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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.

KAY, John (Navy Surgeon on Zoroaster), 1820

National Archives, Kew, CO48/52, 523

70 Great Russell Street


8th Sept 1820

My Lord,

I beg leave to acquaint you that I was appointed by the Navy Board in Feb'y last to the transport Zoroaster proceeding to the Cape of Good Hope with settlers to the number of 181 and that very suddenly, as I was the only Assistant Surgeon eligible for the appointment at the time the ship waiting in the Downs for a Medical Officer, which put me to considerable inconvenience & expence in thus changing my destination, as I was previously appointed to HM Ship Tamar. Owing to the number of women and children I had a great deal of trouble & more duty to perform than I would have had on any of HM ships. The total number of sick amounted to 66, of whom only three infants died, & I have the honor to enclose certificates from the heads of the parties on board and Master of the ship.

As we were only 11 weeks on the passage your Lordship must be perfectly aware that this was a great proportion of sick, & I hope I shall be considered as entitled to some remuneration for the trouble & expence I was put to on that occasion, & my expences have been greater in consequence of being employed in that way and so soon discharged again.

I beg to submit to your Lordship whether I should not receive a proportion of what the Medical Officers have who go in charge of ships to New South Wales.

I have the honor to be with the greatest respect

Your most obed't humble serv't

John KAY

Assist Surgeon

PS As the orginal certificates are lodged with the Navy Board I beg to enclose copies

[Note from GOULBURN]

Acquaint him that it must rest with the Navy Board to decide how far they think it proper to remunerate this man



I do hereby to the Hon'ble Commissioners for conducting the Transport Service That Mr. John KAY, Assistant Surgeon in the Navy, embarked on board the Zoroaster Transport at Deptford and continued in her to Simons Bay, Cape of Good Hope. I consider it a duty incumbent on me to state that Mr. KAY's gentlemanly conduct and kind attention to the settlers during the voyage was highly praiseworthy. I attribute the general healthiness (having had very few cases of sickness) to his superior skill & humanity & when circumstances required his presence either night or day he always immediately attended. I also beg to acknowledge the assistance I received from him in preserving order and regularity in the ship.

Given under my hand in Simons Bay this 7th day of May 1820


Master of Zoroaster


This is to certify that Mr. John KAY, Surgeon of the Transport Zoroaster proceeding with settlers to the Cape of Good Hope, has upon all occasions administered to the necessities of the people under our charge with such diligence, care and attention as justly entitles him to recommendation and notice.

The zeal and skill which he has at all times displayed under the most trying & adverse circumstances demand our warmest acknowledgments for the great services thus rendered to every individual on board.

Given under our hands on board the Zoroaster this 6th day of May 1820




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