The Right Honorable Winston Spencer Churchill
GEN. SIR IAN HAMILTON, G.C.B., G.C.M.G., D.S.O.
THE exact tick cf the second has been phonographed, no doubt, by my recording angel, but all I can recall of my first meeting with Lieutenant Churchill is a vision of an eager, chubby-faced boy who was my shipmate coming home from India in May, 1897, when astate of war existed between Turkey and Greece. We were both burning to fight, but in opposite camps, he proposing to join the Turks, I laying my plans to see service with the Greeks. When we got to Brindisi we found our offers had been rejected, so instead of deciding the argument by ordeal by battle we signed a treaty of friendship.
Next time I heard of Winston Churchill I was lying at Kohat on the frontier with a broken leg and amongst my visitors were several officers who had been eye-witnesses of the gallantry with which he had fought as a private sepoy, rifle in hand, shoulder to shoulder with the stalwart warriors of the 35th Sikhs on the Malakand. That autumn of 1897 was the moment when he first won his spurs for personal bravery and made a real hit.
By .January, 1898, my broken limb was mended enough to enable me to resume my command of a brigade across the border, and about the beginning of February, I think it was, I got an urgent message from Churchill who had rejoined his regiment and had now come up to Amballa from far Madras to play polo for the inter-regimental cup. He only had leave until the end of the tournament but as the 4th Hussars happened to be knocked out before the finals there was a margin of several days at his disposal, and he wanted to know how best he could work the oracle so as to see some fighting.
In reply I wired him that his only possible plan was to spend the balance of his leave travelling up to Peshawar to see Sir William Lockhart, the commander of the expeditionary force and to chance what might happen thereafter. Clearly, if nothing could be done for him at Peshawar he would be unable to get back to Madras before the expiration of his leave: he would be, in other words, absent without leave. Still, nothing venture, nothing win. The next thing I heard was that owing to the good offices of Captain Haldane, of my regiment, my young friend had penetrated the impenetrable precincts; had been made an extra A.D.C. and was coming to pay me a visit in my camp. This camp was pitched at the bottom of a dark and narrow ravine from which the beetling crags rose up into huge mountains ; the place was called in the Pushto language Gala Kadai. From this vantage point Lieutenant Churchill commenced a lively campaign of his own. All day he was out stalking the enemy snipers or relieving some picket whose position seemed to open an opportunity for bloodshed. At night he wrote copiously, vindicating no doubt his appointment. Eventually, to my grief, he left me but he has never forgotten that my wicked advice turned, in his competent hands, into trumps. He has the gracious faculty of only forgetting injuries; benefits never. When he got back to his regiment he wrote me a long letter winding up:
“Au revoir, my dear General. May we meet again when
rifles arolj ¡loaded and swords sharp-ended — if possible before an audience which will include 40 centuries.
“Yours very truly,
“WINSTON S. CHURCHILL.”
Attaining the Unattainable
' I 'HOUGH young Churchill was adventurous to a fault, 1 that fault was balanced even in boyish days by forethought. By April, 1898 (when this letter was written) Kitchener’s slow advance was drawing to its climax. The machines of a machine-made civilization were closing in upon the last survivors of the epoch of Richard Coeur de Lion and Saladin. Khartoum was doomed, and Churchill was already planning out his next bold leap for the moon. The letter, the end of which I have just quoted, began thus: “My dear General,
“I have just got X—’s letter. It says that Y— told him to tell me that if I got leave in August he would see that I got to the front. That is of course good enough. I must, however, forego England, which is painful. How painful you on the verge of starting home will appreciate.”
Ever since 1884 the Army in Egypt had been a very close preserve. Trespassers were warned off with threats of courts-martial. Sir Herbert Kitchener meant business; and the medal-hunters had resigned themselves to the fact that Egypt was impossible except by invitation. A special bar had been raised against a certain Winston Churchill, I imagine because he was already something of a challenge to authority; already becoming remarkable for his audacity and success. So what was next door to impossible for the crowd became the door beyond impossibility “for him. Yet upon a certain cornet of horse this word, this “impossible,” acted as a challenge and a spur. He brought off the coup.
