Les réactions

Qui sont les vrais coupables?

Document 40

Daily News, le 28 janvier 1875



It is with the deepest regret and indignation that we have this morning to report that rowdyism at Caraquet culminated yesterday in a dreadful tragedy. The particulars have not all reached us. But it would seem that John Gifford, one of the men called upon by Sheriff Vail to assist him in arresting Caraquet rioters, was cruelly murdered by some of the ruffians while in the performance of his duty to his Queen and his Country. It is to be presumed that the aiders, abettors and defenders of these lawless men are now satisfied. They have now before them some of the matured fruits of their evil counsel, their dangerous suggestions and ill-expressed sympathy for men only too ready to commit violent deeds.

There cannot be two opinions among law abiding men as to the course that ought now to be pursued in reference to the Caraquet ruffians. They have broken up by violent means, peaceful assemblies gathered in obedience to the law for lawful purposes. They have violently assaulted School Law Officers, and compelled them to fly to save their lives. They have paraded in bodies from house to house terrifying their occupants with frightful threats and extorting money from them. They have in large armed bands besieged the dwelling of a member of the Provincial Governnent. And finally, they have killed, wilfully and deliberately killed, a loyal man, for the time being an officer of the law, lawfully engaged.

The people of New Brunswick will insist that the law shall be vindicated and maintained at all costs.

Document 41

Daily Telegraph, 27 janvier 1875



The news from Gloucester which we published this morning is extremely sad and tragic, although not wholly unexpected after the hints which were dropped in the Freeman of Tuesday, the 20th inst., and to which we called attention at the time. Rioting has finally culminated in Murder!

The details of four successive assemblages of riotous French mobs, composed mainly of the same persons, at or near the residences of the leading English Protestant inhabitants of Caraquet, have already been presented to our readers. These bodies of men ,--on two occasions armed with guns and sticks,-- made their appearance according to previous announcement and threat, deferring their later visits until one of the parties most obnoxious to them had returned from another portion of the Province, --thus establishing the fact of premeditation and of an organization for illegal and wicked purposes. During their visits, these bands of lawless men, at one time or another, perpetrated outrages such as the following : --They broke up [a] public meeting. They assaulted the officers of the meeting and private individuals who had assembled for a lawfull purpose -- namely, to decide as to whether the school district should be assessed for the maintenance of a free school. They put unoffending persons in terror of their lives. They invaded public offices and private residences, forced the inhabitants to deliver up them money, provisions and liquors. They forced individuals under duress to sign documents and pledges which they dictated. They assembled repeatedly on different days in large bodies organized and armed to attack Hon. Robert Young's person and residence, and agreeably to a previous announcement that they would have his life. They entered buildings, broke windows, destroyed property, and generally conducted themselves as outlaws and madmen. By their outrages; their threats in reference to what they would do to Protestants and to the Sheriff of the County; their repeated assemblages, their organization and their arms, they put the lives of Protestant residents and their friends in jeopardy, and made that portion of the County uninhabitable to those who differed from them, unless such lawless proceedings could be suppressed.

It was not to be supposed that such demonstrations could be permitted to go on for ever, or to be tolerated as a normal condition of society in that part of the County, or to pass unpunished, --thus acknowledging the impotence of the authorities and the helplessness of the Protestant minority and their sympathizers to protect themselves against mob violence. The parties so wronged finally appealed to the law. Affidavits as to the injuries and outrages suffered were made by the Protestants of Caraquet Centre. Warrants were issued for the arrest of the guilty parties, who were well known throughout the district; and the Sheriff undertook to make the arrests, assisted by a small force, say of eight men, who accompanied him from Bathurst. Our advices are to the effect that on Tuesday morning the Sheriff, with this small body of assistants, arrested three of the parties concerned in the lawless demonstrations. The force, however, proving insufficient to make arrests of the principal offenders, and further assistance coming in, yesterday morning Sherrif Vail's officers proceeded to the arrest of other parties to the rioting, when some of the ringleader who figured in th original demonstrations completed their lawless work by shooting and instantly killing a special constable, named Gifford, a fine young man belonging to Newcastle. A large number of rioters, some sixteen, including all who were in the house where Gifford was treacherously murdered, were successfully arrested and will answer in the court for their numerous crimes. Full particulars of the latest occurences at Caraquet will be found in our telegraphic head.

