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Biography of Arthur James Balfour


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Balfour, Arthur James. English statesman and author. Born in 1848. Educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge. Was private secretary to Lord Salisbury from 1878-80, and went with him to Berlin in 1878. Member of the so-called "Fourth Party." President local government board, 1885-86; secretary for Scotland, with a seat in the cabinet, and vice-president committee of council on education for Scotland, 1886-87; chief secretary for Ireland, 1887-91; and carried the Crimes Act through Parliament. Created the congested districts board for Ireland, 1890. First lord of the treasury and leader of the house on the death of W. H. Smith in 1891, and again in 1895-1906. On the retirement of Lord Salisbury in 1902, he became prime minister and lord privy seal, retaining the office of first lord of the treasury. He introduced the Education Act in 1902. When Chamberlain made his fiscal proposals in 1903, Balfour held that the country was not ripe for the taxation of food. In 1905 he and his cabinet resigned. Became first lord of the admiralty in coalition cabinet in 1915. Author: "A Defense of Philosophic Doubt," "Essays and Addresses," "The Foundations of Belief, Being Notes Introductory to the Study of Theology," "Theism and Humanism."