Arthur Balfour

Arthur Balfour

Overview
Arthur James Balfour, 1st Earl of Balfour, KG
Order of the Garter
The Most Noble Order of the Garter, founded in 1348, is the highest order of chivalry, or knighthood, existing in England. The order is dedicated to the image and arms of St...

, OM, PC
Privy Council of the United Kingdom
Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, usually known simply as the Privy Council, is a formal body of advisers to the Sovereign in the United Kingdom...

, DL
Deputy Lieutenant
In the United Kingdom, a Deputy Lieutenant is one of several deputies to the Lord Lieutenant of a lieutenancy area; an English ceremonial county, Welsh preserved county, Scottish lieutenancy area, or Northern Irish county borough or county....

 (pronunciation: ; 25 July 1848 – 19 March 1930) was a British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 Conservative
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

 politician and statesman. He served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the Head of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Sovereign, to Parliament, to their political party and...

 from July 1902 to December 1905, and was later Foreign Secretary
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, commonly referred to as the Foreign Secretary, is a senior member of Her Majesty's Government heading the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and regarded as one of the Great Offices of State...

 in 1916–1919.

Born in Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 and educated as a philosopher, Balfour first entered parliament in the 1874 general election
United Kingdom general election, 1874
-Seats summary:-References:* F. W. S. Craig, British Electoral Facts: 1832-1987* British Electoral Facts 1832-1999, compiled and edited by Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher *...

. At first seen as something of a dilettante, he attained prominence as Chief Secretary for Ireland
Chief Secretary for Ireland
The Chief Secretary for Ireland was a key political office in the British administration in Ireland. Nominally subordinate to the Lord Lieutenant, from the late 18th century until the end of British rule he was effectively the government minister with responsibility for governing Ireland; usually...

 from 1887–1891.
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Quotations

The General Strike has taught the working class more in four days than years of talking could have done.

Speech (May 7, 1926)

Biography should be written by an acute enemy.

Observer (London, Jan. 30, 1927)
Encyclopedia
Arthur James Balfour, 1st Earl of Balfour, KG
Order of the Garter
The Most Noble Order of the Garter, founded in 1348, is the highest order of chivalry, or knighthood, existing in England. The order is dedicated to the image and arms of St...

, OM, PC
Privy Council of the United Kingdom
Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, usually known simply as the Privy Council, is a formal body of advisers to the Sovereign in the United Kingdom...

, DL
Deputy Lieutenant
In the United Kingdom, a Deputy Lieutenant is one of several deputies to the Lord Lieutenant of a lieutenancy area; an English ceremonial county, Welsh preserved county, Scottish lieutenancy area, or Northern Irish county borough or county....

 (pronunciation: ; 25 July 1848 – 19 March 1930) was a British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 Conservative
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

 politician and statesman. He served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the Head of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Sovereign, to Parliament, to their political party and...

 from July 1902 to December 1905, and was later Foreign Secretary
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, commonly referred to as the Foreign Secretary, is a senior member of Her Majesty's Government heading the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and regarded as one of the Great Offices of State...

 in 1916–1919.

Born in Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 and educated as a philosopher, Balfour first entered parliament in the 1874 general election
United Kingdom general election, 1874
-Seats summary:-References:* F. W. S. Craig, British Electoral Facts: 1832-1987* British Electoral Facts 1832-1999, compiled and edited by Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher *...

. At first seen as something of a dilettante, he attained prominence as Chief Secretary for Ireland
Chief Secretary for Ireland
The Chief Secretary for Ireland was a key political office in the British administration in Ireland. Nominally subordinate to the Lord Lieutenant, from the late 18th century until the end of British rule he was effectively the government minister with responsibility for governing Ireland; usually...

 from 1887–1891. In this post, he authored the Perpetual Crimes Act (1887) (or Coercion Act) aimed at the prevention of boycotting, intimidation and unlawful assembly
Unlawful assembly
Unlawful assembly is a legal term to describe a group of people with the mutual intent of deliberate disturbance of the peace. If the group are about to start the act of disturbance, it is termed a rout; if the disturbance is commenced, it is then termed a riot.- Section 144 :Section 144 is a...

 in Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

 during the Irish Land War.

Balfour succeeded his uncle Lord Salisbury
Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury
Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury, KG, GCVO, PC , styled Lord Robert Cecil before 1865 and Viscount Cranborne from June 1865 until April 1868, was a British Conservative statesman and thrice Prime Minister, serving for a total of over 13 years...

 as Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader in July 1902 (Balfour had been Conservative leader in the House of Commons since 1891). As Prime Minister, Balfour oversaw such events as the Entente Cordiale
Entente Cordiale
The Entente Cordiale was a series of agreements signed on 8 April 1904 between the United Kingdom and the French Republic. Beyond the immediate concerns of colonial expansion addressed by the agreement, the signing of the Entente Cordiale marked the end of almost a millennium of intermittent...

, but his party was split over tariff reform and in December 1905 he relinquished power to the Liberals
Liberal Party (UK)
The Liberal Party was one of the two major political parties of the United Kingdom during the 19th and early 20th centuries. It was a third party of negligible importance throughout the latter half of the 20th Century, before merging with the Social Democratic Party in 1988 to form the present day...

. The general election the following January
United Kingdom general election, 1906
-Seats summary:-See also:*MPs elected in the United Kingdom general election, 1906*The Parliamentary Franchise in the United Kingdom 1885-1918-External links:***-References:*F. W. S. Craig, British Electoral Facts: 1832-1987**...

 was a disaster for the Conservatives and their Liberal Unionist
Liberal Unionist Party
The Liberal Unionist Party was a British political party that was formed in 1886 by a faction that broke away from the Liberal Party. Led by Lord Hartington and Joseph Chamberlain, the party formed a political alliance with the Conservative Party in opposition to Irish Home Rule...

 allies, left with a mere 157 seats in Parliament. Balfour himself lost his Manchester East
Manchester East (UK Parliament constituency)
Manchester East was one of six single-member parliamentary constituencies created in 1885 by the division of the existing three-member Parliamentary Borough of Manchester...

 seat and was rushed back to parliament in a by-election
City of London by-election, February 1906
The City of London by-election, February 1906 was a parliamentary by-election held on 27 February 1906 for the British House of Commons constituency of City of London, which covered the "Square Mile" which was the United Kingdom's traditional financial district....

 for the City of London
City of London (UK Parliament constituency)
The City of London was a United Kingdom Parliamentary constituency. It was a constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of England then of the Parliament of Great Britain from 1707 to 1800 and of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1801 to 1950.-Boundaries and boundary...

 constituency. He continued as Leader of the Opposition
Leader of the Opposition
The Leader of the Opposition is a title traditionally held by the leader of the largest party not in government in a Westminster System of parliamentary government...

 throughout the crisis over the Lloyd George People's Budget and the Parliament Act, but after failing to win either of the two General Elections in 1910 he resigned as leader in November 1911.

He returned to the Cabinet as First Lord of the Admiralty in the coalition government formed in May 1915, then in David Lloyd George
David Lloyd George
David Lloyd George, 1st Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor OM, PC was a British Liberal politician and statesman...

's coalition government he was Foreign Secretary
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, commonly referred to as the Foreign Secretary, is a senior member of Her Majesty's Government heading the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and regarded as one of the Great Offices of State...

 (1916–1919). In this post, he authored the Balfour Declaration of 1917, supporting the establishment of a Jewish homeland
Zionism
Zionism is a Jewish political movement that, in its broadest sense, has supported the self-determination of the Jewish people in a sovereign Jewish national homeland. Since the establishment of the State of Israel, the Zionist movement continues primarily to advocate on behalf of the Jewish state...

 in Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

, and for which his name perhaps remains best known today. Balfour retired from the House of Commons at the 1922 general election
United Kingdom general election, 1922
The United Kingdom general election of 1922 was held on 15 November 1922. It was the first election held after most of the Irish counties left the United Kingdom to form the Irish Free State, and was won by Andrew Bonar Law's Conservatives, who gained an overall majority over Labour, led by John...

