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Deering, George Charles (DNB00)


DEERING, GEORGE CHARLES (1695?–1749), botanist, was born in Saxony, educated at Hamburg and Leyden, and came to London in 1713 as secretary to Baron Schach, envoy extraordinary to Queen Anne from Czar Peter. He remained in this country as a tutor till November 1718, then he married, and three days afterwards returned to the continent, where he took his degree at Rheims, 13 Dec. 1718, according to his diploma now in the British Museum; he is also stated to have taken a degree at Leyden. Thence he proceeded to Paris, studying anatomy and botany under Bernard de Jussieu. In August 1719 he came back to England, and having a strong bias towards the study of botany, he became a member of the society established by Dillenius and Professor John Martyn, which existed from 1721 to 1726.

In 1736, having lost his wife while living in London, he thought to improve his position by removing to Nottingham, with a letter of recommendation from Sloane. Two years after his removal he published a list of Nottingham plants which he had observed in the neighbourhood, and in some of the cryptogams he had been aided by his countryman Dillenius, then Sherardian professor at Oxford, who afterwards acknowledged the help received from Deering in the preface to his classical work, the noble ‘Historia Muscorum.’ At first Deering was successful in his practice, and issued a small tract on his method of treating the small-pox; but an unfortunate temper seems to have interfered with his duties, and afterwards seriously reduced his former good fortune to something like poverty. He was made ensign, 29 Oct. 1745, in the Nottingham foot regiment, raised on account of the Young Pretender's advance, but the appointment was more of honour than profit. By the good office of friends, the materials collected by John Plumptre for a history of Nottingham were placed in his hands. These he prepared for publication, and the work appeared posthumously as ‘Nottinghamia Vetus et Nova.’ Throughout his life he had suffered much from gout, in late life he became asthmatical, and sank under the complications of disease and a state of dependence, which his spirit could not endure. He died 12 April 1749, and was buried in St. Peter's churchyard, Nottingham, opposite the house he lived in. His name is commemorated by the genus Deeringia of Robert Brown.

[R. Pulteney's Sketches, ii. 257–64; Nichols's Illustr. i. 211, 220; Nouvelle Biographie Générale, xiii. 348.]

B. D. J.