Head, Sir Francis Bond

Sir Francis Bond Head, soldier, author, colonial administrator (b at Higham, Eng 1 Jan 1793; d at Croydon, Eng 20 July 1875). Descended from the minor gentry, Head served in the Royal Engineers. Retiring as a major (1825), he became a mining supervisor in S America and earned the nickname "Galloping Head" for his rides across the Andes. The author of several popular travel books, he was appointed an assistant Poor Law commissioner in 1834 and then lieutenant-governor of Upper Canada in 1835. When he arrived at Toronto in January 1836, he was welcomed by the Reformers and appointed several moderate Reformers - including Robert BALDWIN - to the Executive Council, but he rarely consulted the councillors, who resigned in a few months.

The Reform-dominated Assembly censured him and he dissolved the House and won an overwhelming victory at the polls in 1836 by using the loyalty cry, although his widespread support among moderates quickly dissipated when he engaged in a bitter vendetta against all Reformers. Head cannot be held primarily responsible for the REBELLIONS OF 1837 in Upper Canada, but his unprecedented interference in the election and his uncompromising hostility to the Reformers encouraged extremists, as did his decision to denude the colony of British troops. His excesses led to his recall early in 1838 and he never held office again.