A reader asks what Winston Churchill was doing on 24 January 1907.
Churchill was at the Colonial Office, London, dealing with an upcoming Colonial conference, and a diplomatic kerfuffle. The Governor of Jamaica, Sir James Alexander Swettenham, had churlishly demanded that the crew of an American warship, landed in Kingston to lend humanitarian assistance after a serious earthquake, retire to their ship, suggesting that the Americans’ action was like a visiting “British admiral landing an armed party to support the New York police.”
On January 24th Churchill advised King Edward VII that, acting on a telegram from Lord Elgin, the Colonial Secretary (who was in Scotland), Swettenham had been rebuked and ordered to apologize to the Americans. Sir Alexander did, subsequently resigned, and was never heard from again!
It seems something was always going on in Churchill’s life on January 24th—the day his father died (1895) and the day he predicted (1953) he would die too–and did (1965). I would be interested to see a synopsis of each January 24th of his life, but I fear no one has the time to make one, nor would there be much of an audience!
References: Randolph S. Churchill, Winston S. Churchill vol. 2, Young Statesman (London: Heinemann, 1967) 202-03; and Companion Volume II, Part 1 1901-1907 (London: Heinemann, 1969). Modestly priced new editions of these works are available from Hillsdale College Press.