John Russell, 1st Earl Russell

John Russell, 1st Earl Russell, KG, GCMG, PC, FRS (18 August 1792 – 28 May 1878), known by his courtesy title Lord John Russell before 1861, was a leading Whig and Liberal politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom on two occasions during the early Victorian era.

Scion of one of the most powerful aristocratic families, his great achievements, wrote A. J. P. Taylor, were based on his persistent battles in Parliament over the years on behalf of the expansion of liberty; after each loss he tried again and again, until finally, his efforts were largely successful. E. L. Woodward, however, argued that he was too much the abstract theorist:

He was more concerned with the removal of obstacles to civil liberty than with the creation of a more reasonable and civilized society. His political theory centred in the revolution of 1688, and in the clique of aristocratic families to whom the country owed loyalty in return for something like the charte octroyée of the reform bill.[1]

Nevertheless, Russell led his Whig party into support for reform; he was the principal architect of the great Reform Act of 1832.

As Prime Minister he was less successful. He headed a government that failed to deal with the Irish Famine, a disaster which saw the loss of a quarter of Ireland's population. It has been said that his ministry of 1846 to 1852 was the ruin of the Whig party: it never composed a Government again, and his ministry of 1865 to 1866 was very nearly the ruin of the Liberal Party also.[2]

The Earl Russell

Lord John Russell
Russell in 1861
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
In office
29 October 1865 – 26 June 1866
Preceded byThe Viscount Palmerston
Succeeded byThe Earl of Derby
In office
30 June 1846 – 21 February 1852
Preceded bySir Robert Peel, Bt
Succeeded byThe Earl of Derby
Leader of the Opposition
In office
28 June 1866 – 3 December 1868
Preceded byThe Earl of Derby
Succeeded byBenjamin Disraeli
In office
23 February 1852 – 19 December 1852
Preceded byThe Earl of Derby
Succeeded byThe Earl of Derby
Foreign Secretary
In office
18 June 1859 – 3 November 1865
Preceded byThe Earl of Malmesbury
Succeeded byThe Earl of Clarendon
In office
28 December 1852 – 21 February 1853
Preceded byThe Earl of Malmesbury
Succeeded byThe Earl of Clarendon
Secretary of State for the Colonies
In office
23 February 1855 – 21 July 1855
Preceded bySidney Herbert
Succeeded bySir William Molesworth, Bt
Lord President of the Council
In office
12 June 1854 – 8 February 1855
Preceded byThe Earl Granville
Succeeded byThe Earl Granville
Secretary of State for War and the Colonies
In office
30 August 1839 – 30 August 1841
Preceded byThe Marquess of Normanby
Succeeded byLord Stanley
Home Secretary
In office
18 April 1835 – 30 August 1839
Preceded byHenry Goulburn
Succeeded byThe Marquess of Normanby
Personal details
John Russell

18 August 1792
Mayfair, Middlesex, England
Died28 May 1878 (aged 85)
Richmond Park, Surrey, England
Resting placeSt Michael's, Chenies
Political partyLiberal (1859–1878)
Other political
Whig (until 1859)
  • Adelaide Lister
    (m. 1835; died 1838)
  • Frances Elliot-Murray-Kynynmound
    (m. 1841)
ParentsJohn Russell, 6th Duke of Bedford
Georgiana Byng
Alma materUniversity of Edinburgh
John Russell, 1st Earl Russell's signature
Shield of arms of John Russell, 1st Earl Russell, KG, GCMG, PC, FRS
Shield of arms of John Russell, 1st Earl Russell, as displayed on his Order of the Garter stall plate in St. George's Chapel.

Background and education

Russell was born small and premature on 18 August 1792 into the highest echelons of the British aristocracy, being the third son of John Russell, later 6th Duke of Bedford, and Georgiana Byng, daughter of George Byng, 4th Viscount Torrington. The Russell family had been one of the principal Whig dynasties in England since the 17th century, and were among the richest handful of aristocratic landowning families in the country, but as a younger son of the 6th Duke of Bedford, he was not expected to inherit the family estates. As a younger son of a duke, he bore the courtesy title "Lord John Russell", but he was not a peer in his own right. He was, therefore, able to sit in the House of Commons until he was made an earl in 1861 and transferred into the House of Lords.

After being withdrawn from Westminster School due to ill health, Russell was educated by tutors. He attended the University of Edinburgh, 1809 and 1812; he did not take a degree. Although of small stature—he grew to no more than 5 feet 4-and-three-quarter inches tall[3]—and often in poor health, he traveled widely in Britain and on the continent,[4] and held commission as Captain in the Bedfordshire Militia in 1810.[3] During his continental travels, Russell had a 90-minute meeting with Napoleon in December 1814 during the former emperor's exile at Elba.[5]

Public life

Early career

Russell entered the House of Commons as a Whig in 1813. The future reformer gained his seat by virtue of his father, the Duke of Bedford, instructing the 30 or so electors of Tavistock to return him as an MP even though at the time Russell was abroad and under age.[6] In 1819, Russell embraced the cause of parliamentary reform, and he led the more reformist wing of the Whigs throughout the 1820s. When the Whigs came to power in 1830 in Earl Grey's government, Russell entered the government as Paymaster of the Forces, and was soon elevated to the Cabinet. He was one of the principal leaders of the fight for the Reform Act 1832, earning the nickname Finality Jack from his complacently pronouncing the Act a final measure.[7] In 1834, when the leader of the Commons, Lord Althorp, succeeded to the peerage as Earl Spencer, Russell became the leader of the Whigs in the Commons. This appointment prompted King William IV to terminate Lord Melbourne's government, the last time in British history that a monarch dismissed a prime minister.[8] Nevertheless Russell retained his position for the rest of the decade, until the Whigs fell from power in 1841. In this position, Russell continued to lead the more reformist wing of the Whig party, calling, in particular, for religious freedom, and, as Home Secretary in the late 1830s, played a large role in democratising the government of British cities other than London. During his career in Parliament, Lord John Russell represented the City of London.[9]

