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George Maclean, Governor of Gold Coast.

George Maclean (2 February 1801 – 22 May 1847) was Governor of Gold Coast, now in Ghana, from 1830 until 1844.[1]



Born in Keith,[2] Banffshire, Scotland, he was the son of the minister, Rev, James Maclean, and his wife Elizabeth Tod, daughter of George Tod of Elgin.[3][4] In the period 1815–7 he was an ensign in the 27th Foot, and then in the 91st Foot. In poor health, he retired from the army in 1821.[3]

Maclean was a member of the Royal African Colonial Corps, stationed in British West Africa from 1826 until 1828. In 1830 he became the Governor of Cape Coast, a position he retained until 1844.[1] In 1842 he was investigated by Richard Robert Madden, following the 1839 discovery by activists that British merchants operated from the Gold Coast were supplying slaving vessels. Madden's enquiries, and subsequent parliamentary select committee, concluded that Maclean lacked formal powers to act effectively against the trade, and the Colonial Office stepped in.[3] Under the influence of James Stephen, the Gold Coast forts were detached from Sierra Leone and governed as a separate crown colony.[5] Maclean came out of the investigation with credit.[3]

Maclean was buried at Cape Coast Castle.[1]


Maclean married poet Letitia Elizabeth Landon.[1] They had no children. His half-brother, James (died 1877), a Captain in the Gold Coast Corps, served under him.


  1. ^ a b c d "George Maclean". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. Retrieved 2007-05-07.
  2. ^ Keith is now located in Moray.
  3. ^ a b c d Flint, John. "Maclean, George". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/37719.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  4. ^ A genealogical and heraldic history of the landed gentry of Great Britain & Ireland (Volume 2)
  5. ^ Curtin, Philip D. (1973). The Image of Africa: British Ideas and Action, 1780-1850. Univ of Wisconsin Press. p. 306. ISBN 9780299830267.

Further readingEdit

  • Graham, Gerald S.; Metcalfe, G. E. (1962). MacLean of the Gold Coast: The Life and Times of George MacLean, 1801-1847. London: Oxford University Press. pp. 346 pages.
  • Watt, Julie, Poisoned Lives, The Regency Poet Letitia Elizabeth Landon (L.E.L.) and British Gold Coast Administrator George Maclean: Sussex Academic Press, Eastbourne, 2010. ISBN 978-1-84519-420-8

External linksEdit

Government offices
Preceded by
John Jackson
Governor of the Committee of Merchants of the Gold Coast
Succeeded by
William Topp
Preceded by
William Topp
Governor of the Committee of Merchants of the Gold Coast
Succeeded by
R. M. Worsley Hill
as Governor of the Gold Coast
Police appointments
New title Inspector General of Constabulary, Gold Coast
Succeeded by
Chief Frank Gilbert