Edward Carson, Baron Carson
Overview
Edward Henry Carson, Baron Carson PC, PC (Ire.)
Privy Council of Ireland
The Privy Council of Ireland was an institution of the Kingdom of Ireland until 31 December 1800 and of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland 1801-1922...

, Kt
Knight Bachelor
The rank of Knight Bachelor is a part of the British honours system. It is the most basic rank of a man who has been knighted by the monarch but not as a member of one of the organised Orders of Chivalry...

, QC
Queen's Counsel
Queen's Counsel , known as King's Counsel during the reign of a male sovereign, are lawyers appointed by letters patent to be one of Her [or His] Majesty's Counsel learned in the law...

 (9 February 1854, Dublin, Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

 – 22 October 1935, Kent
Kent
Kent is a county in southeast England, and is one of the home counties. It borders East Sussex, Surrey and Greater London and has a defined boundary with Essex in the middle of the Thames Estuary. The ceremonial county boundaries of Kent include the shire county of Kent and the unitary borough of...

, England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

), often known as Sir Edward Carson or Lord Carson, was a barrister, judge and politician from Ireland. He was leader of the Irish Unionist Alliance and Ulster Unionist Party
Ulster Unionist Party
The Ulster Unionist Party – sometimes referred to as the Official Unionist Party or, in a historic sense, simply the Unionist Party – is the more moderate of the two main unionist political parties in Northern Ireland...

 between 1910 and 1921, held numerous positions in the Cabinet of the United Kingdom
Cabinet of the United Kingdom
The Cabinet of the United Kingdom is the collective decision-making body of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom, composed of the Prime Minister and some 22 Cabinet Ministers, the most senior of the government ministers....

 and served as a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary
Lord of Appeal in Ordinary
Lords of Appeal in Ordinary, commonly known as Law Lords, were appointed under the Appellate Jurisdiction Act 1876 to the House of Lords of the United Kingdom in order to exercise its judicial functions, which included acting as the highest court of appeal for most domestic matters...

.
Quotations

I am here tonight under the most tragic circumstances, with the possibilities of grave and difficult operations in Belfast and in Ulster within almost a few days...I am here to tell you solemnly and honestly that we intend to see this matter through. The cost may be great, the sufferings may be terrible.

Speech in the Albert Hall, 12 January 1912.

We do not want sentence of death with a stay of execution for six years.

Speech in the House of Commons against a Government amendment allowing each county of Ulster to opt out of Home Rule for six years, 9 March 1914.

England's difficulty is not Ulster's opportunity. However we are treated, and however others act, let us act rightly. We do not seek to purchase terms by selling our patriotism.

Speech to delegates of the Ulster Unionist Council in Belfast, 3 September 1914.

Talk to me of treaties! Talk to me of the League of Nations! Every Great Power in Europe was pledged by treaty to preserve Belgium. That was a League of Nations, but it failed.

Speech on 7 December, 1917.

We in Ulster will tolerate no Sinn Féin. But we tell you this—that if, having offered you our help, you are yourselves unable to protect us from the machinations of Sinn Féin, and you won't take our help; well then, we tell you that we will take the matter into our own hands. We will reorganise.

Speech in Belfast, 12 July 1920.

Encyclopedia
Edward Henry Carson, Baron Carson PC, PC (Ire.)
Privy Council of Ireland
The Privy Council of Ireland was an institution of the Kingdom of Ireland until 31 December 1800 and of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland 1801-1922...

, Kt
Knight Bachelor
The rank of Knight Bachelor is a part of the British honours system. It is the most basic rank of a man who has been knighted by the monarch but not as a member of one of the organised Orders of Chivalry...

, QC
Queen's Counsel
Queen's Counsel , known as King's Counsel during the reign of a male sovereign, are lawyers appointed by letters patent to be one of Her [or His] Majesty's Counsel learned in the law...

 (9 February 1854, Dublin, Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

 – 22 October 1935, Kent
Kent
Kent is a county in southeast England, and is one of the home counties. It borders East Sussex, Surrey and Greater London and has a defined boundary with Essex in the middle of the Thames Estuary. The ceremonial county boundaries of Kent include the shire county of Kent and the unitary borough of...

, England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

), often known as Sir Edward Carson or Lord Carson, was a barrister, judge and politician from Ireland. He was leader of the Irish Unionist Alliance and Ulster Unionist Party
Ulster Unionist Party
The Ulster Unionist Party – sometimes referred to as the Official Unionist Party or, in a historic sense, simply the Unionist Party – is the more moderate of the two main unionist political parties in Northern Ireland...

 between 1910 and 1921, held numerous positions in the Cabinet of the United Kingdom
Cabinet of the United Kingdom
The Cabinet of the United Kingdom is the collective decision-making body of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom, composed of the Prime Minister and some 22 Cabinet Ministers, the most senior of the government ministers....

 and served as a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary
Lord of Appeal in Ordinary
Lords of Appeal in Ordinary, commonly known as Law Lords, were appointed under the Appellate Jurisdiction Act 1876 to the House of Lords of the United Kingdom in order to exercise its judicial functions, which included acting as the highest court of appeal for most domestic matters...

. Upon his death, in 1935, he was one of the few non-monarchs to receive a British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 state funeral
State funeral
A state funeral is a public funeral ceremony, observing the strict rules of protocol, held to honor heads of state or other important people of national significance. State funerals usually include much pomp and ceremony as well as religious overtones and distinctive elements of military tradition...

