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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.

FRANCIS, David Polley, 1833

National Archives, Kew CO48/152, 272


Mount Ellis, Port Elizabeth
Cape of Good Hope
17th Jan'y 1833

Dear Sir,
          I had the honor to receive your letter yesterday, dated the 9th October, and beg leave to return you my best thanks for forwarding the letters I took the liberty of addressing under cover to you.
     I had a few hours previous to receiving your letter, written to you by a person named Ralph MANLY, who has been for some time trading with the Caffers and other border tribes, and also been on a trading expedition or two to Port Natal. I was induced to take the liberty of sending this person to you in consequence of his being able to furnish much information on the subject of Caffers and the internal resources of the Country as far as Port Natal. What information he is able to give I have no doubt may be relied upon, although related in a very humble manner.
    Dr. SMITH as well as every other person who has visited Port Natal, and the neighbouring country, speak in the highest terms of its capabilities. I have again taken the liberty of forwarding some letters under cover to you, and shall feel particularly obliged by your kindness in receiving them, as by some unaccountable means letters have not always reached their destination from this quarter.
I have the honor to be, Dear Sir
Your very faithful obed't and obliged servant


Mount Ellis, Port Elizabeth
Cape of Good Hope
22nd March 1833

Dear Sir,
          I have taken the liberty of forwarding this letter to you by the Rev'd Mr. W. SHAW, who came out here attached to one of the parties of settlers in 1820; Mr. SHAW is exceedingly well informed on all questions of importance appertaining to Caffer Land and the native tribes, having been for some years at the head of the Wesleyan Missionaries in Caffer Land. He is also well acquainted with this part of the Colony and is universally and deservedly respected by all classes of this community, and a person on whose judgement and representations you may implicitly rely.
Since I had the pleasure of writing to you last a Society for the Introduction of Fine Woolled Sheep from England to the Eastern Province of this Colony has been formed at Graham's Town. The good effects of this article as an exportable commodity begins to be felt, and justly appreciated – not a single question now exists but the capabilities of this Colony (but more particularly the Eastern Province) to produce fine wool of the very best quality are most extensive and certain; it is scarcely possible to calculate the resources and extent to which the Culture of this high article of Commerce and Manufacture can be carried for Exportation.
   I have ever been an advocate for the growth of fine wool in this part of the Colony, conceiving it would give a certain remuneration to the grower in a very ample degree for any outlay in first sending the pure Merino sheep from home.
   It is a fact well worth notice that some sheep obtained by my recommendation for a gentleman in Albany, from the flock of Mr. WESTERN, (although of the very best Breed in England) have improved since their arrival in the Colony as regards the quality of the Wool. Indeed the trials which have been made in this matter are most conclusive and satisfactory. The first export of Wool from this Port of any note was in 1830, viz 5040lbs, £222 value, in 1831 11,020lbs, £550, and in 1832 18,150lbs, £935 value; for 1833 I estimate that the value will be much more than double the amount of the preceding year, after which it will increase very rapidly indeed, as it is now entered into with great spirit universally by all persons who have the means, and I am persuaded Wool will in a few years be of more importance to this part of the Colony than any other article of Produce.
It gives me great gratification to inform you that everything is very quiet and going on very prosperously in this quarter.
I have the honor to be with great respect, Dear Sir
Your obed't servant

PS We are still in great want of Servants and Labourers. I shall feel obliged by your letting Mr. ELLIS have the enclosed Graham's Town Journals. Perhaps Mr. BARROW would like to see them, as I have written to him by Mr. SHAW. Should Mr. ELLIS be from home I shall esteem it a favour if you will have the kindness to forward the Graham's Town papers to my friend Mr. WESTERN, M.P. for Essex, also the enclosed.

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