De Cosmos Enigma, The

By (author): Gordon Hawkins

This biography of Amor De Cosmos explores the life and career of this most eccentric of Canadian politicians, a man who played a crucial role in the creation of present-day Canada from sea to sea, and yet who, by the end of his life, was little remembered. Hawkins reveals how De Cosmos began public life as one of the most feared journalists in British Columbia, and how, as an outsider, he had to force his way into politics, eventually becoming B.C.’s second premier, and then elected tothe House of Commons. Of particular interest is the discussion of what caused De Cosmos to change his name in the goldfields of California from William Smith (who had been a quiet young man in Nova Scotia) to the most unusual “Amor De Cosmos” – lover of the universe. Delving into archival sources, Hawkins offers a portrait of De Cosmos in his struggle with the Hudson’s Bay Company, his fight for the union of the two colonies on the West Coast and finally for British Columbia’s joining of Confederation in 1871. Although De Cosmos never married, he offered a trenchant
critique of Canada’s dark-age divorce laws.


Gordon Hawkins

Gordon Hawkins was born in London, England, in 1921. He has degrees from the London School of Economics and the University of Toronto. Following service in naval intelligence in World War Two, he held appointments in university adult education in England and Canada and with the Canadian Association for Adult Education and was presenter of the CBC’s TV and radio discussion program, Citizen’s Forum. This was followed with executive positions in the Canadian Institute on Public Affairs and the Canadian Association of International Affairs. After a return to university life, he moved to the United Nations in New York to become the Director of Training in the United Nations Institute for Training and Research. For his part in Commonwealth affairs, he was made a Member of the Royal Victorian Order (MVO) in a New Year’s Honours list. His keen interest in the history of British Columbia and of Victoria in particular began late in life but has continued into his nineties. Gordon lives in Victoria.


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170 Pages
9in * 6in * .49in


April 30, 2015


Ronsdale Press



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