Fergusson, James (1769-1842) (DNB00)

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FERGUSSON, JAMES (1769–1842), Scotch legal writer, eldest son of James Fergusson of Bank, afterwards of Monkwood, Ayrshire, was born in 1769; studied at the university of Edinburgh; became a member of the Speculative Society 9 Dec. 1788; was admitted member of the Faculty of Advocates 1791; was successively appointed one of the four judges of the consistorial court, one of the principal clerks of session, and keeper of the general record of entails for Scotland. Fergusson was married and had issue. He sold the estate of Monkwood to his brother, John H. Fergusson of Trochraigue. He died in 1842.

Fergusson wrote: 1. ‘Letters upon the Establishment of the Volunteer Corps and Domestic Military Arrangement of Great Britain,’ Edinburgh, 1806. 2. ‘Observations upon the proposed Reform in the Administration of Civil Justice in Scotland,’ Edinburgh, 1807 (regarding the introduction of trial by jury). 3. ‘Reports of some recent Decisions by the Consistorial Courts of Scotland in Actions of Divorce,’ Edinburgh, 1817. These decisions illustrated the power of the Scotch court to dissolve marriage for adultery, which power the English court did not then possess, and the ‘alarming collision between the respective jurisdictions of the two countries in the same island and state’ which had arisen therefrom. 4. ‘Observations upon the Provisions of the Bill presented to Parliament relative to the trial in a separate tribunal of issues of fact arising in actions instituted before the Supreme Civil Court of Scotland,’ Edinburgh, 1824. 5. ‘A Treatise on the present state of the Consistorial Law in Scotland, with reports of decided cases,’ Edinburgh, 1829. 6. ‘Observations on Entails and Entries of Heir-Apparent, cum beneficio inventarii, with an index of the registers of tailzies from A.D. 1685 to 1830,’ Edinburgh, 1830. 7. ‘Additional Observations on Entails,’ Edinburgh, 1831.

[Paterson's Hist. of the County of Ayr, vol. ii. pt. iv. p. 371 (Edinburgh, 1852); Hist. of the Speculative Society, p. 187 (Edinburgh, 1845); Anderson's Scottish Nation, ii. 196; Cat. of Advocates' Library; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

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