Henry Addington, 1st Viscount Sidmouth (1757-1844)
Tory Prime Minister 1801-1804

© 2007 Armchair Travel Co. Ltd. - This page may be used for non-commercial purposes ONLY!

Henry Addington, 1st Viscount Sidmouth (1757-1844) Tory Prime Minister 1801-1804

[ Play Narrated and Animated Movie ! ]
[ Virtual Tour ] [ Main Topics Index ]

Pitt is to Addington what London is to Paddington.
George Canning, The Oracle.

Additional Information on
Henry Addington, 1st Viscount Sidmouth (1757-1844)
Tory Prime Minister 1801-1804

Henry Addington was the first British Prime Minister to emerge from the middle classes. He was the son of Doctor Anthony Addington, a leading physician specialising in mental illness. Dr Addington had treated the Earl of Chatham, and their two sons had been childhood friends. Addington's father also treated King George III during his period of supposed insanity. It was these connections which enabled a bourgeoise lawyer to join the British government.

In 1784 when Pitt (the Younger) called his first election, he suggested that Addington should enter politics. Before long, and with Pitt's help, Addington had secured a seat in the Commons as the member for Devizes in Wiltshire. By 1789, Pitt made him Speaker, an appointment commended by the King. In 1801, Pitt pushed Parliament for Catholic emancipation. The King and Addington opposed Pitt's plans and could not get him to change his mind, so King George asked Addington to form his own ministry, with Pitt's help. In March 1801 Henry Addington became the new Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer. His Cabinet included three future Prime Ministers - Spencer Perceval, Lord Liverpool and the Duke of Portland.

King George greatly admired the new Prime Minister, but despite this acclaim Addington was not so popular with the general public. He was scorned by aristocrats who were amused at his middle class status, and he was prone to ridicule from the Press. A popular gibe of the day was 'Pitt is to Addington, what London is to Paddington'.

Although Addington successfully abolished income tax, and made peace with France (Treaty of Paris), he had little support and the final loss of Pitt's support saw the downfall of Addington's government. In May 1804 Addington resigned and Pitt succeeded.

Pitt invited Addington back into the Cabinet in 1805 as Lord President of the Council, and gave him a peerage as Viscount Sidmouth. When Pitt died the following year, Addington became Lord Privy Seal in Lord Grenville's ministry. In 1812 Addington became Home Secretary in Lord Liverpool's administration, holding the post for almost ten years until Peel took over in 1821. After retiring in 1827, Addington took little further part in politics. He died in 1844.


He had the indefinable air of a village apothecary inspecting the tongue of the State.
- Rosebery, Life of Pitt.

Lord Sidmouth might have made a highly creditable figure if he had continued to be Speaker, as well he might have done, twenty years longer... But his sudden elevation to the highest place in the state not only exposed his incapacity, but turned his head. He began to think highly of himself at the very moment when everybody else began to think meanly of him.
- T.B. Macaulay, Journals, 1849.

Explore-Parliament.net: Advanced Category Search

Keyword Categories: