Son of James Ferguson and Anne Murray. He never married and died without issue.
He studied law in Edinburgh, where he completed his studies in 1757, becoming a member of Faculty of Advocates and the Society of Writers to the Signet.
A Scottish Tory, he was elected Member of Parliament for Banffshire (1789-90) and Aberdeenshire (1790-1820).
William Adam in 1788 described him as an able man, "of real good sense, but indolent".1
In 1813 he established the planned village of Mintlaw near his Pitfour estate.
Following Ferguson's death, the estate was inherited by his younger brother George (1748-1820), who died, however, only three months later. The estate then passed to George's illegitimate son, also George Ferguson (1788-1867), who was later elected MP for the Banffshire constituency (1832-1837), which had formerly been held briefly by his uncle.
- 1According to "The House of Commons: 1509-1558; 3, Members N-Z, Volume 4", entry: James Ferguson
Boswell breakfasted with James Ferguson and his brother Patrick on November 7, 1762, in Edinburgh. He dined or breakfasted with Ferguson on the next two days as well.