Posts Tagged ‘George Elphinstone 1st Viscount Keith’

Regency Personalities Series

In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency (I include those who were born before 1811 and who died after 1795), today I continue with one of the many period notables.

James Loch
7 May 1780 – 28 June 1855


James Loch

James Loch was born near Edinburgh on 7 May 1780. He was eldest son of George Loch of Drylaw, Edinburgh. His mother, Mary, was daughter of John Adam of Blair, Kinross-shire, and sister of Lord-commissioner Adam. After his father’s death in 1788, he lived on the Blair Adam estate with his uncle.

In 1801 Loch was admitted an advocate in Scotland, and was called to the bar in England at Lincoln’s Inn on 15 November 1806, but abandoned the law after a few years of conveyancing practice.

He became interested in the management of estates, and was simultaneously auditor to the George, Marquis of Stafford (who married Elizabeth, Countess of Sutherland, and became shortly before he died Duke of Sutherland), to Lord Francis Egerton, afterwards Earl of Ellesmere, to the Bridgewater trustees, to the Earl of Carlisle, and to the trust estates of the Earl of Dudley and of George, Viscount Keith.

In this capacity he was responsible for much of the policy respecting the agricultural labourers and the improvement of agriculture pursued over tens of thousands of acres both in England and Scotland. The “Sutherlandshire clearances” of George, Marquis of Stafford, by which between 1811 and 1820 fifteen thousand crofters were removed from the inland to the seacoast districts, were carried out under his supervision.

For much of his life, Loch worked to effect the clearances and “to so mould and control the lives of ‘the ignorant and credulous people’ that at one time the young among them had to go to his agents for permission to marry”. According to Loch’s writings, “In a few years the character of the whole of this population will be completely changed… The children of those who are removed from the hills will lose all recollection of the habits and customs of their fathers”.

The manner in which the evictions were carried out could be exceedingly harsh, particularly in the valley of Strathnaver. An eye witness, Angus Mackay, commented that “It would be a very hard heart but would mourn to see the circumstances of the people… you would have pitied them, tumbling on the ground and greeting, tearing the ground with their hands…”.

In June 1827 Loch entered parliament as member for St Germans in Cornwall for the Whigs, and having held that seat until 1830, he was then returned without opposition for the Wick Burghs, and was regularly re-elected until 1852, when he was defeated, by 119 votes to 80, by Samuel Laing.

Loch published a pamphlet on the improvements on the Sutherland estates in 1820, and in 1834 printed privately a memoir of the first Duke of Sutherland. He was a fellow of the Geological, Statistical, and Zoological Societies, and a member of the committee of the Useful Knowledge Society. He died on 28 June 1855, at his house in Albemarle Street, London, and was buried in Brompton Cemetery.

Loch married, first, in 1810, Ann, youngest daughter of Patrick Orr of Bridgeton, Kincardineshire, by whom, among several other children, he had sons, Granville Gower Loch and Henry Brougham Loch, who was a G.C.M.G. and G.C.B., governor of the Cape, and high commissioner for South Africa.

Loch married, secondly, on 2 December 1847, Elizabeth Mary, widow of Major George Macartney Greville, 38th Foot, and eldest daughter of John Pearson of Tettenhall Wood, Staffordshire, who predeceased him on 29 December 1848.

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Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

General Sir James Henry Craig
1748 – 12 January 1812


James Henry Craig

General Sir James Henry Craig came from a Scottish family whose father was a judge of the civil and military courts in the British fortress of Gibraltar. At the age of 15 in 1763 he was enrolled as an ensign in the 30th (Cambridgeshire) Regiment of Foot. Colonel Robert Boyd, the lieutenant governor of Gibraltar in 1770 endorsed his promotion to an aide-de-camp which allowed him to later take command of a company in the 47th (Lancashire) Regiment of Foot stationed in the American colonies.

After the outbreak of the War of Independence in 1775, Craig took part in the Battle of Bunker Hill, where he was badly wounded, but refused to leave his regiment, and participated in the defence of Quebec in 1776, where he met the American invaders at Trois-Rivières while commanding the advance guard that forced them back beyond the border. During 1777 he was wounded twice, once seriously, during engagements at Fort Ticonderoga, Hubbardton, and Freeman’s Farm. Major-General John Burgoyne, who expressed high regard for Craig as an officer, recommended him for the rank of a major in the 82nd Regiment of Foot (Prince of Wales’s Volunteers) in recognition of his service. From 1778 to 1781 Craig served with the 82nd Regiment in Nova Scotia, at Penobscot, and later in North Carolina. Due to constant involvement in operations during the war, Craig usually led light infantry troops. His rapid promotion suggests that Craig possessed an unusual degree of initiative and resourcefulness.

After promotion to lieutenant-colonel in 1781, Craig became Lieutenant Governor of Guernsey in 1793 and then an adjutant general to the Duke of York in the 1794 Army of Netherlands, being promoted to major-general.

In 1794-1795, the Netherlands were overrun by the revolutionary armies of the new republic of France, and Stadtholder Prince William V of Orange became a refugee in England. A British force under General Sir James Craig set out to Cape Town to secure the colony against the French. The Battle of Muizenberg successfully wrested control from William V of Orange to Britain.

