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SINCLAIR, a surname of Norman origin, the first who bore it in Britain, Walderne, Count de Santo Clara, having come into England with William the Conqueror. His son, by Margaret, daughter of Richard, duke of Normandy, William de Sancto Claro, was one of the many Anglo-Norman barons who settled in Scotland in the reign of David I. From that monarch he obtained a grant of the barony of Roslin, Mid Lothian. He was called, in allusion to his fair deportment, the seemly St. Clair. His descendants became possessors, besides Roslin, of Cousland, Pentland, Catticune, and other lands. They afterwards obtained also the earldom of Orkney. From the same stock sprung the earls of Caithness. Another branch of the Sinclairs, those of Herdmanston, deriving their origin from a settler, under the Morvilles, constables of Scotland, are represented by the Lords Sinclair (see next article).

William de Saint Clair, above mentioned, progenitor of

“The lordly line of high Saint Clair,”

Had a son, Sir William St. Clair, of Roslin, who got a confirmation of that barony in 1180. His son, Sir Henry Sinclair of Roslin, witnessed many charters of Alexander II. The son of Sir Henry, Sir William St. Clair, of Roslin, witnessed a donation of the same monarch to the monastery of Newbottle in 1243, and died about 1270. The following year, his son, Sir William St. Clair, of Roslin, was appointed sheriff of the county of Edinburgh for life. He sat in the parliament of Scone 5th February 1284, when the succession to the crown of Scotland was settled, in the event of the death of Alexander III. The same year he was one of the commissioners sent to France to obtain a wife for his sovereign, then a widower. They fixed upon Joleta, daughter of the count de Dreux, whom Alexander made his queen. Sir William de St. Clair was in the assembly at Brigham, 12th March 1290, when the marriage of the princess Margaret of Scotland with Prince Edward of England was proposed. In the competition for the crown of Scotland in 1292, he was one of the nominees on the part of Baliol. He swore fealty to Edward I., 13th June that year, and he was present in the following November, and again in December, when Baliol did homage to the English king. On the 28th of the latter month, Edward addressed a letter to him to pay certain sums to Eric, king of Norway. He was summoned to attend the imperious Edward into France, 1st September 1294. He died about 1300, leaving three sons: 1. Sir Henry, his successor. 2. William, consecrated bishop of Dunkeld about 1312; and, 3. Gregory, ancestor of the Sinclairs of Longformacus, Berwickshire, baronets. The second son is historically known by his spirited conduct in repelling an invasion of the English in 1317. The latter had landed in considerable numbers at Donnybristle in Fife. The fighting men of the county appear to have been at this time with Douglas, who was ravaging the English borders, and the sheriff of Fife had great difficulty in gathering together a force of 500 cavalry. With these he made an attempt to encounter the invaders, but, intimidated by their superior numbers, they disgracefully took to flight. Sinclair, bishop of Dunkeld, was at the time residing at Auchtertool, in the neighbourhood. Like other churchmen of the period, he had as much of the soldier as the ecclesiastic about him, and receiving notice of his countrymen’s retreat, he put himself at the head of sixty of his servants, and with a linen frock or rochet cast over his armour, threw himself on horseback and rode off to meet the fugitives. “Whither are ye flying?” said he, addressing their leaders, when he came to them; “ye are recreant knights, and ought to have your spurs hacked off.” Then seizing a spear from the nearest soldier, and calling out, “Turn for shame! Let all who love Scotland follow me!” he furiously charged the enemy. Encouraged by his gallant example, the Fifemen instantly rallied, and the attack was renewed. The English, who had not completed their landing, speedily gave way, and were driven back to the ships, with the loss of 500 men, besides many who were drowned by the swamping of one of their vessels. On his return from Ireland, where he was at the time, Bruce highly commended the spirit which Sinclair had shown, and declared that he should be his own bishop. Under the appellation of the king’s bishop, this brave churchman was long afterwards affectionately remembered by his countrymen. For all his patriotism, however, he preformed the ceremony of crowning Edward Baliol, the puppet king, in 1332. The St. Clair family favoured the claims of the Baliols from the beginning of the contest for the crown. The bishop died in 1337.

Sir Henry St. Clair of Roslin, Sir William’s eldest son, swore fealty with his father, to Edward I., 13th June 1292, and appears at first to have been on the English side in the great struggle for the independence of the Scottish monarchy. ON 30th September 1307, and again on 20th May 1308, letters were addressed to him and others of Edward’s friends in Scotland, calling upon them to assist in suppressing “the rebels.” Subsequently he gave in his adherence to Robert the Bruce, from whom, in 1317, he obtained a grant of all his majesty’s lands in the moor of Pentland, in free warren for the service of the tenth part of a knight’s fee. He was one of the patriots who in 1320 signed the letter to the pope, asserting the independence of Scotland, and one of the guarantees of a truce with the English, 1st June 1323. He held the office of Panetarius Scotiae, of chief butler of the kingdom.

His son, Sir William St. Clair, was the adventurous knight of whom the following romantic hunting story is told. King Robert the Bruce had been repeatedly baulked by a fleet white deer which he had started in his hunts among the Pentlands; and having asked an assembled body of his nobles whether any dogs in their possession could seize the game which had escaped the royal hounds, Sir William St. Clair promptly offered to pledge his head that two favourite dogs of his, called ‘Help and Hold,” would kill the deer before she crossed the March-burn. The king instantly accepted the offer, and pledged himself to give the forest of Pentland moor, -- which included the northern division of the great Mid Lothian hill-range, -- in guerdon of success. A few slow-hounds having been let loose to beat up the deer, the king stationed himself on the best vantage-ground for commanding a view of the chase. Sir William, on his part, after slipping his dogs, prayed earnestly to St. Katherine, to give the deer up to them, and, on a fleet-footed steed, went in full chase after the deer. Arriving at the March-burn, he threw himself from his horse in despair. ‘Hold,’ just in the crisis of fate, stopped the deer in the brook, and the next instant ‘Help’

Came up, drove her back, and killed her on the winning side of the stream. The king, who had witnessed the result, came speedily down from his vantage-ground, embraced Sir William, and granted him in free forestry the lands of Logan-house, once a favourite hunting seat of the Scottish kings, Kirton, and Earncraig. In gratitude for the fancied interference of St. Katherine in his favour, the knight, in the superstition of the times, built the chapel of St. Katherine in the Hopes, parish of Penicuick. Sir William accompanied Sir James Douglas on his expedition to the Holy Land with the heart of Bruce, and was killed with him fighting against the Moors in Spain, 25th August 1330. His tomb is said to be still seen in Roslin chapel, and it appropriately represents the person of a knight in armour, attended by a greyhound. Sir Walter Scott, in ‘The Lay of the Last Minstrel,’ says,

“There are twenty of Roslin’s barons bold
Lie buried within that proud chapelle;”
…”And each St. Clair was buried there,
With candle, with book, and with knell.”

He left an infant son, who was also Sir William St. Clair. By the marriage of this knight of Roslin, with Isabel, one of the daughters and coheiresses of Malise, earl of Strathern, Caithness, and Orkney, his elder son, Henry St. Clair, became earl of Orkney, and in 1379 obtained a recognition of his title from Haco IV., king of Norway (see ORKNEY, earl of).

Besides another son, named David, Sir William had a daughter, Margaret, who married, first, Thomas, second earl of Angus; and, secondly, Sir William Sinclair of Herdmanstoun, Haddingtonshire, and had issue by both.

The baronial magnificence and rude hospitality for which the early knights of Roslin were renowned are said to have been exceeded by Sir William St. Clair, third earl of Orkney, in the reigns of James I. and II. Father Hay, a member of his household, speaks of him as ‘a prince,’ who maintained his state “at his palace of the castle of Roslin,” where “he kept a great court, and was royally served at his own table, in vessels of gold and silver; Lord Dirleton being his master of the household, Lord Bothwick his cupbearer, and Lord Fleming his carver; in whose absence they had deputies to attend, -- viz. Stewart, laird of Drumlanrig; Tweedie, laird of Dumferline; and Sandilands, laird of Calder. He had his halls and other apartments richly adorned with embroidered hangings. His princess, Elizabeth Douglas, was served by 75 gentlewomen, whereof 53 were daughters of noblemen, all clothed in velvet and silks, with their chains of gold and other ornaments, and was attended by 200 riding gentlemen in all journies; and if it happened to be dark when she went to Edinburgh, where her lodgings were at the foot of Black Fryars wynd, 80 lighted torches were carried before her.”

The St. Clairs of Roslin were hereditary grand-masters of masonry in Scotland, that office having been conferred on them by James II. William St. Clair, earl of Orkney and Caithness, the first grand-master, and his successors, held their courts, or assembled their grand lodges, in Kilwinning, Ayrshire, as the seat of the earliest fraternity. In 1736, William St. Clair of Roslin, obliged to sell his estates, and destitute of an heir, resigned to an assembly of the lodges of Edinburgh and its vicinity, all claim to the grand-mastership, and empowered them, in common with the other lodges of the country, to declare the office elective. On St. Andrew’s day of that year, the representatives of about 32 lodges received the resignation, elected William St. Clair himself their grand-master, and constituted themselves into the grand lodge of Scotland. This William St. Clair, the last of the direct male line of Roslin, died in 1778, aged 78.


SINCLAIR, Baron, a title in the peerage of Scotland, conferred 26th January 1489, by act of parliament, on Henry, son of William Sinclair, son of William, third earl of Orkney of his family, lord-chancellor of Scotland, by his first wife, Lady Margaret Douglas, eldest daughter of the fourth earl of Douglas, duke of Touraine. This William Sinclair had from his father the barony of Newburgh, Aberdeenshire, in which he was infeft, 16th March 1450. In 1470 his father resigned the earldom of Orkney to James III., and was subsequently styled earl of Caithness. The latter title devolved to the earl’s second son. William Sinclair, by his second marriage with Marjory, daughter of Alexander Sutherland of Dunbeath. A younger son, Sir Oliver Sinclair of Roslin, received from his father large estates. The settlement was disputed by William Sinclair of Newburgh, the eldest son, when a compromise was entered into. Sir Oliver relinquished to him the lands of Cousland, Mid Lothian, with the barony of Dysart and the castle of Ravenscraig in Fife, and the lands of Dubbo, Carberry, and Wilston, adjacent thereto. These had been bestowed on the earl their father on his resigning the earldom of Orkney. On the other hand, William Sinclair of Newburgh and his eldest son, Henry, renounced all title to the barony of Roslin, by indenture dated 9th February 1482.

