A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature/Ferguson, Adam

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Ferguson, Adam (1723-1816). -- Philosopher and historian, s. of the parish minister of Logierait, Perthshire, studied at St. Andrews and Edin. Univ., in the latter of which he was successively Professor of Mathematics, and Moral Philosophy (1764-1785). As a young man he was chaplain to the 42nd Regiment, and was present at the Battle of Fontenoy. In 1757 he was made Keeper of the Advocates' Library. As a Prof. of Philosophy he was highly successful, his class being attended by many distinguished men no longer students at the Univ. In 1778-9 he acted as sec. to a commission sent out by Lord North to endeavour to reach an accommodation with the American colonists. F.'s principal works are Essay on the History of Civil Society (1765), Institutes of Moral Philosophy (1769), History of the Progress and Termination of the Roman Republic (1782), and Principles of Moral and Political Science (1792), all of which have been translated into French and German. F. spent his later years at St. Andrews, where he d. in 1816 at the age of 92. He was an intimate friend of Sir Walter Scott. The French philosopher Cousin gave F. a place above all his predecessors in the Scottish school of philosophy.