Kane, Richard (DNB00)

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KANE, RICHARD (1666–1736?), brigadier-general, was born at Down, Ireland, 20 Dec. 1666, and entered the royal regiment of Ireland—since the 18th royal Irish foot—about 1689. The Irish military records are too imperfect to show his career in detail; but it appears that he was with the regiment in the Irish campaigns, and afterwards on board the fleet and in Flanders (Kane, Narrative, pp. 1 et seq.). He was wounded as a captain in Lord Cutts's desperate assault on the castle of Namur on 1 Sept. 1695 (Cannon, 18th Foot, p. 18), on which occasion the regiment won the ‘Nassau Lion’ badge and motto, the oldest in the British service. He was wounded as major at Blenheim (ib. p. 28), and commanded the regiment as lieutenant-colonel at Malplaquet (ib. p. 36). In 1710 he was appointed colonel of a regiment of Irish foot, which had been raised by Lieutenant-general Macartney, and formed part of the Canadian expedition in 1711, under John Hill [q. v.] (Kingsford, Canada, ii. 464). The regiment was disbanded at the peace of Utrecht, when Kane was appointed lieutenant-governor of Minorca. He was very active in opposing the alleged encroachments of the Spanish clergy. A memorial from the clergy is among the Spanish MSS. in the British Museum (Egerton MS. 2174, fol. 154). Full particulars of the dispute will be found in a pamphlet entitled ‘A Vindication of Colonel Kane, Lieutenant-Governor of Minorca, against the late complaints made by the Inhabitants of that Island,’ London, 1720. Some of Kane's correspondence in 1716–17 is in Egerton MSS. 2171–2174. He was lieutenant-governor of Gibraltar during the dispute with Spain in 1720, and in 1725 became colonel 9th foot. He appears to have been relieved in Gibraltar by General Clayton previous to the siege of 1727. In 1730 he was appointed governor of Minorca. He became a brigadier-general in 1734. In 1730–2 he was engaged in a hot dispute with the Spanish government about the reception of a Spanish consul in the island (Addit. MSS. 32766 ff. 195, 314, 32779 ff. 138, 140). According to the War Office Kane died on 9 Jan. 1737 (Cannon, 9th Foot), and was buried in St. Philip's Castle, Minorca. A cenotaph with bust was put up in Westminster Abbey, on which the date of death is 20 Dec. 1736.

Kane appears to have been an accomplished soldier. He wrote a ‘Narrative of the Campaigns in the reigns of King William III and Queen Anne,’ and a ‘New System of Exercise for a Battalion of Foot,’ both of which were first published after his death in 1745, and went through several editions. General Wolfe thought highly of the exercise-book (Wright, Life of Wolfe, p. 192). According to Kane's system the battalion was to be drawn up, with bayonets fixed, in three ranks (instead of six), and to be equalised in four ‘grand-divisions,’ from which the platoons and sub-divisions were to be formed, for purposes of manœuvre. Like all practical soldiers, Kane strongly opposed teaching evolutions which would be of no use on the field of battle.

[Monumental inscription in Westminster Abbey; Kane's Narrative of Campaigns, 1st edit. 1747 (Kane never mentions his own doings in the Narrative); Cannon's Hist. Rec. 18th Royal Irish (Cannon's particulars are taken from the accounts of Brigadier Stearne, Captain Parker, and Private (afterwards Captain) Milner, all of whom were in the regiment with Kane, and their printed narratives are to be found in the British Museum); Cannon's Hist. Rec. 9th or Norfolk Regiment of Foot; Sayers's Hist. of Gibraltar; Calendar Treasury Papers, 1720–7; Evans's Cat. of Engraved Portraits, 17865. Some of Evans's particulars are wrong.]

H. M. C.