The responsability for this series of crimes, --beginning with the dispersal of a public meeting, which was not allowed to transact business of any description, and ending in the murder of one of the Sheriff's officers engaged in executing a warrant empowering the arrest of men notoriously guilty of deliberate and repeated acts of terrorism and violence, --is not difficult to fix. It rests primilary, we regret to say, on the Speaker of the House of Commons, who represents Gloucester in Parliament, and whose falsehoods, violence and perversions of law influenced his constituents to these godless deeds. Instant in season and out of season in assuring the educated and the uneducated of his supporters in that County that they were at liberty to disobey one law, they naturally felt they might violate other laws. While a large body of them in one section of Gloucester, also Catholic French, had organized under the Free School Act and were operating a flourishing school; while a large portion of Catholic children of the Province are being educated in Free Schools, including very many in St.John, Carleton, and nine-tenths of all the Parishes in New Brunswick, as well as in Nova Scotia ; while one-forth of the staff of New Brunswick teachers is Roman Catholic; while the School Act has been pronounced constitutional by every court and autorithy by which it could be tested; the Speaker of the Commons, by mean of his voice and pen, has been assuring his constituents that the law was wicked, unjust, worthless as a legal form, tyrannical and ''godless'', a thing to be spit upon, spurned, treated with derision, and its authors, abetors and those who use it, tyrants and persecutors and fit subjects on whom to inflict summary vengeance. Mr. Young and others in Caraquet have been specially singled out as odious beyond comparison; and while the French in one part of Gloucester, where Mr. Anglin's teachings did not prevail, were of their own motion and without suggestion or influence from any Free School quarter, working cheerfully under the Act, those of Caraquet were patted on the back for their early riotous demonstrations against the Protestant supporters of the law, and Mr. Young and his friends constantly held up for years past as men to be punished, --punished, -- punished!

The result of these teachings we have seen. A large body of ignorant people have been brought into serious trouble; from one act of wrong-doing they have passed on to others; until now, as the Speaker of the Commons passes on to his easy chair and his luxurious apartments at Ottawa, his unfortunate dupes are being marched to Bathurst Goal to await their trial for Murder!

As we have held from the first, so at this serious moment we still maintain , --these people are more to be pitied than blamed; they are the dupes of plotters and traitors to the country's peace and good, --a circumstance which, we trust, will not be lost sight of in the midst of the excitement and indignation which the recent outrages and tragedy are fitted to arouse.

Document 42

The Morning Freeman [Saint-Jean], le 30 janvier 1875

Civil War

Dreadful news comes from Gloucester. A civil war is indeed raging in that persecuted county and blood has been shed. We fear that when the facts are analysed it will be found that this civil war is also religious in its character. Fearful? is the responsibility which must for ever rest upon those who have brought about so dreadful a state of things for the people of Caraquet, as we have repeatedly stated were long known as the quietest and most peaceable and inoffensive in America. Today the peaceable parish is the scene of ? and bloodshed and bands of armed strangers are gathered there to overawe the people.

Hitherto the proceedings appeared to be common place, and the sensational telegrams published in the organs of the Local Government were so absurd as to excite universal derision. We saw no reason for obtaining any specific telegrams, none of those residing at Caraquet who saw what was going on thought it important enough to report by telegram, and our Bathurst correspondents ridiculed the newspaper reports which were published as ridiculous exaggeration. But all this has been suddenly changed. Armed bodies of men have come in collision, and human life has been sacrificed.

To understand the true state of the case it is necessary to review briefly the facts known to the public.

The census informs us that of 3111 souls in the parish of Caraquet 3032 are Catholics and the Protestants of all ages and conditions and denominations number 70.

Of the 70 we believe some are opposed to the School System. Of the 3032 half a dozen are found to work with those who would force the system on the district.

The annual parish meeting was held at the proper time and place. M. Theotine Blanchard was elected chairman. Good order and harmony prevailed, and parish officers were elected.

The persons who wished to force the School System on the district held a private meeting on Jan. 4th in the office used as a Post Office and Custom House, and there named persons to be appointed Parish Officers, and prepared a petition to the Sessions asking that the Officers elected by the ratepayers be set aside and their nominees appointed, because several who attended the meeting of the ratepayers had not paid the County School Tax. The petition was signed by nineteen persons.

The Sessions, picked by means of the commission issued last year, did, on motion of Mr. Young, set aside the election of the ratepayers and appoint those parish officers whom the nineteen recommended.

