Edward Carson

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This Home Rule conspiracy is the most nefarious conspiracy that has ever been put before the electors of this country.

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

Quotes[edit]

  • This Home Rule conspiracy is the most nefarious conspiracy that has ever been put before the electors of this country.
    • Speech in Eastbourne (25 November 1911), quoted in The Times (27 November 1911), p. 7
  • We have given of our best to build up the Empire. We recall the names of Wellington, of Roberts, of White of Ladysmith, and we think of Coghill of Isandula, around whose body when it was found dead the flag of the British race, the old Union Jack, was found. All these were men of loyalist Ireland and mainly of Ulster. And now, forsooth, this great England, the great country that boasts of liberty, of adherence to principle, and of never deserting its friends, is to sacrifice the loyalists to the necessity of maintaining this heaven-sent Government in power.
    • Speech in Eastbourne (25 November 1911), quoted in The Times (27 November 1911), p. 7
  • 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 (7 December 1917), Liberal Magazine, XXV (1917), p. 604, quoted in Henry R. Winkler, ‘The Development of the League of Nations Idea in Great Britain, 1914-1919’, The Journal of Modern History Vol. 20, No. 2 (Jun., 1948), p. 105
  • Talk of a League of Nations! Let us at all events begin with a League of British Nations.
    • Speech (c. 10 December 1917), Liberal Magazine, XXV (1917), p. 606, quoted in Henry R. Winkler, ‘The Development of the League of Nations Idea in Great Britain, 1914-1919’, The Journal of Modern History Vol. 20, No. 2 (Jun., 1948), p. 105
  • Nothing Ireland—north, south, east, and west—has suffered so much in its history as the broken pledges of British statesmen.
    • Speech in the House of Commons (16 April 1918). The Irish Nationalist MP John Dillon interrupted: "We are agreed at last on one thing."
  • I wonder how many Members of this House and of His Majesty's Government are really following out the conspiracy to drive the British out of India and out of Egypt? It is all one conspiracy, it is all engineered in the same way, it all has the same object—to destroy our sea power and drive us out of Asia.
    • Speech in the House of Commons (8 July 1920)
  • 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)
  • You will be a Parliament for the whole community. 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. ... Let us take care that we win all that is best amongst those who have been opposed to us in this community. ... And so I say: from the start be tolerant to all religions, and, while maintaining to the last your own traditions and your own citizenship, take care that similar rights are preserved for those who differ from us.
    • Speech to the Ulster Unionist Council in Belfast (4 February 1921), quoted in Geoffrey Lewis, Carson: The Man Who Divided Ireland (2006), pp. 227–28
  • 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.
    • Speech in the House of Lords (14 December 1921)
  • 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."
    • Speech in the House of Lords (14 December 1921)

Quotes about Carson[edit]

Although a Unionist, he never was un-Irish. – Tim Healy
  • 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.
  • Although a Unionist, he never was un-Irish.
    • Tim Healy, quoted in Edward Marjoribanks, The Life of Lord Carson: Volume I (1932), p. 9
  • 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), quoted in A. J. P. Taylor (ed.), Lloyd George: A Diary (London: Hutchinson, 1971), p. 96

External links[edit]

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