Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Browne, Patrick

BROWNE, PATRICK (1720?–1790), author of the 'Civil and Natural History of Jamaica,' was the fourth son of Edward Browne of Woodstock, co. Mayo, Ireland, and was born about 1720. In 1737 he was sent to reside with a relative in Antigua, but ill-health compelling him to return to Europe he went to Paris, where he commenced the study of physical science, especially botany. Afterwards he removed to Leyden, where he continued his studies, obtaining the degree of M.D. 21 Feb. 1743 (Peacock, English Students at Leyden, p. 14). At Leyden he made the acquaintance of Gronovius, and began a correspondence with Linnæus, which continued till his death. After practising his profession for two years in London he returned to the West Indies, spending some months in Antigua and other sugar islands, and thence proceeding to Jamaica. Here he occupied himself with the study of the geology, botany, and natural history of the island. In 1765 he published a new map of Jamaica, and in 1750 'Civil and Natural History of Jamaica' in folio, ornamented with forty-nine engravings, a map of the island, and a map of the harbour of Port Royal, Kingston, &c. All the copperplates as well as the original drawings used in the work were consumed in the great fire in Cornhill 7 Nov. 1765, and consequently the second edition of the book published in 1709, with four new Linn{{ae}an indexes, is without illustrations. In June 1774 he published in 'Exshaw's London Magazine' a 'Catalogue of the Birds of Ireland, whether natives, casual visitors, or birds of passage, taken from observation, classed and disposed according to Linnæus;' and in August of the same year a 'Catalogue of Fishes observed on our coasts, and in our lakes and rivers.' He left in manuscript a 'Catalogue of the Plants now crowing in the Sugar Islands,' and a 'Catalogue of such Irish Plants as have been observed by the author, chiefly those of the counties of Mayo and Galway.' He died at Rushbrook, co. Mayo, 29 Aug. 1790, and was interred in the family burying-place at Crossboyne, where there is a monument to his memory with an inscription written by himself.

[Walker's Hibernian Mag. 1795, pt. ii. pp. 196-7.]

T. F. H.