Page images

“ After his prevailing infirmities had wasted all the strengths of nature, and the arts of his learned and excellent physician, D. Browne of Norwich (to whom, under God, we and the whole church are ingaged for many years preserving his life as a blessing to us),-after his fatherly reception of many persons of honour, learning, and piety, who came to crave his dying prayers and benedictions,-he roused up his dying spirits, to a heavenly confession of his faith, which ere he could finish, his speech was taken from him, so that we cannot here insert it.”

At the close of the same year Sir Thomas's daughter Elizabeth married Capt. George Lyttleton, the 12th and youngest son of Sir Thomas Lyttleton, Bart. afterwards major in Prince George of Denmark's regiment of dragoons; who died in 1717, at Windsor, in the 77th year of his age. This was probably thought a desirable alliance ; but it deprived Sir Thomas of a daughter who had resided with him far longer than any other of his children, and of whom he has expressed himself in terms of very high commendation. She went to reside in the island of Guern. sey, where the captain then had some military employment.

Sir Thomas had now the satisfaction of seeing his son Edward daily adding to his honours, his connexions, and his practice. In 1678 he had been chosen Censor of the College of Physicians ; an office which he again filled in 1685 and 1686. In 1680 he attended the dying illness of the celebrated Earl of Rochester, at Woodstock Park : as well as that of the Marquis of Dorchester, a patron and amateur of the medical profession, and a Fellow of the College of Physicians ; who had long been his great friend ; to whom he had dedicated his first travels in 1672 ; and with whom he had sufficient influence to prevail on his lordship to bequeath his library to the college. We also find among Dr. Browne's patients, the Duke of Richmond, the Earl of Aylesbury, Sir Joseph Williamson, &c. In February, 1682, he was engaged to translate the life of Themistocles, for an edition of Plutarch's Lives, of which the first volume was published in 1683 ; and for the second of which, in the following year, he translated that of Sertorius. In this occupation, also, he enjoyed the advantage of his father's assistance; the sheets being successively transmitted to Norwich for revision. On the 7th of September, 1682, he was appointed, by the express recommendation of his royal master, Physician to St. Bartholomew's Hospital, on the death of Sir John Micklethwayte. He entered upon the duties of this office with characteristick diligence, and, as it appears, in his accustomed reliance upon the aid of his father ; to whom, on the 3rd of Oct., he addressed the last letter which has come down to us ; communicating, some particulars relative to the appointment, and requesting his advice as to the hospital practice. Ever prompt as Sir Thomas was to comply with such applications, especially from his son, it may be doubted whether he was permitted to do so in the present instance :-for on the 19th of the same month, the day on which he completed his 77th year, a severe attack of cholick terminated the life of this great man, after a few days' illness. He left considerable property, real as well as personal ; which he had devised three years before his decease in the following will:

walking before the train, in his cope trailing in the dirt, with a service book in his hand imitating in an impious scorne the tune, and usurping the words of the letany used formerly in the church: neer the publick crosse, all these monuments of idolatry must be sacrificed to the fire, not without mueh ostentation of a zealous joy in discharging ordinance to the cost of some who professed how much they had longed to see that day. Neither was it any newes upon this guild-day to have the cathedrall now open on all sides to be filled with muskatiers, wayting for the majors returne, drinking and tobacconing as freely as if it had turne'd alehouse." The Shaking of the Olive Tree, d'c. p. 63.

Decemb. 2, 1679. In the name of God, Amen. I, Thomas Browne, Knight and Dr. of Physick, of the citty of Norwich, do make this my last will and testament. Imprimis, I giue and bequeath vnto my deare wife, Dame Dorothie Browne, all my Lands, Leases, and Tenements, all my bonds, bills, moueables, money, plate, jewells, and all my goods whatsoeuer, thereby to haue a provision for her. self, and make liberall maintenance and portions for my deare daughters, Elizabeth Browne and Frances Browne. Excepting such lands

and tenements as were assigned and made ouer vnto my sonne Edward Browne upon marriage, and to bee entered upon a yeare after my decease. Item, I appoynt and make my wife, Dame Dorothie Browne, my sole executrix, and give her power to sell all leases, all my goods moueables, mony, plate, jewells, bonds, and all goods valuable whatsoeuer, for the the prouision of herself and of my daughters Elizabeth and Frances Browne, and for the payment of my debts, legacies, and charitable gifts, wherewith she is fully acquainted, and will, I doubt not, performe my will therein. And if it shall please God that my wife Dame Dorothie should dye before mee, then I make my daughters, Elizabeth and Frances Browne, my executrixes, and giue them the same enjoyment and power in my estate as I haue before giuen vnto my wife, Dame Dorothie. This is my last will and testament, which I haue writt with my owne hand, and confirmed it with my hand and seale.

