Ferguson, James (17101776)

Ferguson, James, a popular writer on astronomy and mechanics, born at Rothiemay, Banff, son of a labourer; his interest in astronomy was first aroused by his observation of the stars while acting as a “herd laddie,” and much of his time among the hills was spent in the construction of mechanical contrivances; compelled by circumstances to betake himself to various occupations, pattern-drawing, clock-mending, copying prints, and portrait sketching, he still in his leisure hours pursued those early studies, and coming to London in 1743 (after a residence of some years in Edinburgh), began lecturing on his favourite subjects; a pension of £50 was granted him out of the privy purse, and in 1763 he was elected an F.R.S.; besides publishing lectures on mechanics, hydrostatics, optics, &c., he wrote several works on astronomy, chiefly popular expositions of the methods and principles of Sir Isaac Newton (17101776).

Definition taken from The Nuttall Encyclopædia, edited by the Reverend James Wood (1907)

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