Samuel Whitbread

Samuel Whitbread

Samuel Whitbread (1758 – 6 June 1815) was an English politician.

Born in Cardington, Bedfordshire, Whitbread was the son of the brewer Samuel Whitbread. He was educated at Eton College, Christ Church, Oxford and St John's College, Cambridge, after which he embarked on a European 'Grand Tour', visiting Denmark, Sweden, Russia, Poland, Prussia, France and Italy. He returned to England in May 1786 and joined his father's successful brewing business.

He was elected Member of Parliament for Bedford in 1790, a post he held for eight years. Whitbread was a reformer — a champion of religious and civil rights, for the abolition of slavery, and a proponent of a national education system. Samuel Whitbread Community College in Mid-Bedfordshire, England is named after him.

He was a close friend and colleague of John Howard and of Charles James Fox. After Fox's death, Whitbread took over the leadership of the Whigs, and in 1805 led the campaign to have Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville, removed from office.

Whitbread admired Napoleon and his reforms in France and Europe. He hoped that much that Napoleon reforms would be implemented in Britain itself. Throughout the Peninsular War he played down French defeats convinced that sooner of later Napoleon would triumph and did all he could to bring about a withdrawal of Britain from the continent. When Napoleon abdicated in 1814 he was devastated. Whitbread began to suffer from depression, and on the morning of 6 June 1815, he committed suicide by cutting his throat with a razor.

External links

* [ Samuel Whitbread biography]

Further reading

* Fulford, Roger. "Samuel Whitbread, 1764-1815: A study in opposition," MacMillan, 1967. (ISBN B0000CNFHB)

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