Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/O'Ferrall, Richard More

O'FERRALL, RICHARD MORE (1797–1880), governor of Malta, born in 1797 at Balvna, co. Kildare—the ancient seat of his race—was eldest son of Ambrose O'Ferrall (1752–1835), by his first wife, Anne, daughter of John Bagot. Unlike his brother John Lewis More, afterwards commissioner of police (d. 1881), he declined, as a conscientious catholic, to enter the protestant university of Dublin. From an early age he joined in the struggle in Ireland for civil and religious liberty, and long corresponded with James Warren Doyle [q. v.], the patriot-prelate of Kildare. After the Catholic Relief Bill passed in 1828, he became in 1831 member of parliament for Kildare, his native county, which he represented without interruption for seventeen years (1830–46), and afterwards for six years (1859–65). He also sat for a short time in 1850–1 for co. Longford, in which his family held property. He supported Daniel O'Connell, who wrote to his confidential friend P.V. Fitzpatrick, on 3 June 1834: ‘I do not believe that More O'Ferrall will accept office.’ In this opinion, however, the Liberator was wrong. In 1835, under the Melbourne administration, O'Ferrall became a lord of the treasury; in 1839 secretary to the admiralty, and in 1841 secretary to the treasury. On 1 Oct. 1847 he severed his connection with Kildare to assume the governorship of Malta. On 22 Nov. 1847 he was made a privy councillor. He resigned the governorship of Malta in 1851, on the ground that he declined to serve under Lord John Russell, the prime minister, who in that year carried into law the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill, in opposition to the papal bull which created a catholic hierarchy in England.

O'Ferrall died at Kingstown, near Dublin, at the age of eighty-three, on 27 Oct. 1880. He had been a magistrate, grand juror, and deputy-lieutenant for his native county, and at his death was the oldest member of the Irish privy council. He married, on 28 Sept. 1839, Matilda (d. 1882), second daughter of Thomas Anthony, third viscount Southwell, K.P. By her he left a son, Ambrose, and a daughter, Maria Anne, who married in 1860 Sir Walter Nugent, bart., of Donore, co. Westmeath.

[Life, Times, and Correspondence of Bishop Doyle; Private Correspondence of Daniel O'Connell; Leinster Leader, 30 Oct. 1880; Burke's Landed Gentry, ii. 1516; Lingard's England, with marginal notes in manuscript by Bishop Doyle; personal knowledge.]

W. J. F.