born in Ireland, was brought to Kentucky when 11, and as a young man began his life of traveling, which furnished material for books. His first book, Etchings of a Whaling Cruise (1846), was influenced by Dana and in turn influenced Moby-Dick. His trip around the Horn to California, where he served as official reporter for the first Constitutional Convention (1849), and other Far Western experiences as a customs house inspector, special inspector of Indian affairs, and commissioner of mines furnished material for Crusoe's Island…with Sketches of Adventures in California and Washoe (1864) and Adventures in Apache Country (1869), which anticipate the attitude and materials of Mark Twain's Roughing It. His frontier humorist's view of Europe in Yusef… a Crusade in the East (1853), the first of several foreign travel books, preceded Twain's Innocents Abroad. Browne also wrote governmental reports and was U.S. minister to China.