The Life of Thomas, Lord Cochrane, Tenth Earl of Dundonald, G.C.B., Admiral of the Red, Rear-Admiral of the Fleet, Etc., Etc.
Thomas Cochrane, Earl of Dundonald

Part 1 out of 6

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Published 1869.




In these Volumes is recounted the public life of my late father from
the period to which the narrative was brought down by himself in his
unfinished "Autobiography of a Seaman." The completion of that work
was prevented by his death, which occurred almost immediately after
the publication of the Second Volume, eight years and a half ago.
I had hoped to supplement it sooner; but in this hope I have been

My father's papers were, at the time of his death, in the hands of
a gentleman who had assisted him in the preparation of his
"Autobiography," and to this gentleman was entrusted the completion
of the work. Illness and other occupations, however, interfered, and,
after a lapse of about two years, he died, leaving the papers, of
which no use had been made by him, to fall into the possession of
others. Only after long delay and considerable trouble and expense was
I able to recover them and realize my long-cherished purpose.

Further delay in the publication of this book has arisen from my
having been compelled, as my father's executor, to make three long and
laborious journeys to Brazil, which have engrossed much time.

At length, however, I find myself able to pay the debt which I
owe both to my father's memory and to the public, by whom the
"Autobiography of a Seaman" was read with so much interest. At the
beginning of last year I placed all the necessary documents in the
hands of my friend, Mr. H.R. Fox Bourne, asking him to handle them
with the same zeal of research and impartiality of judgment which he
has shown in his already published works. I have also furnished
him with my own reminiscences of so much of my father's life as was
personally known to me; and he has availed himself of all the help
that could be obtained from other sources of information, both private
and public. He has written the book to the best of his ability, and I
have done my utmost to help him in making it as complete and accurate
as possible. We hope that the late Earl of Dundonald's life and
character have been all the better delineated in that the work has
grown out of the personal knowledge of his son and the unbiassed
judgment of a stranger.

A long time having elapsed since the publication of the "Autobiography
of a Seaman," it has been thought well to give a brief recapitulation
of its story in an opening chapter.

The four following chapters recount my father's history during the
five years following the cruel Stock Exchange trial, the subject last
treated of in the "Autobiography." It is not strange that the
harsh treatment to which he was subjected should have led him into
opposition, in which there was some violence, which he afterwards
condemned, against the Government of the day. But, if there were
circumstances to be regretted in this portion of his career, it shows
almost more plainly than any other with what strength of philanthropy
he sought to aid the poor and the oppressed.

His occupations as Chief Admiral, first of Chili and afterwards
of Brazil, were described by himself in two volumes, entitled, "A
Narrative of Services in Chili, Peru, and Brazil." Therefore, the
seven chapters of the present work which describe these episodes
have been made as concise as possible. Only the most memorable
circumstances have been dwelt upon, and the details introduced have
been drawn to some extent from documents not included in the volumes
referred to.

There was no reason for abridgment in treating of my father's
connection with Greece. In the service of that country he was less
able to achieve beneficial results than in Chili and Brazil; but
as, on that ground, he has been frequently traduced by critics and
historians, it seemed especially important to show how his successes
were greater than these critics and historians have represented, and
how his failures sprang from the faults of others and from misfortunes
by which he was the chief sufferer. The documents left by him,
moreover, afford abundant material for illustrating an eventful period
in modern history. The chapters referring to Greece and Greek affairs,
accordingly, enter with especial fullness into the circumstances
of Lord Dundonald's life at this time, and his connection with
contemporary politics.

Eight other chapters recount all that was of most public interest in
the thirty years of my father's life after his return from Greece.
Except during a brief period of active service in his profession,
when he had command of the British squadron in North American and West
Indian waters, those thirty years were chiefly spent in efforts--by
scientific research, by mechanical experiment, and by persevering
argument--to increase the naval power of his country, and in efforts
no less zealous to secure for himself that full reversal of the
wrongful sentence passed upon him in a former generation, which
could only be attained by public restitution of the official rank and
national honours of which he had been deprived.

This restitution was begun by his Majesty King William IV., and
completed by our present most gracious Queen and the Prince Consort.
By the kindnesses which he received from these illustrious persons,
my father's later years were cheered; and I can never cease to be
profoundly grateful to my Sovereign, and her revered husband, for the
personal interest with which they listened to my prayer immediately
after his death. Through their gracious influence, the same banner of
the Bath that had been taken from him nearly fifty years before, was
restored to its place in Westminster Abbey, and allowed to float
over his remains at their time of burial. Thus the last stain upon my
father's memory was wiped out.

DUNDONALD. London, May 24th, 1869.


* * * * *



Introduction.--Lord Cochrane's Ancestry.--His First Occupations in
the Navy.--His Cruise in the _Speedy_ and Capture of the _Gamo_.--His
Exploits in the _Pallas_.--The beginning of his Parliamentary
Life.--His two Elections as Member for Honiton.--His Election for
Westminster.--Further Seamanship.--The Basque Roads Affair.--The
Court-Martial on Lord Gambier, and its injurious effects on Lord
Cochrane's Naval Career.--His Parliamentary Occupations.--His Visit to
Malta and its Issues.--The Antecedents and Consequences of the Stock
Exchange Trial - 1



The Issue of the Stock Exchange Trial.--Lord Cochrane's Committal to
the King's Bench Prison.--The Debate upon his Case in the House of
Commons, and his Speech on that Occasion.--His Expulsion from the
House, and Re-election as Member for Westminster.--The Withdrawal of
his Sentence to the Pillory.--The Removal of his Insignia as a Knight
of the Bath - 35



Lord Cochrane's Bearing in the King's Bench Prison.--His Street
Lamps.--His Escape, and the Motives for it.--His Capture in the House
of Commons, and subsequent Treatment.--His Confinement in the Strong
Room of the King's Bench Prison.--His Release - 48



Lord Cochrane's Return to the House of Commons.--His Share in the
Refusal of the Duke of Cumberland's Marriage Pension.--His Charges
against Lord Ellenborough, and their Rejection by the House.--His
Popularity.--The Part taken by him in Public Meetings for the Relief
of the People.--The London Tavern Meeting.--His further Prosecution,
Trial at Guildford, and subsequent Imprisonment.--The Payment of his
Fines by a Penny Subscription.--The Congratulations of his Westminster
Constituents - 74



The State of Politics in England in 1817 and 1818, and Lord Cochrane's
Share in them.--His Work as a Radical in and out of Parliament.--His
futile Efforts to obtain the Prize Money due for his Services at
Basque Roads.--The Holly Hill Siege.--The Preparations for his
Enterprise in South America.--His last Speech in Parliament - 109



The Antecedents of Lord Cochrane's Employments in South
America.--The War of Independence in the Spanish
Colonies.--Mexico.--Venezuela.--Colombia.--Chili.--The first
Chilian Insurrection.--The Carreras and O'Higgins.--The Battle of
Rancagua.--O'Higgins's Successes.--The Establishment of the Chilian
Republic.--Lord Cochrane invited to enter the Chilian Service - 137



Lord Cochrane's Voyage to Chili.--His Reception at Valparaiso and
Santiago.--The Disorganization of the Chilian Fleet.--First Signs
of Disaffection.--The Naval Forces of the Chilians and the
Spaniards.--Lord Cochrane's first Expedition to Peru.--His Attack on
Callao.--"Drake the Dragon" and "Cochrane the Devil."--Lord Cochrane's
Successes in Overawing the Spaniards, in Treasure-taking, and
in Encouragement of the Peruvians to join in the War of
Independence.--His Plan for another Attack on Callao.--His
Difficulties in Equipping the Expedition.--The Failure of
the Attempt.--His Plan for Storming Valdivia.--Its Successful
Accomplishment - 148



Lord Cochrane's Return to Valparaiso.--His Relations with the Chilian
Senate.--The third Expedition to Peru.--General San Martin.--The
Capture of the _Esmeralda_, and its Issue.--Lord Cochrane's subsequent
Work.--San Martin's Treachery.--His Assumption of the Protectorate
of Peru.--His Base Proposals to Lord Cochrane.--Lord Cochrane's
Condemnation of them.--The Troubles of the Chilian Squadron.--Lord
Cochrane's Seizure of Treasure at Ancon, and Employment of it in
Paying his Officers and Men.--His Stay at Guayaquil.--The Advantages
of Free Trade.--Lord Cochrane's Cruise along the Mexican Coast
in Search of the remaining Spanish Frigates.--Their Annexation by
Peru.--Lord Cochrane's last Visit to Callao - 177



Lord Cochrane's Return to Valparaiso,--The Conduct of the Chilian
Government towards him.--His Resignation of Chilian Employment, and
Acceptance of Employment under the Emperor of Brazil.--His subsequent
Correspondence with the Government of Chili.--The Results of his
Chilian Service. - 208



The Antecedents of Brazilian Independence.--Pedro I.'s Accession.--The
Internal and External Troubles of the New Empire.--Lord Cochrane's
Invitation to Brazil.--His Arrival at Rio de Janeiro, and Acceptance
of Brazilian Service.--His first Occupations.--The bad condition of
the Squadron, and the consequent Failure of his first Attack on the
Portuguese off Bahia.--His Plans for Improving the Fleet, and their
Success.--His Night Visit to Bahia, and the consequent Flight of the
Enemy.--Lord Cochrane's Pursuit of them.--His Visit to Maranham,
and Annexation of that Province and of Para.--His Return to Rio de
Janeiro.--The Honours conferred upon him. - 223



The Nature of the Rewards bestowed on Lord Cochrane for his first
Services to Brazil.--Pedro I. and the Portuguese Faction.--Lord
Cochrane's Advice to the Emperor.--The Troubles brought upon him by
it.--The Conduct of the Government towards him and the Fleet.--The
withholding of Prize-money and Pay.--Personal Indignities to Lord
Cochrane.--An Amusing Episode.--Lord Cochrane's Threat of Resignation,
and its Effect.--Sir James Mackintosh's Allusion to him in the House
of Commons - 246



The Insurrection in Pernambuco.--Lord Cochrane's Expedition to
suppress it.--The Success of his Work.--His Stay at Maranham.--The
Disorganized State of Affairs in that Province.--Lord Cochrane's
efforts to restore Order and good Government.--Their result in further
Trouble to himself.--His Cruise in the _Piranga_, and Return to
England.--His Treatment there.--His Retirement from Brazilian
Service.--His Letter to the Emperor Pedro I.--The End of his South
American Employments - 266



The Greek Revolution and its Antecedents.--The Modern Greeks.--The
Friendly Society.--Sultan Mahmud and Ali Pasha's Rebellion.--The
Beginning of the Greek Insurrection.--Count John Capodistrias.--Prince
Alexander Hypsilantes.--The Revolution in the Morca.--Theodore
Kolokotrones.--The Revolution in the Islands.--The Greek Navy and its
Character.--The Excesses of the Greeks.--Their bad Government.--Prince
Alexander Mavrocordatos.--The Progress of the Revolution.--The
Spoliation of Chios.--English Philhellenes; Thomas Gordon, Frank Abney
Hastings, Lord Byron.--The first Greek Loan, and the bad uses to
which it was put.--Reverses of the Greeks.--Ibrahim and his
Successes.--Mavrocordatos's Letter to Lord Cochrane - 286



