John Le Marchant (colonial administrator)

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This article is about the British Army infantry general and Governor of Newfoundland. For his father, the British Army cavalry general, see John Le Marchant (British Army cavalry officer).
Sir John Le Marchant
Born 1803
Died 6 February 1874
Pimlico, London, England
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Rank Lieutenant-General
Commands held Madras Army
Awards

Lieutenant-General Sir John Gaspard Le Marchant GCMG KCB (1803–1874) was a British Army officer and governor of Newfoundland from 1847 to 1852. He was criticized for misappropriation of relief funds collected for the 1846 fire victims of the June 1846 fire that devastated most of St. John's.

Military career[edit]

Le Marchant 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[1] and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst.[2] 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 the 1860s. 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.[3] He was also a Knight Commander of the Military Order of St Ferdinand. In 1847 he reluctantly accepted the governorship of Newfoundland.[2]

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.[2] 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.[4]

Le Marchant Road, a prominent street in St. John's is named in his honour.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
Sir John Harvey
Governor of Newfoundland
1847–1852
Succeeded by
Ker Baillie Hamilton
Preceded by
John Bazalgette
Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia
1852–1858
Succeeded by
Earl of Mulgrave
Preceded by
Sir William Reid
Governor of Malta
1858–1864
Succeeded by
Sir Henry Storks
Military offices
Preceded by
Sir James Grant
C-in-C, Madras Army
1865–1867
Succeeded by
William McCleverty
Note: The year after Sir John Harvey had stepped down as governor of Newfoundland, and until Sir John LeMarchant was appointed, the colony was administered by Robert Law, a British army officer.