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

Seymour to Cardwell, No. 37

9 September 1864

[ Waddington Road, north end of Waddington Canyon, Homathko River , Charles Horetzky, BCA A-04140 ]

As surmised in the 17th paragraph of my despatch, No. 7 of 20th of May, which reported the massacre of Mr. Waddington's road party at Bute Inlet by the Chilicoten Indians, the murderers without delay, crossed the mountains and took to the plains of the interior.

2. The Volunteers I despatched under Mr. Brew were unable to follow them. Even to reach the spot where Brewster, the foreman of the Road gang, was killed, the men had to be lowered down a precipice by ropes and those who had the nerve reached the place where the body lay by crossing a ravine several hundreds of feet deep on a single log. Where Indians could pass most of the New Westminster Volunteers could follow, but the former had no need to carry food as they entered a friendly country, the latter must either bring with them the means of subsistence or starve. I satisfied myself that our men ought not to be allowed to penetrate to the interior by way of Bute Inlet. I never saw so difficult a country. The mountains in many cases rise simply at right angles to the plains. Glaciers are poised over narrow valleys of almost tropical heat, and the cascades fall from the summit of the precipice scarcely wetting the perpendicular wall of rock. Mr. Brew's party buried the remains of the Road Makers and returned to New Westminster.

3. Within the great barrier of the Cascade Range lies the Chilicoten Country to which the Murderers retired. It was almost unknown to white men until recent events have caused it to be ransacked by armed bands of volunteers in its remotest corners. I enclose a map drawn by the Royal Engineers of the supposed features of the Country and also one of the Bute Inlet Country compiled from Indian information and recent research to show how complete our ignorance has hitherto been.

4. The Country occupied by the Chilicotens extends probably two hundred miles North and South. From the summit of the Bute Inlet Mountains to the West Road River, East and West the tribe roamed from the Cascade Range to the Fraser, a distance of three hundred Miles. Most of the land is of high elevation, the vegetation stunted and the plains of greater extent than generally found in British Columbia. But there are many valleys of the greatest fertility, and the rivers and lakes are innumerable. The Indian trails which traverse the country concentre at Benshee Lake, and that therefore was the point which any expedition sent against the Indian Murderers would try to reach. On the failure to pass the Bute Mountains there remained only two reasonably practicable ways of reaching Benshee with provisions, the one by Alexandria, the other by Bentinck Arm. Before sending Mr. Brew to Bute Inlet orders had been given for Mr. Cox and a party of Volunteers to advance on Benshee from the former point. The want of a transport, as stated in my despatch No. 8 of 20th May, prevented an expedition from the latter.

5. Little was known of the Chilicoten Country and not much more of its inhabitants. It was supposed that the tribe, even after the ravages of small pox, could muster several hundred warriors. It was seen, from the few who occasionally visited the coast, that they were a tall, athletic race, well provided with horses, and well supplied with Arms. They had ocasionally made war upon the tribes near the Sea and always with success. Three or four mule trains had passed from West to East carrying goods to the Gold mines of Cariboo, and the drivers had become acquainted with Anaheim, the principal Chief of the Western division of the Tribe, whose seat is at Nacoontloon, and Alexis, who resides about a hundred miles from Alexandria. The last named had however frequent intercourse with the Whites at the Hudson Bay fort on the Fraser, and has been occasionally visited by the Roman Catholic priests. We had vaguely heard that a large force under a subordinate to Alexis occupied the lodges on Benshee Lake, and that a detachment of Anaheim's men was in possession of a palisaded fort at Sulteth. All these places lie in the trail by which the mule trains passed. To the Southward, in the great indentation formed by the sweep of the Cascade range, it was believed that many of the Chilicotens had their hunting and fishing grounds, but the country had escaped the visit of even the most adventurous white men. Such was the extent of the knowledge of this vast territory we possessed when it became necessary to invade it.

6. The Murderers having reached the plains to the Northward of Bute Inlet, marched with great rapidity to Benshee Lake. They appear to have picked up recruits on the way for the force numbered nearly 30 Men when it approached the farm of a white settler, William Manning. The Chief, Klatssassin, who had presided over the massacre at Bute Inlet sent an Indian Woman to this man with the message that he was going to kill him without delay. Manning made no answer, but went and sat on a log outside his house. In a few minutes the Chilicotens came down, despatched him with a tomahawk, mangled the body brutally and threw it into a small stream close by the house. They plundered the stores of everything, burnt down the buildings, hay stacks, all that could thus be destroyed, and even went to the trouble of breaking up the ploughs and other agricultural implements.

