TROUBRIDGE, Sir Edward Thomas, 2nd bt. (?1790-1852), of Rockville, North Berwick, Haddington

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1820-1832, ed. D.R. Fisher, 2009
Available from Cambridge University Press



1831 - 1847

Family and Education

b. ?1790,1 o.s. of R.-Adm. Sir Thomas Troubridge, 1st bt., and Frances, da. of Capt. John Northall, wid. of ‘Governor’ Henry Richardson of Marylebone, Mdx. educ. Dr. Charles Burney at Greenwich.2 m. 18 Oct. 1810, Anna Maria, da. of V.-Adm. Hon. Sir Alexander Forrester Inglis Cochrane† of Lamancha, Peebles, 4s. (3 d.v.p.) 3da. (1 d.v.p.). suc. fa. as 2nd bt. 1 Feb. 1807; CB 19 July 1838. d. 7 Oct. 1852.

Offices Held

Entered RN 1797, midshipman 1801, lt. 1806, cdr. 1806, capt. 1807; c.-in-c. Cork 1831-2; r.-adm. 1841.

Naval a.d.c. to William IV and Victoria 1831-41; ld. of admiralty Apr. 1835-Sept. 1841.


Troubridge followed his mercurial father, who received a baronetcy in 1799, into the navy. He saw action at the battle of Copenhagen and served in the Victory under Nelson, his father’s friend, 1803-4. In February 1806 he was promoted to lieutenant in the Blenheim, his father’s flagship as commander-in-chief in India. Soon afterwards he was given command of the Harrier, in which he destroyed a Dutch brig, 4 July, and participated in the capture of a frigate and two Indiamen, 26 July. His father wrote from Penang to John Markham†, a lord of the admiralty in the Grenville ministry, 23 Aug.:

How fortunate my cruises have been. It was a bold dash and I have great pleasure in saying Elphinstone says Tom in the Harrier behaved like a brave, good fellow; had he done otherwise I would with great composure put a pistol ball through his nob ... I have made him post into the Dutch frigate ... May I request your influence with the first lord to confirm him ... I know you will make allowances for my pressing request, and attribute it to the anxiety of a parent to see his son as high in the service as it will admit.

Troubridge’s promotion to commander was subsequently confirmed, and it was reported that his share of the prize money for the capture was £26,000.3 His father, enraged at being relegated to the command at the Cape, ignored advice that the Blenheim was not seaworthy and left Madras in pique early in 1807. The Blenheim was last seen in severe distress in a cyclone off Madagascar, 1 Feb. Troubridge was sent to look for her, and his fruitless search inspired James Montgomery to write a poem beginning:

          He sought his sire from shore to shore,
          But sought his sire in vain.

Troubridge was invalided home in January 1808.4 When his father’s will was proved the following August he inherited £10,000 in three per cents and £29,297 as his share of the residue of the estate. (His sister Charlotte received £23,746.)5

In September 1809 Anna Maria Cochrane assured her father that there was no truth in reports that she was engaged to Troubridge:

I think him an amiable, pleasant young man, but that is not to say that ‘he loo’s me, or I loo’ him’ ... At present the baronet is flirting and dancing away with the ladies in Edinburgh, so that does not look as if he were desperate and as for me, I am as lively, and more so I think, than when he was here.6

