Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Margary, Augustus Raymond

MARGARY, AUGUSTUS RAYMOND (1846–1875), traveller, third son of Henry Joshua Margary, major-general R.E., was born at Belgaum, in the Bombay presidency, 26 May 1846. He was successively educated in France, at North Walsham grammar school, and at University College, London. Having received a nomination from his relative, Austen Henry Layard, he studied Chinese seven hours a day, passed a competitive examination before the civil service commissioners, obtained an honorary certificate, and was appointed a student interpreter on the Chinese consular establishment 2 Feb. 1867. In the following month he went to China, and on 18 Nov. 1869 rose to be a third-class assistant. The silver medal of the Royal Humane Society was awarded to him 16 July 1872 for saving the lives of several men who were wrecked during a typhoon in the island of Formosa, 9 Aug. 1871, and he also received the Albert medal of the first class 28 Oct. 1872. Till 1870 he was attached to the legation at Pekin, when he was sent to the island of Formosa, and there took charge of the consulate during twelve months. He was made a second-class assistant 7 Dec. 1872, was acting interpreter at Shanghai 16 Oct. to 12 Nov. 1873, and interpreter at Chefoo 24 Nov. 1873 to 9 April 1874. In August he received instructions from Pekin to proceed through the south-western provinces of China to the frontier of Yunnan, to await Colonel Horace Browne, who had been sent by the Indian government on a mission into Yunnan, from the Burmese side, in the hopes of opening up a trade with Western China. To this mission Margary was to act as interpreter and guide through China. On 4 Sept. 1874 he left Hankow on an overland journey to Mandalay. Passing the Tung-ting lake on the Yang-tse he ascended the Yuen river through Hoonan, and travelled by land through Kweichow and Yunnan, and on 17 Jan. 1875 joined Colonel Browne at Bhamo. He was the first Englishman who had traversed this route. On 19 Feb. 1875 he was sent forward to survey and report on the road from Burmah to Western China, but on 21 Feb. he was treacherously murdered at Manwein on the Chinese frontier.

[The Journey of A. R. Margary from Shanghai to Bhamô, and back to Manwyne, 1876, biog. preface, pp. i-xxi, with portrait; J. Anderson's Mandalay to Momien, 1876, pp. 364-449; Boulger's History of China, 1884, iii. 715-22; Foreign Office List, January 1875 p. 140, July 1875 p. 215; Times, 9, 22, and 28 April 1875; Illustr. London News, 1875, lxvi. 233-4, 257-8, with portrait; Graphic, 1875, xi. 296, with portrait.]

G. C. B.