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Henry Addington Sidmouth, Viscount

Sidmouth, Henry Addington, Viscount, 1757–1844, British statesman. He entered Parliament in 1784 and in 1789, through the sponsorship of William Pitt, became speaker of the House of Commons. He subscribed to Pitt's policies in the French wars, and when Pitt resigned because of George III's refusal to approve Catholic Emancipation, Addington became (1801) prime minister. The chief event of his administration was the Treaty of Amiens (1802) with Napoleon I. On the renewal of war, his ineffectual ministry yielded (1804) to Pitt, upon whose tolerance it had depended. Addington was created Viscount Sidmouth in 1805. Since Sidmouth controlled nearly 50 votes in Parliament, his support remained valuable to the government, and he served as president of the council under Pitt (1805), Lord Grenville (1806–7), and Spencer Perceval (1812) and as home secretary under Lord Liverpool (1812–22). In the last position he incurred great odium for his part in the government's policy of repression—its strong measures against the Luddites, its periodic suspension of habeas corpus, and the Peterloo massacre.

See biography by P. Ziegler (1965).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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