7. Manning was the only fixed settler in this Country, but unfortunately a train of 42 horses with eight drivers, was approaching from Bentinck Arm, the party alluded to in my previous despatch. Klatsassin went to meet them, and as in the case of Manning, at once told Macdonald, the head of the party, that he was come to put them all to death. But the eight white men were well armed and showed that they were likely to sell their lives dearly, the Indians hesitated and then apparently retired. But Macdonald knew that they were not far off and threw up some earthworks on the summit of a small hill and remained in safety for some days. Then he determined on retreating as fast as he could in the Bella Coola Country. As his party left their shelter the Chilicotens appeared in force and galloped towards them. The white men were however first to reach a long narrow Indian bridge over a swamp which they were able to hold against the natives, who again retired, but only to form an ambush on the trail. A volley was then fired at the train as it passed. Two of the men were dismounted, a horse killed, and then an open attack made by an overwhelming force. In it Macdonald and two of his party were killed. The fortunate accident of the horses rushing between the packers and the Indians enabled five of the former to escape though they were badly wounded.

8. It suited our purpose to treat officially these successive acts of violence as isolated massacres, but there is no objection to our now avowing that an Indian Insurrection existed, extremely formidable from the inaccessible nature of the country over which it raged. It seemed that the whole Chilicoten tribe was involved in it, as Benshee, where Manning was murdered is under the jurisdiction of Alexis; Sutleth, where Macdonald and his two comrades fell, is under that of Anaheim. They must have had the sympathy, at least, of the Bella Coolas also, for Anaheim descended to their lands to finish the extermination of the Whites and it was only by mere chance that a Mr. Hamilton, his wife, and daughter, escaped with their lives just as the Chilicotens arrived. The Country had been so thinly settled by Europeans that with the departure of the Hamiltons, the white occupation ceased from the Sea to the Fraser. The Bella Coola Indians exposed to the visit of a Ship of War, did not openly join in the insurrection but they made no protest against the violation of their territory which they had heretofore so jealously guarded.

9. Great excitement prevailed in this and the neighbouring Colony while the extermination of our fellow countrymen proceeded and beyond our own limits no allowance was made for my inability to procure the Services of a ship of war, nor for the ruggedness of the Cascade Mountains which seemed to close the access to the interior to beasts of burden or loaded men. True, Mr. Cox's party had started from Alexandria but in numbers insufficient to suppress so large an insurrection. Great therefore was my satisfaction when at last Vice Admiral Kingcome arrived on the Station and consented to convey an Expedition to Bentinck Arm from which point we were determined to reach if possible, the hunting grounds of the Chilicotens. Not an hour was wilfully lost in raising a party of volunteers, forty in number, in New Westminster. I gave the command to Mr. Brew, Police Magistrate of New Westminster, and determined on accompanying him, at all events as far as Bella Coola, where I could judge whether it was possible for the party to proceed.

10. On the failure of the attempt to reach the interior by way of Bute Inlet I had written to Mr. Cox to say that I had only him to depend on, and that he must make his force sufficiently strong to stand alone. He had some difficulty in procuring volunteers in the Upper Country, but finally he succeeded in enrolling a force of thirty, which he subsequently increased to fifty and finally to sixty five men: most of them natives of the United States and not much disposed to relish the restraint which I put upon them in carrying on operations against the Indians. Mr. Cox left Alexandria on the 8th of June, and reached Benshee Lake, a distance of 112 Miles by the Indian trail on the 12th. Thirty seven horses accompanied the expedition.

