John Manning

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State Prisoners, 1855.
Courtesy Ballarat Heritage Services.
State Prisoners from The Revolt at Eureka’ by R. Wenban. Schools Publishing House, 1959.
Walter E. Pidgeon, Illustration from The Eureka Stockade by Raffaello Carboni, Sunnybrook Press, 1942, offset print.
Art Gallery of Ballarat, purchased 1994.

Background

Goldfields Involvement, 1854

Manning was a witness examined during the report of the Board appointed to enquire into circumstances connected with the riot at Ballarat, and the burning of James Bentley's Eureka Hotel. At that time he was listed as a reporter with the Ballarat Times. [1]

John Manning, a reporter for the Ballarat Times was involved in the establishment of the Eureka Stockade. He was a member of the Ballarat Reform League, and was in the Stockade when it was stormed. His vivid written eyewitness account makes him Australia's first war correspondent. Manning was one of the thirteen men charged with High Treason who were acquitted by Melbourne juries in 1855 after a vigorous campaign for their release, spearheaded by Melbourne's newspapers.[2]

Post 1854 Experiences

VICTORIA. By the Ann Key from Melbourne, we have news from the colony to the 13th instant
The colony was considered sufficiently quiet and composed as to be able to dispense with the services of the three companies of the 99th Regt., which have been at Melbourne since the Ballarat disturbances, and they had consequently been sent back to Hobart Town in the City of Hobart Steamer, which was chartered for the purpose at an expense of £900. Col. Reeves had left for England in the James Baines on leave of absence.
We take the following extracts from a summary in the Geelong Advertiser, prepared for the mail per the James Baines:-
The whole story of the Ballarat riots must be ere this familiar to the British public. It will be remembered that out of the 125 prisoners made at the Eureka Stockade, thirteen were retained for trial, on the capital charge of high treason. They were brought to trial early in January, but from some official neglect on the part of the Attorney General, W. Foster Stawell (cousin of the discarded Colonial Secretary) the prisoners had not been furnished with c0pies of the indictment. Again the trials were fixed for 5th February, but the Attorney General, for some unexplained reason, caused their postponement in- definitely. Hopes were entertained that this postponement implied an abandonment of the prosecution on the part of the crown. It was known that the commission appointed to inquire into the administration of the law on the gold fields, and to ascertain what reality there was in certain grievances complained of, had recommended the granting of an amnesty to all the rioters. Tile Government, however, finally determined on bringing all the prisoners to trial, on a charge of high treason.
On the 22nd February the court opened, presided over by His Honor Sir William a'Beckett, the Chief Justice. The thirteen prisoners were placed in the dock. Their names were- Timothy Hayes, Charles Raphelo, John Manning, John Joseph, J. Vennick, James Beattie, Henry Reed, Michael Tuohy, James Macfie Campbell, William Molloy, Jacob Sorenson, Thomas Dignam, and John Phelan.
The right of challenging jurymen being claimed by each prisoner, necessitated their being tried separately. Hayes and Raphelo were remanded on affidavit of absence of material witnesses. Manning was also remanded on account of absence, from illness, of counsel.
John Joseph, a man of color, being next on the list was then placed in the dock. One hundred and eighty jurors had been summoned, and both the Attorney General and the prisoner exercised freely their right of challenge, which process took up nearly an hour before they were finally empanelled. The routine of scanning the physiognomy and person of each juryman prior to challenge or admission, was gone through amidst the most uprorious laughter, in which His Honor the Chief Justice joined. Joseph's trial occupied two days ; the clearest evidence was given of his having been found armed within the insurgent's stockade ; he was identified as having been seen drilling and generally acting with the insurgents at all their meetings. These facts were distinctly proved by the evidence of sundry troopers, who had been sent in different disguises to the various gatherings of the disaffected, and confirmed by the evidence of several soldiers and others of the attacking party ; one soldier went so far to say that to the beat of his observation it was the prisoner Joseph who fired, the bullet by which Captain Wise was fatally wounded. It is currently believed that the evidence of the Crown witnesses contained many inaccuracies and exaggerations, as indeed might have been expected both from those who had mixed with the insurgents as spies, and others who, as having formed part of the military force by which the stockade was stormed and taken, could scarcely be considered sufficiently disinterested to give impartial evidence. But as already stated, the main charges against Joseph were substantially proved. The jury evidently considered that it lay with them to declare the commission of such acts by the prisoner amounted to high treason; they, by returning a verdict of Not Guilty, recorded their opinion that the accused, although guilty of arming himself against the authorities on the gold fields, was not guilty of high treason. Joseph's trial occupied two days.
The next prisoner on the list, John Manning, was brought to trial on the 26th Feb, and the evidence in his case was similar to that given at Joseph's trial. Manning had previously to the outbreak been employed as reporter for the Ballarat Times, and had at the trial of the editor of that journal for addition, declared by affidavit that he was the author of certain articles for which the editor and proprietor was prosecuted for sedition, and found guilty. As in Joseph's case, his evidence of Manning, having attended meetings of the disaffected was quite clear, as the fact of him having been one of the defenders of the stockade. The Jury, however, returned a verdict of not guilty.
There yet remained eleven prisoners in custody on the same charge. On the day following the acquittal of Manning the Attorney General applied for a remand until next Criminal Sessions. The Attorney General disclaimed any reflection upon the propriety of the verdicts given he intimated that his own opinion was very different from the conclusion come to by the jury, and hinted that he had no confidence in the present panel, and felt it to be his duty from the nature of the offence charged to proceedings with the remaining prisoners.[3]

