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Posts Tagged ‘Francis Jeffrey Lord Jeffrey’

Regency Personalities Series

In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Elizabeth Lady Eastlake
17 November 1809 – 2 October 1893

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Elizabeth Eastlake

Elizabeth Lady Eastlake was born in Norwich into the large family of Edward Rigby and his wife, Anne. Her father was a physician who was also a classical scholar, and Elizabeth’s parents included her in their social life and conversation with prominent citizens and intellectuals.

Elizabeth was fond of drawing from a young age and continued studying art into her twenties. She was privately educated and learnt French and Italian, but after an illness in 1827, she was sent to convalesce in Germany and Switzerland. She stayed two years and started a lifetime of publication with a translation of Johann David Passavant’s essay on English art; a second trip to Germany in 1835 led to an article on Goethe. After travelling to Russia and Estonia to visit a married sister, her published letters and her travel book A Residence on the Shores of the Baltic (1841) led to an invitation to write for the Quarterly Review by the editor, John Gibson Lockhart.

In 1842, the widowed Anne Rigby moved with her daughters to Edinburgh, where Elizabeth’s literary career brought entry to an intellectual social circle including prominent figures such as Lord Jeffrey, John Murray and David Octavius Hill, who photographed her in a series of about 20 early calotypes, assisted by Robert Adamson. In 1857, she would publish an essay on the relationship between art and photography, showing she was knowledgeable about the “new and mysterious art” and discussing its strengths and weaknesses.

Despite a diary entry in 1846 saying there were many “compensations” for unmarried women, three years later, at 40, Elizabeth married Sir Charles Eastlake and joined him in an active working and social life, entertaining artists such as Landseer and mixing with a wide range of well-known people, from Macaulay to Lady Lovelace. Her habit of continental travel continued through the 1850s and 1860s as she and her husband toured several European countries in search of new acquisitions for the gallery.

She continued to write prolifically, helping to popularise German art history in England, both as critic and as translator (Waagen and Kugler). Sometimes, she collaborated with her husband, and she wrote a memoir of him after his death in 1865. Italian art also absorbed her attention. Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Titian, Raphael and Dürer were the subjects of her Five Great Painters (1883), published ten years before she died.

In the 20th century, she was remembered mostly for her scathing review of Jane Eyre, of which she strongly disapproved. She is also known for her attacks on John Ruskin, assumed to be linked to her role as confidante to his estranged wife, Effie Gray. According to historian Rosemary Mitchell, however, her work as art historian and writer was significant and original. Mitchell considers Eastlake to have been a scholarly and perceptive critic and a pioneer of female journalism.

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Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Henry Thomas Cockburn of Bonaly Lord Cockburn
26 October 1779 – 18 July 1854

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Henry Thomas Cockburn

Henry Thomas Cockburn of Bonaly Lord Cockburn’s father Archibald Cockburn, a keen Tory, was Sheriff of Midlothian and Baron of the Court of Exchequer, and his mother Janet Rannie was connected by marriage with the influential Lord Melville. He was educated at the Royal High School and the University of Edinburgh.

Cockburn contributed regularly to the Edinburgh Review. In this popular magazine of its day he is described as: “rather below the middle height, firm, wiry and muscular, inured to active exercise of all kinds, a good swimmer, an accomplished skater, an intense lover of the fresh breezes of heaven. He was the model of a high-bred Scotch gentleman. He spoke with a Doric breadth of accent. Cockburn was one of the most popular men north of the Tweed.” He was a member of the famous Speculative Society, to which Sir Walter Scott, Henry Brougham and Francis Jeffrey belonged.

The extent of Cockburn’s literary ability only became known after he had passed his seventieth year, on the publication of his biography of lifelong friend Lord Jeffrey in 1852, and from his chief literary work, the Memorials of his Time, which appeared posthumously in 1856. His published work continued with his Journal, published in 1874. These constitute an autobiography of the writer interspersed with notices of manners, public events, and sketches of his contemporaries, of great interest and value.

