Page:Dictionary of National Biography. Sup. Vol II (1901).djvu/34

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Churchill
Churchill
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impressions in a series of letters to the 'Daily Graphic' newspaper. These were subsequently republished in a book with the title 'Men, Mines, and Animals in South Africa' (London, 1892).

The journey appeared to have a highly beneficial effect. He returned to politics with his old vigour. In the general election of 1892 he was re-elected for South Paddington without a contest. In the new parliament he abandoned his position of semi-isolation, took his seat on the front opposition bench, and was again accepted as one of the regular leaders of the conservatives. He bore a conspicuous share in the debates on Gladstone's second home-rule bill, which he attacked with effect. He also opposed Mr. Asquith's Welsh church bill in the 1893 session in a speech of considerable power. Always a favourite on the platform, he was welcomed back with effusion by the conservatives of the north and midlands, to whom he delivered a large number of speeches during the recess. But in spite of this access of brilliant energy, he was a doomed man. He had been suffering for some time from the incipient stages of general paralysis, and the malady made rapid progress. In the session of 1894 his few attempts to speak in the House of Commons were failures. The painful change in his voice and manner, and his frequent lapses of memory, moved the sympathy of friends and foes. His last speech was on the Uganda railway vote in June 1894, and it was a tragic exhibition of physical and mental decay. A long sea-voyage was determined on as a final chance of arresting the disease from which he suffered. He left England in the summer, accompanied by Lady Randolph Churchill, on a trip round the world. But he grew rapidly worse after reaching Japan in September. From Madras the party returned with all possible speed to England, and arrived two days before Christmas 1894 at 50 Grosvenor Square, the residence of Lord Randolph's mother.the Duchess of Marlborough. The sick man lingered for a month, mostly in an unconscious condition, dying in the morning of 24 Jan. 1895. He was buried on 28 Jan. in the churchyard of Bladon near Blenheim.

Randolph Churchill's private character exhibited some of the contradictions of his public career. His personality, which fascinated men in masses, and attracted those whom he admitted to his intimacy, was often found repellent by casual acquaintances and by his political associates. The insolence of bearing, which excited so much resentment, particularly when displayed towards dignified and elderly colleagues, was sometimes said to be deliberately studied; but it was probably the natural expression of a temper which was at once frank, egotistical, and unaccustomed to mental discipline. Yet Churchill, in spite of his quivering nerves and impatient temperament, could control himself when occasion demanded, as he showed during his brief tenure of the leadership of the House of Commons. Though he was constantly charged, especially by his conservative critics, with a taste for discreditable intrigue, he was one of the most indiscreetly outspoken of politicians, and he expressed his opinions and intentions with the utmost candour. An overpowering ambition, fed by the consciousness of great abilities, and hampered by an unstable nervous system, would go far to explain both his qualities and his defects. His lack of culture was often exaggerated. His scholarship was scanty and superficial, and his speeches seldom contain literary allusions. But he had read more widely in English and French literature than was commonly believed, and his retentive memory and mastery of detail enabled him to make the most of such knowledge as he possessed. The acuteness of his political insight struck most persons who were brought into contact with him. It is only necessary to turn to the volumes of his speeches to recognise how often subsequent events have vindicated his foresight and penetrating judgment. Lord Iddesleigh, who had no reason to love him, called him the shrewdest member of the cabinet of 1880.

Lord Randolph Churchill left two sons. The elder, Mr. Winston Spencer Churchill, after serving in the Malakand, Tirah, and Soudan campaigns as an officer in the 4th hussars, and acting as war correspondent in South Africa in 1899 and 1900 with the armies of General Buller and Lord Roberts, was elected member of parliament for Oldham in October 1900. Lady Randolph Churchill survived her first husband, and married Mr. George Cornwallis West in July 1900.

A portrait of Lord Randolph Churchill, by Edwin Long, R.A., is in the Constitutional Club, London. Another portrait, painted by Alfred Hartley in 1893, is in the possession of the Earl of Rosebery. A third portrait, a small one, painted by Edwin Ward in 1886, belongs to Lord Tweedmouth. A marble bust is in the members' corridor of the House of Commons.

[Hansard's Debates; Annual Register, 1880-1894; Times, 25 Jan. 1900; L. J. Jennings's Speeches of the Right Honourable Lord Ran-