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William Brown



A naval officer of the Republic of Argentina, b. 1777, in the County Mayo, Ireland; d. 3 May, 1857, in Buenos Aires. His family emigrating to America in 1786, Brown shipped as a cabin boy on a vessel sailing from Philadelphia. During the war between France and England his ship, an English merchantman, was captured by a French privateer and he was made prisoner of war. He escaped to England, where, in 1809, he married a lady of good family and education. He re-entered the ocean trade with a ship of his own, which was wrecked on the coast of South America. Here he established the first regular packet service between Buenos Aires and Montevideo. In the revolt of Buenos Aires against Spain the insurgents appointed Brown, February, 1814, to the command of a squadron of seven ships. With these he achieved wonders. On St. Patrick's Day he captured the fort of Martin Garcia, called "The Gibraltar of the La Plata", compelling nine Spanish men-of-war under Admiral Romerate to retire. Later, at Montevideo, which capitulated 20 June, he captured several Spanish men-of-war. These he took to Buenos Aires, and received the rank of admiral. In 1816 Admiral Brown sailed round the Horn to succor the new republics on the western coast, but his expedition was only partly successful. Ten years later, when war ensued between the new republic and Brazil, Admiral Brown greatly distinguished himself against tremendous odds in the blockade of Buenos Aires, which he succeeded in breaking. Taking the offensive he scoured the coast as far as Rio de Janeiro. His most brilliant victory was the battle of Juncal, 24 February, 1827, when, with seven ships and eight one-gun launches, he destroyed a fleet of seventeen war-vessels under Admiral Pereira. He acted as Argentine Commissioner when, at the close of the war, the liberty of Buenos Aires was guaranteed by the treaty of Montevideo 4 October, 1827.

After a visit to his native land, Admiral Brown spent his last years in the republic in the founding of which he had been such a powerful factor. He died in Buenos Aires 3 May, 1867, and in the Recolta cemetery a lofty column marks his resting-place.

MULHALL, The English in South America (Buenos Aires, 1878).

P.G. SMYTH








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