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COCKLE—COCKNEY

house was Dr Johnson, who was in consequence made the object of a scurrilous attack by the poet Charles Churchill in “The Ghost.”

See A. Lang, Cock Lane and Common Sense (1894).


COCKLE, SIR JAMES (1819–1895), English lawyer and mathematician, was born on the 14th of January 1819. He was the second son of James Cockle, a surgeon, of Great Oakley, Essex. Educated at Charterhouse and Trinity College, Cambridge, he entered the Middle Temple in 1838, practising as a special pleader in 1845 and being called in 1846. Joining the midland circuit, he acquired a good practice, and on the recommendation of Chief Justice Sir William Erle he was appointed chief justice of Queensland in 1863. He received the honour of knighthood in 1869, retired from the bench, and returned to England in 1879.

Cockle is more remembered for his mathematical and scientific investigations than as a lawyer. Like many young mathematicians he attacked the problem of resolving the higher algebraic equations, notwithstanding Abel’s proof that a solution by radicles was impossible. In this field Cockle achieved some notable results, amongst which is his reproduction of Sir William R. Hamilton’s modification of Abel’s theorem. Algebraic forms were a favourite object of his studies, and he discovered and developed the theory of criticoids, or differential invariants; he also made contributions to the theory of differential equations. He displayed a keen interest in scientific societies. From 1863 to 1879 he was president of the Queensland Philosophical Society (now incorporated in the Royal Society of Queensland); on his return to England he became associated with the London Mathematical Society, of which he was president from 1886 to 1888, and the Royal Astronomical Society, serving as a member of the council from 1888 to 1892. He died in London on the 27th of January 1895.

A volume containing his scientific and mathematical researches made during the years 1864–1877 was presented to the British Museum in 1897 by his widow. See the obituary notice by the Rev. R. Harley in Proc. Roy. Soc. vol. 59.


COCKLE, in zoology, a mollusc (Cardium) of the class Lamellibranchia (q.v.). A very large number of species of Cardium have been distinguished by conchologists. Besides the common species Cardium edule, two others occur in Britain, but are not sufficiently common to be of commercial importance. One of these is C. echinatum, which is larger than the common species, reaching 3 in. in diameter, and distinguished by the presence of spines along the ribs of the shell. The other is C. norvegicum, which is also somewhat larger than C. edule, is longer dorso-ventrally than broad, and is only faintly ribbed.

The two valves of the shell of the common cockle are similar to each other, and somewhat circular in outline. The beak or umbo of each valve is prominent and rounded, and a number of sharp ridges and furrows radiate from the apex to the free edge of the shell, which is crenated. The ligament is external, and the hinge carries cardinal teeth in each valve. The interior of the shell is remarkable for the absence of pearly lustre on its interior surface. The colour externally is reddish or yellowish. The pallial line, which is the line of attachment of the mantle parallel to the edge of the shell, is not indented by a sinus at the posterior end. In the entire animal the posterior end projects slightly more than the anterior from the region of the umbones.

The animal possesses two nearly equal adductor muscles. The edges of the mantle are united posteriorly except at the anal and branchial apertures, which are placed at the ends of two very short siphons or tubular prolongations of the mantle; the siphons bear a number of short tentacles, and many of these are furnished with eye-spots. The foot is very large and powerful; it can be protruded from the anterior aperture between the mantle edges, and its outer part is bent sharply forwards and terminates in a point. By means of this muscular foot the cockle burrows rapidly in the muddy sand of the sea-shore, and it can also when it is not buried perform considerable leaps by suddenly bending the foot. The foot has a byssus gland on its posterior surface.

On either side of the body between the mantle and the foot are two flat gills each composed of two lamellae. Cardium belongs to the order of Lamellibranchia in which the gills present the maximum of complexity, the original vertical filaments of which they are composed being united by interfilamentar and interlamellar junctions. In other respects the anatomy of the cockle presents no important differences from that of a typical Lamellibranch. The sexes are distinct, and the generative opening is on the side of the body above the edge of the inner lamella of the inner gill. The eggs are minute, and pass out into the sea-water through the dorsal or exhalent siphon. The breeding season is April, May and June. The larva for a time swims freely in the sea-water, having a circlet of cilia round the body in front of the mouth, forming the velum. The shell is developed on the dorsal surface behind the velum, the foot on the opposite or ventral surface behind the mouth. After a few days, when the mantle bearing the shell valves has developed so much as to enclose the whole body, the young cockle sinks to the bottom and commences to follow the habits of the adult. The usual size of the cockle in its shell is from 1 to 2 in. in breadth.

The common cockle is regularly used as food by the poorer classes. It occurs in abundance on sandy shores in all estuaries. At the mouth of the Thames the gathering of cockles forms a considerable industry, especially at Leigh. On the coast of Lancashire also the fishery, if it may be so called, is of considerable importance. The cockles are gathered by the simple process of raking them from the sand, and they are usually boiled and extracted from their shells before being sent to market. The cockle is liable to the same suspicion as the oyster of conveying the contamination of typhoid fever where the shores are polluted, but as it is boiled before being eaten it is probably less dangerous.  (J. T. C.) 


COCKNEY, a colloquial name applied to Londoners generally, but more properly confined to those born in London, or more strictly still to those born within the sound of the bells of St Mary-le-Bow church. The origin of the word has been the subject of many guesses, from that in John Minsheu’s lexicon, Ductor in linguas (1617), which gives the tale of the town-bred child who, on hearing a horse neigh, asked whether a “cock neighed” too, to the confusion of the word with the name of the Utopia, the land of Cockaigne (q.v.). The historical examination of the various uses of “Cockney,” by Sir James Murray (see Academy, 10th of May 1890, and the New English Dictionary, s.v.) clearly shows the true derivation. The earliest form of the word is cokenay or cokeney, i.e. the ey or egg, and coken, genitive plural of “cock,” “cocks’ eggs” being the name given to the small and malformed eggs sometimes laid by young hens, known in German as Hahneneier. An early quotation, in Langland’s Piers Plowman, A. vii. 272, gives the combination of “cokeneyes” and bacon to make a “collop,” or dish of eggs and bacon. The word then applied to a child overlong nursed by its mother, hence to a simpleton or milksop. Thus in Chaucer, Reeve’s Tale, the word is used with daf, i.e. a fool. The particular application of the name as a term of contempt given by country folk to town-bred people, with their dandified airs and ignorance of country ways and country objects, is easy. Thus Robert Whittington or Whitinton (fl. 1520), speaks of the “cokneys” in such “great cytees as London, York, Perusy” (Perugia), showing the general use of the word. It was not till the beginning of the 17th century that “cockney” appears to be confined to the inhabitants of London.

The so-called “Cockney” accent or pronunciation has varied in type. In the first part of the 19th century, it was chiefly characterized by the substitution of a v for a w, or vice versa. This has almost entirely disappeared, and the chief consonantal variation which exists is perhaps the change of th to f or v, as in “fing” for thing, or “favver” for father. This and the vowel-sound change from ou to ah, as in “abaht” for “about,” are only heard among the uneducated classes, and, together with other characteristic pronunciations, phrases and words, have been well illustrated in the so-called “coster” songs of Albert Chevalier. The most marked and widely-prevalent change of vowel sound is that of ei for ai, so that “daily” becomes “dyly” and “may” becomes “my.” This is sometimes so marked