Edward Carson, Baron Carson

Irish politician, barrister and judge

Edward Henry Carson, Baron Carson PC (9 February 1854 – 22 October 1935) was a leader of the Irish Unionists, a barrister and a judge.


  • 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.
  • There is no one in the world who would be more pleased to see an absolute unity in Ireland than I would, and it could be purchased tomorrow, at what does not seem to me a very big price. If the South and West of Ireland came forward tomorrow to Ulster and said – "Look here, we have to run our old island, and we have to run her together, and we will give up all this everlasting teaching of hatred of England, and we will shake hands with you, and you and we together, within the Empire, doing our best for ourselves and the United Kingdom, and for all His Majesty's Dominion will join together", I will undertake that we would accept the handshake.
    • Speech in Torquay, 30 January 1921.

Quotes about CarsonEdit

  • I trust he will conduct his cross-examination with all the added bitterness of an old friend.
    • Oscar Wilde, on learning that Carson had been briefed to defend the Marquess of Queensberry in the libel trial.
  • Dear Carson, I never heard a more powerful speech nor a more searching crossXam. I congratulate you on having escaped most of the filth. Yrs ever, R. Henn Collins.
    • Note passed by Mr Justice Henn Collins to Carson at the end of the Queensberry libel trial, quoted in Merlin Holland, "The Irish Peacock and the Scarlet Marquess" (4th Estate, 2002), p. xxx.
  • I asked [David Lloyd George] if he believed in Carson. 'Yes', he said. 'He is a great man: he has courage, he has determination; he has judgment'. I questioned whether he had judgment. 'Oh, yes', was [Lloyd George's] reply. 'He was extraordinarily clever over the Ulster business: his calculations were almost unerring'.
    • Frances Stevenson's diary entry (8 February 1916), A. J. P. Taylor (ed.), Lloyd George: A Diary (London: Hutchinson, 1971), p. 96

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