Kennedy, William (1799–1871)

By: Claudia Hazlewood

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: February 1, 1995

William Kennedy, diplomat and writer, was born near Dublin, Ireland, on December 26, 1799. He was trained as a journalist at Belfast College in 1819 and afterwards at Dr. Lawson's seminary for dissenting students at Selkirk, then worked in Paisley on the Paisley Magazine and in Hull, where he married his employer's daughter. In 1830 he left Ireland to do literary and secretarial work in London. In 1833 he became secretary to the Earl of Durham, whom he accompanied to Canada in 1838. In 1839 Kennedy traveled in Texas and the United States to study local government in principal cities, and in 1841 he published a two-volume work, The Rise, Progress, and Prospects of Texas. In 1842 he replaced Arthur Ikin as Texas consul in London. There he protested the building at Liverpool of ships for the Mexican government. He became British consul in Galveston later the same year and served until the annexation of Texas by the United States. His correspondence with the Earl of Aberdeen and other British officials as well as with Ashbel Smith reveals much of the diplomatic, economic, and political condition of the Republic of Texas. In February 1842 Kennedy, William Pringle, and others obtained a contract to settle 600 families south of the Nueces River, but the proposed colony was never settled. Kennedy returned to England in poor health in 1847 and retired on a pension in 1849. He wrote various poems, novels, and essays in England and in Paris, where he lived until his death in 1871.

E. D. Adams, British Diplomatic Correspondence Concerning the Republic of Texas, 1836–1846 (Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1918?). Dictionary of National Biography (66 vols., New York: Macmillan 1885–1901; rpt., Oxford University Press, 1921). Audrey G. Goldthorp, Castro's Colony (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1928).


  • Peoples
  • Irish
  • Journalism
  • Writers, Authors, Publications, and Literature
  • Authors and Writers
  • Politics and Government

Time Periods:

  • Republic of Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Claudia Hazlewood, “Kennedy, William,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed October 17, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

February 1, 1995