RUSSELL, Lord John (1792-1878).
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Family and Education
b. 18 Aug. 1792, 3rd s. of John Russell†, 6th duke of Bedford (d. 1839), and 1st w. Hon. Georgiana Elizabeth Byng, da. of George, 4th Visct. Torrington; bro. of Francis Russell, mq. of Tavistock* and Lord George William Russell*. educ. by Dr. Moore, Sunbury, Mdx. 1800-1; Westminster 1803-4; privately by Dr. Edmund Cartwright 1804-5; by Rev. John Smith at Woodnesborough, nr. Sandwich, Kent 1805-8; Edinburgh Univ. 1809-12. m. (1) 11 Apr. 1835, Adelaide (d. 1 Nov. 1838), da. of Thomas Lister of Armitage Park, Staffs., wid. of her 2nd cos. Thomas Lister, 2nd Bar. Ribblesdale, 2da.; (2) 20 July 1841, Lady Frances Anna Maria Elliot Murray Kynynmound, da. of Gilbert Elliot Murray Kynynmound†, 2nd earl of Minto, 3s. (1 d.v.p.) 1da. cr. Earl Russell 30 July 1861; KG 21 May 1862; GCMG 25 Mar. 1869. d. 28 May 1878.
PC 22 Nov. 1830; paymaster-gen. Dec. 1830-Dec. 1834 (in cabinet from June 1831); commr. on civil administration of army 1833-4, 1835-7; sec. of state for home affairs Apr. 1835-Sept. 1839; ecclesiastical commr. 1835-7; sec. of state for war and colonies Sept. 1839-Sept. 1841; first ld. of treasury 6 July 1846-27 Feb. 1852, 3 Nov. 1865-6 July 1866; commr. on new bishoprics 1847; sec. of state for foreign affairs Dec. 1852-Feb. 1853, June 1859-Nov. 1865; in cabinet without office Feb. 1853-June 1854; ld. pres. of council June 1854-Feb. 1855; 4th charity commr. 1854-6; special mission to Vienna Feb.-Apr. 1855; sec. of state for colonies May-July 1855.
Rect. Glasgow Univ. 1846-7, Aberdeen Univ. 1863-6.
Capt. Beds. militia 1810.
At the start of this period the 27-year-old Russell, the runt of his strange aristocratic family, with a ‘thin, diminutive figure and shrivelled countenance’, had staked a claim to be the Foxite Whig spokesman for moderate parliamentary reform.1 By its close he was probably the most popular politician in Britain, fêted as the chief author of the first Reform Act.2 Yet in 1820 Russell, a proud, shy, insecure, sensitive and quick-tempered man, plagued by unreliable health and infected with his father’s ‘moving mania’, which lured him frequently to the continent, was as much attracted to literature and history as to politics, although his abilities in those fields were pedestrian. He had not yet served out his political apprenticeship under Lord Holland, who found him a readier pupil than his own disappointing elder son.3 At the general election of 1820 he abandoned his secure seat for the family borough of Tavistock to stand for Huntingdonshire, having been recommended by his friend Lord Milton* to the local independents who wished to break the dominant aristocratic Tory coalition. He canvassed successfully, made, so Milton heard, a ‘very neat and judicious speech’ at the county meeting, 4 Mar., and came in unopposed with the ministerialist sitting Member.4 He appeared on the Westminster hustings in support of the Whig George Lamb*, 21 Mar.5 Anticipating his appearance at the Middlesex election at the head of the Chelsea Pensioners who were to vote for Samuel Whitbread*, 27 Mar. 1820, George Agar Ellis* hoped he ‘means to be dressed in the invalid costume’, for he would ‘make a capital withered little veteran’.6
Russell spoke and voted against the Liverpool ministry on the civil list, 3, 5, 8 May, when he tried to delay the report, and the appointment of an additional Scottish baron of exchequer, 15 May 1820. On 9 May he got leave to introduce his bill to disfranchise the corrupt borough of Grampound (to which ministers had agreed in principle before the dissolution) and give its seats to Leeds. On the second reading, 19 May, he expressed his preference for Leeds over Yorkshire and deplored the foreign secretary Lord Castlereagh’s persistence in advocating throwing Grampound into its hundreds. Time ran out for the measure that session.7 He ‘stabbed with a polished dagger’ Warren, the chief justice of Chester, 1 June, when arguing that Welsh judges should be excluded from the Commons.8 He divided against the aliens bill that day, and the appointment of a ‘green bag’ inquiry into Queen Caroline’s conduct, 26 June. At a constituency dinner, 28 July, he attached ‘some blame’ to her, but criticized ministers for involving Parliament.9 On 3 Aug. he wrote a public letter (published in The Times two days later) to William Wilberforce*, enclosing a draft address to the king asking him to end proceedings by proroguing Parliament and urging him and other influential Tory backbenchers to persuade ministers to effect an amicable compromise. Wilberforce took a dim view of this and even Russell’s father, the duke of Bedford, who had had no inkling of the letter, told him that he considered its publication impolitic, however ‘admirable and ... unanswerable’ its argument. In a preface to a subsequent issue Russell argued that it had been aimed against both diehard Tories and ‘enraged demagogues’, equally the ‘enemies of liberty’.10 Many Whig partisans were upset by his admission that the party was powerless to exert anything more than ‘moral influence’; but he told his friend Tom Moore:
My letter, though it pleased the people, was much blamed by our big wigs, who think our party ought to stand by, profess no principles, and hazard no opinions ... They are waiting to let ministers ‘drown themselves’, an ill-judged policy. The first thing needful in an opposition is to be ‘honest men who will tell the truth coute que coute’.11
That month he somewhat smugly acknowledged his authorship of the trifling Essays and Sketches of Life and Character, dedicated to Moore, which Henry Fox* considered ‘on the whole lively, full of knowledge, observation and wit’.12 He encouraged Tierney, the Whig leader in the Commons, to ‘take a bold line’ when the House met in October; and on the 17th, presenting and endorsing a Plymouth petition against the prosecution of Caroline, he condemned it as ‘unwarranted and unprecedented’. He sympathized with Hume’s call for the release of William Franklin, imprisoned for sedition, though a few weeks earlier he had been embarrassed by the unauthorized publication of his name as a steward of a ‘Spanish dinner’, which was ‘evidently meant to encourage a revolt in the army’, in the company of Henry Hunt* and ‘Thistlewood’s nearest and dearest’.13 From late November until 1 Jan. 1821 he was in Paris, where he spent much time with Moore, to whom he suggested that ‘the queen’s business had done a great deal of good in renewing the old and natural alliance between the Whigs and the people’. When Lady Holland told him of his father’s irritation at his sudden disappearance, he retorted that Bedford had ‘no right to be grieved ... nor you to mention it’, and that it was ‘a pleasure to talk so little about the queen and politics of the parish as I do here’.14 The day after his departure from Paris Gallois complained to Moore that he ‘showed to so little advantage in society from his extreme taciturnity and still more from his apparent coldness and indifference to what is said by others’.15
Russell, who thought that the proliferation of loyal meetings had ‘done more for us by creating a spirit than all we could do besides’, spoke cogently, according to Fox, at the Bedfordshire county meeting, 12 Jan. 1821.16 He voted in support of the opposition campaign on behalf of the queen, but spoke only tersely on the subject, 24, 26, 31 Jan. He presented, by request, a petition alleging a military outrage by the sheriff of Dublin at a pro-Caroline county meeting, 22 Feb., but his motion for inquiry was defeated by 124-90. He thought opposition produced a ‘famous debate’ to condemn the Allies’ suppression of liberalism in Naples, 21 Feb., when he was a silent voter; but he asked Moore, ‘What is an eloquent speech against a million men with whiskers, tight waists, and long swords?’17 He reintroduced his bill to transfer Grampound’s seats to Leeds, 1 Feb., and on the 12th promoted it as ‘a safe, salutary and practical’ measure of the sensible change which was ‘the best means of guarding against the views of those who looked for reform through violence and mischief’; he saw off an attempt to sluice the borough into the hundreds. On 2 Mar. he successfully opposed Milton’s amendment to give Leeds a scot and lot franchise; but when Stuart Wortley, the ministerialist Member for Yorkshire, carried by 148-94 a proposal to raise the householder qualification from £10 (a concession by Russell, who had wanted £5) to £20, he washed his hands of the bill, which Bedford thought had been made ‘a perfect mockery’.18 Not wishing to lose it, however, he endorsed the third reading, 19 Mar. Russell only paired for Catholic relief, 28 Feb. He was considered by the rising barrister John Campbell II* as ‘the fittest person’ to succeed the ailing Tierney as leader if he showed ‘a moderate share of sense and talent’; but during the first half of March he was, as he told Lady Holland, if ‘not really ill’, certainly ‘weakened, and worried, and made ill by London and the House of Commons’. After a fortnight’s repose at Woburn Abbey he went to Holland House, ‘still looking ill’, as Bedford thought, and ‘unfit for House of Commons air, and the hot rooms of London’.19 He divided for repeal of the additional malt duty, 21 Mar., and paired for it, 3 Apr. At the Huntingdonshire county meeting to petition for a fair settlement for the queen and tax cuts, 30 Mar., he advocated ‘retrenchment and a rational and constitutional reform’.20 He was in three small minorities on the army estimates, 30 Apr., and divided sporadically for economy and retrenchment during the following fortnight. He voted to condemn the slow progress of the judicial commission, 9 May. Later that day he proposed inquiry into reform of the Commons by extending the franchise to deserving unrepresented large towns and establishing machinery for the disfranchisement of notoriously corrupt boroughs. His defeat by only 155-124 was considered ‘a great division for reform’ by the radical Whig Henry Grey Bennet*, while Bedford thought it ‘grand’. On 11 May Russell was so hard on Castlereagh when supporting Bennet’s allegation of a breach of privilege by John Bull, that the minister ‘complained ... in private’ to his eldest brother Lord Tavistock of his ‘bitterness towards him’.21 He acquiesced in the Lords’ amendment to give Grampound’s seats to Yorkshire, 30 May, having told Lady Holland that ‘the bill, your grandchild, after changing nurses several times, is now to be allowed to go alone, and I shall not disdain to own my progeny’.22 Bedford was pleased with
John’s little beginning of a reform of Parliament. At all events, he has obtained an acknowledgement of the principle from both Houses, and the election of two Members by a rotten borough has been abrogated by a purely popular representation. This is an important point gained, as being the first step towards an efficient and salutary reform ... John would not be a bad parliamentary reformer, but he is too fond of an epigram or a sarcastic joke, which he thinks he can play off with effect upon the reformers.23
Russell paired for inquiry into Peterloo, 16 May, voted for Sir James Mackintosh’s forgery punishment mitigation bill, 23 May, 4 June, when he joined in protests at ministers’ devious attempts to defeat it, and divided to reduce the number of placemen in the Commons, 31 May, and in a minority of 27 for inquiry into the government of the Ionian Islands, 7 June 1821.
