1762-1812, British statesman. He had a profitable law practice before he entered the House of Commons as a Tory in 1796. He was solicitor general (1801-2), attorney general (1802-6), and, under the duke of Portland, chancellor of the exchequer (1807-9) before becoming prime minister in 1809. Although he opposed (1811) the regency of the prince of Wales (later George IV), he continued in office under the prince. Despite conflicts with the duke of Wellington over the financing of the Peninsular War and despite a lack of solid parliamentary support, Perceval tenaciously and effectively carried on the war against Napoleonic France. He was assassinated in the House of Commons by a bankrupt madman.
See biography by D. Gray (1963).
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