Gérard de Lally-Tollendal
Born in Paris, he was the legitimized son of Thomas Arthur de Lally, and only discovered the secret of his birth on the day of his father's execution (May 9, 1766), when he devoted himself to clearing his father's memory. He was supported by Voltaire, and in 1778 succeeded in persuading King Louis XVI to annul the decree which had sentenced the comte de Lally, but the parlement of Rouen, to which the case was referred back, in 1784 again decided in favour of Lally's guilt. The case was retried by other courts, and Lally's innocence was never fully admitted by the French judges.
In 1779 Lally-Tollendal bought the honorary title of Grand bailli of Étampes, and in 1789 was a deputy to the Estates-General for the noblesse of Paris. He played some part in the early stages of the French Revolution, but, as a conservative, quickly rejected more profound changes.
Exile and return
He joined the opposition to the strict regime of the Marquis de Mirabeau, and condemned the decisive rejection of the Ancien Régime by the National Constituent Assembly, begun by the Tennis Court Oath and confirmed by the abolition of feudalism on 4 August 1789. Later in the year he emigrated to Great Britain.
During the trial of Louis XVI by the National Convention (December 1792 - January 1793) he offered to defend the king, but was not allowed to return to France. He did not return until after the establishment of the Consulate. Louis XVIII honoured him with the title, Peer of France, and in 1816 he became a member of the Académie française.
- Lally-Tollendal, Plaidoyer pour Louis XVI, London, 1793
- Défense des émigrés français adressée au peuple français] par Trophime Gérard de Lally-Tollendal. Avant-propos de l’auteur, (daté de Londres, janvier 1797). Hambourg, chez P.F. Fauche, Imprimeur – Libraire, 1797, (X + 247 pages).
- Mémoires, attributed to Joseph Weber, concerning Marie Antoinette (1804, partial authorship)
- Article on Thomas Arthur de Lally in the Biographic Michaud
- Full text of writings of Gérard de Lally-Tollendal from Ball State University's Digital Media Repository
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. In turn, it gives the following references: