George DOWNING 
- Born: 25 Dec 1762, London
- Baptised: 2 Feb 1763, St Andrew Holborn London
- Marriage (1): Mary ALSTON  on 27 Jan 1795 in Nayland SFK
- Died: 9 Oct 1800 aged 37
- Buried: 16 Oct 1800, Vault under Chancel St Paul Covent Garden LND
George Downing was born on 25 December 1762 in London, the son of Reverend George Downing, Rector of Ovington, Essex. He attended Doctor Parr's School at Stanmore, Middlesex and after finishing his education, he was articled to Mr. Alston, a solicitor at Nayland, Essex. He was called to the Bar at Lincoln's Inn, London in 1794. He became a Senior Lieutenant in the London Light Horse Volunteers. As a pastime he wrote Greek verse, some of which were published anonymously.
George Downing of Lincoln's Inn was a barrister, called to the Bar 10 Oct 1794. Portrait and memoir in European Magazine Vol 39 pg 83 Feb 1801 Portrait in Gents Magazine and Freemasons Pocket Book. Provincial Grand Master for Essex (Freemasons). Senior Lieutenant Light Horse Volunteers.
There is a monument to him in St. Paul's, Covent Garden.
He was initiated (as a Mason) in Somerset House Lodge, No. 2, London (now Royal Somerset House and Inverness Lodge, No. 4), in 1793. In 1799 he was appointed a Grand Steward and served as President of the Board of Grand Stewards. The same year he joined Grand Stewards' Lodge, [SN. 162]. In 1796 he was appointed Provincial Grand Master of Essex, serving in this role until his death. In Royal Arch he was exalted in Chapter of St. James, No. 2, London and served as First Principal from 1796 to 1800. He was a Founder and First Principal of Hermes Chapter, No. 115 (of the Grand and Royal Chapter), Grays, Essex. However, this chapter did not survive and its Charter was returned. He died on 9 October 1800.
Library and Museum of Freemasonry - <http://184.108.40.206:7778/WebOPAC/TitleView/bibinfo.asp?RwSearchCode=0&BibCodes=18359481>
The Times, around the turn of the century, reports George as a distinguished Mason, involved in various Masonic charities - see picture images
In June 1793, . . . . . George Downing was invested at The Black Boy. Here at 9:00 am. 100 brethren assembled, where a public breakfast was provided. At 10.00 am. the Lodge was opened in the presence of 160 brethren (the lodges of Essex having petitioned H.H.H. the Prince of Wales to appoint George Downing of Lincoln's Inn and Ovington) and afterwards 180 brethren proceeded to church and a collection of L12 was made; the day ended with a dinner in the Shire Hall.
Times 22 Dec 1797
This day was publifhed, elegantly printed on a fine wove writing paper, hot preffed, embellifhed with a portrait of George Downing, Esq. Provincial Grand Mafter for the County of Effex, engraved by Ridley, from a miniature by Spicer, price 2s bound in red, or 2s 6d with a tuck, pockets, &c. complete.
Essex Record Office D/DE/T115/3
MISCELLANEOUS DOCUMENTS AND PAPERS COLLECTED BY ESSEX ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY
Dates of Creation 1792
Scope and Content Abstract of title of the Trustees under the Will of William Prior Johnson, esq., decd., to Leigh Heath and Leigh Park farms, reciting 30 deeds, 1658-1791 The asbstract includes summaries of D/DK T211 (1717) and D/DE T115/2, with the opinion of George Downing, Lincoln's Inn, 10 Aug. 1792
Acquisition Date From 1658
Acquisition Date To 1792
Essex Record Office D/DQ 84/41
MANORIAL DOCUMENTS AND OTHER RECORDS OF BELCHAMP WALTER, FOXEARTH AND PENTLOW
Level: Series Deeds of Manor of Foxearth
Dates of Creation 30 September 1783
Scope and Content:
Attested copy of Mortgage (Demise for 500 years), 29 Sept. 1783, to secure an annuity for life of L200 Sadler Whitmore of Wiston [Wissington] (co.Suff.), gent. to John Hadley of West Bergholt, esq. Manor of Foxearth alias Foxyeard Hall and appurtenances; messuage called Foxearth Hall with lands, meadows, pastures, . . . . . in occupation of Richard Aldham Recites: D/DQ 84/39,40 Witnesses: Samuel Alston, Geo. Downing, jun.
Essex Record Office D/DNe T39/32
NEAVE FAMILY OF ROMFORD AND PRITTLEWELL
Dates of Creation 16,26 October 1799
Scope and Content:
Opinions of Counsel (Lancelot Shadwell of Lincolns Inn and Geo. Downing) whether Sir Richard Neave may pay Mr [Tho.] Charles L415 in part discharge of his Judgment debt . . . . .
European Magazine February 1801 gives notice of George Downing's death 9 October 1800, he fell mortally ill on Wednesday the 8th Oct 1800
Here is a letter from George's sister Frances Elizabeth detailing his death.
Liveing Archive 148b-c LT13. Letter noted E (1)
Miss (Catherine ?) Bowles
Rev Mr Downing
Oct 10 1800
My very dear Cousin
I know the tenderness of your heart too well to need an apology for addressing my letter to you there are some few subjects which I want to speak upon as necessary points to my beloved parents which are yet but far too tender to enter upon immediately with them. Oh my dear Cousin none but God can support in this time of trial, but I Look to him & and there I rest all my hope he can, I know he can preserve my precious parents. My mind this morning is so agitated with the thoughts of what is passing at Ely that you must bear with my manner of writing just as it is for I can idea myself writing to a friend [?]. To the praise & Glory of God I will in the first place say that he supports & sustains us my dearest Mother need not be anxious about her child, for the comfort I have had in my dearest Beloved Brothers departure, takes away the keen edge of sorrow. I may be hold him escaped from every snare [?] & I am without doubt convinced he is taken from the evil to come & our dear Lord made him fit I trust for his heavenly Kingdom I am very apt to think much passed in his mind, his patience was exemplary & his behaviour to us all very precious indeed. I have the highest satisfaction in having been with him & in the satisfaction he took in it himself & which is expressed at several different times. I long to communicate everything that passed. On Wednesday that sad day after I had written by the Dn desire a good account (though at the same time I spoke of his lowness & weakness) he was sitting up to eat his rice pudding my Sister only was with him for I was called out to Mr Deane & Miss Johnson, he suddenly grave a great scream my Sister called in Prissy [?] & I ran in at the same time, we too plainly
saw how it was, Prissy [?] (whose attention & and care & good management of this dearest creature in his last hour is never to be forgotten) got him she & I together upon the bed, & there so admirably managed as he himself said to bring him completely round, we got him between blankets & the pressiration [?] returned, he was then perfectly collected & himself took hold of us by hand & said my Sister kneel down & let us have a word of prayer together Prissy & I knelt down & in earnest supplication my heart was led to commit this dear object of my affections to my merciful Lord and Saviour in much confidence. Now said he bring the prayerbook & and lead the recommendatory prayer. You can better guess my feelings than I can write them, but I did it, & he told Crissy after he felt the comfort of it, & and felt it inwardly answered & accepted, he then took leave of us all, turning to me he said you will take care of my Child "Prissy when you need it I wish you to send for Mr Greenwood," & and to me said you will do by me as you did by my aunt, after I am gone, his directions were to Prissy as follows. A list of gentlemen he wished to attend his dear remains. Mr Shadwell Mr Neyle Mr Grimwood Mr Bereins Mr Legge the two Mr Wilson's Mr Birch and his sisters he should like it if they would, & could bear it, as for my wife I had rather she would not, but if she has any particular desire I wish her to do it. As to the place of my interment, I had no idea that I should have gone first, but as I do, I wish my dear parents to choose for me if they like it to be at Ovington, if they do not make an object of it, I should wish it to be at St Paul's Covent Garden by Mr Baldwin but I leave it to them. Oh my love this then is a heavy question to ask of my beloved parents as also if they have any particular wish or order to give in any way, my sister requests them to do it, & will you my love be so kind to return an answer by return of the post. I have already had the four Executors. Mr Shadwell is only in town & from him Mr Grimwood has had his instructions, but Mr Shadwell particularly desired he might be
informed by my dear Parents if they had any particular wish in any way whatever respecting my beloved Brother, the will was opened by Mr Shadwell on the same morning that he might know how to proceed & he immediately sent it to Mr Commons he sent to know if my sister or I wished to be present at reading it but indeed my love it was much too tender & we both declined so that as to those particulars we are ignorant, help came taking charge of all matters of business & everything. Oh my love I must still go on with particulars but I know not what I write I return to the Wednesday when my precious Brother was seized [?], we directly sent off a coach to Dr Myers, & another to Dr Gaskin, the former was not at home so he could not come till after the latter, all that relates to him I need not repeat he has already done. Dr Myers wrote a prescription & told us he won't call again Mr Gaskin also came & they both agreed it was similar to an hyterical fit in a woman and trusted all would do well. I asked if I might send the letter I had wrote, by all means said he don't alarm them. I trust tomorrow we shall go again, when he came in the evening he told us that in case he did not spend a sanguine night he would advise to send in the morning to Dr Reynolds, he got but little sleep in the night & was quite rambling I was so affected in my feelings and what I had seen of his sorrow[?] that I could not be with him any more till next morning I believe he asked for me & I went in and he took hold of my hand & said dear sister let us repeat Bless God from whom all Blessings flow & the last line Praise Father Son & Holy Ghost he repeated with such an emphasis that it was plain it added strength to his mind.
