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Canning, George

Subject History

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405189224.2011.x


(1770–1827), British Foreign Secretary (1807–9, 1822–7) and Prime Minister (April-August 1827). Witty and intelligent, but also arrogant and acerbic, Canning entered the Commons in 1793 and served under Pitt the Younger in a variety of offices. He then followed his patron into political exile in 1801, after George III had blocked Catholic emancipation (see catholicism ). He returned to office as foreign secretary in 1807, pursuing a bold and energetic policy against napoleon i , but resigned after the notorious duel with castlereagh in 1809. Jealousy of the latter kept him out of office for almost a decade. He was on the point of sailing to India in 1822 as governor-general when Castlereagh's suicide led to his recall to the Foreign Office. While regarding the congress system as involving an excessively intrusive engagement with Europe, Canning was particularly instrumental in gaining Russia's recognition of Greek autonomy (see greek war of independence ). He also pursued policies aimed at furthering British economic and strategic interests overseas, notably in Latin America. On Liverpool's resignation in 1827 he was asked to form a government. His appointment split the Tory party, with wellington , Peel, and a substantial number of others refusing to serve because of his support for Catholic emancipation. He therefore turned to the Whigs for support, while keeping the divisive ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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