1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Wade, George
WADE, GEORGE (1673–1748), British field marshal, was the son of Jerome Wade of Kilavally, Westmeath, and entered the British army in 1690. He was present at Steinkirk in 1692, and in 1695 he became captain. In 1702 he served in Marlborough’s army, earning particular distinction at the assault on the citadel of Liége, and in 1703 he became successively major and lieutenant-colonel in his regiment (later the 10th Foot). In 1704, with the temporary rank of colonel, he served on Lord Galway’s staff in Portugal. Wade distinguished himself at the siege of Alcantara in 1706, in a rearguard action at Villa Nova in the same autumn (in which, according to Galway, his two battalions repulsed twenty-two allied squadrons), and at the disastrous battle of Almanza on the 25th of April 1707. He had now risen to the command of a brigade, and on the following 1st of January (1707/8) he was promoted brigadier-general in the British army. His next service was as second in command to James (1st earl) Stanhope in the expedition to Minorca in 1708. In 1710 he was again with the main Anglo-allied army in Spain, and took part in the great battle of Saragossa on the 20th of August, after which he was promoted major-general and given a command at home. The Jacobite outbreak of 1715 brought him into prominence in the new rôle of military governor. He twice detected important Jacobite conspiracies, and on the second occasion procured the arrest of the Swedish ambassador in London, Count Gyllenborg. In 1719 he was second in command of the land forces in the successful “conjunct” military and naval expedition to Vigo. In 1724 he was sent to the Highlands to make a thorough investigation of the country and its people, and two years later, having meantime been appointed commander-in-chief to give effect to his own recommendations, he began the system of metalled roads which is his chief title to fame, and is commemorated in the lines—
"Had you seen these roads before they were made,
You would lift up your hands and bless General Wade.“
In the course of this engineering work Wade superintended the construction of no less than 40 stone bridges. At the same time, slowly and with the tact that came of long experience, he disarmed the clans. In 1742 he was made a privy councillor and lieutenant-general of the ordnance, and in 1743 field marshal. In this year he commanded the British contingent in Flanders, and was associated in the supreme command with the duke d’Aremberg, the leader of the Austrian contingent. The campaign, as was to be expected when the enemy was of one nation, superior in numbers and led by Saxe, was a failure, and Wade, who was seventy years of age and in bad health, resigned the command in March 1744. George II. promptly made him commander-in-chief in England, and in that capacity Field Marshal Wade had to deal with the Jacobite insurrection of 1745, in which he was utterly baffled by the perplexing rapidity of Prince Charles Edward’s marches. On the appointment of the duke of Cumberland as commander-in-chief of the forces, Wade retired. He died on the 14th of March 1748.