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The Statistical Accounts for Scotland - 1791-1795 and 1845
The above are now available on-line at
http://edina.ac.uk/cgi/StatAcc/StatAcc.cgi at The University of Edinburgh,
and provide a remarkable insight into the way our forbearers lived.
The first accounts and term "Statistics" was introduced in English by our
Lord Thurso's ancestor, Sir John Sinclair (see
http://www.geo.ed.ac.uk/scotgaz/people/famousfirst978.html ) . The
following is an extract from the introduction:
"Many people today think of statistics as just figures and tables. In
Scotland in the 1790s, 'statistics' was a fairly new word. Sir John
Sinclair, Member of Parliament for Caithness at Westminster, had heard it
from the Germans who used it to refer to a collection of facts about the
political strength of a country. The new word was very close to the word
'state'. Sir John took the notion much further. He wanted a collection of
information about the economic and social activities and the natural
resources of Scotland."
It is quite fitting that this should appear as his descendant, also John,
takes his seat for Caithness Sutherland and Easter Ross. The Sinclairs of
Ulbster have quite an account all to themselves.
The detail is fascinating, for example at
there is a reference to the engagement in 1746, just before the Battle of
Culloden, in which the Earl of Cromartie's Regiment were defeated at
Dunrobin, which I referred to in a posting to the list in April this year,
in connection with the capture there of the two Sinclairs from Dunbeath.
This is also a credit to my old university, which on this occasion is
sharing the work with the University of Glasgow.
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