A week later he arrived in Paris, where he gave Moore a copy of his new publication, An Essay on the History of the English Government and Constitution, which compared the British favourably with continental systems of government and argued that ‘its abuses easily admit of reforms consistent with its spirit, capable of being effected without injury or danger, and mainly contributing to its preservation’ (pp. iii-iv). He had a flirtation, possibly more, with Madame Durazzo, and was reported to be ‘looking pale and thin’. He returned to England in late September 1821.24 He spent most of the autumn at Woburn, ‘looking ill, but in good spirits’, reading ‘incessantly’ and keeping his literary projects to himself.25 On 22 Dec. he attended, with Brougham, Stephen Lushington* and Edward Ellice*, a small London meeting called by Hume to ‘concert the time, place and best means of ascertaining the public feeling at a public meeting in favour of the Greeks’.26 In Paris he had told Moore that he meant next session to ‘bring forward a plan of reform’, being ‘displeased with the shilly-shally conduct of his party’; and in December 1821 he asserted to Lord Normanby* that reform should be made central to the party’s political credo, for it had ‘got into the people’s marrow and nothing will take it out’. He informed Moore in early January 1822 that he planned to ‘nurse myself this year, and perhaps the following’ and would ‘do little’; but, observing to Lady Holland that the prospects for opposition were good ‘if we keep together’, he insisted that ‘reform, moderate if you will, is indispensable’: ‘I am in my politics for reform and nothing but reform’.27
He ‘brought a hornets’ nest upon him’ by writing two public letters to the yeomanry and farmers of Huntingdonshire in which he discountenanced agitation for enhanced agricultural protection and contended that the ‘only safe remedies’ for distress were ‘retrenchment of the public expenses, the abolition of the sinking fund and the repeal of some of the most obnoxious taxes’, to achieve which a reform of the Commons was essential. Mackintosh considered this ‘an undistinguished attack on the application of reason to economy’, executed with ‘an air of levity and rashness which is very injurious to the character of a public man’; and Tierney remarked that he ‘goes to press much too often, and greatly injures himself by it’.28 Russell later admitted that he had ‘deserved’ the lashing which he received from the political economists in so far as he had provoked them, but he still believed that his only fault had been to ‘let out too many truths at once’.29 He stayed away from the Huntingdonshire meeting of 3 Apr. He voted for more extensive tax reductions, 11, 21 Feb., when he said that the ‘great suffering and misery’ of agriculturists was ‘a proof of mismanagement on the part of government’. He divided silently and sporadically with his friends on major issues for a few weeks, but now felt that they were ‘beat at the game of politics’, as he told Moore:
I hope to make something of reform by and bye. Meetings first must be held in most counties, but after all the country is flat and poor and dispirited, the country gentlemen base and servile, and these ministers have really established themselves in such a way that it will require king and country to unite very strongly to turn them out.30
On 15 Mar. he tried to embarrass Charles Arbuthnot, the patronage secretary, over his circular note summoning members to attend to resist the ‘dangerous innovation’ of abolition of one of the joint-postmasterships, but the Speaker took Arbuthnot’s side and Russell was ‘obliged to draw in his horns’.31 Presenting the petition of the British agent Captain Romeo, who had been imprisoned and transported by the king of Naples, 25 Mar., he denounced the tyranny of the Holy Alliance. The prospect of his reform motion worried Grey and Lord Fitzwilliam, whose son Milton was the only person privy to its details, but Grey recognized that in the current climate of opinion it could hardly be suppressed.32 Russell sat with Moore under the gallery before the time came for his motion, 25 Apr., when he spoke well for two and a half hours and was ‘listened to throughout with the profoundest attention’.33 Arguing that the Commons, where Members for small boroughs were disproportionately inclined to support government, no longer possessed ‘the esteem and reverence of the people’ and that stubborn resistance to reform in the face of dramatic changes in society would lead to disaster, he put the case for restorative reform to avert revolution. Specifically, he proposed to deprive 100 small boroughs of one Member and to transfer 60 seats to the counties and 40 to unrepresented large towns. Although defeated by 269-164, he secured the largest vote for reform since 1785 and had the satisfaction of seeing three millionaire converts in the minority for what represented an abandonment of gradualism by the Whig mainstream. As Lady Spencer observed, he had ‘got the question into his hands and out of the violent Mountaineers’.34 He was reported in May to be ‘favourable’ to Tavistock’s fanciful notion of installing Sir Francis Burdett as leader of the opposition in the Commons.35 Suffering ‘occasional derangements from over fatigue and the bad atmosphere in the House of Commons’,36 he voted only intermittently for the rest of the session. He spoke and was in the minority of 35 for Hume’s amendment to pay the deadweight pensions from the sinking fund, 24 May. He divided for reception of the Greenhoe reform petition, 3 June. On the Kent distress petition, 14 June 1822, he said that reform was ‘wholly unconnected with the public debt’, opposed a reduction of interest on the national debt except in extreme emergency and promised ‘upon the first favourable opportunity’ to renew his pressure for ‘a just, necessary and constitutional reform’. A few days later he replied to Holland’s observation that ministers were ‘divided’:
So they always are, but we are much so, and have not the cabinet glue to keep us together. My notion is ... that they are so low in the country that we can make them do what they please as long as we are a little in the right, except about foreign politics, and there John Bull won’t stand by us. The House of Commons, bad as it is, is become a sort of executive and legislative senate that governs the country half the year and with good attendance much good may be done to everybody but ourselves.37
‘Much knocked up by the heat of London and the House’, he had planned to go abroad, but his father’s serious illness kept him in England for the rest of the year, ‘following up his literary pursuits with laudable zeal’. He published a dreadful novel, The Nun of Arrouca, and a blank verse play, Don Carlos.38 He noted that the marriage of Lord Mandeville*, the duke of Manchester’s son, to a wealthy Huntingdonshire heiress probably meant that he would be turned out of his seat next time, but professed indifference. Yet in early October 1822 he publicly denied a report that he planned to step down and said he would stand a poll, though he was not prepared to spend illegally. Later that month he told Lady Holland, ‘I mean to be a looker-on the greater part of next session. Whether I bring on my reform is doubtful, but I shall certainly do nothing else’.39
Russell thought the ministerial reshuffle of January 1823 would ‘make the House of Commons pleasanter to attenders’, but he was disgusted by the Irish attorney-general William Plunket’s* use of ex-officio informations to prosecute the Dublin Orange rioters and wondered whether ‘Ireland is to be left like Mahomet’s limb hanging in mid-air between two lodestones, or whether Wellesley [the lord lieutenant] will force our statesmen to be honest in their own despite’.40 His father regretted that he was ‘led away’ by the Whig ‘great guns’ to disregard Hume’s attack on the appointment of a lieutenant-general of the ordnance in peacetime, 19 Feb., ‘as he has a rising reputation to keep up, and such shabby conduct will do him some harm in the world, particularly among his constituents’.41 Next day Russell, borrowing an idea from the ‘Mountaineer’ Creevey, moved for inquiry into the franchise and number of voters in the English and Welsh boroughs, suggesting that a mere 8,000 men returned a majority of the House. He was said to be ‘exceedingly pleased with the result’, a defeat by 128-90.42 At the Huntingdonshire county meeting, 7 Mar., he argued that reform would ‘restore rather than destroy the constitution’ and denounced both his Tory colleague Fellowes’s opposition to change and the extreme programme advocated by the radical Samuel Wells.43 He approved Lord Duncannon’s* plan to hold dinner meetings to promote opposition ‘union’, but told Brougham, whom he encouraged to assume the lead, that he saw it ‘as a beginning of something else’, and that there should be ‘a committee of seven to ten Members to put business into some form previously to general meetings’ and to act as ‘a sort of cabinet’. Worried by the government’s passivity towards the French invasion of Spain, he embarrassed Canning, the foreign secretary, with a mischievous question on the subject, 25 Mar.44 Later that day he spoke and was a teller for the minority of 26 for information on diplomatic expenditure, having divided against the grant for colonial agents on the 24th. He spoke and voted for repeal of the Foreign Enlistment Act, 16 Apr., but was dissatisfied with his performance.45 Bedford deplored the ‘strange crotchet’ which made him reluctant to back any motions condemning Plunket’s prosecution of the Dublin rioters for fear of ‘giving strength and countenance to the Orange faction’;46 but he voted silently for Burdett’s successful call for inquiry, 22 Apr. Two days later, handicapped by ‘a violent cold’, he proposed his reform scheme of the previous year and mustered an impressive minority of 169 against 280.47 He was one of the 22 Members who were shut in the House to form the minority on the Franco-Spanish conflict, 30 Apr. He divided for inquiries into the state of Ireland, 12 May, and the Newfoundland fisheries, 14 May, paired for abolition of the death penalty for forgery offences, 21 May, to condemn arrears in chancery business, 5 June, and in support of Irish Catholic complaints of judicial bias against them, 26 June, and voted for reform in Scotland, 2 June, to censure the lord advocate’s treatment of the press, 3 June, for proper use of the Barbados defence fund, 9 June, and inquiry into the cost of the coronation, 19 June 1823. He abandoned a plan to visit Ireland with Moore that summer because both Bedford and Tavistock were ill. After performing some irksome constituency duties he confided to Lady Holland that ‘I begin to be rather tired of county business, and if I could get honourably out of it should not be sorry to have the retirement of a rotten borough’. His brother George William’s wife reported in September that the ‘dear little manikin’ was ‘fat and flippant ... and does not think small beer of himself as usual’.48 He went to Paris in pursuit of Madame Durazzo in November 1823 and wrote ‘gai comme un pinson’ to his sister-in-law, confessing that ‘he feels another man when he crosses the Channel, with all his patriotism’. He continued to take a keen interest in the situation in Spain, concluding that the French had ‘conquered a desert’, but ‘sorry to see Canning so inferior to Castlereagh in stoutness and spirit’.49
Back in England in late January 1824, ‘looking well and ... in good spirits, and ... rather eager for the opening of the parliamentary campaign’, as his father thought, Russell told Moore:
The Holy Alliance ... are the veriest curse after the plague that ever afflicted mankind ... I shall be in the House of Commons the first day, but we are likely to have a blank session. I saw leading Whigs in town. Tierney is at freezing point, Mackintosh rather below temperate; Lord Holland and Brougham alone are at blood heat.50
He divided for information on Catholic burials, 6 Feb., but three days later joked to Moore that the House ‘is going to be shut up, and let to a great proprietor of asses; asses’ milk is to be sold there’.51 He was in the minority of 30 for papers on the Franco-Spanish war, 17 Feb., and on 18 Mar. made a motion of his own on the French evacuation, seeking to promote ‘the glorious cause of humanity, of civilization, of science, of freedom’ against the efforts of the Alliance to ‘subdue in man all that connected him with a superior state of being, and to degrade him to a level with the brute creation’. Canning got the better of him with a comic masterpiece, and he shied from dividing the House.52 He spoke and voted for the ‘experiment’ of reforming Edinburgh’s representative system, 26 Feb., and divided for repeal of the window tax, 2 Mar., and, in a minority of 19, against the Welsh judiciary bill, 11 Mar. He attacked and was a minority teller against the aliens bill, 23 Mar., 12 Apr. He was named to the select committee on labourers’ wages, 25 Mar., having acquiesced in the home secretary Peel’s proposal to investigate this rather than the whole condition of the poor, as he had originally wished. He spoke and voted for postponement of the grant for Windsor Castle repairs until the details were disclosed, 5 Apr. He voted against the grant for building new churches, 9 Apr. He presented and endorsed a Separatists’ petition for exemption from oaths of affirmation, 6 May, when he divided for inquiry into the Irish church establishment, as he did for investigation of the state of Ireland, 11 May, and proper use of Irish first fruits revenues, 25 May. On 14 June he opposed the Irish insurrection bill and urged ministers to grasp the nettle of Catholic emancipation. He said he would revive the reform issue next session, 17 May. He voted for repeal of the leather tax, 18 May, deplored the ‘degrading’ Test Acts, 4 June, and voted to condemn the prosecution of the Methodist missionary John Smith in Demerara, 11 June 1824. Russell, who tried to keep the peace between his stepmother and the William Russells that summer, was with the Durazzos at Bowood and Longleat in August.53 Soon afterwards he went to Paris, and thence to Nice and Genoa, but he gave up a plan to stay in Italy for several months. He told Lady Holland that he hoped the Whigs would ‘not take arms for the Catholic Association, who are grateful to none but the king and William Cobbett† for the support they have had from them’. The first volume of his Memoirs of the Affairs of Europe from the Peace of Utrecht appeared in 1824. (The second was published in 1829.)
Russell was in London to vote in a minority of 15 for information on the organization of the Indian army, 24 Mar. 1825. He disliked the proposals to disfranchise Irish 40s. freeholders and pay the Catholic clergy, 28 Mar., but was willing to swallow them to secure emancipation, for which he duly voted, 21 Apr., 10 May, and spoke, 6, 26 May. He attended and ‘spoke well’ at the annual Westminster purity of election dinner, 23 May.54 He divided against the duke of Cumberland’s annuity, 30 May, 19 June, to reduce judicial salaries, 17 June, and for the spring guns bill, 21 June 1825. The announcement that autumn of Mandeville’s coalition with Fellowes for the anticipated general election threatened his seat. He reluctantly decided to stand his ground, but made clear his determination to spend no money (as Tavistock had in Bedfordshire) and, indifferent and torpid, resigned himself to defeat.55 He gave up his planned autumn visit to Paris, being ‘tired of travelling’. He had ‘a sort of fit’ at Tavistock’s Bedfordshire hunting lodge in late November, when John Hobhouse, radical Whig Member for Westminster, a fellow guest, noted that he had ‘a good memory and a happy recollection, which enables him to play a good part in conversation when roused to talk, which is seldom the case’.56 At a constituency dinner, 23 Dec. 1825, he advocated reform of chancery and Parliament, condemned the Holy Alliance’s suppression of Greek independence and bestowed ‘liberal encomiums’ on Canning’s South American policy and the government’s more enlightened attitude since 1823. He declined to commit himself to oppose relaxation of the corn laws and above all stressed the need for Catholic emancipation, in defiance of the ‘No Popery’ cry which his local opponents were raising against him.57 He instructed Milton, to whom he left the appointment of a committee, to ensure that his agent understood that no money was to be spent except in drawing up canvassing lists, and irritated some of his supporters by refusing to canvass before Easter and by dashing off to Paris, where Lady Granville found him ‘white as a sheet and smelling of ether’, to see his father in late January 1826.58
He was in the House to vote in the minorities of 24 against the ministerial proposals to restrict the circulation of small bank notes, 20 Feb. 1826, and of 15 on the ‘inordinate’ navy estimates next day, when he seconded Hume’s amendment. On the 24th, however, he opposed inquiry into the distressed silk trade, arguing that the ministry’s estimable liberal commercial policy should not be impeded. He did not persist in his bid to reduce the grant for the volunteer corps, 3 Mar., but he continued to object to details of the army estimates and voted for the abolition of military flogging, 10 Mar. When Creevey sent him an advance copy of his Letters to Lord John Russell on the state of the borough representation, in which he contended that the ancient element of popular suffrage had been eroded over time, he replied that it was ‘calculated to do good when money ceases to be uppermost in everyone’s thoughts’. Creevey, who believed that ‘my materials were much better than any he had ever produced’, felt that he had ‘gravelled’ the ‘conceited little puppy’; but he was miffed because ‘little white-faced Lord John’ gave him ‘not a word of compliment’ when they met in London.59 On 2 Mar. Russell got leave to introduce a bill ‘for the better discovery and suppression of bribery and corrupt practices in the election of Members’. The measure, which enhanced the powers of investigative select committees, had a second reading on 14 Mar. and made some progress in committee; but strong objections from the procedural pundit Charles Williams Wynn, a member of the cabinet, forced Russell to abandon it on 28 Apr. He urged ministers to alleviate the peculiar burdens of agriculturists before settling the corn law problem, 9 Mar., and said that their proposal for the emergency admission of bonded corn begged the question of a permanent solution, 2, 4 May.60 He voted against the president of the board of trade’s ministerial salary, 10 Apr., but refused to damn the government over the Burmese war before hearing their side of the story, 26 Apr. He divided to disfranchise Irish non-resident borough voters, 9 Mar., and for reform of Edinburgh’s representation, 13 Apr., and presented and endorsed the Rye householders’ petition for the franchise, 26 Apr., when he said that freeholders of counties corporate should have a borough vote. Next day he moved for general reform on the same basis as before, in what the Tory Member Henry Bankes thought a ‘feeble’ speech, but which Tierney considered ‘very good’. Agar Ellis reckoned that he spoke ‘indifferently’. The defeat by 247-123 was disappointing.61 Russell voted for Hume’s call for inquiry into the state of the nation, 4 May, and to reduce the salaries of Irish prison inspectors, 5 May. Next day he told Moore that ‘it was evident I was not a Whig, for though my views were strongly on the side of liberty, they were not modified by those constitutionalities and legalities with which a Whig fenced round his principles’.62 On 9 May he presented James Silk Buckingham’s† petition complaining of the curtailment of press freedom in India and secured by 43-40 the appointment of a select committee. His ‘broadside into the treasury’ failed to prevent the government’s addition of eight Members with offices or connections with the East India Company, 11 May.63 On 26 May 1826, when he observed that he was ‘by no means certain of having a seat in the next Parliament’, he moved three resolutions for the prevention of electoral bribery. The House divided 62-62, but the Speaker gave his casting vote for the resolutions as merely declaratory.
