Canning, George (1770–1827)

Contributor to the Anti-Jacobin, 1797–1798, and parodist there of Southey’s radical ballads. A Pittite in politics, Canning was Foreign Secretary 1807 until 1809, when he lost office after fighting a duel with another minister. In this capacity, he signed a treaty providing for the removal of the Portuguese court to Brazil, and sent British troops to the peninsula, though more tardily and in smaller numbers than Southey wished. The Convention of Cintra and the retreat to Corunna were setbacks in the peninsular war for which he was held partly responsible. Canning was a major influence on the politics of the Quarterly Review, sometimes in ways that Southey disliked, and he suspected Canning of preventing the Quarterly opposing Catholic Emancipation. However, the two men were on relatively friendly terms and Canning visited Southey at Keswick in 1814 before he left to be Ambassador to Portugal, 1814–1816. From 1822 to April 1827 Canning was again Foreign Secretary, and from April to August 1827, Prime Minister.

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