Angry Letter by Percy Bysshe Shelley
September 27, 2006 8:30 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for the full text of an angry letter written by P.B. Shelley. It's a scathing letter written by Shelley to the father of a lady-friend he had. Shelley's relationship with the woman was non-amorous, but her father, the proprietor of an inn and a brute of sorts, thought it was and prevented Shelley from seeing his daughter. This angered Shelley and provoked him to write the said letter. The letter ended with a sentence like this: "Neither the laws of nature nor of England have made children Private Property".
posted by ernestworthing to Media & Arts (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
This was also a Google question. The answer appears to be in the comments.
posted by posadnitsa at 8:36 PM on September 27, 2006

I'm curious: How is it that your question has almost the exact same wording as the Google question linked to by posadnitsa? I mean, if you're the same person who asked that question, you got your answer nearly three years ago. If not, why would you have copied the text of the question from that page, when the answer was already there?

And, if you didn't do that, I'm really wondering how it is that your phrasing is so nearly identical.
posted by cerebus19 at 8:55 PM on September 27, 2006 [2 favorites]

You'll also note that the person who asked that question also answered it. Odd indeed.
posted by davey_darling at 9:14 PM on September 27, 2006

I've created a MeTa thread about it.
posted by cerebus19 at 9:17 PM on September 27, 2006

Here it is at last:
PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY to Thomas Hitchener, 14 May 1812
Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1792-1822; Thomas Hitchener, father of Elizabeth
Hitchener. Shelley had formed an intense friendship -- which was
intellectual rather than amatory -- with Elizabeth Hitchener, who ran
a school near Hurstpierpoint. Her father was a retired smuggler who
kept a public house.

Nantgwillt, May 14. 1812

If you have always considered *character* a possession of the first
consequence you & I essentially differ. If you think that an admission
of your inferiority to the world leaves any corner by which yourself &
character may aspire beyond it's reach, we differ there again. In
short, to be candid, I am deceived in my conception of your

I had some difficulty in stifling an indignant surprise on reading the
sentences of your letter in which you refuse my invitation to your
daughter. How are you entitled to do this? who made you her governor?
did you receive this refusal from her to communicate to me? No you
have.- How are you then constituted to answer a question which can
only be addressed to her? believe me such an assumption is as impotent
as it is immoral, you may cause your daughter much anxiety many
troubles, you may stretch her on a bed of sickness, you may destroy
her body, but you are defied to shake her mind.- She is now very ill.
You have agitated her mind until her frame is seriously deranged -
take care Sir, you may destroy her by disease, but her mind is free,
that you cannot hurt.- Your ideas of Propriety (or to express myself
clearer, of morals) are all founded on the consideration of profit. I
do not mean money but profit in its extended sense:- As to your
daughter's welfare on that she is competent to judge or at least she
alone has a right to decide. With respect to your own comfort you of
course do right to consult it, that she has done so you ought to be
more grateful than you appear.- But how can you demand as a right what
has been generously conceded as a favor; you do right to consult your
own comfort, but the whole world besides may surely be excused.

Neither the Laws of Nature, nor of England have made children private

Adieu, when next I hear from you, I hope that time will have
liberalized your sentiments.

Your's truly
P.B. Shelley
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 12:21 AM on September 28, 2006 [1 favorite]

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