Lord Cochrane's Dismissal from Brazilian Service, and his Acceptance
of Employment as Chief Admiral of the Greeks.--The Greek Committee and
the Greek Deputies in London.--The Terms of Lord Cochrane's Agreement,
and the consequent Preparations.--His Visit to Scotland.--Sir Walter
Scott's Verses on Lady Cochrane.--Lord Cochrane's forced Retirement to
Boulogne, and thence to Brussels.--The Delays in fitting out the
Greek Armament.--Captain Hastings, Mr. Hobhouse, and Sir Francis
Burdett.--Captain Hastings's Memoir on the Greek Leaders and
their Characters.--The first Consequences of Lord Cochrane's new
Enterprise.--The Duke of Wellington's Message to Lord Cochrane.--The
Greek Deputies' Proposal to Lord Cochrane and his Answer.--The Final
Arrangements for his Departure.--The Messiah of the Greeks. - 318



Lord Cochrane's Departure for Greece.--His Visit to London and
Voyage to the Mediterranean.--His Stay at Messina, and afterwards
at Marseilles.--The Delays in Completing the Steamships, and the
consequent Injury to the Greek Cause, and serious Embarrassment
to Lord Cochrane.--His Correspondence with Messrs. J. and S.
Ricardo.--His Letter to the Greek Government.--Chevalier Eynard, and
the Continental Philhellenes.--Lord Cochrane's Final Departure and
Arrival in Greece. - 355



The Progress of Affairs in Greece.--The Siege of Missolonghi.--Its
Fall.--The Bad Government and Mismanagement of the Greeks.--General
Ponsonby's Account of them.--The Effect of Lord Cochrane's Promised
Assistance.--The Fears of the Turks, as shown in their Correspondence
with Mr. Canning.--The Arrival of Captain Hastings in Greece, with the
_Karteria_.--His Opinion of Greek Captains and Sailors.--The Frigate
_Hellas_,--Letters to Lord Cochrane from Admiral Miaoulis and the
Governing Commission of Greece. - 368


* * * * *

I. (Page 22.)--"Resume of the Services of the late Earl of Dundonald,
none of which have been Requited or Officially Recognised," by Thomas,
Eleventh Earl of Dundonald. - 389

II. (Page 23.)--Part of a Speech delivered by Lord Cochrane in the
House of Commons, on the 11th of May, 1809, on Naval Abuses. - 397

III. (Page 258.)--A Letter written by Lord Cochrane to the Secretary
of State of Brazil on the 3rd of May, 1824. - 400







Thomas, Loud Cochrane, tenth Earl of Dundonald, was born at Annsfield,
in Lanark, on the 14th of December, 1775, and died in London on the
31st of October, 1860. Shortly before his death he wrote two volumes,
styled "The Autobiography of a Seaman," which set forth his history
down to 1814, the fortieth year of his age. To those volumes the
present work, recounting his career during the ensuing six-and-forty
years, is intended to serve as a sequel. Before entering upon the
later narrative, however, it will be necessary briefly to recapitulate
the incidents that have been already detailed.

The Earl of Dundonald was descended from a long line of knights and
barons, chiefly resident in Renfrew and Ayr, many of whom were men
of mark in Scottish history during the thirteenth and following
centuries. Robert Cochran was the especial favourite and foremost
counsellor of James III., who made him Earl of Mar; but the favours
heaped upon him, and perhaps a certain arrogance in the use of those
favours, led to so much opposition from his peers and rivals that he
was assassinated by them in 1480.[A]

[Footnote A: Pinkerton, the historian, gives some curious details,
illustrating not only Robert Cochran's character, but also the
condition of government and society in Scotland four centuries ago.
"The Scottish army," he says, "amounting to about fifty thousand, had
crowded to the royal banner at Burrough Muir, near Edinburgh, whence
they marched to Soutray and to Lauder, at which place they encamped
between the church and the village. Cochran, Earl of Mar, conducted
the artillery. On the morning after their arrival at Lauder, the peers
assembled in a secret council, in the church, and deliberated upon
their designs of revenge.... Cochran, ignorant of their designs, left
the royal presence to proceed to the council. The earl was attended by
three hundred men, armed with light battle-axes, and distinguished
by his livery of white with black fillets. He was clothed in a riding
cloak of black velvet, and wore a large chain of gold around his
neck; his horn of the chase, or of battle, was adorned with gold
and precious stones, and his helmet, overlaid with the same valuable
metal, was borne before him. Approaching the door of the church,
he commanded an attendant to knock with authority; and Sir Robert
Douglas, of Lochleven, who guarded the passage, inquiring the name,
was answered, 'Tis I, the Earl of Mar.' Cochran and some of his
friends were admitted. Angus advanced to him, and pulling the gold
chain from his neck, said, 'A rope will become thee better,' while
Douglas of Lochleven seized his hunting-horn, declaring that he had
been too long a hunter of mischief. Rather astonished than alarmed,
Cochran said, 'My lords, is it jest or earnest?' To which it was
replied, 'It is good earnest, and so thou shalt find it; for thou
and thy accomplices have too long abused our prince's favour. But no
longer expect such advantage, for thou and thy followers shall now
reap the deserved reward.' Having secured Mar, the lords despatched
some men-at-arms to the king's pavilion, conducted by two or three
moderate leaders, who amused James, while their followers seized the
favourites. Sir William Roger and others were instantly hanged over
the bridge at Lauder. Cochran was now brought out, his hands bound
with a rope, and thus conducted to the bridge, and hanged above his
fellows."] Later scions of the family prospered, and in 1641, Sir
William Cochrane was raised to the peerage, as Lord Cochrane of
Cowden, by Charles I. For his adherence to the royal cause this
nobleman was fined 5000_l._ by the Long Parliament in 1654; and, in
recompense for his loyalty, he was made first Earl of Dundonald by
Charles II. in 1669. His successors were faithful to the Stuarts, and
thereby they suffered heavily. Archibald, the ninth Earl, inheriting a
patrimony much reduced by the loyalty and zeal of his ancestors, spent
it all in the scientific pursuits to which he devoted himself, and
in which he was the friendly rival of Watt, Priestley, Cavendish, and
other leading chemists and mechanicians of two or three generations
ago. His eldest son, heir to little more than a famous name and a
chivalrous and enterprising disposition, had to fight his own way in
the world.

Lord Cochrane--as the subject of these memoirs was styled in courtesy
until his accession to the peerage in 1831--was intended by his father
for the army, in which he received a captain's commission. But his
own predilections were in favour of a seaman's life, and accordingly,
after brief schooling, he joined the _Hind_, as a midshipman, in June,
1793, when he was nearly eighteen years of age.

During the next seven years he learnt his craft in various ships
and seas, being helped in many ways by his uncle, the Hon. Alexander
Cochrane, but profiting most by his own ready wit and hearty love
of his profession. Having been promoted to the rank of lieutenant in
1794, he was made commander of the _Speedy_ early in 1800. This little
sloop, not larger than a coasting brig, but crowded with eighty-four
men and six officers, seemed to be intended only for playing at war.
Her whole armament consisted of fourteen 4-pounders. When her new
commander tried to add to these a couple of 12-pounders, the deck
proved too small and the timbers too weak for them, and they had to be
returned. So Lilliputian was his cabin, that, to shave himself, Lord
Cochrane was obliged to thrust his head out of the skylight and make a
dressing-table of the quarter-deck.

Yet the _Speedy_, ably commanded, was quite large enough to be of
good service. Cruising in her along the Spanish coast, Lord Cochrane
succeeded in capturing many gunboats and merchantmen, and the enemy
soon learnt to regard her with especial dread. On one memorable
occasion, the 6th of May, 1801, he fell in with the _Gamo_, a Spanish
frigate furnished with six times as many men as were in the _Speedy_
and with seven times her weight of shot. Lord Cochrane, boldly
advancing, locked his little craft in the enemy's rigging. It was, in
miniature, a contest as unequal as that by which Sir Francis Drake and
his fellows overcame the Great Armada of Spain in 1588, and with like
result. The heavy shot of the _Gamo_ riddled the _Speedy's_ sails,
but, passing overhead, did no mischief to her hulk or her men. During
an hour there was desperate fighting with small arms, and twice
the Spaniards tried in vain to board their sturdy little foe. Lord
Cochrane then determined to meet them on their own deck, and the
daring project was facilitated by one of the smart expedients in which
he was never wanting. Before going into action, "knowing," as he said,
"that the final struggle would be a desperate one, and calculating
on the superstitious wonder which forms an element in the Spanish
character," he had ordered his crew to blacken their faces; and, "what
with this and the excitement of combat, more ferocious-looking objects
could scarcely be imagined." With these men following him he promptly
gained the frigate's deck, and then their strong arms and hideous
faces soon frightened the Spaniards into submission.

The senior officer of the _Gamo_ asked for a certificate of his
bravery, and received one testifying that he had conducted himself
"like a true Spaniard." To Spain, of course, this was no sarcasm,
and on the strength of the document its holder soon obtained further

That achievement, which cost only three men's lives, led to
consequences greater than could have been expected. Lord Cochrane,
after three months' waiting, received the rank of post captain. But
his desire that the services of Lieutenant Parker, his second in
command, should also be recompensed led to a correspondence with Earl
St. Vincent which turned him from a jealous superior into a bitter
enemy. In reply to Lord Cochrane's recommendation, Earl St. Vincent
alleged that "it was unusual to promote two officers for such a
service,--besides which the small number of men killed on board the
_Speedy_ did not warrant the application." Lord Cochrane answered,
with incautious honesty, that "his lordship's reasons for not
promoting Lieutenant Parker, because there were only three men killed
on board the _Speedy_, were in opposition to his lordship's own
promotion to an earldom, as well as that of his flag-captain to
knighthood, and his other officers to increased rank and honours; for
that, in the battle from which his lordship derived his title there
was only one man killed on board his own flagship." That was language
too plain to be forgiven.

In July, 1801, the _Speedy_ was captured by three French
line-of-battle ships, whose senior in command, Captain Palliere,
declined to accept the sword of an officer "who had," as he said,
"for so many hours struggled against impossibility," and asked Lord
Cochrane, though a prisoner, still to wear it. He, however, was
refused employment as commander of another ship. Thereupon, with
characteristic energy, he devoted his forced leisure from professional
pursuits to a year of student life at Edinburgh, where, in 1802, Lord
Palmerston was his class-fellow under Professor Dugald Stewart.

This occupation, however, was disturbed by the renewal of war with
France in 1803. Lord Cochrane, though with difficulty, then obtained
permission to return to active service, the _Arab_, one of the
craziest little ships in the navy, being assigned to him. On his
representing that she was too rotten for use off the French coast, he
was ordered to employ her in cruising in the North Sea and protecting
the fisheries north-east of the Orkneys, "where," as he said, "no
vessel fished, and consequently there were no fisheries to protect."
This ignominious work lasted for a year. It was brought to a close
in December, 1804, soon after the appointment of Lord Melville, in
succession to Earl St. Vincent, as First Lord of the Admiralty.

