Arthur Balfour

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The Earl of Balfour

Gws balfour 02.jpg
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
In office
12 July 1902 4 December 1905
Monarch Edward VII
Preceded by The 3rd Marquess of Salisbury
Succeeded by Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman
Lord President of the Council
In office
27 April 1925 4 June 1929
Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin
Preceded by The Marquess Curzon of Kedleston
Succeeded by The Lord Parmoor
In office
23 October 1919 19 October 1922
Prime Minister David Lloyd George
Preceded by The Earl Curzon of Kedleston
Succeeded by The 4th Marquess of Salisbury
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
In office
10 December 1916 23 October 1919
Prime MinisterDavid Lloyd George
Preceded by The Viscount Grey of Fallodon
Succeeded byThe Earl Curzon of Kedleston
First Lord of the Admiralty
In office
25 May 1915 10 December 1916
Prime Minister H. H. Asquith
David Lloyd George
Preceded by Winston Churchill
Succeeded by Sir Edward Carson
Leader of the Opposition
In office
27 February 1906 13 November 1911
MonarchEdward VII
George V
Prime MinisterSir Henry Campbell-Bannerman
Succeeded by Bonar Law
In office
5 December 1905 8 February 1906
MonarchEdward VII
Prime MinisterSir Henry Campbell-Bannerman
Preceded bySir Henry Campbell-Bannerman
Lord Privy Seal
In office
11 July 1902 17 October 1903
Preceded byThe 3rd Marquess of Salisbury
Succeeded byThe 4th Marquess of Salisbury
Chief Secretary for Ireland
In office
7 March 1887 9 November 1891
Prime Minister The 3rd Marquess of Salisbury
Preceded by Sir Michael Hicks Beach
Succeeded by William Jackson
Secretary for Scotland
In office
5 August 1886 11 March 1887
Prime MinisterThe 3rd Marquess of Salisbury
Preceded by The Earl of Dalhousie
Succeeded by The Marquess of Lothian
Leader of the Conservative Party
In office
11 July 1902 13 November 1911
Preceded byThe 3rd Marquess of Salisbury
Succeeded byBonar Law
Member of Parliament
for City of London
In office
27 February 1906 5 May 1922
Preceded by Alban Gibbs
Succeeded by Edward Grenfell
Member of Parliament
for Manchester East
In office
18 December 1885 8 February 1906
Preceded byconstituency created
Succeeded by Thomas Horridge
Member of Parliament
for Hertford
In office
17 February 1874 18 December 1885
Preceded by Robert Dimsdale
Succeeded byconstituency abolished
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
In office
5 May 1922 19 March 1930
Hereditary peerage
Preceded bypeerage created
Succeeded by The 2nd Earl of Balfour
Personal details
Arthur James Balfour

(1848-07-25)25 July 1848
Whittingehame House, East Lothian, Scotland
Died19 March 1930(1930-03-19) (aged 81)
Fishers Hill House, Woking, Surrey, England
Resting placeWhittingehame Church, Whittingehame
Political party Conservative
Parents James Maitland Balfour
Lady Blanche Gascoyne-Cecil
Alma mater Trinity College, Cambridge
Occupation Politician
Signature Arthur Balfour Signature.svg

Arthur James Balfour, 1st Earl of Balfour, KG , OM , PC , FRS , FBA , DL ( /ˈbælfər, -fɔːr/ , [1] traditionally Scottish /bəlˈfʊər/ ; [2] [3] 25 July 1848 19 March 1930) was a British statesman and Conservative Party politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1902 to 1905. As Foreign Secretary under David Lloyd George, he issued the Balfour Declaration in November 1917 on behalf of the cabinet.

Privy Council of the United Kingdom Formal body of advisers to the sovereign in the United Kingdom

Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, usually known simply as the Privy Council of the United Kingdom or just the Privy Council, is a formal body of advisers to the Sovereign of the United Kingdom. Its membership mainly comprises senior politicians who are current or former members of either the House of Commons or the House of Lords.

Fellow of the Royal Society Elected Fellow of the Royal Society, including Honorary, Foreign and Royal Fellows

Fellowship of the Royal Society is an award granted to individuals that the Royal Society of London judges to have made a 'substantial contribution to the improvement of natural knowledge, including mathematics, engineering science, and medical science'.

Fellow of the British Academy award granted by the British Academy to leading academics for their distinction in the humanities and social sciences

Fellowship of the British Academy (FBA) is an award granted by the British Academy to leading academics for their distinction in the humanities and social sciences. There are three kinds of fellowship:

  1. Fellows, for scholars resident in the United Kingdom
  2. Corresponding Fellows, for scholars not resident in the UK
  3. Honorary Fellows, an honorary academic title


Entering Parliament in 1874, Balfour achieved prominence as Chief Secretary for Ireland, in which position he suppressed agrarian unrest whilst taking measures against absentee landlords. He opposed Irish Home Rule, saying there could be no half-way house between Ireland remaining within the United Kingdom or becoming independent. From 1891 he led the Conservative Party in the House of Commons, serving under his uncle, Lord Salisbury, whose government won large majorities in 1895 and 1900. A brilliant debater, he was bored by the mundane tasks of party management.

1874 United Kingdom general election

The 1874 United Kingdom general election saw the incumbent Liberals, led by William Ewart Gladstone, lose decisively, even though it won a majority of the votes cast. Benjamin Disraeli's Conservatives won the majority of seats in the House of Commons, largely because they won a number of uncontested seats. It was the first Conservative victory in a general election since 1841. Gladstone's decision to call an election surprised his colleagues, for they were aware of large sectors of discontent in their coalition. For example, the nonconformists were upset with education policies; many working-class people disliked the new trade union laws and the restrictions on drinking. The Conservatives were making gains in the middle-class, Gladstone wanted to abolish the income tax, but failed to carry his own cabinet. The result was a disaster for the Liberals, who went from 387 MPs to only 242. Conservatives jumped from 271 to 350. For the first time the Irish Nationalists gained seats, returning 60. Gladstone himself noted: "We have been swept away in a torrent of gin and beer".

Chief Secretary for Ireland position

The Chief Secretary for Ireland was a key political office in the British administration in Ireland. Nominally subordinate to the Lord Lieutenant, and officially the "Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant", from the early 19th century until the end of British rule he was effectively the government minister with responsibility for governing Ireland, roughly equivalent to the role of a Secretary of State. Usually it was the Chief Secretary, rather than the Lord Lieutenant, who sat in the British Cabinet. The Chief Secretary was ex officio President of the Local Government Board for Ireland from its creation in 1872.

