Sir James Fergusson, 6th Baronet

Sir James Fergusson, 6th Baronet GCSI KCMG PC DL (14 March 1832 – 14 January 1907) was a British soldier, Conservative politician and colonial administrator.

Sir James Fergusson
6th Governor of New Zealand
In office
14 June 1873  3 December 1874
PremierJulius Vogel
Preceded bySir George Bowen
Succeeded byThe Marquess of Normanby
8th Governor of South Australia
In office
16 February 1869  18 April 1873
Preceded bySir Dominick Daly
Succeeded bySir Anthony Musgrave
Personal details
Born(1832-03-14)14 March 1832
Died14 January 1907(1907-01-14) (aged 74)
Political partyConservative
    Lady Edith Broun-Ramsay
    (m. 1859; died 1871)
      Olive Richman
      (m. 1873; died 1882)
        Isabella Twysden
        (m. 1893)
        Alma materUniversity College, Oxford

        Background and education

        Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, Fergusson was the eldest son of Sir Charles Fergusson, 5th Baronet, and his wife Helen, daughter of David Boyle. He was educated at Cheam, Rugby, and University College, Oxford (although he left without taking a degree). He entered the Grenadier Guards in 1851 and served in the Crimean War where he was wounded. He retired from the army in 1859.

        Political and administrative career

        Fergusson was elected Member of Parliament for Ayrshire and represented the constituency in parliament from 1854 to 1857 and 1859 to 1868. He was Under-Secretary of State for India under Lord Derby from 1866 to 1867 and Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department from 1867 to 1868 under Derby and Benjamin Disraeli and was admitted to the Privy Council in 1868.[1]

        Fergusson served as Governor of South Australia from 1868. In November 1872 he was appointed governor of New Zealand and left Adelaide on 6 December for a short visit to England before taking up the post.[2]

        He was Governor of New Zealand between 1873 and 1874, when he resigned and returned to England.[2]

        He was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George in 1874.[3]

        He was appointed to a Royal Commission to inquire into the operation of the Factory and Workshop Acts in 1875,[4] and to a Commission inquiring into the sale of liquor in Scotland in 1877.[5]

        He was Governor of Bombay between 1880 and 1885.[6][2]

        He was appointed an Extra Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Star of India in 1885.[7]

        Following his retirement, he returned to the House of Commons, as Member of Parliament for Manchester North East, which he represented between 1885 and 1906. He again held political office as Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs between 1886 and 1891 and as Postmaster General between 1891 and 1892 in Lord Salisbury's Conservative administration.


        Memorial for Lady Edith Christian Fergusson, Inveresk Cemetery

        Fergusson married firstly Lady Edith Christian, daughter of James Broun-Ramsay, 1st Marquess of Dalhousie, in 1859. They had two sons and two daughters. Lady Edith died on 20 October 1871 in Port Adelaide in Australia, aged 32. She was buried at North Road Cemetery in Adelaide.[8] There is a memorial headstone in the north-west corner of the first western extension to Inveresk churchyard in Scotland.[9]

        Fergusson married secondly Olive, daughter of John Henry Richman, in 1873. Olive was born in South Australia, and they were married soon after arriving in New Zealand.[2] They had one son. She died of cholera in January 1882.

        He married thirdly Isabella Elizabeth, daughter of Richard Twysden and widow of Charles Hugh Hoare, in 1893. They had no children. Fergusson's son Charles and grandson Bernard Fergusson both became Governors-General of New Zealand.

        Fergusson was killed in an earthquake in Jamaica in 1907, aged 74.[10]


        The town of Jamestown and the County of Fergusson in South Australia, Fergusson Island in Papua New Guinea and Fergusson College in Pune (in his day, Poona), India are named in Fergusson's honour.[11][12]


        Coat of arms of Sir James Fergusson, 6th Baronet[13]
        On a thistle leaved and flowered proper a bee or.
        Azure, an arming buckle between three boars' heads or.
        Dulcius ex asperis (Sweeter out of difficulties)
        Other versions
        Full achievements:


        1. "No. 23440". The London Gazette. 11 November 1868. p. 5858.
        2. Edgeloe, V. A. (1972). "Fergusson, Sir James (1832–1907)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. ISSN 1833-7538. Retrieved 14 April 2008.
        3. "No. 24135". The London Gazette. 29 September 1874. p. 4533.
        4. "No. 24195". The London Gazette. 30 March 1875. p. 1906.
        5. "No. 24496". The London Gazette. 21 August 1877. p. 4851.
        6. "No. 24822". The London Gazette. 12 March 1880. p. 2015.
        7. "No. 25448". The London Gazette. 3 March 1885. p. 920.
        8. "DEATH OF LADY EDITH FERGUSSON". Adelaide Observer. Vol. XXVIII, no. 1570. South Australia. 4 November 1871. p. 11. Retrieved 1 December 2018 via National Library of Australia.
        9. Grave of Edith Christian Fergusson, Inveresk
        10. "Google Arts and Culture".
        11. Manning, Geoffrey. "South Australian Names – T" (PDF). Manning Index of South Australian History. State Library of South Australia. Retrieved 9 August 2019.
        12. Manning, Geoffrey. "South Australian Names – J" (PDF). Manning Index of South Australian History. State Library of South Australia. Retrieved 9 August 2019.
        13. Debrett's peerage, baronetage, knightage, and companionage. London : Dean & Son. 1903. p. 222, FERGUSSON. Retrieved 17 June 2022. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.


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