Whether faith, hope, charity or love rushed to his assistance there is no need at this time of day to enquire; the main thbig is that he appeared. He appeared to’the astonishment of the Expeditionary Force, who knew that Churchill had been invited by their chief to stay aw:ay and, appearing, he took the leading part in the most picturesque episode of a battle which stands out in its tragedy and grandeur an epoch in the history of our
HERE is an extract from a letter of his tome:
"In the train,
Sudan Military Ry.,
16th Sept., 1898.
“My dear General,
“. . . . Well, all is over and the words Khalifa and Khartoum may now be handed over to the historian soldiers having no further use for them. I hope you may have seen the Morninj Pont and have recognized my handiwork therein. I will not repeat what I have written there. Purely personal— will that bore you? I hope
“I -had a patrol on 2nd Sept, and was, I think, the first to see the enemy—certainly the first to hear their bullets. Never shall I see such a sight again. At the very least there were 40,000 men—five miles long in lines with great humps and squares at intervals—and I can assure you that when I heard them all shouting their war songs from my coign of vantage on the ridge of Heliograph Hill I and my little patrol felt very lonely, and though I never doubted the issue I was in great awe.
“Then they advanced and I watched them, fascinated and of course scribbling messages perpetually to the Sirdar, and O. C. 21st Lancers. Their cavalry patrols which consisted of five or six horsemen each made no attempt to drive me back and I waited until one great brigade of perhaps 2,000 men got to within 400 yards. I didn’t realise they could shoot and thought they were all spearmen. Then they halted for a quarter of an hour and treated me and my 7 lancers with complete disdain. Foolishly I dismounted 4 and opened magazine into the brown of them. Thereat they sent out 20 riflemen and began to make very close practice. Finally I had to gallop.
“Beyond were thousands cf dervishe-s as I thought fugitives ‘meet to be cut up.’ I made use of the expression ‘supine apathy’ here At 8.40 we mounted and rode slowly towards these crowds. I was confident that we should spear them till we could not sit on our horses. But between us and the distant fugitives was a single line of 150 men. • We all thought thesespearmen They let us get within 250 yards in silence. We proposed—at least I think this was the idea—to move round their flank and slip a squadron at them and then on to the better things beyond. The ground looked all right and besides we did not intend doing anything from that direction.
“We trotted in column of troops across their front from right to left. As we did so the enemy got down on their knees and opened a very sharp fire. There was a loud brisk crackle of musketry. The distance was too short for it to be harmless on so big a target and I realized thatjthere were only two courses open, viz., left wheel into line and gallop off, coming back for wounded abad business—and right wheel into line and charge. I think everybody made his own decision. At any rate while the trumpet was still jerking we were all at the gallop towards them. The fire was too hot to allow of second lines, flank squadrons or anything like that being arranged. The only order given was right wheel into line. Gallop and charge were understood.
“I went through the first 100 looking over my left shoulder to see what sort of effect the fire was producing. It seemed small. I drew my Mauser pistol, a ripper, and cocked it. Then I looked to ir y front. Instead of the 150 riflemen who were still blazing, I saw a line nearly (in the middle) 12 deep and a little less than our own front.
of closely jarr.med spearmen, all in a nullah with steep sloping sides, say 6 foot wide and 20 foot broad.
"After the frontier I thought, capital, the more the merrier. I must explain my position. I was right troop leader but one. 1 saw we overlapped. I was afraid we would charge into air. I shouted to Wormald, 7th Hussars fan excellent officer) to shoulder, and he actually struck the enemy in a crescent formation. Result of our shoulder was that try troop struck nullah diagonally and this descending slope enabled us to gallop through, not jump it. Result, we struck faster and more formed than the centre troops.