Irish Home Rule movement movement that campaigned for self-government for Ireland within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland

The Irish Home Rule movement was a movement that campaigned for self-government for Ireland within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. It was the dominant political movement of Irish nationalism from 1870 to the end of World War I.

In July 1902 he succeeded his uncle as Prime Minister. In domestic policy the Irish Land Act 1903 which bought out most of the Anglo-English land owners, thereby removing a major obstacle to settling the Irish problem. The Education Act 1902 had a major long-term impact in modernising the school system in England and Wales and provided financial support for schools operated by the Church of England and by the Catholic Church. Nonconformists were outraged and mobilized their voters, but were unable to reverse it. In foreign and defence policy, he oversaw reform of British defence policy and supported Jackie Fisher's naval innovations. He secured the Entente Cordiale with France, an alliance that isolated Germany. He cautiously embraced imperial preference as championed by Joseph Chamberlain, but resignations from the Cabinet over the abandonment of free trade left his party divided. He also suffered from public anger at the later stages of the Boer war (counter-insurgency warfare characterized as "methods of barbarism") and the importation of Chinese labour to South Africa ("Chinese slavery"). He resigned as Prime Minister in December 1905 and the following month the Conservatives suffered a landslide defeat at the 1906 election, in which he lost his own seat. He soon re-entered Parliament and continued to served as Leader of the Opposition throughout the crisis over Lloyd George's 1909 budget, the narrow loss of two further General Elections in 1910, and the passage of the Parliament Act 1911. He resigned as party leader in 1911.

The Land Acts were a series of measures to deal with the question of peasant proprietorship of land in Ireland in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Five such acts were introduced by the government of the United Kingdom between 1870 and 1909. Further acts were introduced by the government of the Irish Free State after 1922.

Education Act 1902 United Kingdom legislation

The Education Act 1902, also known as the Balfour Act, was a highly controversial Act of Parliament that set the pattern of elementary education in England and Wales for four decades. It was brought to Parliament by a Conservative government and was supported by the Church of England, opposed many by Nonconformists and the Liberal Party. The Act provided funds for denominational religious instruction in voluntary elementary schools, most of which were owned by the Church of England and the Roman Catholics. It reduced the divide between voluntary schools, which were largely administered by the Church of England, and schools provided and run by elected school boards, and reflected the influence of the Efficiency Movement in Britain. It was extended in 1903 to cover London.

John Fisher, 1st Baron Fisher Royal Navy admiral of the fleet

John Arbuthnot Fisher, 1st Baron Fisher,, commonly known as Jacky or Jackie Fisher, was a British admiral known for his efforts at naval reform. He had a huge influence on the Royal Navy in a career spanning more than 60 years, starting in a navy of wooden sailing ships armed with muzzle-loading cannon and ending in one of steel-hulled battlecruisers, submarines and the first aircraft carriers. The argumentative, energetic, reform-minded Fisher is often considered the second most important figure in British naval history, after Lord Nelson.

Balfour returned as First Lord of the Admiralty in Asquith's Coalition Government (1915–16). In December 1916 he became Foreign Secretary in David Lloyd George's coalition. He was frequently left out of the inner workings of foreign policy, although the Balfour Declaration on a Jewish homeland bore his name. He continued to serve in senior positions throughout the 1920s, and died on 19 March 1930 aged 81, having spent a vast inherited fortune. He never married. Balfour trained as a philosopher – he originated an argument against believing that human reason could determine truth – and was seen as having a detached attitude to life, epitomised by a remark attributed to him: "Nothing matters very much and few things matter at all".

First Lord of the Admiralty Political head of the Royal Navy

The First Lord of the Admiralty, or formally the Office of the First Lord of the Admiralty, was the political head of the Royal Navy who was the government's senior adviser on all naval affairs and responsible for the direction and control of Admiralty as well as general administration of the Naval Service of the United Kingdom, that encompassed the Royal Navy, the Royal Marines and other services. It was one of the earliest known permanent government posts. Apart from being the political head of the Royal Navy the post holder simultaneously held the title of the President of the Board of Commissioners for Exercising the Office of Lord High Admiral. The office of First Lord of the Admiralty existed from 1628 until it was abolished when the Admiralty, Air Ministry, Ministry of Defence and War Office were all merged to form the new Ministry of Defence in 1964.

David Lloyd George Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

David Lloyd George, 1st Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor, was a British statesman and Liberal Party politician. He was the last Liberal to serve as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

Balfour Declaration A letter written by Arthur Balfour in support of a "national home for the Jewish people"

The Balfour Declaration was a public statement issued by the British government in 1917 during the First World War announcing support for the establishment of a "national home for the Jewish people" in Palestine, then an Ottoman region with a small minority Jewish population. It read:

His Majesty's government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.

Background and early life

Balfour early in his career Arthur James Balfour 2.jpg
Balfour early in his career
Whittingehame House Lord Balfour's childhood home.JPG
Whittingehame House

Arthur Balfour was born at Whittingehame House, East Lothian, Scotland, the eldest son of James Maitland Balfour (1820–1856) and Lady Blanche Gascoyne-Cecil (1825–1872). His father was a Scottish MP, as was his grandfather James; his mother, a member of the Cecil family descended from Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury, was the daughter of the 2nd Marquess of Salisbury and a sister to the 3rd Marquess, the future Prime Minister. [4] His godfather was the Duke of Wellington, after whom he was named. [5] He was the eldest son, third of eight children, and had four brothers and three sisters. Arthur Balfour was educated at Grange Preparatory School at Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire (1859–1861), and Eton College (1861–1866), where he studied with the influential master, William Johnson Cory. He then went up to the University of Cambridge, where he read moral sciences at Trinity College (1866–1869), [6] graduating with a second-class honours degree. His younger brother was the Cambridge embryologist Francis Maitland Balfour (1851–1882). [7]

Whittingehame parish with a small village in East Lothian, Scotland

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. Whittingehame Tower dates from the 15th century and remains a residence.

James Maitland Balfour British politician

James Maitland Balfour, of Whittinghame, East Lothian, was a Scottish land-owner and businessman. He made a fortune in the 19th-century railway boom, and inherited a significant portion of his father's great wealth.

