Hincks, Sir Francis
b. 1807-12-14
d. 1885-08-18
Sir Francis Hincks, a banker, a politician, and an advocate for moderate reform, is referenced in Litchfield's letter to Stanley as the former editor of the Montreal Pilot and Journal of Commerce. The newspaper, an outlet for Hincks' political views, was a second model of an earlier paper Hincks had also founded called the Examiner. This earlier paper, along with Hincks' part in the revival of the Reform movement in 1839, had distinguished him as the unofficial spokesman and chief strategist of the Upper Canada Reformers.1
The Montreal Pilot was established in 1844 with the financial support of Reform leaders, Robert Baldwin, of Upper Canada, and Louis-Hippolyte La Fontaine, of Lower Canada.2 Their anti-Tory paper encouraged Irish canal workers in Montreal to interrupt Tory meetings and endeavoured to ally the Irish- and French-Canadians in support of the Reformers.3 Hincks struggled financially, however, to keep the paper running, and in 1848 when the leaders of the Upper and Lower Canada Reformers offered him the position of inspector-general, he accepted and sold the Pilot.4
Hincks played a pivotal role in the Reform effort for responsible government in Canada, using his twice-held position as inspector-general, his ridings in Oxford County and the Renfrew district, and his career as co-leader of the Reform government to advance the cause. Hincks was also recognized as a valuable contributor to the British colonial endeavour, and as such he was offered the respective governorships of Barbados in 1855, the Windward Islands in 1856, and Guiana (Guyana) in 1861.5 Although his efforts in these offices were mostly unsuccessful, they were nonetheless appreciated by the Colonial Office who made him Companion of the order of the Bath in 1861 and knighted him in 1869.6 Hincks returned to Canada in 1869 and accepted the position as Canada's finance minister for the Conservative government.7 In 1874 he retired from politics and returned to his initial careers in banking, insurance, and journalism; however, his inattention to some embezzled funds ended his banking career in scandal.8 Hincks wrote two books defending his past politics, The Political History of Canada between 1840 and 1855, published in 1877, and Reminiscences of his Public Life, published 1884.9 He died of smallpox in Montreal on 18 August 1885, leaving behind a legacy of largely unmet aspirations for political Reform and the promotion of the middle class.10
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Litchfield, J. P.

Stanley, Edward Henry