Richard Wall

Wall, Richard, Spanish minister, diplomatist, and general, is reputed to have been born in Ireland about the year 1693. He was of a County of Waterford family. He entered the Spanish naval service at an early age, served as a volunteer in the fleet sent against Sicily in 1718, and distinguished himself in the naval engagement with Admiral Byng. He afterwards entered the army, and served in the expedition under Montemar, in 1736, which placed Don Carlos on the throne of the Two Sicilies. In the same year he was sent to America, where he devised a plan for the invasion of Jamaica. In the ensuing war between Great Britain and Spain he does not seem to have taken a foremost part; but when peace negotiations were begun, his knowledge of English led to his being sent as private agent, first to Aix-la-Chapelle and Holland, and afterwards (June 1747) to England, where for some years after the conclusion of peace he remained as ambassador. In 1752 he was made a major-general. In 1754 he was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs, and he continued to occupy a prominent place in the government of Spain during the remainder of the reign of Ferdinand VI. and part of that of his brother and successor, Charles III. Though his adopted country was more than once at war with Great Britain, Wall appears to have always been disposed to favour British interests. It is stated that for some time before his retirement into private life he was most anxious to withdraw, but that the King was unwilling to lose his services.

In order to obtain leave to retire, Wall affected to be suffering from giddiness, and weakness of the eyes, and when about to enter the royal presence made use of an ointment to produce the appearance of inflammation. He also wore a shade over his eyes when in public. Soon after the peace in 1763 Charles III. reluctantly assented to the loss of his services, and Wall retired into private life, loaded with honours and the rewards of long and faithful service. He passed the remainder of his days in the neighbourhood of Granada, residing sometimes on the estate of Soto de Roma (afterwards granted by the Spanish government to the Duke of Wellington) and sometimes at the villa of Mirador, near the city. He continued to pay periodical visits to the court at Aranjuez. It is said that "in retirement his reserved and independent conduct acquired the esteem even of those who had caballed against him when he was in authority." His name is honourably mentioned in connexion with efforts to preserve and restore the Moorish palace of the Alhambra, which for long before and after his time suffered much from neglect and spoliation. He died, probably at or near Granada, in 1778, aged about 85.


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307a. Spain, Kings of the House of Bourbon: Rev. William Coxe. 5 vols. London, 1815.

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