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

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Brown to Raycroft

Sat. 18th/'63

Murray Raycroft
Feb. 18th 1863


Permit me to appeal to your Excellency on a subject of urgency and importance. Your Excellency is aware that the native population around Lillooet have for the last two months been suffering under the visitation of small-pox. This disease has made fearful ravages amongst them, sweeping off whole families and literally converting their camps into grave-yards. It is ascertained that upwards of 150 have perished in this neighbourhood alone. You have doubtless heard of the efforts made by the people of Lillooet to relieve the sufferers, from Mr. Elliott. These efforts have been attended with such success as could be anticipated in the unfavourable circumstances of the case - the patients being so far removed from each other, & the weather having been for some days extremely cold - yet about one fifth of those attacked have survived. Among these survivors are several children - about six in number varying from 3 to 7 years of age, orphaned and friendless.

What is to be done with these unfortunate children is a question which presses sore upon the heart of everyone. It may be said, they ought to be sent to the 'Rancheries,' their own people will take care of them. I regret to say Sir, that this view is too favourable to the native character. Affectionate enough towards their own children & those of relatives they will have nothing to do with those of strangers. These children have no friends and Your Excellency will see that to thrust them upon other Indian families would be simply to throw them away. A fortnight ago an infant of about a year old, both its parents having died of smallpox, was left in the hands of the 2 men appointed to visit to relieve the sick. They kept it for a week when as they found it impossible to attend to it & their own work together, the child was taken to a Siwash camp. There I requested a young woman who had lost her own child to small pox to take this poor infant & nurse it; urging her by sacred & by secular considerations, telling her that as the Supreme Father had taken her own child, so He gave her this; giving her money and promising more. It was all in vain. Next day the child was dead, & as it was perfectly healthy when I left it there I was forced to the conclusion that the poor thing had died from neglect.

This and other instances within my notice convince me that it is useless to expect the natives to adopt these orphans, and since they are thus left on our hands, I conceive we must do something for them. On the other hand nothing can be expected from the townspeople. They have already subscribed from up to $500 for the sick natives (all of which is now spent, & the Committee is in debt) and both their means and their patience are exhausted. In these circumstances my only resource is in Your Excellency and in your generosity and sympathy for the foresaken & the destitute. So I venture to ask you some assistance on their behalf. Surely the case is urgent; these poor orphans are left on our hands - are they not a trust left to us by the Almighty? Can we escape the duty of caring for them & educating them? Can we turn them out of our hospitals & leave them to die? I know your Excellency will not allow us to entertain such an idea. Will you then enable me to establish a small orphanage home here for them?

We have already a cabin large enough to hold all the 6, and want a matron to attend to them. We require funds for their support, and I am given to understand that $100 a month would suffice, viz $50 wages for the woman and $50 for provisions. If Your Excellency could allow us this account say for the first few years at least it would be my earnest and unwearied endeavour to have the establishment placed on an independent footing - independent of the Government I mean. I do earnestly trust that you will find it possible to grant us this [boon?], which besides providing for the necessities of the children will be the first efforts made in this part of the Country for the education of that people whose land we have "taken possession not through our own hand or by our own arm but through thine arm and the Light of Thy Countenance."

I have the honour to be
Your Excellency's
most obedient humble servant
R. Lundin Brown

Source: BCA, Colonial Correspondence, GR-1372, F214, Mflm B-1311, R.C. Lundin Brown, Letter to Murray Raycroft, February 18, 1863.

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