Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement/Morgan, Edward Delmar

1538070Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement, Volume 2 — Morgan, Edward Delmar1912Osbert John Radcliffe Howarth

MORGAN, EDWARD DELMAR (1840–1909), linguist and traveller, born at Stratford, Essex, on 19 April 1840, was only son of Edward John Morgan, an officer in the Madras artillery and later a member of the English factory or merchants' company in St. Petersburg, by his wife Mary Anne Parland. Educated at Eton, he early became a brilliant linguist. After leaving school he resided with his parents in St. Petersburg, and completely mastered the Russian language.

In 1872 he travelled first in Asia, making a journey in Persia with Sir John Underwood Bateman-Champain [q. v.], a director of the Indo-European telegraph. Morgan subsequently visited Kulja and the neighbouring parts of Central Asia. In 1876 he translated from the Russian the Central Asian explorer Przhevalsky's 'Mongolia, the Tangut Country and the Solitudes of Northern Tibet' (1876, 2 vols., with an introduction and notes by Colonel Henry Yule, C.B.). He also joined Sir Thomas Douglas Forsyth [q. v.] in translating the same author's 'From Kulja across the Tian-Shan to Lobnor' (1879). Morgan made later expeditions to Little Russia, in the language and literature of which he was learned, to the lower part of the Congo (1883), which gave him an intimate interest in the affairs of the Free State, to East Africa, and to the Baku oil region of Caucasia. Morgan, who was a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society for forty years, and served on its council, contributed much to its 'Journal.' He was also honorary secretary of the Hakluyt Society (1886-92), and collaborated with C. H. Coote in editing for it (1886) the 'Early Voyages and Travels to Russia and Persia, by Anthony Jenkinson and other Englishmen.' He was honorary treasurer for the Ninth International Congress of Orientalists (1892), in London, under Max Muller's presidency, and edited its transactions (1893). He died in London on 18 May 1909, and was buried at Copthorne, Sussex, where he chiefly resided in his later years. He married on 25 Sept. 1873 Bertha, daughter of Richard Thomas, by his wife Louisa de Visme, who died on 18 Feb. 1911 aged 101. Morgan had issue four sons and three daughters; the eldest son, Edward Louis Delmar Morgan, lieutenant R.N., died in 1900.

Besides the works mentioned, Morgan contributed a chapter on Askja to J. Cole's 'Summer Travelling in Iceland' (1882), and wrote a critical survey of the state of knowledge in 1894 of the Central Asian mountain systems, in the 'Scottish Geographical Magazine,' x. 337.

[Geographical Journal, xxxiv. 94; private information.]

O. J. R. H.