.

Early life

Edward Carson was born at 4 Harcourt Street, in Dublin. He was from a wealthy Anglican
Church of Ireland
The Church of Ireland is an autonomous province of the Anglican Communion. The church operates in all parts of Ireland and is the second largest religious body on the island after the Roman Catholic Church...

 family; his father was an architect
Architect
An architect is a person trained in the planning, design and oversight of the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to offer or render services in connection with the design and construction of a building, or group of buildings and the space within the site surrounding the...

. The Carsons were of Scottish origin, Edward's grandfather having originally moved to Dublin from Dumfries
Dumfries
Dumfries is a market town and former royal burgh within the Dumfries and Galloway council area of Scotland. It is near the mouth of the River Nith into the Solway Firth. Dumfries was the county town of the former county of Dumfriesshire. Dumfries is nicknamed Queen of the South...

 in 1815. Carson's mother was Isabella Lambert, the daughter of Captain Peter Lambert, part of an old Anglo-Irish
Anglo-Irish
Anglo-Irish was a term used primarily in the 19th and early 20th centuries to identify a privileged social class in Ireland, whose members were the descendants and successors of the Protestant Ascendancy, mostly belonging to the Church of Ireland, which was the established church of Ireland until...

 family, the Lamberts of Castle Ellen, County Galway
County Galway
County Galway is a county in Ireland. It is located in the West Region and is also part of the province of Connacht. It is named after the city of Galway. Galway County Council is the local authority for the county. There are several strongly Irish-speaking areas in the west of the county...

. Carson spent holidays at Castle Ellen, which was owned by his uncle. He was one of six children (four boys and two girls). Edward was educated at Portarlington School, Wesley College, Dublin
Wesley College, Dublin
This article is about Wesley College in Dublin, Ireland. See Wesley College for articles on other institutions named "Wesley College"....

and Trinity College, Dublin
Trinity College, Dublin
Trinity College, Dublin , formally known as the College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity of Queen Elizabeth near Dublin, was founded in 1592 by letters patent from Queen Elizabeth I as the "mother of a university", Extracts from Letters Patent of Elizabeth I, 1592: "...we...found and...

, where he read law and was an active member of the College Historical Society
College Historical Society (Trinity College, Dublin)
The College Historical Society is one of two main debating societies at Trinity College, Dublin in Dublin, Ireland. It was established within the college in 1770, but traces its origins to the society founded by the philosopher Edmund Burke in Dublin in 1747...

. He also played with the college hurling
Hurling
Hurling is an outdoor team game of ancient Gaelic origin, administered by the Gaelic Athletic Association, and played with sticks called hurleys and a ball called a sliotar. Hurling is the national game of Ireland. The game has prehistoric origins, has been played for at least 3,000 years, and...

 team – a precursor to the modern day hockey
Hockey
Hockey is a family of sports in which two teams play against each other by trying to maneuver a ball or a puck into the opponent's goal using a hockey stick.-Etymology:...

 club. Carson graduated BA
Bachelor of Arts
A Bachelor of Arts , from the Latin artium baccalaureus, is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, the sciences, or both...

 and MA.

As a barrister

In 1877 Carson was called to the Irish Bar
Bar association
A bar association is a professional body of lawyers. Some bar associations are responsible for the regulation of the legal profession in their jurisdiction; others are professional organizations dedicated to serving their members; in many cases, they are both...

 at King's Inns
King's Inns
The Honorable Society of King's Inns , is the institution which controls the entry of barristers-at-law into the justice system of Ireland...

. He gained a reputation for fearsome advocacy and supreme legal ability and became regarded as a brilliant barrister, one of the leading ones in Ireland at the time. He was also an acknowledged master of the appeal to the jury
Jury
A jury is a sworn body of people convened to render an impartial verdict officially submitted to them by a court, or to set a penalty or judgment. Modern juries tend to be found in courts to ascertain the guilt, or lack thereof, in a crime. In Anglophone jurisdictions, the verdict may be guilty,...

 by his legal wit and oratory. He was appointed Queen's Counsel
Queen's Counsel
Queen's Counsel , known as King's Counsel during the reign of a male sovereign, are lawyers appointed by letters patent to be one of Her [or His] Majesty's Counsel learned in the law...

 in 1889.

Oscar Wilde

In 1895, he was engaged by the Marquess of Queensberry
John Douglas, 9th Marquess of Queensberry
John Sholto Douglas, 9th Marquess of Queensberry GCVO was a Scottish nobleman, remembered for lending his name and patronage to the "Marquess of Queensberry rules" that formed the basis of modern boxing, for his outspoken atheism, and for his role in the downfall of author and playwright Oscar...

 to lead his defence against Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde
Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was an Irish writer and poet. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London's most popular playwrights in the early 1890s...

's action for criminal libel
Criminal libel
Criminal libel is a legal term, of English origin, which may be used with one of two distinct meanings, in those common law jurisdictions where it is still used....

. The Marquess, angry at Wilde's ongoing homosexual relationship with his son, Lord Alfred Douglas
Lord Alfred Douglas
Lord Alfred Bruce Douglas , nicknamed Bosie, was a British author, poet and translator, better known as the intimate friend and lover of the writer Oscar Wilde...

, had left his calling card at Wilde's club with an inscription accusing Wilde of being a "posing somdomite
Sodomy
Sodomy is an anal or other copulation-like act, especially between male persons or between a man and animal, and one who practices sodomy is a "sodomite"...

 ". Wilde retaliated with a libel action, as homosexuality was then illegal.

Kevin Myers
Kevin Myers
Kevin Myers is an Irish journalist and writer. He writes for the Irish Independent and is a former contributor to The Irish Times, where he wrote the "An Irishman's Diary" opinion column several times weekly...

 states that Carson's initial response was to refuse to take the case. Later, he discovered that Queensberry had been telling the truth about Wilde's activity and was therefore not guilty of the libel of which Wilde accused him.

Carson had known Wilde when they were students at Trinity College, Dublin
Trinity College, Dublin
Trinity College, Dublin , formally known as the College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity of Queen Elizabeth near Dublin, was founded in 1592 by letters patent from Queen Elizabeth I as the "mother of a university", Extracts from Letters Patent of Elizabeth I, 1592: "...we...found and...

, and when he heard that Carson was to lead the defence, Wilde is quoted as saying that "No doubt he will pursue his case with all the added bitterness of an old friend." In fact, Carson went out of his way to make his case and destroy Wilde, portraying the playwright as a morally depraved sodomite who seduced naive young boys into a life of homosexuality with lavish gifts and promises of a glamorous artistic lifestyle. He impugned Wilde's works as morally repugnant and designed to corrupt the upbringing of the youth. Queensberry spent a considerable amount of money on private detectives who investigated Wilde's presence in the London underworld of homosexual clubs and procurers.

Wilde abandoned the case when Carson announced in his opening speech for the defence that he planned to call several male prostitutes who would testify that they had had sex with Wilde, which would have rendered the libel charge unsupportable as the accusation would have been proven true. Wilde was bankrupted when he was then ordered to pay the considerable legal and detective bills Queensberry had incurred in his defence.

Based on the evidence of Queensberry's detectives and Carson's cross-examinations of Wilde at the trial, Wilde was immediately arrested and charged with sodomy
Sodomy
Sodomy is an anal or other copulation-like act, especially between male persons or between a man and animal, and one who practices sodomy is a "sodomite"...

 and gross indecency
Labouchere Amendment
The Labouchere Amendment, also known as Section 11 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885 made gross indecency a crime in the United Kingdom. The amendment gave no definition of "gross indecency," as Victorian morality demurred from precise descriptions of activity held to be immoral...

. He was eventually found guilty and sentenced to 2 years' hard labour, after which he moved to France in shame, where he died penniless.

Cadbury Bros.

In 1908 he appeared for the London Evening Standard
Evening Standard
The Evening Standard, now styled the London Evening Standard, is a free local daily newspaper, published Monday–Friday in tabloid format in London. It is the dominant regional evening paper for London and the surrounding area, with coverage of national and international news and City of London...

in a libel action brought by George Cadbury
George Cadbury
George Cadbury was the third son of John Cadbury, a Quaker who founded Cadbury's cocoa and chocolate company.-Background:...

. The Standard was controlled by Unionist interests which supported Joseph Chamberlain
Joseph Chamberlain
Joseph Chamberlain was an influential British politician and statesman. Unlike most major politicians of the time, he was a self-made businessman and had not attended Oxford or Cambridge University....

's Imperial Preference
Imperial Preference
Imperial Preference was a proposed system of reciprocally-levelled tariffs or free trade agreements between the dominions and colonies within the British Empire...

 views. The Cadbury family were Liberal
Liberalism
Liberalism is the belief in the importance of liberty and equal rights. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally, liberals support ideas such as constitutionalism, liberal democracy, free and fair elections, human rights,...

 supporters of free trade
Free trade
Under a free trade policy, prices emerge from supply and demand, and are the sole determinant of resource allocation. 'Free' trade differs from other forms of trade policy where the allocation of goods and services among trading countries are determined by price strategies that may differ from...

 and had, in 1901, purchased The Daily News. The Standard articles alleged that Cadbury Bros Ltd., which claimed to be model employers having created the village of Bournville
Bournville
Bournville is a model village on the south side of Birmingham, England, best known for its connections with the Cadbury family and chocolate – including a dark chocolate bar branded "Bournville". It is also a ward within the council constituency of Selly Oak and home to the Bournville Centre...

 outside Birmingham
Birmingham
Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England. It is the most populous British city outside the capital London, with a population of 1,036,900 , and lies at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation, the second most populous urban area in the United Kingdom with a...

, knew of the slave labour conditions on São Tomé
São Tomé
-Transport:São Tomé is served by São Tomé International Airport with regular flights to Europe and other African Countries.-Climate:São Tomé features a tropical wet and dry climate with a relatively lengthy wet season and a short dry season. The wet season runs from October through May while the...

, the Portuguese island colony from which Cadbury purchased most of their cocoa for the production of their chocolate
Chocolate
Chocolate is a raw or processed food produced from the seed of the tropical Theobroma cacao tree. Cacao has been cultivated for at least three millennia in Mexico, Central and South America. Its earliest documented use is around 1100 BC...

.

The articles alleged that George's son William had gone to São Tomé in 1901 and observed for himself the slave conditions, and that the Cadbury family had decided to continue purchasing the cocoa grown there because it was cheaper than that grown in the British colony of the Gold Coast
Gold Coast (British colony)
The Gold Coast was a British colony on the Gulf of Guinea in west Africa that became the independent nation of Ghana in 1957.-Overview:The first Europeans to arrive at the coast were the Portuguese in 1471. They encountered a variety of African kingdoms, some of which controlled substantial...

, where labour conditions were much better, being regulated by the Colonial Office
Secretary of State for the Colonies
The Secretary of State for the Colonies or Colonial Secretary was the British Cabinet minister in charge of managing the United Kingdom's various colonial dependencies....

. The Standard alleged that the Cadbury family knew that the reason cocoa from São Tomé was cheaper was because it was grown by slave labour. This case was regarded at the time as an important political case as Carson and the Unionists maintained that it showed the fundamental immorality of free trade. George Cadbury recovered one farthing in damages in a case described as one of Carson's triumphs.

Archer-Shee case

Carson was also the victorious counsel in the 1910 Archer-Shee Case
George Archer-Shee
George Archer-Shee became a British cause célèbre in 1910 when the issue of whether he stole a five shilling postal order ended up being decided in the High Court....

, on which Terence Rattigan
Terence Rattigan
Sir Terence Mervyn Rattigan CBE was one of England's most popular 20th-century dramatists. His plays are generally set in an upper-middle-class background...

 based his play The Winslow Boy
The Winslow Boy
thumb|1st edition cover The Winslow Boy is an English play from 1946 by Terence Rattigan based on an actual incident in the Edwardian era, which took place at the Royal Naval College, Osborne.-Performance History:...

. The fictional barrister, Morton, is a somewhat different character from Carson, younger and more lively (at least as played by Robert Donat
Robert Donat
Robert Donat was an English film and stage actor. He is best-known for his roles in Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps and Goodbye, Mr...

 in the 1948 film version, although other actors may have played the part differently). There is however one interesting detail. At the end of the play Morton indicates he may take continued interest in the boy’s sister, who had played a key role in the fictional case. In his account of the case, which was the last chapter of his book before his suicide, Edward Marjoribanks
Edward Marjoribanks (Conservative politician)
Edward Marjoribanks was a barrister and Conservative Party politician in the United Kingdom.At the 1929 general election, he was elected as Member of Parliament for Eastbourne in East Sussex, and held the seat at the 1931 general election...

 said that Carson’s first marriage was strained and his wife died around this time. He then married a much younger woman, Lucy Frewin, and Marjoribanks, who had help from the Carson family, says her interest in him was aroused by the Archer-Shee case. They had a son (also Edward) born when Carson was over 60, who in 1945 became the youngest Member of Parliament but resigned after a few years for health reasons.

Politics

Carson's political career began on 20 June 1892, when he was appointed Solicitor-General for Ireland
Solicitor-General for Ireland
The Solicitor-General for Ireland was the holder of an Irish and then United Kingdom government office. The holder was a deputy to the Attorney-General for Ireland, and advised the Crown on Irish legal matters. At least one holder of the office, Patrick Barnewall played a significant role in...

, although he was not then a member of the House of Commons
British House of Commons
The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which also comprises the Sovereign and the House of Lords . Both Commons and Lords meet in the Palace of Westminster. The Commons is a democratically elected body, consisting of 650 members , who are known as Members...

. He was elected as Member of Parliament
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

 for the University of Dublin in the 1892 general election
United Kingdom general election, 1892
The 1892 United Kingdom general election was held from 4 July to 26 July 1892. It saw the Conservatives, led by Lord Salisbury, win the greatest number of seats, but not enough for an overall majority as William Ewart Gladstone's Liberals won many more seats than in the 1886 general election...

 as a Unionist
Unionism in Ireland
Unionism in Ireland is an ideology that favours the continuation of some form of political union between the islands of Ireland and Great Britain...

, although as a whole the party lost the election to the Liberals.

Carson maintained his career as a barrister and was admitted to the English Bar by The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple
Middle Temple
The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple, commonly known as Middle Temple, is one of the four Inns of Court exclusively entitled to call their members to the English Bar as barristers; the others being the Inner Temple, Gray's Inn and Lincoln's Inn...

 in 1893 and from then on mainly practised in London. In 1896 he was sworn of the Irish Privy Council
Privy Council of Ireland
The Privy Council of Ireland was an institution of the Kingdom of Ireland until 31 December 1800 and of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland 1801-1922...

. He was appointed Solicitor-General for England
Solicitor General for England and Wales
Her Majesty's Solicitor General for England and Wales, often known as the Solicitor General, is one of the Law Officers of the Crown, and the deputy of the Attorney General, whose duty is to advise the Crown and Cabinet on the law...

 on 7 May 1900, receiving the usual ex officio knighthood
Knight Bachelor
The rank of Knight Bachelor is a part of the British honours system. It is the most basic rank of a man who has been knighted by the monarch but not as a member of one of the organised Orders of Chivalry...

. He served in this position until the Conservative
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

 government resigned in December 1905, when he was rewarded with membership of the Privy Council.

Unionism

With the passage of the Parliament Act 1911
Parliament Act 1911
The Parliament Act 1911 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It is constitutionally important and partly governs the relationship between the House of Commons and the House of Lords which make up the Houses of Parliament. This Act must be construed as one with the Parliament Act 1949...

, the Unionists faced the loss of the House of Lords
House of Lords
The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....

