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Royal Naval Biography/Cochrane, Thomas John


SIR THOMAS JOHN COCHRANE, Knt.
(Governor, &c. of Newfoundland.)
[Post-Captain of 1806.]

Eldest son of Admiral the Hon. Sir Alexander I. Cochrane, G.C.B.

This officer was made a Commander, Sept. 24, 1805; and posted into the Jason frigate, at the Leeward islands, April 23, 1806.

On the 1st June following, a small party of seamen and marines belonging to the Jason, assisted by a boat’s crew from the Maria schooner, stormed and destroyed a battery of five large brass guns and one field-piece, near Aquadilla, in the island of Porto Rico. The particulars of this exploit will be given in our memoir of Captain Charles Julius Kerr, the officer who commanded on that occasion. The subsequent capture of a French national ship near the coast of Surinam, is thus described by Captain Cochrane:

H.M.S. Jason, Jan. 28, 1807.

“Sir,– Having received your orders by H.M. sloop Osprey, I proceeded towards Maroney river, and yesterday morning at day-light, Soramine river bearing S. by E. 26 miles, discovered a ship and brig nearly six miles on the weather beam, apparently men of war; and from the information I received a few days before, conceived them to be the vessels of which we were in search. About a quarter before ten, I succeeded in bringing the ship to action within pistol-shot. She shortly after struck, and proved to be la Favorite (formerly in H.M. service), mounting 16 long sixes and 13 twelve-pounder carronades, with a complement of 150 men. The brig, from her sailing superior to la Favorite, and in consequence of signals from her, kept above gun-shot to windward, and I am sorry to say, from the time it took to exchange the prisoners, and being favored by the wind, she has made her escape. The brig mounts 14 brass 8-pounders, and has on board 120 men.

“I am happy to add, we had only one man wounded; la Favorite had 1 killed and 1 wounded; and was very much cut up in her sails and rigging. * * * * * * I have the honor to be, &c.

(Signed)T. Cochrane.”

To Rear-Admiral Sir Alex. Cochrane, K.B.

After the capture of the Danish West India islands in 1807[1], Sir Alexander Cochrane bestowed the offices of Harbour-master of ports Fredericksted and Christiansted, in St. Croix, upon his son; but this and the other appointments of a similar nature were set aside by Lord Castlereagh, who united them all in the person of his uncle, Lord George Seymour.

During the siege of Martinique, Feb. 1809, Captain Cochrane commanded the Ethalion 38, which ship he paid off in Aug. 1810. The honor of knighthood was conferred upon him, May 29, 1812; but we believe that he was not again employed until the autumn of that year, when he received a commission appointing him to the Surprise frigate; and in her we find him again serving at the Leeward islands, on which station he captured the American privateer brig Decatur, of 12 guns and 82 men, Jan. 16, 1813.

Sir Thomas Cochrane’s next appointment was, June 28, 1820, to the Forte of 44 guns. In 1821, he served both on the Jamaica and Halifax stations. In 1822, he attended his Majesty to Scotland; and in Sept. 1824, he brought home a quantity of specie from Vera Cruz and the Havannah. His appointment to the government of Newfoundland and its dependencies was announced in the London Gazette of April 16, 1825.

The subject of this sketch married, Jan. 6, 1812, the eldest daughter of Lieutenant-General Sir Charles Ross, Bart, which lady paid the debt of nature, Sept. 4, 1819.

Agents.– Messrs. Maude.