John McLeavy Brown

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Sir John McLeavy Brown, CMG, born Magheragall, Lisburn, Ireland, 27 November 1835 - 6 April 1926.

After attending Queen's University Belfast and Trinity College Dublin, McLeavy Brown, a lawyer by trade, joined the Customs Service in April 1873. In 1874 he was appointed Deputy Commissioner in Canton.1

McLeavy Brown impressed his superior, Sir Robert Hart, to the extent that Hart offered him the position of manager of Korea's Customs Department. While serving in this capacity he was offered, by King (later Emperor) Kojong, a position as financial advisor and Chief Commissioner of Customs in 1893.2

At the time of his appointment the Japanese legation was in the ascendency. Following the murder of Queen Min in 1895, the King fled, but not before signing a decree giving McLeavy Brown absolute control over the treasury.

Following Japan's victory in the Russo Japanese War Japan began to exert more control over Korea and in August 1905 McLeavy Brown left the Customs Department and Korea.3

In 1913 he was appointed Counsellor to the Chinese Legation in London, a position he held until his death in 1926.

External Links

1. Hart of Lisburn Article[1]

2. Robert Neff's The Irish Contribution[2]

3. NY Times article August 30 1905[3]


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-06-13. Retrieved 2007-11-16. 
  2. ^ The Irish Contribution to Joseon Korea - OhmyNews International Archived 2011-06-05 at the Wayback Machine. at
  3. ^ "J. McL. BROWN TO GO.; Supreme in Korean Customs Department Until Japanese Occupation.". New York Times. August 31, 1905. Retrieved 2008-08-09.