, and was granted an Earldom. In the late 1920s he served as an elder statesman in the second government of Stanley Baldwin
Stanley Baldwin
Stanley Baldwin, 1st Earl Baldwin of Bewdley, KG, PC was a British Conservative politician, who dominated the government in his country between the two world wars...

.

Background and early career



Arthur Balfour was born at Whittingehame
Whittingehame
Whittingehame is a parish with a small village in East Lothian, Scotland, about halfway between Haddington and Dunbar, and near East Linton. The area is on the slopes of the Lammermuir Hills...

, East Lothian
East Lothian
East Lothian is one of the 32 council areas of Scotland, and a lieutenancy Area. It borders the City of Edinburgh, Scottish Borders and Midlothian. Its administrative centre is Haddington, although its largest town is Musselburgh....

, Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

, the eldest son of James Maitland Balfour
James Maitland Balfour
James Maitland Balfour , of Whittinghame, Berwickshire, was a Scottish Member of Parliament. He was the father of Prime Minister Arthur Balfour, 1st Earl of Balfour....

 (1820–1856) and Lady Blanche Gascoyne-Cecil (d. 1872, aged forty-seven). His father was a Scottish
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 MP; his mother, a member of the Cecil family descended from Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury
Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury
Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury, KG, PC was an English administrator and politician.-Life:He was the son of William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley and Mildred Cooke...

, was the daughter of the 2nd Marquess of Salisbury
James Gascoyne-Cecil, 2nd Marquess of Salisbury
James Brownlow William Gascoyne-Cecil, 2nd Marquess of Salisbury, KG, PC , styled Viscount Cranborne until 1823, was a British Conservative politician. He held office under the Earl of Derby as Lord Privy Seal in 1852 and Lord President of the Council between 1858 and 1859...

 and a sister to the 3rd Marquess
Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury
Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury, KG, GCVO, PC , styled Lord Robert Cecil before 1865 and Viscount Cranborne from June 1865 until April 1868, was a British Conservative statesman and thrice Prime Minister, serving for a total of over 13 years...

, the future Prime Minister. His godfather was the Duke of Wellington
Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington
Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, KG, GCB, GCH, PC, FRS , was an Irish-born British soldier and statesman, and one of the leading military and political figures of the 19th century...

, after whom he was named. He was the eldest son, the third of eight children, and had four brothers and three sisters. Arthur Balfour had his early education at the Grange preparatory school in Hoddesdon
Hoddesdon
Hoddesdon is a town in the English county of Hertfordshire, situated in the Lea Valley. The town grew up as a coaching stop on the route between Cambridge and London. It is located southeast of Hertford, north of Waltham Cross and southwest of Bishop's Stortford. At its height during the 18th...

, Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire is a ceremonial and non-metropolitan county in the East region of England. The county town is Hertford.The county is one of the Home Counties and lies inland, bordered by Greater London , Buckinghamshire , Bedfordshire , Cambridgeshire and...

 (1859–1861), and Eton
Eton College
Eton College, often referred to simply as Eton, is a British independent school for boys aged 13 to 18. It was founded in 1440 by King Henry VI as "The King's College of Our Lady of Eton besides Wyndsor"....

 (1861–1866), where he studied with the influential Master William Johnson Cory
William Johnson Cory
William Johnson Cory , born William Johnson, was an educator and poet, born at Torrington, and educated at Eton, where he was afterwards a renowned master, nicknamed Tute by his pupils...

. He then went on to the University of Cambridge
University of Cambridge
The University of Cambridge is a public research university located in Cambridge, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest university in both the United Kingdom and the English-speaking world , and the seventh-oldest globally...

, where he read moral sciences at Trinity College
Trinity College, Cambridge
Trinity College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. Trinity has more members than any other college in Cambridge or Oxford, with around 700 undergraduates, 430 graduates, and over 170 Fellows...

 (1866–1869), graduating with a second-class honours
British undergraduate degree classification
The British undergraduate degree classification system is a grading scheme for undergraduate degrees in the United Kingdom...

 degree. His younger brother was the renowned Cambridge embryologist Francis Maitland Balfour
Francis Maitland Balfour
Francis Maitland Balfour, known as F. M. Balfour, was a British biologist. He lost his life while attempting the ascent of Mont Blanc...

 (1851–1882).

Although he coined the saying, "Nothing matters very much and few things matter at all", Balfour was distraught at the early death from typhus
Typhus
Epidemic typhus is a form of typhus so named because the disease often causes epidemics following wars and natural disasters...

 in 1875 of his cousin May Lyttelton, whom he had hoped to marry. Balfour remained a bachelor for the rest of his life, his serious intention to marry never renewed. Margot Tennant (later Margot Asquith) had wished to marry him, but on being queried about this he replied: "No, that is not so. I rather think of having a career of my own." His household was maintained by his unmarried sister Alice. In middle age Balfour had a forty-year long friendship with Mary Charteris (née Wyndham), Lady Elcho, later Countess of Wemyss and March. Although one biographer writes that "it is difficult to say how far the relationship went" evidence from her letters suggests that they may have become lovers in 1887. Another biographer believes that they had "no direct physical relationship", although he dismisses as unlikely suggestions that Balfour was homosexual, or, in view of a time during the Boer War when he replied to an important message from his bath, Lord Beaverbrook's famous claim that he was "a hermaphrodite"

In 1874 he was elected Conservative
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

 Member of Parliament
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

 (MP) for Hertford
Hertford
Hertford is the county town of Hertfordshire, England, and is also a civil parish in the East Hertfordshire district of the county. Forming a civil parish, the 2001 census put the population of Hertford at about 24,180. Recent estimates are that it is now around 28,000...

 and represented that constituency until 1885. In the spring of 1878 Balfour became Private Secretary
Parliamentary Private Secretary
A Parliamentary Private Secretary is a role given to a United Kingdom Member of Parliament by a senior minister in government or shadow minister to act as their contact for the House of Commons; this role is junior to that of Parliamentary Under-Secretary, which is a ministerial post, salaried by...

 to his uncle, Lord Salisbury
Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury
Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury, KG, GCVO, PC , styled Lord Robert Cecil before 1865 and Viscount Cranborne from June 1865 until April 1868, was a British Conservative statesman and thrice Prime Minister, serving for a total of over 13 years...

. In that capacity he accompanied Salisbury (then Foreign Secretary) to the Congress of Berlin
Congress of Berlin
The Congress of Berlin was a meeting of the European Great Powers' and the Ottoman Empire's leading statesmen in Berlin in 1878. In the wake of the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78, the meeting's aim was to reorganize the countries of the Balkans...

 and gained his first experience in international politics in connection with the settlement of the Russo-Turkish conflict. At the same time he became known in the world of letters; the academic subtlety and literary achievement of his Defence of Philosophic Doubt (1879) suggested that he might make a reputation for himself as a philosopher.

Balfour divided his time between the political arena and academic pursuits. Released from his duties as private secretary by the general election of 1880, he began to take a more active part in parliamentary affairs. He was for a time politically associated with Lord Randolph Churchill
Lord Randolph Churchill
Lord Randolph Henry Spencer-Churchill MP was a British statesman. He was the third son of the 7th Duke of Marlborough and his wife Lady Frances Anne Emily Vane , daughter of the 3rd Marquess of Londonderry...

