Arthur Balfour

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.

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.

In July 1902 he succeeded his uncle as Prime Minister. He oversaw reform of British defence policy and supported Jackie Fisher's naval innovations. He secured the Entente Cordiale with France, leaving Germany in the cold. He cautiously embraced the imperial preference championed by Joseph Chamberlain, but resignations from the Cabinet over tariffs 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. After re-entering Parliament at a by-election, he continued to serve 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. He resigned as party leader later in 1911.

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".

The Earl of Balfour

Gws balfour 02
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
In office
12 July 1902 – 4 December 1905
MonarchEdward VII
Preceded byThe 3rd Marquess of Salisbury
Succeeded bySir Henry Campbell-Bannerman
Lord President of the Council
In office
27 April 1925 – 4 June 1929
Prime MinisterStanley Baldwin
Preceded byThe Marquess Curzon of Kedleston
Succeeded byThe Lord Parmoor
In office
23 October 1919 – 19 October 1922
Prime MinisterDavid Lloyd George
Preceded byThe Earl Curzon of Kedleston
Succeeded byThe 4th Marquess of Salisbury
Foreign Secretary
In office
10 December 1916 – 23 October 1919
Prime MinisterDavid Lloyd George
Preceded byThe Viscount Grey of Fallodon
Succeeded byThe Earl Curzon of Kedleston
First Lord of the Admiralty
In office
25 May 1915 – 10 December 1916
Prime MinisterH. H. Asquith
David Lloyd George
Preceded byWinston Churchill
Succeeded bySir Edward Carson
Leader of the Opposition
In office
27 February 1906 – 13 November 1911
MonarchEdward VII
George V
Prime MinisterSir Henry Campbell-Bannerman
Succeeded byBonar 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 MinisterThe 3rd Marquess of Salisbury
Preceded bySir Michael Hicks Beach
Succeeded byWilliam Jackson
Secretary for Scotland
In office
5 August 1886 – 11 March 1887
Prime MinisterThe 3rd Marquess of Salisbury
Preceded byThe Earl of Dalhousie
Succeeded byThe 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 byAlban Gibbs
Succeeded byEdward Grenfell
Member of Parliament
for Manchester East
In office
18 December 1885 – 8 February 1906
Preceded byconstituency created
Succeeded byThomas Horridge
Member of Parliament
for Hertford
In office
17 February 1874 – 18 December 1885
Preceded byRobert 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 byThe 2nd Earl of Balfour
Personal details
Arthur James Balfour

25 July 1848
Whittingehame House, East Lothian, Scotland
Died19 March 1930 (aged 81)
Fishers Hill House, Woking, Surrey, England
Resting placeWhittingehame Church, Whittingehame
Political partyConservative
ParentsJames Maitland Balfour
Lady Blanche Gascoyne-Cecil
Alma materTrinity College, Cambridge
Arthur Balfour's signature

Background and early life

Arthur James Balfour 2
Balfour early in his career
Lord Balfour's childhood home
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]

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] In later years mediums claimed to pass on messages from her – see the "Palm Sunday Case".[9][10]

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,[12] 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 replied to a message while drying himself after his bath, Lord Beaverbrook's claim that he was "a hermaphrodite" whom no-one saw naked.[13]

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.[14]

Balfour divided his time between politics and academic pursuits. Released from his duties as private secretary by the general election of 1880, 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 "old gang".[15]

Service in Lord Salisbury's governments

Arthur Balfour, photo portrait facing left
Balfour photo by George Grantham Bain
Shield of Arms of Arthur Balfour, 1st Earl of Balfour, KG, OM, PC, FRS, FBA, DL
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.[15] That surprised the political world and possibly led to the British phrase "Bob's your uncle!"[16] 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.[15] 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.[17]

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.[15]

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.[15]

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.[15]

Prime Minister

Arthur James Balfour00
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.[18]

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.

Balfour, who had known Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann since 1906, opposed Russian mistreatment of Jews and increasingly supported Zionism as a program for European Jews to settle in Palestine.[19] However, in 1905 he supported stringent anti-immigration legislation, meant primarily to prevent Jewish immigrants fleeing the pogroms of Eastern Europe from entering Britain.[20][21]

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.[18] 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.

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[22]

Achievements and mistakes

Arthur James Balfour, 1st Earl of Balfour by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema
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:[23]

  1. The Education Act, 1902 (and a similar measure for London in 1903);[24]
  2. The Irish Land Purchase Act, 1903 which bought out the Anglo-English land owners;[25]
  3. The Liquor Licensing Act, 1904;[26]
  4. In military policy, the creation of the Committee of Imperial Defence (1904);[27]
  5. In foreign policy, the Anglo-French Convention (1904), which formed the basis of the Entente with France.[28]

Balfour's weak points include the tariff fight with Chamberlain; it split the Unionist party as resignations from his cabinet reduced it almost to a rump.[29] Ensor adds, "the controversy over Chinese labour for the Rand; in sanctioning which Balfour committed as prime minister his one quite indefensible mistake."[30][31]

Cabinet of Arthur Balfour

Balfour was appointed Prime Minister on 12 July 1902 while the King was recovering from his recent operation. Changes to the Cabinet were thus not announced until 9 August, when the King was back in London.[32] The new ministers were received in audience and took their oaths on 11 August.

