BROWNE, Isaac Hawkins (1745-1818), of Badger, nr. Shifnal, Salop.
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Family and Education
b. 7 Dec. 1745, o.s. of Isaac Hawkins Browne, M.P., by Jane, da. and coh. of Rev. David Trimnell, archdeacon of Leicester. educ. Westminster; Hertford, Oxf. 1763; Grand Tour (France, Switzerland, Italy, Germany). m. (1) 11 May 1788, Henrietta (d. 11 Apr. 1802), da. of Hon. Edward Hay, s. of George, 8th Earl of Kinnoull [S], s.p.; (2) 13 Dec. 1805, Elizabeth, da. of Thomas Boddington, of Clapton, s.p. suc. fa. 1760.
In 1774 Browne contested Milborne Port, where he seems to have been a stranger, and Tamworth, where he had property. In 1784 he stood at Bridgnorth, ‘in consequence of an unsolicited and almost unanimous invitation from the resident burgesses’.1 At first the three candidates, Browne, Thomas Whitmore, and Hugh Pigot stood separately; but before the poll Whitmore came out in favour of Browne. Whitmore and Browne were returned, Browne being head of the poll.
On 27 May 1784 he wrote to Bishop Percy:2 ‘I have divided with three great majorities in support of Mr. Pitt; in whose favour, however, I have not pledged myself, and to whom or whose friends I am under no obligations.’ In fact he voted with Pitt in all the important divisions of this Parliament; made his maiden speech (when he is reported to have spoken ‘very shrewdly and forcefully’) for Pitt’s reform proposals, 18 Apr. 1785; and during a debate on the Regency, 7 Feb. 1789, ‘delivered a very handsome panegyric on Mr. Pitt’s Administration’.3 About twenty speeches are reported: in defence of Hastings, hawkers and pedlars, the French commercial treaty, the Regency, the poor law, etc.
He died 30 May 1818. In a long and eulogistic obituary in the Gentleman’s Magazine (1818, ii. 179-82) he is described as
an honest, patriotic and independent country gentleman ... attached ... to no party further than was necessary to keep down the factious and preserve the constitution in Church and State ... although friendly to improvement he was jealous of innovation. Few Members could surpass him in punctuality of attendance and universal diligence in the business of the House.