“Opposite me they were about 4 deep. But they all fell, knocked A.O.T., and we passed through without any sort of shock. One man in my troop fell. He was cut to pieces. Five or six horses were wounded by backhanders, etc. But otherwise unscathed. Then we emerged into a region of scattered men and personal combats. The troop broke up and disappeared. I pulled into a trot and rode up to individuals, firing my pistol in their faces and killing several—three for certain, two doubtful, one very doubtful. Then I looked round and saw the dervish mass was about twenty yards away and I looked at them stupidly for what may have been two seconds. Then I saw two men get down on their knees and take aim with rifles—and for the first time the danger and peril came home to me. I turned and galloped. The squadron was reforming nearly 150 yards away. As I turned both shots were fired and at that close range I was grievously anxious. But I heard none of their bullets, which went Heaven knows where. So I pulled into a canter and rejoined my troop, having fired exactly ten shots and emptied my pistol, but without a hair of my horse or a stitch of my clothing being touched. Very few can say the same.
“I am glad to have added the experience of a cavalry •charge to my military repertoire. But really though dangerous it was not in the least exciting and it did not look dangerous—at least not to me. You see I was so confident we should spear them and hunt them and the realization of our loss did not come to me until we reformed and I saw the wounded, etc. It was, I suppose, the most dangerous two minutes I shall live to see. Out of 310 officers and men we lost one officer and twenty men killed; four officers and forty-five men wounded and 119 horses, of which fifty-six were bullet wounds. All this in 120 seconds!
“I never saw better men than the 21st Lancers. I don’t mean to say I admired their discipline or their general training ; both I thought inferior. But they were the sixyear British soldier type, and every man was an intelligent human being that knew his own mind My faith in our race and bleed was much strengthened. ... i
“I asked my second sergeant if he had enjoyed himself. He replied, ‘Well I don’t exactly say I enjoyed it, sir, but I think I’ll get more used to it next time.’ This, mind you, was at 9.15 a.m. and looking out on the possibilities of the day I thought he should have lots more.
“I was very anxious for the regiment to charge back because it would have been a very fine performance and men and officers could easily have done it while they were warm. But the dismounted fire was more useful though I would have liked the charge ‘pour la gloire’—and to buck up British cavalry.
“We all got a little ccld an hour afterwards and I was quite relieved to see that ‘heroics’ were ‘off for the day at least.
“I send you a rough sketch which may interest you. I did not distinguish myself in any way—although as my composure was undisturbed my vanity is of course increased.
I informed the attache! officers cn the way up that there was only one part of the despatch in which they could hope to be mentioned. They asked what part. I replied ‘The casualty list.’ And the words were nearly prophetic because out of eight we had one killed and two bad'y wounded.
‘T am in great disfavor with the authorities here.
Kitchener was furious wit h Sir E. Wood for sending, me out, and expressed himself freely. My remarks on the treatment of the wounded again disgraceful were repeated to him and generally things have been a little unpleasant.
“It is hard to throw stones at the rising sun
and my personal dislike may have warped my judgment, but, if I am not blinded, he has been on a certainty from start to finish and has had the devil’s luck to help him beside.”
THE next time these two met Churchill’s name had been written down into Lord Kitchener’s blackest books. The reason may be found in that fine and convincing piece of literature,
“The River War.” Buller’s star was sinking; Kitchener stood second to Lord Roberts; his frown was accounted fatal and yet, somehow, even from this uncongenial South African soil, Winston was to contrive to reap laurels.
The armoured train adventure took place when I was besieged in Ladysmith; sö did the captivity and the escape. The pertinent point about this affair is that it illustrates the friendly and grateful nature of Winston.
