Arthur [Edward] Kennedy


Life
1809-83; b. 5 April 1809, Cultra, County Down; fourth son of Hugh Kennedy and his Grace Dorothea [née Hughes]; ed. privately; proceeded to TCD, 1823–24; entered Army and served in Ionian Islands, 1828-37, Canada, 1838-39 and 1841-44; m. Georgine MacCartney, 1836; sold commission and took post as poor law inspector for Gen. Sir. John Fox Burgoyne; testified on nullity of the Relief exercise before House of Commons Select Committee, 1850; entered Colonial Service on abolition of the post;
 
Governor of Gambia, May 1852, where he cleared out corruption, and afterwards Shebra (in mod. Sierra Leone) as well; governor of Western Australia, 1854; sponsored emigration, mining and exploration; withdrew from Australia, 1862; appt. Governor of Vancouver Island, 1864; overcame local opposition; introduced universal funded non-sectarian education by means of Common School Act, 1865; promoted union of Vancouver with British Columbia;
 
worked to secure proper exploitation of Sooke goldmines; sought to protect native Americans from alcohol and prostitution by means of reservations and restrictions on sale of their land; left Vancouver, Oct. 1866; knighted 1867; appt. Governor of West African Settlements, 1868; appt. 7th Gov. of Hong Kong, 1872-77, succeeding to McDonnell, and Queensland, 1887-83; GCMG in 1881; died at sea returning from Queensland; a dg. Elizabeth married Richard Meade, 4th Earl of Clanwilliam.

 

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Commentary
Lindsay Elms, Beyond Nookta: A Historical Perspective of Vancouver Island Mountains, CA: Misthorn Press [2001]): ‘[...] Because of his experience in Africa and Australia, Kennedy considered himself a competent judge of Vancouver Island’s native people. He believed that their contact with Europeans invariably brought drunkenness, prostitution, and violence and that their “very lamentable condition” was caused by the brisk and illegal trade in alcohol carried on by Europeans, such as the former police commissioner, Horace Smith. Kennedy advocated the separation of Indians from whites, and, with the acting attorney general, Thomas Lett Wood, he tried to facilitate the conviction of whisky traders by strengthening the prohibitions against the trade and by permitting Indians to testify on oath in court. These measures were, however, blocked by the assembly, as was Kennedy’s proposal to employ qualified Indian agents. He urged the crown to recognize native ownership of land and to permit alienation of Indian land only after “fair consideration”, but the Colonial Office deemed that compensation for Indian lands should be made by the colonists, which in effect meant that “fair consideration” might never be paid. / Although Kennedy was convinced that the successful government of Vancouver Island’s native people depended on the impartial application of the law, he approved, however unhappily, of the Royal Navy’s bombardment of the Ahousahts of Clayoquot Sound in 1864. In this raid, purportedly carried out in retaliation for the murder of the crew of the trading vessel, Kingfisher, the guns of the Royal Navy demolished nine Indian villages and killed thirteen Indians.’ (Online at 02.08.2009.)

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Quotations
On landlords: As poor law inspector in the Kilrush Union, charged with the care of 82,000 famine victims in Co. Clare, Kennedy was called to give evidence before a House of Commons select committee on poor relief in 1850 when he said: ‘that there were days in that western county when I came back from some scene of eviction so maddened by the sights of hunger and misery ... that I felt disposed to take the gun from behind my door and shoot the first landlord I met.’ (Quoted in Lindsay Elms, op. cit., [2001], as supra.)

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References
See Wikipedia article, online.)

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