Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency (I include those who were born before 1811 and who died after 1795), today I continue with one of the many period notables.
Lieutenant-General Sir John Gaspard Le Marchant (Colonial administrator)
1803 – 6 February 1874
John Gaspard Le Marchant
Lieutenant-General Sir John Gaspard Le Marchant (Colonial administrator) was the son of Major-General John Le Marchant and the younger brother of Sir Denis Le Marchant, 1st Baronet, and was educated at High Wycombe Royal Grammar School and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst.
In 1820, at the age of seventeen, he was commissioned into the 10th Foot as an Ensign. In 1821 he transferred to the 57th Foot as a Lieutenant and later transferred to the 98th Foot, in which he was promoted Major. In 1835 he became adjutant-general of the British Auxiliary Legion in Spain with the rank of Brigadier-General. He transferred to the 20th Foot in 1837, the 99th Foot as Lieutenant-Colonel in 1839, the 85th Foot in 1845, and the 11th Foot as Colonel in 1862, holding the latter post until his death.
He was appointed as a Knight of the Order of Charles III by Isabella II, Queen of Spain in 1838, and was knighted and granted permission to use his Spanish knighthood in Britain. He was also a Knight Commander of the Military Order of St Ferdinand.
In 1847 he reluctantly accepted the governorship of Newfoundland. Le Marchant was opposed to the idea of responsible government and condemned local merchants of amassing wealth in the Colony and then returning to England. After the fire of 1846 funds were collected for the victims and Le Marchant, acting upon Robert Law’s recommendation that no further money be given to victims, then directed funds to the repair of public buildings and construction of roads in St. John’s and the outports.
He left Newfoundland in 1852, and then served a term as Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia. He became Governor of Malta in 1858 and Commander-in-Chief of the Madras Army in 1865 before he retired in 1868.
- Le Marchant Road, a prominent street in St. John’s is named in his honour.