August 24, 1812: Ministers Take Note of Mr. Shelley

On August 24, 1812, Francis Freeling, the Secretary of the Post Office, reviews the letter from Richard Jones, the Postmaster of Barnstaple. Jones had written about Percy Shelley and his dissemination of radical literature. Freeling and endorses the letter with the following comment: 
For Lord Chichester—who will recollect tho newspapers he [Shelley] sent to Miss Hitchener some time since, one of which contained a copy of the enclosed paper. Might it not be advisable to communicate with the Secretary of State—Mr. Shelley is so active in disseminating his principles?—24 August, 1812.
Lord Chichester then adds the following note: 
I think it right to communicate tho circumstances to the Secretary of State. It will have no effect to speak to Mr. Shelley's family, they suffer enough already for his conduct.
It should be recalled that Shelley's father was a Member of Parliament. The young poet has managed to get two government ministers interested in his case. Shelley had a genius for trouble along with being a very fine poet.

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