GREENHILL RUSSELL, Robert (1763-1836), of Chequers Court, Ellesborough, Bucks. and 4 Stone Buildings, Lincoln's Inn, Mdx.
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Family and Educationb. 1763, o. surv. ch. of Rev. John Russell Greenhill, LLD, rect. of Fringford, Oxon., and Elizabeth, da. and h. of Matthew Noble of Sunderland, co. Dur. educ. Westminster 1773; Christ Church, Oxf. 1780; L. Inn 1780, called 1790. unm. suc. fa. 1813; to estates of the late Sir George Russell, 10th bt., of Chequers Court and took additional surname of Russell by sign manual 13 May 1815; cr. bt. 15 Sept. 1831. d. 12 Dec. 1836.
Russell continued to occupy one of the Thirsk seats throughout this period under the patronage of his uncle Sir Thomas Frankland†, and later of his cousin and fellow Member Robert Frankland. He was a less diligent attender than in the past, but continued to vote with the Whig opposition to Lord Liverpool’s ministry on all major issues. He divided against them on the civil list, 5, 8 May, and the barrack agreement bill, 17 July 1820. He voted against Wilberforce’s resolution urging Queen Caroline to compromise, 22 June 1820, for the restoration of her name to the liturgy, 23, 26 Jan., 14 Feb., and to condemn ministers’ conduct towards her, 6 Feb. 1821. He divided for Catholic relief, 28 Feb. He voted for repeal of the additional malt duty, 3 Apr., and of the Blasphemous and Seditious Libels Act, 8 May 1821. He divided for Sir Robert Wilson’s motion complaining of his removal from the army, 13 Feb. 1822. He presented a petition from the farmers of Ellesborough complaining of agricultural distress, 19 Feb. He voted for more extensive tax reductions, 21 Feb., abolition of the one of the joint-postmasterships, 14 Mar., 2 May, inquiry into the duties of officers of the board of control, 14 Mar., and reduction of the cost of the embassy to the Swiss cantons, 16 May. He divided for Lord John Russell’s reform scheme, 25 Apr., and against the aliens bill, 5 June 1822. He voted for repeal of the Foreign Enlistment Act, 16 Apr., Russell’s reform motion, 24 Apr., and reform in Scotland, 2 June 1823. He divided for inquiry into the state of Ireland, 11 May 1824. He paired for Catholic claims, 1 Mar., and voted for it, 10 May 1825. He divided against the duke of Cumberland’s annuity bill, 10 June 1825. There are no recorded votes for the 1826 session.
He divided for Catholic relief, 6 Mar., and against Canning’s coalition ministry for the disfranchisement of Penryn, 28 May 1827. He voted for repeal of the Test Acts, 26 Feb., and Catholic relief, 12 May 1828. That summer, and again two years later, he applied unsuccessfully to the prime minister, the duke of Wellington, for the restoration of the Russell family baronetcy.1 He divided for the government’s Catholic emancipation bill, 6, 30 Mar., and the transfer of East Retford’s seats to Birmingham, 5 May 1829. His only known vote in the next session was for Jewish emancipation, 17 May 1830. After the general election that summer the ministry listed him as one of their ‘foes’, but he was absent from the crucial division on the civil list, 15 Nov. 1830. He presented several anti-slavery petitions, 23 Nov. 1830. He divided for the second reading of the Grey ministry’s reform bill, 22 Mar., and against Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr. 1831. He voted for the second reading of the reintroduced bill, 6 July, and three of its details, but he presented a hostile petition from his constituents, 14 July 1831. On the motion that Thirsk be included in schedule B, 30 July, he made his only known speech in this period, in which he explained that while he ‘agreed generally in the principle of the bill’, he believed that Thirsk’s economic importance entitled it to return two Members. He also dwelt on an ‘irregularity’ in the 1821 census return, but did not press his objections to a division. He voted for the bill’s passage, 21 Sept., the second reading of the Scottish bill, 23 Sept., and Lord Ebrington’s confidence motion, 10 Oct. He voted to punish only those found guilty of bribery at the Dublin election and against the motion accusing the Irish administration of using undue influence, 23 Aug. He divided for the second reading of the revised reform bill, 17 Dec. 1831, three of its details, and the third reading, 22 Mar. 1832. He voted for an address asking the king to appoint only ministers committed to carrying an undiluted measure, 10 May, and for the second reading of the Irish bill, 25 May. He divided with ministers on relations with Portugal, 9 Feb., and voted or paired with them on the Russian-Dutch loan, 12, 16, 20 July. He voted to make coroners’ inquests public, 20 June 1832.
With Robert Frankland filling the one remaining seat at Thirsk after the Reform Act, Greenhill Russell, who had been awarded a baronetcy in the coronation honours of 1831, retired at the dissolution in 1832. He died in December 1836, when his title became extinct. He left his Chequers estate, which he had ‘modernized with great taste’, to his ‘old and valued friend’ Frankland; his personalty was sworn under £140,000.2