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Churchill and the Great Republic
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Lord Randolph Churchill to Winston Churchill, August 21, 1894
In 1894, at age forty-five, Lord Randolph Churchill's political career was over and his health was deteriorating. In this letter sent from California, he is critical of Winston's desire to join the cavalry instead of the infantry. It captures a strained relationship that likely was exacerbated by the father's illness. The final line with its refusal to countenance the change "during my lifetime" is poignant as Lord Randolph died just five months later in January 1895.

Object Details:
Holograph letter. Churchill Papers, Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge, U.K. (16)


Related Theme:
Forebears and Family
Image: Lord Randolph Churchill to Winston Churchill, August 21, 1894
Transcript:
August 21st 1894 Hotel Del Monte

California

My dear Winston,

I do not enter into your lengthy letter of the 22nd in which you enlarge on your preference for the Calvary over the 60th Rifles. I could never sanction such a change. Your name was put down by myself on the Duke of Cambridge's list for one or other of the battalions of that Regiment. The Duke of Cambridge would be extremely angry with you if you were to make any application to him for such a change; His Royal Highness would consult me and I should oppose it strongly. So that you had better put that out of your head altogether at any rate during my lifetime during which you will be dependent on me. So much for that subject.

Your other letters numbering five in all have been very pleasant & agreeable to receive & read. I cannot make out in what post office Jack's letters are, I have not got one. I have a sort of idea I got one at Bar Harbour but I fear not, for all the family letters Jacks as well as the others, are put away in a green morocco locked collapsible case. I think the photographing interferes very much with correspondence, taking into account all the occupations of travelling.

Well I have got as far as this very nice warm & sunny part of California. I leave it very early tomorrow for San Francisco tomorrow morning the 22nd and on the 23rd we leave San Francisco for Victoria in Vancouver at 9 am which necessitates a rise from bed at 5:30 am. This Pacific steamer is not very smart or clean ship, but your mother and I have very fair cabins. The hours of meals are curious. I recommend them to Mr. Little. Breakfast at 8-9 luncheon from 12:30 to 1:30, dinner 5:30 to 7. Nothing after that till the morning. However the voyage is only 800 nautical miles & take on 3 days. This ship takes us to Victoria from where we embark on The Empress of Japan. This is one of a very fine fast line of steamers kept up by the Dominion of Canada Government to keep up a fleet of fast steamers in connection with the Canadian Pacific Railway to carry if necessary British Mails & if necessary British troops. The route across Canada and across from Vancouver to Japan & on to Hong Kong & even to Calcutta is much shorter than round across the Bay through the Suez Canal & by Ceylon to Calcutta. We have your mother and I two fine rooms. Mr. Keith also has a good room. We shall probably arrive at Yoko-hama in about 14 or 15 days. So that at that time we shall have travelled very nearly three months & about by sea & land about 10,000 miles and we shall be about 8,500 miles as the direct route goes. However you can write, if you catch the right mail for Yokohama which you will do if you direct c/o Messrs August Belmont, New York. He will forward your letters whenever there is a mail, three times to Yokohama for I do not think I shall leave Japan till the middle of October. Love to Jack and remember me to Mr. Little warmly.

Your affectionate father

Randolph S. Churchill

I cannot write at length for I have so many letters to write when the mail comes in.
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