CHURCHILL, Sir Winston. Man Overboard [Extracted from The Harmsworth Magazine] with Autograph Letter signed to Cecil Harmsworth. Harmsworth Magazine January 1899 and Colonial Office [1906-1908]
8vo, pp.4 extracted from the Harmsworth Magazine, bound with blanks in grey paper covered boards lettered in black on spine. Illustrated by Henry Austin,
First edition of this short story "An Episode of the Red Sea" which appeared on pp. 662-664 of the January 1898 issue of The Harmsworth Magazine.
With tipped in an Autograph Letter Signed by Winston Churchill to Cecil Harmsworth.
The letter is on a single sheet of Colonial Office notepaper, with original envelope addressed in Churchill's hand, written whilst a member of the Liberal cabinet, beginning "Dear Mr. Harmsworth, I have already gone into Mr Podwin's case at the request of Mr George Wyndham", and explaining that he will gladly help him find a post. Dated 'March 24th', sadly without the year but research narrows this to 1906-1908; from December 1905-April 1908 Churchill served as Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies, dealing mainly with South Africa after the Boer War, in particular settling the Transvaal Constitution which was accepted by Parliament in 1907.
This headed notepaper clearly refers to this period; although Churchill returned as Colonial Secretary from 1921-2, his friend George Wyndham had died in 1913 and would therefore not have been a key subject in this letter. Conservative MP George Wyndham (1863-1913), a beneficiary of Cecil Rhodes, was also a firm ally of the young Winston Churchill. Both had served as British Army officers in the Sudan and both were politically involved with South Africa. Furthermore Wyndham was Chief Secretary for Ireland (1900-1905); Churchill played a prominent role in Irish policy at this time and was later a key figure in the founding of the Irish Free State (Republic of Ireland).
The Liberal MP Cecil Harmsworth (1869-1948) was elected to the Commons in February 1906 and later served as Deputy Foreign Secretary. He was also chairman of Associated Newspapers and both his son and grandson (as Viscounts Rothermere) were powerful Fleet Street press magnates. In 1898 he and his brother, Alfred Harmsworth, later Viscount Northcliffe, established their literary periodical, The Harmsworth Magazine. Churchill was an early contributor with this short story Man Overboard appearing in issue No. 6 December 1898.
This letter, written to one of his literary publishers, therefore touches on three key areas which defined the young Churchill's early parliamentary career; South Africa, The Anglo-Irish treaty and 'crossing the floor' party politics.