TYPED LETTER SIGNED by Winston Churchill as Chancellor of the Exchequer
["I beg you to stick to your guns..."]
(9 1/4 x 7 1/4 inches)
Churchill at Chartwell
A terrific single-page letter written as Chancellor of the Exchequer on Treasury Chambers embossed letterhead (7 1/4 x 9 1/4 inches), dated "4th November 1927," to The Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur Steel-Maitland, Minister of Labour:"My dear Arthur, I cannot help repeating what I have said orally and literally at least a half dozen times, that I hold you committed in good faith to the decision taken by the Cabinet that the principle of equal thirds was not to be conceded during the passage of your Bill. I could not possibly agree to it, nor would Neville [Chamberlain] from whom I have had a very strong letter. I beg you to stick to your guns and to the arrangement which was made between us and endorsed by the Cabinet.[Angrily SIGNED in ink, all in Churchill's hand]: Ever sincerely, Winston S. Churchill."The letter is in very good condition, with paper clip shadows and multiple file pinholes at the upper left corner. SIR ARTHUR STEEL-MAITLAND, as Minister of Labour, had initially opposed Churchill's efforts to include a universal Insurance Bill covering all workers, their widows and children in his first budget as Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1925, asking Churchill to delay it on political grounds for at least a year. Churchill would not. Two years later, Steel-Maitland attempted to put through a bill on unemployment insurance that Churchill feared would undermine his "derating" scheme in which social welfare legislation had been implemented on an "equal thirds" formula, dividing the cost between the Exchequer, the local council and the employers. Marvelous as the letter is in its tone and content, it is further enhanced by this early reference to Churchill's then-cabinet colleague as Minister of Health, and future nemesis as Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain.
Bibliographic numbers (in parentheses) are from Frederick Woods' original Churchill bibliography (Woods), as emended by Richard Langworth in his Connoisseur's Guide; and from the new, greatly expanded Churchill bibliography by Ronald Cohen (Cohen).