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TRER/8/124 · Item · 2 Sept 1939
Part of Papers of Robert Calverley Trevelyan and Elizabeth Trevelyan

93, High Street, Knaphill, Woking. - Is very sad and anxious: there has been a reversion to 'the state of things at Hedenham' before the Trevelyans made their 'most merciful and helpful interviention'. Had just written to Donald [Tovey] to invite him, Clara, and the chauffeur to stay with her in the case of 'anxiety about the Hospital buildings [due to the war]'; he would then be able to stay in touch with Dr de Souza at Harley Street; she got her housekeeper to ring the hospital and was told he and Lady Tovey had gone back to Hedenham on the 24th. Has just had a letter from her and Donald's solicitor in Edinburgh; gathers that Lady Tovey has been 'very impudent.. paid all the bills, and wound everything up at the Hospital'. Worries about the damp at Hedenham and Donald's medical care; the local doctore [Dr Corbett] came to see her and was 'obviously incompetent and untruthful'. It is cruel: Donald's hands were recovering to the point that she and Mary Grierson both hoped he might be able to make some recordings of his playing; he has been 'induced to ask the university for a term's leave of absence' which means he will spend months at Hedenham. Thinks he 'would not be sane now' had it not been for the Trevelyans' intervention; also blesses Dr Bluth. The prospect of another great European war is 'the blackest cloud'. Says 'we are not really a European power'; always made her shiver when 'that kind man Mr Chamberlain... talked of Europe as if it was a schoolroom and he its governess'; keeps reading Donald's essays and remembers that her mother used to say 'Beethoven did not beg for peace, he ordered it' (quotes the German), but they cannot do that

FRAZ/32/180 · Item · 18 Dec. 1938
Part of Papers of Sir James Frazer

54 Cours Napoléon, Ajaccio, Corse - Discusses the situation, pointing out that the Corsicans are not showing much sense: they admire [Neville] Chamberlain but don't seem capable of imitating him, they could not stop people from stoning the Italian Consulate, fears they will channel their anger at some poor Italian who has nothing to do with the ideas of his leaders.

PETH/1/19 · Item · 11 Oct. 1948
Part of Pethick-Lawrence Papers

The circumstances under which Churchill became Prime Minister were not as Amery represents them in his review of Churchill’s book (The Gathering Storm).



11th. October, 1948.
To the Editor of “The Spectator”


The Churchillian Epic

In the interests of Historical accuracy I must express my dissent from the impression conveyed by the conculding† paragraph of Mr. Amery’s review of Mr. Churchill’s book {1}.

No doubt it is true that it was the decision of the three men on May 10, 1940 that made Mr. Churchill Prime Minister. But this decision was based on the political situation in the House of Commons.

It was generally recognised that in the national emergency there must be a Coalition Government. The Labour Party had refused to serve under Mr. Chamberlain. The question of serving under Lord Halifax never arose, but it is inconceivable that they would have agreed, first, because he was in the upper House and secondly, because he had been an active supporter of Mr. Chamberlain’s “appeasement” of Hitler. They were prepared to serve under Mr. Churchill. No other possible choice presented itself.

These facts may not have been positively known at the time by all the three men. But there was the strongest presumptive evidence that they were true.

Yours etc.,

The Editor,
The Spectator,
99, Gower Street,
London, W.C.1.


{1} The Second World War, Vol. 1: The Gathering Storm.

† Sic.

PETH/2/213 · Item · 3 Mar. 1937
Part of Pethick-Lawrence Papers

46 Gordon Square, Bloomsbury.—Thanks him for a copy of his speech and for Hansard. Is thinking of writing another article for The Times (about the re-armament loan). Points out that Pethick-Lawrence and the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Chamberlain) disagree only about what level of borrowing would be inflationary.

FRAZ/14/23 · Item · 1 Jan. 1925
Part of Papers of Sir James Frazer

King's College, Cambridge - Congratulates Frazer on his honour: 'A government that includes my old schoolfriend Chamberlain, & my old pupil Churchill, should do well, but I am sure will do nothing better, or at any rate more appropriate'.

MCKW/A/1/23 · Item · 5 May 1939
Part of Papers of R. B. McKerrow

Three Beeches, Balerno, Midlothian.—Thanks him for a copy of his Prolegomena, and praises it. Has just returned from Germany, and finds it hard to believe that a war is coming.

(With envelope.)



Three Beeches, Balerno, Midlothian

My dear McKerrow,

The Prolegomena arrived by the first post this morning & I fell to at once. I had to run off to the University at 11, but have read enough to realise how grateful we all ought to be to you & how gently you have handled my serial theorisings, a good deal of which I have ceased to believe myself! And then this afternoon I had your letter. My dear man, you little know the thickness of skull I have developed after 18 years of editorial adventure {1} or you could not imagine I should be anything but delighted with your friendly thwackings. Think of EKC’s {2} bludgeon for example; yet we are still friends. Indeed I even gave him £100 prize the other day!.

I am sorry to hear about Colin & Malcolm. But I think you’ll find that they will be allowed to finish their course & hope that there will not be a war.

I have just returned from a fortnight in Germany, where I was overwhelmed with kindness by all, & cannot believe a war between our two nations is coming. Anyhow it’s the most peaceful country in Europe to look at. I left them all dancing round maypoles!

Yours ever

Many thanks for the book. I am so glad you have got it out. Kindest regards to Mrs McKerrow. My wife & I laughed over your tirade against N.C. {3}—quite a pleasant man really & a keen Shakespearean

[Direction on the envelope:] Dr R. B. McKerrow | Picket Piece | Wendover | Bucks


The envelope was postmarked at Edinburgh at 8.30 p.m. on 6 May 1939.

{1} The reference is to the period since the publication of the first volume in the Cambridge Shakespeare in 1921, though Dover Wilson had in fact been invited to help edit the series in 1919. See ODNB.

{2} Sir Edmund Chambers.

{3} Neville Chamberlain, the prime minister. ‘There is probably no prime minister who knew his Shakespeare better than Chamberlain’ (ODNB).