Portfolio Minister Took office Left office Party
 Arthur Balfour*12 July 19024 December 1905Conservative
Lord Chancellor The Earl of Halsbury29 June 18954 December 1905Conservative
 The Duke of Devonshire29 June 189519 October 1903Liberal Unionist
Lord President of the Council The Marquess of Londonderry19 October 190311 December 1905Conservative
Leader of the House of Lords The Marquess of Lansdowne13 October 19034 December 1905Liberal Unionist
Secretary of State for the Home Department Aretas Akers-Douglas12 July 19025 December 1905Conservative
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs The Marquess of Lansdowne12 November 19004 December 1905Liberal Unionist
Secretary of State for the Colonies Joseph Chamberlain29 June 189516 September 1903Liberal Unionist
 Alfred Lyttelton11 October 19034 December 1905Liberal Unionist
Secretary of State for War St John Brodrick12 November 19006 October 1903Conservative
 H. O. Arnold-Forster6 October 19034 December 1905Liberal Unionist
Secretary of State for India Lord George Hamilton4 July 18959 October 1903Conservative
 St John Brodrick9 October 19034 December 1905Conservative
First Lord of the Admiralty The Earl of Selborne19001905Liberal Unionist
Chancellor of the Exchequer Charles Ritchie11 August 19029 October 1903Conservative
 Austen Chamberlain9 October 19034 December 1905Liberal Unionist
President of the Board of Trade Gerald Balfour12 November 190012 March 1905Conservative
 The 4th Marquess of Salisbury12 March 19054 December 1905Conservative
Secretary for Scotland The Lord Balfour of Burleigh29 June 18959 October 1903Conservative
 Andrew Murray9 October 19032 February 1905Conservative
 The Marquess of Linlithgow2 February 19054 December 1905Conservative
Chief Secretary for Ireland George Wyndham9 November 190012 March 1905Conservative
 Walter Long12 March 19054 December 1905Conservative
President of the Local Government Board Walter Long19001905Conservative
 Gerald Balfour190511 December 1905Conservative
President of the Board of Agriculture Robert William Hanbury16 November 190028 April 1903Conservative
President of the Board of Education The Marquess of Londonderry11 August 19024 December 1905Conservative
Lord Chancellor of Ireland The Lord Ashbourne29 June 18951905Conservative
First Commissioner of Works The Lord Windsor11 August 19024 December 1905Conservative
Postmaster General Austen Chamberlain11 August 19029 October 1903Liberal Unionist

Later career

Arthur Balfour, 1908
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 had become "not the watchdog of the Constitution, but Mr. Balfour's poodle." 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.

Picture of Arthur Balfour
An older Balfour

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.

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

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..

In 1922 he, with most of the Conservative leadership, resigned with Lloyd George's government following the Conservative back-bench revolt against continuance of the coalition. Bonar Law became Prime Minister. On 5 May 1922, Balfour was created Earl of Balfour and Viscount Traprain, 'of Whittingehame, in the county of Haddington.'[33] 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 is considered to have had one of the longest ministerial careers in modern British politics, second only to Winston Churchill.[34] In 1925, he visited the Holy Land.[35]

Apart from a number of colds and occasional influenza, Balfour had 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. Late in January 1929, Balfour was taken from Whittingehame to Fishers Hill House, his brother Gerald's home near Woking, Surrey. In the past, he had suffered occasional phlebitis and by late 1929 he was immobilised by it. Finally, soon after receiving a visit from his friend Chaim Weizmann, 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.[36]


Early in Balfour's career, according to the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, 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, but apparently Lord Salisbury did not share that opinion when he gave junior posts in his government to his nephew.[15]

Balfour developed a manner known to friends as the Balfourian manner. Harold Begbie, a journalist, in a 1920 book called Mirrors of Downing Street, criticised Balfour for his manner, personality and self-obsession. Begbie disagreed with Balfour's political views, but even his one-sided criticisms do not entirely conceal Balfour's shyness and diffidence. The sections of the work dealing with Balfour's personality were:

This Balfourian manner, as I understand it, has its roots in an 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.

It is an attitude of mind which a critic or a cynic might be justified in assuming, for it is the attitude of one who desires rather to observe the world than to shoulder any of its burdens; but it is a posture of exceeding danger to anyone who lacks tenderness or sympathy, whatever his purpose or office may be, for it tends to breed the most dangerous of all intellectual vices, that spirit of self-satisfaction which Dostoievsky declares to be the infallible mark of an inferior mind.

