Brewer, Samuel (DNB00)

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BREWER, SAMUEL (d. 1743?), botanist, was a native of Trowbridge in Wiltshire, where he possessed a small estate, and was engaged in the woollen manufacture, but seems to have been unsuccessful in business. He communicated some plants to Dillenius for the third edition of Ray's 'Synopsis,' published in 1724, and accompanied the editor in 1726 from Trowbridge to the Mendips, and thence to Bristol, passing onward to North Wales and Anglesey. Brewer remained in Bangor for more than a twelvemonth, botanising with Rev. W. Green and W. Jones, and sending dried plants to Dillenius, particularly mosses, thus clearing up many doubtful points. In the autumn of 1727 he went into Yorkshire, living at Bingley, and afterwards at Bierley, near Dr. Richardson, who befriended him. The loss of 20,000l. of his own earnings, and of a large estate left to him by his father, which was taken by his elder brother, gave a morbid tone to his letters. His son was sent to India through the influence of Dr. James Sherard of Eltham, but the father quarrelled with the doctor in 1731 about some plants. His daughter also seems to have acted 'undutifully' towards him. He had a small house and garden at Bierley, and devoted himself to the culture of plants ; afterwards he became head-gardener to the Duke of Beaufort at Badminton, and died at Bierley, at Mr. John Pollard's house ; he was buried close to the east wall of Cleckheaton chapel. Although unfortunate in business, he was a good collector of plants, insects, and birds ; the botanical genus Breweria was founded by Robert Brown in his honour, and a species of rock-rose, a native of North Wales, discovered by him, bears the name of 'Helianthemum Breweri.' He is mentioned in the Richardson correspondence in 1742, but the dates of his birth and death are uncertain.

[Pulteney's Biog. Sketches of Botany (1790), ii. 188-90; Richardson Correspondence, 252, 270, 273, 276-88, 298, 313, &c. ; Dillenius's Hist. Musc. viii. ; Nichols's Illustr. of Lit. i. 288, &c. ; Sloane MS. 4039.]

B. D. J.