William Laurence Brown was born in Utrecht on 7 January 1755 during the tenure there of his father, James Brown, as minister of the English Church. He died in Aberdeen on 11 May 1830. The son followed the father to St Andrews University when James took up the professorship of Ecclesiastical History. William then returned to Utrecht for further studies and was appointed in 1778 to be minister of the English Church. He married his cousin Anne Elizabeth Brown in 1786 and in 1788 was appointed Professor of Moral Philosophy and Ecclesiastical History at Utrecht. He and his family fled Holland in 1795 because of the war with the French. He was able to return to Scotland, this time to Aberdeen, where he took up the Professorship of Divinity, succeeding George Campbell, in Marischal College. The next year he was appointed Principal of the University. He spent the rest of his life in Aberdeen, involved in both University and local matters.
From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.