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He worked very slowly, and it was not until 1881 that he produced his first instalment, containing Religio Medici, A Letter to a Friend, and Christian Morals. He went on steadily, but had not quite finished UrnBurial and The Garden of Cyrus at the time of his death; these were, however, completed by Mr. E. H. Marshall, and published in 1896. Although Greenhill's annotations cover only a portion of Browne's works, their sagacity and fulness make them, so far as they go, not merely valuable but indispensable. It is much to be regretted that Greenhill did not survive to perform the same office for the Vulgar Errors and for Browne's Correspondence.
Several learned friends have obliged me with technical information in the course of this little monograph. Acknowledgment is made in due course to Sir Archibald Geikie, to Dr. Norman Moore, and to Dr. John Peile, Master of Christ's College, Cambridge. The zoological pages have undergone the revision of Dr. P. Chalmers Mitchell. Mr. James FitzmauriceKelly has read the proofs throughout, to their substantial advantage. For all this kindness I tender, once more, my warmest thanks.
SIR THOMAS BROWNE
EARLY YEARS: 1605-1641
A NORFOLK antiquary, Peter Le Neve, who became Norroy King-at-Arms, has preserved for us such notes of the pedigree of Sir Thomas Browne as were interesting to himself in his capacity of professional herald. It is probable that Le Neve, who was twentyone when Browne died, was personally acquainted with him, but, in any case, as one of the glories of Norwich, he found the physician an attractive object. Le Neve was not a writer, but a collector of antiquarian material. In our present case we have to thank him for a pedigree which he apparently drew up, as part of the history of Norwich, soon after he was made Rouge Croix Pursuivant in 1689. Memories of Browne were then still fresh, and many of his children alive. From this document, supplemented by later investigation, we learn that Sir Thomas descended from a family of Cheshire squires who had resided at Upton for four generations at least before his own; they were entitled to bear arms, and had
Mr. Charles Williams has summed up all that has been discovered about The Pedigree of Sir Thomas Browne in a privately printed pamphlet which he has courteously sent me. This seems to reach the limit of attainable knowledge.
married into good Cheshire families. It is vaguely stated that the physician's father "was very nearly related to the Countess of Devonshire,” by whom I suppose that Anne Keighley may be intended. Sir Thomas Browne himself drew up a short pedigree of his family in 1663. He shows himself to have been no herald, and, what is very extraordinary, his account is full of mistakes. A man may forget the Christian name of his grandfather and the birthplace of his mother, but he ought to recollect the birth of his eldest daughter and be correct as to the ages
and order of his sons. Perhaps Browne thought, in his own words, that “these are niceties which become not those who peruse a serious mystery.” Rouge Croix, fortunately, took the matter up more gravely.
The father of Sir Thomas Browne, who bore the same name as his illustrious son, was the third of the nine children of that Thomas Browne of Upton whose name his grandson erroneously believed to have been Richard. He himself was a mercer in the parish of St. Michael-le-Quern, in the city of London, and he married Anne, daughter of Paul Garraway, of Lewes, in Sussex. She may have been a niece of Sir Henry Garraway, afterwards Lord Mayor of London. Young Thomas seems to have been the object of a fond ceremony in his childhood, for his daughter, Mrs. Lyttleton, records, from family report, that “his father used to open his breast when he was asleep, and kiss it in
1 The spelling Brown must be looked upon as an alternative, not as an error. On more than one title printed in his lifetime he is named Thomas “Brown," and on the title-page of the folio Works of 1686, where, if ever, the correct form is to be expected, we find the author styled “Sr Thomas Brown Kt.”