Stratford Canning Viscount Stratford de Redcliffe

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Stratford de Redcliffe, Stratford Canning, 1st Viscount (1786–1880). Diplomat. Son of a London merchant and cousin of George Canning, Stratford Canning was sent to Eton and King's College, Cambridge, before entering the Foreign Office. He served in Denmark, Turkey, Switzerland, and the USA. He was in Constantinople at the time of the battle of Navarino (1827) and again as ambassador 1841–58. He urged the Turks to resist Russian demands in the exchange which led to the Crimean War. In 1852 he was made viscount and in 1869 was given the Garter. His title, which the Complete Peerage understandably calls ‘a strange medley’, commemorates the 15th-cent. Cannynges who were associated with St Mary Redcliffe, Bristol. Canning, with a handsome presence and majestic manner, was one of the grandest of old-style diplomats. Malmesbury wrote that his talents were undisputed but that he was so ‘despotic and irritable’ that they were only of use in certain situations.

J. A. Cannon