In 1795 he served with Vice-Admiral Viscount Keith and Major-General Alured Clarke in occupying the Cape Colony from the Dutch Republic where he became governor of the new possession, and remained in that posting until 1797, for which he received the Order of the Bath. In the same year Craig sailed to Madras, and saw combat in the Bengal region of India for which he was again promoted to lieutenant-general in January 1801. Craig returned to England to serve for three years as the commander of the Eastern District.

In 1805, despite poor health, he was appointed to lead the Anglo-Russian invasion of Naples, but after a brief occupation, the mission was aborted after the news of Austrian defeat at the Battle of Ulm.

Craig concurrently held the positions of Governor-General of the Canadas and lieutenant-governor of Lower Canada from 1807 to 1811. Craig considered measures such as creating English counties and replacing the legislative assembly with an appointed government as a means of increasing the power of English speakers in predominantly French Lower Canada. He also tried to encourage immigration from Britain and the United States in hopes of making the French a minority.

In 1809 he employed a former U.S. Army officer named John Henry to determine if the Federalist New England states desired succeeding from the United States and returning to their former states as Crown colonies. The British did not pursue re-acquiring New England and, after Henry unsuccessfully sought to be rewarded for his efforts, Henry sold the correspondence to President James Madison for $50,000 and sailed for France.

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Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Sarah Villiers Countess of Jersey, Patroness of Almacks
4 March 1785 – 26 January 1867


Sarah Sophia Child Villiers

Sarah Villiers Countess of Jersey was an English noblewoman, the eldest daughter of John Fane, 10th Earl of Westmorland, and Sarah Anne Child. Her mother was the only child of Robert Child, the principal shareholder in the banking firm Child & Co. Under the terms of his will, the Countess of Jersey was the primary legatee, and she not only inherited Osterley Park but became senior partner of the bank. Her husband, George Villiers, added the surname Child by royal licence.

Lady Jersey married George Child Villiers, 5th Earl of Jersey, on 23 May 1804, in the drawing room of her house in Berkeley Square. Her husband’s mother, Frances Villiers, Countess of Jersey (also Lady Jersey), was one of the more notorious mistresses of King George IV when he was Prince of Wales. Her sister Maria married John Ponsonby, Viscount Duncannon, later the 4th Earl of Bessborough, a brother of Lady Caroline Lamb. Her own affairs, though conducted discreetly, were said to be numerous: Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston, was thought to be one of her lovers. When asked why he had never fought a duel to preserve his wife’s reputation, Lord Jersey dryly replied that this would require him to fight every man in London.

Lady Jersey was one of the patronesses of Almack’s and a leader of the ton during the Regency era. She was immortalized as Zenobia in Disraeli’s novel Endymion. Caroline Lamb ridiculed her in Glenarvon: in revenge Lady Jersey had her barred from Almack’s, the ultimate social disgrace. This, however, was unusual since she was notable for acts of kindness and generosity; and she was eventually persuaded to remove the ban.

In politics she was a Tory, although she lacked the passion for politics shown by her cousin Harriet Arbuthnot. On hearing that the Duke of Wellington had fallen from power in 1830, she burst into tears in public. She reportedly “moved heaven and earth” against the Reform Act 1832.

Lady Jersey was known by the nickname Silence; the nickname was ironic since, famously, she almost never stopped talking.

She is a recurring character in the Regency novels of Georgette Heyer, where she is presented as eccentric and unpredictable, but highly intelligent and observant, and capable of kindness and generosity.
She died at No. 38, Berkeley Square, Middlesex now London.

Lady Jersey had seven children by George Child Villiers:

  • George Child Villiers, 6th Earl of Jersey (1808–59)
  • The Honourable Augustus John Villiers (1810–47), married Georgiana Elphinstone, daughter of George Elphinstone, 1st Viscount Keith.
  • The Honourable Frederick William Child Villiers (1815–71), married Elizabeth Maria van Reede, daughter of the 7th or 8th Earl of Athlone.
  • The Honourable Francis John Robert Child Villiers (1819–62).
  • Lady Sarah Frederica Caroline Child Villiers (1822–1853), married Nicholas Paul (Miklós Pál), 9th Prince Esterházy (1817–94).
  • Lady Clementina Augusta Wellington Child Villiers (1824–58).
  • Lady Adela Corisande Maria Child Villiers (1828–60), married Lt.-Col. Charles Parke Ibbetson, and had one daughter Adele.

She outlived not only her husband, but six of her seven children.

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Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Archibald Cochrane (Royal Navy Officer)
1783 – 6 August 1829
Captain Archibald Cochrane was a Royal Navy officer of the early nineteenth century, who served in the Napoleonic Wars. His most noticeable activity came early in his career when he was employed as a midshipman aboard his brother, Commander Thomas Cochrane’s (known as Lord Cochrane) ship HMS Speedy. Aboard Speedy, Cochrane participated in the engagement and capture of the Spanish frigate Gamo, which was more than three times the size of the British ship. Although captured by the French shortly afterwards, Cochrane’s career continued successfully and he was promoted to lieutenant in 1804, sailing to the East Indies on HMS Victor and rapidly gaining promotion to post captain in the frigate HMS Fox. In 1811, Cochrane returned to Europe and did not serve again, retiring to Sunderland and dying in 1829.