Arrested

BALLAARAT. (FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT.)
8th December.
I resume my narrative of the proceedings in the Police Court yesterday, in reference to the State prisoners. I am induced to give these proceedings at perhaps greater length than your columns can easily bear, from my conviction of their importance, and of the fact that the evidence adduced will furnish more satisfactory testimony as to the events of the melancoly Sabbath morn than any personal representation can furnish.
James Beattie, John Fenwick, Josephs, and Raphaello, were placed at the bar. Beattie has rather a feeble and timid expression, and very unlike one's idea of a rebel. Fenwick is apparently a Dane, has a sailor-like look, and appears strong and active. Josephs is a negro, a very tall and powerful man, but with a stupid and vacant expression of countenance. Raphaello is an Italian, of middle age, of spare but vigorous form. His hair and beard are thin, and of a red color. He has black eyes, and an earnest, enthusiastic manner. He was secretary to Mazzini when Rome was captured, and bears the traces of several wounds.
H. Goodenough, a trooper, saw Beattie offer himself as a volunteer at the meeting at Bakery Hill, on Thursday, the 30th ult. He was drilled, then marched with the others to Eureka, and was drilled there that day and the next. On Sunday, the 3rd December, Beattie was arrested by him, at the London Hotel, about one hundred yards from the stockade. Prisoner had no arms when drilled nor when arrested. Many of the volunteers were armed. Fenwick was among the volunteers. Raphaello was captain of a company of about twenty-five, armed with swords and knives. He commanded his company with a sword by his side, and on Thursday a way was opened for them up to the platform where Raphaello made a speech. He said—"Gentlemen soldiers, those that cannot provide themselves with firearms, let them provide themselves with a piece of steel, if it is only six inches long, attached to a pole, and that will pierce the tyrant's heart." He marched his men to Eureka, and drilled them there on that and the following day. In answer to Raphaello, witness said that prisoner's company were more than one-half foreigners, apparently Germans and French.
In answer to the Bench witness stated that the origin of the Wednesday meeting was the return from Melbourne of a deputation to the Governor, and repeated the words used by Hayes and others.
Thomas Atkins, constable, saw one hundred and fifty men being drilled at Eureka on Friday last.
Beattie was in the ranks. Saw Raphaello, mounted, and with a party capturing horses, and giving them over to another party. Was threatened by the party and withdrew.
Patrick Reilly, sergeant in the mounted 40th, saw Beattie on the Sunday morning standing with his back to the stockade and crying fro mercy. Took him prisoner and brought him round to the rest of the prisoners. The firing had just ceased.
William Rivel, of the mounted force of the 40th, saw Beattie come over the wall of the stockade, before the firing had quite ceased. After the soldier ceased firing, several shots were discharged at them from tents. Beattie had a large horse-pistol in his hand as he climbed the stockade. When he saw the troops without, he dropped the pistol inside the stockade, and either fell or dropped on his knees and cried for mercy, saying he "was beaten and would give in."
Samuel J. Furnell, sub inspector of police, was at the stockade, in command of the mounted police. Some time after the firing had ceased, he saw Fenwick running away at a short distance from the stockade. Cantered after him, and told him he was his prisoner. He endeavored to escape, but being struck and slightly wounded, he yielded.
John King, sergeant of police, saw Beattie and Raphaello taken out of the stockade.
James Goar, private 40th, charged the stockade. Raphaello and two others charged him with pikes as he entered the stockade. He jumped out of the stockade and ran back, pursued by Raphaello till he met the troopers. Raphaello now retreated till he reached the stockade.
