Carson, Edward Henry Carson, Baron

▪ Anglo-Irish politician
born Feb. 9, 1854, Dublin, Ire.
died Oct. 22, 1935, Minster, Kent, Eng.

      lawyer and politician known as the “uncrowned king of Ulster,” who successfully led northern Irish resistance to the British government's attempts to introduce Home Rule for the whole of Ireland.

      Although Carson was to become the champion of the northern province, he was born into a Protestant family in southern Ireland and was reared and educated there. Early in his Irish legal career (from 1877), he came to mistrust the Irish nationalists. As senior crown prosecutor for Dublin, he sternly enforced the Crimes Act of 1887, securing numerous convictions for violence against Irish estates owned by English absentee landlords. Appointed Irish solicitor general in 1892, he was elected to the British House of Commons in the same year, was called to the English bar in 1893, and served as British solicitor general from 1900 to 1905. During these years Carson achieved his greatest success as a barrister. In 1895 his cross-examination (in his role as queen's counsel) of Oscar Wilde (Wilde, Oscar) largely secured the Irish writer's conviction for homosexuality.

      On Feb. 27, 1910, Carson accepted the parliamentary leadership of the anti-Home Rule Irish Unionists and, forfeiting his chance to lead the British Conservative Party, devoted himself entirely to the Ulster cause. His dislike of southern Irish separatism was reinforced by his belief that the heavy industry of Belfast was necessary to the economic survival of Ireland. The Liberal government (1908–16) under H.H. Asquith, which in 1912 decided to prepare a Home Rule bill, could not overcome the effect of Carson's obstructionist speeches in Commons. The covenant of resistance to Home Rule, signed by Carson and other leaders in Belfast on Sept. 28, 1912, and afterward by thousands of Ulstermen, was followed by his establishment of a provisional government in Belfast in 1913. Early in that year he recruited a private Ulster army that openly drilled for fighting in the event that the Home Rule Bill was enacted. In preparation for a full-scale civil war, he successfully organized the landing of a large supply of weapons from Germany at Larne, County Antrim, on April 24, 1914. The British government, however, began to make concessions to the northern Irish, and in July 1914 Carson agreed to Home Rule for Ireland apart from Ulster (effected in 1921).

      Appointed attorney general in Asquith's wartime coalition ministry on May 25, 1915, Carson resigned on October 19 because of his dissatisfaction with the conduct of the war. In David Lloyd George's coalition ministry (1916–22) he was first lord of the Admiralty (Dec. 10, 1916, to July 17, 1917) and then a member of the war Cabinet as minister without portfolio (to Jan. 21, 1918). Accepting a life peerage, he served from 1921 to 1929 as lord of appeal in ordinary.

Additional Reading
Two complementary volumes of biography, Edward Marjoribanks, Carson, the Advocate (1932), and Ian Colvin, Carson, the Statesman (1935), were also published together as The Life of Lord Carson, 3 vol. (1932–36). A later biography is H. Montgomery Hyde, Carson (1953, reissued 1987).

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Edward Carson, Baron Carson — Edward Henry Carson, Baron Carson, PC, Kt., KC (often known as Sir Edward Carson or Lord Carson ) (9 February 1854 ndash; 22 October, 1935) was a leader of the Ulster Unionist Party. Lord Carson held numerous positions in the Cabinet of the… …   Wikipedia

  • Carson (of Duncairn), Edward Henry, Baron — born Feb. 9, 1854, Dublin, Ire. died Oct. 22, 1935, Minster, Kent, Eng. Irish lawyer and politician. In 1892 he was elected to the British House of Commons and was appointed Irish solicitor general. He served as British solicitor general… …   Universalium

  • Carson (de Duncairn), Edward Henry, barón — (9 feb. 1854, Dublín, Irlanda–22 oct. 1935, Minster, Kent, Inglaterra). Abogado y político irlandés. En 1892 fue elegido a la Cámara de los Comunes británica y fue nombrado adjunto del procurador general de Irlanda. Fue adjunto del procurador… …   Enciclopedia Universal

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