Eureka Stockade:Minutes from the Executive Council

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Eureka Stockade:Minutes from the Executive Council is associated with Ballarat, Victoria located at these coordinates -37.5621071, 143.8561493

The day after the battle at the Eureka Stockade, Lieutenant Governor Charles Hotham summoned his <a href="glossary.htm">Executive Council</a> together, to inform them of the 'unconfirmed' events at Ballarat and discuss the government’s next course of action. These minutes document the proceedings of that gathering in which the decision to proclaim martial law was quickly made. It is of particular interest to note Hotham’s reference to 10 April 1848, the date when a petition carrying six million signatures was presented to the British Government by the Chartist movement. On that occasion, large public gatherings were banned and the City of London was defended by troops and special constables.

Record Citation: VPRS 1080/P Unit 2, Minute 41
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Agency: VA 2903 Executive Council
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Date: 4/12/1854
Record Type: Council Minutes
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Language: en
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01080-p0000-000002-0010-010-001.jpg Minute 41

Council Chamber Melbourne Monday, 4 Decr. 1854 Present His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor The Honble. the Colonial Secretary. The Honble. the Attorney General The Honble. the Auditor General. Absent. The Honble. the Colonial Treasurer on leave. The Honble. the Collector of Customs.

The Council having assembled in accordance with summons, His Excellency announces that he has caused them to be assembled for the purpose of taking vigorous measures for the suppression of a reported outbreak at the Ballaarat Gold Fields.

Official intelligence has not reached Melbourne to the effect that a fatal collision between the troops and the insurgents has taken place in the manner which is detailed in one of the public prints of this days date; but the account so published bears many marks of authenticity about it, and it is in great measure confirmed by some official documents which are placed upon by the table by His Excellency.

Moreover a Despatch has been received from Major General Sir Robert Nickle who on Friday night the 2nd December left Melbourne with considerable re-inforcements in order to strengthen the position of the authorities at Ballaarat, in case the rumoured resistance should be made to the enforcement of law on that Gold Field. Major General Sir Robert Nickle announces the route he proposes to take so as to arrive at Ballarat on Thursday the 7th instant and in a separate communication (dated at Bacchus Marsh 5p.m 3 Decr. 1854) he apprises His Excellency that Mr Ximenes Sub-Inspector of Police has arrived at Bacchus Marsh from the Camp at Ballaarat which he left at midnight.

He was sent to join the troops and to shew the best route of approach to the Camp; and was obliged to travel in complete disguise as every person connected with the Camp has now to do, on entering or leaving the Camp. On being questioned by the General, he recounts the following acts of insurrection, most of which he himself witnessed within the last few days.

Outbreak at Ballaarat

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01080-p0000-000002-0010-010-001v.jpg He has repeatedly seen men marching military order bearing arms, and a blue flag, with a white cross which they are said to swear to defend. Yesterday, he saw a body of armed men go to the gravel pits, close to the Camp, and apparently compel the men working there to cease. The spies reported that this was the fact. Yesterday about 5 o’clock a body of about four hundred (400) armed men went up to Mr. Amos’s station at the Eureka, and took him prisoner and seized his horse. The proprietors of shooting galleries and storekeepers have stated that they have been forcibly deprived of their firearms and ammunition. A disguised trooper, with a borrowed horse, carrying a Despatch, was repeatedly stopped last night by armed men both mounted and on foot, and examined as to his business, and his horse was examined to see if it had the Crown brand. This happened about fourteen (14) miles from Ballaarat. The Major General remarks that surely those are overt acts sufficient to call for a Proclamation from the Government calling on all good subjects to separate themselves from the disaffected and to depend on the support of the Government.

His Excellency then determines with the unanimous consent of the Council to proclaim Martial Law on the disturbed District, and a Draft of the Proclamation is prepared and approved of, proclaiming the district of Buninyong under Martial Law, and authorising all Officers commanding Her Majesty’s Forces, to employ them with the utmost vigour and decision for the immediate suppression of any acts of rebellion, treason, treasonable or seditious practices, and to proceed against and punish any persons acting, aiding, or in any manner assisting in the said rebellion or offences, according to Martial Law, as may seem expedient, it being provided, however, that no sentence of death shall be carried into effect, without the express consent of His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor.

A further Proclamation is ordered, prohibiting arms and supplies from being taken within the proclaimed District, Martial Law taking effect from after twelve (12) of the clock at noon on Wednesday the 6th instant. His

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01080-p0000-000002-0010-010-002.jpg His Excellency announces to the Council that a Deputation of Members of the Legislative Council, and other influential persons has arrived with reference to the occurrences at Ballaarat, and that he is desirous to put them in possession of the general intentions of the Government.

The Council thereupon at His Excellency’s desire, accompanies him to his office through the ante-chamber, where a deputation comprising the Right Worshipped Mayor of Melbourne I.J Smith Esq. M.L.C; the late Mayor J.Hodgson Esq. M.L.C Messrs. W. Nicolson M.L.C, A Greeves M.L.C, F.Murphy M.L.C, H.Miller M.L.C, Thomas Fulton - Smith: Langwill: M. Price: C.MacMahon: is awaiting His Excellency informs the Gentlemen present that as they are aware on a late occasion he received a deputation of three persons professing to represent the mining class Ballaarat, who demanded the release of three prisoners convicted of taking part in burning a house rioting threat at Ballaarat: - His Excellency at once pointed out that by no means entertain a demand of such a nature; but with regard to other grievances which the delegates alleged, he had appointed a Commission of Enquiry concerning the management of the gold fields and that he was fully prepared to recommend any such changes of the enactments on the subject as might be reported by that Commission to be advisable .

With this assurance the delegates so far as His Excy. Could ascertain, found no reason to be dissatisfied. The reports of the day, however although not officially confirmed, are believed to be authentic, and point to a state of things not founded upon any dissatisfaction with a law concerning the continuance of which a Commission of Enquiry has been appointed. It is well known that there are many idle and disreputable persons, not a few of whom are foreigners, who have armed themselves with a design to resist the operation of the law. His Excellency therefore has determined to proclaim Martial Law in the disturbed District, not allowing sentences of death to be carried into effect without his sanction, and he asks the gentlemen

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01080-p0000-000002-0010-010-002v.jpg gentlemen present whether, the troops being withdrawn from the Town, they are prepared to come forward and enrol themselves from its defence. His Excellency assures them that if it be the case that the Towns of Melbourne and Geelong are staunch to the laws of the country, such a fact is worth several Regiments of troops in the preservation of order. The Mayor of Melbourne assures His Excellency that he may depend upon the citizens. Seven hundred (700) of them have been sworn in as special constables and they may be relied upon. On a recent occasion the Mayor adverted to the probable necessity of being enrolled to protect the city, and the audience rose responsively in a mass to applaud. In twenty four hours measures might be taken arranging for the safety of the town. He assures His Excellency that the reception given to the delegates shewing His Excellency’s determination to firmly maintain the law, has given general confidence to the community.

His Excellency expresses his satisfaction, and points out that what he asks the citizens to do, is simply what was done in London on the 10th of April 1848.

Mr Miller the representative states that he is prepared at once to call meetings in the suburban districts of that county, where he believes the conduct of the Government will be supported with heart and hand.

His Excellency is adverting to the necessity to Proclaim Martial Law, expresses his regret that it has arisen, but his conviction that it has become imperative.

Mr Fulton suggests that the various employers of labor should ascertain the feelings of their men, and states that in the large iron-works of his establishment there was a very general and by no means concealed feeling of approval of the determination of His Excellency.

Mr Nicolson assures His Excellency that a large demonstration in support of his measures for maintaining order may be relied upon.

Mr Greeves expresses the same opinion, and suggests that to facilitate the organisation of special constables which is not now well regulated, a short act might be passed; of which His Excellency approves and leaves the Attorney –General to manage the details.

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01080-p0000-000002-0010-010-003.jpg The Mayor suggests that Messrs. MacMahon and Price will cooperate with him at once in making needful regulations for the present.

His Excellency explains that it is desirable to avoid confusion that the town be portioned off in Districts, which the magistrates sitting in the Town hall may decide upon; and in reply to a request from the Mayor orders that early intimation of the state of affairs be constantly conveyed to the mayor at the Town hall, in order that no needless public apprehension may be allowed to exist.

Mr Miller points out that as it is not proposed to distribute arms at once to those sworn in as special constables, the volunteer corps now in course of formation might be largely added to; if those in one body are exempt from service in the other.

It is stated that service in one body will exempt from service in the other.

Mr Hodgson states that at a meeting of the candidates of the Volunteer Corps a very strong desire to maintain order was shewn.

His Excellency thanks the gentleman for their assurances and they retire.

The Council then adjourns sine` die` GW Rusden Clerk of the Council

Facts about "Eureka Stockade:Minutes from the Executive Council"RDF feed
Has agency url +
Has coordinates37° 33' 44" S, 143° 51' 22" ELatitude: -37.5621071
Longitude: 143.8561493
+Google maps
Has date12 April 1854 +
Has image +, +, +, + and +
Has languageen +
Has person nameCharles Hotham + and Robert Nickle +
Has record agencyVA 2903 Executive Council +
Has record citationVPRS 1080/P Unit 2, Minute 41 +
Has record typeCouncil Minutes +
Has record url +
Has related resource +
Has rights +
Latitude-37.562 +
Located inBallarat, Victoria +, London +, Bacchus Marsh +, Ballaarat + and Buninyong +
Longitude143.856 +
Page has default formThis property is a special property in this wiki.Transcribed Record Form +
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