By him Lord Cochrane was transferred from the _Arab_ to the _Pallas_,
a new and smart frigate of thirty-two guns, and allowed to use her in
a famous cruise of prize-taking among the Azores and off the coast
of Portugal. This was followed in 1806 by farther work in the same
frigate, the closing portion of which was especially memorable. Being
off the Basque Roads at the end of April he fixed his attention upon a
frigate, the _Minerve_, and three brigs, forming an important part of
the French squadron in the Mediterranean. After three weeks' waiting,
on the 14th of May, he saw the frigate and the brigs approaching him,
and promptly prepared to attack them. He was not deterred by knowing
that the _Minerve_ alone, carrying forty guns, was far stronger than
the _Pallas_, which had also to withstand the force of the three
brigs, each with sixteen guns, and to be prepared for the fire of the
batteries on the Isle d'Aix. "This morning, when close to Isle d'Aix,
reconnoitring the French squadron," he wrote concisely to his admiral,
"it gave me great joy to find our late opponent, the black frigate,
and her companions, the three brigs, getting under sail. We formed
high expectations that the long wished-for opportunity was at last
arrived. The _Pallas_ remained under topsails by the wind to await
them. At half-past eleven a smart point-blank firing commenced on both
sides, which was severely felt by the enemy. The main topsail-yard
of one of the brigs was cut through, and the frigate lost her
after-sails. The batteries on I'lsle d'Aix opened on the _Pallas_, and
a cannonade continued, interrupted on our part only by the necessity
we were under to make various tacks to avoid the shoals, till one
o'clock, when our endeavour to gain the wind of the enemy and get
between him and the batteries proved successful. An effectual distance
was now chosen. A few broadsides were poured in. The enemy's fire
slackened. I ordered ours to cease, and directed Mr. Sutherland, the
master, to run the frigate on board, with intention effectually to
prevent her retreat. The enemy's side thrust our guns back into the
ports. The whole were then discharged. The effect and crash were
dreadful. Their decks were deserted. Three pistol-shots were the
unequal return. With confidence I say that the frigate would have
been lost to France, had not the unequal collision torn away our
fore-topmast, jib-boom, fore and maintop-sails, spritsail-yards,
bumpkin, cathead, chainplates, fore-rigging, foresail, and bower
anchor, with which last I intended to hook on; but all proved
insufficient. She would yet have been lost to France, had not the
French admiral, seeing his frigate's foreyard gone, her rigging
ruined, and the danger she was in, sent two others to her assistance.
The _Pallas_ being a wreck, we came out with what sail could be set,
and his Majesty's sloop the _Kingfisher_ afterwards took us in tow."
The exploit was none the less valiant in that it was partly a failure.

The waiting-times before and after that cruise were occupied by Lord
Cochrane with brief commencement of parliamentary life. Long before
this time Lord Cochrane had resolved on entering the House of Commons,
in order to expose the naval abuses which were then rife, and which he
had never been deterred, by consideration of his own interests, from
boldly denouncing. He stood for Honiton in 1805, and was defeated
through his refusal to vie with his opponent in the art of bribery. He
contrived, however, to profit by corruption while he punished it.
As soon as the election was over, he gave ten guineas to each of the
constituents who had freely voted for him. The consequence of this was
his triumphant return at the new election, which took place in July,
1806. When his supporters asked for like payment to that made in the
previous instance, it was bluntly refused. "The former gift," said
Lord Cochrane, "was for your disinterested conduct in not taking the
bribe of five pounds from the agents of my opponent. For me now to pay
you would be a violation of my principles."

A short cruise in the Basque Roads prevented Lord Cochrane from
occupying in the House of Commons the seat thus won, and in April,
1807, very soon after his return, Parliament was again dissolved. He
then resolved to stand for Westminster, with Sir Francis Burdett for
his associate. Both were returned, and Lord Cochrane held his seat for
eleven years. In 1807, however, he had only time to bring forward two
motions respecting sinecures and naval abuses, which issued in violent
but unproductive discussion, when he received orders to join the fleet
in the Mediterranean as captain of the _Imperieuse_. Naval employment
was grudgingly accorded to him; but it was thought wiser to give him
work abroad than to suffer under his free speech at home.

This employment was marked by many brilliant deeds, which procured
for him, on his surrendering his command of the _Imperieuse_ after
eighteen months' duration, the reproach of having spent more sails,
stores, gunpowder, and shot than had been used by any other captain in
the service.

The most brilliant deed of all, one of the most brilliant deeds in
the whole naval history of England, was his well-known exploit in the
Basque Roads on the 11th, 12th, and 13th of April, 1809. Much against
his will, he was persuaded by Lord Mulgrave, at that time First
Lord of the Admiralty, to bear the responsibility of attacking and
attempting to destroy the French squadron by means of fireships
and explosion-vessels. The project was opposed by Lord Gambier, the
Admiral of the Fleet, as being at once "hazardous, if not desperate,"
and "a horrible and anti-Christian mode of warfare;" and consequently
he gave no hearty co-operation. On Lord Cochrane devolved the whole
duty of preparing for and executing the project. His own words will
best tell the story.

"On the 11th of April," he said, "it blew hard, with a high sea. As
all preparations were complete, I did not consider the state of
the weather a justifiable impediment to the attack; so that, after
nightfall, the officers who volunteered to command the fireships were
assembled on board the _Caledonia_, and supplied with instructions
according to the plan previously laid down by myself. The _Imperieuse_
had proceeded to the edge of the Boyart Shoal, close to which she
anchored with an explosion-vessel made fast to her stern, it being my
intention, after firing the one of which I was about to take charge,
to return to her for the other, to be employed as circumstances might
require. At a short distance from the _Imperieuse_ were anchored
the frigates _Aigle_, _Unicorn_, and _Pallas_, for the purpose of
receiving the crews of the fireships on their return, as well as to
support the boats of the fleet assembled alongside the _Caesar_, to
assist the fireships. The boats of the fleet were not, however, for
some reason or other made use of at all.

"Having myself embarked on board the largest explosion-vessel,
accompanied by Lieut. Bissel and a volunteer crew of four men only,
we led the way to the attack. The night was dark, and, as the wind was
fair, though blowing hard, we soon neared the estimated position
of the advanced French ships, for it was too dark to discern them.
Judging our distance, therefore, as well as we could, with regard to
the time the fuse was calculated to burn, the crew of four men entered
the gig, under the direction of Lieut. Bissel, whilst I kindled the
portfires, and then, descending into the boat, urged the men to pull
for their lives, which they did with a will, though, as wind and sea
were strong against us, without making the expected progress.

"To our consternation, the fuses, which had been constructed to burn
fifteen minutes, lasted little more than half that time, when the
vessel blew up, filling the air with shells, grenades, and rockets;
whilst the downward and lateral force of the explosion raised
a solitary mountain of water, from the breaking of which in all
directions our little boat narrowly escaped being swamped. The
explosion-vessel did her work well, the effect constituting one of the
grandest artificial spectacles imaginable. For a moment, the sky was
red with the lurid glare arising from the simultaneous ignition of
fifteen hundred barrels of powder. On this gigantic flash subsiding,
the air seemed alive with shells, grenades, rockets, and masses of
timber, the wreck of the shattered vessel. The sea was convulsed as
by an earthquake, rising, as has been said, in a huge wave, on whose
crest our boat was lifted like a cork, and as suddenly dropped into
a vast trough, out of which as it closed upon us with the rush of a
whirlpool, none expected to emerge. In a few minutes nothing but
a heavy rolling sea had to be encountered, all having again become
silence and darkness."

In spite of its bursting too soon, the explosion-vessel did excellent
work. The strong boom, composed of large spars bound by heavy chains,
and firmly anchored at various points in its length of more than a
mile, which was supposed to constitute an impassable barrier between
the English ships that were outside and the French ships locked behind
it, was broken in several parts. The enemy's ships were thoroughly
disorganised by the sudden and appalling occurrence of the explosion.
In their alarm and confusion, many of them fired into one another,
and all might have been easily destroyed had the first success of the
explosion-vessel been properly followed up. Unfortunately, however, on
returning to the _Imperieuse_, Lord Cochrane found that there had been
gross mismanagement of the fireships, which, according to his plans,
were to have been despatched against various sections of the French
fleet while it was too confused to protect itself. One of them, fired
at the wrong time and sent in a wrong direction, nearly destroyed
the _Imperieuse_ and caused the wasting of a second explosion-vessel,
which was meant to be held in reserve. The others, if not as
mischievous in their effects, were almost as useless. "Of all the
fire-ships, upwards of twenty in number," said Lord Cochrane, "only
four reached the enemy's position, and not one did any damage. The
_Imperieuse_ lay three miles from the enemy, so that the one which was
near setting fire to her became useless at the outset; whilst several
others were kindled a mile and a half to the windward of this, or four
miles and a half from the enemy. Of the remainder, many were at once
rendered harmless from being brought to on the wrong tack. Six passed
a mile to windward of the French fleet, and one grounded on Oleron."

Though the full success of Lord Cochrane's scheme was thus prevented,
however, the work done by it was considerable. "As the fireships began
to light up the roads," he said, "we could observe the enemy's fleet
in great confusion. Without doubt, taking every fireship for an
explosion-vessel, and being deceived as to their distance, not only
did the French make no effort to divert them from their course, but
some of their ships cut their cables and were seen drifting away
broadside on to the wind and tide, whilst others made sail, as the
only alternative to escape from what they evidently considered certain
destruction. At daylight on the morning of the 12th, not a spar of the
boom was anywhere visible, and, with the exception of the _Foudroyant_
and _Cassard_, the whole of the enemy's vessels were helplessly
aground. The flag-ship, _L'Ocean_, a three-decker, drawing the most
water, lay outermost on the north-west edge of the Palles Shoal,
nearest the deep water, where she was most exposed to attack; whilst
all, by the fall of the tide, were lying on their bilge, with
their bottoms completely exposed to shot, and therefore beyond the
possibility of resistance."

The French fleet had not been destroyed; yet it was so paralysed by
the shock that its utter defeat seemed easy to Lord Cochrane. To the
mast of the _Imperieuse_, between six o'clock in the morning of the
12th and one in the afternoon, he hoisted signal after signal, urging
Lord Gambier, who was with the main body of the fleet about fourteen
miles off, to make an attack. Failing in all these, and growing
desperate in his zeal, especially as every hour of delay was enabling
the French to recover themselves and rendering success less sure, he
suffered his single frigate to drift towards the enemy. "I did not
venture to make sail," wrote Lord Cochrane, in his very modest account
of this daring exploit, "lest the movement might be seen from the
flag-ship, and a signal of recall should defeat my purpose of making
an attack with the _Imperieuse_; my object being to compel the
Commander-in-Chief to send vessels to our assistance. We drifted by
the wind and tide slowly past the fortifications on Isle d'Aix; but,
though they fired at us with every gun that could be brought to bear,
the distance was too great to inflict damage. Proceeding thus till
1.30 p.m., we then suddenly made sail after the nearest of the enemy's
vessels escaping. In order to divert our attention from the vessels
we were pursuing, these having thrown their guns overboard, the
_Calcutta_, a store-ship carrying fifty-six guns, which was still
aground, broadside on, began firing at us. Before proceeding further,
it became therefore necessary to attack her, and at 1.50 we shortened
sail and returned the fire. At 2.0 the _Imperieuse_ came to an anchor
in five fathoms, and, veering to half a cable, kept fast the spring,
firing upon the _Calcutta_ with our broadside, and at the same time
upon the _Aquillon_ and _Ville de Varsovie_, two line-of-battle ships,
each of seventy-four guns, with our forecastle and bow guns, both
these ships being aground stern on, in an opposite direction. After
some time we had the satisfaction of observing several ships sent
to our assistance, namely, the _Emerald_, the _Unicorn_, the
_Indefatigable_, the _Valiant_, the _Revenge_, the _Pallas_, and the
_Aigle_. On seeing this, the captain and the crew of the _Calcutta_
abandoned their vessel, of which the boats of the _Imperieuse_ took
possession before the vessels sent to our assistance came down." Soon
after the arrival of the new ships, the two other vessels were also
forced to surrender.

