LAROCHE, James (1734-1804), of Over, nr. Bristol, Glos.
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Family and Education
bap. 24 June 1734, 3rd s. of John Laroche, M.P. (and gd.-s. of Pierre Crothaire, who came to England as attendant upon Prince George of Denmark and assumed the name of Laroche), by Elizabeth, da. of Isaac Garnier, a Huguenot refugee and apothecary, of Westminster. m. (1) Nov. or Dec. 1763,1 Elizabeth (d. 27 Jan. 1781), da. and h. of John Yeamans of Antigua, wid. of William Yeamans Archbould of Antigua and Bristol, s.p.; (2) ?Elizabeth, 1s.2 cr. Bt. 17 Sept. 1776.
Sheriff, Bristol 1764-5; master, company of Merchant Venturers 1782-3.
Laroche was a Bristol merchant. His father became closely connected with the Robartes family,3 and with their support sat for Bodmin 1727-52; in 1757 he himself inherited considerable Cornish estates from John Robartes, 4th and last Earl of Radnor.
Both his elections at Bodmin were contested. He voted with Opposition on Wilkes’s petition, 27 Jan. 1769; against them on the Middlesex election, 8 May 1769, and again with them on the Address, 9 Jan. 1770; with Administration on Brass Crosby, 27 Mar. 1771, but in Robinson’s first survey on the royal marriage bill he was listed as ‘doubtful, present’. He does not appear in any other division list before 1774 when Robinson classed him as ‘hopeful’; nor in any of the minority lists 1775-8. He voted with Administration on Keppel, 3 Mar. 1779, and continued to support them till he left Parliament. Three speeches by Laroche are reported, but contain nothing of consequence.
After Laroche’s entering Parliament his financial position grew increasingly embarrassed: in May 1774 he mortgaged his wife’s Antiguan estates for £7,000;4 and became bankrupt early in 1778. The Public Ledger wrote about him in 1779: ‘Was a Bristol merchant, and for doing some Government business there, was rewarded three years ago with a baronetage. He is lately become a bankrupt ... and is now literally a beggar for the crumbs which fall from the minister’s table.’
After ten years’ interval Laroche stood for Bodmin in 1790 but was defeated. He died September 1804.