William Laurence Brown

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William Laurence Brown (7 January 1755 – 11 May 1830) was a Scottish minister.


Brown was born in Utrecht. His father was minister of the English church there, but was then appointed professor of ecclesiastical history at St Andrews, and returned to Scotland in 1757. His son went to the grammar school there, and then to the university. After passing through the divinity classes, he went in 1774 to the university of Utrecht, where he studied theology and civil law.[1]

In 1777 he was appointed to the English church in Utrecht, and about 1788 to the professorship of moral philosophy and ecclesiastical history in the university, to which was soon added the professorship of the law of nature. The war which followed the French Revolution drove Brown in January 1795 to London.[1]

In 1795 the magistrates of Aberdeen appointed him to the chair of divinity, and soon after he was made principal of Marischal College. In the year 1800 he was appointed chaplain in ordinary to the king, and in 1804 Dean of the Chapel Royal, and of the order of the Thistle.[1]


His best-known works were:

  • Essay on the Natural Equality of Men (1793), which gained the Tayler Society's prize;
  • On the Existence of the Supreme Creator (1826), to which was awarded the first Burnet prize of £1250; and
  • A Comparative View of Christianity, and of the other Forms of Religion with regard to their Moral Tendency (2 vols, 1826).



 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Brown, William Laurence". Encyclopædia Britannica. 4 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.