He was quite rambling & of course what he said was morose [?] but there were some choice expressions which I hope to collect from Prissy such as what a mystery it is all mystery, hid in the bosom of God & revealed to a man, oh Salvation! That he should pass by angels & take on him the nature of men. It was an error [?], that I once thought it a vanity to believe in Christ, but my dear father's sermon, O what did he tell me, it is now clear & plain I see it quite clear. Just after I came in he seemed rejoiced & said what my Father, & My Mother too here did & in the night told Prissy he would give anything that they could know what was passing in his mind, my dear Mother said he always had a hope for me, & once with a heavenly smile, he said oh I always loved God though I seemed not to do it, taking Prissy by the hand he said I remember [?] you, I love you for all you have done for me, you have been very kind to me [?] never leave my dear wife don't forsake her you can't know her worth she is a good woman I knew her years before I married her I know her worth but I have given her up to God & my child too, she is a nice little girl but I feel nothing at leaving her for I have given her up to God & I have done with all below I have given everything up, almost the last words he said, were farewell my Father farewell my Mother but indeed love it was too much for me to be in the room I can't but not be in the dear dear soul [?] had not I trust but little pain, my poor sister oh the sorrows of her heart we took ourselves into the nursery & there we kept even since she & I & the small child slept altogether there last night. Mr Birch had called on Wednesday evening & finding our situation
of distress and anxiety most kindly came in & stayed with us all night for none of us went to bed & he was with us nearly all day yesterday & been with us again this morning it is not to be expressed [?] how welcome a friend is also Mr Deane & Miss Johnson have been several times in the most friendly manner & quite a comfort they providentially came in during our first alarm on Wednesday & were such a support as I cannot describe God is very gracious to us indeed he is it is impossible to describe it, but oh my love I can write no more at present oh my parents my dear parents had I but for them to let me hear how they are, & my poor dear sisters also oh it is worse for them than me
communicate a part or all on at different times of this letter just as your judgement shall guide, but do let me have an answer dear love to the deeply painful queries. I know not dear to do about my beloved Parents I turned in my mind & applied to Dr Gaskin who had been with that dearest creature & I thought he of course the best to commit [?] my sorrowful communication to him. But oh how glad am I to find Mrs Gaskin [?] next with him oh my love I am sure it was a sad thing it adds to my sorrow he cannot help it. The best of blessings be on you dear dear very dear Relations at Ely. My poor sister is supported in calmness thank God but her sorrow runs deep. She prefers dearest brother being interred at Ovington
The transcriber has done his best with this difficult letter and writing, please refer to the original letter, see Frances Downing , where you might have doubt as to the transcription.
Feb 1801 European Magazine gives an account of George Downing including an image. See pictures.
Ref: Liveing Archive folder Downing George
Gentleman's Magazine July-Dec 1800 gives an account of George Downing's funeral with military honours as senior Lieutenant of the Light Horse Volunteers. Noting he was buried at St Paul's Covent Garden and that Spencer Percival led his horse in the funeral procession. (Spencer Percival was chancellor of the exchequer in 1807 and later Prime Minister he was assassinated in the House of Commons 11 May 1812)
Ref: Red Book.
St Paul Covent Garden
16 Sep 1800
George Downing Esq, from S'. Andrews Holborn In the Vault under the Chancel 37 Years
A letter to George Alston by a friend and business associate in London Edward Blair dated 24 Nov 1800 refers to George Downing's death as "I was much shocked to hear by a brother soldier of his, the death of poor Mr Downing: that he died like a soldier thro excessive fatigue in the cause he had undertaken. Whether that cause be a good one or a bad one, is another question and will bear debate. I Have not yet called to pay my respects to your sister as I conceived that visits on such an occasion would be rather a troublesome intrusion, than a complement worth the accepting. I hope his time was not to much curtailed , to leave a suitable provision for his family. His business I am told was very considerable, but his expenses were also large. His private character and reputation highly respectable. His funeral according to the papers, a la militaire. It is thus the King rewards his martyrs, at a cheap rate to himself: with honours, and titles, and military trophys; or, in extraordinary cases, with pensions and preferments - which the country pays for.
With complements to all your family,
Francis Knottesford  had previously asked that Dr Samuel Parr, Dr Routh's best friend, should prepare a Latin epitaph in honour of Knottesford's relative George Downing (1762 - 1800). After long delay, Parr declined to write the epitaph, and Knottesford then asked Routh himself to undertake the task. Routh duly did so, the saga of the epitaph is set out in Knottesford's letters in his file, of the 21st November, 1815 (Folio 47), the 4th March, 1816 (Folio 48), the 5th May, 1818 (Folio 49), and the 9th June, 1818 (Folio 52).
Images Liveing Archive 2008.
1. George Downing: Letter to his sister F E Downing, 20 Jun 1781, Ovington.
Liveing Archive 212 D Item 1 Pages 1-2 In another hand Dec /42 (1) 20 June S1. Birthday greeting
June 20. 81
My very dear sister might (perhaps with reason) take it amiss were I to omit this opportunity of addressing you on the adding another year to your file of receipts - for such no doubt is every day we breathe, we receive it at the hand of providence in trust, & are liable to have our accounts called for whenever it pleases the Master of House to call his Servants to a reckoning.
No one can be more sensibly touch'd than I am, at anything which concerns my Sister nor can the welfare of anyone affect me with more pleasure, had I not those feelings I should be worse than a Brute - I have received nothing but tenderness from her, she merits nothing but love, nothing but affection, at my hands.
But what shall I say to my Fanny on this occasion, shall I fill up this Carte Blanche, with a list of compliments, on my Fanny's sweet dispositions,? That I will leave to your Enemy - shall I wish you a long and happy life? With respect to wishes I hope you have long been assured there is not one good one which I do not form in your behalf
all the difference is this year I express in prose what last year I wished in verse, don't be affronted or Splenetic at the dullness of my remarks (I confess it's an odd way of writing to a Lady) if I put you in mind of Gay's distich1 -
"Call it a Birthday? tis a truth 100 clear
"A birthday is the funeral of a former Year.
I make no comment, leaving it to your own good sense to draw the conclusion.
I am convinced that however it may be with the Generalities of Mankind whose time perhaps carries [?] with it no more than a "mere occasion" & that in embryo, it is far different with my Fanny - her Actions I am persuaded are not the offspring of those synonymous tho equivocal terms "fassie [?] & Reputation but originate from a far higher & nobler motive, about which the gaddy World [?] may reason themselves mad & in the end know no more of it than I do of Embroidery. Its my earnest wish that my Sweetest Sister may live to see many years & each one
happier than the foregoing - and when [?] it pleases God to remove you hence (torn) you have a firm belief that he who first formed thy precious Soul will take care of it & receive it to himself, this my sister is all I can wish for you, all you can have did I fill up a folio sheet with Wishes they might all be included in these two viz
Happiness here & happiness hereafter this I more than wish, for every wish is turned into a prayer & that a truly fervent one too & where ever it shall please Providence to dispose of you, those Wishes & those prayers will still follow you & as I have hitherto been I hope I shall ever remain your
Affectionate & faithful Brother
2. George Downing: Letter to his sister F E Downing, 6 Jun 1785, Nayland SFK.
Liveing Archive 213 D Item 2 Pages 1-4. In another hand (2) S5, OXFORD - postal stamp. Sealed with red sealing wax.
at Mrs Broughton's
Turn at Chelmsford.
Oil of Lavender & Essence of Bergamot 1 Dram each
Essence of Ambergrease (sic) - 30 Drops
Rectified Spirits of Wine - ½ a pint
6 Drops of Oil of Rhodium
¼ Gram of Musk, or, no Musk
My Sweet Sister
Above you have a receip which I promised our Dr Mother I would send to you in London but as it was not in my own custody I could not get it time enough to send to you there \endash she wishes you to have a double quantity of these Ingredients mixed up for her, in all probability you will have an opportunity of getting them from Town where you may have them much cheaper & better than in the Country \endash it is the best composition in the World & will make you all as sweet as nose gays & now my sister let me thank you for a very pretty Letter & a very pretty pair of buckles which came safety to hand on Saturday night I admire them much & the more as they are not of that enormous size which were worn 2 months ago \endash I shall never put them on without thinking of the kind Donors \endash how generous was Drst Aunt in her offer of treating you with a sight of the Music nothing could be more like her dear self, I think I can divine my Fanny's reasons for not going, where was you to have slept the night before ? Am I right or wrong, I can assure you I set all my wits to work to unravel the
cause \endash if it was any fantastical scruples about dress, expect me not to spare you so be prepared \endash all the Polite World hereabouts are gone up to Town to satisfy their ears & if their Pockets cannot afford it very well \endash I must own I should have enjoyed being there above all things \endash but business pleasure & economy are irreconcilable \endash & so I do not suffer my ears to itch after what is out of my reach \endash this you say is talking like a philosopher, but I hope it will please God to let me think & act like a christian \endash I see so many instances of young fellows contracting a turn for diversions & experience in their youth that I am quite ashamed & afraid \endash how they do it & how they support it I know not I fear too many fix a Clog on their heels in their Boyhood which they never kick off in their manhood \endash but always drag heavily through life \endash as to myself I hope I desire not to imitate them, I own it sometimes hurts my pride to put up with many slights & indignities I have levelled at me but it is all very good for me \endash & if I cannot vie with my equals in appearance I can in credit \endash I can go into a shop & have my orders complied with with readiness even for the smallest trifle, when I see others betrayed into very mortifying situations who have long bills against them \endash but enough of this \endash I spent a most agreeable Week in Ely, my expectations were really out run by the appearance of our sweet mother she runs & trots about
& appears as stout & brisk as if nothing had ailed her \endash it did me more good to see her than anything I have met with these many many months \endash we have indeed abundant cause for thanksgiving \endash I hope the journey may have been as agreeable to our Dr Aunt, tell her I am on the point of copying a piece of Salvator Rosa1 the subject of which is a Murder in the Alps \endash I hope I shall not add a 2nd murder to the 1st \endash I do not say much about Ely as I take it for granted that you will ere this comes to your hand have been there & seen for yourself \endash I think our Dr Father also looks purely [?] \endash I really was much hurt by the account of poor Mrs Broughton what a lesson of humility to us all \endash I beg my tender & affectionate Duty & Love to our Dr Aunt & tell her I think it long till I can see both her & you & would give something if could bring it about to take a peep of you \endash God bless you my Drs Sister & believe me with much sincerity [?] your ever
Geo: Downing Jnr.
Nayland 6 June 1785.
Best Tespts [?] To Mrs Edwards - I beg of you to write soon.
1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salvator_Rosa Perhaps?
