Hincks, Sir Francis

Hincks, Sir Francis,

1807–85, Canadian journalist and statesman, b. Ireland. Settling (1832) in York (now Toronto), he was soon drawn into the Reform party. In 1839 he became editor of the Toronto Examiner, a newspaper founded by the reformers, which under his direction ably argued the cause of responsible government. Entering the Canadian legislative assembly in 1841, Hincks was twice (1842–43, 1848–51) inspector general (or finance minister). He worked to effect an alliance between the reformers of Upper Canada and Lower Canada, vigorously opposed the movement for annexation by the United States, and in the interval between his terms of office as inspector general founded a new Reform party journal, the Montreal Pilot. As prime minister in the joint Hincks-Morin administration (1851–54), he directed his efforts toward achieving a reciprocal trade treaty with the United States and promoting railroad construction, but his failure to resolve differences between Roman Catholic and Protestant factions led to his resignation (1854). Hincks served as British governor of Barbados and the Windward Islands (1855–62) and of British Guiana (1862–69); he then returned to Canada to serve (1869–73) as minister of finance in Sir John A. Macdonald's coalition government. In 1869 he was knighted.


See his reminiscences (1884).