Head, Sir Francis Bond, Bart
HEAD, SIR FRANCIS BOND, BART. (1793-1875), English soldier, traveller and author, son of James Roper Head of the Hermitage, Higham, Kent, was born there on the 1st of January 1793. He was educated at Rochester grammar school and the Royal Military Academy, whence in 1811 he was commissioned to the Royal Engineers. He was for some years stationed in the Mediterranean, and he served in the campaign of 1815, being present at the battle of Waterloo. He went on half-pay in 1825, when he accepted the charge of an association formed to work the gold and silver mines of Rio de La Plata. In connexion with this enterprise he made several rapid journeys across the Pampas and among the Andes, his Rough Notes of which, published in 1826, and written in a clear and spirited style, obtained for him the name of " Galloping Head." On his return in 1827, he became involved in a controversy with the directors of his company, and in defence of his conduct he published Reports of the La Plata Mining Association (London, 1827). He was soon afterwards restored to the active list of the army as a major unattached, mainly owing to his efforts to introduce the South American lasso into the British service for auxiliary draught. In 1830 he published a life of Bruce, the African traveller, and in 1834 Bubbles from the Brunnens of Nassau, by an Old Man. In 1835 he was knighted, and in the following year created a baronet. In 1835 he was appointed lieutenant-governor of Upper Canada, and in this capacity he had to deal with a political situation of great difficulty, being called upon in 1837 to suppress a serious insurrection. Shortly afterwards, in consequence of a dispute with the home government, he resigned his post and returned to England, via New York (see Quarterly Review, vols. 63-64). Thereafter he devoted himself to writing, chiefly for the Quarterly Review, and to hunting. He rode to hounds until he was seventy-five. In 1869 Sir Francis Head was made a privy councillor. He died on the 20th of July 1875, at Duppas Hall, Croydon.
Head was the author of a considerable number of works, chiefly of travel, written in a clever, amusing and graphic fashion, and displaying both acute observation and genial humour. His principal works beside those mentioned above, and a narrative of his Canadian administration (1839), were The Emigrant (. 1 846) ; Highways and Dryways, the Britannia and Conway Tubular Bridges (1849) ; Stokers and Pokers, a sketch of the working of a railway line (1849); 1 he Defenceless Stale of Great Britain (1850); A Faggot of French Sticks (1852); A Fortnight in Ireland (1852); Descriptive Essays (1856).! comments on Kinglake's Crimean War (1853); The Horse and his Rider (1860); The Royal Engineer (1870); and a sketch ot the lite of Sir John Burgoyne (1872).
His brother, SIR GEORGE HEAD (1782-1855), was educated at the Charterhouse. In 1808 he received an appointment in the commissariat of the British army in the Peninsula, where he was a witness of many exciting scenes and important battles, of which he gave an interesting account in " Memoirs of an Assistant Commissary-General " attached to the second volume of his Home Tour, published in 1837. In 1814 he was sent to America to take charge of the commissariat in a naval establishment on the Canadian lakes, and he subsequently held appointments at Halifax and Nova Scotia. Some of his Canadian experiences were narrated by him in Forest Scenery and Incidents in the Wilds of North America (1829). In 1831 he was knighted. He published in 1835 A Home Tour through the Manufacturing Districts of England, and in 1837 a sequel to it, entitled A Home 1 our through various parts of the United Kingdom. Both works are amusing and instructive, but his Rome, a Tour of many Days, published in 1849, is somewhat dull and tedious. He also translated Historical Memoirs of Cardinal Pacca (1850), and the Metamorphoses of Apuleius (1851).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)