Taylor emphasised Russell's central role in the expansion of liberty and in leading his Whig party to a commitment to a reform agenda.[10] In 1845, as leader of the Opposition, Russell came out in favour of repeal of the Corn Laws, forcing Conservative Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel to follow him. In December 1845, with the Conservatives split over this issue, Queen Victoria asked Russell to form a government, which he was unable to do since Lord Grey refused to serve with Lord Palmerston as Foreign Secretary.[11] In June the following year the Corn Laws were repealed but only by virtue of Whig support. The same day Peel's Irish Coercion Bill, which the Whigs did not support, was defeated and the Prime Minister resigned.[12] Russell became Prime Minister, this time Grey not objecting to Palmerston's appointment.[13]

Prime Minister: June 1846 – February 1852

Russell's government secured social reforms such as funding teacher training and passage of the Factory Act of 1847, which restricted the working hours of women and young persons (aged 13–18) in textile mills to 10 hours per day.[14] His premiership was frustrated, however, because of party disunity and infighting, and he was unable to secure the success of many of the measures he was interested in passing. Russell was religious in a simple non-dogmatic way and supported the "Broad church" element in the Church of England. He opposed the "Oxford Movement" because its "Tractarian" members were too dogmatic and too close to Romanism. He supported Broad Churchmen or Latitudinarians by several appointments of liberal churchmen to vacant sees. In 1859 he reversed himself and decided to free non-Anglicans of the duty of paying rates (taxes) to the local Anglican parish. His political clumsiness and opposition to Church finance made him a target of attack and ridicule in many Church circles.[15][16][17]

He fought with his headstrong Foreign Secretary, Lord Palmerston, whose belligerence and support for continental revolution he found embarrassing. In 1847 Palmerston provoked a confrontation with the French government by undermining the plans of the Spanish court to marry the young Spanish Queen and her sister into the French royal family.[18] He subsequently clashed with Russell over plans to augment the army and navy in order to defend against the perceived threat of French invasion, which subsided with the overthrow of the French king in 1848.[19]

In 1850 further tension arose between the two over Palmerston's gunboat diplomacy in the Don Pacifico affair, in which Palmerston sought compensation from the Greek Government for the ransacking and burning of the house of David Pacifico, a Gibraltarian holder of a British passport.[20] Russell considered the matter "hardly worth the interposition of the British lion," and when Palmerston ignored some of his instructions, the Prime Minister wrote to Palmerston telling him he had informed the Queen that he "thought the interests of the country required that a change should take place at the Foreign Department."[21] However, less than a month later Lord Stanley successfully led the House of Lords into passing a motion of censure of the Government over its handling of the affair and Russell realised that he needed to align with Palmerston in order to prevent a similar motion being passed by the House of Commons, which would have obliged the Government to resign.[22] The Government prevailed, but Palmerston came out of the affair with his popularity at new heights since he was seen as the champion of defending British citizens anywhere in the world.[23]

Palmerston was forced to resign when he recognised Napoleon III's coup of 2 December 1851 without royal approval. Russell tried to strengthen his government by recruiting leading Peelites such as Sir James Graham and the Duke of Newcastle to his administration, but they declined.[24]

Palmerston turned the vote on a militia bill into a vote of confidence on the Government. The majority vote in favour of an amendment proposed by Palmerston caused the downfall of Russell's ministry on 21 February 1852. This was Palmerston's famous "tit for tat with Johnny Russell," a revenge for his dismissal by Russell as Foreign Minister.[25]

In opposition: February 1852 – December 1852

The July 1852 general election saw the election of 330 Conservatives and 324 Whigs to the Parliament. Neither had an overall majority, because 38 members who were technically Conservatives were actually Peelites (followers of the late Robert Peel). The Peelites had deserted the Conservatives to vote for the repeal of the Corn Laws in June 1846. The Corn Laws had imposed a tariff on all cheap imported wheat and thus kept the price of wheat and the bread made from wheat high. This served the interests of landed aristocracy, which was the main body of support for the Conservative Party. However, the high price of wheat and bread added greatly to the desperation of the poor and hungry in England and Ireland.[25]

The new Parliament included 113 "Free Traders" who were more radical than the Peelites. They felt that the tariffs on all imported consumer goods should be removed, not just the tariff on wheat or "corn." There were also 63 members of the "Irish Brigade," made up of Irish members interested in the Tenant Rights legislation for the protection of the tenant farmers in Ireland. None of these minor groups were interested in forming a government with the Conservatives because of the bitterness left over from the repeal of the Corn Laws. However, John Russell of the Whigs could not attract enough of the minor party members to form a government either. Other issues handled during the recent Russell government had alienated these three minor groups from the Whigs also. Thus, Queen Victoria asked the Earl of Derby to form a minority government. It only lasted until December 1852.[25]

John Russell, 1st Earl Russell by Sir Francis Grant detail
Portrait of John Russell by Francis Grant, 1853

Foreign Minister in the Aberdeen Government

Russell, as the leader of the Whig party, then brought it into a new coalition government with the Peelite Conservatives, headed by the Peelite Lord Aberdeen. Palmerston could not possibly be appointed as Foreign Minister but he had to be a part of the new Aberdeen government and became Home Secretary. Russell continued to serve as leader of the Whig party in the House of Commons. As the leader of the largest party in the Aberdeen coalition government, Russell was needed in the new government. Accordingly, on 28 December 1852, Russell was appointed Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.

In the eyes of many, including the Queen and Aberdeen, his jockeying for position against Palmerston was one of the causes of the inability of the administration to take a firm direction. It was a contest that Palmerston won. Having entered the administration as the expected Whig heir, Russell left it having been overtaken by Palmerston.[26]

The Crimean War

Together with Palmerston, Russell was instrumental in getting Britain to join France in thwarting the threat of Russia against the Ottoman Empire. They did so as members of the Aberdeen government and against the wishes of the cautious, Russophile Earl of Aberdeen. The Ottoman Empire was in a state of decline, and several nations in Europe sought to acquire portions of its territory. Russia sought to assert its territorial claims to the Balkans. However, just as soon as Louis Bonaparte had completed his coup against the Second Republic of France and assumed the title Napoleon III, he sent an ambassador to the Ottoman Empire with instructions to obtain from the Ottomans a guarantee that France was to be the exclusive "protector of Christian sites" in Jerusalem and the Holy Land. Louis Bonaparte was the nephew of Napoleon I, Emperor of France, and many British public officials—like Aberdeen—felt that Louis Bonaparte was merely seeking foreign adventure and aggrandisement and would sooner or later involve Britain in another series of wars like those wars against France and Napoleon from 1793 to 1815. France had long been seen as an opponent of British interests, and that perception had not changed since 1815. Accordingly, much of the British public sided with Russia in what was now being called the "Eastern Question."[27] However, as time passed, the horrific losses of British soldiers, reported in detail in the press, caused British public opinion to turn hostile. The British government was worried about the outcome of the rising tensions over the Eastern Question. Accordingly, Aberdeen sent Lord Stratford de Redcliffe, a diplomat of considerable experience, to the Ottoman Empire, to oversee British interests.