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. To look back upon his record is to see a desert, and a desert with no altar and with no monument, without even one tomb at which a friend might weep. One does not say of him, "He nearly succeeded there", or "What a tragedy that he turned from this to take up that"; one does not feel for him at any point in his career as one feels for Mr. George Wyndham or even for Lord Randolph Churchill; from its outset until now that career stretches before our eyes in a flat and uneventful plain of successful but inglorious and ineffective self-seeking.

There is one signal characteristic of the Balfourian manner which is worthy of remark. It is an assumption in general company of a most urbane, nay, even a most cordial spirit. I have heard many people declare at a public reception that he is the most gracious of men, and seen many more retire from shaking his hand with a flush of pride on their faces as though Royalty had stooped to inquire after the measles of their youngest child. Such is ever the effect upon vulgar minds of geniality in superiors: they love to be stooped to from the heights.

But this heartiness of manner is of the moment only, and for everybody; it manifests itself more personally in the circle of his intimates and is irresistible in week-end parties; but it disappears when Mr. Balfour retires into the shell of his private life and there deals with individuals, particularly with dependants. It has no more to do with his spirit than his tail-coat and his white tie. Its remarkable impression comes from its unexpectedness; its effect is the shock of surprise. In public he is ready to shake the whole world by the hand, almost to pat it on the shoulder; but in private he is careful to see that the world does not enter even the remotest of his lodge gates.

"The truth about Arthur Balfour," said George Wyndham, "is this: he knows there's been one ice-age, and he thinks there's going to be another."

Little as the general public may suspect it, 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. It costs him nothing to serve under Mr. Lloyd George; it would have cost him almost his life to be out of office during a period so exciting as that of the Great War. He loves office more than anything this world can offer; neither in philosophy nor music, literature nor science, has he ever been able to find rest for his soul. It is profoundly instructive that a man with a real talent for the noblest of those pursuits which make solitude desirable and retirement an opportunity should be so restless and dissatisfied, even in old age, outside the doors of public life.

— Begbie, Harold (as 'A Gentleman with a Duster'): Mirrors of Downing Street: Some political reflections, Mills and Boon (1920), p. 76–79
Arthur James Balfour, 1st Earl of Balfour by Philip Alexius de László
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."[37]

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.[38]

Writings and academic achievements

Balfour is thought to have 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.[39]

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[40]

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.[41] In 1914, he delivered the Gifford Lectures at the University of Glasgow, which formed the basis for the book Theism and Humanism (1915).[42]


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.[43] 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.[43] 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.[44] 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.[45]

Popular culture

  • Balfour was the subject of two parody novels based on Alice in Wonderland, Clara in Blunderland (1902) and Lost in Blunderland (1903), which appeared under the pseudonym Caroline Lewis; one of the co-authors was Harold Begbie.[46][47]
  • The character Arthur Balfour plays a supporting, off-screen role in Upstairs, Downstairs, promoting the family patriarch, Richard Bellamy, to the position of Civil Lord of the Admiralty.
  • Balfour was portrayed by Adrian Ropes in the 1974 Thames TV production Jennie: Lady Randolph Churchill.
  • Balfour was portrayed by Lyndon Brook in the 1975 ATV production Edward the Seventh.
  • A fictionalised version of Arthur Balfour (identified as "Mr. Balfour") appears as British Prime Minister in the science fiction romance The Angel of the Revolution by George Griffith, published in 1893 (when Balfour was still in opposition) but set in an imagined near future of 1903–1905.
  • The indecisive Balfour (identified as "Halfan Halfour") appears in "Ministers of Grace", a satirical short story by Saki in which he, and other leading politicians including Quinston, are changed into animals appropriate to their characters.


Balfour stamp
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.[48]

Balfouria, a moshav in Israel and many streets in Israel are named after him.

Styles of address

  • 1848–1874: Mr Arthur James Balfour
  • 1874–1880: Mr Arthur James Balfour MP
  • 1880–1885: Mr Arthur James Balfour MP DL
  • 1885–1888: The Right Honourable Arthur James Balfour MP DL
  • 1888–1916: The Right Honourable Arthur James Balfour FRS MP DL
  • 1916–1922: The Right Honourable Arthur James Balfour OM FRS MP DL
  • 1922: The Right Honourable Sir Arthur James Balfour KG OM FRS MP DL
  • 1922–1930: The Right Honourable The Earl of Balfour KG OM PC FRS DL

Honours and decorations

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

Honorary degrees

Country Date School Degree
 England 1909 University of Liverpool Doctor of Laws (LL.D)[52]
 England 1912 University of Sheffield Doctor of Laws (LL.D)[53]
 Ontario 1917 University of Toronto Doctor of Laws (LL.D)[54]
 Wales 1921 University of Wales Doctor of Letters (D. Litt) [55]
 England 1924 University of Leeds Doctor of Laws (LL.D)[56]


