Lally, Thomas Arthur
LALLY, THOMAS ARTHUR, BARON DE TOLLENDAL, COUNT DE (1702 -1766), French general, descended from an old Irish family who emigrated to France along with the Stuarts, was born in Dauphine in January 1702. His father, colonel in an Irish-French regiment, familiarized him with active service from his boyhood, and he rose step by step in a career distinguished for bravery and conduct till in 1744 he was created a brigadier by Louis XV. on the field of Fontenoy. Previous to this he had been engaged in several plots for the restoration of the Stuarts, and in 1745 he accompanied Charles Edward to Scotland, serving as aide-de-camp at the battle of Falkirk. Escaping in disguise to France, he joined the army of Marshal Saxe in the Low Countries, and for his conduct at the capture of Maestricht in 1748 received the grade of marshal of the camp. When the French in 1756 resolved to fit out an expediton to recover their power in India, Lally was appointed to the chief command. Arriving at Pondicherri in 1758, he alarmed the English by his first successes, and even laid siege to Madras. But he was ill supported by his countrymen, his military chest was empty, and his bravery and zeal were not combined with the qualities necessary for success in Indian administration. Madras was relieved by a British fleet, and the English under Coote assumed the offensive, and inflicted a severe defeat on Lally at Wandiwash. He still made a long and stubborn resistance, but was ultimately besieged in Pondicherri and compelled to surrender in January 1761. Returning to France on parole, he was thrown into prison. Popular indignation at the collapse of French power in India demanded a victim, and the parliament of Paris sentenced him to death on a vague and frivolous accusation. The judicial murder of Lally (9th May 1766) was exposed by Voltaire, and his son Lally-Tollendal obtained in 1778 the formal reversal of the sentence.