1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/Midleton, William St. John Fremantle Brodrick, 1st Earl of

1922 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 31
Midleton, William St. John Fremantle Brodrick, 1st Earl of

MIDLETON, WILLIAM ST. JOHN FREMANTLE BRODRICK, 1st Earl of (1856- ), English politician (see 18.419), did not remain long out of Parliament after his defeat in the general election of 1906, as in the following year his father died, and he entered the House of Lords as pth viscount. He took a considerable share in the work of that House, and played an active part behind the scenes in Unionist politics, without returning to ministerial office. He was indeed perhaps the most conspicuous figure among the Unionist leaders who did not find a place in Mr. Asquith's Coalition Cabinet. He had meanwhile become specially prominent as leader of the southern Unionists of Ireland, in virtue of his position as a landowner in county Cork. In his opposition to the Home Rule bills, he was never willing to base himself mainly on the difficulties of Ulster, but constantly called attention to the necessity of protecting loyalists in the South and securing them from discriminating taxation. He was disquieted by the negotiations carried on in the summer of 1916 with the Irish leaders by Mr. Lloyd George on behalf of Mr. Asquith's Coalition Ministry, on the basis of excluding the six Ulster counties but bringing the Home Rule Act at once into effect in the rest of Ireland. In the Irish Convention, which was set up in the middle of 1917 and sat into the following year, he and a band of southern Unionists separated themselves from the Ulster standpoint, and showed themselves ready to concede a unitary Home Rule Government for Ireland, subject to provisions for safeguarding the minority of loyalists. At the beginning of 1920 he was created an earl.