COMMENT ON THE ROLE OF FOREIGNERS IN THE OUTBREAK
Tuesday, 12th December 1854.
I have noticed one or two letters that have been published lately in reference to an opinion expressed by many people, not that the late riots at Ballaarat were the result of the interference of "foreigners" with our affairs, but that among the insurgents on that lamentable occasion were several foreigners, who played a very conspicuous part, and the purity of whose motives was very freely questioned. In some of these letters it has been attempted to deny the fact that any foreigners had anything to do with the disgraceful proceedings. This is decidedly wrong; for from the information of several disinterested persons, on the diggings, there can be no doubt that a considerable number of foreigners took a very active part in the emeute; and from the testimony of witnesses at the late examination at Ballaarat, and the proceedings connected with it, it would seem to be settled fairly, that among the leading rioters were many who were not British subjects, let them belong to what other country they may. The first on the list is Augustus Frederick Vern, or Colonel Vern, escaped; then there are the two Italians, Carvalho and Raphaelo(Raffaello Carboni); next we have Fenwick, a Dane (supposed), and John Joseph, a man of colour, &c .; and add to this the testimony of two witnesses that Raphaelo's company was more than half foreigners.Another attempt, and a most disgraceful one it certainly is, has been made by a portion of the press and a few men who seem to be particularly favourable to the rebels, to denounce the conduct of the troops and their leaders at the Eureka as a "savage butchery," pleading as a reason for doing so that the troops fired first. Now, apart altogether from the first cowardly attack upon the military, when Captain Young and the drummer were wounded, it must be evident to every one who has read the late examinations at Ballaarat, and has conversed with disinterested men from that locality, that the insurgents fired upon the soldiers just as they had reached near enough to summon them to surrender; for which object they had gone to the barricade. There are few persons who do not now admit, that however lamentable the loss of life on that occasion was, the sudden blow struck was a judicious one, and mainly contributed to less carnage and atrocity than would have doubtless ensued had the insurgents been allowed to hold the barricade for another day or two. Sympathy is all very well in its place and there are many innocent people in Ballaarat who have doubtless suffered, in mind, body, and pocket, by the late affair, who deserve our sympathy; but if an appeal be made for sympathy for the barricade gentry, who have so wantonly outraged and defied our laws, and caused such incalculable misery to a large portion of our community, the response will be a feeble one indeed.
- The Argus 13 December 1854