Toronto: The Copp, Clark Company, Ltd., 1900. First Canadian edition. Hardcover. This is the scarce Canadian first edition of Churchill's fifth book. Ian Hamilton's March was the second of Churchill's two books based on his newspaper dispatches sent from the front in South Africa during the Boer War. During this conflict Churchill was captured by the Boers. His daring escape made him a celebrity and helped launch his political career.
There were three English-language editions – British, U.S. and Canadian. The U.S. and Canadian editions were published in November 1900. The Canadian is both the scarcest and most attractive of the three first editions, differing considerably in appearance from its British and U.S. counterparts, with a tan cloth binding illustrated with crossed Union Flag and White Ensign on the front cover and a red fleur-de-lis on the spine. The Canadian first editions seem particularly vulnerable to gutter breaks. They are also prone to severe spine toning.
This copy is complete and unrestored, though with aesthetic defects. The binding is tight with sharp corners and no sign of the typical gutter breaks. The front cover, with its striking crossed flags illustration, remains bright with only slight mottling near the upper fore edge. The spine is toned and soiled, the red fleur-de-lis dulled but still visible. The chief detraction of this copy is significant mottling to roughly two-thirds of the rear cover. It seems likely that the book was once placed on a slightly damp surface. Though unattractive, this defect poses no threat to binding integrity. The contents are respectably bright and clean. Modest age-toning is evident only on the page edges. Trivial spotting appears substantially confined to the rear pastedown. The sole previous ownership mark is an ink-stamped “THE PROPERTY OF | S. FRANK WILSON.” and an ink-stamped personal library number “40” on the front pastedown. The fore and bottom edges are lightly soiled, the top edge dusty.
Ian Hamilton's March completes Churchill's coverage of the Boer War, publishing 17 letters to the Morning Post, spanning 31 March through 14 June 1900. (Cohen, A8.1.a, Vol. I, p.105) The narrative in Ian Hamilton's March includes the liberation of the Pretoria prison camp where Churchill had been held. The title takes its name from General Sir Ian Hamilton's campaign from Bloemfontein to Johannesburg and Pretoria. Churchill would maintain a life-long friendship with Hamilton, who would be involved in the First World War Gallipoli landings and to whom Churchill would sell his first country home.
Ian Hamilton's March was first published in England in October, just a few weeks after Churchill's first election to Parliament. This Canadian edition followed no later than mid-November. Though a companion and sequel to London to Ladysmith, it differs in important respects. While London to Ladysmith via Pretoria had swiftly published Churchill's dispatches in the wake of his capture and escape, for Ian Hamilton's March "the texts of the originally published letters were more extensively revised and four letters were included which had never appeared in periodical form" (Cohen). Churchill effected these revisions while on board the passenger and cargo steamer Dunottar Castle (requisitioned as a troop ship) en route home to England. Churchill arrived on 20 July 1900 and spent the summer campaigning hard in Oldham, capitalizing on his war status and winning his first seat in Parliament on 1 October 1900 in the so-called "khaki election."
Reference: Cohen A8.3, Woods/ICS A5(cb), Langworth p.61. Item #007525