Most of the ships sent to his assistance returned to Lord Grambier on
the 13th. Lord Cochrane, seeing that it would be easy for him to do
much further mischief, made ready for the work on the morrow. But from
this he was prevented by the inexcusable conduct of Lord Gambier, who,
having discountenanced the attempt with the fireships, now not
only refused to take part in the victory which his comrade had made
possible, but also hindered its achievement by him.

Lord Cochrane had already overstepped the strict duty of a
subordinate, though acting only as became an English sailor. The
fireships with which he had been ordered to ruin the enemy's fleet had
partly failed through the error of others. "It was then," he said, "a
question with me whether I should disappoint the expectations of my
country, be set down as a charlatan by the Admiralty, whose hopes had
been raised by my plan, and have my future prospects destroyed, or
force on an action which some had induced an easy Commander-in-Chief
to believe impracticable." He did force on some fighting, which
was altogether disastrous to the enemy, and rich in tokens of his
unflinching heroism; but it was in violation of repeated orders,
dubiously worded, from Lord Grambier, and, when at last an order was
issued in terms too distinct to allow of any further evasion, he had
no alternative but to abandon the enterprise. He was at once sent
back to England, to be rewarded with much popular favour, and with a
knighthood of the Order of the Bath, conferred by George III., but to
become the victim of an official persecution, which, embittering his
whole life, lasted almost to its close.

It must be admitted that this persecution was in great measure
provoked by Lord Cochrane's own fearless conduct. He was reasonably
aggrieved at the effort made by the Admiralty authorities to attribute
to Lord Gambier, who had taken no part at all in the achievements in
Basque Roads, all the merit of their success. To use his own caustic
but accurate words, "The only victory gained by Lord Gambier in Basque
Roads was that of bringing his ships to anchor there, whilst the
enemy's ships were quietly heaving off from the banks on which they
had been driven nine miles distant from the fleet." When for this
proceeding it was determined to honour Lord Gambier with the thanks
of Parliament, Lord Cochrane, as member for Westminster, announced his
intention of opposing the motion. As a bribe to silence he was offered
an important command by Lord Mulgrave, and it was proposed that his
name should be included in the vote of thanks. The bribe being
refused and the opposition persisted in, Lord Gambier demanded a
court-martial, in which, as he alleged, to controvert the insinuations
thrown out against him by Lord Cochrane.

The history of this court-martial, its antecedents and its
consequences, furnishes an episode almost unique in the annals
of official injustice. As a preparation for it, Lord Gambier, in
obedience to orders from the Admiralty, supplemented his first account
of the victory by another of entirely different tenour. In the first,
written on the spot, he had avowed that he could not speak highly
enough of Lord Cochrane's vigour and gallantry in approaching the
enemy,--conduct, he said, "which could not be exceeded by any feat of
valour hitherto achieved by the British Navy." In the record, written
four weeks later and in London, he altogether ignored Lord Cochrane's
services, and transferred the entire merit to himself.

The whole conduct of the court-martial was in keeping with that
prelude. No effort was spared in stifling all the evidence on Lord
Cochrane's side, and in adducing false testimony against him. Logbooks
and witnesses alike were tampered with. In support of his scheme for
annihilating the whole French fleet, Lord Cochrane produced in court
a chart showing the relative position of the various points in Aix
Roads, and of the overhanging fort which was to protect the French
ships. This chart, left lying upon the table, was tacitly accepted by
the authorities of the Admiralty as a trustworthy document, and
duly preserved among the official records. But at the time the court
refused to receive it in evidence, and adopted instead two falsified
charts, in which, by the introduction of imaginary shoals and the
narrowing of the channel to Aix Roads from two miles to one, the
success of the scheme appeared impossible. Although this gross
deception was more than suspected, both then and afterwards, by Lord
Cochrane, his repeated applications to the Admiralty for permission to
inspect the documents were steadily refused. It was not till more than
fifty years after the period of the court-martial that he was able to
prove the scandalous fraud.[A]

[Footnote A: Readers of "The Autobiography of a Seaman" need not be
reminded of the copious and convincing evidence of the way in which he
was treated by this court-martial that was adduced by Lord Dundonald
in that work.]

The result of the court-martial was, of course, such as from the first
had been intended. Lord Grambier was acquitted, and unlimited blame
was, by inference, thrown upon Lord Cochrane. The coveted vote
of thanks was promptly obtained from the House of Commons; Lord
Cochrane's proposal that the minutes of the court-martial be first
investigated being, through ministerial influence, summarily rejected.

These proceedings determined the course which men in power were to
adopt, and fixed Lord Cochrane's future. It was a future to be made up
of cruel disregard and of revengeful persecution.[A]

[Footnote A: See Appendix (I.).]

Soon after the close of the trial, the brave seaman applied to the
Admiralty for permission to rejoin his old frigate, the _Imperieuse_,
and accompanied his application with a bold plan for attacking the
French fleet in the Scheldt. He received an insulting answer to the
effect that, if he would be ready to quit the country in a week, and
then to occupy a position subordinate to that which he had formerly
held, his services would be accepted. On his replying that his
great desire to be employed in his profession made him willing to
do anything, and that all he wished for was a little longer time for
preparation, no further communication was vouchsafed to him. He was
quietly superseded in the command of the _Imperieuse_, and received no
other ship.

Out of this ill-treatment, however, resulted some benefit to the
nation. Lord Cochrane employed much of his forced leisure, during the
next few years, in exposing abuses that were then over-abundant, and
in strenuously advocating reform. In Parliament, voting always with
his friend Sir Francis Burdett and the Radical party, he limited
his exertions to naval matters, and such as were within his own
experience. Herein there was plenty to occupy him, and much that it is
now amusing to look back upon.[A]

[Footnote A: See Appendix (II.).]

One scandalous grievance led to a memorable episode in his life. The
many prizes taken by him in the Mediterranean, which, according to
rule, had been sent to the Maltese Admiralty Court for condemnation,
had been encumbered with such preposterous charges that, instead of
realizing anything by his captures, he was made out to be largely
in debt to the Court. The principal agent of this Court was a Mr.
Jackson, who illegally held office as at the same time marshal and
proctor. "The consequence was," said Lord Cochrane, "that every
prize placed in his hands as proctor had to pass through his hands
as marshal; whilst as proctor it was further in his power to consult
himself as marshal as often as he pleased, and to any extent he
pleased. The amount of self-consultation may be imagined." As proctor
he charged for visiting himself, and as marshal he charged for
receiving visits from himself. As marshal he was paid for instructing
himself, and as proctor he was paid for listening to his own
instructions. Ten shillings and twopence three farthings was the
customary charge for an oath to the effect that he had served a
monition on himself. Of the sheets composing the bill for services of
these sorts presented to him, Lord Cochrane formed a roll which, when
unfolded and exhibited in Parliament, stretched from the Speaker's
table to the bar of the House.

Not content, however, with laughing at the official robberies
committed upon him, he determined, early in 1811, to proceed to Malta
and personally investigate the matter. Reaching Valetta long before he
was expected, he immediately presented himself at the court-house,
and asked for a copy of the table of fees authorized by the Crown,
and which, according to directions, ought to have been placed
conspicuously in the public room. The existence of such a document
being denied, he proceeded to hunt for it himself, and, after long and
careful search, found it concealed in an out-of-the-way corner of
the building. Having taken possession of it, he was carrying off the
prize, which he intended to exhibit in the House of Commons, in token
of the extent to which he and others had been defrauded, when he
was arrested for contempt of court. He protested that the arrest was
illegal, seeing that, as the court had not been sitting, no insult
could have been offered to it. The plea was not accepted, and he
was sent to gaol. No ground for punishment, however, could be found
against him; and, after refusing to help the authorities out of their
embarrassment by going at large on bail, and insisting on a proper
exculpation or nothing at all, he let himself out of window by means
of a rope. A gig was waiting for him, by which he was enabled to
overtake the packet-boat that had quitted Malta shortly before,
to return to London, and to present the document seized by him to
Parliament a month before the official report of his escapade reached

[Footnote A: This letter from the Duke of Kent to Lord Cochrane will
help to show that, even after the time of his Admiralty persecution,
he was not without friends and admirers in high quarters:--"Kensington
Palace, 7th July, 1812. My dear Lord,--I trust the acquaintance I
have the satisfaction to possess with your lordship, and the long
and intimate friendship subsisting between myself and your brother,
Lieut.-Colonel Basil Cochrane, will warrant my intruding upon you for
the purpose of seconding the wishes expressed by a young naval protege
of mine, and I cannot help adding my earnest request that when your
distinguished zeal and talents in your profession are again called
into action by Government, you will kindly oblige me by taking
Lieutenant Edgar under your wing and protection; he is a fine young
man, and I think would not disgrace the wardroom of your lordship's
ship. I remain, with my sincere regard, my dear lord, yours
faithfully, EDWARD.

"_The Right Honourable Lord Cochrane_."]

An imprisonment of very different character occurred after an interval
of nearly three years. This was in consequence of the famous Stock
Exchange trial, the episode last treated of by the Earl of Dundonald
in his Autobiography, and not quite recounted to the end before death
stayed his hand.

From 1809 to 1813, Lord Cochrane was allowed to take no active part in
the work of his profession. But at the close of the latter year, his
uncle, Sir Alexander Cochrane, having been selected for the command
of the fleet on the North American station, appointed him his
flag-captain--an appointment resting only with the Commander-in-Chief,
and one with which the Government could not interfere. It was always
Lord Cochrane's belief that the implacable enmity of his foes in the
Admiralty Office--determined to prevent by irregular means, since no
regular course was open to them, his return to naval work--helped
to bring about the cruel persecution by which his whole life was
embittered. But it must be admitted that the dishonesty of one of his
own kinsmen--about which a chivalrous sense of honour caused him to be
reticent during nearly fifty years--conduced to this result.

The chief agent of the fraud practised upon him was a foreigner, named
De Berenger. This man, clever and unscrupulous, had been associated
with Mr. Cochrane Johnstone, an uncle of Lord Cochrane's, in certain
stock-jobbing transactions. In that or in some other way he became
known to Lord Cochrane and to his other uncle, Sir Alexander Cochrane;
and, being a smart chemist and pyrotechnist, it was proposed that he
should accompany Lord Cochrane to North America, and assist him in the
trial of his recently-discovered method of attacking forts and fleets
in a secret and irresistible manner. With that object--of course
clandestine--Sir Alexander Cochrane sought the permission of the
Admiralty to employ De Berenger as a teacher of sharp-shooting, in
which he was a well-known adept. This was not granted, and near the
end of 1813, Sir Alexander set sail for Halifax, leaving Lord Cochrane
to follow in the _Tonnant_, in charge of a convoy, and in getting
the _Tonnant_ ready for sea his lordship was busy during January and
February, 1814. In the former month De Berenger sought him out and
earnestly requested that, his official appointment being refused, he
might be taken on board in a private capacity and allowed to rely
upon the success of his work for recompense. Lord Cochrane declined
to employ him without some sort of sanction from the Admiralty, and
De Berenger left him with the avowed intention of doing his utmost to
procure this sanction.

He was otherwise occupied. Being in urgent need of money, with which
to evade the grasp of his numerous creditors, he returned to his
stock-jobbing pursuits--if indeed he had not been engaging in them
all along; using his proposal for employment under Lord Cochrane as a
blind or as a secondary resource. Instead of furthering his efforts to
obtain this employment, he contrived a plan for causing a sudden rise
in the funds, and thereby securing a large profit to himself and his
accomplices. On the 20th of February he presented himself at the Ship
Hotel at Dover, disguised as a foreigner and calling himself Colonel
De Bourg, professing that he brought intelligence from France to
the effect that Buonaparte had been killed by the Cossacks, that the
allied armies were in full march towards Paris, and that a speedy
cessation of the war was certain. Thence he hurried up to London and
was traced to have gone, on the following morning, to Lord Cochrane's
house. The ostensible object of that visit was to renew his
application for employment on board the _Tonnant_. The real object
was, by means of a trick, to get possession of a hat and cloak, with
which to disguise himself afresh, and thus try to elude the pursuit
of agents of the Stock Exchange, who would soon seek to punish him for
his fraud. The disguise was given to him in all innocence, and might
have been successful, had not Lord Cochrane, on finding how grossly
he had been deceived, volunteered to assist in punishing the culprit.
Leaving the _Tonnant_, in which he was about to start from Chatham, he
returned to London, and gave full information as to his share in the
transaction, with the view of furthering the cause of justice and
clearing himself from all blame.

That was prevented by as wanton a prosecution and as malicious a
perverting of the forms of justice and the principles of equity as the
annals of English law, not often abused even in a much less degree,
can show. The straightforward evidence furnished by him was made
the handle to an elaborate machinery of falsehood and perjury for
effecting his own ruin. The solicitor who had managed the cause of the
Admiralty at the court-martial on Lord Gambier, and therein proved his
skill, was entrusted with the ugly work. By him an elaborate case for
prosecution was trumped up, and Lord Cochrane, hindered from sailing
to North America in the _Tonnant_, and hindered from obtaining any
other employment in his country's service during four-and-thirty
years, was, on the 8th of June, placed in the prisoner's dock at the
Court of King's Bench on a charge of conspiring with his uncle, Mr.
Cochrane Johnstone, with De Berenger, and with some other persons,
to defraud the Stock Exchange. Lord Ellenborough, who presided at the
trial, delivered a charge which was even more virulent and more marked
by political spite than was his wont, and the too compliant jury
brought in a verdict of "guilty." Lord Cochrane vainly sought for a
new trial, and vainly adduced abundant proof of his innocence. The
chance of justice that is every Englishman's right was denied to him.
He was sentenced to an hour's detention in the pillory at the entrance
of the Royal Exchange, to a year's imprisonment in the King's Bench
Prison, and to a fine of a thousand pounds.

The first part of the sentence was not insisted upon, as Sir Francis
Burdett, Lord Cochrane's noble-hearted colleague as member for
Westminster, avowed his intention of standing also in the pillory, if
his friend was subjected to that indignity, and of thus encouraging
the storm of popular indignation, that, without any such
encouragement, would probably have led to consequences which
the Government, already hated by all Englishmen who loved their
birthright, dared not brook. But the unworthy vengeance of his
persecutors was amply satisfied in other ways. He had already suffered
more than most men. "Neglect," he said, "I was accustomed to. But when
an alleged offence was laid to my charge, in which, on the honour of
a man now on the brink of the grave, I had not the slightest
participation, and from which I never benefited, nor thought to
benefit one farthing, and when this allegation was, by political
rancour and legal chicanery, consummated in an unmerited conviction
and an outrageous sentence, my heart for the first time sank within
me, as conscious of a blow, the effect of which it has required all my
energies to sustain."

It is needless now to say anything in proof of Lord Cochrane's
innocence of the charge brought against him. The world has long since
reversed the verdict passed at Lord Ellenborough's dictation. That
an officer and a gentleman of Lord Cochrane's reputation should have
demeaned himself by becoming a party to the fraud of which he was
accused, is, to say the least, improbable. That, if he had been guilty
of that fraud, he should not have availed himself of the only benefit
that could be derived from it by investing in the stocks when they
were low and selling out during the brief time of their artificial
value, is far more improbable. That, when the fraud was perpetrated,
and its chief instrument was undiscovered, he should have left the
_Tonnant_ in order to expose him, instead of taking him away from
England, and so almost ensuring the preservation of the secret, is
utterly impossible.

His only faults were too great faith in his own innocence and a too
chivalrous desire to protect, or rather to abstain from injuring, his
unworthy kinsman. "I must be here distinctly understood," it was said
by Lord Brougham, in his "Historic Sketches of British Statesmen," "to
deny the accuracy of the opinion which Lord Ellenborough appears to
have formed in this case, and deeply to lament the verdict of
'guilty' which the jury returned after three hours' consultation
and hesitation. If Lord Cochrane was at all aware of his uncle Mr.
Cochrane Johnstone's proceedings, it was the whole extent of his
privity to the fact. Having been one of the counsel engaged in the
cause, I can speak with some confidence respecting it, and I take upon
me to assert that Lord Cochrane's conviction was mainly owing to the
extreme repugnance which he felt to giving up his uncle, or taking
those precautions for his own safety which would have operated against
that near relation. Even when he, the real criminal, had confessed his
guilt by taking to flight, and the other defendants were brought up
for judgment, we, the counsel, could not persuade Lord Cochrane to
shake himself loose from the contamination by abandoning him."

Part of a letter addressed to the Earl of Dundonald in 1859, on the
anniversary of his eighty-fourth birthday, and shortly after the
publication of the first volume of his "Autobiography of a Seaman," by
the daughter of the man whose wrong-doing had conduced so terribly
to his misfortunes, may here be fitly quoted:--"You are still active,
still in health," says the writer, "and you have just given to the
world a striking proof of the vigour of your mind and intellect. Many
years I cannot wish for you; but may you live to finish your book,
and, if it please God, may you and I have a peaceful death-bed. We
have both suffered much mental anguish, though in various degrees; for
yours was indeed the hardest lot that an honourable man can be called
on to bear. Oh, my dear cousin, let me say once more, whilst we are
still here, how, ever since that miserable time, I have felt that you
suffered for my poor father's fault--how agonizing that conviction
was--how thankful I am that _tardy justice_ was done you. May God
return you fourfold for your generous though misplaced confidence in
him, and for all your subsequent forbearance!"

Another extract from a letter, from one out of a multitude of tributes
to the Earl of Dundonald's honourable bearing, which were tendered
after his death, shall close this introductory chapter. "Five years
after the trial of Lord Cochrane," wrote Sir Fitzroy Kelly, now Lord
Chief Baron, on the 17th of December, 1860, "I began to study for the
bar, and very soon became acquainted with and interested in his case,
and I have thought of it much and long during more than forty years;
and I am profoundly convinced that, had he been defended singly and
separately from the others accused, or had he at the last moment,
before judgment was pronounced, applied, with competent legal advice
and assistance, for a new trial, he would have been unhesitatingly and
honourably acquitted. We cannot blot out this dark page from our legal
and judicial history."




The famous and infamous Stock Exchange trial occupied the 8th and 9th
of June, 1814; but the sentence was deferred until the 21st of the
same month, in consequence of Lord Cochrane's demand for a new trial.
That demand was not complied with, in spite of the production
of overwhelming evidence to justify it; and the victim of Lord
Ellenborough and the tyrannical Government of the day was at once
conveyed to the King's Bench Prison. No time was lost in heaping upon
him all the indignities which, in accordance with precedent and in
excess of all precedent, might supplement his degradation.

The first was a notice of motion which would result in his expulsion
from the House of Commons. Lord Cochrane promptly availed himself of
the opening thus afforded for a public avowal of his innocence. To
the Hon. Charles Abbot, then Speaker of the House, he wrote from his
prison on the 23rd of June. "Sir," runs the letter, "I respectfully
entreat you to communicate to the Honourable House of Commons my
earnest desire and prayer that no question arising out of the late
convictions in the Court of King's Bench may be agitated without
affording me timely notice and full opportunity of attending in my
place for the justification of my character. From the House of Commons
I hope to obtain that justice of which too implicit reliance on the
consciousness of my innocence, and circumstances over which I had no
control, have hitherto deprived me. The painful situation in which I
am placed is known to the House, and I trust that I shall be enabled
to demonstrate that a more injured man has never sought redress
from those to whose justice I now appeal for the preservation of my
character and existence."

In compliance with that request, and with parliamentary rules, Lord
Cochrane was conveyed from the King's Bench Prison to the House of
Commons, and allowed to read a carefully-prepared statement of his
case, on the 5th of July, the day fixed for investigation of the
subject. From this statement it is not necessary to cite the clear
and conclusive recapitulation of the evidence adduced at the trial, or
refused admission therein because it was too convincing, in proof of
Lord Cochrane's innocence; but room must be found for some passages
illustrating the independent temper of the speaker and the perversions
of justice to which he fell a victim.

"I am not here, sir," he said, "to bespeak compassion or to pave the
way to pardon. Both ideas are alike repugnant to my feelings. That the
public in general have felt indignation at the sentence that has been
passed upon me does honour to their hearts, and tends still to make
my country dear to me, in spite of what I have suffered from the
malignity of persons in power. But, sir, I am not here to complain of
the hardship of my case or about the cruelty of judges, who, for
an act which was never till now ever known or thought to be a legal
offence, have laid upon me a sentence more heavy than they have
ever yet laid upon persons clearly convicted of the most horrid
of crimes--crimes of which nature herself cries aloud against the
commission. If, therefore, it was my object to complain of the cruelty
of my judges, I should bid the public look into the calendar, and see
if they could find a punishment like that inflicted on me; inflicted
by these same judges on any one of these unnatural wretches. It is
not, however, my business to complain of the cruelty of this sentence.
I am here to assert, for the third time, my innocence in the most
unqualified and solemn manner; I am here to expose the unfairness of
the proceedings against me previous to the trial, at the trial,
and subsequent to it; I am here to expose the long train of artful
villainies which have been practised against me hitherto with so much

"I am persuaded, sir, that the House will easily perceive, and every
honourable man, I am sure, participate in my feelings, that the
fine, the imprisonment, the pillory--even that pillory to which I am
condemned--are nothing, that they weigh not as a feather, when put
in the balance against my desire to show that I have been unjustly
condemned. Therefore, sir, I trust that the House will give a fair and
impartial hearing to what I have to say respecting the conduct of
my enemies, to expose which conduct is a duty which I owe to my
constituents, and to my country, not less than to myself.

"In the first place, sir, I here, in the presence of this House, and
with the eyes of the country fixed upon me, most solemnly declare that
I am wholly innocent of the crime which has been laid to my
charge, and for which I have been condemned to the most infamous of
punishments. Having repeated this assertion of my innocence, I next
proceed to complain of the means that have been made use of to effect
my destruction. And first, sir, was it ever before known in this or in
any other country, that the prosecutor should form a sort of court of
his own erection, call witnesses before it of his own choosing, and,
under offers of great rewards, take minutes of the evidence of such
witnesses, and publish those minutes to the world under the forms and
appearances of a judicial proceeding? Was it ever before known, that
steps like these were taken previous to an indictment,--previous to
the bringing of an intended victim into a court of justice? Was there
ever before known so regular, so systematic a scheme for exciting
suspicion against a man, and for implanting an immovable prejudice
against him in the minds of a whole nation, previous to the preferring
a Bill of Indictment, in order that the grand jury, be it composed
of whomsoever it might, should be predisposed to find the bill? I ask
you, sir, and I ask the House, whether it was ever before known, that
means like these were resorted to, previous to a man's being legally
accused? But, sir, what must the world think, when they see some of
those to whom the welfare and the honour of the nation are committed
covertly co-operating with a Committee of the Stock Exchange, and
becoming their associates in so nefarious a scheme? Nevertheless, sir,
this fact is now notorious to the whole world. I must confess I was
not prepared to believe the thing possible."

