Birrell, Augustine bĭr´əl [key], 1850–1933, English essayist and public official. As chief secretary for Ireland (1907–16) his failure to end the plotting that resulted in the Easter Rebellion of 1916 led to his retirement from politics. His works include the pleasant and urbane critical essays Obiter Dicta (3 vol.; 1884, 1887, 1924) and biographies of Charlotte Brontë (1887), William Hazlitt (1902), and Andrew Marvell (1905).
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