BY FREDERIC HARRISON
After Lady Russell’s death a few friends decided—unknown to her family, who were touched by this mark of respect—to put up a tablet to her memory and hold a Memorial Service in the Free Church at Richmond, Surrey. The tablet, which is of beaten copper, beautifully worked, bears the following inscription:—
In memory of Frances Anna Maria, daughter of Gilbert, second Earl of Minto, and widow of Lord John Russell, who was born November 15, 1815, and died January 17, 1898. In gratitude to God for her noble life this tablet is placed by her fellow-worshippers.
The Memorial Service was held on July 14, 1900, when the tablet was unveiled and the following address was delivered by Mr. Frederic Harrison.
Now that our gathering of to-day has given full scope to the loving sorrow and filial piety of the children, descendants, and family of her whom we meet to commemorate and honour—now that the minister, whom she was accustomed to hear, and the worshippers, with whom she was wont to join in praise and prayer, have recorded their solemn union in the same sacred memory, I crave leave to offer my humble tribute of devotion as representing the general circle of her friends, and the far wider circle of the public to whom she was known only by her life, her character, her nobility of soul, and her benefactions.
I do not presume to speak of that beauty of nature which Frances Countess Russell showed in the sanctity of the family, in the close intimacy of her private friends. Others have done this far more truly, and will continue to bear witness to her life whilst this generation and the next shall survive. My only title to join my voice to-day with that of her children and of this congregation resides in the fact that my memory of her goes back over so long a period; that I have known her under circumstances, first, of the highest public activity, and then again, in a time of severe retirement and private simplicity; that I have seen her in days of happiness and in days of mourning; at the height of her influence and dignity in the eyes of our nation and of the nations about us, as well as in her days of grief and disappointment at the failure of her hopes, and the break up of the causes she had at heart. And I have known her always, in light or in gloom, in joy or in misery, the same brave, fearless, natural, and true heart—come fair or foul, come triumph or defeat.
Yes! it was my privilege to have known Lady Russell in the lifetime of the eminent statesman whose name she bore, and whose life of toil in the public service she inspired; I knew them five-and-thirty years ago, when he was at the head of the State Government and immersed in public cares. And I am one of those who can bear witness to the simple dignity