The Canning Precedent

This is a forum for discussing philosophical theories of government and social structure. It is not a venue for partisan rants or plugging favored candidates.

The Canning Precedent

Postby toucana on September 3rd, 2019, 6:21 pm 

On 8 August 1827, George Canning the British prime minister collapsed and died while in office. He had been prime minister for just 119 days at the time of his demise, making his tenure as PM the shortest on record.

This is a record that the current British PM Boris Johnson is now set to beat by a comfortable margin following the defeat of his government tonight in the House of Commons by 328 - 301 votes on what amounted to a vote of confidence over the handling of the UK’s Brexit negotiations with the European Union. A snap general election is now likely on 14 October 2019.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-49573555

For those who feel that the current levels of rancour and discourtesy within our parliamentary debating system may have reached an all time low, a backward glance at George Canning’s career may prove enlightening.

Canning originally came to prominence as a relatively moderate Tory who became the Foreign Secretary in 1807. But his tenure of that office was overshadowed by an epic row with his lifelong political enemy Lord Castlereagh who was the Secretary of State for War and the Colonies.

The two cabinet ministers quarrelled so badly that they wound up fighting a duel at Putney in 1809. Canning who had never fired a pistol in his life missed his mark by a wide margin, while Castlereagh who was reckoned to be one of the best shots in Britain hit and wounded his opponent in the thigh.

Both men faced political disgrace over the scandal of two cabinet ministers fighting a duel. They were both passed over by King George III shortly afterwards when the Duke of Portland resigned as PM and another man called Spencer Perceval was selected as the next prime minster instead. He in turn achieved the dubious distinction of being the only British prime minister ever to be assassinated while in office. Spencer Perceval was shot dead within the precincts of the palace of Westminster by a disaffected office seeker on 11th May 1812.

George Canning finally achieved his political apotheosis on 9th April 1827 when Lord Liverpool was forced to stand down as PM after suffering a severe stroke. His mortal enemy Lord Castlereagh had already commited suicide five years earlier. He cut his own throat in 1822 while in a state of delusional paranoia that was probably induced by tertiary syphilis.
User avatar
toucana
Chatroom Operator
 
Posts: 1410
Joined: 20 Sep 2006
Location: Bristol UK
Blog: View Blog (10)
doogles liked this post


Re: The Canning Precedent

Postby TheVat on September 4th, 2019, 12:13 am 

Bojo seems eerily Trump-like. He appears to believe that dragging Britain out onto a ledge is some sort of clever negotiating tactic with the EU.

My sympathies.
User avatar
TheVat
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 7212
Joined: 21 Jan 2014
Location: Black Hills


Re: The Canning Precedent

Postby doogles on September 4th, 2019, 3:11 am 

Apart from Boris's recent activities, I found that post by Toucana hilarious.

The events of the early 1800s British parliament, as 'they' say, was more amusing than fiction. Onya Toucana!
User avatar
doogles
Active Member
 
Posts: 1195
Joined: 11 Apr 2009
Location: BRISBANE


Re: The Canning Precedent

Postby toucana on September 9th, 2019, 3:44 am 

There is something quite inimitable about the political rhetoric of that period. My special favourite involved John Montagu (1718 - 1792), the 4th Earl of Sandwich.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Montagu,_4th_Earl_of_Sandwich

This grandee of British politics achieved immortality as the inventor of the eponymous ‘Sandwich’. He was a compulsive gambler who was often reluctant to leave the gaming table. One evening he instructed his butler to cut open a loaf of bread, to insert some slices of roast beef, and to then serve it to him at the Faro table so that he could carry on gambling whilst he ate his supper.

The Earl of Sandwich was also an outspoken and atavistic Tory politician who was fond of trolling liberal and reformist minded opponents at political hustings meetings. He met his match on one occasion however when he tangled with a younger man (opinion is divided as to whether it was John Wilkes or Samuel Foote):

“Sir I have often wondered what catastrophe would bring you to your end; but I think, you must die either of a pox or on the gallows” thundered the Earl of Sandwich.

“That my Lord would depend on two contingencies” replied his adversary, “On whether I embrace your Lordship’s mistress, or your Lordship’s principles”.

The Earl of Sandwich’s first wife went insane, and during her long decline, he had a lengthy affair with a famous opera singer of the day called Martha Ray who bore him five children. But she in turn was sensationally murdered by another jealous lover in the public foyer of the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden in April 1779. Her tragic death was memorialised in a popular novel called ‘Love And Madness’ (1780) by Herbert Croft.
User avatar
toucana
Chatroom Operator
 
Posts: 1410
Joined: 20 Sep 2006
Location: Bristol UK
Blog: View Blog (10)
doogles liked this post


Re: The Canning Precedent

Postby doogles on September 10th, 2019, 3:53 am 

Once again Toucana, I find these historical records hilarious. Where do you access them?
User avatar
doogles
Active Member
 
Posts: 1195
Joined: 11 Apr 2009
Location: BRISBANE



Return to Political Theory

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 9 guests