When the Ottomans gave way to Louis Bonaparte's demands, Russia strongly objected and on 7 May 1853 one of Russia's leading statesmen, Prince Alexander Sergeyevich Menshikov, arrived in Turkey to demand an agreement favourable to Russia. During the Russo-Turkish War of 1768–1774, Russia had occupied the Ottoman-controlled provinces of Wallachia and Moldavia (modern Romania). Under the Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca signed in 1774, Russia had given these Danubian provinces back to the Ottoman Empire in exchange for Turkish recognition of Russia's exclusive right to "protect the Christian sites in Jerusalem and the Holy Land." Menshikov, using threats, obtained his agreement with the Porte.[28]

The British elite saw a growing Russian threat not just to the Ottomans but also to Europe and even India. The balance of power was being upset. London cooperated with Paris. France sent a French ship-of-the-line to the Black Sea in the spring of 1852, as a show of force against the Russians. The Ottomans reversed themselves and signed a treaty acknowledging the French and the Vatican as the official protectors of the Christian sites in the Holy Land. The Russians responded by sending its 4th and 5th Army Corps into Wallachia and Moldavia. It expected Austria and Prussia would support this move, but they were opposed and Russia had no allies. The Aberdeen government resisted active pursuit of the war. Lord Russell, frustrated by the Prime Minister's delays, resigned from the government on 21 February 1853. Aberdeen replaced Russell with Lord Clarendon.[27]

The Ottoman Empire declared war on Russia on 23 October 1853. The Russian fleet defeated the Turkish fleet at the Battle of Sinope on 30 November 1853. After Russia had ignored the Anglo-French ultimatum, both France and Britain declared war on Russia on 28 March 1854. The war was fought chiefly in the Black Sea, with the great Russian base of Sebastopol in Crimea as the main target. In September 1854, British, French and Turkish troops landed on the Crimean Peninsula and set siege to Sevastopol. After a campaign marked by gross mismanagement and very high rates of death from disease, Sevastopol finally fell, but British public opinion had turned hostile.[29]

A motion in Parliament to investigate the mismanagement became a vote of confidence in the Aberdeen government and in the Secretary for War. Accordingly, when the Roebuck motion passed, Aberdeen treated the vote as a vote of "no confidence" in his government and resigned. Upon the resignation of the Earl of Aberdeen, Lord Palmerston was asked to form a new government. John Russell, accepting the Colonial Office, was sent to Vienna to negotiate, but he sacrificed himself to protect negotiation confidentiality and temporarily retired from politics in 1855, focusing on writing.[30]

Foreign Minister in the Palmerston Government: 1859–1865

In 1859, following another short-lived Conservative government, Palmerston and Russell made up their differences, and Russell consented to serve as Foreign Secretary in a new Palmerston cabinet, usually considered the first true Liberal cabinet. This period was a particularly eventful one in the world outside Britain, seeing the Unification of Italy (the change of British government to one sympathetic to Italian nationalism had a marked part in this process[31]), the American Civil War, and the 1864 war over Schleswig-Holstein between Denmark and the German states. Russell arranged the London Conference of 1864, but failed to establish peace in the war. His tenure of the Foreign Office was noteworthy for the famous dispatch in which he defended Italian independence: "Her Majesty's Government will turn their eyes rather to the gratifying prospect of a people building up the edifice of their liberties, and consolidating the work of their independence, amid the sympathies and good wishes of Europe" (27 October 1860).[32]

The House of Lords: 1861

In 1861 Russell was elevated to the peerage as Earl Russell, of Kingston Russell in the County of Dorset, and as Viscount Amberley, of Amberley in the County of Gloucester, and of Ardsalla in the County of Meath in the Peerage of the United Kingdom.[33] As a suo jure peer, he sat in the House of Lords for the remainder of his career.

Prime Minister again: 1865–1866

When Palmerston suddenly died in late 1865, Russell again became Prime Minister. His second premiership was short and frustrating, and Russell failed in his great ambition of expanding the franchise, a task that would be left to his Conservative successors, Derby and Benjamin Disraeli. In 1866, party disunity again brought down his government. Russell never again held any office. His last contribution to the House of Lords was on 3 August 1875.[34]

Marriages and children

Lady John Russell
Adelaide Lister, Russell's first wife (d. 1838)

Lord Russell married Adelaide Lister (widow of Thomas Lister, 2nd Baron Ribblesdale, who had died in 1832.[35]) on 11 April 1835. She died three years later on 1 November 1838. They had two daughters:

  • Lady Georgiana Adelaide Russell (1836 – 25 September 1922). She married Archibald Peel (son of General Jonathan Peel) on 15 August 1867. They had seven children.
  • Lady Victoria Russell (1 November 1838 – 9 May 1880). She married Henry Villiers (the son of The Honorable Henry Montagu Villiers) on 16 April 1861. They had ten children and left many descendants.[36]

He remarried Lady Frances Elliot-Murray-Kynynmound (daughter of Gilbert Elliot, 2nd Earl of Minto) on 20 July 1841. They had four children:

  • John Russell, Viscount Amberley (10 December 1842 – 9 January 1876). He married The Hon. Katherine Stanley on 8 November 1864. They had four children, including a stillborn daughter.
  • Hon. George Gilbert William Russell (14 April 1848 – 27 January 1933). He married Alice Godfrey (d. 12 May 1886) on 21 April 1885. They had one son. He remarried Gertrude Joachim on 28 April 1891. They had two children.
  • Hon. Francis Albert Rollo Russell (11 July 1849 – 30 March 1914).
  • Lady Mary Agatha Russell (1853 – 23 April 1933).

