Born in Perth, Ontario, Robson came to British Columbia in 1859. In 1861 at New Westminster he founded the British Columbian, the mainland’s first newspaper, and began a series of editorials demanding responsible government. He was first elected to the legislature in 1867 where he urged that the province join Confederation. He subsequently held a number of cabinet positions and was premier from 1889 until his accidental death in London, England. During this last period of his life he attempted to organize the educational system and passed legislation to regulate the exploitation of the province’s resources.