Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Downing, Calybute
DOWNING, CALYBUTE (1606–1644), divine, son of Calybute Downing of Sherrington in Gloucestershire, and of Ann, daughter of Edmund Hoogan of Hackney, was born in 1606, became a commoner of Oriel College, Oxford, in 1623, and proceeded B. A. in 1626; he then left Oxford and would seem to have been curate at Quainton, Buckinghamshire, where on 2 Dec. 1627 he married Margaret, the daughter of Richard Brett, D.D. [q. v.], rector of Quainton. Entries of the death of Downing's mother in 1630, and of the births of a son and three daughters in 1628-30-1 and 1636, are in the register at Quainton. In 1630, having entered at Peterhouse, Cambridge, he proceeded M.A., and in 1637 LL. D. In 1632 he was made rector of Ickford, Buckinghamshire, and about the same time of West Ilsley, Berkshire, and was an unsuccessful competitor against Dr Gilbert Sheldon for the wardenship of All Souls' College, Oxford. He published at Oxford in 1632 'A Discourse of the State Ecclesiastical of this Kingdom in relation to the Civil;' this he dedicates to William, earl of Salisbury, signing himself 'Your observant Chaplaine.' A second edition appeared in 1634. In 1637 he resigned West Ilsley for the vicarage of Hackney, London. According to Wood, he 'was a great suitor to be chaplain to Thomas, earl of Strafford, lord-lieutenant of Ireland, thinking that employment the readiest way to be a bishop; and whilst he had hopes of that preferment, he writ stoutly in justification of that calling;' but by 1640 he had changed his views, and in a sermon preached before the Artillery Company of London on 1 Sept. of that year he affirmed that for defence of religion and reformation of the church it was lawful to take up arms against the king. 'A Letter from Mercurius Civicus to Mercurius Rusticus,' published in 1643, declares that Downing was instigated on this occasion by the puritan leaders 'to feele the pulse of the Citty,' and that after preaching the sermon he retired privately to the house of the Earl of Warwick at Little Lees, Essex, 'the common randevous of all schysmaticall preachers.' Wood adds that he became chaplain to Lord Robartes's regiment in the Earl of Essex's army. On 31 Aug. 1642 he preached a fast sermon before the House of Commons, in consequence of an order made in the previous July; and on 20 June 1643 he was appointed by parliament one of the licensers of books of divinity. Wood states further that in 1643 he took the covenant and was made one of the assembly of divines, but left them and sided with the independents. He resigned Hackney in 1643, and died suddenly in 1644. Besides the treatise and sermons already mentioned, he published: 1. 'A Discoverie of the False Grounds the Bavarian party have layd, to settle their own Faction and to shake the Peace of the Empire, considered in the Case of the Deteinure of the Prince Elector Palatine, his Dignities and Dominions, with a Discourse upon the Interest of England in that Cause,' 1641; this is dedicated to the House of Commons. 2. 'Considerations towards a Peaceable Reformation in Matters Ecclesiastical,' 1641. 3. 'The Cleere Antithesis, or Diametrall Opposition betweene Presbytery and Prelacy; wherein is apparently demonstrated whether Government be most consonant and agreeable to the Word of God,' 1644.
[A Letter from Mercurius Civicus to Mercurius Rusticus, Brit. Mus. Library; Lipscomb's Buckinghamshire, i. 282, 435 (but Ann Brett is wrongly stated to be Downing's mother on p. 282); Athenae Oxon., ed. Bliss, iii. 105 (but Wood quotes from pp. 81-2 of the third part of T. Edwards's Gangraena a story of Master Downing, which in Edwards's book is dated 1646, which makes us suspect that the third CalybuteDowning, baptised at Quainton 1628, may have been confounded by Wood with his father, the vicar of Hackney); Newcourt's Repertorium, i. 620; Fosbroke's Gloucestershire, ii. 536; Robinson's Hackney, ii. 158; Laud's Works (Lib. of Anglo-Cath. Theol.), iv. 298; Commons' Journals, vols. ii. and iii.]