Cockburn entered the Faculty of Advocates in 1800, and attached himself, not to the party of his relatives, who could have afforded him most valuable patronage, but to the Whig party, and that at a time when it held out few inducements to men ambitious of success in life. He became a distinguished advocate, and ultimately a judge. He was one of the leaders of the Whig party in Scotland in its days of darkness prior to the Reform Act of 1832, and was a close friend of Sir Thomas Dick Lauder.

On the accession of Earl Grey’s ministry in 1830 he became Solicitor General for Scotland. During his time here he drafted the First Scottish Reform Bill. In 1834 he was raised to the bench, and on taking his seat as a Judge in the Court of Session he adopted the title of Lord Cockburn as a Scottish Law Lord of Session.

Cockburn married Elizabeth Macdowall (Glasgow, Lanarkshire, 1 March 1786 – 1857), daughter of James Macdowall and second wife Margaret Jamieson, in Edinburgh, Midlothian, on 12 March 1811. As was common in the period he had both a town house and country house. The country house was at Bonaly, on the south-west edge of Edinburgh. His town house was a hugely impressive house at 14 Charlotte Square, designed by Robert Adam and lying at the heart of the fashionable west end of the city. They had five sons and five daughters:

  • Margaret Day Cockburn (Edinburgh, Midlothian, 24 January 1812, bap. Edinburgh, Midlothian, 25 February 1812 – 1818)
  • Jane Cockburn (Edinburgh, Midlothian, 1813, bap. Edinburgh, Midlothian, 22 July 1813 – )
  • Dr. Archibald William Cockburn, FRCSE (Edinburgh, Midlothian, 5 December 1814, bap. Edinburgh, Midlothian, 23 December 1814 – Murrayfield, Midlothian, 13 January 1862), Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, married Mary Ann Balfour (2 November 1816 – ?)
  • James Macdowell Cockburn (bap. Edinburgh, Midlothian, 7 March 1816 – ?)
  • Graham Cockburn, a daughter (bap. Edinburgh, Midlothian, 7 March 1817 – ?), married Rev. Robert Walter Stewart
  • George Ferguson Cockburn (Edinburgh, Midlothian, 31 January 1818 – 1866), married to Sarah Charlotte Bishop
  • Henry Day Cockburn (Edinburgh, Midlothian, 21 April 1820 – ?), married at South Yarra, Victoria, in 1857 to Mary Ann Matherley
  • Lawrence Cockburn (Edinburgh, Midlothian, 25 February 1822 – Brighton, Victoria, 2 September 1871), a squatter, married at Brighton, Victoria, in 1859 to Annie Maria Smith, and had one son:
  • Francis Jeffrey Cockburn (Edinburgh, Midlothian, 8 January 1825 – Brentford, London, 10 July 1893), a Judge in India and with the Bengal Civil Service, and wife (Calcutta or Westbury, Tasmania, 25 January 1855) Elizabeth Anne (Eliza Ann) Pitcairn (Hobart, Tasmania, 23 September 1831, bap. Hobart, Tasmania, 7 November 1831 – Wycombe, Oxfordshire, 1923), daughter of Robert Pitcairn (Edinburgh, Midlothian, 17 July 1802 – Hobart, Tasmania, 1868) (son of David Pitcairn and Mary Henderson) and wife (m. Hobart, Tasmania, 30 September 1830) Dorothy/Dorothea Jessy Dumas
  • Elizabeth Cockburn (Edinburgh, Midlothian, 30 June 1826 – 6 April 1908), married in Edinburgh, Midlothian, on 27 December 1848 Thomas Cleghorn (Edinburgh, Midlothian, 3 March 1818 – 18 June 1874), a practising Advocate
  • Johanna Richardson Cockburn (Edinburgh, Midlothian, 14 January 1831 – 1888), married in Edinburgh, Midlothian, on 21 October 1856 to her cousin Archibald David Cockburn (Edinburgh, Midlothian, 6 September 1826 – 1886), son of John Cockburn and wife Eliza Dewar, and had issue

The authors Alec Waugh and Evelyn Waugh, the journalist Claud Cockburn, Claudia Cockburn (wife of actor Michael Flanders) and author Sarah Caudwell were all descended from Cockburn, as are journalists Laura Flanders, Stephanie Flanders, Alexander Cockburn (husband of author Emma Tennant), Andrew Cockburn (husband of journalist Leslie Cockburn) and Patrick Cockburn (son-in-law of Bishop Hugh Montefiore) and actress Olivia Wilde (former wife of Tao Ruspoli).

