George wonders to see me write so much to you; he is so well that I will carry him to school on Monday, without consulting any person. . . . He has read more Latin to me than I have to him, for my breath as been affected by the cold, or I should have read more with him; but he has hammered out his Latin with the dictionary and what assistance I can give him, and construes it wonderfully well. He will be at school till the 25th of next month, and then I propose exercise abroad, and the Modern History of Europe at home, and French; for to speak the truth he is defective in the pronunciation of that, for want of practice. The Theodore’s coming here obliges me to have my nieces dine here, to see her. I’m afraid people will come to see Mie Mie dance par billets.
CHAPTER 6. 1786-1791 THE CLOSING CENTURY
Political events—At Richmond—The Duke of Queensberry’s villa —Princess Amelia—The King’s illness—The French Revolution —Proposed visit to Castle Howard—In Gloucestershire—Affairs in France—The Emigres—Society at Richmond—The French Revolution —Richmond Theatre—French friends—Christening of Lady Caroline Campbell’s child—Selwyn’s bad health—Death.
Of the series of political events which in rapid succession followed the formation of the Rockingham Ministry, the death of its head, the accession to the premiership of Lord Shelburne, the resignation of Fox, and lastly the coalition between that statesman and his old antagonist Lord North, Selwyn tells us nothing. His correspondence with Carlisle came to an end for the time when his friend was recalled from Ireland in 1782. Thus the last group of letters has rather a social and a personal than a political interest.
For a number of years Selwyn had been in a constant state of alarm lest he should be deprived of his sinecure office of Paymaster of the Board of Works. Burke’s scheme of economical reform had been a constantly threatening cloud to him. The passing of this Bill, which that statesman had so persistently but unavailingly pressed on the House of Commons, had, however, been made one of the conditions on which the Rockingham Ministry came into office. It became law in 1782,(228) and under its operations Selwyn was deprived of his office. But in 1784, when Pitt was safely in power, Selwyn was appointed to the equally unarduous and lucrative post of Surveyor -General of Crown Lands. He was thus able to enjoy the last years of his life in affluence, and enjoy them he did, in spite of failing health. His letters are still gay, showing unabated interest in the world around him. He retained that remarkable sympathy for the young which had characterised his life. The children of Carlisle had grown out of childhood. Lord Morpeth was going to Oxford,(229) Lady Caroline was married. His adopted daughter, the Mie Mie of so many of the preceding letters, had become a woman, and the care and affection with which