This son, Henry, had charters of various lands, and particularly of Dysart and Ravenscraig. He was created Lord Sinclair in 1489, and fell at the battle of Flodden, 9th September 1513. His son, William, second Lord Sinclair, had two sons, Henry, third Lord Sinclair, and the Hon. Magnus Sinclair of Kininmont, Fifeshire. The third Lord Sinclair supported the Reformation in Scotland. In May 1568, on Queen Mary’s escape from Lochleven, he joined the association in her behalf at Hamilton. He died 21st October 1601. By his wife, Elizabeth, second daughter of the seventh Lord Forbes, he had, with four daughters who were all married, two sons, James, master of Sinclair, who predeceased him, and Captain the Hon. Lawrence Sinclair. The master of Sinclair left three sons. Henry, the eldest, succeeded his grandfather as fourth Lord Sinclair, but died soon after coming of age in 1602, without issue. His next brother, James, succeeded as fifth Lord Sinclair, but held the title only for a short time. He died unmarried, when Patrick, the youngest son, became sixth Lord Sinclair. The latter died in 1615, leaving two sons, John, seventh Lord, and Colonel the Hon. Henry, died at Dysart, 5th September 1670, and one daughter, Elizabeth, Lady Campbell of Glenurchy.

John, seventh Lord Sinclair, born 29th October, 1610, was a member of the committee of estates in 1641, and again in 1644 and 1645. He was also a privy councilor of the parliament, and colonel of the Fifeshire horse. He entered into the “Engagement,” for the rescue of Charles I. in 1641. In 1651 he attended Charles II. into England, and was taken prisoner at the battle of Worcester in September of the latter year. He was excepted out of Cromwell’s act of grace and pardon in 1654, and was detained nearly nine years in prison, being only set free by General Monk in March 1660. He died in 1676, in his 66th year. By his wife, Lady Mary Wemyss, he had an only daughter, the Hon. Catherine Sinclair, his sole heiress. This lady married at Glasgow, 14th April 1659, John St. Clair, younger of Herdmanstoun, Haddingtonshire, eldest of four sons of Sir John Sinclair of Herdmanstoun.

The St. Clairs of Herdmanstoun derive their descent from Henry de Santo Claro, vice-comes of Richard de Morville, constable of Scotland, from whim in 1162 he had a grant of the lands of that name. The charters are engraved in Anderson’s Diplomata Scotiae (No. 75). In 1163 William the Lion granted to Henry St. Clair a charter of the lands of Herdmanstoun and Carfrae. In 1292 Sir William St. Clair of Herdmanstoun was chosen one of the nominees of Robert Bruce in his competition for the crown, as Sir William St. Clair of Roslin was for Baliol. At the battle of Bannockburn Sir William St. Clair of Herdmanstoun signalized himself by such extraordinary acts of valour, that, after the victory, Bruce presented him with the sword which he himself had fought with on that memorable day. Herdmanstoun still belongs to the family. The Hon. Catherine Sinclair predeceased her father, 13th July 1666, dying in childbed of a daughter. She had besides two sons.

Henry, the elder, born 3d June 1660, succeeded his grandfather in 1676, as seventh Lord Sinclair, in virtue of a designation made by him and approved of by Charles II., who, by letters patent dated 1st June 1677, created him of new Lord Sinclair, with the former precedency. This nobleman was son strongly attached to the house of Stuart that, in the convention of 1689, he was the only person that had the courage to protest against settling the crown on William and Mary, and having done so, he left the house. He died in March 1723, in his 63d year. By his wife, Grizel, daughter of James Cockburn of Cockburn, he had six sons and five daughters. The eldest son, John, master of Sinclair, born 5th December 1683, was in 1708, chosen M.P. for the county of Fife, but his election was declared void, on account of his being the eldest son of a peer. He engaged in the rebellion of 1715, and was in consequence attainted by act of parliament. After making some stay at Kirkwall, in Orkney, where the castle built by his fathers afforded to him a melancholy subject of contemplation, he took refuge on the continent. In 1726, he received a pardon and returned to Scotland. The family estates had been settled by his father on his brother, the Hon. James St. Clair, afterwards a general in the army, but he generously restored them to the master of Sinclair, on his arrival at home, and in 1736, the latter obtained an act of parliament removing the personal disabilities of the attainder, so far as to allow him to sue and maintain suits in courts of law, and to inherit property. The seventh Lord Sinclair procured an extension of the patent to the heirs male whatsoever of his father, but the title remained dormant from 1723 till 1782. The master of Sinclair married, first, in August 1733, Lady Mary Stewart, countess dowager of Southesk, daughter of the fifth earl of Galloway, and, secondly, 24th April 1750, seven months before his death, Amelia, eldest daughter of Lord George Murray, the chivalrous commander of the Highland army of the Pretender, and sister of the third duke of Athol, but had no issue by either. He died at Dysart, 20th November, 1750, in his 67th year.

His next brother, General St. Clair, succeeded as ninth Lord Sinclair, counting the master of Sinclair as the eighth, but did not assume the title, preferring to remain a member of the house of commons. He became colonel in the army 26th July 1722; major-general, 15th August 1741; lieutenant-general, 4th June 1745; and general, 10th March 1761. He served several years in the 3d regiment of foot guards, and had the command of the 22d regiment of foot, 30th October 1734. On 17th June 1737, he was appointed colonel of the first or royal Scots regiment of foot, and in 1745 quarter-master-general of the British forces in Flanders. The following year, he was nominated commander-in-chief of a force of 6,000 men, intended for the conquest of Quebec, and then embarked on board transports at Spithead. The expedition having, from various causes, been delayed until the season was too far advanced for crossing the Atlantic, it was resolved to employ it in making a descent on the coast of Brittany, with the double object of surprising Port l’Orient, then the repository of all the stores and ships belonging to the French East India company, and compelling the French to withdraw a portion of their troops from Flanders, where their army, under Marshal Saxe, was superior to that of the allies. On this change of resolution, General St. Clair applied to the government for maps and plans of the scene of his intended operations, when the duke of Newcastle, then secretary of state, with his usual blundering, sent him by express a map of Gascony, instead of a chart of Brittany!

A reinforcement of 2,000 of the foot guards and a large detachment of artillery being added to the force under General St. Clair, the expedition sailed from Portsmouth, 15th September 1746, the fleet commanded by rear-admiral Lestock, and on the 20th the troops were landed, without much opposition, in Quimperly bay, ten miles from Port l’Orient. General St. Clair reached the latter place on the 24th, and having, on the evening of the next day, completed his batteries, he laid siege to the town. The inhabitants offered to surrender on terms which were considered too favourable for them, and they were accordingly rejected. As the besieged soon obtained a great accession of force, and as the general perceived that, from the bad state of his artillery and the insufficiency of his ammunition, he could not take the place, he abandoned the siege. Proceeding to Quiberon bay, he landed there, 4th October, and at the head of the royals and the 42d regiment, took possession of a fort in which were 18 guns, and destroyed al the forts on the peninsula of Quiberon and the isles of Houat. The troops, re-embarking 17th October, returned to England, Subsequently, General St. Clair was sent ambassador to the courts of Vienna and Turin. His secretary in the expedition to Brittany, and in his embassy, was David Hume the historian. In 1722 and 1727 the general was chosen M.P. for the Dysart burghs; in 1736 and 1741, for the county of Sutherland, and for the Dysart burghs again in 1747. In 1754 and 1761, he was elected for the county of Fife. He died at Dysart, 30th November 1762, without issue, being at the time of his death governor of Cork and a major-general on the staff in Ireland. He was succeeded in his heritable property by his nephew, Colonel James Paterson, who assumed the name of St. Clair. He was the son of his eldest sister, the Hon. Grissel St. Clair, and John Paterson of Prestonhall, the son of John Paterson, archbishop of Glasgow, and, through his mother, the undoubted heir of line of the earls of Orkney. The St. Clair property, on Colonel Paterson’s death in 1789, devolved on Sir James Erskine, baronet, second earl of Rosslyn, grandson of the Hon. Catherine St. Clair, the general’s second eldest sister, who married Sir John Erskine of Alva, baronet, (see ROSSLYN, earl of). The general’s third sister, the Hon. Mary St. Clair, married Sir William Baird of Newbyth. His fourth sister, Elizabeth, countess of Wemyss, had two daughters, Elizabeth, countess of Sutherland, and Margaret, countess of Moray.

The title of Lord Sinclair devolved on the general’s cousin, Charles St. Clair of Herdmanstoun, advocate, who, however, did not assume it. He died at Edinburgh, 4th November 1775. With one daughter, Elizabeth, the wife of Colonel Dalrymple, he had two sons, Matthew, who died young, and Andrew, eleventh Lord Sinclair de jure, but neither did he assume the title. He died in December 1776, little more than a year after his father. He married a daughter of John Rutherford, Esq. of Edgerston, and with one daughter, Eleonora, who died unmarried, he had two sons, Charles, twelfth Lord Sinclair, and the Hon. Matthew St. Clair, master and commander in the royal navy, 1797. He was appointed to the command of the Martin sloop of war on 16 guns, which, in 1800, sailed from Yarmouth to Helingoland, and was lost at sea.