Haldane, the same officer who had got Churchill on to Sir William Lockhart’s staff, was ordered to take the armoured train out. Churchill would never have become involved in this dangerous reconnaissance had it not been for that old Peshawar business. How gallantly, capably, he behaved in the fight between the train and the Boers is related in history books. As to the escape from captivity Churchill has received less than fair play in some of the versions of that thrilling piece of work which have gone the rounds both in the army and in the Dominions. The story is simply that he, Haldane and a South African officer, who spoke both Kaffir and Dutch, agreed to seize the first good chance of doing a bolt by climbing a ten foot wall at a spot where some projections gave a foothold. It was not to be a combined move; each was to seize his own moment but the first over the wall was to wait on the far side for his pals.
The first evening all three went out to the spot from w hich the attempt was to be made but the sentries were alert and the nerve of all three failed them. Upon Winston this failure produced its usual reaction and when he said to his confederates, “I will do it to-morrow at all costs,” he meant business. Unlike Robert the Bruce, Winston has nothing to learn from spiders in the matter of perseverance. The spider in the cive tried seven times but I s ly unto you that Winston will try seventy times seven, so it saves trouble to give way to him at once. Next evening came. Churchill was seated at dinner when the others, having had try number two and having failed, came back and muttered something as they passed to their places.* Churchill understood that their try number two had failed. He went out and at once saw a chance. It was a sudden occasion swiftly seized. One semiinstinctive effort, a scramble, and he was crouching in a garden at the foot of the ten foot wall which, from without, gave no foot
hold. There he crouched. He couldn’t run away. First he had arranged to hold on; secondly, his whole plan hung on the help of the South African officer who knew the country and had the language. So there he lay for one mortal hour! At last he heard voices from the prison—his own name, Latin words; and by degrees he tumbles to it that the other two can't bring it off, that the sentries are suspicious, and that his associates wish him to come back. But the only way he could come back was by going round to the front entrance and there giving himself up; the wall from the outside was unclimbable. If the other prisoners were going to suffer, he reasoned, the mischief was already done, whether he came back at once or had a run for it first. So he ran. If there are any inaccuracies in this story they are the fault of my memory. I have never heard him tell the story in the sense that he was giving me “his side” of a vexed question. The night of the last day of February of that year 1900 he had ridden with Lord Dundonald “first in” to besieged Ladysmith and I had come down off my outpost line on Caesar’s Camp and Waggon Hill for the first time for weeks to meet these welcome harbingers of victory. But the relief and reaction after four months’ tension had given me a go of fever so sharp that I could neither discuss the food nor the siege. In revenge, Winston gave me his adventures and I am sure I have not forgotten their gist. I am sure, also, that he told me nothing that was not true for he is absolutely and determinedly truthful always. Later on, when I was Chief Staff Officer to Lord Kitchener,
I spoke to many Dutchmen about the escape and saw the ground for myself. My belief is that Churchill was entitled to make his try and that having succeeded he was right not to go back. I sympathise with the vexation of his fellow-prisoners, especially when, as a result of his bold stroke for freedom, their gaolers became doubly strict. But let them put themselves in his shoes.
TF I have seemed to dwell upon the escape it is not so much because it illustrates Churchill's flashlight decision as because to me, as a soldier, the issues are vital, whilst to me, as a frfend, the insinuation that my friend left a friend in the lurch would be wounding did I not know how far politics and prejudice had given it a bias. For whatever Churchill’s faults he is affectionate in his friendships, enduring in his gratitude, loyal in his camaraderie. punctilious in his execution of an agreement and, above everything, first class company in a tiger shoot.
Three months later, April 30th, this escaped prisoner was far enough from my thoughts. It was in the crisis of our heavy light at Iloutnek that a heliogram from Lord Roberts was put into my hand. Anxiously I tore it open hoping it might spell reinforcements. The message ran, “What post with your column could you suggest for the Duke of Marlborough?” Maximoff hail just launched his foreign legion in regular attack against a plateau overhanging my left which was held by some Kitchener's Horse and a handful of Gordons. When that struggle passed, I answered, “Assistant press censor or a captain in a mounted infantry battalion.” The battle went on. In t he evening I was seeing Captain Towse, of the Gordons, into an ambulance and hoping against hope that his eyesight might be saved when this rejoinder came in: “You
are not entitled to a press censor; captaincy in mounted infantry unsuitable; can you not take the Duke upon your personal staff?” Two days later a little buggy drove up to my tent door and you might have knocked me down with a feather when out of it hopped Winston! How he got there I did not enquire too closely. There he was, with his cousin the Duke, and both of them worked hard and did their level soldierly best.
