Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Lacy, Maurice

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LACY or DE LACY, MAURICE (1740–1820), of Grodno, Russian general, belonged to a branch of the family of Peter, count Lacy [q. v.] He was born apparently at Limerick during the 'great frost' of 1739-40 (see Lenihan, p. 332), and is described (Printed Sketch-Pedigree) as son of Patrick de Lacy (d. 1790) by Lady Mary Herbert of Templeagletan and grandson of 'old Patrick Lacy' of Kathcahill, who died in 1741. Maurice, who was said to have been brought up in an Irish convent, obtained a commission in the Russian army, in which he fought against the Turks, and attained general's rank, with which he revisited Ireland in 1792-3. He went back to Russia, and held command under Marshal Suwarrow in the campaigns against the French in Switzerland and Italy. Sir Henry Edward Bunbury [q.v.], who was quatermaster-general of the small British force sent to Naples under Sir James Henry Craig [q. v.] in 1805, speaking of an auxiliary force of fourteen thousand Russians and two thousand wild Montenegrins sent thither from the Greek islands, under the Russian general, D'Anrep, observes that D'Anrep was subordinate to old General Lacy, who was residing at Naples under the pretence of ill-health, but prepared by his sovereign's order to take the chief command when the time should come to put the troops in movement. He had been a brave and meritorious officer, 'but showed no traces of ever having been a man of talent or information.' Bunbury, who is wrong on some points, add: 'He spoke English with the strongest brogue I ever heard, and with peculiarities that I have never met with, except in the Teagues of our old comedies.' He used to bring his nightcap in his pocket when he attended a council of war, and put it on and go to sleep while others discussed the business. 'But the old gentleman was simple and kind-hearted, and, in his own words, "always for fighting" (Bunbury, pp. 191-2). Lacy played no prominent part in later campaigns. He was governor of Grodno, where he possessed estates. Lacy and his sister, Mrs. Johanna O'Brien, who died before him, outlived all their numerous brothers and sisters. His nephew, Maurice Pierre, entered the Russian service and died before Adrianople during the war of 1827-9 (see United Service Magazine, November 1844). Lacy, who is described (Printed Sketch-Pedigree) as 'the last lineal descendant of the great Hugh de Lacy,' died unmarried at Grodno, Russia, in January 1820.

[Printer Sketch-Pedigree of General Maurice de Lacy of Grodno, two copies of which are in the British Museum Library, signed by Mrs.
De Lacy Nash, the surviving representative of Lacy's sister, Mrs. Johanna O'Brien; see also Lanihan's Hist. of Limerick, Dublin, 1868; D'Alton's Illustrations of King James's Army Lists, Dublin, 2nd edit. 1861; Bunbury's Narrative of Passages in the late War with France, London 1854.]

H. M. C.