Archibald Cochrane was born in 1783, the son of Archibald Cochrane, 9th Earl of Dundonald and his first wife Anna Gilchrist. Archibald had two elder brothers, Thomas Cochrane and William Erskine Cochrane, both of whom would have successful military careers, Thomas in the Royal Navy and William in the British Army. Sent to sea at a young age, by 1799 Archibald was serving alongside Thomas, styled Lord Cochrane, as a midshipman in the ship of the line HMS Barfleur, flagship of Lord Keith in the Mediterranean. Following the capture of the French ship of the line Genereux in February 1800, Lord Cochrane was placed in temporary command of the prize and took his younger brother aboard as part of the prize crew. The ship passed through a severe storm on the voyage to Port Mahon, and was almost sunk, the Cochrane brothers forced to climb the mainmast alone at the height of the storm to reef the sails.

For his exertions, Lord Cochrane was promoted to commander and given command of the 14-gun sloop HMS Speedy, again taking his brother aboard. Archibald Cochrane was involved in most of his brother’s successful operations during the following year, including the capture of the Spanish frigate Gamo on 6 May 1801. Attacked by the much larger warship, Cochrane took his tiny vessel alongside, and the Spanish sailors could not depress their guns sufficiently to open fire on it. Leading a boarding party, Archibald assisted in the fighting on deck and the successful capture of the ship. He later participated in a landing operation at Oropesa del Mar, but was captured when Speedy was seized by a French squadron under Charles Linois on 3 July 1801.

In 1804, during the Napoleonic Wars, Cochrane was promoted to lieutenant, sailing for the East Indies in the sloop HMS Victor. Rapidly promoted, by 1807 he was post captain in command of the frigate HMS Fox and participated in the Raid on Griessie against the Dutch port of Griessie on Java in December. Cochrane remained in the East Indies until 1811, when he returned to Britain and was not employed at sea again. He married in 1812 to Jane Mowbray and had six children, the family retiring to Sunderland, where he was popular in the community. He died in 1829 in Paris.

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Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Thomas Cochrane 10th Earl of Dundonald
14 December 1775 – 31 October 1860


Thomas Cochrane

Thomas Cochrane was born at Annsfield, near Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, Scotland, the son of Archibald Cochrane, 9th Earl of Dundonald and Anna Gilchrist. She was the daughter of Captain James Gilchrist and Ann Roberton, the daughter of Major John Roberton, 16th Laird of Earnock.

Cochrane had six brothers. Two served with distinction in the military: William Erskine Cochrane of the 15th Dragoon Guards, who served under Sir John Moore in the Peninsular War and reached the rank of major; and Archibald Cochrane, who became a captain in the Navy.

Cochrane was descended from lines of Scottish aristocracy and military service on both sides of his family. Through his uncle Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane, the sixth son of the 8th Earl of Dundonald, Cochrane was cousin to his namesake Sir Thomas John Cochrane. Thomas Cochrane had a naval career and was appointed as Governor of Newfoundland and later Vice-Admiral of the United Kingdom. By 1793 the family fortune had been spent, and the family estate was sold to cover debts.

Cochrane spent much of his early life in Culross, Fife, where his family had an estate.

Through the influence of his uncle, Alexander Cochrane, he was listed as a member of the crew on the books of four Royal Navy ships starting when he was five years old. This common, though unlawful practice (called false muster), was a means of acquiring the years of service required for promotion, if and when he joined the Navy. His father secured him a commission in the British Army at an early age, but Cochrane preferred the Navy. He joined it in 1793 upon the outbreak of the French Revolutionary Wars.

On 23 July 1793, aged 17, Cochrane joined the navy as a midshipman, spending his first months at Sheerness in a sixth-rate frigate, the 28-gun HMS Hind, commanded by his uncle, Captain Alexander Cochrane. He transferred to the 38-gun fifth rate HMS Thetis, also under his uncle’s command. While on the Thetis, he visited Norway and next served at the North America station. In 1795, he was appointed acting lieutenant. The following year, on 27 May 1796, he was commissioned lieutenant, after passing the examination. After several transfers in America and a return home, in 1798 he was assigned as 8th Lieutenant on Lord Keith’s flagship HMS Barfleur in the Mediterranean.

During his service on Barfleur, Cochrane was court-martialled for showing disrespect to Philip Beaver, the ship’s first lieutenant. The board reprimanded him for flippancy. This was the first public manifestation of a pattern of Cochrane being unable to get along with many of his superiors, subordinates, employers, and colleagues in several navies and Parliament, even those with whom he had much in common and who should have been natural allies. His behavior led to a long enmity with John Jervis, 1st Earl of St Vincent.

In February 1800, Cochrane commanded the prize crew taking the captured French vessel Généreux to the British base at Mahón. The ship was almost lost in a storm, with Cochrane and his brother Archibald going aloft in place of crew who were mostly ill. On 28 March 1800, Cochrane, having been promoted to commander, took command of the brig sloop HMS Speedy. Later that year, a Spanish warship disguised as a merchant ship almost captured him. He escaped by flying a Danish flag and fending off a boarding by claiming his ship was plague-ridden. Chased by an enemy frigate, and knowing it would follow him in the night by any glimmer of light from the Speedy, he placed a lantern on a barrel and let it float away. The enemy frigate followed the light and Speedy escaped.

