History 3813 - Ziedenberg - Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine

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Sir Francis Hincks, politician, Montreal, QC, about 1875
Anonyme - Anonymous
about 1875, 19th century
Silver salts on paper mounted on paper - Albumen process
5 x 8 cm
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  male (26812) , Photograph (77678) , portrait (53878)
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kathrynziedenbergPublished by kathrynziedenberg on 30/11/2009 08:49:24
Sir Francis Hincks was a journalist from Toronto and the founder of the Examiner. He engaged in a correspondence with Lafontaine wherein they established their shared goals of responsible government and institutional reform. There was a reciprocal need determined as well: both were in need of supplemental support for their reform parties and cross-provincial co-operation was just the solution. Additionally, Lafontaine needed affiliation with Canada West in order "to overcome the prejudices of London against his countrymen." Thus, they were both favourable to a reform party based in principle, and not class or origin. When Lafontaine became head of the union government in 1848, Hincks was a significant member of his administration and his personal counsel in commercial and fiscal matters.


Jacques Monet, "LA FONTAINE, Sir LOUIS-HIPPOLYTE," Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online, http://www.biographi.ca/009004-119.01-e.php?Biold=38663.

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Keys to History

While John A. Macdonald, George-Étienne Cartier and Alexander Galt would become better known as fathers of Confederation, Sir Francis Hincks, along with Sir Robert Baldwin, was the most important founder of the Reform Party tradition of French-English cooperation. A newspaper editor in Toronto and Montreal, as well as a railway speculator, Hincks, like so many politicians of his day, brought together the worlds of railways, journalism and politics.

Source : Confederation: The Creation of Canada [Web tour], by Brian J. Young, McGill University (see Links)

  • What

    Politics was rough-and-tumble in the 1850s. Convinced of the importance of both Toronto and Montreal to Canadian unity, Hincks tried to keep English and French Canadians united.

  • Where

    Hincks bridged the worlds of Montreal and Toronto and replaced Robert Baldwin as leader in 1851. Tainted by corruption, he eventually ceded power to John A. Macdonald.

  • When

    Hincks exercised his greatest power in the early 1850s. His knowledge of banks, railways and the media allowed him to flourish in several worlds at once.

  • Who

    Born in Ireland, and with a career that spanned journalism, politics and business, Francis Hincks understood the importance of ethnic collaboration in Canadian politics.