Patrick Hynott, a private of the 40th, saw Fenwick in the stockade. He had on a pair of red drawers. He was on the right hand of the tent, armed with a fowling piece. He was very busy. Afterwards saw him a prisoner in the Camp. Saw Josephs with a pike in his hand looking over the stockade at the time. Witness fired at him when he saw him. An order was given to fix bayonets and troops charged. Josephs was taken prisoner by Captain Carter and a constable. Saw Raphaello pursuing the last witness. He was armed, but is not certain as to the weapon, as he only saw the handle.
Daniel Hagherty is a sergeant of the 40th. Identifies Fenwick. Was one of the skirmishers on the 3rd. The troops halted about twenty paces from the stockade, and extended from the right. The 12th were extended from the right of the 40th. The troops advanced a little when the firing began, and received a good many shots, which they did not return until the bugle sounded. We fired and then charged. Several of the 40th were shot Captain Wise fell at this time. Some of our men under Captain Thomas went into the stockade. When the firing slackened a little, Captain Thomas ordered the troops outside. Came out and remained outside the stockade. Fenwick was brought out bleeding at the time, and was put with the other prisoners. Took the principal charge of the prisoners. Josephs resisted the soldiers who had taken him. Raphaello was brought out of the stockade a prisoner. Does not know who took him. Saw Fenwick brought out with a lot of prisoners, but did not see him arrested. Saw Josephs resisting the two soldiers who had him in charge. Told them to push him on with the remainder of the prisoners.
Andrew Peters, a constable at Ballaarat, saw Raphaello drilling men on the Bakery Hill. Josephs was in the ranks, armed. Raphaello had about twenty men in the ranks. This was on the evening of the second day after the meeting. Raphaello was armed. Never saw him but once. Was not present at the stockade on the morning of the 3rd. On the evening after the meeting, Raphaello was armed with a pistol or revolver.
Cross-examined by Raphaello: Saw him with 20 or 30 men. They were chiefly foreigners.
John Badcock, a constable at Ballaarat, was present at the Eureka Stockade on Sunday morning when it was charged. Jumped over the stockade. Saw Raphaello going round the corner of a tent. Presented his firelock at him, but it missed fire. did not see him again until he was a prisoner. He was armed with something like a pike. Saw Josephs and Beattie prisoners outside the stockade at about twenty paces from it.
John Donolly, a private of the 40th: Saw Josephs with a double-barrelled piece in his hand outside the stockade. Saw Raphaello inside the stockade armed with some weapon.
This morning the court sat at half-past nine.
The case of Beattie, Fenwick, Josephs, and Raphaello, was resumed.
Mr. Dunne stated that he appeared for Raphaello.
Thomas Milne deposed: That he was a sergeant of police at Ballaarat. Was in the stockade on the morning of the 3rd. Was at the large slab tent after the firing had ceased. The slab tent was inside the stockade. Saw a number of men running towards where the soldiers were stationed. Saw the prisoners Raphaello and Josephs in custody. They were unarmed. Never saw any of the prisoners previously.
Cross-exmained by Mr. Dunne: Has been here stationed about four months.
Patrick O'Keefe, a private of the 40th, was pre- sent at the attack on Eureka. saw Josephs there. He fired on us. Saw him afterwards with a pike running towards the tent, and again in custody outside the stockade. Cannot identify any of the other prisoners.
By the Bench: he fired towards where Captain Wise was stationed and some of the soldiers. At that time Captain Wise fell.
George Fraser, constable, was at the attack. Saw Josephs and Raphaello when in the stockade. Josephs was in custody. Was ordered to join guard to secure the prisoners. Saw Raphaello brought out from the direction of the stockade in the custody of two men.
Cross-examined: Have been stationed here and in the force about twelve months.
Inspector Evans, in reply to a question from the Bench, stated that he had evidence to produce with regard to the meetings on Bakery Hill.
