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Loch, Henry Brougham Loch, 1st Baron

LOCH, HENRY BROUGHAM LOCH, 1ST BARON (1827-1900), British colonial administrator, son of James Loch, M.P., of Dry law, Midlothian, was born on the 23rd of May 1827. He entered the navy, but at the end of two years quitted it for the East India Company's military service, and in 1842 obtained a commission in the Bengal Light Cavalry. In the Sikh war in 1845 he was given an appointment on the staff of Sir Hugh Gough, and served throughout the Sutlej campaign. In 1852 he became second in command of Skinner's Horse. At the outbreak of the Crimean war in 1854, Loch severed his connexion with India, and obtained leave to raise a body of irregular Bulgarian cavalry, which he commanded throughout the war. In 1857 he was appointed attache to Lord Elgin's mission to the East, was present at the taking of Canton, and in 1858 brought home the treaty of Yedo. In April 1860 he again accompanied Lord Elgin to China, as secretary of the new embassy sent to secure the execution by China of her treaty engagements. The embassy was backed up by an allied Anglo-French force. With Harry S. Parkes he negotiated the surrender of the Taku forts. During the advance on Peking Loch was chosen with Parkes to complete the preliminary negotiations for peace at Tungchow. They were accompanied by a small party of officers and Sikhs. It having been discovered that the Chinese were planning a treacherous attack on the British force, Loch rode back and warned the outposts. He then returned to Parkes and his party under a flag of truce hoping to secure their safety. They were all, however, made prisoners and taken to Peking, where the majority died from torture or disease. Parkes and Loch, after enduring irons and all the horrors of a Chinese prison, were afterwards more leniently treated. After three weeks' time the negotiations for their release were successful, but they had only been liberated ten minutes when orders were received from the Chinese emperor, then a fugitive in Mongolia, for their immediate execution. Loch never entirely recovered his health after this experience in a Chinese dungeon. Returning home he was made C.B., and for a while was private secretary to Sir George Grey, then at the Home Office. In 1863 he was appointed lieutenantgovernor of the Isle of Man. During his governorship the House of Keys was transformed into an elective assembly, 'the first line of railway was opened, and the influx of tourists began to bring fresh prosperity to the island. In 1882 Loch, who had become K.C.B. in 1880, accepted a commissionership of woods and forests, and two years later was made governor of Victoria, where he won the esteem of all classes. In June 1889 he succeeded Sir Hercules Robinson as governor of Cape Colony and high commissioner of South Africa.

As high commissioner his duties called for the exercise of great judgment and firmness. The Boers were at the same time striving to frustrate Cecil Rhodes's schemes of northern expansion and planning to occupy Mashonaland, to secure control of Swaziland and Zululand and to acquire the adjacent lands up to the ocean. Loch firmly supported Rhodes, and, by informing President Kruger that troops would be sent to prevent any invasion of territory under British protection, he effectually crushed the " Banyailand trek " across the Limpopo (1890-91). Loch, however, with the approval of the imperial government, concluded in July- August 1890 a convention with President Kruger respecting Swaziland, by which, while the Boers withdrew all claims to territory north of the Transvaal, they were granted an outlet to the sea at Kosi Bay on condition that the republic entered the South African Customs Union. This convention was concluded after negotiations conducted with President Kruger by J. H. Hofmeyr on behalf of the high commissioner, and was made at a time when the British and Bond parties in Cape Colony were working in harmony. The Transvaal did not, however, fulfil the necessary condition, and in view of the increasingly hostile attitude of the Pretoria administration to Great Britain Loch became a strong advocate of the annexation by Britain of the territory east of Swaziland, through which the Boer railway to the sea would have passed. He at length induced the British government to adopt his view and on the 15th of March 1895 it was announced that these territories ( Amatongaland, etc.), would be annexed by Britain, an announcement received by Mr Kruger " with the greatest astonishment and regret." Meantime Loch had been forced to intervene in another matter. When the commandeering difficulty of 1894 had roused the Uitlanders in the Transvaal to a dangerous pitch of excitement, he travelled to Pretoria to use his personal influence with President Kruger, and obtained the withdrawal of the obnoxious commandeering regulations. In the following year he entered a strong protest against the new Transvaal franchise law. Meanwhile, however, the general situation in South Africa was assuming year by year a more threatening aspect. Cecil Rhodes, then prime minister of Cape Colony, was strongly in favour of a more energetic policy than was supported by the Imperial government, and at the end of March 1895 the high commissioner, finding himself, it is believed, out of touch with his ministers, returned home a few months before the expiry of his term of office. In the same year he was raised to the peerage. When the AngloBoer war broke out in 1899 Loch took a leading part in raising and equipping a body of mounted men, named after him " Loch's Horse." He died in London on the 20th of June 1900, and was succeeded as and baron by his son Edward (b. 1873).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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