' ability to thwart the passage of the new Home Rule Bill
Home Rule Act 1914
The Government of Ireland Act 1914 , also known as the Third Home Rule Bill, was an Act passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom intended to provide self-government for Ireland within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.The Act was the first law ever passed by the Parliament of...

. Carson disliked many of Ulster's local characteristics and, in particular, the culture of Orangeism
Orange Institution
The Orange Institution is a Protestant fraternal organisation based mainly in Northern Ireland and Scotland, though it has lodges throughout the Commonwealth and United States. The Institution was founded in 1796 near the village of Loughgall in County Armagh, Ireland...

, although he had become an Orangeman at nineteen. He stated that their speeches reminded him of "the unrolling of a mummy. All old bones and rotten rags."
Carson campaigned against Home Rule
Home rule
Home rule is the power of a constituent part of a state to exercise such of the state's powers of governance within its own administrative area that have been devolved to it by the central government....

. He spoke against the Bill in the House of Commons
British House of Commons
The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which also comprises the Sovereign and the House of Lords . Both Commons and Lords meet in the Palace of Westminster. The Commons is a democratically elected body, consisting of 650 members , who are known as Members...

 and organised rallies in Ireland. At one rally, Carson told a crowd of 50,000 that a provisional government for "the Protestant province of Ulster" should be ready, should a third Home Rule Bill
Home Rule Act 1914
The Government of Ireland Act 1914 , also known as the Third Home Rule Bill, was an Act passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom intended to provide self-government for Ireland within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.The Act was the first law ever passed by the Parliament of...

 come into law.

On 28 September 1912 he was the first signatory on the Ulster Covenant
Ulster Covenant
The Ulster Covenant was signed by just under half a million of men and women from Ulster, on and before September 28, 1912, in protest against the Third Home Rule Bill, introduced by the Government in that same year...

, which bound its signatories to resist Home Rule with the threat that they would use "all means necessary" after Carson had established the Ulster Volunteers, the first loyalist
Ulster loyalism
Ulster loyalism is an ideology that is opposed to a united Ireland. It can mean either support for upholding Northern Ireland's status as a constituent part of the United Kingdom , support for Northern Ireland independence, or support for loyalist paramilitaries...

 paramilitary
Paramilitary
A paramilitary is a force whose function and organization are similar to those of a professional military, but which is not considered part of a state's formal armed forces....

 group. From it the Ulster Volunteer Force was formed in January 1913, and received a large arms cache
Larne Gun Running
The Larne gun-running was a major gun smuggling operation organised in Ireland by Major Frederick H. Crawford and Captain Wilfrid Spender for the Ulster Unionist Council to equip the Ulster Volunteer Force...

 from Germany in April 1914. Imperial Germany
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

 was very eager to promote political tension in the United Kingdom at the time, and readily allowed the delivery of arms to both sides of the political divide in Ireland. Later that year, a further shipment of arms from Germany was delivered to the pro-Home Rule Irish Volunteers at Howth near Dublin.

The Home Rule Bill was passed by the Commons on 25 May 1914 by a majority of 77 and due to the Parliament Act 1911
Parliament Act 1911
The Parliament Act 1911 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It is constitutionally important and partly governs the relationship between the House of Commons and the House of Lords which make up the Houses of Parliament. This Act must be construed as one with the Parliament Act 1949...

, it did not need the Lords' consent, so the bill was awaiting royal assent. To enforce the legislation, given the activities of the Unionists, Herbert Henry Asquith
H. H. Asquith
Herbert Henry Asquith, 1st Earl of Oxford and Asquith, KG, PC, KC served as the Liberal Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1908 to 1916...

's Liberal
Liberal Party (UK)
The Liberal Party was one of the two major political parties of the United Kingdom during the 19th and early 20th centuries. It was a third party of negligible importance throughout the latter half of the 20th Century, before merging with the Social Democratic Party in 1988 to form the present day...

 government had prepared to send troops to Ulster. This sparked the Curragh Incident
Curragh Incident
The Curragh Incident of 20 March 1914, also known as the Curragh Mutiny, occurred in the Curragh, County Kildare, Ireland. The Curragh Camp was then the main base for the British Army in Ireland, which at the time formed part of the United Kingdom....

 on 20 March Together with the arming of the southern Irish Volunteers
Irish Volunteers
The Irish Volunteers was a military organisation established in 1913 by Irish nationalists. It was ostensibly formed in response to the formation of the Ulster Volunteers in 1912, and its declared primary aim was "to secure and maintain the rights and liberties common to the whole people of Ireland"...

, Ireland was on the brink of civil war
Civil war
A civil war is a war between organized groups within the same nation state or republic, or, less commonly, between two countries created from a formerly-united nation state....

 when the outbreak of the First World War
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 led to the suspension of the Home Rule Act's operation until the end of the war. By this time Carson had announced in Belfast that an Ulster Division would be formed from the U.V.F., and the 36th (Ulster) Division was swiftly organised.

In a speech opposing the Anglo-Irish Treaty
Anglo-Irish Treaty
The Anglo-Irish Treaty , officially called the Articles of Agreement for a Treaty Between Great Britain and Ireland, was a treaty between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and representatives of the secessionist Irish Republic that concluded the Irish War of...

