Foto des Verkäufers
This extraordinary album signature by Churchill made on 8 February 1912 in Belfast, the day of his famous speech on Irish Home Rule, comes from the personal collection of Churchill bibliographer Ronald I. Cohen. Churchill's signature is inked in black on a page above a pasted contemporary portrait photo of him measuring 2.75 x 2.5 inches. Directly below in three lines in a different hand is inked "Grand Central Hotel | Belfast | 8th Feb 1912". On the facing page is pasted a seven-line, bordered quote, printed on glossy photo stock: "It has become of importance to the public | liberties that the meeting should take place | In Belfast on the eighth of February, and I | Intend to hold it there in lawful exercise | of the elementary rights of citizenship. | Yours faithfully | WINSTON S. CHURCHILL". Churchill's father, Lord Randolph had vigorously supported the Ulster Unionists. Over time, Winston came to support Home Rule. In the fall of 1911, Home Rule moved to the fore in political debate. Churchill prepared to speak in the Ulster Hall in Belfast in favor of Home Rule - the very same hall where his father famously opposed Home Rule in 1886, declaring "Ulster will fight and Ulster will be right." This was an anticipated, significant, and controversial event. Tensions were so high that the meeting was "transferred from the Ulster Hall which lay in the strongly Protestant area to a large marquee at the Celtic Road football ground in the Catholic working-class district." History records that "Extraordinary precautions had to be taken to protect Churchill and his wife who had insisted on accompanying him. The Manchester Guardian reported that the railway line from Larne, where the Churchills landed in Ireland, to Belfast was patrolled by police to prevent sabotage." The Churchills' greeting at the Grand Central Hotel was anything but friendly and the request to autograph an admirer's album must have been a pleasant distraction. "A hostile crowd of nearly 10,000 greeted them outside the Grand Central Hotel in Belfast, where they were staying." Of the drive from the hotel to Celtic Road, The Times reported "As each car made its way through, men thrust their heads in and uttered fearful menaces and imprecations." The Manchester Guardian reported that "the back wheels of the Churchills' car were lifted eighteen inches off the ground by the angry crowd before the police beat them off." (Gilbert, Volume II, pages 466-7) Churchill addressed a crowd of 5,000 Irish Nationalists, saying: "We look forward to a time. when the harsh and lamentable cry of reproach which so long jarred upon the concert of Empire will die away, when the accursed machinery, by which the hatred manufactured and preserved will be broken for ever." Remembering his experience in South Africa and in marked contrast to his father's inflammatory rhetoric, Churchill said "We have made friends with our enemies - can we not make friends with our comrades too?" The Home Rule crisis of 1912-1914 was sidelined by the outbreak of World War I. Nonetheless, Churchill would ultimately introduce the Irish Free State Bill, which won passage in 1922. The diminutive Album itself measures 4.75 x 3.5 inches, is bound in dark red leather gilt stamped "Album" on the front cover, with decorative, flower-patterned endpapers and gilt page edges. The album binding and contents remain in excellent condition. There is little else within apart from the Churchill quote, picture and signature. There is some small numeric notation in pencil on the first free endpaper verso (perhaps a collector's catalogue notation) and similar notation on the upper left corner of the verso of the signed page. The only other signature in the album is inked in blue on the page following in five lines with both a surname and Company name that we cannot definitively decipher. That signed page has been previously excised and laid back in. The balance of the album remains blank. Buchnummer des Verkäufers
Titel: Album photo and signature by Churchill on 8 ...
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