A Sketch of the Life of the late Henry Cooper - Barrister-at-Law, of the Norfolk Circuit; as also, of his Father
by William Cooper
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Transcribed from the [1856] W. & H. S. Warr edition by David Price,

{A slight sketch of my Father, when over 70, taken in Court by Mr. Joseph Geldart of Norwich: p0.jpg}

W. & H. S. Warr 63, High Holborn




Of Lincoln's Inn, Barrister at Law;








To you I dedicate this sketch of the Life of my late brother, Henry Cooper; and, for three good reasons—the first, because, you were associated with my brother on circuit, knew him well, and were one of those, who being often opposed to him in court, were best able to appreciate his talents, eloquence, and the general powers of his mind;—my second, because, when young, I have listened often to your eloquence, and been made merry by your wit and humour;—my third, because, you have known all my family, and by one and all are much respected;—and my dear Mr. Sergeant, with kind regards to yourself, and best wishes to you and yours,

Believe me, Yours very truly, WILLIAM COOPER.

3, HARE COURT, TEMPLE, December, 1856.



In attempting the life of my late brother, who, after struggling for years at the bar in almost obscurity, had, on a sudden, his brilliancy noticed and his great talents acknowledged, and no sooner had he reached that eminence in his profession, when all was made easy before him, than unpitying Clolho stept up, and cut his thread of life; I must ask your indulgence, for the reasons you will see, as you proceed in this my life of him, as also, from the very scanty materials I have been able to collect for it. How the first idea of this suggested itself to my mind, I will tell you; a few days ago, I was about to re-publish some Dramas, written by me in earlier years, and thinking one of them would scarcely make a volume by itself, the thought struck me, on looking over my treasures, and finding some verses of my brother Henry in his own hand writing, amidst many youthful rhymes of my own and of my family, that I would string them together, and so swell the work alluded to. To do this I thought it necessary to affix a short heading to each, to particularize the writer, and for this purpose wrote, to head my brother's, a short biographical sketch of him, consisting of about thirty lines, and quitting my house, left it on my way to chambers at my printers, returned home, the labours of the day over,—went to bed, but not to sleep, thought of my late brother, of that I had written of him, pondered over the past anecdotes of his life, that had been often told me, recalled his image to my memory, and amidst airy visions of the past, of my father, earlier days, and of youthful pleasures mixed with pain, fell asleep—BUT—with a determination. To carry it out,—on the morrow I began this sketch. You must judge how I have performed my self-imposed task, and wishing it may amuse you, and encourage young aspirants who shall chance to read it, not to give way under difficulties, but strenuously to persevere, seeing how much may be achieved by diligence and a determination not to yield, remembering ever the good advice and the useful maxim delivered of old:—

"Tu ne cede malis sed contra Audacior ito—" "Possunt quia posse videntur."

I am, yours faithfully, W. COOPER.


The subject of the present memoir, Henry Cooper, was born at a house in Bethel Street, in the City of Norwich, now well-known as the late residence of Alderman Hawkes, and where resided for many years his father, Charles, now better known as Old Counsellor Cooper, a remarkable man, who, like the late William Cobbett, though of humble origin, possessed one of those minds that will and must, as they have ever done from the time of Deioces of Ecbatana (recorded by Herodotus) till now, elevate the possessor and compel the homage, whilst exciting the no small envy of inferior intellects. What education he received was at a small school kept by the Rev. John Bruckner (a Lutheran Divine), who died in 1804, and was buried at Guist, in Norfolk, where French, Latin, and the common rudiments of an English education were taught; and where, too, the late William Taylor,—perhaps one of the most extraordinary men Norwich ever produced, the early and intimate friend of Southey, and who was the first, according to Lockhart's Life of Scott, to give that great writer a taste for poetry by his (Taylor's) spirited and inimitable translation of Burger's well known ballad beginning,—

"At break of day from frightful dreams up started Eleanor,"

was his fellow pupil, and who has told me what a gentle, industrious, and amiable boy he remembered my father (truly, in this instance, the child was father of the man); there he acquired, no doubt, some knowledge, but it was far more to his own self-instruction that he was indebted for the large and varied knowledge he possessed, for, as his brother Samuel (his only and younger brother,—he had a sister but she died young) informed my mother that such was his early thirst for knowledge, that he not only repudiated all play, and the sports of boyhood, taught himself Greek, and greedily devoured the contents of every book that came within his reach, but would, with the pocket-money given him, purchase candles, and when the family had retired to rest, light one, and sit and read till the dawn of day, when he would creep into bed, and sleep till the hour of call, when he would rise to resume anew his mental exercise. So years past by, and the young and sickly looking boy grew into the youth, when his father, a man of strong intellect, with a great deal of sound common sense, perceiving the bent of his son's mind,—and being a man who had retired early in life from business with a small property, on which he lived in a house at Heigham (a hamlet within the city),—at once placed his son Charles with one of the most respectable attornies, in large business in Norwich, as an articled clerk to the law, where he very soon, by his persevering industry, his assiduity, and the great acuteness shown in every matter entrusted to his care and management, so conciliated the good opinion of his master, who discovered progressively, the evident marks of superior abilities [here, too, he indulged to an excess his insatiable thirst for reading, that he would sit up the greater part of the night for this purpose, to the neglect and injury of his health], that at the termination of his engagement, his conduct was so acceptable, and his services so manifest, and his influence, too, among the clients, was found to be so extensive, that on his obtaining his certificate to practise as an attorney, his principal was glad to offer him a share in the business, and receive him as a partner; the reputation he had already acquired became wide spread, and quickly raised the firm in the estimation of the public, and clients flocked to it, and all would see, if they could, and consult with Mr. Cooper on their affairs.

Some years thus passed, when, from some cause or other, a dissolution took place in the partnership, and when, probably from the advice of friends stimulated by his wife's ambition (a Miss Yarrington, a woman as I have been given to understand, of masculine mind, vast energy, and indomitable spirit, whom her son Henry has been often said by those who knew her, to have resembled in more than features, for in face he resembled his mother), he was induced to enter himself at Lincoln's Inn, which he accordingly did in the year 1782, and is thus entered: "Charles Cooper, of the City of Norwich, eldest son of Charles Cooper of the same place, merchant, admitted 22nd of April, 1782." Prior to this, a remarkable incident occurred in his life: he undertook the conduct of a cause of great intricacy and importance for a pauper, a labouring blacksmith. An extensive and valuable landed property, well-known as Oby Hall, with its extensive demesnes, had been for a long time in abeyance; the property was estimated at that period, at not less than 30,000 pounds; on failure of male issue, the descendants on the female side put in their claim, among whom the blacksmith stood foremost; he came, consulted with my father on his claim, who became after a time, convinced of the solidity of his title; and after examining it with indefatigable assiduity, he at length, after much entreaty, undertook to carry his cause through every court, were it necessary, upon certain conditions; the conditions were, that if my father succeeded in gaining the cause, in consideration of taking upon himself all the risk, expenses, and labour, he should enjoy the estate; whilst the claimant, having no relations but the most distant, if any, was to receive an annuity for life of 300 pounds. After almost insurmountable difficulties, great expense, and consumption of time and labour, the long anticipated time arrived when the trial was to decide the question of such grave moment to the parties concerned: Lord Erskine came down to Norwich specially retained for the claimant (the origin, I believe of his after intimacy with Henry), the case came on for trial,—was fought on both sides with all the ability and ingenuity such a cause demanded (I forget the name of the opposing counsel), the claimant's title was confirmed, and the estate gained. The claimant lived but a little more than a year or two after to receive his annuity, to him absolute wealth; and he died, I have heard, expressing to the last, his gratitude to (as he styled my father) his protector.

Unfortunately, coming into the possession of the estate, my father must turn farmer, and like him, I have before compared him to, and I have often thought since reading the works of Cobbett, that there was a similarity in their thoughts on many subjects; he soon began to farm at a fearful loss (for to be a gainful farmer, so farmers hold, or rather they did then, a man should properly be trained to it from his youth), he was forced to trust to others to do what he should himself have done, and being still occupied in his professional pursuits at Norwich, his visits to the hall and the estate were but occasional, and the eye of the master was but too often absent; his family, however, resided there, consisting of his wife and his four children, Charles, Henry, Harriet, and Alfred, and there his affections were centred, so that it cannot be wondered at, that with a divided duty, and the course pursued, ere many years, but I am forestalling, the estate soon became involved, and eventually he was compelled to part with it at a loss, or rather with no gain, for at the time of its sale, which happened at a period during the long war, land fell all of a sudden greatly in value, and the seller was glad to experience the truth of the old saying—

"When house and land and all are spent, Then learning is most excellent."