Russell had been occasionally optimistic about his Huntingdonshire prospects, but knew that he was up against it. At the nomination he advocated revision of the corn laws and Catholic emancipation. He regarded his defeat by only 53 votes as a moral victory, which must ‘sicken our enemies’ and had laid a ‘foundation’ for future Whig success, though he was not prepared to stand there again himself. He commented to Holland that the Whigs’
present situation is ... most unpleasant. We lose in opinion by supporting the liberal part of the ministry, and when we fight a battle in the elections we find the whole force of government at work to oppose us ... I am glad to be out of such a mess. Last session I voted with ministers even when I thought their measures imprudent and ill-timed, because I thought their general views sound and liberal. But I believe the only way is to say boldly what one thinks of their base compromise, and support nothing that is not undeniably a wise and well-timed measure.64
Russell, who was helped by his father out of some minor financial trouble, went to Paris and then to Switzerland, where he translated the fifth book of the Odyssey (published in 1827). He made a good impression on his erstwhile critic Fox, whose mother Lady Holland recorded this as a ‘victory’: ‘he is essentially excellent, and a model for anyone to follow’.65 Back in Paris, he contemplated a swift return home, but in the event reluctantly submitted to advice from his father, who had accepted Fitzwilliam’s offer to return him for Higham Ferrers, to winter in Italy. While he did not relish missing ‘any question of importance ... in Parliament’, he admitted that he would be ‘glad to avoid’ the corn issue. He envisaged returning to England in March 1827 at the earliest, observing sourly to his brother George William that ‘I don’t quite know why people are so anxious for my being in Parliament’, as ‘they attend to me very little when I am there’.66 He signified his handing over of the electoral bribery issue to Althorp in a public Letter.67 His brother encouraged him to exert himself in the House to root out ‘rotten boroughs’, which were under his ‘special guard’, and to make himself ‘master’ of the Catholic question. The Higham Ferrers arrangement fell through, but the duke of Devonshire brought him in for his Irish borough of Bandon Bridge in December 1826.68
Russell returned to England in ‘flourishing health’ in February 1827, and on the 27th supported inquiry into electoral interference by Northampton corporation; he was named to the select committee. He backed Althorp’s motion to improve the means of dealing with bribery, 26 Feb. At a meeting of leading Whigs convened after Lord Liverpool’s stroke, he concurred in the general view that ‘it was not their business to throw any difficulties in Canning’s way’.69 He voted for Catholic relief, 6 Mar., and on the 23rd repudiated the radical Whittle Harvey’s charge that the Whigs gave it priority over the removal of Dissenters’ disabilities. He subsequently gave notice of a motion to repeal the Test Acts. He was at odds with Bedford on the importance of pressing the Catholic question, which he considered ‘a matter of life and death for the country’.70 He was appointed to the select committees on county, 15 Mar., and borough polls, 5 Apr. He divided for information on the Lisburn Orange procession, 29 Mar., to suspend supply until the ministerial crisis was resolved, 30 Mar., and for inquiry into the Irish miscellaneous estimates, 5 Apr. He was at Holkham, Norfolk, over Easter (having bored himself rigid by watching a race at Newmarket, which he vowed never to do again as long as he lived), and explained to Lady Holland his belief that the Whigs’ line was ‘quite clear; to support Canning’s government at all events for the present and keep out the old Tories’. He was sorry that ‘one of our great talents, that of abusing each other, is exerted on this occasion in great perfection’, and joked, ‘How much better it would all be if we had a good honest cheap American republic!’ He approved the Lansdowne Whigs’ coalition with Canning and told Lansdowne that he would ‘endeavour to support government generally, for your sake, and not for Mr. Canning’s’.71 Bedford disapproved of the junction, but, aware that Russell could not abandon his commitment to reform, which Canning opposed, but would have to surrender his seat if he did not support the new ministry, which Devonshire had joined, left it ‘entirely to him to decide’. Yet he considered ‘silly’ and ‘shabby and trimming’ Russell’s speech of 3 May, in which he argued that the Whigs had broken no pledges for reform by supporting Canning and said that as there now was ‘a great lukewarmness on the subject throughout the country’, he had no intention of embarrassing Canning by raising it.72 In a return to gradualism, he indicated on 8 May his wish to have the seats of the venal borough of Penryn given to Manchester; and on the 28th he carried by 124-69 the disfranchisement of Penryn to facilitate this. He attended and addressed the rowdy Westminster anniversary dinner, 23 May.73 On 7 June 1827 he stated that he had been reliably informed that Grampound had prospered economically since losing its seats. That day, as he had hinted on 11 May, he withdrew his notice of a motion for repeal of the Test Acts because the Dissenters’ leaders had decided not to force the issue on the new ministry.
Russell spent part of the summer at Woburn, working on his European histories (his Establishment of the Turks in Europe came out in 1828), worrying vaguely about Canning’s declining health and believing that he and those who thought like him would ‘make together a very respectable Whig phalanx, supporting the ministers, and never framing a question with the Tories, but at liberty to go our own way when we please’.74 In the initial negotiations for the formation of Lord Goderich’s ministry after Canning’s death, he took the view that it must be backed ‘if foreign affairs and the Catholic question proceed as we wish’, but felt that the proposed appointment of the anti-Catholic John Herries* as chancellor of the exchequer would make it impossible for Althorp, Tavistock, Milton and himself to give ‘a cordial support’, though unmitigated hostility was ‘out of the question’. Only ‘a near prospect of the Catholic question’ being promoted would make him consider taking office, and he feared that Lansdowne was not resolute enough to safeguard Whig interests.75 As he discovered more about the Herries affair he concluded that Lansdowne had been given no choice by the king but to stay in office, yet he remained convinced that the young Whigs could have ‘no confidence’ in Herries and ‘must support the government when they are liberal, but measure our support by their actions’. At the Hollands’ Bedfordshire home at Ampthill (where he arrived refreshed by sea breezes and the company of Lady Elizabeth Vernon at Ryde), 5 Sept., he told Tierney, a member of the government, as much, though he was ‘a good deal annoyed by what has happened’.76 In mid-September he aired his differences with Grey over the new ministry and the corn laws.77 Soon afterwards, following consultations with Grey, Althorp, Tavistock and Milton, he sent Tierney a list of six propositions as ‘hints of what, if done, would attach our Whig friends to the government and make them wish its continuance’.78 Russell, who was nettled by a report, false as it turned out, that Lady Holland had said that his continuing his work on the history of Europe was unfair to the toiling Mackintosh, labouring with painful slowness in an adjacent field, decided against taking the risk of vacating Bandon Bridge to contest a possible vacancy for Huntingdonshire.79 In mid-December 1827 he observed to Holland that there was no point in blaming Admiral Codrington for the destruction of the Turkish fleet at Navarino, that there were ‘many and weighty’ reasons to approve the Treaty of London, though it was worrying that ‘Russia should have the means of commanding in the Mediterranean and of injuring if not destroying our commerce’, and that on the Portuguese civil war ministers had ‘done what under the circumstances was the only right and wise thing’. Domestically, he considered that Ireland was ‘all in all’ and that the grumbling Catholic leaders should be disregarded and the Catholic population attached to the British government by ministers showing themselves ‘in earnest about the Catholic question’, which would be better started in the Lords than in the Commons in the forthcoming session.80 No verification has been found of a story of a ‘fracas’ between Russell and Lady Holland provoked by his answering her question as to why her husband was excluded from office with the comment that ‘it is because no man will act in a cabinet with a person whose wife opens all his letters’. He told her in early January 1828 that he hoped soon to see Holland ‘on the treasury bench de plein droit’.81
Russell was ‘glad’ at the final collapse of the Goderich ministry and pleased with the inclusion of the Huskissonites in the duke of Wellington’s administration which replaced it.82 In the House, 29 Jan. 1828, he protested against ‘a style in affairs of business, which deals less in argument than declamation’, expressed reservations about Wellington’s suitability as a civil leader, urged him to deal decisively with the Irish problem and approved Navarino. Herries, discussing with Peel, the home secretary, the composition of the contentious finance committee, observed that if Russell was included he ‘knows too little of the details of business to give much trouble’.83 He was not appointed to it, but was named to the select committees on the metropolitan police, 28 Feb., criminal commitments, which he himself proposed, 5 Mar., and the poor laws, 22 May. He was one of the committee on the borough polls bill, 2 Apr. Since the previous summer he had been trying to orchestrate the campaign of the organized Dissenters for repeal of the Test Acts, for which he planned to move ‘in spite of all changes of ministers’.84 He presented several petitions, 5, 20, 26 Feb., when, in his second major speech, which Agar Ellis thought was delivered ‘well and clearly’, he proposed (using Fox’s words of 1790) to go into committee to consider repeal. To his surprise and Peel’s fury, he won by 237-193.85 He carried the repeal without a division on 28 Feb. On 18 Mar. he acquiesced in Peel’s substitution for the existing test of a declaration ‘on the true faith of a Christian’; and he accepted the Lords’ amendment to the bill, which received royal assent on 9 May (9 Geo. IV, c. 17). At the end of March he wrote to Moore:
My constitution is not quite so much improved as the constitution of the country by late events, but the joy of it will soon revive me. It is really a gratifying thing to force the enemy to give up his first line, that none but churchmen are worthy to serve the state, and I trust we shall soon make him give up the second, that none but Protestants are.86
On 20 Feb. 1828 he reintroduced his bill to transfer Penryn’s seats to Manchester, which had a second reading, 14 Mar., when he agreed to Peel’s request that he postpone further proceedings until the comparable East Retford question had been disposed of; he spoke and voted against throwing that borough into the hundred of Bassetlaw, 21 Mar. Three days later he got the Penryn bill into committee by 213-34, after presenting a Manchester merchants and inhabitants’ petition in its favour, but he was persuaded to drop the clause restricting polling to two days. He resisted and crushed by 120-1 a proposal to require the Manchester Members to foreswear bribery on taking their seats. The bill passed the Commons on 31 Mar., but foundered in the Lords. He presented a London petition against the friendly societies bill, 18 Apr., called for clarification of Peel’s law of evidence bill regarding exemptions from oaths, 5 May, brought up a Bristol petition for Catholic relief, 8 May, and voted in the unexpected majority for that measure, 12 May. Shortly afterwards he went ‘in a great hurry to Paris, to recruit health and strength’. From there he informed George William that while he did not anticipate a speedy concession of Catholic claims, ‘if the Irish manage well the question is carried’. Learning of the Huskissonites’ resignation from the ministry, he decided to return immediately: ‘There is much to do and to see done. England never stood more critically. Common sense and liberal views may make her all-powerful; the reverse, ruin her at once’. He considered the patched-up government ‘a bad, foolish ignorant ministry’ and said he would be ‘in despair’ but ‘for the belief that the Catholic question will break them up at Christmas’.87 He and Holland were fêted at a dinner given by the Dissenting deputies.88 On 23 June he said in the House that all outstanding war claims on the French should be investigated and spoke and voted against the use of public money for the improvement of Buckingham House. Next day he quizzed Peel on British relations with Portugal. On East Retford, 27 June, he moved an amendment, which was rejected by 89-18, to disfranchise the borough, leaving the choice of where to allocate the seats to the crown, failed with an amendment to rule out sluicing and was unable to commit Peel to support the principle of transferring the seats of corrupt boroughs to large towns. He presented a petition for the abolition of slavery, 4 July, when he voted for ordnance reductions, as he did again, 7 July, after deploring the waste of large sums on Canadian defences. His father noted ‘on politics he is very sore’, being ‘quite under [the] petticoat influence’ of Lady Hardy and ‘threatens to take his name out of the Fox Club’.89 On 8 July he gave notice of a motion for the 17th for an address to the king on the alarming state of Ireland, but the resulting ‘clamour’ against it on all sides forced him to withdraw it on 14 July, when he remarked that ministers ‘cannot be insensible to the awful responsibility which the present state of Ireland imposes on them’. Privately, he could not ‘blame [Daniel] O’Connell for being a little impatient after 27 years of just expectations disappointed’ and suspected that Wellington, hitherto invincible, had ‘now found a task that makes his cheeks pale, and his nights uneasy’.90 On 17 July 1828 he brought up the report of the committee on criminal commitments and turned the subject over to Peel.
