1902 Encyclopedia > Sir Thomas Makdougall Brisbane

Sir Thomas Makdougall Brisbane
Scottish administrator and astonomer
(1773-1860)




SIR THOMAS MACDOUGALL BRISBANE, a distinguished soldier and astronomer, was born in 1773 at Brisbane in Ayrshire. He entered the army in 1789, and served in Flanders, the West Indies, and the Peninsula. In 1814 he was sent to North America ; on the return of Napoleon from Elba he was recalled, but did not arrive in time to take part at the battle of Waterloo. From 1818 to 1821 he was military commander in the South of Ireland. He was then appointed governor of New South Wales, an office which he held for four years. During that time he devoted himself most earnestly to the colony under his charge; he introduced new plants and breeds of animals, encouraged the reclaiming of waste lands, and even raised the status of the convicts by his wise measure of granting tickets-of-leave for good conduct. While in Australia he occupied himself in astronomical researches, erected a large obser-vatory, and catalogued 7385 stars scarcely before known. The Royal Society awarded him their Copley medal for this work, The Brisbane Catalogue of Stars. After his return he resided chiefly at Makerstoun in B,oxburghshire, where he had a large and admirably equipped observatory. Three volumes of his observations were printed in the Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. In 1836 he was made a baronet and K.C.B.; and in 1841 he became general. He received the degree of D.C.L. from Oxford, and was elected president of the Royal Society of Edin-burgh after the death of Sir Walter Scott. Sir Thomas died on the 31st January 1860. He founded two gold medals for the encouragement of scientific research, one in the award of the Royal Society, the other in that of the Society of Arts.







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