HL Deb 31 May 1878 vol 240 cc1033-4

My Lords, if it be not regarded as presumptuous in one who for 40 years was politically connected with the late Earl Russell in Parliament, I would ask a Question of which I have given private Notice to the noble Earl the First Lord of the Treasury. It is, Whether Lord Russell's political and personal claims are such that the public would not be unwilling to make some recognition of the services of so distinguished a statesman whose name has so long been associated with the political history of the country? I have reason to believe that Her Majesty's Government, sympathizing with that feeling, have anticipated the purpose of my inquiry, and that there have been some communications—I do not know precisely what they have been—with the family of the deceased Earl. Perhaps the noble Earl the First Lord of the Treasury will state to the House what has been the nature of those communications, and what has been their result?


My Lords, Her Majesty, and Her Majesty's Government, felt they were only expressing the general feeling of the nation, when they offered that the interment of that great statesman whom we have lost should be public, and that he should be buried in the shadow, as it were, of that venerable Abbey where in youth he was educated, and where the greater part of his eminent career was passed. It was, of course, impossible to come to any decision on the subject without making ourselves acquainted with the feelings of his family, and with the desire, were it expressed, of the departed himself. I will not say I regret it, because I am sure the result has been brought about by sentiments and considerations with which we must all sympathize, and which all of us must respect; but, within the last few minutes, I have been authoritatively informed that the widow of this illustrious man declines the public mark of the veneration of the Nation, in consequence of the express declaration in the will of Earl Russell that he should be buried with his family and ancestors at Chenies, in Buckinghamshire.