Thereupon followed a detailed examination of the charges brought
against Lord Cochrane, and of the way in which those charges were
handled, special complaint being made concerning the malicious bearing
of Lord Ellenborough. "It must be in the recollection of the House,"
said Lord Cochrane, "as it is in that of the public, that he urged,
that he compelled, the counsel to enter upon my defence _after
midnight_, at the end of fifteen hours from the commencement of the
trial, when that counsel declared himself quite exhausted, and when
the jury, who were to decide, were in a state of such weariness as to
render attention to what was said totally impossible. The speeches
of the counsel being ended, the judge, at _half-past three in the
morning_, adjourned the court till ten; thus separating the evidence
from the argument, and reserving his own strength, and the strength
of my adversaries' advocates, for the close; giving to both the great
advantage of time to consider the reply, and to insert and arrange
arguments to meet those which had been urged in my defence."

All his treatment by Lord Ellenborough, as Lord Cochrane urged, was of
that sort, or worse. "Of all tyrannies, sir," he said, "the worst
is that which exercises its vengeance under the guise of judicial
proceedings, and especially if a jury make part of the means by which
its base purposes are effected. The man who is flung into prison, or
sent to the scaffold, at the nod of an avowed despotism, has at least
the consolation to know that his sufferings bring down upon that
despotism the execration of mankind; but he who is entrapped
and entangled in the meshes of a crafty and corrupt system of
jurisprudence; who is pursued imperceptibly by a law with leaden
feet and iron jaws; who is not put upon his trial till the ear of the
public has been poisoned, and its heart steeled against him,--falls,
at last, without being cheered with a hope of seeing his tyrants
execrated even by the warmest of his friends. In their principle, the
ancient and settled laws of England are excellent; but of late years,
so many injurious and fatal alterations in the law have taken place,
that any man who ventures to meddle with public affairs, and to oppose
persons in power, is sure and certain, sooner or later, to suffer in
some way or other.

"Sir, the punishment which the malice of my enemies has procured to be
inflicted on me is not, in my mind, worth a moment's reflection. The
judge supposed, apparently, that the sentence of the pillory would
disgrace and mortify me. I can assure him, and I now solemnly assure
this House, my constituents, and my country, that I would rather stand
in my own name, in the pillory, every day of my life, under such a
sentence, than I would sit upon the bench in the name and with the
real character of Lord Ellenborough for one single hour.

"Something has been said, sir, in this House, as I have heard, about
an application for a mitigation of my sentence, in a certain quarter,
where, it is observed, that mercy never failed to flow; but I can
assure the House that an application for pardon, extorted from me, is
one of the things which even a partial judge and a packed jury have
not the power to accomplish. No, sir; I will seek for, and I look for,
pardon _nowhere_, for _I have committed no crime_. I have sought for,
I still seek for, and I confidently expect JUSTICE; not, however, at
the hands of those by whose machinations I have been brought to
what they regard as my ruin, but at the hands of my enlightened and
virtuous constituents, to whose exertions the nation owes that there
is still a voice to cry out against that haughty and inexorable
tyranny which commands silence to all but parasites and hypocrites."

Thus ended Lord Cochrane's written argument. It was followed by, a few
words spoken on the spur of the moment: "Having so long occupied
its time, I will not trouble the House longer than to implore it to
investigate the circumstances of my case. I think I have stated enough
to induce it to call for the minutes of the trial. All I wish is an
inquiry. Many important facts yet remain to be considered, and I
trust that the House will not come to a decision with its eyes shut.
I entreat, I implore investigation. It is true that a sentence of a
court of law has been pronounced against me; but that punishment is
nothing, and will to me seem nothing, in comparison with what it is in
the power of the House to inflict. I have already suffered much;
but if after a deliberate and a fair investigation the House shall
determine that I am guilty, then let me be deserted and abandoned by
the world. I shall submit without repining to any the most dreadful
penalty that the House can assign. I solemnly declare before Almighty
God that I am ignorant of the whole transaction. Into the hearts of
men we cannot penetrate; we cannot dive into their inmost thoughts;
but my heart I lay open, and my most secret thoughts I disclose to
the House. I entreat the strictest scrutiny and a patient hearing. I
implore it at your hands, as an act of justice, and once more I call
upon my Maker, upon Almighty God, to bear witness that I am innocent.
He knows my heart, He knows all its secrets, and He knows that I am

An animated debate followed upon that eloquent address. Viscount
Castlereagh complained that Lord Cochrane, instead of defending
himself, had only libelled Lord Ellenborough and the noblest
institutions of the land. Other speakers expressed similar opinions;
but others testified to the consistent character of Lord Cochrane,
rendering it impossible that he should be guilty of the offence
with which he was charged; and others again confessed that, having
previously had doubts in the matter, those doubts had been removed by
the high-minded tone and the powerful arguments of his defence. But in
the end the House adopted the view set forth by Lord Castlereagh; that
its duty was simply to accept the verdict of the Court of the King's
Bench, and, according to precedent, to expel the member declared
guilty by that court, without daring to revive the question of his
guilt or innocence; and that it would be better for an innocent man
thus to suffer, than for the House to assail "the bulwarks of English
liberty," by turning itself into a Star Chamber, or an Inquisition,
and attempting to interfere with "the regular administration of
justice." The proposal that Lord Cochrane's case should be referred to
a Select Committee was rejected without a division. The motion that he
should be expelled from the House was carried by a hundred and forty
members, against forty-four dissentients.

That new act of injustice, however, though it added much to Lord
Cochrane's suffering, brought him no fresh disgrace. It only led
to his triumphant re-election as member for Westminster, under
circumstances that were reasonably consoling to him. His seat having
been taken from him on the 5th of July, a great meeting of the
electors, attended by five thousand people, was held on the 11th.
It was there unanimously resolved that Lord Cochrane was perfectly
innocent of the Stock Exchange fraud, that he was a fit and proper
person to represent the City of Westminster in Parliament, and that
his re-election should be secured without any expense to him. Richard
Brinsley Sheridan, his stout opponent at the previous election, who
was now urged to oppose him again, honourably refused to do so; and
therefore the election passed without a contest. But contest would
only have added to its glory; unless, indeed, the people, over-zealous
in their expression of sympathy for their representative, had been
provoked thereby to violent exhibition of their temper. Even without
such provocation the turmoil of the re-election day, the 16th of July,
was great; angry crowds assembled in the streets, and menacing words
against the Government and its myrmidons were loudly uttered. The
wisdom of Sir Francis Burdett and other leaders of the popular party,
however, prevented anything worse than angry speech.

"Amongst all the occurrences of my life," said Lord Cochrane,
writing from the King's Bench Prison to thank the electors for their
confidence in him, "I can call to memory no one which has produced so
great a degree of exultation in my breast as this, that, after all the
machinations of corruption have been able to effect against me, the
citizens of Westminster have, with unanimous voice, pronounced me
worthy of continuing to be one of their representatives in Parliament.
With regard to the case, the agitation of which has been the cause
of this most gratifying result, I am in no apprehension as to the
opinions and feelings of the world, and especially of the people
of England, who, though they may be occasionally misled, are never
deliberately cruel or unjust. Only let it be said of me: 'The Stock
Exchange has accused; Lord Ellenborough has charged for guilty; the
special jury have found that guilt; the Court have sentenced to the
pillory; the House of Commons have expelled; and the Citizens of
Westminster have re-elected,'--only let this be the record placed
against my name, and I shall be proud to stand in the calendar of
criminals all the days of my life."

The worst part of the sentence passed upon Lord Cochrane, as has been
already said, was not carried out. The 10th of August had been fixed
as the day on which he was to stand in the pillory for an hour in
front of the Royal Exchange. But the danger of a disturbance among the
people, and of fierce opposition in the House of Commons hindered the
perpetration of this indignity. Some sentences of a letter addressed
to Lord Ebrington, deprecating his motion in Parliament for a
remission of this part of the sentence, are too characteristic,
however, to be left unquoted. "I did not expect," said Lord Cochrane,
"to be treated by your lordship as an object of mercy, on the grounds
of past services, or severity of sentence. I cannot allow myself to be
indebted to that tenderness of disposition which has led your lordship
to form an erroneous estimate of the amount of punishment due to the
crimes of which I have been accused; nor can I for a moment consent
that any past services of mine should be prostituted to the purpose of
protecting me from any part of the vengeance of the laws against which
I, if at all, have grossly offended. If I am guilty, I richly merit
the whole of the sentence that has been passed upon me. If innocent,
one penalty cannot be inflicted with more justice than another."

If the degradation of the pillory was remitted, another degradation
quite as painful to Lord Cochrane was substituted for it. His name
having, on the 25th of June, been struck off the list of naval
officers in the Admiralty, the Knights Companions of the Bath promptly
held a chapter to consider the propriety of expelling him from their
ranks. That was soon done, and no time was lost in making the insult
as thorough as possible. At one o'clock in the morning of the 11th
of August, the Bath King at Arms repaired to King Henry the Seventh's
Chapel in Westminster Abbey, and there, under a warrant signed by Lord
Sidmouth, the Secretary of State, removed the banner of Lord Cochrane,
which was suspended between those of Lord Beresford and Sir Brent
Spencer. His arms were next unscrewed, and his helmet, sword, and
other insignia were taken down from the stall. The banner was then
kicked out of the chapel and down the steps by the official, eager to
omit no possible indignity. It was an indignity unparalleled since the
establishment of the order in 1725.




During the first period of his imprisonment Lord Cochrane was not
treated with more than usual severity. Two rooms in the King's Bench
State House were provided for him, in which, of course, all the
expenses of his maintenance devolved upon himself. He was led
to understand that, if he chose to ask for it, he might have the
privilege of "the rules," which would have allowed him, on certain
conditions, a range of about half-a-mile round the prison. But he
did not choose to ask. Rather, he said, than seek any favour from
the Government, he would lie in a dungeon all through the term of his
unjust imprisonment. Throughout that period he resolutely avowed his
perfect innocence, to friends and foes alike; and the consciousness
of his innocence helped him to bear up under a degradation that, to
a nature as sensitive and chivalrous as his, was doubly bitter. Good
friends, like Sir Francis Burdett, came to cheer him in his solitude,
and over-zealous, yet honest, friends, like William Cobbett, came to
take counsel with him as to ways of keeping alive and quickening the
popular indignation which, without any stimulants from headstrong
demagogues, was strong enough on his behalf.

The tedium of his captivity was further relieved by his devotion to
those scientific and mechanical pursuits which, all through life,
yielded employment very solacing to himself, and very profitable to
the world. While in the King's Bench Prison he was especially occupied
in completing a plan for lighting the public streets by means of a
lamp invented by him, in which the main principle was the introduction
of a steady current of fresh air into the globes, whereby all the oil
was fairly burnt, and a brilliant light was always maintained. In this
way lamps much cheaper than those previously in use were found to have
a far greater illuminating power. Early in October, 1814, the lamps
in St. Ann's parish, Westminster, numbering eight hundred in all, were
taken down and replaced by four hundred constructed on Lord Cochrane's
plan; and even political opponents spoke in acknowledgment of the
excellent result of the change. Had it not been for the introduction
of gas, the superiority of these new lamps must soon have compelled
their adoption all over London. It is curious that the discovery of
the illuminating power of gas--undoubtedly due to his father--should
have superseded one of Lord Cochrane's most promising inventions as
soon as it had been brought to recognized perfection.

