CONFEDERATION with the Dominion of Canada occurred on 20 July 1871. Faced with a growing public debt and the end of the GOLD boom, British Columbians had been considering their options, including annexation to the US. In 1868 Amor DE COSMOS and others had formed the CONFEDERATION LEAGUE to promote union with Canada, while opposition to the idea was led by a coterie of government officials and some American residents. By 1869 the two factions were deadlocked. Britain, which favoured union, appointed Anthony MUSGRAVE as governor to press for Confederation. Popular support swung behind union and in 1870 BC presented its terms, including assumption by the Dominion of BC's debt, a road link to Manitoba leading eventually to a railway, federal per capita subsidies based on highly inflated population figures, plus 4 senators and 8 MPs in the federal Parliament. Three negotiators went to Ottawa to represent the colony: R.W.W. CARRALL, J.W. TRUTCH and J.S. HELMCKEN. Their terms were accepted with slight modifications. BC would receive 3 senators and 6 MPs and the per capita grants would be based on a population figure of 60,000, still many times the actual figure. As well, the federal government agreed to take over BC's debt and to complete a railway within 10 years. To facilitate railway construction, BC agreed to give to the Dominion government a 32-km-wide strip of land on either side of the track, the so-called "Railway Belt." (In the end BC turned over almost 58,500 sq km of Crown Land for the railway.) BC accepted the terms in Jan 1871, after which the colonial legislative council agreed that the new provincial government would consist of a 25-seat legislative assembly from which a LT GOV would choose 5 executive councillors. From the outset confederation represented an economic arrangement more than a sentimental attachment to Canada. During the 1870s, when the railway appeared to be in question, BC threatened to leave the union, earning a reputation as "the spoilt child of confederation." "Ottawa bashing," whether deserved or not, has been a mainstay of provincial politics ever since, but there has never been a serious popular movement to withdraw from confederation. See also FEDERAL–PROVINCIAL RELATIONS.