He decided against visiting Ireland that autumn, but events there and ministerial intentions on the Catholic question engrossed his thoughts, though he could not see through the ‘political ... mist’.91 Russell, who was reported to have had his proposal of marriage spurned by the youngest of the three Hardy sisters, failed to persuade Grey, Althorp and other opposition leaders of the wisdom of forming an association to promote pro-Catholic petitioning and counteract the Brunswick clubs.92 However, acting on a hint from Lansdowne, he pressed on Brougham the importance of ‘at least an attempt towards’ securing unity among ‘all who think right on the Catholic question’ by agreeing ‘not to support or take office under any ministry not favourable to the Catholic claims’ and to ‘make no personal exclusions against any who would agree to the first principle’, and by sorting out the leadership problem. His personal preference in mid-December 1828 was for an amendment to the address and ‘a division (however bad) the first day’; but he was ready to ‘waive this opinion, if not the prevailing one’, in favour of forcing ministers’ hand with a substantive motion for relief. He hoped ‘we shall be reasonable as to securities’, for ‘to put the Papist on the benches of Parliament is the main thing’: ‘if it be possible, ne splittons pas, this time’.93 In early January 1829, when he drew up for Althorp two resolutions stating the urgency of conceding emancipation, he continued to preach the gospel of action and unity, arguing that ‘we must form a party, and the more solid it is, the less people are left to bargain for themselves, the better’. He told Lansdowne:
I see no medium in politics between not caring at all about public matters, or wishing to see them well conducted. And I consider the principle on which Huskisson professed to act last year, of stipulating for certain measures, without regard to the men who were to carry them into effect, as a most mischievous innovation on old established rules for the conduct of statesmen in this country ... I shall be ready when Parliament meets to join a party, I trust a very large one, to carry the Catholic question. And the further such a party will afterwards engage in defence of public liberty the better.
Yet he complained to George William that ‘we have a sad want of leaders; Lord Grey does not come; Lord Holland is unwell, and unwilling to enter into battle; Lord Lansdowne is mysterious. Brougham likewise holds his tongue and is puzzled’.94 He attended the anti-Catholic meeting in Devon (where Bedford owned much land), 16 Jan. He did not try to speak, but at the subsequent dinner of pro-Catholics, which produced a counter-petition, he invoked the authority of Fox, Pitt and Burke for supporting emancipation. He thought the affair ‘by no means discouraging’ and, still unsure of Wellington’s intentions, predicted that ‘peace or civil war [in Ireland] will be the consequence of this session’.95
Resolved to hear what ministers planned, he listened to the speech and address, 6 Feb. 1829, and, while he said that he would prefer the Catholic Association to be given the option of dissolving itself, welcomed the concession of emancipation with ‘the most heartfelt joy’. ‘Our party are delighted’, he told his brother, and ‘the moderate Tories ... as usual ... ready to yield a great deal of principle for a great deal of place’. He thought Peel’s explanation was ‘manly enough’, but wished he had ‘made it two years ago, when Canning was hunted to death for being what his pursuers are now’.96 He presented and endorsed numerous pro-Catholic petitions from Protestant Dissenters, 10, 12, 24, 26 Feb., 9, 18, 30 Mar.; denied on 17 Mar. that most intelligent Scots or English Dissenters were hostile to emancipation, but was ‘not much inclined to disagree’ with the view that the Maynooth grant should be discontinued if public opinion proved hostile, and voted for relief, 6, 30 Mar. Relishing the ‘mighty triumph’ of the Whigs, he confessed to his sister-in-law that ‘I am tired of my old [bachelor] ways, and should like to be settled quietly, but of that I see no prospect’.97 On 4 May he presented petitions from the inhabitants of Rye for admission to the franchise and from Carnaby market against the friendly societies bill. Next day he spoke and voted for the transfer of East Retford’s seats to Birmingham and said that next session he would propose ‘a general measure’ for the enfranchisement of large manufacturing towns at the expense of corrupt boroughs; he gave advance notice of this, 1 June, when he voted to reduce the hemp duties. He presented an Irish petition against the Subletting Act, 14 May, and spoke in favour of allowing O’Connell to take his seat unhindered, 19 May 1829, when he brought up the Canterbury freemen’s petition complaining of their Tory Member Lushington’s prolonged absence in India.
Russell, ‘the most uncertain little fellow that ever lived’, as Bedford put it, decided after much deliberation to go to Italy with George William. He stayed a few days at Genoa with Madame Durazzo, joined the William Russells at Florence in late June and went with them to Berne in September. After his departure for Paris in early October 1829, George William wrote to Lady Holland:
I think he is determined to be married to somebody ... I dread his taking a rash step, which may embitter the latter part of his life ... I know nobody whose happiness is so likely to be influenced by marriage ... A foolish woman would thwart his fixed habits and make him wretched, but he is kind-hearted, easy, gentle, with a manly mind, and agreeable society that would make any sensible woman happy.
Bedford, however, thought he was ‘cut out for an old bachelor’. He arrived in London, ‘as sensible and amiable as ever’, in Lady Holland’s eyes, and resumed his courtship of ‘la petite Hardy’.98 On foreign politics, he agreed with Holland that it was the business of Britain to prevent Russia and France from ‘combining at her expense’.99 He did not believe the Wellington ministry could survive without recruiting additional strength, but suspected that ‘the duke after his fashion will make no resolution till it is quite necessary, and then surprise us by some new combination’. On 12 Dec. 1829, after ten days in London ‘in fog, and snow, and cold and cough’, he observed to George William that ‘we have no plan of campaign for the next session; the ministry entirely depend on our resolves, on our want of faction, and love of place, for if we had either we should make short work of them. As it is, they will be treated as they behave’.100
On the eve of the 1830 session he observed to Devonshire that it was now ‘quite clear’ that no ministerial approach would be made to Grey:
I should have been glad to have supported the men who carried the Catholic question, but as their measures abroad have been in my opinion bad, and there is no one in the cabinet in whose opinion I have any confidence, I shall not think it by any means necessary to give any vote or refrain from giving any vote, with a view to keep them in office.101
He informed Brougham that while it would be ‘very unadvisable on our parts’ to move an amendment to the address, he might ‘be obliged to support’ one (as he did the Ultra Knatchbull’s, 4 Feb. 1830). On the ground that the government was ‘rickety and unsafe’, he proposed that the Whig opposition should promote ‘commercial freedom, an honest currency, parliamentary reform, etc., without any reference to ministers’; ‘that we should look at no long time hence to a co-operation’ with the Huskissonites as ‘men of official experience’, stopping short of ‘any formal junction of parties’; that ‘none of us should take office without Lord Grey’s being considered’, and that ‘we should declare ourselves early on foreign politics’, as British ‘conduct on Turkey has been folly, in Portugal wickedness’.102 He did this in the House, 5 Feb., arguing that ministers had left Turkey ‘a prey to Russia’ and abandoned Portugal to Dom Miguel. He failed to obtain information on the situation in Greece, 16 Feb. He voted to transfer East Retford’s seats to Birmingham, 11 Feb., 5 Mar., when he opposed O’Connell’s amendment for the secret ballot. He considered much of the Ultra Lord Blandford’s reform scheme to be nonsense, but divided for it, 18 Feb. On 23 Feb. he presented a Sheffield petition for the franchise before proposing the enfranchisement of Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, contending that the true ‘danger’ to the constitution lay in resisting ‘all reasonable and rational reform’; he got 140 votes to 188. Grey’s son Lord Howick* thought his speech ‘was certainly a good one, but dreadfully deficient in animation’. His father commented:
John did well with his reform motion, both in matter and manner, and his division was such as fairly to justify hopes of carrying it ultimately. I wish he would stick to these questions and others of home policy, in which he does so well, without embrouilleing himself with foreign politics; there, he becomes a little factious, and identifies himself too much with the Huskissonites, etc.103
Russell voted for reception of the Newark petition complaining of the duke of Newcastle’s electoral interference, 1 Mar. With other Whigs, he voted in the majority against Hume’s motion for extensive tax cuts, 15 Feb.104 He presented petitions for modification of the 1829 Benefit Societies Act, 2 Mar. Next day he attended the opposition meeting of 27 who resolved to act together under Althorp’s Commons leadership to campaign for reductions in expenditure and taxation.105 He tried unsuccessfully to kill the Rother Levels bill, which threatened Rye harbour, 5 Mar., and on the 12th presented an inhabitants’ petition against it, along with George De Lacy Evans’s* election petition. He voted to restrict the grant for volunteers, 9 Mar. Despite claiming to be ‘too unwell to speak’, 10 Mar., he forcefully supported, in what Howick thought ‘a goodish speech’, Lord Palmerston’s motion condemning British interference in Portugal, asserting that the government showed ‘a disinclination to oppose tyranny and despotism’. John Allen thought he was almost the only opposition Member who took ‘a proper interest in our foreign policy or at least’ was prepared to ‘express a proper opinion against it’.106 Russell voted for economies and reduced taxation, 12, 22, 25, 29 Mar., and paired for inquiry into crown lands revenues, 30 Mar. On 16 Mar. he endorsed the Hertfordshire reform petition and, presenting a Dursley petition for tax cuts, applauded the government’s own proposals as ‘judicious’, but urged a total revision of the tax system. He challenged the currency fanatics to put their case fairly before the House, 25 Mar., when he presented and approved a Sheffield printers’ petition for reduction of the newspaper stamp duties. On the 29th he questioned ministers’ sincerity on economy. Disliking their foreign policy and considering them ‘not decisive enough at home’, he felt that they were ‘too weak’.107 He spoke and was a majority teller for an amendment to the St. Giles’s vestry bill, 1 Apr., and supported its third reading and was a majority teller next day, when he again expressed his ‘distrust’ of Wellington’s foreign policy. He divided for Jewish emancipation, 5 Apr., 17 May, after declaring his ‘hearty support’ for it. He disliked Lord Nugent’s employment of the poor bill, 6 Apr. During the Easter holiday he wrote to George William:
My satisfaction with the present ministry ... is not very considerable. Lord Holland and I feel very strongly on foreign politics ... The ministry is so much at the mercy of the House of Commons, that I cannot imagine Peel’s not seeking strength. It is to be sure very difficult to get, without admitting some equality of power ... The result is a tolerable government on all questions which debates can influence, but by no means so on all other questions.108
He presented petitions for abolition of the death penalty for forgery offences, 26, 27 Apr., 7 June, argued that transportation could be made an adequate substitute, 13 May, and voted for abolition, 24 May, 7 June. He voted against government on the Terceira affair, 28 Apr., called for a remonstrance to Spain over the attack on Cuba, 20 May, and interrogated Peel on the Greek situation, 24 May, 10 June. He was in the opposition minorities for repeal of the Irish coal duties, 13 May, and proper use of Irish first fruits revenues, 18 May, and on the government of Canada, 25 May. He was willing to acquiesce in the royal signature bill on ministerial assurances that the king was not insane, 28 May. Later that day he opposed O’Connell’s radical reform scheme and moved as an amendment his own plan to transfer 100 seats from the smaller boroughs to the likes of Birmingham, Bolton, Brighton, Cheltenham, Halifax, Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield and Wolverhampton; he was defeated by 213-117. He reprimanded Goulburn, the chancellor of the exchequer, for calling Hume ‘the enemy of religion’ and presented and endorsed a petition to permit affirmations by persons with religious scruples, 8 June. He paired against the grant for consular services, 11 June, and voted against those for Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, 14 June, when he said that a system of emigration must be incorporated into any reform of the poor laws. On 30 June 1830 he spoke and was a minority teller for adjournment of the debate on the new king’s message about a possible regency: however much he approved of some of ministers’ measures, he had ‘no confidence’ in them overall, for ‘their weakness has been conspicuously shown’.