This sale, however, did not occur till some years after the death of his first wife, and when he had married his second, a Miss Rose White, my mother, and by whom he had several children, seven only living to maturity, all of whom, I being the eldest, having survived him. His first family, with the exception of his daughter, who died a few years ago, having all died previous to the decease of their father. After having pursued his studies with his accustomed assiduity, in chambers he had taken in Stone Buildings, and eaten his terms, he was called to the bar on the 9th of June, in the year 1788. (For these several dates I am indebted to the kindness of Mr. Doyle, the greatly respected steward of Lincoln's Inn.) When, having resided a few terms in London, he hastily left the metropolis—the true and only sphere for the full development of extensive legal knowledge and great abilities, such as his,—to reside and practise as a provincial barrister in his native city; where, from his previous reputation, not only as a lawyer well versed in common law, with great knowledge in the practical parts of it, but as a most skilful conveyancer, and great real property lawyer, with a deep knowledge of all its intricacies and moot points, he, at once, obtained considerable practice, and a fine income, which, I believe, by present provincial counsel would be regarded rather as a fiction than reality. He was, moreover, a fluent speaker, with diction pure, and most grammatical. I ought, here, perhaps, to mention what will seem strange to the present generation, that I have often heard my father say, that the first book he began to study law from was "Wood's Institutes," a book that "the Commentaries of Blackstone," rendering the study of the law far more intelligible and easy to the student, has long completely superseded. In Norwich he continued to reside up to his death, where he was ever applied to by every attorney, without exception, far and near, if any very difficult point of law arose; and, till within some few years prior to his death, which happened on the 21st of July, 1836, when age as, is usual, though it kindly spared the vigour of his intellect, yet brought with it its physical weakness and ailments, he was employed as leading counsel in many important causes, where legal knowledge and acumen was required; and, in the courts, from the high reputation he had acquired, he ever commanded the ear of the judges, and the respect of his brethren at the bar. He had the joy, too, to live to see his son Henry rising fast to eminence in the same profession, though the after pang and anguish to sorrow for his death; and he grieved for him in heart, though not his youngest, as did Jacob at the imagined loss of his favourite, and, in my opinion, never did he quite get over it; he not only loved, but was proud of him.

The latter years of him, whose life I have thus briefly sketched, were past at his small country residence, situated at Lakenham, where his second wife, who survived him, my mother, now seventy-four, still resides, a hamlet of and situate two miles from Norwich, where he spent the chief of his time, of that he could spare from the city where he practised, till up to the last twelve months of his life, when in his eighty-fourth year he expired, worn out with past exertion and years, and was, as chief Coroner and Magistrate of the Close and its precincts, under the jurisdiction of the Dean and Chapter, buried within the cloisters of the cathedral.

By his family, from his sweetness of disposition, kindness of heart, and amiability of temper, he was tenderly beloved and regretted, and still whenever recalled to memory in the quietude of the chamber the eye will ever be moistened by a tear, and the heart kindle at the recollection; and by many others he was and will be yet greatly missed; the poor and struggling literary man he would encourage not only with praise, but with his purse, and, THAT, the poor and needy had ever open to them, and his advice besides gratuitously, whenever required (and this might be confirmed by hundreds still living "in the ONCE ancient city," as a certain wise Alderman of yore styled it), and to their affairs he would give as much attention as to the richest client; his private memoranda alone, after death, told his good deeds, for he strictly adhered to the beautiful doctrine laid down by the great Teacher, "But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth,"—"Quando ullum invenies parem?"

Of his first family, Charles, the eldest son, was intended for the bar, and was entered at Lincoln's Inn, but from the natural sensitiveness of his disposition he never kept his terms, and soon gave up all thoughts of the profession; he lingered at home, a Westminster scholar, a man of extensive reading, and of great intelligence [as I have been informed, for I was much too young fully to appreciate him], till after many years, on Henry's quitting Bermudas, he became the secretary to Sir James Cockburn, in which employment he continued some years, and only returned when Sir James ceased to be the governor. He then became a kind of superior clerk in the Marine office then held in Spring Gardens, and subsequently died at the age of about forty-five or forty-eight of consumption, a complaint of the mother's family. Alfred went into the army as an ensign, was at the battle of Waterloo, was wounded there, was ordered and went subsequently to India with his regiment, the 14th Foot, where, years after, just as he had obtained a sick leave to return home, he was shot at Dinapoor, whilst reposing on his sofa, thinking probably, or dreaming of home and its affections, by a drunken Sepoy, mistaking him (in his mad excitement) for his servant, who had just previously refused him drink; the occurrence caused, necessarily, great excitement and much conversation at the time, the man was caught and hanged—a satisfaction to justice, but a wretched consolation to his family, by whom, as the youngest, and amiable as he was gentle, he was most fondly loved. His father and sister, I believe, were never made acquainted with the true cause of his death. A letter of Henry's relating, though indistinctly, for evident reasons, to the sad occurrence, will be placed before the reader. Harriet, as I have said, the only sister (who married a Dr. Leath, a physician in the army, who resides still at Bayswater) died not very long ago, leaving no issue.

Having given a sketch, which I think and hope will have interested the reader of him, from whom He sprung, whose life I am about to delineate. I will now proceed to depict the life of the Son, with the simple remark that I have undertaken a task of no slight difficulty (and much such an one as that of the poor Jews, who, under their hard taskmasters in Egypt, were set to make bricks without straw), with very slight materials to describe the life of one who died when I was sixteen, and whom I loved from his unvaried kindness to me, of the life of one who, had he lived, would have had a far abler biographer. Henry, in early life, took a propensity to and entered the navy, and was a midshipman in the battle of the Nile, but soon after, disliking the service, quitted the profession.

His education, when he returned from sea, was, through indulgence, neglected: and he passed most of his time at Oby Hall, in Norfolk, the then residence of his father, and distant about eight miles from Yarmouth, in shooting, fishing, and driving a tandem-cart about the country, built of unusual height; and an anecdote is related of him, that, after driving it awhile, he went to Mr. Clements, the builder at Norwich, and said, "Well, Clements, you have built a machine to surprise all the world, and I am come to surprise you by paying you for it." And to show his early quick perception, ready reply, wilfulness, and precocity, I must here relate two well-attested anecdotes: the first, when quite a child, and at his lessons in the nursery, on his mother's running up to dispel the noise and disturbance he was making, she exclaimed in anger, after in some measure correcting him, "Why, sir, if you go on in this manner you'll turn the house out of the windows," the young gentleman, looking roguishly at his mother, responded, "How can I do that, Ma, for the house is bigger than the windows?" this of course dissipated all anger, and brought a smile to the mother's face; silence, however, was restored and study resumed. The other, when he was about eleven or twelve years of age, a poor soldier, who had been kind to him, assisting him in his fishing, boating, &c., and who was at that time cleaning harness for my brother in the stable, was arrested by an escort of soldiers, who suddenly came to apprehend and convey him, for some alleged offence, to the head quarters at Yarmouth; without saying a word or leaving a message behind him, young Henry started off with his friend and the soldiers, telling the captive, "Never to care, for he would be his advocate." He was, after some time had elapsed, missed; search was made for him in every direction till night came on, but no traces of his whereabouts could be discovered, and, with fearful anxiety, as I have heard my father often say, all, at last, worn out and weary with the fruitless search, retired to bed, but not to rest; care brooded over their pillows and dispelled sleep. Morning, at last, came, but with it no tidings of Henry; and, when alarm had reached its height, in ran the servant lad, in breathless haste, exclaiming, "Master Henry is found," and soon after he was seen, being borne in triumph on a soldier's back, with others following, coming up the lawn. All were delighted to see the lost one safe, and, to delight was added astonishment, on a soldier putting into his father's hand a letter, which was quickly opened and read, and which came from the commanding officer. I regret that letter is lost; it spoke, I have often heard my father and mother relate, in the highest terms of the youngster, and warmly congratulating the former on the possession of such a son, so noble in bearing, so bold, and so talented; adding, that he had pleaded the soldier's case so well, that he had, so young an advocate as he was, obtained the acquittal of his client. As he grew up in years he was the pride and terror of the little farmers of the neighbourhood,—the first from his ready wit, playful, and genial disposition, which he ever retained; the latter from the practical jokes he was constantly in the habit of playing on them, many of which are remembered and spoken of at, and around Oby, up to the present day: and he had the love of all, for, if they wanted game, or any kindness done them, they had only to ask and have. But midst this he read, and he lacked not mental food to feed on, as his father possessed a large and well-stocked library. Henry's reading, however, was necessarily desultory and discursive, but such the retention of his memory, that he forgot nothing he had once conned; as an instance of this I must relate an anecdote, often told of him by Mr. Jay, an attorney at Norwich, still living, and who was an excellent client, and a great admirer of my brother, that soon after large business flowed in upon him, and he went into court with a bag full of briefs; to his Mr. Jay's utter astonishment, after a case had been called on, in which he was the attorney, and the several witnesses had been called, examined, and the cause gained, my brother, who had led it, turned round, and said, "There Jay, I have won your cause, but I will be hanged if I know where your brief is; I read it, but somehow lost it." He, of course, used blank paper for his notes. His perception, too, was so acute, his imagination so vivid, and his memory so retentive, that he could at once, and readily apply the knowledge so widely gleaned to the subject under discussion, that they who were ignorant of his previous mental instruction, would have imagined that he had, in earlier years, been the lean and diligent student, who had wasted the midnight oil in meditation and deep research.

