John "Estimate" Brown gained his sobriquet for An Estimate of the Manners and Principles of the Times (1757). The son of a clergyman, he entered St. John's College Cambridge as a sizar in 1732 (B.A. 1736, M.A. 1739, D.D. 1755); he was ordained in 1739 and under the patronage of William Warburton was Vicar of Morland, Westmorland (1743-56) and Vicar of Lazonby, Cumberland (1752-63). As a critic, Brown traced the rise of poetry to primitive societies and helped to lay the foundations of romantic literature. One of several eighteenth-century writers suffering from madness, Brown died by cutting his own throat 23 September 1766.
Honour: a poem. 1743.
An essay on satire occasion'd by the death of Mr. Pope. 1745.
On liberty: a poem. 1749.
Essays on the Characteristics [Shaftesbury]. 1751.
Barbarossa: a tragedy. 1755.
Athelstan: a tragedy. 1756.
An estimate of the manners and principles of the times. 1757, 1758.
An explanatory defense of the Estimate. 1758.
An additional dialogue of the dead between Pericles and Aristides: being a sequel to [Lyttelton's] Dialogue between Pericles and Cosmo. 1760.
The Cure of Saul: a sacred ode. 1763.
A dissertation on the rise, union, and power, the progression, separations and corruptions, of poetry and music. 1763.
The history of the rise and progress of poetry, through its several species. 1764.
Sermons on various subjects. 1764.
Thoughts on civil liberty, on licentiousness and faction. 1765.
A letter to the rev. Mr. Lowth, occasioned by his late letter to the author of the Divine legation of Moses [Warburton]. 1766.
Description of the lake of Keswick. 1771.