John Brown



Occupation 1



NA/New England region


Maritime Republic (1751-1815






Son of James Brown and brother of Nicholas, Joseph and Moses Brown, leading Providence merchants. Commercial apprenticeship at sea and in the West Indies representing family interests. John was the most politically outspoken of the brothers in his opposition to Parliamentary restrictions on trade and an instigator of the burning of the British customs sloop Gaspee in Narragansett Bay in June 1772. During the Revolution was engaged in providing the Continental navy with ships. Later financed voyages to China. Unlike his brothers, who left the slave trade after financial reverses in mid-1760s, John remained a committed slaver into the 1790s. He opposed Rhode Island's outlawing of the slave trade in 1787. Openly split with his brother Moses, who became an outspoken critic of the slave trade.Elected to Congress in 1799, John continued his opposition to congressional prohibition of Americans in the foreign slave trade. He left after one term and died two years later.

Related Images

external image moses_johnbrown.bmp

Brothers Moses (1738-1836) and John (1736-1803)Brown, Providence, Rhode island merchants and shipowners who fell out over slavetrading.
Image Id: 1749

Related People

Brown, Obadiah Brown, Nicholas Brown, Moses Brown, Obadiah Brown, James

Related Vessels

Wheel of Fortune,

Related Source

Browns of Providence Plantations: Colonial Years (1952)

External Links

Website depicting the slaving voyage of the Providence-based brigantine __Sally__ in 1764-65. Voyage undrewritten by the Brown Brothers -- Nicholas, Joseph, John and Moses.

Related Documents

Early Rhode Island Timeline
Slaving Powerpoint Presentation
Record ID: 691