, Sir Henry Drummond Wolff
Henry Drummond Wolff
Sir Henry Drummond-Wolff GCB, GCMG, PC was an English diplomat and Conservative Party politician, who started as a clerk in the Foreign Office.-Background:Wolff was the son of Georgiana Mary and Joseph Wolff...

 and John Gorst
John Eldon Gorst
Sir John Eldon Gorst PC, QC, FRS was a British lawyer and politician. He served as Solicitor General for England and Wales from 1885 to 1886 and as Vice-President of the Committee on Education between 1895 and 1902....

. This quartet became known as the "Fourth Party
Fourth Party
The "Fourth Party" was a label given to a quartet of British MPs, Lord Randolph Churchill, Henry Drummond Wolff, John Gorst and Arthur Balfour, in the 1880-1885 parliament....

" and gained notoriety for leader Lord Randolph Churchill's free criticism of Sir Stafford Northcote
Stafford Northcote, 1st Earl of Iddesleigh
Stafford Henry Northcote, 1st Earl of Iddesleigh GCB, PC , known as Sir Stafford Northcote, Bt, from 1851 to 1885, was a British Conservative politician...

, Lord Cross
R. A. Cross, 1st Viscount Cross
Richard Assheton Cross, 1st Viscount Cross, GCB, GCSI, PC, FRS , known before his elevation to the peerage as R. A. Cross, was a British statesman and Conservative politician...

 and other prominent members of the "old gang".

Service in Lord Salisbury's governments


In 1885, Lord Salisbury appointed Balfour as President of the Local Government Board
President of the Local Government Board
The President of the Local Government Board was a ministerial post, frequently a Cabinet position, in the United Kingdom, established in 1871. The Local Government Board itself was established in 1871 and took over supervisory functions from the Board of Trade and the Home Office, including the...

; the following year he became Secretary for Scotland, with a seat in the cabinet. These offices, while offering few opportunities for distinction, served as an apprenticeship for Balfour. In early 1887, Sir Michael Hicks Beach, the Chief Secretary for Ireland
Chief Secretary for Ireland
The Chief Secretary for Ireland was a key political office in the British administration in Ireland. Nominally subordinate to the Lord Lieutenant, from the late 18th century until the end of British rule he was effectively the government minister with responsibility for governing Ireland; usually...

, resigned because of illness and Salisbury appointed his nephew in his place. The selection took the political world by surprise and possibly led to the British phrase "Bob's your uncle
Bob's your uncle
Bob's your uncle is an expression commonly used mainly in Britain and Commonwealth nations. Typically, someone says it to conclude a set of simple instructions to mean, "And there you have it", or "You're all set". For example, "To make a ham sandwich, just put a piece of ham between two slices of...

!". Balfour surprised his critics by his ruthless enforcement of the Crimes Act, earning the nickname "Bloody Balfour". Balfour's skill for steady administration did much to dispel his reputation as a political lightweight.

In Parliament he resisted any overtures to the Irish Parliamentary Party
Irish Parliamentary Party
The Irish Parliamentary Party was formed in 1882 by Charles Stewart Parnell, the leader of the Nationalist Party, replacing the Home Rule League, as official parliamentary party for Irish nationalist Members of Parliament elected to the House of Commons at...

 on Home Rule
Home rule
Home rule is the power of a constituent part of a state to exercise such of the state's powers of governance within its own administrative area that have been devolved to it by the central government....

, and, allied with Joseph Chamberlain
Joseph Chamberlain
Joseph Chamberlain was an influential British politician and statesman. Unlike most major politicians of the time, he was a self-made businessman and had not attended Oxford or Cambridge University....

's Liberal Unionists, strongly encouraged Unionist activism in Ireland. Balfour also broadened the basis of material prosperity to the less well off by creating the Congested Districts Board for Ireland
Congested Districts Board for Ireland
The Congested Districts Board for Ireland was established by the Chief Secretary, Arthur Balfour in 1891 to alleviate poverty and "congested" living conditions in the west of Ireland....

 in 1890. It was during this period of 1886–1892 that he sharpened his gift of oratory and gained a reputation as one of the most effective public speakers of the age. Impressive in matter rather than in delivery, his speeches were logical and convincing, and delighted an ever wider audience.

On the death of W.H. Smith in 1891, Balfour became First Lord of the Treasury
First Lord of the Treasury
The First Lord of the Treasury is the head of the commission exercising the ancient office of Lord High Treasurer in the United Kingdom, and is now always also the Prime Minister...

 — the last one in British history not to have been concurrently Prime Minister as well — and Leader of the House of Commons
Leader of the House of Commons
The Leader of the House of Commons is a member of the Cabinet of the United Kingdom who is responsible for arranging government business in the House of Commons...

. After the fall of the government in 1892 he spent three years in opposition. When the Conservatives returned to power, in a coalition with the Liberal Unionists, in 1895, Balfour once again assumed the positions of Leader of the House and First Lord of the Treasury. His management of the abortive education proposals of 1896 were thought to show a disinclination for the continuous drudgery of parliamentary management, yet he had the satisfaction of seeing the passage of a bill providing Ireland with an improved system of local government, and took an active role in the debates on the various foreign and domestic questions that came before parliament between 1895 to 1900.

During the illness of Lord Salisbury in 1898, and again in Lord Salisbury's absence abroad, Balfour was put in charge of the Foreign Office, and it was his job to conduct the critical negotiations with Russia on the question of railways in North China. As a member of the cabinet responsible for the Transvaal negotiations
Second Boer War
The Second Boer War was fought from 11 October 1899 until 31 May 1902 between the British Empire and the Afrikaans-speaking Dutch settlers of two independent Boer republics, the South African Republic and the Orange Free State...

 in 1899, he bore his full share of controversy and, when the war
Second Boer War
The Second Boer War was fought from 11 October 1899 until 31 May 1902 between the British Empire and the Afrikaans-speaking Dutch settlers of two independent Boer republics, the South African Republic and the Orange Free State...

 began disastrously, he was the first to realise the need to put the full military strength of the country into the field. His leadership of the House of Commons was marked by considerable firmness in the suppression of obstruction, yet there was a slight revival of the criticisms of 1896.

Prime Minister



On Lord Salisbury's resignation on 11 July 1902, Balfour succeeded him as Prime Minister, with the approval of all sections of the Unionist party. The new Prime Minister came into power practically at the same moment as the coronation of Edward VII
Edward VII of the United Kingdom
Edward VII was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions and Emperor of India from 22 January 1901 until his death in 1910...

 and the end of the South African War. For a while no cloud appeared on the horizon. The Liberal party was still disorganised over their attitude towards the Boers. The two chief items of the ministerial parliamentary program were the extension of the new Education Act to London and the Irish Land Purchase Act, by which the British exchequer would advance the capital for enabling tenants in Ireland to buy land. A notable achievement of Balfour's government was the establishment of the Committee on Imperial Defence.

In foreign affairs, Balfour and his Foreign Secretary, Lord Lansdowne
Henry Petty-FitzMaurice, 5th Marquess of Lansdowne
Henry Charles Keith Petty-Fitzmaurice, 5th Marquess of Lansdowne, KG, GCSI, GCMG, GCIE, PC was a British politician and Irish peer who served successively as the fifth Governor General of Canada, Viceroy of India, Secretary of State for War, and Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs...

 presided over a dramatic improvement in relations with France, culminating in the Entente cordiale
Entente Cordiale
The Entente Cordiale was a series of agreements signed on 8 April 1904 between the United Kingdom and the French Republic. Beyond the immediate concerns of colonial expansion addressed by the agreement, the signing of the Entente Cordiale marked the end of almost a millennium of intermittent...

 of 1904. The period also saw the acute crisis of the Russo-Japanese War
Russo-Japanese War
The Russo-Japanese War was "the first great war of the 20th century." It grew out of rival imperial ambitions of the Russian Empire and Japanese Empire over Manchuria and Korea...