They lived at Pembroke Lodge, Richmond Park.[37]

Russell and his second wife brought up the children of his eldest son Lord Amberley, orphaned by the deaths of their mother Katharine Russell, Viscountess Amberley in 1874 and their father two years later. These included philosopher Bertrand Russell, who recalled his grandfather in his later life as "a kindly old man in a wheelchair."[38]

The 1st Earl Russell is buried at the 'Bedford Chapel' at St. Michael's Church, Chenies.


He was succeeded as Liberal leader by former Peelite William Gladstone, and was thus the last true Whig to serve as Prime Minister. Generally taken as the model for Anthony Trollope's Mr Mildmay, aspects of his character may also have suggested those of Plantagenet Palliser. An ideal statesman, said Trollope, should have "unblemished, unextinguishable, inexhaustible love of country.... But he should also be scrupulous, and, as being scrupulous, weak."[39]

The 1832 Reform Act and extension of the franchise to British cities are partly attributed to his efforts. He also worked for emancipation, leading the attack on the Test and Corporation acts, which were repealed in 1828, as well as towards legislation limiting working hours in factories in the 1847 Factory Act, and the Public Health Act of 1848.

His government's approach to dealing with the Great Irish Famine is now widely condemned as counterproductive, ill-informed and disastrous. Russell himself was sympathetic to the plight of the Irish poor, and many of his relief proposals were blocked by his cabinet or by the British Parliament.[40]

Queen Victoria's attitude toward Russell had been coloured by his role in the Aberdeen administration. On visiting Windsor Castle to resign, Aberdeen had told the Queen: "Nothing could have been better," he said, "than the feeling of the members towards each other. Had it not been for the incessant attempts of Lord John Russell to keep up party differences, it must be acknowledged that the experiment of a coalition had succeeded admirably," which attitude she shared.[41] The Queen continued to criticise Russell for his behaviour for the rest of his life, and on his death in 1878 her journal records that he was "a man of much talent, who leaves a name behind him, kind, & good, with a great knowledge of the constitution, who behaved very well, on many trying occasions; but he was impulsive, very selfish (as shown on many occasions, especially during Ld Aberdeen's administration) vain, & often reckless & imprudent."


In 1819 Lord John Russell published his book Life of Lord Russell about his famous ancestor, William Russell, 1st Duke of Bedford; and a year later his Essays and Sketches of Life and Character, "By a Gentleman who has left his lodgings" (1820), a series of social and cultural commentaries ostensibly found in a missing lodger's rooms.[42]

In 1822 Russell published a historical drama Don Carlos: or, Persecution. A tragedy, in five acts.[43]

Between 1853 and 1856, he edited the Memoirs, Journal and Correspondence of Thomas Moore, which was published by Longman, Brown, Green and Longmans over 8 volumes.[44][45]

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens was dedicated to Lord John Russell, "In remembrance of many public services and private kindnesses."[46]

