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Kay's Originals Vol. 2


Volume 9 Page 82
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B I 0 GR A P H I CA L SI< ET CHES. 61 No. CXCIII. SIR JOHN SINCLAIR, BART. OF ULBSTER. THE title of the Print, “ The Scottish Patriot,” was never more appropriately applied khan in reference to the character of the late SIR JOHNSI NCLAIR. Whether in B public or private capacity, no man laboured with greater zeal, or more disinterestedly, to promote the interests of his country. His father, George Sinclair, Esq. of Ulbster, married Lady Janet Sutherland, daughter of William Lord Strathnaver, and by her had twelve children, five of whom survived him.’ The early education of the subject of our sketch was for some time conducted by Logan, the poet and divine. At the age of thirteen he entered the University of Edinburgh, where he studied with much success for four years. He then removed to Glasgow, attended the lectures of Professor Millar, and afterwards returned to Edinburgh to complete his studies for the Scottish bar. By the death of his father, in 1770, Mr. Sinclair succeeded to the family property at an early age. On the close of the winter classes, he invariably returned to Caithness during summer, and even at that juvenile period gave evidence of the extraordinary spirit of improvement for which he was so remarkably distinguished in after life, The whole of Caithness, and in fact all the northern counties, were then in a waste and unproductive condition. His estate, although amounting to upwards of 60,000 acres, only yielded the comparatively small rental of 22300, and was burdened to nearly half of the amount. A remarkable instance of enterprise was exhibited in the young laird by the formation of a road over the hill of Ben Cheilt, which it was believed the whole ‘‘ statute labour ” of the country would be incapable of effecting, He was then only in his eighteenth year. Having previously surveyed the ground, and marked out the intended line, he appointed a day of meeting, when upwards of twelve hundred farmers and labourers assembled-and, being plentifully supplied with tools and provisions, “ a road, which had been hardly passable for horses in the morning, became practicable for carriages before night.” With the view of facilitating his proamss in public life, Mr. Sinclair entered at Lincoln’s Inn in 1774, and matriculated at Trinity College, Oxford, the following year. About this time he made a short tour to the Continent, accom- These were the late Sir John, his younger brother James, who entered the army, and three daughters. Helen was married to Colonel Alexander Campbell of Barcaldine; Mary, to James Hume Rig, Esq. of Morton ; and Janet, to the Hon. Lord Polkemmet, one of the Senators of the College of Justice. Mr. Sinclair was born at Thurso in 1754.
Volume 9 Page 83
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