Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/MacDonnell, Richard Graves

MACDONNELL, Sir RICHARD GRAVES (1814–1881), colonial governor, was eldest son of Richard MacDonnell, D.D., who was provost of Trinity College, Dublin, from 1852 till his death on 24 Jan. 1867. His mother was Jane, second daughter of Richard Graves, dean of Ardagh. Macdonnell was born in Dublin 3 Sept. 1814, and was educated at Trinity College, where he was a scholar 1833, and graduated B.A. 1836, M.A. 1836, LL.B. 1846, and LL.D. 1862. He was called to the Irish bar 1838, and to the English bar, at Lincoln's Inn, 25 Jan. 1841. On 20 July 1843 he was appointed chief justice of the Gambia, and on 1 Oct. 1847 governor of the British settlements on the Gambia. While holding that post he conducted several exploring expeditions, opening up the interior of Africa from the Gambia to the Senegal. He also organised and accompanied some military expeditions, with success, against native tribes who had long oppressed the traders of the river. In 1832 he became governor of St. Lucia, and on 10 Jan. 1863 administrator and captain-general of the island of St. Vincent. From 8 June 1866 to 4 March 1862 he was governor of South Australia, where he aided in opening up the Murray river and in developing the resources of the colony. He was afterwards lieutenant-governor of Nova Scotia from 28 May 1864 till October 1866, and governor of Hong-kong from 19 Oct. 1866 till 1872, when he retired from the public service on a pension. He was gazetted C.B. 12 Feb. 1862, was knighted by the queen at Buckingham Palace 28 Jan. 1866, and was created K.C.M.G. 23 Feb. 1871. His wife, whom he married in 1847, was Blanche Ann, the third daughter of Francis Skurray of Brunswick Square, Brighton.

He died at Hyeres, France, 5 Feb. 1881, and was buried in Kensal Green cemetery 14 Feb.

He contributed letters or papers to 'The Church of the Future,' an address by the Rev. Thomas Binney, 1869, and to 'Christian Union, as discussed by the Bishop of Adelaide, Sir R. C. MacDonnell, &c.,'1859, and he published a lecture on 'Australia,' Dublin,

[Times, 8 Feb. 1881, p. 10; Men of the Time, 1879, p. 662; Solicitors' Journal, 1881, xxv. 300; Illustr. London News, 1881, lxxviii. 220-2, with portrait.]

G. C. B.