George Canning


George Canning

Anecdote 1...

Sydney Smith said that Canning in office was like a fly in amber: “Nobody cares about the fly. The only question is — how the devil did it get there?”


Indecision and delays are the parents of failure.

I can prove anything by statistics except the truth.

~George Canning

Anecdote 2...

Canning was a master of the putdown. He once attended a church service, following which the clergyman asked his opinion of the sermon. Canning replied, “You were brief.”

“Yes,” said the clergyman, “you know I wanted to avoid being tedious.”

“But you were tedious.”

Biographical Note: 

Canning was a British statesman, foreign secretary twice (1807–09, 1822–27), and Tory prime minister (1827). He suffered a stroke shortly after becoming prime minister and died a year later. Canning has come to be regarded as a “lost leader,” with much speculation about what his legacy could have been had he lived to complete his term in office.

More Information: 

Read a brief biography of George Canning on the official site of the British Prime Minister’s Office.

Image Info

National Portrait Gallery painting of George Canning by Richard Evans (died 1871)