Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Sinclair, Andrew

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

SINCLAIR, ANDREW (d. 1861), surgeon and naturalist, a native of Paisley, entered the navy as an assistant surgeon about 1824, became a surgeon in 1829, and in 1834 was attached to H.M.S. Sulphur on a surveying expedition to the South American coast, under the command of Captain Frederick William Beechey [q. v.], and afterwards of Sir Edward Belcher [q. v.] Sinclair then first took to natural history, collecting plants in 1837 and 1838 in Mexico and Central America. In 1842 he was appointed surgeon to a convict ship, and had opportunities of collecting at several Australian ports. He spent some weeks in New Zealand with Dr. (now Sir Joseph) Hooker, then naturalist to the antarctic expedition, and in 1843 accompanied Captain Robert (afterwards Admiral) Fitzroy [q. v.] as private secretary, when Fitzroy became governor of New Zealand. On 6 Jan. 1844 Sinclair was made colonial secretary in New Zealand, and served as such under Captain (afterwards Sir George) Grey (1848–1855) and Colonel Gore Brown. On the establishment of parliamentary government in May 1856 he retired on a pension, but returned to New Zealand in 1859 to collect in the Middle and South Islands material for a supplement to Hooker's ‘Flora.’ He made arrangements with Sir John Francis Julius von Haast [q. v.] to explore Mount Cook, but was drowned on 26 March 1861 in endeavouring to cross on foot the river Rangitata when it was swollen by flood. Sinclair was unmarried. His zoological specimens, chiefly sponges and zoophytes, were mostly presented to the British Museum, and his plants to Sir W. J. Hooker, who commemorated him in the tropical American genus of Compositæ, Sinclairia, now merged in Liabum. His plants were mainly described in Hooker and Arnott's ‘Botany of Beechey's Voyage’ and Bentham's ‘Botany of the Voyage of the Sulphur.’ Sinclair became a fellow of the Linnean Society in 1857.

He contributed ‘Remarks on Physalia pelagica’ to the ‘Tasmanian Journal of Natural Science,’ vol. i. (1842), and a letter ‘On the Vegetation of Auckland’ to Hooker's ‘Journal of Botany,’ vol. iii. 1851.

[Gardener's Chronicle, 1861, p. 773; Proceedings of the Linnean Society, 1861–2, p. xcv; Mennell's Australasian Biography.]

G. S. B.