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Browne, John Ross (11 February 1821–08 December 1875), writer, world traveler, and government agent, was born in Beggars Bush, near Dublin, Ireland, the son of Thomas Egerton Browne and Elana Buck. His father was a refugee from British rule. As the editor of three publications, Thomas Browne satirized British tithing measures and earned the enmity of the Crown, a fine, and a jail sentence for “seditious libel.”...

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Wilkinson, James (1757–28 December 1825), soldier and intriguer, was born in Calvert County, Maryland, the son of Joseph Wilkinson and Betty Heighe, merchant-farmers. He spent his early years on his parents’ farm, but his father died when he was seven, and his mother apprenticed him to a local physician, John Bond, to learn medicine. When Wilkinson was seventeen he went to Philadelphia to continue his medical training. In 1775 he completed his studies and opened a practice in Monocacy, Maryland. But his heart was not in it. While in Philadelphia he had been dazzled by the fervor of the growing revolutionary movement, avidly watching militiamen drill and listening to heated oratory against the “Intolerable Acts.” He began to neglect his patients, concentrating instead on drilling with a volunteer corps of riflemen, and soon he had joined colonial forces investing Boston. An affable young man, he received attention from General ...