See also


  1. ^ Woodward, Llewellyn (1962). The Age of Reform, 1815–1870. Clarendon Press. p. 100. ISBN 978-0-19-821711-4.
  2. ^ A. J. P. Taylor, Essays in English History (1976), p. 67.
  3. ^ a b [1] History of Parliament article by R. G. Thorne.
  4. ^ John Prest, Lord John Russell (University of South Carolina Press, 1972), 11–13.
  5. ^ Walpole, Spencer (1889). The Life of Lord John Russell – Volume I (2nd ed.). London: Longmans, Green & Co. pp. 74–5.
  6. ^ Walpole, Vol. I, pp. 69–70.
  7. ^ Other sources use the nickname "Finality John": Wikisource-logo.svg "Russell, John, Earl" . The Nuttall Encyclopædia. 1907. Wikisource-logo.svg "Finality John" . New International Encyclopedia. 1905.
  8. ^ Hawkins, Angus (2007). The forgotten Prime Minister – the 14th Earl of Derby (Volume I) (1st ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. p. 152. ISBN 9780199204403.
  9. ^ Prest (2009).
  10. ^ A. J. P. Taylor, Essays in English History (1976).
  11. ^ Walpole, Vol I, pp. 410–6.
  12. ^ Walpole, p. 422.
  13. ^ Walpole, pp. 423-4.
  14. ^ Walpole, Vol I, pp. 454–5.
  15. ^ John Nikol, "The Oxford Movement in Decline: Lord John Russell and the Tractarians, 1846–1852." Historical Magazine of the Protestant Episcopal Church 43.4 (1974): 341–357.
  16. ^ J. P. Ellens, "Lord John Russell and the Church Rate Conflict: The Struggle for a Broad Church, 1834–1868." Journal of British Studies 26.2 (1987): 232–249. abstract
  17. ^ Owen Chadwick, The Victorian Church (1960), vol 1, pp. 232–40, 479.
  18. ^ Walpole, Spencer (1889). The Life of Lord John Russell Volume II (2nd ed.). London: Longman, Green and Co. pp. 1–10.
  19. ^ Walpole, Vol II, pp. 13–25.
  20. ^ Chambers, James (2004). Palmerston – 'The People's Darling' (First ed.). London: John Murray. p. 313. ISBN 978-0719554520.
  21. ^ Walpole, Vol II, pp. 56–60.
  22. ^ Walpole, Vol II, pp. 61–2.
  23. ^ Chambers, pp. 323–4.
  24. ^ Walpole, Vol II, p. 143.
  25. ^ a b c Prest, 2009.
  26. ^ B. K. Martin, "The Resignation of Lord Palmerston in 1853: Extracts from Unpublished Letters of Queen Victoria and Lord Aberdeen", Cambridge Historical Journal, Vol. 1, No. 1 (1923), pp. 107–112, Cambridge University Press, JSTOR
  27. ^ a b Stuart J. Reid, Lord John Russell (1895), ch. 10.
  28. ^ Orlando Figes, The Crimean War: A History (2010), pp. 107–14.
  29. ^ Stuart J. Reid, Lord John Russell (1895), ch. 11.
  30. ^ Stuart J. Reid, Lord John Russell (1895), ch. 12–13.
  31. ^ G. M. Trevelyan, Garibaldi and the Thousand, pp. 120–123.
  32. ^ Stuart J. Reid, Lord John Russell (1895), ch. 14.
  33. ^ "No. 22534". The London Gazette. 30 July 1861. p. 3193.
  34. ^ Lord John Russell, Hansard search.
  35. ^ Paul Scherer, Lord John Russell: A Biography (1999), pp. 80–82.
  36. ^ Stuart J. Reid, Lord John Russell, (1895).
  37. ^ Scherer, p. 135.
  38. ^ Ronald Clark, The Life of Bertrand Russell (1978), ch. 1.
  39. ^ Quoted in Blair G. Kenney, "Trollope's Ideal Statesmen: Plantagenet Palliser and Lord John Russell" in Nineteenth-Century Fiction, Vol. 20, No. 3. (Dec. 1965), pp. 281–285.
  40. ^ Scherer, p. 158.
  41. ^ Queen Victoria's Journals, Tuesday 30th January 1855, Windsor Castle, Princess Beatrice's copies, Volume:39 (1 January 1855 – 30 June 1855), pp. 47–48, Online from the Bodleian Library
  42. ^ [Russell, Lord John]. Essays and Sketches ... (London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme and Brown, 1820).
  43. ^ Internet Archive: Don Carlos: or, Persecution. A tragedy, in five acts (1822)
  44. ^ Internet Archive: Details: Memoirs, journal, and correspondence of Thomas Moore. Ed. by the Right Honourable Lord John Russell, M.P
  45. ^ Internet Archive: Details: Memoirs, journal, and correspondence of Thomas Moore. Ed. by the Right Honourable Lord John Russell, M.P
  46. ^ Dickens, Charles (1866), A Tale of Two Cities (First ed.), London: Chapman and Hall, p. iii, retrieved 5 January 2013
  47. ^ a b c Cokayne, Complete Peerage, 1st ed., vol. 6, 1895, p. 450.
  48. ^ a b Cokayne and Gibbs, Complete Peerage, 2nd ed., vol. 2, 1912, pp. 84–5.
  49. ^ a b c d e Cokayne, Complete Peerage, 1st ed., vol. 7, 1896, p. 411.
  50. ^ Cokayne and Gibbs, Complete Peerage, 2nd ed., vol. 2, 1912, pp. 83–4.
  51. ^ Cokayne and Gibbs, Complete Peerage, 2nd ed., vol. 2, 1912, p. 83.
  52. ^ Cokayne and Gibbs, Complete Peerage, 2nd ed., vol. 2, 1912, p. 84.
  53. ^ Cokayne and Gibbs, Complete Peerage, 2nd ed., vol. 1, 1910, p. 94.
  54. ^ Cokayne and Gibbs, Complete Peerage, 2nd ed., vol. 2, 1912, pp. 81–2.
  55. ^ Cokayne and Gibbs, Complete Peerage, 2nd ed., vol. 2, 1912, p. 81; she was the daughter and heiress of John Howland of Streatham, Surrey, and his wife, Elizabeth Child, daughter of Sir Josiah Child, Baronet.
  56. ^ Cokayne and Gibbs, Complete Peerage, 2nd ed., vol. 2, 1912, p. 83.
  57. ^ Cokayne and Gibbs, Complete Peerage, 2nd ed., vol. 2, 1912, p. 83; she was a daughter of Evelyn Pierrepont, Duke of Kingston.
  58. ^ Cokayne and Gibbs, Complete Peerage, 2nd ed., vol. 1, 1910, p. 91.
  59. ^ Cokayne and Gibbs, Complete Peerage, 2nd ed., vol. 1, 1910, p. 93; she was the daughter and heiress of Adam van der Duyn, Lord of St. Gravenmoer (in Holland).
  60. ^ Cokayne and Gibbs, Complete Peerage, 2nd ed., vol. 4, 1916, p. 219.
  61. ^ Cokayne and Gibbs, Complete Peerage, 2nd ed., vol. 3, 1910, p. 94; she was the dowager Baroness Belayse and a daughter of Francis Brudenell, Lord Brudenell.
  62. ^ Cokayne, Complete Peerage, 1st ed., vol. 7, 1896, p. 410.
  63. ^ Cokayne, Complete Peerage, 1st ed., vol. 7, 1896, p. 410; daughter of James Master, of East Langdon, Kent, and his wife, Joice, daughter of Christopher Turner, of Milton Erneys, Bedfordshire.
  64. ^ Cokayne, Complete Peerage, 1st ed., vol. 7, 1896, p. 411; son of Sir Peter Daniel of Clapham, Surrey; also commonly spelt "Lionel"; a portrait of him hung in Yotes Court (see J. P. Neale and T. Moule, Views of the Seats or Noblemen and Gentlemen, vol. 4, 1828 [no page numbers]).
  65. ^ E. Hasted, The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent, vol. 5, 1797, p. 84; "Mr. James Master resided here [Yokes Place], where he died in 1689 [...] he left three sons and two daughters [...] The daughters were [...] and Martha, who married Lionel Daniel, esq., of Surry [sic], by whom she had William, his heir, and a daughter Elizabeth, married to George, late lord viscount Torrington".
  66. ^ Cokayne and Gibbs, Complete Peerage, 2nd ed., vol. 3, p. 422.
  67. ^ Cokayne and Gibbs, Complete Peerage, 2nd ed., vol. 3, p. 422; daughter of John Cecil, fifth Earl of Exeter.
  68. ^ Cokayne, Complete Peerage, 1st ed., vol. 7, 1896, p. 411; Cokayne and Gibbs, Complete Peerage, 2nd ed., vol. 3, p. 422; of Caledon and Kinard, county Tyrone.
  69. ^ Cokayne and Gibbs, Complete Peerage, 2nd ed., vol. 3, p. 422; daughter of Most Rev. Anthony Dopping, Bishop of Meath.

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainWood, James, ed. (1907). "Russell, John, Earl" . The Nuttall Encyclopædia. London and New York: Frederick Warne.