Charles St. Clair of Herdmanstoun, the elder son, born in 1768, claimed the title of Lord Sinclair, and had it confirmed to him by a decision of the House of Lords, 25th April 1782. His lordship was in the army, which he quitted, with the rank of lieutenant-colonel, in 1802. In 1803 he became lieutenant-colonel of the Berwickshire militia, but resigned in 1805. In 1807 he was chosen a Scots representative peer, and the following year appointed to the command of the Haddingtonshire militia. He married, 1st, in 1802, Mary Agnes, daughter of Chisholm of Chisholm, and had by her 3 sons and 1 daughter. Lady Sinclair died in 1814, and in 1816 he married, 2dly, Isabella, daughter of Alexander Chatto, Esq. of Main House, Roxburghshire; issue, 2 daughters. Heir, his eldest son, James, master of Sinclair, J.P. and D.L., formerly Capt. Grenadier guards, born July 3, 1803, married in 1830, Jane, eldest daughter of Archibald Little, Esq. of Shabden Park, Surrey; issue, 4 sons and 2 daughters.


The above-named Sir Oliver St. Clair of Roslin, second son of the second marriage of William, third earl of Orkney of his family, by his wife, a daughter of Sir William Borthwick of Borthwick, had five sons. George, the eldest, succeeded him in Roslin. Henry, the second son, was educated for the church at the university of St. Andrews. He was highly esteemed by James V., and was for years in his family. He acquired the lands of Stevenston, Haddingtonshire, in 1536, but in the following year resigned them to his younger brother, James. On 13th November 1537, he was admitted an ordinary lord of session, and on 16th December 1538, he was appointed rector of Glasgow. In 1541 he became perpetual commendator of the abbey of Kilwinning, which last benefice he exchanged with Gavin Hamilton for the deanery of Glasgow in 1550. In 1544 he was president of the court of session. He was ambassador from Scotland to England, and Flanders, and in 1560 was appointed bishop of Ross. He died in France, where he went to get cut for the stone, January 2, 1565. The character of this prelate has been elegantly drawn by Mr. Tytler. He has, however, decided against him the doubt which Lord Hailes had expressed as to whether the Reports of decisions, known as Sinclair’s Practicks, and which commence 1st June 1540 and are continued till 28th May 1549, were compiled by him or his brother, John. Sir Oliver Sinclair, the third son, was the celebrated favourite of James V., who had the command of the Scots army at the rout of Solway Moss in 1542. He got a charter under the great seal of the lands and barony of Pitcairn, dated 12th January, 1537, and afterwards one from Queen Mary, of the lands of Boreland, near Dysart, Fifeshire, dated 29th July 1546. He left issue. John, the fourth son, rector of Shaw, was admitted an ordinary lord of session, 27th April 1540. He was afterwards dean of Restalrig. He attended his brother, the bishop of Ross, to France in 1564, and brought home with him the materials which he had commenced for a continuation of Boece’s History of Scotland. He succeeded his brother as president of the court of session. Sinclair, dean of Restalrig, married Queen Mary and Lord Darnley, in the abbey church of Holyrood, 29th July, 1565. Shortly afterwards he was promoted to be bishop of Brechin, but died in April 1566. The fifth son was James Sinclair of Stevenston, already mentioned.


The Sinclairs of Dunbeath, Inverness-shire, baronets, descend from the Hon. George Sinclair of Mey, third son of the fourth earl of Caithness of the name of Sinclair. By his wife, Margaret, daughter of the seventh Lord Forbes, Mr. Sinclair of Mey had, with several daughters, three sons. 1. William, who succeeded to the estate of Mey. 2. Sir John Sinclair, who got a charter of the lands of Dunbeath, 30th July 1624. 3. Alexander Sinclair of Lathrone. The second son, Sir John Sinclair, was, as Sinclair of Canisby, created a baronet of Nova Scotia, by patent, dated 2d January 1631, to himself and the heirs male of his body. Having only a daughter, Margaret, married to Hugh Rose of Kilvarock, he was succeeded, in default of issue male, by his nephew, William, eldest son of his younger brother, Alexander. The latter had, with 3 daughters, 4 sons. 1. William, his heir. 2. Alexander Sinclair of Stempster. 3. John Sinclair of Brabster. 4. George Sinclair, first of the Sinclairs of Barrock.

The eldest son, Sir William, was the 2d baronet. During the civil wars, he adhered to the cause of Charles I., and in 1650 his house was plundered by the Covenanters.

His cousin, Sir James Sinclair of Dunbeath and Stempster, was the 3d baronet. He married Isabel, daughter of Sir Archibald Muir, lord provost of Edinburgh, and died in 1742. His eldest son, Sir William Sinclair of Dunbeath, 4th baronet, had a son, Sir Benjamin, 5th baronet, who died in 1796.

His son, Sir John, 6th baronet, a major general in the East India Company’s service, died Oct. 1, 1842, and was succeeded by his cousin, Sir John Sinclair, 7th baronet, born Sept. 16, 1794, married in July 1821, the daughter of John Learmonth, Esq. of the Dean, Edinburgh; issue, with one daughter (who died in 1849), three sons. 1. John, captain 39th Madras N. I., born in 1822, killed at the capture of Ihausie, April 5, 1858. 2. Alexander Young, born in 1824, capt. H.M. Bombay army, married. 3. George, born in 1826, formerly capt. H.M. Bengal army, married, in 1859, Agnes, only daughter of John Learmonth of the Dean.


The Sinclairs of Longformacus, Berwickshire, who also possess a baronetcy of Nova Scotia, are descended from Sir George St. Clair, third son of Sir William St. Clair of Roslin, the sixth generation of that “lordly line.” The first baronet of this branch was Sir Robert Sinclair, the twelfth proprietor of Longformacus, advocate, who was retoured heir to his father, James Sinclair, in those lands, 4th November, 1647. He was an active supporter of the royal cause during the civil wars, and by Charles II. was created a baronet of Nova Scotia, by patent, dated 10th December 1664, to him and his heirs male whatsoever. He died in 1678. His eldest son, Sir John, second baronet, had one son, Sir Robert, third baronet, who was succeeded by his son, Sir John, fourth baronet. On the death of the latter, without issue, his brother, Sir Henry, became fifth baronet. He died in 1768, also without issue, when the succession devolved on his cousin, John, grandson of George Sinclair, the second son of the first baronet. Sir George Sinclair, who thus became the sixth baronet, married Elizabeth, daughter of Charles Allan, Esq., and died 7th January, 1798. His son, Sir John, succeeded as seventh baronet.


The Sinclairs of Stevenston, East Lothian, baronets, are descended from George, second son of Matthew Sinclair of Longformacus, the ninth of that family in a direct male line. George Sinclair died about 1620, leaving a son, John, an eminent merchant in Edinburgh. This gentleman acquired a large fortune, and purchased the lands of Stevenston, of which he got a charter dated 1st June 1624. He likewise acquired other lands in the counties of Haddington, Edinburgh, and Berwick. By Charles I. he was created a baronet of Nova Scotia, by patent, dated 18th January, 1636, to him and his heirs whatsoever. He died in 1648 or 1649. John, his only son, predeceased him, leaving two sons; Sir John, who succeeded his grandfather as second baronet, and Sir Robert, who, on his brother’s death, became third baronet. The latter early gave his support to the Revolution, and by King William was appointed sheriff of Haddingtonshire, 7th December 1689. In May thereafter, he was sworn a privy councilor, and admitted one of the lords of the exchequer. He was also named a lord of session, but declined the office, although he continued five years in the nomination. Queen Anne also made him a member of her privy council in 1703. He had six sons and three daughters. Sir John, the eldest son, fourth baronet, in his father’s lifetime took an active part in the politics of the day. He was one of the representatives of Lanarkshire in the last Scots parliament. He opposed the treaty of union, and his name is recorded as one of the adherents to the protest of the duke of Argyle against that measure. He married Martha, daughter and heiress of John Lockhart of Castlehill, Lanarkshire, one of the lords of session, widow of Cromwell Lockhart of Lee, and had eight sons and five daughters. He died in 1726. Sir Robert, the eldest son, was fifth baronet. John, the second son, succeeded to the estate of Castlehill, and assumed the name of Lockhart. The third son, George Sinclair, advocate, was in 1747 appointed sheriff of Lanarkshire, and in 1751, was admitted a lord of session, when he assumed the title of Lord Woodhall. On the death of his brother, John, without issue male, he succeeded to the estate of Castlehill. As Lord Woodhall died unmarried, Castlehill devolved on his nephew, James, second son of Sir Robert Sinclair, his lordship’s eldest brother.

Sir Robert Sinclair, the fifth baronet, had four sons and four daughters. The eldest son, Sir John, sixth baronet, succeeded to the estate of Murkle, Caithness-shire, on the death of the ninth earl of Caithness in 1765. At his own death in 1789, his eldest son, Sir Robert, became seventh baronet. He was lieutenant-governor of Fort George, and died 4th August 1795. He married Lady Madalina Gordon, second daughter of Alexander, fourth duke of Gordon. His only son, Sir John Gordon Sinclair of Stevenston and Murkle, eighth baronet, born 31st July 1790, entered the navy when young, and distinguished himself at Morgion, and again at Cassis in 1813. He attained the rank of captain in 1814, and was for some time captain of the port at Gibraltar. In 1847 he was appointed additional captain of the Victory, 104 guns, for service at Southampton, and in 1852 he was promoted to be a rear-admiral of the blue. He married, 15th June 1812, Anne, only daughter of Admiral the Hon. Michael de Courcy and niece of the 26th Lord Kinsale; issue, 3 sons and 5 daughters. His mother, Lady Madalina Sinclair, took for her second husband, Charles Fysche Palmer, Esq.


