Morning Freeman, January 28, 1875
It certainly will not be the fault of the Local Government, their agents and organs, if a Civil War be not provoked in Caraquet. Indeed, if we could accept the statements published by the News without enquiring into their probability or consistency, we must conclude that Civil War on a small scale is raging in that part of the Dominion at this moment. For more than a century the people of Caraquet have deserved and have borne the reputation of being a most peaceable and inoffensive people, never quarrelling with their neighbours or amongst themselves. Now they are denounced in the organs of the Local Government as ruffians, rowdies, fiends, a lawless mob, and blood thirsty, and all this because they will not calmly permit a few persons acting with colour of law to rob them to any extent they please. Their opposition to the attempt at robbery does not appear to have gone very far beyond what was absolutely necessary; but calumny and malignity found in what the people were forced to do sufficient foundation for a superstructure of exaggeration and falsehood which it was hoped would appal and excite the people of the rest of the Province and make the majority in the No-Popery Legislature duly subservient to the clique who frame laws and administer them mainly for the purpose of prolonging their tenure of office.
THE CARAQUET TRAGEDY : THE ROWDIES KILL A SHERIFF'S ASSISTANT.
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 Government. 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.