We received on Thursday last from Mr. Blanchard, the chairman of the parish meeting, a long letter dated Caraquet, Jan. 19th, in which he gives a full account of the proceedings of the Parish meeting and dwells particularly on the fact that it was most orderly and peaceable. He also states who attended the private meeting, and who signed the petition, and tells what was done at the Sessions. The report of the proceedings at the sessions exasperated the people very much, he says, and when it became known that Trustees not elected by the people had called a meeting for the purpose of imposing a District School Tax a number of the rate payers resolved to attend that meeting and oppose the imposition. The legal character of some of the subsequent proceedings depends very much on the real character of the proceedings at this meeting. The telegrams to the Government papers told the public that the majority acted lawlessly and very violently; that they beat the Trustees badly and drove them away, and prevented the meeting being held. If this is a true account of what occurred the parties who so acted did undoubtedly commit a breach of the peace. But Mr. T. Blanchard, who is a respectable witness, states that one of the Trustees moved that Mr. P. Duval take the chair, and, although nearly all present negatived the proposal, Mr. Duval did take the chair and held it until he was taken from it by force. Then he and the Trustees were taken or pushed out of the building, Mr. Blanchard admits, and shown the way home, which they took at once, but he denies positively that any of them was beaten or hurt in anyway, except Mr. Duval, who was slightly scratched in the face when he scuffled with those who forced him from the chair. The majority remained in the school room until four o'clock. A large number also assembled next day, as it was said that an adjournment had been proclaimed in some way. When they found that no attempt to hold a meeting would be made they resolved to call upon the persons who were most active in the effort to impose taxation and to remonstrate with them.

The telegrams described this proceeding as riotous in the extreme, and the persons who took part in it as scoundrels, ruffians, fiends, who perpetrated the most grievous outrages, beating some, compelling others to furnish them with liquor & c. Mr. Blanchard admits that they went to the houses or business places of Messrs. Blackhall, Rive, Martin, Hachie, and some others, and asked them to sign a paper, pledging themselves that they would not again attempt to force this school system on the people, but he alleges very emphatically that no one of the party was under the influence of liquor or committed any act of violence, unless it be called an act of violence, that at Mr. Blackhall's, some of them put the stove outside the door.

For all information as to what followed we are as ? dependant on the organs of the Local Government. Informations we supposed were sworn at Bathurst, charging the people with having committed some grievous legal crime or misdemeanours, and Sheriff Vail with eight constables went down to Caraquet to arrest a number of the persons charged with this offence. Mr. Vail did make three arrests without encountering opposition or difficulty, and it was said he was to make others. He might have made as many as he pleased, we believe, without the slightest difficulty. He remained in Caraquet, we are told, but we hear nothing of any attempt to rescue the prisoners, nothing, in fact, that can be regarded as justification or pretext for what followed. Had the matter been allowed to rest there the Sheriff would have done his duty the persons against whom he held warrants would have peaceably submitted to arrest, have gone all the way to Bathurst and stood their trial. More serious disturbances have frequently occurred at elections in this Province, and when the excitement subsided, all parties agreed to forgive and to forget, and no great State prosecution took place. At Tobique at one time the representative of a candidate was compelled to escape through a window, the poll books were seized and filled with hundreds of fictitious names. At Spruce Lake, representatives of candidates did, more than once, seek safety in flight. At Harcourt, quite recently, and in its neighbourhood, an organised band of rowdies beat all who came in their way, and one of them struck the Rev. Mr. Oullett with a billet of wood, knocking him down, and inflicting severe injury. In all these and many other such cases the Local Government remained passive. In Gloucester it was otherwise. There, although the actual violence was so triflying, even according to the accounts of their own organs, an example would be made, and the Sheriff and his posse were sent to arrest a number of persons and carry them off to the county gaol.To this it seems the parties quietly submitted, and it would have been well, if the Sheriff, whom no one resisted, were allowed to do his duty in this quiet way. On Monday and Tuesday everything was quiet, although the arrests had been made, but on Wednesday a large armed force from a town in another county, seventy miles off, appeared on the scene. What must the people have thought or felt when they saw this body of armed strangers sweeping through the parish seizing whom they pleased and carrying them off. If the Sheriff himself had been with them they would probably then as before have respected one who they knew to be an officer of the law, but this party was led by a Mr. Cable, who is called, indeed a Deputy Sheriff, but who was not known to the people as an officer, although we suppose he had a special deputation in his pocket. Imagine, if you can, such a raid made in Portland, or in Carleton, or in Gagetown, or in Woodstock, by a body of armed Frenchmen brought suddenly from a great distance and led by some person whose authority the people knew nothing of and fancy what the consequences would be. Sixteen persons were seized and held by this armed force, but when they came to the house of one Andrew Albert they found that a number of persons, alarmed at what was going on, had gathered there not to attack these armed strangers, but to avoid them. At this house a collision occured. The accounts telegraphed to the organs of the government are, as usual, self-contradictory, but this much seems too certain that shots were exchanged, and that one man was instantly killed, and one other received a wound from which he died next morning. This is, indeed, most deplorable, and so sad is the state of affairs that we can only wish and hope that bloodshed will end here, for a telegram to the Telegraph says that fifty or sixty more well armed men would probably go down to Caraquet immediately to assist their friends.Nothing of this kind has occurred in any part of the Province for many years. Peace, content, good will and kindly feeling prevailed everywhere until this wicked attempt was to force this dreadful system upon the people. Evil passions have since that been excited, and now, thanks in no small measure to the means taken to terrify and coerce the people of Gloucester, the excitement has culminated in this most lamentable shedding of blood. Nothing could have been more unexpected, nothing more shocking than this.

