Skip to main content

Cockburn, Henry

Cockburn, Henry (1779–1854). Scottish advocate, judge, and diarist, whose Memorials of his Time (1856) remains one of the most vivid and attractive accounts of Scottish politics and Edinburgh society and culture in what Cockburn called ‘the last purely Scotch age’. A well-connected Whig who spent his whole life in Edinburgh, a successful and talented criminal advocate, Cockburn was a founder member of the Edinburgh Review. He became solicitor-general for Scotland in 1830, drafted the Scottish Reform Act, and was promoted to the Scottish bench in 1834. Cockburn's generous and unaffected prose did not make him a particularly trenchant Edinburgh reviewer or Whig pamphleteer. It did make him a diarist of near genius. His Memorials are his greatest work. His Journals which cover 1832–54 are less successful. His strongly topographical Circuit Journeys, written while he was a circuit judge, is a neglected masterpiece. In his later years he became a notable and ardent conservationist.

Nicholas Phillipson

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Cockburn, Henry." The Oxford Companion to British History. . 23 Feb. 2019 <>.

"Cockburn, Henry." The Oxford Companion to British History. . (February 23, 2019).

"Cockburn, Henry." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Retrieved February 23, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.