Page images



Lord William Russell was born in 1639 : at the early age of nineteen years he became remarkable for his virtues and strict integrity in Parliament he shewed himself strongly attached to his country's religion. The severity of his morals inducing him to remove from a corrupt court, he retired to his estate, and, in 1669, married Rachel Wriotherly, the widow of lord Vaughan. He enjoyed all those sweets of the connubial state, when the pleasures of the mind are joined to those of the heart, and to the purity of virtue.

In 1670, Charles II wishing to reconcile himself with the Romish Church, warm discussions took place in Parliament, and lord Russell took so active a part in the opposition, that he proposed & that means should be provided to extinguish popery, and to preserve the crown from a popish successor. »

The King's advisers, to get rid of lord Russelli,ncluded him in a conspiracy, in which however he had taken no part. Brought to the bar at the Old Bailey, he, the same day, was made acquainted with the accusation, was obliged to make his defence, and heard his condemnation. Not having any counsel, but being permitted to choose one of his servants to write for him and to assist his memory, lord Russell said: «My wife is here to fulfil that employment.» In this trial all form was violated. Lord Russell was beheaded a week afterwards. At king Willam the third's accession, this sentence was annulled. The king then gave the title of duke to the old earl of Bedford, lord Russell's father.

This picture, painted by Mr. George Hayter, belongs to his grace the duke of Bedford.

Width, 7 feet; height, 4 feet 6 inches.

[graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »