George Canning

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Canning, George,

1770–1827, British statesman. Canning was converted to Toryism by the French Revolution, became a disciple of William Pitt, and was his undersecretary for foreign affairs (1796–99). To bring ridicule upon English radicals and Whigs who favored the Revolution, he contributed numerous articles to the Anti-Jacobin (1797–98). During the war against Napoleon I, he served as treasurer of the navy (1804–6) and was foreign minister (1807–9). He exerted great influence in military affairs, planning the seizure of the Danish fleet at Copenhagen (1807) and supporting British intervention in Spain and Portugal (see Peninsular WarPeninsular War,
1808–14, fought by France against Great Britain, Portugal, Spanish regulars, and Spanish guerrillas in the Iberian Peninsula. Origin and Occupation
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). However, he quarreled with Lord CastlereaghCastlereagh, Robert Stewart, 2d Viscount
, 1769–1822, British statesman, b. Ireland. Entering the Irish Parliament in 1790 and the British Parliament in 1794, he was acting chief secretary for Ireland at the time
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, and after a duel, in which Canning was wounded, both resigned from the ministry. He later served (1816–20) as president of the board of control for India, resigning in protest against the government's prosecution of Queen Caroline. Recalled to the foreign office after Castlereagh's suicide (1822), he reversed previous policy toward the Holy AllianceHoly Alliance,
1815, agreement among the emperors of Russia and Austria and the king of Prussia, signed on Sept. 26. It was quite distinct from the Quadruple Alliance (Quintuple, after the admission of France) of Great Britain, Russia, Austria, and Prussia, arrived at first in
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, refusing to cooperate in the suppression of European revolutions. He protested the decisions of the Congress of VeronaVerona, Congress of,
1822, at Verona, Italy, the last European conference held under the provisions of the Quadruple Alliance of 1814. The main problem discussed was the revolution in Spain against Ferdinand VII, and the congress decided that a French army, under mandate of the
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 (1822) and, although unable to prevent French intervention in Spain, later sent an army to Portugal to foil absolutist intervention there. His policies toward the Spanish colonies in America, whose independence he recognized, led to the promulgation of the Monroe DoctrineMonroe Doctrine,
principle of American foreign policy enunciated in President James Monroe's message to Congress, Dec. 2, 1823. It initially called for an end to European intervention in the Americas, but it was later extended to justify U.S.
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. He arranged the French-Russian-British agreement, which, after his death, resulted in Greek independence. After the resignation of Lord Liverpool, Canning became (Apr., 1827) prime minister, but he died four months later.


See biography by W. Hinde (1973, repr. 1989); studies by D. Marshall (1938), C. A. Petrie (2d ed. 1946), H. W. V. Temperley (1925, repr. 1966, and 1905, repr. 1968).

Canning, George


Born Apr. 11, 1770, in London; died Aug. 8, 1827, in Chiswick. British statesman, Tory.

Canning graduated from Oxford University in 1791. He was elected to Parliament in 1793. From 1796 to 1799 he was undersecretary of state for foreign affairs in the cabinet of W. Pitt the Younger. He was foreign secretary from 1807 to 1809. A strong opponent of Napoleonic France, he conducted a policy of actively supporting Spain with financial, diplomatic, and military aid. From 1814 to 1816 he was ambassador to Portugal. He supported the repressive measures of the Liverpool government against the democratic movement in Britain; at the same time he headed the so-called Left Tories, who came out for certain concessions to the industrial bourgeoisie. In 1822 he became an influential member of Liverpool’s cabinet, in which he was foreign secretary. He succeeded in carrying through certain reforms (lowering the duties on grain and raw materials, facilitating the export of industrial goods, easing some criminal laws). In 1823 he condemned the French intervention in Spain and supported the British government’s recognition of the independence of the former Spanish colonies in Latin America. He supported the autonomy of Greece, where in 1821 an uprising had broken out against the Turkish yoke. In April 1827 he became prime minister.

Canning was an energetic and flexible director of British foreign policy. Expressing the aspirations of the English bourgeoisie for the establishment of hegemony in Europe and in world markets, he adopted a policy of opposition to the policies of the continental powers of the Holy Alliance.


Speeches, vols. 1–6. London, 1828.


Tarle, E. V. “Angliiskaia godovshchina: 1827–1902.” Soch., vol. 1. Moscow, 1957.
Petrie, C. George Canning, 2nd ed. London, 1946.
References in periodicals archive ?
BETWEEN GEORGE Canning, a self-made man with a burning ambition and a talent for mocking verse, who saw himself as Pitt's natural successor, and Viscount Castlereagh, a man of more gentlemanly nature, it was strictly personal.
George Canning, British Statesman and Prime Minister said that "indecision and delays are the parents of failure.
Monroe and Adams issued the statement in 1823 after rejecting a proposal by British Foreign Secretary George Canning suggesting a joint declaration to the Holy Alliance that all European intervention in the New World would be prohibited.
If Mr Brown calls an election and loses, he'll be the next shortest-lived Prime Minister in history after George Canning - who didn't even call it wrongly.
1770: George Canning, British Prime Minister who died after only a few months in office.
George Canning said his 89-year-old wife Mabel suffered a fall outside her house 10 days ago because of the dangerous pavement - an accident which had since confined her to the house.
Furthermore there was Pitt's reputation for incorruptibility, his capacity for mastering minute detail, his ability to spot coming men of talent such as Lord Castlereagh and George Canning, Admiral Nelson and Arthur Wellesley (later the Duke of Wellington), and his heroic willingness to put the interests of his country before his own physical well-being.
Although he shunned public attention and had little personal ambition, Croker ranked with Robert Peel, George Canning, and his Whig rival Henry Brougham as one of the leading debaters in the Commons.
There is an obvious historical resonance in Rumsfeld's remarks: one of the Eight was Portugal, and it was in discussing Portugal's affairs in the Commons in December 1825 that British Foreign Secretary George Canning made his famous claim, "I have called the New World into existence, to redress the balance of the Old.
Carol Phillips of Hodge Hill, whose mum Lily Robinson attends the George Canning Day Centre in Ward End, said she was shocked the service users were among the last to know.
So, if the entrance hall which features JH Amshewitz's 1909 frescoes fails to impress, the landing on which George Canning stands appearing not grand enough, or the Hall of Remembrance found lacking in inspiration, rest assured the historian's anecdotes will prove a treasure trove of information on the repeated remodelling of the ever more grandiose building.
Still, when George Canning died suddenly in office in August 1827, Goderich was a decent compromise candidate to fill his boots.