Ancestors of Arthur Balfour
16. Robert Balfour, 4th of Balbirnie
8. John Balfour, 5th of Balbirnie
17. Ann Ramsay
4. James Balfour
18. James Gordon of Ellon
9. Mary Gordon[57]
19. Elizabeth Glen
2. James Maitland Balfour
20. James Maitland, 7th Earl of Lauderdale
10. James Maitland, 8th Earl of Lauderdale
21. Mary Turner
5. Lady Eleanor Maitland
22. Anthony Todd
11. Eleanor Todd
23. Eleanor Smith
1. Arthur Balfour, 1st Earl of Balfour
24. James Cecil, 6th Earl of Salisbury
12. James Cecil, 1st Marquess of Salisbury
25. Elizabeth Keat
6. James Gascoyne-Cecil, 2nd Marquess of Salisbury
26. Wills Hill, 1st Marquess of Downshire
13. Lady Emily Hill
27. Lady Margaretta FitzGerald
3. Lady Blanche Gascoyne-Cecil
28. Bamber Gascoyne
14. Bamber Gascoyne
29. Mary Green
7. Frances Mary Gascoyne
30. Chase Price
15. Sarah Bridget Price
31. Susan Glanvile

See also


  1. ^ Oxford Dictionaries Oxford Dictionaries Online
  2. ^ Simon Taylor with Gilbert Márkus, The Place-Names of Fife Volume Two: Central Fife between the Rivers Leven and Eden (Donington, 2008), p. 408.
  3. ^ "Fife Place-name Data :: Balfour".
  4. ^ Chisholm 1911, p. 250.
  5. ^ a b Tuchman, The Proud Tower, p. 46.
  6. ^ "Balfour, Arthur (BLFR866AJ)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  7. ^
  8. ^ R. J. Q. Adams, Balfour, The Last Grandee, pp. 29–33.
  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. ^ a b 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. ^ R. J. Q. Adams, Balfour, The Last Grandee, p. 47.
  13. ^ Mackay, Balfour, Intellectual Statesman, p. 8.
  14. ^ Chisholm 1911, pp. 250–251.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g Chisholm 1911, p. 251.
  16. ^ 1933–2014., 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.
  17. ^ Massie, Robert. Dreadnought. New York: Random House, 1991. pp. 318–19.
  18. ^ a b Chisholm 1911, p. 252.
  19. ^ Milton Viorst (2016). Zionism: The Birth and Transformation of an Ideal. p. 80. ISBN 9781466890329.
  20. ^ Shlomo Sand, The Invention of the Land of Israel: From Holy Land to Homeland (London: Verso, 2012), 14–15.
  21. ^ 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'
  22. ^ Chisholm 1911, p. 254.
  23. ^ R. C. K. Ensor (1936) England, 1870–1914 Oxford: Clarendon. p 355 online.
  24. ^ Wendy Robinson, "Historiographical reflections on the 1902 Education Act." Oxford Review of Education 28.2–3 (2002): 159–172.
  25. ^ Philip Bull, "The significance of the nationalist response to the Irish land act of 1903." Irish Historical Studies 28.111 (1993): 283–305.
  26. ^ Paul Jennings, "Liquor licensing and the local historian: the 1904 Licensing Act and its administration." The Local Historian 9.1 (2009): 24–37.
  27. ^ John P. Mackintosh, "The role of the Committee of Imperial Defence before 1914." English Historical Review 77.304 (1962): 490– JSTOR
  28. ^ P. J. V. Rolo, Entente Cordiale: the origins and negotiation of the Anglo-French agreements of 8 April 1904 (Macmillan, 1969).
  29. ^ Richard A. Rempel, Unionists Divided; Arthur Balfour, Joseph Chamberlain and the Unionist Free Traders (1972).
  30. ^ Ensor, pp 355, 376–78.
  31. ^ Scott C. Spencer, "British Liberty Stained:" Chinese Slavery," Imperial Rhetoric, and the 1906 British General Election." Madison Historical Review 7.1 (2014): 3+. online
  32. ^ "Mr Balfour´s Ministry – full list of appointments". The Times (36842). London. 9 August 1902. p. 5.
  33. ^ "No. 32691". The London Gazette. 5 May 1922. p. 3512.
  34. ^ Parkinson, Justin (2013-06-13). "Chasing Churchill: Ken Clarke climbs ministerial long-service chart". BBC News.
  35. ^ "In the Promised Land". Time Magazine. 13 April 1925.
  36. ^ Teveth, Shabtai (1985) Ben-Gurion and the Palestinian Arabs. From Peace to War. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-503562-3. Page 106.
  37. ^ History of Arthur James Balfour – GOV.UK. (19 March 1930). Retrieved on 15 August 2013.
  38. ^ Wright, Joseph (1898). The English Dialect Dictionary, Volume 1 A-C. London: Henry Frowde. p. viii.
  39. ^ The Immortalization Commission (2011) John Gray
  40. ^ (Theism and Humanism, 68)
  41. ^ Lycett, Andrew. The Man Who Created Sherlock Holmes. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2008.
  42. ^ Madigan, Tim. The Paradoxes of Arthur Balfour. Philosophy Now. 2010.
  43. ^ a b Longworth, Philip (1985). The Unending Vigil. The History of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Leo Cooper Pen & Sword Books. p. 48. ISBN 978-1-84415-004-5.
  44. ^ The Unending Vigil. p. 49.
  45. ^ The Unending Vigil. p. 50.
  46. ^ Sigler, Carolyn, ed. 1997. Alternative Alices: Visions and Revisions of Lewis Carroll's "Alice" Books. Lexington, KY, University Press of Kentucky, pp. 340–347.
  47. ^ Dickinson, Evelyn. 1902. "Literary Note and Books of the Month", in United Australia, Vol. II, No. 12, 20 June 1902.
  48. ^ "Trinity College, University of Cambridge". BBC Your Paintings. Archived from the original on 2014-05-11.
  49. ^ "The London Gazette". Retrieved 2016-07-24.
  50. ^ a b c d "Page 1643". The Peerage. Retrieved 24 April 2016.
  51. ^ "Mr. Balfour at Haddington". The Times (36879). London. 22 September 1902. p. 5.
  52. ^,Graduates,of,the,University.pdf
  53. ^!/file/15_hon-grad.pdf
  54. ^
  55. ^ "The page you requested cannot be found - University of Wales" (PDF).
  56. ^ "Honour for Earl of Balfour". The Scotsman (25, 446). 17 December 1924. p. 8 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  57. ^ Edward J. Davies, "The Balfours of Balbirnie and Whittingehame", The Scottish Genealogist, 60(2013):84–90.


