26 February 2004
STAMFORDHAM, Baron (1849-1931, Private Secretary to George V). Autograph letter signed and a typed letter signed, to T. E. Lawrence, Buckingham Palace, 1 January and 17 January 1928. Together 9 pages, 4to, and 8vo, Buckingham Palace stationery.
A CHASTISEMENT FROM THE PALACE: "YOUR PROPER PLACE IS AT HOME AMONGST MEN & WOMEN OF INTELLECT AND CULTURE LIKE YOURSELF."
The King's secretary writes to Lawrence as "Col. Shaw," or "the name which you wish to bear," explaining that when Robert Graves asked permission to cite in his 1927 book, Lawrence and the Arabs, the 1918 incident in which Lawrence declined decorations, the query was referred to the King, who did not recollect the precise words used in the conversation. He did, however, recall Lawrence saying that "he had given his word to Feisal and apparently the British Govt. was not going to keep its word & that probably he (Lawrence) might be fighting with the Arabs against British troops, be taken prisoner or killed, and 'he did not wish to be found carrying the ribbons of British decorations.'" Stamfordham then chides Lawrence for remaining in a lowly station: "you ought not to be '338171 A. C. Shaw' residing...at Karachi: but your proper place is at home amongst men & women of intellect and culture like yourself. I think you told me you rather liked, or did not mind, scrubbing barracks floors & tables! But is this not misuse of those physical powers to which your splendid services with the Arabs testify?! Nor can I imagine that your great endowment of mind derive any benefit from such occupation? Unless it is a case of 'lying fallow' after excessive cropping!" (2)
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