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  • Halevy, Elie (1950). "The Triumph of Reform 1830–1841". History of the English People in the Nineteeth Century. 3. detailed political narrative
  • Halevy, Elie (1951). "Victorian Years". History of the English People in the Nineteeth Century. 4. detailed political narrative
  • Krein, David F. (1976). "War And Reform: Russell, Palmerston and the Struggle for Power in the Aberdeen Cabinet, 1853–54". Maryland Historian. 7#2.
  • Partridge, M. S. (1987). "The Russell Cabinet and National Defence, 1846–1852". History. 72# 235.
  • Prest, John (2009) [2004]. "Russell, John, first Earl Russell (1792–1878)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Retrieved 31 August 2014. short scholarly biography
  • Prest, John M. (1972). Lord John Russell. Macmillan. a scholarly biography
  • Prest, J. M. (1966). "Gladstone and Russell". Transactions of the Royal Historical Society. 16.
  • Reid, Stuart Johnson (1895). Lord John Russell.
  • Saunders, Robert (2005). "Lord John Russell and Parliamentary Reform, 1848–67". English Historical Review. 120#489 (489): 1289–1315. JSTOR 3491041.
  • Scherer, Paul (1999). Lord John Russell: A Biography. a scholarly biography
  • Scherer, Paul H. (1987). "Partner or Puppet? Lord John Russell at the Foreign Office, 1859–1862". Albion: A Quarterly Journal Concerned with British Studies. 19 (3): 347–371. JSTOR 4050465.
  • Taylor, A. J. P. (1976). Essays in English History.
  • Wyatt, Tilby A. (1931). Lord John Russell: A study in civil and religious liberty. London.
  • Walpole, Spencer. The life of Lord John Russell (2 vol 1889, 1891) online
  • Woodward, Llewellyn (1962) [1938]. "The Age of Reform, 1815–1870" (2nd ed.). Oxford History of England. political narrative and analysis


  • Beales, Derek (1974). "Peel, Russell and Reform". Historical Journal. 17#4 (4): 873–882. JSTOR 2638561.
  • Loades, David Michael (2003). Reader's guide to British history.

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
John Calcraft
Paymaster of the Forces
Succeeded by
Sir Edward Knatchbull, Bt
Preceded by
Viscount Althorp
Leader of the House of Commons
Succeeded by
Sir Robert Peel
Preceded by
Henry Goulburn
Home Secretary
Succeeded by
The Marquess of Normanby
Preceded by
Sir Robert Peel, Bt
Leader of the House of Commons
Succeeded by
Sir Robert Peel, Bt
Preceded by
The Marquess of Normanby
Secretary of State for War and the Colonies
Succeeded by
Lord Stanley
Preceded by
Sir Robert Peel, Bt
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
30 June 1846 – 21 February 1852
Succeeded by
The Earl of Derby
Leader of the House of Commons
Succeeded by
Benjamin Disraeli
Preceded by
The Earl of Malmesbury
Foreign Secretary
Succeeded by
The Earl of Clarendon
Preceded by
Benjamin Disraeli
Leader of the House of Commons
Succeeded by
The Viscount Palmerston
Preceded by
The Earl Granville
Lord President of the Council
Succeeded by
The Earl Granville
Preceded by
Sidney Herbert
Secretary of State for the Colonies
Succeeded by
Sir William Molesworth, Bt
Preceded by
The Earl of Malmesbury
Foreign Secretary
Succeeded by
The Earl of Clarendon
Preceded by
The Viscount Palmerston
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
29 October 1865 – 26 June 1866
Succeeded by
The Earl of Derby
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Lord William Russell
Richard FitzPatrick
Member of Parliament for Tavistock
Served alongside: Lord William Russell
Succeeded by
Lord William Russell
Lord Robert Spencer
Preceded by
Lord William Russell
Lord Robert Spencer
Member of Parliament for Tavistock
With: Lord William Russell 1818–1819
John Peter Grant 1819–1820
Succeeded by
John Peter Grant
John Nicholas Fazakerly
Preceded by
William Henry Fellowes
Lord Frederick Montagu
Member of Parliament for Huntingdonshire
Served alongside: William Henry Fellowes
Succeeded by
William Henry Fellowes
Viscount Mandeville
Preceded by
Viscount Duncannon
Member of Parliament for Bandon
Succeeded by
Viscount Bernard
Preceded by
Viscount Ebrington
Lord William Russell
Member of Parliament for Tavistock
Served alongside: Lord William Russell
Succeeded by
Lord William Russell
John Heywood Hawkins
Preceded by
Sir Thomas Dyke Acland
Viscount Ebrington
Member of Parliament for Devonshire
Served alongside: Viscount Ebrington
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Devonshire South
With: John Crocker Bulteel 1832–1835
Sir John Yarde-Buller 1835
Succeeded by
Sir John Yarde-Buller
Montague Parker
Preceded by
William Henry Hyett
George Poulett Scrope
Member of Parliament for Stroud
Served alongside: George Poulett Scrope
Succeeded by
George Poulett Scrope
William Henry Stanton
Preceded by
Sir Matthew Wood
George Grote
William Crawford
James Pattison
Member of Parliament for City of London
With: Sir Matthew Wood 1841–1843
John Masterman 1841–1857
George Lyall 1841–1847
James Pattison 1843–1849
Lionel de Rothschild 1847–1861
Sir James Duke 1849–1861
Robert Wigram Crawford 1857–1861
Succeeded by
Lionel de Rothschild
Sir James Duke
Robert Wigram Crawford
Western Wood
Party political offices
Preceded by
The Viscount Melbourne
Leader of the British Whig Party
Served alongside: The Marquess of Lansdowne 1842–1846
Succeeded by
The Viscount Palmerston
Preceded by
Viscount Althorp
Whig Leader in the Commons
Succeeded by
The Viscount Palmerston
Preceded by
The Viscount Palmerston
Leader of the British Liberal Party
Succeeded by
William Ewart Gladstone
Preceded by
The Earl Granville
Leader of the Liberals in the House of Lords
Succeeded by
The Earl Granville
Academic offices
Preceded by
Andrew Rutherfurd
Rector of the University of Glasgow
Succeeded by
William Mure
Preceded by
Lord Barcaple
Rector of the University of Aberdeen
Succeeded by
Mountstuart Elphinstone Grant Duff
Preceded by
George Grote
President of the Royal Historical Society
Succeeded by
Henry Bruce, 1st Baron Aberdare
Preceded by
The Viscount Palmerston
Oldest living Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Succeeded by
The Earl of Beaconsfield
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Earl Russell
Succeeded by
Frank Russell


was a leap year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar and a leap year starting on Thursday of the Julian calendar, the 1792nd year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 792nd year of the 2nd millennium, the 92nd year of the 18th century, and the 3rd year of the 1790s decade. As of the start of 1792, the Gregorian calendar was

11 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.

