Reprised below are my small contributions on Churchill and the great Irish statesman and thinker Edmund Burke (1729-1797). It was eclipsed in 2019 in a brilliant speech by Andrew Roberts which the Hillsdale College Churchill Project offers here. Dr. Roberts spoke after receiving The New Criterion 7th Edmund Burke Award for Service to Culture and Society. He also discusses Churchill on Burke in a video interview with James Panero.
2. Churchill on Burke
A reader writes:
I’d like to congratulate you on Churchill by Himself, but I could not find any Churchill comments on Edmund Burke in the index.…
I found myself using an alleged Churchill witticism I have long known, but could not find in your book, Churchill’s Wit: The Definitive Collection (2009). As I have it, Churchill was preparing to meet Marshal Stalin, and a diplomatic advisor said, “He will probably expect to kiss you on both cheeks.” “Oh, that’s all right,” said Churchill, “as long as he doesn’t want to be kissed on all four.” Can you verify this one?
My own main area of scholarly research is Samuel Johnson, another subject often misattributed. Good quote collections more than just the quotation and its source.…
A friend who is delivering a Churchill speech in D.C. asked for some examples of Churchilian humor involving Washington and U.S. Presidents.
Everyone enjoys Churchill’s famous crack in his first (1941) speech to Congress:
“If my father had been American, and my mother British, instead of the other way round, I might have got here on my own!” That brought down the house.
When in the U.S., Churchill liked to emphasize his American roots. Broadcasting to America six months earlier, he avowed something he always believed:
The great Burke has truly said, “People will not look forward to posterity who never look backward to their ancestors,” and I feel it most agreeable to recall to you that the Jeromes were rooted for many generations in American soil, and fought in Washington’s armies for the independence of the American Colonies and the foundation of the United States.…