Charles Jeffreys Carter: Was in charge of the foot police. Took Josephs out of the tent called the guard-room, while the firing was going on. Did not see any of the other prisoners. Called out to any that were alive in the tent to give themselves up. There were two there. One of them said "For God's sake don't fire on us; we will surrender." He was unarmed. I saw many arms in the guard-tent, which is inside the stockade, as well as many dead and wounded.
This was the case for the Crown.
Mr Dunne submitted that there was no case against Beattie, but the Bench overruled the objection, and committed the prisoners to take their trial for high treason.
Nicholas Edwards, Joseph Gray, Francis Kent, Henry Trynon, Henry Bazley, Thos. Bisk, George Davidson, Richard Humphreys, Charles Adams, John Delamere, Hen. Robilliard, Nicholas Allaire, Peter Priaulx, Isaac Hinds, Joseph Hindon, Andrew White, Joseph Macknon, Charles Brown, and Thomas Barry, were discharged, there being no evidence against them.
Mr. Dunne appeared for the following prisoners who were likewise discharged, there being not sufficient evidence against them to warrant a committal:— Patrick Gilhooly, Walter Ryley, John Powell, Joseph Penrose, Robert Winkfield, Dugald Magennis, John Quin, Edmund Burn, Wm. James Steer, Arthur Smith, Kennedy O'Brien, Martin Kinnear, Matthew Orr, Alexander Ross, Robert Leslie, George Thompson, Martin Ryan, Thomas Box, Thomas Ferdinand Tighe, and John Cahill.
John Manning, reporter of the Ballaarat Times, was next arraigned.
Mr. Dunne appeared for the prisoner.
Inspector Carter saw Manning on Sunday morning in the tent called the guard-room. It was within the stockade. I arrested the prisoner and handed him over to the 40th. The firing had not ceased. The tent was full of arms. He was one of the two taken out of the tent.
Daniel Higgarty, a sergeant of the 40th, was in the engagement at the stockade. Saw Manning brought out of the stockade under the charge of Lieutenant Richards, 40th.
Cross-examined: Manning was in custody when he saw him.
Thomas Barr, district surveyor, was present at several meetings. Was on Bakery Hill at the meeting on Wednesday 29th November. The object of this meeting was to raise subscriptions for organising a large force, and to defray the expenses of delegates to the different diggings. Heard Black, Lawlor, Vern, Kennedy, and some others speak at the meeting.
Mr. Dunne submitted this was not evidence, as the prisoner was not alleged to have been present.
The Bench ruled that the evidence must be received.
Examination resumed: Did not recognise the prisoner there.
William Dalgliesh: I was at a meeting on Bakery Hill on the 30th ultimo. Recognised the prisoner as one of a party of about twenty being drilled armed with pikes. Does not know who commanded them. Saw the prisoner the next time in custody. Did not see him in the stockade.
[A portion of the copy appears to have miscarried and this examination is incomplete.]
Four men — Pohill, Bryant, Rodan, and Ferguson were brought up.
John Gillman, sergeant mounted police, was at the attack at the Eureka. Saw Bryant about 100 yards from the stockade; was called to the seize him. Did so when he was running from the stockade. He had no arms, but was running to hide himself behind a chimney.
Mr. Hackett, Stipendiary Magistrate for the District : Received on Sunday morning a message from Captain Thomas requesting him to accompany the troops and police on an expedition. He did so. They advanced in the direction of the Eureka. As they approached the position of the intrenchment, he was told that it was quite near. To night being very dark, he lay down, and saw a flag flapping. One shot, and then a volley, shewed where they were. The bugle sounded, which he believes is the signal for the troops to fire. After ten or twelve minutes the troops went into the stockade. Identifies Pohill, Bryant, and Ferguson. Cannot say when they were taken. Has been informed that Ferguson can bring evidence to account for his being found where he was. Dr. Kenworthy and another American gentleman can account for his being there.
The Bench advised Ferguson to lose no time in procuring the evidence of these gentlemen.
Bryant asked Mr. Hackett if he knew him?
Mr. Hackett said he did, and his feeling was surprise to see him where he was.
