Friday, May 31, 2013

Alexander Edmund Batson Davie

Today I want to tell you about our eighth premier, Alexander Edmund Bastson Davie. However, first I want to tell you about an error I made.

On my last entry, I disagreed with the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online's statement that the CPR had completed the railroad in 1885 - the year before Vancouver was incorporated and two years before the first train arrived on our shores. Technically, they are right.

On November 7, 1885 Sir Donald Smith, a director of the CPR, drove the symbolic last spike in the railroad at Craigellachie, B.C.  Craigellachie is between Salmon Arm and Revelstoke. 

Here's a photo of Alexander Davie that I obtained from Wikipedia.

Alexander Edmund Bateson Davie was born on November 24, 1847 in the parish of St. Cuthbert, Wells (Somerset) England. He was the son of Dr John Chapman Davie and Anne Collard Waldron.

In 1862, a young Alexander, his father and three brothers came to Vancouver Island. Alexander left behind a brother, sister and his mother.

The Davie's men were among the first to settle in the Cowichan River valley, near what is now known as Duncan, B.C. Alexander began articling (this is training after completion of book studies to become a lawyer) with Robert Bishop in Victoria. After June of 1865, Davie worked with Robert Edwin Jackson.

Joseph Needham, chief justice of Vancouver Island, enrolled Davie as a solicitor for the Island on November 25, 1868. The following year, Matthew Baillie Begbie enrolled him on the mainland  Davie was called to the bar in February of 1873. He had the honour of being the first lawyer to receive his complete legal education on the Island. On March 31, 1874, Davie was elected a bencher in the law society - a position he held for the rest of his life.
Alexander established a law practice in Victoria and from about 1870, in the Cariboo. He served as a law clerk to the Legislative Assembly between 1872 and 1874. That, and the fact Dr Davie served as a member of the Legislative Council for a short time, whetted Alexander's appetite for politics. In the fall of 1875, Davie ran for a provincial seat in the Cariboo. (There wasn't an available seat in Victoria) 

Even though he stood as an independent, Davie agreed with Walkem's government concerning the pressure they applied to Ottawa to fulfil three crucial promises made to B.C. at the time of confederation in 1871: to take over its debt; to lend it money to build a dry dock and to begin construction on the Canadian Pacific Railway. Walkem reciprocated Davie's support and without that support, it is likely that Davie would not have been elected. There was much oppostition to Davie from the miners. They felt that he wasn't truly interested in their welfare. 

It is also thought that Davie only feigned support for Walkem. Davie did vote with the premier on issues they agreed on but remained and independent. And when Walkem lost the vote of confidence and Elliot became premier, Davie voted with Elliot. However, such shifts were not unusual at that time because political parties weren't clearly defined.

Thanks to Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online for the above information.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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