In June 1860, Lincoln wrote that “when I came of age I did not know much.... The little advance I now have upon this store of education, I have picked up from time to time under the pressure of necessity.” Churchill in March 1949 would echo these remarks: “I frankly confess that I feel somewhat overawed in addressing this vast scientific and learned audience.… I have no technical and no university education, and have just had to pick up a few things as I went along.” Their observations undervalued the immense effort both had put into self-improvement.
Churchill’s staff remembered the sense of urgency so characteristic of the man. In the old Humber, “Murray, the detective, would sit at [the chauffeur’s] side, quietly murmuring, ‘slow down here’ or ‘pull in to the left a little more,’” wrote Roy Howells, a male nurse. “At the back Sir Winston would be…tapping on the glass partition and calling out, ‘Go on!’ Whenever he felt Bullock was slow in overtaking he would lean forward and bellow, ‘Now!’ It does Bullock great credit that he never really took the chances his passenger would have liked….”
"Indeed, the more we force ourselves to picture the hideous course of a modern naval engagement, the more one is inclined to believe that it will resemble the contest between Mamilius and Herminius at the Battle of Lake Regillus, or the still more homely conflict of the Kilkenny cats." —Churchill, 1912
"The nature of man has remained hitherto practically unchanged. Under sufficient stress—starvation, terror, warlike passion, or even cold intellectual frenzy—the modern man we know so well will do the most terrible deeds, and his modern woman will back him up.... We have the spectacle of the powers and weapons of man far outstripping the march of his intelligence; we have the march of his intelligence proceeding far more rapidly than the development of his nobility." —Winston S. Churchill, 1931
"It was the custom in the palmy days of Queen Victoria for statesmen to expatiate upon the glories of the British Empire, and to rejoice in that protecting Providence which had preserved us through so many dangers and brought us at length into a secure and prosperous age. Little did they know that the worst perils had still to be encountered and that the greatest triumphs were yet to be won…."
Togetherness—united purpose and action among free peoples—was Churchill's theme all his life. A more common riff, used at least fifteen times, as "Let us go forward together." He applied that one in venues grand and minor, from the House of Commons to a conversation with his poodle Rufus.