, Carson attacked the 'Tory intrigues' that had led him on the course that would partition Ireland. In the course of the speech Carson said "What a fool I was! I was only a puppet, and so was Ulster, and so was Ireland, in the political game that was to get the Conservative Party into Power." Later in the speech, Carson said: "But I say to my Ulster friends, and I say it with all sincerity and solemnity: “Do not be led into any such false line. Stick to your old ideals of closer and closer connection with this country. The Coalition Government, after all, is not the British nation, and the British nation will certainly see you righted. Your interests lie with Great Britain. You have helped her, and you have helped her Empire, and her Empire belongs just as much to you as it does to England. Stick to it, and trust the British people”."

Cabinet member

On 25 May 1915, Asquith appointed Carson Attorney-General
Attorney General for England and Wales
Her Majesty's Attorney General for England and Wales, usually known simply as the Attorney General, is one of the Law Officers of the Crown. Along with the subordinate Solicitor General for England and Wales, the Attorney General serves as the chief legal adviser of the Crown and its government in...

 when the Coalition Government was formed after the Liberal government was brought down by the Shell Crisis
Shell Crisis of 1915
The Shell Crisis of 1915 was a shortage of artillery shells on the front lines of World War I, which largely contributed to weakening public appreciation of government of the United Kingdom because it was widely perceived that the production of artillery shells for use by the British Army was...

. He resigned on 19 October, however, citing his opposition to Government policy on war in the Balkans. During Asquith's coalition government of 1915–1916, there was no formal opposition in either the Commons or the Lords. The only party not in Asquith's Liberal, Conservative, Labour Coalition was the Irish Nationalist Party led by John Redmond
John Redmond
John Edward Redmond was an Irish nationalist politician, barrister, MP in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party from 1900 to 1918...

. However, this party supported the government and did not function as an Opposition. After Carson, the leading figure amongst the Irish Unionist allies of the Conservative Party, resigned from the coalition ministry on 19 October 1915, he then became the de facto leader of those Unionists who were not members of the government, effectively Leader of the Opposition in the Commons.

When Asquith resigned as Prime Minister, Carson returned to office on 10 December 1916 as First Lord of the Admiralty
Lord Commissioner of the Admiralty
The Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty were the members of the Board of Admiralty, which exercised command over the Royal Navy.Officially known as the Commissioners for Exercising the Office of Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland &c. The Lords...

, becoming a Minister without Portfolio on 17 July 1917.

Carson was hostile to the foundation of the League of Nations
League of Nations
The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first permanent international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace...

 as he believed that this institution would be ineffectual against war. In a speech on 7 December 1917 he said:

Talk to me of treaties! Talk to me of the League of Nations! Every Great Power
Great power
A great power is a nation or state that has the ability to exert its influence on a global scale. Great powers characteristically possess military and economic strength and diplomatic and cultural influence which may cause small powers to consider the opinions of great powers before taking actions...

 in Europe was pledged by treaty to preserve Belgium. That was a League of Nations, but it failed.


Early in 1918, the government decided to extend conscription
Conscription
Conscription is the compulsory enlistment of people in some sort of national service, most often military service. Conscription dates back to antiquity and continues in some countries to the present day under various names...

 to Ireland, and that Ireland would have to be given home rule in order to make it acceptable. Carson disagreed in principle and again resigned on 21 January. He gave up his seat at the University of Dublin in the 1918 general election and was instead elected for Belfast Duncairn
Belfast Duncairn (UK Parliament constituency)
Duncairn, a division of Belfast, was a UK parliamentary constituency in Ireland. It returned one Member of Parliament to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom from 1918 to 1922.-Boundaries and boundary changes:...

.

He continued to lead the Unionists, but when the Government of Ireland Act 1920
Government of Ireland Act 1920
The Government of Ireland Act 1920 was the Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which partitioned Ireland. The Act's long title was "An Act to provide for the better government of Ireland"; it is also known as the Fourth Home Rule Bill or as the Fourth Home Rule Act.The Act was intended...

 was introduced, advised his party to work for the exemption of six Ulster counties from Home Rule as the best compromise (a compromise he had previously rejected). This proposal passed and as a result the Parliament of Northern Ireland
Parliament of Northern Ireland
The Parliament of Northern Ireland was the home rule legislature of Northern Ireland, created under the Government of Ireland Act 1920, which sat from 7 June 1921 to 30 March 1972, when it was suspended...

 was established.

In January 1921 he met in London over three days with Father O'Flanagan
Michael O'Flanagan
Fr. Michael O'Flanagan was an Irish Republican and Roman Catholic priest.-Early life:Born near Castlerea, County Roscommon, O'Flanagan's parents were native Irish speakers. He received his primary education at Cloonboniffe N.S. before traveling to Sligo where he attended secondary school at...

 and Sir James O'Connor
James O'Connor (Irish jurist)
Sir James O'Connor PC was an Irish barrister and judge He was appointed Solicitor-General for Ireland in 1914, and Attorney-General for Ireland in 1917.He served briefly as a High Court judge, then as a Lord Justice of the Irish Court of Appeal from 1918 to his enforced retirement in 1924...

 to try to find a mutual agreement that would end the Anglo-Irish war, but without result.

After the partition of Ireland, Carson repeatedly warned Ulster Unionist leaders not to alienate northern Catholics, as he foresaw this would make Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

 unstable. In 1921 he stated: "We used to say that we could not trust an Irish parliament in Dublin to do justice to the Protestant minority. Let us take care that that reproach can no longer be made against your parliament, and from the outset let them see that the Catholic minority have nothing to fear from a Protestant majority." His warnings were largely in vain.

