Hector Maclean: The Writings of a Loyalist-Era Military Settler in Nova Scotia by Jo Currie, Keith Mercer, John G. Reid

Hector Maclean (1751–1812) was a Lieutenant in the 2nd Battalion of the 84th Regiment during the War of the American Revolution. After the war, Maclean settled in the newly created county of Hants, Nova Scotia, near present-day Kennetcook. This volume presents the annotated texts of two major historical sources: the letters Maclean wrote between 1779 and 1787, primarily to Murdoch Maclaine, and the diary he kept between April 1786 and April 1787 using the empty pages of his orderly book from the South Carolina campaign of 1781.

The combined force of these sources is considerable. The letters show Maclean as an actively serving officer, in contexts ranging from a recruiting expedition to Newfoundland in 1779 (which led to his shipwreck in Ireland in early 1780) to the Battle of Eutaw Springs, South Carolina, in September 1781. The entries in the orderly book provide further details of this strategically significant battle. The letters from 1783 onwards provide vivid insight into the settlement process by which Maclean established himself at Kennetcook, while the diary offers a detailed, day-by-day account of a year during this phase of his life–both a valuable record of the environmental and labour history of a military settler’s farm and an account of the social and cultural life of the Windsor-based elite with whom Maclean mingled.

Carefully reproduced and supported by extensive annotation by editors Jo Currie, Keith Mercer and John G. Reid, Maclean’s letters and diary will appeal to readers and scholars interested in the military history of the Revolutionary War and the environmental, cultural, and social histories of postwar settlement in Nova Scotia.

Jo Currie is a former Special Collections librarian and archivist at the Edinburgh University Library. Among other publications, she is the author of Mull: The Island and its People (2000) and Mull People: Macleans (2002).

Keith Mercer is Research Fellow at the Gorsebrook Research Institute, Saint Mary’s University. His articles on Atlantic World history, and particularly on social aspects of naval impressment, have appeared in such journals as Acadiensis and the Canadian Historical Review.

John G. Reid is a member of the Department of History at Saint Mary’s University and Senior Research Fellow of the Gorsebrook Research Institute. He has published books and articles on northeastern North America in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.