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Freeling correspondence

Call Number: OSB MSS 36

Scope and Contents

The Freeling Correspondence consists almost entirely of business letters addressed to Sir Francis Freeling as an employee of the Post Office. The letters are mostly by members of the peerage, suggesting that they may have been selected from Freeling's files and saved for their autograph value. Authors include the Earl of Arran, the Duke of Beaufort, the Duke of Buckingham and Chandos, Lord Elcho, and the Earl of Chichester. Subjects include franking privileges; mail routes and mail delivery times; delayed or lost mail; recommendations for employment; and requests for favors. Some of the letters are docketed with summaries of Freeling's replies.

Among the more substantive items are a letter from the Earl of Cardigan concerning a large theft by a servant; complaints by Baron Dulcie of repeatedly delayed mail; and an MP's complaint that his franks are not being honored. An 1809 letter from Edward Cooke, Undersecretary of State for War, explains the Army's position on mail privileges for officers "it is a matter of much accommodation to the officer and the loss to revenue is but casual." And a letter from Freeling himself to the Postmasters-General in 1810 takes issue with an anonymous complaint about working conditions in the Post Office, noting that "the Income of the Letter Carriers, considering the order in Society from which they are selected and the duty they have to perform, is sufficiently ample."


  • 1794-1841


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The Freeling Correspondence is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Bequest of James Marshall and Marie-Louise Osborn. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.


0.21 Linear Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


Letters to Freeling, mainly concerning his work for the postal service. Some letters contain a draft of Freeling's reply.


Sir Francis Freeling was born in Radcliffe Parish, Bristol, on August 25, 1764. His first employment was with the Bristol Post Office, but when the new Palmer system of mail coaches was established in 1785, Freeling was appointed to assist Palmer. In 1787 he joined the General Post Office in London, where he served for almost half a century, rising finally to the office of Sole Secretary.

Freeling's management of the postal service was widely praised, and in 1828 a baronetcy was conferred on him for his public service. He was also a book collector and antiquarian, a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and a founding member of the Roxburghe Club. He died at home in Bryanston Square, London, in 1836, and was succeeded in the baronetcy by his eldest son, Sir George Henry Freeling, an Oxford alumnus and Commissioner of Customs.

Guide to the Freeling Correspondence
Under Revision
by Beinecke Staff
June 1996
Description rules
Beinecke Manuscript Unit Archival Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

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