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soon distinguished himself; and in the year 1786, was one of the senior scholars. At this time the Eton boys rendered themselves celebrated by the publication of a periodical work, called The Microcosm, which was formed by an association of four individuals, who all contributed to it under the signatures of A. B. C. and D. The papers designated by A. were furnished by Mr. John Smith, afterwards of King's College, Cambridge ; those signed B. were written by Mr. Canning; C. was the signature of Mr. Robert Smith, and D. of Mr. John Frere. There were also a few papers contributed by Lord Henry Spencer, Capel Lofft, Mr. B. Way, and Mr. Littlehales. This publication came out weekly, and was limited to forty numbers, of which Mr. Canning, then only fifteen years of age, furnished twelve, being the greatest number contributed by any one person. In the papers distinguished by his mark, the promise of that superiority which has been since matured, is clearly discoverable. Pungent raillery and keen ridicule, irony, sarcasm, and satire,
“ All the edge tools of eloquence and wit," ---such as he brandishes now with equal power and playfulness, were to be augured from these productions. In No. 7, there is a poem contributed by Mr. Canning “ On the Slavery of Greece," which would do credit to any age, and cannot but be considered as showing great and extraordinary poetical power in a boy of fifteen. After describing what Greece has been, and dwelling with fervor upon the ancient glories of that fallen empire, he proceeds thus--
" This was thy state ! But, oh! how chang'd thy fame,
Thy sons (sad change !) in abject bondage sigh ;
The day of labor, night's sad sleepless hour,
Disastrous fate I still tears will fill the eye,
And spreads a tempest of destruction round.” But the most marked peculiarity in Mr. Canning's papers, is the intimate knowledge of the world which they display. It has been often remarked as surprising, that Sheridan should have been able at an early age to write his “School for Scandal,” in which there is shown an extremely intimate acquaintance with the deceitfulness of mankind: but the wonder is greater how a school boy of fifteen should have been so acute and accurate an observer-should have seen so clearly “ through the deeds of men,” as it is evident was the case with the author of these papers. The human heart is laid open by him, and follies and vices are ridiculed and satirised in a social, playful, witty, and in many instances, in a very powerful manner.
In 1788, on his removal from Eton, Mr. Canning was entered of Christ Church, Oxford, where he completed his necessary residence and graduated. At the university he acquired considerable celebrity for the elegance of his latin poetry, and the beauty and brilliancy of his declamations. Whilst there, he also formed an acquaintance with several young men of rank, amongst whom was Mr. Jenkinson, now Lord Liverpool, who was studying at Oxford at that time.Having obtained his bachelor's degree, Mr. Canning left the university, and entered himself a student of the Middle Temple, of which his father had formerly been a member, with intent to study the law. At the same time also he obtained admission to a debating society which used to meet in Bond-street, and by his practice there acquired an ease and facility in public speaking to which much of his subsequent success is owing. His legal studies were not we believe pursued with any very great assiduity-his, manpers formed him for society, and much of his time was spent amongst his school and college companions. It is also said that he at that time was very intimate with Sheridan and Fox, his acquaintance with whom was formed at the table of his uncle, who was a strenuous supporter of Wilkes, and a determined anti-Pittite. In these latter circumstances Canning was always opposed to his uncle; the political bias which he had early formed in favor of Mr. Pitt was cherished by his acquaintance with Mr. Jenkinson, and more particularly by an introduction to the Minister him. self. Pitt was so struck with the talents which the youthful statesman displayed, that he determined to bring him into parliament; and in order to effect that end, induced Sir Richard Worsley to vacate his
seat for Newport, in the Isle of Wight, by which means Mr. Canning, in the year 1793, and at the age of twenty-two, made his debât in the House of Commons. The great expectations which Pitt entertained from the eloquence of his juvenile friend were increased by Mr. Sheridan, who, in a speech made shortly after Mr. Canning took his seat, congratulated the House upon the accession of ability which they had acquired in consequence of Mr. Canning's return. Although thus flattered and caressed, he had the good sense to render himself acquainted with the forms of the House before he ventured to address them. His maiden speech was made on the 31st Jan. 1794, upon the subject of a treaty of peace concluded between Great Britain and Sardinia. The address was a bold and manly vindication of the measures of the Pitt administration, and fully justified the expectations which his friends had formed of the value of his assistance.From that time Mr. Canning took frequent part in the debates, and seldom suffered any important question to pass without delivering his sentiments. His intimacy with Mr. Pitt improved into friendship, and lasted throughout the life of that celebrated statesman. Mr. Mathias takes notice of Mr. Canning's influence with Mr. Pitt, in his “Pursuits of Literature," and seems to intimate that the confidence of the Minister had been taken as it were by storm.
