Henry Cockburn (1779-1854)

Henry Cockburn (1779-1854)

Author and judge

Henry Cockburn was nephew of the all powerful Henry Dundas. It was through his uncle's influence that he gained the position of advocate-depute. However he did not share his uncle's political persuasion. Cockburn was instrumental in the foundation of the Whig 'Edinburgh Review' in 1802 as a rival to the Tory 'Blackwood's Magazine'. As an advocate he defended many of the political radicals, who had been a constant worry to the establishment since the French Revolution. He became Lord Cockburn when the Whigs came to power in 1830, and was rewarded with the post of Solicitor General of Scotland. In this capacity he assisted in the drafting of the Scottish Reform Bill in 1832. In the 'Memorials of His Time' (1856) he laments 'the last purely Scotch age' before political factionalism. The memorials provides a vivid first-hand account of life in the capital during the 'Age of Enlightenment'.

Testament of Henry Cockburn

(National Records of Scotland, SC70/4/34 pp907-959)

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