1792 in Great Britain

Events from the year 1792 in Great Britain.

1865 in the United Kingdom

Events from the year 1865 in the United Kingdom.

1866 in the United Kingdom

Events from the year 1866 in the United Kingdom.

Baron Ampthill

Baron Ampthill, of Ampthill in the County of Bedfordshire, is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. It was created on 11 March 1881 for the diplomat Lord Odo Russell. He was the third son of Major-General Lord George Russell, second son of John Russell, 6th Duke of Bedford.

His son, the second Baron, served as Governor of Madras from 1899 to 1906 and was interim Viceroy of India in 1904. His grandson, the fourth Baron, was one of the ninety elected hereditary peers that remained in the House of Lords after the passing of the House of Lords Act 1999, and sat as a cross-bencher. As of 2014 the title is held by the latter's son, the fifth Baron, who succeeded his father in 2011.

As a descendant of the sixth Duke of Bedford he is also in remainder to this peerage and its subsidiary titles.

Earl Russell

Earl Russell, of Kingston Russell in the County of Dorset, is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. It was created on 30 July 1861 for the prominent Liberal politician Lord John Russell. He was Home Secretary from 1835 to 1839, Foreign Secretary from 1852 to 1853 and 1859 to 1865 and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1846 to 1852 and 1865 to 1866. At the same time as he was given the earldom of Russell, he was made Viscount Amberley, of Amberley in the County of Gloucester and of Ardsalla in the County of Meath. A member of the prominent Russell family, he was the third son of John Russell, 6th Duke of Bedford.

The first Earl was succeeded by his grandson the second Earl, the eldest son of John Russell, Viscount Amberley. He was one of the first peers to join the Labour Party and he held office under Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald as Under-Secretary of State for India from 1929 to 1931. He was childless and was succeeded in 1931 by his younger brother, the third Earl, the famous philosopher and Nobel Prize winner universally known as Bertrand Russell. When he died in 1970 his eldest son, the fourth Earl held the title until his half-brother, the fifth Earl inherited it in 1987. He was a noted historian of 17th century England. Russell also sat on the Liberal Democrat benches in the House of Lords and was one of the ninety elected hereditary peers that were allowed to remain in the House of Lords after the passing of the House of Lords Act 1999. As of 2018 the titles are held by his youngest son, the seventh Earl, who succeeded his brother in 2014.

As descendants of the sixth Duke of Bedford, the Earls Russell are also in remainder to that peerage and its subsidiary titles.

Francis Russell

Francis Russell may refer to:

Francis Russell (author) (1910–1989), American author

Francis Russell, 2nd Earl of Bedford (c. 1527–1585), English nobleman, soldier and politician

Francis Russell (MP for Northumberland) (died 1585), MP for Northumberland, son of the above

Francis Russell, 4th Earl of Bedford (1593–1641), English politician

Sir Francis Russell, 2nd Baronet, of Chippenham (c. 1616–1664), Member of Parliament and a soldier for the parliamentary cause during the English Civil War

Sir Francis Russell, 2nd Baronet, of Wytley (1637–1706), Member of Parliament for Tewkesbury, 1673–1690

Francis Russell, Marquess of Tavistock (1739–1767), British politician and eldest son of the 4th Duke of Bedford

Francis Russell (died 1795) (1740–1795), secretary to the Duchy of Lancaster

Francis Russell, 5th Duke of Bedford (1765–1802), English aristocrat and Whig politician

Francis Russell, 7th Duke of Bedford (1788–1861), British peer and Whig politician

Francis Russell, 9th Duke of Bedford (1819–1891), English politician and agriculturalist

Francis H. Russell, American diplomat

Francis Shirley Russell, British cavalry Major-General and Member of Parliament for Cheltenham, 1895–1900

Francis William Russell (1800–1871), Member of the UK Parliament for Limerick City

Francis Albert Rollo Russell, son of John Russell, 1st Earl Russell and first person to be born to a sitting British prime minister

Francis Russell, 7th Duke of Bedford

Francis Russell, 7th Duke of Bedford (13 May 1788 – 14 May 1861), styled Marquess of Tavistock from 1802 to 1839, was a British peer and Whig politician.

Frank Russell, 2nd Earl Russell

John Francis Stanley Russell, 2nd Earl Russell, known as Frank Russell (12 August 1865 – 3 March 1931), was the elder surviving son of Viscount and Viscountess Amberley, and was raised by his paternal grandparents after his unconventional parents both died young. He was the grandson of the former prime minister John Russell, 1st Earl Russell and elder brother of the philosopher Bertrand Russell. He was married three times, lastly to Elizabeth von Arnim, who caricatured him in her novel Vera. Despite his landmark achievements in other respects, this Earl Russell is most famous for being tried for bigamy in 1901, after which he was known to Edwardian society as the "Wicked Earl".

Henry Montagu Villiers

Henry Montagu Villiers (4 January 1813 – 9 August 1861) was an English clergyman of the Church of England from the Villiers family.

John Russell, 6th Duke of Bedford

John Russell, 6th Duke of Bedford (6 July 1766 – 20 October 1839), known as Lord John Russell until 1802, was a British Whig politician who notably served as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in the Ministry of All the Talents. He was the father of Prime Minister John Russell, 1st Earl Russell.

John Russell, 7th Earl Russell

John Francis Russell, 7th Earl Russell, (born 19 November 1971) is a Liberal Democrat politician. He is the son of Conrad Russell, 5th Earl Russell, grandson of Bertrand Russell and great-great-grandson of John Russell, 1st Earl Russell, who was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1846 to 1852 and 1864 to 1865. He succeeded to the earldom on the death of his brother Nicholas Russell, 6th Earl Russell, on 17 August 2014.