His words are, “And seize on Pitt, like Canning, by surprise.” Mr. Canning himself alluded to his friendship for Mr. Pitt in a speech made at Liverpool, in the year 1812, in the following terms:
“Gentlemen, you see that I speak to you as freely of the conduct and policy of our government, as of the conduct of those to whom I am politically opposed. To one man, while he lived, I was devoted with all my heart and with all my soul. Since the death of Mr. Pitt, I acknowledge no leader. My political allegiance lies buried in his grave.But I have, though not his immediate counsels to follow, his memory to cherish and re
So far as I knew his opinions on subjects which were in his time, as well as now, of great public interest, I have adhered, and shall adhere, to those opinions as the guides of my public conduct. Where I can only reason from analogy on new questions which may arise, I shall endeavour to apply to those questions, whatever they may be, the principles which I imbibed and inherit from him ; principles which, I well know, have alone recommended me to your choice this day."
Mr. Canning's first appointment to office was in 1796, during the Pitt and Grenville administration, when he became one of the joint Secretaries of State under Lord Grenville; and on the dissolution of parliament in that year, was returned for Wendover, in Buckinghamshire. In 1801 he retired with Mr. Pitt, and at this time composed his celebrated song of “The Pilot that weathered the Storm." The name of this song is familiar to every one, but the composition itself is so little known that we shall insert it here. It is honorable as well to the feeling and friendship of Mr. Canning, as to his talents.
“ If hush'd the loud whirlwind that ruffl'd the deep,
The sky, if no longer dark tempests deform ;.
No!--Here's to the Pilot that weather'd the storm!
Let faction her idols extol to the skies;
Unblam'd may the merits of gratitude rise. ,
· And shall not his memory to Britain be dear,
Whose example with envy all nations behold;
By pow'r ancorrupted, untainted by gold?
While rapine and treason their standards unfurl'd,
And one kingdom preserv'd midst the wreck of the world.
While the beams of the sun in full majesty shine;
And mark the mild lustre that gilds his decline.
Thy talents, thy virtues, we fondly recall !
Admir'd in thy zenith, but lov'd in thy fall!
For evils, by courage and constancy brav'd--
The thanks of a people thy firmness has sav'd!
The dawning of peace should fresh darkness deform,
Shall turn to the Pilot that weather's the storm !" · Upon Mr. Pitt's return to office in 1803, Mr. Canning was appointed to succeed Mr. Tierney as Treasurer of the Navy, which office he held until the death of Mr. Pitt in 1806; when he again retired, and was succeeded by Mr. Sheridan.
