Lt. R. C. Kennedy to the Editor of the Daily News
Sir,-- My attention having within the last month been drawn to an extract taken from the Daily News , which appeared in the Overland Mail newspaper of the 10th July 1859, and which it appears was written by your correspondent from Mount Lebaron, who on the authority of a nameless French traveler, proceeded to inform the public of a certain "Traitor" by name Kenny or Kennedy, and Anglo-Indian officer, living in Damascus, who had turned Moslem abused all connected with the English rule in India, to all who listened to him, saying that the sepoys were quite right to mutiny, that we deserved all we got, lamenting the capture of Delhi, and the execution of Tantia Topeo. Your correspondent evinced a desire to know whether there was an officer of the name of Kenny or Kennedy in the Bombay Cavalry, a curiosity shared , I doubt not, by many of your readers, whose honest English hearts must have burned with indignation in perusing these grave charges against a military officer bearing Her Majesty's Commission; and which though so seriously calculated to injure his reputation, should the paragraph fail to meet his eyes, as has been the case with me until within the last month, and remain uncontradicted, are given to the world in the shape of interesting information, and on no other authority whatever than that of a nameless wandering Frenchman who could not have spoken from actual experience, as the Kennedy he mentioned seems to have been considered a man exceedingly dark in his complexion, and a half-cast native of India, which supposing the expressions to have been applied to me, is totally adverse to the fact.
Sir, my name is Richard Clifford Kennedy, and I have the honor of bearing Her Majesty's Commission, and hold the rank of a Lieutenant in the 2nd Regiment of the Bombay Light Cavalry, and as I happen to have been residing in Damascus during several months of last year, (leaving there in June last), I feel it incumbent upon me to request you forthwith to publish in your paper this my public contradiction of the scandalous charges contained in your correspondent's letter.
It is fact that at the request of my family I left England, where I had arrived from India on furlough, and proceeded to Damascus (the climate of which was calculated to restore any constitution weakened by several severe attacks of illness during a military service of more than ten years in India) for the express purpose of studying the Arabic language, the knowledge of which might eventually be of assistance to me in obtaining a Staff appointment.
That while at Damascus my sole object was to obtain a thorough knowledge of the language, and I pursued the best course adapted for the purpose, studiously shunning all intercourse with strangers to the country, and can only suppose that it was to the instrumentality of certain parties I could name, and whose acquaintance I had refused, that such a story was palmed off upon your correspondent, who with unpardonable credulity and the usual avidity to publish anything savouring of the wonderful and shocking, which generally characterizes such gentlemen, caused it to be given to the world without having endeavoured to establish in any way a single fact charged, and solely on the authority of some traveling French stranger. I have the best reasons for supposing your correspondent to have been a Mr. Meason, formerly connected with a newspaper in Bombay, the circumstance attending whose departure from that city is well known.
As to the disloyal expressions so falsely attributed to me, I emphatically denounce them as false in toto, and beg to state for the information of such of your readers as may have been falsely impressed, that I bear and always have borne feelings of the most exalted loyalty and devoted attachment to Her Most Gracious Majesty, and her wise and merciful rule in India. And that I never by word or syllable was false to the profession of which I have the honor to belong, or said ought to disgrace my name as a gentleman bearing Her Majesty's Commission, and could not possibly have uttered the expressions mentioned by your correspondent.
Again requesting your immediate publication of this letter, and merely mentioning the feelings of indignation and pain which as a true-minded English officer I have necessary suffered on reading such calumnious charges connected with my name. I have the honor to be, Sir, your must obedient servant,
R. C. KENNEDY.
Lieutenant 2nd Bombay Light Cavalry,
Bombay, 25th January 1860.
Last modified 1998