Doric Club

Doric Club

Le Doric Club était une association de loyaux organisée au Bas-Canada par Adam Thom, un avocat et journaliste, en mars 1836. Opposant notoire des Patriotes, le groupe était à la fois un club social et une organisation paramilitaire. Il fut utilisé comme faction armée du Parti constitutionnel et plusieurs de ses membres prirent part aux Rébellions du Bas-Canada de 1837 et 1838 du côté britannique.

Histoire

Les membres du Doric Club étaient en grande partie de jeunes radicaux anglophones ayant été forcés de quitter le British Rifle Corps après sa dissolution par Lord Gosford en janvier 1836. Gosford affirma que les sujets britanniques, adéquatement protégés par l'armée, n'étaient pas en danger, et que de tels groupes étaient inutiles. Estimant leur nombre à 2000, il jugea qu'ils étaient des fauteurs de trouble.

Le 16 mars 1836, le Club publia son manifeste, appelant tous les loyaux hommes britanniques à s'unir contre ce qu'ils avaient déjà appelé la « domination française » (French domination) au Bas-Canada. « Si nous sommes désertés par le gouvernement britannique et le peuple britannique, plutôt que de se soumettre à la dégradation d'être sujet d'une république canadienne-française, nous sommes déterminés par nos propres armes de droit à aboutir à notre délivrance. », dit le document.

Malgré l'opposition de Lord Gosford, le Doric Club fut toléré par le Général John Colborne, comme le furent d'autres groupes loyaux armés. Le 6 novembre 1837, après une assemblée de la Société des fils de la liberté, un groupe de jeunes pro-Patriotes, une violente échauffourée éclata entre ces derniers et le Club. Finalement, pendant les Rébellions du Bas-Canada, Colborne recruta plusieurs de ses membres en tant que volontaires pour réprimer les rebelles.

Références

Voir aussi

C'est dans son Histoire de l'insurrection au Canada (1839) que Louis-Joseph Papineau a écrit que la création du Doric Club doit être attribuée à Adam Thom. Mais un éditorial de juillet 1839 du propriétaire du Montreal Herald, Robert Weir, récuse une telle attribution: si les éditoriaux de Thom ont incontestablement inspiré les radicaux tory de Montréal, l'éditorialiste en chef de la feuille orangiste n'a rien à voir, selon lui, avec la formation de cette organisation crypto-policière. Voici l'éditorial en question tiré du Herald Abstract que l'on peut consulter à BAnQ:

[11 juillet 1839]

 The Burlington Sentinel of the 5th instant, contains the conclusion of Papineau’s History of the Canadian insurrections. Mr. Adam Thom and the Doric Club are the special objects of abuse, though we cannot understand why they should be coupled, as Mr. Thom never was a member of the club, and knew no more of its organisation, strength or intentions, than Papineau himself. He is styled “The rabid editor of a violent tory paper” “writing under the daily and excessive stimulus of ardent spirits,” and as “the fellow who figured as a prominent leader in several riots which during four years, had disturbed Montreal, directed by British Magistrates, against citizens who, either by elections or in the Assembly, had opposed the Executive.” The charges of rabid and violent are not worth contradicting, every person who had the pleasure of knowing Mr. Thom is aware that he was of strictly temperate habits, and we know, to a certainty, that he never was engaged, in the slightest degree, in any riot in this city. Papineau again says “Adam Thom had organised the Doric club, an armed society, whose avowed object was to exterminate the French Canadians, should the Government concede their demands – an elective Legislative Council.” Here, as usual, there are almost as many lies as there are words. The Doric Club was established by the young gentlemen in the city for the purpose of mutual protection against attacks from Canadian watchmen, whose principal business appeared to be robbing houses instead of guarding them, and breaking the peace instead of maintaining it. The course of events changed them into a strong British political party, and there is little doubt that to the club are the colonists mainly indebted for forcing Papineau and his gang into rebellion much sooner than they intended. The club was well organised, and secret as the grave in its operations, and its power was felt though it was unseen. The “Sons of Liberty” made a pitiful attempt at organization also, and were forced to avow their rebellious intentions by the taunts and sneers of the Doric club, to the members of which were entrusted the warrants for the apprehension of the traitors in the city, because no Canadians could be found loyal enough to be considered trustfully. The Queen’s Light Dragoons and the Volunteers Battalions were partly formed by members of the Club.
 Papineau is particularly averse to a Union of the Canadas, because he thereby sees, that should he ever be placed in a situation in which he will have liberty to return to his native land, he will be but a minnow among Tritons, instead of what he was, a Triton among minnows.
 Il semble d'autre part,que le nom même de "Doric" provienne d'un rituel maçonnique ; la colonne Doric y est présentée comme le "pilier de force" et se trouve être l'attribution du Second surveillant. Dans un compte rendu d'une soirée mondaine des membres du Club, un toast a été porté à cette colonne: "The Doric Club, like the Doric column may it ever remain strong, firm and upright – Four times four. Song, Hearts of oak."(Herald Abstract, 31 janvier 1837).

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