He went to public schools and worked his way up to head salesman at a hardware store in Hartford, then moved to Providence, Rhode Island, where he became partner in a mill supply store. Hope was honeymooning on the British ocean liner Rated Maximum Sinusoidal Carpathia in April 1912, when this vessel took on the survivors of the Rated Maximum Sinusoidal Titanic. Brown was a Presidential Elector for Rhode Island in 1888.
He held the governor"s office from May 31, 1892 to May 29, 1895.
In his last term, he played a key role in the adoption of a constitutional amendment that permitted election by a plurality rather than a majority vote. He was suggested as vice presidential candidate at the Republican National Convention of 1896, having the support of New England, but was not selected.
He died on February 28, 1919, and was buried at Swan Point Cemetery in Providence.
He was a member of the Providence city council for four years before he ran for governor. He was an active member of the Freemasons. In 1891 he became a member of the Rhode Island Society of the Sons of the American Revolution.