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

Seymour to Cardwell, No. 81

8 June 1865

I have the honor to report the capture of the last of the Chilicoten Indians of note who took part in the massacres and insurrection of last year. Anaheim, the Chief of the west, or Nacoontloon branch of the Tribe, had on his submission to Mr. Brew promised that he would endeavour during the winter to seize Ahan, a powerful chief who had taken a prominent part in the attack on Macdonald's party and had with his own hand murdered McDonald.

2. Ahan, short of food and constantly pursued during the winter, determined on making his peace with me and was proceeding down the Bella Coola River with several hundred dollars worth of choice furs as compensation for the murders he had committed. Anaheim sent word to Mr. Ogilvy, the late Constable at Bella Coola, of the approach of Ahan to the Coast. Mr. Moss with ten Bella Coola Indians were despatched secretly to meet him. They surprised and captured Ahan and a relative of his, Sutas, who had likewise been engaged in the several massacres. These Indians are now in the gaol at New Westminster awaiting their trial. Their apprehension makes the assertion of the Law complete over every Indian who shed the blood of the White men during the outbreak of 1864. You will see the difficulty of the undertaking we have accomplished when I mention that the first prisoners captured were tried in Cariboo. The last are now in prison in New Westminster, a little short of 500 miles away. Over nearly the whole of the intervening space had the pursuit to be carried on.

3. The evidence against Ahan is absolutely conclusive. Indeed in spite of all warnings, he narrates the full particulars of his murderous attack on the whites. He says he is a great Chief, can tell no lies, and is ready to die. Sutas too, will not conceal the part he took in the slaughter of McDonald and others. He is very young, of no position in the tribe and I sincerely trust that I shall be able to extend mercy to him. There has been enough life sacrificed already since the attack on the road party. I fear however that the crimes of Ahan are too great for me to spare his life.

4. The few friends who were in Company with Ahan and Sutas when they were captured on the Bella Coola, had no evident complicity in the massacres and were not interfered with. There has been sufficient bloodshed. The punishment is abundant. From Ahan's friends we hear, without surprise that the sufferings of the Indians in the interior have been very great during the late prolonged winter. Hunted by our Volunteers during the fruit & fishing season, the first cold found them without food and many have perished of starvation.

I have etc.

Mr. Elliot

This is a satisfactory result of Mr. Seymour's energetic proceedings.
Acknowledge with satisfaction.

ABd 25 August

Mr. Cardwell

TFE 25/5

& recognize his disposition to temper justice with mercy.

EC 25


Draft reply, Cardwell to Seymour, No. 60, 1 September 1865.

Source: Great Britain Public Record Office, Colonial Office Records, CO 60/22, p. 83, 8243, Frederick Seymour, Letter to Cardwell, No. 81, sent June 8, 1865, received August 24, 1865.

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Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History