Biographies of the main personae
Any dates below marked '(O.S.)' are in the old-style Russian (Julian) calendar, which in the 19th century was twelve days behind the western Gregorian calendar, and continued to lag behind until 1917.
Andrew Cochrane-Johnstone (1767-1833)
Born 24/05/1767 at 'Bellevile' - a house near Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh - he was the twelfth son of the 8th Earl of Dundonald.
In 1791 he became MP for Stirling Burghs, for a year. On 26/11/1793, he married Lady Georgina Hope-Johnstone, the daughter of James Hope-Johnstone, 3rd Earl of Hopetoun, and of Lady Elizabeth Carnegie; the family was related to Henry Dundas, Lord Melville. Andrew Cochrane appended her surname to his. Marriage registered in 'Abercorn, West Lothian' (next to Hopetoun) and 'Ormiston, East Lothian'.
Georgina died 17/09/1797 - the same year that ACJ went to Dominica. A daughter, Eliza, had been born 26/12/1794, who subsequently married 9th Lord Napier (William), 28/03/1816. (Eliza's eldest son, Francis, was later to become a senior representative of the British Government in India, and chaired the eponymous Napier Commission (1883) which investigated the situation of Scottish crofters.)
In 1797, ACJ was appointed Governor of Dominica, became Colonel of the 8th West India Regiment in 1798, and Brigadier of the Leeward Islands in 1799. During this period of governmental responsibility, he was blamed for a mutiny among black soldiers in 1802; the Dominican Assembly petitioned for his recall, which occurred in 1803. He was also accused by Major John Gordon of using black soldiers as unpaid labour, of wrongfully arresting citizens, of corruption. Returned to Britain in September 1803, to face court-martial proceedings; he was acquitted in March 1805, but then was passed over for promotion, and he resigned his commission.
On 21/02/1803, he married Amélie de Clugny, daughter of the late French governor of Guadeloupe. Napoleon himself annulled this marriage with Amélie, violently disapproving of it, on 30/05/1805.
In 1807, he was elected MP for Grampound (in Cornwall) for a year, and again from 1812 - replacing his brother George - until July 1814 when he was expelled from the House, for his part in the great 'Stock Exchange Swindle', which effectively ended the career of his nephew, the popular naval hero Thomas Cochrane, and by which Andrew profited to the tune of £4931 - equivalent to around £450,000 today. (A transcript of the trial can be viewed here)
In his first period as MP, he conducted a crusade against corruption in Parliament and the Army. By 1808, he had returned to the West Indies - supported the revolutionary Francisco Miranda's plan to liberate Spanish America and open it up to British trade. From his brother Alexander, he obtained the appointment as 'prize agent' at Tortola (Virgin Islands). Soon accused of bribery, of not surrendering confiscated public property, and of using captor's money to buy estates and property on the Danish islands of St Croix, St John and St Thomas etc.
Fled back to England in 1809. Visited Seville and Vera Cruz, buying Spanish dollars for the British Treasury. Was accused - perhaps mistakenly - of defaulting on a deal to sell 100,000 suspect British muskets to the Spanish government, in exchange for sheep destined for North America. (The sheep all died on arrival at New York in 1810.)
After 1812, he was pursued by creditors - he owed £16,301. His Dominican property - four houses, 671 acres, 62 slaves - was seized and sold in 1814.
After his arrest in July 1814, he fled firstly to Calais, then to Lisbon, then returned to the West Indies (January 1815) where he discovered that his assets had been sold for less than he owed. In 1819, went to Demarara (Guyana) to plant coffee. In 1823 he was known to be back on Dominica. In 1829, he was in Paris, where he made a fraudulent claim on the French government. He died 21/08/1833 - in Paris, at 96, rue du Faubourg St Honoré. His possessions were inventoried - so presumably he died in poverty and/or in debt.
