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SINCLAIR KENNEDY, WRITER/LECTURER to LIEUTENANT-GENERAL SIR JOHN MONASH

The accomplishments of John Monash, a famous Australian soldier, engineer and administrator are described in 8 pages of the Australian Dictionary of Biography. He was the subject of a paper at my website in the category ‘Armed Forces’, entitled General Sir John Monash, Soldier, Engineer, & Administrator. This paper will concentrate on aspects of the life of the sender, Sinclair Kennedy.

The cover was addressed to Lt.-General Sir John Monash, K.C.B., A.I.F. Headquarters, Horseperry, which should have read Horseferry Road, Westminster, London, S.W. 1, England. The sender was shown as Sinclair Kennedy, 1080 Beacon Street, Brookline, Mass. The red printed 2 Cents United States Postage stamp has a roller cancel of BOSTON, MASS./ JUL 21/ 10 30 PM/ 1919/ BACK BAY STA. The reverse was not seen (Figure 1).

Sinclair Kennedy (1875-1947) was born into a privileged life at Roxbury, Massachusetts (a neighbourhood of Boston) to Dr. George Goldring Kennedy and Harriet White (nee Harris). To understand Sinclair’s lifestyle one must know something about his father who was born in Roxbury in 1841, educated at Roxbury Latin School and graduated from Harvard Medical School where he received his MD in 1864. George practised medicine for a short time, then took over his father’s business of manufacturing medicines, which allowed him to acquire considerable wealth, and also time to pursue his interests in botany, travel and the collection of rare books. George’s wedding to Harriet in 1865 produced 4 children (2 girls and 2 boys) who lived to adulthood, and Sinclair was the third child in line. Sinclair’s older brother Dr. Harris Kennedy was known for his study of Japanese people and affairs.

Sinclair graduated from Harvard College in 1897 with a Bachelor of Arts degree and in 1906 from Harvard Law School. He was a man of private means, and he spent his life traveling, writing to prominent people in America, Canada, England and further abroad, as well as lecturing. Sinclair was married in Edinburgh, Scotland to Rae Baldwin of New York City in October 1910 and the marriage was reported in The New York Times. Sinclair advocated the idea of including the USA in a federation of the English-speaking world, and in 1914 he published The Pan-Angles: A Consideration of the Federation of the Seven English-Speaking Nations, which was well-reviewed in the political science literature of the time, and the book is well known in international politics societies. He later wrote Why Federate? on the same topic. Sinclair Kennedy was a member of the Union and University Clubs, Boston, and the Harvard Club of New York.

Sinclair Kennedy is best known for his The Pan-Angles which contained a map and sold for $1.75, and this was often included in his letters to people he wished to influence. What follows is a summary of a review that appeared in The New York Times, November 15, 1914: "The Federation of the one hundred and forty-odd millions English-speaking whites scattered in all quarters of the globe is the subject of an elaborate ‘consideration’ of Sinclair Kennedy. He regards it as the best, practically as the only, way in which this vast body of whites can retain the power they now have or maintain the standard of living which they have reached. What they have they possess because they wanted it and were strong enough to take it and have been, as yet, strong enough to hold it. This hold, however, is menaced in various directions, particularly and most nearly by Russia, more remotely by Japan, still more remotely by the Chinese.

While Mr. Sinclair Kennedy was toiling steadily in the compilation of the great mass of facts, on which he bases his conclusions, Germany made war on Russia and on her ally France; England took arms against Germany and summoned Japan to her aid in the Orient. Whatever else may come out of this vast convulsion, it is impossible that the main elements in the problem Mr. Kennedy studies so confidently shall ever again present themselves in the form that he sees them. It may come about that the United States and the six nations embraced in Great Britain may form a federal union to care for their common interests." The 6 nations which Kennedy wanted to confederate with the U.S. were Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Newfoundland, New Zealand, and South Africa.

Sinclair Kennedy was not the first to promote a confederation, for Cecil Rhodes had a vision of a common government of all English speaking people and in his first will in 1877 he left money to establish "the ultimate recovery of the United States of America as an integral part of the British Empire". The American Ambassador to Great Britain, the Hon. Whitelaw Reid in a speech delivered in London on July 17, 1902 when speaking of Anglo-American relations, employed these words: "The time does visibly draw near when solidarity of race, if not of government, is to prevail".

Why Sinclair Kennedy wrote to John Monash in 1919 is open to conjecture, but an attempt to influence him to support his ideas about confederation of the English-speaking countries is a possibility. Monash was a member of a Jewish minority in Australia, and an unlikely supporter of Kennedy’s cause, because of its racial overtones. One could hardly label Sinclair Kennedy as being politically correct, by to-day’s standards! I have not found a photo of Sinclair Kennedy, but many exist for John Monash, including this one taken during World War I (Figure 2).

An obituary for Sinclair Kennedy was published in The New York Times Aug 6, 1947, at the age of 72, and it is surprisingly short, with minimal new information as shown in Figure 3.

 
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