, when Britain, an ally of the Japanese, came close to war with Russia as a result of the Dogger Bank incident
Dogger Bank incident
The Dogger Bank incident occurred when the Russian Baltic Fleet mistook some British trawlers at Dogger Bank for an Imperial Japanese Navy force....

. On the whole, Balfour left the conduct of foreign policy to Lansdowne, being largely busy himself with domestic problems.

The budget was certain to show a surplus and taxation could be remitted. Yet as events proved, it was the budget that would sow dissension, override all other legislative concerns, and in the end signal the beginning of a new political movement. Charles Thomson Ritchie
Charles Thomson Ritchie
Charles Thomson Ritchie, 1st Baron Ritchie of Dundee PC was a British businessman and Conservative politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1874 until 1905 when he was raised to the peerage...

's remission of the shilling import-duty on corn led to Joseph Chamberlain
Joseph Chamberlain
Joseph Chamberlain was an influential British politician and statesman. Unlike most major politicians of the time, he was a self-made businessman and had not attended Oxford or Cambridge University....

's crusade in favour of tariff reform — these were taxes on imported goods with trade preference
Trade Preference
A Trade Preference is when one country prefers buying goods from some other country more than it would from other countries. It grants special support to one country over another. It is the opposite of a Trade Prohibition.-See also:*Trade Mandate...

 given to the Empire, with the threefold goal of protecting British industry from competition, strengthening the British Empire in the face of growing German and American economic power, and providing a source of revenue, other than raising taxes, for the costs of social welfare legislation. As the session proceeded, the rift grew in the Unionist ranks. Tariff Reform proved popular with Unionist supporters, but the threat of higher prices for food imports made the policy an electoral albatross. Hoping to split the difference between the free traders and tariff reformers in his cabinet and party, Balfour came out in favour of retaliatory tariffs—tariffs designed to punish other powers that had tariffs against British goods, supposedly in the hope of encouraging global free trade.

This was not, however, sufficient for either the free traders or the more extreme tariff reformers in the government. With Balfour's agreement, Chamberlain resigned from the Cabinet in late 1903 to stump the country in favour of Tariff Reform. At the same time, Balfour tried to balance the two factions by accepting the resignation of three free-trading ministers, including Chancellor Ritchie, but the almost simultaneous resignation of the free-trader Duke of Devonshire (who as Lord Hartington had been the Liberal Unionist leader of the 1880s) left Balfour's Cabinet looking weak. By 1905 relatively few Unionist MPs were still free traders (the young Winston Churchill crossed over to the Liberals in 1904 when threatened with deselection at Oldham), but Balfour's long balancing act had drained his authority within the government.

Balfour eventually resigned as Prime Minister in December 1905, hoping in vain that the Liberal leader Campbell-Bannerman would be unable to form a strong government. These hopes were dashed when Campbell-Bannerman faced down an attempt ("The Relugas Compact
The Relugas Compact
The Relugas Compact was the name given to the political plot hatched between H. H. Asquith, Sir Edward Grey and R B Haldane to remove Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman from the leadership of the Liberal Party in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom in 1905....

") to "kick him upstairs" to the House of Lords. The Conservatives were defeated by the Liberals at the general election the following January (in terms of MPs, a Liberal landslide), with Balfour himself losing his seat at Manchester East
Manchester East (UK Parliament constituency)
Manchester East was one of six single-member parliamentary constituencies created in 1885 by the division of the existing three-member Parliamentary Borough of Manchester...

. Only 157 Conservatives were returned to the House of Commons, at least two-thirds of them followers of Chamberlain, who briefly chaired the Conservative MPs until Balfour won a safe seat in the City of London
City of London (UK Parliament constituency)
The City of London was a United Kingdom Parliamentary constituency. It was a constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of England then of the Parliament of Great Britain from 1707 to 1800 and of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1801 to 1950.-Boundaries and boundary...

.

Arthur Balfour's Government, July 1902 – December 1905


  • Arthur Balfour – First Lord of the Treasury
    First Lord of the Treasury
    The First Lord of the Treasury is the head of the commission exercising the ancient office of Lord High Treasurer in the United Kingdom, and is now always also the Prime Minister...

    , Lord Privy Seal
    Lord Privy Seal
    The Lord Privy Seal is the fifth of the Great Officers of State in the United Kingdom, ranking beneath the Lord President of the Council and above the Lord Great Chamberlain. The office is one of the traditional sinecure offices of state...

     and Leader of the House of Commons
    Leader of the House of Commons
    The Leader of the House of Commons is a member of the Cabinet of the United Kingdom who is responsible for arranging government business in the House of Commons...

  • Lord Halsbury
    Hardinge Giffard, 1st Earl of Halsbury
    Hardinge Stanley Giffard, 1st Earl of Halsbury PC, QC was a leading barrister, politician and government minister. He served thrice as Lord Chancellor of Great Britain.-Background and education:...

     – Lord Chancellor
    Lord Chancellor
    The Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, or Lord Chancellor, is a senior and important functionary in the government of the United Kingdom. He is the second highest ranking of the Great Officers of State, ranking only after the Lord High Steward. The Lord Chancellor is appointed by the Sovereign...

  • The Duke of Devonshire
    Spencer Cavendish, 8th Duke of Devonshire
    Spencer Compton Cavendish, 8th Duke of Devonshire KG, GCVO, PC, PC , styled Lord Cavendish of Keighley between 1834 and 1858 and Marquess of Hartington between 1858 and 1891, was a British statesman...

     – Lord President of the Council
    Lord President of the Council
    The Lord President of the Council is the fourth of the Great Officers of State of the United Kingdom, ranking beneath the Lord High Treasurer and above the Lord Privy Seal. The Lord President usually attends each meeting of the Privy Council, presenting business for the monarch's approval...

     and Leader of the House of Lords
    Leader of the House of Lords
    The Leader of the House of Lords is a member of the Cabinet of the United Kingdom who is responsible for arranging government business in the House of Lords. The role is always held in combination with a formal Cabinet position, usually one of the sinecure offices of Lord President of the Council,...

  • Aretas Akers-Douglas
    Aretas Akers-Douglas, 1st Viscount Chilston
    Aretas Akers-Douglas, 1st Viscount Chilston GBE PC , born Aretas Akers and known as Aretas Akers-Douglas between 1875 and 1911, was a British Conservative statesman and politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1880 until he was raised to the peerage in 1911...

     – Secretary of State for the Home Department
  • Lord Lansdowne
    Henry Petty-FitzMaurice, 5th Marquess of Lansdowne
    Henry Charles Keith Petty-Fitzmaurice, 5th Marquess of Lansdowne, KG, GCSI, GCMG, GCIE, PC was a British politician and Irish peer who served successively as the fifth Governor General of Canada, Viceroy of India, Secretary of State for War, and Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs...

     – Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
  • Joseph Chamberlain
    Joseph Chamberlain
    Joseph Chamberlain was an influential British politician and statesman. Unlike most major politicians of the time, he was a self-made businessman and had not attended Oxford or Cambridge University....

     – Secretary of State for the Colonies
    Secretary of State for the Colonies
    The Secretary of State for the Colonies or Colonial Secretary was the British Cabinet minister in charge of managing the United Kingdom's various colonial dependencies....

  • St John Brodrick
    St John Brodrick, 1st Earl of Midleton
    William St John Fremantle Brodrick, 1st Earl of Midleton, KP, PC , known as St John Brodrick until 1907 and as The Viscount Midleton between 1907 and 1920, was a British Conservative Party politician....

     – Secretary of State for War
    Secretary of State for War
    The position of Secretary of State for War, commonly called War Secretary, was a British cabinet-level position, first held by Henry Dundas . In 1801 the post became that of Secretary of State for War and the Colonies. The position was re-instated in 1854...

