Carson, Edward Henry Carson, Baron

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Carson, Edward Henry Carson, Baron

Edward Henry Carson Carson, Baron, 1854–1935, Irish politician. After a successful legal career in Dublin, he was elected to the British Parliament (1892) and called to the English bar (1893). He soon established himself as a prominent London trial lawyer, especially after his brilliantly devastating cross-examination of Oscar Wilde in the Queensberry libel case (1895). Carson was solicitor general in the Conservative government from 1900 to 1905. He had long opposed Home Rule for Ireland, fearing dominance of Protestant Ulster by the Catholic South, and in 1912 he organized military resistance in Ulster against the attempt of the Liberal government to impose it. Faced with the threat of civil war, the government eventually conceded that Ulster should be excluded from the Home Rule settlement. During World War I, Carson served as attorney general (1915) in Herbert Asquith's coalition government and as first lord of the Admiralty (1916–17) and member of the war cabinet (1917–18) under David Lloyd George. He resigned as leader of the Ulster Unionists in 1921, was made a baron in the same year, and served (1921–29) as lord of appeal in ordinary.

See biography by H. M. Hyde (1953).

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