Russell initially declined a chance to stand for Huntingdonshire at the general election that summer and reluctantly submitted to his father’s decision to put him up for Bedford, which George William had outrageously neglected. When he attempted to get out of this to accept an invitation to try Huntingdonshire, he found it was too late, with a rich Tory in the field and his leading supporters insisting on his keeping his word. Publication of an extract from the second volume of his Memoirs of the Affairs of Europe, in which he had traduced Wesleyan Methodists as fanatics, damaged him.109 Before the election, when he was still optimistic, he expressed to Holland his hope that in the new Parliament ‘we Whigs shall be very moderate and at the same time firm. There seems to be no cause for regular opposition at present. But a large party combined for large objects must at least rule measures, and if ministers do not behave themselves have everything their own way’.110 In the event Russell, who authorized some dubious financial transactions, was beaten by one vote. He privately claimed that ‘at last I little cared how it ended’, but in truth he was ‘mortified’, as his father perceived, and he gave vent to his anger in a parting address. He was, however, sure of a seat, for Lord Ebrington’s return for Devon as well as for Bedford’s borough of Tavistock meant that the latter would become available to him. ‘Hankering after France’ at the ‘very interesting’ moment after the revolution, he was invited to stand for Southwark on an unexpected vacancy. He felt ‘some temptation’, but soon decided against, ostensibly to avoid splitting the liberal interest. Bedford thought he was well out of it.111 By 13 Sept. he was in Paris, where at Holland’s behest he interceded with Louis Philippe and Lafayette to spare Polignac’s life.112 Back in England on 2 Oct., he predicted that while ‘English politics are in rather an odd state, as usual’, the next session would ‘clear the air, and then we shall know what we are to have’. He wanted opposition to ‘begin quietly’. He considered taking Holland’s ‘advice about publishing on reform, and had prepared more than half a pamphlet’, but concluded in mid-October 1830 that it was ‘better to wait, and let Brougham run riot as he pleases’, reckoning that ‘if ministers keep at peace, propose reform and reduce the civil list’, he would ‘give very few votes in opposition before Christmas’.113
Russell, who believed that ‘while the ministry is too weak for any important measures, all moderate men are frightened at the violence of Brougham, and would scruple to lend themselves to a coalition with Ultra Tories to turn out a minister who has in many respects deserved well’, encouraged Ebrington to consider moving an address asking the king ‘to strengthen and extend the basis of his administration’, but nothing came of this.114 At a meeting of leading Whigs, which he did not attend, 31 Oct. 1830, Althorp announced that Russell intended to renew his motion for the enfranchisement of Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, but the mood was for something more far reaching and it was agreed that Brougham, who produced a bolder but vague scheme of his own, should propose reform in the Commons on 16 Nov.115 After Wellington’s declaration against reform and the cancellation of the king’s visit to the City Russell became convinced that the ‘weak and unpopular’ ministry ‘must go out’. A rumour of opposition at Tavistock, which ended ‘in smoke’, obliged him to go there in mid-November. He returned to London on the 20th, having been informed by Bedford and Althorp that the ministry had fallen and that Grey wanted him to take office in his new administration.116 A notion of making him under-secretary at the foreign office was set aside when Palmerston, a Member of the Commons, took the foreign seals. His health was not considered equal to the duties of the secretary at war, but he was offered and accepted the post of paymaster of the forces, a virtual sinecure with £2,000 a year and ‘a very nice house at Whitehall, next to the Horse Guards’, where he later installed a bath. His exclusion from the cabinet rankled, but he masked his disappointment under a façade of ‘cheerfulness’. The Tavistock writ had been delayed to enable him to avoid the inconvenience of two elections, and he was returned in absentia on 27 Nov. 1830, having written to his sister-in-law the previous day:
We put on our flag, peace, economy and reform. I trust we shall keep to these good and fair words. Neither foreign nor domestic affairs, however, look promising. The labourers have risen and are carrying on a servile war against the gentry ... The king behaves better than it was possible to expect.117
Russell, who had recently published a reprint of his 1819 Letter to Lord Holland on Foreign Politics, in which he argued that British influence should be used to ‘prevent unjust aggression’, uphold states’ right to amend their internal institutions, promote international intercourse and preserve peace, welcomed Lord Chandos’s bill to reform the game laws, ‘a serious reproach to this country’, 7 Dec. 1830. On the 9th he reproved Henry Bankes for trying to ‘give a bad name to the government’ before hearing details of its planned economies, though he cautioned against inflated expectations of their inquiry into public salaries. He endorsed the regency bill, 9, 10 Dec., when he defended the mass procession of the trades to St. James’s to address the king. On 13 Dec. he repeated his warning against unrealistic expectations of economies, but attacked the Wellington ministry’s ‘obstinate resistance to reform’, which had endangered the monarchy and aristocracy. He presented reform petitions from Tavistock, 15 Dec., and St. Ives, Huntingdonshire, 23 Dec., when he was a majority teller against printing Sir Harcourt Lee’s petition against the oaths bill, and he did not resist Chandos’s motion to suspend the Evesham writ, ‘a sham fight, which does not signify one farthing’, 16 Dec. 1830.118
By then he was involved in drafting the ministry’s reform plan, as one of the ad hoc committee of four chaired by Lord Durham, the lord privy seal, and including also Sir James Graham, first lord of the admiralty, and Duncannon, commissioner of woods. (Russell had blocked the inclusion of the Ultra duke of Richmond, the postmaster-general.) After rejecting a minimum scheme submitted by Althorp, they worked from a more comprehensive plan swiftly drawn up by Russell, providing for 50 of the smallest boroughs to lose both seats and 50 more to lose one. Of these 150 seats he proposed to utilise only 82, giving six additional Members to London, two each to the 20 most populous counties and two each to 18 large towns. He envisaged the enfranchisement of long-term copy and leaseholders in the counties, of men qualified to serve on juries in existing boroughs and of £15 householders in new ones. After protracted discussions, the disfranchisement schedules were based on the 1821 census returns: 60 boroughs with under 2,000 inhabitants were to lose both seats (schedule A), 47 with between 2,000 and 4,000 were to lose one (schedule B), and Weymouth was to be reduced from four to two seats. Of the 168 seats thus liberated (Higham Ferrers, a schedule A borough, was a single Member constituency), 106 were redistributed, reducing the House by 62 Members to 596: 34 to the new towns, eight to London, five to Scotland, three to Ireland, one to Wales and 55 to the English counties. Russell reluctantly yielded to Durham and the others’ wish to incorporate the ballot, but in return had the proposed £10 borough franchise raised to £20. When he visited his father at Woburn in mid-January 1831, he was ‘completely boutonne as a minister ought to be’ about the scheme.119 On foreign affairs, he believed that despite the ‘ill-timed and unreasonable’ proposals of the French ministry, the chance of war with France was ‘daily diminishing’; but Holland did not share his optimism and urged him to impress on Grey ‘the necessity of peace, the consequences and impracticability of a war ... which ... would ... dissolve the ministry’.120 When the reform plan was submitted to the cabinet in late January the ballot was rejected, to his relief, but the £20 borough franchise was retained. By mid-February Russell, who had been deputed to introduce the bill, had realized to his consternation that this franchise, ‘a mark for all the noisy and turbulent advocates of popular rights’, together with the emerging deficiencies of the 1821 census returns, would create risibly small electorates in many boroughs. He alerted Durham and the rest of the cabinet and, arguing that the two main objects of the reform were to ‘satisfy the just expectations of the people’ and, ‘infinitely more important, to give a good political constitution to the nation’, by placing ‘the power of choice in men of property and intelligence, who will exercise it with honesty and discrimination’, recommended a uniform £10 householder franchise. This was adopted, along with a plan to extend the boundaries of the smaller schedule B boroughs.121
Meanwhile in the House Russell had defended the ministerial proposals for the barilla duties, 7 Feb., called for revision of the way in which public money was spent on royal residences and endorsed the government’s game bill, 15 Feb., and dismissed piecemeal reform at Evesham, presented a Huntingdonshire petition for repeal of the assessed taxes and brought up and endorsed one from London Dissenting deputies for Jewish emancipation, 17 Feb. 1831. He was named to the select committee on public accounts that day. On 1 Mar., ‘very pale and subdued’, he unveiled the reform bill to a packed House in one of the most dramatic episodes of British parliamentary history. His speech of over two hours contained little declamation, as he aimed to furnish ‘a clear and intelligible statement’ of the proposals. His recitation of the boroughs in schedules A and B caused ‘an absolutely electrifying shock’ and provoked uproar; many supporters of the government were ‘very much astonished’ and the Tory opposition were ‘angry and shocked’.122 When securing returns of population, houses and voters for the schedule A boroughs, 3 Mar., Russell dismissed Wetherell’s sneer that this was ‘posthumous legislation’. On 5 Mar. he joined his father at Brighton, looking well and ‘in great spirits’. ‘Sanguine’ about the bill’s chances, he returned to London on the 7th, ‘refreshed by two nights quiet rest’.123 Replying to the debate on 9 Mar., in what Tavistock considered ‘one of the most splendid and animating speeches I have ever heard’, he avowed that ‘there is nothing mean, or timid, or cowardly, in a sacrifice of private and personal interests for the sake of the peace of the country’. Leave was given to introduce the bill. Two days later Russell wrote to George William:
We have had complete success in the country with our reform measure, and although the House is bitter and furious, I have the greatest hopes of the division on the second reading. The strength of our case is that we have the king sincerely with us ... Neither are we to blame, though we have incurred odium, on other points. Peace and retrenchment have been kept steadily in view; Ireland now answers the helm and I trust will grow more and more prosperous.124
When he introduced the bill on 14 Mar. he corrected a blunder whereby the single Member borough of Bewdley had been placed in schedule B and rectified his omission to state that some ‘large suburbs’ would be joined to their towns to form new constituencies. After opposing Inglis’s motion alleging a breach of privilege by The Times, 21 Mar., he moved the second reading of the bill and presented favourable petitions. Replying to the debate, 22 Mar., he said that the measure ‘would not advance democracy, but it would make the constitution harmonize with the present state of the people’. Amid great excitement, the bill was carried by 302-301. On 25 Mar. Russell denied that part of the proposals for Wales had been framed to benefit the Whig Lord Cawdor and argued that use of the 1831 census to determine the disfranchisement schedules would have encouraged the officials of threatened boroughs to falsify their returns. Bedford commented that he had ‘covered himself with honour, and raised himself on a pinnacle of imperishable fame’.125 On 30 Mar. he criticized the Cambridge University anti-reform petition, pointing out that for years he and his associates had been frustrated in their attempts to introduce piecemeal reform, so that they were now driven to propose ‘an innovation, which residents of colleges, sitting in their closets, may not, in the abstract, think it wisdom to make’. With Grey and other ministers he attended and addressed the Mansion House dinner, 4 Apr., when he stressed the king’s complete confidence in the government.126 Having become increasingly aware of discrepancies and errors in the population and other returns, he told the House on 12 Apr. that ministers had looked closely into the most serious cases and planned some changes accordingly. He added that if the Commons was strongly in favour of retaining 658 Members, government would give way, but that they would not violate schedules A and B. His personal wish was to distribute the extra seats among ‘respectable towns’ and the counties, rather than give them to ‘all the manufacturing parishes of the north’.127 On the 18th he detailed the alterations to the bill, after showing that Members for counties and large towns had voted overwhelmingly for the second reading. He admitted difficulties arising from the 1821 census, particularly its frequent failure to distinguish between boroughs and the parishes in which they lay, and proposed to transfer five boroughs from A to B, reprieve seven previously included in B, give a Member to seven new boroughs (including Wakefield, accidentally omitted before) and give a third Member to seven counties and one more to Glamorgan. While he had to admit that he had ‘unluckily ... mislaid’ the paper on which he had noted these changes, he calculated that they, together with five new Members each to Scotland and Ireland, would reduce the numbers of the House to 627. He explained adjustments to the county franchise and conceded that the sons and apprentices of existing qualified freemen would retain their voting rights. Warning that rejection of the bill would create immense problems for any new government, he moved to go into committee. Friendly observers thought he spoke ‘beautifully’ and ‘admirably’.128 For opposition Gascoyne, Member for Liverpool, moved an artful amendment to the effect that there should be no reduction in the number of Members for England and Wales. Closing the debate on 19 Apr. 1831, Russell defended the bill as an attempt to ‘raise a bar to the accomplishment of the wishes of those who looked forward to more extensive and violent changes’. The amendment was carried by 299-291 and, after deliberations, ministers persuaded the king to dissolve Parliament.
Russell received invitations from several populous constituencies, including Lancashire. Holland wanted him to try Buckinghamshire, but Bedford vetoed this, and he opted to stand for Devon, with Ebrington. On his way to Exeter he was ‘received with shouts of applause all along the road’ and fêted in the towns he passed through. The witty parson Sydney Smith reported to Lady Holland that ‘the people along the road were very much disappointed by his smallness. I told them he was much larger before the bill was thrown out, but was reduced by excessive anxiety about the people’.129 From the elections as a whole he initially anticipated a government majority of ‘80 or 100’, which would be ‘good to pass the bill, and for nothing else’. (Like many others, he underestimated the strength of the reform tide, for the final majority was about 130.) Russell, who had already been seated for Tavistock as insurance, was returned unopposed with Ebrington.130 From Devon he wrote to Holland, 1 May 1831, admitting his ‘mortification’ at being omitted from the cabinet in November and informing him that ‘although I will never desert you while the difficulties of the reform bill press on you, and although I am far from wishing to occupy any other man’s office, yet I shall take the first honourable opportunity to free myself from a situation I feel to be embarrassing and unpleasant’. The paymastership, he added, was ‘awkward ... to a man who speaks, without a seat in the cabinet’. Holland, who had for several weeks been urging his admission, assured him that he and Grey were keen to take him in as soon as possible.131 A fortnight later Bedford, apparently on his own initiative, strongly urged Grey to accommodate Russell before the new Parliament met, in order to remove him from his situation of ‘a sort of half-responsibility’ and to mark approval of the ‘temper, good sense and judgement’ with which he had handled the reform bill. Grey assured him of his anxiety to oblige, once a difficulty over the size of the cabinet had been overcome, though he pointed out that Russell had ‘generally attended’ cabinet meetings on the bill and that no ‘material’ changes had been made without consulting him. In the event Grey took Russell (and the Irish secretary Smith Stanley) into the cabinet in June 1831.132
Shortly before this Campbell had ‘a long interview’ with Russell, who ‘talks like a man of sense and sees the difficulties and objections he has to encounter’.133 On 24 June 1831 he reintroduced the reform bill, detailing minor changes to the schedules and arguing again that ‘by extending to a great, and powerful, and enlightened people the right of having their legitimate representatives assembled within the walls of Parliament, we furnish the means for the future carrying on unimpaired of the constitution’. He made ‘a good speech as his friends, and a dull one as his enemies say’, according to Greville.134 Before moving the second reading, 4 July, he dealt with an awkward question about the draftsman Gregson’s supposed alterations of the provisions concerning quarterly urban rent payers.135 On 6 July, when in closing the debate he denied having spoken earlier ‘in a tone not only of exultation, but of irony’, he also stated that prominent Irish Protestants living in England had advised Orangemen to abandon processions. The bill was carried by 367-231. On 9 July Russell was presented with the freedom of the City in a gold box.136 In the fractious and protracted committee proceedings which occupied the next ten weeks, Althorp, as leader of the House, shared the brunt of the work with Russell, who in his old age recollected that these efforts caused him ‘much labour, and considerable sacrifice of health’. John Fazakerley* was worried about this as early as 14 July, and next day Bedford observed that the aim of ‘many’ of the ‘anti-reformers’ seemed to be ‘to kill John by wearing him completely out’. Between 11 and 23 Aug. he left the bill in Althorp’s hands, but when he reappeared in the House he was still ‘the picture of death’.137 By and large Russell, who on 12 July got rid of a vexatious attempt to hear counsel on the case of Appleby and next day defended the decision to appoint boundary commissioners, acquitted himself creditably, but there were a number of scrapes along the way. The deficiencies of the population returns and the difficulty of distinguishing between parish and borough boundaries had created many anomalies, which were seized on by shrewd and persistent Tory critics of the bill, notably Croker and Wetherell. Russell nevertheless stood stubbornly by the 1821 population criteria for disfranchisement and repeatedly repudiated accusations of ‘partiality’ in the selection of doomed and reprieved boroughs. He defeated by 244-169 an attempt to have the 1831 census used, 19 July. On 26 July he and Althorp made a mess of things and allowed Saltash to be transferred from A to B, by 231-150.138 On 2 Aug. he complained that ‘every concession which has been made by ... ministers in reference to these two schedules has been met with taunts and reproaches, more particularly on the part of those who have themselves called for such concessions’. His declaration on 5 Aug. that the bill ‘would not be final if it was not found to work as well as the people desired’ was considered ‘sufficiently impudent’ by Greville.139 Russell was laid up when Lord Chandos’s amendment to enfranchise £50 tenants-at-will was carried against ministers, who decided to submit, 18 Aug.; but on the 23rd, when he reappeared in the House to put their case on the Dublin election controversy, he privately opined that ‘reform goes on slowly but I think surely’ and that ‘Chandos has done us some mischief, but none that will essentially change the bill’.140 He fended off bids to confine urban freehold voters to the boroughs, 27 Aug., when Tom Macaulay* thought he made ‘a better speech than any ... for a long time’, and to preserve all freemen’s rights, 30 Aug. On the report, 13 Sept., he explained minor adjustments to the bill, defended the inclusion of the Members Littleton and Gilbert on the boundary commission and made what Macdonald considered ‘a good spirited’ reply to Vyvyan’s apocalyptic ‘prophecies’.141 On the motion to pass the bill, which was carried by 345-236, 21 Sept., he declared that ‘if you again delay [reform], the tempest must break in upon you, and your edifice will be swept away’. Next day he and Althorp and a large number of Members ‘brought up the bill to a full House of Lords’, where he expected the second reading division to be ‘tremendously near’.142 He voted silently for the second reading of the Scottish bill, 23 Sept., and next day was honoured with Althorp at a Thatched House Tavern dinner.143 In the Commons, 4 Oct., he denied that in his speech of 21 Sept. he had abandoned his original position on the finality of the reform bill and dismissed the opposition case for an increase in the Scottish representation. After the heavy defeat of the English bill in the Lords, 7 Oct., Russell, who voted silently for Ebrington’s confidence motion on the 10th, landed himself in trouble by including in his reply to a vote of thanks from a meeting of Thomas Attwood’s† Birmingham Political Union the comment that it was ‘impossible that the whisper of a faction should prevail against the voice of a nation’. He defended himself vigorously in the House, 12 Oct., insisting that ‘the great part of the opponents of reform do belong to a faction’ but claiming that he ‘did not intend to say that the decision of the House of Lords is the whisper of a faction’. Grey was embarrassed and the king angered, and Russell was obliged to apologize to the latter for an expression ‘written in the first moments of disappointment’. Bedford thought he had ‘got well out of the scrape’, though ‘it was a most imprudent letter for a cabinet minister to write’. Russell was later reported to have subscribed £10 to the union.144 He did some work in the Cambridgeshire by-election which returned a reformer in late October 1831.145
On the 20th Russell submitted to Grey, through Althorp, a budget of possible modifications to the reform bill, suggesting that schedule B could be drastically pruned and conceding that the 1821 census returns had been shown to be unreliable. He thought the controversial proposed increased representation for London might be given instead to adjoining counties. Grey was in broad agreement, but the subsequent negotiations with the ‘Waverer’ peers initiated by Palmerston, who wrongly believed that Russell ‘in his heart thinks [the bill] goes much too far’, came to nothing and collapsed at the end of November.146 Meanwhile Russell worked on various plans to modify the measure, but as Bedford noted, he remained ‘boutonne’, and rightly so, ‘as cabinet ministers should not talk and chatter’. Littleton, the head of the boundary commission, called on Russell to ask for ‘some principle ... [to] be laid down for our guidance’, but found nothing decided. At a long interview with him on 11 Nov. Littleton was ‘much amused at observing ... that the government had not yet settled their bill’. On the 27th he thought Russell was ‘much dispirited’ at the prospects in the Lords, after talks with Lord Essex, but was struck by ‘the merriment with which he frequently makes admission of errors, which however they gallantly defended in the past’.147 By 2 Dec. 1831 Russell was, according to Littleton, ‘rather nervously anxious’ about pressing on with essentially the same measure and ‘vexed at little alterations that Althorp wished to make’. Lady Harrowby, whose husband was a leading ‘Waverer’, found him ‘all moderation and candour ... mild and doucereux’, but sick of Durham’s erratic behaviour in cabinet.148 Ministers had decided at the eleventh hour to abandon the 1821 census and devise new criteria for disfranchisement from calculations based on boroughs’ number of houses and amount of assessed taxes. The statistics were hastily gathered through the home office, but the last nine reports did not reach Russell until 12 Dec. 1831, when he was due to introduce the revised bill, and his feverish work on them made him half an hour late at the House, ‘looking very pale, and ... feeling very ill’. In a deliberately ‘flat’ speech, ‘without pretensions to eloquence’, he made a ‘clear’ statement of the changes: the House was to retain its current membership of 658; 56 boroughs were to lose both seats and 30 one, in a reduced and revamped schedule B; ten new towns were to be given a second Member, as was Monmouthshire, while Chatham was to be separated from Rochester; the borough freeman franchise was to be perpetuated for men resident within seven miles. The speech was praised as ‘prudent’ and ‘judicious’ by Russell’s friends and family; but Greville considered it ‘very feeble’ and Hobhouse thought it was ‘not well done’.149 Later that day Russell told captious Irish Members that their country had been fairly treated in the reform scheme. He carried the second reading of the bill for England and Wales by 324-162, 17 Dec. Soon afterwards Bedford, surmising that he had ‘burnt his fingers by the "whisper of a faction"’, told Lady Holland that John ‘hardly ever writes, and when he does, he does not commit himself by a single opinion or a single fact that may not be proclaimed at Charing Cross’.150 Behind the scenes there was a ludicrous episode when, on 20 Dec. 1831, Russell gave the boundary commissioners ‘a fresh set of instructions’ concerning boroughs with less than 300 qualifying householders, which were to be extended into neighbouring parishes. When Littleton said that this ‘complete boulversement’ of previous proceedings, which would necessitate more field work, could not be accomplished by the time Parliament reconvened on 18 Jan. 1832, Russell ‘seemed annoyed, and rather ashamed of this tardy announcement’, settled by the cabinet ‘only this morning’. Next day Lord Melbourne, the home secretary, blamed Russell, who ‘had not taken on himself sufficient authority’ and ‘ought to have decided better, or to have consulted us earlier’. A week later Littleton was ‘excessively amused to find Lord John Russell had ordered his new instructions given to the commissioners on the 26th instant, to be dated the 24th of November, so that the lateness of the decision should not be discovered’.151
In the House, 17, 20 Jan., Russell had to admit to Croker that some of the information on individual boroughs was not yet to hand, but he comfortably carried the principles of schedules A, 20 Jan., and B, 23 Jan. 1832, when he said that ‘the effect of reform will be not to give power ... to [the people’s] excited passions, but to confer on them that power which the constitution meant they should have, and which has only been destroyed by abuse’. In a break from the reform debates, 26 Jan., he made a ‘spirited speech’ to help save the ministry from humiliation on the Russian-Dutch loan.152 Next day he insisted on the division of counties and excluding voters in represented boroughs from the counties. He defeated bids to disfranchise all 40s. freeholders and to exclude unrepresented borough freeholders from the counties, 1 Feb., and defended the £10 householder franchise against Hunt’s strictures, 2, 3 Feb. The ‘whisper of a faction’ affair was resurrected in early February when the Tory Sir Henry Hardinge accused him of having ‘libelled’ the Lords. He was not disposed to take issue with Hardinge personally, but at the end of the month wrote a ‘frantic’ letter to Wellington complaining of the matter having been raised again four months after he had denied applying the expression to the Lords. Wellington did not think he had much of a case, but the business seems to have been dropped.153 Russell, who voted silently with his colleagues on the government’s relations with Portugal, 9 Feb., and against Hunt’s motion for information on military punishments, 16 Feb., and justified the army estimates, 17 Feb., continued with Althorp to steer the reform bill clause by clause through the House. When the condemned boroughs were considered one by one, 20 Feb., he defended the principle of the new criteria. The following day he conceded that there were some ‘discrepancies’, but he refused to meddle with the lists. On 28 Feb. he stoutly upheld against Peel’s attack the proposed enfranchisement of Tower Hamlets and the other metropolitan districts (on which his father had tried unsuccessfully to get him to recant),154 arguing that ‘the apprehension that a democratic spirit will invariably come from these ... districts’ was ‘a mere childish imagination, derived from the terrors of the French revolution’. He was, however, made to squirm by Croker over the enfranchisement of Walsall (of which he privately disapproved), 9 Mar.155 He remained silent in the third reading debate, 19-22 Mar., but on the 23rd, moving the passage of the bill, he declaimed:
If Parliament refuses to entertain any measure of this nature, they will place in collision that party which ... opposes all reform ... and that which desires a reform extending to universal suffrage ... Much blood will be shed in the struggle ... and ... the British constitution will perish in the conflict.
