"I have to thank you for the very excellent summaries of my speeches which have lately appeared in the Times. But I am speaking rather frequently this month in the country, and I do not think my opinion is of sufficient importance to deserve regular notice, especially when—for the sake of practice and to get myself well known in the provinces politically—I am compelled to offer it pretty freely. I don't want to tire my public or to exhaust your patience. What I would like to do—if you will allow me—is to let you know when I have anything of interest to say and am going to speak at an important meeting, so that in ordinary circumstances I can chatter unnoticed."
Churchill outlines his speaking engagements for August: four meetings at Oldham ("purely local"), one at Newcastle ("open air, ginger beer"), and one at Plymouth. The last, which he expects will attract an audience of nearly 4,000, is the only one that Churchill deems worthy of Moberly Bell's attention; indeed, Churchill offers to "send a proof before hand so as to ensure an accurate summary.
The letter closes on a conciliatory note: "I hope you will understand the spirit of this letter—for I am very grateful to you for the kind way in which you have noticed my Oldham & Birmingham speeches and which will be of great use to me. Hoping we may meet before London scatters entirely."
1900 was an important year for Churchill, who had just participated in the Boer War, distinguishing himself as a war-correspondent and author, as well as being a prisoner of war for a short time. He had made his first efforts to get into parliament in the 1899 by-election in Oldham but was only successful in September/October 1900 when, following a narrow win, he began his distinguished career as a parliamentarian which lasted, with breaks, until 1964. His journalistic experiences put him in good stead with the editor of The Times, who supported his candidature. An important letter from the very beginning of Churchill's political career.
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