London: George Newnes, Ltd., 1931. First edition. Periodical. This April, 1931 issue of The Strand Magazine (Vol. LXXXI, No. 484) contains the first appearance of Winston Churchill’s character study of Prime Minister Arthur Balfour (1848-1930), published prior to its appearance in Great Contemporaries. In this article Churchill writes warmly of the “remarkable man whom [he] knew, and whose friendship across the vicissitudes of politics [he] enjoyed in a ripening measure during thirty years.”
During his service as Prime Minister (1902-1905), Arthur Balfour oversaw defence policy reform and secured the Entente Cordial between Britain and France. In 1905 issues surrounding free trade and tariff reform, the very matters which precipitated Churchill's 1904 defection to the Liberals, led to Balfour’s resignation in December 1905. The following month the Conservatives suffered a landslide defeat in the 1906 election. Despite the apparent failure of Balfour’s government Churchill held him in high regard, saying “Neither on the big line nor on the small line, neither by dire threats nor by playing upon idiosyncrasies, could anyone overcome his central will or rupture his sense of duty.” In 1931 a politician driven out of office would have been a relatable figure.
For Churchill, the 1930s were a decade out of power and out of favor that would be known later as his "wilderness years", during which his persistent warnings and predictions about Nazi Germany went substantially unheeded. Like most of Churchill’s character studies, this essay’s magazine form differs from its later publication in Great Contemporaries where Churchill had more room to share stories from Balfour’s career. Churchill’s article fills pages 345-56 and is illustrated throughout by photographs, drawings, and political cartoons. Also featured in this issue is the conclusion to the serialization of P.G. Wodehouse’s novel, Big Money.
Considering the inherent fragility of the magazine format, this copy approaches near fine condition. This issue’s chief flaw is a forward lean to the binding. The covers are bright, clean, complete, firmly attached, and free of creases. The spine is complete and free of the vertical creases usually found on these magazines, with only some minor soiling. The contents are complete, clean, and bright with no markings or spotting.
Reference: Cohen C348, Woods C165. Item #005047