The telegrams to Thursday's News were as follows.

CARAQUET, Jan. 27 1875

Twenty-two men arrived here to-day to assist Sheriff Vail to arrest the rioters.

Thirteen of the rioters were arrested.

While the party were in execution of their duty at Andrew Albert's, one of their number -- John Gifford was killed.

One of the rioters is also reported killed, and another wounded.

The Inquest on the body of poor Gifford is now being held.

All of the party in Albert's house, except one or two who escaped, were made prisoners.

Gifford was the first man shot.


About twenty men arrived this morning from Chatham and Newcastle to assist Sheriff Vail in arresting rioters. Sixteen were taken prisoners. Whilst the Constables and Assistants were engaged in the execution of their duty to-day at Andrew Albert's house, one of the Sheriff's party, John Gifford, was killed by the discarge of a gun in the hands of one of the rioters. There were probably eleven men in Albert's house, who were armed with guns and clubs when Deputy Sheriff Cable and party entered. No resistance was offered to the party in the house. In answer to Cable, the owner of the house, Albert, said there was no one in the house except himself and two women. Finding that there was a party of men up stairs, among whom were prominent leaders in the riot, the Constable, with Gifford and others, proceeded to ascend. When Gifford's head came above the level of the loft he was shot dead by a gun in the hands of one of the fiends. The moment poor Gifford fell the Sheriff's party made a rush on the rioters, and succeeded in arresting the whole party. It is rumored two rioters were seriously wounded.

An Inquest is now being held on Gifford's body.

Three telegrams were supplemented by others to the News and Telegraph of yesterday in which the conduct of the "rioters," as they are called, is made to appear in the worst possible light. Every circumstance is twisted into an evidence of intended violence on the part of men who sought to avoid rather than provoke a collision. Even the actions of a poor woman in the performance of her ordinary household duties are regarded as an offence, and made the excuse for an assault which we are asked to regard as a feat of valor unequalled even by the famous "Charge of the Six Hundred".

The following telegrams appeared in the Globe of Thursday and Friday : -BATHURST, Jan. 28 -- In addition to Gifford's death, another fatal case is reported this morning. A man named Mahliot, who was shot on Wednesday in attempt to resist arrest, died this morning.

Nothing definite in regard to the state of affairs at Caraquet has been received since yesterday, and it is impossible to obtain anything new. Will advise on receipt of further information.

Sixteen persons have now been arrested, and it is reported that all is quiet.


Thirteen of the men arrested at Caraquet have just arrived here with the Sheriff. They appear inoffensive and have anything but a bloodthirsty appearence.

The Sheriff reports everything quiet, although a detachment of volunteers are on their way from Miramichi.

The French were much exasperated when they leared of a foreign army, as they called them, marching against them.

Gifford came to his death when the party with whom he was acting had broken an opening through a floor and having piled up furniture were endeavouring to thrust themselves through.

After Gifford was shot a volley was fired among those congregated in the loft, one having, as I reported, died to-day, and the other is not seriously injured.

It seems there was no concerted arragnement for attack or defence among the Caraquet malcontents, or there would be more disastrous intelligence to report.

Malhoit, who died to-day, is said to be the man who shot Gifford.


Interviewed prisoners this morning. They appeared to be in good spirits, and say they did not intend to injure any property or person.

The examination commenced at 2 p.m.

No further trouble expected.

Burns, as reported in Morning News was not at Caraquet.

Document 43

The Union Advocate [Newcastle], 3 février 1875

Note: Dans l'original, les colones du journal sont séparées par des bandes noires, en signe de deuil suite à la mort de Gifford. Cette pratique est fréquente dans les journaux de l'époque.

The Caraquet Riot


Up to last week our readers were pretty well posted concerning the uprising of a number of the French population. Since our last issue occurrences have happened calculated to create the most profound regret on the part of all lovers of peace and harmony, and the most sincere sympathy for a bereaved mother and stricken family, who mourn the loss of a promising boy just in his prime.

