Skip to main content

Cockburn, Henry, 5 May 1845; 19 November 1850; 30 June 1851

Identifier: Coll-1989/16

Scope and Contents

Autograph letters signed from Henry Cockburn to Katharine Murray Lyell, with whom Cockburn seems to have been on very friendly terms.

1. Letter dated 5 October 1845: "Thanks for your two letters. I can scarcely tell you how I am relieved by what you say of Mrs Bellen [?]. Long may she be preserved to her friends & family. – You seem to be leading a very pleasant life at least no life is ever unpleasant to me, in which I am let alone. Nevertheless, I wish Leonard was in any less wandering situation. As I told you, you have only to make me Sir James Graham, & it would be all right. And I am also glad of Mary[‘]s safe arrival on the other side of the water. Geology is a very good thing; but, poz. I would not endue 13 days of stomatic [!] volcano for all its glory [...]”, continuing on Melly’s disregard of the beautiful Scottish and English landscapes with a special emphasis on the “Lochs”: “As to Melly & his Swiss & Italian scenery, with all possible respect, he havers. ‘Richness’! to be scene if he wants grapes & wheat, Italy & Switzerland are better than Scotland. But then, did he never feel the beauty of a rock bound, islanded, loch, a[nd] the sublimity of desolation? [...]". Includes a 1½ pp. letter to Mr Horner, presumably Leonard Horner, on General Ramsay’s death, with an estimation of the General’s wealth: "Ramsay Garden – a good house in London, – a great, & good, collection of medals, – a number of capital pictures, – an Etruscan museum, – a rich crop of sprecherie [i. e. Scottish term for goods of small value] [...]".

2. Letter dated 19 November 1850: "Sorry! About the Cheese!! No doubt a ripe Stilton is bad company for muffins. But what[']s a muffin to a Stilton? Thank Mary for her judicious Formation. It regales us & excites our gratitude, every day at about ½ past 6. And above all, it puts me at my wits and; because I always know now where I can have a good Stilton. I have only to write a line to Lady Lyell, – and down rolls a cheese [...]", Cockburn mentions a "young Nicholsas['] sad accident" and gives details on a visit of the physiologist Sir Benjamin Collins Brodie to cheer up ill Lord Mackenzie, but ends the letter with: "Never let the Bentlands & 1851 separate in your mind. Think of our reunion there, as the Exhibition of 1851. To do it, requires nothing but the habit of thinking of it as a thing to be done [...]".

3. Letter dated 30 January 1851: "I feel the kindness of your letter. – You passing the Mouth of the Forth, in contempt of us all, was a very serious & never-to-be-in-this-life-forgotten affront. It is another of the many splendid proofs of my magnanimity that I hold any communion with you. – However, since you must go, I sincerely wish you all safety & happiness, & a speedy return. My son George is in Calcutta – secretary to Sir John Littler; & his brother Frank is recovering from a severe illness at Darjeeling. He raves about the mountains; what gives me a less high opinion of him than of another boy who used to be much here, & who mentioned the late Sir John Grant as a very odd man, because he said the Himmalaya [!] Mountains were higher than the Bentlands [...]". With traces of former mounting on verso.


  • Creation: 5 May 1845; 19 November 1850; 30 June 1851


Language of Materials


Physical Description

8vo. (7½ + 4 + 4 =) 15½ pp. on 4 bifolia. With autograph envelope (seal). Includes a photographic portrait (120 x 158 mm).

Conditions Governing Access

Open. Please contact the repository in advance.


3 letters

Physical Description

8vo. (7½ + 4 + 4 =) 15½ pp. on 4 bifolia. With autograph envelope (seal). Includes a photographic portrait (120 x 158 mm).

Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
University of Edinburgh Main Library
George Square
Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
+44(0)131 650 8379