Nicho: Bickerdike
Witnesses Anthony Mingay

Aug. Briggs, Júnior. Of the two daughters named in this will, only one (Frances) remained single at the time of his death. Whether she married


afterwards or not I cannot say with certainty. In the pedigree drawn up by Le Neve—among the daughters of Mr. Fairfax are enumerated two of the name Frances, both married, the latter to Mr. Bosville, a Yorkshire gentleman. This I suppose to have been the daughter of Sir Thomas, and to have been confounded by Le Neve with his grand-daughter. But I cannot bring any evidence whatever to support my suggestion, which must, therefore, remain mere hypothesis. His widow, Lady Dorothy, survived him little more than two years. Her monument is in St. Peter's church.

It is very remarkable, that although Sir Thomas Browne had forty children and grand-children (including those who were so by marriage), yet, in the second generation, within thirty years after his decease, the male line became extinct; and of the third generation, none survived their infancy, excepting in the family of his eldest daughter, Anne; of whose eight children, none left any descendents but the third daughter, Frances Fairfax, married to the Earl of Buchan ; whose daughter, Lady Frances Erskine, married the celebrated Colonel Gardener, killed at Preston-pans in 1745 ;-whose grandson was the late Lord Erskine, one of the most splendid ornaments of the English bar, created Lord Chan. cellor in 1806; and from whom are thus lineally descended Henry David, the present and 12th Earl of Buchan, and David Montagu, the present and 2nd Lord Erskine of Restormel Castle.

None of Dr. E. Browne’s numerous family left any children. Eight died unmarried, the greater part in their infancy. Of the remaining three, Susannah, the eldest daughter, died soon after her marriage to Arthur Moore, Esq., M.P. for Grantham, and was buried with her two infant daughters at Northfleet. Thomas, the eldest son, and Anne, the sixth daughter, survived their father. Thomas resided for many years at Norwich with his grandfather ; whose correspondence is not a little enlivened by the very orthographic postscripts of Dame Dorothy, touching this her most especial favourite and grandson, “litie Tomey ; setting forth his excellencies and defects, his demeanors and misdemeanors, his maladies, and his literary progress. Of the doings and writings of “ litle Tomey” I can find very

little to record. He took his doctor's degree in medicine, and probably practised with his father. He was a Fellow of the College of Physicians, and in 1699 was admitted F.R.S.

In 1698 he married his cousin Alethea, fourth and youngest daughter of his uncle, Henry Fairfax, Esq. ; but she died in 1704, and was buried at Hurst, leaving no children. His own death occurred in 1710, in a manner much to be deplored, if we may credit the account given in Le Neve's pedigree of the family. But that document exhibits so many inaccuracies, that we may,

[ocr errors]




in charity, hope the story is not true. However this may be, he was in every respect a man so greatly inferior both to his father and grandfather, that the first line of the Horatian apostrophe, Ætas parentum, pejor avis, tulit nos nequiores," may not unfitly be applied to him, though we must omit the * daturos, &c.;" as his race ended with himself.

Anne, the sixth daughter of Dr. Edward Browne, married Owen Brigstocke, Esq., of Llechdenny, co. Carmarthen. But his great grandson, Augustus Brigstocke, Esq., of Blaenpant, co. Cardigan, has done me the favour, in reply to my enquiries, to inform me, that she had no children ; and that his ancestor's family was the result of his second marriage to Mary, only daughter and sole heiress of Francis Gwynne, Esq. of Glyn Abbey, M.P.

The writer of the memoir of Dr. Edward Browne, in the Bio. graphia Britannica, has collected some further particulars respecting him, to which the enquirer is referred. In the parish church of Northfleet are inscriptions to his memory and that of his son ; followed by an extract from his will, bequeathing his Northfleet estate equally between the College of Physicians and Hospital of St. Bartholomew, in the event (which soon happened) of failure of heirs to his son and daughter. There are also inscriptions to his three daughters, Susanna, Henrietta, and Mary.