The Sinclairs of Ulbster, Caithness-shire, who possess a baronetcy of the United Kingdom, conferred in February 1786, are a branch of the noble house of Caithness. In 1596 and 1603, George, 5th earl of Caithness, conveyed to his cousin, Patrick Sinclair, the lands of Ulbster. Patrick, dying without issue, was succeeded by his brother, John Sinclair, to whom the earl renewed the former grants, by charter, dated 29th December 1615. His descendant, John Sinclair of Ulbster, purchased in 1719, the greater portion of the estates of the earl of Caithness. He had married, 9th April 1714, Henrietta, daughter of George Brodie, Esq. of Brodie, and died in 1736. He had three sons and one daughter. The latter, Emilia, the wife of John Sutherland, Esq. of Forss, had a son, George, who claimed the earldom of Sutherland, in competition with the countess, afterwards duchess of Sutherland. Mr. Sinclair of Ulbster’s eldest son, George, married 24th October 1740, Janet, daughter of William Lord Strathnaver, and sister of the seventeenth earl of Sutherland, and had twelve children, of whom two sons and three daughters survived him. He died in 1770. His eldest son was the celebrated Sir John Sinclair, baronet, a memoir of whom is given below. The daughters were; 1. Helen, married Aug. 1, 1765, General Alexander Campbell of Barcaldine, with issue. Jane, one of her daughters, married in 1784, the 12th earl of Caithness. 2. Mary, married in 1770, James Home Rogg, Esq. of Morton and Gamalshiels. 3. Janet, married in 1803, William Baillie, Esq. of Polkemmet.

Sir John Sinclair was twice married, and had by his first wife two daughters, Hannah, authoress of a work on ‘The Principles of the Christian Faith,’ and whose Memoirs have been published, and Janet, married to Sir James Colquhoun of Luss, baronet. By his 2d wife he had 7 sons and 6 daughters. Sons: 1. Sir George, 2d baronet, of whom afterwards. 2. Alexander, at one period in the civil service of East India Company. 3. John, M.A. and F.R.S.E., archdeacon of Middlesex and vicar of Kensington, author of ‘Dissertations Vindicating the Church of England with regard to some essential points of polity and doctrine,’ London, 1833, 8vo; An Essay on Church Patronage; ‘Memoirs of the Life and Works of the Right Hon. Sir John Sinclair, Baronet,’ 2 vols. Edinburgh, 1837, 12mo, &c. 4. Archibald, a captain, R.N., founder of the Naval and Military Club in Scotland, and author of a popular volume of naval reminiscences. He died June 1, 1859. 5. William, incumbent of St. George’s, Leeds. 6. James, East India Company’s service, died in 1826. 7. Godfrey, born in 1812, a farmer in Northumberland. Daughters: 1. Elizabeth Diana. 2. Margaret. 3. Julia, married, Nov. 13, 1824, to George, 4th earl of Glasgow. 4. Catherine, authoress of ‘Modern Accomplishments, or the March of Intellect,’ Edinburgh, 1836, 12mo; ‘Scotland and the Scotch, or the Western Circuit,’ Edinburgh, 1840, 12mo, a work translated into several foreign languages, and republished in America; ‘Modern Flirtations, or a Month at Harrowgate,’ Edinburgh, 1841, 3 vols, 12mo; ‘Popular Legends and Bible Truths,’ London, 1852, 12mo, and various other works. 5. Helen, married Aug. 10, 1826, to Stair Hathorn Stewart, Esq. of Physgill, and died April 25, 1845. 6. Jane, died unmarried.

Sir George, 2d baronet, born Aug. 23, 1790; succeeded his father Dec. 21, 1835; was M.P. for Caithness-shire in 1811 and 1818, and from 1831 to 1841; author of ‘The Debate and Division,’ ‘The Bore,’ and other publications. He married, May 1, 1816, Lady Catherine Camilla Tollemache, sister of the 6th earl of Dysart; issue, 3 sons and 3 daughters. Sons: 1. Dudley, died unmarried. 2. John George Tollemache, born Nov. 8, 1825; married, in 1853, Emma, daughter of the deceased William S. Standish, Esq. of Duxbury, county Lancaster; issue, Clarence Granville, born April 3, 1858; Amy-Camilla, and two other daughters. 3. Granville, died in 1833. Daughters: 1. Emilia Magdalen Louisa, married, 1st, in 1837, Henry Tollemache, Esq., and 2dly, her former marriage being dissolved by divorce, in 1841, Major John Power; issue by 1st marriage, a son, and by 2d, one son and 2 daughters. 2. Adelaide Mary, married in 1845, George, 2d son of John James Hope Johnstone, Esq. of Annandale, M.P.; issue, one son and 2 daughters. 3. Olive Sophia.


In Caithness-shire are also the Sinclairs of Forss, an estate acquired from the earl of Sutherland in 1560, the representative of which family, James Sinclair, Esq. of Forss, advocate, succeeded his father in 1822; the Sinclaires of Lybster; the Sinclairs of Freswick; and other families of the name.


The Sinclairs are understood to be a clan, their badge being a branch of whins or gorss, and their tartan red. For the feuds and achievements of the clan, see CAITHNESS, earl of). President Forbes says that in 1745 the earl of Caithness could raise 1,000 men. According to an old superstition no Sinclair will willingly dress in green, or venture to cross the mountain called the Ord of Caithness on a Monday, for in such an array and on that day, forth Sinclairs, led by the earl of Caithness, by that road marched to the fatal field of Flodden, and were all slain, except the drummer, who was dismissed before the battle began.

Of the great house of Sinclair, the earl of Caithness is the collateral heir male, the direct heir of line being Mr. Anstruther Thomson of Charleton, Fifeshire. The latter is thus descended: Margaret Paterson, sister of Colonel James Paterson St. Clair, above mentioned, whose mother was the Hon. Grizel St. Clair, daughter of the 7th Lord Sinclair, married John Thomson, Esq. of Charleton. Her daughter, Grizel Maria Thomson, heiress of Charleton, became the wife of Colonel John Anstruther, 2d son of Sir Philip Anstruther of Balcaskie, baronet, and her son, John Anstruther Thomson, by his wife, Clementina, only daughter of the Right Hon. William Adam of Blair-Adam, had a son, John Anstruther Thomson, representative of the earls of Orkney.

SINCLAIR, GEORGE, a distinguished mathematical writer of the seventeenth century, of whose early history little is known, was admitted professor of philosophy in the university of Glasgow, April 18, 1654. In 1661 he published his first work, ‘Tyrocinia Mathematica; in iv. Tractatus,’ &c. In 1662 he was ejected from his chair, for declining to comply with the Episcopal form of church government then forced upon Scotland. He afterwards pursued, with some success, the business of a mineral surveyor and practical engineer. About 1670 he was employed by the magistrates of Edinburgh to superintend the introduction of water into that city. In 1672 he published a quarto, entitled ‘Hydrostaticks; or, the Force, Weight, and Pressure of Fluid Bodies.’ And, in 1680, a similar work in 8vo, under the title of ‘Hydrostatical Experiments, with Miscellany Observations, and a Relation of an Evil Spirit; also a Discourse concerning Coal.’ This strange compound of science and superstition contained an account of the Witches of Glenluce; the ingenious author being, like many other learned men of his time, a firm believer in the black art. His Hydrostatics were attacked in a curious pamphlet, entitled ‘The Art of Weighing Vanity,’ by Professor James Gregory, under the assumed name of Patrick Mather, Archbeadle of the University of St. Andrews. An unpublished answer by Sinclair, quaintly styled ‘Cacus pulled out of his Den by the Heels,’ remains in manuscript in the library of the university of Glasgow, to which it was presented by the author in 1692. Sinclair is said to have been among the first in Great Britain who attempted to measure the heights of mountains by the barometer. His best-known work is his ‘Satan’s Invisible World Discovered,’ published about 1685, and frequently reprinted. At the Revolution he was recalled to his chair of philosophy in the university of Glasgow, and on March 3, 1691, he was transferred to the professorship of mathematics, on its revival by the faculty of the college. He died in 1696. His works are:

Tyrocinia Mathematica; in iv. Tractatus, viz. arithmeticum, sphericum, geographicum, et echometricum divisa. Glasg. 1661, 12mo.
Ars Nova, et magna Gravitatis ac Levitatis, seu Dialogorum Philosophicorum, Libri vi. de Aeris vera et reali gravitate. Rott. 1669, 4to.
Hydrostaticks; or, the Force, Weight, and Pressure of Fluid Bodies, made evident by Physical and sensible Experiments; together with some Miscellaneous Observations; the last whereof is a short History of Coal. Edin. 1672, 4to.
Natural Philosophy improved by new Experiments. The same Work with a new title, and Miscellaneous Observations, which contains a Relation of an evil Spirit; with a Discourse on Coal. Edin. 1683, 4to.
Satan’s Invisible World discovered; or, a Choice Collection of Relations anent Devils, Spirits, Witches, and Apparitions. Edin. 1685, 12mo. Glasg. 1769, 12mo. This important discovery of the old gentleman’s cellarages and colleagues was long a favourite with the lower classes, but it is now less popular, as its marvelous descriptions are now less credited.
Principles of Astronomy and Navigation; or, the doctrine of the Sphere; on Mercurial Weather Glasses; Method of buoying up a ship of any burden from the ground of the Sea. Edin. 1688, 12mo.
Translation of Dickson’s Truth’s Victory over Error.

SINCLAIR, SIR JOHN, of Ulbster, baronet, a distinguished agricultural and political writer and general statist, whose parentage is given above, was born at Thurso castle, Caithness-shire, May 10, 1754. His early education was for a short time conducted by Logan the poet, who had been recommended to his father for the purpose by the celebrated Dr. Blair. He subsequently acquired the rudiments of Latin and Greek at the High school of Edinburgh, and at the age of thirteen entered the university of that city. Four years thereafter, he removed to the university of Glasgow. To attend the lectures on civil law of Professor Millar, and then returned to the university of Edinburgh, to complete his studies for the Scottish bar. Succeeding his father in 1770, when only sixteen years of age, he immediately commenced improving the family estate, whereby he added considerably to its annual value.

