Open main menu


LOCH, JAMES (1780–1855), economist, born on 7 May 1780, was eldest son of George Loch of Drylaw, Edinburgh. His mother, Mary, was daughter of John Adam of Blair, Kinross-shire, and sister of Lord-commissioner Adam. In 1801 he was admitted an advocate in Scotland, and was called to the bar in England at Lincoln's Inn on 15 Nov. 1806; but abandoning the law after a few years of conveyancing practice, he became largely interested in the management of estates, and was simultaneously auditor to the Marquis of Stafford, afterwards first Duke of Sutherland [q. v.], to Lord Francis Egerton, afterwards Earl of Ellesmere, to the Bridgewater trustees, to the Earl of Carlisle, and to the trust estates of the Earl of Dudley and of Viscount Keith. In this capacity he was responsible for much of the policy respecting the agricultural labourers and the improvement of agriculture pursued over tens of thousands of acres both in England and Scotland. The 'Sutherlandshire clearances' of the second Marquis of Stafford, by which between 1811 and 1820 fifteen thousand crofters were removed from the inland to the seacoast districts, were carried out under his supervision. The policy of these clearances was bitterly attacked, and they were said to have been harshly; carried out (see Sismondi, Etudes sur l'Economie Politique, No. iv. ed. 1837; Donald Macleod, Hist. of the Destitution in Sutherlandshire, 1841), but the stories of cruel evictions have never been proved, and the economic policy has been ably defended (see Léonce de Lavergne. Essai sur l'Economie rurale de l'Anqleterre, Écosse, et Irlande, 1854). The experiences of the Irish famine show that the clearances of the second decade of the century at any rate averted the possibility of similar sufferings in the highlands. In June 1827 Loch entered parliament as member for St. Germains in Cornwall in the whig interest, and having held that seat until 1830, he was then returned without opposition for the Wick burghs, and was regularly reelected until 1852, when he was defeated, by 119 votes to 80, by Samuel Laing. He published a pamphlet on the improvements on the Sutherland estates in 1820, and in 1834 printed privately a memoir of the first Duke of Sutherland. He died on 28 June 1855, at his house in Albemarle Street, London. He was a fellow of the Geological, Statistical, and Zoological Societies, and a member of the committee of the Useful Knowledge Society. He married, first, in 1810, Ann, youngest daughter of Patrick Orr of Bridgeton, Kincardineshire, by whom, among several other children, he had sons, Granville Gower Loch [q. v.] and Henry Brougham Loch, who is a G.C.M.G. and G.C.B., governor of the Cape, and high commissioner for South Africa. He married, secondly, on 2 Dec. 1847, Elizabeth Mary, widow of Major George Macartney Greville, 38th foot, and eldest daughter of John Pearson of Tettenhall Wood, Staffordshire, who predeceased him on 29 Dec. 1848.

[Gent. Mag. 1855, ii. 206; information from W. A. Loch, esq.; Lord Ronald Gower's Stafford House Letters; C. Knight's Passages from a Working Life, ii. 131; Quart. Rev. lxix. 419.]

J. A. H.