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Letter from F. W. Pethick-Lawrence to Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence

‘The Labour Record and Review’, 19 St Bride Street, London, E.C.—Was sorry to leave her this morning with so many worries. Has spoken with Roscoe, the lawyer, and is about to see Joseph Edwards of the Reformer’s Year Book. Draws her attention to an article in the Independent Review.

Text of an article by Lord Pethick-Lawrence, entitled ‘The Changing East’

Reviews the changes that have taken place since he attended the Indian National Congress at Gauhati in 1926, and reflects on the current problems facing India.

(Carbon copy of a typed original. The article was written for a Souvenir published in connection with the 63rd Indian National Congress. See 2/102–3.)

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Transcript

THE CHANGING EAST.
By Rt Hon Lord Pethick-Lawrence

In 1926 I attended the meeting of the Indian National Congress in Gauhati. I am most interested therefore to learn that it is being held there again this year.

What changes have taken place in the 31 intervening years! Then, Congress was still fighting an uphill battle for independence. Now, India ranks among the great nations of the world. Then the self-governing members of the Commonwealth consisted solely of peoples of European extraction. Now it includes peoples of Asia and Africa.

When I was a boy, India used to be spoken of as part of the “Unchanging East”. No one says that today. Everyone can see that India is changing very fast.

One of the reasons why I have come to India now in my 86th year is to try to find out how India is responding to the claims of the new age. During the few weeks that I have been here I have kept my eyes and ears open and I have learnt a great deal about your problems. I realise how great they are in number and intensity. Here are just a few of them:— Education, language, caste and custom, races, power, employment, population, finance, riches and poverty, social welfare, democratic institutions, international relationships.

I have stayed long enough to realise what a colossal task you have to tackle. But it has been much too short for me to come to any well-balanced conclusion as to the degree of your success. Indeed I doubt whether anyone even with far better knowledge than I is yet in a position to measure your all-round progress. In my view another ten or fifteen years will have to elapse before this can be done.

What I can tell you is that your efforts are being watched with the deepest and most friendly interest by the people of my country and by other members of the Commonwealth.

We want so much that you should succeed magnificently. We want so much that your people should increase their standard of life and their stature. We want to see India playing a noble part in the world.

May this Congress at Gauhati bring nearer these high ends!

Letter from Emmeline Pethick to F. W. Lawrence

(Place of writing not indicated.)—Praises his work at The Echo* and refers to various items in the press. Has finished the Board Schools today, and is just off to see Miss Montagu.

(Dated Tuesday.)

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Transcript

Tuesday afternoon.

Thank you for your letters dearest[—]am interested in your measures at the Echo—& am quite sure that you have done the right thing—have infinite confidence in the Jew-man Freddy.

Did you see Ouïda’s letter about Olive Schreiner in the D.N this morning? {1}—Is that the truth do you know?—Did you read what the coster said yesterday in the police court—when asked if he had anything to say in answer to the policeman’s evidence (charge of obstructing traffic) “Taint no use, not a bit—He uses the truth so careless.” Rather sweet nicht wahr? & very applicable to affairs in general in these days. The Education question seems to have got a few days reprieve.

Have done the Board Schools today—& am just off to see Miss Montague who has telegraphed for an interview.

It wants Its Freddy a bit—got a headache principally in the backbone: would like the feel of Its Freddy’s big broad shoulder to night—but will take it “by faith”[.] Meantime loves Its Freddy more than a Bit.. This It

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{1} On 16 July 1901 a long letter by the novelist Ouida appeared in the Daily News protesting against Olive Schreiner’s treatment by the British in South Africa.

Letter from F. W. Pethick-Lawrence to Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence

‘The Echo’ Office, 19 St Bride Street, Fleet Street, E.C.—Is sorry he can’t be with her this afternoon, but he will be especially nice to ‘the two dear kiddies’ at the weekend. His evening (at Trinity) went well, and the Master said that the ‘dear boy’ (Frank Pethick) was much loved.

(Cf. 6/64–5 and 6/71.)

Carbon copy of a letter from Lord Pethick-Lawrence to John Lall

11 Old Square, Lincoln’s Inn, London, W.C.2.—Unemployment seems a more pressing problem in India than low wages, and he was interested to learn of certain manufacturing projects. Thanks him for his kindness during his and his wife’s visit. His wife went on to Hong Kong, and then to North America to visit her children.

(Carbon copy of a typed original.)

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