Alfred Stratford George Canning (1832-1916)

CommentaryNotes

Life
Cousin of Stratford Canning, Viscount Redcliffe [see note] - a noted British diplomatist; the obit. notice in The Irish Book Lover offers no information about his birth-place, &c., but says that he died at his home in Rostrevor, Co. Down; he wrote novels such as Kilsorrell Castle (1863); Kinkora (1864); Baldearg O’Donnell (1867) and Heir and No Heir (1890), the last set in ‘Dalragh’ - for Garvagh, with which his family was associated;
 
issued Religious Strife in British History (1878), Revolted Ireland (1886), containing documents of 1798; The Divided Irish (1894), British Rule and Modern Politics (1898), and British Power and Thought (1901); also studies of Scott, Dickens, Thackeray and Shakespeare; inherited title and 4,500 [var. 4,000] acre estate at Rostrevor; Deputy-Lieutenant for Cos. Cown and Derry; d. at Rostrevor, April 1916. IF SUTH OCIL

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Works
Fiction
  • Kilsorrell Castle (London: Chapman & Hall 1863);
  • Kinkora: An Irish Story, 2 vols. (London: Chapman & Hall 1864);
  • Baldearg O’Donnell:: A Tale of 1690, 2 vols. (London: T. C. Newby 1867; Belfast: Marcus Ward 1881);
  • Heir and No Heir: A Tale (London: Remington & Co. 1890), 271pp.
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Miscellaneous
  • Christian Toleration: An Essay (London: Kerby & Endean 1874), iv, 123pp.;
  • Religious Strife in British History (1878); Revolted Ireland (1886);
  • The Divided Irish: An Historical Sketch (Newry 1888; rev. edn. London 1894) [extract];
  • History in Fact and Fiction: A Literary Sketch (London: Smith & Elder 1897), xv, 336pp.;
  • British Rule and Modern Politics: A Historical Study (London: Smith, Elder & Co. [1898] 1898);
  • British Power and Thought: An Inquiry (London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1901);
  • British Writers on Classic Lands: A Literary Sketch (London: T. Fisher Unwin 1907), 296pp.;
  • Dickens and Thackeray studied in Three Novels (London: T. Fisher Unwin; Leipsig 1911), 313pp. [details];
  • Dickens Studied in Six Novels (London: T. Fisher Unwin; Leipsig 1912), 176pp. [details]

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Bibliographical details
Dickens and Thackeray Studied in Three Novels [‘Pickwick Papers’. ‘Nicholas Nickleby’, ‘Vanity Fair’] (London: T. Fisher Unwin; Leipsig 1911), 313pp.;

Dickens Studied in Six Novels [‘Oliver Twist’, ‘The Old Curiosity Shop’, ‘Barnaby Rudge’, ‘Martin Chuzzlewit’, ‘David Copperfield’, ‘The Mystery of Edwin Drood’] ( London: T. Fisher Unwin; Leipsig 1912), 176pp.

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Commentary
Daithí Ó hÓgáin, The Hero in Irish Folk History (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1985): ‘One of the most interesting test-cases for folk tradition and the nineteenth-century Irish historical novel is albert [sic] Cannings’ Baldearg O'Donnell, in which the author focuses on the part played in the Williamite War by a leader who [315] enjoyed a messianic role in popules lore. The novel gives some interesting interpretations of the attitudes of the historical characer - being a scion of the Gaelic order Balldearg is represented as loathe to give loyalty to either Stuartists or Williamites - but it utilises litttle of the lore surrounding the famous name. What is mentioned is kept in the background - such as oblique references to Balldearg’s heroic adventures on the Continent and passages life the following after his arrival in Limerick: “All kinds of wonders, deeds of valour and heroism, if not actual miracles, were now predicted, and few from mouth to mouth.” [...].’ (pp.315-16.)

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Quotations
The Divided Irish (1st edn. 1888, Newry; revised 1894): Canning ruefully considers that the ‘stress on the clerical element in Irish politics’ in the earlier edition has been vindicated by events [i.e., the fall of Parnell] and remarks that ‘in politics, clerical influence among the Irish masses remains the chief and ultimate guide’. Further phrases: ‘religious hostility replaces national enmity’; ‘continued prevalence of religious animosity among the Irish masses, Catholic and Protestant, despite spread of secular education ... general ignorance and misconception of the history of Ireland amid increased enlightenment on other subjects’; ‘contemptuous estimate [of] men of moderation.’ [Q.pp.] Canning clearly tries to be fair-minded and adds his stone to the cairn of Irish criticism that buried J. A. Froude.

