John Dundas Cochrane

Birth: 1780


John Dundas Cochrane (1780-1825), traveler, was a nephew of Sir Alexander Cochrane and grandson of the eighth Earl of Dundonald. Having entered the royal navy when ten years old, he served, chiefly in West and East Indian waters, until the peace of 1814. He then made a tour on foot through France, Spain, and Portugal. Returning to England in 1820 he offered his services to the admiralty for the exploration of the Niger, but receiving an unfavorable answer, left England with the intention of making the tour of the world by way of Russia, Siberia, and North America.

He travelled by Dieppe, Paris, and Berlin to St. Petersburg, most of the way on foot for the sake of economy. His subsequent progress was facilitated by the Russian government, who supplied him with the means to hire horses, sledges, and canoes. He reached Okhotsk in June 1821, having left England in February 1820. While in Kamschatka he married a lady of the country and abandoned the idea of prosecuting his journey any further. He returned to Europe by way of St. Petersburg, which he reached in June 1823.

In June 1824 he left England for South America, with the design of engaging in the mining industry, returned to England in the ensuing year, but after a brief stay sailed again for America. He died the same year of a fever at Valencia in Colombia, now Venezuela. Cochrane published in 1824 'Narrative of a Pedestrian Journey through Russia and Siberian Tartary,' London, 8vo. The work passed through several editions. It is written in a lively style and contains much interesting incident. Of scientific value it is entirely destitute.

[Gent. Mag. (1825), pt. ii. 644; Imperial Dict. Biog.]


James McMullen Rigg, Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 11. pg. 162.

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