : Douay-Rheims Bible parallel: Christian Community, New Jerusalem, Clementine Latin Vulgate, Biblia Sacra Vulgatam”, Veritas Bible (accessed 10 January 2013)
Psalm 52”, New Advent (accessed 10 January 2013)
Matthew 11 ”, New Advent (accessed 10 January 2013)
Matthew 12 ”, New Advent (accessed 10 January 2013)
Luke 7”, New Advent (accessed 10 January 2013)

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