They married a year later, when Troubridge made a brief will (26 Oct. 1810), by which he confirmed the terms of their settlement and transferred his holding of £33,333 6s.4d. in three per cent consols to a trust fund for the benefit of himself, his wife and their children.7 He commanded the Armide in American waters, 1813-15, and led a naval brigade at the battle of New Orleans. Troubridge, one of whose sons was born in Florence in 1817, bought ‘a gentlemanlike residence without a large estate’ near North Berwick, where his brother-in-law Charles Stuart Cochrane had property, but he and his wife spent most of their time on the continent in the 1820s.8 In the spring of 1828 they settled at Tours, with the ailing Sir Alexander Cochrane, and they moved with him to Paris for the winter. Troubridge, who had to make arrangements for the education not only of his own sons, but those of his wife’s brother Sir Thomas Cochrane†, governor of Newfoundland, periodically visited London. When there, he did what he could to try to resurrect the military career of his wife’s disreputable uncle Andrew Cochrane Johnstone†, but was careful not to become involved in his tangled financial affairs.9 On one such visit in February 1829 he was pleasantly surprised by the duke of Wellington and Peel’s conversion to Catholic emancipation, proof that ‘miracles will certainly never cease’:

Whether it will tranquillize Ireland to the extent expected I much doubt, but it will conciliate the English Catholics and the moderate Irish; and if not received by O’Connell and the rabble it will at least give the government a better case to act on than they would have had without making this attempt.10

He moved his family to Boulogne in the summer of 1829, when he spent a few days at the Cowes regatta. He was at North Berwick with his dying sister-in-law Jane Bruce at the end of the year.11

Troubridge’s hopes of sending his first son, Thomas, to university and obtaining an East India Company writership for his second, Edward, were frustrated. (Thomas entered the army in 1834 and Edward continued the family’s naval tradition.) Rockville had become ‘a great loss’ to him, costing about £1,000 a year; and at the end of July 1830 he went to Britain in an unsuccessful attempt to find a buyer.12 Before going to Scotland to pack up books, minerals and other effects, he made his ‘bow to the Blue Jacket king’, William IV. He hankered after appointment as a naval aide-de-camp, which would be ‘very flattering to the memory of my father and may tend to bring me forward upon some future occasion’; but he was disappointed.13 Back in Boulogne by October, he told his brother-in-law that ‘this confounded revolution in Belgium has quite deranged our plans, as we intended to have wintered at Brussels’. He considered moving to Dover, or buying a house in Brighton, but in the event decided to keep his wife and younger children in France. On recent political developments he wrote:

think the march of intellect, as everything is now called, together with the example of revolution shown by so large a portion of the continent, will oblige us to reform at home. Brougham as MP for Yorkshire, supported by Lords Morpeth* and Milton*, is coming forward very strong, and the boroughmongers are not a little frightened. They are making good use of the present time, £1,000 to £1,500 being the price of a seat to be independent on all questions but borough reform, which you are expected to vote against on all occasions.14

He returned to England in December, when, chagrined at being passed over as a Companion of the Bath in a recent creation, he submitted to the admiralty a statement of his past services in support of his pretensions. Although he got no satisfaction on this he was ‘gratified’ by the attention he received from the new premier Lord Grey and Graham, first lord of the admiralty, at a royal reception at Brighton, 27 Dec. 1830.15 In March 1831 his offer of a renewal of his professional services was accepted and he was appointed to the command at Cork, due to fall vacant at the end of May, with a broad pennant in the Stag, which he joined on 15 Apr. He obliged Grey by taking on his nephew as a midshipman and planned to move his family to Cove once the official house there had been refurbished.16 These plans were disrupted by the snap general election of 1831, when Troubridge was sent to stand for Sandwich on the government interest as a reformer. He was returned in second place after a three-day contest, his expenses apparently being borne by government. To his wife he wrote: ‘I feel I have embarked in a good cause and I both hope and believe it will prove so ... I never felt better in my life, and the late activity has done wonders for me’.17 At a Deal celebration dinner, 11 May, he promised to support ‘the great measure of reform, retrenchment and an extensive reduction of taxation’. He told his wife that ‘Wellington or even Napoleon could not have been better received’ than he was on his triumphal entry to the town. Yet he dreaded the inevitable shoal of patronage requests, ‘for every man that voted for me thinks he has a right to ask for something’.18

