Heu mihi! Sermo meus, veritas.
My friends had requested me to come forward at the meeting, and here is my speech according to notes I had previously taken in my tent.
Gold-laced Webster, I challenge contradiction.
“I came from old Europe, 16,000 miles across two oceans, and I thought it a respectable distance from the hated Austrian rule. Why, then, this monster meeting to-day, at the antipodes? We wrote petitions, signed memorials, made remonstrances by dozens; no go: we are compelled to demand, and must prepare for the consequences.
“The old style: oppressors and oppressed. A sad reflection, very sad reflection, for any educated and honest man.
“For what did we come into this colony? Chi sta bene non si move, is an old Roman proverb. If then in old Europe, we had a bird in hand, what silly fools we were to venture across two oceans, and try to catch two jackasses in the bush of Australia!
“I had a dream, a happy dream, I dreamed that we had met here together to render thanks unto our Father in heaven for a plentiful harvest, such that for the first time in this, our adopted land, we had our own food for the year; and so each of us holding in our hands a tumbler of Victorian wine, you called on me for a song. My harp was tuned and in good order: cheerfully struck up,
‘Oh, let us be happy together.’
Not so, Britons, not so! We must meet as in old Europe — old style — improved by far in the south — for the redress of grievances inflicted on us, not by crowned heads, but blockheads, aristocratical incapables, who never did a day’s work in their life. I hate the oppressor, let him wear a red, blue, white, or black coat. — And here certainly, I tackled in right earnest with our silver and gold lace on Ballaarat, and called on all my fellow-diggers, irrespective of nationality, religion, and colour, to salute the Southern Cross as the refuge of all the oppressed from all countries on earth. — The applause was universal, and accordingly I received my full reward:
Prison and Chains! Old style.
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 38-39
*Heu Mihi! Sermo meus, veritas = (Latin) “Woe is me! My word, the truth” (*rough translation)
chi sta bene non si move = (Italian) “those who are well should not change” (an Italian proverb)
chi sta bene non si move:
Reminiscences of Michael Kelly of the King’s Theatre, and Theatre Royal Drury Lane (Volume 1), Henry Colburn, London, 1826, page 54
Marcello Staglieno. Proverbi Genovesi: Con I Corrispondenti in Latino ed in Diversi Dialetti d’Italia, Presso Gerolamo Filippo Garbarino, Genova [Genoa, Italy], 1869, page 70