Russell served as a Liberal Democrat councillor on Lewisham Borough Council 2006–10 and was the Liberal Democrat candidate for the Greenwich and Lewisham Greater London Assembly seat in 2012.

In 2017, Russell stood for election in Lewisham West and Penge representing the Liberal Democrats in the general election. Labour held the seat.

Russell is the current serving chairman of trustees for the adventure learning charity Wide Horizons. He discovered adventure as a teenager when visiting one of Wide Horizons centres in Wales (Ty'n y Berth) and since then has been passionate about providing disadvantaged children with opportunities for adventures, for their education and development. Russell joined the board of Wide Horizons in 2006 and became Chair in 2012. Wide Horizons is one of the largest charities of its kind in the UK and in 2012/3 delivered adventure to more than 38,000 children.

Professionally, Russell has worked for some years as a freelance photographer, specializing in "political photography, event photography, charity commissions and landscapes".

List of Parliaments of the United Kingdom

This is a list of Parliaments of the United Kingdom, tabulated with the elections to the House of Commons and the list of members of the House.

The Parliaments are numbered from the formation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. For previous Westminster parliaments, see the list of Parliaments of Great Britain and list of Parliaments of England. For pre-Union Dublin parliaments, see the list of Parliaments of Ireland. For pre-1707 Scottish parliaments, see the list of Parliaments of Scotland.

The parties listed are those that won the election. During the nineteenth century, the party of government sometimes changed between general elections.

London Protocol (1862)

The London Protocol was concluded on 6 June 1862 between Japan and the United Kingdom at the conclusion of the First Japanese Embassy to Europe. It was signed on the British side by Foreign Secretary John Russell, 1st Earl Russell.Under the protocol, the United Kingdom ceded some of its rights under the Anglo-Japanese Treaty of Amity and Commerce for a period of five years beginning 1 January 1863. In exchange, the Japanese government reiterated its responsibilities under that treaty to fully open the ports of Nagasaki, Hakodate and Kanagawa to foreign trade.

Louisa Hamilton, Duchess of Abercorn

Louisa Jane Hamilton, Duchess of Abercorn, VA (née Lady Louisa Jane Russell) (8 July 1812 – 31 March 1905) was a member of the British aristocracy. She was the sister of Prime Minister John Russell, 1st Earl Russell, and among her descendants are two British princesses (Diana and Sarah) and Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester.


The Peelites were a breakaway dissident political faction of the British Conservative Party from 1846 to 1859 who joined with the Whigs and Radicals to form the Liberal Party.

They were led by Robert Peel, Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader in 1846.

Russell Hill, Croydon

Russell Hill is an area in the London Borough of Croydon, located to the north-west of Purley.

It is named after former British prime minister John Russell, 1st Earl Russell who was President of the Warehousemen, Clerks and Drapers School which was built here in 1886; prior to this the locality was known as Beggar's Thorn or Beggar's Bush. The area is now home to Margaret Roper Catholic Primary School and Thomas More Catholic School.


Savoy (; Arpitan: Savouè [saˈvwɛ]; French: Savoie [savwa]; Italian: Savoia [saˈvɔːja]; Piedmontese: Savòja [saˈvɔja]; German: Savoyen [zaˈvɔʏ̯ən]) is a cultural-historical region between Western and Central Europe. It comprises roughly the territory of the Western Alps between Lake Geneva in the north and Dauphiné in the south.

The historical land of Savoy emerged as the feudal territory of the House of Savoy during the 11th to 14th centuries. The historical territory is shared among the modern countries of France, Italy, and Switzerland.

Installed by Rudolph III, King of Burgundy, officially in 1003, the House of Savoy became the longest surviving royal house in Europe. It ruled the County of Savoy to 1416 and then the Duchy of Savoy from 1416 to 1860.

The territory of Savoy was annexed to France in 1792 under the French First Republic, before being returned to the Kingdom of Sardinia in 1815. Savoy, along with the county of Nice, was finally annexed to France by a plebiscite, under the Second French Empire in 1860, as part of a political agreement (Treaty of Turin) brokered between the French emperor Napoleon III and King Victor Emmanuel II of the Kingdom of Sardinia that began the final steps in the process of unification of Italy. Victor Emmanuel's dynasty, the House of Savoy, retained its Italian lands of Piedmont and Liguria and became the ruling dynasty of Italy.

Ancestors of John Russell, 1st Earl Russell
16. His Grace Wriothesley Russell, 2nd Duke of Bedford[54]
8. His Grace John Russell, 4th Duke of Bedford[50]
17. Elizabeth Howland[55]
4. Francis Russell, Marquess of Tavistock[48]
18. Rt. Hon. John Leveson-Gower, 1st Earl of Gower[56]
9. Lady Gertrude Leveson-Gower[51]
19. Lady Evelyn Pierrepont[57]
2. His Grace John Russell, 6th Duke of Bedford[47]
20. Rt. Hon. Arnold Joost van Keppel, 1st Earl of Albemarle[58]
10. Rt. Hon. William Anne Keppel, 2nd Earl of Albemarle[52]
21. Gertrude de Quirina van der Duyn[59]
5. Lady Elizabeth Keppel[48]
22. His Grace Charles Lennox, 1st Duke of Richmond[60]
11. Lady Anne Lennox[53]
23. Anne Brudenell[61]
1. Rt. Hon. John Russell, first Earl Russell
24. Rear Admiral Rt. Hon. George Byng, 1st Viscount Torrington[62]
12. Maj.-Gen. Rt. Hon. George Byng, 3rd Viscount Torrington[49]
25. Margaret Master[63]
6. Rt. Hon. George Byng, 4th Viscount Torrington[47]
26. Lyonel Daniel[64]
13. Elizabeth Daniel[49]
27. Martha Master[65]
3. Hon. Georgiana Elizabeth Byng[47]
28. Rt. Hon. Charles Boyle, 4th Earl of Orrery[66]
14. Rt. Hon. John Boyle, 5th Earl of Cork[49]
29. Lady Elizabeth Cecil[67]
7. Lady Lucy Boyle[49]
30. John Hamilton, of Caledon[68]
15. Margaret Hamilton[49]
31. Lucy Dopping[69]
John Russell navigational boxes

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