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

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An Indian War Impending

The British Colonist, August 30, 1862

The recent reports of outrages and murders perpetrated by the Indians of the Northwest Coast of British Columbia on unoffending Stickeen adventurers induce us to believe that a desultory warfare by the savage tribes inhabiting that section of country is about to be inaugurated, and that, for some months at least - if things are allowed to continue as through the summer - all parties bound to or from Stickeen, Bentinck Arm, Bute Inlet, and other localities, will not be safe from molestation. The capture of the steamer Labouchere by Sitka Indians will lessen the respect and awe heretofore entertained by northern natives for the "hyas canoes" of the Hudson's Bay Company; and the horrible butchery of two white men on Princess Royal Island, the shooting of two others on the mainland by Sabbassi Indians, and the robbery of numerous small parties, go to show that the naturally lawless spirits of the Indians - fired by the rot-gut whisky supplied them by villanous whites - are fast breaking through the bounds of moral restraint to which a wholesome dread of the law has confined them for some years, and are preparing to work great mischief to the whites.

Some of the tribes told the plundered then that they wanted satisfaction for friends lost by smallpox and other diseases caught from the whites; others said that they were determined that the whites should not settle on their lands, or mine in their rivers, and frighten away the game; while another class, inbred assassins and thieves, appeared to murder and rob from actual love of the avocation.

There is no doubt a terrible state of things existing on the coast of the sister colony, and we greatly fear that many small parties of miners reported as on their return from Stickeen will be attacked and plundered, if they are not destroyed by the ruthless savages who, enboldened by past successes, stand ready to work further mischief. The sending of the Devastation north was a good move on the part of the Government, but it is a great pity it was not made earlier. Nothing short of lead or hemp will bring the lawless tribes to their senses. That was fully demonstrated by the lamented Capt. Robson, last summer, when he sent several broadsides from his gunboat Forward into a camp of Hydahs at Cape Mudge, and brought them to their knees sueing for peace in a few minutes after the first gun was fired. The lesson then taught the savages lasted them for sometime; but its effects are now nearly forgotten, and another lesson is required to teach them how to behave in civilized society.

We do not wish to be understood as advising a war of extermination, or the bombardment of native villages save in self-defence, but we do wish to be understood as advocating the ferreting out of the perpetrators of the recent outrages and their summary punishment at the hands of the officers of the Crown into whose clutches they may chance to fall. They richly deserve hanging, and the spectacle of half-a-dozen of the rascals ornamenting the yard-arm of the Devastation, would strike terror to the hearts of the survivors and teach them to leave the subjects of Great Britain and those foreigners, who under the protection of our Government, are endeavoring to lay bare the hidden treasures of the northwest coast, to pursue their calling in peace. Probably if an equal number of white whisky-sellers were strung up by the side of the Indian assassins, the effect on both classes of scoundrels would be alike beneficial, but if the latter are too cunning to be caught, the law will have to content itself for the present with hanging the depredators. Whatever is done must be done quickly.

Source: "An Indian War Impending," British Colonist, August 30, 1862.

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Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History