Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Lind, John
LIND, JOHN (1737–1781), political writer, born on 13 Aug. 1737, was the only son of the Rev. Charles Lind, D.D. (vicar of West Mersea 1738–48, rector of Wivenhoe 1750–1771, and rector of Paglesham 1752–71, all in Essex), who married a Miss Porter of Winchester, and died 6 March 1771, leaving his livings sequestrated and two penniless daughters. John matriculated on 22 May 1753 at Balliol College, Oxford, whence he graduated B.A. 1757, M.A. 1761. About 1758 he took deacon's orders in the English church, and a few years later accompanied John Murray on his embassy to Constantinople in the capacity of chaplain, but ‘being too agreeable to his Excellency's mistress’ was dismissed from his post. Lind then repaired to Warsaw, where he dropped his clerical title and became tutor to Prince Stanislaus Poniatowski. He was soon noticed by King Stanislaus, who elevated him to be governor of an institution for educating four hundred cadets, and dignified him with the title of privy councillor. In 1773 he returned to England with a pension from the king, and added to his income by reading to Prince Czartoriski, the king's uncle; but his resources were crippled by the payment of his father's debts with interest, and by the poverty of his sisters, Mary and Lætitia, who were endeavouring to keep themselves by means of a boarding-school for girls at Colchester. He was well received by Lord North, then prime minister, and was a familiar figure at the card-parties of Mrs. North, wife of the bishop of Winchester. The king of Poland had given him letters of introduction to Lord Mansfield, by whom he was employed to advocate his political views, and through whose management he was admitted at Lincoln's Inn 23 June 1773, and called to the bar in 1776. Among his most intimate friends was Jeremy Bentham, who gave the bride away on Lind's marriage at St. Andrew's, Holborn. It was his desire to enter parliament, and he is said to have aspired to the position of chairman of ways and means, but these hopes were not realised. After some years, mainly spent in pamphleteering he died in Lamb's Conduit Street, London, on 12 Jan. 1781, and was buried in Long Ditton churchyard, in Surrey, where a white marble scroll, with a pedantic inscription by Sir Herbert Croft (1751–1816) [q. v.], was placed to his memory on the outside of the north wall of the church. His pension was continued to his widow, and paid regularly until 1794, when ‘difficulties and delays’ were interposed, but were surmounted by the energy of Bentham, who entered into correspondence with the czar of Russia on the subject. Lind had brought to England a natural daughter, and at his death she and his two sisters were left destitute. Croft thereupon solicited a subscription for them and for the widow, who even before she knew of the continuance of her pension refused to accept it. Elizabeth, another of his sisters, married Captain William Borthwick, of the artillery, and died 2 May 1764, aged 29 (Wright, Essex, i. 399).
Lind's style of writing was much praised by Lord Grenville, Bishop Lowth, and Parr, but through ‘a want of accuracy’ did not satisfy Bentham. His first and most famous publication was ‘Letters concerning the Present State of Poland’ (anon.), 1773, 2nd ed. 1773, in which he painted in strong colours the iniquity of the partition of that country. His other works were: 2. ‘Remarks on the Principal Acts of the Thirteenth Parliament of Great Britain,’ vol. i. containing remarks on the acts relating to the colonies, with a plan of reconciliation, 1775. Dr. Parr lauded this volume as ‘the ablest book I ever read in defence of the American war. I knew and respected the writer.’ Bentham claims the authorship of ‘the design to Lind's book on the Colonies,’ and adds that through its success Lind was ordered ‘to draw up a declaration against the revolted colonies.’ This was probably 3. ‘An Answer to the Declaration of the American Congress’ (anon), 1776. For these works in justification of the American war a pension of 50l. a year is said to have been conferred on each of his sisters. 4. ‘Three Letters to Dr. Price, containing Remarks on his Observations on the Nature of Civil Liberty, by a Member of Lincoln's Inn,’ 1776. 5. ‘Defence of Lord Pigot’ (anon.), 1777. For this defence Lind is said to have been paid 500l. or 1,000l. 6. ‘A Letter to the Rt. Hon. Willoughby Bertie, by descent Earl of Abingdon, in which his candid and liberal treatment of the new Earl of Mansfield is fully vindicated’ (anon.), 1778. A very satirical reply to Lord Abingdon's attack on Lord Mansfield.
Two papers on ancient monuments and fortifications in Scotland were communicated to the ‘Archæologia’ (v. 241–66, vi. 87–99) through Lind, and his defence of Bentham's ‘Fragment on Government’ appeared in the ‘Morning Chronicle,’ 26 July 1776, and was reproduced in Bentham's ‘Works,’ i. 258–9. A ‘sophistic’ reply from Sir James Wright on Lord Bute's action and opinions is said by Horace Walpole to have been written by him. Lind, already an F.S.A., was elected F.R.S. in 1773.