After an interval of years, he became a member of Lincoln's Inn, when in due course of time he was proposed by the late Mr. Justice, then James Allan Parke, Esquire, and called to the bar, May 25th, 1811. Soon after his call, he accompanied Sir James Cockburn, who had been just appointed governor of the Bermudas, as his secretary, and after a short period, on his arrival there, was made Attorney General, the duties of which office he for some years performed to the entire satisfaction of the governor. His letters thence, I have understood, contained beautiful and vivid descriptions of

"That happy island where huge lemons grow"

[he was an admirer of scenery and nature], and that the wit, graphic portraitures of the men in office on the island, the general chit chat, scandle and fun, intermixed with politics, occasional rhymes, &c., put the reader [since dead] of a few of them, in mind of the letters of Lord Byron. After his return home, he took chambers in Fig Tree or Elm Court, in the Temple, read and awaited clients, and went the Norfolk circuit; but, alas! few profitable knocks came to his door, and the circuit yielded rather expense than profit; but on he went struggling and struggling, till at last his talents were acknowledged; and the four years preceding his death, he was an eminent leader, and engaged in almost every cause throughout his circuit, and rapidly gaining a reputation in London from "the very eloquent, bold, and honest style of his defence," for Mary Ann Carlile, who was prosecuted, by what was then styled the Constitutional Association, for publishing a libel upon the government, and the constitution of this country. The trial ended after a brilliant speech of the defendant's counsel, full of argument, eloquence, and ability, in the dismissal of the jury, after being locked up all night; the counsel for the prosecution, the late Mr. Baron Gurney, consenting to their discharge. The report of the trial, and Henry Cooper's speech in full, was printed and published by the notorious Richard Carlile, who then kept a shop in Fleet Street. At the early age of forty my brother died, and he was then looked on by the profession, as a man, who, had he lived, must have achieved the highest honours in it. He was an ardent admirer of, and some of his friends were pleased to say, a close imitator of the oratory of Lord Erskine, with whom, till he died, he was on terms of the greatest intimacy. In fact he was writing his life for publication, by the express desire of Erskine himself, when death staid the pen. Alas! but a few pages of it were written, and those in the rough, I will, however, lay them, ere I have done, before the reader.

Henry, the last four years of his going circuit, and when his abilities were acknowledged, was sometimes opposed to his father, to the no small pleasure and amusement of the Norwich people, who as greatly respected the legal ability of the one, as they admired the eloquence of the other; and it was often a source of half suppressed laughter in that portion of the court set aside for the public to hear "my learned friend" banded from one to the other by the two Athlete—Father and Son—the one as powerful from his tact, energy, and fervid eloquence, as the other from his legal knowledge and great acumen, and who was often the victor, for that knowledge, deep and extensive gave the father a superiority on those points of a case, in which law and fact were intermingled, and which were apt from Henry's comparative previous little business and short practice as a leader to escape his attention, or when patent rendered him less capable effectually to grapple with the legal and knotty difficulty, for he had never had the advantage of a pleader's chambers; nor let it be thought in those days that there were no giants to contend with—Sergeants Blosset, Frere, and Storks, Messrs. Plumptre, Eagle, Robinson, Prime, and others of note, with Biggs Andrews, now Q.C., and George Raymond, author of the "Elliston Papers," as juniors were on the circuit, all of whom have long since been dead, with the exception of Mr. Sergeant Storks and the four last named.

And here I cannot do better than insert a paragraph signed J. S., which appeared in the Times, I think in or about the years 1831 or 1832; I copy from the paragraph cut out from the paper, and at the time pasted in an album, to which the date was omitted to be attached. The paragraph was headed, "The late Henry Cooper:"—

"To most of our legal readers, we feel convinced, that this week's sketch of the late Henry Cooper, the friend companion and intended biographer of the late Lord Erskine, will prove highly acceptable. The unexpected and melancholy event which deprived the bar of one of its most promising ornaments, and cast a shade over the gay and talented circle in which he moved, must be fresh within the memory of our readers. As yet no memoir, no frail tribute to stamp even a fleeting remembrance of his learning, professional fame, or liberal principles has appeared, and while worthless rank and heartlessness have been perpetuated by marble and the prostituted energies of literature, genius, talent, and honor, have been left to the obscurity of the grave; not one of those who shared his gay and mirthful hours, who listened enraptured to his eloquence and flashes of wit, which as Hamlet says 'were won't to set the table in a roar,' have endeavoured by giving to the world his literary labours, or even a sketch of his life, to preserve his memory from oblivion. Henry Cooper was the son of an eminent counsellor of Norwich, a gentleman of powerful mind, whose legal knowledge has rendered him one of the first consulting men of the day. Even at his present advanced age of near eighty, he may be seen early of a morning taking his accustomed walk, or if the weather be too severe for exercise, found in his library surrounded by his books and papers.

Raised by his own perseverance, and in a great measure self-educated, it is not to be wondered at if from such a father, the subject of our sketch, acquired those habits of perseverance and industry which enabled him by system to attain knowledge and fame in his profession.

Upon being called to the bar his convivial powers and talent for conversation introduced him to Erskine, who found so much pleasure in his society, that they became not mere friends, but inseparable companions, and plunged together in the gay round of pleasure, which the world too temptingly presents to men whose minds enable them to watch its interests and guide the machine by which society is regulated. To all who knew him, and the thoughtless life he led, it was a matter of surprise how and when he found time to attend to the numerous cases of his clients, for his field of action soon became extended; yet we will venture to pronounce and feel confident of being borne out by those who knew him, that in no one instance did the cause of the party he advocated suffer.

In the Court he appeared as well acquainted with the words of his brief, as if it had been for months the object of his most serious attention; not a thread or a link of evidence escaped him, and so persuasive was his manner, so argumentive his style of language, that the jury frequently received the impressions he wished to convey, and their feelings generally, if not their judgment, went in favour of his client. He used, on some occasions, to plead in the Norfolk Courts, and we have frequently seen him opposed to his father as a special pleader. The old gentlemen, strong in the possession of his youthful intellect, which time even to the present hour has failed to rob him of, was perhaps less assailable by his pleasing manner and florid speech than any of his brothers of the bar, and his ejaculations not always of the most complimentary nature, were sometimes loud and frequent. We have seen the son on such occasions always the first to smile at his father's petulance, and the last to express any sense of the impropriety of the interruption. We have seen the old gentleman, in the midst of his son's argument, write to the opposing counsel suggesting authorities and giving references and precedents against him, all with the most perfect good humour on both sides; and the greatest triumph he could boast was to defeat his son upon a point of law: on such occasions he would put his hands behind his back, and moving round with a chuckle, exclaim, "Something to learn yet, Harry!" The father's delight and pride in his superior legal knowledge over his son, became at last a standing joke with the barristers of the Court. The death of Lord Erskine blighted Henry Cooper's hopes to a seat in Parliament, where his eloquence and sarcasm would have made him powerful as an ally, and feared as an antagonist; liberal in his opinions to the present exclusive system of the church, he was a decided enemy, and a thorough reformer in the state. His services at a crisis like the present, would have been of incalculable benefit to his country.

