Augustine Birrell Quotes


Augustine Birrell
  • Augustine Birrell

  • Date of birth: January 19, 1850
  • Died: November 20, 1933
  • Born: in Wavertree, nr Liverpool, The United Kingdom.

  • Description: The Right Honourable Augustine Birrell was an English politician, barrister, academic and author. He was Chief Secretary for Ireland from 1907 to 1916, resigning in the immediate aftermath of the Easter Rising.

    Birrell was the son of a Baptist minister. He was educated at Amersham Hall school and at Trinity Hall, Cambridge where he was made an Honorary Fellow in 1879. He started work in a solicitor's office in Liverpool but was called to the Bar in 1875, becoming a QC in 1893.

    In 1888 he married Eleanor Tennyson, daughter of the poet Frederick Locker-Lampson and widow of Lionel Tennyson, son of the poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson. They had two sons, one of whom, Frankie (1889–1935) was later a journalist and critic and associated with the Bloomsbury Group.

    From 1896 to 1899 he was Professor of Comparative Law at University College, London. President of the Board of Education, 1905-7; won appreciation by his conduct of the 'Education Bill.' He possessed a curious type of humour which found expression in sayings known in the House of Commons and the Press as 'Birrellisms.' A noted Liberal speaker on political platforms.

    He retired from political life in 1916. Lived at Elm Park Road, Chelsea, and devoted himself to literary work.

    Essayist and critic; distinguished as a writer by the winning and informal quality of his style.

    Author, Obiter Dicta; Res Judicatae; Men, Women and Books; Life of Charlotte Brontë; Sir Frank Lockwood, etc. Published an edition of Boswell's Life of Johnson; also Browning's Poems, etc.
    (Burke, Knightage; The Times, Nov. 21, 1933.)