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

About this source

Begbie to Birch

18 August 1864

Dear Birch,

I have just received information from Cox that 8 of the "wanted Indians" have come & surrendered to him - giving me, apparently, the option of going to try them at his camp: but suggesting that on the one hand, any execution there might prevent the surrender of the remainder, (10) which he hopes to effect soon - and on the other hand, the difficulty of keeping any prisoners in safe custody where he is. His letter, (a mere note in pencil dated [Chizco?] 15 Augt.) suggests therefore that he should send these 8 to Alexandria to be kept there. I have sent to suggest the gaol at Wms [Williams] Lake - as being much stronger, among hostile Indians, and on this side the Fraser, and abundance of provisions - 10 or 12 men could guard there well enough.

I am here just now for 36 hours to See Mr. Mathew - whose leg is going on as well as can be expected - not very much pain, & no fever as yet. But I can not go on to Chizco at present very well owing to engagements on the [peak?]. Besides, if I went, it would be to try them, and thus perhaps bring about the effect which Cox reasonably points out as probably following any execution. - But as to the execution, - in case of any trial before me, - is it to wait until my notes are laid before the council, as usual? If not, an authorization to the Sheriff will probably be sufficient. The difficulty of keeping safely men who know they are to be hanged is much greater than when they think they may get off.

I have promised Cox that if he is ready to go to trial, I shall be at liberty in the interval 1st to 19th Sept. - or after the 20th Sept. Therefore please lose no time in considering the last part of my past paragraph - Afterwise I shall of course send down my notes as normal.

Weather here very hot. They say, 132 in the Shade. Road getting on rapidly - fully cleared for 9 miles out, besides bits here & there further on - about 5 mi. fit for driving on when I came in on Tuesday.

The [express?] from Wms Lake on the same day brought down upwards of $200.000 [sic] including M'Donald's Bank.

Ever yours truly
Matt. B. Begbie

Judge's request anticipated.

1 Sept. 1894

Col. Sec.

Put by

Source: BCA, Colonial Correspondence, GR-1372, F142f/16, Mflm B1308, Matthew Baillie Begbie, Letter to Birch, August 18, 1864.

Return to parent page

Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History