11. The path on which he travelled passes over a bare hill, within a mile of Mannings farm. From its summit Mr. Cox's party descried the Chilicotens in full occupation of their lodges. As his advanced guard rose into sight the natives appeared to think that another luckless pack train had fallen into their hands and prepared to meet it; and here I think Mr. Cox missed a good opportunity of securing the persons of the murderers, as a valley immediately on his right would have led his men unseen to the rear of the Indian position. They however showed themselves in force with their long train of pack horses, and the natives with every demonstration of rage and hatred, abandoned their village and retired to the forest. In the afternoon Mr. Cox sent six men to reconnoitre. They were fired on by the Indians, who drove them back on the main body, reloading and firing as they advanced, & wounding one man. On the following day the white men set fire to the Indian lodges, when the owners again appeared with loud yells on the top of a hill and fired off their muskets, though, without inflicting damage. Mr. Cox then constructed a log fort on the summit of a hill and waited with a flag of truce flying for the arrival of any friendly Indians who might be in the Country. None came, and on my arrival at Benshee on the 6th July, I found Mr. Cox and his force within the log walls of his fortress. They were virtually besieged by an invisible enemy.

12. Meanwhile the New Westminster expedition was coming to his assistance. When entering Bentinck Arm, the flag ship was boarded by three wounded men from Macdonald's party. They told us of the rising of Anaheim, the fortunate escape of the Hamiltons, and gave generally so gloomy an account of the state of the country that I thought it right either to withhold Mr. Brew's party, or to go through with it myself. I selected the latter alternative.

13. Feeling that the presence of a powerful ship like the "Sutlej" would overawe the Coast Indians, Mr. Brew, with my concurrence, took thirty of them, under the young fighting Chief, into his pay. With thirty eight Volunteers from New Westminster, our Indian band, and nineteen pack horses, we started from Rascal's Village on the 20th June for Benshee Lake, in the centre of the Chilicoten Country 250 Miles from our base of operations. As we advanced the communications closed behind us and I had but rare opportunities of communicating with your department.

14. The few pack trains which have passed through the Chilicoten territory, came from Alexandria, to the head of boat navigation on the Bella Coola River 53 miles from its Mouth. The goods are conveyed in Canoes to the spot where land transport commences. We therefore, as pioneers in one sense of the Bella Coola Country, the first men to bring horses from the Sea, had to cut a trail and build bridges for them along the whole extent of the rich Alluvial Valley. The streams running into the river--itself a mere torrent--fed from the glaciers immediately above us were innumerable and our progress consequently slow. We however reached the summit of the Cascade Mountains on 30th June and found ourselves at last in the Chilicoten Country, having suffered the comparatively trifling loss, in our difficult march, of three horses, twenty Indians by desertion, and one Volunteer accidentally wounded near Rascal's Village.

15. We had met native tribes but twice in our passage up the Bella Coola. The Tsantonies had taken possession of Mr. Hamilton's house at the ferry and seemed disposed to dispute our passage of the river. Our Indian allies however stood by us manfully and by a display of force accompanied by kind words and small presents we secured the wavering allegiance of this tribe, who had heard of many murders of white men, but never of retribution following. The Kishkatts, whom we subsequently fell in with in the woods, threw away their furs and food and made off towards the mountains. They were pursued by the Bella Coolas with a rapidity which damped my hope of our success in catching the tall and powerful Chilicotens. The Kishkatts were brought back and appeared wild but docile.

16. While still engaged in the precipices of the "Great Slide", where the Indian trail runs up the almost perpendicular side of a mountain of disintegrated trap rock, shouts were heard in the back and our Indians captured one Chilicoten. We learnt subsequently that it was Anaheim and his followers who filled the woods. Perhaps the resolute bearing of the Volunteers, perhaps the presence among us of friendly Indians, prevented the attack which appears to have been meditated; an attack which would have taken our party at a great disadvantage, and might have had the success which was already boasted of, as will be seen from the extract from a Vancouver Island Paper which I enclose.


A Mr. Sampore, Mr. Waddington's store keeper, arrived from Bute Inlet, in company with another white man, in a canoe this morning to bring the following information of the massacre of the whole or part of the Bentinck Arm expedition.

A report was brought down by coast Indians, and communicated by them to the Eucletaws at Bute Inlet to the effect that the whole expedition (Mr. Waddington thinks perhaps only a provision party with escort) has been surprised half way up while mounting the "Original Slide" on the Bentinck Arm Trail, the bare side of a precipitous mountain 2000 feet high. The Indians had prepared at the top of the mountain a number of large rocks and logs of wood which they precipitated on the men below, and swept them down into the torrent 1000 feet beneath.