Bryant called the attention of the Bench to a cut on his head, and stated that it was the cause of his being where he was. The wound had been inflicted by a trooper because he could not move fast enough and then he arrived at the Camp he was detained because he was bloody.
Sub Inspector Cossac saw Rodan inside the stockade, attempting to crawl out. He called to him to surrender, and he did so. There were arms lying about.
John Mordan White, trooper, saw Rodan in the stockade, at a corner between two tents. There was a passage out on the left and a dray on the right. The prisoner was under the dray. Many arms lying about.
Cross-examined: Prisoner had been wounded in the left shoulder, though slightly.
William Murrell, corporal of the 40th, was at the Eureka on the 3rd. Saw Ferguson twenty years inside the stockade, and ordered him to join the other prisoners.
George Byford, private 40th, recognises Fergus- son. Saw him inside the stockade. He had no arms. Saw him run from one tent to another.
Henry Perry, private mounted 40th, recognises Bryant. Saw him jump over the stockade. He had a pike, and struck at witness.
For Rodan, in defence, George Anderson, who had lived two years near the Eureka, deposed that Rodan was his mate, and was in the tent at ten o'clock on Saturday night; that they ordered Rodan out saying, "If you don't come we will shoot you." Witness had concealed himself between the tent and the lining, or he is sure he also would have been compelled to go. Had incurred odium by not attending the meetings. Had been attacked on Friday night by three men, knocked down and called a "trap."
Rodan assured the Bench that he had been forced away unarmed.
Ferguson described himself as having been seized on his way to visit a friend, and detained by the rioters against his will.
The Bench decided on remanding Bryant till next day, in order that he might produce the witnesses he spoke of. The other prisoners were discharged, with an admonition to some of them for allowing the stockade to be erected so near them without giving information to the authorities and seeking their protection.
A public meeting of the inhabitants of the town- ship was held this afternoon, at which a committee was appointed to draw up a memorial to the Lieutenant Governor. The committee met this even- ing, and adopted a memorial for general subscription, of which I enclose a copy.
To His Excellency Sir Charles Hotham, K.C.B.,
Lieut.-Governor of the colony of Victoria.
The memorial of the undersigned merchants, landholders, storekeepers, and inhabitants of the goldfields at Ballaarat,
Humbly sheweth —
That your memorialists view with extreme regret the late disturbances on these gold-fields, arising from causes on which they do not feel called upon to express an opinion.
Reposing the utmost confidence in your Excellency, they earnestly urge the necessity that exists for your Excellency's presence on these mines, and humbly, yet earnestly, pray your clemency, and the issue of an amnesty in favor of those individuals who have taken a part in the late lamentable disturbances.
That your memorialists desire to express their loyalty towards Her Majesty, and pledge themselves to support your Excellency in the maintenance of order.
Your memorialists would respectfully draw your Excellency's attention to the benefits that would arise by the issue of an amnesty, in restoring confidence, and in the return to their occupations of hundreds who have left this district from various causes connected with the late disturbances.
And your memorialists as in duty bound will ever pray.
11 P.M.
A slight alarm was created a short time ago by a gun fired in the proximity of the Camp. All were instantly on the alert. Sounds of preparation were heard all over the Camp, and the frequent challenge of sentries. Two troopers galloped south- ward along the road, and one of them soon re- turned with a prisoner in charge, but whether or not he had anything to do with the suspicions shot, or it had any omen of danger to the authorities, it is equally impossible as yet to tell.
A reward of £500 is offered for "the body, dead or alive, of Frederick Vern, sometimes called Colonel Vern."
The Right Rev. Dr. Goold, Roman Catholic Bishop of Melbourne, arrived at Ballaarat this evening.[4]

