Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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HINCKS, William, Canadian educator, born in Cork, Ireland, in 1801; died in Toronto in July, 1871. His father, Dr. Thomas D. Hincks, was professor of oriental languages in the Royal Belfast institution. William was the first professor of natural history in Queen's college, Cork, and from 1853 till his death held the same professorship in the University of Toronto.--His brother, Sir Francis, Canadian statesman, born in Cork, Ireland, 14 December, 1807; died in Montreal, Canada, 18 August, 1885, was educated at Fermoy and at the Royal Belfast institution, and after serving an apprenticeship of seven years to a Belfast firm of shippers, became junior partner in a Liverpool firm, and in 1830 sailed as supercargo to the West Indies. He returned to Belfast in 1831, and in the year following settled in Canada and opened a warehouse in York (now Toronto). He soon afterward became secretary of a mutual insurance company, and cashier in a bank, and was also an accountant of the commission that was appointed to investigate the charges of fraud preferred by William Lyon Mackenzie in connection with the Welland canal. He founded the Toronto "Examiner," a reform journal, in 1839, edited it for several years, and in 1844 established the Montreal "Pilot," also a Liberal newspaper, and was its principal political writer for many years. In March, 1841, he was elected for Oxford to the Canada assembly, and represented it until the general election of 1844, when he was defeated. He was returned for the same constituency in 1851, and on his election for South Oxford and Renfrew, in 1854, decided to represent the latter county, and served until 1855. In October, 1869, he was elected for North Renfrew in the commons, and at the close of parliament was returned for Vandouver, which he represented until his retirement from political life in 1874. He was a member of the executive council and inspector-general of Canada from June, 1842, to November, 1843, when he retired from the government, with Messrs. Lafontaine and Baldwin, his political chiefs. He again held the same office in the Lafontaine-Baldwin cabinet from March, 1848, till October, 1851, and from the latter date till September, 1854, in the Hincks-Morin administration, of which he was premier. He visited Washington on several occasions to confer with the British minister on the subject of commercial intercourse between Canada and the United States. The Earl of Elgin, governor-general of Canada, selected Mr. Hincks to accompany him as a representative of Canada when he negotiated the reciprocity treaty in 1854. He was a delegate to the maritime provinces in 1852, in relation to the intercolonial railway, and the same year was a delegate to Great Britain to urge the repeal of the clergy reserve act, and to secure from the imperial government a guarantee for the construction of the intercolonial railway. During his visit he made arrangements that resulted in the construction of the Grand Trunk railway of Canada. In 1855 he was appointed governor of Barbadoes and the Windward islands, which office he held till 1862, being the first colonial statesman to receive a colonial governorship. Governor Hincks provoked angry controversy by his maintaining that free labor was cheaper than slave labor, and that the value of Barbadian property had been increased by the abolition of slavery. In 1862 he became governor of British Guiana, and so continued till 1869. He was created a companion of the order of the Bath in 1862 and a knight-commander of the order of St. Michael and St. George in 1869. Sir Francis was pensioned by the imperial government, and, upon returning to Canada in 1869, entered Sir John A. Macdonald's cabinet as minister of finance, which office he resigned in 1873. In 1874 he became president of the City bank of Montreal, which, under its changed name of the Consolidated bank, failed and involved him in serious pecuniary loss and a legal prosecution, which, however, resulted in his complete vindication. In 1878 he represented the Dominion on the joint commission, composed of Chief-Justice Harrison, Sir Edward Thornton, and himself, which determined the northwestern boundary of Ontario. For some years before his death he was editor-in-chief of the "Journal of Commerce" in Montreal. In addition to various pamphlets, Sir Francis wrote "Reminiscences of My Public Life " (1884).
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