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.]
BROWN, CHARLES ARMITAGE (1787?–1842?), writer on Shakespeare's sonnets and friend of Keats, went to St. Petersburg at the age of eighteen to conduct the business of a Russia merchant started there by his eldest brother John. Working on very little capital, and hampered by political disturbances, the firm soon collapsed, and about 1810, at the age of twenty-three, Brown returned to this country utterly ruined. For some years afterwards he struggled hard for a livelihood, but the death of another brother who had settled in Sumatra put him at length in the possession of a small competence, and he devoted himself to literary pursuits. In 1814 he wrote a serio-comic opera on a Russian subject, entitled 'Narensky, or the Road to Yaroslaf,' with music by Braham and Reeve. It was acted at Drury Lane, under Arnold's management, for several nights from 11 Jan. 1814, with Braham in the chief part (Genest, viii. 405). The libretto was published in 1814, but its literary quality is poor. Brown made the acquaintance of Keats and his brothers before September 1817. At the time Brown was living at Wentworth Place, Hampstead, a double house part of which was in the occupation of Charles Wentworth Dilke, and Keats was living in Well Walk, near at hand. In July 1818 Brown and Keats made a tour together in the north of Scotland. Brown sent a number of amusing letters to Dilke describing the trip, some of which have been printed in Dilke's 'Papers of a Critic,' and in Buxton Forman's elaborate edition of Keats's