Continued on page 49
The Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer Churchill
Continued from page 13
Churchill’s Vigor and Accuracy of
IT WAS during that march from Bloemfontein to Pretoria that I first realized the gifts of Churchill and became aware that the qualities of the victor of the battle of Blenheim had been well and truly grafted upon a wild, vigorous stock transplanted from the New World. Quick, audacious, decisive in big things or little, he stood out every time he tried. On a deserted farm some hungry officers were chasing a flock of geese. The geese were no fools and they were easily too much for the cavalry—for all but one of them, who, darting suddenly from his hiding place, landed the finest of the flock a kick which sent it sailing through the air to fall dead at the feet of a very senior officer! Churchill stood the abuse; stuck to the goose and did actually cook that goose. To some, no doubt, this farmyard illustration may appear grotesque but there’s more in it than meets the simpleton’s eye. His victory over the goose was emblematic of the vigor and accuracy of vision he brought to bear upon stupidity, and it never failed him except in the great war when there were so many military geese about, they became unkickable.
He had a great eye for country; danger made no odds to him at all. During the second day of the Battle of Diamond Hill he sent me a note imploring me to make my way to a certain vantage point whence, he said, the whole tangle of the battle could be unravelled. I had just been bowled over by a spent shrapnel bullet but I did struggle up that hill on to a plateau which was a real magazine fire spot, a sort of spot which turned heroes into flounders, made every living soul lie flat and pray for deliverance from the dimension of height. Winston had been right. I could clearly define, indeed, I was in close touch with, the main position of the enemy, also I could see that there was a weak link between that position and his extreme left and, as a result, Bruce Hamilton sent in his 82nd Field Battery; the intrepid de Lisle struck hard with his famous mounted infantry and, at a late hour in the evening, broke into the enemy’s
How many battles are like that! Grand generals, staff galaxies whilst, all the time, unsuspected by the elect, somewhere there is, there really is, a genius acting as god of the machine.
Churchill’s Coat of Blue
WHEN I was still grinding out my soul as chief staff officer to Lord Kitchener in South Africa (a fifteen hours’ day every time not to speak of broken nightsj my brilliant young friend was playing star turns in the House of Commons as the hope of the Conservative party. I have always felt that Winston’s coat of many colors was originally dipped into a vat of blue, a good, fast, natural Tory background; none of your synthetical or analytical dyes. The bedrock of the singular being is conservatism, but his vision sweeps a wider field. His imagination plumbs greater depths and heights than the average Tory can compass. So there are questions, as, for instance, those engendered by the Treaty of Versailles, wherein I should guess he stood much nearer to the Lloyd George of the Boer War than to the Lloyd George who cocks a fierce kepi upon a chevelure which is the only thing left to us now of the man who used to swear daily that force was no
•"Since M. Briand came into power . . .
he has proceeded as he himself explained, first to re-cement the fabric of the Alliance and then to impose upon the reinforced structure the logical French thesis of force."—Times : 30th April, 1921.
remedy.* So at least I should surmise seeing that, during the years 1901-1902 Churchill took a line of his own about the Boer indemnities: he was clear for indemnities provided the victors paid them.
In a letter I wrote him directly peace was signed, I pressed upon him the idea of granting a constitution to the Boers so soon as their arms were handed over, pointing out that as we held 36.000 prisoners we should get a British majority in the Raad at the same time that our horn would be morally much exalted. I wrote on the same lines to George Wyndham. Winston replied that he agreed; that the idea was brilliant, but that, unluckily, there was only one living soul in the United Kingdom who would support it and his name was Lloyd George. How strange even in a few brief years are the ups and downs and upside downs of history. But although politicians may stand cn their heads principles remain upright. History will repeat itself, and as Campbell-Bannerman dished the Tories by being magnanimous to the Boers so will some new, unknown statesman dish the Coalition."
