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Kay's Originals Vol. 2


64 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. out on a short tour to France during the Christmas recess. He travelled for some distance with Montgolfier, the inventor of balloons, and on his arrival in Paris was kindly received by Necker, then Prime Minister. “ 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 the celebrated De Stael, playing Lochber 710 more on the piano.” On his return to Britain, Mr. Sinclair communicated hints to Government respecting several improvements with which he had become acquainted in France ; and the title of Baronet was conferred on him (4th February 1786) as a reward for his public services. In 1786, Sir ,John proceeded on a more extended tour, in the course of which he visited Denmark, Sweden, Russia, and Poland ; from Warsaw he proceeded to Vienna- from thence to Berlin, Hanover, Holland, Flanders, and returned to England by France, having, in the short space of seven months, performed a journey of more than 7500 English miles. During his progress he was introduced to nearly all the courts of the various countries-was everywhere received with the utmost kindness and attention, and established a correspondence with many of the most eminent and remarkable men on the Continent. In Sweden, Denmark, and Russia, he met with several countrymen, particularly at Stockholm, where he found many of the nobles descendants of Scotsmen who had fought under Gustavus during the Thirty Years’ War. Not long after his return, Sir John again entered into the married relation, by espousing, on the 6th March 1788, the Honourable Diana, only daughter of Alexander first Lord Rlacdonald. The ceremony was performed in London, where the parties resided for a short time ; but they eventually settled in Edinburgh, taking up house in the Canongate.’ During his residence there, each day, with the exception of an hour or two, was laboriously devoted to study or business. His exercise usually consisted in a walk to Leith, between the hours of two and four; and it was one of his favourite sayings that “whoever touched the post at the extremity of the pier, took an enfeoffment of life for seven years.” To Caithness he performed regular journeys, generally diverging from the direct route to extend his agricultural acquaintance. On resuming an interest in Parliamentary affairs, he became gradually estranged from the support of the administration of Pitt, conscientiously differing with the Premier on many important points. The abandonment of Warren Hastings by the minister he considered an unworthy sacrifice to popular feeling -and on the “Regency Question” he was decidedly opposed to the ministerial propositions. Thus disaffected he naturally fell in with the “ Armed Neutrality,” a party so called from their profession of independence, of whom the Earl of Rloira was considered the head. Sir John now entered on a series of projects of great importance to the He afterwards removed to Charlotte Square, and latterly to George Street.
Volume 9 Page 86
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