ADDINGTON by Philip Ziegler


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In this carefully documented and highly readable biography, the author of The Duchess of Dino writes of one of England's ""forgotten men of history,"" Henry Addington, 1st Viscount Sidmouth. Born in 1757, son of a distinguished doctor, physician to George III, through his father Addington met William Pitt and became his friend. Entering Parliament, where he was known as ""The Doctor"", as friend of the Prime Minister, Pitt, in 1789 Addington became Speaker of the House of Commons and in 1801 Prime Minister in Pitt's place, engineering the brief Peace of Amiens with Napoleon. Pitt returned to office in 1803, and in 1805 raised Addington to the peerage as Viscount Sidmouth, a title he accepted reluctantly. As Viscount Sidmouth, in 1812 Addington became Home Secretary, a post in which he endured the ""sordid antics"" of the Royal Family and, fearful of revolution, used spies and armed force to suppress the pitiful efforts of the poor to obtain better working conditions. Overshadowed by men like Pitt, Fox and Canning, Addington, a man of probity, rigid conservatism and utter lack of brilliance, unswervingly opposed Catholic Emancipation, Parliamentary Reform and the abolition of the Slave Trade. Still opposing change in all its forms, he died in 1848, at the of 89. Too specialized for many American readers, this solid study of a middle-class reactionary caught in an age of war, aristocracy, industrial change and political reform will appeal to all students of the period and belongs in the more comprehensive collections of late 18th and 19th-century social and political history.

Pub Date: Jan. 17th, 1965
Publisher: John Day