RUSSELL, Hon. Robert (c.1644-1703), of Covent Garden, Mdx.
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Family and Education
b. c.1644, 5th but 2nd surv. s. of Sir William Russell, 5th Earl and 1st Duke of Bedford, and bro. of Hon. Edward Russell, Hon. James Russell and Hon. William Russel. educ. travelled abroad (France, Italy, Germany, Low Countries) 1660-6; Padua 1664. m. 1690, his cos. Letitia, da. of Hon. Edward Russell of Corney House, Chiswick, Mdx., wid. of Thomas Cheke of Pirgo, Essex, s.p. styled Lord Robert Russell 11 May 1694.1
J.p. Beds. by 1687-Feb. 1688, Oct. 1688-d.; commr. for assessment, Beds. and Devon 1689-90.
Clerk of the pipe 1689-d.2
Russell was returned to the first Exclusion Parliament at a by-election for Camelford caused by the decision of William Harbord to sit for Thetford. He voted for the bill and was re-elected to the two succeeding Parliaments, but no committee appointments can be definitely attributed to him. He is not likely to have stood in 1685, but in 1688 his elder brother Edward decided to contest Bedfordshire and left a vacancy in the family borough of Tavistock. The King’s electoral agents reported that the voters were ‘inclined to choose’ him ‘if rightly principled’; but they desired ‘to know his sentiments, and intend to act accordingly’.
Russell was duly returned for Tavistock at the general election of 1689, and given a sinecure worth £1,000 p.a. by the new regime. He was not active in the Convention, being appointed by full name to only three committees, and perhaps to two more. He certainly helped to consider the bill for naturalizing Marshal Schomberg and the allegations against Harbord, and may have served on the committee to report on the evidence against the prisoners in the Tower. He supported the disabling clause in the bill to restore corporations, and remained a court Whig under William III. His death was reported on 27 July 1703, and he was buried at Chenies four days later.3