James Balfour (died 1845) Scottish businessman, landowner and Tory politician

James Balfour was a Scottish landowner and politician. The son of a prosperous and influential gentry descent, he became a trader in India. Having made a fortune supplying the Royal Navy, he returned to Scotland to buy several landed estates, including Whittingehame in East Lothian where he built a classical mansion.

Personal life

Balfour met his cousin May Lyttelton in 1870 when she was 19. After her two previous serious suitors had died, Balfour is said to have declared his love for her in December 1874. She died of typhus on Palm Sunday, March 1875; Balfour arranged for an emerald ring to be buried in her coffin. Lavinia Talbot, May's older sister, believed that an engagement had been imminent, but her recollections of Balfour's distress (he was "staggered") were not written down until thirty years later. The historian R. J. Q. Adams points out that May's letters discuss her love life in detail, but contain no evidence that she was in love with Balfour, nor that he had spoken to her of marriage. He visited her only once during her serious three-month illness, and was soon accepting social invitations again within a month of her death. Adams suggests that, although he may simply have been too shy to express his feelings fully, Balfour may also have encouraged tales of his youthful tragedy as a convenient cover for his disinclination to marry; the matter cannot be conclusively proven. [8] :29–33 In later years mediums claimed to pass on messages from her – see the "Palm Sunday Case". [9] [10]

Typhus group of infectious diseases

Typhus, also known as typhus fever, is a group of infectious diseases that include epidemic typhus, scrub typhus, and murine typhus. Common symptoms include fever, headache, and a rash. Typically these begin one to two weeks after exposure.

Ralph James Quincy Adams, usually known as R. J. Q. Adams, is an American historian, writer, historiographer, and professor. Having obtained a PhD in history from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1972, Adams has focused his professional career in the history of Great Britain. Since 1974, he has been a professor of European and British history at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. Following his tenure at the institution, Adams acquired the honorific positions of Distinguished Professor and Patricia & Bookman Peters Professor of History.

Balfour remained a lifelong bachelor. Margot Tennant (later Margot Asquith) wished to marry him, but Balfour said: "No, that is not so. I rather think of having a career of my own." [5] His household was maintained by his unmarried sister, Alice. In middle age, Balfour had a 40-year friendship with Mary Charteris (née Wyndham), Lady Elcho, later Countess of Wemyss and March. [11] Although one biographer writes that "it is difficult to say how far the relationship went", her letters suggest they may have become lovers in 1887 and may have engaged in sado-masochism, [8] :47 a claim echoed by A. N. Wilson. [10] Another biographer believes 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 was seen as he replied to a message while drying himself after his bath, Lord Beaverbrook's claim that he was "a hermaphrodite" whom no-one saw naked. [12]

Early career

In 1874 Balfour was elected Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) for Hertford until 1885. In spring 1878, he became Private Secretary to his uncle, Lord Salisbury. He accompanied Salisbury (then Foreign Secretary) to the Congress of Berlin 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 he might make a reputation as a philosopher. [13]

Balfour divided his time between politics and academic pursuits. Biographer Sydney Zebel suggested that Belfour continued to appear an amateur or dabbler in public affairs, devoid of ambition and indifferent to policy issues. However, in fact he actually made a dramatic transition to a deeply involved politician. His assets, according to Zebel, included a strong ambition that he kept hidden, shrewd political judgment, a knack for negotiation, a taste for intrigue, and care to avoid factionalism. Most importantly, he deepened his close ties with his uncle Lord Salisbury. He also maintained cordial relationships with Disraeli, Gladstone and other national leaders. [14] :27

Released from his duties as private secretary by the 1880 general election, he began to take more part in parliamentary affairs. He was for a time politically associated with Lord Randolph Churchill, Sir Henry Drummond Wolff and John Gorst. This quartet became known as the "Fourth Party" and gained notoriety for leader Lord Randolph Churchill's free criticism of Sir Stafford Northcote, Lord Cross and other prominent members of the Conservative "old gang". [14] :28-44 [15]

Service in Lord Salisbury's governments

Balfour photo by George Grantham Bain Arthur Balfour, photo portrait facing left.jpg
Balfour photo by George Grantham Bain
Coat of arms of the Lord Balfour KG, as displayed on his Garter stall plate at St. George's Chapel, Windsor, viz.' Argent on a chevron engrailed between three mullets sable, three otters' heads erased of the field. Shield of Arms of Arthur Balfour, 1st Earl of Balfour, KG, OM, PC, FRS, FBA, DL.png
Coat of arms of the Lord Balfour KG, as displayed on his Garter stall plate at St. George's Chapel, Windsor, viz.' Argent on a chevron engrailed between three mullets sable, three otters' heads erased of the field.

In 1885, Lord Salisbury appointed Balfour President of the Local Government Board; the following year he became Secretary for Scotland with a seat in the cabinet. These offices, while offering few opportunities for distinction, were an apprenticeship. In early 1887, Sir Michael Hicks Beach, the Chief Secretary for Ireland, resigned because of illness and Salisbury appointed his nephew in his place. [16] That surprised the political world and possibly led to the British phrase "Bob's your uncle!" [17] The selection took the political world by surprise, and was much criticized. It was received with contemptuous ridicule by the Irish Nationalists, for none suspected Balfour's immense strength of will, his debating power, his ability in attack and his still greater capacity to disregard criticism. [16] Balfour surprised critics by ruthless enforcement of the Crimes Act, earning the nickname "Bloody Balfour". His steady administration did much to dispel his reputation as a political lightweight. [18]

In Parliament he resisted overtures to the Irish Parliamentary Party on Home Rule, and, allied with Joseph Chamberlain's Liberal Unionists, encouraged Unionist activism in Ireland. Balfour also helped the poor by creating the Congested Districts Board for Ireland in 1890. In 1886–1892 he became one of the most effective public speakers of the age. Impressive in matter rather than delivery, his speeches were logical and convincing, and delighted an ever-wider audience. [16]

On the death of W. H. Smith in 1891, Balfour became First Lord of the Treasury – the last in British history not to have been concurrently Prime Minister as well – and Leader of 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 coalition with the Liberal Unionists, in 1895, Balfour again became Leader of the House and First Lord of the Treasury. His management of the abortive education proposals of 1896 showed a disinclination for the drudgery of parliamentary management, yet he saw the passage of a bill providing Ireland with improved local government and joined in debates on foreign and domestic questions between 1895 and 1900. [16]

