Fergusson, Charles Dalrymple (DNB00)

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FERGUSSON, Sir CHARLES DALRYMPLE (1800–1849), fifth baronet, of Kilkerran, Ayrshire, and eldest son of Sir James, fourth baronet, by Jean, daughter of Sir David Dalrymple, bart. (Lord Hailes) [q. v.], was born at Fort George, Inverness-shire, in August 1800. He was educated at Harrow, and became an advocate in 1822, practising at the Scotch bar until his father's death. He was a member of the Speculative Society, and at its meetings read two essays, one on the ‘Origin and Progress of Criminal Jurisprudence,’ and the other on the ‘History of Painting.’ Fergusson was an active promoter of almost every scheme of usefulness throughout Scotland. The county of Ayr, in which his seat was situate, was especially indebted to his active aid in its agricultural, charitable, and religious institutions. He was the originator of the Ayrshire Educational Association, and at his own expense built many schools and churches. He was returned to the general assembly of the church of Scotland as a lay representative for Ayr. He did much towards extending the usefulness and efficiency of the church, and in the sittings of its legislative body his counsels had great weight. A decided conservative in his political principles, both in church and state, Fergusson was yet strongly averse to the strife and turmoil of political life, and was remarkably tolerant in his sentiments. Though repeatedly urged by his friends, he could never be induced to seek election for his native county. To the last he was an able and zealous supporter of the cause of protection. Himself a colonial proprietor, he severely condemned the free trade legislation of Sir Robert Peel, which he believed must have an injurious effect upon the British colonies. In 1837 Fergusson succeeded to the estates of his grandfather, Lord Hailes, in East and Mid Lothian, and in 1838 to those of his father in Ayrshire, on which he constantly resided. Fergusson married Helen, daughter of the Right Hon. David Boyle, lord-justice-general of Scotland, by whom he had eight children. He died at Inveresk 18 March 1849. His Ayrshire tenants raised a monument to his memory. Fergusson's estate of Hailes in Haddingtonshire and Mid Lothian descended to his second son, Charles, who assumed the name of Dalrymple, as representing his great-grandfather, Sir David Dalrymple, bart. (Lord Hailes), but the baronetcy of Hailes was extinct. In the title and estates of Fergusson of Kilkerran Fergusson was succeeded by his eldest son, the Right Hon. Sir James Fergusson, bart., M.P., sometime governor, successively, of South Australia, New Zealand, and Bombay, and subsequently under-secretary of state for foreign affairs, to which he was appointed in August 1886.

[Anderson's Scottish Nation; Ayr Observer and Ayr Advertiser, March 1849.]

G. B. S.