Treason Trial

John Manning was the second of the thirteen tried for High Treason to face the courts. The owner and editor of the Ballarat Times Henry Seekamp had been found guilty of sedition and jailed for three months a few months earlier. It was common knowledge among the miners and authorities that John Manning had penned many of the seditious articles that Seekamp was found guilty of writing and the authorities expected that he would be convicted by a jury which was chosen from the same jury pool that acquitted John Joseph. Once again the jury did not have any Irish representatives on it, nine of the jurors were working men.[5]

The only problem with John Manning's case was that the Crown had very little evidence that he had actively participated in the Eureka Stockade. It took the jury only a few minutes to find him not guilty of the charge of High Treason. Manning's acquittal was a blow to the prosecution's chances of recording a conviction because Manning was regarded as one of the leaders of the rebellion. He had also been involved in a meeting of the thirteen "captains" of the rebellion when the Eureka stockade was thrown up after the march from Bakery Hill on the 1st of December 1854.[6]

John Manning had been in the thick of the rebellion. Inspector Carter had found Manning in the guardroom of the stockade (the armoury), when he led an attack on the tent. He personally arrested Manning and handed him over to Lieutenant Richards of the 40th Regiment.[7]

Faced with the problem of a Melbourne jury not wanting to find the accused guilty and with eleven more charges of High Treason to be heard, the Attorney-General asked the courts for a months stay, so that they could review the charges. Governor Charles Hotham was adamant they must stand trial, so the Attorney-General in an attempt to secure a conviction stood down the original jury panel and empanelled a new list of 178 jurors on the 19th of March 1855. This jury panel was hand picked, solid middle class men, who could be relied on to convict the Ballarat rabble that had defied Her Majesty Queen Victoria. Hotham went to bed, secure in the knowledge that the jury would do its job and convict the rest of the accused.[8]

See also

Henry Seekamp

Treason Trials

Further Reading

Corfield, J.,Wickham, D., & Gervasoni, C. The Eureka Encyclopaedia, Ballarat Heritage Services, 2004.


References

  1. Report of the Board appointed to Enquire into Circumstances Connected with the Late Disturbance at Ballarat, John Ferres, Government Printer, Melbourne, 21 November 1854.
  2. http://www.peacebus.com/Eureka/111128ToscanoMedia.html
  3. Perth Gazette, 30 March 1855.
  4. The Argus, 11 December 1854.
  5. http://www.takver.com/history/eureka.htm, sighted 07 May 2013.
  6. http://www.takver.com/history/eureka.htm, sighted 07 May 2013.
  7. http://www.takver.com/history/eureka.htm, sighted 07 May 2013.
  8. http://www.takver.com/history/eureka.htm, sighted 07 May 2013.

External links


Pikeman detail from the Peter Lalor Statue, Sturt Street, Ballarat. Courtesy Ballarat Heritage Services.