Page:Dictionary of National Biography. Sup. Vol III (1901).djvu/118

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Loch
Loch
104

through the Sutlej campaign of 1845. In 1860 he was appointed adjutant of the famous irregular corps, Skinner's Horse. On the outbreak of the Crimean war his gift of managing Asiatic soldiery led to his being selected in 1854 to proceed to Bulgaria and assist in organising the Turkish horse. He served throughout the war, and at its close he was signalled out for the employment which was destined to close his military career. In 1857 James Bruce, eighth earl of Elgin [q.v.] was despatched on a special embassy to China to arrange, as was supposed, the final terms of settlement of the war that was then raging, and Captain Loch was attached to his staff. He was present at the taking of Canton on 28 Dec. and the seizure of Commissioner Yeh, and he subsequently proceeded with Lord Elgin on his mission to Japan, and in 1868 he was sent back to England with the treaty of Yeddo, concluded by Great Britain with that country. In 1860 the failure to obtain the ratification of the treaty of Tientsin and the repulse of the English gunboats before the Taku forts had involved the Anglo-French expedition under Sir James Hope Grant [q. v.] and General Montauban, afterwards Count Palikao. Lord Elgin was again sent out as minister plenipotentiary, and mindful of Captain Loch's services he took him with him as private secretary. In conjunction with Mr. (afterwards Sir) Harry Smith Parkes [q. v.], Loch conducted the negotiations which led to the surrender of the Taku forts, and he shared in the advance on Pekin.

On 18 Sept. he formed one of the small party which was treacherously seized by the Chinese officials on returning from Tungchau, whither they had been to arrange the preliminaries of peace. Loch had actually made his way through the enemy's lines to the English camp and had given warning of the intended treachery, but he chivalrously returned in order to try and save his comrades. For three weeks he endured the most terrible imprisonment, loaded with chains, tortured by the gaolers, and herded with the worst felons in the common prison. So frightful was the state of his surroundings that a single abrasion of the skin must have led to a terrible death from the poisonous insects that swarmed in his cell. His situation was rendered more deplorable by his inability to speak the Chinese language with any fluency. Fortunately the loyalty and determination of his fellow-prisoner, Parkes, led first to the amelioration of his condition, and eventually to their joint release. They anticipated by only ten minutes the arrival of an order from the emperor imperatively commanding their execution. On 8 Oct. they rejoined the British camp, but, with the exception of a few Indian troopers, the rest of the party—French, English, and native—died in prison from horrible maltreatment, and Loch himself never fully recovered his health.

In 1860 he was sent home in charge of the treaty of Tientsin, and in the following year he finally quitted the army, and was appointed private secretary to Sir George Grey [q. v.], who was then secretary of state at the home office. In 1863 he was made governor of the Isle of Man, a post which he occupied to the great satisfaction of the islanders until 1882. In 1880 he had received the distinction of a K.C.B. In 1882 he was transferred to a commissionership of woods and forests and land revenue, and his career outside the somewhat narrow bounds of the English civil service seemed at an end. In 1884, however, he was sent to Australia by Gladstone as governor of Victoria. During his five years' tenure of that office his kindness and tact endeared him to all classes of the population, and he left the most affectionate remembrance behind him when in 1889 the Marquis of Salisbury, the conservative prime minister, chose him to succeed Sir Hercules Robinson (afterwards Lord Rosmead) [q.v. Suppl.], who had just completed his first term of office as governor of the Cape and high commissioner in South Africa.

It was during Loch's residence at the Cape that the South African question first began to assume the threatening proportions which led to the war of 1899. In the Cape Colony itself matters were peaceful enough, owing to the temporary combination of Mr. Cecil Rhodes with the Afrikander party. There were few constitutional difficulties, and Sir Henry found himself generally in accord with his constitutional advisers, and able to work with them with but little friction. Outside the borders, however, the elements of unrest were beginning to ferment, and Loch had scarcely the requisite knowledge of South African problems to enable him to adequately master the situation. He was alive, however, to the greatness of Mr. Rhodes's conceptions, and to the danger that would inevitably attend any expansion of the Transvaal Republic. He assisted the expeditions which led to the annexation of Mashonaland and Matabeleland, and he allowed the Bechuanaland police force to be sent up to threaten the Matabele from the west on the outbreak of the war of 1893.

The most striking episode in his South