We do not know his name: Klatsassin and the Chilcotin War

Birch to Cox

Colonial Secretary's Office, 14 May 1864


I am instructed to forward to you the enclosed Newspaper which will make you acquainted with the leading particulars of the late massacre of Europeans by Indians of the Chilcoaten tribe near Bute Inlet. The Governor on the receipt, last night, of this intelligence at once wrote to the Senior Naval Officer on the Station for the Services of Her Majesty's Ships "Tribune" and "Grappler" and he expects that these vessels will enter the Fraser this evening.

His Excellency having considered the matter in Council purposes to despatch a force of 40 or 50 Marines from Bute Inlet into the interior to demand the surrender of the Criminals. To this force he will add about 25 special constables, well armed, under the command of Mr. Brew.

The expedition being merely to assist the supremacy of the law, Mr. Brew will direct its movements and endeavor to the utmost to prevent a collision with the Indians. Of course the culprits if found will be seized by force, should force be required. This strong body of men will follow up, in case of necessity the Indians to their fishing grounds on the lakes, but the Governor trusts that under the experienced management of Mr. Brew, the well disposed Indians will be induced to capture and hand over the murderers.

The Governor in Council has considered that it would be very desirable to have some steps taken from Alexandria towards the same object sought to be attained by the force proceeding from Bute Inlet. He has in Council determined to request your assistance He feels that he must leave you a very large discretion as to the number and race of the men you would employ and as to the course to be adopted but he suggests for your consideration, that you should not be sufficiently weak to invite attack, nor your force so numerous as to form a heavy burthen on the Colonial Treasury.

You will confer on the Colony an important service Should you succeed in capturing the perpetrators of the barbarous deeds at Bute Inlet.

The Governor regrets that he cannot furnish you with the names or descriptions of the offenders, but he is advised that their own tribe would easily identify them should they think fit.

You are at liberty to offer such rewards as you may think fit to the Indians for the apprehension of the murderers.

I am to impress upon you the wish of the Governor to avoid, as far as compatible with the object we have in view, all acts which may lead to Collision with the Indians.

I have the honor to be
Your most obedient servant

Arthur N. Birch

Draft Copy

Source: BCA, Colonial Correspondence, GR-1372, F379/22, Mflm B-1321, Arthur N. Birch, Letter to Cox, May 14, 1864.

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