Dictionary of National Biography, 1901 supplement/Brayne, William

BRAYNE, WILLIAM (d. 1657), governor of Jamaica, was son of Thomas Brayne (Cal. State Papers, Colonial, 1574–1660, p. 464). In 1653 he was lieutenant-colonel of the regiment of foot commanded by Colonel Daniel, which formed part of the army of occupation in Scotland. In June 1654, during the royalist rising under Glencairne, Brayne was put in command of a body of a thousand foot drawn from the forces in Ireland, with orders to establish himself at Inverlochy, and build a fort there. After the suppression of the rising he was appointed governor of Inverlochy and the adjacent parts of the highlands. No one did more to establish order among the highlanders. A Scot describes him as 'an excellent wise man,' adding that 'where there was nothing but barbarities, now there is not one robbery all this year' (Thurloe Papers, iv. 401; Firth, Scotland and the Protectorate, pp. xliii, 111). In the summer of 1656 the Protector chose Brayne to command the reinforcements to be sent to Jamaica, and to take the post of commander-in-chief there (Cal. State Papers, Col. (1574–1660), pp. 440, 442; Firth, Narrative of General Venables, p. 171). He arrived at Jamaica in December 1656 (Thurloe, vi. 771), and set himself vigorously to work to promote planting, and develop the trade of the island. None of its early governors did so much to make it a self-supporting community, and to establish the struggling colony on a permanent basis. His own health, however, soon gave way; he complains in his letters of decay in body and mind, and says in the last of them that he had not had a week's health since he came there (ib. v. 778, vi. 110, 211, 230, 453). Brayne died on 2 Sept. 1657, and, according to a colonist, 'was infinitely lamented, being a wise man and perfectly qualified for the command and design' (Present State of Jamaica, 1683, p. 34: Thurloe, vi. 512).

[Authorities mentioned in the article.]

C. H. F.