In February 1801, at Malta, Cochrane got into an argument with a French Royalist officer at a fancy dress ball. He had come dressed as a common sailor, and the Royalist mistook him for one. This argument led to Cochrane’s only duel. Cochrane wounded the French officer with a pistol shot and was unharmed.

One of his most notable exploits was the capture of the Spanish xebec frigate El Gamo, on 6 May 1801. El Gamo carried 32 guns and 319 men, compared with Speedy’s 14 guns and 54 men. Cochrane flew an American flag and approached so closely to El Gamo that its guns could not depress to fire on the Speedy’s hull. The Spanish tried to board and take over the ship. Whenever the Spanish were about to board, Cochrane pulled away briefly and fired on the concentrated boarding parties with his ship’s guns. Eventually, Cochrane boarded the Gamo, despite being outnumbered about five to one, and captured her.

In Speedy’s 13-month cruise, Cochrane captured, burned, or drove ashore 53 ships before three French ships of the line under Admiral Charles-Alexandre Linois captured him on 3 July 1801. While Cochrane was held as a prisoner, Linois often asked him for advice. In his later autobiography, Cochrane recounted how courteous and polite the French officer had been. A few days later he was exchanged for the second captain of another French ship. On 8 August 1801, he was promoted to the rank of post-captain.

After the Peace of Amiens, Cochrane attended the University of Edinburgh. Upon the resumption of war in 1803, St Vincent assigned him in October 1803 to command the sixth-rate 22-gun HMS Arab. Cochrane alleged that the vessel handled poorly, colliding with Royal Navy ships on two occasions (the Bloodhound and the Abundance), and afforded Cochrane no opportunities. In his autobiography he compared the Arab to a collier. He wrote that his first thoughts on seeing Arab being repaired at Plymouth were that she would “sail like a haystack”. Despite this, he intercepted and boarded an American merchant ship, the Chatham. This created an international incident, as Britain was not at war with the United States. The HMS Arab and her commander were assigned to protect Britain’s important whaling fleet beyond Orkney in the North Sea.

In 1804, St Vincent stood aside for the incoming new government led by William Pitt the Younger, and Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville took office. In December of that year, Cochrane was appointed to command of the new 32-gun frigate HMS Pallas. He undertook a series of notable exploits over the following eighteen months.

In August 1806, he took command of the 38-gun frigate HMS Imperieuse, formerly the Spanish frigate Medea. One of his midshipmen was Frederick Marryat, who later wrote fictionalised accounts of his adventures with Cochrane.

In Imperieuse, Cochrane raided the Mediterranean coast of France during the continuing Napoleonic Wars. In 1808 Cochrane and a Spanish guerrilla force captured the fortress of Mongat, which straddled the road between Gerona and Barcelona. This delayed General Duhesme’s French army for a month. On another raid, Cochrane copied code books from a signal station, leaving behind the originals so the French would believe them uncompromised. When Imperieuse ran short of water, she sailed up the estuary of the Rhone to replenish. When a French army marched into Catalonia and besieged Rosas, Cochrane took part in the defence of the town. He occupied and defended Fort Trinidad (Castell de la Trinitat) for a number of weeks before the fall of the city forced him to leave; Cochrane was one of the last two men to quit the fort.

While captain of Speedy, Pallas, and Imperieuse, Cochrane became arguably the most effective practitioner of coastal warfare during the period. Not only did he attack shore installations such as the Martello tower at Son Bou on Minorca, but captured enemy ships in harbour by leading his men in boats in “cutting out” operations. He was a meticulous planner of every operation, which limited casualties among his men and maximised the chances of success.

In 1809, Cochrane commanded the attack by a flotilla of fire ships on Rochefort, as part of the Battle of the Basque Roads. The attack did considerable damage, but Cochrane blamed Admiral Gambier, the fleet commander, for missing the opportunity to destroy the French fleet. Cochrane claimed that as a result of expressing his opinion publicly, the admiralty denied him the opportunity to serve afloat. But, documentation shows that he was focussed on politics at this time and, indeed, refused a number of offers of command.

In June 1806, Cochrane stood for the House of Commons on a ticket of parliamentary reform (a movement which would later bring about the Reform Acts) for the potwalloper borough of Honiton. This was exactly the kind of borough Cochrane proposed to abolish; votes were mostly sold to the highest bidder. Cochrane offered nothing and lost the election. In October 1806, he ran for Parliament in Honiton and won. Cochrane initially denied that he paid any bribes, but he revealed in a Parliamentary debate ten years later that he had paid ten guineas (£10 10s) per voter through Mr. Townshend, local headman and banker.