From the period of the loss of his friend, till his own untimely end, he devoted himself more than he had ever before, to literary pursuits and the labours of his profession. A life of Lord Erskine was nearly arranged for the press at the time of his decease, and it is to be regretted that as yet his labours have not been given, imperfect as they are, to the world; no one could have had better opportunities or have been better calculated for the task; alike the counsellor in his difficulties, the companion of his mirthful hours, the springs of action, the feelings of his breast, must have appeared unveiled before him; Death, however, prevented the completion of his task and removed him too early from the world his talents ornamented."

I had forgotten to say, that on his return from Bermudas he became and continued very intimate with the Cockburn family, and often prophesied the future success of the late Attorney General, now Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas, then young Alexander Cockburn; and often has my brother said to me, then about sixteen, when speaking of the above family, "rely upon it, Billy, young Alexander, if he enter the profession, will do great things in it; he is a remarkably clever, energetic, and talented young man." Henry had much of the restlessness and irritability, the usual accompaniments of a high order of talent, with great earnestness in diction and action.

Ere I proceed further; the reader will, perhaps, be pleased with a likeness of the man. I should say, in height, he was about five-feet eleven-inches; of spare and sinewy frame, with an elastic tread, that those who knew him, and seeing him in the distance, might truly say, as Ulysses of Diomede in Shakspeare's play of "Troilus and Cressida,"

"'Tis he, I ken the manner of his gait; That spirit of his in aspiration lifts him from the earth."

And often have I heard the late Mr. Alderson (the father of the present judge), who travelled with my father, circuit and sessions as a provincial barrister, more than thirty years, and who was resident at Norwich, say,—"that Henry always put him more in mind of a Spirit, that a man of flesh and blood;" his eye dark, like that of Edmund Kean's, the great actor, showed every emotion of the soul, now fiery with anger, now glazed with thought, and anon, melting into softness; his head small, and finely rounded, and covered with thick clustering curls of black crispy hair, was such as sculptors have ever loved to give the youthful Antinous; his forehead retreating was characteristic, as Lavater says, "of genius;" his nose was slightly arched in the centre and slightly fleshy near the nostrils; his face oval, with a well defined chin and a mouth plain, but full of energy and expression, and similar to Sterne's, the contour, of whose face I always thought my brother's much resembled. I have thus given, to please the lover of physiognomy, "a shadow portrait," not "a Myall's photograph," which I hope will not only satisfy the physiognomist, but which I think they, who but even slightly remember Henry Cooper, have but to place before the tablet of their memory and view the shade cast from it with their "mind's eye" to at once recall and recognize the original. I have thus sketched his likeness, as I regret to say, thus only can he be now known, or viewed by those who were unacquainted with him living, as no portrait of him is extant, he dying young, and for years previous struggling to succeed in a profession where the "battle is not always to the strong," though in the long run the best man often succeeds, as with few exceptions, perhaps, the long race, barring accidents, is usually won by the best horse. He left no writings behind him save a few letters, beautifully expressed, but mostly relating to family matters, and, therefore, uninteresting to the general reader, with the exception of five or six preserved by my mother, which I will give the reader ere I have ended this biographical sketch; and the few friends with whom he corresponded, and to whom, occasionally, he showed, and gave the productions of his pen, though they considered him a man of considerable talent, set such small value on his effusions, that, however, pleased at the time they might have been with them they were put aside forgotten and most probably destroyed, and what he himself chanced to write and was pleased with for the instant, was, from the natural carelessness of his disposition, hastily cast aside, and, no doubt, often burnt with the waste paper of his chambers; so that every endeavour I have made to possess even a shred of these scraps, has been futile. All I have been able to gather are the few letters alluded to, with a few poetical lines which will be given to the reader; and, as we often judge of character from trifles, he must, from the slight sketch I have given, and the small crumbs I have been able to collect, form a judgment of HIM I have endeavoured to describe. He had all but reached the height of his profession, when he was taken away, no doubt for a wise purpose, to the deep and lasting regret of those who not only fondly loved him, but who had begun to take, and no wonder, a warm pride in the object of their affections.

He died on September 19th, 1824, having been attacked some days previous by a severe attack of diarrhoea, which, by some fatal mischance, was mistaken by the surgeons who attended him, for brain fever; he was, consequently, bled, and drastic medicines were administered, which must have hastened if they did not cause his death, which happened at the house of a friend of his, by the name of Hill, at Chelsea, where he was buried, but his body was afterwards removed by his sister and deposited where it now lies, near his father's in the cloisters of Norwich Cathedral.

I will now lay before the reader the few letters I possess. By the letters of an ingenuous writer, it is said, you can gain a clearer insight into his character, disposition, and mental powers, than by long association or familiar discourse; these letters have been kindly given me by my mother, with whom Henry constantly corresponded, and whom he always treated with marked respect and affection, which was fully reciprocated. They were addressed to her at Norwich, where she with my father resided, and the first bears date,

London, 3rd Nov. 1815.

"My Dear Madam,

"And it came to pass that when they emptied their sacks, lo! ev'ry man's money was in the mouth of his sack." I have had the same measure from you which Joseph's liberality heaped on his brethren; and if you will but believe that my proposal to you, to be allowed to be a purchaser of half the preserved raspberry, was not a covert mode of begging it as a gift; I thank you without any regret, and am very much obliged to you. I thank you, too, very much for the pheasant which flew into the window of the mail coach, and startled me in St. Stephen's Street. George, who is a good lad, had put on his best legs, and soon overtaking the mail, threw it in 'sans ceremonie.' It was a pleasant disturbance from no very pleasant reverie, which my mind set out on the moment the coach set out from the inn; and which would, but for this agreeable interruption, have lasted me at least as long as the first stage. For the rest of the good things which you gave me while I was in Norwich, and sent me laden away with, I must thank you en masse; for to thank you one by one for them, would force me to write a long letter, which I have not the least intention in the world of doing. I was outside the mail, and for a long way the only passenger. We learned at Newmarket, that the coachman, who drove the coach, which was overturned the preceding night, lay very much hurt. His viscera are bruised, and his only chance of life is in cool veins well emptied by the lancet. 'Tis right that he on whose care the safety of others depends should be most prominently exposed to the danger of ill conduct or neglect; I wish heartily that this liability could be transferred from those who sit on the coach box, to those who sit in the cabinet and hold the reins of the hard driven state! we should then have had more peace and less taxes. Ask Mr. Samuel Cooper [a great liberal and brother of my father] if we should not?

At Chesterford your friend, Mr. Smith, the representative for Norwich, took the mail; and after a nap, talked very unrestrainedly with me on the present state of France, on Buonaparte, the criminal law, and the wisdom of the Justices at sessions. I was determined—like Horace's whetstone, which can sharpen other things, though blunt itself, to put an edge on him—to say something deep and decisive on some of the subjects, but I got nothing from him but working-day talk. Perhaps (like the character with the Greek name in the Rambler, who tells his guest, showing him his fine things, that they were only brought into service when persons of consequence visited him) he disdained to pull out his best to me, yet I rather judge that he is only clever to the party at Norwich; and as Oberon, though but six inches high, is yet tall for a fairy, he is a great Apollo to the blue and whites [the colours of the liberal party at Norwich]. For corroboration of any opinion of theirs, I should always, like the Recorder of London, think it right to ask the cook.

There's my letter, a type of the miracle of the creation and the lie to the great Epicurean maxim, that 'Nothing can be made out of nothing;' for as one of those, that, as the song runs, 'None can love like,' would exclaim, 'by Jasus, I had not a word to say, and yet I have spoke three whole pages!'

My duty to my father, and if you please, my best regards to Mrs. Watson [my mother's sister], on condition she has no more hysterics; and that is, as she pleases, more than perhaps she is aware of. She is not naturally melancholy, and may soon accustom her mind to like hope better than remembrance. My best love to Harriet [his sister], I should, as I promised her, have written to her if I had not written to you, but one letter will serve both; pray assure her how grateful I am to her for all her anxious care and attention to me; I will not even allow that Charles [his eldest brother, who was then the secretary to Sir James Cockburn at Bermudas] loves her more than I, or esteems her more, or will be more glad (as I told him in my letter) than I was to see that she was better in health than she had been for years; 'twill make him happy indeed, for the possibility of losing her is alarming to him, and if she were to die, he would be most inconsolable; yet his grief would not be more than mine, nor would he be more ready to exclaim,—

'I, nunc; et, numina non posse nega'

which, as you are a lady, I translate for you, 'go now and say, that angels cannot die.' But you must not read this to her, for she will absurdly say 'tis flattery, as if I could have any motive to flatter her.

