1806 'invested in a seat' for an open borough, Hedon. Contest 1807; MP until 1818.
"Browne's chief motive for entering Parliament was the defence of the West India planters." (Thorne, p. 277) See his maiden speech of 27 February 1807. [See notes on speeches.]
6 March 1807 'a diehard opponent' of abolition.
Opposed Joseph Barham's motion for the cultivation of the West India colonies by free labourers (4 April 1811), declaring the notion to be 'visionary', 'difficult in the execution, and of very doubtful advantage' (HC Deb 04 April 1811 vol 19 cc709-710).
Objected to the regulation of West Indies customs establishment by the British government (14 July 1812); defended the white planters against the aspersions of Governor Elliot (29 July 1812); confronted Wilberforce with the claim that slaves being recruited in Africa for the West Indian black regiments (22 July and 7 December 1812).
Called on the House to admire the efforts of the Antiguan Assembly to enforce abolition of the slave trade (18 April 1815) and opposed the bill to prevent the illicit importation of slaves to the West Indies:
"With respect to the Bill before the House, he felt it his duty, in every stage of its discussion, to reprobate it, as a measure uncalled for upon any parliamentary ground, or by any evidence whatever of the existence of the evil which it was intended to prevent: a measure highly objectionable in principle, as assuming a questionable and hazardous interference in the internal conduct of the colonies, and in its oppressive details endangering the whole system of colonial policy, by which the security both of the properties and the lives of the white population was preserved." (HC Deb 5 July 1815, vol 31, col. 1129; see also debate of 13 June).
Opposed the abolition of the secretaryship of the colonies, 29 April 1817.
Claimed that complaints of the planters attitudes and conduct were 'exaggerated and that they had been 'milder' in their treatment of slaves: 9 July 1817, 22 April and 20 May 1818.
On other issues, Browne 'usually silent or independent' (Thorne, p. 277). But in favour of Irish Catholic claims (25 May 1808), against parliamentary reform (21 May 1810). For other stances, see Thorne.
Source: R. G. Thorne (ed.), The House of Commons, 1790-1820 (5 vols., 1986), vol. 3, pp. 277-8.
R. G. Thorne (ed.), The House of Commons, 1790-1820 (5 vols., 1986), vol. 3, pp. 277-8.
Elections / Constituences
1806 - 1818