200 Years Ago

Annals Britannica the historical website managed by Tom Bliss records that in 1822 the following deaths occurred.

Percy Shelley

One of England’s most famous Romantic Poets, Percy Bysshe Shelley, who wrote the sonnet Ozymondias and other classics of English Literature, drowned off the Italian coast at the age of twenty nine on 8th July. His second wife Mary Wollestonecraft Shelley wrote the  Gothic novel Frankenstein.

Viscount Castlereagh

Viscount Castlereagh, the long serving Foreign Secretary who organised the European alliances which eventually defeated Bonaparte. At the Congress of Vienna in 1816 he oversaw a collective system of mutual security called the Concert of Europe which maintained peace between the major European powers for several years and secured a general declaration condemning the slave trade .  However he was closely identified with the government’s repressive social policies leading up to the civilian massacre at Peterloo in 1819, which caused Shelley to write the  wounding lines:

I met Murder on the way 
He had a mask like Castlereagh

Castlereagh became mentally deranged and committed suicide on August 12th. He was succeeded as Foreign Secretary by  George Canning, whom he had wounded in a duel which was fought at Putney Heath in 1809.

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