Brewster, Sir Francis (d. c.1704), alderman of Dublin, was lord mayor 1674–5. In 1670 he received a conveyance of land in Castletowndelvin, Co. Westmeath, while he also owned lands in Cullinane, Co. Kerry. The annual rent roll for the Kerry estate amounted to £672 in 1733, at which time the lands had passed into the hands of Nathaniel Bland. Brewster appears to have been involved in trade: he was accused in 1671 of illegally exporting timber and wool-fells to Amsterdam. He sat in the Irish house of commons as MP for Tuam (1692–3, 1695–9) and for Doneraile (1703–4). Whiggish in sentiment, he was politically active from the outset of his parliamentary career, advocating the sole right of the commons to initiate heads of money bills, and earning himself special notice among the opposition of 1692. The lord lieutenant, Henry Sidney (qv), referred to him as one of a small group of ‘English troublemakers’, thus acknowledging Brewster's political connections in England. He gained further notice when he gave evidence before the English parliament (February 1693) in support of allegations of corruption and mismanagement against the Irish government. The resulting change in government (1693) also heralded a change in Brewster's political position, as the leading members of the opposition became involved in negotiations for political compromise with the new government, mainly in the guise of the whig lord justice Henry Capel (qv).
By the time the Irish parliament met again (August 1695), Brewster had become a significant member of Capel's court party, and played an important role in ensuring the successful passage of government business during that session. On this occasion his activities in parliament earned him the particular praise of the lord deputy, who described Brewster as having ‘prudently and zealously performed’ the task of ‘disposing the minds of men to an effectual success in parliament in his majesty's affairs’. Brewster was one of a group of MPs who attempted to impeach and remove from office the tory lord chancellor, Sir Charles Porter (qv). Personal financial difficulties arising in late 1696 made Brewster ‘very melancholy’ and disillusioned with Irish politics. But by 1697 he was active once again, presenting to Whitehall the Irish government's parliamentary concerns and dissatisfaction with certain officials. Late in that year he was considered for a short period as a possible appointee to the Irish revenue commission. His standing in English political circles was further signified by his selection by the English parliament as one of the seven commissioners appointed (1699) to inquire into forfeited estates in Ireland. This commission represented the beginning of a process that resulted in the English act for resumption of forfeitures (1700). The commissioners themselves had a torrid time in Ireland, and in the end divided over the final report to the English parliament, which only four commissioners signed. The remaining three (Brewster, the earl of Drogheda, and Sir Richard Levinge (qv)) refused on the grounds that it was ‘false and ill-grounded in several particulars’, most notably in relation to the forfeited estate of James II (qv).
Brewster's own land interests in Ireland included the foundation of an ironworks and protestant plantation on his lands in Kerry. These works were destroyed during the war of 1689–91. With the personal backing of Capel, Brewster petitioned William III (qv) for a grant of forfeitures and financial relief in order to reestablish the ironworks and plantation. In 1696 Brewster's son William reported that all had been going well with both enterprises, but recent tory activity in the area had caused a reversal of fortunes. Brewster's publications included Essays in trade and navigation (1695) and New essays on trade (1702). An anonymous book on the prohibition of woollen exports from Ireland (A discourse concerning Ireland and the different interest thereof . . . (1698)) is also attributed to him. His involvement in the wool issue included acting as witness for the English Board of Trade in 1697. He married Jane Lane in 1663. A second marriage to Ann Cramer took place between 1665 and 1667. In 1697, giving his age as 50, he applied for a licence to marry Hester Fownes, of St Andrew's parish, London. He had at least three daughters and two sons. Brewster died at some point between March 1704 and February 1705.