It was not the purpose of Canning that things should come to such a pass as that. His sympathies went with the cause of Greek independence; but he dreaded the risk of a European war; and he could not tell where the leadership of Russia in such a struggle might end. Therefore, he arranged and concluded a treaty in which Russia and France with England had a share, and the avowed object of which was that each of these great Powers should send some of her battleships into Greek waters, in order, if we may put it so, to see fair play - in more serious words, to take care that Turkey was not allowed to push her successes to the utter ruin of Greece. In the meantime, the principal fighting on the Turkish side was done by Ibrahim Pasha, the adopted son of Mohammed Ali, who governed Egypt as a vassal Sovereign under the Sultan of Turkey. Ibrahim Pasha was a man of something like genius and of great fighting power. The Turkish and the Egyptian navies were concentrating their forces against the Greek shores. Admiral Sir Edward Codrington was in command of the English battleships. Accidents are always happening in such cases; and somehow or other it came about that the English, French, and Russian ships of war made a swoop on the vessels of Turkey and Egypt. Now, there is a story told concerning this "untoward event," as it was afterwards described in a formal document - a story which may not be actually true, but which was in wide circulation " Go It, Ned ! " at the time and for long after, and it is at all events too good to be lost altogether. The story was to the effect that the English Government drew up a despatch addressed to Sir Edward Codrington and recommending, according to the formal diplomatic fashion, that he should use extreme caution, not allow rashness ever to prevail over prudence, and so forth; and that this document was forwarded to Admiral Codrington by the Duke of Clarence, brother of George IV., and at that time Lord High Admiral; and that the Duke scribbled in pencil with his own hand, at the end of the despatch, the three words, "Go it, Ned!" Whether the story be true or not, it is certain that "Ned," Admiral Codrington that is, did go it, and that on the 20th of October, 1827, the Turkish and Egyptian war vessels were swept off the seas, and the Sultan had to consent to the establishment of Greece as a separate kingdom. Canning, however, did not live to see this sudden triumph of his policy; he died before the Battle of Navarino, that famous unexpected battle by which the independence of Greece was accomplished.
Lord Byron. (1788-1824).
Canning's health had been failing of late years. He was now the constant object of the bitterest attacks made by the Tories in both Houses of Parliament. He began to feel the force of these attacks more than he would have done in his younger and more elastic years. Especially he felt the attacks when they were made in the House of Lords, and were made by men of intellect and influence - by Lord Grey, for example, who was certainly not a Tory, and who agreed in opinion with Canning on many subjects, but who lent the weight of his eloquence and his power to the Tory attacks for no other reason, apparently, than because Canning did not go so far in the liberalism of domestic politics as Lord Grey would have wished him to go. Canning,too,found a difficulty in answering Lord Grey and other assailants among the Peers, because Canning, of course, was in the House of Commons, and it was not the usage, and is not the usage still, for a member of one House to reply directly to a speech made in the other. Canning, as we have said already, was, even at the opening of his career when he was young and strong, too sensitive for his own happiness; and now, when he was sinking into years, he felt hardly able to bear up against the attacks to which he could scarcely even offer a reply. In companionship with his friend Huskisson he set to work to remodel the financial system of England. The modes in which taxation was imposed, whether by Customs Duties or Inland Duties, seemed to Canning and Huskisson to be utterly antiquated and unsuitable to modern days, cumbrous in their workings and miserably barren in their results. Up to Canning's time there was nothing that might be called a scientific principle or even a scientific theory about the imposition of Duties and the levying of taxation. There were Financial Ministers, even in Canning's time, who if on some sudden emergency a double amount of Revenue was needed, had no other idea of how to get at it than by simply doubling the amount of some particular tax. It did not seem to have occurred to them that there are limits beyond which you cannot tax any particular class of persons, and that it is always open to a citizen to do without some article altogether rather than pay too high a price for it. Either you must levy on articles of necessity or on articles of luxury. If you put too heavy a tax upon articles of luxury, most people will go without them and save their money. If you put too heavy a tax on articles of necessity, as on food, for instance, a great many people will starve and die,or else there will be an uprising in the land. Many of England's greatest troubles, after the peace that followed on the fall of Napoleon, were caused by the struggles of men whom the fear of starvation had driven into insurrection. Such systems of taxation, if pressed too far, would have helped to bring about a revolution in England, as they had already done in France. Canning and Huskisson set them-selves to reduce this hideous financial chaos into order; and to establish something like a scientific principle, a sound economic principle, in the arrangements of taxation.
Canning and Huskisson were close friends; they had come into political life and into power about the same time; they both, alike, could see beyond the economics of their age; they were both alike hated and denounced because they had made their way into high ministerial office by the force of intellect and capacity, without family influence and without Royal patronage. Huskisson, as well as Canning, was commonly called an adventurer by his political enemies, simply because, although he came of a good family, he had not had aristocratic patronage or Court favour to help him on his way. These two men, then, worked together; and had many a trying time of it together. Canning's mind was made anxious, towards the close of his career, by his strong conviction that the question of Catholic Emancipation would soon have to be dealt with in a sense favourable to the Catholic claims. On this point the Duke of Wellington and he parted company. Wellington was then unbending in his opposition to the Catholic claims, although, as we shall see before long, his influence was destined to be final in securing the concession of those claims. But at the time to which -we have now arrived, Wellington would not give way, and Canning would not give way. Canning pleaded powerfully in the House of Commons for the claims of the Catholics, and Wellington resigned his office as Prime Minister. There was a complete break-up of the Cabinet. Peel followed the lead of Wellington; and a new Ministry had to be constructed. Canning was, under all the circumstances, what Lord Palmerston at a later day described himself to be, the inevitable man. Lord Eldon, of course, resigned his place as Lord Chancellor; he was always resigning or threatening to resign; but now that Canning appeared to be the inevitable Prime Minister, he turned the threat into a reality. Canning was entrusted by the King with the task of forming an Administration. The King was not very willing to make the offer, but there was practically no alternative; and therefore Canning became Prime Minister. His friend Huskisson had stood by his side in the stand he made upon the Catholic claims; and Huskisson now stood by his side in the new Administration.