MACLEAN, ALLAN. (1725–1798). British army officer. Born at Torloisk on the Isle of Mull, Scotland, MacLean was a Jacobite officer in the rising of 1745–1746 and afterward took service in the Scots brigade in the Dutch Republic. Wounded and captured with Francis MacLean at Bergen-op-Zoom, he was at once paroled and exchanged in 1748. In 1750 he took advantage of George II's amnesty to Scots rebels to return home. Now apparently reconciled to the Hanoverian regime, he became a lieutenant in the new Sixtieth Foot (Royal Americans) on 8 January 1756. He was wounded at Ticonderoga in 1758, promoted captain-lieutenant on 27 July, and on 16 January 1759 transferred to a New York independent company with the rank of captain. He was wounded again at Niagara later in the year and took part in the capture of Quebec. Returning to Scotland in 1761, he raised the 144th Regiment of Royal Highland Volunteers and served as major-commandant in America until it was disbanded in 1763. Now on half-pay, he was granted land on St. John (now Prince Edward) Island but did not live there, for he married in Westminster, London, in 1771. He was restored to full pay by promotion to lieutenant colonel by brevet on 25 May 1772.
On June 1775 MacLean was commissioned to raise a provincial regiment, the Royal Highland Emigrants, which he recruited mostly from veterans settled on Prince Edward Island. His officers were nearly all MacLeans from Mull or Morvern. When the Americans invaded Canada in the autumn, he marched from Quebec to reinforce Governor Guy Carleton at Montreal, and later attempted unsuccessfully to relieve St. Johns. Learning of Benedict Arnold's appearance opposite Quebec, he made a forced march with about eighty men, arriving at Quebec on 13 November, six days ahead of Carleton. Appointed second in command, he repulsed the final American attack on 31 December with heavy losses. On 6 May 1776, when General John Burgoyne's reinforcements arrived, MacLean led a sortie that routed the few remaining besiegers. He then remained in Quebec to feed reinforcements through to Carleton as he completed the expulsion of the American forces. That summer MacLean visited Britain, in the vain hope that the government would honor a promise to make his regiment permanent. Returning to Canada in 1777, he was made military governor of Montreal and a local brigadier general. In late September he reinforced Fort Ticonderoga, and in October, after the Saratoga disaster, he fell back to a defensive position at St. Johns. He was at Quebec in the winter of 1778, where he organized amateur theatricals. In 1779 his regiment was at last made permanent as the Eighty-fourth Foot, but it was Henry Clinton, not MacLean, who became its colonel. In 1781 he was posted to Niagara and became colonel by brevet on 17 November 1782. He returned to Britain in 1783, retired the following year, and settled in London, where he died on 18 February 1797.
revised by John Oliphant