Judge

Carson was asked to lead the Unionists during the election to become the first Prime Minister of Northern Ireland
Prime Minister of Northern Ireland
The Prime Minister of Northern Ireland was the de facto head of the Government of Northern Ireland. No such office was provided for in the Government of Ireland Act 1920. However the Lord Lieutenant, as with Governors-General in other Westminster Systems such as in Canada, chose to appoint someone...

. Carson declined due to his lack of connections with any Northern Ireland constituency (an opponent once taunted him saying: "He has no country, he has no caste"), and resigned the leadership of the party on 4 February 1921. Carson was appointed one of seven Lords of Appeal in Ordinary
Lord of Appeal in Ordinary
Lords of Appeal in Ordinary, commonly known as Law Lords, were appointed under the Appellate Jurisdiction Act 1876 to the House of Lords of the United Kingdom in order to exercise its judicial functions, which included acting as the highest court of appeal for most domestic matters...

 on 24 May 1921 and was created a life peer under the Appellate Jurisdiction Act 1876
Appellate Jurisdiction Act 1876
The Appellate Jurisdiction Act 1876 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that altered the judicial functions of the House of Lords. The act was repealed by the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, which transferred the judicial functions from the House of Lords to the Supreme Court of the...

 on 1 June 1921 as Baron Carson, of Duncairn
Belfast Duncairn (UK Parliament constituency)
Duncairn, a division of Belfast, was a UK parliamentary constituency in Ireland. It returned one Member of Parliament to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom from 1918 to 1922.-Boundaries and boundary changes:...

 in the County of Antrim
County Antrim
County Antrim is one of six counties that form Northern Ireland, situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland. Adjoined to the north-east shore of Lough Neagh, the county covers an area of 2,844 km², with a population of approximately 616,000...

.

Private life

Carson married twice. His first wife was Annette Kirwan
Annette Kirwan
Annette Kirwan, , first wife of Edward Carson, Baron Carson, died 6 April 1913.Kirwan from County Galway, daughter of H. Persse Kirwan, a retired County Inspector of the Royal Irish Constabulary. Kirwan was a descendant of William Ó Ciardhubháin and a member of The Tribes of Galway.She had two sons...

 from County Galway
County Galway
County Galway is a county in Ireland. It is located in the West Region and is also part of the province of Connacht. It is named after the city of Galway. Galway County Council is the local authority for the county. There are several strongly Irish-speaking areas in the west of the county...

, daughter of H. Persse Kirwan, a retired County Inspector of the Royal Irish Constabulary
Royal Irish Constabulary
The armed Royal Irish Constabulary was Ireland's major police force for most of the nineteenth and the early twentieth centuries. A separate civic police force, the unarmed Dublin Metropolitan Police controlled the capital, and the cities of Derry and Belfast, originally with their own police...

. He had two sons and two daughters by his first wife (he described them as a "rum lot"), namely:
  • The Hon. William Henry Lambert Carson, born 2 October 1880
  • The Hon. Aileen Carson, born 13 November 1881
  • The Hon. Gladys Isobel Carson, born 1885
  • The Hon. Walter Seymour Carson, born 1890


The first Lady Carson died on 6 April 1913. His second wife was Ruby Frewen, a Yorkshire
Yorkshire
Yorkshire is a historic county of northern England and the largest in the United Kingdom. Because of its great size in comparison to other English counties, functions have been increasingly undertaken over time by its subdivisions, which have also been subject to periodic reform...

woman, the daughter of Lt.-Col. Stephen Frewen. They were married on 17 September 1914; she was 29 and he was 60. They had one son:
  • The Hon. Edward Carson MP
    Edward Carson (English politician)
    Edward "Ned" Carson was a British Conservative politician.-Personal life:The Hon. Edward Carson was the youngest child of five children , and he was the only child to his fathers second wife Ruby Frewen, who his father had married following the death of the first Lady Carson.Edward Carson was...

    , born 17 February 1920

Later years

Carson retired in October 1929. In July 1932, he had witnessed the unveiling of a large statue (sculptored by L. S. Merrifield) of himself in front of Parliament Buildings
Parliament Buildings (Northern Ireland)
The Parliament Buildings, known as Stormont because of its location in the Stormont area of Belfast is the seat of the Northern Ireland Assembly and the Northern Ireland Executive...

 at Stormont. The statue was unveiled by Lord Craigavon
James Craig, 1st Viscount Craigavon
James Craig, 1st Viscount Craigavon, PC, PC , was a prominent Irish unionist politician, leader of the Ulster Unionist Party and the first Prime Minister of Northern Ireland...

 in the presence of more than 40,000 people. The statue was cast in bronze and placed upon a plinth. The inscription on the base read "By the loyalists of Ulster
Ulster loyalism
Ulster loyalism is an ideology that is opposed to a united Ireland. It can mean either support for upholding Northern Ireland's status as a constituent part of the United Kingdom , support for Northern Ireland independence, or support for loyalist paramilitaries...

 as an expression of their love and admiration for its subject". This was the final time he visited Belfast
Belfast
Belfast is the capital of and largest city in Northern Ireland. By population, it is the 14th biggest city in the United Kingdom and second biggest on the island of Ireland . It is the seat of the devolved government and legislative Northern Ireland Assembly...