In May 1807, Cochrane was elected by Westminster in a more democratic election. He had campaigned for parliamentary reform, allied with such Radicals as William Cobbett, Sir Francis Burdett and Henry Hunt. His outspoken criticism of the conduct of the war and the corruption in the navy made him powerful enemies in the government. His criticism of Admiral Gambier’s conduct at the Battle of the Basque Roads was so severe that Gambier demanded a court-martial to clear his name. Cochrane made important enemies in the Admiralty during this period.

In 1810, Sir Francis Burdett, a member of parliament and political ally, had barricaded himself in his home at Piccadilly, London, resisting arrest by the House of Commons. Cochrane went to assist Burdett’s defence of the house. His approach was similar to that he used in the navy, and would have led to numerous deaths amongst the arresting officers and at least partial destruction of Burdett’s house, along with much of Piccadilly. On realising what Cochrane planned, Burdett and his allies took steps to end the siege.

Cochrane, though popular with the public, was unable to get along with his colleagues in the House of Commons, or within the government. Usually, he had little success in promoting his causes. An exception was his successful confrontation of a prize court in 1814.

His conviction in the Great Stock Exchange Fraud of 1814 (see below) resulted in Parliament’s expelling him on 5 July 1814. However, his constituents in the seat of Westminster re-elected him at the resulting by-election on 16 July. He held this seat until 1818. In 1818, Cochrane’s last speech in Parliament advocated parliamentary reform.

In 1830, Cochrane initially expressed interest but then declined. Not only had Lord Brougham’s brother decided to run for the seat, but Cochrane also thought it would look bad for him to be publicly supporting a government from which he sought pardon for his fraud conviction.

In 1831, his father died and Cochrane became the 10th Earl of Dundonald. As such, he was no longer entitled to sit in the Commons. The Scottish peerage elected representative peers to sit in the House of Lords. He was never one of them, though several of his successors were.

In 1812, Cochrane married Katherine (“Katy”) Frances Corbet Barnes, a beautiful orphan, who was about twenty years his junior. This was an elopement and a civil ceremony, due to the opposition of his wealthy uncle Basil Cochrane, who disinherited his nephew as a result. Katherine, whom Cochrane called ‘Kate’, ‘Kitty’ or ‘Mouse’ in letters to her, often accompanied her husband on his extended campaigns in South America and Greece.

Cochrane and Katherine remarried in the Anglican Church in 1818, and in the Church of Scotland in 1825. They had six children;

  • Thomas Barnes Cochrane, 11th Earl of Dundonald, m. Louisa Harriett McKinnon.
  • William Horatio Bernardo Cochrane, officer, 92nd Gordon Highlanders, m. Jacobina Frances Nicholson.
  • Elizabeth Katharine Cochrane, died close to her first birthday.
  • Katharine Elizabeth Cochrane, m. John Willis Fleming.
  • Admiral Sir Arthur Auckland Leopold Pedro Cochrane KCB
  • Captain Ernest Gray Lambton Cochrane RN m. 1. Adelaide Blackall 2. Elizabeth Frances Maria Katherine Doherty.

The confusion of multiple ceremonies led to suspicions that Cochrane’s first son, Thomas Barnes Cochrane, was illegitimate. Investigation of this delayed Thomas’s accession to the Earldom of Dundonald on his father’s death.

In February 1814, rumours of Napoleon’s death began to circulate. The claims were seemingly confirmed by a man in a red staff officer’s uniform identifying as Colonel de Bourg, aide-de-camp to Lord Cathcart and British ambassador to Russia. He arrived in Dover from France on 21 February bearing news that Napoleon had been captured and killed by Cossacks. In reaction to the news and the possibility of peace, share prices rose sharply on the Stock Exchange, particularly in a volatile government stock called Omnium which increased from 26 and a half to 32.

But, it soon became clear that the news of Napoleon’s death was a hoax. The Stock Exchange established a sub-committee to investigate, and they discovered that six men had sold substantial amounts of Omnium stock during the boom in value. The committee assumed that all six were responsible for the hoax and subsequent fraud. Cochrane had disposed of his entire £139,000 holding in Omnium – which he had only acquired a month before – and was named as one of the six conspirators, as was his uncle, Andrew Cochrane-Johnstone and his stockbroker, Richard Butt. Within days, an anonymous informant told the committee that Colonel de Bourg was an imposter; a man named Charles Random, a former periodical colourist, who used his wife’s name and passed as a Prussian aristocrat named De Berenger, and he had been seen entering Cochrane’s house on the day of the hoax.

The accused were brought to trial in the Court of King’s Bench, Guildhall on 8 June 1814. The trial was presided over by Lord Ellenborough, a High Tory and a notable enemy of the radicals. They had previously convicted and sentenced radical politicians William Cobbett and Henry Hunt to prison in politically motivated trials. The evidence against Cochrane was circumstantial (as the prosecuting counsel pointed out) and hinged on the nature of his share dealings, his contacts with those who were clearly conspirators, and the colour of uniform De Berenger had been wearing when they met in his house. Cochrane admitted he was acquainted with De Berenger and that the man had visited his home on the day of the fraud, but insisted that he had arrived wearing a green sharpshooter’s uniform Cochrane said that De Berenger had visited to request passage to the United States aboard Cochrane’s new command, the HMS Tonnant.

