February 4, 2015

Winston’s term report from Brighton indicated that he was making very satisfactory progress. In most of his subjects he stood in the middle of his class, but in conduct he ranked last out of 29 students. He continued to plead with his father for autographs to show friends, noting that he was willing to settle for a scribbled signature at the end of a letter. There was no parental response. But Lord Randolph’s letters to the rest of his family were a delight. After observing Hindu cremations, he wrote that any Hindu whose ashes are thrown into the Ganges “goes right up to heaven without stopping, no matter how great a rascal he may have been. I think the G.O.M. (Gladstone) ought to come here; it is his best chance!”

On his return from India Winston’s father addressed a Primrose League Banquet. After fulminating against Gladstone’s Liberals, he described England’s role in India as “a sheet of oil spread over a surface of, and keeping calm and quiet and unruffled by storms, an immense and profound ocean of humanity … to give peace, individual security and general prosperity to 250 million people . . . to weld them by the influence of our knowledge, our law and our higher civilization … and to offer the West the advantages of tranquility and progress in the East. ”

Many years later, Winston could subscribe to Lord Roseberry’s response to Lord Randolph’s remarks: “The diction is by no means perfect, but the idea is little less than sublime.”

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