Henry Addington, 1st Viscount Sidmouth: Wikis

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The Right Honourable
 The Viscount Sidmouth 
PC


In office
17 March 1801 – 10 May 1804
Monarch George III
Preceded by William Pitt the Younger
(As Prime Minister of Great Britain)
Succeeded by William Pitt the Younger

In office
17 March 1801 – 10 May 1804
Monarch George III
Preceded by William Pitt the Younger
Succeeded by William Pitt the Younger

Born 30 May 1757(1757-05-30)
Bedford Row, Holborn, London, England, UK
Died 15 February 1844 (aged 86)
White Lodge, Richmond Park, Richmond, Surrey, England, UK
Political party Tory
Alma mater Brasenose College, Oxford
Signature

Henry Addington, 1st Viscount Sidmouth, PC (30 May 1757 – 15 February 1844) was a British statesman, and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1801 to 1804.

Henry Addington was the son of Anthony Addington, Pitt's physician, and Mary Addington, the daughter of the Rev. Haviland John Hiley, headmaster of Reading School. As a consequence of his father's position, Addington was a childhood friend of William Pitt the Younger. Addington studied at Winchester and Brasenose College, Oxford, and then studied law at Lincoln's Inn.

Contents

Political career

He was elected to the House of Commons in 1784 as Member of Parliament (MP) for Devizes, and became Speaker of the House of Commons in 1789. In March, 1801, William Pitt, the younger resigned from office ostensibly over the refusal of King George III to remove some of the existing political restrictions on Roman Catholics in Ireland (Catholic Emancipation), but poor health, failure in war, economic collapse, alarming levels of social unrest due to famine, and irreconsilible divisions within the Cabinet also played a role. Both Pitt and the King insisted that Addington succeed as Prime Minister, despite his own objections, and his failed attempts to reconcile the King and Pitt.

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Prime minister

Addington's period as Prime Minister was most notable for his reforms that doubled the efficiency of the Income tax and the negotiation of the Treaty of Amiens, in 1802. While the terms of the Treaty were the bare minimum that the British government could accept, Napoleon Bonaparte would not have agreed to any terms more favourable to the British, and the British government had reached a state of financial collapse, owing to war expenditure, the loss of Continental markets for British goods, and two successive failed harvests that had led to widespread famine and social unrest, rendering peace a necessity. By early 1803, Great Britain's financial and diplomatic positions had recovered sufficiently to allow Addington to declare war on France, when it became clear that the French would not allow a settlement for the defences of Malta that would have been secure enough to fend off a French invasion that appeared imminent. Addington's management of the war was characterized by the cultivating of better relations with Russia, Austria, and Prussia, that later culminated in the Third Coalition shortly after he left office. Addington also strengthened Great Britain's defences against a French invasion through the building of Martello towers on the south coast and the raising of more than 600,000 men at arms.

Loss of office

Addington was driven from office in May 1804 by an alliance of Pitt, Charles James Fox and William Wyndham Grenville, 1st Baron Grenville, who decided that they wanted Cabinet offices for themselves. Addington's greatest failing was his inability to manage a parliamentary majority, by cultivating the loyal support of MPs beyond his own circle and the friends of the King. This combined with his mediocre speaking ability, left him vulnerable to Pitt's mastery of parliamentary management and his unparalleled oratory skills. Pitt's parliamentary assault against Addington in March 1804 led to the slimming of his parliamentary majority to the point where defeat in the House of Commons was imminent.

Lord President and Lord Privy Seal

Addington remained an important political figure, however, and the next year he was created Viscount Sidmouth. He served in Pitt's final Cabinet as Lord President of the Council to 1806, and in the Ministry of All the Talents as Lord Privy Seal and again Lord President to 1807.

Home Secretary

He returned to government again as Lord President in March, 1812, and, in June of the same year, became Home Secretary. As Home Secretary, Sidmouth countered revolutionary opposition, being responsible for the temporary suspension of habeas corpus in 1817 and the passage of the Six Acts in 1819. His tenure also saw the Peterloo Massacre of 1819. Sidmouth left office in 1822, succeeded as Home Secretary by Sir Robert Peel, but remained in the Cabinet as Minister without Portfolio for the next two years, fruitlessly opposing British recognition of the South American republics. He remained active in the House of Lords for the next few years, making his final speech in opposition to Catholic Emancipation in 1829 and casting his final vote against the Reform Act 1832.