In 1774, he entered at Lincoln’s Inn, and the following year he matriculated at Trinity college, Oxford. The same year (1775) he was admitted at Edinburgh a member of the faculty of advocates. He was afterwards called to the English bar, but he preferred public life to following out the profession of the law. At the general election of 1780, Mr. Sinclair was elected member of parliament for the county of Caithness, and at first gave his support to the cabinet of Lord North, then assailed by a very strong opposition in parliament. He was re-elected in 1790, in 1802, and in 1807; but as the county of Caithness was, at that time, only alternately represented in parliament, with Bute, he was, in 1784, chosen for Lostwithiel, in Cornwall, and in 1796, for Petersfield, in Hampshire. With the exception of a very short interval, he continued a member of the house of commons till July 1811, being a space of more than thirty years.

In 1782, he published two political tracts, the one on parliamentary reform, and the other ‘On the Naval Strength of the British Empire.’ The latter was written with the design of dispelling the alarm which had begun to pervade the nation on the desertion of their old allies the Dutch, and the formidable aspect of the French navy. A few days after its publication Lord Rodney gained his celebrated victory over De Grasse, on the 12th April. This pamphlet was followed by another regarding the management and improvement of the navy. About the same time, he pressed on the attention of the ministry the propriety of establishing a militia force, and having published his ‘Considerations on Militias and Standing Armies,’ some of his suggestions were afterwards adopted. From this period till his death there was scarcely any topic in the whole range of political, statistical, or medical science, on which he did not issue from the press some pamphlet or other publication, and for nearly half-a-century he filled a very prominent place as a public man.

On the accession of the earl of Shelburne to power in 1783, when overtures of peace came to be entertained, much discussion ensued on the financial state of the country. With the object of giving a comprehensive and accurate view of the national resources, Mr. Sinclair published his ‘Hints on the state of our Finances.’ This pamphlet was succeeded by another, containing a plan for the re-establishment of public credit. The publication of a still more important and elaborate work in 1784, his ‘History of the Public Revenue of the British Empire,’ in 2 vols. 4to, at once placed his reputation high both as a financier and an economist. The same year he applied to Mr. Pitt, then prime minister, for the grant of a baronetage to which he had a claim, as heir and representative of Sir George Sinclair of Clyth; and on 4th February 1786, he was created a baronet of Great Britain, with remainder, in default of his own male issue, to the heirs male of his daughters, by his first wife.

He had married on 26th March 1776, Sarah, daughter of Alexander Maitland, Esq. of Stoke Newington, near London, and on her death in 1785, with the view of dissipating his grief, he set out on a tour to France during the Christmas recess. On his arrival in Paris he was kindly received by Necker, the celebrated minister of finance to the ill-fated Louis XVI. “The ladies of the family,” says his biographer, “seemed to have resolved on giving their Scottish guest an agreeable reception. He found Madame Necker reading ‘Blair’s Sermons,’ and Mademoiselle Necker, afterwards Baroness de Stael, playing ‘Lochaber no more’ on the piano.”

In the following year, he made an extensive tour through the northern countries of Europe, with the view of inquiring into their political and commercial condition. In the course of this journey, he traveled above 7,500 miles, and was introduced to nearly all the courts of the various countries through which he passed. He also became acquainted with many of the most eminent and remarkable men on the continent. It was not, however, till 1830, when he published two large volumes of his correspondence, that a digest of the valuable observations made on the occasion on the political, commercial, agricultural, moral, and religious state of the countries he had visited, was submitted to the public. On his return to Scotland in 1787, he proceeded with those improvements on his own estate which speedily tended, in a great degree, to give a new aspect to the county of Caithness, and to which the large increase of the population of that county, which subsequently took place, is mainly to be attributed.

On the 6th of March 1788, Sir John Sinclair married a second time, at London, the Hon. Diana Macdonald, only daughter of Alexander first Lord Macdonald. The same year the degree of doctor of laws was conferred on him by the university of Glasgow. Having, about this time, directed his attention to the improvement of British wool, he published several papers on the subject, and in 1791 procured the establishment of a society at Edinburgh for the encouragement of valuable breeds of sheep, of which he was chosen the president. By the exertions of this useful Society, great improvements were effected in the pastoral districts; and many lands were doubled in value by the new mode of sheep-farming introduced.

The previous year he had begun to entertain the idea of that great national undertaking which is associated with his name, the Statistical account of Scotland. So little had the subject been at that time attended to that the very term ‘statistics’ is of his invention. Being a lay member of the General Assembly, it occurred to him that he might be able to prevail on a great proportion of the clergy of the Church of Scotland to furnish the requisite information regarding every parish, so that a complete statistical account of the kingdom might be obtained. His original plan was to draw up a general statistical view of Scotland, without reference to parochial districts; but such a mass of useful facts and observations was contained in the communications sent to him, that he resolved upon preparing the work for press in the extended form in which it was published. After unwearied exertions he succeeded in bringing out the first volume of this great work in 1791. But, although backed by a recommendation from the General Assembly, and supported by the active exertions of some of the leading members of the church, he had to contend with many difficulties before he could complete the undertaking. Determined to bring it to a satisfactory conclusion, he engaged five statistical missionaries, to whom he allotted different divisions of the country; and by their means the accounts of no less than twenty-five parishes, which must otherwise have been wanting, were accurately obtained. The work was at length completed on the 1st of January 1798, seven years and a half after its commencement. It was comprised in twenty thick 8vo volumes, to which another was subsequently added. The profits of the publication were given to the Society instituted for the benefit of the Sons of the Clergy; and for the same benevolent purpose Sir John obtained a grant of £2,000 from government. A New Statistical Account of Scotland, in 15 volumes, 8vo., was published by Blackwood of Edinburgh in 1845, Sir John Sinclair’s work having been taken as its model.

In May 1793 Sir John printed and circulated a plan for establishing a Board of Agriculture and Internal Improvement; and, on the 15th of the same month, he moved, in his place in parliament, an address to the crown in favour of the proposed establishment. After an animated and interesting debate, which was adjourned till the 17th, his motion was carried, on a division, by a majority of 75. Soon after the Board was appointed, and received a charter from the crown, in which Sir John Sinclair was nominated its first president. To the exertions of this board the country is indebted, in a great degree, for its rapid progress in the art of husbandry. A spirit of enterprise was excited among the farming classes, agricultural associations were formed all over the kingdom, reports were published, in 50 octavo volumes, describing accurately every county in Great Britain, and the substance of the information thus accumulated was digested, by Sir John himself, into his ‘Code of Agriculture,’ published in 1819. He continued president of the board for thirteen years. In 1803 Sir Humphrey Davy gave his first course of lectures on agricultural chemistry before the board of agriculture. Appointed their professor with a salary of £100 per annum, Davy continued for ten years to detail before them the enlarged views which his scientific acquirements enabled him to take of the subject, and in 1813 the lectures were published at the request of the board. When Sir John Sinclair ceased to superintend its operations, the board of agriculture gradually declined, and was finally abolished.

Soon after the commencement of hostilities with France in 1793, so great was the stagnation that prevailed in the commerce of Great Britain, that a deficiency in the circulating medium was the consequence, and the national bankruptcy seemed almost inevitable. In this emergency, Sir John came forward with a plan for the issue of Exchequer bills to the amount of five millions, to be issued by way of loans in small sums to merchants and manufacturers. This plan received the ready approval of Pitt and Dundas, and having speedily passed, proved the means of preventing general ruin.

In 1794, when the call to arms was made by government, Sir John Sinclair received letters of service to raise a fencible regiment in the counties of Ross and Caithness, the services of which should extend to England. The regiment on being formed amounted to one thousand men. It was at first called the “Caithness fencibles,” but in compliment to the chief title in Scotland of the Prince of Wales, the name was subsequently changed to that of the “Rothesay and Caithness fencibles.” The uniform of the regiment was a bonnet and feathers, with a plaid and tartan trews. The latter was adopted by Sir John Sinclair in the belief that it was more ancient than the kilt, and, as was usual with him on every matter that engrossed his attention, he wrote a pamphlet on the subject. A second battalion, at first of 600 and afterwards of 1,000 men, was in 1795 raised by him, which served in Ireland in suppressing the rebellion of 1798. During the volunteer period, Sir John commanded the camp at Aberdeen, and published several pamphlets on military matters. In one of these, entitled ‘Cursory Observations on the Military System of Great Britain,’ the tactics of Napoleon were investigated, and improvements in the system of Great Britain suggested. When the expedition to Egypt was undertaken two hundred and twenty of the Caithness fencibles volunteered into the regiments of the line, particularly the 79th and 92d Highlanders. One of them, Sergeant Sinclair, of the 79th regiment, took an eagle from the French Invincibles at the battle of Alexandria, for which Sir John procured him promotion.

Having, as early as 1783, acquired a considerable reputation as a writer on finance, he was induced to follow out the subject in his ‘Review of the Financial Administration of the Right Hon. William Pitt,’ to which an appendix was added in 1789, and a third part in 1790. In 1797, when Pitt, then combining in himself the offices of prime minister and chancellor of the exchequer, found that the treasury was exhausted, whilst the demands upon it were increasing, he consulted Sir John Sinclair, at that time, through the interest of the prince of Wales, member for Petersfield, as to what was to be done in the emergency. The result was the scheme known by the name of the “Loyalty Loan,” the germ of several subsequent financial projects. He supported the minister in his war measures against the French republic, but when he saw a prospect of peace he was willing to take advantage of it. He joined the party known by the name of the “Armed Neutrality,” of which the earl of Moira was considered the head, and which supported economy and retrenchment, and parliamentary reform. During the greater part of the sessions 1797, 98, and 99, he took a leading part in the business of the house of commons, especially in opposing the financial measures of the government. When the bill for a union with Ireland was under discussion in parliament, he made an effort to have the number of the Scottish representatives increased, but was unsuccessful.

Being led, about 1802, to the consideration of the subject of health, he published in 1803 a quarto pamphlet, entitled ‘Hints on longevity.’ In the same year he collected his Essays on Miscellaneous Subjects, and published them together in one volume octavo. He afterwards compiled an extensive work on the general subject of health, in which he condensed into a manageable form all the widely scattered materials found in ancient and modern authors. This was published in 1807, as a ‘Code of Health and Longevity,’ in 4 vols, 8vo, subsequently abridged into one vol.

