“A Certain Splendid Memory”
Winter found Churchill speaking in Boston, where he was introduced by Mark Twain: “England sinned when she got herself into a war in South Africa which she could have avoided, just as we have sinned in getting into a similar war in the Philippines. Mr. Churchill by his father is an Englishman, by his mother he is an American, no doubt a blend that makes the perfect man. England and America; we are kin. And now that we are also kin in sin, there is nothing more to be desired. The harmony is perfect‹like Mr. Churchill himself, whom I now have the honour to present to you.” Twain inscribed for Churchill a collection of his works: “To be good is noble; to teach others how to be good is nobler, & no trouble.”
While in America, Winston’s friend, Bourke Cockran, arranged for him to meet President McKinley and to dine with New York Governor Theodore Roosevelt. Queen Victoria died in January and Churchill sailed from New York to England on February 2nd, the day of her funeral.
The House of Commons was full on the night of Churchill’s maiden speech February 18th. Beginning with the Boer War, he defended the Army’s conduct in prosecuting it: “From what I saw of the war, and I sometimes saw something of it, I believe that as compared with other wars, especially those in which a civil population took part, this war [was] carried on with unusual humanity and generosity.” But he criticized proposals to impose a military government over the Boers, advocating instead a civil government: “As soon as it is known that there is in the Transvaal a government under which property and liberty are secure, so soon as it is known that in these countries one can live freely and safely, there would be a rush of immigrants from all parts of the world to develop the country and to profit by the great revival of trade which usually follows war of all kinds.”
Churchill concluded with a graceful reference to his late father, Lord Randolph: “I cannot sit down without saying how very grateful I am for the kindness and patience with which the House has heard me, and which have been extended to me, I well know, not on my own account, but because of a certain splendid memory which many hon. Members still preserve.”