[taken from Chapter 2 Manx Worthies, A.W.Moore, 1901]

HUGH STOWELL BROWN (b. 1823, d. 1886)

the second son of the Rev. Robert Brown (see p. 34) and Dorothy Thompson, was born in Douglas, and, when between 8 and 11 years of age, he went to the Grammar School there, which was then kept by the Rev, Thomas Stowell. His education at that institution was of the most elementary character. At 11 years of age he was taken from it to read to his father, who was then threatened with blindness. In this way, he acquired a fund of miscellaneous information which was afterwards of great use to him. In 1839, he went to England to learn land-surveying, and speedily obtained an appointment on the Ordnance Survey. But he gave it up almost at once, and in 1840, we find him in the London and Birmingham railway engine shop at Wolverton. At this time he became a teetotaller and a Sunday-school teacher. By the end of 1843, he had decided to go into the Established Church, and, in 1844, he went to King William's College, where he studied very hard. In 1846, he changed his mind and, by the end of the same year, he joined the Baptist Church. Some months later, he was invited to preach in the Myrtle Street Chapel, in Liverpool, and, after a short period of probation, he was elected as its minister. In this position he continued during the rest of his life, filling it with the greatest, ability and success. As regards his preaching, his biographer says that it " was simple and admirably direct, with many a sparkle of quaint humour, with many a homely proverb and epigram; not seldom touched with the honest pathos of a big strong heart, and always ringing out clear and full in generosity enthusiasm for righteousness, and scorn and loathing of everything that was mean .and low."* He was listened to by the least as well as by the best, educated members of his congregation with the greatest attention and interest. A strong and faithful, though not an emotional friend, he was ever ready to help in real cases of distress. The progress of the congregation under his charge was very remarkable. When he began, it had 239 members; and, in 1884, it had 849. But it was not only ordinary congregation that benefitted by his exertions. In 1851, he began a series of popular Sunday afternoon lectures. He also, in the summer evenings after chapel, addressed large audiences of working people, numbering from three to four thousand It was chiefly through his exertions in these respects that many of the labouring class were induced to place their money in the " Workman's Bank " established by his church in 1861. This institution was the means of fostering habits of saving, being thus the salvation of hundreds from intemperance and from poverty. In 1873, he visited the United States of America, when he recorded his opinion that that country would hive " a future of greatness that has never been equalled in the history of the world."* During the last ten years of his life his name as a preacher had become a household word in Liverpool, and honours of various kinds were bestowed upon him. Thus he became President of the Baptist Union, President of the Liverpool Branch of the Peace Society, and Chairman of the Liverpool Seamen's Friendly Society. He was greatly esteemed, not only by the members of his own denomination, but by all denominations, so great was "the breadth of his sympathies and the catholicity of his spirit."+ Well might his son-in-law and biographer say of him that few men " have left behind them so fragrant a memory among so wide a circle of friends,"* and his brother, the Rev T. E. Brown, declare that he had "ringed him round" all his life "with moral strength."++

*Autobiography, with introduction and notes, by W. S. Caine, M.P.
+ ibid
++ letters, edited by S. T. Irwin.


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