My love to Will [meaning myself]. He is so much improved as to be an engaging boy, and I begin to like him very much.

I am, dear Madam, Yours very faithfully, HENRY COOPER.

P.S.—If Mr. Boardman [an old friend of his] should call, pray remember me most particularly to him. He has long behaved to me with the affection of a brother. He has even, in no few instances, preferred my interests to his own. I am most deeply obliged to him, and I like to tell people of it."

The next letter bears date,—

London, 31st Dec. 1815.

To the same,—

"I send you the only coin I have, my very warm thanks for one of the finest and best turkeys that entered the metropolis to be devoured in celebration and honour of Christmas. A Christian of the utmost degree of faith, that is as great as you ladies place in physicians, who devoured with a devout and religious pique, could not have eaten more or with more pleasure than I, though I sat down with no other zeal than an hungry appetite, and little better than a mere heathen stomach. When I reflected that you good people at Norwich were rioting on just such a dinner (upon my honour), I could not help blushing for your preposterous consciences, that, could expect to enjoy so much pleasure in this world, and be saved in the next too. 'Tis well for me that no one offered to bet with me, that the pheasants did not come from you; but, I pray, do not think of returning me the thanks, which I paid for them. They are all due, and a vast sum more on the old account, though you, like a liberal creditor, may have no idea of urging the payment of the balance against me, and I beg they may be carried to it. I had almost forgotten to add Alfred's thanks to mine for the turkey [he was the youngest brother, who was an ensign in the 14th Foot, and had been wounded in the recent battle]. He was here in time, and made a dinner that contrasts rather vividly with his first meal after the battle of Waterloo, on a slice of old cow that they shot with their muskets, and tore to pieces, without giving themselves a moment's pause to reflect whether the Bramin's might not be the true religion. But I must not anticipate any part of his narrative to you, and Harriet, as to another Dido and Anna, of all he has seen, done, and suffered, throughout which he has been, like the French poets (Grissets) famous parrot, quite as unfortunate as AEneas, and a great deal more pious. In other respects, indeed, you'll not find him like that bird; he'll not give you his adventures with the gratuitous loquacity of poor Poll. In this he'd rather resemble the bullfinch; you must give out the tune to him, and chirrup with questions to him before he will pipe his strain to you; and when I consider the vast difficulty which the natural taciturnity of you ladies places you under of asking questions, I feel for your curiosity in its tight stays excessively. On this occasion, perhaps, where the motive is so strong, you will break through your native restraint; and, therefore, I advise you to have your interrogatories ready by the 8th of January, 1816, when Alfred, who means to accompany me, will be in Norwich. I am very grateful to you for your benevolent wishes of prosperity and happiness to me, but they fall on a heart dead to expectation. I have been so long in obscurity, that hope has quite left off visiting me; the best years of my life are gone; and what is my condition? Depressed spirits, and ill health; and the way as far as I can see before me, no better, nay worse than the lengths behind. What right have I to hope? The ring and the lamp of the Arabian tales must cease to be fiction, before I can have any chance of good fortune. But I do not call for pity. If I have not learned to be skilful in parrying and eluding the blows of Adversity, from experience, I am at heart somewhat hardened by long subjection, and habituation to them; and, if I have not the soothing of Hope, I am not altogether without the consolation of Philosophy. The happy must substract from his happiness the frequent reflection, which comes like a cloud over him, that death will snatch him from all his blessings. The wretched finds relief in the certainty that death will end his misery; therefore, that state is not very enviable, nor this intolerable. Both will soon, very soon be past, and small, indeed, is the difference between past pleasure and past pain. Be assured, madam, that I, in return, as warmly wish you prosperity and happiness; I wish not only that the approaching, but many succeeding years, may have both hands full of plenty and delight for you; and I trust that it is not so unreasonable in you to believe, that future events may give a character of prophecy to my present wishes, as it would be in me to expect the fulfilment of yours.

Pray, have the goodness to tell my father, that the vol. of Pickering, from Priestleys, is procured, and that the copy of the Manuel Libraire, at Longman's is still to be sold at four guineas. Pray, make my thanks to him for letting me know the day of the sessions at Norwich; I shall be present to help to do the nothing there. I suppose he knows that the Corporation of Yarmouth have elected Mr. W—- , to the stewardship. I hear him say 'How stupid of them to elect that fellow.' I beg his pardon; it shewed exquisite judgment; and yet, after all, there was somewhat of a felicity in it. They thought it would be deserting propriety to have a man in the lower office of steward of higher understanding than their Recorder. Now, under all the fleecy cloud of wigs that lowers in the court of King's Bench, they could not have found a second rate head to A—-s, but that of W—- d, and nothing but 'a lucky hit of nature' that mended her design when she was determined to make as thick a skull as she had ever yet turned out of her hands, could have given existence even to this instance of inferiority. He says he was quite ignorant of their intention of the honour that has been done him. If this be not affectation, I can imagine nothing with which to compare or illustrate his surprise, except that which must have come over the onion, when it discovered that the Egyptians had made a God of it. I am wrong: surprise is the effect of perception and he has none; his is like the genuine night, that admits no ray, and in his very stupidity he is involved from the least glimmering of consciousness of it. Pray, lessen the anxiety of Harriet, which an unmerited affection for me betrays her into, by telling her that I am getting better, and excuse the want of turn to the conclusion of my letter in the want of paper; and allow me abruptly to assure you that, I am, dear Madam,

Yours most faithfully, HENRY COOPER."

The following letter, the reader must think very piquant and graphic, and it will, probably, tend to throw a new light upon his preconceived opinions and estimation of a certain great man. He must remember, too, whilst reading it, that Admiral Sir George Cockburn had the command of the ship which conveyed Napoleon and his suite to St. Helena.

This letter is dated,

London, 14 Oct. 1816.

To the same,—

"I am very much obliged to you for your excellent and most welcome present [it is below the dignity of the Epopee to say goose and sausages] which reached me on Sunday, and the note which you were so kind as to send with it, I can only repay you in this the old paper of unproductive thanks, but the sincerity of them will be held in some estimation by the mind actuated by the kindness that has excited them, and, therefore, flimsy as they are, I venture to beg your acceptance of them. I have nothing new, Madam, to send you for your entertainment from this great city. That the Regent is going to divorce the Princess of Wales, and excite the hope of the husbands and the fear of the wives—that under such an example, all the legal restraints to repudiation will be removed, and the practice become wide, and quite fashionable; you have, of course, heard long ago from the newspapers, they are eternally depriving us by anticipation of the power of writing agreeable and interesting letters to the Ladies in the country.

Sir James Cockburn arrived in town last Saturday from Bermudas. He is quite well, and neither seems nor believes himself an hour older for having been three years at Bermudas, since he was last in England. I have been much with him and his brother, the Admiral, lately. I have not (for your sex has not ALL the curiosity, though all of a peculiar kind) omitted to ply him with questions about Buonaparte. He is now admirably qualified to be Emperor in that country of which I have read, where they elect the fattest man in the state to the Empire. His legs are as bulky as my body, the ribs in proportion; and since this girth is all attained in little more than five-feet five-inches of length, he is not what Miss Cruso or Miss Godfrey [the head milliners of Norwich at the time] would call a very genteel figure. He eats with voraciousness of the most luxurious dishes; he has, in Cockburn's opinion, a very mean assemblage of features with something fearfully black and vicious about the brows and eyes. His manners are coarse and repulsive. Did you ever in a litter yard come suddenly on a lady in the straw that starts up on her fore legs and, dropping fourteen infant pigs from her teats, salutes you with a fierce jumble of barking, grunting, and hissing? In exactly such a sound is this amiable man represented to me to have always replied to every address of Bertrand, Mouthoulon, and the others, who are his fools and followers to St. Helena. Sometimes he neglected all restraint on his nature, and gave the same ferocious and inarticulate answers to the English officers. He played chess so badly, that Bertrand and Mouthoulon, who had too much discretion to excel their patron, had, at times, great difficulty to lose the game to him; after trying for many nights he could not attain the rudiments of whist, and went back to vingt-un; but this is the man who has been described to us all as ALL- INTELLECT. The newspapers, too, said I remember, that at whist he left all instruction behind him, and soon played so well, that he had won very large sums of the Admiral by his superior play, even while he was only a Tyro. I can tell you no more now; but the Admiral has had the goodness to lend me a journal of his conversation with Buonaparte on the passage out, and when I have the pleasure of seeing you in the sessions week, I will give you some extracts from my memory. I am, I believe, a little better, but the disorder in the upper part of my stomach still continues and oppresses me. It is now inveterate, the complaint commenced last March, a twelvemonth past. If I cannot rid myself of it, it will kill me in time. My best duty to my father, love to William and 'aliis,'

I am, dear Madam, Yours very faithfully, HENRY COOPER.

