J. Brant to the Under-Secretary of State for India
Under-Secretary of State for India
India Office, London.
I have the honor to acknowledge a dispatch No.27, dated 28th November 1859, from Colonel W.E. Baker, enclosing copy of a letter of the same date, addressed to Lieutenant R.C. Kennedy. I am desired to make a report on the subject for the information of Sir Charles Wood, and to state whether there is any good foundation for what was related by the correspondent of the Daily News.
Lieutenant Kennedy arrived in Damascus in March 1859, and presented an introductory letter from his brother, Mr. C.M. Kennedy of the Foreign Office, he must therefore be the person alluded to by the Daily News correspondent, and he answers to the description given of him, a short dark man, resembling a half caste. He gave out that his mother was a Mussulman woman, a native of India and that he had a Mussulman wife there. He resided for about three months in a Christian house in the City, where he rigidly observed the customs of Mahommedanism, and strictly kept the fast of Ramzan. He then married a Mussulman woman and went to lodge with her family. A few days after his marriage he received news of his father's death in England, and went thither, in a little more than three months he returned and after a short residence, went to India.
During his first stay I saw him twice, once when he presented his letter of introduction, and next, when he was about to leave for England, he asked me to assist in cashing a bill, his brother having requested me to do so.
To me of course he never spoke against the rulers in India, but I heard from common report that amongst his Mussulman friends he criticized severely the conduct of the Indian Government, towards the native chiefs and sepoys, and that he also spoke disparagingly of the Christian religion. On his return from England, he saw a paragraph in the Bombay Times which he received regularly, giving an account of his behaviour in India when with his Regiment, and was in consequence more circumspect in his language.
During the whole of his stay in Damascus he wore the native costume. It is more than two months since he returned to India.
The original to Lieutenant Kennedy was not enclosed as stated in Colonel Baker's dispatch.- I have &c,
(Signed). JAMES BRANT.
Damascus, 26 th December, 1860.
J.M. TAYLOR, Major.
Commanding 2nd Regiment Light Cavalry, Neemuch, 16th May, 1860.
Last modified 1998