In response to calls for aid from the neighboring County, a number of special constables left Chatham and Newcastle on Monday morning about one o'clock, a.m., and after a very severe journey arrived at Caraquet on Wednesday morning. Several arrests were made during the morning by some of the constables, in conjunction with a party from Bathurst. The names of the arrested were Joseph LeBoutillier, Eloi Lantin, Gustave Lantin, John L. Paulin, Sarafan Albert, John Louis Chasson, Gustave Gallien and Gervais Chasson. These prisoners were confined in Hon. Mr. Young's house, under charge of Sheriff Vail and a guard.

About three o'clock in the afternoon, Deputy Sheriff Cable, accompanied by 15 or 16 men, proceeded to the house of Andrew Albert, to arrest a number of Frenchmen for whom warrants were out, and who were supposed to be in the house. Sheriff Vail charged his deputy that if the doors of Albert's house were locked he with his party must not attempt to force an entrance, but must return without running any risk. Upon arrival the doors were neither locked nor fastened in any way, and the party entered. The only persons at first seen were Andrew Albert, John Louis Parrisey and two women.

Albert was then asked by Deputy Cable if Chasson and Charles Parrisey were in the house, as he had warrants for their arrest. The answer was that the only persons in the house were those already seen. At this juncture Mrs. Albert was heard talking in a very excited manner, and was seen to go towards some pots of boiling water on the stove with a dipper in her hand. Just as she was in the act of taking out a dipper full of scalding water, Ramsay, one of the constables, said ''Don't let her get hot water to throw at us!'' The dipper was then snatched out of her hands and the contents of the two pots were emptied in a cask near the stove.

The party then made preparations to search the building. As there was no ladder or stairs to reach the loft, the party attempted to do so by standing first upon a barrel which was directly underneath a trap hole at the west end of the building. The presence of the rioters was speedily manifested, for as the party attempted to gain the loft, a spinning wheel, rocks and sticks were hurled at them. The first to reach the loft were H. Burbridge, Richard Sewell and George Loggie, who narrowly escaped being shot, as a discharge from fire arms in the hands of the rioters, greeted their entrance. John Gifford was the next, and just as his head and shoulders appeared above the trap a gun was discharged at him, loaded with large shot, which struck him in the head, causing instant death. The poor fellow's body was laid out on the floor, and vigorous efforts were then made to arrest the rioters, shots being given and returned by both parties. Finally, one of the rioters was mortally wounded from a shot in the forehead, the firing ceased, and the whole party, with the exception of Agapit Albert ( who was seriously wounded and made his escape) were arrested. The prisoners offered the greatest resistance to the officers even after they were arrested, and nothing but indomitable pluck and unwavering courage on the part of the constables prevented a defeat which would in all likelihood have been attended with the most disastrous results.

Preparations had evidently been made to entrap the officers, and that violence was to be used was evident from the fact that the rioters were armed with loaded single and double barrel guns.

The prisoners were marched to the residence of Hon. Mr. Young, where they were kept until Thursday night, when they were escorted to Bathurst, thirteen in all, under the charge of Sheriff Vail and a guard, reaching Bathurst the following day.

We learn that the most intense sorrow was manifested by Mr. Young and his family at poor Gifford's tragic end.

An inquest on the body of Gifford was commenced on Thursday morning, under the direction of Coroner Blackhall, at Caraquet, and which terminated at Bathurst last night. The jury, according to our latest despatch, brought in a verdict of WILFUL MURDER against the parties arrested in Albert's House. Twenty-one rioters were in jail in Bathurst, and four more were on their way from Caraquet who were arrested by constable Gammon, assisted by the military, on Monday.

Constable John Cassidy and Donald Mc Gruar left Caraquet with the body of poor Gifford for Miramichi, via Bathurst, on Friday, at 2 p.m., accompanied by Hon. Mr. Young and a number of the constables, for about a mile. The whole party, as a token of respect for their murdered comrade, wore crape upon their arms. The body arrived at Bathurst on Saturday morning at 2 o'clock. In the afternoon a post mortem examination of the body was held by Drs. S.L. Bishop and J.S. Benson, when it was found that shots had entered Gifford's head and body as follows-Three holes though the brain, (near the left temple,) 7 in the back of the head, 4 in the neck, 1 in the forehead, 17 in left arm about the elbow, and 2 in the armpit. The body reached Newcastle on Sunday evening between 7 and 8 o'clock, encased in a neat coffin ready for interment.