P.S.—I write in a great hurry for I am making up my parcel for Bermudas. I should not write to you at all, but I do not like so long to delay my due thanks to your kindness."

This letter is dated,

2, Lamb's Buildings, 27th January, 1817.

To the same,—

I am scarcely warm in my place in London before I have to thank you for your present to me; you hardly give me time, in the short intervals of these marks of your kindness to me, to frame my thanks to you for each. I have exhausted all my common-place forms and am forced to rack my invention (so very often have you come forward with these welcome claims on me) to give anything like a turn to the expression in which to convey my thanks. Mr. Pope (in those rhymes for the nursery which he has entitled the Universal Prayer) calls enjoyment obedience: now if enjoyment be thankfulness, too, then never was a being more completely thanked than yourself; for the ducks were devoured with the most devout gust and appetite; they were the most superb fowls that ever suffered martyrdom of their lives to delight the palate and appease the hunger of the Lords of the creation. You should have sent them to some imitator of the Dutch school, who could have painted them before he ate them; the hare, too, is as good as it can be, and you are agreeably thanked for it by an equal portion of enjoyment.

I must beg you to excuse a very short, dull, and hasty letter, from me. If I were not impatient at the thought of letting any longer time elapse without expressing my lively sense of your frequent mark of kind consideration of me, I should not write at all to day. I have something to do at my chambers, and in ten minutes I must run down to Westminster Hall; and whilst I am thus engaged, I am as much disqualified for writing, by a dark fit of low spirits, as prevented by want of leisure. I resist as much as I can these attacks of the night-mare by day, but I cannot wholly succeed against them; my circumstances may possibly change, and, if not, such gloominess is unreasonable; if Fortune is never weary of persecuting me, I shall at last be past the sense of her persecutions. In the meantime, whatever is the colour of my life, I shall, if I can, continue to hope the future cannot be the worse, and the present will be the more tolerable for it. I shall, therefore, cling to her while I live, and to apply a beautiful thought of Tibullus—

'Dying, clasp her with my failing hand.'

In endeavouring to recollect me of the many fine things that have been said of hope to crown my declaration of attachment to that first place of our lives, I remember Cowley has observed 'that it is as much destroyed by the possession of its object as by exclusion from it.' This is very ingenious and very true, and though not to the purpose for which I was seeking it yet will very well serve another. I wish my dear Madam, very sincerely, that the former mode of destruction may speedily befall all your present hopes, and that in future you will be surrounded by so many blessings as will leave you no room for the exercise of any hope but their continuance, My duty to my father, and my love to William, I trust that he improves in Latin; pray tell him that I was vexed not to find him so good a scholar in that language as I expected; when I next see him I hope my expectations will be exceeded.

I am, my dear Madam, Yours very truly, HENRY COOPER."

The following letter I have previously made reference to. It is written, evidently, in despondency, and heartfelt sorrow, under the shock of the frightful calamity. It relates to the disastrous death of poor Alfred, his youngest brother. It is dated from, and bears date

2, Elm Court, Temple, 25th June, 1822.

To the same,—

I received your letter yesterday, but I was so ill (that important as the occasion is) I could not answer it. To-day, nothing less than the urgency of the subject could prevail upon me to make the smallest exertion, for I am scarcely able to drag one limb up to the other. I have a violent catarrh, the glands of my throat are further inflamed and ulcerated, and I am burning with fever.

With regard to divulging to Harriet the disastrous event, for which, when once known to her, she can never be consoled; I am in a very unfit state to give advice. I am as I have always been of opinion, that it should be concealed from her as long as it can. It is a more generous cause of grief than the loss of a lover; and as Harriet's mind is built, I think more likely to shock and destroy her. You state only one reason for breaking the secrecy which has hitherto been observed—that it appears strange, the event public, that you are not in mourning for it. I cannot but think that if any good can reasonably be expected from withholding the knowledge of this dreadful incident, it would be wrong and trifling to forego it, for the senseless custom of putting yourself in black for a few months. I have no crape about me. If any one were to ask the cause of my disregard of a paltry decorum, I should either turn on my heel from him, or explain to him that I did not put on the mockery of sorrow, lest it should get to my sister's ear; that I was in outward mourning, and she had to be discovering for whom.

It is, surely, easy for you to say that you do not put on black for the same reason, to all who may enquire, or to all those to whom you wish to appear decorous. [He then writes on family matters, but, after a few lines, again recurs to the painful subject of his letter.] It is known to several with whom I am acquainted in London; but, it is easy, as Harriet restricts herself to a very narrow intercourse, to keep it still from her knowledge, till she has recovered strength of body to contend anew with severe and heavy affliction. How much I have suffered from the intelligence I shall not attempt to describe to you. I had but little interest in life before; it is now heavy and sickening to me. I feel as if I never should smile again; every circumstance of aggravation attends it. To perish on the verge of the shore, when he was just about to embark, after six years in the climate, when we thought the danger past. With letters from him full of felicitation of himself, and rapture at the hope of soon meeting us again, and when we were expecting him every moment in our embrace, to be struck cold to the heart with the news that we should never see him again. I owe little to man—I shall soon owe nothing to any other being. I hate the cant of the doctrine of Providence 'your brother may be snatched by a merciful power from impending evil.' Bah! why not the merciful being continue life to my brother, and destroy the impending evil? Well, I shall soon be as he is, and though there is no consolation in that feeling, it is some assuagement of grief, because sorrow will then be at an end. My duty to my father. I write in great pain.

I am, dear Madam, Yours very truly, HENRY COOPER."

The following makes the last of the letters I possess, and is written six months previous to his death; and in answer to a letter, of my mother to him, respecting the appointment of a paid chairman, and he, a barrister of some standing, to preside at Quarter Sessions, and to have besides (if my recollection be correct) some civil power. This was then in the contemplation of the Ministry; and as the poet says "coming events cast their shadows before" evidently the shadow of the present county courts. The letter is dated from and bears date,

5, Hare Court, Temple. 6th March, 1824.

To the same,—

"I did not return to Town till Sunday morning, when I found your letter at my chambers. I hope you will accept, as a sufficient excuse, the extreme fatigue and languor which I felt all yesterday for not answering it immediately.

I lament exceedingly, that my father should not have been early enough in his application to the Lieutenant of the County, in whose gift, by the frame of the bill, the appointment is placed, and in whose hand, I fear, by the act itself it will remain.

I cannot conjecture to whom it has been promised by Col. Wodehouse. To Alderson is not at all probable, from the part he has taken against the Wodehouse's, who are the most bigoted and relentless Tories in existence. To Preston [another provincial barrister in Norwich, and the late Jermy, who was shot by Rush], ought not to be probable, because he is not competent either in law or common sense to fill the office; and the favour to him would be an injury to the public. My father has every claim to it, and I think that it would have been no more than what was due from Col. Wodehouse, both to the county and my father, to offer it to him before he promised it to another.

I wish you might be right in your surmise, that the patronage will be placed in another quarter; but, of that there is the faintest chance, I should advise you to press my father to exert himself to procure the appointment, as it will be an office of the most agreeable kind, affording considerable profit at very little trouble. I, myself, know not a soul in the world who could influence any one of the present government: and any enquiries or attempt by me would have, in all probability, an adverse operation. I am of no importance whatever to any party, but my opinions, humble and insignificant as they are, have been noticed and recorded; and I am down in the black book for persecution, rather than in the red for favour. Of little note and importance as I am, such is the consciousness, in their own infirmity, in those who rule us, that the very lowest who have denounced their system, are objects of their hatred, for they are the objects of their fear; and those who have put them to the pain of apprehension, are marks for their revenge. I should think that the best course that my father could take would be to apply to Mr. John Harvey, to induce his brother, Onley Harvey, Esq. (a brother barrister of my father too), to ask it of the Home Department; if he asked it (supposing the gift to be there), I think, without doubt it would be given. [The rest of the letter relates to family matters, and concludes my love to William. He attributes too much honour to me by looking to me with any admiration.] My duty to my father.

I am, dear Madam, Yours very truly, HENRY COOPER."