Such is the version which Mr. Sampore has brought down, and which he found to be corroborated by accounts brought to Nanaimo, where it was fully accredited last Sunday.

Two of the Chilcoaten murderers, before Mr. Sampore left, came down to the head of the Inlet to reconnoitre, but immediately disappeared when they found that they were observed. This occurrence had so frightened the friendly Indians that they had left the town site immediately, and encamped upon an impregnable position at the head of the Inlet.

Nothing had been heard by the Indians of the reported disaster to Mr. Cox's party.

We are indebted to Mr. Waddington for the above information.

17. Beyond the watchfulness necessarily incident to the march through a country where every bush might conceal an ambush there was but little to relieve the monotony of the travel in the stunted forest of the high plains. Silence was generally observed, and no shot permitted at the many grouse which would have varied our plain food.

18. It was known that Anaheim had a palisaded fort at Nacoontloon, and Mr. Brew hoped that he and his whole branch of the Chilicotens would make a stand there, if even in vastly superior numbers, and bring matters to a crisis, and the long wearying marches to a termination. But the fort was vacant, the village deserted. Then came some variety, in the passing the scene of the last massacre, and the painful task of burying the bodies of our countrymen, multilated by the Indians, mangled by the wolves and rendered ghastly by decay. Dead horses lay on the trail, gutted pack saddles, boxes of wax candles, broken agricultural implements, a musket shattered by a bullet. An Indian Chief had been shot by Macdonald after he himself had received his death wound. Him, his comrades had buried pompously, adorning his grave with flags, but the exigencies of the war with the whites were too great for them to sacrifice, in the usual manner, his horse and musket for his future use.

19. To prevent the further, lengthening out of this inevitably long despatch I enclose copy of a letter written by my direction from Benshee Lake, by Lieutenant Cooper R.M., who acted as my aide de camp. I should however do more full justice, than could be done in a letter signed by himself, to the conduct of the flying party despatched under him in pursuit of the Indians to Lake Capana. They started off at an hours notice, with but one horse to carry food for the whole party, the rain coming down in torrents, and with orders not to light a fire. The country had never been previously seen by a white man. The principal guide was the Chilicoten prisoner. For many days they followed in the tracks of the flying Indians and only ceased their pursuit when all trace of the fugitives disappeared on the smooth rock on the snow margin of the Cascade Mountains. They were deserted by their guide, who very nearly succeeded in taking with him the one horse attached to the expedition.

20. On the departure of Mr. Cooper, the remainder of Mr. Brew's party, including myself, pushed on with great rapidity towards Benshee. I had directed Mr. Cox to meet me in person, or send someone in whom, he had confidence, to do so, 15 miles along the Bentinck Arm trail, but no one appeared at the spot appointed for the conference. I had several important reasons in view in giving this direction. I apprehended some danger to discipline in the having so large a force of Volunteers under two distinct commanders encamped together. I wished to be nearer to the flying party in case disaster should have happened, but no alternative under the circumstances was left but for us to proceed. On the 6th of July our small party marched rapidly into Mr. Cox's fortress five days earlier than we were expected.

21. There was naturally great satisfaction on both sides in this successful junction. I was received with many cheers and "tigers" by the Alexandria party. But the first excitement over, I could not but enquire of Mr. Cox why so large a force as sixty five men had been kept inactive for so long! They had actually reached Benshee two days before we left New Westminster! It appeared, that they had marched through a deserted country, indifferent, if not hostile, to them. Alexis, the ruler, had not openly declared against the whites like Anaheim, but no reliance could be placed in him. At first he was reported to be ill. Then he was stated to be hunting Cariboo (Reindeer) in the Mountains. However it was soon arranged that he should be waited for no longer but that the Alexandria party should proceed on the following morning towards Lake Takla and the Bute Inlet Mountains. Accordingly the whole force marched out at daylight, presenting a very fine and formidable appearance.

22. The few hours that the two parties had passed together, sufficed to show the difference in their character. The men raised in the Gold districts, mostly Americans, passed the greater part of the night in dancing or playing cards to an accompaniment of war whoops and the beating of tin pots. The New Westminster expedition, almost exclusively English, and comprising many discharged Sappers, spent the evening in their usual quiet soldier-like manner. No spirituous liquor was in either camp, yet the amusements were kept up in the one long after total silence prevailed in the other, and a slight estrangement commenced between the occupiers of the fort and those encamped on the plain below which was never entirely healed.

