Lacy, Francis Antony (DNB00)

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LACY, FRANCIS ANTONY (1731–1792), Spanish general and diplomatist, born in 1731, was the son of an Irish officer who went to Spain with the Duke of Berwick, probably the Lacy who was a general at the Spanish siege of Oran in 1730. Francis Antony commenced his military career as ensign in the Irish infantry regiment of Ultonia in the Spanish service, during the disastrous campaign in Italy in 1747. He commanded the same regiment in the war with Portugal in 1762. As lieutenant-general he commanded the Spanish artillery at the famous siege of Gibraltar (Drinkwater, p. 167). After the peace of 1783 Lacy was sent as Spanish minister-plenipotentiary to the courts of Stockholm and St. Petersburg, where he was very popular. On his return he was made commandant-general of the coast of Grenada, member of the supreme council of war, and commandant-general and sole inspector-general of the artillery and of all ordnance-manufacturing establishments in Spain and the Indies. The Spanish artillery school of Segovia was indebted to him for improved discipline and the establishment of classes for chemistry, mineralogy, and pyrotechnics. In March 1789 he was made governor and captain-general of Catalonia, where he was conspicuous by his active efforts to prevent the spread of French revolutionary doctrines. He married a daughter of the Marquis d'Abbeville, by whom he had a son and daughter. He died at Barcelona 31 Dec. 1792.

Lacy had the grand cordon of Charles III, was a commander of St. Januarius, and titular of the rich commandery of Casas Buenas, Merida. According to some he owed his success to his ready wit and imposing stature rather than to any military talent; but his conciliatory disposition and his unswerving loyalty to the country of his adoption are generally admitted. Lacy is stated to have been uncle of Don Luiz Lacy (1775–1817), Spanish general and governor of Catalonia, whose name often appears in histories of Wellington's Peninsular campaigns, and who was executed at the castle of Belver, Majorca, on 5 July 1817, after his abortive attempt, in conjunction with General Milans, to re-establish the cortes and proclaim a constitution on 5 April in that year. Three years later the Spanish cortes, to honour his memory, named his son first grenadier of the Spanish army (Biog. Univ. Nouvelle edit. xxii. 421).

[Printed Sketch-Pedigree of General Maurice De Lacy [q. v.] of Grodno, of which there are copies in the British Museum; Biog. Univers. vol. xxii., ‘Lacy, François Antoine,’ and ‘Lacy, Luiz;’ Grant's Cavaliers of Fortune, pp. 164–77; Drinkwater's Siege of Gibraltar, London, 1844 ed.]

H. M. C.