Search just our sites by using our customised search engine
Unique Cottages | Electric Scotland's Classified Directory

Click here to get a Printer Friendly PageSmiley

Memories of his Time
By Henry Cockburn


“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.


Chapter I.
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.

Chapter II.
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.

Chapter III.
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.

Chapter IV.
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.

Chapter V.
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.

Chapter VI.
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.

Chapter VII.
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

Additional Reading

There are two book reviews of his books which you can read below from the Edinburgh Review...

Article: Circuit Journeys
And you can can download the book here

Article: Journal of Henry Cockburn; being a Continuation of 'Memorial of his Time'
And you can download this 2 volume publication here
Volume 1  |  Volume 2

An Examination of the trials for Sedition which have hitherto occurred in Scotland
Volume 1  |  Volume 2

Return to our Online Books Page


This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus