Thomas Brown, commonly called "Tom," an English satirist, born in Shropshire in 1663, died in 1704. He was educated at Oxford, became for a short time master of the free school at Kingston-upon-Thames, and was for the rest of his life a " Grub street writer," indolent and fond of low society. He wrote a great deal in prose and verse, chiefly satirical and personal pieces. The highest as well as the lowest characters were the objects of his satire, which is sharp, though coarse and indecent. His first pamphlet, " The Reason of Mr. Bayes changing his Religion," published in 1688, was a personal attack on Dryden, who had become a convert to the Roman Catholic faith a little before. He also wrote "Short Epistles out of Roman, Greek, and French Authors" (1682), and "The Salamanca Wedding " (1693). An edition of his works in three volumes appeared in 1707-'8.
Thomas Brown, a Scottish philosopher, born at Kirkmabreck, near Dumfries, Jan. 9, 1778, died at Brompton, near London, April 20, 1820. He was educated with great care by his mother. In his 15th year he was presented by Dr. Currie, the biographer of Burns, with the recently published first volume of Dugald Stewart's work on the philosophy of the human mind, which he read with admiration, though he criticised it with acuteness; and the next winter, while attending Stewart's lectures, he made known to the philosopher an objection to one of his theories - a circumstance that led to a lifelong friendship between them. Brown studied and practised medicine, and divided his leisure between the pursuits of poetry and philosophy. He published in 1798 his " Observations on the Zoonomia of Dr. Darwin," which contains the germ of his theory of causation and of the principles by which he was guided in his later philosophical inquiries. He contributed several articles to the early numbers of the "Edinburgh Review," one of which was on the " Philosophy of Kant," a subject of which, however, he had little knowledge. In 1803 he published a collection of his poems in two volumes, many of which had been written while in college, and which exhibited rather a taste than a talent for poetry.
A local controversy induced him to publish a defence of Hume's theory of the relation between cause and effect. This work was pronounced by Mackintosh the finest model of philosophical discussion since Berkeley and Hume. It was enlarged in subsequent editions, and published in 1818 under the title of " An Inquiry into the Relation of Cause and Effect." In 1808-'9 he lectured on moral philosophy in the university of Edinburgh during the temporary absence of Stewart, at whose request he was in 1810 appointed adjunct professor of moral philosophy. As a philosopher he was in general opposed to the theories of Reid and Stewart. During the later years of his life he published "The Paradise of Coquettes," and several other poems, but they added nothing to his reputation, which rests chiefly upon his " Lectures on the Philosophy of the Human Mind," first published after his death (4 vols. 8vo, Edinburgh, 1820), and several times republished.