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Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Assassination of British Prime Minister

Spencer Perceval was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1809 to 1812 and is the only British Prime Minister to be assassinated while in office. He was the second son of an Irish Earl.

Considering, the times this Prime Minister lived in and what historical events unfolded; it is strange that most British people know little of him or that there has been a Prime Minister assassinated in office.

During his time he had to face an enquiry into the Walcheren expedition where 40,000 British soldiers were sent to the Netherlands to fight Napoleon’s forces and help the Austrian Empire. It went disastrously wrong and the army had to retire with thousands of troops dead from fever.

He also went through the time of the famous Madness of King George III, confronted the Luddite rioters and pursued the Peninsular War.

In his early career, he was a strong supporter of William Pitt and he got himself noticed by the man. He entered politics in 1796 and rapidly rose to prominence. In 1803 he entered government and in 1809 became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.


On the evening of 11th May 1812 he was about to attended orders of the council at 5.15 and as he entered the lobby of the House of Commons, a man named John Bellingham stepped forward and shot him in the chest at point blank range. It was in the parliamentary lobby when the assassin stepped before the prime minister and fired the shot through Spencer Percival's heart.


The assassin (John Bellingham) had tried to protest and receive compensation from the British government. He believed he was wrongly imprisoned in Russia. Because his claims were dismissed, he became resentful and bitter to such an extent that he exacted revenge upon the British prime minister by shooting him. He was hanged seven days later for the crime.


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