Mr. Balfour made a speech on Thursday to the Noncon-
formist Unionist Association in theMemorial Hall, Farringdon Street, which the Daily Chronicle of yesterday characterised as probably the most inept performance of any modern states- man. As we do not believe that Mr. Balfour could be inept, unless he intended to be inept,—and as such an intention would be very unlikely,—this criticism led us to read the speech with more than ordinary care, and we found it one of the most interesting and impressive of the many interesting and impressive speeches which Mr. Balfour has delivered in the present year. It was an effort to avail himself of the -evident determination of the Unionist Nonconformists not =to be led away by the mere traditional policy of their Churches, in order to show them how more than important, how essential, it is for the success of our newly fledged democratic institu- tions, that the political parties of which the House of Com- mons reflects the tendencies, should seek and follow the guidance of the most statesmanlike politicians of the day, whether in Parliament or out of it, in the conduct of those various and difficult social experiments which are forced upon the State by the very natural desire of the new voters to alleviate, so far as it is possible, the often very -distressing conditions of labour in those producing or manu- facturing industries which yield the least adequate returns. Mr. Balfour indicated his belief that Socialism is impossible, and that all experiments suggested for softening the hardships -of the labouring classes need the most careful and vigilant watching by statesmen, seeing that it is impossible for the -democracy itself to guide the efforts for which it provides the motive force. A wiser and more thoughtful speech has not been made within the last twelvemonth. It compelled people to see that a democracy without statesmen will come to grief -even sooner than statesmen without a democracy behind them.