He and Althorp ‘led the way’ when the bill was carried to the Lords, 26 Mar. 1832, and Denis Le Marchant† made the curious comment that Russell ‘does not trouble himself much about politics’.156
The fate of the bill in the Lords had all along been the crucial factor. In early January 1832 Russell ‘felt some but no insuperable objections’ to a mass creation of peers to carry it, as ‘a choice between two evils’. At the end of the month, in Brighton with Holland, he floated the ‘more constitutional’ notion of the Commons forcing the Lords to swallow the measure ‘by voting the Mutiny Act for a short time, from month to month or fortnight to fortnight, only’. A week later Greville claimed to know that he had sent for Harrowby’s son Lord Sandon* and ‘entreated him to get something done by his father and his associates’ to avert the necessity of creations. In early March he ‘talked despondingly’ to Littleton about the bill’s chances, said Lansdowne, Palmerston and Melbourne were ‘very slack’ about it and was ‘utterly at a loss to know who could fight the bill’ in the Lords. In cabinet, 11 Mar., he expressed ‘great distrust’ of assurances that the measure would be given a second reading and ‘suggested the propriety of an actual written declaration from the new converts or at least a direct personal assurance from each to Lord Grey’. When Durham threatened to resign over his colleagues’ refusal to apply for a creation of peers at this juncture, Russell did likewise, which raised the spectre of the self-destruction of the ministry.157 In the House, he handled some departmental business 2, 4 Apr. He divided for the navy civil departments bill, 6 Apr., and on the 18th said that after Easter he would present Dissenters’ petitions in favour of the government’s plans to reform Irish education. In cabinet, 3 Apr., Russell, who believed that lord chancellor Brougham was trying to wreck the government, ‘questioned the policy’ of the proposed memorandum to the king and ‘would have preferred meeting the second reading [in the Lords] this week and advising the king according to the result but not pressing him on hypothetical or contingent cases’. Next day, thinking that prospects were ‘gloomy’, he said to Hobhouse that ‘as the government had not carried their measure by force, they ought not to hesitate about concession’, and that ‘it would be foolish to go out because they were beaten on the number of boroughs, which Althorp thought ought to be the test’.158 The second reading was carried by nine votes, 14 Apr., but when an opposition amendment to postpone consideration of the disfranchising clauses succeeded by 35, 7 May, Grey asked the king to create peers, and on his refusal the ministers resigned, 9 May. Russell of course voted for the address calling on the king to appoint only ministers who would pass reform unimpaired, 10 May. Two days later, talking to Littleton about stories that Grey had ‘wilfully deceived the country’, he observed that ‘"We cannot speak anything we are not permitted to speak on that subject, but we believed the king would create peers, and we therefore permitted others to believe it, and that will be our defence"’. His dignified but sarcastic speech in the House on 14 May, when he denied having become ‘a radical reformer’ and ‘dashed with great vigour and felicity of illustration into a most severe scrutiny of the motives of the duke [of Wellington] and his adherents’ - any administration formed by them, he said, would be one ‘into which honour cannot enter’ - was praised even by Greville as ‘the best he ever made’.159 Back in office with his colleagues, Russell voted silently for the second reading of the Irish reform bill, 25 May, and against a Conservative amendment to the Scottish measure, 1 June. He was named to the select committees on the Bank charter, 22 May, and the abolition of slavery, 30 May. When Peel taunted him with the ‘whisper of a faction’ episode, 5 June, he defended the government’s recent conduct. Taking charge of the boundaries bill, on 7 June he explained it and in reply to Croker’s observation that events in France should be ‘a warning ... not to trust to the stability’ of the reform settlement, said that the tyranny of the French king had justified the revolutionaries. On 14 June Littleton recorded that he and Drummond of the home office, anxious to finalize alterations in the measure, had run Russell to earth in a stable in King Street, where, ‘with the groom’s ink bottle and pen, and lying down on straw in one of the stalls’, they completed the work.160 Russell denied O’Connell’s allegation of a ‘secret compact’ concerning the disfranchisement of Irish 40s. freeholders, 13 June, and spoke and voted against more opposition amendments to the Scottish reform bill, 15 June. He deplored the physical attack on the king and press libels of the royal family, 20 June, when he voted to open coroners’ inquests to the public. Lady Cowper’s observation that ‘even little John’ was ‘frightened’ at what the government had done on reform was wide of the mark: he looked forward confidently to the elections.161 He opposed Alexander Baring’s bill to exclude insolvent debtors from the House, 27 June, because ‘it might become a party engine in the hands of the government or of a dominant party’. He pushed through the Lords’ amendments to the boundaries bill, so that registration could begin, 9 July. He protested against Irish Members’ obstructive opposition to the government’s plans to revise tithes, 10, 12 July, when he accused O’Connell of trying to disturb the peace of Ireland and stressed the urgent need to improve Irish education in order to eradicate ‘the state of ignorance ... which ... is the cause of the political and moral degradation of that country. He presented the promised Protestant Dissenters’ petition on this subject, 17 July. When Macaulay dined with Russell, ‘a bachelor, much against his will, I believe’, at this time, he found that his official residence ‘swarmed with women and children as if it had been a lying-in hospital’, for his sisters-in-law and their broods were there.162 Russell spoke briefly against the opposition’s ‘vote of censure’ on the Russian-Dutch loan, 12 July, and divided silently on the 16th. He tried to defend Brougham in the fuss over his appointment of his brother to a chancery sinecure, 27 July. He explained the bribery bill, 30 July, ‘omitted a great number of clauses’, 7 Aug., and carried a resolution allowing 28 days for a formal complaint of electoral bribery to be lodged and the third reading of the amended bill, 9 Aug. On 7 Aug. 1832 he was a spokesman for ministerial foreign policy, especially on Poland. At the end of the month he told George William, ‘We have finished the session well here and people are becoming satisfied. Trade is flourishing, etc. I am going to Ireland for a jaunt’.163
Russell, whose death from cholera was falsely reported in September, and who grew ‘tired’ of being ‘drawn, hazzaed, cheered and hip hip hipped’ during an election tour at that time, was returned with Ebrington for the Southern division of Devon after a contest at the general election in December 1832. Contrary to his reputed observation of 1831, that because of the boldness of the reform scheme the radicals ‘would and must be amply satisfied without looking to any further encroachment’, he anticipated the presence of a ‘very numerous, and very formidable’ band of ‘Philo-Radicals’, whom ministers would be obliged to ‘conciliate’, in the reformed Parliament.164 His threat of July 1833 to resign from the cabinet in protest at Grey’s endorsement of the failure of Smith Stanley’s Irish church reform bill to incorporate the appropriation of surplus revenues to other purposes was a portent of many future storms in his long career at the centre of British politics.165 In a ‘Gallery of Illustrious Characters’ in the 1831 Parliament Russell was described as
not by any means a commonplace speaker ... [He] possesses a good deal of mannerism [and] ... is always pleasing ... His appearance is not effeminate, but it is more gentle than consists with a leader ... His language is scholar-like, but before ten sentences are uttered the idea of a morning gown, a pair of slippers, and a library table, involuntarily haunts your imagination ... [He is] one of the best employed lecturers in ordinary.166
In 1841 his under-secretary at the colonial office told Lord Hatherton that Russell was ‘one of the most extraordinary men he had ever become acquainted with; the prominent qualities of his mind were truth and courage ... His firmness of decision ... was remarkable. In ordinary matters he seemed an ordinary person’.167 Five years later, when Russell became prime minister for the first time, Campbell wrote of him:
His manners are cold, and he not only takes no pains to please, but ... he sometimes has an air of hauteur and superciliousness which, although quite foreign to his nature, gives cause of offence. But in truth he is a very amiable as well as a very great man ... His talents are of a high, although I cannot say of the highest, order ... His information is copious, his reasoning is sound, and his sentiments are noble, but he is wanting in rapidity of thought and utterance ... Yet he is listened to in the House of Commons with uniform respect.168
Russell was never an easy colleague, for he was touchy and impetuous, and for a decade from 1850 he lost his way, behaving outrageously and irreparably damaging his reputation. After leaving the political arena, he admitted (in 1869) that he had ‘committed many errors, some of them very gross blunders’; but he claimed credit for having had the country’s interests ‘at heart’ as a believer in and proponent of rational progress.169 He died at Pembroke Lodge, Richmond Park, of which he had been granted use by Queen Victoria in 1847, in May 1878. He was succeeded in his earldom by his grandson John Francis Henry (1865-1931), whose father John, Lord Amberley, Liberal Member for Nottingham, 1866-8, had predeceased Russell in 1876, aged 34.
Ref Volumes: 1820-1832
Author: David R. Fisher
See S. Walpole, Life of Lord John Russell, 2 vols. (1889) and J. Prest, Lord John Russell (1972).
- 1. Life of Campbell, ii. 205; HP Commons, 1790-1820, v. 69.
- 2. Pol. Mag. (1831-2), 49; Prest, 46.
- 3. Prest, 17-24, 73-77; Walpole, i. 92-93; P. Mandler, Aristocratic Government in Age of Reform, 58.
- 4. Cambridge Chron. 25 Feb., 10, 17 Mar.; Wentworth Woodhouse mun. WWM F48/171; F49/68; Fitzwilliam mss, Maltby to Milton, 3, 5, 17 Mar. 1820.
- 5. Add. 56541, f. 18.
- 6. Keele Univ. Lib. Sneyd mss SC8/44.
- 7. Broughton, Recollections, ii. 128; Add. 51586, Tierney to Lady Holland [?4 June 1820].
- 8. Add. 52444, f. 125.
- 9. Huntingdon Gazette, 5 Aug. 1820.
- 10. The Times, 5, 15 Aug.; Life of Wilberforce, v. 74-75; Arbuthnot Jnl. i. 32; Shelley Diary, ii. 103; Buckingham, Mems. Geo. IV, i. 60, 66; Colchester Diary, iii. 155; Add. 51659, Whishaw to Lady Holland [11 Aug.]; 51662, Bedford to Holland, 11 Aug. 1820.
- 11. Add. 51579, Morpeth to Lady Holland, 13 Aug. ; Russell Early Corresp. i. 213.
- 12. Prest, 19; Countess Granville Letters, i. 163; Fox Jnl. 42-43.
- 13. Add. 51579, Morpeth to Lady Holland, 2 Oct.; 51679, Russell to same, 19 Sept. [Oct.] 1820.
- 14. Moore Jnl. i. 365-6, 368-9, 371, 373, 374; Walpole, i. 122; Add. 51662, Bedford to Lady Holland [14 Nov.]; 51679, Russell to same [18 Dec. 1820].
- 15. Moore Jnl. ii. 415; Walpole, i. 122.
- 16. Walpole, i. 123; Russell Early Corresp. i. 217; Fox Jnl. 60
- 17. Russell Early Corresp. i. 217.
- 18. Add. 51663, Bedford to Holland, 6 Mar. .
- 19. Life of Campbell, i. 396; Add. 51667, Bedford to Lady Holland [16 Mar.]; 51679, Russell to same [Mar. 1821].
- 20. Lady Holland to Son, 4; Huntingdon Gazette, 31 Mar. 1821.
- 21. HLRO, Hist. Coll. 379, Grey Bennet diary, 76; Add. 51667, Bedford to Lady Holland, 13 May .
- 22. Add. 51679, Russell to Lady Holland, 24 May .
- 23. Add. 51663, Bedford to Holland, 14 June .
- 24. Moore Jnl. ii. 458-63, 466-71, 474, 479-88; Fox Jnl. 73-74; Blakiston, Lord William Russell, 49, 51.
- 25. Lady Holland to Son, 5; Add. 51667, Bedford to Lady Holland, Sunday [?25 Nov. 1821].
- 26. Add. 36459, f. 183.
- 27. Moore Jnl. ii. 482; Mandler, 61; Russell Early Corresp. i. 219; Add. 51679, Russell to Lady Holland [Jan. 1822].
- 28. The Times, 18, 22 Jan.; Add. 51667, Bedford to Lady Holland [Jan.]; 52182, f. 96; Grey mss, Tierney to Grey, 23 Jan. 1822.
- 29. Add. 38080, f. 10.
- 30. Ibid.; Russell Early Corresp. i. 223-4.
- 31. Arbuthnot Jnl. i. 151-2.
- 32. Grey mss, Grey to Holland, 9 Feb., Fitzwilliam to Grey, 24 Mar., 4 Apr.; Fitzwilliam mss, Grey to Fitzwilliam, 6 Apr. 1822.
- 33. Moore Jnl. ii. 557; Arbuthnot Jnl. i. 159; Blakiston, 63; Gurney diary, 25 Apr.; Northants. RO, Agar Ellis diary, 25 Apr. 1822; Dorset RO D/BKL, Bankes jnl. 136.
- 34. Prest, 29-31; J. Cannon, Parl. Reform, 1640-1832, p. 184; M. Brock, Great Reform Act, 44; Add. 75937, Lady to Lord Spencer, 13 May 1822.
- 35. Add. 56544, f. 6.
- 36. Blakiston, 63.
- 37. Add. 51677.
- 38. Russell Letters, ii. 12; Russell Early Corresp. i. 227; Blakiston, 74; Add. 51667, Bedford to Lady Holland [1 Nov. 1822].
- 39. Add. 51679, Russell to Lady Holland [July] [c. 20 Oct.]; The Times, 5 Oct. 1822.
- 40. Add. 38080, f. 20; 51679, Russell to Lady Holland [Jan.], 28 Jan. 1823.
- 41. Add. 51667, Bedford to Lady Holland [23 Feb. 1823].
- 42. Creevey mss, Creevey to Miss Ord, 21 Feb. 1823; Prest, 31.
- 43. Huntingdon Gazette, 8, 22 Mar. 1823.
- 44. Brougham mss, Russell to Brougham [23 Mar.]; Broughton, Recollections, iii. 17; Add. 51663, Bedford to Holland, 27 Mar. 1823; A. Mitchell, Whigs in Opposition, 36-37.
- 45. Add. 51663, Bedford to Holland [18 Apr. 1823].
- 46. Ibid. same to same, Sun. [?23 Mar. 1823].
- 47. Blakiston, 82; Agar Ellis diary, 24 Apr. 1823.
- 48. Moore Jnl. ii. 648, 652, 680-4; Add. 51679, Russell to Lady Holland [Aug. 1823]; Russell Early Corresp. i. 235; Blakiston, 96, 110.
- 49. Blakiston, 111; Add. 51667, Russell to Holland, 3, 24 Nov.; 51679, to Lady Holland [24 Nov.], 8, 15, 25 Dec. 1823.
- 50. Add. 51668, Bedford to Lady Holland [18 Jan. 1824]; Russell Early Corresp. i. 236.
- 51. Add. 38080, f. 24.
- 52. Life of Wilberforce, v. 217; Agar Ellis diary, 18 Mar. ; TNA 30/29/9/5/22.
- 53. Blakiston, 118-21, 124; Moore Jnl. ii. 759-63.
- 54. Add. 56549, f. 124; The Times, 24 May 1825.
- 55. Fitzwilliam mss, Rooper to Maltby, 19 Sept., Maltby to Milton, 20 Sept.; Add. 51679, Russell to Lady Holland, 9 Nov.; Hunts. RO, Sandwich mss 21a/8, Russell to Mandeville, 22 Oct. 1825.
- 56. Russell Early Corresp. i. 238-40, 243; Broughton, iii. 122-3; Add. 51679, Russell to Lady Holland, 11 Oct., 28 Nov. 1825.
- 57. The Times, 26 Dec. 1825.
- 58. Fitzwilliam mss, Russell to Milton, 13 Jan., Maltby to same, 17, 23 Jan.; box 124/7, 12; Russell Early Corresp. i. 244-5; Add. 51679, Russell to Lady Holland, 16 Jan. 1826; Countess Granville Letters, i. 379.
- 59. Creevey’s Life and Times, 225; Creevey Pprs. ii. 97-98.
- 60. Add. 51663, Bedford to Holland, 9 May .
- 61. Bankes jnl. 157; Add. 51586, Tierney to Lady Holland, 28 Apr.; Agar Ellis diary, 27 Apr. 1826; Prest, 31.
- 62. Moore Jnl. iii. 929.
- 63. Add. 51668, Bedford to Lady Holland [12 May 1826].
- 64. Russell Early Corresp. i. 247, 248; Fitzwilliam mss, Russell to Milton, 23 June; Add. 51677, to Holland, 23 June .
- 65. Blakiston, 138-9; Lady Holland to Son, 51; Add. 51668, Bedford to Lady Holland [2 July 1826]; Walpole, i. 131.
- 66. Add. 51663, Bedford to Holland, 6 Oct.; 51669, to Lady Holland, 21 Sept.; 51679, Russell to same, 24 Sept. ; Blakiston, 141; Russell Letters, i. 97-98; ii. 63.
- 67. E.A. Wasson, Whig Renaissance, 148; Walpole, i. 131.
- 68. Walpole, i. 131-2; Russell Early Corresp. i. 252-4.
- 69. Add. 51663, Bedford to Holland [22 Jan., 20 Feb.]; 51669, to Lady Holland [26 Jan. 1827]; Canning’s Ministry, 31.
- 70. Add. 51669, Bedford to Lady Holland [6 Apr.]; Lansdowne mss, Russell to Lansdowne [c. 13 Apr. 1827].
- 71. Add. 51679. Russell to Lady Holland , 22 Apr. 1827; Canning’s Ministry, 301.
