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    Sale 5315

    Fine Printed Books & Manuscripts including Modern First Editions

    13 November 2008, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 297

    CHURCHILL, Sir Winston Spencer (1874-1965). Autograph letter signed (twice: 'Winston', and 'W.S.C.' after postscript) to Pamela Plowden, 'In the train to Winnipeg', 20 January 1901, 5 pages, 8vo; envelope. Provenance: Pamela, Countess of Lytton; and by descent.

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    CHURCHILL, Sir Winston Spencer (1874-1965). Autograph letter signed (twice: 'Winston', and 'W.S.C.' after postscript) to Pamela Plowden, 'In the train to Winnipeg', 20 January 1901, 5 pages, 8vo; envelope. Provenance: Pamela, Countess of Lytton; and by descent.

    HIS CANADIAN LECTURE TOUR, AND THE 'CONSIDERABLE INCONVENIENCE' OF QUEEN VICTORIA'S APPROACHING DEATH: 'The Queen is dying, is perhaps already dead ... And see how this complicates and clouds all my plans, disturbing not only nations but Winstons'. The consequence of the monarch's death should be an immediate dissolution of Parliament and a new general election, which would entail not only the risks to his slim 225 majority in Oldham [which he had won in the autumn 1900 general election], but also the cancellation of his lecture tour, 'spoiling the already scanty profits', and a hurried return, 'as fast as steamer and train can carry me'. In sum, 'even the Greatest and Best may cause considerable inconvenience by their deaths'. Churchill's thoughts are still strongly with Pamela: 'There is that between us, which if it should grow no stronger, will last forever. God bless you. Write about ordinary things...'. A brief postscript refers to 'contrary winds in my life'.

    In spite of his complaints, Churchill's lecture tour of Britain, the United States and Canada, recounting his exploits in South Africa including his escape from Boer captivity, raised him the handsome sum of £10,000. Queen Victoria died two days after Churchill's letter, but in the event no general election was called. Churchill gave his maiden speech in parliament on 18 February.


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