It was said in the war that although we had not invented an unsinkable ship we had succeeded in producing an unsinkable politician, and, whatever else may be said of Mr. Winston Churchill, it will be conceded that his buoyancy is nothing short of amazing. The two catastrophes of Antwerp and the Dardanelles failed to sink him. He has been several times upon a lee shore, battering himself to pieces—or so it seemed—upon the rocks of various obdurate constituencies. The vessel might seem to be derelict, detached without any hope of salvage or any powerful party political tug to tow it out of danger; and yet, somehow or other, it has always floated away, not merely to the open sea again, but into some prosperous harbor of ministerial office. The last case is the most remarkable of all. Mr. Churchill had detached himself, or had been detached, from the Liberal Party; he had refused to call himself a Conservative; he had been defeated in a whole series of elections and by-elections; he had defied the Conservative Central Office in the famous fight of the Abbey Division. Yet he succeeded in floating into Parliament in the wake of the recent great Conservative flood tide, and was straightway appointed, by Mr. Stanley Baldwin, to one of the chief departments of State. Such a success might be of interest to America, where I have heard that success is worshiped.
I am encouraged to write frankly on the subject by the fact that your country shared with my own the honor of—or the responsibility for—the production of this great man. If upon his father's side he is the son of that most brilliant of 'young' Conservatives, Lord Randolph Churchill, and the descendant of the great Duke of Marlborough, on his mother's side he looks to the family of Jerome and the city of New York. In our study of a great man we should begin before the birth, and although I am ill equipped in the history of the family of Jerome, I might suggest that in the history of the family of Churchill, and especially the greatest of the Churchills, there might be found some clue to this success.