James Browne ~ Journalist, Writer, and Editor

James Browne – journalist, writer and editor – born 1793 at Whitefield, Cargill and educated at St Andrews. Browne spent some time in various posts before settling on his eventual career. He initially trained for the Church of Scotland, then tutored before becoming an assistant master at Perth Academy. As well as his teaching duties, Browne undertook the role of an assistant to the minister of Kinnoull. Still unsettled, he left these posts to study law at Aberdeen where he became advocate in 1826 and subsequently was awarded LLD. A further shift in direction followed so that by 1827, Browne was editor of the Caledonian Mercury. Here, he began to distinguish himself. Controversy however, dogged his journalistic and literary career: he fell out with the editor of The Scotsman, Charles Maclaren (they fought a duel over the matter, though neither suffered injury) and later with the great Scottish writer, James Hogg (who caricatured Browne in an article, ‘Some passages in the life of Colonel Cloud’. Browne was a prolific writer: he helped edit and contributed to the Encyclopaedia Britannica (7th edition); wrote for the Edinburgh Review; published several books including, History of the Highlands and Highland Clans (4 volumes, 1835-8). Before his early death, James Browne converted to Catholicism. He died in Edinburgh and is buried at Duddingston cemetery.