James Kyd

Last Name: 
First Name: 
Esq. [Esquire]
year of death: 
Ethnicity / Origin: 
Son of General Alexander Kyd and nephew of Colonel Robert Kyd, of the Bengal Engineers, who founded the Botanical Gardens in Calcutta
Full Epitaph: 
Tomb not found
Master ship-builder to the Company
Place of birth / origin: 
London; Forfarshire
Places mentioned 1: 
Cause of death: 
An injury to the knee
Detailed information: 

Despite our best attempts, this tomb has not been located - either physically or in our databases of the burial registers (which only go back to 1840).

The Bengal Obituary claims that James Kyd was buried in the Scots cemetery. It copies verbatim the obituary notice published in the Bengal Hurkaru on 27th October 1836:

Mr. Kyd was the son of the late General Kyd of the Bengal Engineers (whose Mausolemn forms an elegant object in the Company's Botanic Garden, which he laid out) and was universally recognised as the head of the East Indian class, to which he belonged, quimdo ullum invenient paretn. But the high esteem in which he was regarded, was not confined to his own class; it followed him every where, for it was the natural and spontaneous tribute to a most benevolent disposition, associated with talents of no mean character, which pointed him out for selection as a member of almost every public committee. The charities of this really good man were not ostentatious, nor were they distributed with a lavish hand ; they were the silent bounty of a kind heart that could not brook the sight of wretchedness and sympathised with distresses which he well understood; they were numerous and continual, and well applied; at one time rescuing from starvation the poor refugees of Saugor and the Soonderbnns, who flocked to Kidderpore after the inundation of 1833 ; at another, offering an asylum to some friendless European, not for a day but for months, till employment could be found to procure him a maintenance.

Mr. Kyd from a boy was brought up to the trade of a ship-builder. He came out from England in 1800, as an assistant to Mr. Waddell, the Company's Master-builder, who had then the ««m» yard at Kidderpore, which afterwards, on Mr. Waddell's retirement in 1807, became the property of the two brothers, Messrs. James and Robert Kyd, who succeeded him. From this yard was branched the Hastings, the only line of battle ship ever built in Calcutta, a ship built by private subscription
among the merchants and afterwards sold to His Majesty's Government. In 1814, Mr. Kyd made a voyage to England in another fine ship, the “ General Kyd,” of his construction the year before, and during the voyage an accident occurred which tended further to establish his reputation with the Admiralty and the East India Company. On nearing St. Helena the Semiramis frigate (the Commodore's ship) having on board Sir John Cradock, ex-Governor of the Cape, ran foul of the Vansittart,
an Indiaman of 1200 tons, and was so much injured by the shock, that she was with difficulty carried into St. Helena in a sinking state. To repair her there, was thought impossible, and it was besides of the utmost consequence not to delay the fleet, which consisted of seventeen sail; on the other hand, this being war time, and the property afloat worth some millions sterling, to proceed without the convoy ship would have involved great risk and very serious responsibility. Mr. Kyd was conralted;
he examined the frigate and undertook to repair her damages, if all the carpenters of the fleet were placed at his disposal, and to the astonishment of every body he got the vessel for sea in «boat ten days. It may well be supposed, he might have bargained for a large sum as the value of the services he performed; but no remuneration did he ever ask for. He had, however a higher gratification in receiving the thanks of the Commodore, of the East India Company and of the Admiralty, expressed in
the most complimentary language and the compliments of the Admiralty were accompanied with a Silver Salver, valued at a hundred guineas, bearing the device of a Ship and an appropriate inscription. Mr Kyd was held in high respect by the Marquis of Hastings, who paid him considerable attention in society. Mr. Kyd published a pamphlet many years ago with the object of inducing young men of hfs own class to imitate his example and betake themselves to handycraft more generally they were
wont to do.

Mr. Kyd died at Kidderpore from a disease in the knee, and his remains were interred in the scotch Burial Ground on the 26th day of October 1836.

Poor Relations: The Making of a Eurasian Community in British India, 1773-1833 by Christopher Hawes contains a detailed discussion of Kyd's role in contemporary society. Contemporary newspaper reports hint that in later life he was 'deprived of his appointment as master-builder without any compensation' by the governor-general, Lord Bentinck (Calcutta Courier, 26th October 1836).

Any reason for importance: 
Master-builder for the East India Company; Nephew of Robert Kyd founder of the Botanical Gardens in Calcutta; key figure in the contemporary Eurasian community.
This record has been created by:: 

Souvik Mukherjee