Online Encyclopedia

SIR WILFRID LAWSON

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V16, Page 310 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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SIR WILFRID LAWSON, Bart. (1829—1906), English politician and temperance leader, son of the 1st baronet (d. 1867), was born on the 4th of September 1829. He was always an enthusiast in the cause of total abstinence, and in parliament, to which he was first elected in 1859 for Carlisle, he became its leading spokesman. In 1864 he first introduced his Permissive Bill, giving to a two-thirds majority in any district a veto upon the granting of licences for the sale of intoxicating liquors; and though this principle failed to be embodied in any act, he had the satisfaction of seeing a resolution on its lines accepted by a majority in the House of Commons in 188o, 1881 and 1883. He lost his seat for Carlisle in 1865, but in 1868 was again returned as a supporter of Mr Gladstone, and was member till 1885; though defeated for the new Cockermouth division of Cumberland in 1885, he won that seat in 1886, and he held it till the election of 'goo, when his violent opposition to the Boer War caused his defeat, but in 1903 he was returned for the Camborne division of Cornwall and at the general election of 1906 was once more elected for his old constituency in Cumberland. During all these years he was the champion of the United Kingdom Alliance (founded 1853), of which he became president. An extreme Radical, he also supported disestablishment, abolition of the House of Lords, and disarmament. Though violent in the expression of his opinions, Sir Wilfrid Lawson remained very popular for his own sake both in and out of the House of Commons; he became well known for his humorous vein, his faculty for composing topical doggerel being often exercised on questions of the day. He died on the 1st of July 1906.
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