His Great Decision A ND it came to pass in those days that, D in the fullness of time. Churchill was a Liberal and was despitefullv treated by many a fair weather friend. For the party system as practised in these islands of the blessed is peculiar. A man may turn his coat as-often as ever he likes so long as the party turn theirs too. Yet if, when the party turns, he does dare keep his coat on there is a cat o’nine tails ready to flog him back into line. This is the word RAT. Yet rats leave sinking ships whereas the silly cockroaches stick to them.
That’s my way of putting the issue— not Winston’s way. The Conservative ship was unseaworthy because her planks were rotten. It was doomed because she had suddenly been switched off the trade wind route to hunt for Treasure Island amidst hurricanes. Winston was neither a rat nor a blackbeetle. He was a human being, conscient of his own motives; cleaving to the views upon which he had been elected; determined not to knuckle under to anv personage, however senior or splendid, who had seized upon the helm -without a mandate. What looked to others like a change of sides appeared to himself as a farewell to politics. He never dreamed of holding office for many years to come and he began to study for the law. Small wonder! The followers of Sulla are always more savage than the followers of Marius: the white terror more deadly than the red. The story of the escape from Pretoria was revived. Parallels were drawn between the desertion of his comrades in the enemy’s prison and his desertion of the Conservatives in their selfmade prison.
Fiscals began in 'C3; Churchill crossed the floor late in '04 ana me ship sank in '05. Whenever Churchill spoke it was the Opposition and not the orator who foamed at the mouth. When he supported the grant of a constitution to the Boers his remarks were made the occasion of a special outburst of fury; being held to be a betrayal of the Army of South Africa and a specially bad instance of the mean, turn-coat methods of Campbell-Bannerman. Now mark what follows, for it is not 1 often in life that misrepresentations go so far; or, that they can be so completely refuted
While the peace negotiations were actually going on I wrote Churchill letter after letter urging him to see Mr. Chamberlain and to try and arrange with him, Mr. Brodrick and Lord Roberts that the Boers should receive magnanimous treatment and, more especially, that Louis Botha
might be given a brigade at Aldershot and that de la Rey and Smuts should each be fitted out with some sort of a commando in South Africa. Here is his answer, the original of which I hold:
“105 Mount Street, W., June 25th, 1902.
“My dear General,
“Many thanks for your last three letters, all of which have been most pleasant to read and to receive.
“How thankful you must be at the result which has been achieved, and to think that you yourself were able to exert a powerful and effective influence, not only upon the War but upon the negotiations. I am quite certain that the Boer leaders have been powerfully impressed by the courtesy and respect which is entertained for them by the English commanders. As a nation it seems to me they possess qualities quite different to their individual qualities, and instead of being a matter of fact, secluded, sober, plainly dressed folk, they are, when they get together, as full of military vanity and desire for glory and renown as any nation bas ever been; and they have moreover (so it has always seemed to me) a very curious and complete comprehension of the soldier’s mind and the soldier’s point of view. If this be true, I find myself able at once to understand how beneficent an influence men like Kitchener and yourself must have had upon the course of events.
, “We are all very much impressed over here by the loyalty of the Boers in carrying out the spirit of the capitulation, and I hear it on all sides said what an extraordinary people they are. For my part I see nothing in their behaviour which is not perfectly logical and consistent, marked by the same shrewdness and boldness which has characterized all their previous plans. They have fought the British Empire; they have been defeated; they recognise that they cannot beat the British Empire; and they have decided to have it on their side. I am bound to,say if they play their cards with their usual skill they will most certainly succeed. They do not mean to be handed over to the tender mercies of the Loyalists of South Africa, and it is in my opinion a shrewd and a practical policy on their part (an act all the more shrewd because it will be evidently sincere) to try to stand of all South African factors nearest the Imperial throne. For my part I think that if henceforward they associate themselves with us, we are absolutely bound to give them every kind of encouragement. ... I am certain of this, that if we can make the Boers one of the foundations of our position in South Africa, if not the chief foundation, we shall be building upon the rock.
