Duncan Farrar Kenner (February 11, 1813 – July 3, 1887) was an American sugar planter, lawyer, and politician from Louisiana. He served in the Confederate Congress. In 1864, he served as the chief diplomat from the Confederate States of America to England and France.
Douglas Farrar Kenner was born on February 11, 1813, in New Orleans. His ancestors were from Virginia.
Kenner was the owner of sugar plantations in Louisiana. He used scientific techniques and was said to be the first man in Louisiana to use a railroad to bring sugar cane from the fields to the mill. He served as the President of the Louisiana Sugar Planters Association.
He started his political career by working for John Slidell. He served for several terms in the Louisiana House of Representatives and was a member of the state constitutional conventions of 1845 and 1852, having presided over the latter conclave.
During the American Civil War of 1861-1865, he was a member of the Confederate Congress and chairman of its Ways and Means Committee. In 1862, he proposed a national income tax of 20%, including a schedule of exemptions. His tax bill went nowhere; but in April 1863, the Confederate Congress passed another act calling for a tax "in kind," payable with goods and agricultural produce rather than money, and based not on property but on agricultural produce and income it generated.
In July 1862, while visiting with his family at Ashland Plantation during a recess of the legislature, Kenner narrowly avoided capture by the Union Army, making his escape after being warned by one of his slaves of the advance of Union troops. By this time he had become convinced that the emancipation of slaves was the only way to gain independence for the Confederacy.
In 1864, he was sent by Jefferson Davis as special commissioner to England and France to secure the recognition of the Confederate States of America. Davis, through Kenner, offered the emancipation of the Confederate slaves in exchange for diplomatic recognition of the Confederacy by Britain and France. Following the capture of New Orleans in 1862, much of Kenner's property was confiscated and his slaves were freed.
After the war, he regained his wealth. He served as the president of the World Cotton Centennial. He also served on the Boards of Directors of several banks.
Kenner was fond of horses and owned one of the largest stock farms in the United States.
Kenner was married to the former Anne Guillelmine Nanine Bringier (August 24, 1822 – November 6, 1911). They resided at the Ashland Plantation.
Kenner died on July 3, 1887.
The Louisiana city of Kenner is named for his family.