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Winter 1907-08 (Age 33)

President of the Board of Trade

On return from Africa, Winston’s claims to Cabinet appointment could no longer be denied and most believed his promotion was imminent. King Edward and Herbert Asquith, planning the latter’s succession to ailing Campbell-Bannerman as Prime Minister, heard gossip that WSC wanted to enter the Cabinet keeping his post of Under-Secretary. But the King desired another, more suitable office for Winston. On 12 March Asquith offered WSC either the Colonial Office, the Local Government Board or the Admiralty; WSC asked for the Colonial Office, but on 8 April the new Prime Minister chose to offer his young colleague the Board of Trade.

Churchill was now actively speaking and writing. Having an opportunity to combine these joys and talents, he told the Authors’ Club of London that “to sit at one’s table on a sunny morning, with four clear hours of uninterruptible security, plenty of nice white paper, and a Squeezer pen—that is true happiness.”

He frequently spoke on his recent trip to Africa, East Africa’s future development, and Africa and the Cotton Trade —as well as the need for a progressive social philosophy. Some doubted his sincerity. Beatrice Webb wrote in her diary, “Winston has a hard temperament, with the American capacity for the quick appreciation and rapid execution of new ideas, whilst hardly comprehending the philosophy beneath them.” But Charles Masterman noted that WSC felt called upon by Providence to do something for the poor “whom he has just discovered.”

On the eve of his Cabinet appointment WSC attended a party at his mother’s. One of the guests was his future wife Clementine Hozier.

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