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Spencer Perceval
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World Leader
    (November 1, 1762-May 11, 1812)
    Born in Mayfair, Middlesex, England, United Kingdom
    Member of Parliament for Northampton (1796-1812)
    Attorney General for England and Wales (1802-06)
    Chancellor of the Exchequer (1807-12)
    Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1809-12)
    Assassinated in the lobby of the House of Commons by John Bellingham
    He was nicknamed ‘Little P’ for his short height and slight build.
    He was the last Prime Minister to wear a powdered wig and knee-breeches.
    He opposed Catholic emancipation, with Encyclopedia Britannica noting, ‘He is one of the few English statesmen of the period notorious for his extreme religious intolerance.’
    His trade war against Napoleonic France produced a recession in Britain.
    He had become so unpopular that crowds assembled to celebrate his assassination.
    Charles Dickens called him ‘a third-rate politician scarcely fit to carry Lord Chatham’s crutch.’
    He campaigned to abolish the Atlantic slave trade.
    He managed to get the Prince Regent to support his government, despite Perceval having earlier thwarted the Prince’s attempt to divorce Princess Caroline.
    Despite opposition from his ministers, he kept the Duke of Wellington’s army in the field in Portugal, a policy that eventually turned the tide of the Napoleonic Wars in Britain’s favor.
    His assassin had no personal grudge against him. Bellingham was a merchant who had been imprisoned and lost money in Russia, petitioned British authorities for compensation without success, and targeted Perceval as a symbol of the government.

Credit: C. Fishel

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