Amor De Cosmos: The Spark of Confederation for British Columbia

Essay by LightninggtHigh School, 10th gradeA-, June 2004

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Amor de Cosmos played a significant role in bringing British Columbia into Confederation. He founded the newspaper, the British Colonist, and held a number of major governmental positions. Although faced with many obstacles, De Cosmos accomplished three very important political issues. In the first few years of his political career, while in the provincial government, he succeeded in bringing together the two west coast colonies - British Columbia and Vancouver Island, and establishing self-government in British Columbia. In 1871, his biggest achievement was probably assisting British Columbia's entry into Confederation of Canada. De Cosmos kept fighting for all the causes he believed in and never gave up.

Amor de Cosmos was born William Alexander Smith in Windsor, Nova Scotia on August 20th, 1825. He attended school there until the age of 15, after which his family moved to Halifax where he joined the Dalhousie College debating club1. In 1852, De Cosmos left Halifax to join the Californian Gold Rush2.

Although it was said that he never lifted a shovel, he did work as a photographer. While in California, he changed his name to Amor de Cosmos, meaning "love of order, beauty, the world, the universe." He did this because he wanted to express his love of those things3.

In 1858, De Cosmos moved to the colony of Vancouver Island, settling in Victoria where he established the British Colonist. The newspaper was the means he used to accomplish his first goal, to create a union between the colonies British Columbia and Vancouver Island. First of all, De Cosmos needed some popularity reflecting the public's point of view. That is, as a newspaper editor, De Cosmos criticized government policies he believed were unjust and undemocratic; for example, he accused James Douglas, who was the governor of British Columbia and Victoria:...