DOWNING, Sir GEORGE (1623?–1684), soldier and politician, son of Emmanuel Downing of the Inner Temple, afterwards of Salem, Massachusetts, and of Lucy, sister of Governor John Winthrop, was born probably in August 1623 (Life of John Winthrop, i. 186; Sibley, Biographical Sketches of Graduates of Harvard College, p. 583). In Burke's ‘Extinct Baronetage’ and Wood's ‘Athenæ Oxonienses’ he is wrongly described as the son of Dr. Calybute Downing [q. v.] George Downing and his parents went out to New England in 1638, on the invitation of John Winthrop, and he completed his education at Harvard College, of which he was the second graduate (Sibley, p. 28). On 27 Dec. 1643 Downing was appointed to teach the junior students in the college. In 1645 he sailed to the West Indies, apparently as a ship's chaplain, preached at Barbadoes and other places, and finally reached England (ib. p. 30). In England he is said to have become chaplain to Okey's regiment (Ludlow, Memoirs, ed. 1751, p. 377), but his name does not appear in the lists of the New Model. In the summer of 1650 Downing suddenly appears acting as scout-master-general of Cromwell's army in Scotland. Numerous letters written by him in that capacity are to be found in ‘Mercurius Politicus’ and other newspapers of the period, also in the ‘Old Parliamentary History,’ among the Tanner MSS., and in Cary's ‘Memorials of the Civil War.’ After the war he was engaged in the settlement of Scotland, and Emmanuel Downing, probably his father, became in 1655 clerk to the council of Scotland (Thurloe, iii. 423). Downing's rise was much forwarded by his marriage with Frances, fourth daughter of Sir W. Howard of Naworth, Cumberland, and sister of Colonel Charles Howard, afterwards Earl of Carlisle. This marriage, which took place in 1654, is celebrated by Payne Fisher in a poem contained in his ‘Inauguratio Olivariana,’ 1654. In 1657 Downing is described as receiving 365l. as scout-master and 500l. as one of the tellers of the exchequer (‘A Narrative of the late Parliament,’ Harleian Miscellany, ed. Park, iii. 454). Downing was a member of both the parliaments called by Cromwell; in that of 1654 he represented Edinburgh (Old Parliamentary History, xx. 306),and in that of 1656 he was elected both for Carlisle and for the Haddington group of boroughs (Names of Members returned to serve in Parliament, 1878, p. 506). In the latter parliament he was loud in his complaints against the Dutch; ‘they are far too politic for us in point of trade, and do eat us out in our manufactures’ (Burton, Diary, i. 181). He was also distinguished by his zeal against James Naylor (ib. i. 60, 217), but above all by a speech which he made on 19 Jan. 1657 in favour of a return to the old constitution: ‘I cannot propound a better expedient for the preservation both of his highness and the people than by establishing the government upon the old and tried foundation’ (ib. i. 363). He thus headed the movement for offering the crown to Cromwell. But Downing's chief services during the protectorate were in the execution of Cromwell's foreign policy. In 1655, when the massacre of the Vaudois took place, Downing was despatched to France to represent Cromwell's indignation to Louis XIV, and also to make further remonstrances at Turin (credentials dated 29 July 1655, MASSON, Milton, v. 191). An account of his interview with Mazarin is given in the ‘Thurloe Papers’ (iii. 734), and many references to his mission are contained in Vaughan's ‘Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell’ (1838, i. 227, 260, 266). Downing was recalled in September 1655 before reaching Turin (Thurloe, iv. 31). More important was Downing's appointment to be resident at the Hague, which took place in December 1657 (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1657–8, p. 222). The post was valuable, being worth 1,000l. a year, and he continued to occupy it until the Restoration (for his letters of credence, vide Susan, Milton, v. 378). He was charged with the general duty of urging the Dutch to promote a union of all the protestant powers (see his propositions in Mercurius Politicus, 11–18 Feb. 1657–8), also with the task of mediating between Portugal and Holland and between Sweden and Denmark (Thurloe, vi. 759, 790–818). At the same time he actively urged the grievances of English merchants against the Dutch, and kept Thurloe well informed of the movements of the exiled royalists (ib. vi. 835, vii. 91). In Richard Cromwell's attempt to intervene between Denmark and Sweden Downing played an important and a difficult part (ib. vii. 520–32). He was reappointed to his post in Holland by the Rump in June 1659, and again in January 1660 (Whitelocke, f. 681; Kennett, Register, p. 23). This gave him opportunity to make his peace with Charles II, which he effected early in April 1660 through Thomas Howard (Carte, Original Letters and Papers, ii. 319–22). Howard, who was