  • Lord George Hamilton
    Lord George Hamilton
    Lord George Francis Hamilton GCSI, PC, JP was a British Conservative Party politician of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.-Background:...

     – Secretary of State for India
    Secretary of State for India
    The Secretary of State for India, or India Secretary, was the British Cabinet minister responsible for the government of India and the political head of the India Office...

  • Lord Selborne
    William Palmer, 2nd Earl of Selborne
    William Waldegrave Palmer, 2nd Earl of Selborne KG, GCMG, PC , styled Viscount Wolmer between 1882 and 1895, was a British politician and colonial administrator.-Background and education:...

     – First Lord of the Admiralty
  • Charles Thomson Ritchie
    Charles Thomson Ritchie
    Charles Thomson Ritchie, 1st Baron Ritchie of Dundee PC was a British businessman and Conservative politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1874 until 1905 when he was raised to the peerage...

     – Chancellor of the Exchequer
    Chancellor of the Exchequer
    The Chancellor of the Exchequer is the title held by the British Cabinet minister who is responsible for all economic and financial matters. Often simply called the Chancellor, the office-holder controls HM Treasury and plays a role akin to the posts of Minister of Finance or Secretary of the...

  • Gerald Balfour
    Gerald Balfour, 2nd Earl of Balfour
    Gerald William Balfour, 2nd Earl of Balfour PC , known as Gerald Balfour until 1930, was a British nobleman and Conservative politician.-Background and education:...

     – President of the Board of Trade
  • Sir William Hood Walrond – Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
    Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
    The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster is, in modern times, a ministerial office in the government of the United Kingdom that includes as part of its duties, the administration of the estates and rents of the Duchy of Lancaster...

  • Lord Balfour of Burleigh
    Alexander Bruce, 6th Lord Balfour of Burleigh
    Alexander Hugh Bruce, 6th Lord Balfour of Burleigh KT GCMG GCVO PC DL JP was a Scottish Unionist politician, banker and statesman, who took a leading part in the affairs of the Church of Scotland...

     – Secretary for Scotland
  • George Wyndham
    George Wyndham
    George Wyndham PC was a British Conservative politician, man of letters, noted for his elegance, and one of The Souls.-Background and education:...

     – Chief Secretary for Ireland
    Chief Secretary for Ireland
    The Chief Secretary for Ireland was a key political office in the British administration in Ireland. Nominally subordinate to the Lord Lieutenant, from the late 18th century until the end of British rule he was effectively the government minister with responsibility for governing Ireland; usually...

  • Walter Hume Long – President of the Local Government Board
    President of the Local Government Board
    The President of the Local Government Board was a ministerial post, frequently a Cabinet position, in the United Kingdom, established in 1871. The Local Government Board itself was established in 1871 and took over supervisory functions from the Board of Trade and the Home Office, including the...

  • Robert William Hanbury
    Robert William Hanbury
    Robert William Hanbury PC was a British Conservative politician. He served as President of the Board of Agriculture from 1900 to 1903.-Background and education:...

     – President of the Board of Agriculture
  • Lord Londonderry
    Charles Vane-Tempest-Stewart, 6th Marquess of Londonderry
    Charles Stewart Vane-Tempest-Stewart, 6th Marquess of Londonderry KG, GCVO, PC, DL, JP , styled Viscount Castlereagh between 1872 and 1884, was an Anglo-Irish Conservative politician, landowner and benefactor, who served in various capacities in the Conservative administrations of the late 19th and...

     – President of the Board of Education
  • Lord Ashbourne
    Edward Gibson, 1st Baron Ashbourne
    Edward Gibson, 1st Baron Ashbourne PC, QC was an Irish lawyer and Lord Chancellor of Ireland.-Background and education:...

     – Lord Chancellor of Ireland
    Lord Chancellor of Ireland
    The office of Lord Chancellor of Ireland was the highest judicial office in Ireland until the establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922. From 1721 to 1801 it was also the highest political office of the Irish Parliament.-13th century:...

  • Lord Windsor
    Robert Windsor-Clive, 1st Earl of Plymouth
    Robert George Windsor-Clive, 1st Earl of Plymouth GBE, CB, PC , known as The Lord Windsor between 1869 and 1905, was a British nobleman and Conservative politician.-Background:...

     – First Commissioner of Public Works
  • Austen Chamberlain
    Austen Chamberlain
    Sir Joseph Austen Chamberlain, KG was a British statesman, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize and half-brother of Neville Chamberlain.- Early life and career :...

     – Postmaster-General
    United Kingdom Postmaster General
    The Postmaster General of the United Kingdom is a defunct Cabinet-level ministerial position in HM Government. Aside from maintaining the postal system, the Telegraph Act of 1868 established the Postmaster General's right to exclusively maintain electric telegraphs...


Changes
  • May 1903 – Lord Onslow
    William Onslow, 4th Earl of Onslow
    William Hillier Onslow, 4th Earl of Onslow GCMG, PC was a British Conservative politician. He held several governmental positions between 1880 and 1905 and was also Governor of New Zealand between 1889 and 1892....

     succeeds R.W. Hanbury at the Board of Agriculture.
  • September–October 1903 – Lord Londonderry
    Charles Vane-Tempest-Stewart, 6th Marquess of Londonderry
    Charles Stewart Vane-Tempest-Stewart, 6th Marquess of Londonderry KG, GCVO, PC, DL, JP , styled Viscount Castlereagh between 1872 and 1884, was an Anglo-Irish Conservative politician, landowner and benefactor, who served in various capacities in the Conservative administrations of the late 19th and...

     succeeds the Duke of Devonshire
    Spencer Cavendish, 8th Duke of Devonshire
    Spencer Compton Cavendish, 8th Duke of Devonshire KG, GCVO, PC, PC , styled Lord Cavendish of Keighley between 1834 and 1858 and Marquess of Hartington between 1858 and 1891, was a British statesman...

     as Lord President, while remaining also President of the Board of Education. Lord Lansdowne succeeds Devonshire as Leader of the House of Lords, remaining also Foreign Secretary. Lord Salisbury
    James Gascoyne-Cecil, 4th Marquess of Salisbury
    James Edward Hubert Gascoyne-Cecil, 4th Marquess of Salisbury, KG, GCVO, CB, PC , known as Viscount Cranborne from 1868 to 1903, was a British statesman.-Background and education:...

     succeeds Balfour as Lord Privy Seal. Austen Chamberlain
    Austen Chamberlain
    Sir Joseph Austen Chamberlain, KG was a British statesman, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize and half-brother of Neville Chamberlain.- Early life and career :...

     succeeds Ritchie
    Charles Thomson Ritchie
    Charles Thomson Ritchie, 1st Baron Ritchie of Dundee PC was a British businessman and Conservative politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1874 until 1905 when he was raised to the peerage...

     at the Exchequer. Chamberlain's successor as Postmaster-General is not in the Cabinet. Alfred Lyttelton
    Alfred Lyttelton
    Alfred Lyttelton QC was a British politician and sportsman who excelled at both football and cricket. During his time at university he participated in Varsity Matches in five sports: cricket , football , athletics , rackets and real tennis , displaying an ability that made him...

     succeeds Joseph Chamberlain
    Joseph Chamberlain
    Joseph Chamberlain was an influential British politician and statesman. Unlike most major politicians of the time, he was a self-made businessman and had not attended Oxford or Cambridge University....

     as Colonial Secretary. St John Brodrick
    St John Brodrick, 1st Earl of Midleton
    William St John Fremantle Brodrick, 1st Earl of Midleton, KP, PC , known as St John Brodrick until 1907 and as The Viscount Midleton between 1907 and 1920, was a British Conservative Party politician....

