20 JANUARY 1900, Page 2

The Manchester Courier of Tuesday asserts that it has the

best reasons for stating that whatever may happen to the Ministry as a whole, "the one colleague whom Mr. Balfour will not sacrifice in the present crisis is the Secretary of State for War." We have dealt elsewhere with the whole question of Lord Lansdowne's fitness to conduct the military affairs of the nation, and we will only say here that we should look with the utmost contempt upon Mr. Balfour, or any other states- man, if he sacrificed a competent Minister merely to a popular outcry. On that point there can be no two opinions. If Mr Balfour is convinced that Lord Lansdowne is an ideal Minister of War, or at any rate the best that can be had, and fully competent to conduct the war, then there is no more to be said. He will, of course, stick to him through thick and thin. If, however, he is not assured that Lord Lansdowne is the most competent War Minister procurable, he will make a great mistake in adopting the line that be must stand by his colleague at all costs. Loyalty to a colleague is deserving of all praise, but it must never be allowed to endanger the interests of the country, for loyalty to the nation is the greater virtue. But here we are assured that Mr. Balfour will agree. What, then, he and the re st of his Cabinet have to ask is not, "Shall we sacrifice Lord Lansdowne to the wolves of the Press ? " but "Is the War Office filled now by a man of the requisite vigour, energy, and initiative ?" If the answer is "No," they must ask Lord Lansdowne to accept a post for which he is better fitted.