Cockburn died on 26 April 1854, at his mansion of Bonaly, near Edinburgh and is buried in the city’s Dean Cemetery. A statue of Cockburn by local sculptor William Brodie stands in the north-east corner of Parliament Hall.

Cockburn Street, built in the 1850s to connect the High Street with the North British Railway’s ‘Waverley’ station, is also named after him, and the building at its foot (formerly the “Cockburn Hotel”) bears his image in profile in a stone above the entrance.

Cockburn had a strong interest in architectural conservation, particularly in Edinburgh, where several important historic buildings such as “John Knox’s House” and Tailors’ Hall in the Cowgate owe their continued existence to the change in attitude towards conservation which he helped bring about. The Cockburn Association (Edinburgh Civic Trust), founded in 1875, was named in his honour.

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Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Francis Jeffrey, Lord Jeffrey
23 October 1773 – 26 January 1850

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Francis Jeffrey

Francis Jeffrey Lord Jeffrey was born in Edinburgh, the son of a clerk in the Court of Session. After attending the Royal High School for six years, he studied at the University of Glasgow from 1787 to May 1789, and at Queen’s College, Oxford, from September 1791 to June 1792. He had begun the study of law at Edinburgh before going to Oxford, and returned to it afterwards. He became a member of the Speculative Society, where he measured himself in debate with Sir Walter Scott, Lord Brougham, Francis Horner, the Marquess of Lansdowne, Lord Kinnaird and others. He was admitted to the Scottish bar in December 1794, but, having abandoned the Tory principles in which he had been educated, he found that his Whig politics hampered his legal prospects.

In consequence of his lack of success at the bar he went to London in 1798 to try his hand at journalism, but without success; he also failed in his attempts to obtain a salaried position. His marriage to Catherine Wilson in 1801 made the question of a settled income even more pressing. A project for a new review, brought up by Sydney Smith in Jeffrey’s flat (on Buccleuch Place) in the presence of Henry Brougham (afterwards Lord Brougham), Francis Homer and others, resulted in the appearance on 10 October 1802 of the Edinburgh Review.

At the outset the Review did not have an editor. The first three numbers were effectively edited by Sydney Smith. On his leaving for England the work devolved chiefly on Jeffrey, who, by an arrangement with Archibald Constable, the publisher, was eventually appointed editor at a fixed salary. Most of those involved were Whigs; but, although the general bias of the Review was towards social and political reforms, it was at first so little of a party organ that it numbered Sir Walter Scott among its contributors; and no distinct emphasis was given to its political leanings until the publication in 1808 of an article by Jeffrey himself on the work of Don Pedro Cevallos on the French Usurpation of Spain. This article expressed despair of the success of the British arms in Spain, and Scott at once withdrew his subscription, the Quarterly being soon afterwards started in opposition. According to Lord Cockburn the effect of the first number of the Edinburgh Review was “electrical.” The English reviews were at that time practically publishers’ organs, with articles by hack writers instructed to obey the publishers’ interests. The Edinburgh Review, on the other hand, enlisted a brilliant and independent staff of contributors, guided by the editor, not the publisher. They received sixteen guineas a sheet (sixteen printed pages), increased subsequently to twenty-five guineas in many cases, instead of the two guineas earned by London reviewers. The review was not limited to literary criticism but became the accredited organ of moderate Whig public opinion. The particular work which provided the starting-point of an article was in many cases merely the occasion for the exposition, always brilliant and incisive, of the author’s views on politics, social subjects, ethics or literature. These general principles and the novelty of the method ensured the success of the undertaking even after the original circle of exceptionally able men who founded it had been dispersed. It had a circulation of 12,000. Jeffrey’s editorship lasted about twenty-six years, ceasing with the ninety-eighth number, published in June 1829, when he resigned in favour of Macvey Napier.