In such pursuits nine months of the unjust imprisonment were passed.
"Lord Cochrane has hitherto borne all his hardships with great
fortitude," wrote one of his most intimate friends on the 10th of
November, "and, if there are any more in store for him, I hope he will
continue to be cheerful and courageous." "His lordship always hopes
for the best, and is never afraid of the worst," said the same
authority on the 9th of December, "and therefore he is in good

This fearless disposition led, in March, 1815, to a bold step, which
some of Lord Cochrane's best friends deprecated. Knowing that he
was unjustly imprisoned, he conceived that, since his re-election
as member for Westminster, the imprisonment was illegal as well as
unjust, in that it was contrary to the privilege of Parliament. The
law provides that "no Member of Parliament can be imprisoned either
for non-payment of a fine to the King, or for any other cause than
treason, felony, or refusing to give security for the peace." It
may be questioned whether, in the presence of this law, his first
imprisonment, even under the sentence of the Court of King's Bench,
was legal. But having been imprisoned, and having been expelled from
the House of Commons, it is clear that his subsequent re-election
could not interfere with the fulfilment, of the sentence passed
against him, especially as he had not been able to make good his title
to membership by taking the prescribed oaths and claiming a seat in
the House. He, however--acting as it would seem under the advice of
William Cobbett and other unsafe counsellors--thought otherwise,
and considered that he was only vindicating a high constitutional
principle, against the exercise of despotic power by the Government,
in making his escape from the King's Bench Prison. "I did not quit
these walls," he said in a letter addressed to the electors
of Westminster, on the 12th of April, "to escape from personal
oppression, but, at the hazard of my life, to assert that right to
liberty which, as a member of the community, I have never forfeited,
and that right, which I received from you, to attack in its very den
the corruption which threatens to annihilate the liberties of us all.
I did not quit them to fly from the justice of my country, but to
expose the wickedness, fraud, and hypocrisy of those who elude that
justice by committing their enormities under the colour of its name.
I did not quit them from the childish motive of impatience under
suffering. I stayed long enough to evince that I could endure
restraint as a pain, but not as a penalty. I stayed long enough to be
certain that my persecutors were conscious of their injustice, and to
feel that my submission to their unmerited inflictions was losing the
dignity of resignation, and sinking into the ignominious endurance of
an insult."

The escape was effected on the 6th of March, and by the same means
which had proved successful in Lord Cochrane's retreat from the
gaol at Malta, just four years before. His rooms in the King's Bench
Prison, being on the upper storey of the building known as the
State House, were nearly as high as the wall which formed the prison
boundary, and the windows were only a few feet distant from it.
The possibility of escape by this way, however, had never been
contemplated, and therefore the windows were unprotected by bars.
Accordingly Lord Cochrane, having been supplied, from time to time, by
the same servant who had aided him at Malta, with a quantity of small
strong rope, managed, soon after midnight, and while the watchman
going his rounds was in a distant part of the prison, to get out of
window and climb on to the roof of the building. Thence he threw a
running noose over the iron spikes placed on the wall, and, exercising
the agility that he had acquired during his seaman's occupations,
easily gained the summit--to be somewhat discomfited by having to sit
upon the iron spikes while he fastened his rope to one of them and
prepared, with its help, to slip down to the pavement on the outer
side of the wall. The rope was not strong enough, however, to bear his
weight; it snapped when he was some twenty-five feet from the ground,
and caused him to fall with his back upon the stone pavement. There he
lay, in an almost unconscious state, for a considerable time. But no
passer-by observed him; and before daylight he was able to crawl to
the house of an old nurse of his eldest son's, who gladly afforded him

Long concealment was not intended by him. "If it had not been," he
said, "for the commotion excited by that obnoxious, injurious, and
arbitrary measure, the Corn Bill, which began to evince itself on
the day of my departure from prison, I should have lost no time in
proceeding to the House of Commons; but, conjecturing that the spirit
of disturbance might derive some encouragement from my unexpected
appearance at that time, and having no inclination to promote tumult,
I resolved to defer my appearance at the House, and, if possible,
to conceal my departure from the prison, until the order of the
metropolis should be restored."

To the same effect was a letter addressed by Lord Cochrane to the
Speaker of the House of Commons on the 9th of March. "I respectfully
request," he said therein, "that you will state to the honourable
the House of Commons, that I should immediately and personally
have communicated to them my departure from the custody of Lord
Ellenborough, by whom I have been long most unjustly detained; but I
judged it better to endeavour to conceal my absence, and to defer my
appearance in the House until the public agitation excited by the Corn
Bill should subside. And I have further to request that you will also
communicate to the House that it is my intention, on an early day, to
present myself for the purpose of taking my seat and moving an inquiry
into the conduct of Lord Ellenborough."

On the day of that letter's delivery, the 10th of March--also famous
as the day on which Buonaparte's escape from Elba was published in
England--Lord Cochrane's gaolers discovered that he was no longer
in his prison. Immediately a hue and cry was raised. This notice was
issued: "Escaped from the King's Bench Prison, on Monday the 6th day
of March, instant, Lord Cochrane. He is about five feet eleven inches
in height,[A] thin and narrow-chested, with sandy hair and full eyes,
red whiskers and eyebrows. Whoever will apprehend and secure Lord
Cochrane in any of His Majesty's gaols in the kingdom shall have a
reward of three hundred guineas from William Jones, Marshal of the
King's Bench."

[Footnote A: He was really about six feet two inches in height, and
broad in proportion.]

Great search was made in consequence of that notice, and Lord
Cochrane's disappearance was an eleven days' wonder. Every newspaper
had each day a new statement as to his whereabouts. Some declared that
he had gone mad, and, as a madman's freak, was hiding himself in some
corner of the prison; others that he was lodging at an apothecary's
shop in London. According to one report, he had been seen at Hastings,
according to another, at Farnham, and according to another, in Jersey;
while others declared that he had been discovered in France and
elsewhere on the Continent.

None of the thousands whom political spite or the hope of reward set
in search of him thought of looking for him in his real resting-place.
"As soon as I had written to the Speaker," he said, "I went into
Hampshire, where I remained eleven days, and till within one day of my
appearance in the House of Commons. During that period I was occupied
in regulating my affairs in that county, and in riding about the
county, as was well known to the people of the neighbourhood, none of
whom were base enough to be seduced by a bribe to deliver an injured
man into the hands of his oppressors."

At his own house, known as Holly Hill, in the south of Hampshire, Lord
Cochrane remained quietly, though with no attempt to hide himself,
until the 20th of March. He then, in fulfilment of his original
purpose, returned to London, and on the following day entered the
House of Commons at about two o'clock in the afternoon. Very great
was the astonishment among the officials in attendance caused by his
appearance, "dressed," according to one of the newspaper reports, "in
his usual costume, grey pantaloons, frogged great-coat, &c.;" and by
some of them the intelligence of his arrival was promptly communicated
to the Marshal of the King's Bench. In the meanwhile, considering
himself safe within the precincts of the House at any rate, he
proceeded to occupy his customary seat. To that it was objected that,
until he had taken the oaths and complied with the prescribed forms
consequent on his re-election, he had no right within the building.
He answered that he was willing to do this, and, to see that all was
according to rule, went at once to the clerks' office. There it was
pretended that the writ of his re-election had not yet been received,
and that it must first be procured from the Crown Office, in Chancery
Lane. Awaiting the return of the messenger, ostensibly despatched for
this purpose, he again entered the House, and there he was found, at a
few minutes before four, by Mr. Jones, the marshal, who, on receiving
the information sent to him, had hurried up, with a Bow Street runner
and some tipstaves. The runner, walking up to Lord Cochrane and
touching him on the shoulder, bluntly claimed him as his prisoner.
Lord Cochrane asked by what authority he dared to arrest a Member of
Parliament in the House of Commons. "My lord," answered the man, "my
authority is the public proclamation of the Marshal of the King's
Bench Prison, offering a reward for your apprehension." Lord Cochrane
declared that he neither acknowledged, nor would yield to, any
such authority, that he was there to resume his seat as one of the
representatives of the City of Westminster, and that any who dared to
touch him would do so at their peril. Two tipstaves thereupon rudely
seized him by the arms. He again cautioned them that the Marshal of
the King's Bench had no authority within those walls, and that their
conduct was altogether illegal. The answer was that he had better
go quietly; his reply that he would not go at all. Other officers,
however, came up. After a short struggle, he was overpowered, and, on
his refusing to walk, he was carried out of the House on the shoulders
of the tipstaves and constables.

There was a halt, however, in this disgraceful march. The Bow Street
runner expressed a fear that Lord Cochrane had firearms concealed
under his clothes, and he was accordingly taken into one of the
committee-rooms to be searched. Nothing more dangerous was found about
him than a packet of snuff. "If I had thought of that before," said
Lord Cochrane, not quite wisely, "you should have had it in your
eyes!" On this incident was founded a foolish story, to be told next
day, amid a score of exaggerations and falsehoods, in the Government
newspapers. "Being asked why he had provided himself with such a
quantity of snuff," we there read, "he said he had bought a canister
for the purpose of throwing it in the eyes of those who might attempt
to secure him, unless the opposing force should be too strong for
resistance, observing that he had found the use of a similar weapon
when he was in the Bay of Rosas, as he had thrown a mixture of lime,
sand, &c., upon the Frenchmen who attempted to board his ship, and
found it effectual." Another zealous organ of the Government added
that he had also provided himself with a bottle of vitriol, to be used
in the same way.

Had a penknife been found in his pocket, perhaps the Marshal of the
King's Bench, the Bow Street runner, the tipstaves, and the constables
would all have fled, deeming that the possession of so deadly an
instrument made the retention of their captive too dangerous a thing
to be attempted. The snuff having been seized, however, he was again
lodged on the officers' shoulders and so conveyed into the courtyard.
He then said that, being now beyond the privilege of the House, he was
willing to proceed quietly. A coach was called, and he was taken back
to the King's Bench Prison.

The indignity thus offered to him was small indeed in comparison with
the indignity offered to the Parliament of England. In former times
the slightest encroachment by the Crown, by the Government, or by
any humbler part of the executive, was fiercely resented; and to this
resentment some of the greatest and most memorable crises in the long
fight for English liberty are due. But rarely had there been a
more flagrant, never a more wanton, infringement of the hardly-won
privileges of the House of Commons. Had Lord Cochrane been detected
and seized violently in some out-of-the-way hiding-place, the
over-zealous servants of the Crown would have had some excuse for
their conduct. But in appearing publicly in the House, he showed to
all the world that he was no runaway from justice, that he was willing
to submit to its honest administration by honest hands, that all he
sought was a fair hearing and a fair judgment upon his case, and that,
believing it impossible to obtain that through the elaborate machinery
of oppression which then went by the name of administration
of justice, he now only asserted his right, the right of every
Englishman, and especially the right of a Member of Parliament, to
appeal from the agents of the law to the makers of the law, to call
upon the legislators of his country to see whether he had not been
wrongfully used by the men who, though practically too much their
masters, were in theory only their servants.

