Monday, June 3, 2013
Davie returned to practising law full time. However, the lure of politics proved to be too strong for the lawyer to resist. He still practised law but in July of 1882, he was elected to the provincial seat for Lillooet.
In 1884, he headed a three-man commission (Elliot also sat on the commission) to investigate the disturbances at William Duncan's mission at Metlakatla caused by the demands of the Tsimshian Indians, which included compensation for their lands.
In 1884, Davie argued for the provincial rights before the Supreme Court of Canada regarding the Canada Temperance Act of 1878. B.C.'s attorney general felt that the provinces had the right under the British North America Act to regulate its own liquor sales. (The Supreme Court ruled in favour of the provinces.)
However, Alexander Davie's most significant contribution was in the area of legal reform. The gold-rush era had been chaotic and had resulted in many hasty, ill-conceived laws that had to be modernized. Not only did Davie work to consolidate and bring those laws into the right era, he also established regular sittings of the various courts.
It didn't take long for his health to break down. On October 11, Davie left Victoria for a stay in California and the south western states to recuperate. The provincial secretary, John Robson, requested that the assembly grant permission for Davie to take an extended leave instead of forfeiting his seat. The assembly agreed and Davie expressed his view on policies and current issues through letters to Robson who essentially ran the government in Davie's absence.
In 1882, Davie had joined the Roman Catholic Church. On August 1, 1889, he received the last rites and died of phthisis (consumption, tuberculosis). He wasn't a rich man, leaving an estate of $14,000 and a lot worth $1,500. The Vancouver Daily newspaper said he was a 'true Christian gentleman' devoted to his family.
Thanks once again to the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online. I hope you find the beauty around you.
Karen Magill, Alexander Davie, history, Premier, lawyer British Columbia,Victoria,politics,Lillooet