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

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

SINCLAIR, Sir Robert, Lord Stevenson (1640?–1713), Scottish judge, born about 1640, was second son of John Sinclair the younger of Stevenson, Haddingtonshire, and Isabel, daughter of Robert, sixth lord Boyd. His elder brother John succeeded his grandfather, Sir John Sinclair, as second baronet of Stevenson, and, as John died without issue, Robert became third baronet on 5 July 1652. Robert obtained a confirming charter of the barony of Stevenson on 4 June 1663, and a charter of the lands of Carfrae, Haddingtonshire, on 28 June 1670. He was one of the counsel for the defence at the trial of the Marquis of Argyll in 1661; and in 1670 he was dean of faculty, and expected to succeed Nisbet of Dirleton as lord-advocate, though in this hope he was disappointed. According to Lauder of Fountainhall, Sir Robert was charged before the privy council on 29 July 1680 with having resisted an order to levy 5,500 men for the militia, and was rebuked. He supported the Orange party at the Revolution of 1688, and in November of the following year he was appointed a lord of session, with the title of Lord Stevenson, and also sheriff of Haddington. He represented Haddington constabulary in the convention of 1689 and in the parliament of 1689–1702. In May 1690 he was made a privy councillor and nominated a baron of exchequer. Through his ‘uncommon modesty,’ he never took his seat on the bench of the court of session, and finally resigned the office on 29 Dec. 1693. He was nominated a privy councillor to Queen Anne in 1703. He died in July 1713. Sir Robert was married twice: first, to Helen, daughter of John Lindsay, fourteenth earl of Crawford, on 10 Sept. 1663; and, secondly, to Anne, daughter of Sir William Scott of Ardross, and widow of Sir Daniel Carmichael. By his first wife he had six sons and three daughters. By his second wife he had no issue. Sir Robert's daughter Margaret married Robert Dundas, second lord Arniston [q. v.], and was mother and grandmother to the two successive lord presidents of the court of session who bore that title [see Dundas, Robert, (d. 1783), and Dundas, Robert, (d. 1787)]. Sir Robert Charles Sinclair, now (1897) ninth baronet of Stevenson and Murkle, is Sir Robert's lineal descendant.

[Douglas's Baronage, p. 89; Brunton and Haig's Senators of the College of Justice, p. 441; Fountainhall's Decisions, i. 111; Omond's Lord-Advocates of Scotland, i. 195, 196, 201, 209; Foster's Members of Parl. for Scotland, p. 317.]

A. H. M.