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Peter Delmé (Peter the Czar)

Grosvenor Square, Mayfair Previous page: Gilly Williams' Correspondence

A more tragic interest was connected to another letter in the Selwyn correspondence, as Lord Holland wrote to Selwyn on 2nd May 1770, in answer to a communication from him:

"You saw Delmé the night before he shot himself. I suppose you took care to see him the night after."

This refers to the suicide of Peter Delmé, a man of fashion who ran through a large fortune and ended his life in his house in the Square on 10th April 1770.

Delmé, who had married Lady Elizabeth Howard, sister of Lord Carlisle, was called Peter the Czar, in allusion to his great wealth. As mentioned previously he committed suicide in 1770, but in a letter to Lord Carlisle dated 28th February 1781, Anthony Storer (who, incidentally, lived in Golden Square), wrote

"Delmé has sold all his hunters, and sold them at very extraordinary prices; his hounds, too, sold excessively well; it was fortunate at all events to part with them, but the people who bought them, according to all accounts, were as mad as he had been in keeping them."

This hardly sounds the tone which anyone would have used in recounting an event which had taken place eleven years previously, but the evidence of the dates seems to confirm the correctness of both the period of the tragic circumstance and Storer's reference to the sale of Delmé's belongings.

Next page: 22 Grosvenor Square - William Beckford

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