Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 07.djvu/33

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Brown
Brown
27


structure of its unimpregnated ovulum and on the female flowers of Cycadeæ and Coniferæ.' In 1828 we find in the 'Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal' 'A brief Account of Microscopical Observations made in the months of June, July, and August 1827 on the particles contained in the pollen of plants, and on the general existence of active molecules in organic and inorganic bodies.' These were speedily followed by six papers 'On the Organs and Mode of Fecundation in Orchideæ and Asclepiadeæ,' and one on the 'Origin and Mode of Propagation of the Gulf-weed.' These important contributions to science–exhibiting the most patient research and refined deductions from his minute observations–were highly appreciated by all naturalists, as was shown by the fact of the illustrious Humboldt dedicating his 'Synopsis Plantarum Orbis Novi' to him in the following words: 'Roberto Brownio, Britanniarum gloriæ atque ornamento, totam botanices scientiam ingenio mirifico complectenti.'

In 1811 Brown became a fellow of the Royal Society, and he was several times elected a member of the council of that body. In 1839 the Copley medal was presented to him 'for his discoveries on the subject of vegetable impregnation,' he having received previously (in 1832) from the university of Oxford the honorary degree of D.C.L. In 1833 he was elected a foreign associate of the Academy of Sciences of the Institute of France. Sir Robert Peel granted him a pension on the civil list of 200l. per annum, and the King of Prussia subsequently decorated him with the cross of the highest civil order 'Pour le Mérite.'

Beyond the works already named, Brown frequently contributed to the' Linnean Transactions' and scientific periodicals. His botanical appendices to the 'Voyages and Travels of the most celebrated Navigators and Travellers' should not be forgotten; they were all marked by his distinguishing characteristics, minuteness of detail and comprehensive generalisation.

Especial mention is demanded of his discoveries of the nucleus of the vegetable cell; of the mode of fecundation in several species of plants; of the developments of the pollen and of the ovulum in the Coniferæ and Cycadeæ, and the bearing of these on impregnation in general. The relation of a flower to the axis from which it is derived, and of the parts of a flower to each other, are among the most striking of Brown's structural investigations. It must not be forgotten that fossil botany was also a favourite pursuit of his, and that in its prosecution he formed a valuable collection of fossil woods which he bequeathed to the British Museum.

Brown's character in private life was acknowledged to be peculiarly attractive by all who knew him. This cannot be more satisfactorily shown than by a quotation from a letter written by Dr. Francis Bott on 21 June 1803 to Dr. Sharpey, presenting to the Royal Society a copy to Brown's Prodromus Floræ Novæ Hollandiæ,' which was a personal gift from the author: 'I never presumed to be able to estimate Brown's eminent merits as a man of science; but I knew vaguely their worth. I loved him for his truth, his simple modesty, and, above all, for his more than woman's tenderness. Of all the persons I have known, I have never known his equal in kindliness of nature.' Brown died on 10 June 1858.

[Proceedings of the Royal Society, ix. 527 (1869); Royal Society Catalogue of scientific Papers, vol. i. (1867); Linnean Society's Transactions, vols, x-xii. (1816-20); Ann. Sci. Nat. vols, viii-x. xi. xix. (1826-30) Ray Society; Miscellaneous Botanical Works of Robert Brown, ed. Bennett, 2 vols. 1866-8."]

R. H-t.

BROWN, SAMUEL (fl. 1700), was a surgeon stationed during the last few years of the seventeenth century at Madras, then called Fort St. George. From time to time he sent collections of dried plants &c. to England, where they were described by James Petiver, and published in the 'Phil. Trans.' in a series of papers in vols. xx. (1698) and xxiii. (1703). Petiver's plants passed into the hands of Sir Hans Sloane, and now form part of the herbarium of the British Museum (Nat. History) in Cromwell Road. Particulars of his life are wanting.

[Pulteney's Biog. Sketches of Botany (1790), ii. 38, 39, 62.]

B. D. J.

BROWN, Sir SAMUEL (1776–1852), engineer, the eldest son of William Brown of Borland, Galloway, by a daughter of the Rev. Robert Hogg of Roxburgh, was born in London in 1776. He served in the navy with some distinction during the French war from 1795 onwards. He became commander 1 Aug. 1811, and retired captain 18 May 1842. In January 1835 he was made a knight of the Hanoverian Guelphic Order, and a knight bachelor in 1838. His principal reputation was gained as an engineer. He invented an improved method of manufacturing links for chain cables, which he patented in 1816 conjointly with Philip Thomas, and the experiments which he carried out led to the introduction of chain cables into the navy. He also patented in