Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 52.djvu/311

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Sinclair, with two hundred men, into Ross, Caithness, and Sutherland to obtain recruits (ib. ii. 6). On 28 April he also convened at Aberdeen a meeting of the barons and gentry within the sheriffdom of Aberdeen, at which commissioners were appointed through all the parishes to obtain names ‘of fencible men between sixty and sixteen’ (ib. ii. 22). Being elected a member of the committee of estates in 1641, he frequently made journeys to Edinburgh to give special information and to consult as to methods and means. Notwithstanding the disbandment of the armies of the king and of General Leslie in August 1641, he kept his men in Aberdeen under arms until 9 Feb. 1642 (ib. ii. 101). He was also a member of the committee of estates in 1644 and 1645. On 22 Jan. 1646 he was examined in parliament and exonerated of the charge against him for ‘trincatting’ at Hereford with the enemy (Balfour, Annals, iii. 365).

In 1650 Sinclair was included in the act ‘excluding diverse persons from entering within the kingdom, from beyond the seas, with his majesty, until they give satisfaction to the church’ (ib. iv. 14; Nichol, Diary, p. 14). In the Halls frigate, taken on 30 May by the Marquis of Argyll, was also found a letter by Sinclair to Montrose, dated Amsterdam, 30 Feb. 1650, in which he promised to prosecute with all earnestness the ends proposed by Montrose to place the king on the throne, as he was convinced that the Scots treaty with the king was but a trap to catch him (Balfour, iv. 33). The house, after hearing the letter read, ordered it to be marked and produced in parliament ‘as a proof for drawing up a process of forfaultrie against him’ (ib.) On 4 June 1650 he was included in the ‘act of classes’ and debarred from entering the kingdom or having access to the king's person without express warrant of the estates of parliament (ib. iv. 42). Sinclair accompanied the king to England, and, being taken prisoner at Worcester, was on 15 Sept. ordered to be committed to the Tower for being of the party of Charles Stuart, a declared traitor (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1651, p. 432). He was excepted from Cromwell's act of grace in 1654, and, with various occasional enlargements on account of his health, remained a prisoner, first in the Tower and afterwards at Windsor Castle (ib. passim), until set free by the Restoration parliament of 1660. In the account of forfeited estates in 1655 the yearly value of his estate is given as 906l. 17s. 4d., and his debts as 1660l. 10s. 6d. In 1661 he was chosen a member of the privy council of Scotland. He died in 1676. By Lady Margaret Wemyss, eldest daughter of John, first earl of Wemyss, he had an only daughter Catherine (d. 1666), who married John St. Clair the younger of Herdmanston, Haddingtonshire; and their elder son, Henry, succeeded his grandfather as eighth Lord Sinclair, and was father of John Sinclair (1683–1750) [q. v.] and General James Sinclair [q. v.]

[Spalding's Memorialls of the Trubles, in the Spalding Club; Nicol's Diary and Baillie's Letters and Journals, in the Bannatyne Club; Balfour's Annals; Cal. State Papers, Dom., during the Cromwellian period; Douglas's Scottish Peerage (Wood), ii. 499–500.]

T. F. H.


SINCLAIR, JOHN (1683–1750), Master of Sinclair, Jacobite, eldest son of Henry, eighth lord Sinclair (new creation by letters patent of Charles II, 2 June 1677, with the former precedency), by his wife Grizel, daughter of James Cockburn of Cockburn, was born on 5 Dec. 1683. John Sinclair, seventh lord Sinclair [q. v.], was his great-grandfather, and James Sinclair (d. 1762) was his younger brother. Entering the army at an early age, John held a command in Preston's regiment, under the Duke of Marlborough. Having been taunted by Ensign Shaw of the same regiment with having stooped down during the time of action at the battle of Wynendaal, he and Shaw fought with swords in February 1707–8, when Sinclair's sword was broken and Shaw's bent, but Shaw himself was mortally wounded. Thereupon a brother of Shaw, Captain Shaw of the royals, asserted that Sinclair had previously protected his breast with paper. Resenting such a reflection on his courage and honour, Sinclair encountered Shaw at the head of his regiment, and, failing to obtain a denial or apology, shot him dead. It was found that Shaw's hand had been laid on his pistol while Sinclair shot him, and it may have been that Sinclair fired either in self-defence or after due warning. But on his being tried by court-martial in the camp on 17 Oct. 1708, the act was declared to be a breach of the tenth article of war, and he was sentenced to death (Proceedings of the Court Martial held on John, Master of Sinclair, in the Roxburghe Club, 1828). Through the Duke of Marlborough the case was recommended to the consideration of the queen's privy council, who pronounced the act to be wilful murder; but before the sentence could be carried out Sinclair escaped from the camp to the Prussian dominions, and he remained abroad until he received a pardon in 1712.

In 1708 the master of Sinclair was chosen member of parliament for the county of Fife; but, even if the election had not been declared void by reason of his being the eldest son of a peer, it would not less have been rendered