British diplomat; b. Florence, Italy, Feb. 20, 1829;d. Potsdam, Germany, Aug. 25, 1884. Unable to obtain parliamentary approval for a regular envoy to the Holy See, the British government used to send a member of the British legation in Florence or Naples to Rome as an unaccredited agent. In 1858 Russell succeeded Lord Lyons in this position. Although he was a Protestant and strongly favored the unification of Italy, Russell gained the affection of Pius IX. He was also on friendly terms with the papal secretary of state, Cardinal Giacomo antonelli, and with Cardinal manning. Russell's mother was a Catholic, but his correspondence indicates that neither she nor Manning influenced his decision to remain neutral on the question of papal infallibility during vatican council i. Russell believed that government intervention would only prejudice his influence in Rome and prevent him from dealing with the problem of Ireland. In 1871 Russell was appointed first British ambassador to the new German empire; ten years later he was created first Baron Ampthill. In 1923 his son Odo was appointed British minister to the Holy See.
Bibliography: The Roman Question: Extracts from the Despatches of Odo Russell, 1858–1870, ed. n. blakiston (London 1962). a. randall, "A British Agent at the Vatican," Dublin Review 233 (1959) 37–57. d. mcelrath, The Syllabus of Pius IX: Some Reactions in England (Louvain 1964).