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Dr. Mackay had lost £40,000 (which he had amassed in Mexico by a long life of labour) in speculations on the Stock Exchange. Haydon found him in the Queen's Bench, planning steam-coaches, and talking of setting off for Mexico as soon as he was free and undisturbed. He seemed to have a very great idea of Canning's genius, and spoke of him with the greatest respect.
“PROGRESS OF SOCIETY,” AND “LOVES OF
THE TRIANGLES." In the year 1796, Mr. Payne Knight published The Progress of Civil Society, a didactic poem, in five books. This production, which evinced a decided preference for man in a savage state, when uncorrupted by the unnatural customs of civilization, offered a fair mark for the ridicule of Canning. In The Progress of Man—a parody of Mr. Knight's poemhis description of love-passions as “warming the whale on Zembla's frozen shore” is well satirized, though with but little exaggeration, in the following lines
“How Lydian tigers' chawdrons love assails,
In the second part, we are told how man, in his downward progress to civilization, became a flesh-eater. Having seen a tiger devour a leveret, or a pig, he becomes desirous of doing the same. Taught by some instinct to make a bow and
“Then forth he fares. Around in careless play
Swift-wing'd and trembles in the porker's heart.”
tells of the happy absence of form and ceremony which there characterize all nuptial rites, and thus proceeds
“Learn hence, each nymph, whose free aspiring mind
Of whist or cribbage, mark th' amusing game,
Play the long rubber of connubial life.” The Loves of the Triangles is another piece in which we can discern the airy grace of Canning's genius. The first part of this poem was written by J. H. Frere ; but, as Addison borrowed and improved upon Steele's Sir Roger de Coverley, so did Canning with the original conception of Frere. This poem Jeffrey pronounced to be the perfection of parody. It far excels, however, the production it aims at ridiculing-viz., Darwin's Loves of the Plants, and it may be questioned whether at times it does not awaken more elevated associations than could possibly have been suggested by the original. The contest between Parabola Hyperbola, and Ellipsis, for the love of “the Phoenician Cone” is exc
xceedingly humorous. Respecting this object of the affections of the mathematical goddesses, the following information is given us in a note :-“It was under this shape that Venus was worshipped in Phænicia. Mr. Higgins thinks it was the Venus Urania, or Celestial Venus; in allusion to which the Phænician grocers first introduced the practice of preserving sugar-loaves in blue, or sky-coloured paper
. He also believes that the conical form of the original grenadier's cap was typical of the loves of Mars and Venus.” Two lines of this poem are well known, through the application made of them by the late Daniel O'Connell to the Earl of Derby (when he seceded from the Grey ministry) —
“So down thy hill, romantic Ashbourne, glides
The Derby dilly, carrying three insides, or, as the great Irish agitator read it, to give point to his jokes, “six insides."
When Frere had completed the first part of the The Loves of the Triangles, he exultingly read over the following lines to Canning, and defied him to improve upon them :
“Lo ! where the chimney's sooty tube ascends,
Canning took the pen, and added :
“The conscious fire with flickering radiance burns,
Eyes the rich joint, and roasts it as it turns.”
These two lines are now blended with the original text, and constitute, it is said, the only flaw in Frere's title to the sole authorship of the first part of the poem above quoted; the second and third parts were both by Canning.
On the 6th of March, 1827, Serjeant Copley delivered his able and memorable speech against Catholic Emancipation, to which Canning retorted so effectually by citing his opinion as law officer of the Crown. Canning replied with some appearance of justice that he had been required to predict the quarter from which the attack would proceed—the quarter from which it had proceeded would have been “the last he should have conjectured.” He also charged him, John Copley, with not being original in his remarks. “I have met them," said he, “in print;" alluding to the pamphlet of Dr. Philpotts, afterwards Bishop of Exeter, and which, having then just appeared, it is said Sir John actually held in his hand, when Mr. Lushington, or some one, looking over his shoulder, communicated the circumstance to Canning, who thereupon made the observation reported in his speech; and further, it is said, exclaimed in the words of the song :
“Dear Tom, this brown jug, which foams with mild ale,
Was once Toby Philpott's.”
