March 19, 1930 (16th Parliament, 4th Session)


William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)


Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, before we
enter upon the business of the day, I should like to say with what real sorrow the people of our country have learned of the passing this morning in Great Britain of that great and distinguished public servant, the Earl of Balfour. I do not rise for the purpose of attempting any eulogy. Lord Balfour's life at all times and in all places will be more of a testimony as to what is highest in personal conduct and best in public life than anything that can be said of him. But I should like to give some expression to the feelings which T know hon. members of this House of Commons cherish, in common with the members of parliament at Westminster and indeed with the members of British parliaments everywhere, concerning the passing of one who has had such a distinguished career and who has rendered his own country and the empire of which it is the centre so vast a service.
Lord Balfour's public life extended over more than half a century. His name was as well known to our fathers as it is to us. He wras associated in parliament with Disraeli, Lord Salisbury, Parnell, Gladstone and with all of the great men whose names have figured in the stirring events of the present century. During the period he was in public life he filled at one time or another most of the high offices of state. He was at different times President of the Council, President of the Local Government Board, Secretary for Scotland, Chief Secretary for Ireland, First Lord of the Treasury, First Lord of the Admiralty, Foreign Secretary, leader of the opposition, leader of the Commons and Prime Minister of Great Britain. To all of those great offices

The late Lord Balfour
he brought exceptional qualities of heart and mind, and he has left a record that is unsurpassed for what it reveals of high integrity and splendid ability.
In the period of the war Lord Balfour was entrusted with the most delicate and important of missions, and since the war few have played a greater part than he in the task of reconstruction and particularly in the great work of the League of Nations and all that pertains to its affairs. It is interesting to recall here that his last great public service was connected with the work of the committee on interimperial relations which met during the period of the imperial conference of 1926 and of which committee he was the chairman. The Balfour report, so-called, will go down in British history as one of the world's historic documents.
But not only was Lord Balfour a great statesman; he was everywhere recognized as a great scholar. There is in the British isles hardly a university with which he had not been associated or which had not conferred upon him its highest honourary degree. He was at different times Chancellor of Cambridge university, Chancellor of Edinburgh university, Lord Rector of St. Andrew's university and Lord Rector of Glasgow university. He was amongst other of his high attainments a philosopher, a scientist, and a man of letters. He was, too, an authority upon art. He had been president of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, member l'Academie des Sciences Morales et Politiques, l'lnstitute de France, and president of the British Academy. Indeed there were few intellects of modern days comparable with his. It has been said of him that he possessed the greatest political and philosophical intelligence of our age. He was above all a great gentleman, a man universally respected and indeed revered. His charm of manner was irresistible. In moral stature none loomed larger than Lord Balfour. He has left to the world an example of what I believe is finest in private and public life-the maintenance at all times of great integrity of conduct, of word and of thought, and of exceptional many-sided abilities in the discharge of public duties. His long and distinguished services to his country, to the British commonwealth of nations, and to great world causes are present in the minds of all to-day and will be gratefully remembered through generations to come. As I have already said, we in this House of Commons join with those who belong to popular assemblies in all parts of the world in mourning the passing of one who has been so great a servant of mankind.

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