  • Torrance, David, The Scottish Secretaries (Birlinn Limited 2006)
  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh (1911). "Balfour, Arthur James" . In Chisholm, Hugh. Encyclopædia Britannica. 3 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 250–254. This article was written by Chisholm himself soon after Balfour's premiership, while he was still leader of the Opposition. It includes a significant amount of contemporaneous analysis, some of which is summarised here.

Further reading


Specialty studies

  • Begbie, Harold: Mirrors of Downing Street- some political reflections, Mills and Boon (1920).
  • Ellenberger, Nancy W. Balfour's World: Aristocracy and Political Culture at the Fin de Siècle (2015).
  • Gollin, Alfred M. Balfour's burden: Arthur Balfour and imperial preference(1965).
  • Jacyna, Leon Stephen. "Science and social order in the thought of A.J. Balfour." Isis (1980): 11–34. in JSTOR
  • Judd, Denis. Balfour and the British Empire: a study in Imperial evolution 1874–1932 (1968).
  • Marriott, J. A. R. Modern England, 1885–1945 (1948), pp. 180–99, on Balfour as Prime Minister. online
  • Mathew, William M. "The Balfour Declaration and the Palestine Mandate, 1917–1923: British Imperialist Imperatives." British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 40.3 (2013): 231–250.
  • O'Callaghan, Margaret. British high politics and a nationalist Ireland: criminality, land and the law under Forster and Balfour (Cork Univ Pr, 1994).
  • Ramsden, John. A History of the Conservative Party: The age of Balfour and Baldwin, 1902–1940 (1978); vol 3 of a scholarly history of the Conservative Party.
  • Shannon, Catherine B. "The Legacy of Arthur Balfour to Twentieth-Century Ireland." in Peter Collins, ed. Nationalism and Unionism (1994): 17–34.
  • Shannon, Catherine B. Arthur J. Balfour and Ireland, 1874–1922 (Catholic Univ of America Press, 1988).
  • Taylor, Tony. "Arthur Balfour and educational change: The myth revisited." British Journal of Educational Studies 42#2 (1994): 133–149.
  • Tomes, Jason. Balfour and foreign policy: the international thought of a conservative statesman (Cambridge University Press, 2002).
  • Tuchman, Barbara W.: The Proud Tower – A Portrait of the World Before the War (1966)


  • Loades David, ed. Reader's Guide to British History (2003) 1:122–24; cover major politicians and issues
  • Rasor Eugene L. Arthur James Balfour, 1848–1930: Historiography and Annotated Bibliography (1998)

External links

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1906 United Kingdom general election

The 1906 United Kingdom general election was held from 12 January to 8 February 1906.

The Liberals, led by Prime Minister Henry Campbell-Bannerman, won a landslide majority at the election. The Conservatives led by Arthur Balfour, who had been in government until the month before the election, lost more than half their seats, including party leader Balfour's own seat in Manchester East, leaving them with their lowest-ever number of seats. The election saw a 5.4% swing from the Conservative Party to the Liberal Party, the largest-ever seen at the time (however, if only looking at seats contested in both 1900 and 1906, the Conservative vote fell by 11.6%). This has resulted in the 1906 general election being dubbed the "Liberal landslide", and is now ranked alongside the 1931, 1945, 1983 and 1997 general elections as one of the largest landslide election victories.The Labour Representation Committee was far more successful than at the 1900 general election and after the election would be renamed the Labour Party with 29 MPs and Keir Hardie as leader. The Irish Parliamentary Party, led by John Redmond, achieved its seats with a relatively low number of votes, as 73 candidates stood unopposed.