My task is all but accomplished. I have but now to lay before the reader the promised verses; those on Buonaparte are characteristic of the writer, who, with his high intellectual powers, possessed to the last, a noble and independent spirit, which despised even the appearance of servility. I shall then add the notices that appeared in the Morning Chronicle, and Gentleman's Magazine, soon after his decease, which clearly show that He, whose death they record, was no common person; as, also, the high estimation he was held in by the profession, to which he was an honour; and by the public who admired him for his eloquence, and prized him for his independence of character. In the sketches I have given of the two lives, which were, of necessity intermingled,—it is true, I have given but a rough outline of each, and my hope is they will portray the lineaments and character as effectually as a more lengthened biography; as I have seen, and often the character of a friend's face better given in a few mere outlines, than in the finished likeness. In looking at a small duodecimo edition I possess of Plutarch's lives, I perceive that the lives of his greatest heroes and statesmen, are comprised within a hundred pages, and yet how clearly does he portray their lives to the reader. He gives a few anecdotes of their youth, a few salient points of their character in manhood, and then concludes with their actions and their deaths; and leaves the rest to the imagination and "the mind's eye;" and who, after, reading them, does not see clearly before him the man whose life has been so ably delineated? I mean not, by this, to compare myself for an instant, with that great writer; but, having, as I said before, such slender materials to deal with, I have, as far as I was able, and after re-perusing the writer referred to, done my best, with my small abilities to follow his example, and pursue his arrangement; I can only hope I may have in part succeeded.

After the notices referred to, I shall end by laying before the reader the verses written on my brother, after his death, by my mother and Mr. Wing; and in the appendix I shall refer the reader to the life of Erskine before alluded to; as, also, to the trial of Mary Ann Carlile, which will show, and clearly, the style of the eloquence of her advocate on the occasion, combined as it is with powerful argument, and that clearness and lucid order which were his forte. And now, reader, to use the words of Cicero, in concluding one of his epistles to a friend, "vale et valeas."


He ne'er shall be extoll'd by me, Whom wealth and fortune raise to power; But he, alone who will be free From sordid shame, or live no more. Let him with wreaths of song be crown'd, Who life, deflower'd of glory, spurn'd, And breaking from his kindred round, To Carthage and to death return'd.

With him, who when his righteous hand, In vain the splendid blow had given, The tyrant, only chang'd, disdain'd The light of unregarded Heaven. And Cato—thou, who tyranny All earth besides enslaved, withstood; And failing to high liberty, Pour'd fierce libation of thy blood.

Oh, Godlike men! you leave no praise For him who to the king could bend, To add a few unhonor'd days To life, at latest—soon to end. Nor him self-raised to Gallia's throne, Who, rushing with his martial hordes, Cast Europe's ancient sceptres down, And made his slaves her sov'reign lords.

For his was not the heart that dar'd When with the battle all was lost, Plunge in the whirlpool of the war, And share the slaughter of his host; Nor his, the indignant soul with brave And Roman arm, his life to shed; But still he sought by flight to save His outlaw'd and unlaurell'd head.

With face to earth his vet'rans' lay In ruins all who bore his name; His mighty Empire past away, And blasted, as a Chief, his fame. Yet—yet—(so let him live) content The sentence of his foes he bore, Like a vile felon to be sent An exile to a wretched shore.


Where silver hairs no reverence meet, Where to the weary stranger's feet To cross the threshold 'tis denied. And at the genial board, her place No kerchief'd matron takes to grace Her savage husband's haughty side; Where Niger hides, or on the shore Of dark and stormy Labrador. O Castres,—I with thee would rove, And, blest, thus wand'ring, if my mind Could leave her galling bonds behind; The bonds of an unworthy love. Not like a Gambian slave that fled (Of the pale Creole's lash in dread) From Rio, strives in fearful haste The mountain's woody side to gain; But with him drags the clinking chain, Lock'd at his waist or ancle fast.


"To each his suff'rings." Heaps of dead Trojans were Scamander's bane, Dead dogs, dead cats, and dung-boats shame the Seine, Ten thousand shores and jakes the Thames defile, And gradual mud is working woe to Nile; Yet harder Duddon's fate, her hapless stream Of fifty strains by Wordsworth is the theme.

* * * * *

The following jeu d'esprit was written on a certain nobleman, who, leaving the Whig party, of which up to that time he had been a strong adherent, and for the sake, it was supposed, of gaining the Regent's favour, not only voted, but took a strong part against the Queen.


What caused you L—-, to rush in, Through thick and thin, to give your Queen a splashing For this your party, to the devil gave you, And yet the rav'nous Tories will not have you. So in that country (where with hopes you fool Your second infancy, you yet shall rule) A sect of devotees there is who tell ye The way to heaven is through a fish's belly; And in the surges, on a certain day, They give themselves to rav'nous sharks a prey. Among the rest, an ancient beldame went,— Weak, wither'd, wrinkled, tawny, tough, and bent (Your very self in breeches she would be, Put on her petticoats, and you were she); She waded in the water to her haunches, Hoping the sharks would pass her through their paunches; But out of fifty, not a shark would have her, Tho' she implored them, as a special favour; They came and smelt, and did not like her savour, She threw their stomachs into such commotion, They would not even bear her in the ocean. But down they pushed her—roll'd her o'er and o'er, And shovel'd with their snouts again to shore; Alike your fate: to be by sharks abhorr'd Was her's, and your's by Minister's old Lord.

* * * * *

In the Chronicle of September 27th, 1824, appeared the following notice of my brother's death, headed:—"Death of Henry Cooper.—We regret to have to announce the death of a gentleman warmly beloved by all who knew him, Mr. Henry Cooper the barrister. He died on Sunday the 19th, at the cottage of his friend, Mr. Hill, of Chelsea, after a short illness which brought on an inflammation in his bowels that proved fatal; he was interred on Friday last.

"Mr. Cooper had overcome the difficulties of his profession, and was rising fast into eminence. He was already leader on the Norfolk circuit, and with his readiness, his powerful memory, and his forcible and fluent delivery, the most distinguished success was universally anticipated for him: his vein of pleasantry was particularly rich, as an instance we may refer to a case on the very last circuit in which a hairdresser of Newmarket was one of the parties, and which he made irresistibly amusing. We appeal confidently to those of our readers who have attentively considered the signs of the times, if there was not much distrust of the bar about the period when Mr. Henry Cooper came into notice, and if he did not by his exertions contribute greatly to remove it.

"He had been sometime employed procuring materials for a life of Lord Erskine, with whom he was particularly intimate, which he had undertaken to write; we suspect he had not made much progress in the work when death erminated all his labour."

The next notice of his death is taken from the Gentleman's Magazine, from July to December, 1824; vol. 94, part 2.—"On the 19th of September, 1824, at Chelsea, Henry Cooper, barrister-at-law, in the vigour of life and with every prospect of reaching the highest honors in his profession. The death of this rising barrister has been recorded in page 381 [as above]. He died of inflammation of the bowels, at the house of his friend, Mr. Hill, at Chelsea. His age was about thirty-eight or thirty- nine, and he had been about twelve years at the bar. He was the son of a counsel of eminence residing at Norwich. He went to sea with Lord Nelson, and was present at the battle of the Nile, but he early quitted the naval profession for that of the law, though he retained much of the frankness and gaiety of manner which distinguish seamen, and the activity and strength of frame which a seaman's habits create. He was afterwards Attorney General of the Bermudas, at the time when one of the Cockburn's was governor. On the appointment of the late Mr. Serjeant Blossett to the Chief Justiceship of Bengal, Mr. Cooper, who was then rapidly rising on his circuit (the Norfolk) became one of the leaders; and at the two last assizes, was in every cause.

"He possessed great activity and versatility of mind; no one, according to the testimony of those who saw most of him, combined with a fluent and powerful eloquence, a better judgment and nicer skill in conducting a cause. But his best and highest forensic quality, and that which, combined with his talents, make the loss a national one, was his great moral and professional courage, his unshaken attachment to what he considered a good cause. No consideration ever warped him from his duty. He was proof not merely against those speculations on the best probable means of personal advancement which many men reject as well as he did, but against that desire of standing well with the judges, of getting the ear of the judge, of obtaining the sympathy of men of professional standing, which it requires much more firmness to resist; there was no one on whom a defendant exposed to the enmity of government, or to the judges, or to any prejudices, could rely with greater certainty; that he would not be compromised or betrayed by his advocate. In a word, there was no man less of a sycophant. He had a confidence that he could make himself a name by his own merits, and he would have it.