John Dundas Cochrane (1793 - 1825)
Born 14/02/1793, John Dundas Cochrane was the illegitimate son of Andrew Cochrane. It is not known who his mother was, but we might suppose it to be Georgina Hope-Johnstone, since she married his father barely nine months after John's birth: this maternity, however, is mere speculation by the present author. At the age of ten, John, like many of his cousins and his uncles before him, joined the Royal Navy, probably on a ship captained by one of the Cochrane clan. Any biography of his more famous cousin, Thomas, the 'Sea Wolf', describes similar circumstances. After the end of the Napoleonic wars, John found himself, again like many another naval officer, on half-pay and with nothing to do. This rich reserve of bored, active men was tapped by men such as John Barrow, who sent them out in exploratory droves to roast in Africa and freeze in the Arctic, in search of adventure, trade-routes and Empire - see Fergus Fleming's excellent book Barrow's Boys. John Cochrane himself preferred his adventures in solitude, and undertook his epic pedestrian journey across Europe, Russia and Siberia, between 1820 and 1823. On 8/01/1822 (O.S.), he married Ksenia Ivanovna Loginova, in Kamchatka, and with her returned overland to St Petersburg, arriving in London in June 1823. The first edition of his Pedestrian Journey through Russia and Siberian Tartary was published by John Murray in 1823; the 2nd and 3rd editions were printed Charles Knight in 1824 and 1825; and a 4th edition by Archibald Constable in 1829. The book was translated into Dutch and German, and possibly also into French.
In June 1824, he travelled alone to South America, probably at the suggestion of his cousin Charles. Returning to London in 1825, he prepared the 3rd edition of his book in which he found ample space to argue bitterly with Sir John Barrow, and then set off again to Gran Colombia (Venezuela), possibly to oversee a copper-mine, probably with the aim of walking the length of South America; no sooner arrived than he promptly died of a fever, in the town of Valencia on 12/08/1825.
Ksenia Ivanovna Loginova (1807-1870)
Ksenia was born 24/01/1807 (O.S.) in the village of Bolsheretsk on Kamchatka. There is some contradictory and possibly misleading documentation about her step-father, father and grandfather - for a detailed discussion, see below. From the age of about ten, Ksenia was brought up in Petropavlovsk in the household of the Governor of Kamchatka, Pyotr Ivanovich Rikord (1776-1855), and his young wife Ludmila Ivanovna Korostovez (1794-1883). It would appear that her mother was widowed and re-married, to a priest or sexton named Vereshagin - this step-father died shortly after her departure for Europe with John Cochrane. She came of a large family: and there is a record of at least one sister still living in Kamchatka some decades later - see S.S.Hill's Travels in Siberia Volume II, London 1854.
Not quite fifteen years of age, she married John Cochrane on 8/01/1822 (O.S.). There is some suggestion that she was married illegally, or against her will - but the fact that the newly-weds were accompanied on their journey westwards from Kamchatka, at least as far as Irkutsk, by Mrs Rikord, argues strongly against this.
A widow at 18 years of age after the death of John Cochrane in 1825, Ksenia remained in Great Britain - probably London (John's sister Eliza, and his cousin Thomas' wife would have been in town) - until 1827. Captain Rikord having been appointed Governor of Kronstadt, he and his wife had in the interim set up home in St Petersburg and in 1827, Ksenia joined her adoptive parents there. Here she met the famous Arctic explorer, Pyotr Anjou (b.1796), after whom some of the islands on Novosibirsk are named, and married him at the St Petersburg 'Churches of the Sea' on 24/10/1828 (O.S.). Anjou was a man much in demand for his skills in exploration and hydrography, and was frequently called upon to make journeys to various watery parts of the Russian Empire (the Aral Sea, the Black Sea, the Baltic); he eventually succeeded Rikord as Governor of the port of Kronstadt.
Ksenia had six children: Ludmila (1834-1897), Pyotr (b.ca.1836) - who became a naval man like his father, and was on the Russian-Japan Expedition of 1852 - Fedor (1842-1858), Ivan (b.1844), Aleksandra (d.1888), and Elisaveta. The family had large houses in St Petersburg and Oranienbaum (the summer retreat of the Imperial family). Pyotr Anjou died in 1869 and Ksenia herself died in 1870
-this man lived and breathed, but, as yet, we know nothing more of him beyond his brief appearance in John Cochrane's narrative of the year 1820, and from this same narrative the fact that he was once (ca. 1807) a servant (or slave?) of Andrew Cochrane-Johnstone and his brother the Admiral Alexander Cochrane in the West Indies; and that at some later time he became a trusted servant of Prince Alexander Labanov in Russia. We have not been able to determine his name, nor his age, nor how he came to be employed in Russia, nor his subsequent fate.
