In 1895, Maxwell was promoted to the governorship of the Gold Coast. Under his governorship the British declared war on the Asante Empire, the fourth Anglo-Ashanti War, known as the "Second Ashanti Expedition" in 1895. He fired a shot across the bow by sending an ultimatum to Asantehene, Prempeh I to accept British Protection and a resident in Kumasi or face war.
Following the Asantehene’s refusal to accept a resident, he used the Treaty of Fomena signed by the Asantes in 1874, but whose terms were widely considered as absurd and unenforcable, as a basis to invoke war. When the Asantehene Prempeh I could not meet the terms, Maxwell had him arrested against all convention, together with his mother, father, brother, uncles and a dozen advisors. They were later exiled to the Seychelles, not returning to the Gold Coast (now Ghana) until the 1924.