Although in an affidavit created before the trial, Cochrane’s servants agreed that the collar of the uniform above De Berenger’s greatcoat had been green, they admitted to Cochrane’s solicitors that they thought the rest had been red. They were not called at trial to give evidence. The prosecution summoned a key witness, hackney carriage driver William Crane, who swore that De Berenger was wearing a scarlet uniform when he delivered him to the house. Cochrane’s defence also argued that he had given standing instructions to Butt that his Omnium shares were to be sold if the price rose by 1 per cent, and he would have made double profit if he waited until it reached its peak price. All the conspirators had given identical instructions to their brokers.

On the second day of the trial, Lord Ellenborough began his summary of the evidence and drew attention to the matter of De Berenger’s uniform; he concluded that witnesses had provided damning evidence. The jury retired to deliberate and returned a verdict of guilty against all the defendants two and a half hours later. Belatedly, Cochrane’s defence team found several witnesses who were willing to testify that De Berenger had arrived wearing a green uniform, but Lord Ellenborough dismissed their evidence as inadmissible because two of the conspirators had fled the country upon hearing the guilty verdict.

On 20 June 1814, Cochrane was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, fined £1,000 and was ordered to stand in the pillory opposite the Royal Exchange for one hour. In subsequent weeks, he was dismissed from the Royal Navy by the Admiralty and expelled from Parliament following a motion in the House of Commons, which was passed by 144 votes to 44. On the orders of the Prince Regent, Cochrane was humiliated by the loss of his knighthood in a degradation ceremony at Westminster Abbey. His banner was taken down and physically kicked out of the chapel and down the steps outside. But, within a month, Cochrane was re-elected unopposed as the Member of Parliament for Westminster. Following a public outcry, his sentence to the pillory was rescinded for fears it would lead to the outbreak of a riot.

The question of Cochrane’s innocence or guilt created much debate at the time, and it has divided historians ever since. Subsequent reviews of the trial carried out by three Lord Chancellors during the course of the 19th century concluded that Cochrane should have been found not guilty on the basis of the evidence produced in court. Cochrane maintained his innocence for the rest of his life and campaigned tirelessly to restore his damaged reputation and to clear his name. He believed the trial was politically motivated and that a “higher authority than the Stock Exchange” was responsible for his prosecution. A series of petitions put forward by Cochrane protesting his innocence were ignored until 1830.

That year King George IV (the former Prince Regent) died and was succeeded by William IV. He had served in the Royal Navy and was sympathetic to Cochrane’s cause. Later that year the Tory government fell and was replaced by a Whig government in which his friend, Lord Brougham, was appointed Lord Chancellor. Following a meeting of the Privy Council in May 1832, Cochrane was granted a pardon and restored to the Navy List with a promotion to rear-admiral. Support from friends in the government, and the writings of popular naval authors such as Frederick Marryat and Maria Graham increased public sympathy for Cochrane’s situation. In May 1847, with the personal intervention of Queen Victoria, Cochrane’s knighthood was restored and he was created a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath. Only in 1860 was his banner returned to Westminster Abbey; it was the day before his funeral.

In 1876, his grandson received a payment of £40,000 from the British government, based on the recommendations of a Parliamentary select committee, in compensation for Cochrane’s conviction. The committee had concluded his conviction was unjust.

Cochrane left the UK in official disgrace, but that did not end his naval career. Accompanied by Lady Cochrane and their two children, he reached Valparaíso on 28 November 1818. Chile was rapidly organising its new navy for its war of independence.

On 11 December 1818, at the request of Chilean leader Bernardo O’Higgins, Cochrane became a Chilean citizen, was appointed Vice Admiral, and took command of the Chilean Navy in Chile’s war of independence against Spain. He was the first Vice Admiral of Chile.(p37) Cochrane reorganised the Chilean navy, introducing British naval customs. He took command in the frigate O’Higgins and blockaded and raided the coasts of Peru as he had those of France and Spain. On his own initiative, he organised and led the capture of Valdivia, despite only having 300 men and two ships to deploy against seven large forts. He failed in his attempt to capture the Chiloé Archipelago for Chile.

In 1820, O’Higgins ordered him to convoy the Liberation Army of General José de San Martín to Peru, blockade the coast and support the campaign for independence. Later, forces under Cochrane’s personal command cut out and captured the frigate Esmeralda, the most powerful Spanish ship in South America. All this led to Peruvian independence, which O’Higgins considered indispensable to Chile’s independence and security. Cochrane’s victories in the Pacific were spectacular and important. The excitement was almost immediately marred by his accusations that he had been plotted against by subordinates and treated with contempt and denied adequate financial reward by his superiors. The evidence does not support these accusations, and the problem appeared to lie in Cochrane’s own suspicious and uneasy personality.

Loose words from Katy resulted in a rumour that Cochrane had made plans to free Napoleon from his exile on Saint Helena and make him ruler of a unified South American state. This could not have been true because Charles, the supposed envoy bearing the rumoured plans, had been killed two months before his reported “departure to Europe”. Cochrane left the service of the Chilean Navy on 29 November 1822.

