Russell, John, Earl Russell, K.G., an English statesman, third son of the 6th Duke of Bedford; born in London, Aug. 18, 1792. Educated at Edinburgh University, he entered Parliament in 1813 before attaining his majority. In 1819 he made his first motion in favor of parliamentary reform, of which through life he was the champion. In 1831 he was paymaster-general in Lord Grey's administration, and introduced the first Reform Bill to the House of Commons. From 1841 to 1845 he led the opposition against Peel, with whom, however, he was in sympathy on the Corn Law question; and when Peel resigned in 1846 Russell formed a ministry and retained power till February, 1852. In 1859 he became foreign secretary, the Trent affair with the United States occuring while he was in office. In 1861 he was raised to the peerage, and in 1865 succeeded Lord Palmerston in the leadership of the Liberal party; but when his new reform bill was rejected in 1866 he went out of office. He was the author of numerous books and pamphlets, including lives of Thomas Moore, Lord William Russell, and Charles Fox, and "Recollections and Suggestions" (1813-1873), published in 1875. He died May 28, 1878.

Entry from Everybody's Cyclopedia, 1912.