- Henry Cockburn, Lord Cockburn
Henry Thomas Cockburn (
October 26, 1779- April 26, 1854), was a Scottish judgeand biographer, with the style of Lord Cockburn"(pronounced Co'burn)."
His father, a keen
Tory, was a baronof the Court of Exchequer, and his mother was connected by marriage with Lord Melville. He was educated at the Royal High School and the University of Edinburgh.
He was a member of the famous
Speculative Society, to which Sir Walter Scott, Henry Brougham and Francis Jeffreybelonged. He entered the Faculty of Advocatesin 1800, and attached himself, not to the party of his relatives, who could have afforded him most valuable patronage, but to the Whig party, and that at a time when it held out few inducements to men ambitious of success in life.
Cockburn became a distinguished
advocate, and ultimately a judge. He was one of the leaders of the Whig party in Scotland in its days of darkness prior to the Reform Act of 1832, and was a close friend of Sir Thomas Dick Lauder, Bt.
On the accession of Earl Grey's ministry in 1830 he became
Solicitor General for Scotland. In 1834 he was raised to the bench, and on taking his seat as a judge in the Court of Sessionhe adopted the title of Lord Cockburn.
forensicstyle was remarkable for its clearness, pathos and simplicity; and his conversational powers were unrivalled among his contemporaries. The extent of his literary ability only became known after he had passed his seventieth year, on the publication of his biographyof lifelong friend Lord Jeffreyin 1852, and from his chief literary work, the " Memorials of his Time", which appeared posthumously in 1856. His published work continued with his " Journal", published in 1874. These constitute an autobiographyof the writer interspersed with notices of manners, public events, and sketches of his contemporaries, of great interest and value. He died on 26 April 1854, at his mansion of Bonaly, near Edinburgh.
He had a strong interest in
architectural conservation, particularly of Edinburgh. The Cockburn Association(Edinburgh Civic Trust), founded in 1875, is named after him.
* [http://tls.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,25336-1995024,00.html Scotland's greatest Whig Romantic] ,
Times Literary Supplement, January 18, 2006
*A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature
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