The Madras College Archive

     


Former Pupil Biographies

Major General James Peattie Morgan (1835 - 1909)

He came to Madras College in 1849 and was a distinguished pupil of Dr. Lonie. He was first prizeman in Mathematics and Natural Philosphy at St Andrews University which he attended after leaving school.

During the Crimean War in 1855, the Government intimated that they would receive applications for commissions in the Artillery and Royal Engineers from candidates willing to submit themselves to a competitive examination. Young Morgan resolved to enter the competition, and passed the examination so creditably that out of 150 candidates he was placed ninth in the successful list. He was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Royal Artillery in September 1858 and was dispatched to India on the outbreak of the Indian Mutiny.

He subsequently held appointments such as Government Superintendent at Armstrong's gun factory and Assistant Superintendent of the Royal gunpowder factory at Waltham Abbey. In October 1887 he retired with the rank of Major-General, having during his term of service risen through all the intermediate ranks. He retired to Elie, where he lived a quiet life, though he took a considerable part in public affairs.

The 'Old Boys Chronicle' in the Madras College Magazine for Summer 1909 reported:

"Death of an Old Madras College Pupil.
MAJOR-GENERAL James P. Morgan, R.A., who died at Elie on the 4th of this month, came to the Madras College in 1849 from the Parish School of Newburn, near Largo. At Madras College he was a distinguished pupil of Dr. Lonie. At the University, which he attended after leaving Madras, he was first prizeman in Mathematics and Natural Philosophy. During the Crimean War in 1855, the Government intimated that they would receive applications for commissions in the Artillery and Royal Engineers from candidates willing to submit themselves to a competitive examination. Young Morgan resolved to enter the competition, and passed the examination so creditably that out of 150 candidates he was placed ninth in the successful list. After a professional training at Woolwich, he was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Royal Artillery in September 1858. On the outbreak of the Indian Mutiny, Lieut. Morgan was despatched with his battery to that country, where he saw much active service in the suppression of the mutiny.

At its close he went to China as a member of the expedition under Lord Elgin and Sir Hope Grant. Here he was present at the assault on the Taku forts and fired the gun which blew up one of them. At Pekin he made the acquaintance of the late General Gordon, with whom he became on terms of intimate friendship drawn to that officer no doubt by a similarity of character and religious feeling. When the army was encamped before Pekin, awaiting the reply to to the ultimatum despatched by Lord Elgin to the Chinese authorities, Morgan witnessed the feat of Gordon, who painted white the part of the wall on which the guns would play in the event of it becoming necessary to force an entrance into the city.

The hardships endured in active service so affected Lieutenant Morgan's health that he was invalided home. Subsequently he held appointments such as Government Superintendent at Armstrong's gun factory and Assistant Superintendent of the Royal gunpowder factory at Waltham Abbey.  In October 1887 he retired with the rank of Major General, having during his term of service risen through all the intermediate ranks. He took up his abode at Elie, where he loved a quiet life, though he took a considerable part in public affairs. He was buried on the 7th June, in the churchyard of Newburn, his native parish."