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The Assassination of the Prime Minister: John Bellingham and the Murder of Spencer Perceval.

The Assassination of the Prime Minister: John Bellingham and the Murder of Spencer Perceval. David C. Hanrahan. Sutton Publishing. [pounds sterling]20.00. vii + 214 pages. ISBN 978-0-7509-4400-7. Dr Hanrahan begins his story of the only occasion on which a Prime Minister has been murdered with an account of Bellingham's assassination of the Prime Minister, Spencer Perceval on 11 May 1812 and his subsequent arrest by officials of the House of Commons. He then turns to Perceval's background and career as a barrister and in the Commons. After this he looks at Bellingham's life story and his false imprisonment when on business in Russia. Bel-lingham felt the British Government had not come to his aid and his sense of grievance grew. Mr Hanrahan then recounts the inquest, trial and execution. The final three chapters deal with aspects of the tragedy: the lives of those affected by the murder; the debate over the trial (the haste with which it began and the question of Bellingham's insanity); and the 'legacy' which looks at how Perceval the man was regarded once people's outrage had declined. Mr Hanrahan writes well, has done his homework and tells a good story. (G.F.B.)
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Publication:Contemporary Review
Article Type:Book review
Date:Dec 22, 2008
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