1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Brown, William Laurence
BROWN, WILLIAM LAURENCE (1755-1830), Scottish divine, was born on the 7th of January 1755 at Utrecht, where his father was minister of the English church. The father, having been appointed professor of ecclesiastical history at St Andrews, returned to Scotland in 1757, and his son went to the grammar school of that city, and then to the university. After passing through the divinity classes, he went in 1774 to the university of Utrecht, where he studied theology and civil law. In 1777 he was appointed to the English church in Utrecht, and about 1788 to the professorship of moral philosophy and ecclesiastical history in the university, to which was soon added the professorship of the law of nature. The war which followed the French Revolution finally drove Brown in January 1795 to London, where he was cordially welcomed. In 1795 the magistrates of Aberdeen appointed him to the chair of divinity, and soon after he was made principal of Marischal College. In the year 1800 he was appointed chaplain in ordinary to the king, and in 1804 dean of the chapel royal, and of the order of the Thistle. He died on the 11th of May 1830. His most widely-known works were an Essay on the Natural Equality of Men (1793), which gained the Teyler Society's prize; a treatise On the Existence of the Supreme Creator (1816), to which was awarded the first Burnet prize of £1250; and A Comparative View of Christianity, and of the other Forms of Religion with regard to their Moral Tendency (2 vols., 1826).