"I did not go to the House of Commons," he said, "to complain about
losses or sufferings, about fine or imprisonment; or of property, to
the amount of ten times the fine, of which I had been cheated by this
malicious prosecution. I did not go to the House to complain of
the mockery of having been heard in my defence, and answered by a
reference to the decision from which that defence was an appeal. I did
not go there to complain of those who expelled me from my profession.
I did not go to the House to complain _generally_ of the advisers of
the Crown. But I went there to complain of the conduct of him who has
indeed the right of recommending to mercy, but whose privilege, as
a Privy Councillor, of advising the confirmation of his own
condemnations, and of interposing between the victims of
legal vengeance and the justice of the throne, is spurious and
unconstitutional. When it is considered that my intention of going to
the House of Commons was announced on the day on which my absence from
the prison was discovered; I say, when it is considered that, as soon
as it was known that I had left the prison, it was also known that I
had left it for the express purpose of going to the House of Commons
to move for an inquiry into the conduct of Lord Ellenborough; when it
is considered that every engine was set to work to tempt or intimidate
me from that purpose, to frighten me out of the country or allure me
back to the custody of the marshal, that assurances were given that
the doors should be kept open for my admission at any hour of the
night, and that I should be received with secresy, courtesy, and
indemnity; and when it is considered that I was afterwards seized in
the House of Commons, in defiance of the privileges of the House--can
there be a doubt that the object of that apprehension was less the
accomplishment of the sentence of the court than the prevention of
the exposure which I was prepared to make of the injustice of that
sentence? That recourse should have been had to violence to stifle the
accusations which I was prepared to bring forward, that terror of the
truth should have so superseded a wonted reverence for parliamentary
privileges as to have admitted the intrusion of tipstaves and
thief-takers into the House of Commons, to seize the person of an
individual elected to serve as a member of that House, and avowedly
attendant for that purpose, is extraordinary, though not unnatural."

It must be admitted that the question of breach of privilege was
somewhat more complicated than Lord Cochrane considered. His opponents
did not think with him that he was still a member of the House of
Commons. That membership had been taken from him, formally, though
wrongfully, by his expulsion on the 5th of July, and he had
himself recognized the expulsion by accepting re-election from the
constituents of Westminster on the 16th of the same month. According
to precedent, however, that re-election could not be perfected until
the customary oaths had been taken; and, through a trick contrived
in the clerks' office, he was hindered from taking them before the
arrival of the marshal and his consequent arrest. Yet there can be no
doubt that, in the special circumstances of the case, this arrest was
especially indecorous, and, in the method of effecting it, altogether
illegal. If he had no right in the House of Commons, he was a common
trespasser, and ought to have been at once removed by the servants of
the House, who alone could have power to touch him within the walls.
To allow him a seat therein, without molestation, until the arrival
of the servants of the King's Bench Prison, and then to allow those
servants to enter the House and act upon an authority that could there
be no authority, was wholly unwarrantable, a gross insult to Lord
Cochrane, and, to the customs of the House of Commons, an insult yet
more gross. But to the hardship and the insult alike the House of
Commons, servile in its devotion to the Government of the day, was

A miserable farce ensued. While the House was sitting, a few hours
after Lord Cochrane's capture, a letter from the Marshal of the King's
Bench was read by the Speaker, in which his bold act was formally
reported and apologized for. "I humbly hope," he there said, "that I
have not committed any breach of privilege by the steps I have taken;
and that, if I have done wrong, it will be attributed to error in
judgment, and not to any intention of doing anything that might give

The short debate that followed the reading of that letter is very
noteworthy. Lord Castlereagh spoke first, and dictated the view to
be taken by all loyal members of the House. "From the nature of the
arrest and the circumstances attending it, I do not think, sir," he
said, "that the House is called upon to interfere. I am not aware, as
the House was not actually sitting, with the mace on the table and the
Speaker in the chair, when the arrest took place, that any breach of
privilege has been committed. It must be quite obvious to every man
that the marshal has not acted wilfully in violation of the privileges
of the House. No blame can attach to him, since he has submitted
himself to the judgment of the House of Commons after having done
that which he considered his duty as a civil officer. Having had Lord
Cochrane in his custody, from which he escaped, the marshal was bound
not to pass over any justifiable means of putting him under arrest
whenever a fair opportunity occurred."

Most of the members thought, with Lord Castlereagh, that this was
a "fair opportunity." Only one, Mr. Tierney--and he very
feebly--ventured to express an opposite opinion. "I consider this,"
he said, "to be the case of a member regularly elected to serve in
Parliament, and coming down to take his seat. Now, sir, the House is
regularly adjourned until ten o'clock in the morning; and I recollect
occasions when the Speaker did take the chair at that hour. Suppose,
then, a member, about to take his seat, came down here at an early
hour, with the proper documents in his hand, and desired to be
instructed in the mode of proceeding, and, while waiting, an officer
entered, arrested him, and took his person away, would not this be a
case to call for the interference of the House?" Mr. Tierney admitted
that he approved of Lord Cochrane's arrest, but feared it might become
a precedent and be put to the "improper purpose" of sanctioning the
arrest of members more deserving of consideration.

To please him, and to satisfy the formalities, therefore, the question
was referred to a committee of privileges. This committee reported, on
the 23rd of March, "that, under the particular circumstances, it did
not appear that the privileges of Parliament had been violated, so as
to call for the interposition of the House;" and the House of Commons
being satisfied with that opinion, no further attention was paid to
the subject.

In the meanwhile Lord Cochrane was being punished, with inexcusable
severity, for his contempt of the authority of Lord Ellenborough and
Mr. Jones. A member of the House, during the discussion of the 21st of
March, had said that he had just come from the King's Bench Prison.
"I found Lord Cochrane," he had averred, "confined there in a strong
room, fourteen feet square, without windows, fireplace, table, or
bed. I do not think it can be necessary for the purpose of security
to confine him in this manner. According to my own feelings, it is a
place unfit for the noble lord, or for any other person whatsoever."

In this Strong Room, however, Lord Cochrane was detained for more
than three weeks. It was partly underground, devoid of ventilation or
necessary warmth, and, according to the testimony of Dr. Buchan, one
of the physicians who visited him in it, "rendered extremely damp and
unpleasant by the exudations coming through the wall."

On being taken to this den immediately after his capture, Lord
Cochrane was informed by Mr. Jones that he would be detained in it for
a short time only, until the apartments over the lobby of the prison
were prepared for his reception. That was done in a few days; but no
intimation of a change was made until the 1st of April, when a message
to that effect was sent to the prisoner. On the following day he
received a letter from Mr. Jones informing him that, if he would
anticipate the payment of the fine of 1000_l._ levied against him, and
would also pledge himself, and give security for the keeping of the
promise, to make no further effort to escape, he might be allowed to
occupy the more comfortable quarters. "It is no new thing," said Lord
Cochrane, "for a prisoner to escape or to be retaken; but to require
of any prisoner a bond and securities not to repeat such escape was,
I think, a proposition without precedent, and such as the marshal knew
could not be complied with by me without humiliation, and therefore
could not be proposed by him without insult. Besides, he had my
assurance that if I were again to quit his custody (which I gave him
no reason to believe I should attempt, and which, as I observed and
believe, it was as easy for me to effect from that room as from any
other part of the prison), I should proceed no further than to the
House of Commons, and that where he found me before he might find me
again; I having had no other object in view than that of expressing,
by some peculiar act, the keen sense which I entertained of _peculiar_
injustice, and of endeavouring to bring such additional proofs of that
injustice before the House as were not in my possession when I was
heard in my defence." Mr. Jones, however, resolved to keep his captive
in the Strong Room, unless he would promise to resign himself to
captivity in a less obnoxious part of the prison.

Even for that negative favour the marshal took great credit to himself
in a document which he issued at the time. "If a humane and kind
concern for this unfortunate nobleman," he there averred, "had not
softened the solicitude which I naturally felt for my own security, I
could have committed him, on my own warrant for the escape, to the new
gaol in Horsemonger Lane, for the space of a month; and that power
is still within my jurisdiction. Had I thought proper to exercise it,
Lord Cochrane would then have been confined in a solitary cell with a
stone floor, with windows impenetrably barred and without glass; nor
would it have proved half the size of the Strong Room in the King's
Bench, which has a boarded floor and glazed lights." That statement
reasonably stirred the anger of Lord Cochrane. "Though the solitary
cell in Horsemonger Lane," he answered, "may be half the size of the
Strong Room, it could not, I apprehend, have been more gloomy, damp,
filthy, or injurious to health than the last-mentioned dungeon. And
since Mr. Jones could only have confined me in the former place for
a month, and did confine me in the latter for twenty-six days, I can
scarcely see that degree of difference which should entitle him to
those 'grateful sentiments for his mode of acting on the occasion'
which, he submits to the public, it is my duty to entertain. The
'glazed lights' mentioned by Mr. Jones were not put up till I had been
thirty hours in the place, and I have always understood that I was
indebted for them to the good offices of Mr. Bennet and Mr. Lambton,
who happened [as part of a Parliamentary Committee] to be prosecuting
their inquiry into the state of the prison at the time of my return.
For these and all other mercies of the said marshal, my gratitude is
due to their friendship and sense of duty, and to his dread of their
discoveries and proceedings."

It is clear that nothing but fear of the consequences induced Mr.
Jones to remove Lord Cochrane from the Strong Room, after twenty-six
days of confinement therein. On the 12th of April the prisoner issued
an address to the electors of Westminster, detailing some of the
hardships to which he was being subjected; and its publication
immediately roused so much popular interest that the authorities of
King's Bench Prison deemed it necessary to make at any rate a show of
amelioration in his treatment. On the 13th, his physician, Dr. Buchan,
was allowed to visit him, and his report was such that another medical
man of eminence, Mr. Saumarez, was sent to examine into the state of
the prisoner's health. Part of Dr. Buchan's certificate has already
been quoted. The rest was as follows: "This is to certify that I have
this day visited Lord Cochrane, who is affected with severe pain of
the breast. His pulse is low, his hands cold, and he has many symptoms
of a person about to have typhus or putrid fever. These symptoms are,
in my opinion, produced by the stagnant air of the Strong Room in
which he is now confined." "I hereby certify," wrote Mr. Saumarez,
"that I have visited Lord Cochrane, and am of opinion, from the state
of his health at this time, that it is essentially necessary that he
should be removed from the room which he now inhabits to one which
is better ventilated, and in which there is a fireplace. His lordship
complains of pain in the chest, with difficulty of respiration,
accompanied with great coldness of the hands; and, from the general
state of his health, there is great reason to fear that a low typhus
may come on."

The only result of those medical opinions was a renewal of the
offer to remove Lord Cochrane to the rooms prepared for him, on the
conditions previously specified by Mr. Jones. Lord Cochrane answered
that he would rather die than submit to such an insulting arrangement.
He published the doctors' certificates, however, on the 15th of April,
and their effect upon the public was so great that the authorities
were forced on the following day to take him out of his dungeon. Mr.
Jones's account of this step is worth quoting. "I again tried," he
reported, "to induce Lord Cochrane's friends and relations to give me
any kind of undertaking against another escape. On their refusal, I
determined myself to become his friend, and, at my own risk, to remove
him to the rooms which have been already mentioned, and where, I am
confident, he can have no cause of complaint. These rooms not being
altogether safe against such a person as Lord Cochrane, should he
determine to risk another escape, I must look to the laws of my
country as a safeguard, in the hope that the terrors of them will
discourage him from attempting a repetition of his offence, and
prevent him from incurring the penalties of another indictment."


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