This election was a landslide defeat for the Conservative Party and their Liberal Unionist allies, with the primary reason given by historians as the party's weakness after its split over the issue of free trade (Joseph Chamberlain had resigned from government in September 1903 in order to campaign for Tariff Reform, which would allow "preferential tariffs"). Many working-class people at the time saw this as a threat to the price of food, hence the debate was nicknamed "Big Loaf, Little Loaf". The Liberals' landslide victory of 125 seats over all other parties led to the passing of social legislation known as the Liberal reforms.

This was the last general election in which the Liberals won an absolute majority in the House of Commons, and the last general election in which they won the popular vote. It was also the last peacetime election held more than five years after the previous one prior to passage of the Parliament Act 1911, which limited the duration of Parliaments in peacetime to five years. The Conservative Party's seat total of 156 MPs remains its worst result ever in a general election.

Arthur Balfour, 1st Baron Riverdale

Arthur Balfour, 1st Baron Riverdale (9 January 1873 – 7 July 1957), known as Sir Arthur Balfour, 1st Baronet, from 1929 to 1935, was a British steel manufacturer.Balfour was the son of Herbert Balfour. He was Chairman of Arthur Balfour & Co Ltd and of C Meadows & Co Ltd, both of Sheffield, Yorkshire, and also served as President of the Association of British Chambers of Commerce from 1923 to 1924 and of the British Council from 1947 to 1950 and as Chairman of the Advisory Council for Scientific and Industrial Research from 1937 to 1957. He chaired the Committee on Industry and Trade from 1924 to 1928. He was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1923, created a Baronet of Sheffield in the County of York in 1929, and raised to the peerage as Baron Riverdale, of Sheffield in the County of York, on 27 June 1935. In 1942 he was even further honoured when he was appointed a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire.

Lord Riverdale married Frances Josephine, daughter of Charles Henry Bingham, in 1899. He died in July 1957, aged 84, and was succeeded in his titles by his eldest son Robert. Lady Riverdale died in 1960.

Arthur Balfour Professor of Genetics

The Arthur Balfour Professorship of Genetics is the senior professorship in genetics at the University of Cambridge, founded in 1912. It is thought to be the oldest Chair of Genetics in the English speaking world.The chair was endowed by Reginald Baliol Brett, 2nd Viscount Esher, according to whom the money (£20,000) was "placed in [his] hands" by an anonymous benefactor. A condition of the endowment was that the first appointee to the chair would be chosen jointly by the Prime Minister H. H. Asquith and the former Prime Minister Arthur Balfour.

Arthur and the Acetone

Arthur and the Acetone (1936) is a satirical playlet by George Bernard Shaw which dramatises an imaginary conversation between the Zionist Chaim Weizmann and the British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour, which Shaw presents as the "true" story of how the Balfour Declaration came into being.

Balfour Declaration of 1926

The Balfour Declaration of 1926, issued by the 1926 Imperial Conference of British Empire leaders in London, was named after Lord President of the Council (and former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom) Arthur Balfour. It declared the United Kingdom and the Dominions to be:

... autonomous Communities within the British Empire, equal in status, in no way subordinate one to another in any aspect of their domestic or external affairs, though united by a common allegiance to the Crown, and freely associated as members of the British Commonwealth of Nations.

The Inter-Imperial Relations Committee, chaired by Balfour, drew up the document preparatory to its unanimous approval by the imperial premiers on 15 November 1926. It was first proposed by South African Prime Minister J. B. M. Hertzog and Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King.

The Declaration accepted the growing political and diplomatic independence of the Dominions in the years after World War I. It also recommended that the governors-general, the representatives of the King who acted for the Crown as de facto head of state in each dominion, should no longer also serve automatically as the representative of the British government in diplomatic relations between the countries. In following years, High Commissioners were gradually appointed, whose duties were soon recognised to be virtually identical to those of an ambassador. The first such British High Commissioner was appointed to Ottawa in 1928.

The conclusions of the imperial premiers conference of 1926 were re-stated by the 1930 conference and incorporated in the Statute of Westminster of December 1931, by which the British parliament renounced any legislative authority over dominion affairs, except as specifically provided in law.

Baron Lawrence

Baron Lawrence, of the Punjab and of Grateley in the County of Southampton, is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. It was created in 1869 for Sir John Lawrence, 1st Baronet, the former Viceroy of India. He had already been created a Baronet, in 1858. His son, the second Baron, served in the Conservative administrations of Lord Salisbury and Arthur Balfour as a government whip from 1895 to 1905. As of 2016 the titles are held by his great-grandson, the fifth Baron, who succeeded his father in 1968.Two other members of the Lawrence family may also be mentioned. Sir Henry Montgomery Lawrence was the elder brother of the first Baron Lawrence. Charles Lawrence, 1st Baron Lawrence of Kingsgate, was a younger son of the first Baron.

