Chapter 97 [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.]


The end of men whose word is their bond.

(Per favour of The Times.)

“On the disgraced Sunday morning, December 3rd, whilst attending the wounded diggers at the London Hotel, I was arrested by seven troopers, handcuffed, and dragged to the Camp. On my arrival there, I was commanded to strip to the bare shirt; whilst so doing I was kicked, knocked about, and at last thrown into the lock-up by half-drunken troopers and soldiers. My money, clothes, and watertight boots, which were quite new, could nowhere be found at the Camp. Gaoler Nixon had bolted.

“From the confusion and excitement of that morning, I cannot say with certainty the whole extent of my loss; but I can conscientiously declare that it amounted to £30. The only thing which I saved was a little bag, containing some Eureka dust, and my ‘Gold-licence’, which Inspector Foster, who knew me, took charge of previous to my ill-treatment, and has subsequently handed over to Father P. Smyth for me.

“Awaiting my trial in the Melbourne gaol, I made my ‘complaint’ to the visiting justice, for the recovery of my property; but as I had not even a dog to visit me in prison, so my complaint remained unnoticed. After all, said worshipful the visiting justice (who was ushered into our yard with ‘Fall in, hats off!’), needs more power to him, as Joseph, the nigger-rebel, for the £8, which had been robbed from him in due form at the Camp, had the consolation to be informed by his worshipful that gaoler Nixon had bolted.

“The glorious ‘Not Guilty’ from a British jury having restored me to my former position in society, I embodied my ‘claim’ for restitution in a constitutional form, and had it presented by a gentleman to the Colonial Secretary, to be submitted for his Excellency’s KIND Consideration. His Excellency, soon after my trial, on being assured of my testimonials to character and education, condescended to say, ‘He was glad to hear I was so respectable;’ but His Excellency has not yet been pleased to command the restitution of my property.

“Disappointed, in bad health, and worse spirits, I tramped for Ballaarat, where I found that my tent, on the Eureka, had been robbed of everything that was worth literally a sixpence — cradle, two tubs, digging tools, cooking utensils, all gone, even my very blankets! and, of course, all my little gold in specimens and dust, as well as my belt with money in it.

“From my account-book I can positively say, that on the fatal morning I was arrested, the money I had on my possession, and what I had in my tent in real cash, was £49. ALL OF WHICH I had earned by the sweat of my brow, honestly, through downright hard work.

“During the whole of last season, on the Eureka, who was the first every morning, between four and five to sing out ‘Great works?’ Who was the last dilly-dallying at the cradle after sunset? I appeal to my fellow-diggers, and with confidence.

“Brooding over the strange ups and down of life, I found some consolation in the hearty cheers with which I was saluted at the Adelphi Theatre for my song —

‘When Ballaarat unfurled the Southern Cross;’

and I had the peculiar sensation on that particular night to lie down on my stretcher very hungry!

“‘Heu mihi! pingui quam macer est mihi taurus in arvo!’ and it must be acknowledged that it would have been paying an honest and educated man a better compliment if my neighbours on the Eureka had found less edification in witnessing my nice snug tent converted into a gambling house by day, and a brothel by night. A sad reflection! however merry some scoundrels may have made in getting drunk with my private brandy in the tent.

“Never mind! the diggers have now a legion of friends. So I prevailed on myself to tell, half-a-dozen times over to most of the ‘well-disposed and independent’ yabber-yabber leaders on Ballaarat, how I had been robbed at the Camp, how for my sorrows every mortal thing had been stolen from my tent, and concluded with the remark, ‘that in each case the thieves were neither Vandemonians nor Chinese.’

“I met with grand sympathy in ‘words,’ superlatively impotent even to move for the restitution of my watertight boots!

“Hurrah! glorious things will be told of thee, Victoria!

“These waterhole skippers, who afford buzzing and bamboozling when the rainbow dazzles their dull eyes, bask in their ‘well-affected’ brains, the flaring presumption that ‘shortly’ there will be a demand for sheeps’ heads! (Great works!) and pointing at several of us, it is given unto them to behold with glory ‘the end of men whose word is their bond!’ “(Great works!)

“Let us sing with Horace—

‘TUNE — Old Style.

‘Quando prosperus et jucundus,
Amicorum es fecundus,
Si fortuna perit,
Nullus amicus erit.
Chorus — Cives! Cives!
Querenda pecunia primum,
Post nummos virtus.

“Which in English may mean this —

‘A friend in need is a friend indeed,’ that’s true,
But love now-a-days is left on the shelf,
The best of friends, by G— in serving you
Takes precious care first to help himself.
Ancestors, learning, talent, what we call
Virtue, religion — MONEY beats them all.

“I must now try the power of my old quill, perhaps it has not lost the spell —

“In Rome, by my position in society, and thorough knowledge of the English language, I was now and then of service to Englishmen THERE; in my adversity is there a generous-hearted Englishman HERE who would give me the hand and see that the government enjoins the restitution of the property I was robbed of at the Camp. Let the restitution come from a Board of Inquiry, a Poor-law Board, a Court-Martial, or any Board except a Board (full) of Petitions. The eternal petitioning looks so ‘Italian’ to me! And, especially, let the restitution of my new water-tight boots be done this winter!

“As for the ignominy I was subjected to, my immense sufferings during four long, long months in gaol, the prospects of my life smothered for a while, we had better leave that alone for the present.

“Were I owned by the stars and stripes, I should not require assistance, of course not; unhappily for the sins of my parents, I was born under the keys which verily open the gates of heaven and hell; but Great Britain changed the padlocks long ago! hence the dreaded ‘Civis Romanus sum’ has dwindled into ‘bottomed on mullock.’