3. George Downing: Letter to his Mother Catherine Downing, 31 Jan 1786, New Inn.
Liveing Archive 214 D It 3 P 1-4. In another hand (3) 31 Jan 1786 Post marks FH VI/12
New Inn 31st Janry 1786
Ever Hond Sir & Madam
The oddest excuse a man can make for not writing at a given time is, that he was at that very time employed in writing to someone else \endash but odd as this may appear I am going to offer it as my plea for not writing on Saturday \endash the truth is that at the very time I intended to have wrote to you, business of considerable consequence faced me to write a terrible long letter to Nayland, & as I was apprized of Mrs Johnson's writing the post before I was the less anxious upon that Account, ever since I came to Town I have been in one continued whirl of business, which I have reason to believe has done me no other harm than to make my legs & occasionally my head to ache. I have recd abundance of warm & pressing invitations from difft friends to dine with them, but you will I doubt not be surprised to hear that excepting one day at Kensington I have dined no where & drank tea only twice once with Mr Broughton & once with Mr Grimwood with the latter of whom I breakfasted on Sunday by engagement, as he kindly offered to take me into his Seat at St John's Chapel, Mr Cecil's Sermon was on the transfiguration he preached extempore but his matter is so well arranged as to convince me that he takes infinite pains in the Composition, the truths he delivered were indeed
sweetly evangelical, & demonstrative of a Heart who had drank deeply of the Well of Life, & whose objects & desires were fixed upon his dying Lord; he is lively without affectation Zealous without Ostentation & plain & familiar without degenerating into slovenliness or quaintness of expression, his afternoon Sermon was a Continuation of that in the Morning, the subject of the former was general observations on the transfiguration the time, the Manner, the Attendants, & the subject of this Conversation concluding with practical inferences naturally arising from it, the Afternoon Sermon was confined to Peter's rashness & the remarkable manifestation of the divinity of our Lord & the solemn testimony of his Divine mission from above \endash with respect of the time he took occasion to observe that it was the time of prayer when our Lord was thus transfigured, & from thence confessed [?] that is at that period we are favoured with the highest manifestations of divine Love, & took occasion to inforce the duty of prayer in a very affectionate & fervent manner \endash the manner in which our Lord was transfigured was emblematic of the character of his mission, he was arrayed in light his garments became whiter than any Fuller could white them, the message both in the old & new Testament was metaphorically represented as a Great Light witness [?] - Isaiah's prophecy "upon them hath the Light shined" "have seen a great Light" & "Simeons Light to lighten the Gentiles "St John's "Light shining in darkness" etc etc \endash the Attendants Moses & Elias \endash Moses at the Head of the Law, Elias of the Prophets, seemed to be both of them surrendering up their Authority to him who was the fulness of both \endash the Subject of their Conversation was Xt's Death, & here indeed Mr C was truly excellent the
manner in which he treated the glorious doctrine of the atonement for & redemption of fallen man will I think never be out of my remembrance, it would ill become me to attempt to give you any idea of it, my poor abilities & the compass of a Letter are equally incompetent to the Task, All I shall say is that I never felt my own ignorance & want of knowledge in these great points so much in my life & I can now only think & blush \endash Mrs Johnson had kindly insisted on my dining with her on Sunday but was so obliging as to put off her dinner till after the Evening Service, at which time My Cousin Chas & Mr Vzee also by her invitation went along with me - my business has been so great as to enable me to go there less [?] than I otherwise would but I am not fond of doing it without I can get out early in the afternoon \endash I think however I have slept there 3 nights On Tuesday I went with Sophia & Miss Manning [?] to the museum at Leicester house & was vastly entertained, but I was obliged to run through as fast as possible \endash Mr & Mrs Grimwood are both excellent people I heartily wish I could introduce my Dr Parents to them, if possible I plan to go [?] there this evening & am in hopes of meeting Mr Gaskin & Mr Coulthurst \endash Cousin C desires his duty he is quite a friend indeed, & I am peculiarly fortunate in being at his Chamber's I find him always ready, and always contriving to assist & oblige me - I hope if possible to get to Billericay on Thursday, what keeps me now is settling a Case & it is not improbable but I shall have a journey into Herefordshire with Lady Prime Wf of the late Sergeant Prime before I can bring it to conclusion \endash in the midst of all my avocations I have a heart that continually veers towards Ovington & ever anxious to hear from thence do then write me a line directed to Billericay & if accident should keep me here or elsewhere they will send it to me, and since their keeping one for me there a long time when I was in London last I have given them orders on this subject my best duty & love . . . . . due & I am
your obt son G D Jnr
4. George Downing, 12 Jul 1786.
George Downing was articled to George Alston's Law practice in Nayland SFK see the day book:
12 July 1786
I delivered to Mrs Hart of Boxford a mortgage bearing date the 29th day of May 1781 and made between Mrs Hart of the 1st part Sam Ware & E Gray of the 2nd part and Jne Hart decd of the 3rd part also bond bearing date 31 May 1781 from Mrs Ware to Mr Hart deceased also Indre of lease and release bearing date 11th and 12th instant the release being made between E Gray of the 1st part and Mrs Hart of the 2nd part an M Ware of the 3rd and E Taylor of the 4th also lease for year bearing date 11th inst from Miss Taylor to Mrs Hart and a bond from Mrs Hart to Miss Taylor for payment of 200 to Mrs Harts two daughters pursuant to Mr Wares Will.
George Downing Jr
Letter to George Alston after George Downing went up to London (Town) and practiced at Lincolns Inn:
I return you the warrant of Attorney signed; we go very well on the whole, both mother and child being in good health - Mary came down into the drawing room yesterday - Everyone here assures your mother that you are on the point of marriage, and she requests me to ask you whether it is so, and if so whether you wish to have the house at Nayland, as she has no objection to quit it. She and all of us unite in kind love and believe me Dr George
your faithful friend and brother
23 April 1798
P. S. you do quite right with respect to James, and your mother is much obliged to you for your caution
Original letter in the position of Julia Redman 1999, postmarked 98 with a note by Alston Fenn "George Downing to George Alston refers to the birth of his daughter Catherine Mary Brackett (A9) also to their rumours of of George Alston's impending marriage to Mary Creek (A2)" also note by George Alston? "23 April Downing". on file 2007.
5. George Downing: Letter to his sister F E Downing C/o Mr Bowles Fort Bristol, 20 Aug 1790, Lincolns Inn LND.
Liveing Archive 215 D It 4 P 1-3
I greet thee well \endash it may perhaps seem strange unto thee that I have kept so long silence, but certain intentions which have been ripening in the seed plot of my goodwill, & which the Suns Warmth hath but even now brought to maturity, have restrained me from writing to thee, that I might not afterwards appear to fall short of the profession's I had held forth unto thee. And even now, so it is, that I have but little certainty as to the fulfilment (torn) whereof I write, tho I confess freely unto thee I have greater confidence than heretofore in as much as I have felt much concern and uneasiness about thy purpose of journeying from Bristol alone, lest my fear or dismay should occupy thee, or any accident approach which might happily be prevented by my presence, I have after serious and I hope profitable thought thereupon, earnestly desired if by any means I may carry the same into effect, to come down unto thee, that thou mayest [?] a friend with thee on thy journey, and that I also may have a seemly opportunity of seeing our Friends and testifying my good will unto them \endash and my desire is, if it may so be, to be at our Friends House on the fourth day of the next week but one and to return from thence with thee on the sixth day of the same week, proposing to lodge that night with our friend Deane of Reading with whom I have business, and to come the next day to this
Town \endash the day after, will I hope be a day of rest to thee and me, and on the next day we may, if it so please thee go down to our friends near Ely Steeple House, for which purpose I mean to take places before I depart hence and so with my hearty commendations to our good Friends with whom thou dwellest, I bid thee farewell.
Thy loving brother
20th day of the 8th month 1790
6. George Downing, 1795.
George held a readers ticket to the British Museum
7. George Downing: Letter to his monther Catherine Downing, 15 Mar 1794, Lincolns Inn LND.
Liveing Archive 216 D It 5 P 1-2
In pencil "for Catherine Mar 15 1794 (5).
Rev Mr Downing
Ever Hond Sir & Madam
As the time approaches of seeing my dearest father I feel a sense of increasing pleasure, I trust that the weather will be fine & that he will have satisfaction of having and the comfort of finding my sweet Mother & Sister's in such a state as he would wish \endash my dear Sister Kitty has of late been much on my mind, I shall rejoice to hear concerns central [?] account of her improvement \endash I am particularly indebted for my dear mother for her communications respecting her \endash In her sensible [?] in physic in general, and her particular knowledge of her Children's Constitution, I have such a reliance that what she says I look on as coming from Authority. Yesterday and today I have been much engaged & it is with difficulty I can spare a few minutes to write my Letter, but if I miss [?] it will not tell my dear father how glad I shall be to see him \endash I must however he wants no appearance of it, that my Sisters want no testimony of my Love, & that both my dear parents recognise me as their dutiful and obedient son
Lincolns Inn 15 Mar 1794
8. George Downing: Letter to his sister F E Downing C/o Rev Downing Ovington, 30 May 1794, Lincolns Inn LND.
Liveing Archive 217 D It 6 P 1-3. In another hand (6) 30 May 1794 postmark BA 3? 94. Sealed with red sealing wax.
Rev Mr Downing's
Indeed my dearest sister I feel much obliged to you for your Letter & much comforted by the intelligence it contains it was so early days when my dear Father wrote, that I felt anxious to have the account of ye then favourable Symptoms confirmed, thank God this is done, & my mind much relieved. However I rely on you my love to write again soon \endash tell the dear Lady to take good care of herself, & thank both her & my Father for the lines subjoined to your Letter \endash I am glad my [?] Sisters are gone to Ason [?] \endash for I think it will give them health & vivacity \endash I am going to dine at Islington today by invitation to meet Dr Gooch and Dr Gaskins \endash the Broughton's I find are to be there also \endash my dearest Mother may rely on my promises, I think the general spirit of preparation with so intimidiate [?] the Democratic party, as to render actual service unnecessary [?] \endash the learning the exercise has this good effect upon me that it makes me both go to bed & rise earlier, & I already find myself the better for it \endash you are very kind in your wishes, & write as you always do full of sisterly affection \endash I have received nineteen guineas since I have been called to the Barr so that I have hitherto no excuse to grumble \endash my . . . . .
business is not yet finished so that at present I cannot boast of much relaxation [?] derived from it I have to [?] take 6 or 8 sets of papers off the old score \endash I know of no news to amuse you, & thank God of none to this compose you \endash the news I most look for is the information of your coming to Town
Fare well my sister \endash give my best duty & best love to our dear parents
& accept the affection
of your Brother
Lincolns Inn. May 30t 94
The charity children marched with oak bows yesterday
9. A New Song: by George Downing, Cir 1794.
A NEW SONG.