During the illness of Lord Salisbury in 1898, and again in Salisbury's absence abroad, Balfour was in charge of the Foreign Office, and he conducted negotiations with Russia on the question of railways in North China. As a member of the cabinet responsible for the Transvaal negotiations in 1899, he bore his share of controversy and, when the war began disastrously, he was first to realise the need to use the country's full military strength. His leadership of the House was marked by firmness in the suppression of obstruction, yet there was a slight revival of the criticisms of 1896. [16]

Prime Minister

Portrait of Arthur Balfour (1892) Arthur James Balfour00.jpg
Portrait of Arthur Balfour (1892)

On Lord Salisbury's resignation on 11 July 1902, Balfour succeeded him as Prime Minister, with the approval of all the Unionist party. The new Prime Minister came into power practically at the same moment as the coronation of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra and the end of the South African War. The Liberal party was still disorganised over the Boers. [19]

In foreign affairs, Balfour and his Foreign Secretary, Lord Lansdowne, improved relations with France, culminating in the Entente cordiale of 1904. The period also saw the Russo-Japanese War, when Britain, an ally of the Japanese, came close to war with Russia after the Dogger Bank incident. On the whole, Balfour left the conduct of foreign policy to Lansdowne, being busy himself with domestic problems. [14]

Balfour, who had known Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann since 1906, opposed Russian mistreatment of Jews and increasingly supported Zionism as a programme for European Jews to settle in Palestine. [20] However, in 1905 he supported the Aliens Act 1905, one of whose main objectives was to control and restrict Jewish immigration from Eastern Europe. [21] [22]

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 other legislative concerns and signal a new political movement. Charles Thomson Ritchie's remission of the shilling import-duty on corn led to Joseph Chamberlain's crusade in favour of tariff reform. These were taxes on imported goods with trade preference given to the Empire, to protect British industry from competition, strengthen the Empire in the face of growing German and American economic power, and provide revenue, other than raising taxes, for the social welfare legislation. As the session proceeded, the rift grew in the Unionist ranks. [19] Tariff reform was 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 favoured retaliatory tariffs to punish others who had tariffs against the British, in the hope of encouraging global free trade. This was not sufficient for either the free traders or the extreme tariff reformers in government. With Balfour's agreement, Chamberlain resigned from the Cabinet in late 1903 to campaign for 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 weak. By 1905 few Unionist MPs were still free traders (Winston Churchill crossed to the Liberals in 1904 when threatened with deselection at Oldham), but Balfour's act had drained his authority within the government. [14]

Balfour resigned as Prime Minister in December 1905, hoping the Liberal leader Campbell-Bannerman would be unable to form a strong government. This was dashed when Campbell-Bannerman faced down an attempt ("The Relugas Compact") 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 losing his seat at Manchester East to Thomas Gardner Horridge, a solicitor and king's counsel. Only 157 Conservatives were returned to the Commons, at least two-thirds followers of Chamberlain, who chaired the Conservative MPs until Balfour won a safe seat in the City of London. [23]

Achievements and mistakes

Arthur Balfour painted by Lawrence Alma-Tadema Arthur James Balfour, 1st Earl of Balfour by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema.jpg
Arthur Balfour painted by Lawrence Alma-Tadema

According to historian Robert Ensor, writing in 1936, Balfour can be credited with achievement in five major areas: [24] :355

  1. The Education Act 1902 (and a similar measure for London in 1903); [25]
  2. The Irish Land Purchase Act, 1903 which bought out the Anglo-English land owners; [26] [27]
  3. The Licensing Act 1904; [28]
  4. In military policy, the creation of the Committee of Imperial Defence (1904) and support for Sir John Fisher's naval reforms.
  5. In foreign policy, the Anglo-French Convention (1904), which formed the basis of the Entente with France.

The Education Act lasted four decades and eventually was highly praised. Eugene Rasor states, "Balfour was credited and much praised from many perspectives with the success [of the 1902 education act]. His commitment to education was fundamental and strong." [29] :20 At the time it hurt Balfour because the Liberal party used it to rally their Noncomformist supporters. Ensor said the Act ranked:

among the two or three greatest constructive measures of the twentieth century....[He did not write it] but no statesman less dominated than Balfour was by the concept of national efficiency would have taken it up and carried it through, since its cost on the side of votes was obvious and deterrent....Public money was thus made available for the first time to ensure properly paid teachers and a standardized level of efficiency for all children alike [including the Anglican and Catholic schools]. [24] :355-56

For most of the 19th century, the very powerful political and economic position of the Church of Ireland (Anglican) landowners blocked the political aspirations of Irish nationalists, who by 1900 included both Catholic and Presbyterian elements. Balfour's solution was to buy them out, not by compulsion, but by offering the owners a full immediate payment and a 12% bonus on the sales price. The British government purchased 13 million acres (53,000 km2) by 1920, and sold farms to the tenants at low payments spread over seven decades. It would cost money, but all sides proved amenable. [24] :358-60 Starting in 1923 the Irish government bought out most of the remaining landowners, and in 1933 diverted payments being made to the British treasury and used them for local improvements. [30]

Balfour's introduction of Chinese coolie labour in South Africa enabled the Liberals to counterattack, charging that his measures amounted to "Chinese slavery". [24] :355, 376–78 [31] Likerwise Liberals energized the Nonconformists when they attacked Balfour's Licensing Act 1904 which paid pub owners to close down. In the long-run it did reduce the great oversupply of pubs, while in the short run Balfour's party was hurt. [24] :360-61

Balfour failed to solve his greatest political challenge - the debate over tariffs that ripped his party apart. Chamberlain proposed to turn the Empire into a closed trade bloc protected by high tariffs against imports from Germany and the United States. He argued that tariff reform would revive a flagging British economy, strengthen imperial ties with the dominions and the colonies, and produce a positive programme that would facilitate reelection. He was vehemently opposed by Conservative free traders who denounced the proposal as economically fallacious, and open to the charge of raising food prices in Britain. Balfour tried to forestall disruption by removing key ministers on each side, and offering a much narrower tariff programme. It was ingenious, but both sides rejected any compromise, and his party's chances for reelection were ruined. [32] [33] :4-6

Historians generally praised Balfour's achievements in military and foreign policy. Cannon & Crowcroft 2015 stress the importance of the Anglo‐French Entente of 1904, and the establishment of the Committee of Imperial Defence. [34] Rasor points to twelve historians who have examined his key role in naval and military reforms. [29] :39-40 [24] :361-71 However there was little political payback at the time. The local Conservative campaigns in 1906 focused mostly on a few domestic issues. [35] Balfour gave strong support for Jackie Fisher's naval reforms. [36]

Balfour created and chaired the Committee of Imperial Defence, which provided better long-term coordinated planning between the Army and Navy. [37] Austin Chamberlain said Britain would have been unprepared for the World War without his Committee of Imperial Defence. He wrote, "It is impossible to overrate the services thus rendered by Balfour to the Country and Empire....[Without the CID] victory would have been impossible." [38] Historians also praised the Anglo-French Convention (1904), which formed the basis of the Entente Cordiale with France that proved decisive in 1914. [39]

Cabinet of Arthur Balfour

Balfour was appointed Prime Minister on 12 July 1902 while the King was recovering from his recent appendicitis operation. Changes to the Cabinet were thus not announced until 9 August, when the King was back in London. [40] The new ministers were received in audience and took their oaths on 11 August.