The library and manuscripts of Sir Thomas passed into the hands of his son and grandson ; on whose decease his library was sold by auction. But the far greater portion of his MSS. together with those added by his son, were sold, I suppose, to Sir Hans Sloane. A catalogue of them is preserved in the Bodleian Library ; by means of which, with the help of Sir Hans Sloane's MS. catalogue of his own immense collections, I have succeeded in identifying nearly all the articles, in our National Library at the British Museum.

I shall subjoin, in conclusion, a paper, which was pointed out to me by John Chambers, Esq. of Norwich, and which seems to possess some claim to be regarded as a document of authority.

& The following advertisement of the sale is from the Gentleman's Magazine for 1830, pt. i. p. 515 :-"Sir Thos. Browne, Dec. 26, 1710. A catalogue of the libraries of the learned Sir Thomas Brown, and his son Dr. Brown, deceased, consisting of many very valuable and uncommon books in most faculties and languages, with choice manuscripts, which will begin to be sold by auction at the Black Boy Coffee-house, in Ave-Mary-Lane, near Ludgate, on Monday, the 8th of January next, beginning every Monday at 4 o'clock till the sale is ended. Catalogues are delivered at most booksellers in London, at the two Universities, and at the place of sale, price 6d.” A copy of this catalogue exists in the British Museum.

TO THE EDITOR OF THE EUROPEAN MAGAZINE. SIR,—In a copy of the works of Sir Thomas Brown, printed in 1686, which formerly belonged to Dr. White Kennet, Bishop of Peterborough, I find the following memorandum, in the hand-writing of that prelate. It contains circumstances not generally known, and may afford some information to the readers of the European Magazine. I am, &c., C. D.

“MEMDUM. In the time of my waiting at Windsor, in the latter part of Nov. 1712, Mrs. Littleton, a daughter of Sir Thomas Brown, of Norwich, lent me a short account and character of her father, written by John Whitefoot, a minister well acquainted with him, the same person who preacht and publisht a funeral sermon for Bishop Hall. It was contained in one sheet, 4to. beginning thus. 'Had my province been only to preach a funeral sermon for this excellent person, &c.'

“ All the matter of fact contained in the said account were in these words :

[I omit the bishop's epitome, having already printed at large, in Johnson's Life, the whole account of Whitefoot, from which it was abridged.]

" Thus ended the account, and after it was written by Mrs. Littleton. * This was part of the life of Sir Thomas Brown, by that learned and good man, Mr. John Whitefoot.' And then follows, in the same band of Mrs. Littleton. • His father dying left him young ;

his mother took her thirds, which was three thousand pounds, and married Sir Thomas Dutton, a worthy person, who had great places. The executors took care of his education at Winchester school and Oxford. He lived some time in Montpellier and Padua. His father-in-law shewed him all Ireland in some visitation of the forts and castles. He was born Oct. 19, 1605. He died Oct. 19, 1682, 77 years of age. His father used to open his breast when he was asleep, and kiss it in prayers over him, as ’tis said of Origen’s father, that the Holy Ghost would take possession there. His picture is at the Duke of Devonshire's house in Piccadilly, in his mother's lap. His father, mother, brother, and sisters, in it. A family picture, his father being nearly related to that countess of Devonshire whose picture is in the first room with her three sons by her, and very like to Sir Thomas Brown's father, as the servants shew persons who

to see the picture, which is so good painting, that my lord duke values it at four hundred pounds.'

“ Memdm. The said Mrs. Littleton reports that the MSS. papers of her father were in the hands of her late brother Dr. Edward Brown, who lent them in a box to Dr. Thomas Tenison, vicar of St. Martin's, in the reign of King James II., and that she herself, at her brother's request, went to fetch home the box, and accordingly brought it back, and delivered it to her brother, who soon after complained that he misst the choicest papers, which were a continuation of his Religio Medici, drawn up in his elder years, and which his son Dr. Brown had now intended to publish. She went back to Dr. Tenison, and desired him to look for those papers, which he could not find, but she hopes they may be still recovered, either as mislaid by the Archbishop of Canterbury, or by her brother, whose only daughter is married to Mr. Brigstock, a member of the House of Commons.”Eur. Mag. vol. xl. p. 89.



« PreviousContinue »