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Canning Right Hon Georg

Canning, Right Hon. George, statesman, was born in 1770 in London. His father was the disinherited son of an Irish country gentleman, and, coming to London in 1757, settled down to a literary career, dying a year after the birth of his only son. George was adopted by his uncle, Mr. Stratford Canning, a city banker, and father of Lord Stratford de Redcliffe, and was educated at Eton and Oxford. In 1793 he was returned to Parliament for Newport, Isle of Wight, as a supporter of Pitt, and in 1796 became Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, projecting in the following year The Anti-Jacobin, ever remembered on account of Canning's Needy Knife Grinder, a satirical poem in which he ridiculed the "New Philosophy," promulgated by the French Republicans. In 1800 he married Miss Joanna Scott, sister to the Duchess of Portland, and herself a lady of fortune. In 1807 he became Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in the Portland ministry. Through some misunderstanding he engaged in a duel with Lord Castlereagh, the Secretary for War, and was wounded, the quarrel leading to his withdrawal from the government. In 1822 the suicide of Lord Castlereagh enabled Canning to resume office, and he again became Foreign Minister and leader of the House of Commons. He is regarded as the greatest Foreign Minister England has yet had since Chatham. In 1827 he became Prime Minister, but his health broke down, and on August 8th he died. He was buried near Pitt, in Westminster Abbey. Besides being distinguished as a statesman, Canning holds a high place amongst orators.