ambassador to China in 1792-93, also belonged. Educated at the Castle Douglas Academy, Halliday, at the age of fifteen, went as a clerk into a merchant's office in Liverpool, and in 1852 entered Edinburgh University in order to study medicine. In 1855, while still a medical student, he joined the medical staff of the Anglo-Turkish contingent in the Crimean war, and was with them at the occupation of Kertch. He graduated M.D. at Edinburgh in 1858, and, joining the army medical department, was in Sept. of that year gazetted to the 99th regiment as third assistant surgeon. The regiment was under orders for India, in consequence of the Mutiny, and he went with it to Calcutta, where it remained through 1859. Early in 1860 it was ordered to China, and he served in the Chinese war of that year, taking part in the advance on Pekin. Thus began his connection with China which lasted through life. From Dec. 1860 he was stationed for fifteen months with part of the regiment in Canton, and at the end of February 1862 he went with two companies to Shanghai, which was then threatened by the Taipings. He served under General (Sir) Charles William Dunbar Staveley [q. v.], but seeking a wider career than that of an army doctor, in October 1862 he resigned the army medical service (being gazetted out in January 1863), in order to join the Chinese service. In Nov. 1862 he became military secretary to Burgevine, when the latter succeeded Ward in command of the 'Ever Victorious Army.' On Burgevine's dismissal in Jan. 1863, Macartney was spoken of as a possible successor, and at a later date, when 'Chinese' Gordon contemplated resigning the command, he offered the reversion of it to Macartney, who was prepared to take it. Macartney, however, desired not so much to take up a temporary appointment as permanently to enter the Chinese government service in the capacity of interpreter and adviser, for which he had qualified himself by learning the language.
He became closely attached to Li Hung Chang, and was by him appointed, with the grade of colonel in the Chinese service, to command a separate contingent of Chinese troops which co-operated with Gordon. In the late summer of 1863 he took Fung Ching and Seedong. At this time also he turned to account his knowledge of chemistry acquired at Edinburgh 'by instructing experts in the manufacture of gunpowder, percussion caps, and munitions of war' (Mossman, pp. 200-1). With Li Hung Chang's support, he made at Sungkiang the beginning of an arsenal, which was developed at Soochow, when that place had been recaptured from the Taipings ; finally, after the close of the rebellion it was permanently established in 1865 at Nankin.
Macartney's diplomatic tact and knowledge of Chinese language and character were brought into play when he was called upon to act as intermediary between Gordon and the Chinese generals, especially Li Hung Chang, with whom Gordon was incensed for the treacherous murder of the Taiping leaders at Soochow after the surrender of that city. Macartney's intervention aroused Gordon's resentment. Gordon denounced Macartney in a letter which was published in a blue book in 1864, but subsequently made full apology ; intimate friendship between the two men was renewed, and Gordon by his Woolwich connection helped the starting of the Chinese arsenal. Gordon said of Macartney that he 'drilled troops, supervised the manufacture of shells, gave advice, brightened the Futai's intellect about foreigners, and made peace, in which last accomplishment his forte lay' (Boulger, Life of Gordon, i. 90 ; Life of Macartney, 75).
Macartney was in charge of the arsenal at Nankin for ten years, 1865-75, during which he paid a short visit to Europe in 1873-4. In 1875 his appointment was terminated owing to disagreement with the Chinese authorities, but the murder at Manwein of Augustus Raymond Margary [q. v.] in the same year led to the sending next year of a Chinese mission to London and the permanent appointment of a Chinese representative at the Court of St. James. Macartney was appointed secretary to the embassy, with which he reached England in Jan. 1877. He never returned to China, but remained in Europe, helping to organise the diplomatic relations of the Chinese government, visiting Paris and St. Petersburg, and for nearly thirty years, from 1877 to 1906, holding the position first of secretary and then of councillor and English secretary to the Chinese legation in London. In that capacity he advised the Chinese government in all negotiations and entirely identified himself with Chinese interests. He was made a mandarin of the second degree, with the distinction of the peacock's feather, and was given the first class of the Chinese order of the Paton Sing. He was made a C.M.G. in 1881, and K.C.M.G. in 1885. He retired at the beginning of 1906. He died at his home at Kenbank, Dairy, Kirkcud-