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General The Hon. James St Clair (1688 – 30 November 1762),[1] was a Scottish soldier and Whig politician.


St Clair was the second son of Henry St Clair, 10th Lord Sinclair and his wife Grizel Cockburn, daughter of Sir James Cockburn, 1st Baronet.[2] As a child he received a commission into the 1st Battalion, Royal Regiment of Foot.[3]

Military careerEdit

St Clair became an ensign of 6th Regiment of Foot in 1694, however was set on halfpay in 1713.[3] In the next year, he was admitted to the 3rd Foot Guards and was promoted to captain in 1714.[3] He served as 2nd major of his regiment from 1722 and as 1st major from 1725, having been advanced to the rank of brevet colonel two years before.[3] In 1734, St Clair was appointed to the command of the 22nd Regiment of Foot[3] and three years later he was transferred to the colonelship of the Royal Regiment of Foot (later renamed as 1st (Royal) Regiment of Foot), which he held until his death.[4]

He rose to brigadier general in 1739 and already after another two years to major general.[5] St Clair became lieutenant-general in charge of the British forces in Flanders in June 1745[6] and in the following year, he was sent with six thousand men to attack Quebec.[5] Because of delays, he sailed instead to capture the Breton port of Lorient.[5] He destroyed the French fortifications near Quiberon and then returned to England.[5] In 1761, St Clair was finally advanced to the rank of full general.[5]

Political careerEdit

St Clair entered the British House of Commons in 1722, sitting for Dysart Burghs until 1734.[7] Two years later, he was elected for Sutherland, which constituency he represented until 1747, when he was again returned for Dysart.[7] He held the latter seat until 1754 and became then member of Parliament for Fife until 1762.[7] St Clair travelled as envoy to the courts of Turin and Vienna in 1748 and later acted as governor of County Cork.[5]

Personal lifeEdit

In 1735, St Clair bought Rosslyn Castle, which was later inherited by the male heirs of his sisters.[8] On the death of his older brother John St Clair in 1750, he succeeded de jure as Lord Sinclair, but never assumed the title, preferring to retain his seat in the Commons.[9]

Around 1745, he married Janet Dalrymple, the youngest daughter of Sir David Dalrymple, 1st Baronet and widow of Sir John Baird, 2nd Baronet.[10] Their marriage was childless.[2] St Clair died in Dysart in 1766 and was survived by his wife for four years.[10] With his death the lordship became dormant until 1782, when it reverted to Charles St Clair, a first cousin of James Sinclair, 7th Lord Sinclair.[2]


St. Clair, Minnesota is named after St. Clair.[11]


  1. "Leigh Rayment - Peerage". Retrieved 3 December 2009. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Burke, John (1832). A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage of the British Empire. vol. I (4th ed.). London: Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley. pp. 441. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Douglas, Sir Robert (1910). Sir James Balfour Paul. ed. The Scots Peerage. vol. VII. Edinburgh: David Douglas. pp. 588–589. 
  4. The London Gazette: no. 7614. p. 2.a. 28 June 1737. Retrieved 3 December 2009.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 Wikisource-logo.svg "Sinclair, James (d.1762)". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. 
  6. The London Gazette: no. 8441. p. 2. 15 June 1745. Retrieved 3 December 2009.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Sir Lewis Namier, John Brooke, ed (2002). The House of Commons, 1754-1790. vol. I. London: Secker & Warburg. pp. 398. 
  8. "ThePeerage - General James St Clair". Retrieved 4 March 2007. 
  9. Richard Cannon, Historical Record of the Twenty-Second, or the Cheshire Regiment of Foot (London, 1849) pages 52-53
  10. 10.0 10.1 Burke, John (2001). Peter de Vere Beauclerk-Dewar. ed. Burke's Landed Gentry of Great Britain. pp. 44. ISBN 0-9711966-0-5. 
  11. "City of St.Clair Minnesota". City of St.Clair Minnesota. Retrieved October 8, 2012. 

External linksEdit

Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
William Kerr
Member of Parliament for Dysart Burghs
1722 – 1734
Succeeded by
Thomas Leslie
Preceded by
Sir James Fergusson
Member of Parliament for Sutherland
1736 – 1747
Succeeded by
George Mackay
Preceded by
James Oswald
Member of Parliament for Dysart Burghs
1747 – 1754
Succeeded by
James Oswald
Preceded by
James Oswald
Member of Parliament for Fife
1754 – 1762
Succeeded by
James Wemyss
Military offices
Preceded by
William Barrell
Colonel of the 22nd Regiment of Foot
Succeeded by
John Moyle
Preceded by
The Earl of Orkney
Colonel of the 1st (Royal) Regiment of Foot
Succeeded by
Sir Henry Erskine, 5th Bt
Peerage of Scotland
Preceded by
John St Clair
Lord Sinclair
de jure

Title next held by
Charles St Clair

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