Quos vult perdere Deus dementat.
What’s up? a licence hunt; old game. What’s to be done? Peter Lalor was on the stump, his rifle in his hand, calling on volunteers to ‘fall in’ into ranks as fast as they rushed to Bakery-hill, from all quarters, with arms in their hands, just fetched from their tents. Alfred, George Black’s brother, was taking down in a book the names of divisions in course of formation, and of their captains.
I went up to Lalor, and the moment he saw me, he took me by the hand saying, “I want you, Signore: tell these gentlemen, pointing to old acquaintances of ours, who were foreigners that, if they cannot provide themselves with fire-arms, let each of them procure a piece of steel, five or six inches long, attached to a pole, and that will pierce the tyrants’ hearts.” Peter of course spoke thus in his friendly way as usual towards me. He was in earnest though. The few words of French he knows, he can pronounce them tolerably well, but Peter is no scholar in modern languages; therefore he then appointed me his aide-de-camp, or better to say his interpreter, and now I am proud to be his historian.
Very soon after this, all the diggers “fell in” in file of two-a-breast, and marched to the Eureka.
Captain Ross of Toronto, was our standard-bearer. He hoisted down the Southern Cross from the flag-staff and headed the march.
Patrick Curtain, the chosen captain of the pikemen, gave me his iron pike, and took my sword to head his division; I “fell in” with John Manning who also had a pike, and all of us marched in order to the Eureka.
I assert as an eye-witness, that we were within one thousand in the rank with all sort of arms, down to the pick and shovel.
We turned by the Catholic church, and went across the gully. Of this I have perfect recollection: when the “Southern Cross” reached the road leading to the Eureka on the opposite hill, the file of two-a-breast crossing the gully, extended backwards up to the hill where the Catholic church stands. I took notice of the circumstance at the time.
We reached the hill where was my tent. How little did we know that some of the best among us had reached the place of their grave! Lalor gave the proper orders to defend ourselves among the holes in case the hunt should be attempted in our quarters.
The red-tape was by far too cunning this time; redcoats, traps and troopers had retired to the Ballaarat Camp, and wanted a “spell.”
We determined, however, to put an end to their accursed licence-hunting, mock riot-act chopping, Vandemonian shooting down our mates in Gravel-pits.
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 43-44
quos vult perdere deus dementat = (Latin) “those whom God wishes to destroy he drives mad”; from an unknown author of ancient Greece, this line is also given in Latin as “quem deus vult perdere, dementat prius” (commonly rendered as “those whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad”)
quos vult perdere deus dementat:
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