Henry Addington, Viscount Sidmouth

1787-1844

Henry Addington, 1st Viscount Sidmouth, was a statesman in the late Georgian and early Victorian period. Sidmouth served as Speaker of the House of Commons from 1789-1801 and as Prime Mminister from 1801-04. His major initiatives were to retrench economically at home and pursue peace abroad. He achieved the latter by signing the Peace of Amien in 1802, thereby bringing a [brief] pause to the Napoleonic Wars.

On the domestic front he abolished income tax, however, his pursuit of peace left Addington open to attacks from those who wanted to ensure that the threat posed by Napoleon was eliminated. William Pitt the Younger withdrew his support of Addington, and the government collapsed, forcing Sidmouth to resign (though we've called him 'Sidmouth' he was not actually granted the title until 1805).

Addington later came back into government and served as Home Secretary from 1812-22. In that post he drew heavy criticism for his efforts to suppress freedom of the press and his harsh treatment of the Luddite trade union agitators. His measures to suppress radical political opinion were held partly to blame for the infamous Peterloo Massacre of 1819.

Time period(s): Georgian Victorian





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