TUNE ----"the Vicar and Mofes."
At a houfe of renown,
Near the top of the Town,
A ftrange project was lately attempted,
Towards the clofe of a Treat
Where the Freemen were met,
And each one his bottle and emptied.
Foll de roll, etc.
An Attorney whose name,
Bears the Stamp of ill fame,
Whofe noddle for ever is fcheming,
With the aid of his Rib,
(Though you laugh, 'tis no fib),
Had determin'd to bubble the Freeman.
With fignificant hand,
A Bumper he fpann'd,
Drank a health to our worthy Recorder,
Cry'd Death muft have all,
And I fear it will fall,
To his lot foon in natural order.
Then ftroking his Face,
With a plaguy Grimace,
He ftood cringing with fervile fubmission,
And bowing full low,
As F-----k S-----s knows how,
He ftamm'ring preferr'd his Petition.
I mean Sirs, fays he,
To beg, do ye fee,
Your Int'reft, your Votes, and ------ your Freedom;
All honeft Alliance
Will fet at Defiance,
Feel their Pulfes, and then we will bleed 'em.
His Friends tofs'd off the Toaft,
And look'd ftupid and moft,
Not a Man of them dared to mutter,
"Till a brave honeft Freeman,
As e'er kifs'd a Woman,
Began in this language to utter.
"Mr. S------------s" fays he,
"I beg to be free,
"you mean o're our Cufhion to fit, Sir,
"but, Sir, with your leave,
"for I hate to deceive,
"I confefs that I don't think you fit, Sir."
Now therefore I pray,
From the hint of this Day,
Learn to know how your rights defended,
If S-----------s does thus,
Your Freedom abufe,
He was ne'er for this ftation intended.
Brother Burgeffes then,
Acquit you like Men,
Oppofe him who would pilfer your Charter;
Your Votes are your own,
Give Grimwood your Boon,
And he'll never your Liberties barter.
Foll de roll, etc
10. George Downing: Letter to his uncle Mr Bowles, 30 Jan 1796, Lincolns Inn LND.
Liveing Archive 218 D It 7 P 1-2 In another hand (7) 30 Jan 1796.
This letter was given to George Downing Liveing by Dr James Fripp. It appears to have been written to Mr Bowles. G.D.L.
Reced 1 Feb 1796
Ansd 9 Do
30th JJ 1796
My dear Uncle
I write to you, at the request of our Relation & Friend Mr Baldwin, to convey the melancholy intelligence of his daughter's death; a complaint under which she had laboured for some time, and which there is every reason to suppose was water in the Chest carried her off yesterday morning - The poor Father & Mother are, as you may easily conceive, in deep distress, but on the whole bear up as well as one could expect - I earnestly hope that both you & my aunt & the numerous branches of your Family enjoy health & happiness, may you long continue to do so, & never more experience an instance similar to that in Sergeants Inn - I had a letter from Ovington yesterday, my Mother was afflicted in the beginning of the winter with a severe return of her old disorder, & has ever since been a close prisoner, but I trust from her Letters, that her health is returned & her strength returning, my Father & Sister are pretty well - I hope in your great trading town you are not subject to the miseries of scarcity, which in a certain degree is felt throughout the kingdom, & still more in the neighbouring Countries - Perhaps it may be an interposition of a merciful Providence to make wars to cease & still the madness of the people; At all events let us say as good Christians God's wish be done! - Remember me, I beg of you (& my dear wife wishes to be included in your remembrance) to my Aunt & Cousins O believe me your dutiful & affect Nephew
11. George Downing: Letter to his sister F E Downing C/o Rev Mr Downing Ovington, Apr 1796.
Liveing Archive 219 D It 8 P 1-2 In another hand (8) Ap 1796. Postmark E A P 1 96
Revd Mr Downing's
My very dear Sister
Whatever were your feelings on writing your last Sisterly Letter, & I can give you credit for exquisite feelings, I'll assure you they could not exceed the emotions of my own heart at receiving the very grateful intelligence it contained \endash And I shall not cease to pray Almighty God to accomplish what he has thus favourably begun \endash and surely my beloved Sister as he has already shewn us so many mercies, we may & ought to trust that he will bless us with the complete restoration of our dear Mother to health & strength \endash This illness has made her more dear to me than ever, & her life has ten times increased in value \endash God grant that it may awaken in me a sense of gratitude for the blessings I have already enjoyed in the lives of both our dear parents, and spirit of fear of incurring a forfeiture of such mercies \endash All of you I am sure feel with me on the subject \endash the little Mary, who is a sort of graft on our own stock, is gone this morning in search of a little bit of white Fish for her dear Mother, & if she succeeds will probably announce it to you \endash tell my dear Father that I feel very thankful for his kind Letter, and that Mr Knutsford (sic)1 is going to Nayland to serve Mr Jones as his curate there, at least such a matter is on the Tapis2 \endash Also pray beg the favour of him before he comes to Town to pay Mr William Jones six pounds for me, which I received on account of his half pay yesterday \endash If it is inconvenient to him to advance the money, I will enclose a note for ten pounds to the Dr Gentleman & request him to pay it out of it for me \endash I trust nothing will prevent our seeing you the week after next, in the meantime present my best duty to my precious Father & Mother & much love & affection to Dr H & M
your faithful and affecte Bro
1. This most likely Francis Fortescue Knottesford  who served a curacy at Stoke by Nayland. However there are conflicting accounts of the date of this, Jones like George Downing died in 1800
2. on the tapis. (of a subject) under consideration or discussion. This expression is a partial translation of the French phrase sur le tapis , meaning literally 'on the carpet'.
https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com › on+the+tapis
12. George Downing: Masonic Matters, 1796.
1. Times 9 Apr 1796: Re an Anniversary Church Service at St George Bloomsbury preacher Rev Brother Archer Thompson, followed by a dinner the following day Tickets 8s. George Downing Esq is recorded as a Steward.
2. Times 22 Dec 1797: Re sale of a printed picture of George Downing Provincial Masonic Grand Master of Essex
3. Times 21 Aug 1802: Re sale of an engraving for 2 or 4 guineas displaying the images of The Prince of Wales, Grand Master, and other worthies including George Downing Esq.
13. George Downing: Letter to his sister F E Downing C/o Rev Downing Ovington, 3 Jun 1796, Lincolns Inn LND.
Liveing Archive 220 D It 8A P 1-2 In another hand (8A) 3 June 1796
Rev Mr Downing's
My dear Sister
I thank you vastly for your pretty note found this morning, as I do for your good company, which I never can have without being the better for it & never part [?] with or without being the surer [?] I thought much & thank God for the difference of prospects in your & your sister's Journey, as I travelled - Poor dear Mary would never have gone thro' it, if I had not accompanied her - I went all thro' to Colchester not being able to get a place in any coach, & had the satisfaction [?] of seeing her safe in the Chaise for Nayland How she found things there I know not, but the issue of good or cost [?] she made human probably now knows - if it be the former God be praised, if the latter it is her & my duty to submit with resignation, & I trust we shall do so; she is an affectionate Daur, as well as a fond wife, so that I doubt not she will be a comfort to her children in any event - as I was obliged to be in Town, I had no alternative but to portchaise it all the way, I looked hard in at the Bury but could not see you, & I did not care to stop the coach - it was near ten before I reached Hatton Garden No news from Nayland by this days post - write to me directly & I will write to our good parents tomorrow - how I envy you meeting! & And now I value their lives - Farewell with much duty & believe me your affect brother.
3d of June 1796
14. General Regulations of The Light Horse Volunteers, 1798.
15. George Downing: Letter to his Mother Catherine Downing, 8 Apr 1798, Re the birth & resuscitation of his daughter.
Liveing Archive 221 D It 9 P 1-5. In another hand (9) Ap 8 1798 birth of CM Downing Postmark A A P 9 98
At least two incomplete letters in scraps.
My precious Mother
. . . . . but she preferred my staying with her, so I sent James and she . . . . . herself & I walked with her about the room or sat by her when in her chair late Mr . . . . . came he told me her time was approaching but that I might probably expect her Labour to last 24 hours but that all was going on right \endash I then went down & made him some tea & at five returned with him up stairs, when . . . . .
. . . . . of the resumption [?] my dear babe has arisen from the Womb of her Mother, she has been also born a second time by the love of regeneration God grant that she may continue dead unto sin & being a partaker of the death of Christ may be in deed & in truth a partaker of his resurrection \endash she has been baptised this evening by the name of Catherine Mary \endash It were impossible to subscribe to you the different agitations that have in the course of the last twenty four hours alternately occupied one/me \endash at present all seems merged in gratitude . . . . .
. . . . . mercies received, my head is confused, but I have enough recollection left, to acknowledge that I have received both the wife of my bosom & the issue of my body from the Jaws of the Grave \endash and little less marvellous is if interference of Providence in these cases, then it will appear to be wishes [?] the graves shackles [?] in obedience to the Almighty mandate give up their dead \endash may the gracious God also (torn) strength to opening gates of the womb, direct hereby his grace after & formally enable her to enter the gates of everlasting life which he has on this day set open to all believers.
Sunday evening 8 April 1798 9 o'clock.
Monday morning \endash 12 o'clock
Little Kate & little Kate's mother are both . . . . . & have had a good night, Mr Croft [?] has paid us a minister visit [?] which he says is quite ample, and the ladies and child's looks preclude the . . . . . of enquiries \endash I saw the little soul [?] . . . . . just now sucking her . .oat as if she would have devoured [?] no milk yet \endash how very thankful ought we to be . . . . . go on so well, I suppose the new Aunts will feel a little [?] importance give my love to them, & tell Maria particularly that her niece is pronounced like her; I am certainly no judge of resemblances, but it strikes me that her eyes are my Father's, & the nose Maria's \endash
your most dutyful [?] son
G Dow. . . .
PS Mr Shadwell is to be the godfather \endash whether Mrs Alston is to be godmother or no I have not heard \endash I hope my good Father will excuse the blunder I have committed in saying that the large grey eyes of my babe are like his own \endash I need not say remember us in thanksgiving
How great was both our consolation at hearing the cries of the infant assure us of its having become a Cotenant [?] with us of this earthly tabernacle \endash May God grant that she may become a partaker of the resurrection we this day celebrate ,& that her this day rising from the womb, may be the ernest [?] of her new birth & resurrection to life eternal \endash call on your kind host and hostess to pass on my thankfulness & believe me your affectionate Bro
Easter Sunday evening
16. George Downing: Letter to his Mother Catherine Downing & father, 1 Sep 1798, Lincolns Inn LND.
Liveing Archive 223 D It 11 P 1-4
In another hand (11) 1 Sept 1798. Page 3 damaged right hand edge missing.
