Ad opus concilium statutum.
Peter Lalor, at our request, called in all the captains of division, then present, and the chief persons who had taken part in the movement. We entered a room some twelve feet square, in Diamond’s store. An old European fox for such occasions, I took the right sort of precautions, that no spy might creep in among us. Black bottles and tumblers were placed on the table, as a blind to any intruder; “et nunc satis, profani vulgus causa,” we proceeded to business.
1. There was one, whom it is not prudent to mention just now.
2. Near him was a thick, short-necked, burly individual; his phisiog indicated at once that he was a priest-ridden. I won’t trouble myself about his name.
3. I’ll begin with Timothy Hayes. He was born in Ireland, but his outward appearance is that of a noble fellow — tall, stout, healthy-looking man, giving himself the airs of a high-born gentleman, fit to rule, direct, superintend, not to work; that’s quite another thing. Of a liberal mind, however, and, above all, of a kind heart, and that covers a multitude of sins.
4. Edward Thonen, a native of Elbertfeld, Prussia, five feet high, some thirty years old, thin, but robust, of vigorous health, used no razor. His eyes spoke determination and independence of character. One day in November, 1853, he called with his lemonade kegs at my hole in Sailor’s Gully. A mate was served with a glass of lemonade — halloo! he must help at the windlass just at the moment he was tendering payment, and the shilling fell to the ground. Some words passed to the effect that six-pence a glass should be enough for lemonade. Thonen asked for his shilling; my mate directed him where the shilling lay; Thonen would see him d——d first before picking up his money like a dustman, and went away. I sent that identical shilling (stamped 1844), along with my little gold, to Rome; most astonishing! I had the presentiment at the time that I should have had occasion to relate the story. There was no mate on the gold-fields to match Thonen at chess-playing. He would turn his head, allow his opponent the move, and then he would give such a glance on the chess board, that the right piece would jump to the right place, as it were of its own accord. Shrewd, yet honest; benevolent, but scorning the knave; of deep thought, though prompt in action; Thonen possessed the head belonging to that cast of men whose word is their bond.
5. John Manning, born in Ireland, and an Irishman to the back-bone, appeared above forty years of age. His head was bald, perhaps from thinking three times more than he ought; his forehead showed intelligence, but care was there with the plough — the plough of dreaming too much of virtue, believing the knaves are not the majority on earth. He had come young to this colony, had passed hard days, and so he had got the colonial habit, now and then, “Divo jucundo Baccho cultum prestare;” hence his hair was fast turning grey. He was a self-educated man, but wanted judgment to discipline his fermenting brain, for the control of his heart, which was good, honest, always warm, affectionate to man, woman, and child. When he took his quill he was ‘all there,’ but soon manifested the sort of reading of his youth; and experience, however hard, had not yet taught him the sober reality of the things of the world — that is, he had remained an Irishman, not John Bullised.
6. Oh! you long-legged Vern! with the eyes of an opossum, a common nose, healthy-looking cheeks, not very small mouth, no beard, long neck for Jack Ketch, broad shoulders, never broken down by too much work, splendid chest, long arms — the whole of your appearance makes you a lion amongst the fair sex, in spite of your bad English, worse German, abominable French. They say you come from Hanover, but your friends have seen too much in you of the Mexico-Peruvian. You belong to the school of the “Illuminated Cosmopolitans;” you have not a dishonest heart, but you believe in nothing except the gratification of your silly vanity, or ambition, as you call it.
7. The next was a skinny bouncing curl who affected the tone and manners of a Californian; he acted throughout the part of a coward, I scorn to mention his name.
8. Thank God there is among us a man; not so tall as thick, of a strong frame, some thirty five years old, honest countenance, sober forehead, penetrating look, fine dark whiskers. His mouth and complexion denote the Irish, and he is the earnest, well-meaning, no-two-ways, non-John-Bullised Irishman, Peter Lalor, in whose eyes, the gaseous heroism of demagogues, or the knavery of peg-shifters is an abomination, because his height of impudence consisted in giving the diggers his hand, and leaving with them his arm in pawn, for to jump the Ballaarat claim in St. Patrick’s Hall. More power to you Peter! Old chummy, smother the knaves! they breed too fast in this colony.
9. Myself, Carboni Raffaello, Da Roma; Member of the College of Preceptors (1850), Bloomsbury-square, professor, interpreter and translator of the Italian, French, Spanish and German Language into English or vice versa late of 4, Castle-court, Birchin-lane, Cornhill, London; now, gold-digger of Ballaarat, was present.
10. Patrick Curtain, an old digger, well known among us; at the time a storekeeper; husband and father of a beloved family. His caste is that of the Irishman — John-bull; tall, robust, some forty years old; he is no friend to much yabber-yabber; of deep thinking, though very few can guess what he is thinking of. He smiles but never laughs to his heart’s content. Curtain was captain, and subsequently lieutenant of the pikemen division, when they chose Hanrahan for their captain. Said pikemen division was among the first that took up arms on Thursday, November 30th, immediately after the licence-hunt. It was formed on Bakery-hill, and received Lalor on the stump with acclamation. It increased hourly and permanently; was the strongest division in the Eureka stockade; in comparison to others, it stood the most true to the “Southern Cross,” and consequently suffered the greatest loss on the morning of the massacre. Now, to explain how both its gallant leaders escaped unhurt, safe as the Bank, so that a few weeks afterwards, both were working happy and jolly in broad day-light on Gravel-pits, within a rifle shot from the Camp, that would be a job of a quite different kind just at present: sufficient the trouble to mention; that when I came out of gaol, I met them both in a remunerative hole in Gravel-pits, as aforesaid.
11. 12. There were two other individuals of the John-bull caste, perhaps cross-breed, who had taken up arms in the cause of the diggers, because their sly-trade was flagging; but, as a rotten case abides no handling, I will let them pass.
Manning, handed over to Lalor the motion drawn up in my tent. Here it is:—
Proposed by John Manning,
Seconded by Carboni Raffaello,
“I. That Peter Lalor has acted worthy of the miners of Ballaarat, in organizing the armed men on Bakery-hill, against the wanton aggression from the Camp this morning.
“II. That he be desired to call in all captains of division now present on the spot, as well as other persons of importance, well-known good-wishers to the cause of the diggers.
“III. That said parties constitute the council-of-war for the defence.
“IV. Lalor to be the president pro. tem.
“V. That he proceed at once to the election of the Commander-in-Chief, by the majority of votes.”
Lalor tore up immediately the slip of paper containing the above motion, because he did not think it prudent to leave written things about in a public store. I transcribe it from the scrap left among the papers in my tent.
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 45-47
*ad opus concilium statutum = (Latin) “council decided to work” (*rough translation)
*Divo jucundo Baccho cultum prestare = “St. Bacchus cult delight performs” (*rough translation)
*et nunc satis, profani vulgus causa = (Latin) and now I have sufficient, for the sake of the common people profane (*rough translation)
phisiog = physiognomy, the art of judging a man’s character and temperament by his physical appearance (from the Greek “physiognōmōn”)