Chilean naval vessels named after Lord Cochrane
The Chilean Navy has named five ships Cochrane or Almirante Cochrane (Admiral Cochrane) in his honour:

  • The first, Almirante Cochrane, was a famous battery ship that fought in the War of the Pacific (1879–1884).
  • The second Almirante Cochrane was a dreadnought battleship laid down in Britain in 1913. The Royal Navy acquired the unfinished ship in 1917, converting her into the carrier HMS Eagle (1918).
  • The third ship, Cochrane, was a Fletcher-class destroyer, the former USS Rooks (DD-804), commissioned into the Chilean Navy in 1962 and scrapped in 1983.
  • The fourth ship, Almirante Cochrane, was a County-class destroyer, the former HMS Antrim (D18), which the Chilean Navy acquired in 1984 and decommissioned in 2006.
  • The fifth and current ship to bear the name, Almirante Cochrane (FF-05), is a Type 23 frigate, the former HMS Norfolk (F230), which the Chilean Navy commissioned in 2006.

Brazil was fighting its own war of independence against Portugal. Excepting Montevideo (now in Uruguay but then in Cisplatina), in 1822 the southern provinces came under the control of the patriots led by the Prince Regent, later Emperor Pedro I. Portugal still controlled some important provincial capitals in the north, with major garrisons and naval bases such as Belém do Pará, Salvador da Bahia and São Luís do Maranhão.

Cochrane took command of the Brazilian Navy on 21 March 1823 and its flagship, the ‘Pedro I’. He blockaded the Portuguese in Bahia, confronted them at the Battle of 4 May, and forced them to evacuate the province in a vast convoy of ships which Cochrane’s men attacked as they crossed the Atlantic. Cochrane sailed to Maranhão (then spelled Maranham) on his own initiative and bluffed the garrison into surrender by claiming that a vast (and mythical) Brazilian fleet and army were over the horizon. He sent a subordinate, Captain John Pascoe Grenfell, to Belém do Pará to use the same bluff and extract a Portuguese surrender. As a result of Cochrane’s efforts, Brazil became totally de facto independent and free of any Portuguese troops. On Cochrane’s return to Rio de Janeiro in 1824, the Emperor Pedro I rewarded the officer by granting him the non-hereditary title of Marquess of Maranhão (Marquês do Maranhão) in the Empire of Brazil. He was also awarded an accompanying coat of arms.
As in Chile and earlier occasions, Cochrane’s joy at these successes was rapidly replaced by quarrels over pay and prize money, and an accusation that the Brazilian authorities were plotting against him.
In mid-1824, Cochrane sailed north with a squadron to assist the Brazilian army, under General Francisco Lima e Silva, to suppress a republican rebellion in the state of Pernambuco which had begun to spread to Maranhão and other northern states. The rebellion was rapidly extinguished. Cochrane proceeded to Maranhão, where he took over the administration. He demanded the payment of prize money which he claimed he was owed as a result of the recapture of the province in 1823. He absconded with public money and sacked merchant ships anchored in São Luís do Maranhão. Defying orders to return to Rio de Janeiro, Cochrane transferred to a captured Brazilian frigate, left Brazil on 10 November 1825, and returned to Britain.

Cochrane went to Greece to support its fight for independence from the Ottoman Empire, which had deployed an army raised in Egypt to suppress the Greek rebellion. Between March 1827 and December 1828, he took an active role in the campaign, but met with limited success due to the poor discipline of the Greek soldiers and seamen. One of his subordinates, Captain Hastings, attacked Ottoman forces at the Gulf of Lepanto, which indirectly led to intervention by Great Britain, France and Russia. They succeeded in destroying the Turko–Egyptian fleet at the Battle of Navarino, and the war was ended under mediation of the Great Powers.

Greece was probably the only campaign in Cochrane’s naval career in which the results of his efforts were disappointingly slight. At the end of the war, he resigned his commission and returned to Britain. For the first time since he was convicted for the Great Stock Exchange Fraud of 1814, his lively nature was brought to a standstill. Despite reports to the contrary, there is little evidence to suggest that he had a nervous breakdown.

Cochrane inherited his peerage following his father’s death on 1 July 1831, becoming the 10th Earl of Dundonald. He was restored to the Royal Navy list on 2 May 1832 as a Rear Admiral of the Blue. Cochrane’s full return to Royal Navy service was delayed by his refusal to take a command until his knighthood had been restored, which took 15 years. He continued to receive promotions in the list of flag officers, as follows:

  • Rear Admiral of the Blue on 2 May 1832
  • Rear Admiral of the White on 10 January 1837
  • Rear Admiral of the Red on 28 June 1838
  • Vice Admiral of the Blue on 23 November 1841
  • Vice Admiral of the White on 9 November 1846
  • Vice Admiral of the Red on 3 January 1848
  • Admiral of the Blue on 21 March 1851
  • Admiral of the White on 2 April 1853
  • Admiral of the Red on 8 December 1857

On 22 May 1847 Queen Victoria reinstated him as a knight in the Order of the Bath. He returned to the Royal Navy, serving as Commander-in-Chief of the North America and West Indies Station from 1848 to 1851. During the Crimean War, the government considered him for a command in the Baltic, but decided that there was too high a chance that Cochrane would risk the fleet in a daring attack. On 6 November 1854, he was appointed to the honorary office of Rear-Admiral of the United Kingdom, an office that he retained until his death.

