Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Brown, David (1763-1812)

BROWN, DAVID (1763–1812), Bengal chaplain and founder of the Calcutta Bible Society, was born in Yorkshire, and was educated first under private tuition at Scarborough, and afterwards at a grammar school at Hull under the Rev. Joseph Milner [q. v.], author of the 'History of the Church,' and at Magdalene College, Cambridge. Having taken holy orders and been appointed to a chaplaincy in Bengal, Brown reached Calcutta in 1786, and was immediately placed in charge of an extensive orphanage in that city, being at the same time appointed chaplain to the brigade at Fort William. In addition to these duties Brown took charge of the mission church. In 1794 he was appointed presidency chaplain, in which office he is said to have commanded in an unusual degree the respect and esteem of the English at Calcutta. Among his most intimate friends were Henry Martyn, Claudius Buchanan, and Thomas Thomason, all of whom were successively received in his house on their first arrival in India, and regarded him as their chief guide and counsellor. To the cause of christian missions he devoted himself with untiring zeal, labouring in it himself and affording generous aid to missionaries, both of the church of England and of other denominations.

Brown's health failing in 1812, he embarked, for the benefit of sea air, in a vessel bound for Madras, which was wrecked on the voyage down the Bay of Bengal. The passengers and crew were rescued by another vessel and taken back to Calcutta, where Brown died on 14 June 1812. Charles Philip Brown [q. v.] was his son.

[Bengal Obituary; Memoir of Rev. Claudius Buchanan, D.D., by Rev. Hugh Pearson, London, 1819; Memoir of Rev. Thomas Thomason, by Rev. Thomas Sargent, 1833.]

A. J. A.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.39
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

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3 ii 27 f.e. Brown, David (1763-1812): for a grammar school read the grammar school