John Dundas Cochrane, a British traveller, nephew of Archibald, ninth earl of Dundonald, born about 1780, died in South America, Aug. 12, 1825. He entered the British navy at the age of 10, and rose to the rank of captain. In 1815 he commenced a series of journeys on foot through France, Spain, and Portugal. In 1820 he submitted to the British admiralty a plan for exploring the interior of Africa and the course of the Niger, which was declined. Cochrane then resolved on making a tour of the globe, as much as possible on foot, his means not allowing him to travel otherwise, intending to cross from Asia into America at Behring's strait. He started from London in February, 1820, reached St. Petersburg April 30, and left that place May 23, the Russian government affording him various facilities. Before reaching Novgorod he was attacked by robbers and plundered of everything, even his clothing. The governor of Novgorod reimbursed him for these losses. He visited Moscow and Kazan, crossed the Ural mountains, halted for a time at Tobolsk, and ascended the Irtish as far as Semipalatinsk. Thence he turned his steps to Tomsk, and afterward to Irkutsk; there embarking on the Lena, he reached Yakutsk Oct. 6, 1820. From this place he struck out north, continuing his journey on a sledge drawn by dogs; the thermometer often descended as low as - 29° F., and on Dec. 31, the dav that he arrived at Nizhni Kolymsk, it went down to - 62.5°. The Tchuktchis would not allow him to traverse their country on his way to Behring's strait, and he took a S. E. direction, reaching Okhotsk June 23, 1821, after suffering intensely from cold and hunger.
For 400 m. he had not met a single human being. On Aug. 24 he set out for Kamtchatka, and on arriving at Petropavlovsk was well received by the Russian functionaries. There he became enamored of the daughter of the sexton of the town, married her, and abandoned the intention of walking across the North American continent, He returned to London by the same route which he had previously travelled, and reached Britain after an absence of three years and two months, and published "Narrative of a Pedestrian Journey through Russia and Siberian Tartary, from the Frontiers of China to the Frozen Sea and Kamtchatka" ( 2 vols., London, 1824). His propensity to wander did not allow him to remain quiet long, and he next proceeded to South America, where he died engaged in some mining enterprises.