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

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To the Editor of the British Columbian

The British Columbian, June 22, 1864

Sir,- Mr. Waddington’s letter of the 13th inst. in the Colonist, from its ingenuousness certainly deserves great credit. A man openly slandering his neighbour is open also to damages for libel &c. This danger and difficulty has, however, been most wisely avoided by Mr. Waddington wording his accusations. Taking the charges as mentioned: It is not the fact what is stated as regards Lieut. Palmer, but is grossly colored.

The small-pox was not brought to Bella Coola by white men but was introduced by a party of Bella Bella Indians fresh arrived from Victoria. The other contagion mentioned is unfortunately yearly communicated to all the tribes on the coast from the Indians returning to their homes from Victoria. The story about a settler taking an Indian girl to wife and the sequence as stated is a most unfounded and wicked fabrication. The Mr. N. mentioned is unknown under the name; the fact stated however, must be untrue or it would have come under the notice of a person habitually living there at the time.

There is a colour of truth in the next paragraph, but with Mr. Waddington’s usual accuracy he has mistaken the names. Angus McLeod and Wallace, the latter appointed by the late Government as Collector of Customs at Bentinck Arm, were the perpetrators of this most gross crime of appropriating the blankets of the dead Indians, and for it they were manually punished by some of the then residents of Bentinck Arm. The Mr. Taylor mentioned has been resident at Bella Coola for over two years and has always been respected by the Indians there and is on the best terms with them. It is rather hard for him as a poor man that an assertion made by a prejudiced person should meletate against an honest man and should be brought forward in the public Press.

If more minute particulars are required on the above subject, the writer of this will be only too happy to furnish them.


New Westminster, June 21st, 1864.

Source: Verax, "To the Editor of 'The British Columbian'," The British Columbian, June 22, 1864.

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Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History