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

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The “Chronicle” and the Bute Route

The British Columbian, June 8, 1864

Had we not long since ceased to be surprised at anything which might appear in the Victoria Chronicle the leading article in its issue of Friday would have both surprised and shocked us. The article which has proved so unpalatable to our bilious contemporary, as was stated in the commencement of it, would never have been written had it not been provoked by a grossly false paragraph which appeared in a Victoria paper. As to the truthfulness of the statements contained in the article, we have only to say that we wrote upon information obtained from practical Engineers, and who now assure us that so far from exaggerating we were really under the mark. If the trail is a good one why did Mr. Waddington positively refuse to allow his mules, or even one of them, to accompany the expedition beyond the Ferry? If the route is a practicable one how does it come that McDonald and his party were sent a circuit of several hundred miles round by Bentinck in order to commence operations on the upper portion of the trail?

The attempt of our contemporary to make the discussion of the merits of the Bute route a personal question with Mr. Waddington is worthy of him and his cause. The simple circumstance that a respectable old man happens to have become a monomaniac upon the subject cannot be permitted to stand in the way of the free discussion of a Colonial question. We are charged with cruelty towards Mr. Waddington. We hurl back the charge in the teeth of our contemporary, who has heartlessly encouraged the poor old man to pursue a phantom to his utter ruin, and all under the cloak of friendship. Mr. Waddington’s worst enemies are those who hounded him on in a scheme which they knew nothing about and cared less if they only succeeded by the agitation of it in distracting and unsettling public mind respecting this place. Had he listened to our warning and advice, instead of greedily swallowing all that false friends offered to his disordered appetite, it would have been well for him.

That portion of the article in the Chronicle which represents the people of New Westminster as chuckling over the Bute massacre, because, by injuring that route, it tends to enhance the value of their town lots, must be the offspring of a mind low indeed in the scale of humanity – a condition to be more loathed than commiserated. The fact that, a few hours after the news of the massacre had reached our town, the Fire Company, the Rifle Corps and a large number of private individuals had placed their services at the disposal of His Excellency – were eager to leave, many of them, their wives, families and business to go and avenge the death of Victorians who had been murdered at Bute Inlet, gives the lie to one of the most foul and wanton slanders which was ever cast upon any community. The people here could not have acted with more enthusiastic good feeling had each lost a brother in the massacre; they did not wait to ask to what nation or Colony or town they belonged, much less did the sordid idea of the rise of property enter into their minds. And yet, in the face of this disinterested enthusiasm on the part of the people of New Westminster to avenge the death of a few Victorians, engaged in constructing a rival route, the writer of the article in question has the unmanly, heartlesness to charge them with chuckling over the bloody tragedy, and that from the most sordid of considerations. Shame upon the man who conceived the base slander, and shame on the paper which became the medium of its promulgation.

We beg, in conclusion, to inform the Editor of the Chronicle that he need give himself no further anxiety respecting the merits and fate of the Bute Inlet route. We have now a Governor who will examine that and every other work for himself and act accordingly; nor will he be bamboozled by newspaper declamation.

Source: "The Chronicle and the Bute Route," The British Columbian, June 8, 1864.

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