Chapter 89 [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.]


Melior nunc lingua favere.



“(Before his Honour the Chief Justice,)

“The prisoner, Raffaello, on his trial being postponed, wished to address His Honour. He said that he was a native of Rome, and hoped that the same good feeling would be shown towards him in this colony as in old England. If his witnesses were there, he would be able to leave the dock at that moment. He hoped that His Honour would protect him by seeing that his witnesses were served with subpoenas.

“His Honour was not responsible for this. Prisoner’s attorney was the party, and he must speak to him. It is the business of your attorney to get these witnesses.”

The following advertisement appeared in The Age, February 24th, 1855, immediately above the leading article of said day:—



“The trial of Raffaello has been postponed on account of the absence of Dr. Alfred Carr, Mr. Gordon, of the store of Gordon and M`Callum, and other witnesses for the defence. It is earnestly requested that they will be in attendance on Monday morning at latest.

“J. Macpherson Grant,

“Solicitor for the defence.”

The following letter, and comment on it, appeared in The Age, March 16th, 1855:—


. . . . “I was, Mr. Editor, present at Ballaarat on the memorable morning of the 3rd December, and in the pursuit of my usual avocation, happened to meet Raffaello, now one of the state prisoners, on the Redhill, he being then in search of Dr. Carr’s hospital… We were directed the hospital, and soon returned to the Eureka, Raffaello bringing Dr. Carr’s surgical instruments. We entered the stockade, and saw many lying almost dead for want of assistance and from loss of blood, caused by gun-shot and bayonet wounds. I did not remain long in the stockade, fearing if found there at that time I would be arrested. I made my escape; but poor Raffaello, who remained rendering an act of mercy to the dying, would not leave. He might, during that time, have easily made his escape, if he wished to do so; and I am sure, ran no inconsiderable risk of being shot, through the constant explosion of fire-arms left in the stockade by the diggers in their retreat.

“Melbourne, 15th March, 1854.

“The writer of the above states, in a private note, that he wishes his name kept secret; but we trust that his intimacy with the Camp officials will not prevent him from coming forward to save the life of a fellow creature, when the blood-hounds of the government are yelling with anxiety to fasten their fangs upon their victims.” — Ed. A.

The Age who certainly never got drunk yet on Toorak small-beer, had an able leading article, headed, “The State Trials” — see January 15th — concluding, “If they be found guilty, then Heaven help the poor State Prisoners.”

Now turn the medal, and The Age of March 26th — always the same year, 1855 — that is, the day after my acquittal, gives copy of a Bill of the “LAST PERFORMANCE; or, the Plotters Outwitted.”


“To-day, the familiar farce of “State Prosecutions; or, the Plotters Outwitted,” will be again performed, and positively for the last time; on which occasion that first-rate performer, Mr. W. F. Stawell, will (by special desire of a distinguished personage) repeat his well-known impersonation of Tartuffe, with all the speeches, the mock gravity, etc., which have given such immense satisfaction to the public on former occasions. This eminent low comedian will be ably supported by Messrs. Goodenough and Peters, so famous for their successful impersonations of gold-diggers; and it is expected that they will both appear in full diggers’ costume, such as they wore on the day when they knelt before the ‘Southern Cross,’ and swore to protect their rights and liberties. The whole will be under the direction of that capital stage manager, Mr. R. Barry, who will take occasion to repeat his celebrated epilogue, in which he will — if the audience demand it — introduce again his finely melodramatic apostrophe to the thunder.

“With such a programme, what but an exceedingly successful farce can be anticipated? A little overdone by excessive repetition, it may be said; but still an admirable farce; and, as we have said, this is positively the last performance. Therefore, let it go on; or as Jack Falstaff says, ‘play out the play.’”

Of course, I leave it to my good reader to guess, whether after four long months in gaol, which ruined my health for ever, I did laugh or curse on reading the above.
Concerning the four documents above, so far so good for the present; and the Farce will be produced on the stage of Teatro Argentina, Roma, by Great-works. The importance of the following observation, however, is obvious to any reader who took the proper trouble to understand the text of the first chapter of this book:—

Why Dr. A. Carr, Sub-inspector Carter, Messrs. Gordon and Binney were not present as witnesses on my trial, was, and is still, a MYSTERY to me.

Sunt tempora nostra! nam perdidi spem: Melior nunc lingua favere.

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 115-116

Editor’s notes:
Jack Falstaff = Sir John Falstaff, a character portrayed as a cowardly fat knight, who appeared in several plays by William Shakespeare (1564 BC – 1616 BC) [the plays Falstaff appears in are: Henry IV, Part 1; Henry IV, Part 2; and The Merry Wives of Windsor; and he is mentioned in Henry V]

*melior nunc lingua favere = (Latin) “improved language support now” (*rough translation)

*Sunt tempora nostra! nam perdidi spem: Melior nunc lingua favere = (Latin) “There are times in our! I lost hope for: improved language support now” (*rough translation) [Carboni uses the phrase “sunt tempora nostra” in chapters I (1), LXXXIX (89), XCVIII (98), and C (100)]

play out the play = the character of Jack Falstaff says the line “Play out the play” in Henry IV, Part I (Act 2, Scene 4), by William Shakespeare (1564 BC – 1616 BC)

Tartuffe = (French) “The Impostor”, a famous French comedy play by Molière (Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, 1622 – 1673), which had as its main character the hypocrite Tartuffe, and so the word “Tartuffe” came to mean a hypocrite who pretends to be very virtuous but who is not

teatro = (Italian) theater

Jack Falstaff:
Sir John Falstaff”, Encyclopædia Britannica (accessed 31 January 2013)
Falstaff”, Wikipedia (accessed 31 January 2013)

play out the play:
The First part of King Henry the Fourth: Act 2, Scene 4”, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (accessed 31 January 2013)
The Dramatic Works of William Shakespeare, Volume 1, M’Carty & Davis, and H.C. Carey & I. Lea, Philadelphia, 1824, page 402 (accessed 31 January 2013)

Tartuffe”, Encyclopædia Britannica (accessed 31 January 2013)
Tartuffe”, Wikipedia (accessed 31 January 2013)

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