May 11th 1812: Spencer Perceval assassinated

spencer-perceval-assassination

Depiction of the assassination of Spencer Perceval

On this day in 1812 Spencer Perceval became the first and only British Prime Minister to be assassinated when he was shot by John Bellingham in the lobby of the House of Commons. Perceval became Tory Prime Minister in 1809 (replacing the Duke of Portland) and his administration had to deal with economic depression, Luddism and the ‘madness’ of King George III. He had initially been considered a weak Prime Minister, but things had been looking up for his administration until he was shot. Bellingham was a merchant with a grievance against the government for supposedly not freeing him when he was imprisoned in Russia. The assassin was hanged on 18th May.

 

perceval3

John Bellingham (1769 – 1812)

 

“I am murdered…I am murdered”
– Perceval’s last words

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