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


Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. R. B. BENNETT (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) has spoken for this parliament, for this House of Commons, as its leader, and with what he has said I am heartily in accord. Lord Balfour may be said to be the last of that great group of Victorian statesmen who survived into the twentieth century. He was the last of the cider statesmen of our empire. It is fitting that the house should pay tribute to his memory, for I recall, when we were sitting in the museum, the afternoon he spoke there, and the effect that was produced upon the members who were privileged to hear him. I could not but remember that afternoon that one portion of his address might well have been entitled "The foundations of belief," which was the title of one of his great works, while the latter part of that address might well have been entitled "A defence of philosiophic doubt," which was the other great work by which he is so well known as an author. Statesman and scholar, patriot and philosopher, he touched life at many points. I know of no man of our time so many sided and who played so distinguished a part in so many avenues of human effort.
In the world of literature and scholarship he was recognized as one of the great men of our time. Perhaps his position in this regard was not so eminent as that of Burke or Morley, but certainly in scholarship he ranked with either. His philosophic training gave him a detachment of mind which made it possible for him to exercise that sound judgment which was one of his dist.ingushing characteristics. I venture to think that while he will long be remembered as a great- statesman whose achievements are now a part of the history of our empire, he will best be remembered because at a moment of the gravest peril to the life of his country he who had been Prime Minister of Great Britain served and held office under two prime ministers and, later, under two others, neither of the two latter having even been a member of the House of Commons when he had obtained a great position in the public life of his country.
As the Prime Minister has said, not only was he a great gentleman but he had that inexpressible charm that made those who were young feel that he was of their generation and those who were older feel that they could always look to him as a friend for counsel and advice.
He served the world well. He served the empire well and in so doing he was entrusted at the most critical moment of its history with great reponsibilities, among them being the

visit he made to America. The service he then rendered this country is one that I hope we shall not soon forget. I desire on behalf of those with whom I am associated on this side of the house to agree heartily with the observations that have been made by the Prime Minister, and to say how honoured we are to associate ourselves with men and women in popular assemblies in every part of the world who will pay their tributes of respect and admiration to the memory of a great statesman who enriched the public life, not only of his own country, but of the whole world, by his service to mankind.

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