Strawberry Hill, Feb. 28, 1763. (page 203)
Your letter of the 19th seems to postpone your arrival rather than advance it; yet Lady Ailesbury tells me that to her you talk of being here in ten days. I wish devoutly to see you, though I am not departing myself; but I am impatient to have your disagreeable function(264) at an end, and to know that you enjoy Yourself after such fatigues, dangers, and ill-requited services. For any public satisfaction you will receive in being at home, you must not expect much. Your mind was not formed to float on the surface of a mercenary world. My prayer (and my belief) is, that you may always prefer what you always have preferred, your integrity to success. You will then laugh, as I do, at the attacks and malice of faction or ministers. I taste of both; but, as my health is recovered, and My Mind does not reproach me, they will perhaps only give me an opportunity, which I should never have sought, of proving that I have some virtue—and it will not be proved in the way they probably expect. I have better evidence than by hanging out the tattered ensigns of patriotism. But this and a thousand other things I shall reserve for our meeting. Your brother has pressed me much to go with him, if he goes, to Paris.(265) I take it very kindly, but have excused myself, though I have promised either to accompany him for a short time at first, or to go to him if he should have any particular occasion for me: but my resolution against ever appearing in any public light is unalterable. When I wish to live less and less in the world here, I cannot think of mounting a new stage at Paris. At this moment I am alone here, while every body is balloting in the House of Commons. Sir John Philips proposed a commission of accounts, which has been converted into a select committee of twenty-one, eligible by ballot. As the ministry is not predominant in the affections of mankind, some of them may find a jury elected that will not be quite so complaisant as the House is in general when their votes are given openly. As many may be glad of this opportunity, I shun it; for I should scorn to do any thing in secret, though I have some enemies that are not quite so generous.
You say you have seen the North Briton, in which I make a capital figure. Wilkes, the author, I hear, says, that if he had thought I should have taken it so well, he would have been damned before he would have written it-but I am not sore where I am not sore.
The theatre of Covent-garden has suffered more by riots than even Drury-lane.(266) A footman of Lord Dacre has been hanged for murdering the butler. George Selwyn had great hand in bringing him to confess it. That Selwyn should be a capital performer in a scene of that kind is not extraordinary: I tell it you for the strange coolness which the young fellow, who was but nineteen, expressed: as he was writing his confession, “I murd—” he stopped, and asked, “how do you spell murdered?”