Jeffrey’s own contributions numbered two hundred, all except six being written before his resignation of the editorship. He wrote quickly, at odd moments of leisure and with little special preparation. Great fluency and ease of diction, considerable warmth of imagination and moral sentiment, and a sharp eye to discover any oddity of style or violation of the accepted canons of good taste, made his criticisms pungent and effective. But the essential narrowness and timidity of his general outlook prevented him from detecting and estimating latent forces, either in politics or in matters strictly intellectual and moral; and this lack of understanding and sympathy accounts for his distrust and dislike of the passion and fancy of Shelley and Keats, and for his praise of the half-hearted and elegant romanticism of Samuel Rogers and Thomas Campbell.

A criticism in the fifteenth number of the Review on the morality of Thomas Moore’s poems led in 1806 to a duel between the two authors at Chalk Farm. The proceedings were stopped by the police, and Jeffrey’s pistol was found to contain no bullet. The affair led to a warm friendship, and Moore contributed to the Review, while Jeffrey made ample amends in a later article on Lalla Rookh (1817).

Jeffrey’s wife had died in 1805, and in 1810 he became acquainted with Charlotte, daughter of Charles Wilkes of New York, and great-niece of John Wilkes. When she returned to the United States, Jeffrey followed her, and they were married in 1813. Before returning to Scotland, they visited several of the chief American cities, and his experience strengthened Jeffrey in the conciliatory policy he had advocated towards the States.

Notwithstanding the increasing success of the Review, Jeffrey continued to look to the bar as the chief field of his ambition. His literary reputation helped his professional advancement. His practice extended rapidly in the civil and criminal courts, and he regularly appeared before the general assembly of the Church of Scotland. As an advocate his sharpness and rapidity of insight gave him a formidable advantage in the detection of the weaknesses of a witness and the vulnerable points of his opponent’s case, while he grouped his own arguments with an admirable eye to effect, especially excelling in eloquent closing appeals to a jury. Jeffrey was twice, in 1820 and 1822, elected Rector of the University of Glasgow. In 1829 he was chosen dean of the Faculty of Advocates. On the return of the Whigs to power in 1830 he became Lord Advocate, and entered parliament at a by-election in January 1831 as member for the Perth burghs. The election was overturned on petition, and in March he was returned at a by-election for Malton, a borough in the interest of Lord Fitzwilliam. He was re-elected in Malton at the general election in May 1831, but was also returned for the Perth burghs and chose to sit for the latter. After the passing of the Scottish Reform Bill, which he introduced in parliament, he was returned for Edinburgh in December 1832. At this time he was living at 24 Moray Place in the west end of Edinburgh.

His parliamentary career, which, though not brilliantly successful, had won him high general esteem, was terminated by his elevation to the judicial bench as Lord Jeffrey in May 1834. In 1842 he was moved to the first division of the Court of Session. On the disruption of the Scottish Church he took the side of the seceders, giving a judicial opinion in their favour, afterwards reversed by the House of Lords.

He died at Edinburgh and was buried in the “Lords Row” near the western wall in Dean Cemetery on the west side of the city.

Some of his contributions to the Edinburgh Review appeared in four volumes in 1844 and 1845. This selection includes the essay on “Beauty” contributed to the Ency. Brit. The Life of Lord Jeffrey, with a Selection from his Correspondence, by Lord Cockburn, appeared in 1852 in 2 vols. See also the Selected Correspondence of Macvey Napier (1877); the sketch of Jeffrey in Carlyle’s Reminiscences, vol. ii. (1881); and an essay by Lewis E Gates in Three Studies in Literature (New York, 1899).

Jeffrey Street (a planned street of 1868) in Edinburgh is named in his memory.
A bust by Sir John Steell stands on the east wall of Parliament Hall in Edinburgh.

His sister, Marian, married Dr Thomas Brown of Lanfine and Waterhaughs FRSE in 1800.

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