The sad rites in connection with the young martyr Gifford took place yesterday afternoon. The funeral was attended by a vast concourse of people of all creeds, from different part of the county, numbering perhaps between seven and eight hundred. In the house, the solemn services were conducted by Rev. James Anderson (St. James', Newcastle, )and the Rev. Wm. Wilson (St. Andrews', Chatham. ) At the grave an affecting prayer was offered up by the Rev. S. Russell. The Rev. James Crisp was also present . All the places of business were closed in token of respect to the deceased.

As we heard the heavy clay falling upon the coffin, we silently offered up a prayer that justice, ample and full, might be meted out to those who were the direct and indirect cause of poor young Gifford's death. Nobly he fell while in the path of duty . Young and brave, with a generous heart overflowing with patriotism and a love for his country, he gave his heart's blood in defence of her cherished institutions. And his name will be revered and cherished for all time to come. In the prime of life, just verging into manhood, full of generous impulses, the promise and hope of his family he has been summoned to that bourne from whence none e'er return. And shall his death be forgotten? No, never! The afflicted family have the most cordial sympathy of a very large number of our people. We can only reiterate the prayer which has ascended from many hearts to the Great Avenger, that He in His mercy, will grant those who mourn the loss of a loved one, all needed consolation and grace, that they may be upborne in this their dark hour of trial.

The memory of John Gifford will, we believe, be substantially remembered. We believe that a very great number of people of this Country will freely contribute towards the erection of suitable monument, upon which shall be inscribed the melancholy circumstances of his lamentable death. - Are we right in this matter ? Let the people answer.

With respect to those young men who were associated with Gifford in making the arrests of rebels in arms, we can only say that the forbearance shown by them to the prisoners after the death of their comrade redounds greatly to their credit. Had victory crowned the efforts of the rioters, we are very much afraid that no such forbearance would have been exhibited by them.

On Wednesday, at 3 p.m., two detachments of the Newcastle Field Battery of Artillery, consisting of 30 men, left for Caraquet via Bathurst. They had 100 rounds of ammunition, consisting of solid and case shot, and shell. The detachments were officered by Major R.R. Call, Commander, Lieut. James Mitchell, and Surgeon J.S. Benson. A number of volunteers of the 72nd Battalion also left Chatham for Caraquet. The Rifles and Artillery, after a rough journey, entered Bathurst the following night about nine o'clock. The Battery is now quartered at Bathurst, in order to prevent any attempt at rescuing the prisoners, and the Rifles under Brigade Major McCulley, are quartered at Caraquet.

The affair throughout is lamentable in the extreme, and we must say in all candour, that we were surprised at the apathy manifested on the part of those at whose word the riot could have been stayed. We do not want to say anything uncharitable, but we must say that we think Father Pelletier should not have deferred his efforts to quell the rebellious proceedings until the news reached him that an armed force was marching to the spot. And we say further that such violent opposition to the laws of our country is most unjustifiable, and should be frowned down by every honest man and well wisher of his country. We want peace, but not at the sacrifice of those rights guaranteed to us by an unfettered constitution.

Document 44

Moniteur acadien, le 4 fevrier 1875


Dans nos précédents numéros, nous avons exprimé la ferme conviction que les outrages que la presse du gouvernement prêtait à nos compatriotes de Caraquet n'existaient que dans le cerveau malade et saturé de fanatisme des écrivains que l'on trouve toujours prêts à calomnier et vilipender tout ce qui est français et catholique. Cette conviction s'appuyait sur les antécédants des satellites du Président du Conseil et sur la paisibilité bien connue des Acadiens et leur abhorration du trouble et de la violence, qualités qui ont souvent tourné contre eux, comme l'ont fait remarquer plusieurs journaux publiés en langue anglaise. La candeur toutefois nous oblige à avouer que cette conviction fut fortement ébranlée, lorsque jeudi dernier, après l'impression de notre feuille, le Télégraphe nous apprit avec sa partialité ordinaire, qu'ils venaient de fusiller raide un officier de la justice assermenté, en train de mettre à exécution un mandat d'arrestation lancé contre quelques uns d'entre eux.

Les détails qui nous sont venus depuis ont effacé la mauvaise opinion que la nouvelle de cette action barbare nous avait donnée sur leur compte, et tout en regrettant sincèrement l'effusion de sang qui a eu lieu, nous ne pouvons, en toute conscience et après mûre réflexion, les en tenir moralement responsables. Et tout homme bien pensant, à intentions droites et libres de préjugé ne saurait croyons-nous, en arriver à une autre conclusion étant connues les circonstances qui ont précédé et entouré la fatale journée du 27 janvier, et la conduite indigne et provoquante de la clique endoctrinée par M.Robert Young.