.

State funeral

Carson lived at Cleve Court, a Queen Anne
Queen Anne Style architecture
The Queen Anne Style in Britain means either the English Baroque architectural style roughly of the reign of Queen Anne , or a revived form that was popular in the last quarter of the 19th century and the early decades of the 20th century...

 house near Minster
Minster-in-Thanet
Minster-in-Thanet, also known as Minster, is a village and civil parish in the Thanet District of Kent, England. The village is situated to the west of Ramsgate and to the north east of Canterbury; it lies just south west of Kent International Airport and just north of the River Stour...

 in the Isle of Thanet
Isle of Thanet
The Isle of Thanet lies at the most easterly point of Kent, England. While in the past it was separated from the mainland by the nearly -wide River Wantsum, it is no longer an island ....

, Kent
Kent
Kent is a county in southeast England, and is one of the home counties. It borders East Sussex, Surrey and Greater London and has a defined boundary with Essex in the middle of the Thames Estuary. The ceremonial county boundaries of Kent include the shire county of Kent and the unitary borough of...

, bought in 1921. It was here that Carson died peacefully on 22 October 1935. The United Kingdom gave him a state funeral, which took place in Belfast at St Anne's Cathedral
St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast
St Anne's Cathedral, also known as Belfast Cathedral, is a cathedral of the Church of Ireland in Donegall Street, Belfast, Northern Ireland...

; he is still the only person to have been buried there. From a silver bowl, soil from each of the six counties of Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

 was scattered on to his coffin, which had earlier been covered by the Union Flag
Union Flag
The Union Flag, also known as the Union Jack, is the flag of the United Kingdom. It retains an official or semi-official status in some Commonwealth Realms; for example, it is known as the Royal Union Flag in Canada. It is also used as an official flag in some of the smaller British overseas...

. At his funeral service the choir sang his own favourite hymn, "I Vow to Thee, My Country
I Vow to Thee, My Country
I Vow to Thee, My Country is a British patriotic song created in 1921 when a poem by Sir Cecil Spring-Rice was set to music by Gustav Holst.-History:...

". A warship had brought his body to Belfast and the funeral took place on Saturday 26 October 1935. Thousands of shipworkers stopped work and bowed their heads as HMS Broke
HMS Broke (D83)
HMS Broke was a Thornycroft type flotilla leader of the Royal Navy. She was the second of four ships of this class that were ordered from J I Thornycroft in April 1918, and was originally named Rooke after Rear Admiral Sir George Rooke of the Dutch Wars and the Battle of Vigo Bay.-Construction:She...

 steamed slowly up Belfast Lough
Belfast Lough
Belfast Lough is a large, natural intertidal sea lough at the mouth of the River Lagan on the east coast of Northern Ireland. The inner part of the lough comprises a series of mudflats and lagoons. The outer lough is restricted to mainly rocky shores with some small sandy bays...

, with Carson's flag-draped coffin sat on the quarterdeck.

Video footage of Lord Carson's funeral can be viewed on YouTube
YouTube
YouTube is a video-sharing website, created by three former PayPal employees in February 2005, on which users can upload, view and share videos....


Titles from birth to death

  • Edward Carson, Esq. (9 February 1854–1889)
  • Edward Carson, QC
    Queen's Counsel
    Queen's Counsel , known as King's Counsel during the reign of a male sovereign, are lawyers appointed by letters patent to be one of Her [or His] Majesty's Counsel learned in the law...

    (1889–1892)
  • Edward Carson, QC, MP (July 1892-7 May 1900)
  • Sir Edward Carson, QC, MP (7 May 1900 – December 1905)
  • The Rt. Hon. Sir Edward Carson, KC, MP (December 1905-1 June 1921)
  • The Rt. Hon. The Lord Carson, PC (1 June 1921–22 October 1935)

Ancestry

Carson was a descendant of Major Oliver Óge Martyn, MP for County Galway
County Galway
County Galway is a county in Ireland. It is located in the West Region and is also part of the province of Connacht. It is named after the city of Galway. Galway County Council is the local authority for the county. There are several strongly Irish-speaking areas in the west of the county...

 (c. 1629-c. 1709). This made him a cousin to the first president of Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin is a left wing, Irish republican political party in Ireland. The name is Irish for "ourselves" or "we ourselves", although it is frequently mistranslated as "ourselves alone". Originating in the Sinn Féin organisation founded in 1905 by Arthur Griffith, it took its current form in 1970...

, Edward Martyn
Edward Martyn
Edward Martyn was an Irish political and cultural activist and playwright.-Early life:Martyn was the eldest son of John Martyn of Tullira and Annie Mary Josephine Smyth of Masonbrook, Loughrea, both in County Galway. He succeeded his father upon John's death in 1860...

.

Further reading

  • H. Montgomery Hyde, Carson (Constable, London 1974) ISBN 0-09-459510-0
  • A.T.Q. Stewart The Ulster Crisis, Resistance to Home Rule, 1912–14, (Faber and Faber, London, 1967, 1979), ISBN 0-571-08066-9
  • A.T.Q. Stewart, Edward Carson (Gill and Macmillan Ltd, Dublin 1981) ISBN 0-7171-1075-3
  • Geoffrey Lewis, Carson, the Man who divided Ireland, (Hambledon and London 2005), ISBN 1-85285-454-5

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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