13 FEBRUARY 1904, Page 2

We rejoice, on public as well as private grounds, at

the reports of Mr. Balfour's slow but steady progress towards recovery. The Premier is a man who has many opponents, but few, if any, enemies, and the sympathy extended to him during his enforced absence from the political arena has been sincere as well as general. But setting aside the attraction exerted by Mr. Balfour's engaging personality, by his keen intellect, and by his achievements as a man, of letters and a philosopher, his return to Parliament is to be welcomed in view of the serious aspect of affairs both in the domain of foreign and domestic politics. This is not a time in which a Prime Minister can be spared. It is perfectly true, as Mr. Morley contended, that other Ministers may be competent to expound the Government's fiscal policy, but there is one man, and one only, from whom a decisive declaration is needed, and that is Mr. Balfour. The pronouncement of his brother only increases the expectancy with which that declaration is awaited. Let us hope that when it does come it will definitely put an end to the government by egg-dance which the Premier has carried on with such misplaced skill since the autumn.