Volume 2
Issue 9

The next steps

By Henry Oakes, 12 May 1812

Mr Perceval's murderer was established to be a certain John Bellingham. Mr Bellingham continues to uphold his statement that he had been wronged by the British government and called the act one of retribution. Mr Bellingham had had great debts, and was taken to court by the owners of a lost Russian ship, who claimed that he cost them losses in insurance payments. He was later imprisoned by the Russians on account of a leaving the city of Archangel in a crude manner, but was subsequently released back to London.

Mr Bellingham then began a long series of petitions to the government in order to win some compensation for his sufferings back in Russia; however, these were all declined and Mr Bellingham was unable to secure any sort of payment. Mr Bellingham gave up his attempts for a while, but resumed them earlier this year. He was said to have purchased a pistol and begun practising his shot quite recently. On the 11 May 1812, Mr Bellingham arrived in the lobby of the House of Commons and proceeded to wait for Mr Perceval to arrive. After the fatal shot, Bellingham was seen sitting calmly, just aside from all the ruckus, where he was soon found and apprehended by a Mr Henry Burgess, who also discovered a second pistol on Bellingham. Witnesses say that Mr Bellingham was taken to the prison room and was not seen again by them, although that is not to say he disappeared.

Just several hours ago today, a court ascertained that Mr Perceval had been wilfully murdered and Mr Bellingham awaits his trial later this week. I asked the Honourable Argus Parsons about the upcoming trial and whether Mr Bellingham has any chance of evading punishment:

"No, I do not believe that Mr Bellingham will ever succeed before any jury, even one of ducks and geese, of convincing them that he is innocent. Mr Bellingham will most certainly plead his case by mentioning the great "wrongs" to which he has been subjected; any sensible lawyer of his would advise him to plead guilty, however. Mr Bellingham's refusal to accept his plight is what has brought him into this, I can say with confidence."

The Signpost, 1812 Volume 2, Issue 9 Since 1811 Archives available Printed by Harper & Knight 12 Arthur Lane, London

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