FERGUSSON, John. 17?? — Cape of God Hope 4.9.1773 (?). British Colonial Officer in India. Captain. The author of the first English Hindustani dictionary in 1773, describing the colloquial speech of soldiers for the use of officers, mixing together different forms of language (but with some preponderance of Magahī). Early in his career served under John Graham in Midnapore, as he tells in the preface, but beyond this nothing seems to be known about his person (Friedlander). A likely key is found in the Sentimental Magazine. On the 4th September 1773 Captain Roche killed Captain Fergusson by his sword. Both were passengers of the Indiaman Vansittart, apparently on way from India to England.

Publications: A dictionary of the Hindostan Language. 1. English and Hindostan. 2. Hindostan and English. To which is prefixed a Grammar of the Hindostan Language. 8+58+224 p. L. 1773 (in Roman characters).

Sources: Briefly noted by P.G. Friedlander, Hindustani Textbooks from the Raj 3 Suppl. 1, 2006, 39-56 (esp. p. 41); The Sentimental Magazine 3, 1775, 292-294.

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