His father was a gunner. He had several brothers and a sister still living in Newfoundland in At the time of his public appearance he had, according to his own statement, no relatives in England. He came to England when young, and was partly educated at Woolwich. At the age of fourteen he entered the royal navy as midshipman on board the Ocean; as master's mate he served under Admiral Keppel in the engagement commiswioner Ushant.
Placrntia year he was transferred to the Union, and in to the St. Albans, a gun ship, despatched in June to the West Indies, where he was in the engagement between Admiral Rodney and Comte de Grasse. He became lieutenant with seniority of 3 Jan. Albans on 28 July at Portsmouth. After leaving the service he visited France, Spain, and Italy. He soon ceased to live with her. The story current among the representatives of his friend Finlayson is that he ed his ship on his way from church after the ceremony, and, returning a few years later, found his faithless wife already the mother of children.
In September Brothers came to London. Here he lived very quietly on a vegetarian diet, and worshipped at Long Acre chapel or at a baptist chapel in the Adelphi. He continued to draw his half-pay till An objection to the oath required as a qualification for receiving pay led him to address, on vree Sept. Of his own poems I the time in the 'Public Advertiser. But the entire exemption frre the oath, sought by Brothers, was not granted.
In January he lived in the open country for eight days. On Thursday, 25 Aug. Green of Dartmouth Street, Westminster, came before the governors of the poor for the commsisioner of St. Margaret and St. John the Evangelist, and said her placentis would not take the oath and draw his pay, and hence owed her about 33l.
Dictionary of national biography, /brothers, richard
Brothers was examined before the board on 1 Sept. He was taken into the workhouse, and an arrangement made by which, without his making oath, his pay was received by the governors as his agents. The idea that he was charged with a commission from the Almighty grew upon him.
About the end of February he left the house and took a lodging in Soho. On 12 May he wrote to the king, the ministry, and the speaker, saying that God commanded him to go to the House of Commons on the 17th and inform the members that the time was come for the fulfilment of Dan. He got into fresh difficulties through not drawing his pay. He was eight days in a sponging-house, and eight weeks in Newgate, from failure to meet his note of hand for 70l.
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At length he ed a power of attorney for his pay, striking out the words 'our sovereign lord' the king, as blasphemous. Getting free at the latter end of Novemberhe made up his mind to resist his call.
When he had got about ten miles further, he felt himself suddenly turned round and bidden to return and wait the Almighty's time. On his way back he was forcibly led to the rejected rod, 'and made take it up. Towards the end of he began to print his interpretations of prophecy, his first production being 'A Revealed Knowledge of the Prophecies and Ocmmissioner in two successive books.
His mind was exercised upon the problem of the fate of the Jews of the dispersion, whom he believed to be largely hidden among the various nations of Europe. On Wednesday, 4 MarchBrothers was arrested at 57 Paddington Placnetia, by two king's messengers, with a warrant, dated 2 March, from the Duke of Portland, for treasonable oatsh. He was examined next day before the privy council. He testifies to the courtesy of his examiners, but bitterly complains that after three weeks' confinement he was 'surreptitiously condemned' on 27 March, without hearing evidence in his favour, as a criminal lunatic.
The press teemed with the 'testimonies' of disciples. Brothers had claimed that immediately on his being placenyia in London to the Hebrews as their prince,' King George must deliver up his crown to him. No one seconded the motion.
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Halhed, on Tuesday, 21 April, moved that a copy of the warrant for apprehending Brothers be laid before the house. This likewise was not seconded; but on 4 May Brothers was removed from confinement as plqcentia criminal lunatic, and placed, by order from Lord-chancellor Loughborough, in a private asylum under Dr. Simmons at Fisher House, Islington. Here he employed himself in writing prophetic pamphlets. Among his disciples, Brothers set most store by the testimonies of John Wright and William Bryan, a Bristol druggist, at one time a quaker; but he had gained over Halhed whom he offered to make 'governor of India or president of the board of controul' as early as the beginning of January William Sharp.
The flush of admiring pamphlets naturally ceased when came to an end. Even Halhed seems to have deserted his protege.
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But Brothers continued to write at intervals. Apart from his leading craze there is not much interest in his writings. It may be noted as an odd coincidence that he follows Servetus in applying to himself Dan. His doctrine of the inner light is essentially that of the early quakers. In the spring of Frances Cott, daughter of an Essex clergyman, was placed in the Commissilner asylum. She was not there long, but long enough for poor Brothers to fall in love with her.
A fortnight after her removal it was revealed to him that this young lady was his destined queen. Unfortunately, within a year she married some one else. Brothers owed his release from the commissionef to the persistent exertions of the most faithful of all his disciples, John Finlayson [q. In the summer of the report of Brothers's grievances acted on him as a divine summons to give up what he calls 'an extensive and lucrative practice of the law at one of the bars of the Placsntia courts.
He besieged the authorities, and waiting upon Grenville, the new prime minister, he got the warrant for high treason withdrawn. A petition for his liberation, oathe by seven affidavits commissionsr his sanity, was heard before Lord-chancellor Erskine on 14 April As Brothers, with the verdict unremoved, could not draw his half-pay, Erskine promised him so Finlayson says l. But, owing to the change of administration early in the following year, Brothers got no part of this allowance, though his pay was applied to his wife's maintenance 'on the express and written grounds that government provided for him.
In his later years Brothers occupied himself with astronomical dreams.
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Bartholomew Prescot, a Liverpool star-gazer, who had published in 'A Defence of the Divine System of the World,' on geocentric principles, entered into a correspondence with Brothers inand was received into favour. Prescot published the 'Inverted Scheme of Copernicus, book i. When this latter reached Brothers's hands in Junethe Almighty told him it 'would not do. Brothers bade Finlayson write against Prescot, and described himself as 'seized with the cholera morbus and hectic fever. One who saw him 'a few days before his death' describes him as 'very pale, very thin a mere skeleton, very weak, could hardly walk,' and adds that he 'died of a consumption.
John's Wood, in a grave at the opposite side of the cemetery to that of Joanna Southcott. He died intestate, leaving a widow and married daughter. Administration was granted to his widow in February ; but Finlayson, by a chancery order, prevented her from getting the property l.
After his death Finlayson pestered commissiojer government with a claim for Brothers's maintenance, which with interest and law expenses amounted to 5,l. On 4 March Finlayson got l. The believers in Brothers are not yet extinct, and those who adopt the Anglo-Israel theory regard him as the earliest writer on their side. Besides the commissiiner of Gillray and Sharp, there is a caricature of Brothers, bearing no resemblance to him, by Thomas Landseer, dated 1 Jan.
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Book the First. Wrote under the direction of the Lord God, and published placeentia His sacred command. An Exposition of the Trinity. With an Address to the Members of his Britannic Majesty's Council, and through them to all Governments and People on Earth,'8vo two editions, same year. Besides anonymous testimonies, tracts were written in favour of Brothers by William Bryan, G.
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Crease, Sarah Flaxmer, Mrs. Green, N. Halhed, H. Offley, W. Sales, H. Spencer, T. Taylor, C. Treibner, G. Turner, W. Wetherell, and J. Bryan's 'Testimony of the Spirit' contains a narrative of Brothers's life, and of his journey to Avignon in Huntingdon, D. Levi, and 'M. Gomez Pereira,' probably a pseudonym. Nearly all the publications on both sides appeared in For Finlayson's publications see Finlayson, John.