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Russell, John, 1st Earl Russell, 1792-1878

  • GB-2014-WSA-01218
  • Person
  • 1792-1878

RUSSELL, JOHN, 1ST EARL RUSSELL, third son of John Russell, 6th Duke of Bedford (qv), and his first wife; b. 18 Aug 1792; adm. 23 Sep 1803 (G); fag to his brother Lord Tavistock; kept a diary while at the School, including a list of the School for Oct 1803; left Bartholomewtide 1804; Edinburgh Univ. 1809-12; MP Tavistock 4 May 1813 – Mar 1817, 1818-20, Huntingdonshire 1820-6, Bandon Bridge 19 Dec 1826-30, Tavistock 24 Nov 1830-1, Devon 1831-2, South Devon 1832 – Apr 1835, Stroud 29 May 1835-41, City of London 1841- 30 Jul 1861; made his first speech in favour of parliamentary reform 14 Dec 1819; successfully moved repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts 26 Feb 1828; Privy Councillor 22 Nov 1830; Paymaster-Gen. of the Forces 13 Dec 1830 – Nov 1834, also member of Cabinet Jun 1831 – Nov 1834; moved first reading of Reform Bill 31 Mar 1831; introduced Reform Bill for second time 24 Jun 1831, and for third time 12 Dec 1831; advocated reform of the Irish Church 1833-4; leader of Whigs in House of Commons Apr 1835 onwards; Secretary of State for Home Affairs 18 Apr 1835 – Aug 1839; carried through the Municipal Corporations Bill, and diminished the number of offences liable to capital punishment; Secretary for War and the Colonies 30 Aug 1839 – Aug 1841; declared for total repeal of the Corn Laws in his Edinburgh Letter of 22 Nov 1845, and supported their repeal by Peel in 1846; Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury 6 Jul 1846 – Feb 1852; carried the bill for removing Jewish disabilities through the House of Commons 1848, and responsible for the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill of 1851; Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in Aberdeen ministry Dec 1852 – Feb 1853, when he resigned but remained in Cabinet without office and continued to lead the House of Commons; Lord President of the Council 12 Jun 1854 – Jan 1855, resigning because of his dissatisfaction with the conduct of the Crimean War; Plenipotentiary to Vienna Congress 11 Feb 1855; Secretary of State for the Colonies 1 May – 13 Jul 1855; opposed Disraeli’s Reform Bill of 1859; Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs 18 Jun 1859 – Nov 1865; the Reform Bill introduced by him on 1 Mar 1860 was subsequently dropped; created Earl Russell 30 Jul 1861; KG 21 May 1862; Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury 6 Nov 1865 – 18 Jun 1866, resigning on defeat of his Government’s Reform Bill by the ‘Adullamites”; declined Cabinet office in Gladstone’s administration formed in Dec 1868; received freedom City of London 9 Jul 1831; LLD Edinburgh Univ. 8 Nov 1845; FRS 6 May 1847; Lord Rector, Aberdeen Univ., from 1863; GCMG 25 Mar 1869; Busby Trustee 2 Jun 1863; a sincere and able Whig with the courage of his opinions, and a store of constitutional and historical knowledge; although no orator, a skilful debater and creator of telling phrases; edited Letters of the Fourth Duke of Bedford, 1842-6; author, Essay on the English Constitution, and other works; m. 1st, 11 Apr 1835 Adelaide, widow of Thomas Lister, 2nd Baron Ribblesdale (qv), and half-sister of Thomas Henry Lister (qv); m. 2nd, 20 Jul 1841 Lady Frances Anna Maria Elliot, second dau. of Gilbert Elliot, 2nd Earl of Minto; d. 28 May 1878. DNB.