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TITLE
Sir John Sinclair's 'Account of Improvements'
EXTERNAL ID
AB_LL_SIR_JOHN_SINCLAIR_02
PLACENAME
Ulbster
DISTRICT
Eastern Caithness
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
CAITHNESS: Wick
DATE OF RECORDING
2008
PERIOD
2000s
CREATOR
Sir John Sinclair of Ulbster
SOURCE
Am Baile
ASSET ID
1445
KEYWORDS
audio
literary landscapes

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This audio extract is from Sir John Sinclair of Ulbster's 'Account of Improvements', read here by James Miller. (In 1812, the Board of Agriculture (London) published a 'General view of the agriculture of the County of Caithness', together with maps and an appendix relating to Sir John Sinclair of Ulbster entitled 'An Account of The Improvements carried on by Sir John Sinclair, Bart., on his Estates in Scotland'. The estates in question covered the parishes of Thurso, Halkirk, Reay, Wick and Latheron.)

'Hints to Farmers. It is certainly necessary to contrive the means of cultivating the ground, at as cheap a rate as possible, more especially as the wages of servants are becoming higher every day; ploughing, therefore, with a light plough, and with two horses, (still better if with two oxen) without a driver, is most earnestly recommended.

Every tenant ought to have the complete and exclusive possession of his own farm. Inclosing, therefore, and winter herding, are absolutely necessary.

No tenant ought to take a farm without a sufficient capital. Prepare that capital before hand, and place no dependence upon credit.

No farmer ought to take more land than he can stock and manage, and indeed ought to have some ready money on hand, for bad times. Better to cultivate 50 acres well, than 100 in a slovenly manner.

No farmer should begin without a knowlegde of his profession. It requires an apprenticeship of several years to learn the most common trade, and, as farming is a complicated business, a previous knowledge of that art is indispensably necessary.

Endeavour to raise good grain, for it will always sell, even in years of plenty; whereas it is only in dear and scarce seasons, that there is any demand for grain of an inferior quality.

Let your stock of cattle, horses, etc. be of the best sorts, and more remarkable for real utility than for beauty or fashion.

Endeavour to breed your own stock, and be assured that they will thrive better with you, than any you can purchase.

Go seldom to market, and when you go, let it be to sell, rather than to buy.

Be not above your profession, and always consider it as the first that any man can follow.

Learn the smallest minutiae of your trade. He will never be a good general, who does not know his exercise.

Consider your landlord as a friend, whose interest and yours, when well understood, are the same.

Keep your land always in good heart. It is both for your credit and your interest to do so, even at the close of your lease. Your next farm will be got on better terms, for every landlord will struggle to get you.

Be not afraid of trying experiments, but let them be on a small scale at first, and few at a time.

Show a good example of industry to your servants. You cannot expect that others will do for you, what you will not do for yourself.

Admit no guest into your house, who cannot live upon the productions of his own country.

Lay up one half of your profits, and live comfortably upon the other.'

Sir John Sinclair of Ulbster (1754-1835) was a landowner, politician, early improver, agriculturist, statistician and ambassador for his country. Born in Thurso Castle into a branch of the Sinclair Earls of Caithness, he went on to study at the universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Oxford before being admitted to the Faculty of Advocates. He was returned as MP for Caithness in 1780 and sat in the House of Commons almost continually until 1811.

Sir John was the first president of the Board of Agriculture and founded a society for the improvement of British wool. In 1805 he was appointed commissioner for the construction of roads and bridges in the north of Scotland. He also supervised the compilation of the first Statistical Account of Scotland (1791-1799).

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Sir John Sinclair's 'Account of Improvements'

CAITHNESS: Wick

2000s

audio; literary landscapes

Am Baile

Literary Landscapes: Sir John Sinclair

This audio extract is from Sir John Sinclair of Ulbster's 'Account of Improvements', read here by James Miller. (In 1812, the Board of Agriculture (London) published a 'General view of the agriculture of the County of Caithness', together with maps and an appendix relating to Sir John Sinclair of Ulbster entitled 'An Account of The Improvements carried on by Sir John Sinclair, Bart., on his Estates in Scotland'. The estates in question covered the parishes of Thurso, Halkirk, Reay, Wick and Latheron.)<br /> <br /> 'Hints to Farmers. It is certainly necessary to contrive the means of cultivating the ground, at as cheap a rate as possible, more especially as the wages of servants are becoming higher every day; ploughing, therefore, with a light plough, and with two horses, (still better if with two oxen) without a driver, is most earnestly recommended.<br /> <br /> Every tenant ought to have the complete and exclusive possession of his own farm. Inclosing, therefore, and winter herding, are absolutely necessary.<br /> <br /> No tenant ought to take a farm without a sufficient capital. Prepare that capital before hand, and place no dependence upon credit.<br /> <br /> No farmer ought to take more land than he can stock and manage, and indeed ought to have some ready money on hand, for bad times. Better to cultivate 50 acres well, than 100 in a slovenly manner.<br /> <br /> No farmer should begin without a knowlegde of his profession. It requires an apprenticeship of several years to learn the most common trade, and, as farming is a complicated business, a previous knowledge of that art is indispensably necessary.<br /> <br /> Endeavour to raise good grain, for it will always sell, even in years of plenty; whereas it is only in dear and scarce seasons, that there is any demand for grain of an inferior quality.<br /> <br /> Let your stock of cattle, horses, etc. be of the best sorts, and more remarkable for real utility than for beauty or fashion.<br /> <br /> Endeavour to breed your own stock, and be assured that they will thrive better with you, than any you can purchase.<br /> <br /> Go seldom to market, and when you go, let it be to sell, rather than to buy.<br /> <br /> Be not above your profession, and always consider it as the first that any man can follow.<br /> <br /> Learn the smallest minutiae of your trade. He will never be a good general, who does not know his exercise.<br /> <br /> Consider your landlord as a friend, whose interest and yours, when well understood, are the same.<br /> <br /> Keep your land always in good heart. It is both for your credit and your interest to do so, even at the close of your lease. Your next farm will be got on better terms, for every landlord will struggle to get you.<br /> <br /> Be not afraid of trying experiments, but let them be on a small scale at first, and few at a time.<br /> <br /> Show a good example of industry to your servants. You cannot expect that others will do for you, what you will not do for yourself.<br /> <br /> Admit no guest into your house, who cannot live upon the productions of his own country.<br /> <br /> Lay up one half of your profits, and live comfortably upon the other.'<br /> <br /> Sir John Sinclair of Ulbster (1754-1835) was a landowner, politician, early improver, agriculturist, statistician and ambassador for his country. Born in Thurso Castle into a branch of the Sinclair Earls of Caithness, he went on to study at the universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Oxford before being admitted to the Faculty of Advocates. He was returned as MP for Caithness in 1780 and sat in the House of Commons almost continually until 1811. <br /> <br /> Sir John was the first president of the Board of Agriculture and founded a society for the improvement of British wool. In 1805 he was appointed commissioner for the construction of roads and bridges in the north of Scotland. He also supervised the compilation of the first Statistical Account of Scotland (1791-1799).