In 1807 he returned to office, as Secretary for Foreign Affairs.-Whilst he filled that situation, a dispute, arising in consequence of the ill success of some of the measures of Ministers, particularly the Walcheren expedition, produced an open rupture between him and Lord Castlereagh. A duel ensued, on the 21st Sept. 1809, when, after firing a second time, Mr. Canning received his antagonist's ball in his left thigh. In consequence of this affair, Mr. Canning retired from office, but still continued to support the general policy of the administration. In 1812, we learn from the following extract from one of his own speeches, that he was twice invited to return to office---we also learn the reason why he refused to do so:
" Gentlemen, if I have held office, I hope I have held it bonorably: I will never hold it again but on the same terms. It is not my fault that I must state facts, in my own defence, which might appear to be stated ostentatiously, but I mean them simply defensive. It is entirely my own fault, gentlemen, that I am not now addressing you with the seals of the Secretary of State in my pocket. Twice in the course of the last six months, have the seals of the office of Secretary of State been tendered to my acceptance ; and twice have I declined them. Is this like hankering after office ? I declined them, not because I was unwilling to render any services of which my poor abilities were capable to my country; not because I did not acknowledge, with all due gratitude and humility, the gracious disposition of my Prince; and not because I shrink from the difficulties of the times, to the encountering and overcoming of which I should feel myself, from the public situation in which I have bad the bonor to stand, bound to render whatever aid was in my power, if I could do so with effect, by doing so with credit. I declined office, gentlemen, because it was tendered to me on terms not consistent, as I thought, and as my immediate friends agreed in thinking, with my personal honor ; because, if accepted on such terms, it would not have enabled me to serve the public with efficiency.
“ Gentlemen, I presume not to trouble you with any details upon this subject; but what I have stated, and what is before the world, is, I hope, sufficient to justify me against the accusation of bankering after office. Whether you will ever see me in office again, I cannot tell; but of this I can assure you, that it shall not be in a way dishonorable to myself or to you. I dare not, indeed, reckon upon the continuance of such unmerited partiality and affection as you now so kindly heap upon me; but this I can answer for, that neither in nor out of office shall you have cause to be ashamed of me."
Upon the dissolution of Parliament in 1812, Mr. Canning was invited by the inhabitants of Liverpool to offer himself as a candidate for the representation of that borough. Entirely unconnected with Liverpool---never having been in ithe yet accepted the invitation, and an active canvass was immediately commenced on his behalf. In his first address to the electors, he candidly states,
“I bave no claims, gentlemen, upon your confidence from private connexion or acquaintance. And, I confess, I am not fond of extravagant professions; because, I think, it often happens, tirat when too much is professed at first, something is to be afterwards qualified, or explained, or retracted. But my public life is before you: from that your judgment of me will naturally be formed."
Upon the basis then of his previous public life, he submitted to the chance of the election; and although opposed by Messrs. Brougham and Creevey, the result was, that Mr. Canning was immediately placed at the head of the poll, and so continued, until on the ninth day Mr. Brougham retired from the contest, Mr. Canning's majority at that time being exactly five hundred. From 1812 until 1822, Mr. Canning continued to represent Liverpool; his return was always contested, but the great majority which he invariably ob. tained, sufficiently evinced the public sense of his merit as a statesman, His speeches to his constituents, from which we shall in the sequel make several extracts, are certainly models of eloquence, and shew the bold and open manner in which he submitted his conduct to their scrutiny. The memory of his connexion with the town of Liverpool, is still kept alive by a club, called “ The Canning Club," of which most of the respectable inhabitants are members.
Between 1812 and 1822, Mr. Canning was Ambassador to Lisbon, and afterwards President of the Board of Control. The intimate knowledge of India Affairs, which he displayed whilst filling the latter situation, led to his appointment on the 16th March, 1822, to the splendid Vice-Royalty of Governor General of India. The history of this appointment is thus stated by himself :
“ When called to office, in 1816, I was called to a department perfectly alien from my official habits, and with the business of which I had no previous acquaintance : but, in the course of nearly five years' diligent administration of that department, it has so happened, that I am supposed, by those in whom the law has vested the power of appointing to the government of India, to have qualified myself for the more immediate direction of that government, over the concerns of which it has been my duty to exercise a distant superintendence.”
The brilliant prospects which this appointment opened to his view, were however suddenly and most unexpectedly shrouded, just, as he was about to take bis departure for India; and an office more important to his native country, and in which the exercise of his