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References
Stephen Brown, Ireland in Fiction (Dublin: Maunsel 1919) lists Kilsorrell Castle (1863), set at Carlingford Lough and concerning the murder of Lord Kilsorrell’s illegitimate son and popular sympathy with the malefactor; Kinkora: An Irish Story (London: Chapman & Hall 1864), somewhat the same but set in 1798 and concerning the murder of Vincent Lorton, illeg. son of Lord Delamont; opens with execution of rebels at Mullahone in 1798; Baldearg O’Donnell: A Tale of 1690 (Belfast: Marcus Ward 1881) [vide BL London 1867]), treating the hero as a guerrilla who adopts the English side for a pension; Heir and No Heir (1890), set in Garvagh, Co. Derry and London, and dealing with divided communities featuring priests with loyalist and United Irish leanings and based on disinheriting of George Canning, here called Randolph Stratford; also prose, Revolted Ireland (1886), The Divided Irish: an historical sketch (1894), written from the ‘Unionist standpoint’ [IF]; also Do., new rev. ed. (1894).

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John Sutherland, The Longman Companion to Victorian Fiction (Harlow: Longmans 1988); 2nd son of 1st baron Garvagh; lived Rostrevor, Co. Down, Deputy Lieutenant and JP; Kilsorrel [sic] Castle (1863); etc.; critics found his writing feeble. No ODNB entry, but see Burgh Canning, and Viscount Stratford de Redcliffe Canning.

Libraries
British Library
holds [1] Baldearg O'Donnell. A tale. Title [Another edition.]. 2 vol. T. C. Newby: London, 1867. 8o.. 2 vol. M. Ward & Co.: London, Belfast, 1881. 8o. [2] British Power and Thought. A historical inquiry. pp. xii. 308. Smith, Elder & Co.: London, 1901. 8o. [3] British Rule and Modern Politics. A historical study. pp. xvi. 342. Smith, Elder & Co.: London, 1899 [1898]. 8o. [4] British Writers on Classic Lands. A literary sketch.. pp. 296. T. Fisher Unwin: London, 1907. 8o. [5] Christian Toleration. An essay. pp. iv. 123. Kerby & Endean: London, 1874. 8o. [6] Dickens and Thackeray studied in Three Novels. (Pickwick Papers. Nicholas Nickleby. Vanity Fair.). pp. 313. T. Fisher Unwin: London, Leipsic, 1911. 8o. [7] Dickens and Thackeray studied in three novels. (Reissued.). Port Washington, N.Y.: Kennikat Press, 1967. pp. 313. 23 cm. [8] Dickens studied in Six Novels. (Oliver Twist. The Old Curiosity Shop. Barnaby Rudge. Martin Chuzzlewit. David Copperfield. The Mystery of Edwin Drood.). pp. 176. T. Fisher Unwin: London, Leipsic, 1912. 8o. [9] Heir and no Heir. A tale.. pp. 271. Remington & Co.: London, 1890. 8o. [10] History in Fact and Fiction. A literary sketch. pp. xv. 336. Smith & Elder: London, 1897. 8o.

Belfast Linen Hall Library holds Divided Irish (1st ed. 1888, Newry; revised 1894); Revolted Ireland (extracts from accounts of 1798).

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Notes
W. B. Stanford, Ireland and the Classical Tradition (1984), notes that Stratford Canning was composing a paper on the future territorial claims of Greece at his death [225]. Bibl., S. Lane-Poole, The Life of the Right Hon. Sir Stratford Canning (London 1880).

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Lola Montez [q.v.] relates that she gained received ‘through the politeness of Sir Stratford Canning, English Ambassador in Constantinople’, a letter of introduction to a Greek lady in charge of a Turkish harem in order ‘to look at what they call ‘the lights of the world’ - only to find that these ‘consisted of some five hundred bodies of unwieldy fatness’. (Montez, Lectures and Autobiography, London: Gilbert 1858, p.62.)

Wikipedia: Stratford Canning - b. 4 Nov. 1786, London; died 14 Aug 1880, Frant, Sussex; Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to the United States of America, 1820 and 1824; Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, 1825 and 1828, and 1841-58, holding a parliamentary seat 1828-42; elevated to the peerage as Viscount Stratford de Redcliffe, 1852 - Redcliffe being the locus of the 15th c. Canynges merchant family nr. Bristol. [See more - online.]

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