  Arthur Balfour *12 July 1902 (1902-07-12)4 December 1905 (1905-12-04) Conservative
Lord Chancellor   The Earl of Halsbury 29 June 1895 (1895-06-29)4 December 1905 (1905-12-04) Conservative
  The Duke of Devonshire 29 June 1895 (1895-06-29)19 October 1903 (1903-10-19) Liberal Unionist
Lord President of the Council  The Marquess of Londonderry 19 October 1903 (1903-10-19)11 December 1905 (1905-12-11) Conservative
Leader of the House of Lords  The Marquess of Lansdowne 13 October 1903 (1903-10-13)4 December 1905 (1905-12-04) Liberal Unionist
Secretary of State for the Home Department   Aretas Akers-Douglas 12 July 1902 (1902-07-12)5 December 1905 (1905-12-05) Conservative
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs  The Marquess of Lansdowne12 November 1900 (1900-11-12)4 December 1905 (1905-12-04) Liberal Unionist
Secretary of State for the Colonies   Joseph Chamberlain 29 June 1895 (1895-06-29)16 September 1903 (1903-09-16) Liberal Unionist
  Alfred Lyttelton 11 October 1903 (1903-10-11)4 December 1905 (1905-12-04) Liberal Unionist
Secretary of State for War   St John Brodrick 12 November 1900 (1900-11-12)6 October 1903 (1903-10-06) Conservative
  H. O. Arnold-Forster 6 October 1903 (1903-10-06)4 December 1905 (1905-12-04) Liberal Unionist
Secretary of State for India   Lord George Hamilton 4 July 1895 (1895-07-04)9 October 1903 (1903-10-09) Conservative
 St John Brodrick9 October 1903 (1903-10-09)4 December 1905 (1905-12-04) Conservative
First Lord of the Admiralty   The Earl of Selborne 1900 (1900)1905 (1905) Liberal Unionist
Chancellor of the Exchequer   Charles Ritchie 11 August 1902 (1902-08-11)9 October 1903 (1903-10-09) Conservative
  Austen Chamberlain 9 October 1903 (1903-10-09)4 December 1905 (1905-12-04) Liberal Unionist
President of the Board of Trade   Gerald Balfour 12 November 1900 (1900-11-12)12 March 1905 (1905-03-12) Conservative
  The 4th Marquess of Salisbury 12 March 1905 (1905-03-12)4 December 1905 (1905-12-04) Conservative
Secretary for Scotland   The Lord Balfour of Burleigh 29 June 1895 (1895-06-29)9 October 1903 (1903-10-09) Conservative
  Andrew Murray 9 October 1903 (1903-10-09)2 February 1905 (1905-02-02) Conservative
  The Marquess of Linlithgow 2 February 1905 (1905-02-02)4 December 1905 (1905-12-04) Conservative
Chief Secretary for Ireland   George Wyndham 9 November 1900 (1900-11-09)12 March 1905 (1905-03-12) Conservative
  Walter Long 12 March 1905 (1905-03-12)4 December 1905 (1905-12-04) Conservative
President of the Local Government Board  Walter Long1900 (1900)1905 (1905) Conservative
 Gerald Balfour1905 (1905)11 December 1905 (1905-12-11) Conservative
President of the Board of Agriculture   Robert William Hanbury 16 November 1900 (1900-11-16)28 April 1903 (1903-04-28) Conservative
President of the Board of Education  The Marquess of Londonderry11 August 1902 (1902-08-11)4 December 1905 (1905-12-04) Conservative
Lord Chancellor of Ireland   The Lord Ashbourne 29 June 1895 (1895-06-29)1905 (1905) Conservative
First Commissioner of Works   The Lord Windsor 11 August 1902 (1902-08-11)4 December 1905 (1905-12-04) Conservative
Postmaster General  Austen Chamberlain11 August 1902 (1902-08-11)9 October 1903 (1903-10-09) Liberal Unionist

Later career

Arthur Balfour, John Singer Sargent, 1908 Arthur Balfour, 1908.jpg
Arthur Balfour, John Singer Sargent, 1908

After the general election of 1906 Balfour remained party leader, his position strengthened by Joseph Chamberlain's absence from the House of Commons after his stroke in July 1906, but he was unable to make much headway against the huge Liberal majority in the 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. Balfour made the controversial decision, with Lord Lansdowne, to use the heavily Unionist House of Lords as a check on the political programme and legislation of the Liberal party in the Commons. Legislation was vetoed or altered by amendments between 1906 and 1909, leading David Lloyd George to remark that the Lords was "the right hon. Gentleman's poodle. It fetches and carries for him. It barks for him. It bites anybody that he sets it on to. And we are told that this is a great revising Chamber, the safeguard of liberty in the country." [41] The issue was forced by the Liberals with Lloyd George's People's Budget, provoking the constitutional crisis that led to the Parliament Act 1911, which limited the Lords to delaying bills for up to two years. After the Unionists lost 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, to prevent mass creation of 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 Bonar Law. [14]

Balfour caricatured by XIT for Vanity Fair, 1910 Arthur Balfour Vanity Fair 27 January 1910.jpg
Balfour caricatured by XIT for Vanity Fair , 1910

Balfour remained important in the party, however, and when the Unionists joined Asquith's coalition government in May 1915, Balfour succeeded Churchill as First Lord of the Admiralty. When Asquith's government collapsed in December 1916, Balfour, who seemed a potential successor to the premiership, became Foreign Secretary in Lloyd George's new administration, but not in the small War Cabinet, and was frequently left out of inner workings of government. Balfour's service as Foreign Secretary was notable for the Balfour Mission, a crucial alliance-building visit to the US in April 1917, and the Balfour Declaration of 1917, a letter to Lord Rothschild affirming the government's support for the establishment of a "national home for the Jewish people" in Palestine, then part of the Ottoman Empire. [42]

