“It occurred to me,
several years ago, as a pity, that no private account should be
preserved of the distinguished men or important events that had marked
the progress of Scotland, or at least of Edinburgh, during my day. I had
never made a single note with a view to such a record. But about 1821 I
began to recollect and to inquire.”
Such is the brief account which Lord Cockburn, writing in the year 1840,
gives of the origin of his Memorials.
What is now presented to the public by his Executors was accordingly
written between 1821 and the close of the year 1830. Some alterations
and additions however, though only to a small extent, were made at times
subsequent to 1830.
It may further be explained, that the characters of some eminent men—as
for example Henry Erskine and the first Lord Melville, and the details
of some remarkable events—such as the establishment of the Edinburgh
Review and its great public effects, have been omitted in this
publication, because they are contained, with no very material
variation, in Lord Cockburn’s Life of Lord Jeffrey.
Edinburgh, May 1856.
Birth—High School of Edinburgh—Dr. Alexander Adam, etc.— Gala Water,
etc.—Niddrie—Prestonfield—College of Edinburgh—Professor Dalzel—Professor
Finlayson—Dugald Stewart —The Academical Society—State of Manners and
Society— Principal Robertson—Dr. Adam Ferguson—Dr. Joseph Black —Dr.
Henry—Dr. Thomas Macknight—Dr. Erskine—Dr. Carlyle—Professor Robison—Old
Ladies—Tests of Loyalty— Dearth of 1795-6—Speculative Society—State of
Colliers and Salters.
Passed Advocate—Political State of Scotland—Town Council of
Edinburgh—Sedition Trials of 1793-4—Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh—Dr.
James Gregory—Parliament House, etc.—Lord Monboddo—Lord Swinton—Lord
Braxfield—Lord Eskgrove— Lord President Campbell—Lord Hermand—Lord
Meadowbank —Lord Cullen.
State of the Bar—Robert Blair—Robert Dundas—Charles Hope— Bell’s
Commentaries—Hume’s Commentaries—Reporters of Decisions—Edinburgh
Review—Archibald Constable—William Creech—State of the Mercantile
Classes—Bellevue—Gillespie’s Hospital—Stewart’s Lectures on Political
Economy—Sydney Smith, etc., leave Edinburgh—John Allen—John Leyden —
John Richardson—Lord Webb Seymour—Chief-Baron Montgomery—Hope Lord
Advocate, and Lord Justice-Clerk—The War; the Volunteers, etc.—Edinburgh
Police Establishment— Case of Professor Leslie—Scott’s “ Lay of the Last
Minstrel ”— State of Edinburgh Society.
The Whigs in Office, 1806—Dugald Stewart, printer of the Edinburgh
Gazette—Trial of Lord Melville—Scheme for Reform of the Court of
Session—Charles Hay, Lord Newton—Murder of Begbie—Made an
Advocate-Depute—General Assembly of the Church of Scotland—Principal
Hill—Dr. Inglis—Sir Henry Moncreiff—State of the Church—Rev. Mr.
Struthers—New Prison on Calton Hill, and Waterloo Bridge—Dawn of Modern
Scottish Art—Division of the Court of Session—Retirement of President
Campbell—Blair, President—Graham the Macer— Death of Dr. Adam—Mr.
Pillans, his Successor—Retirement of Dugald Stewart—Dr. Thomas Brown,
his Successor—The Horticultural Society—The Commercial Bank—Dismissed
from the Office of Advocate-Depute—Marriage ; Bonaly—Death of President
Blair—Death of Lord Melville—Advance of the junior Whig Lawyers—John
Playfair—Henry Mackenzie—Sir James Hall—Walter Scott—Mrs. Hamilton—Mrs.
Grant of Laggan—The Astronomical Institution—Society for the Suppression
of Begging—Lancastrian School—Death of John Clerk of Eldin—Contested
Election for Mid-Lothian—Lord Woodhouselee—Murray the Orientalist.
Peace, 1814—Publication of Waverley—Meeting in Edinburgh against West
Indian Slavery—New Town Dispensary—Dr. Andrew Duncan—Improvement of
Architectural Taste—William Stark—William Playfair—Jeffrey at Craigcrook—Musical
Festival—The Jury Court Established—Adam, Lord Chief Commissioner—Lord
Pitmilly—Meeting in Edinburgh against the Income Tax—George
Wilson—National Monument—Episcopalian Chapels—Rev. Archibald
Alison—Salisbury Crags, etc., improved — “ The Scotsman” Newspaper —
Death of Francis Horner—Blackwood’s Magazine—Eevival of Question of
Burgh Reform—Trials for Sedition and Administering Unlawful Oaths—Trial
of Andrew M‘Kinlay—Funeral Sermons on the death of Princess Charlotte.
The City Guard of Edinburgh Abolished—Old Justiciary Circuits,
etc.—Agitation against the North Bridge Buildings—Discovery of the
Scottish Regalia—Death of Malcolm Laing—Proceedings in the Merchant
Company, and the Guildry of Edinburgh— Edinburgh Water Company—Water
Carriers—Dinner in honor of Burns—The Royal Institution for Promotion of
the Fine Arts—Deaths of Lord Webb Seymour and Professor Playfair —Adam
Rolland—“The Radical War”—Death of George III. —Lord Erskine’s Visit to
Edinburgh—Death of Dr. Thomas Brown—Chair of Moral Philosophy offered to
Mackintosh— Improvement of North Loch—Praying for the Queen—United
Associate Synod—Jeffrey, Lord Rector of Glasgow—Pantheon Meeting in
Edinburgh—First Public Fox Dinner—“ The Beacon” Newspaper—The School of
Arts—Reform in the Mode of Choosing Juries in Criminal Cases—Fox Dinner,
1822— Exhibition of Williams’ Water Colours—Commissioners of Edinburgh
Police; Police Bill —"The Sentinel” Newspaper—Duel between Mr. Stuart
and Sir Alexander Boswell —Trial of Mr. Stuart—Mr. Abercromby’s Motion
in the House of Commons on the Scotch Press, etc.—Moray Place, etc.—Fox
Dinner, 1823— Petition for Reform of the Representation of Edinburgh.
Matthew Ross—John Clerk, a Judge—Reform in Court of Session —Botanical
Garden—Office of Lord Advocate—Fox Dinner, 1824—Bill for Reform of
Representation of Edinburgh—The Edinburgh Academy—Rev. Dr.
Chalmers—Great Fires in Edinburgh—Fox Dinner, 1825—Dinner to
Brougham—Edinburgh Improvements—Leith and the Town Council of Edinburgh—
Bankruptcy of Sir Walter Scott—Joint-Stock Mania—Proposal to check the
Circulation of Scotch Bank Notes—New Markets in Edinburgh—Trinity
Church—Trinity Hospital—Cranstoun, a Judge—Moncreiff, Dean of
Faculty—Ministry of Canning, etc.—Appointment of Deputy-Keeper of the
Signet—Repeal of Test and Corporation Acts—Death of Dugald Stewart—
Visit to Abbotsford—The West-Port Murders—Meeting for Catholic
Emancipation—Scotch Boards of Custom and Excise Abolished—Death of Lord
Alloway—Moncreiff, a Judge— Jeffrey, Dean of Faculty—Death of Hugh
Williams—The Scottish Academy—Schemes for Improving the Mound, etc.—Abercromby,
Chief-Baron, etc.— Meeting on French Revolution— Anti-Slavery Meeting —
Parliamentary Reform—Ministry of Earl Grey—Appointed Solicitor-General
There are two book
reviews of his books which you can read below from the Edinburgh
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