As the Conservative Member of Parliament for Northumberland West (Ontario) from 1861 to 1874 and from 1878 to 1881, James Cockburn was a member of the Great Coalition and participated in the Québec Conference. A defender of rep by pop, he sought to convince the public of the concept's validity. He was solicitor general from 1864 to 1867 in the government of Étienne-Paschal Taché and John A. Macdonald, and Speaker of the House of Commons from 1867 to 1873.
Swainson, Donald. "Cockburn, James." The 1999 Canadian encyclopedia: world edition. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1998.
Swainson, Donald. "Cockburn, James." Dictionnaire biographique du Canada. Vol. XI. Québec: Presses de l'Université Laval, 1982. P. 214-215.