     succeeds Lord George Hamilton
    Lord George Hamilton
    Lord George Francis Hamilton GCSI, PC, JP was a British Conservative Party politician of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.-Background:...

     as Secretary for India. Hugh Arnold-Forster succeeds Brodrick as Secretary for War. Andrew Graham-Murray
    Andrew Murray, 1st Viscount Dunedin
    Andrew Graham Murray, 1st Viscount Dunedin GCVO, PC, QC was a Scottish politician and judge. He served as Secretary for Scotland between 1903 and 1905, as Lord Justice General and Lord President of the Court of Session between 1905 and 1913 and as a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary between 1913 and...

     succeeds Lord Balfour of Burleigh as Secretary for Scotland.
  • March 1905 – Walter Hume Long succeeds George Wyndham
    George Wyndham
    George Wyndham PC was a British Conservative politician, man of letters, noted for his elegance, and one of The Souls.-Background and education:...

     as Irish Secretary. Gerald Balfour
    Gerald Balfour, 2nd Earl of Balfour
    Gerald William Balfour, 2nd Earl of Balfour PC , known as Gerald Balfour until 1930, was a British nobleman and Conservative politician.-Background and education:...

     succeeds Long at the Local Government Board. Lord Salisbury
    James Gascoyne-Cecil, 4th Marquess of Salisbury
    James Edward Hubert Gascoyne-Cecil, 4th Marquess of Salisbury, KG, GCVO, CB, PC , known as Viscount Cranborne from 1868 to 1903, was a British statesman.-Background and education:...

    , remaining Lord Privy Seal, succeeds Balfour at the Board of Trade. Lord Cawdor
    Frederick Campbell, 3rd Earl Cawdor
    Frederick Archibald Vaughan Campbell, 3rd Earl Cawdor PC, DL, JP , styled Viscount Emlyn from 1860 to 1898, was a British Conservative politician...

     succeeds Lord Selborne
    William Palmer, 2nd Earl of Selborne
    William Waldegrave Palmer, 2nd Earl of Selborne KG, GCMG, PC , styled Viscount Wolmer between 1882 and 1895, was a British politician and colonial administrator.-Background and education:...

     at the Admiralty. Ailwyn Fellowes succeeds Lord Onslow at the Board of Agriculture.

Later career


After the disaster of 1906
United Kingdom general election, 1906
-Seats summary:-See also:*MPs elected in the United Kingdom general election, 1906*The Parliamentary Franchise in the United Kingdom 1885-1918-External links:***-References:*F. W. S. Craig, British Electoral Facts: 1832-1987**...

 Balfour remained party leader, his position strengthened by Joseph Chamberlain's removal from active politics after his stroke in July 1906, but he was unable to make much headway against the huge Liberal majority in the House of Commons. An early attempt to score a debating triumph over the government, made in Balfour's usual abstruse, theoretical style, saw Campbell-Bannerman respond with: "Enough of this foolery," to the delight of his supporters in the House. Balfour made the controversial decision, with Lord Lansdowne
Henry Petty-FitzMaurice, 5th Marquess of Lansdowne
Henry Charles Keith Petty-Fitzmaurice, 5th Marquess of Lansdowne, KG, GCSI, GCMG, GCIE, PC was a British politician and Irish peer who served successively as the fifth Governor General of Canada, Viceroy of India, Secretary of State for War, and Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs...

, to use the heavily Unionist House of Lords
House of Lords
The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....

 as an active check on the political program and legislation of the Liberal party in the House of Commons. Numerous pieces of legislation were vetoed or altered by amendments between 1906 and 1909, leading David Lloyd George
David Lloyd George
David Lloyd George, 1st Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor OM, PC was a British Liberal politician and statesman...

 to remark that the Lords had become "not the watchdog of the Constitution, but Mr. Balfour's poodle." The issue was eventually forced by the Liberals
Liberal Party (UK)
The Liberal Party was one of the two major political parties of the United Kingdom during the 19th and early 20th centuries. It was a third party of negligible importance throughout the latter half of the 20th Century, before merging with the Social Democratic Party in 1988 to form the present day...

 with Lloyd George's so-called People's Budget
People's Budget
The 1909 People's Budget was a product of then British Prime Minister H. H. Asquith's Liberal government, introducing many unprecedented taxes on the wealthy and radical social welfare programmes to Britain's political life...

, provoking the constitutional crisis that eventually led to the Parliament Act 1911
Parliament Act 1911
The Parliament Act 1911 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It is constitutionally important and partly governs the relationship between the House of Commons and the House of Lords which make up the Houses of Parliament. This Act must be construed as one with the Parliament Act 1949...

, which replaced the Lords' veto authority with a greatly reduced power to only delay bills for up to two years. After the Unionists had failed to win an electoral mandate at either of the General Elections of 1910 (despite softening the Tariff Reform policy with Balfour's promise of a referendum on food taxes), the Unionist peers split to allow the Parliament Act to pass the House of Lords, in order to prevent a mass-creation of new Liberal peers by the new King, George V. The exhausted Balfour resigned as party leader after the crisis, and was succeeded in late 1911 by Andrew Bonar Law.

Balfour remained an important figure within the party, however, and when the Unionists joined Asquith
H. H. Asquith
Herbert Henry Asquith, 1st Earl of Oxford and Asquith, KG, PC, KC served as the Liberal Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1908 to 1916...

's coalition government in May 1915, Balfour succeeded Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

 as First Lord of the Admiralty. When Asquith's government collapsed in December 1916, Balfour, who seemed for a time a potential successor to the premiership, became Foreign Secretary in Lloyd George's new administration, but was not actually included in the small War Cabinet, and was frequently left out of the inner workings of the government. Balfour's service as Foreign Secretary was most notable for the issuance of the Balfour Declaration
Balfour Declaration, 1917
The Balfour Declaration of 1917 was a letter from the British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour to Baron Rothschild , a leader of the British Jewish community, for transmission to the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland.The statement was issued through the efforts of Chaim...

 of 1917, a letter to Lord Rothschild promising the Jews a "national home" in Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

, then part of the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

.

Balfour resigned as Foreign Secretary following the Versailles Conference
Treaty of Versailles
The Treaty of Versailles was one of the peace treaties at the end of World War I. It ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed on 28 June 1919, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The other Central Powers on the German side of...

 in 1919, but continued in the government (and the Cabinet after normal peacetime political arrangements resumed) as Lord President of the Council
Lord President of the Council
The Lord President of the Council is the fourth of the Great Officers of State of the United Kingdom, ranking beneath the Lord High Treasurer and above the Lord Privy Seal. The Lord President usually attends each meeting of the Privy Council, presenting business for the monarch's approval...

. In 1921–22 he represented the British Empire at the Washington Naval Conference
Washington Naval Conference
The Washington Naval Conference also called the Washington Arms Conference, was a military conference called by President Warren G. Harding and held in Washington from 12 November 1921 to 6 February 1922. Conducted outside the auspices of the League of Nations, it was attended by nine nations...

.

In 1922 he, along with most of the Conservative leadership, resigned with Lloyd George's government following the Conservative back-bench revolt against the continuance of the coalition. Bonar Law soon became Prime Minister. In 1922 Balfour was created Earl of Balfour
Earl of Balfour
Earl of Balfour is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. It was created in 1922 for the prominent Conservative politician Arthur Balfour. He was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1902 to 1905 and Foreign Secretary from 1916 to 1919...

