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The 1820 Settler Correspondence
 as preserved in the National Archives, Kew
 and edited by Sue Mackay

Correspondence 1821 to 1837.

Here only letters by known settlers or their families, or letters of great relevance to the 1820 settlers, have been transcribed, whereas ALL the 1819 correspondence was transcribed (see CO48/41 through CO48/46) whether or not the writers emigrated to the Cape.

Unless otherwise stated letters were written to either the Secretary of State for the Colonies or his deputy.The original correspondence is filed in order of receipt. Here it has been placed in alphabetical order according to the surname of the writer, with letters by the same writer in chronological order, for ease of reading. Original spelling has been maintained. Reference numbers, where given, refer to printed page numbers stamped on the letters and will enable visitors to the National Archives to locate the letter more easily.

BUTLER, Thomas, 1826

National Archives, Kew, CO48/86, 37

Location near Grahamstown

17th May 1826

My Lord,

With great respect I take the liberty of informing you that I brought out a party of settlers to the Colony from Ireland for whom I laid down my own money in the Treasury in London and being sent to a place called Clanwilliam where no good could be done and where I lost, I may say, all Sir, as being obliged to pay for all my rations there – was sent here, a distance of more than eight hundred miles. Indeed to enumerate all my family & myself suffered in this Colony for these last six years would take up too much of your Lordship's time and would not I am very certain be very pleasing to your Lordship's feeling hearty. I have always remained on my location and have made as great exertions as any man, altho' my servants (all of whom I discharged on account of the total failure of the crops) never did any good for me. I have two sons fully capable of taking care of this place and my wish is to return to Ireland and bring to the Frontier a party of my distressed and turbulent countrymen. It would be a famous change for them and would materially aid the whole of the district as there is a great want of artisans and labourers. I am certain I can procure in the neighbourhood I came from in Ireland plenty of both tradesmen and labourers on almost any terms and many of their relatives and friends are here already. The terms I should wish to bring them out on would be to take charge until our arrival in Grahamstown and then discharge them – suppose give them a months rations – There is no doubt but they would be immediately employed at high wages, for bad as my misfortunate countrymen are I should not like to sell them as I have seen done here. I gave mine all their discharges without a penny expence to themselves. Let the Government pay me what should be deemed adequate to my trouble & I will go to Ireland at my own expence. As I have been a great sufferer I expect your Lordship will take me into consideration and give me an opportunity of extricating myself and leaving this place (a good one) free and unencumbered to my children when it may please Providence to call me from this life. I beg your Lordship's answer and have the honor to be

Your Lordship's most obed't serv't


PS Please direct to Captain BUTLER Grahamstown. The rust in the wheat this season has been worse than ever, however we have learned to live without bread.




National Archives, Kew, CO48/86, 43

Location near Grahamstown

2nd June 1826


Having already experienced your kindness I have now taken the liberty (with reluctance) of intruding on your precious time. I wrote to Lord BATHURST by the last post requesting his Lordship to allow me to proceed to Ireland (at my own expence) to bring out another party of my turbulent countrymen on such terms as the Government might think proper and to compensate me for my time & trouble. These people I should wish to bring to Grahamstown, where labor is very [scarce?] and where there is a great want of labourers and artisans. I have established my two sons here who are quite equal to the care of the place, but being heavily in debt on account of the failure of the crops and having so many people to support I think by this step I should be enabled to pay all and leave this place unencumbered to my sons, which has been always my great object. If you would have the goodness to communicate with Lord BATHURST on this subject on my behalf it would serve me most materially. I am certain of getting plenty of people in the neighbourhood I came from, many of their relatives being settled here already. Pray excuse all this trouble. I have the honor to be

Your most obed't serv't



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