Balfour resigned as Foreign Secretary following the Versailles Conference in 1919, but continued in the government (and the Cabinet after normal peacetime political arrangements resumed) as Lord President of the Council. In 1921–22 he represented the British Empire at the Washington Naval Conference and during summer 1922 stood in for the Foreign Secretary, Lord Curzon, who was ill. He put forward a proposal for the international settlement of war debts and reparations (the Balfour Note), but it was not accepted. [14]

An older Balfour Picture of Arthur Balfour.jpg
An older Balfour

On 5 May 1922, Balfour was created Earl of Balfour and Viscount Traprain, 'of Whittingehame, in the county of Haddington.' [43] In October 1922 he, with most of the Conservative leadership, resigned with Lloyd George's government following the Carlton Club meeting, a Conservative back-bench revolt against continuance of the coalition. Bonar Law became Prime Minister. Like many Coalition leaders, he did not hold office in the Conservative governments of 1922–4, but 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 whether "dear George" (the much more experienced Lord Curzon) would be chosen, he replied, referring to Curzon's wealthy wife Grace, "No, dear, George will not but while he may have lost the hope of glory he still possesses the means of Grace."

Balfour was not initially included in Stanley Baldwin's second government in 1924, but in 1925, he returned to the Cabinet, in place of the late Lord Curzon as Lord President of the Council, until the government ended in 1929. With 28 years of government service, Balfour had one of the longest ministerial careers in modern British politics, second only to Winston Churchill . [44]

Last years

Balfour had generally good health until 1928 and remained until then a regular tennis player. Four years previously he had been the first president of the International Lawn Tennis Club of Great Britain. At the end of 1928, most of his teeth were removed and he suffered the unremitting circulatory trouble which ended his life. In the past, he had suffered occasional phlebitis and by late 1929 he was immobilised by it. Balfour died at Fishers Hill House 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 in a Church of Scotland service although he also belonged to the Church of England. By special remainder, the title passed to his brother Gerald.

His obituaries in The Times , The Guardian and the Daily Herald did not mention the declaration for which he is most famous outside Britain. [45]


Early in Balfour's career he was thought to be merely amusing himself with politics, and it was regarded as doubtful whether his health could withstand the severity of English winters. He was considered a dilettante by his colleagues; regardless, Lord Salisbury gave increasingly powerful posts in his government to his nephew. [16]

Beatrice Webb wrote in her diary:

A man of extraordinary grace of mind and body, delighting in all that is beautiful and distinguished––music, literature, philosophy, religious feeling and moral disinterestedness, aloof from all the greed and crying of common human nature. But a strange paradox as Prime Minister of a great empire! I doubt whether even foreign affairs interest him. For all economic and social questions I gather he has an utter loathing, while the machinery of government and administration would seem to him a disagreeable irrelevance. [46]

Balfour developed a manner known to friends as the Balfourian manner. Edward Harold Begbie, a journalist, attacked him for his self-obsession:

This Balfourian attitude of mind—an attitude of convinced superiority which insists in the first place on complete detachment from the enthusiasms of the human race, and in the second place on keeping the vulgar world at arm's length....To Mr. Arthur Balfour this studied attitude of aloofness has been fatal, both to his character and to his career. He has said nothing, written nothing, done nothing, which lives in the heart of his countrymen....the charming, gracious, and cultured Mr. Balfour is the most egotistical of men, and a man who would make almost any sacrifice to remain in office. [47]

However, Dr Graham Goodlad argues to the contrary:

Balfour's air of detachment was a pose. He was sincere in his conservatism, mistrusting radical political and social change and believing deeply in the Union with Ireland, the Empire and the superiority of the British race....Those who dismissed him as a languid dilettante were wide of the mark. As Chief Secretary for Ireland from 1887 to 1891 he manifested an unflinching commitment to the maintenance of British authority in the face of popular protest. He combined a strong emphasis on law and order with measures aimed at reforming the landowning system and developing Ireland's backward rural economy. [32]
Portrait by Philip de Laszlo, c. 1931 Arthur James Balfour, 1st Earl of Balfour by Philip Alexius de Laszlo.jpg
Portrait by Philip de László, c. 1931

Churchill compared Balfour to H. H. Asquith: "The difference between Balfour and Asquith is that Arthur is wicked and moral, while Asquith is good and immoral." Balfour said of himself, "I am more or less happy when being praised, not very comfortable when being abused, but I have moments of uneasiness when being explained." [48]

Balfour was interested in the study of dialects and donated money to Joseph Wright's work on the English Dialect Dictionary. Wright wrote in the preface to the first volume that the project would have been "in vain" had he not received the donation from Balfour. [49]

Writings and academic achievements

As a philosopher, Balfour formulated the basis for the evolutionary argument against naturalism. Balfour argued the Darwinian premise of selection for reproductive fitness cast doubt on scientific naturalism, because human cognitive facilities that would accurately perceive truth could be less advantageous than adaptation for evolutionarily useful illusions. [50]

As he says:

[There is] no distinction to be drawn between the development of reason and that of any other faculty, physiological or psychical, by which the interests of the individual or the race are promoted. From the humblest form of nervous irritation at the one end of the scale, to the reasoning capacity of the most advanced races at the other, everything without exception (sensation, instinct, desire, volition) has been produced directly or indirectly, by natural causes acting for the most part on strictly utilitarian principles. Convenience, not knowledge, therefore, has been the main end to which this process has tended.

