Brown, John (1797-1861) (DNB00)

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BROWN, JOHN (1797–1861), geographer, was born at Dover 2 Aug. 1797. He served for some time as a midshipman in the East India Company's service. In March 1819 he was forced to leave the sea in consequence of a defect in his sight. He then became a diamond merchant and made a fortune. He took a keen interest in geographical exploration, and became a fellow of the Geographical Society in 1837. He presented a portrait of his friend Weddell (an explorer of the Antarctic circle) to the society in 1839, with a letter advocating further expeditions. In 1843 he obtained from Sir Robert Peel a pension for Weddell's widow. He was a founder of the Ethnological Society in the same year. He afterwards became conspicuous as an advocate of expeditions in search of Sir John Franklin. He defined the area which the expedition was ultimately found to have reached, but was not attended to at the time. In 1868 he published 'The North-west Passage and the Plans for the Search for Sir John Franklin: a review.' A second edition appeared in 1860. He was complimented on this work by Humboldt. Brown made large collections illustrative of Arctic adventure. He lost his wife in 1869, and died 7 Feb. 1861, leaving three sons and two daughters.

[Gent. Mag. 1861.]