BELL, Gertrude, letters, autographs, documents, manuscripts

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BELL, Gertrude (1868-1926). Traveller and archaeologist.
Long Autograph Letter Signed to Sir Frank Swettenham ('Sir Oracle!'), 5 pages 8vo, Red Barns, Coatham, Redcar, 25 October ['1904' in pencil in another hand]. Recommending the Far Eastern Intelligence Department as ideal for his purposes, anticipating a discussion on Free Trade, and commenting on the text of a speech which he had sent to her, etc.
'... this is the moment to strike, for if it stiffens it may be difficult to graft your ideas into it ... Bernard Holland is chiefly responsible for the practical details ... The whole scheme is well worth consideration. ... [straws] are the Great illusion - not the least in wisdom - call it Life. What else is worth grasping at, especially for those who have never left their childhood quite behind , as I pray I may never leave mine - as you have never left yours, my Dear great man. ... What you say about "pernicious slackness" cannot be said too often. We repeat that monstrous theme that we are as good as the rest till we lose sight of the real standard, the standard of the Japanese. ...'
Gertrude Bell's dealings with Arab sheiks and detailed knowledge of their alliances and lineages were considered so valuable that she was recruited into the British intelligence services of the Arab Bureau during World War I where she served under Sir Percy Cox and Sir Arnold Wilson. In 1915, she was appointed to the Arab Bureau in Cairo, whose goal was to gather information for mobilisation of Arabs against Turkey. She was part of the Mesopotamia Expeditionary Force in Basra and Baghdad.
Sir Frank Swettenham (1850-1946), the first Resident General of the Federated Malay States, shaped British policy in Malaya.
[No: 24117]

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