Tammy's Reviews > Why Spencer Perceval Had to Die: The Assassination of a British Prime Minister

Why Spencer Perceval Had to Die by Andro Linklater
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Jul 31, 2012

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bookshelves: history, non-fiction
Read in July, 2012

On May 11, 1812, Spencer Perceval, the prime minister of Great Britain, was fatally shot in the lobby of Parliament by John Bellingham, a Liverpool businessman. Spencer Perceval is the only British prime minister to be assassinated. Perceval had deeply divided the British public. Some loved him others hated him for his fight against the lucrative slave trade and driving Britain into a war with the United States despite the economic consequences to both countries. Bellingham was not alone in blaming Perceval for economic ruin and he claimed to have killed Perceval "as a matter of justice," and believed he would not only be exonerated, but also applauded for his action. But Bellingham was granted the briefest of trials that trampled his right to due process, he was hanged.

Author Andro Linklater examines the records including recently discovered correspondence and personal records to convincing show there was a conspiracy. Linklater shows the prime ministers personal and public life and discusses the economic and political climate of the time. He believes while Bellingham clearly fired they shot, he did not act alone.

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