CHURCHILL, Sir Winston (1874-1965). Autograph letter signed to Lord Wolseley, 105 Mount Street [London], 4 October 1900, asking him to preside over his opening lecture on the South African War on October 30th, 'My lecture will be non-political and there will be no violent attacks on anything or any body', 2 pages, 8vo, integral blank leaf ('accepted' written in a different handwriting in the upper margin).
The letter, which is unpublished, marks Churchill's debut as a public lecturer. He had conceived the idea of lecturing on the war while still in South Africa and on returning to England set about collecting various eminent men to preside over the series including, as he mentions here, Lord Rosebery and the Duke of Northumberland. Lord Wolseley who was still Commander-in-Chief, agreed to preside on the inaugural occasion and Churchill delivered a practice run of his talk at Harrow School. The first lecture was a great success - he spoke for 1½ hours. Between October 30 and November 30 Churchill delivered 29 lectures, for which he received the then considerable sum of #3,782.