"But the fair guerdon when we hope to find, Comes the blind Fury with the abhorred shears And slits the thin spun life."

The following verses, soon after my brother's death, headed, "On the death of Henry Cooper, Esq.," appeared in the provincial papers; they were composed by my mother, and had not only the tacit consent of all, but the universal praise, and that openly expressed, for their spirit and truthfulness which all felt, for all then knew and admired him they mourned.

The pride of the Circuit is gone, The eloquent tongue is at rest; The spirit so active is flown, And still lies the quick heaving breast.

The mind so gigantic and strong, Is vanish'd like vapour or breath; And the fire that shone in his eye, Is quenched by the cold hand of death.

Yet a balm to his friends shall arise, That so soon he acquired a name; For he dropp'd like a star from the skies, Untarnished in lustre or fame.

The following verses also, on the death of my brother, appeared in the provincial papers, and were written by Frederic Wing, Esq., attorney-at- law, residing at Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, and headed, "On the death of the late Henry Cooper."

"Ye friends of talent, genius, hither come, And bend with fond regret o'er Cooper's tomb; Closed are those lips, and pow'rless that tongue, On whose swift accents you've delighted hung. Cold is that heart,—unthinking now, the brain, But late the seat of thought's mysterious train, For by the stern, relentless hand of death, Is stopt the inspiring, animating breath: And he whose powers of rhetoric all could charm, Fail'd to arrest the Tyrant's conquering arm. Cooper,—Farewell!— Transient, yet splendid, was thy short career, Unfading laurels twine thy early bier. To mourn thy exit, how can we refrain, For seldom shall we see thy like again! Who, to deep learning, and the soundest sense, Join'd the rare gift of matchless eloquence. Thy wit most keen, thy penetration clear, Thy satire poignant, made corruption fear. And such thy knowledge of the human heart, So prompt to see, and to unmask each art. Oppression shrunk abash'd, while innocence Call'd thee her champion—her sure defence. Once more, farewell, long shall thy name be dear, And oft shall Independence drop a tear Of grateful memory o'er departed worth, And selfish, wish thee back again to earth. To abide the important issue of that cause, Fix'd not by mortal, but celestial laws, Thou'rt summon'd hence, may'st thou not plead in vain, But from our Heavenly Judge acceptance gain, And sure admittance to those courts on high, Where term and time are lost in blest eternity.


Thomas Erskine, the only advocate, and, almost, the only orator, whose speeches are likely to survive the interest of the occasion that gave them birth in a country, where forensic litigation abounds, and political institutions render the study and exercise of eloquence important and necessary, was born on the in —- the year 175, at —-, in Scotland; he was the third son of the Earl of Buchan, by —-. This family is ancient, and connects, with its pedigree, the sovereigns, both of Scotland and England, related to the former. The marriage of the daughter of James the First with the Palatine, mixed his line with the descendants, and, consequently, united him with the family that now reigns in England. He thus brought with him to the profession of the bar, the advantage of all the prejudice in favour of illustrious descents, and found easier way yielded to his powerful talents by the diminution of envy which attended it.

Of his very early years, I am unable to supply the public with any information, and I regret it,—not that any very important lesson of utility can be derived from the anecdotes of childhood, but they are amusing, and amusing without harm; and I agree with Dr. West that he has a very imperfect knowledge of human nature who is not convinced, that in a state of refined society, it is impossible to amuse innocently. All that I have been able to learn distinctly, is, that the most playful vivacity, and the same good humour, which ever after accompanied him even in the keenest rivalry of the bar, displayed itself in his words and actions, and made him the delight of all, but those who morose and splenetic, from their own disgust of existence, conceive offence at others for that enjoyment of the present, which can only subsist upon ignorance, and the hope of the future that MUST BE disappointed. To this vivacity, he, perhaps, owed as much as to those endowments, which are deemed more solid qualifications for the bar. It imparted itself to his eye, his mouth, his tone, and his action, and held his hearers engaged, when his periods were such as pronounced by an ordinary speaker, would not have preserved the audience from that listnessness, which is instantly seen and felt by the speaker, and soon adds embarrassment and confusion to feebleness. In private society, to the last months of his existence, it gave him rather the air of a youth inexperienced in the realities of life, and entering it under the ardour of hope, than of a man who had almost reached the limits of human existence, in the exercise of a profession, which lays the human breast naked to inspection. It was said of Pope, from his primitive habits of reflection and gravity, that he was never young; and, on the contrary, it may be said with equal justice, from the playfulness and vivacity of Erskine, that he was never old. At the age of he entered the navy as a midshipman, and served in the —-, commanded by Captain —-, in America. While in this station he was employed in making a survey under one of the lieutenants of the ship, off the coast of Florida. He had some acquaintance with geometry; and, as he tells us himself in his "Armata," always retained a fondness for that science. Whether this fondness grew in acquiring the knowledge of navigation, indispensable to his profession, or subsequently at the university in which it forms so much the greater part of education, I am ignorant; but that he was versed to a degree both in geometry and astronomy, is evident, from the work I have named, and some pieces of his poetry, which I have had access to. The cause that led him to leave the navy and enter the army is unknown; it is most likely to have been disgust and impatience of the subordination, which in our fleets is rigid in the extreme, and never softened by that alternation of social intercourse, at a common table at which in the army, all the officers of the regiment meet daily, and from which they rise with a feeling, not only that insulting and overbearing command upon duty would be a violation of an implied pledge of kindness, but injury to themselves, as diminishing in the gloom that would spread over their next meeting, the common stock of enjoyment. The condition of our naval service is, in some respects, improved since Erskine was a member of it; but then all knowledge beyond that of the conduct of a ship, was deemed unnecessary, impertinent, and even adverse to the attainment of nautical skill. The intercourse of the officers even on the shore, was confined almost entirely to one another, for not to speak of the uncouthness of their habits, which made them as incapable of mingling in society on land, as the beings of their element on which their avocation lay, are of living in the air, their language was technical to a degree that rendered it to all, except themselves, almost unintelligible. With such persons for companions, and to use Terence's expression, quotidian and tedious sameness of a life at sea, we need look no further for Erskine's desire to change his profession. When we consider the great capacity which he possessed for observation, and his extraordinary power of combining the knowledge that he so acquired, the period which he gave to the naval service must have been, to a spirit so active, a period of painful constraints. I remember that in a conversation upon Lord Erskine, with Mr. Capel Loft, after enumerating the many great causes in which the great advocate had been engaged, he exclaimed, "what an infinite multitude of ideas must have passed through that man's mind." The remark is not an empty one; I doubt whether there ever was a man who exercised the faculty of reasoning more, who drew a greater number of distinct conclusions, or whose materials of thought were more the collection and property of his own observation. Cicero, in his speech for Archias, appeals to the judges whether he could possibly supply the demands upon him for daily exertions of eloquence, unless he assidiously refreshed his mind with studies, in which he was assisted by Archias and other rhetoricians, and that he read copiously is manifested in all his works. The accomplished academician, the able balancer of the different schools of philosophy and morals, and the studied Rhetor is obtruded upon us. He was, in every sense of the term, learned; Erskine, on the contrary, cannot be discovered by any of his speeches, or writings, to have read much, and most probably had read very little. He was in no sense of the word learned. He has, indeed by acuteness of observation, vigour of combination, and the ready power of deduction that he possessed, been able to produce and leave behind him what will become the learning of others, but he was not learned himself. His qualities, from his earliest years were quickness and acuteness, unchecked and insatiable curiosity, retentive memory, and busy reflection; his mind was never still. In the coffee-room he conversed and indulged in humour with all round him. However important or heavy the causes which were to occupy him in court, they never oppressed his mind with a load of anxiety; his was not like ordinary minds under great affairs, so absorbed that he could perceive nothing round him; his, till the hour of solemn exertion arrived, was disengaged and indulged in pleasantry; after the toil of the day, the passion of eloquence and the intensity of technical argument, he was full of spirits and waggery at dinner and in the evening. And light as his topics sometimes were, his thoughts were always distinct, and his expressions full; you never from him heard any imperfect thoughts expressed, that (like tadpoles, before they are complete, must go through other processes of animation) required the exertion of your own conceptions to attain their sense and spirit. The activity of his mind was like that of the swallow, which either in sport or pursuit is upon the wing for ever. With this character it may readily be believed that young Erskine received his discharge with feelings like those that attend the cessation of a long and painful disease from a state which called for no exercise of his great talents, and, neither yielded scope for the communication of his own attainments nor opportunity to increase them from the communications of others.

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