Sinclair's Statistical Account of Scotland

Scope and Content

Incomplete copy of 'Statistical Account of Scotland', vol. 2, part 2. Interleaved copy with manuscript addenda by Robert Riddell of Glenriddell.

Administrative / Biographical History

John Sinclair was born on 10 May 1754 at Thurso Castle in Caithness, Scotland. He was educated in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Oxford. He read law but had no intention of practising. At the age of sixteen he inherited, by his father's death, extensive estates in Caithness. In 1780 Sinclair became a Member of Parliament for Caithness. In 1785 his first wife died and he abandoned public life for a time and started on a foreign tour. In 1786 he received a baronetcy from Pitt. He started to devote much energy to the collection of statistics and became one of the earliest statisticians. In 1790 he designed a 'Statistical Account of Scotland', asking all the parish ministers of Scotland for information on the natural history, population and productions of their parishes. The results were published at various periods during the next ten years. Sinclair also devoted a lot of time to improvement of his estates in Caithness. He persuaded Pitt to establish a Board of Agriculture and in 1793 he was appointed President of it. He attempted an account of England by parishes but this was abandoned mainly due to opposition. Sinclair died on 21 December 1835.

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