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Summary Article: Carson, Edward Henry
from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Anglo-Irish politician and lawyer who played a decisive part in the trial of the writer Oscar Wilde. In the years before World War I he led the movement in Ulster to resist Irish home rule by force of arms if need be. He was knighted in 1896, and made a baron in 1921.

Educated at Portarlington School and Trinity College Dublin, Carson was one of the leading legal and political figures of his day. He represented the Marquis of Queensbury in the 1895 case that ruined the career of Oscar Wilde, and was solicitor general 1900–06. As leader of the Irish Unionist Party from 1910, he mobilized the resistance of Protestant Ulster to home rule; the threat of armed rebellion against the Liberal government by his ‘Ulster Volunteers’ effectively wrecked the scheme by 1914. In 1915, he became attorney general in the coalition government and was a member of the war cabinet 1917–18. He resigned as Unionist leader in 1921 and served as a Lord of Appeal 1921–29, and was created a life peer (as Baron Carson of Duncairn) in 1921. Although Carson secured the exclusion of part of Ulster – the ‘six counties’ – from control by a Dublin parliament, he failed in his goal of preventing self-government for any part of Ireland.

Carson's legal career began when he was called to the Irish Bar in 1877. He became an Irish Queen's Counsel in 1889, and rapidly built up a successful legal practice. Appointed Irish solicitor general in 1892, he entered Parliament as Unionist MP for Trinity College, Dublin, continuing to hold that seat until 1918 when he was returned for the Duncairn division of Belfast. In 1893 he was called to the English Bar, in 1894 became an English QC. Of commanding presence and magnetic appearance, Carson was one of the most formidable orators of his day.


Carson, Edward Henry

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