In his final years, Cochrane wrote his autobiography in collaboration with G.B. Earp. With his health deteriorating, in 1860 he twice had to undergo painful surgery for kidney stones. He died during the second operation on 31 October 1860, in Kensington.

He was buried in Westminster Abbey, where his grave is in the central part of the nave. Each year in May representatives of the Chilean Navy hold a wreath-laying ceremony at his grave.

Convoys were guided by ships following the lamps of those ahead. In 1805, Cochrane entered a Royal Navy competition for a superior convoy lamp. Believing the judges to be biased against him, he reentered the contest under another name and won the prize.

In 1806, Cochrane had a galley made to his specifications, which he carried on board Pallas and used to attack the French coast. It had the advantage of mobility and flexibility.

In 1812, Cochrane proposed attacking the French coast using a combination of bombardment ships, explosion ships and “stink vessels” (gas warfare). A bombardment ship consisted of a strengthened old hulk filled with powder and shot and made to list one side. It was anchored at night to face the enemy behind the harbour wall. When set off, it provided saturation bombardment of the harbour, which would be closely followed by landings of troops. He put the plans forward again before and during the Crimean War. The authorities, however, decided not to pursue his plans.

In 1818, Cochrane patented, together with the engineer Marc Isambard Brunel, the tunnelling shield that Brunel and his son used in the building of the Thames Tunnel in 1825–43.

Cochrane was an early supporter of steamships. He tried to take the steamship Rising Star from Britain to Chile for use in the war of independence in the 1820s, but its construction took too long; it did not arrive until the war was ending. The Rising Star was a 410-ton vessel adapted to a revolutionary design at Brent’s Yard at the Greenland Dock at the Thames: twin funnels, retractable paddle wheels and driven by a 60-horsepower engine. Similarly, he suffered delays with construction of a steamship he had hoped to put into use in the Greek War of Independence. In the 1830s, he experimented with steam power, developing a rotary engine and a propeller. In 1851, Cochrane received a patent on powering steamships with bitumen. He was conferred with Honorary Membership of the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland in 1857.

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Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Admiral Sir Robert Barlow
25 December 1757 – 11 May 1843
Barlow was born in Covent Garden to wealthy mercer William Barlow and his wife Hilaire. The couple had numerous children, including Robert’s elder brother George Hilario Barlow who later became Governor-General of India.

Robert joined the Navy as a teenager and was promoted lieutenant in 1778, serving on HMS Courageux in the American Revolutionary War. In her, Barlow participated in the capture of the French frigate Minerve and also was part of the fleet which relieved the Great Siege of Gibraltar.

After the peace in 1783, Barlow married Elizabeth Garrett of Worting, Hampshire. The couple had a close relationship and numerous children. Between 1786 and 1789, Barlow commanded the revenue cutter HMS Barracouta, transferring to the larger brig HMS Childers on the same service in November 1790.

On 2 January 1793, Barlow took Childers into Brest to reconnoitre the port due to the growing hostility between Britain and the First French Republic. Tensions had been mounting for months since the French Revolution and the opening of the French Revolutionary Wars the previous year between France, Prussia, Austria and Sardinia but Britain and France were not yet at war when Barlow entered Brest. Within minutes of his arrival, the French opened fire on his diminutive craft. Barlow retreated without suffering any casualties. Barlow had received the first shots of a 23 year conflict.

In the war Barlow secured an early victory with seizure of the privateer Patriote off Gravelines. This was the first naval engagement of the war and his success secured Barlow a promotion to post captain in the frigate HMS Pegasus. Pegasus was attached to the Channel Fleet under Lord Howe and acted as a repeating ship for the admiral’s signals. Barlow was still in this position at the battle of the Glorious First of June, when he relayed Howe’s orders to the rest of the fleet. The battle was a success and Barlow was upgraded to the frigate HMS Aquilon as a reward for his service.

In 1795, Barlow moved to the new frigate HMS Phoebe and in her captured the French frigate Néréide in 1797. Four years later in the Straits of Gibraltar, Barlow repeated the feat by capturing the French frigate Africaine, which was transporting French soldiers to Egypt and had over 400 aboard. In a close contest, Phoebe forced her opponent to surrender and caused over 300 casualties to Africaine for just 13 of her own. For this second victory, Barlow was knighted and given command of the ship of the line HMS Triumph in the Mediterranean until 1804.

The Napoleonic wars were a less active period for Barlow, who served as Lord Keith‘s flag captain for a time and then as deputy controller of the navy before moving as superintendent of Chatham Dockyard. During this period he showed great skill as an administrator and improved services where ever he was stationed.

Barlow continued on shore service until 1823, when he was retired as a rear-admiral. He had been made a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath three years before. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in January, 1819.

Barlow enjoyed a lengthy retirement in Canterbury and in 1840 was restored to naval service in order to receive a belated promotion to full admiral and advancement to Knight Grand Cross. He died at the archbishop’s palace in Canterbury in May 1843. Two of his daughters had married well, wedding George Byng, 6th Viscount Torrington and William Nelson, 1st Earl Nelson.

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