Obituary from "The Annual Register, or a View of the History and Politics of the year 1838," published in London 1839.

Right Hon. Robert Cutlar Fergusson

November 16th 1838

At Paris, in his 70th year, the Right Hon. Robert Cutlar Fergusson, her Majesty's Judge-Advocate-General, and M.P.for the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright. Mr. Fergusson represented two old and honourable families, the Fergussons of Craigdarroch, in Dumfriesshire, and the Cutlars of Orroland, in the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright. The name of the Craigdarroch family is familiar to all who are acquainted with the minute history of Scotland. A Fergusson of Craigdarroch was one of the first that signed the Solemn League and Covenant; another headed a small handful of men who defeated a portion of Cromwell's army at Glencairn, in 1651; and another fell at the battle of Killicrankie.

The name of the family has also been celebrated by Burns, in his song of "The Whistle." The Cutlars were proprietors of Orroland for upwards of four centuries. Mr. Cutlar Fergusson, thus honourably descended, enjoyed the advantages of a liberal education, and early gave proofs of future eminence. It appears, that when young, he was an admirer of the writings of Mirabeau and the other French writers of that date; and so warmly did he sympathise with the French jacobins, that he connected himself at home with "the Friends of the People" - with Lord Daer, and the other Parliamentary reformers of that day. So early as 1792, be had published “The proposed Reform in the Representation of the counties of Scotland considered." Being connected with Arthur O'Connor and others, who were apprehended when going to France with O'Coighly, Mr. Fergusson was in the court at Maidstone during their trial for high treason; and, an attempt being made to assist O'Connor in his escape, the Earl of Thanet and Mr. Fergusson were charged with joining in the rescue, for which they were tried, and sentenced to twelve months imprisonment; his lordship in the Tower of London, and Mr. Fergusson in the King's Bench prison.

On this occasion he published, "Proceedings against the Earl of Thanet, Robert Fergusson, Esq., and others, upon an information ex officio, for a riot; to which are added, Observations on his own Case,"1799,8vo.

Meanwhile, having studied law, and entered the English bar, (to which he was called by the Hon. Society of Lincoln's Inn, on the 4th July, 1797,) he had every prospect of rising to professional distinction; but owing, not only to suspicions, but danger attaching to him, in consequence of his reforming principles, he almost clandestinely emigrated to Calcutta, and commenced there the practice of his profession; and his success was equal to his most sanguine expectations. He was soon regarded by all parties as at the head of that bar; and, between the retirement of Mr. Strettel, and the arrival of Mr. Spankie, he acted for some time as attorney-general. After a brilliant career of about twenty years, he returned to his native country with a liberal fortune and a celebrated name. Mr. Fergusson brought with him from the East the same public views and the same reforming tendencies which he had carried out with him, though, perhaps, somewhat softened by lapse of years.

On his return, he found the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright influenced as a pocket county by two noble families, and he determined to try to break the chain by which his fellow-electors were bound. Being powerfully supported by all the liberals in the county, and being, as to talents and general fitness, much the superior of the gentleman whom he opposed, (the late General Dunlop of Dunlop), he came off victorious at the general election in 1826, though only by a majority of one. Mr. Fergusson, ever after this period, was the representative of that county. In 1834 he was appointed to the office of judge-advocate-general, and sworn a privy-councillor on the 16th of July. He resigned this office on Sir Robert Peel being nominated minister, but was re-installed on the return of Lord Melbourne to power. Late in life he married a French lady named De Beauchamp, by whom he left two children.

His body was carried for interment to the family vault at Craigdarroch, County Dumfries.

Note: The whole proceedings of the trial of Thannet and Fergusson are recorded in a book which is available on the Internet. It incudes Fergusson's "Observations on his Own Case".    Click here to read this book.