In May 1805, Sir John was appointed by Mr. Pitt a commissioner for superintending the construction of new roads and bridges in the north of Scotland. In 1810, he was sworn a privy councilor. His speech on the bullion question was among the last delivered by him in parliament, from which he retired in July 1811, when he was succeeded by his eldest son. The same year, under the administration of Mr. Percival, he was appointed cashier of excise in Scotland, with a salary of £2,000 a-year. This situation he was induced to accept in consequence of his private affairs having become much embarrassed by the vast expenses incurred in his public life, and by the unsuccessful prosecution of certain claims which he had on the East India Company.

Early in 1815, Sir John visited the Netherlands, principally with the object of examining into the agricultural state of that country, and of ascertaining the relative prices of grain in Great Britain and the continental corn countries, more especially Flanders and France. The escape of Napoleon from Elba caused him to return sooner than he wished. The following year, he published his ‘Hints on the Agricultural State of the Netherlands compared with that of Great Britain.’ After the victory of Waterloo, he again visited the continent, and went over the field of battle. At Calais, on his return homeward, he met with Sergeant Ewart of the Scots Greys, who had distinguished himself by capturing one of the French eagles, and it was through Sir John Sinclair’s interest that that intrepid soldier was promoted to an ensigncy in a veteran corps.

Besides the works specified, Sir John published a great variety of smaller pamphlets and tracts, on subjects connected with agriculture or political economy. Among the first of his writings was a work on the Sabbath, which by the advice of Dr. Adam Smith, to whom he had submitted it in manuscript, was never published. He had early obtained the friendship of that eminent philosopher, a circumstance which greatly strengthened his taste for political economy. His agricultural writings, having been translated into the French, German, and other languages, he was elected a member of most of the agricultural societies of the continent, and held no less than twenty-five diplomas from institutions in France, Flanders, Prussia, Austria, Saxony, Wirtemberg, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Russia, Italy, the United States, and the West Indies. He was likewise a fellow of the royal societies of London and Edinburgh, and of the antiquarian society of London. He was president of the Highland Society of London, as well as an original member of the Highland society of Scotland. Whatever tended to the preservation of the national language, dress, or manners of his native country, he was always anxious to promote. He frequently presided at the annual competition of pipers in Edinburgh, and was enthusiastic in the admiration of the music of Scotland.

His intimacy with the most eminent men of his time, both at home and abroad, led him into an extensive correspondence, and two very interesting volumes of it were published at London in 1831. His name and works were well known in America. With Presidents Washington, Jefferson, and Adams, he had frequent communications; whilst few foreigners of any distinction visited Scotland without letters of introduction to him.

Sir John Sinclair died at Edinburgh, where he had resided for the last twenty years of his active and useful life, December 21, 1835, and was buried in the Royal chapel of Holyrood. By his first wife he had two daughters, and by his second, seven sons and five daughters. The names of his children are given in the genealogical account of the family prefixed to this memoir. “In early life,” says his son, “he was tall, well-proportioned, and athletic. He was six feet two inches in height. His features were formed nearly after the Grecian model. He was always of a spare habit, and as he advanced in life, stooped considerably.” It was said of him by the Abbe Gregoire that “the Chevalier Sinclair was not only the most indefatigable man in Europe, but the man of the most extensive acquaintance.” A remarkable instance of that energy of character, for which he was distinguished during his whole life, was evinced by him at the early age of eighteen, in the formation of a road over the hill of Ben Cheilt, in the centre of the county of Caithness. It was believed that the whole “statute labour” of the country could not make a road over it, but having resolved upon completing one in the shortest possible time, he surveyed the ground in person, and marked out the intended line, then appointed all the neighbouring farmers to meet him on a certain day with their servants. They accordingly assembled to the number of 1,260, and being divided into parties and plentifully supplied with tools and provisions, they worked from day-dawn, “until a road,” as we are told by his son, “which had been hardly passable for horses in the morning, became practicable for carriages before night.” To this feat he was indebted for his first wife’s choice of him, out of many suitors. One of his rivals, on an excursion to the Highlands, had bee unexpectedly recalled from Inverness to London. Calling upon Miss Maitland he expressed to her and her mother his great disappointment at not being able to extend his tour. He had hears, he said, of a young gentleman in Caithness, of the name of Sinclair, who was carrying on improvements in that county with an energy never before heard of. He then gave an account of his making “a road over a hill which had been looked upon as impassable,” and of “his plans for introducing commerce and manufactures, and for advancing agriculture.” This economium decided the young lady’s preference in favour of Sir John, then Mr. Sinclair. His proposals for her hand were accepted, and the marriage contract drawn up. Nothing more was required than the naming of the marriage day, when an unexpected obstacle presented itself in the repugnance of Mrs. Maitland to the removal of her daughter from her own neighbourhood. She insisted on a promise from her future son-in-law that he would reside permanently in England. To this he would not consent, and, under the impression that Miss Maitland agreed with her mother, he set off on his first excursion to the continent. On his return, he learnt that the young lady did not approve of the maternal stipulation, and the marriage accordingly took place.

As a practical benefactor of his country and true patriot, his name will be long remembered. Soon after he first entered parliament, he was the means of procuring a government grant for the relief of his suffering countrymen, which earned for him their lasting gratitude. The summer of 1782 had been cold and stormy, and a general failure of the crops took place throughout the northern counties. By the exertions of Sir John, then Mr. Sinclair, the sum of £15,000 was obtained from Government, by which the inhabitants of fifteen counties, amounting to 111,521 souls, were preserved from starvation.

Of Sir John Sinclair there are many portraits. The best are two full lengths, one by West, and the other by Sir Henry Raeburn. Both represent him in the uniform of his fencible regiment; a dress which he delighted to wear, long after the corps had ceased to exist.

A catalogue of the various books, tracts, and papers printed by Sir John Sinclair, is given at the end of the Memoirs of his Life and Works, by his son, the Rev. John Sinclair. They amount to 367. A complete list of them would occupy more than five pages of this work in small type. The following are the more important:

Lucubrations during a short Recess; containing a plan for a more equal Representation of the People. London, 1782, 8vo.
Observations on the Scottish Dialect. London, 1782, 8vo.
History of the Public Revenue of the British Empire. London, 1784, 2 vols. 4to. Appendix, 4to, Part iii. 1790, 4to. The same, with a Review of Pitt’s Financial Administration, 1803-4, 3 vols, 8vo.
State of Alterations which may be proposed in the Laws for regulating the Election of Members of Parliament for Shires in Scotland. 1787, 8vo.
Address to the Landed Interest on the Corn Bill now before parliament. London, 1791, 8vo.
Dissertation on the Authenticity of the Poems of Ossian. 1795, 4to. With an Appendix. 1807.
Account of the Origin of the Board of Agriculture and its progress for three years. London, 1796, 4to.
Communications to the Board of Agriculture on subjects relative to Husbandry and Internal Improvement. London, 1797, 4to.
The Statistical Account of Scotland, drawn up from the Communications of the Ministers of the different Parishes. 21 vols. 8vo. Edin. 1791-1799.
Thoughts respecting the ensuing Campaign on the Borders of Italy, and its probably Issue. 1797.
Inquiry into the State of Scotland. 1800.
Essays on Miscellaneous Subjects. London, 1802, 8vo.
On the Political State of Europe. 1803.
Observations on the Propriety of Preserving the Dress, the Language, the Poetry, the Music, and the Customs of the Ancient Inhabitants of Scotland. 1804.
The Code of Health and Longevity. Edin. 1807, 4 vols. 8vo. Four subsequent editions in one vol. 8vo; the first published in 1819.
General View of the Agriculture of the Northern Counties and Islands of Scotland. Edin. 1812, 8vo. 3d edition, with numerous plates. Edin. 1820, 2 vols, 8vo.
Account of the Highland Society of Scotland. London, 1813, 8vo.
Thoughts on the Agricultural and Financial State of the Country. 1815.
History of the Campaign of the Armies under the Duke of Wellington, and of the Prussians under Prince Blucher. By Baron Muffling. Edited, with additional particulars, and an Appendix. 1815.
The Code of Agriculture. 1817. 5 editions, 8vo. Translated into the French, German, and Dutch languages.
Analysis of the Statistical Account of Scotland. 2 Parts. 1825, 2 vols.
Fingal, a Tragedy in Five Acts. 1830.
The Correspondence of Right Hon. Sir John Sinclair, Bart.; with Reminiscences of distinguished Characters. 2 vols. London, 1831, 8vo.

