English visionary and founder of Anglo Israelism; born Dec. 25, 1757, at Placentia, Newfoundland; died at London Jan. 25, 1824. He entered the British navy in 1771, but was discharged as a half-pay lieutenant in 1783. In 1790 he refused to draw his pension on account of the oath which he was required to take; and two years later he began his prophetic career by declaring he had a divine mission to announce the fulfilment of Dan. vii. Brothers described himself as the "nephew of the Almighty," because he considered that he was descended from one of the brothers of Jesus, and claimed that on Nov. 17, 1795, he would be revealed as the prince of the Hebrews and ruler of the world. Before that date, however, he had been removed to a lunatic asylum, where he wrote his "Revealed Knowledge of the Prophecies" (1794), A Description of the New Jerusalem" (1801), and "The New Covenant Between God and His People" (a posthumous work, 1830).
Brothers seems to have been the first person to claim that the English are descendants of the Lost Ten Tribes; and his views are still referred to with respect by the adherents of Anglo-Israelism. His "Description of the New Jerusalem" contains a series of plates of the various officials of the new kingdom which was to be restored in Palestine under his leadership. These officials are all dressed in the court costume of George III.
- Dictionary of National Biography, s.v.