“I envy you very much your dinner with de Wet and the others, and it must have been indeed to you the most interesting event of your life. How very seldom opportunities have been provided in history for distinguished commanders on both sides to fight their battles over again. I wish I had the power to make the appointments* you suggest, but I know that Mr. Chamberlain is fully alive to the value of the help he may receive from the Boer leaders; and you may be quite sure that in politics he will always be a good friend to anyone who can give him the least assistance. Of course, the Government will use the Boers if they find from them a stronger support than from elsewhere.”
Hating Him a Convention 'T'HIS, I think, is conclusive. But in 1906 an angel from Heaven would have been hissed had she dared utter Churchill’s name in a drawing room without ÿ swear word in front of it. Abuse of thislunconventional figure became a con-
*To give Botha a Brigade at Aldershot, etc.
versational convention. There was only one thing Society could not do; they could not leave him alone. There has been more talk about Winston than about any other politician who, in my day, has existed. Why? Because he is a more Interesting
Churchill will always be delighted to fight but he never bears malice. He is one of the very rare public men who has put enemies into appointments and has forgiven ungrateful friends. Some politicians enjoy a sly revenge but there is nothing underhand about Churchill and his face bears me out. He is in every sense courageous and he never gets frightened unless danger is still a long way off: then he does get the wind up but that is because he sees very far ahead and is miserable, wretched, when his colleagues wish to wait-and-see. He sees. He doesn’t want to wait: he wants to make all ready for the storm. Yet once let it break and the last thing that will break under it is Winstoji’s
Is our new Colonial ¡"Secretary then perfect? Heavens, no! A genius he is, but wayward and self-absorbed. In company he falls often into a sort of trance during which he is capable of outraging all the conventions. Really he is dreaming with an intense concentration and is clearing the decks for action. In these moods he makes enemies “wherever he goes” as fast as the young lady from Banbury Cross made music. I could illustrate these items by examples but better not. He will be all there when he meets theJDominion Premier and what they will find is the hardest worker in these islands. His native genius never ran to oratory; he got there like Demosthenes! by work. In the earlier stages of his political career, for months at a stretch he would write out several long speeches a day and commit them all to memory on the off-chance that the occasion might arise and that he mightrcatch the Speaker’s eye. Churchill could not speak then; he is now, to^my taste, our best speaker.
After all, the root question about any man must be, “What is he out for?” Money? No! A thousand franc notejblows out of the window—well, it has beenlblown.
I once bought a sow from him—a most | prolific transaction. Power? He is immune to that microbe. In his own personality he has carried power about with him since childhood. Tradition has it that he overpowered his nurse in the nursery; that within a week of joining at school he had flung a prefect into a canal. Glory? Hardly. It used to dazzle the young Churchill; to Churchill, the statesman, it gilds the object agreeably, nothing more. What then? Creation: not of himself but of ideas, things. Not the making of a great author but of a great book; not of a great artist but of a great picture; not of a great Colonial Secretary but of a great Empire. There we have him!
Of all the men we have he is the most capable of helping the Ministers of the four nations to readjust our Imperial machine after the storm and stress of the war. One of the main causes of the criticism he has inspired, i.e., his many-sidedness, should be an immense asset to him in carrying on the duties of his present great post. His mind, I have explained, is like a diamond that has been dug out of the blue Conservative clay: conservatism was the matrix stuff and nothing can destroy its impress. But Winston is not blue clay himself; he is a diamond. He reflects; he sparkles; he can not only absorb but can illuminate any point of view. Beyond price should be this gift of his to the Empire when he meets the famous statesmen who are coming to us from overseas. Here’s luck to him—and to them!