RUSSELL, Hon. Edward (c.1642-1714).
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Family and Education
b. c.1642, 4th but 1st surv. s. of Sir William Russell†, 5th Earl and 1st Duke of Bedford, by Lady Anne, da. and h. of Robert Ker, 1st Earl of Somerset; bro. of Hon. James*, Hon. Robert* and Hon. William Russell†. educ. privately (John Thornton); travelled abroad (France, Italy, Germany, Low Countries) 1660–6; Padua Univ. 1664. m. 1 Aug. 1688, Frances (d. 1694), da. of Sir Robert Williams, 2nd Bt., of Penrhyn, Caern., wid. of Richard Lloyd of Esclus, Denb., s.p. Styled Ld. Edward Russell from 11 May 1694.1
Custos rot. Caern. 1689–?d.; conservator, Bedford level 1696–d.; ld. lt. Beds., Cambs. and Mdx. 1700–1.2
Treasurer of the chamber 1693–1702.3
Asst. Mines Co. 1693.4
In 1690 Russell was returned for Bedfordshire, where his family had a strong interest, and was classed as a Whig in an analysis of the new House by Lord Carmarthen (Sir Thomas Osborne†). Robert Harley’s* list of April 1691 classed him as a Court supporter, as did Carmarthen in 1692 and Samuel Grascome in 1693. Russell was also twice listed as a placeman in this Parliament by virtue of his place as treasurer of the chamber. Re-elected in 1695, he was forecast as likely to support the government in the division of 31 Jan. 1696 on the proposed council of trade. In February he signed the Association and the following month voted for fixing the price of guineas at 22s. After the discovery of Sir John Fenwick’s† plot in the autumn he attended a meeting held at the house of Lord Keeper Somers (Sir John*), attended by Lord Wharton (Hon. Thomas*) and Charles Montagu* to consider what to do about Fenwick’s revelations of Whig intrigues at St. Germain. On 25 Nov. he voted for Fenwick’s attainder. Classed as a Court supporter and a placeman in the 1698 Parliament, he voted against the third reading of the disbanding bill on 18 Jan. 1699. In an analysis of the House into ‘interests’ in early 1700, he naturally appeared as a follower of the Duke of Bedford and Lord Orford (Edward Russell*).5
The death of his father in September 1700 was followed in November with Russell’s appointment to the lord lieutenancies of three counties during the minority of the 2nd Duke of Bedford (then just turned 20), as well as official administration of the Bedford estates, then said to be worth £30,000 p.a. He relinquished the lieutenancies in November 1701. In the two 1701 Parliaments he was returned for Tavistock and Bedfordshire, never choosing between them. In August 1701 he accompanied Lord Halifax (Charles Montagu) to investigate a report that several Tory Members were in the company of Poussin the French envoy (see TREDENHAM, John), thus unleashing a major political scandal. Classed as a Whig by Harley in December 1701, he voted on 13 Feb. 1703 for agreeing with the Lords’ amendments to the bill for extending the time for taking the oath of abjuration. Forecast as an opponent of the Tack, he did not vote for it on 28 Nov. 1704. At the general election of 1705 he was defeated by a revived Tory interest in Bedfordshire. After success in the county at the 1708 election he was listed as a Whig in one analysis of the new Parliament and as a ‘gain’ by the Earl of Sunderland (Charles, Lord Spencer*). He voted for the naturalization of the Palatines in 1709 and the impeachment of Dr Sacheverell in 1710. Re-elected in 1710, he appeared in the ‘Hanover list’ as a Whig. The death of the 2nd Duke of Bedford in May 1711 saw him regain administration of the Bedford estates, the 3rd Duke being only three. Russell retired, probably on health grounds, at the dissolution of Parliament in 1713, dying on 30 June 1714, aged 72.6
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: Eveline Cruickshanks
- 1. G. Scott Thomson, Life in a Noble Household, 96–110; HMC 7th Rep. 505; HMC Portland, iii. 552.
- 2. CSP Dom. 1689–90, p. 271; 1700–2, p. 141; S. Wells, Drainage of Bedford Level, i. 476–85; G. Scott Thomson, Russells in Bloomsbury, 112.
- 3. Luttrell, Brief Relation, iii. 60; v. 163.
- 4. CSP Dom. 1693, p. 207.
- 5. Vernon– Shrewsbury Letters, i. 30–31; Coxe, Shrewsbury, 414.
- 6. CSP Dom. 1700–2, p. 141; Add. 29599, f. 121; 30000 D, f. 276; HMC Lords, n.s. ix. 194–5; Le Neve, Mon. Angl. 1700–15, p. 289.