Arthur Balfour [51]

He was a member of the Society for Psychical Research, a society studying psychic and paranormal phenomena, and was its president from 1892 to 1894. [52] In 1914, he delivered the Gifford Lectures at the University of Glasgow, which formed the basis for his book Theism and Humanism (1915). [53]


After the First World War, when there was controversy over the style of headstone proposed for use on British war graves being taken on by the Imperial War Graves Commission, Balfour submitted a design for a cruciform headstone. [54] At an exhibition in August 1919, it drew many criticisms; the Commission's principal architect, Sir John Burnet, said Balfour's cross would create a criss-cross effect destroying any sense of "restful diginity", Edwin Lutyens called it "extraordinarily ugly", and its shape was variously described as resembling a shooting target or bottle. [54] His design was not accepted but the Commission offered him a second chance to submit another design which he did not take up, having been refused once. [54] :49 After a further exhibition in the House of Commons, the "Balfour cross" was ultimately rejected in favour of the standard headstone the Commission permanently adopted because the latter offered more space for inscriptions and service emblems. [54] :50

Balfour occasionally appeared in the popular culture. [29]


1967 Israel stamp commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration Balfour stamp.jpg
1967 Israel stamp commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration

A portrait of Balfour by Philip de Laszlo is in the collection of Trinity College, Cambridge. [57]

Balfouria, a moshav in Israel and many streets in Israel are named after him. The town of Balfour, Mpumalanga in South Africa was named after him. [58]

Styles of address

Honours and decorations

He was given the Freedom of the City/Freedom of the Borough of

Honorary degrees

Flag of England.svg England1909 University of Liverpool Doctor of Laws (LL.D) [62]
Flag of England.svg England1912 University of Sheffield Doctor of Laws (LL.D) [63]
Flag of Ontario.svg Ontario1917 University of Toronto Doctor of Laws (LL.D) [64]
Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Wales1921 University of Wales Doctor of Letters (D. Litt)[ citation needed ]
Flag of England.svg England1924 University of Leeds Doctor of Laws (LL.D) [65]


See also


  1. Oxford Dictionaries Oxford Dictionaries Online
  2. Taylor, Simon; Márkus, Gilbert (2008). The Place-Names of Fife. Volume Two: Central Fife between the Rivers Leven and Eden. Donington. p. 408.
  3. "Balfour". Fife Place-name Data. Glasgow University. n.d. Retrieved 4 July 2019.
  4. Chisholm 1911, p. 250.
  5. 1 2 Tuchman, Barbara (1966). The Proud Tower. Macmillan. p. 46.
  6. "Balfour, Arthur (BLFR866AJ)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  8. 1 2 Adams, Ralph James Q. (2007). Balfour: The Last Grandee. John Murray. ISBN   978-0-7195-5424-7.
  9. Oppenheim, Janet (1988). The Other World: Spiritualism and Psychical Research in England, 1850–1914. Cambridge University Press. pp. 132–133. ISBN   978-0-521-34767-9.
  10. 1 2 Wilson, A. N. (2011). The Victorians. Random House. p. 530. ISBN   978-1-4464-9320-5.
  11. Sargent, John Singer (February 2010) [1899]. "The Wyndham Sisters: Lady Elcho, Mrs. Adeane, and Mrs. Tennant". The Metropolitan Museum of Art . Retrieved 4 June 2012.
  12. Mackay, Ruddock F. (1985). Balfour, Intellectual Statesman. Oxford University Press. p. 8. ISBN   978-0-19-212245-2.
  13. Chisholm 1911, pp. 250–251.
  14. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Zebel, Sydney Henry (1973). Balfour: A Political Biography. Cambridge: University Press. ISBN   978-0-521-08536-6.
  15. Green, Ewen (2006). Balfour. Haus Publishing. pp. 22–. ISBN   978-1-912208-37-1.
  16. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Chisholm 1911, p. 251.
  17. Langguth, A. J. (1981). Saki, a life of Hector Hugh Munro : with six short stories never before collected. Saki, 1870–1916. New York: Simon and Schuster. p. 65. ISBN   9780671247157. OCLC   7554446.
  18. Massie, Robert (1991). Dreadnought. New York: Random House. pp. 318–319..
  19. 1 2 Chisholm 1911, p. 252.
  20. Viorst, Milton (2016). Zionism: The Birth and Transformation of an Ideal. p. 80. ISBN   9781466890329.
  21. Sand, Shlomo (2012). The Invention of the Land of Israel: From Holy Land to Homeland. London: Verso. pp. 14–15.
  22. Sabbagh, Karl (2006). Palestine : a personal history. London: Atlantic. p. 103. ISBN   978-1-84354-344-2. Balfour warned the House of Commons in his speech of 'the undoubted evils that had fallen upon the country from an immigration which was largely Jewish'
  23. Chisholm 1911, p. 254.
  24. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Ensor, R. C. K. (1936). England, 1870–1914. Oxford: Clarendon.
  25. Robinson, Wendy (2002). "Historiographical reflections on the 1902 Education Act". Oxford Review of Education. 28 (2–3): 159–172. JSTOR   1050905.
  26. Bull, Philip (2016). "The significance of the nationalist response to the Irish land act of 1903". Irish Historical Studies. 28 (111): 283–305. doi:10.1017/S0021121400011056. ISSN   0021-1214.
  27. Bastable, Charles F. (1903). "The Irish Land Purchase Act of 1903". Quarterly Journal of Economics. 18 (1): 1–21. JSTOR   1882773.
  28. Jennings, Paul (2009). "Liquor licensing and the local historian: the 1904 Licensing Act and its administration" (PDF). The Local Historian. 9 (1): 24–37.
  29. 1 2 3 Rasor, Eugene L. (1998). Arthur James Balfour, 1848-1930: Historiography and Annotated Bibliography. Greenwood.
  30. Lee, J. J. (1989). Ireland 1912-1985: politics and society. p. 71.
  31. Spencer, Scott C. (2014). "'British Liberty Stained:' Chinese Slavery, Imperial Rhetoric, and the 1906 British General Election". Madison Historical Review. 7 (1): 3-.
  32. 1 2 Goodlad, Graham (2010). "Balfour: Graham Goodlad Reviews the Career of AJ Balfour, an Unsuccessful Prime Minister and Party Leader but an Important and Long-Serving Figure on the British Political Scene". History Review. 68: 22–24.
  33. Pearce, Robert; Goodlad, Graham (2013). British Prime Ministers From Balfour to Brown.
  34. Adams 2002, p. 199.
  35. Russell, A.K. (1973). Liberal landslide: the general election of 1906. p. 92.
  36. French, David (1994). "Defending the Empire: The Conservative Party and British Defense Policy, 1899-1915". English Historical Review. 109 (434): 1324–1326.
  37. Mackintosh, John P. (1962). "The role of the Committee of Imperial Defence before 1914". English Historical Review. 77 (304): 490–503. JSTOR   561324.
  38. Young, Kenneth (1975). "Arthur James Balfour". In Van Thal, Herbert (ed.). The Prime Ministers: From Sir Robert Walpole to Edward Heath. 2. Stein and Day. p. 173. ISBN   978-0-04-942131-8.
  39. MacMillan, Margaret (2013). The War that Ended Peace: How Europe abandoned peace for the First World War. Profile. pp. 169–171. ISBN   978-1-84765-416-8.
  40. "Mr Balfour´s Ministry – full list of appointments". The Times (36842). London. 9 August 1902. p. 5.
  41. "HC Deb 26 June 1907 vol 176 cc1408-523". Hansard. Retrieved 12 May 2019.
  42. Schneer, Jonathan (2010). The Balfour Declaration: the origins of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Bond Street Books.
  43. "No. 32691". The London Gazette . 5 May 1922. p. 3512.
  44. Parkinson, Justin (13 June 2013). "Chasing Churchill: Ken Clarke climbs ministerial long-service chart". BBC News.
  45. Teveth, Shabtai (1985). Ben-Gurion and the Palestinian Arabs. From Peace to War. p. 106.
  46. MacKenzie, Jeanne, ed. (1983). The Diary of Beatrice Webb. Virago. p. 288.
  47. Begbie, Harold (1920). Mirrors of Downing Street. pp. 76–79.
  48. Anon (n.d.). "History of Arthur James Balfour". Retrieved 4 July 2019.
  49. Wright, Joseph (1898). The English Dialect Dictionary, Volume 1 A-C. London: Henry Frowde. p. viii.
  50. Gray, John (2011). The Immortalization Commission.
  51. Balfour 1915, p. 68.
  52. Lycett, Andrew (2008). The Man Who Created Sherlock Holmes. New York: Simon and Schuster. p. 427.
  53. Madigan, Tim (2010). "The Paradoxes of Arthur Balfour". Philosophy Now.
  54. 1 2 3 4 Longworth, Philip (1985). The unending vigil: a history of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, 1917-1984. Leo Cooper in association with Secker & Warburg.
  55. Sigler, Carolyn, ed. (1997). Alternative Alices: Visions and Revisions of Lewis Carroll's "Alice" Books. Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky. pp. 340–347.
  56. Dickinson, Evelyn (20 June 1902). "Literary Note and Books of the Month". United Australia. Vol. II (12).
  57. "Trinity College, University of Cambridge". BBC Your Paintings. Archived from the original on 11 May 2014.
  58. Raper, P. E. (1989). Dictionary of Southern African Place Names. Jonathan Ball Publishers. p. 68. ISBN   978-0-947464-04-2 via Internet Archive.
  59. "The London Gazette" . Retrieved 24 July 2016.
  60. 1 2 3 4 "Page 1643". The Peerage. Retrieved 24 April 2016.
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  62. "Honorary Graduates of the University" (PDF). University of Liverpool. Retrieved 12 May 2019.
  63. "Honorary Graduates" (PDF). University of Sheffield. Retrieved 12 May 2019.
  64. "University of Toronto Honorary Degree Recipients 1850 - 2016" (PDF). University of Toronto. Retrieved 12 May 2019.
  65. "Honour for Earl of Balfour" . The Scotsman (25, 446). 17 December 1924. p. 8 via British Newspaper Archive.
  66. Davies, Edward J. (2013). "The Balfours of Balbirnie and Whittingehame". The Scottish Genealogist (60): 84–90.