The minor works, pamphlets, and fugitive pieces, may be classified as follows:

LITERARY. – Impulse of the Moment. 1782. – Song for the Rothesay and Caithness Fencibles. 1792. – Sketch of an Intended System of Education for George Sinclair. 1801. Sketch of a System of Education for a Young Gentleman. 1802. – Genealogy of the Sinclairs of Ulbster. 1810. – Miscellaneous Papers. 1811. – On the State of Society in Edinburgh. 1811. – Letter from Sir John Sinclair to George Sinclair, Esq., regarding the literary undertakings he has in contemplation. 1813. – Ode on the Restoration of the House of Orange. 1815. – A Messieurs les Redacteurs de l’Observateur. 1815. – A General View of the Principles of the Christian Faith, as explained in Miss Hannah Sinclair’s Treatise on that Subject. 1818. – Evidence to prove that the celebrated air called ‘Gramachree Molly’ was composed in Scotland. 1819 – Prospectus explaining the nature and superior advantages of the ‘Codean System of Knowledge.’ 1819. – Account of some singular Incidents in the Life of the Right Hon. Sir John Sinclair, Bart., 1820. – Address to the Citizens of Edinburgh on His Majesty’s expected visit to Scotland. 1820. – Letter on Codification. 1820. – Reparation of St. Giles’ Church, Edinburgh. Circular Letter to the Faculty of Advocates. 1821. – Letter on Mountain Dew. 1822. – On the Importance of Scotland as a separate Division of the British Empire. 1822. – On the Impropriety of Indulging Grief for the loss of near relations or particular friends. 1823. – Gretna Green Marriages. 1823. – Address to the Public on Infant Schools. 1829. – Letter to the Commissioners for the Improvements in the City of Edinburgh. 1829. – To the Members of the Board of Trustees for promoting the Fisheries, Manufactures, and other improvements in Scotland. 1829. – Address to the Inhabitants of Edinburgh on the City Improvements. 1830. – Thoughts regarding proposed future Literary Labours. 1831. – On the Monument to Burns. 1831. – Preliminary Observations on the Plan of a Code, or Digest of Religion. 1834. – Hints on the Proposed Monument to the memory of Sir Walter Scott. 1835. – Letter to Dr. D.B. Reid, on the Philosophical Society of Edinburgh. 1835. – Plan of a Meeting for Constituting a Society to supply the City of London with Milk. 1835. – Information respecting the Castle of Dunsinane. – On the tendency of Ignorance and Want of Education to produce an excessive population, as exemplified in the state of Ireland. – Plan for procuring the sum necessary to complete the Thames Tunnel. – On the great advantages which Literature derived from the erection of the Monastery and College of Iona. – Hints respecting ‘The Course of Time,’ a Poem, by Robert Pollok, M.A., with a short account of the Author. – Hints as to Autographs. – Hints on the Character of General Washington. – On the Means of Improving the Systems of Education in Scotland. – Observations on the Training of Pugilists, Wrestlers, Jockeys, and others; and the Training of Running Horses, &c., Nicholson’s Journal, xiii., 309, 1806. – Extracts from a Collection of Papers on the subject of Athletic Exercises. Ib. xv. 67. – On the Breeding and Feeding of Game Cocks. Ib. xvi., 207. 1807.

STATISTICAL. – Address to the Clergy of the Church of England, on the Nature and Principles of Statistical Philosophy. 1792. – Specimens of Statistical Reports. 1792. – History of the Origin and Progress of the Statistical Account of Scotland. 1798. – Sketch of an Introduction to t he proposed Analysis of the Statistical Account of Scotland, 1802. – On the Advantages to be derived by Political Economy from Statistical Researches. 1833. – Statistical display of the Population of Great Britain and Ireland. 1835. – Statistical Display of the Occupation of the Male Population in each section of the United Kingdom, deduced from the returns made to Parliament in 1831.

POLITICAL. – On the Propriety of Dissolving Parliament. 1782. – Reflections on the Expediency of Increasing the number of the Representatives of the People. 1782. – The Crisis of Europe. 1782. – The Propriety of Retaining Gibraltar. 1783. – Letters to the Chamber of Commerce at Edinburgh on the subject of the Corn Laws. 1787. – General View of the Enquiries essential for the Internal Improvement of the Kingdom. 1795. – Speech on the Bill for Imposing an Income Tax, 1798, 8vo. – Thoughts on the dismissal of the Minister and the Restoration of Peace, addressed to the Livery of the City of London. 1798. – Hints on the present alarming Crisis. 1798. – Letters on the state of the Nation, addressed to Lord Thurlow. 1798. – Impartial Thoughts on Peace and War. 1803. – Address to the Chairman, Deputy Chairman, and Directors of the East India Company, 1809. – Letters to the Chancellor of the Exchequer in Ireland, relative to the Dissolution of the Union. 1810. – Three other Pamphlets against the Repeal of the Union. – Hints regarding the renewal of the charter of the East India Company. 1813. – On the State of the Country in December 1816. – Four Letters on the Distresses of the Times. 1816. – On the means of arresting the progress of National Calamity. 1817, 2 editions. – On the State of the Nation. 1819. – Address to the Reformers of Great Britain. 1819. – On the Causes of our National Distresses. 1820. – Nine other Pamphlets on the Distresses of the Country. – On the means of promoting the Prosperity of a great Political Community. 1826. – Observations on Mr. Secretary Canning’s Plan for Regulating the Corn Trade. 1827. – On the Corn Laws of France. 1827. – Thirteen other pamphlets on the Corn Laws. – Thoughts on Catholic Emancipation. 1828. – Three other pamphlets on the Catholic question. – To the Secretary of the Society for the Improvement of Ireland. 1829. – Petition to the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled. 1830. – Thoughts on the Means of preventing the Public Mischiefs arising from the great load of public and private business with which the House of Commons is overwhelmed. 1830. – Political Hints. On the new Plan of Reform, &c. 1831. – Five other pamphlets on Parliamentary Reform. – Thoughts on the Times. 1831. – Plan for preventing the fatal Political Revolution with which we are now threatened. 1833. – Two pamphlets on the Tithe Question. 1834, 1835. – thoughts on the Propriety of Dissolving Parliament. 1834. – On the Means of rendering Great Britain unconquerable. 1834. – Three pamphlets on the repeal of the Malt Tax. 1834, 1835. – Plan for enabling Government to reduce Taxes. 1834. – On the Means of Saving the Nation from Impending Calamities. – Hints on the dangerous tendency of what is called the Free Trade System. – Hints explanatory of the Nature and Objects of a Proposed Code of Political Economy. – Hints regarding the proposed Reduction in our Peace Establishments. – Whigs and Tories.

AGRICULTURAL. – Report of the Committee of the Highland Society of Scotland on the subject of Shetland Wool. 1787, 8vo. – Address to the Society for the Improvement of British Wool, constituted at Edinburgh, 1791. London, 8vo, 2 editions. – Plan for Establishing a Board of Agriculture and Internal Improvement. 1792. – Description of the Cheviot Breed of Sheep. 1792. – Speech in Parliament on proposing the establishment of a Board of Agriculture. 1792. – Address to the Board of Agriculture, on the first day of its being assembled, 1792. Five subsequent addresses to the same Board, 1794, 1795, 1796, 1797. – Alarm to Landholders. 1798. – Proposals for establishing a Tontine Society for ascertaining the Principles of Agricultural Improvement. 1799. – Hints regarding the Advantages of a Corporation with a large capital, devoted to Agricultural Improvement. 1800. – Proposals for establishing by Subscription a new Institution to be called The Plough, or Joint Stock Farming Society. 1800. – A Note of various measures calculated for the improvement of the County of Caithness, 1801. Ditto, 1802. Ditto, 1803. – Observations on the Means of enabling a Cottager to keep a Cow. 1801. – On the Culture of Potatoes. 1801. – On the subject of the Culture and Use of the Potato he subsequently published nine other pamphlets. – Account of the Corn Stands at Woburn Abbey. 1802. – Hints as to the Advantages of Old Pastures, and on the Conversion of Grass Lands into Tillage. 1802. – Hints submitted to the consideration of the Select Committee on the Survey of the Coasts and Central Highlands of Scotland. 1803. – Account of the Moss Improvements of John Wilkinson, Esq. of Castlehead, Lancashire. 1806. – Introductory Observations, pointing out some additional measures submitted to the Board of Agriculture. 1807. – Enquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Blight, the Ruse, and the Mildew. 1809, 8vo. – An Account of James Small, and of his Improvements in the Construction of Agricultural Implements. 1811. – Address to the Dalkeith Monthly Farming Club, Dec. 26, 1811. – Hints regarding the Means of enabling Great Britain to provide her people with food from her domestic resources. 1812. – An Account of the Systems of Husbandry adopted in the more Improved Districts of Scotland. 1812, 8vo. – On more Economical Modes of Feeding Horses. 1812. – An Account of the Improvements carried on by Sir John Sinclair on his estates in Scotland. 1812. – Hints submitted to the Board of Agriculture. 1812. – Political Maxims regarding the importance of Agriculture, and its means of Improvement. 1812. Ditto, 1813. – Some particulars regarding the origin and progress of a work entitled ‘An Account of the Husbandry of Scotland.’ 1813. – Address to the Board of Agriculture. 1813. – Hints on the Agricultural Advantages to be derived from our East Indian Possessions. 1814. – Account of some Experiments to promote the Improvement of Fruit Trees. With Engravings. 1815. – Hints on the Agricultural State of the Netherlands. 1816. – Thoughts on the Agricultural Question. 1819. – Plan for establishing a Company for the Cultivation of the Waste Lands of the Kingdom. 1819. – Remarks on the Merchant’s Petition, and on the depression of Agriculture. 1820. == Hints as to the most advantageous mode of managing the Merino Breed of Sheep in Caithness. 1821. – Hints on Agricultural distress. 1821. Ditto, 1822. – Address to the Owners and Occupiers of Land. 1822. – Important Information respecting the Agricultural Question. 1822. – Answer to a Tract by David Ricardo, Esq., M.P., on Protection to Agriculture. 1822. – Twelve other pamphlets were published by him at various times, on the Landed and Farming Interests, and on Agricultural Distress. – ON the Ability of the United Kingdom, with the aid of its Colonies, to supply itself with grain. 1826. – On the use of Barley or Big as food for Horses. 1826. – On the importance of Oil as a Manure. 1826. Two numbers. – On various modes of feeding Horses. 1827. – On the advantages derived from the establishment of a Board of Agriculture. 1827. – On Crimson Clover. 1827. – On Potato Powder, or Farina. 1828. – On Potato Meal. 1828. – On the Means of preventing the Ravages of slugs, Grubs, the Wireworm, and the Wheat Fly (or Tipula Tritici) on our Crops of Wheat. 1829. – On the Means of Improving the Condition of the Industrious Labourers in Husbandry. 1831. – Lecture on the Science of Agriculture. 1831. – On the Advantages derived by Cottagers from the possession of a Garden. 1821. – On the Culture of White Peas. 1833. – Address to the Friends of Agricultural Improvement in the county of Caithness. 1833. – On Shell Marle as a Manure for Turnips. 1833. – Account of the origin of Cattle Shows and other Agricultural Meetings. 1833. – On Spade Husbandry. 1834. – Hints on Vegetation. 1834. – Letter to the Chairman of the Lothian Tenantry. 1835. – Hints regarding Cattle. – On Drilling Culmiferous or Corn Crops. – On the Management of an Extensive Property. – Plan of an Agricultural Festival. – On the Establishment of an Experimental Farm in the immediate neighbourhood of London. – Address to the Inverness-shire Farming Society. – Anecdote illustrating the hazards attending speculations in Farming. – On the Cape of Good Hope Wheat. – Protecting Averages indispensable for the safety of the British Farmer. – On the superior Importance of Agriculture. – Information regarding the Carlisle and Keswick Apples. – Hints regarding a Spanish grain called Escanda.

