Percy Bysshe Shelley: A Letter to Lord Ellenborough

(904 words)
  • Mark Sandy (University of Durham)

His defence of Daniel Isaac Eaton in A Letter to Lord Ellenborough is one of Shelley's most significant early literary works in which he establishes himself as a champion of free speech and the oppressed. The radical publisher Eaton had endeavoured to defend himself on the grounds that his beliefs were deistic and not atheistic, but On 15 May1812 he received a severe sentencing of eighteen months and a monthly pillorying for the duration of his term at Newgate Prison. The addressee of Shelley's epistle, Lord Chief Justice Ellenborough, had presided over the trial and prosecution of Mr Eaton, where a prejudiced jury found him guilty of “blasphemous libel” for printing part three of Thomas Paine's Age of Reason (…

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Sandy, Mark. "A Letter to Lord Ellenborough". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 21 March 2002
[, accessed 30 June 2015.]