Birth of Lord John Russell, 1st Earl Russell, twice Prime Minister

Described by Sir William Harcourt as ‘the last Doge of Whiggism’, Russell was Whig later Liberal MP for Tavistock 1813-17, 1818-20 and 1830-31, Huntingdonshire 1820-26, Bandon 1826-30, Devonshire 1831-32, Devonshire South 1832-35, Stroud 1835-41 and City of London 1841-61. A keen reformer, Russell was one of the major figures in the struggle to pass the 1832 Reform Act. Along with Lord Palmerston, Russell was a key member of every non-Tory government between 1846 and 1865 and the rivalry of the two men dominated the politics of the period. Russell’s two spells as Prime Minister (1846-52 and 1865-66) were neither particularly happy nor productive; however his first administration was responsible for the 1847 Factory Act and the Public Health Act of 1848. Charles Dickens dedicated A Tale of Two Cities to Russell ‘In remembrance of many public services and private kindnesses’.