23. The provisions had begun to run short in Mr. Brew's camp, and small as our number's were, he had to despatch a pack train with escort for supplies to the summit of the great Slide as soon as Mr. Cox's force had departed.

24. For three days and nights the small residue of the New Westminster party remained unable to separate, and obliged to be vigilant at night. The fort had been left in so repulsive a condition that Mr. Brew preferred extra watchfulness outside to the comparative security within.

The Indian scouts prowled about. The barking of the dogs at night was frequent and angry, and fresh tracks of moccassined or bare feet would be visible in the morning. Several of the party watched till dawn and slept by day.

25. On the 10th the party detached on the 2nd to Capana Lake joined us and we were sufficiently strong to venture out in small numbers fishing or shooting.

26. A Chilicoten woman, who formerly lived with Manning, had remained near the ruins of his farm. Mr. Brew addressed himself to, and urged her to go to Alexis and explain how matters stood. That this was no war with the Tribe, but merely the pursuit of certain bad men who had, without provocation, murdered a large number of whites. That the Governor himself had come to see justice done, and that he promised protection to him, and all those who accompanied him, if he would visit our camp. She was by no means imbued with the hatred to the white man which prevailed among the warriors of her tribe, and left on the afternoon of 7th to look for her chief. She came backwards and forwards once or twice, brought in some children; then one man, who seemed to be sent to test the sincerity of our professions of moderation. When he had returned unharmed, a considerable number of squaws formed a fishing station six miles off and entered the camp almost daily, with growing confidence to barter trout for sugar. Fully satisfied at last of our good faith, the women promised that Alexis should come in if the Governor remained, and broke up their encampment to go finally in search of him.

27. The supply of food was very low. The river had been twisted and turned out of its course so often by the Bella Coola Indians attached to the camp, that the fish had all been caught or driven away. Dysentery, too, began to shew itself under a diet composed principally of fish, (till they failed) unripe gooseberries, and a small allowance of flour, but the pack train was now over due, and Mr. Brew determined to wait until starvation approached, and then make a forced march for food, 112 miles into Alexandria.

28. On the 20th of July Mr. Cox's party returned to Benshee, though they had still six day's provisions left, and had no knowledge that the New Westminster force had not received any supplies. Mr. Cox had penetrated far into the country to the Southward, among the richest fishing, and fallen in with many Indians. He had not even the moderate share of good luck in native assistance which Mr. Brew possessed, his men had stated before leaving the Fraser that they would exterminate every Chilicoten. Perhaps this boast was the cause of the absence of Alexis and of Mr. Cox's fort having been left unvisited during the many days in which the white flag flew over it. Whatever the cause, the Indians kept aloof, and the Northern Volunteers marched towards Bute Inlet without much knowledge of the reception they would meet with. It was one of deadly hostility. The Indians kept close to them, unseen generally, but ever present. Scouts dogged the white men's steps. Indians on horseback kept just beyond rifle range. Endless perplexing trails, running in circles or lost in water were prepared for their special embarrassment. The trees about the Indian camps had figures of white men cut in them which had been used as targets for musket practice. One chief carried his boldness to the point of causing to warm himself at the camp fire before Mr. Cox had gone two hundred yards from it. Shots were repeatedly exchanged, with what effect on the enemy we know not, but Mr. McLean, the second in command on our side received a rifle bullet through the heart. On the day on which he fell Mr. Cox turned back, and retraced his steps towards Benshee.

29. The state of affairs in camp was not pleasant. The return of the Northern Volunteers after the death of Mr. Mclean would spread the notion throughout the Indians of the whole Colony that we had been beaten, and in point of fact, this was not far from being the case. Mr. Cox and his surviving officers looked upon the success of the expedition as hopeless until winter. Mr. Brew concurred, and I found myself advised, after reaching the heart of the Chilicoten country, to direct the two bands of Volunteers who had cost so much money, and created such great interest in the Colony, to return home, leaving matters worse than we had found them. I already saw, on our retreat, the insurrection spread from the sea to the Rocky Mountains. A further effort must be made, so I at once gave orders for the New Westminster Volunteers to take up the work abandoned by Mr. Cox's party.

