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BROWN, ROBERT CHRISTOPHER LUNDIN, Church of England clergyman, missionary, and author; b. c. 1831 in England, son of the Reverend Robert Brown; d. a bachelor either at Patras, Greece, in the spring of 1876 or in London on 16 April 1876.

Robert Christopher Lundin Brown received his ma from the University of Edinburgh in 1854 and was ordained into the Church of England in 1858. During the next two years he served as curate of St Mark, North Audley St, London, and published several English translations of German theological works. In 1860 the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel sent Brown to British Columbia as a missionary. He visited Barkerville in the Cariboo and became the first missionary in the Lillooet district. He was thus the first incumbent at St Mary’s Church, Lillooet, the third Anglican church on the mainland of British Columbia, which had been founded in 1861 and consecrated in 1862. In addition to his work at St Mary’s, Brown made several missionary visits to the Cariboo goldfields. According to his own account, he was rather given to lecturing the miners on their sinfulness: “A sermon was preached . . . on the prevailing vice, concubinage with native females. . . . Once the preacher [Brown referring to himself] was interrupted by someone instancing Solomon as having many wives, and yet didn’t the Bible say he was a man after God’s own heart? . . . The Sunday following that sermon not a soul came to service.” One of Brown’s letters on the shortage of women among the Cariboo miners had a part in bringing about the foundation of the Columbian Emigration Society (supported by the SPG and other missionary groups) which sent bride ships to Victoria in 1862 and 1863. Brown also did some missionary work among the Indians, making himself understood through translators.

In March 1864 the Reverend Mr Brown was not well; he did not preach at St Mary’s again and left there in 1865. Upon his return to England, Brown held two posts briefly and then was appointed vicar of Lineal-cum-Colmere, Salop (1869–74), and of Rhodes near Manchester (1874–75). In May 1875 he emigrated to Cape Town, South Africa. Sometime in the remaining 11 months of his life Brown became English chaplain at Patras, Greece.

Brown is best known in Canada for his prize essay entitled British Columbia, published by the newly established press of the Royal Engineers at New Westminster in 1863. Designed to encourage immigration, it is a valuable, if rather enthusiastic and occasionally misleading, account of the resources and life of the mainland colony. In 1870 Brown published in London a pamphlet called British Columbia: the Indians and settlers at Lillooet: appeal for missionaries. One of its most interesting anecdotes tells of the Lillooet chief Shiheileedza and his daughter Kanadqua. The chief with half of his tribe was killed in a war with California miners, probably about 1850; his daughter was sold by an uncle to a miner, but under the influence of Christianity broke free of her concubinage. Brown published in 1873, also in London, Klatsassan, and other reminiscences of missionary life in British Columbia. Klattsasine* was the Chilcotin chief who in 1864 led a rising against the attempt initiated by Alfred Waddington to build a road from the coast across his tribe’s territory, and the book gives a valuable contemporary account of an event on which firsthand evidence is scarce. Brown’s writing is equally interesting in its revelation of the motives and limitations of a British cleric among Indians and miners. Other publications by Brown include religious writings and translations.

V. G. Hopwood

R. C. L. Brown, British Columbia, an essay (New Westminster, B.C., 1863); British Columbia: the Indians and settlers at Lillooet: appeal for missionaries (London, 1870); Klatsassan, and other reminiscences of missionary life in British Columbia (London, 1873); “Lillooet mission,” Mission Life (London), 1870, 561–69; “The Thompson River Indians,” Mission Life (London), 1872, 95–107, 153–55, 227–29.

PABC, R. C. L. Brown correspondence, 1862–63; St Mary’s Church (Lillooet, B.C.), Register (original in possession of the government agent at Lillooet, B.C., copy also at University of British Columbia); Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, “Papers relating to the Diocese of Columbia, 1858–1868,” typescripts in 3 vols. “British Columbia prize essay,” Daily British Colonist (Victoria), 10 Sept. 1863. “The prize essay on British Columbia,” Daily British Colonist (Victoria), 25 Sept. 1863. “The British Columbia essay,” Daily British Colonist (Victoria), 29 Jan. 1864. “Farewell address,” Daily British Colonist (Victoria), 18 April 1865. “People’s magazine,” Daily British Colonist and Victoria Chronicle, 21 July 1872. Columbia Mission, Annual Reports (London), 1860–66. Boase, Modern English biography, I, 438. The clerical directory, a biographical and statistical book of reference for facts relating to the clergy and the church (London, 1858). Crockford’s clerical directory for 1860 (London, 1860). M. L. Murray, StMary’s of Lillooet ([Lillooet, B.C., 1935]). F. A. Peake, The Anglican Church in British Columbia (Vancouver, B.C., 1959).

[The author also received information in a letter from C. A. Johnson, “Summymead,” Welshampton, Ellesmere, Shropshire, Eng., 27 Aug. 1969.  v.g.h.]

General Bibliography

Cite This Article

V. G. Hopwood, “BROWN, ROBERT CHRISTOPHER LUNDIN,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 10, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed October 31, 2014, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/brown_robert_christopher_lundin_10E.html.

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Permalink: http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/brown_robert_christopher_lundin_10E.html
Author of Article: V. G. Hopwood
Title of Article: BROWN, ROBERT CHRISTOPHER LUNDIN
Publication Name: Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 10
Publisher: University of Toronto/Université Laval
Year of publication: 1972
Year of revision: 1972
Access Date: October 31, 2014