BROWN, CHARLES (d. 1753), commodore, entered the navy about 1695, through the patronage of Sir George Byng, afterwards Lord Torrington, he was appointed captain of the Stromboli in 1709. He commanded the York in 1717, and the Advice in 1726 in the cruises up the Baltic. In 1727, during the siege of Gibraltar by the Spaniards, he commanded the Oxford, and in 1731 the Buckingham in the Mediterranean. In 1738 he was appointed to command the Hampton Court, and was senior officer at this station until the arrival of Admiral Vernon in the following year. His opportunity arrived in 1739, when, during the war with Spain, he served under Vernon in the attack on Portobello, in the isthmus of Darien. He led the squadron into Boca Chica, placing his vessel, the Hampton Court, alongside the strongest part of the fortifications. When the fortress surrendered, the Spanish governor presented his sword in token of submission. Brown very properly declined to receive it, saying he was but 'second in command,' and took the governor in his boat to Admiral Vernon. But the Spaniard was obstinate, declaring that but for the insupportable fire of the commodore he never would have yielded. Thereupon Vernon, very handsomely turning to Brown, presented to him the sword, which is still in the possession of his descendants. In 1741 Brown was appointed to the office of commissioner of the navy at Chatham, a situation which he held with unblemished reputation until his death, 23 March 1753. His daughter, Lucy, became the wife of Admiral William Parry, commander-in-chief of the Leeward Islands; and her daughterr and namesake married Captain Locker, under whom Lord Nelson served in his early days, and who subsequently became lieutenant-governor of Greenwich Hospital. There is a portrait of Brown in the Painted Hall at Greenwich.
[Charnock's Biog. Nav. iv. 1; Beatson's Nav. and Mil. Memoirs. i. 49; E. H. Lockers Naval Memoirs, 1831; H. A. Locker's Naval Gallery of Greenwich Hospital, 1842.]