30. In the afternoon a large party of Indians on horseback appeared on the hill from which the Alexandria forces had first become visible to the Chilicotens. The Indians halted and dismounted. We sent to invite them into the camp, hoping that the party consisted of Alexis and his followers. Such proved to be the case. Having received positive assurance that the Governor was still in camp he agreed to come in. Forming his followers into some sort of order Alexis and his men came on at the best pace of the horses, holding their muskets over their heads to show that they came in peace. Having ascertained which was the Governor, the Chief threw himself from his horse, and at once approached me. He was dressed in a french uniform such as one sees in the pictures of Montcalm.

30. Our conversation was not satisfactory. I had to complain of the murder of Manning, and enquire how he, the Chief of the country, would think it right to go Cariboo hunting when his men were killing every white person they saw. He said, that is true, that the great chiefs have lost much of their authority since the Indians hear every Englishman assume the distinction. That the men under Klatsassin and Teloot have renounced all connexion with him, and have a right to make war on us without its being any affair of his. I asked what our countrymen had done to provoke hostilities which had been carried on against them in such a barbarous manner. His answer was interpreted to me in Canadian french that Klatsassin's men were "des mauvais sauvages, qui ne connaissant pas les bon Dieu." I took the utmost pains to make him understand that we were not at war with the Chilicotens generally, but only with those on the Bute Inlet trail, and these we were determined to catch or shoot down. He enquired with something approaching to a sneer, how long then I meant to remain on his hunting ground. I said "three years."

31. The night which soon closed in was an anxious one. Mr. Cox's party, which was a sort of deliberative assembly, was dissatisfied with my having doubted the fact that where they failed no man could succeed. Somehow when the New Westminster men cheerfully obeyed the orders to replace them, the Alexandria Volunteers began to think the capture of the Indians by no means the impossibility it had been represented to be in the morning. Then, to have assigned to them the duty of holding, with their 65 men the position recently occupied by 10 appeared offensive, and the whole force agreed to insist on being allowed to march again against the Indians or to retire. To make matters worse Alexis's right hand man was recognized as having been at Bute Inlet during the massacre, and Mr. Cox's party were anxious to hang him at once or burn him alive, in spite of the promise that Alexis's followers should be allowed to depart unharmed. Already the Indians began to uncase their muskets for resistance and Ulnas had to be arrested for his own protection. Then as a further trouble, Mr. Brew, as Acting Treasurer, pointed out the frightful expense of the two months supplies I was ordering at Cariboo prices from Alexandria. Fears for the safety of the pack train were general, and over this atmosphere of discontent hung the dread of famine. We who had barely the means of feeding ourselves had invited some twenty guests with whom to share the little that remained.

32. Alexis was able to understand our position, and in the morning ordered his horses to be saddled. It was of the utmost importance not to allow of his departure in his present humour and when discord seemed likely to leave the camp. Mr. Brew's knowledge of the Indians suggested probably the only way in which the Chief could be detained. He advised me to ask him to escort me to Alexandria. Surprised but flattered by this mark of confidence, he agreed to remain.

33. We had started off Mr. Cox's best horses to Alexandria to bring in food when Mr. Brew's pack train at length arrived. It had been obliged to remain for additional escort. With food, discipline and good humour--which had never deserted the Westminster Camp--became general, and Alexis finally agreed to accompany the expedition to the Bute Inlet Mountains with a considerable force.

34. Mr. Cox's men shortly afterwards placed themselves unconditionally at my disposal if I would take personal command of the whole of the Colonial forces in the field.

35. A fortnight at least must elapse in idleness before the supplies and means of transport for the Southern march would arrive. I had been for many weeks totally severed from the ordinary duties of my office, and matters of great importance required my presence in Cariboo, so I determined on proceeding to Alexandria. My great object in joining the expedition was to secure moderation from the white men in their treatment of the Indians. I was determined to show, what had not previously been seen, in this part of the world, a Government calm and just under circumstances calculated to create exasperation. But there was no use shutting my eyes to the fact that this was a War--merciless on their side--in which we were engaged with the Chilicoten nation and must be carried on as a war by us. Happily, for the occasion, our Constables knew the use of the rifle and revolver at least as well as the more peaceful instruments generally used in support of the law. To the last however I did not abandon all hopes of having justice done legally as well as faithfully, and I left with Mr. Brew, an experienced Magistrate and man of admirable temper and discretion full powers for holding a Court of Justice in the Chilicoten country.