Pour apprécier sainement et justement les troubles de Caraquet, il est nécessaire de jeter un regard en arrière et de passer en revue quelques faits dignes de considération.

D'après le recensement de 1871, il appert qu'il y a dans la paroisse de Caraquet 3111 âmes; sur ce nombre il n'y a que 79 protestants en tout et partout. Quelques uns de ces 79 sont opposés à la loi scolaire et sur les 3032 catholiques une dizaine se laissent conduire au gré de nos adversaires, et voguent à la remorque des persécuteurs de leurs enfants.

Lors de l'assemblée de paroisse anuelle qui eut lieu à l'époque ordinaire sous la présidence de Théotime Blanchard, Ecr., M.P.P., les divers officiers furent nommés au milieu de la plus parfaite harmonie.

M.Young et ses fidèles, voulant à tout prix imposer leurs volontés au peuple, se réunirent en caucus au commencement de Janvier, firent le choix des personnes qu'ils désiraient placer comme officiers de paroisse, et rédigèrent une pétition, qui fut envoyée aux sessions, demandant que les officiers élus à l'assemblée régulière des contribuables fussent mis de côté et que leurs mignons fussent installés à leur place, et alléguant à l'appui de leur infâme démarche le fait que quelques uns des contribuables qui avaient assisté à l'assemblée annuelle n'avaient pas soldé leur taxe scolaire de comté. Cette étrange requête portait la signature de dix-neuf personnes. Les sessions, dont Robert Young lui-même avait grossi les rangs d'une manière honteuse en nommant l'an dernier une nombreuse fournée de nouveaux magistrats dévoués corps et âmes à sa cause, acquiescèrent, toujours sur motion de M.Young, à la requête et invalida l'élection faite par les contribuables pour substituer, aux emplois de la paroisse les fonctionnaires désignés par les fameux dix-neuf. Ce tour de friponnerie n'était-il pas de nature à soulever la plus profonde indignation chez les habitants de Caraquet contre ses auteurs, à les exaspérer outre mesure?

Aussi quand il fut connu que les syndics nommés par les sessions à la place de ceux qu'ils avaient élus, avaient convoqué une assemblée aux fins d'imposer sur le district une taxe pour l'école qu'ils ne pouvaient fréquenter, les contribuables prirent-ils la détermination d'y assister et de s'opposer vigoureusement à la taxe.

Une foule se rendit donc au lieu de l'assemblé le 14 janvier, et des témoins oculaires affirment que l'ordre a régné en cette occasion comme il règne d'ordinaire à pareilles assemblées.

L'un des syndics fit motion que P. Duval prit le fauteuil, et, bien que les dix-neuf vingtièmes de l'assemblée eussent négativé cette motion, M. Duval eut l'effronterie et l'impudence de prendre le fauteuil et de le garder jusqu'à ce qu'on l'en eût enlevé. Puis M. Duval et les syndics furent poussés dehors et on leur montra le chemin de la maison qu'ils prirent sans parlementer. Personne ne fut battu ou blessé, comme les journaux l'ont crié si fort; seulement M. Duval reçut quelques égratignures au visage en se débattant contre ceux qui l'enlevaient de la présidence. L'ajournement ayant été décrété, la majorité se réunit de nouveau le lendemain et, ayant appris qu'aucune assemblée n'aurait lieu, on résolut d'aller voir les hommes qui faisaient tant d'efforts pour taxer le district et de leur faire des remontrances.

Que n'ont pas dit les journaux hostiles de ces visites, de leur but sanguinaire? A les en croire, on menaçait d'incendie, de mort, de coups, etc. tous ceux que l'on soupçonnait d'approuver la loi des écoles, et les habitants de Caraquet se conduisaient comme des communistes, des internationaux, des diables enfin, saccageant tout ce qui leur tombait sous la main, brisant portes et fenêtres, poêles et tuyaux, et menaçant de mort hommes et femmes (Mme Robert Young) qui ne s'empressaient pas de leur ouvrir leur garde-manger et leurs portefeuilles!!! En un mot pas un protestant était sûr de son existence, et le pillage et le masacre étaient à l'ordre du jour.

Des témoins dignes de foi opposent à ces assertation le plus complet démenti. La foule alla bien chez MM. Blackhall, Rive, Martin, Haché et quelques autres, pour leur demander de signer un document par lequel ils s'engageraient à ne plus essayer imposer ce système d'écoles au peuple, mais de coups, de violence, de saccage, point. Au reste, le témoignage de M. Blackhall lui-même fait justice de ces assertions mensongères.

Plus tard, la même foule, traitée de tourbe populassière, de brigands, de bandits, voulant parvenir jusqu'à M.Young pour lui faire comprendre que sa conduite et celle de sa clique étaient prisées à leur juste valeur et exiger de lui une promesse formelle de cesser ses ruses, ses fraudes et ses manèges pour leur imposer une taxe et un système dont ils ne pouvaient bénéficier. On télégraphia à cette occasion qu'ils étaient armés jusqu'aux dents et d'une férocité infernale. Ce qui ne contribua pas peu à donner un air de vraisemblance à ce mensonge, ce fut la conduite de M.Young, que l'on représenta comme barricadé et fortifié dans son manoir, à la façon des habitants des pays de l'ouest à l'approche d'une tribu de canibales. Mais cette histoire est aussi absurde, aussi invraissemblable que l'intention prêtée aux Français quelques jours auparavant de prendre, avec la corde qu'ils trainaient le shérif Vail, qui était alors à 45 milles de là. Mais la vérité c'est que M.Young, malgré son cynisme et son effronterie, trop lâche pour rencontrer face à face les gens qu'il avait si indignement trompés et leurrés et contre lesquels il s'était tourné, dans cette même question des écoles, après avoir combattu pour eux et dénoncé comme eux cette loi, pour l'amour d'une place dans le gouvernement et d'une nommination à vie dans le Conseil Législatif, n'avait pas eu le courage de s'exposer à leurs regards et d'entendre leurs reproches si bien fondés et avait cru plus viril de condamner ses portes et de se dérober aux expressions d'indignation qu'il savait l'attendre. Chose étonnante! ces hommes armés jusqu'aux dents et aux tendancesguerrières et carnivores, trouvant la porte fermée, retournèrent sur leurs talons sans molester ni saccager quoique ce soit.

La conscience ne laisse pas de repos au coupable, qui croit toujours voir ses victimes prêtes à lui faire expier ses fautes. C'est pourquoi M.Young s'empressa d'implorer le shérif de venir, avec un renfort de constables, arrêter les habitants de la paroisse en même temps qu'il faisait venir d'un comté voisin des militaires dont il connaissait l'affection pour les français. De toutes parts, on vola à sa rescousse, et c'est cet empressement qui a causé la triste fin de Gifford, parti de chez lui avec la douce espérance de rosser les français de Caraquet.

Nous en avons dit assez pour démontrer clairement que la responsabilité morale de ce double meurtre retombe sur les auteurs de toutes les difficultés de Caraquet, et nous sommes fondé à croire que les faits qui seront prouvés en temps convenable confirmeront ce que nous avons déjà dit, relativement à ces évènements déplorables.

Document 45

Daily News, le 30 janvier 1875



The Shediac luminary blazes out this week on Caraquet affairs through two and a half of its shining columns. This space is ocupied by two articles, one editorial, the other in the shape of a letter from a St. John correspondent. Of course, these two effusions contain fine specimens of fudge, couched in French, not of the very finest Parisian pattern. But, remarkable to say, the writers, like all other abettors and defenders of the Caraquet rowdies, do not condescend to state from any authentic information in their own possession what had already occurred at Caraquet at the time of their writing. They had ample means of learning the truth by communication with well informed Separate School leaders at Caraquet. They, no doubt, used these means, but did not deem it judicious to take their readers into their confidence. The role they preferred to play was of another sort. They, therefore, follow in the wake of the Freeman, and pretend to believe that the Caraquet rowdyism is a myth, circulated for sinister purposes as the result of a Local Government plot. The editorial article quotes the telegrams relative to the affair that had at date appeared in our columns, but only to scoff at them as lying fabrications.

The letter from St. John is signed "Junius", an old friend, we perceive, under a new name, and who to have an equal genius for fanfaronade in French and English. He heads his precious lucubration with the term Tragi-comique, and then spreads in the galvanized frog style in an attempt to cast ridicule upon the menacing accounts from Caraquet. According to him the threatened tragedy was merely a screaming farce. His letter was witten, or at least dated on Sunday last. By this time he is probably ready to admit that the Caraquet drama had much more of the tragic than the comic in its character and results. One short sentence will suffice, to shew the spirit in which "Junius"writes, or perhaps we should say rants. Having charged that for some weeks past a thoroughly base imposture had received countenance among a certain class of our public men, he proceeds to define that class by saying : "I call the orators, the journalists the preachers and other canaille (doggery) public men." In this spirit he raves to the end of his communication. It is to be hoped he will keep on writing in French for the Acadien.