RUSSELL, William (1746–1793), historian. Autograph letter signed to George Robinson, 1 side 4to plus integral blank, Knottyholm, January 25 1791, sympathizing with Robinson's complaints at not having received copy, but informing him that "I have now finished my views of the early progress of Idolatory; a subject that has filled volumes, but which I have comprehended with a few pages" and that "In this paquet I have sent three sheets of copy, and shall send other three sometime next week. On this you may depend". In a post script he adds "The whole introduction, as far as I can judge, will make nine sheets. At least I will endeavor that it shall not exceed that quantity. You will now have copy for near seven".
Russell was able to earn a living from his literary work from 1770 onwards, producing works on history (notably The History of America, from the First Discovery by Columbus to the Conclusion of the Late War completed in 1779) and other subjects including poetry, essays, an unsuccessful play, and a tribute to Sarah Siddons, the actress. In 1787 he married a Miss Scott, and settled at Knottyholm, a farm near Langholm, Dumfriesshire, belonging to the duke of Buccleuch. In 1792 he received the honorary degree of LLD from St Andrews University. His health was poor, and this was made worse by constant arguments with booksellers. His correspondent George Robinson was a member of a successful family of booksellers who traded at Addison's Head, 25 Paternoster Row, London, from 1764 until 1822, and for many years were the greatest trading booksellers and publishers in England. (ODNB).