36. My despatch No. 25 of the 30th ultimo will have informed you of the partial success which has already attended the second expedition to the Bute Mountains. Klatsassin, Teloot and all the Chiefs of the insurrection have given themselves up. Hunted from their fishing grounds having eaten their last horses they found themselves obliged to surrender or starve. They have given themselves up, with the solitary condition imposed by Klatsassin that he shall be allowed to ascend the scaffold with his arms free, adjust the rope himself, and take the final leap of his own accord. The prisoners have been brought to Alexandria and they will be tried by the Chief Justice & a Jury. If mercy can possibly be extended to some of these "mauvais sauvages qui ne connaissant pas le bon Dieu" the opportunity shall not be lost.

37. One of the New Westminster party has come to me from Mr. Brew with despatches. He was escorted to Alexandria by Mr. Cox's men. Mr Brew's force, in the recesses of the Bute Mountains, gaunt haggard, scarcely recognizable, are pursuing the Indians, sometimes at the rate of forty miles a day. The latter driven from their fishing grounds are burning their lodges behind them and abandoning everything but their horses, which, like their pursuers, they eat. If Mr. Brew's means of existence shall have held out a few days from the date on which he wrote the last of the Indian rebels in the Bute country will have fought him or surrendered. He will still however have to meet Anaheim.

38. That Europeans should thus run down wild Indians in their own hunting grounds in summer and drive them to suicide or surrender appears to me, I confess, little short of marvellous. Mr. Brew has nearly completed that which he believed to be impossible, and which--to give all their due--would have been impossible without the assistance of the Bella Coola Chief in tracking the Chilicotens. Whether his success be complete or not I shall always look back with satisfaction to the time when I had the honor to serve under him as one of the New Westminster Volunteers.

I have etc.

The present despatch contains a connected narrative of the Massacres by the Chilicoten Indians, and of the subsequent operations which Governor Seymour could not report whilst he was engaged in his own spirited participation in the raid upon the hostile Indians.

He draws a great distinction between Cox's volunteers, composed largely of Americans, and the New Westminster party, the former having been more boastful and menacing in their tone about the Indians, and the latter more reserved in their language and more successful in their action. The result is, according to this report, that the Indians have been outwatched and outfasted by the Europeans, and that several of the parties of the Massacre have been forced to give themselves up. But Mr. Seymour does not hesitate to say that although from discretion it may have been well to treat the different affairs as cases of murder and isolated outrage, they were in reality the fruit of a general outbreak of one portion of the Indians.

The question arises what measure of approval the Secretary of State will be prepared to pronounce on Governor Seymour's exertions in these difficult affairs. They certainly appear to have been crowned with success, in spite of the very unpromising prospect which such a dilemma afforded.

TFE 21 November

I ought perhaps to add that I am told that the Chilcotin Indians are not numerous; Mr. Trutch, recently arrived, reckons their Warriors under 100; but of course I cannot vouch for his accuracy.

TFE 21/11


Note in file: "2 Maps: (1) Sketch-map of the interior of British Columbia immediately above Bute Inlet. (2) Skeleton map of the interior of British Columbia (Sheet 5 of a Survey Map); 1864, being ff. 183 and 184 of C.O. 60/19, have been removed to the Map Room, November 1950, D.B. Wardle."

Printed letter, Henry Cooper, Lieutenant, R.M.L.I., Acting Aid-de-camp, Camp Benshee Lake, 24 July 1864, describing events in the pursuit of the Indian murderers.


Draft reply, Cardwell to Seymour, No. 52, 1 December 1864.

The despatch approved and signed by Mr Cardwell.

TFE1 December

Source: Great Britain Public Record Office, Colonial Office Records, CO 60/19, p. 149, 10601, Frederick Seymour, Letter to Cardwell, No. 37, sent September 9, 1864, received November 17, 1864.

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