Charles Stuart Cochrane (1796 - 1840)
The son of Alexander Cochrane spent his youth and early career in the Royal Navy (but later confessed he had 'a particular dislike to the sea'). Between March 1823 and June 1824, he was in Gran Colombia during the final months of Simon Bolivar's struggle for independence from Spain, and wrote a two-volume book about his travels - Journal of a Residence and Travels in Colombia. He acted as the agent for the firm of Rundell, Bridge & Rundell, and successfully won for them the monopoly rights to the mechanical exploitation of the pearl fisheries in Gran Colombia. Between August 1828 and June 1829, he disguised himself as a Spanish exile, and made a tour of Britain. His two-volume Journal Made by Señor Juan de Vega, the Spanish Minstrel describes this journey in - frequently tedious - detail. In 1830 Charles learned in France a process for spinning cashmere, which he then patented in Britain; the patent was subsequently sold to the Glasgow firm of Houldsworth & Sons.
Ksenia Loginova's father - a puzzle.
In 1821, just after he had become betrothed to Ksenia Loginova, John Cochrane went on a tour of Kamchatka. Almost the first place he visited was the village of Bolsheretsk, which at least until 1779 had been the administrative capital of Kamchatka, and was now just a run-down tiny village. Bolsheretsk was the birthplace of Ksenia - she had been living in Petropavlovsk for several years, in the care of Captain Rikord and his wife. John Cochrane writes: "I was myself the driver towards the abode of my now father-in-law, whose homely manners, numerous, healthy, smiling children, and hearty breakfast, made ample amends for the fatigues of the past two days." Mention is also made of meeting an old lady here "afterwards my aunt".
So - a man, clearly standing in some respect as 'father' to Ksenia, lived in Bolsheretsk in November 1821. In July/August 1823, the "Blind Traveller", James Holman met Captain Rikord in the city of Kazan - Holman was travelling eastwards, Rikord westwards to join his wife in Moscow or St Petersburg. Rikord told Holman that "Mrs Cochrane's" father had recently died. Presumably this is the same man whom Cochrane met at Bolsheretsk.
There are two anomalies associated with Ksenia's father:
Firstly, documentation supplied by the regional archivist in Kamchatka suggests that Ksenia "was the daughter of church sexton Vereschagin". This statement makes no sense if her name was Ksenia Ivanovna Loginova - this makes her the daughter of Ivan Loginov, not someone named Vereschagin. Without drawing any conclusions, we should note that Captain Cook's expedition arrived in Kamchatka in 1779, and visited "Paratoonka, the village where the priest whose name is Roman Feodorowitz Vereshagin resides..."
Secondly, there is a story that Ksenia's father was 'killed near the island of Formosa/Taiwan' in 1771, and that she was then adopted by Rikord. There is no doubting the fact that Ksenia was adopted by Captain Rikord, or at least brought up in his household prior to 1821. Leaving aside the sheer impossibility of the dates (1771 for her father's death, Ksenia's birth in 1807) we would have to ask why a man, apparently domesticated and living in a tiny village in Kamchatka, be killed near Formosa, some two thousand miles away? Read on...
All we can surmise is that her natural father had died when Ksenia was younger and that her mother had re-married a priest named Vereschagin. Mother and stepfather now lived in Bolsheretsk. And, perhaps at the time of this re-marriage, Ksenia had been adopted by Captain Rikord.
And then there is the story of Count Moric Benyovszky, the Polish adventurer...
The Hungarian adventurer Moric Benyovszky (1746-1786) was exiled to Kamchatka in 1770.
No sooner had he arrived there than he began to plot an escape. This plot involved up to 70 other people on the peninsula, some of whom were exiles or prisoners, some of whom were not. In April of 1771, they caused an insurrection (in the course of which the local Governor was killed), seized the ship normally used for transports to and from Okhotsk, and set sail, initially towards California. After getting caught in ice and storms in the Aleutian Islands and further north, they then headed westwards again, for the coast of Japan, Formosa and then China. Or so he claimed.
Much of Benyovszky's narrative needs to be taken with a very large pinch of salt. But we know at least that Benyovszky and his friends did indeed escape from Kamchatka and did indeed arrive - exhausted - in China.
For much more detail on this gentleman, and an analysis of what was true and what was not, click here - or indeed just buy my book!
One of the women on this voyage, according to a remark made by John Cochrane, was still alive in 1821: at the Kamchatkan village of Bolsheretsk, he 'heard, also, strange stories of the celebrated Benjofsky, who made his escape hence to Canton, having previously murdered some people and fomented an insurrection. I heard nothing in his favour, although an old lady, afterwards my aunt, was a companion of his.'
