James the second son of William, 13th Earl, was born in Kilmacolm, Renfrewshire. On the death vida patris of his elder brother William in 1768, he became Lord Kilmaurs; he succeeded to the Earldom, while on a tour of Norway, Lapland and Sweden, when his father died on 9 September 1775.
James Cunninghame, 14th Earl of Glencairn
A Captain in the Western Fencibles Regiment from 1778, he served as one of the 16 representative peers from 1780 to 1784 and supported Fox's India Bill in 1783. In 1786 he sold his ancient family estate and former seat of Kilmaurs (the Cunningham's having moved their seat to Finlaystone in the 13th century) to Henrietta Scott later to become the Marchioness of Titchfield.
He is best remembered for his friendship with Robert Burns to whom he gave his patronage. He was instrumental in the production of the Second Edition of Burn's Poems (Hill MDCCXL).