Press and Propaganda
Amor De Cosmos
Amor De Cosmos founded the Colonist in December 1858. He owned and edited the newspaper until 1863, when he went into politics. While he was editor, he wrote many of the Colonist articles himself. Even if he did not write the articles on smallpox, he must approved them, as he was responsible for what the Colonist printed or failed to print.
De Cosmos' rather flamboyant nature is shown by his name change from William Alexander Smith to Amor De Cosmos (Lover of the World). His paper represented his opinions, and from the beginning opposed the governor of Vancouver Island, James Douglas. These strong opinions were necessary to sell the paper, but resulted in obviously biased articles. As Roland Wild noted almost sixty years ago, "nowadays, almost any issue of the Colonist would give grounds for a libel action."3
Reactions to the Colonist varied greatly.4 Some colonists really appreciated it, while others opposed it and De Cosmos' anti-Douglas agenda.
In terms of race issues, De Cosmos's views seem to have been more strongly racist than those of some other colonists, but they were also representative of general trends. As Robin Fisher points out, "the love of Amor De Cosmos, rather than being cosmic, had distinct limitations, and it was not extended to include the Indians. Many settlers would, however, have agreed with his view that the Indians should be spectators rather than participants in the development of the colony."5