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Henry Brougham Loch, 1st Baron Loch GCMG, KCB (23 May 1827 – 20 June 1900) was a Scottish soldier and colonial administrator.

Military service

He was the son of James Loch, Member of Parliament, of Drylaw, Midlothian. He entered the Royal Navy, but at the end of two years quit it for the British East India Company's military service, and in 1842 obtained a commission in the Bengal Light Cavalry. In the First Anglo-Sikh War of 1845–1846 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 connection with India, and obtained leave to raise a body of irregular Bulgarian cavalry, which he commanded throughout the war. In 1857 he was appointed attaché to Lord Elgin's mission to the East, was present at the taking of Canton during the Second Opium War, 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 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 Xianfeng Emperor, then a fugitive in Chengde, for their immediate execution.

Colonial administrator

Loch never entirely recovered his health after this experience in a Chinese dungeon. Returning home he was made Companion of the Order of the Bath, and for a while was private secretary to Sir George Grey, 2nd Baronet, then at the Home Office. In 1863 he was appointed lieutenant governor 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 Knight Commander of the Bath in 1880, accepted a commissionership of woods and forests, and two years later was made governor of the territory of Victoria in Australia. In June 1889 he succeeded Sir Hercules Robinson as Governor of Cape Colony and High Commissioner for Southern 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 Paul Kruger that troops would be sent to prevent any invasion of territory under British protection, he effectually crushed the Banyailand trek across the Limpopo River (1890–1891). 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 the United Kingdom 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 15 March 1895 it was announced that these territories (Amatongaland, etc), would be annexed by Britain, an announcement received by Kruger with the greatest astonishment and regret.

Meanwhile 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 favor 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 Second Boer 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 20 June 1900, and was succeeded as Baron Loch by his son Edward Douglas (1873–1942).


Government offices
Preceded by
Mark Hildesley Quayle (acting)
Lieutenant Governor of the Isle of Man
Succeeded by
Spencer Walpole
Preceded by
George Phipps, Marquess of Normanby
Governor of Victoria
Succeeded by
John Hope, 7th Earl of Hopetoun
Preceded by
Sir Hercules Robinson
Governor of Cape Colony
Succeeded by
Sir Hercules Robinson
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Baron Loch Succeeded by
Edward Douglas Loch, 2nd Baron Loch


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