French general, the son of an Irish Jacobite, Sir Gerard O'Lally. From 1756 Lally was an able commander of the French army in India during the Seven Years War. He had to give up the siege of Madras through lack of supplies, and surrendered Pondicherry after being defeated by the British commander Eyre Coote in January 1760. This put an end to the French empire in India, and on his return to France he was tried for treason and executed after two years imprisonment. The writer and philosopher Voltaire worked with Lally's son to obtain a posthumous vindication; the condemnation was declared unjust in 1778 and Voltaire, on his death‐bed, recorded his pleasure that his efforts to clear Lally's name had succeeded.
Subjects: World History.