Canning. I. George, a British statesman, born in London, April 11, 1770, died at Chiswick, Aug. 8, 1827. His father, a London barrister of an ancient family, was disinherited upon his marriage with Miss Mary Anne Costello in 1768, and died shortly before the birth of his son. His mother went upon the stage, where she met with little success. He was sent to Eton at the expense of his uncle, Stratford Canning, a London merchant, father of Stratford Canning, afterward Viscount Stratford de Redcliffe. He manifested decided literary talent, wrote a poem on the " Slavery of Greece," and edited the "Microcosm," a school periodical. From Eton he went in 1787 to Christ Church, Oxford, where he gained several prizes for Latin poetry, and took a high position as an orator. From Oxford he went to Lincoln's Inn to study for the bar; but by the advice of Sheridan, Burke, Fox, Grey, and other whigs, he turned his attention to politics, coming out, however, as a tory, and entering parliament (1793) under the auspices of Pitt. He did not address the house till the following year (January, 1794), when he at once made a marked impression.
In 1796 he took office as under secretary of state; in 1797 he began with others the publication of the political paper, the " Anti-Jacobin; " in 1798 he engaged in Wilberforce's plan for the abolition of the slave trade; in 1799 he was appointed one of the commissioners for managing the affairs of India; in 1800 he married Joanna, youngest daughter of Gen. John Scott, with a fortune of £100,000; and in 1801, on the dissolution of Pitt's cabinet, he retired from office. On Pitt's return to office in 1804 he was made treasurer of the navy. After a brief retirement in 1806, occasioned by the death of Pitt, he reappeared in office in 1807, as secretary of state for foreign affairs, in the duke of Portland's cabinet, and distinguished himself by his state papers. In 1809 he was involved in a quarrel with one of his colleagues, Lord Castlereagh, which led to a duel, and afterward to the resignation of both and the dissolution of the cabinet. During the session of 1812 he advocated the Catholic emancipation bill, introduced by Mr. Grattan. After parliament was dissolved in 1812 he was returned from Liverpool, and again in 1814, 1818, and 1820. In 1814 he was sent as ambassador to Portugal; in 1816 he became president of the board of control; and in 1820, to avoid participating in the trial of Queen Caroline, he resigned his place and travelled upon the continent.
In 1822 he was named governor general of India, and was preparing to leave England, when the suicide of Lord Castlereagh recalled him to the post of secretary of state for foreign affairs (Sept. 16, 1822). While in this position, in 1825, in defiance of the policy of the holy alliance, he resolved to recognize the independence of, and open diplomatic intercourse with, the several South American republics, and soon carried his intention into effect. In 1827 he was made premier, but when the appointment was announced Lord Chancellor Eldon, the duke of Wellington, Lord Bexley, Viscount Melville, Robert Peel, and others, resigned, and compelled him to solicit an alliance with the whigs. He was supported by Mr. Brougham, Sir Francis Burdett, and Mr. Tierney, but had to sustain a most formidable opposition. Declaring himself, finally, inimical to parliamentary reform, and to the repeal of the test and corporation acts, he was left without a party, and it was the vigor of his foreign policy alone which kept him in position. He spoke for the last time on June 27, 1827, and the next month signed the treaty between England, France, and Russia, for the settlement of the affairs of Greece. He then retired for a change of air to the duke of Devonshire's villa at Chiswick, where he died.
He was buried in Westminster abbey, his tomb being close by that of Pitt. His oratorical abilities were of a high order, and his poetical talent not inconsiderable. Among his more marked speeches were one against making peace with the French republic (1798); several in defence of the ex-ministry (1801-'5); in favor of Catholic emancipation (1812); in favor of the recognition of the new governments in Spanish South America (1825-'6); and against the repeal of the test and corporation acts (1827). His "Speeches," with a memoir by R. Therry, have been published (6 vols. 8vo, London, 1828); and his poems, which are remarkable for wit and point, are given in the " Poetry of the Anti-Jacobin " (enlarged ed., London, 1854 and 1858). II. Charles John, viscount and earl, a British statesman, son of the preceding, born at Brompton, Dec. 14, 1812, died in London, June 17, 1862. He was educated at Christ Church, Oxford, where in 1833 he took a first class in classics and a second class in mathematics. In 1836 he represented Warwick in the house of commons; and in March, 1837, after his mother's death (on whom the peerage was conferred in 1828), he took his seat in the house of lords as Viscount Canning. In 1841 he was made under secretary of state for foreign affairs, and in 1842 chief commissioner of woods and forests.
He took a prominent part in the great industrial exhibition of 1851, and in 1853 became postmaster general, with a seat in the cabinet, under the Aberdeen administration. On the resignation of Lord Dalhousie in 1855 he was appointed governor general of India. The sepoy mutiny broke out during his administration, and he was as much censured for his leniency at the beginning of the outbreak as for his severity afterward. His proclamation confiscating the lands of the talookdars of Oude elicited a strong condemnatory counter-despatch from Lord Ellenborough, president of the board of control, and was vetoed by the home government. His subsequent conciliatory course did so much toward the pacification of India, that in April, 1859, he received the thanks of both houses of parliament. He was raised to the earldom of Canning, May 21, 1859, and was made knight of the garter, May 21, 1862. He died without issue, and the title became extinct. In 1871 a statue of him, by Foley, was erected in Westminster abbey.
HI. Stratford. See Stratford de Redcliffe.