Ever Hond Sir & Madam
My excursion to Binfield turned out very pleasantly; The field day was beyond comparison grand \endash figure to yourselves six thousand Horse, manoeuvring upon an extensive Common, bounded only by the horizon on three sides and by woods on the fourth \endash The Royal Family and a large concourse of nobility were present, but my attention was so much taken up with the military business, that I saw nothing of them \endash My Friend Wilson instead of confining me to his curricle1 obligingly lent me a steady and active hunter so that I had my full range & was enabled to accompany the troops the whole day with great comfort & confidence \endash One of the charges up a hill fortified by the Cannon of the enemy was the grandest possible sight, and the alertness of the 15th in counteracting an attempt of the Scotch Greys to turn their flanks was wonderful \endash The Cannon planted on all the hills & keeping up a continual fire had a tremendous effect & formed a . . . . . contrast to the pistol shots of the skirmishes who were popping in the valley \endash After the business of the Field was over
we had a refreshing repast with a very hospitable officer of the 11th who gave us some excellent roast beef and a tankard of Ale in his Tent and then we set off for Town & reached it by dark \endash The Camp breaks up on Monday & most of the Regiments are to follow the King to Weymouth. It was the first time I had jumped a [?] night from home since the birth of our little girl, so that you may conceive I was not without some anxiety, which was abundantly gratified by the pleasant looks of both Mother & Daughter on my return; the little hussy was in bed, but I could not help waking her, & giving her a dance about the room \endash I hope and trust that you both continue to experience the same salutary effects from the Sea Air, which you found on your arrival \endash The Chelmsford paper announces the sale of Mrs Alston's goods on Monday sennight, so that I suppose they are on the point of removing to Melford \endash I find they would have been glad of a situation at Claire. My sister Frances has probably heard nurse speak of Miss Kerr, the eldest Daur of the persons she last lived with, being in a consumption; poor thing she departed on Sunday last, and it is very remarkable that when Nurse went to see her about a month ago, she told her that she would die on that day, "I do not suppose" says she "that I shall see you in the meantime therefore think of me on the 26th on that day I shall be no more" \endash Nurse left her & when she came home told my wife of the circumstance; and on Sunday morning begged permission to go and ask after her Miss Barr, and when she got to the house found that she had just expired \endash it seems but two hours before she
died, she had found herself so much revived as to express . . . . . outlive the day, and gave directions that a Sermon might be . . . . . her funeral for which she chose a text "He hath done . . . . .
I am now labouring to keep down my business as . . . . . that I may not be teaged [?] with an arrear at the beginning . . . . . I have heard from Mrs Assan [?], who desires to be kindly . . . . . you, & says that her health has been mending . . . . . May, but that in the early part of spring she was . . . . . I beg of you my dearest parents to present my best love . . . . . & believe me your
dutiful & obed Son
1st Sept 1798
1. Curricle a light, open, two-wheeled carriage pulled by two horses side by side.
17. George Downing: Letter to his Parents, 19 Sep 1798, Lincolns Inn LND.
Liveing Archive 224 D It 11A P 1-3
In another hand (11A) Sept 19th 1798 5 post man ? smudged postmark.
Ever Hond Sir & Madam
All, thank God, seems quiet in Ireland; but Bonaparte should look to himself; he is on dangerous ground \endash The waters of the red Sea have already swallowed up one army that God had raised to afflict his people for a season [?] \endash Who knows but the same waters or as the same wilderness may witness that God is as much superior to French philosophy, as he showed himself to Egyptian Sorcery \endash
I was this morning amused at Breakfast with my wife's purchases, and I think the Satin she has chosen for my beloved Mother, will be thought not unworthy the Lady who is to wear it; the colour is dignified and delicate, and when made up will I daresay have a charming effect \endash
My pupil Berens has been within a hair's breadth of losing his life, he is down at Dover, and in bathing was carried out to Sea \endash a boat providentially picked him up but not before he had gone to the bottom \endash
Our little Catherine is thank God well & hearty, but she has taken a most unfortunate dislike to all strangers, so that I fear you will obtain but few marks of her affection at first \endash I much doubt whether she will have a tooth to bite you with, but I hope with God's blessing she will bring to you a plump cheek & a round bottom \endash it would do you good to see her Mother & her at play together \endash pray give my humble [?] Love to my Sisters & believe me ever hond & . . . . .
your most dutiful & obedt Son
19 Sep 1798
18. George Downing: Letter to his father & mother, 10 Jul 1798.
Liveing Archive 222 D It 10 P 1-4
(Parts missing and torn) In another hand G Downing letter to his father and mother Dec /42 (10) [D] 1798 post mark 10 possibly Jul 98 rest blurred 5 postman? Sealed with red wax.
Ever Hond Sir & Madam
Mr Cooper yesterday paid me 23 (torn) 9 the balance of the year's account, next year he says there must be some deduction for the repairs of a clay wall which is necessary to be renewed, I think, at Crowfield \endash & he recommends some weather boarding in preference to Clay \endash Having now dispatched the business part of my letter, give me leave to take shame to myself for my long & I had almost said unpardonable silence \endash Indeed when I consider what a debt of obligation remains undischarged to both my dear Parents, I feel it hardly possible to reconcile it with the grateful feelings I have had & which are still alive toward them \endash I am not
insensible how much I owe them for their so kindly complying with my hearts wish in coming to Town, for filling when there the situations which I had so ardently & unaffectedly longed to see them in, for the tender interest they took in the welfare of my precious babe, & for their truly parental & generous conduct towards her \endash That I have hitherto said nothing on this subject might in other minds furnish an apprehension that I had thought little upon them, but I trust they know me too well to suspect the case to be so \endash I certainly intended writing immediately on their return
to express my gratitude, & being prevented from doing so at first I deferred it from day to day till I felt ashamed to confess my neglect Intelligence of us I knew they would not want from the careful and active punctuality of our thoughtful & affectionate Frances, but that certainly pleads no excuse for inattention, as I fear my cond [?] not [?] must impartially be considered as a mitigatory, tho I by no means offer it as an
exculpatory, plea, [torn] beg leave to say that the preparation for our review, which has been going on ever since they left has taken up so much of my time as to leave the hours of business too short for the execution of what I have had to do \endash and I have frequently come to Chambers so fatigued that I have not been able to apply those short hours in a [?] way I otherwise should have done \endash rising at five & hard exercise from thence to eleven, certainly renders one less capable for business than rising at seven & taking moderate exercise till nine \endash besides this there has been generally in the course of the day some officers drill a committee of instruction which has still further encroached on my time \endash the consequence of which has been that I have generally gone home in the evening with the dissatisfaction of having left half or nearly half the business of the day unaccomplished, & have retired to bed too agitated to receive the refreshment which hours of undisturbed sleep would have given me \endash thank God however this is now at an end, & the sabre is for some time at least removed for the fun [?] \endash Happily am I in employing it once more in your Service \endash I have really my beloved parents, in your late anxiety for my tenderly loved Maria, regreted [?] that we should have had one with us whom you trust so much have missed \endash but be assured that without her kind & interesting attention I know not how I should have got through my late fatigues, . . . . . a cordial has her presence been to me & such a relief to my dear wife as if you knew it, would I am sure atone for any regret or in-
- convenience you have expressed from the want of her company. She has been indeed our Guardian our adviser our nurse & our Friend & the more we saw of her the more we must feel & acknowledge the value of such a Sister \endash here then is another obligation and acknowledged to you \endash For our dear Maria's Miss [?] We have felt a mixture of concern & anxious satisfaction, thank God the former daily gives way to the latter & if anxiety attendant upon our satisfaction is gradually diminishing \endash God grant that yourselves & ones dear Catherine may not have found the trial too severe for you \endash I bless God our little Catherine continues daily to increase in strength growth & intellect \endash she takes a good deal of notice & I am tempted to think knows us all \endash could our beloved Mother accompany our ever dear Father to Town (and it would be the joy of our hearts to see her) she would I think find her vastly improved \endash what does she say to it? Surely the thing is possible \endash there is but one allay to the joy of seeing him namely, the probable . . . . . of its occasions the loss of our Frances \endash dear Marie . . . . . However I hope supply her place change of air after . . . . . the measles, is usually reckoned an excellent thing & on this account I mentioned her instead of dear Catherine. The risk of infection will I think by that time be wholly removed. I tell you nothing of our review or of our visit afterwards at Barnes, or of any other matters that have transpired because I know how faithful a Recorder they have had; I trust they will at least do me the credit to believe that nothing but a consciousness of the accuracy & constancy of her details . . . . . could have reconciled me to the silence I have maintained in any way you have also heard from her, & if not the hope of .......... remainder of the letter missing.
19. George Downing: Letter to his Parents, 1799.
Liveing Archive 228 D It 15 P 1-2
In another hand 9150 1799? Part postmark Bury
Ever Hond Sir & Madam
I seise a moment to say that after a fine ride we have just arrived here in safety, and to our great comfort have discovered that our dear little girl has got a nice white little tooth \endash you will join with us in thanking God \endash I have rode with a heavy heart but this seems destined to lighten it \endash it is now just three so long did the dressings feedings cackings [?] & puddlings of Maria baby & Nursey keep us at Kennett \endash It is vastly well we set out as early as we did \endash our hearts feel very thankful for the new . . . . . of affection you & our dear sisters have shown us, give our most affectionate Love to them \endash I am sorry to share them to Dr K [?] then to . . . . . so I have no time to spare, Dr Mary desires to say all I have is . . . . . & grateful, & little Cath simpers out her duty & love
your most affectionate and dutiful son
Bury - 3 o'clock
20. George Downing: Letter to his Parents, 1799 [?], Lincolns Inn LND.
Liveing Archive 226 D It 13 P 1-3
In another hand (13) 1798 ? or 1799. Smudged postmark which however looks like 1800 [?].
