Person NameCockburn; Henry Thomas (1779-1854); Lord Cockburn
ForenamesHenry Thomas
EpithetLord Cockburn
ActivityHenry T. Cockburn, Lord Cockburn, was born, probably in Edinburgh, in 1779 to a prominent Tory family. He was educated at Edinburgh High School and the University of Edinburgh where he took an active part in debating societies and became a strong Whig supporter. Cockburn was admitted to the Faculty of Advocates in 1800 but his political opinions hampered his progress in official posts. He soon gained, however, a reputation as an excellent criminal lawyer and was appointed leader of the Scottish bar. Lack of official recognition did not alter his political beliefs and he spoke on and published a number of pamphlets calling for political and judicial reform. With the formation of the Grey ministry in 1830 he was appointed solicitor-general for Scotland and was consulted on Scottish parliamentary reform. The following year he was elected rector of the University of Glasgow and in 1834 he was appointed, as Lord Cockburn, to be a judge of the court of session. He continued to voice his often strong opinions, in person or in print, on subjects ranging from the independence of the Scottish kirk to the architecture of Edinburgh. Cockburn died at Bonaly, near Edinburgh, in 1854, his 'Memorials of his Time' containing autobiographical material, sketches of Scottish history, and anecdotes, was published posthumously in 1856.
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