- 72. LMA, Jersey mss 510/416, Bedford to Lady Jersey, 1 May 1827; Russell Letters, i. 61, 62; Blakiston, 144.
- 73. Add. 56550, f. 177; The Times, 24 May 1827.
- 74. Russell Letters, i. 72; ii. 93; Add. 51679, Russell to Lady Holland, 27 July [1 Aug. 1827].
- 75. Add. 51677, Russell to Holland, 16 Aug. 1827; Russell Early Corresp. i. 214-15, 259; Russell Letters, i. 74-75; ii. 99, 104; Moore Jnl. iii. 1049.
- 76. Fitzwilliam mss, Russell to Milton, 6 Sept.; Blakiston, 146; Lansdowne mss, Tierney to Lansdowne, 5, 6 Sept.; Hatherton mss, Vernon to Littleton, 5 Sept. 1827.
- 77. Russell Early Corresp. i. 262-4.
- 78. Wasson, 152; Hants RO, Tierney mss 61a-e.
- 79. Add. 51669, Bedford to Lady Holland, 26 Oct.; 51677, Russell to Holland, 15, 20 Oct.; Fitzwilliam mss, Russell to Maltby [6 Nov. 1827].
- 80. Add. 51677, Russell to Holland, 18 Dec. .
- 81. Broughton, iii. 230; Add. 51679, Russell to Lady Holland [5 Jan. 1828].
- 82. Add. 51679, Russell to Lady Holland , 17 Jan. .
- 83. Add. 40395, ff. 219, 221.
- 84. Add. 51677, Russell to Holland, 14 Oct., 18 Dec. ; 51679, to Lady Holland [8 Jan. 1828].
- 85. Agar Ellis diary, 26 Feb.; Hatherton diary, 26 Feb. ; Prest, 33-35.
- 86. Russell Early Corresp. i. 272.
- 87. Add. 51669, Bedford to Lady Holland [18 May]; 51677, Russell to Holland, 23 May ; Blakiston, 165-6, 167; Russell Letters, i. 67-68, 89; ii. 128-9.
- 88. Prest, 35.
- 89. Add. 51669, Bedford to Lady Holland, 30 June .
- 90. Ellenborough Diary, i. 162; Baring Jnls. i. 57; Russell Early Corresp. i. 271-8.
- 91. Moore Jnl. iii. 1153-4; Russell Letters, ii. 135, 155; Russell Early Corresp. i. 281; Add. 51679, Russell to Lady Holland [27 Sept.]; Brougham mss, Russell to Brougham, 28 Sept. 1828.
- 92. Lady Holland to Son, 89; Smith Letters, i. 482; Add. 51600, Lady Cowper to Lady Holland [15 Dec.]; Blakiston, 174; Russell Early Corresp. i. 282-4; Ellenborough Diary, i. 266-7; Lambton mss, Grey to Durham, 2 Nov. 1828.
- 93. Brougham mss, Russell to Brougham, 26 Nov., 15 Dec. ; Russell Letters, i. 104; Add. 51677, Russell to Holland, 25, 28 Dec.; 51679, to Lady Holland, 18 Dec. 1828.
- 94. Add. 51677, Russell to Holland, 2 Jan.; 76369, Althorp to Brougham, 2 Jan.; Lansdowne mss, Russell to Lansdowne, 4 Jan.; Brougham mss, to Brougham, 5 [Jan. 1829]; Russell Letters, ii. 178.
- 95. Add. 51663, Bedford to Holland [7 Jan.]; 51677, Russell to same [19 Jan.]; Blakiston, 182; Russell Early Corresp. i. 287; The Times, 19 Jan. 1829.
- 96. Add. 51677, Russell to Holland [3 Feb. 1829]; Russell Letters, ii. 181; Moore Jnl. iii. 1194.
- 97. Blakiston, 187-8.
- 98. Ibid. 191-2, 194-9, 201, 203; Add. 51680, Russell to Lady Holland, 7 July, 3 Aug., 23 Oct., 1829; 51670, Bedford to same [?6 Jan. 1830]; Russell Letters, ii. 213.
- 99. Add. 51677, Russell to Holland [23 Oct. 1829].
- 100. Russell Letters, i. 133; iii. 218, 221; Blakiston, 202-3.
- 101. Chatsworth mss, Russell to Devonshire, 29 Jan. 1830.
- 102. Brougham mss, Russell to Brougham, 30 Jan.; Grey mss, Howick jnl. 3 Feb. ; Mitchell, 219-20.
- 103. Howick jnl. 23 Feb.; Add. 51667, Bedford to Lady Holland [1 Mar. 1830].
- 104. Howick jnl. 15 Feb. .
- 105. Castle Howard mss, Graham to Morpeth [3 Mar. 1830].
- 106. Howard Sisters, 125; Howick jnl. 10 Mar.; Agar Ellis diary, 10 Mar.; Add. 52176, Allen to C.R. Fox, 4 Apr. 1830.
- 107. Russell Letters, ii. 234-5.
- 108. Ibid. ii. 239.
- 109. Fitzwilliam mss, Day to Milton, 23 June, Tavistock to same, 5 July; Blakiston, 211-12, 215; Add. 51385, Wilks to Holland, 27 July 1830; C.T. Flick, ‘Bedford Election of 1830’, Beds. Hist. Rec. Soc. xliv (1970), 162-6.
- 110. Add. 51677, Russell to Holland [26 July 1830].
- 111. Add. 51670, Bedford to Lady Holland, 12 Sept.; 51677, Russell to Holland [6 Sept.]; 51680, to Lady Holland, 30 Aug. [1 Sept. 1830]; Howard Sisters, 142.
- 112. Add. 51677, Russell to Holland, 13, 17 Sept. 1830; Prest, 37; Walpole, i. 157; Russell Early Corresp. i. 305-6, 307-8.
- 113. Agar Ellis diary, 4 Oct.; Brougham mss, Agar Ellis to Brougham, 4 Oct.; Blakiston, 222; Add. 51677, Russell to Holland [18 Oct.]; 51680, to Lady Holland, 13 Oct. 1830.
- 114. Devon RO, Earl Fortescue mss, Russell to Ebrington, 20 Oct. .
- 115. Howick jnl. 31 Oct. ; M. Brock, Great Reform Act, 115; Prest, 38; Russell Letters, i. 156; Blakiston, 224.
- 116. Russell Letters, i. 159; ii. 285-6; Add. 51680, Russell to Lady Holland [c. 15 Nov.]; Grey mss, Holland to Grey [20 Nov. 1830]; Russell Early Corresp. i. 312-14.
- 117. Grey mss, Holland to Grey [20 Nov. 1830]; Walpole, i. 159-60; Russell Early Corresp. i. 314-15; Russell Letters, i. 161; ii. 296-7, 306; Greville Mems. ii. 68, 84-85; Blakiston, 225; Prest, 38-40.
- 118. Add. 51680, Russell to Lady Holland, 20 Dec. .
- 119. Prest, 40-42; Cannon, 204-10; Brock, 136-8, 140-1; Russell, Recollections, 68-70; Russell Letters, ii. 315; Three Diaries, 42; Lansdowne mss, Grey to Lansdowne, 14 Jan.; Add. 51670, Bedford to Lady Holland, 20 Jan. .
- 120. Add. 51677, Russell to Holland, 26 Jan. [1831; Russell Early Corresp. ii. 11-13.
- 121. Hatherton mss, Littleton to wife, 3 Feb.; Add. 51663, Bedford to Holland, 4 Feb.; Lambton mss, Russell to Durham and memo, 13 Feb.; Sir James Graham mss (IHR microfilm XR 80), 1, Graham to Grey, 17 Feb. 1831; Brougham mss, Russell to Brougham, 15 Nov. 1837; Cannon, 211-12; Brock, 141-2; Prest, 42-44.
- 122. Add. 51675, Tavistock to Holland [1 Mar.]; St. Deiniol’s Lib. Glynne-Gladstone mss 197, T. to J. Gladstone, 2 Mar. 1831; Broughton, iv. 87; Baring Jnls. i. 83-84; Le Marchant, Althorp, 297-8; Lieven-Grey Corresp. ii. 178; Three Diaries, 12-13, 61-62; Greville Mems. ii. 112-13; Russell Letters, ii. 326; Russell, 70-72; Prest, 44-46.
- 123. Add. 51590, Agar Ellis to Lady Holland, 7 Mar.; 51670, Bedford to same [6, 7 Mar.]; Agar Ellis diary, 6 Mar. .
- 124. Russell Letters, ii. 326, 329.
- 125. Ibid. ii. 334-5.
- 126. Cent. Kent. Stud. Gambier mss U194 C8/2; The Times, 5 Apr. 1831.
- 127. Parker, Graham, i. 109.
- 128. Add. 51569, Ord to Lady Holland [18 Apr.]; 51573, Spring Rice to Holland [17 Apr.]; 51576, Fazakerley to same [17 Apr. 1831].
- 129. Derby mss 920 Der (14) 1166, Winstanley to Smith Stanley, 25 Apr. 1831; Smith Letters, ii. 534.
- 130. Add. 51663, Bedford to Holland [25 Apr.], Russell to Bedford, 29 Apr.; 51677, Holland to Russell [Apr.]; 51680, Russell to Lady Holland [May] [3, 6 May]; Russell Early Corresp. ii. 14-15; The Times, 3, 9, 12 May 1831; Blakiston, 231.
- 131. Add. 51677, Russell to Holland, 1 May; PRO NI, Anglesey mss D619/27A/106; TNA 30/29, Holland to Granville, 14 Apr. 1831; Russell Early Corresp. ii. 20-22.
- 132. Grey mss, Bedford to Grey, 19 May, reply, 22 May; Anglesey mss 28A-B/62; Prest, 46-47; Walpole, i. 169; Greville Mems. ii. 152.
- 133. Life of Campbell, i. 516.
- 134. Greville Mems. ii. 157-8; Baring Jnls. i. 88; Prest, 47-48.
- 135. Three Diaries, 99.
- 136. Broughton, iv. 121; The Times, 11 July 1831.
- 137. Add. 51576, Fazakerley to Lady Holland [14 July 1831]; Blakiston, 234; Greville Mems. ii. 175; Peel Letters, 132; Lady Holland to Son, 113; Prest, 50.
- 138. Greville Mems. ii. 171.
- 139. Ibid. ii. 181-2.
- 140. Russell Letters, ii. 373.
- 141. Macaulay Letters, ii. 91; Add. 61937, f. 125.
- 142. Holland House Diaries, 58; Russell Letters, i. 177.
- 143. Prest, 50.
- 144. Greville Mems. ii. 208-9; Holland House Diaries, 70; Russell Early Corresp. ii. 25-26; Grey-William IV Corresp. i. 387-8; Add. 51670, Bedford to Lady Holland, 18 Oct. ; Prest, 51; Three Diaries, 155.
- 145. Beds. RO, Russell mss R766, Russell to Hardy, 18, 19 Oct. ; Russell Letters, ii. 386-7.
- 146. Cannon, 225-6; Add. 76373, Althorp to Grey, 20 Oct.; Grey mss, Russell to Grey, 20 Oct.; Southampton Univ. Lib. Broadlands mss PP/GC/RI/11.
- 147. Russell Letters, ii. 286; Hatherton diary, 8, 11, 12, 27 Nov. ; Three Diaries, 158-9.
- 148. Hatherton diary, 2 Dec. ; Greville Mems. ii. 225-6.
- 149. Hatherton diary, 12 Dec.; Three Diaries, 167; Holland House Diaries, 97; NLS mss 24762, f. 49; Add. 51573, Spring Rice to Lady Holland [12 Dec.]; Greville Mems. ii. 229; Wilts. RO, Hobhouse mss 145/2/b, Hobhouse to wife, 13 Dec. 1831; Cannon, 228-9; Prest, 52.
- 150. Add. 51670, Bedford to Lady Holland [20 Dec. 1831].
- 151. Hatherton diary, 19-21, 27 Dec. .
- 152. Holland House Diaries, 119.
- 153. Add. 51676, Ld. G. W. Russell to Holland, 3 Feb. ; Russell Letters, iii. 8; Three Diaries, 203-4; Wellington Despatches, viii. 229.
- 154. Add. 51664, Bedford to Holland [27 Feb. 1832].
- 155. Hatherton diary, 6 Mar. .
- 156. Three Diaries, 215; Holland House Diaries, 161.
- 157. Parker, Graham, i. 135; Holland House Diaries, 109, 121, 151, 154; Greville Mems. ii. 253; Three Diaries, 205; Hatherton diary, 6 Mar.; Agar Ellis diary, 13 Mar. ; Prest, 52-53.
- 158. Holland House Diaries, 166-7; Broughton, iv. 210.
- 159. Hatherton diary, 12 May ; Three Diaries, 255; Greville Mems. ii. 299.
- 160. Hatherton diary.
- 161. Lady Palmerston Letters, 193; Russell Letters, iii. 15, 17.
- 162. Macaulay Letters, ii. 152.
- 163. Russell Letters, iii. 23-24.
- 164. Lieven-Palmerston Corresp. 36; Russell Letters, iii. 26-27; Add. 51680, Russell to Lady Holland, 30 Aug., 13 Sept. [26 Nov.], 2, 8, 21 Dec. 1832; Earl Fortescue mss Add. 2/f. 20, Lady D. Harrowby to J. Fortescue [Feb. 1835].
- 165. Walpole, i. 187-93; Prest, 56-59.
- 166. Pol. Mag. (1831-2), 48.
- 167. Hatherton diary, 4 Sept. 1841.
- 168. Life of Campbell, ii. 205-6.
- 169. Prest, pp. xv, 73-81; Russell, 221.