. Like many of the Coalition leaders he did not hold office in the Conservative governments of 1922–4, although as an elder statesman he was consulted by the King in the choice of Baldwin as Bonar Law's successor as Conservative leader in May 1923. When asked by a lady whether "dear George" (the much more experienced Lord Curzon
George Curzon, 1st Marquess Curzon of Kedleston
George Nathaniel Curzon, 1st Marquess Curzon of Kedleston, KG, GCSI, GCIE, PC , known as The Lord Curzon of Kedleston between 1898 and 1911 and as The Earl Curzon of Kedleston between 1911 and 1921, was a British Conservative statesman who was Viceroy of India and Foreign Secretary...

) would be chosen he replied, referring to Curzon's wealthy wife Grace, "No, dear George will not but he will still have the means of Grace."

Balfour was again not initially included in Stanley Baldwin
Stanley Baldwin
Stanley Baldwin, 1st Earl Baldwin of Bewdley, KG, PC was a British Conservative politician, who dominated the government in his country between the two world wars...

's second government in 1924, but in 1925 he once again returned to the Cabinet, serving in place of the late Lord Curzon as Lord President of the Council
Lord President of the Council
The Lord President of the Council is the fourth of the Great Officers of State of the United Kingdom, ranking beneath the Lord High Treasurer and above the Lord Privy Seal. The Lord President usually attends each meeting of the Privy Council, presenting business for the monarch's approval...

 until the government ended in 1929. In 1925 he visited the Holy Land
Holy Land
The Holy Land is a term which in Judaism refers to the Kingdom of Israel as defined in the Tanakh. For Jews, the Land's identifiction of being Holy is defined in Judaism by its differentiation from other lands by virtue of the practice of Judaism often possible only in the Land of Israel...

.

Apart from a number of colds and occasional influenza
Influenza
Influenza, commonly referred to as the flu, is an infectious disease caused by RNA viruses of the family Orthomyxoviridae , that affects birds and mammals...

, Balfour had enjoyed good health until the year 1928, and remained until then a regular tennis player. At the end of that year most of his teeth had to be removed and he began to suffer from the unremitting circulatory trouble which ended his life. Late in January 1929 Balfour was conveyed from Whittingehame to Fisher's Hill, his brother Gerald's home near Woking
Woking
Woking is a large town and civil parish that shares its name with the surrounding local government district, located in the west of Surrey, UK. It is part of the Greater London Urban Area and the London commuter belt, with frequent trains and a journey time of 24 minutes to Waterloo station....

, Surrey
Surrey
Surrey is a county in the South East of England and is one of the Home Counties. The county borders Greater London, Kent, East Sussex, West Sussex, Hampshire and Berkshire. The historic county town is Guildford. Surrey County Council sits at Kingston upon Thames, although this has been part of...

. In the past he had suffered from occasional bouts of phlebitis
Phlebitis
Phlebitis is an inflammation of a vein, usually in the legs.When phlebitis is associated with the formation of blood clots , usually in the deep veins of the legs, the condition is called thrombophlebitis...

 and by late 1929 he was immobilised by it. Finally, soon after receiving a visit from his friend Chaim Weizmann
Chaim Weizmann
Chaim Azriel Weizmann, , was a Zionist leader, President of the Zionist Organization, and the first President of the State of Israel. He was elected on 1 February 1949, and served until his death in 1952....

, Balfour died at Fisher's Hill on 19 March 1930. At his request a public funeral was declined and he was buried on 22 March beside members of his family at Whittingehame
Whittingehame
Whittingehame is a parish with a small village in East Lothian, Scotland, about halfway between Haddington and Dunbar, and near East Linton. The area is on the slopes of the Lammermuir Hills...

 in a Church of Scotland
Church of Scotland
The Church of Scotland, known informally by its Scots language name, the Kirk, is a Presbyterian church, decisively shaped by the Scottish Reformation....

 service, though he also belonged to the Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

. Despite the snowy weather, attenders came from far and wide. By special remainder, the title passed to his brother Gerald.

His obituaries in The Times
The Times
The Times is a British daily national newspaper, first published in London in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register . The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times are published by Times Newspapers Limited, a subsidiary since 1981 of News International...

, The Gaurdian and the Daily Herald made no mention of the declaration for which he is most famous.

Personality


Balfour was unusual for himself as much as for his politics. He developed a manner well known to his friends, which has been described as the Balfourian manner. Harold Begbie, a journalist of the period, wrote a book called Mirrors of Downing Street, in which he criticised Balfour for his manner, personality and self-obsession. Begbie wrote as one who disagreed strongly with Balfour's political views, but even his one-sided criticisms do not entirely conceal another facet of Balfour's personality, his shyness and diffidence. The sections of the work dealing with Balfour's personality have been reproduced below:
Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

 once compared Balfour to Herbert Asquith by stating, "The difference between Balfour and Asquith is that Arthur is wicked and moral, while Asquith is good and immoral."

Writings and academic achievements


Balfour's writings include:
  • Defence of Philosophic Doubt (1879)
  • The Humours of Golf, a chapter of the Badminton Library
    Badminton Library
    The Badminton Library, called in full The Badminton Library of Sports and Pastimes, was a sporting and publishing project conceived and founded by Henry Somerset, 8th Duke of Beaufort . Between 1885 and 1902 it developed into a series of sporting books which aimed to cover comprehensively all major...

    's volume on golf (1890)
  • Essays and Addresses (1893).
  • The Foundations of Belief, being Notes introductory to the Study of Theology
    Theology
    Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

     (1895).
  • Questionings on Criticism and Beauty (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1909), based on his 1909 Romanes Lecture
    Romanes Lecture
    The Romanes Lecture is a prestigious free public lecture given annually at the Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford, England.The lecture series was founded by, and named after, the biologist George Romanes, and has been running since 1892. Over the years, many notable figures from the Arts and Sciences have...

    .
  • Theism and Humanism (1915), based on his first series of Gifford Lectures
    Gifford Lectures
    The Gifford Lectures were established by the will of Adam Lord Gifford . They were established to "promote and diffuse the study of Natural Theology in the widest sense of the term — in other words, the knowledge of God." The term natural theology as used by Gifford means theology supported...

     given in 1914 and still in print. In 1962, Oxford writer C. S. Lewis
    C. S. Lewis
    Clive Staples Lewis , commonly referred to as C. S. Lewis and known to his friends and family as "Jack", was a novelist, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian and Christian apologist from Belfast, Ireland...

     told Christian Century that Theism and Humanism was one of the ten books that most influenced his thought.
  • Theism and Thought (1923) based on his second series of Gifford Lectures
    Gifford Lectures
    The Gifford Lectures were established by the will of Adam Lord Gifford . They were established to "promote and diffuse the study of Natural Theology in the widest sense of the term — in other words, the knowledge of God." The term natural theology as used by Gifford means theology supported...

    , given in 1922.