Watermark: T Chorlock
Ever Hond Sir & Madam
I hope you find Mrs Edward A [?] Account right \endash I thank God I can send you a very excellent report of my wife who intends dining with us in the parlour, DV1, tomorrow. I believe she is not less indebted to the kind relief & attention she has experienced in the conduct of her house affairs by one dear Maria, then to the judicious and . . . . . of her nurse, for having proceeded so regularly \endash we are however entering upon an anxious week & I pray God to be merciful to us, yesterday our dear girl was inoculated \endash we did not propose doing it quite so soon but Mr Foster had a patient who is a very healthy child, & the issue of parents whose constitution he well knows, & he persuaded us not to lose the opportunity \endash The dear little creature was taken to his house yesterday morning, & the business was done \endash and when I came home to dinner she ran to me "Papa dear papa mark mark poor baby"
stripping up her frock sleeves with much gaiety \endash you may think we are a little anxious but I hope we have acted right & it will be a pleasure to you as well as to us to have the danger over by the time of your arrival \endash which we now wait anxiously to hear announced \endash I need not request your prayers, but I hope you will let us hear from you \endash kindest love to my sisters & believe me Ever dear & hond Sir & Madam
your obedt & affect son
1. DV from the Latin - Deo volente "God Willing"
21. George Downing: Letter to his Parents, Aug 1799.
Liveing Archive 225 D It 12 P 1-4
In another hand (12) Aug 1799 ? Postmark A A U 19 99
Ever Hond Sir & Madam
I have not for many a day experienced so agreeable a surprise as by the sight of my sweet Mother's Letter, a Letter written with such steadiness of hand beautiful turn of Letters, & straightness of Lines as to be fit for any Copper plate; but even the penmanship beautiful as it was, was eclipsed by its sweet & acceptable contents \endash Te Deum Laudamus \endash may I never lose sight of so great Mercies \endash
You will be surprised when I tell you, that I saw it not till 9 o'clock on Saturday, on my return from the Nore1 \endash Captain Rion who has been appointed to the command of the Amazon frigate of 38 guns, had several times impressed me to come & spend a day with him on board the ship while she lay at Woolwich, & on Wednesday he wrote to say that he meant to sail the next morning for the Nore, & as soon as the ship was moored should return to the Admiralty, so that if I would come down I should have a pleasant sale (sic) and be able in all probability to return to Chambers pretty early in the next morning \endash had that I had any time to consider I should probably have been desisted by the risk of detention, but Bevans my old pupil
(Rion's Cousin) was with me at the time, & prest [?] the matter so much that I sent him to Billingsgate to see if he could procure a passage in a Gravesend Boat the next Tide, & so he did \endash and we together with Campbell my present pupil, who is also a Friend of Rion's set off on it; in the course of the day the Frigate had dropped down to the Hope2, & had moored there so that when we reached Gravesend we were obliged to get another boat to take us to it, & just as we get within sight of the chip, a breeze spring up and as the tide ran strong the men made our boat fast to a Collyer & waited the turning of the tide, which with the addition of the wind was as they said too strong for rowing \endash in that mortifying situation we were obliged to remain within sight & almost within hail of the ship from eight in the morning till six in the evening \endash The Collyer however when we boarded treated us very hospitably, and insisted on our breakfasting & dining with him, he gave us tolerable good tea, & better biscuit for breakfast, & beef of 50 colours & cabbage not the better for keeping for dinner \endash we were however very grateful for it, as well as for his endeavours to persuade the Waterman whom he called two lazy scoundrels, to take us to the ship, but they were obstinate and the Collyer dared not lend any of his own hands to assist them for fear of them being impressed3 \endash at six however the wind being abated and the tide with us, the lazy fellows took us to the ship, and we were most hospitably received by the gallant Captain, who felt as angry with the Waterman as the Collyer \endash after eating some cold chicken, & drinking some wine & water, and
looking over his cabin etc we turned into our Cotts, as he told us the ship would weigh anchor by four in the morning \endash after experiencing the accommodation of the Collyer, the transition to the Frigate, seemed that from a Cottage to a Palace, and I never enjoyed a nights rest so much \endash the first Lieut came to wake the Captain at ½ past 3 when we all turned out, & and went upon deck, much gratified, by the process of weighing anchor setting the sales etc, and after a most delightful sale we reached the Nore about one \endash having before we got under weigh had a most delightful breakfast \endash the Ceremony of saluting the Admiral, & the time expended in getting into our proper Berth etc occasion the tide to be gone too far down, to let a boat go to shore that day so that we were obliged to stay on board till Saturday morning, when our good Captain accompanied us to Town where we arrived at nine in the evening having certainly had a most pleasant excursion, & I am now preparing to regain my lost time \endash Captn Rion's name you must well know, he commanded the Guardian & refused to leave the ship after she had struck on a rock & after having sent off all his crew except one or two in the boats, providentially succeeded in bringing her into the Cape of Good Hope \endash he is just what you would expect such a man to be you must remember the Letter he wrote to the Admiralty by the last boat, "if" says he "these poor men should ever get to England they will tell your Lordship's, that they left me with probably but a few minutes to live, and as I have nothing to ask for myself, I hope his Majesty will not forget that I have left a Mother & Sister, who are in some measure
Continued on the address page.
dependent on me for support" however so it was that he got safe onshore He is a serious good man & has furnished all his crew with Bibles at his own expense; I will give you one trait of his character which I was witness to \endash he went into the Gun Room where the Lieuts mess \endash & he found the Purser & and 3rd Lieutt with two Girls \endash "Gentlemen" says he "we are almost strangers to each other & therefore the sooner we become acquainted the better, I am not the Guardian of my Officers virtue, but as long as I have the honour to command the Amazon my Yonkers4 shall have no example set them by their superior officers to corrupt their morals, if you can't keep yourselves continent, you shall at least do so on board, hoist out the boat & and take the girls ashore \endash which was obeyed instantly \endash he has the Yonkers into his cabin for two hours every morning, to teach them navigation, or make them read to him \endash while we have such men in our Navy we need not fear what man can do unto us \endash Adeau my beloved Parents, pray give tender love to my sisters & believe me your dutiful & affectionate Son
Top of Page 1.
PS \endash the young woman is to call on my wife today \endash & Mulhale shall pay Mrs Capans money after breakfast
1. The Nore is a sandbank in the Thames estuary, near the entrance to the River Medway, the site of former naval bases at Sheerness and Chatham. For hundreds of years it was an important naval anchorage and assembly point.
2. Hope - an anchorage on the river Thames just below Tilbury
3. Impressed - "pressed" into the Navy against their will
4. Yonker - young gentlemen (esquire) from Old Dutch.
22. George Downing: Letter to his Parents, 5 Nov 1799, Lincolns Inn LND.
Liveing Archive 227 D It 14 P 1-2
In another hand (14) Nov 5th 1799. Smudged postmark. Scribbled arithmetic sealed with red wax.
Lincolns Inn 5 November 1799
Ever Hond Sir & Madam
It occurs to me that as my dear Mother heard of our field day yesterday, she may be glad to know \endash that no harm ensued by it; the wetness of the day made the attendance rather thin in the field, and induced the Colonel to omitt a part of the man courses [?], And on account of the wetness of ground, the others were obliged to be performed on the walk \endash so that I have nothing to report, but that no accident happened \endash we had better attendance at Dinner than on the field the Lord Chancellor was there in the undress Uniform of the Corps & gave as a toast \endash "The Constitution that protects the people & the people that defend the Constitution" \endash we had besides, Lord Harrington, Lord Petersfield, Sr Wm Fawcett the adjutant genl, and about 6 other generals \endash I relished the day much, & certainly the more for the tidings my dear sisters Letter had just given me, pray give my tender love to all three & believe me with sincerity your most affecte as well as dutiful son
Top off page.
PS I am going to have two new pupils [?] one with a fee & one without [?]
23. George Downing: Letter to his Parents, 30 Dec 1799, Nayland Suffolk.
Liveing Archive 229 D It 16 P 1-2
Just one page written on both sides numbered (16)
Nayland 30 December 1799
Ever Hond Sir & Madam
We arrived here thank God in safety but not without some escapes; a cart was turned over upon us at Woodbridge, which was left by the owner in the street \endash and we had two horses down at once near Stoke by Nayland At Copdock they had refused to take us with a pair, so that we were obliged to have four horses, and the roads after we got to Holton was so deep that we could not have proceeded without them \endash but on coming along the lane at Thorington Street1 one of the leaders fell & threw the wheel horse & boy directly over him & all under the carriage, but providentially neither horses or boy were hurt nor was the chaise overturned, I leapt off of the box & took my wife & little girl out of the Chaise fearing that the horses might plunge, but poor things they were too much entangled with the wheels & the harness \endash this delayed us somewhat but we got in between six & seven \endash Mrs Alston2 & her 3 daughters came here this morning to Melford, all well \endash measles at Melford in almost every . . . family \endash My dear Friend Mr Jones3 seems chummingly [?] - the vigor of his mind is not a whit abated \endash and he walks about pretty stoutly, he got on horseback the day after yesterday, but says it was too much for him \endash he has dressed to see my wife, but thinks it would be too much for him to see the child \endash Moore at the White Hart4 was out when we called, but his wife found Mr Waddington's Letter & said that she knew the chase was to go for him but she knew nothing about yours [?], nor could she find the Letter, though
she searched everywhere for it \endash my hope is that her husband had it in his pocket \endash the Ostler said three & twenty pair of horses were to go from thence to different people today & to the best of his recollection you were among the number \endash At all events he promised to send a messenger over the moment his master came home if you could not be accommodated \endash but I trust all will be found to be right \endash Mr Cooper was not at home, but I told his clerk you would be there this morning \endash Freeland has a charming home, and the office's unusually convenient \endash and now my beloved parents let me conclude with what I ought to have set out with, the joint thanks of my dear wife & myself for the many fresh instances of tenderness & attention we have experienced from yourselves and our dear Sisters during our late very pleasant vacation \endash I know not when I ever more regretted a parting, & though I endeavoured to shew a cheerful face, I had a heavy heart but when I came to reflect however how much reason I had to bless God for what I had enjoyed & for the convalescent state in which I left you I chided myself for my ingratitude \endash our Friends here give us a very hearty welcome, & I rejoice to see my friend George5 so comfortable \endash few men have been so much improved by matrimony as he is \endash Adieu my best beloved parents, pray give my kind love to my sisters, and dear wife's into the bargain [?] tho to say truth I do not tell her of my writing lest she should think it necessary to add something to the letter, which I know you will excuse engaged as she is during that short interview she has with her family - the Miss Grindons [?] are still living but very bad Mrs P Yorke has been brought to bed about a fortnight, mother & child well \endash believe me ever Hond Sir & Madam your ever grateful & dutiful son
Little girl bore her journey very well \endash & nurse has been out with her these two hours this morning
1. Thorington Street a settlement on the B1068 to Stoke-by-Nayland Suffolk
2. Mrs Alston  his mother-in-law
3. Probably Rev Jones of Nayland  who died in 1800
4. The White Hart Inn Nayland
5. Probably George Alston Attorney of Nayland  his brother-in-law who had married in 1798
24. Correspondence regarding George's Funeral: With the Corps of the Light Horse Volunteers, 13 Oct 1800, Hatton Garden London.