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Further reading


Specialty studies


Primary sources

Political offices
Preceded by
Sir Charles Dilke
President of the Local Government Board
Succeeded by
Joseph Chamberlain
Preceded by
The Earl of Dalhousie
Secretary for Scotland
Succeeded by
The Marquess of Lothian
Preceded by
Sir Michael Hicks-Beach
Chief Secretary for Ireland
Succeeded by
William Lawies Jackson
Preceded by
W. H. Smith
First Lord of the Treasury
Succeeded by
William Ewart Gladstone
Leader of the House of Commons
Preceded by
The Earl of Rosebery
First Lord of the Treasury
Succeeded by
Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman
Preceded by
Sir William Vernon Harcourt
Leader of the House of Commons
Preceded by
The 3rd Marquess of Salisbury
Lord Privy Seal
Succeeded by
The 4th Marquess of Salisbury
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
12 July 1902 4 December 1905
Succeeded by
Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman
Preceded by
Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman
Leader of the Opposition
Succeeded by
Bonar Law
Preceded by
Winston Churchill
First Lord of the Admiralty
Succeeded by
Sir Edward Carson
Preceded by
The Viscount Grey of Fallodon
Foreign Secretary
10 December 1916 23 October 1919
Succeeded by
The Earl Curzon of Kedleston
Preceded by
The Earl Curzon of Kedleston
Lord President of the Council
Succeeded by
The 4th Marquess of Salisbury
Preceded by
The Marquess Curzon of Kedleston
Lord President of the Council
Succeeded by
The Lord Parmoor
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Robert Dimsdale
Member of Parliament for Hertford
Succeeded by
Abel Smith
New constituency Member of Parliament for Manchester East
Succeeded by
Thomas Gardner Horridge
Preceded by
Alban Gibbs
Sir Edward Clarke
Member of Parliament for the City of London
February 19061922
With: Sir Edward Clarke to June 1906
Sir Frederick Banbury from June 1906
Succeeded by
Edward Grenfell
Sir Frederick Banbury
Party political offices
Preceded by
W. H. Smith
Conservative Leader in the Commons
Succeeded by
Bonar Law
Preceded by
The 3rd Marquess of Salisbury
Leader of the British Conservative Party
Academic offices
Preceded by
The Lord Reay
Rector of the University of St Andrews
Succeeded by
The Marquess of Dufferin and Ava
Preceded by
The Earl of Lytton
Rector of the University of Glasgow
Succeeded by
John Eldon Gorst
Preceded by
Lord Glencorse
Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh
Succeeded by
J. M. Barrie
Preceded by
The Lord Rayleigh
Chancellor of the University of Cambridge
Succeeded by
Stanley Baldwin
New institution Visitor of Girton College, Cambridge
Succeeded by
The Earl Baldwin of Bewdley
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Earl of Balfour
Succeeded by
Gerald William Balfour
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
John Ringling
Cover of Time Magazine
13 April 1925
Succeeded by
Walter P. Chrysler
Preceded by
The Earl of Rosebery
Oldest living Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Succeeded by
David Lloyd George
Scottish feudal lordship
Preceded by
Sir Charles Dalrymple
Lord and Baron of Hailes
Succeeded by
Gerald William Balfour