Spencer Perceval

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The Rt Hon Spencer Perceval
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
In office
4 October 1809 – 11 May 1812
Preceded byThe Duke of Portland
Succeeded byThe Earl of Liverpool
Chancellor of the Exchequer
In office
26 March 1807 – 11 May 1812
Preceded byLord Henry Petty
Succeeded byNicholas Vansittart
Personal details
Born(1762-11-01)1 November 1762
Audley Square, London, England
Died11 May 1812(1812-05-11) (aged 49)
Lobby of the House of Commons
Political partyTory
A painting depicting the assassination of Perceval. Perceval is lying on the ground while his killer John Bellingham is being caught by officials (far right)

Spencer Perceval (1 November 1762 – 11 May 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.

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

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 11 May 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.

Bellingham had a grievance, but it was not political. Bellingham petitioned the United Kingdom government for compensation over his imprisonment in Russia. This had been caused by his employer, but Bellingham blamed the British government for not getting him compensation.

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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