“By the grace of spy Goodenough Captain of Foreign Anarchist.

“Prince Albert Hotel, Ballaarat,

“Corpus Christi, 1855.”

No one did condescend to notice the above letter. I do not wonder at it, and why?

I read in the Saturday’s issue of The Star, Ballaarat, October 6th, 1855, how a well-known digger and now a J.P., did, in a “Ballaarat smasher,” toast the good exit of a successful money-maker — an active, wide-awake man of business certainly, but nothing else to the diggers of Ballaarat — “Cela n’est pas tout-a-fait comme chez nous.”

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 121-124

Editor’s notes:
*cela n’est pas tout-a-fait comme chez nous = (French) this is not all-a-like home made (*rough translation)

Cives! Cives! Querenda pecunia primum, post nummos virtus [quaerenda pecunia primum, virtus post nummos] = (Latin) “Citizens! Citizens! Money must be sought for in the first instance, virtue after riches” (or “money is the first thing to be sought, good reputation after wealth”); from “Epistles”, book 1 (section 1, lines 53-54), by Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus, 65 BC – 8 BC)

Civis Romanus sum = (Latin) “I am a Roman citizen”; the phrase was a reference to someone having the rights of Roman citizenship, with the implication of having the protection of the Roman Empire, and hence could be used to halt arbitrary condemnation and beatings by government authorities; the phrase was famously quoted by Lord Palmerston, the British Foreign Secretary, in the UK parliament in 1850 as part of his defence of his decision to blockade a Greek port to force the Greek government to give financial compensation to David Pacifico (known as Don Pacifico), a British subject living in Greece

Heu mihi! pingui quam macer est mihi taurus in arvo = (Latin) “Woe is me! How lean is my bull in a fertile field!”; from “Ecloga Tertia” (“Eclogues Book 3”) (line 100) by Virgil (Publius Vergilius Maro, 70 BC – 19 BC), “Eheu, quam pingui macer est mihi taurus in arvo!” (“Alas, how lean is my bull in a fertile field!”, or “Alas, how lean is my bull on yonder clovered plain”)

*quando prosperus et jucundus amicorum es fecundus; si fortuna perit, nullus amicus erit = (Latin) “when successful and pleasant, friends are abundant; but if fortune fails, we will have no friends” (*rough translation); derived from Ovid (Publius Ovidius Naso, 43 BC – 17 AD), “tempore felici multi numerantur amici; si fortuna perit, nullus amicus erit” (“in happy times we reckon many friends; but if fortune fails, we will have no friends”)

The Times = in this context, this is a reference to the newspaper “The Ballarat Times”

Cives! Cives! Querenda pecunia primum, post nummos virtus:
Jon R. Stone. The Routledge Dictionary of Latin Quotations, Routledge, New York, 2005, page 305 [“quaerenda pecunia primum, virtus post nummos”] (accessed 23 January 2013)
Walter Ralph Johnson. Horace and the Dialectic of Freedom: Readings in Epistles 1, Cornell University Press, New York, 1993, page 41 (accessed 23 January 2013)
Practical Latin”, Alan Emrich (accessed 23 January 2013)
Q. Horati Flacci Epistvlarvm Liber Primvs”, The Latin Library [“O ciues, ciues, quaerenda pecunia primum est; uirtus post nummos!”] (accessed 23 January 2013)

Civis Romanus sum:
Civis Romanus sum”, in: E. Cobham Brewer (editor). Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, Henry Altemus, Philadelphia, 1898 (accessed 29 December 2012)
Palmerston’s speech on affairs in Greece (25 June 1850)”, A Web of English History (accessed 29 December 2012)
Don Pacifico affair and case”, Wikipedia, (accessed 29 December 2012)
Correspondence: Civis Romanus Sum”, Launceston Examiner (Launceston, Tas.), Tuesday 6 April 1886, page 3, (accessed 29 December 2012)

Heu mihi! pingui quam macer est mihi taurus in arvo:
The Works of Virgil Translated into English Prose (volume 1), George B. Whittaker et al, London, 1826, page 17 (1st line) (accessed 18 January 2013)
The Works of Virgil, in Latin and English (third edition), J. Dodsley, London, 1778, pages 108 (line 100, in Latin) and 109 (line 145, in English) (accessed 18 January 2013)
Paul Alpers. The Singer of the Eclogues: A Study of Virgilian Pastoral, with a New Translation of the Eclogues, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1979, pages 24-25 (accessed 18 January 2013)
Psalm 120”, New Advent [“Heu mihi”] (accessed 18 January 2013)
Bruce Bishop. Story of Jephtah: An Oratorio by Giacomo Carissimi, [University of Arizona, 2007?], page 43 [“Heu mihi”] (accessed 18 January 2013)
P. Vergili Maronis Ecloga Tertia”, The Latin Library [“Heu heu, quam pingui macer est mihi taurus in ervo!”] (accessed 18 January 2013)

quando prosperus et jucundus amicorum es fecundus . . .:
Jon R. Stone. The Routledge Dictionary of Latin Quotations: The Illiterati’s Guide to Latin Maxims, Mottoes, Proverbs, and Sayings, Routledge, New York, 2005, page 117 (accessed 31 January 2013)

si fortuna perit, nullus amicus erit:
Henry Thomas Riley (editor). Dictionary of Latin Quotations, Proverbs, Maxims, and Mottos, Classical and Mediaeval, Including Law Terms and Phrases, Henry G. Bohn, London, 1861, page 458
Jon R. Stone. The Routledge Dictionary of Latin Quotations, Routledge, New York, 2005, page 117 [see entry: “tempore felici multi numerantur amici; si fortuna perit, nullus amicus erit”] (accessed 23 January 2013)

Speak Your Mind