Tuesday, January 18, 2011
John Bellingham shot Perceval in the chest when the Prime Minister was on his way to the House of Commons. Bellingham had been unjustly imprisoned in Russia. He worked as a trader and felt the government owed him damages that were never forthcoming. This is why he killed Perceval.
A painting depicting the assassination of Perceval. Perceval is lying on the ground while his assassin, John Bellingham, is surrendering to officials (far right). Wikipedia
There are many sad and interesting aspects to what let John Bellingham to shoot Perceval. I've found two links below for those of you who are interested in learning more about this case. Was Bellingham insane? Were the events that led to his imprisonment in Russia partly responsible for the shooting of Perceval? There is much to be studied, but I can't help but think this tragedy could have been averted. But then again, maybe not. Hindsite is always 20/20. Bellingham's family begged him not to go to Parliament that day. Could they have stopped him? Should they have notified a constable?
More Details on John Bellingham
John Bellingham was found guilty of murder and sentenced to death by hanging. On 18 May 1812 (7 days after Perceval's shooting), John Bellingham was executed in front of Newgate Prison; the executioner was William Brunskill. (Copied from the above link).
The Newgate Calendar and John Bellingham
He persisted in denying any personal enmity to Mr Perceval, for whose death he expressed the greatest sorrow, separating, by a confusion of ideas, the man from the Minister; and seemed to think he had not injured the individual though he had taken away the life of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. (Copied from the above link).
What makes situations like this even more disturbing is when we consider what was not known during this time period of the Regency. Remember, King George III was considered insane because of his behavior, but because no one was aware of his very real illness with (Porphyria not to be confused with Pyphoria) we may never know all the tragic consequences related to mental illness of this time.
I have no way of knowing if Bellingham was insane or not, but I suspect that he was indeed. Please share any information or thoughts you have pertaining to this subject.
Posted by Jillian Kent at 12:01 AM