He was made an honorary Doctor of Laws of the University of Edinburgh
University of Edinburgh
The University of Edinburgh, founded in 1583, is a public research university located in Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The university is deeply embedded in the fabric of the city, with many of the buildings in the historic Old Town belonging to the university...

 in 1881, of the University of St Andrews
University of St Andrews
The University of St Andrews, informally referred to as "St Andrews", is the oldest university in Scotland and the third oldest in the English-speaking world after Oxford and Cambridge. The university is situated in the town of St Andrews, Fife, on the east coast of Scotland. It was founded between...

 in 1885, of the University of Cambridge
University of Cambridge
The University of Cambridge is a public research university located in Cambridge, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest university in both the United Kingdom and the English-speaking world , and the seventh-oldest globally...

 in 1888, and of the Universities of Dublin and Glasgow in 1891, and an honorary Doctor of Civil Law
Doctor of Civil Law
Doctor of Civil Law is a degree offered by some universities, such as the University of Oxford, instead of the more common Doctor of Laws degrees....

 of the University of Oxford
University of Oxford
The University of Oxford is a university located in Oxford, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest surviving university in the world and the oldest in the English-speaking world. Although its exact date of foundation is unclear, there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096...

 in 1891. He was Lord Rector of the University of St Andrews in 1886 and of the University of Glasgow
University of Glasgow
The University of Glasgow is the fourth-oldest university in the English-speaking world and one of Scotland's four ancient universities. Located in Glasgow, the university was founded in 1451 and is presently one of seventeen British higher education institutions ranked amongst the top 100 of the...

 in 1890, Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh in 1891, and a member of the Senate of the University of London
University of London
-20th century:Shortly after 6 Burlington Gardens was vacated, the University went through a period of rapid expansion. Bedford College, Royal Holloway and the London School of Economics all joined in 1900, Regent's Park College, which had affiliated in 1841 became an official divinity school of the...

 in 1888; . He became a fellow of the Royal Society
Royal Society
The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, known simply as the Royal Society, is a learned society for science, and is possibly the oldest such society in existence. Founded in November 1660, it was granted a Royal Charter by King Charles II as the "Royal Society of London"...

 in 1888, was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
American Academy of Arts and Sciences
The American Academy of Arts and Sciences is an independent policy research center that conducts multidisciplinary studies of complex and emerging problems. The Academy’s elected members are leaders in the academic disciplines, the arts, business, and public affairs.James Bowdoin, John Adams, and...

 in 1902, and was president of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1904 and of the Aristotelian Society
Aristotelian Society
The Aristotelian Society for the Systematic Study of Philosophy was founded at a meeting on 19 April 1880, at 17 Bloomsbury Square which resolved "to constitute a society of about twenty and to include ladies; the society to meet fortnightly, on Mondays at 8 o'clock, at the rooms of the Spelling...

 from 1914-15. He was known from early life as a cultured musician, and became an enthusiastic golf player, becoming captain of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews in 1894–1895.

He was also a member of the Society for Psychical Research
Society for Psychical Research
The Society for Psychical Research is a non-profit organisation in the United Kingdom. Its stated purpose is to understand "events and abilities commonly described as psychic or paranormal by promoting and supporting important research in this area" and to "examine allegedly paranormal phenomena...

, a society dedicated to studying psychic
Psychic
A psychic is a person who professes an ability to perceive information hidden from the normal senses through extrasensory perception , or is said by others to have such abilities. It is also used to describe theatrical performers who use techniques such as prestidigitation, cold reading, and hot...

 and paranormal phenomena, and was its president from 1892–1894.

Popular culture

  • Balfour was the subject of two parody novels based on Alice in Wonderland, Clara in Blunderland
    Clara in Blunderland
    Clara in Blunderland is a novel by Caroline Lewis , written in 1902 and published by William Heinemann of London. It is a political parody of Lewis Carroll's two books, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass...

     (1902) and Lost in Blunderland
    Lost in Blunderland
    Lost in Blunderland: The further adventures of Clara is a novel by Caroline Lewis , written in 1903 and published by William Heinemann of London. It is a political parody of Lewis Carroll's two books, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass...

     (1903), which appeared under the pseudonym Caroline Lewis; one of the co-authors was Harold Begbie.
  • The character Arthur Balfour plays a supporting, off-screen role in Upstairs, Downstairs
    Upstairs, Downstairs
    Upstairs, Downstairs is a British drama television series originally produced by London Weekend Television and revived by the BBC. It ran on ITV in 68 episodes divided into five series from 1971 to 1975, and a sixth series shown on the BBC on three consecutive nights, 26–28 December 2010.Set in a...

    , promoting the family patriarch, Richard Bellamy, to the position of Civil Lord of the Admiralty..
  • A fictionalised version of Arthur Balfour (identified as "Mr. Balfour") appears as British Prime Minister
    Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
    The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the Head of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Sovereign, to Parliament, to their political party and...

     in the science fiction romance The Angel of the Revolution
    The Angel of the Revolution
    The Angel of the Revolution: A Tale of the Coming Terror is a science fiction novel by English writer George Griffith. It was his first published novel and remains his most famous work...

     by George Griffith
    George Griffith
    George Griffith , full name George Chetwyn Griffith-Jones, was a prolific British science fiction writer and noted explorer who wrote during the late Victorian and Edwardian age. Many of his visionary tales appeared in magazines such as Pearson's Magazine and Pearson's Weekly before being published...

    , published in 1893 (when Balfour was still in opposition) but set in an imagined near future of 1903-1905.

See also

  • Balfour Declaration of 1917
  • Gathering of Israel
    Gathering of Israel
    The Gathering of Israel is the promise given by Moses, in the Hebrew Bible, to the People of Israel before his death, prior to their entrance to Eretz Israel...

  • Palm Sunday Case
    Palm Sunday Case
    The Palm Sunday Case was a series of events involving cross correspondence and numerous psychic mediums, over a long period and involving members of the American Society for Psychical Research...


Further reading


Prime sources:
  • Harcourt Williams, Robin (Editor): The Salisbury- Balfour Correspondence: 1869–1892, Hertfordshire Record Society (1998)


Secondary sources:

Biography:
  • Adams, R.J.Q.
    R.J.Q. Adams
    Ralph James Quincy Adams, usually known as R.J.Q. Adams , is an American historian, writer, historiographer, and professor. Earning a Ph.D. in history from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1972, Adams has focused his professional career in the history of Britain...

    : Balfour: The Last Grandee, John Murray, 2007
  • Anderson, Bernard: Arthur James Balfour", Grant Richards, 1903
  • Dugdale, Blanche: Arthur James Balfour, First Earl of Balfour KG, OM, FRS- Volume 1, Hutchinson and Co, 1936
  • Dugdale, Blanche: Arthur James Balfour, First Earl of Balfour KG, OM, FRS- Volume 2- 1906–1930, Hutchinson and Co, 1936
  • Egremont, Max: A life of Arthur James Balfour, William Collins and Company Ltd, 1980
  • Green, E. H. H.
    E. H. H. Green
    Ewen Henry Harvey Green , known as E.H.H. Green or Ewen Green, was a British historian famed for his work on 20th-century Britain and, in particular, the history of the 20th-century Conservative Party....

     Balfour (20 British Prime Ministers of the 20th Century); Haus, 2006. ISBN 1904950558
  • Mackay, Ruddock F.: "Balfour, Intellectual Statesman", Oxford 1985 ISBN 0-19-212245-2
  • Raymond, E.T: A life of Arthur James Balfour, Little, Brown, 1920
  • Young, Kenneth: Arthur James Balfour: The happy life of the Politician, Prime Minister, Statesman and Philosopher- 1848–1930, G. Bell and Sons, 1963


Other:
  • Brendon, Piers
    Piers Brendon
    Piers Brendon is a British writer, known for historical and biographical works. He was educated at Shrewsbury School, Shropshire, and Magdalene College, Cambridge, where he read History. He earned his Ph.D for his thesis, Hurrell Froude and the Oxford Movement, which was published, with much...

    : Eminent Edwardians (Houghton Mifflin Company, 1980) ISBN 0-395-29195-X
  • Begbie, Harold: Mirrors of Downing Street- some political reflections, Mills and Boon (1920)
  • Tuchman, Barbara W
    Barbara Tuchman
    Barbara Wertheim Tuchman was an American historian and author. She became known for her best-selling book The Guns of August, a history of the prelude to and first month of World War I, which won the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction in 1963....

    : The Proud Tower
    The Proud Tower
    The Proud Tower: A Portrait of the World Before the War, 1890-1914 is a 1966 book by Barbara Tuchman, collecting essays she had published in various periodicals during the mid 1960s. It followed the publication of the highly successful The Guns of August...

     – A Portrait of the World Before the War (Macmillan, 1966)

External links




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