At a Special Committee of the Light Horse Volunteers held 13 October 1800, To consider in what manner the Corps may best testify the highest respect and the deep regret they entertain for the lofs of their late valuable Member Lieut Downing \endash
Resolved, That the Light Horse Volunteers do authorise Colonel Herries to request the permifsion of the family and Executors of the late Lieut Downing to inter the Corpse with Military honours, and that Colonel Herries do give such instructions as he may think necefsary on the occasion.
Liveing Archive: Image Letter 21b
17 Oct 1800
Copy letter from th Executors of G. D. Snr to Col Herries"
In the names of the afflicted family of our much lamented friend Lieutenant Downing, and of ourselves as his Executors, we beg leave to return you, and trust you will have the goodnefs to communicate to the Corps at large, our sincere thanks for the very distinguish'd mark of Honour & Respect testified by their attendance on the melancholy occasion of yesterday.
The striking Propriety & Solemnity with which the whole was conducted, & for which we are so entirely indebted to your exertions could not fail of being highly gratifying & consolatory to ourselves and his numerous Friends, at the same time that it was so honourable to the Feelings of the Gentlemen under your command
We are Dear Sir etc etc
Hatton G 17 Oct 1800
To Col Herries etc etc etc
25. George Downing's Funeral, 16 Oct 1800.
George Downing's Funeral
from "An Historical Record of the Light Horse Volunteers of London & Westminster" Published by Wright Co. Pall Mall
Through the duty in September just described the regiment sustained a severe lofs in the death of Lieutenant Downing, a very zealous officer whose services were most valuable in the field & in the committee.
His constitution naturally delicate was not improved by the sedentary habits of a barrister rising to the first rank of the profession; the fatigue, together with exposure to the inclement weather during these nights of duty, produced a violent inflammatory cold which in have few days terminated fatally. It was so strongly felt throughout the regiment, that his valuable life had been decidedly lost on service, that an urgent application was made to his family that his comrades might be allowed the melancholy satisfaction of honouring his remains with a military funeral. The family who naturally courted privacy in their affliction, having reluctantly acceded to the application, the regiment was afsembled in parade order on the 16th day of October & having received the body of their late comrade at his house in Hatton Garden, attended it to the place of internment, the vaults under St Paul's Covent Garden - The charger of the deceased, was led by the Honourable Spencer Percival, one of the earliest and most intimate friends of its late master. Three volleys were fire over the mouth of the fault by a division of the Dismounted, & the Regiment separated, with sincere regret for the lofs of a highly valued officer & an exemplary & accomplished member of Society.
26. Ode to George Downing, 23 Oct 1800.
The following is an ode to George written by an Alston (possibly by George or Samuel his Brothers in Law)?.
To the Memory of George Downing Esq
Who was buried with military honours October 16, 1800.
Ye who departed excellence revere
Approach with silent step this hallowed bier
That bears to mingle with its native dust
A man supremely kind and truly just
Whose powers convivial made e'en sorrow gay
And gave to mirth a more enlivening ray
Such Downing was, Oh, much lamented shade
Accept our homage to thy memory paid!
Yet what avail to thee the pomp of state
Or all the honours of the good or great
No wealth no grandeur can thy life restore
No titles charm thy clay cold bosom more.
Still shall Affection oft with downcast eye
Be'dew the spot where thy bless'd relics lie
Remembrance dwell on scenes of past delight
And mourn thy talents set in endless night
Friendships with generous sympathy combine
And deck with fadeless flowers thy sacred shrine.
Morning Herald X X
the 23 Oct 1800
27. George Downing: Barrister at Law, 1801, Lincolns Inn Fields LND.
Oval aquatint miniature by Spicer in possession of E L Fenn Auckland NZ 1998.
An Engraving of George Downing in contemporary dress, was done by William Ridley from an origional enamelled minature, in the possession of Mrs Downing, by Henry Spicer Esq. and printed by Vernor and Hood, 32 Poultry, London on 20 October 1797. Dimensions: Print: 53 mm x 67 mm
It was published February 1801 in The European Magazine, whose editor James Asperne was an ardent Freemason.
Reproductions of the image of Downing were offered, Asperne described him as "a Man who was fo UNIVERSALLY BELOVED".
Centre image "Published by J Sewell 32 Cornhill March 1 1801"
28. European Magazine: Masonic Lodge Obituary & Reflection on life of Geo Downing, Feb 1801, London.
Liveing Archive IMG 4084 - IMG 4088
GEORGE DOWNING, ESQ.
BARRISTER AT LAW, LIEUTENANT OF THE LICHT HORSE VOLUNTEERS OF LONDON AND WESTMINSTER, AND PROVINCIAL GRAND MASTER OF THE ANCIENT AND HONOURABLE SOCIETY OF FREE AND ACCEPTED MASONS FOR THE COUNTY OF ESSEX.
THE virtues of private life, and the talents that adorn a retired station, are not less worthy of contemplation, and are more likely to be extenlively useful as examples, than even the policy of statesmen, or the exploits of heroes. The late much-lamented subject of this Memoir was the son of the Rev. George Downing, Rector of Ovington, Effex, and was born in London on Christmas Day 1762. After having received a liberal education at the school then kept by Dr Parr, at Stanmore, Mr Downing was articled to Mr Alston, a Solicitor of some eminence at Nayland, in Suffolk. At the expiration of his term he was entered of Lincoln's Inn, and in May 1794 was called to the Bar. Of his profession Mr Downing was a distinguished ornament. He soon perceived, that talents alone, however eminent, without great application, were inadequate to attain either distinction or emolument. Under this impression, he devoted his time almost wholly to study, very frequently consuming the "midnight oil" in short, no man, we believe, ever made himself more a slave (as it is sometimes called) to business than he did. The result was flattering and honourable to him; for, at the time of his death, though, in fact, a young man, he was nearly at the head of his profession in the conveyancing line.
That he had a mind highly cultivated, and warmly attached to polite literature, all who had the happiness of his acquaintance well knew; and we believe some fruits of his little leisure have been laid before the public; but that modesty which was a very diftinguishing trait in his character prevented his assuming the merits of them; and, as they were anonymoully published, we are unable to trace them. One small specimen, however, of his classic taste is in the hands of the Writer of this article, and may not be thought unworthy of being preferved. It is the following extemporaneous Epigram, composed while listening to a voluntary on the organ:
Translated from the Greek (see image opposite) by Dr S Lapidge1.
"By playing sweet melodies on his lyre Orpheus led the foot [of the lady] that had died back to earth for a second time, because Apollo himself had taught him. And God taught you, O honey-sweet one, a stronger song, because you yourself raise those who are still living to Heaven."
Almost the only kind of relaxation from the fatigues of business that Mr. Downing permitted himself to enjoy, he sought in the pleasurable and instructive pursuits of the ancient and honourable Craft of Free and Accepted Masons. The attention which he had paid to the acquisition of knowledge on this subject was soon evinced by the ability with which he illustrated the Lectures in the Grand Stewards and Somerset House Lodges; and which; very soon advanced him to the honourable distinction of Master of those respectable bodies, of which some of the first men in the country are members.
In 1797, the amiable manners of Mr. Downing, not less than his acquirements, called him to be recommended to the notice of his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, Grand Master; who honoured him with the appointment of Provincial Grand Master for the County of Essex ; and he was installed at Chelmsford on the 15th of May in that year, in the presence of a most numerous and respectable assemblage of the Brethren; whom Mr. Downing addressed in nearly the following terms :
The pleasure I derive from taking this chair receives a melancholy alloy from the consideration, that it is occasioned by the death of our late excellent Brother Dunckerley; a man who, for conviviality of disposition, correctness of principles, extent of Masonic knowledge, and readiness of communication, stood, perhaps, unrivalled; and who, by the happy application of there enviable endowments, not only conciliated the affection, but inspired the improvement of the Craft over whom he had the honour to preside. He loved Masonry from his soul: and as his attachment was not the effect of a hasty impression upon a lively imagination, but the result of a long and well-directed scrutiny into the nature and utility of the institution, he seldom failed to communicate a portion of his zeal to those with whom he conversed.
In this county he may be considered to have been the Father of the Craft ; and his death has been accordingly felt with a degree of filial regret a regret which, I am sorry to think, will be increased by a comparison between him and his successor
I confess, Brethren, that when I contrast my own inexperience with his knowledge, and consider that I am going to build on foundations laid by so able an architect, I feel dispirited at what I have undertaken; and find nothing to console me but the reflection, that with the foundation he has left a design of the superstructure, and a number of well instructed Craftsmen to assist me in carrying it on.
From my first initiation into the mysteries of our venerable order, they have been subjects of my continual admiration, and so much on account their antiquity as their moral tendency for though the former may attract enquiry and gratify the research the of the antiquarian, it is the latter which invites the cultivation, gives energy to the exertion, and insures final perseverance of the genuine Freemason. Let us not, however, affect to think lightly of the venerable sanction which our mysteries have acquired by the adoption of successive ages. Of their antiquity there is a sort of evidence which eclipses tradition. The method adopted by the Craft for communicating instruction to their disciples, was in use before the invention of letters. All the learning of the ancient world was conveyed in symbols, and intrenched in mysteries: and surely that is not only the most ancient, but the most impressive vehicle of knowledge, which by applying sensible objects to a figurative use, afford's amusement as well as instruction, and renders even the playfulness of the imagination, that most ungovernable of all the human faculties, instrumental to moral improvement. Those who have made enquiries into the rise and progress of science, have found that, in the early ages, all speculative knowledge was confined to a few, and by them carefully concealed from vulgar curiosity under the veil of mysteries, into which none were initiated, till not only their intellectual capacities, but the firmness of their characters, had been put to a severe test: the result of which determined the degree of probability that they would resist the stratagems of curiosity and the imperious demands of authority. The most famous mysteries on record are those in Perfia, which ,were celebrated in honour of the God Mythra, and those at Eleusis, in Greece in honour of the Goddess Ceres. Many arguments might be adduced to prove, that both there were corruptions, of Freemasionry; and hereafter I shall not want the inclination, if I do want the opportunity, to discuss them. At present, however, I shall content myself with pointing out the similarity which subsists between the initiatory rites practised by the professors of those mysteries and by our Brethren, both ancient and modern; more especially in the allegorical part of their ceremonials.
