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English George DOWNING

Anglo-Irish preacher, soldier, statesman, diplomat, turncoat and spy

Source :  Tim DOWLING

Born: on August 01, 1623 in Dublin, Ireland
Died: on July 07, 1684 in Cambridgeshire, England, United Kingdom


He was the son of Emmanuel Downing, a barrister of the Inner Temple in London, and of Lucy Winthrop, who married in April 1622. He was born likely in London in 1625, while others list his birthplace circa 1624 in Dublin. His mother was the younger sister of Massachusetts Bay Governor John Winthrop.

In 1636, he was in school in Maidstone, Kent. His family joined Winthrop in America in 1638, settling in Salem, Massachusetts. Downing attended Harvard College and was one of nine students in the first graduating class of 1642. He was hired by Harvard as the college's first tutor. In 1645 he sailed for the West Indies with slaves in tow, as a preacher and instructor of the seamen, and arrived in England some time afterwards, becoming chaplain to Colonel John Okey's regiment (who had originally sponsored Downing's education in America).

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