Troubridge, who spent some time with his ship at Plymouth before attending the opening of Parliament, 21 June 1831, now successfully applied for a vacant post as naval aide-de-camp. He took to the treasury a petition from Deal to have it and Walmer united to Sandwich, which had been scheduled to lose one Member by the first reform bill, to form a new two Member constituency. This scheme was incorporated in the new bill, to the considerable benefit of Troubridge’s standing with his constituents.19 He briefly defended his role in this affair in the House, 26 July. He voted for the second reading of the bill, 6 July, and steadily for its details until early August when, having joined Brooks’s on the 6th, he went to the Stag at Spithead.20 He was present to vote for clause 22 of the bill, 30 Aug., and was given formal confirmation of a week’s leave of absence from his ship, 2 Sept.21 He was in the minority for the total disfranchisement of Aldborough, 14 Sept., but voted for the third reading, 19, and passage of the bill, 21 Sept. He got permission to leave the Stag, which he had sailed from the Downs to Portsmouth, in early October, but evidently arrived too late to vote for the motion of confidence in the ministry, 10 Oct. 1831. He was ‘astonished’ at the size of the Lords majority against the bill, which had ‘brought the bishops into disrepute and in my opinion completely upsets the Tory party for ever’. Troubridge, who ‘made a point’ of attending the funeral of one of his crew killed in a fall from the masthead, and tried to get a pension for his widow, expected to leave at last for Ireland after going by sea to Leith to collect some household effects from Rockville.22

As it happened, he went no further than the Channel. He got leave to attend the new session of Parliament and was present to vote for the second reading of the revised reform bill, 17 Dec. 1831, and its borough disfranchisement schedules, 20, 23 Jan., and with government on the Russian-Dutch loan, 26 Jan. 1832.23 Soon afterwards the Stag went to Ireland under the temporary captaincy of Commander Herringham, but she was back at Plymouth by late March.24 Troubridge, whose wife wintered in Paris, continued to attend and vote for the reform bill in committee, and was in the ministerial majority on relations with Portugal, 9 Feb. He tried to make himself ‘master’ of Graham’s proposal to unite the admiralty and navy boards ‘in case an opportunity opens to say anything in the House’;25 it did, 14 Feb., when, after appealing for an abandonment of ‘party spirit’ on the question, he praised the bill and its authors in extravagant and partisan terms. His last known vote in this Parliament was for the third reading of the reform bill, 22 Mar. 1832.

Next day he was summoned to the admiralty and ordered to take the Stag to Madeira and to keep a neutral watching brief on naval developments in the Portuguese civil war. He remained there for at least two months and became ‘sorely disappointed at being kept there so long’, as he complained to his wife. News of the reform bill’s rejection by the Lords and Grey’s resignation, which he received on 23 May, appalled him:

I dread to think of the consequences not only for poor England but for all the world. It is the death blow to Pedro’s success, and also to the present French ministry. The king of Holland will also take advantage to keep the Belgic question open. In short, I see nothing but war and mischief ... If the House of Commons remain of the same opinion as when I left, then I cannot understand how the Tory party can possibly carry on the government ... I ... still hope to hear the king has made some arrangements to get the bill passed.26

By July 1832 Troubridge, who dined with Dom Pedro on the ship of Admiral Sartorius and then showed him over the Stag, was cruising off the Portuguese coast, still fretting to be allowed home:

I am really glad the reform bill is done with, and the more I reflect the more certain I am that no power could have avoided revolution; and revolution in England is quite another thing to revolution in France. Lord Grey in my opinion stands as high as a man can stand ... I am almost sick of a sea life. However, I am happy to say I have given satisfaction in all I have done both with the admiralty and Admiral Parker and I am glad to have had an opportunity of showing myself not a blockhead.27