Here followed an historical detail the ceremonies into the Mythraic and Eleufinian mysteries, and a comparative examination of them with Freemasonry, all which we are induced to omit, for reasons that will readily occur to the Masonic part of our readers: and at the conclusion of this account, the Provincial Grand Master took an opportunity of making some remarks on the practises of different Lodges in England and France, in what is termed making Masons, and then proceeded as follows:
I conceive it to the credit of the English Masons in general, that they are content to make a solemn impression without doing violence to the feelings of the candidate, to awe without intimidation; and we may be bold to affirm, that by how much soever the terror of an initiation into either of the Heathen mysteries above alluded to exceeded the terror of a Masonic examination, by so much, and more, do the moral and social advantages of the latter institution exceed those of the former.
The former, springing from, and of course partaking of; the gross and dark superstition of the time; and countries where they were practised, had for their object the suppression of science, and the increase of superstition. The latter, boasting still higher antiquity, but fortunately originating in a part of the world where the unity of the Divine Being was not obscured by the mists of idolatry, had for its object the increase of knowledge, the worship of one God Eternal, and the admiration of his attributes, by the contemplation or his works. With the votaries of Ceres and Mythra the possession of knowledge was like lightning in the hand of a magician, dazzling indeed in its refulgence, but employed oftener to blast than to illumine: with our ancient Brethren it was like the fun in the midst of the planetary system, spreading forth her genial beams, and communicating light and action to the surrounding planets. For, if credit be due either to tradition or record, the western world is indebted for much of its present knowledge to the liberal communications of our Brethren. In the early ages, the weakness and prejudices of mankind rendered it necessary to conceal many truths, which the progress of civil society, and the consequent expansion of the human faculties, made it prudent to reveal. And though there still secrets which, for very weighty reasons we confine within the circle of the initiated, and sparingly communicate even to them, whatever appeared likely to increase the stock of human happiness, and deemed not dangerous in common hands, our ancient Brethren have generously communicated to the world.
For proofs of the moral tendency of Freemasonry we need only appeal to our lectures, a due attention to which cannot fail of proving highly auxiliary to the practice of religious, and social duties. In them will be found a summary of moral conduct, which, in soundness of principle, and facility of application, may justly vie with the most celebrated systems of ethics: the whole rendered familiar to our conceptions, amusing to our fancies, and impressive on our memories, by easy and opposite symbols. By them we learn the analogy between physical and moral good, to judge of the wisdom of the Creator by the works of the creations and hence we infer, that our wise Master builder, who has planned and completed a habitation so suitable to our wants, so convenient to our enjoyments, during our temporary residence here, has exercised still more wisdom in contriving, more strength in supporting and more beauty in adorning, those internal mansions where he has promised to receive and reward all faithful Masons hereafter.
Thus are our faith and Hope exercised by Masonic studies: but there is a virtue which divine authority has pronounced greater Van Faith and Hope, and to this excellent virtue of charity are our Masonic labours more especially directed. For this is the student reminded " to consider the whole race of mankind as one family, inhabitants of one planet, descended from one common pair of ancestors, and sent into the world for the mutual aid, support, and protection of each other;" and that, as the pale of our society encloses persons of every nation, rank, and opinion, no religious, national, or party prejudices should discover themselves at our meetings; but that, as our Brother Preston very feelingly expresses it, "both hearts and tongues should join in promoting each other's welfare, and rejoicing in each other's prosperity." In a word, that we should not only profess, but practice the three great principles of Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth.
There are some, I well know, who are so little acquainted with our principles and our practices, as to contend, that the whole of Freemasonry conflicts in conviviality. To these we are not afraid to declare, that in this respect we boast only this superiority, that our meetings are not infested with strife and debate: and where this the only distinguishing characteristic of the Brotherhood, the candle of Masonry might be pronounced to sink fast into the socket. But to the honour of modern Masons be it spoken, that an institution has been lately established among ourselves, which, though the latest is perhaps the brightest jewel in the Masonic diadem. You will easily perceive that I allude to our infant Charity in St George's Fields; an institution which resembles the universality of our order, by being confined to know parish, country, or climate; it is enough that the objects are the female issue of deceased or distressed Brethren. A charity, in its design more benevolent, in its selection more judicious, in event more successful, was never established.
Mr Downing concluded with an elegant complement to the Patrons and Officers of the Institution; an appeal to the candour of the Lodge in case he should her in his future government of it; and an assurance of a constant and zealous attention to its interests and welfare.
When the threats of the enemy, and the still more alarming menaces of internal faction, rendered necessary the incorporation of the loyal and brave inhabitants of the kingdom in volunteer corps, Mr Downing enlisted himself under the popular banner of Col Herries, commanding the London Light Horse Volunteers; and his military adder and skill promoted him, by due graduations, to the rank of Senior Lieutenant; which office he held till his death (October 9, 1800), which has been with great truth attributed to the effects of a cold brought on by the seal and exertion which he manifested during the late unfortunate riots, committed under the pretext of the high price of provisions. (The ceremony observed at his funeral was described in our XXXVIIIth volume, p. 319.)
It only remains to observe that in his person Mr Downing was of middle stature; of a somewhat pallid complexion, the consequence, probably, of excessive study; his eyes, however, were remarkably vivacious, and his whole countenance was strongly indicative of intellectual endowments, and of a disposition warm, generous, and kind. His scholastic attainments were great and various; and his judgment was acute and comprehensive. There was scarcely a subject with which he was not in some degree acquainted, nor any branch of literature that he had entirely neglected. The writer of this brief outline is happy in saying, that he never met with companion more entertaining or instructive, or a friend more sincere.
Ref: The European Magazine for February 1801.
1. I believe that there are some errors in the text of this epigram as it is printed in Mr Downing's obituary. I have attempted to correct these errors, and have printed above the text as I believe Mr Downing would have written it, although I have not bothered to include accent marks. S. Lapidge - 2017.
29. Memorial to George Downing, 1801, St Paul Covent Garden London.
MEMORIAL INSCRIPTION FOR GEORGE DOWNING
St Paul Covent Garden
Georgio Downing, Armigero,
Georgii, Canonici Eliensis, et Catherinae, Filio.
Meminisse Iuvat, Dici Vix Potest:
Sed Indole, Ingenio, Moribus,
Fide, Constantia, Mansuetudine,
Summa que Erga Omnes Benevolentia,
Pares Et Paucissimos
Potiorem Invenies Neminem.
In Unaquaque Re Quod Verum Fuit
Avide Arripuit, Hausit, Dilexit, Tenuit.
Christum Qui Veritas Ipsa Est
Cum Vivus Tum Moriens
Togatus Licet Se Libens Armavit
Ad Coercendos Factiosos;
Sed Militiae Laboribus Impar,
Corpore non Animo Victus,
Decessit VII. ID. OCT Anno Salutis MDCCC. Aetatis XXXVIII
In Desiderii Sui Solamen,
"For a very dear brother, Sir George Downing, a most distinguished Barrister, the son of George, Canon of Ely Cathedral, and Catherine. It is sweet to remember, but scarcely possible to say, what he was like. But in his natural ability, talent, character, faith, constancy, and gentleness, and in his unsurpassed goodwill towards all people, you might find a very few men who were his equals - but none who were his betters. In everything he eagerly seized on what is true, drank deep of it, cherished it, and retained it. He embraced Christ who is Truth itself both in his life and as he was dying.
In order to put down civil strife, although he was a private citizen he willingly took up arms; but he was unequal to the burdens of war, and having been overcome in body tho' not in spirit, he died on the 9th October in the year of our Salvation 1800, aged 37.
His grieving sister Frances Elizabeth has erected this monument to her brother as a solace in her grief."
H.M.P., (Hoc Monumentum Posuit - this has laid a memorial.)
Translation courtesy of Dr Stanley Lapidge - 2020
Image Courtesy Rev Simon Grigg
St Paul's Church
Covent Garden - 2020
This website refers to George and his memorial in St Paul Covent Garden London.
The following wording is recorded elsewere as below, but it is noted it varies from the actual wording above.
Epitaph on Memorial to George Downing 1762 - 1800
Georgio Downing Armigero
Iureconsultorum inter primos
Georgio patre nato
In Eliensi Ecclesia Cathedrali
Meminisse iuvat, dicere non licet.
Nam, indole, ingenio, moribus,
Et quod maius fuit
Incorrupta animi integritate
Fide, honestate, constantia, mansuetudine,
Et summa erga omnes benevolentia
Pares haud multos, potiorem invenias neminem.
Carens [?] omni superstitione major
Id quod verum fuit arripuit, hausit, tenuit,
Et in Christo, cuius veritas ipsa est,
Tum vivus, tum moriens requievit.
Hunc primum, hunc unicum, hunc adspexit ultimum
Nequa quam [?] in humanis legibus versaretur
Ipse ad intestinas pestes amovendas
Togatus pro patria miles incessit
Et militia quitus inquetis fuerat laboribus
Imbelles corpus non animum oppressus
Morbo interiit, septimo Id. Octobris
Anno Salutis MDCCC aetatis XXXVII.
vitae demum summa brevis,
Bene actorum sempiterna.
Moerens Soror Francesca Elizabetha
Quod defunctam virtutem
George married Mary ALSTON  [MRIN: 64], daughter of Samuel ALSTON  and Mary VANDERZEE , on 27 Jan 1795 in Nayland SFK. (Mary ALSTON  was born on 6 Jun 1761, baptised on 22 Jun 1761 in Nayland SFK, died on 5 Mar 1842 and was buried on 12 Mar 1842 in St Paul Covent Garden.)