Wall, Richard (DNB00)

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WALL, RICHARD (1694–1778), statesman in the Spanish service, was born in Ireland in 1694, and belonged to the Waterford branch of that family (Dalton, Army Lists). He is first heard of in 1718, when he served as a volunteer in the Spanish fleet which was defeated off Sicily by George Byng, viscount Torrington [q. v.] In 1727 he was a captain of dragoons, and went as secretary with the Duke of Liria, Berwick's eldest son, appointed Spanish ambassador at St. Petersburg. They had an interview on their way with the Pretender at Bologna, and halted also at Vienna, Dresden, and Berlin. At St. Petersburg Wall had one of his chronic fits of melancholia, and entreated permission to return to Spain. 'I placed all my confidence in Wall,' says Liria, 'and unbosomed myself to him in all my unpleasantnesses, which were numerous, and when he left I had to remain without any one whom I could really trust.' Rejoining the Spanish army, Wall served under Don Philip in Lombardy, and under Montemar in Naples, and was next despatched to the West Indies, where he conceived a plan for recovering Jamaica. In 1747 he was sent to Aix-laChapelle and London to negotiate peace, went back to Spain by way of France in February 1748 (D'Argenson, Mem.} to report progress, and on the conclusion of the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748 he was formally appointed to the London embassy. In October 1752 he was recalled. He was reluctant to leave England (Walpole, Letters), where he had made the acquaintance of the elder Pitt and was very popular, though Lord Bath, afterwards hearing of his heraldic device, 'Aut Caesar aut nihil,' said to Horace Walpole, 'The impudent fellow! he should have taken munis aheneus.' He was recalled on account of his services being required at Madrid in settling commercial arrangements with the English ambassador, Sir Benjamin Keene [q.v.] Although he had occasional differences with Keene and his successor, Lord Bristol, Wall was regarded as the head of the English party, and the French intrigued against him; but in 1752 he received the grade of lieutenant-general, succeeded Carvajal as foreign minister, and in 1754, supplanting Ensenada, became secretary of state. He gave proof of unselfishness by detaching the Indies, a lucrative department, from the foreign office and annexing it to the marine. Though a favourite with Ferdinand VI and Charles III, the latter of whom he had helped to place on the throne of the Two Sicilies, and who had succeeded to the Spanish crown in 1759, Wall was disliked and thwarted by the queen-dowager, who sided with the French party. As early as 1757 he ineffectually tendered his resignation on the plea of ill-health. He was unable to prevent the pacte de famille and consequent rupture with England in 1761, and a feeling of jealousy towards foreigners weakened his influence at court. After repeatedly asking permission to retire, he pretended that his sight was impaired, wore a shade over his eyes, and used an ointment to produce temporary inflammation. By this device he obtained in 1764 the acceptance of his resignation. Among his labours in office had been the restoration of the Alhambra, which he incongruously roofed with red tiles. He received a pension of a hundred thousand crowns, the full pay of a lieutenant-general, and the possession for life of the Soto di Roma, a royal hunting seat near Granada, destined to be presented to the Duke of Wellington. It being damp and unhealthy, he at first resided chiefly at Mirador, a villa adjoining Granada, but after a time he fitted up Soto di Roma with English furniture, drained the four thousand acres of fields and woods, made new drives, and rendered the peasants thrifty and prosperous. There he resided from October to May, attending the court at Aranjuez for a month, and spending the summer at Mirador. Henry Swinburne (1743?–1803) [q. v.] visited him at Soto di Roma in 1776, and was delighted with his sprightly conversation, for which he had always been noted. He died in 1778.

[Liria's Journal in Coleccion de Documentos Hist. España, vol. xciii. Madrid, 1889; summary of this journal in Quarterly Rev. January 1892; Coxe's Mem. Kings of Spain; Ann. Reg. 1763, p. 113; Mém. de Luynes, v. 176; Corresp. of Chatham; Villa's Marqués de la Ensenada, Madrid, 1878; Ferrer del Rio's Hist. Carlos III; Büsching's Magazin für Geographie, ii. 68, Hamburg, 1769; Walpole's Letters; Temple Bar, March 1898.]

J. G. A.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.273
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

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96 i 34-35 Wall, Richard: for and belonged . . . that family read at Coolnamuck, co. Waterford, where a branch of that family was settled