1997-110 | New Brunswick: The Caraquet Riots: Death of Constable Gifford

New Brunswick: The Caraquet Riots: Death of Constable Gifford
February 13, 1875, 19th century
28 x 19.7 cm
Gift of Terry Boucher
This artefact belongs to : © Musée acadien of the Université de Moncton
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Keys to History

In 1875, the government of New Brunswick, led by George Edwin King, proposed the setting up of a non-confessional public school system in that province. To finance the project, a universal tax was to be imposed, including on the Acadians, who wished to keep their Catholic schools.

Despite the protests of the Acadian and the Irish people, the legislature, which was dominated by English-speaking Protestants, adopted the law. But the Acadians decided to boycott the new tax. The government, purportedly to restore calm to the population, dispatched the militia to Caraquet, New Brunswick, where a protest meeting was being held. A riot broke out during which two people were killed: Louis Mailloux, a 19-year-old Acadian, and John Gifford, a member of the militia.

Shortly thereafter, a compromise was struck. Members of the clergy would be allowed to teach in the schools, some textbooks would be translated into French and anti-Catholic texts would be abolished. In addition, wearing of uniforms in schools and the teaching of Catholic religion outside of the schools would be permitted.

  • What

    The Canadian Illustrated News often published engravings such as this one depicting the riot at Caraquet. The title refers to only the death of Constable Gifford.

  • Where

    This engraving was published in the Canadian Illustrated News of February 13, 1875.

  • When

    The Canadian Illustrated News covered news events for its readers. This issue dealt with an event of interest to all New Brunswickers in 1875.

  • Who

    This unsigned engraving depicts the Caraquet riot and the death of Constable Gifford, without mentioning the death of the young Acadian.