Later in the year he was offered a transfer to the Malabar, with the ‘chance of foreign service’; but he demurred on account of his constituents’ insistence during his canvass for the 1832 general election that he should not go abroad. He wished instead to retain the Stag, and the Irish command, but no effort was made to accommodate him; and, privately furious with the admiralty, he found himself ‘a gentleman at large once more’.28 He successfully contested Sandwich, survived a vindictive attempt to unseat him on the ground that he had been promoted captain when two years under the prescribed minimum age, came in there at the next three general elections and held office in Lord Melbourne’s second ministry. Troubridge, whose son Edward died on naval service in the Far East in 1850, died in October 1852 at his house in Eaton Place, Belgrave Square.29 Administration of his effects was granted to his only surviving son Sir Thomas St. Vincent Hope Cochrane Troubridge (1815-67), who lost his right leg and left foot at Inkerman in 1854.30

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: David R. Fisher


  • 1. PROB 11/2166/65.
  • 2. NLS mss 2272, f. 68.
  • 3. Markham Corresp. (Navy Recs. Soc. xxviii), 245-6, 370.
  • 4. Oxford DNB; Gent. Mag. (1853), i. 197-8; L. Troubridge, Memories and Reflections, 159-60 and Life among the Troubridges ed. J. Hope Nicholson, 183-4.
  • 5. PROB 11/2166/697; IR26/138/277.
  • 6. Troubridge, Life, 184-6.
  • 7. PROB 11/2166/65.
  • 8. NMM, Troubridge mss (Ms 84/070) 3/14, Troubridge to wife, 17 Oct. 1831.
  • 9. NLS mss 2270, ff. 151, 159, 163, 165, 201, 213, 267.
  • 10. NLS mss 2271, f. 20.
  • 11. NLS mss 2272, ff. 10, 25, 27.
  • 12. NLS mss 2272, ff. 67, 97.
  • 13. Troubridge mss 3/13, Troubridge to wife, 20 [Aug.], 12 Sept. [1830].
  • 14. NLS mss 2272, ff. 134, 165.
  • 15. Troubridge mss 3/213, Troubridge to admiralty, 22 Dec., to T.H. Troubridge, 28 Dec. 1830.
  • 16. Ibid. 3/14, Grey to Troubridge, 9, 25 Mar., reply [13 Mar.], C. Wood to Troubridge, 18 Mar., E.N. Troubridge to Lady Troubridge, 10 Apr. 1831.
  • 17. The Times, 26 Apr.; Kentish Chron. 3,10 May; Troubridge mss 3/14, Troubridge to wife, 9 May 1831.
  • 18. Kentish Chron. 17 May; Troubridge mss 3/14, Troubridge to wife, 13 May 1831.
  • 19. Troubridge mss 3/14, E. N. Troubridge to Lady Troubridge, 20 June, Troubridge to same, 25, 30 June; Kent Herald, 2 June; Kentish Chron. 19 July 1831.
  • 20. Troubridge mss 3/14, E. N. Troubridge to Lady Troubridge, 22 Aug. 1831.
  • 21. Ibid. Foley to Troubridge, 1 Sept. 1831.
  • 22. Ibid. Hardy to Troubridge, 8 Oct., Troubridge to wife, 17 Oct. 1831.
  • 23. Ibid. Foley to Troubridge, 25 Oct.; Warren to same, 27 Oct., Hardy to same, 5 Dec. 1831.
  • 24. Ibid. 3/15, Hardy to Troubridge, 27 Jan. 1832.
  • 25. Ibid. Troubridge to wife, 7 Feb. 1832.
  • 26. Ibid. Hardy to Troubridge, 23 Mar., Troubridge to wife, 24 Apr.; 3/16, same to same, 18, 28 May 1832.
  • 27. Ibid. 3/16, Troubridge to wife, 2 July [1832].
  • 28. NLS mss 2270, f. 230.
  • 29. Troubridge, Memories, 161; Gent.Mag. (1853), i. 197-8.
  • 30. PROB 11/2166/65; IR26/1978/14; Malmesbury, Mems. of an Ex-Minister, ii. 214.