Russell, William, Lord Russell, an English statesman, third son of the Earl of Bedford; born Sept. 29, 1639. He entered Parliament immediately after the Restoration, and in 1669 married Rachel, Lady Vaughan. In 1679 he was a member of the new privy council appointed by Charles II. to ingratiate himself with the Whigs. Resigning in 1680, he became conspicuous in the efforts to exclude the king's brother, the Roman Catholic Duke of York, from the succession to the throne, but retired from public life when the Exclusion Bill was rejected. When the Ryehouse Plot was discovered in 1683, Russell was arrested on a charge of high treason, and though nothing was proved against him the law was stretched to secure his conviction. He was sentenced to death, and was beheaded in London, July 21, 1683. An act was passed in 1689 reversing his attainder.
Entry from Everybody's Cyclopedia,