Foundling Hospital

As Prime Minister, in 1802, Addington accepted an honorary position as vice president for life on the Court of Governors of London's Foundling Hospital for abandoned babies.

Residences and land

Addington maintained a home at Bulmershe Court, in what is now the Reading suburb of Woodley, but moved to the White Lodge in Richmond Park when he became Prime Minister. However he maintained links with Woodley and the Reading area, as commander of the Woodley Yeomanry Cavalry and High Steward of Reading. He also donated to the town of Reading the four acres (16,000 m²) of land that is today the Royal Berkshire Hospital, and his name is commemorated in the town's Sidmouth Street and Addington Road.

Henry Addington's Government, March 1801 – May 1804

In Britannia between Death and the Doctor's (1804), James Gillray caricatured Pitt kicking Addington (at left) out of Britannia's sickroom.

Changes

Addington Coat of Arms

Sources

  • Ziegler, Philip Addington, A Life of Henry Addington, First Viscount Sidmouth (New York: The John Day Company, c1965), 478p.
  • Fedorak, Charles John, Henry Addington, Prime Minister, 1801-1804: Peace, War and Parliamentary Politics (Akron, Ohio: University of Akron Press, 2002), 268p.
  • Leaflet Great People of Reading published by Reading Borough Libraries, undated but probably produced in late 2004 and available through Reading Central Library.
  • Web page http://www.berkshirehistory.com/bios/haddington.html, retrieved 21:45 16 January 2005 GMT
  • Web page http://www.berkshirehistory.com/castles/woodley_lodge.html, retrieved 21:45 16 January 2005 GMT

External links

Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Henry Jones
Sir James Tylney-Long
Member of Parliament for Devizes
17841801
With: Sir James Tylney-Long 1784–1788
Joshua Smith 1788–1801
Succeeded by
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Parliament of Great Britain
Member of Parliament for Devizes
1801 – 1805
With: Joshua Smith
Succeeded by
Thomas Estcourt
Joshua Smith
Political offices
Preceded by
William Wyndham Grenville
Speaker of the British House of Commons
1789 – 1801
Succeeded by
Sir John Mitford
Preceded by
William Pitt the Younger
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
17 March 1801 – 10 May 1804
Succeeded by
William Pitt the Younger
Chancellor of the Exchequer
1801 – 1804
Leader of the House of Commons
1801 – 1804
Preceded by
The Duke of Portland
Lord President of the Council
1805
Succeeded by
The Earl Camden
Preceded by
The Earl of Westmorland
Lord Privy Seal
1806
Succeeded by
The Lord Holland
Preceded by
The Earl Fitzwilliam
Lord President of the Council
1806 – 1807
Succeeded by
The Earl Camden
Preceded by
The Earl Camden
Lord President of the Council
1812
Succeeded by
The Earl of Harrowby
Preceded by
Richard Ryder
Home Secretary
1812 – 1822
Succeeded by
Robert Peel
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Viscount Sidmouth
1805 – 1844
Succeeded by
William Leonard Addington

Simple English

The Rt Hon Henry Addington
File:Henry


In office
17 March 1801 – 10 May 1804
Preceded by William Pitt the Younger
Succeeded by William Pitt the Younger

In office
17 March 1801 – 10 May 1804
Preceded by William Pitt the Younger
Succeeded by William Pitt the Younger

Born 30 May 1757
Holborn, London
Died 15 February 1844
Richmond, Surrey
Political party Tory

Henry Addington, 1st Viscount Sidmouth, PC (30 May 175715 February 1844) was a British statesman. He was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1801 to 1804.

His father was a physician specialising in the treatment of mental illness. His father was one of George III's doctors and this resulted in Addington being known (in no friendly spirit) as "The Doctor". Before becoming Prime Minister he had been Speaker of the House of Commons.

He tried but failed to negotiate a lasting peace with Napoleon's France.

He was not well regarded as Prime Minister and his capabilities were summed up in the rhyme: "Pitt is to Addington as London is to Paddington". As Viscount Sidmouth, he was a very reactionary Home Secretary in the Government of the Earl of Liverpool but he was eventually persuaded to retire in favour of Sir Robert Peel.


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