Lord John Russell
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Whig statesman and Prime Minister.
Russell entered Parliament in 1813 and became a persistent advocate of Parliamentary reform, becoming one of the four members of Earl Grey’s Whig government made responsible for the drafting of the Reform Bill of 1832. He proposed the legislation to Parliament and steered it through the Commons.
In November 1834 he resigned along with the Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne, and sat on the Opposition Front Bench during Robert Peel’s short first ministry (1834-35).
Following Peel’s downfall Russell rejoined Melbourne in government and became Home Secretary from 1835 to 1839 and Secretary of War and the Colonies from 1839 to 1841.
Peel became Prime Minister again in 1841 but resigned in 1846, immediately after the repeal of the Corn Laws.
Russell then became Prime Minister at the head of a Whig administration of 1846 to 1852, notable for the 1847 Factory Act and the Public Health Act of 1848.His dissent from Aberdeen’s policies during the Crimean War of 1854-1856 caused him to lose the leadership of his party to Lord Palmerston. As Foreign Secretary from 1859-1865 under Palmerston, he antagonised the United States during the American Civil War by actions that seemed to favour the Confederacy. He retired from political office after briefly heading a second administration in 1865-1866 but continued to sit in the House of Lord until his death in 1878.
This is a fine signature in ink, on a 4.5" x 2" piece cut from the bottom of a letter. In very good condition.