George Canning


Great things had been predicted from George Canning and his early career showed much promise. He had been an earlier follower of Pitt the Younger and sympathised with many of his leads. In 1807, Canning became a young Foreign Secretary and made headway with dismantling Napoleon's Continental System with the seizure of the Danish fleet from under the noses of Copenhagen's defences. However, he would fall out with Castlereagh over troop displacements and even ended up fighting a duel over the matter.

He later replaced his old rival as Foreign Secretary in Lord Liverpool's government after Castlereagh's suicide in 1822. Once again, he made a successful Foreign Secretary, especially in preventing South America from falling into French hands.

Canning finally replaced the venerable Liverpool as PM on 10 April 1827, and set about forming a coalition with the Whigs under Lord Lansdowne. But on 8 August 1827, Canning suddenly died from pneumonia at Chiswick House, after spending barely five months in office. He has come to be regarded by some as a 'lost leader', with much speculation about what would have happened had he lived.


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