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John David Borthwick (1824–1892), born in Edinburgh, Scotland, to a prominent physician, was a nomadic Scottish journalist and author who received both a gentleman's and artist's education. In 1845, an inheritance was settled on him, and when he turned 21, he set out to see the world. It is also speculated that he was one of the sons of Peter Borthwick, a descendant of Baron Borthwick, but there is no evidence to substantiate this claim.