Spencer Perceval

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The Rt Hon Spencer Perceval
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
In office
October 4 1809 – May 11 1812
Preceded by The Duke of Portland
Succeeded by The Earl of Liverpool
Chancellor of the Exchequer
In office
26 March 1807 – 11 May 1812
Preceded by Lord Henry Petty
Succeeded by Nicholas Vansittart
Personal details
Born 1 November 1762(1762-11-01)
Audley Square, London, England
Died 11 May 1812(1812-05-11) (aged 49)
Lobby of the House of Commons
Political party Tory

Spencer Perceval (November 1, 1762 – May 11, 1812) was a British statesman and Prime Minister. He is the only British Prime Minister to have been assassinated.

Perceval was the seventh son of John Perceval, 2nd Earl of Egmont by his second wife. His father, a close friend of Frederick, Prince of Wales and King George III, had served in the Cabinet as First Lord of the Admiralty, but died when Perceval was ten.

Perceval was Prime Minister when William Wilberforce passed his Bill (law) ending the slave trade.

A painting depicting the assassination of Perceval. Perceval is lying the ground while his killer John Bellingham is being caught by officials (far right)

The Orders in Council against trade which Perceval had written in 1807 became unpopular. In the winter of 1811 the Luddite riots started. They were also a cause of the War of 1812 with the United States of America. Perceval was forced to have an inquiry by the House of Commons. On May 11, 1812, Perceval was on his way to attend the inquiry. In the lobby of the House of Commons he was shot through the heart by John Bellingham. Perceval's body lay in 10 Downing Street for five days before burial. Bellingham gave himself up immediately. Tried for murder, he was found guilty and hanged a week later.

Perceval was an Anglican and considered Anglicanism to be essential to the security of the state. He opposed Catholic emancipation.[1] He is buried at St Luke's Church in Charlton, south-east London.

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