20 DECEMBER 1946, Page 15


SIR,—The last thing I wish to do is to enter into controversy with an old friend like Sir Nigel Davidson, but it would seem that his opinion of the Mandi differs from that of Mr. Winston Churchill, who wrote in Vol. II, page, 212, of The River War: "He was a man of considerable nobility of character, a priest, a soldier and a patriot. . .. It is impossible for any impartial person to read the testimony of such men as Slatin or Ohrwalder without feeling that the only gentle influence, the only humane element in the hard Mohamedan State, emanated from that famous rebel." Sir Nigel states that the Mandi " inaugurated the tyranny which ended in chaos and catastrophe," but Mr. Churchill wrote (River War, Vol. I, page 35): " Upon the whole there exists no record of a better case for rebellion than that which presented itself to the Sudanese. Their country was being ruined ; their property was plundered ; their women were ravished ; their liberties were curtailed ; even their lives were threatened."

Again, with regard to the Mandi's choice of the Khalifa Abduilah as his successor, Mr. Churchill wrote (The River War, Vol. I, page 395):

" I do not pretend that the Khalifa was a good or merciful sovereign. . But he must be judged by other codes than ours ; and, so judged, he need not fear comparison with several potentates with whom the Imperial Government has not scrupled to establish intimate and cordial relations." In any case, are we to be held responsible for the sins of those whom we may appoint as our successors?—I am, Sir, yours faithfully,