Balfour, Arthur James (1848-1882)

Balfour, Arthur James, statesman and philosopher, was created Earl of Balfour and K.G. in 1922. Born 25th July 1848, in 1856 he succeeded his father in the estate of Wliittinghame, Haddingtonshire. Educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge, he entered parliament in 1874 as Conservative member for Hertford, and from 1878 to 1880 was private secretary to his uncle, Lord Salisbury, whom he accompanied to the Berlin Congress. For a while an unattached member of Lord Randolph Churchill's 'Fourth Party,' he led off the attack on the 4 Kilmainham Treaty (1882), negotiated with Lord Hartington the franchise compromise (1884), was returned for East Manchester (1885), and was appointed President of the Local Government Board (1885), Secretary for Scotland (1886). Chief-secretary for Ireland (1887), and First Lord of the Treasury and leader in the Commons (1892-93), and in 1902-6 was prime-minister. He resigned the Conservative leadership in 1911. M.P. for City of London from 1906, in 1915 he joined the Coalition as First Lord of the Admiralty; in 1916 he became Foreign Secretary, in Nov. 1919 Lord President of the Council. A brilliant debater, keen student, musician, sportsman, Chancellor of Edinburgh and Cambridge Universities, O.M. (1916), he published a Defence of Philosophic Doubt (1879; 2d ed. 1894), Essays and Addresses (1893 ; new ed. 1905), The Foundations of Belief (1895), Theism and Humanism (Gifford Lectures, 1914).—His brother, Francis Maitland Balfour (1851-82), embryologist, born at Edinburgh, from Harrow passed to Trinity College, Cambridge. In 1873 he entered upon valuable researches on the development of the elasmobranch fishes. He took a leading part in founding the Cambridge school of natural science. In 1878-83 appeared his well-known Comparative Embryology. He was appointed to a special chair of Animal Morphology at Cambridge in 1882, but on 19th July lost his life while climbing a spur of Mont Blanc.— Another brother, Gerald, born 1853, from Eton passed to Trinity College, Cambridge, took a first in classics (1874), and became a fellow (1878). Private secretary for a time to his eldest brother, he was Chief-secretary for Ireland (1895-96), President of Board of Trade (1900-5), of Local Government Board (1905-6).
1. Chamber's Biographical Dictionary, Philadelphia, 1926, page 63.

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