Eastbourne Memories - A Victorian Perspective

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250               Old Memories of East-Bourne. [Chap. XIX.
Party no single man contributed in the way that Lord Randolph Churchill did, and his decadence and extinction was a national loss. His son, Mr. Winston Churchill, seems in a certain degree to be treading in his father's footsteps, and bids fair to reach, at no distant date, a similar position of decadence and extinction. Those who remember 1880 and the years which immediately followed, will not have forgotten the fact that both in the House of Commons, and in the country at large, Lord Randolph by his speeches helped most materially to revive and regenerate his Party. As a platform speaker, his success was immense, and he was everywhere in demand. Up to the time in question, no "Front Bench" speaker on either side of Politics had ever appeared on an East-Bourne platform, and I was deputed by the Conservative Association or by the Primrose League (I forget which) to obtain an interview with Lord Randolph, and try and get him to promise a speech at East-Bourne. Accordingly, I laid wait for him one day in the Members' Lobby in the House of Commons (from which, owing to the spread of " Liberal" principles, strangers are now excluded), and Sir E. Ashmead Bartlett introduced me to him. I need not say that the conversation was a highly interesting one, but so far as my mission was concerned, it was unfortunately a failure. He could hold out no hopes of coming to East-Bourne in the near future, because, he said, he was overwhelmed with invitations, and felt it his duty to reserve his time and strength for the large towns which comprised considerable working class populations. This view was obviously not unreasonable, and I could not press the claims of East-Bourne as responding to the conditions laid down by the noble Lord for his own guidance. My failure was doubly disappointing, because the future of politics in East Sussex was not veiy well assured from the Conservative standpoint, and we stood at that time in need of such a fillip as a visit from Lord Randolph woidd have given us.
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