According to Benyovszky's own published Journal, among the crew, apart from escaping exiles, were "29 hunters", 9 women and 12 passengers (!) - 96 people in all. More accurately, there were about 70 people and none were passengers. But they were reasonably well armed. In August of 1771, they fetched up on the island of Formosa where a foraging party was attacked by the natives (while bathing in the sea). Three members of the crew were killed by arrows - one of them "John Loginov" - and subsequently buried there. The whole tragic event seems to have been a big misunderstanding - but Benyovszky claims that 1,156 islanders were killed in revenge: the number seems unlikely, although the intent is sadly believable...
After this catastrophe, one "young Loginov" - supposedly the younger brother of the one unfortunately killed - was left behind on Formosa to build a trading-post; and then the ship proceeded to Macao where many of the crew promptly died of a mysterious illness. Benyovszky and most of the surviving crew then sailed across the Indian Ocean, called in at Mauritius (where he met Lieutenant Kerguelen, discoverer of the sub-Antarctic island of that name - vide a narrated episode in An Abridged History...). Several of Benyovszky's friends decided that Mauritius was quite good enough for them and stayed on. Benyovszky eventually reached Paris, and impressed the King sufficiently to be despatched to Madagascar, where he took the island for the French, and proclaimed himself King. He died there in 1786, killed by French soldiers (it's a complicated story...). Most of the companions who had also made it to France returned to Siberia and Kamchatka.
Meanwhile, then, one Loginov was supposedly dead and buried on Formosa, and the other was effectively abandoned there, since Benyovszky never thought to return for him. Assuming these two men existed - and there is always some doubt about this - what was the relationship between them and our Ksenia? Clearly, the dead one could not possibly have been her father; the live one may have returned to Kamchatka and could conceivably, in much later life, have been Ksenia's father. Or maybe he was just a distant relative. Such archive documentation as we possess does not mention any Loginov either sailing with Benyovszky, or returning chastened to his homeland. We will probably never know for sure who Ksenia's natural father was.
Note well: an increasing number of the books listed below can be found in electronic format, courtesy of Google Books and similar philanthropic book-scanning operations.
John Dundas Cochrane
- [Narrative of] A Pedestrian Journey through Russian and Siberian Tartary to the Frontiers of China, the Frozen Sea and Kamtchatka.
First published by John Murray 1823; 2nd and 3rd editions reprinted Charles Knight 1824 and 1825; 4th edition Archibald Constable 1829. Translations published in Weimar 1825, Jena 1825, Vienna 1826, and Delft 1826.
- Defence of the Honourable Andrew Cochrane-Johnstone. Edinburgh 1806.
- The Trial of ... Sir Thomas Cochrane, commonly called Lord Cochrane, the Hon. Andrew Cochrane Johnstone, etc... London 1814. (Available on-line here...)
- Secret Memoirs of the Honourable Andrew Cochrane-Johnstone, of the Honourable Vice-Admiral Sir Alex. Forrester Cochrane KB, and of Sir Thomas John Cochrane, A captain in the Royal Navy. (printed by C.Chapple, London, 1814)
Charles Stuart Cochrane
- Journal of a Residence and Travels in Colombia, during the years 1823 and 1824, by Captain Charles Stuart Cochrane of the Royal Navy. Vols I and II. London 1825.
- A Journal Made by Señor Juan de Vega, the Spanish Minstrel, of 1828-9 through Great Britain and Ireland. In Two Volumes. London 1830.
Thomas (Lord) Cochrane
- The Case of Thomas Lord Cochrane KB (Edinburgh 1814)
- The Calumnious Aspersions contained in the Report of the sub-committee of the Stock Exchange, exposed and refuted, in so far as regards Lord Cochrane, KB and MP, the Hon. Cochrane-Johnstone, MP, and R.G.Butt, Esq.
(Published by W.Lewis, London 1814)
- The Autobiography of A Seaman, by Thomas, 10th Earl of Dundonald (London 1861)
- Brian Vale, The Audacious Admiral Cochrane. Conway Maritime, London 2004.
- Travels through Russia, Siberia, Poland, Austria, Saxony, Prussia, Hanover etc etc, undertaken during the years 1822, 1823 and 1824, while suffering from Total Blindness, and comprising an account of the author being conducted a state prisoner from the eastern parts of Siberia. Whittaker, London 1825.
- Jason Roberts, A Sense of the World. Simon & Schuster, London 2006