The following works were suggested by Sir John Sinclair, and printed under his direction: Original County Agricultural Reports. 10 vols. 4to. – Reprinted County Agricultural Reports of England, Scotland, Wales, and the Isle of Man. 70 vols. 8vo. – General Report of the Agricultural State and Political circumstances of Scotland. 5 vols. 1814, 8vo.

FINANCIAL. – Hints addressed to the Public, on the State of our Finances. London, 1783, 8vo. 3 editions. – Memoir, containing a Plan for Re-establishing Public Credit. 1783. – Letters to the Directors and Governors of the Bank of England, on the Pecuniary Distresses of the Country. 1797, 8vo. – Proposals for a Tontine on a new principle, by the establishment of Age Annuities, increasing by Survivorship. 1803. – Cursory Hints regarding Paper Currency. 1810. – Observations on the Report of the Bullion Committee. Lond. 1810, 8vo. – Remarks on a Pamphlet concerning the Depreciation of Currency, by William Huskisson, Esq. 1810, 8vo. – Speech on the Report of the Bullion Committee on May 15, 1811. – Letter to the Proprietors of the Public Funds in general, and of Bank Stock in particular. 1814. – On Circulation and Coin. 1816. – Plan to promote the establishment of Country Banks. 1817. – On the approaching Crisis, or the Impracticability and Injustice of resuming Cash Payments at the Bank. 1818. – Two other pamphlets on the subject of the Resumption of Cash Payments were published by him. 1818, 1819. – Thoughts on Paper Circulation. 1819. – The Creed of Improved Circulation. 1820. – Hints on reducing the National Debt. 1820. – Political Maxims on the subject of Circulation or the Currency. 1820. – On the subject of Circulation or the Currency he subsequently published, at various times, no fewer than 25 pamphlets, besides those mentioned. – Correspondence respecting the Financial state of the Country. 18120. – Hints as to a Metallic Currency and a Free Trade. 1823. – Proofs of the numerous Advantages derived from the Bank Restriction. 1823. Another pamphlet on the same subject. 1827. – Plan for establishing “A fixed and permanent Fund” for promoting the Improvement of Scotland. 1823. – On the Means of relieving the pecuniary embarrassments of the Country. 1826. – On the Paper Circulation of Scotland. 1826. – On the Bank Monopoly. 1826. – Letter to Sir Henry Parneil, Bart., M.P., Chairman of the Financial Committee. 1828. – On the Nature of Exchange. 1829. – Proofs of the Assertion that when the Price of the Precious Metals is higher in England than in Foreign Countries, it operates through the medium of the Exchange; 1st, As a Bounty on the Exportation of British Commodities; and, 2d, As a Tax on the Importation of Foreign Commodities. 1829. – Plan for enabling Government to reduce Four Millions of Taxes. 1830. – A Brief Statement of the Advantages derivable by converting the Dead Weight to the amount of from Four to Five Millions sterling, from Temporary into Perpetual Annuities. 1834. – On the Propriety of making Silver, jointly with Gold, a Legal Tender. – Hints on the Importance of Wealth. – On the Nature of Cash Accounts, as granted by the Banks of Scotland. – Account of the Scotch Banks issuing Notes which have suspended their payments in the course of the last fifty years. – Plan of an Institution for the purchase and sale of Temporary Reversionary Interests in the Public Funds.

WORKS ON HEALTH AND LONGEVITY. – Hints on Longevity. 1803, 4to. – Result of Inquiries regarding Athletic Exercises. 1807. – Plan of a Society for ascertaining the Means of preserving Health. 1808. Ditto, 1816. – Hints to the Officers of Regiments ordered on service in the West Indies, on the Means of preserving their Health. 1823. – Hints to Persons afflicted with Paralytic or Apoplectic Disorders. 1823. – On the Cure and Prevention of Cholera, Fever, &c., by means of Cold Bathing. 1826. – Hints on the Preservation of Health in Hot Climates. 1826. – Proofs of the advantages derived from the publication of the Code of Health. 1827. – Address to the Hygeian Society. 1827. – Account of a singular Mode of Preventing Coughs and Sore Throats, by diminishing the length of the Uvula. 1828. – Hints on the Preservation of Health. 1828. – Rational Mode of Employing Time for Invalids, or Persons advanced in years. 1829. – On Ruptures. 1829. – Medical Hints. 1831. – ditto, On Fever, Sore Throat, Lumbago, and Weakness of the Joints. 1832. – On Preventing the Extension of the cholera. 1832. – On the Means of Preserving Health, and attaining Longevity. 1833. – On the Means of Preventing the Mischievous Effects of the Roman Malaria. 1833. – On a valuable Means of applying Friction and Heat in Chronic Inflammation and Swelling of he Eyelids. 1835. – On Ventilation, with a diagram.

NAVAL AND MILITARY. – Thoughts on the Naval Strength of the British Empire. Part I. London, 1782, 8vo. Part II, 1783, 8vo. – Considerations on Militias and Standing Armies. 1782. – Hints respecting the State of the Camp at Aberdeen, and on Encampments in general. 17195. – Address to Farmers, with a Plan for a more speedy conveyance of his Majesty’s forces. 1797. – Observations regarding the Remuneration applied for by the Fencible Regiments. 1793. – Cursory Observations on the Military System of Great Britain. 1798. – Account of the Rothesay and Caithness Fencibles. 1800. – Hints regarding the absolute necessity of greater energy in conducting our Military operations. 1809. – On Percussion. 1830. – Hints regarding the Clothing of the British Army.

MISCELLANEOUS. – Thoughts on Peace. 1795. – Plan of an agreement among the Powers of Europe and the United States of America for rewarding Discoveries for the Benefit of Society. 1796. – Letter to the Planters, Merchants, and others interested in our West India Islands, 1814. – Hints regarding the use of Coffee. 1814. – Letter to the Committee of Merchants interested in the Warehousing or bonding System. 1814. – Address to the Mercantile interest. 1814. – On the Peace Establishment. 1814. – Four Letters on the Distresses of the Times. 1816. – Exhortation to the Operative Weavers in Glasgow, Paisley, &c. 1819. – On the Uses of Chamomile Tea. 1821. – Speech on receiving a Silver Cup from J.W. Coke, Esq. of Norfolk, 1821. – Hints as to a motion Sir John Sinclair proposes to make in the General Assembly. 1822. – Sketch of a Report from the General Committee appointed by the associated Counties in Scotland. 1823. – On the means of giving public Relief to the Distressed Manufacturers. 1826. – Address to Manufacturers on their Depressed State. 1827. – On the Proposed Alterations in the Entail Laws of Scotland. Letter to the Conveners of Counties. 1828. – Hints on the characteristical Qualities of the Irish Nation. 1828. – Brief Statement on Improving our Settlements at the Cape of Good Hope and at the Mauritius. 1829. – Letter to the East India Company, on the Introduction of the Bitter Cassana. 1829. – Plan for Promoting the Improvement and Prosperity of our West India Colonies. 1829. – Plan for publishing Digests or Codes of four of the most Interesting Branches of human Knowledge. 1. Agriculture. 2. Health. 3. Political Economy. And 4. Religion. 1830. – Letter to the Chairman of the West India Committee, on the Dangers of Immediate Emancipation. 1830. – Final Appeal on the West India Question. 1831. – Hints on the Advantages of Flax Husbandry and the Linen Manufacture, as practiced in Flanders. 1832. – Hints for the Consideration of the Committee on the Silk Trade. 1832. – Letter to Lord Viscount St. Vincent, on the West Indian Question. 1833. – Hints on the means of Improving the Laws regarding Church Patronage in Scotland. 1834. – On a Plan by which the British Settlements in the East and West Indies might be essentially benefited. – Hints regarding the Policy of establishing a Colony on a great scale at the Cape of Good Hope. – On the formation of a Company for the erection of a Breakwater in Portland Roads. – On the Herring Fishing at Gottenburgh.

PRINTED FOR PRIVATE CIRCULATION. – Public Hints to the Independent Senators of Great Britain, in 4 Parts. 1782. – Historical Essay on Addison. 1783. – General Observations regarding the state of Denmark, Sweden, and Russia. 3 Pamphlets, 4to. Drawn up by desire of George III. Printed but not published. 1787.

From the great number of his publications, on all subjects of public interest, it may readily be conceived that Sir John Sinclair’s pen was never idle. He was characterized indeed, during his life, as the most indefatigable man in Europe. It is recorded of him that, so early as his 16th year, he was accustomed to detail many plans of projected improvements on his estates, which included a sixth part of the county of Caithness. Being frequently met by the old proprietors with the half jocular inquiry if he could carry a road over the “impracticable hill of Ben-Chielt,” he determined to attempt it. He examined the mountain in person; marked out a road with great engineering skill; appointed 1,260 labourers to meet him early one morning; set them simultaneously to work; and before night a sheep track, six miles in length, which had been hardly passable for travelers, was rendered perfectly easy for carriages. His fourth daughter, Miss Catherine Sinclair, at 14 years of age was regularly installed as his secretary, and often wrote, from his dictation, five or six hours daily for many years. Sir John Sinclair was one of the most conspicuous and most honoured men of his age. He was the confidential friend of Pitt, Perceval, Lord Dundas, and the leading statesmen of his time, and had frequent intercourse and correspondence with George III.

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