SINCLAIR, Sir John, first baronet (1754–1835), agricultural improver, politician, and codifier of ‘useful knowledge’. Autograph letter signed to Mr McLeod of the [Glasgow] Courier, 5 sides plus address panel on integral blank, 8vo, 133 George St. Edinburgh 24th February 1827, speculating on the removal of Lord Liverpool "There is a chance, by the removal of Lord Liverpool, of our returning to the ancient policy of this country; for his private character gave him great influence in bringing about the mischievous public projects which he recommended", and appending a list of four queries for McLeod on trade with America. Glued rear edge indicating removal from an album, and base of letter nibbled affecting a few words of text.
Sinclair developed his enthusiasm for “useful knowledge” after travelling abroad in 1785, and in 1790 launched the idea of a survey of the state of Scotland, which was to materialise as the twenty-one volume Statistical Account of Scotland. In 1793 Pitt supported him in the formation of a Board of Agriculture, through which Sinclair gave birth to an important series of county agricultural reports for Britain. He stepped down from politics in 1811 in the face of bankruptcy, but secured his Caithness parliamentary seat for his son.
On 17 February 1827 the Prime Minister Lord Liverpool suffered a stroke, and in April the King appointed George Canning to replace him (although Canning died in August the same year).