Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Churchill Series – July 17, 2007

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

In August 1929 Churchill, with his son, Randolph, his brother, Jack, and Jack’s son, Johnny, arrived in Quebec City to begin an almost three month tour of Canada and the United States.

Churchill wrote Clementine from Quebec:

We stayed at the Chateau Frontenac, a tremendous hotel on the most modern lines. Saturday we saw all the sights, the Citadel, Wolfe’s Cove and the Plains of Abraham, where the battle which decided the fate of Canada was fought. …

Late in the afternoon …we took an open motor car and went off twenty miles into the blue. I wanted to see the country at close quarters and nibble the grass and champ the branches. We saw hills and forests scarcely trodden by the foot of man, every kink of tree growing im primeval confusion and loveliest [streams] splashing down to the rivers. …
That evening Churchill looked across the Saint Lawrence River from his hotel window. He saw the large Rothmere paper mills lit up and said to Randolph:
”Fancy cutting down those beautiful trees we saw this afternoon to make pulp for those newspapers, and calling it civilization.”
Here are links to the Frontenac, and the tourist sites of the City of Quebec and the Province of Quebec.

If you haven’t visited Quebec, I hope you do. The city is set above the St. Lawrence with the views on a clear day stretching for miles. It’s very easy to get about; just watch those cobblestones in “The Old City.”

The surrounding countryside is magnificent. Within an hour’s drive of the city you”ll find yourself, like Churchill, in a primeval, Alpine-like countryside of forests, glens and snow-capped mountains.

Visiting Quebec allows you to experience much of what is wonderful about Europe. Only for Americans, Quebec is more easily accessed and less expensive.
The extracts from Churchill’s letter are found in Speaking for Themselves: The Personal Letters of Winston and Clementine Churchill. Edited by their daughter, Mary Soames. (pgs. 336-338)

The “Fancy cutting down ….” remark is found in a diary Randolph kept of the trip. Martin Gilbert quotes it in In Search of Churchill: A Historian’s Journey. (p. 228)