Lord Randolph Churchill

From Wikiquote
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Lord Randolph Churchill

Lord Randolph Henry Spencer-Churchill (13 February 1849 – 24 January 1895) was a British statesman.


  • Your iron industry is dead; dead as mutton. Your coal industries, which depend greatly upon the iron industries, are languishing. Your silk industry is dead, assassinated by the foreigner. Your woollen industry is in articulo mortis, gasping, struggling. Your cotton industry is seriously sick. The shipbuilding industry, which held out longest of all, is come to a standstill. Turn your eyes where you like, survey any branch of British industry you like, you will find signs of mortal disease. The self-satisfied Radical philosophers will tell you it is nothing; they point to the great volume of British trade. Yes, the volume of British trade is still large, but it is a volume which is no longer profitable; it is working and struggling. So do the muscles and nerves of the body of a man who has been hanged twitch and work violently for a short time after the operation. But death is there all the same, life has utterly departed, and suddenly comes the rigot mortis...But what has produced this state of things? Free imports? I am not sure; I should like an inquiry; but I suspect free imports of the murder of our industries much in the same way as if I found a man standing over a corpse and plunging his knife into it I should suspect that man of homicide, and I should recommend a coroner's inquest and a trial by jury...
    • Speech in Blackpool (24 January 1884), quoted in Robert Rhodes James, Lord Randolph Churchill (London: Phoenix, 1994), p. 137
  • My chief reason for supporting the Church of England I find in the fact that, when compared with other creeds and other sects, it is essentially the Church of religious liberty. Whether in one direction or in another, it is continually possessed by the ambition, not of excluding, but of including, all shades of religious thought, all sorts and conditions of men, and in standing out like a lighthouse over a stormy ocean it marks the entrance to a port where those who are wearied at times with the woes of the world, and troubled often by the trials of existence, may search for and may find that "peace that passeth all understanding". I cannot and will not allow myself to believe that the English people, who are not only naturally religious, but also eminently practical, will ever consent, for the purpose of gratifying sectarian animosities, or for the wretched purpose of pandering to infidel proclivities, to deprive themselves of so abundant a fountain of aid and consolation, or acquiesce in the demolition of a constitution which elevates the life of the nation and consecrates the acts of the State.
    • Speech in Birmingham (16 April 1884), quoted in The Times (17 April 1884), p. 10
  • [H]e would say that he doubted whether it was possible for anyone who had not visited India, even Members of Her Majesty's Government, to realize how incredibly strong, and, at the same time, how incredibly slender, our position in India was. It was strong far beyond ordinary human strength so long as we showed ourselves capable of ruling; but it was weaker than the weakest the moment we showed the faintest indications of relaxing our grasp.
    • Speech in the House of Commons (4 May 1885)
  • If political parties and political leaders, not only Parliamentary, but local, should be so utterly lost to every feeling and dictate of honour and courage as to hand over coldly, and for the sake of purchasing a short and illusory Parliamentary tranquility, the lives and liberties of the loyalists of Ireland to their hereditary and most bitter foes, make no doubt on this point: Ulster will not be a consenting party; Ulster at the proper moment will resort to the supreme arbitrament of force; Ulster will fight; Ulster will be right; Ulster will emerge from the struggle victorious, because all that Ulster represents to us Britons will command the sympathy and support of an enormous section of our British community, and also, I feel certain, will attract the admiration and the approval of free and civilized nations.
    • Letter to William Young (7 May 1886), quoted in The Times (8 May 1886), p. 9
  • For the sake of this fifth message of peace to Ireland, this farrago of superlative nonsense, the vexatious and costly machinery of a general election is to be put in motion, all business other than what may be connected with political agitation is to be impeded and suspended; trade and commercial enterprise, now suffering sadly from protracted bad times, and which political stability can alone re-invigorate, are to be further harassed and handicapped; all useful and desired reforms are to be indefinitely postponed; the British Constitution is to be torn up; the Liberal party shivered into fragments. And why? For this reason and no other. To gratify the ambition of an old man in a hurry.
    • Address to the electors of South Paddington, quoted in The Times (21 June 1886), p. 6. The "old man in a hurry" was Liberal Party leader William Ewart Gladstone
  • To tell the truth I don’t know myself what Tory Democracy is, but I believe it to be principally opportunism.
    • Quotes in Foster, p. 165; Roland Quinault, "Lord Randolph Henry Spencer Churchill" in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004); and John Ramsden, An Appetite for Power: A New History of the Conservative Party (London: Harper Collins, 1998), p. 144.

Quotes about Churchill

  • He is a very difficult person to give an impartial and fair account of (laughter), but my own opinion of him, very imperfect as it is, is that if by any process you could cut out of him about half of the qualities he possesses you might make out of the other half a valuable and distinguished public servant (Laughter.).
    • Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone addressing a meeting in Liverpool, quoted in The Times (29 June 1886), p. 11
Wikipedia has an article about: