Sir Francis Hincks

(1807—1885) politician and journalist in Canada

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responsible government

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(1807–85). Irish-born, Hincks gained prominence by founding the Toronto Examiner in 1838 to rejuvenate post-rebellion reform and by reaching out to Lower Canadian reformers to achieve the paper's motto, ‘Responsible Government’. Elected to the assembly in 1841 and holding executive office from 1842, he resigned with other reformers to protest Governor Charles Metcalfe's interpretation of responsible government in 1844. Hincks founded another newspaper, the Montreal Pilot, to fight Metcalfe's supporters, triumphantly returning to office in 1848 as inspector general in the first fully responsible cabinet. He succeeded to the co-premiership on Robert Baldwin's retirement in 1851, but his administration was marred by procrastination on key reform causes and allegations of personal corruption. Increasingly preoccupied with the province's credit and railroad construction, Hincks chose economic development and continued co-operation with the Lower Canadian majority over accommodation with Upper Canada's more radical reformers. He believed that their principles threatened both development and sectional harmony. His government defeated in the assembly, Hincks joined like-minded conservatives in the coalition of 1854. Viewed more favourably in Britain than Canada, Hincks was appointed to colonial governorships in the Caribbean from 1856 until 1869, when he was knighted and returned to Canada as John A. Macdonald's finance minister, retiring from politics in 1873.

From The Oxford Companion to Canadian History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: History of the Americas.

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