This brush between Mr. Canning and the Master of the Rolls did not cause the slightest diminution of the regard which subsisted between them.
A most significant proof of this was, in fact, afforded a few weeks afterwards. Dissensions on the Catholic claims, together with the death of Lord Liverpool having broken up the cabinet, and Lord Eldon having resigned for the very last time, after twenty-five years, occupancy of the woolsack, and an extended series of threatened leave-takings, Canning made an offer of the chancellorship to Sir John Copley, with the definite information, "non obstante Philpotto."
It is stated that when Lords Liverpool and Eldon were discussing his succession to the Mastership of the Rolls, while Lord Liverpool considered that his claims to that office were paramount, Lord Eldon even went so far as to add that, “he goes to school in the lower form (the Rolls) to qualify to remove into the higher, if he takes the chancellorship.” His lordship probably found that this contingency occurred sooner than he anticipated, and certainly he had some difficulty in reconciling himself to his own surrender of that distinguished office. Yet it was quite in due course that it should fall to the lot of Sir John Copley to succeed him as chancellor, and Sir John, therefore, on the 20th of April, 1827, was created Baron Lyndhurst, of Lyndhurst, and very properly, “non obstante Philpotto.
Mr. Canning had always been in favour of Catholic Emancipation, and on April, 1812, he eloquently supported Mr. Grattan, who moved that the Catholic claims should be referred to a committee of the whole House.
Whoever looks back through the long history of Catholic Emancipation, will see how largely the final success of that measure was owing to the untiring exertions and eloquence of Mr. Canning, who, unhappily, died a short time before it could be carried, and left that honour to others, who had been throughout its most violent opponents.
CANNING IN PARLIAMENT. Canning's life, from 1793 to 1827, is inwrought with the parliamentary history of England—sometimes in office, sometimes in opposition. He was a steady enemy of the French
Revolution and Napoleon; he advocated the Irish Union, the Abolition of the Slave Trade, and Catholic Emancipation; but resisted Parliamentary Reform, and the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts. As Secretary for Foreign Affairs he was peculiarly distinguished. His sympathies were heartily liberal, and the assertion of Lord Holland that Canning had “the finest logical intellect in Europe," seemed to find justification in his state papers and correspondence, which were models of lucid and spirited composition. Against the craft of the Holy Alliance he set his face steadily, and was always ready to afford counsel and help to those who were struggling after constitutional freedom. With real joy he recognised the republics formed from the dissolution of Spanish dominion in America, and one of his public acts was the treaty which led to the deliverance of Greece from the Turks.
Canning was only prime minister during a few months preceding his death. On the resignation of the Earl of Liverpool, through illness, Canning, in April, 1827, succeeded him as premier, and, as a consequence of his known favour for the Catholics, Lord Eldon, the Duke of Wellington, Sir Robert Peel, and other Tories, threw up their places. Canning had, therefore, to look for support from the Whigs; and with much anxiety and in weak health, he fought bravely through the session to its close in July, when he retired to Chiswick, and there died.
SEEKING FOR PLACE. An honourable baronet having remarked that “those only wished to displace ministers who look for power, or emoluments, or honours, from their removal,” Mr. Canning, in a happy vein of irony, retorted the imputation on the baronet; but gravely admonished him in the words of Virgil :
“Litus ama ; altum alii teneant." “Keep them close to the shore ; let others venture on the deep.”
DIPLOMATISTS AT HOME.
“What dull coxcombs your diplomatists at home generally are! I remember," says S. T. Coleridge,“ dining at Mr. Frere's once in company with Canning and a few other interesting
Just before dinner Lord called on Frere, and asked himself to dinner. From the moment of his entry he