MacLean of the Gold Coast: The Life and Times of George MacLean, 1801-1847

MacLean of the Gold Coast: The Life and Times of George MacLean, 1801-1847

MacLean of the Gold Coast: The Life and Times of George MacLean, 1801-1847

MacLean of the Gold Coast: The Life and Times of George MacLean, 1801-1847

Excerpt

George Maclean was almost a legend on the Gold Coast in his own lifetime. In Ashanti, a contemporary wrote, 'so necessary did the King consider him for the peace of the country, that he was in the habit of making stated prayers and sacrifices to his fetish, for a continuance of his health and friendship.' At the coast, when he died, all business was suspended for a fortnight. In October 1856 the Rev. Daniel West recorded a conversation with an African at Anomabu 'respecting the sad and mysterious end of "L.E.L."' The minister's curiosity on this point was not gratified, but he noted that the African's 'admiration of Governor M'Lean was boundless: "He was worth more than one hundred Governors and four times as many soldiers."' One of the governors thus summarily assessed was ready enough to admit the inferiority of Maclean's successors and to affirm that there was general agreement on the coast in 1857 that conditions had deteriorated sadly since his time. That Daniel West's African was not alone in his admiration is evident in the way Maclean passed into the vernacular: as Badayi, which might be freely rendered as 'the Peacemaker' . . .

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