Baron Riverdale

Baron Riverdale, of Sheffield in the County of York, is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. It was created in 1935 for the Sheffield steel manufacturer Sir Arthur Balfour, 1st Baronet, Chairman of Arthur Balfour & Co Ltd.Balfour had already been created a baronet, of Sheffield in the County of York, in the Baronetage of the United Kingdom, in 1929. He was succeeded by his eldest son, the second Baron. He was Chairman and President of Balfour & Darwins Ltd (formerly Arthur Balfour & Co Ltd) as well as President of the Association of British Chambers of Commerce. He was a Lieutenant Commander in the Royal Navy in the Second World War.Since 1998, the titles have been held by his grandson, the third Baron, who succeeded in 1998. He is the only son of the Hon. Mark Robin Balfour, eldest son of the second Baron.

Clara in Blunderland

Clara in Blunderland is a novel by Caroline Lewis (pseudonym for Edward Harold Begbie, J. Stafford Ransome, and M. H. Temple), 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. The book was followed a year later by a sequel, Lost in Blunderland.

The book is critical of the British Government's engagement in the Second Boer War. A number of prominent politicians are represented by characters from the "Alice" books: Clara (the equivalent of Alice) represents Arthur Balfour, the Leader of the House of Commons; the Red Queen is Joseph Chamberlain, the Duchess is Lord Salisbury, Crumpty-Bumpty is Henry Campbell-Bannerman, the Walrus is William Vernon Harcourt, the Dalmeny Cat is Lord Rosebery, and the Caterpillar is Winston Churchill.

The book features 40 drawings after the originals by John Tenniel which were drawn by journalist J. Stafford Ransome, credited as "S.R.".

December 1910 United Kingdom general election

The December 1910 United Kingdom general election was held from 3 to 19 December. It was the last general election to be held over several days and the last to be held prior to the First World War (1914–18).

The political context was the effort of the new Liberal government to pass its budget, with higher taxes on the wealthy. It was blocked by the House of Lords. The Government called an election to get a mandate for the Parliament Act 1911, which would prevent the House of Lords from permanently blocking legislation. After the Liberals, together with the Irish Nationalists and Labour, retained their Commons majority, the House of Lords gave way and the budget was passed.

The Conservatives, led by Arthur Balfour with their Liberal Unionist allies, and the Liberals, led by H. H. Asquith, could not break the deadlock produced in the January general election, with the Conservatives again winning the largest number of votes. The Liberal Party under Asquith formed a government with the support of the Irish Nationalists. This was the last election in which the Liberals won the highest number of seats in the House of Commons. It was also the last United Kingdom national election in which a party other than Labour or the Conservatives won the most seats until the 2014 European Parliament elections.

Earl of Balfour

Earl of Balfour is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. It was created in 1922 for Conservative politician Arthur Balfour, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1902 to 1905 and Foreign Secretary from 1916 to 1919.

The earldom was created with special remainder, failing male issue of his own, to:

his younger brother, the Right Honourable Gerald William Balfour, and the heirs male of his body, failing which to

his nephew Francis Cecil Campbell Balfour and the heirs male of his body, and failing which to

his nephew Oswald Herbert Campbell Balfour and the heirs male of his body.The latter two were the sons of his deceased youngest brother Colonel Eustace James Anthony Balfour. Balfour was made Viscount Traprain, of Whittingehame in the County of Haddington, at the same time as he was given the earldom. This title is also in the Peerage of the United Kingdom and was created with similar remainder.Balfour never married, and was succeeded according to the special remainders by his younger brother Gerald, the second Earl. He was also a Conservative politician and notably served as Chief Secretary for Ireland, as President of the Board of Trade and as President of the Local Government Board. This line of the family failed on the death of his grandson, the fourth Earl, in 2003. As of 2017 the titles are held by his second cousin once removed, the fifth Earl, father of playwright Kinvara Balfour. He is the grandson of the aforementioned Francis Cecil Campbell Balfour, nephew of the first Earl.The family seat is Burpham Lodge, near Arundel, Sussex.

February 1906 City of London by-election

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.

The seat had become vacant on the resignation of Alban Gibbs, one of the constituency's two Conservative Members of Parliament (MPs). Gibbs had resigned in order to provide a safe seat for Arthur Balfour. He would go on to succeed his father, Hucks Gibbs, as Baron Aldenham the following year.

Balfour had been out of Parliament following his defeat at Manchester East in the 1906 general election. He had been Prime Minister between 1902 and 1905 and at the time was Leader of the Conservative Party, with Joseph Chamberlain filling in as Leader of the Opposition while Balfour was out of Parliament.

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.

They attacked what they saw as the weakness of both the Liberal government and the Conservative opposition. Despite the label, they were all backbench members of the Conservative Party.

In the view of The New York Times, they would "act as skirmishers to the main body, popping out here and there to fire a shot at the Government and being ostensibly rebuked but really supported by the Conservative leaders."The later Conservative Party faction known as the Hughligans was "a self-conscious attempt to recreate the 'Fourth Party'", according to Rhodri Williams.

Henry Forster, 1st Baron Forster

Henry William Forster, 1st Baron Forster, (31 January 1866 – 15 January 1936) was a British politician who served as the seventh Governor-General of Australia, in office from 1920 to 1925. He had previously been a government minister under Arthur Balfour, H. H. Asquith, and David Lloyd George.

Forster was born in Catford, Kent. He attended Eton College and New College, Oxford, and in his youth played first-class cricket – in later life he served a term as president of the Marylebone Cricket Club. Forster was elected to the House of Commons in 1892, representing the Conservative Party. He was a Junior Lord of the Treasury under Arthur Balfour from 1902 to 1905, and later Financial Secretary to the War Office from 1915 to 1919. Forster was raised to the peerage in 1919, and appointed Governor-General of Australia the following year. Unlike his predecessor, Ronald Munro Ferguson, he faced no constitutional challenges and had no influence on the political scene. Forster travelled widely while in office and was popular among the general public, mainly concerning himself with ceremonial duties. He retired to England at the end of his five-year term.

January 1910 United Kingdom general election

The January 1910 United Kingdom general election was held from 15 January to 10 February 1910. The government called the election in the midst of a constitutional crisis caused by the rejection of the People's Budget by the Conservative-dominated House of Lords, in order to get a mandate to pass the budget.

The general election resulted in a hung parliament, with the Conservative Party led by Arthur Balfour and their Liberal Unionist allies receiving the largest number of votes, but the Liberals led by H. H. Asquith winning the largest number of seats, returning two more MPs than the Conservatives. Asquith formed a government with the support of the Irish Parliamentary Party, led by John Redmond. Another general election was soon held in December.

The Labour Party, led by Arthur Henderson, continued to gather momentum, going from 29 seats to 40.

John Bull's Adventures in the Fiscal Wonderland

John Bull's Adventures in the Fiscal Wonderland is a novel by Charles Geake and Francis Carruthers Gould, written in 1904 and published by Methuen & Co. of London. It is a political parody of Lewis Carroll's two books, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass.

The book features 48 drawings after the originals by John Tenniel which were drawn by Francis Carruthers Gould.

It is critical of the economic politics of the day, which John Bull tries to make sense of. A number of notable British politicians are identified in the book. Joseph Chamberlain is the Prefferwense, the Mad Hatter, the Cheshire Cat, and the Knave of Hearts; Arthur Balfour is the March Hare and Humpy Dumpy; Archibald Philip Primrose is Tweedle-R., Henry Campbell-Bannerman is Twee-C.-B., Jesse Collings is the White Rabbit, and Spencer Compton Cavendish is the Dormouse.

List of Conservative Party (UK) general election manifestos

This is a list of the British Conservative Party general election manifestos since 1900. From 1900 to 1945, the Conservative Party general election manifesto was usually published as a form of a short personal address by the leader of the party. From 1950 the party published a more formal document.

Lost in Blunderland

Lost in Blunderland: The further adventures of Clara is a novel by Caroline Lewis (pseudonym for Edward Harold Begbie, J. Stafford Ransome, and M. H. Temple), 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. It is the second of Lewis' parodies, the first being Clara in Blunderland.

It is critical of the early administration of Prime Minister Arthur Balfour, who is represented by a little girl named Clara. A number of other notable British politicians are identified in the book. The Red Queen is Joseph Chamberlain and Crumpty-Bumpty is Henry Campbell-Bannerman. There are additional characters, such as the Lion and the Unicorn, representing Britain and Germany respectively.

The book features 50 drawings after the originals by John Tenniel which were drawn by journalist J. Stafford Ransome, credited as "S.R.".

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. It was abolished in 1918.

The Westminster Alice

The Westminster Alice is the name of a collection of vignettes written by Hector Hugh Munro (Saki) in 1902 and published by the Westminster Gazette of London. It is a political parody of Lewis Carroll's two books, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass.

The book features 48 drawings after the originals by John Tenniel which were drawn by Francis Carruthers Gould.

It is critical of the politics of the day, of which Alice tries to make sense. A number of notable British politicians are identified in the book. Joseph Chamberlain is the Queen of Hearts, the Red Queen, and the Mad Hatter; Arthur Balfour is the White Queen and the March Hare; Robert Cecil is the King of Hearts and the Dormouse; Archbishop of Canterbury Frederick Temple is the Duchess; and Redvers Buller is Humpty Dumpty.

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