3060. Robert Southey to [John Wilson Croker], [late December 1817]

3060. Robert Southey to [John Wilson Croker], [late December 1817] ⁠* 

My dear Sir

I have transcribed from my friends manuscript [1]  all that relates to the Princess of Wales. [2]  It bears the marks of his caustic manner, but all which he has here hinted at, & more than all is talked of at Como. It is not believed that she will ever return to Como, so many debts remain unpaid, for making the road & enlarging the house. [3]  Indeed the payment for the house had not been compleated & it was supposed Pino [4]  would enter upon it in consequence, recover it with all its improvements, & keep that part of the purchase money which he has already received, − which is very much more than its full wor value. But the bargain was made by the Scudiere, [5]  who obtained as the reward of the serxx good office to his guardian master, [6]  an attestation that he had been in the service of the Army in Spain, – a necessary preliminary to the honours which have since been conferred upon him

Believe me my dear Sir

yrs faithfully

Robert Southey.

Saturday morning


* MS: Morgan Library, MA 63. ALS; 1p.
Dating note: Dating from content; this was written after the departure of Princess Caroline from Como in August 1817 and before she became Queen in January 1820. The most likely date is the close of 1817 at a point when evidence was being collected for her divorce; see Southey to Walter Savage Landor, 27 December 1817, Letter 3059. BACK

[1] Landor’s letters to Southey, e.g. that of June 1816, John Forster (1812–1876; DNB), Walter Savage Landor: a Biography, 2 vols (London, 1869), I, p. 428. BACK

[2] Caroline of Brunswick (1768–1821; DNB), estranged wife of the Prince Regent, who lived intermittently at Como in North Italy 1815–1817. BACK

[3] The Villa d’Este, which Princess Caroline left in August 1817 for Pesaro, in the Papal States. She had carried out extensive work on the house and paid to complete the road between Como and Cernobbio and was, as a result, deeply in debt. BACK

[4] Domenico Pino (1760–1826), Italian soldier who sided with the French forces in Italy, serving as Minister of War in the Cisalpine Republic 1804–1805 and the Kingdom of Italy 1805–1806 and Commander of the Italian Guard 1806–1815. His wife, the ex-ballerina Vittoria Peluso (c. 1766–1828), had inherited the Villa d’Este from her first husband, Bartolomeo Calderara (1747–1806), and sold the property to Princess Caroline. BACK

[5] Bartolomeo Pergami (1783/4–1842), the head of Princess Caroline’s household, with whom she was rumoured to be having an affair. Among the honours he received were an estate in Sicily, conferring on him baronial rank, and various orders of knighthood. BACK

[6] Domenico Pino had recommended Pergami to Princess Caroline. Pergami was probably an ex-servant of Pino’s, though Southey suggests Pino had certified that Pergami had served under him in the 2nd (Italian) Division in Spain in 1808–1810. BACK

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