MURRAY Gilbert - Autograph Letter Signed 1918 during the General Election campaign
Gilbert MURRAY (1866-1957)
Autograph Letter Signed ("G. Murray") to "My dear Gardiner" [A.G. Gardiner, editor of the Liberal newspaper, the Daily News] discussing his campaigning for Liberal candidates in the days before the 1918 General Election.
3 pages 8vo, Bradford-on-Avon, 6 December 1918.
"I am down here in the Westbury Division speaking for Geoffrey Howard, who is opposed by a Coalition Tory & a new Labour man.
This Labour man happens to be rather a "yellow dog" whom I have known of old as a Liberal candidate in Mid Oxon, & his past is not in his favour. But, apart from that, the position of a straightforward Radical is very hard with all the Georgite [a reference to David Lloyd George] press against him & our own press not very definitely supporting him. I am all for the co-operation, or the union, of Liberalism & Labour, & have e.g. canvassed for Webb for London University. But in a case like this, a stranger who is not in any way a better democrat than the sitting member & in many ways a worse one, just intervening so as to let the Tory in.
I can't help thinking that the D.N., our one comfort in these evil days, might be rather less neutral & more definitely Liberal in such cases as this. The few real Liberals now standing are all men of courage & principle; & I think we ought to help them as much as we can. Could you not urge your readers, in cases like this, to concentrate on the Liberal? I mean cases where (1) the Liberal is the sitting member, (2) he is a 'free' Liberal & a genuine Liberal, and (3) he is the only progressive & democratic candidate who has any chance of winning the seat.
People are apparently going mad about this indemnity, & L.G. of course going with them. Down here the strongest feeling we meet with is indignation at the Election being held now, before the soldiers can vote or the home electors learn what it is all about."
When David Lloyd George replaced Asquith as Prime Minister in 1916, the Liberal Party was badly fractured. Lloyd George called a General Election almost as soon as the Armistice was signed in 1918. The vote took place on 14 December; Asquith lost his seat, and Lloyd George remained as Prime Minister in a coalition government, despite the Tories winning more seats. Although Lloyd George remained Prime Minister until 1922, the Liberal Party was left severely weakened, to put it mildly.
Gilbert Murray, an outstanding classical scholar and professor of Greek at Oxford was also a dedicated Liberal and a supporter of Asquith. A believer in international cooperation, he was involved with the League of Nations and later became a founder member of Oxfam.
There are rusty paperclip marks at the top left of the letter, not affecting the text.
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