Andrew Cochrane-Johnstone

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Andrew Cochrane-Johnstone
Birth nameAndrew Cochrane
Born(1767-05-24)24 May 1767
DiedAugust 1833
AllegianceGreat Britain
United Kingdom
Service/branchBritish Army
Years of service1783–1805
Commands held8th West India Regiment
Other work
  • MP for Stirling Burghs (1791–97)
  • Governor of Dominica (1797–1803)
  • MP for Grampound (1807–08, 1812–14)

Andrew James Cochrane-Johnstone (24 May 1767 – August 1833) was a Scottish soldier, politician and adventurer who was found guilty of participation in the Great Stock Exchange Fraud of 1814. He was born in Edinburgh, Scotland.


Born Andrew Cochrane, he was the youngest son of Thomas Cochrane, 8th Earl of Dundonald (1691–1778) and his second wife Jane Stuart (1722–1808).[1] He became a cornet in the British Army in 1783. After returning from India to recover his health, he was elected to Parliament from Stirling Boroughs in 1791. In 1793 he married Georgiana Hope-Johnstone, a daughter of James Hope-Johnstone, 3rd Earl of Hopetoun; she died in 1797, after they had had one daughter. Cochrane added "Johnstone" to his name at the time of their marriage. Despite the opposition of Henry Dundas to his election in 1791, Cochrane-Johnstone supported the government of William Pitt the Younger, and was re-elected in 1796 in a race against his cousin Sir John Henderson, who was in opposition.[2] In 1794 he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, and in 1797 was promoted to Colonel and then made Governor of Dominica (which terminated his position as M.P.)

Cochrane-Johnstone served as governor on Dominica until 1803; an 1802 mutiny by the 8th West India Regiment was quelled with severity, but led to a court-martial of the governor on charges of embezzlement, arbitrary rule, using soldiers for private servants, and other charges. The trial in 1805 cleared Cochrane-Johnstone, but his military career was over.[3]

He had married Amelia Constance Gertrude Etienette de Clugny, a widow of Godet des Marais and the only child of a French governor of Guadeloupe, in March 1803; they were forced by Napoleon to divorce soon afterwards.

In 1807 Cochrane-Johnstone was elected MP for Grampound in Cornwall, a notoriously rotten borough, along with his brother George, reputedly financed by their wealthy brother Basil. He was disqualified in March 1808 for lack of property. By then he had gone to the West Indies where he lived in the customs house in Tortola, which was under the command of another brother, Admiral Alexander Cochrane. Made an agent and auctioneer for the navy in the conquest of some of the other Danish islands, Cochrane through bribery and fraud illegally obtained captured goods; arrested, he escaped to England with his profits.

One of his next business ventures involved manufacturing muskets for the Spanish government; in the course of this he engaged in smuggling and defrauded several of the Spanish colonial governments by failing to deliver promised armaments.[4]

Cochrane-Johnstone returned to Parliament in July 1812 after his brother George resigned in his favour; this was perhaps an expedient to avoid debtors. He was elected on his own account from Grampound in the same year, after a deal with fellow MP John Teed.[5]

In February 1814 Cochrane-Johnstone was probably the chief organiser of the Great Stock Exchange Fraud of 1814; Cochrane-Johnstone and other associates purchased securities in advance of a false rumour of the death of Napoleon. He was convicted of fraud and fled to France; he was expelled from Parliament on 5 July 1814. Cochrane-Johnstone's nephew Admiral Thomas Cochrane was also convicted, although he claimed innocence and the public was on his side; he was forced to resign and did not return to the British Navy until 1832. Cochrane-Johnstone fled to the West Indies, where he discovered that his property in Dominica had been seized, although he was able to take slaves from his plantation to a new establishment, a coffee plantation in Dutch Demerara. By 1829 he was living in Paris, France and fraudulent claims by him on the French government were being exposed. It was there that he died in 1833.

The Earl of St. Vincent, Admiral of the Fleet, wrote of the Cochrane brothers in 1806, "The Cochranes are not to be trusted out of sight, they are all mad, romantic, money-getting and not truth-telling—and there is not a single exception in any part of the family."[2]


Cochrane-Johnstone had an illegitimate son, Captain John Dundas Cochrane (1793–1825), who published a Pedestrian Journey through Russia and Siberian Tartary in 1824. Cochrane-Johnstone had one daughter, Elizabeth Cochrane-Johnstone (c. 1795 – 1883); she married William Napier, 9th Lord Napier in 1816.


  1. ^ "Thomas Cochrane, 8th Earl of Dundonald". 2013. Retrieved 13 December 2013.
  2. ^ a b Thorne, R. G. (2013). "Cochrane-Johnstone, Hon. Andrew James (1767–1833)". History of Parliament Online. Retrieved 13 December 2013.
  3. ^ Honychurch, Lennox (2013). "The 8th West India Regiment Revolts". The Cabrits. Archived from the original on 13 November 2013. Retrieved 13 December 2013.
  4. ^ Goodwin, Gordon (1892). "Johnstone, Andrew James Cochrane". In Lee, Sidney (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography. 30. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  5. ^ History of Parliament Onliine, entry "John Teed"

External links[edit]

Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Archibald Campbell
Member of Parliament for Stirling Burghs
Succeeded by
William Tait
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Henry Fawcett
Sir Christopher Hawkins, Bt
Member of Parliament for Grampound
With: Hon. George Cochrane
Succeeded by
John Teed
Robert Williams
Preceded by
William Holmes
Hon. George Cochrane
Member of Parliament for Grampound
July 1812 – 1814
With: William Holmes to October 1812
John Teed from October 1812
Succeeded by
John Teed
Ebenezer Collett