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

pre 1820 Settler Correspondence before emigration

ALL the 1819 correspondence from CO48/41 through CO48/46 has been transcribed whether or not the writers emigrated to the Cape. Those written by people who did become settlers, as listed in "The Settler Handbook" by M.D. Nash (Chameleon Press 1987), are labelled 1820 Settler and the names of actual settlers in the text appear in red.

ADAMS, Thomas Price, 1820 Settler

National Archives, Kew CO48/41, 14

32 Terrace

Tower Hill

20th July 1819


I beg leave to request you to send me a prospectus of the terms on which Government intend to encourage emigration to the Cape – also the situation of the land, its aspect & quality; as well as information whether any person or persons have applied for a grant of land with their names and residence, that I might if possible make arrangements for our mutual benefit in case of my determination to emigrate.

I have the honour to be your most obedient humble servant,

Thomas Price ADAMS




National Archives, Kew CO48/41, 28

32 Terrace

Trinity Square

27th July 1819


As I am desirous of emigrating to the Cape you will oblige me by informing me whether there is any particular form of petition requisite, also what amount of capital an individual will be expected to possess to enable him to obtain a grant of land for himself and family.

I have the honour to be your most obedient humble servant,

Thomas Price ADAMS




National Archives, Kew CO48/41, 40

32 Trinity Square


July 31st 1819


On perusing the conditions under which it is proposed to give encouragement to emigration to the Cape of Good Hope I am led to conclude that Government does not intend to recommend any particular plan to the persons connecting themselves together for the purpose of emigrating, or to the parishes that may induce their poor to emigrate, but to leave it entirely to them to make their own arrangements. I have in consequence drawn up the enclosed prospectus which I take the liberty to hand you: copies I have sent to the mayors and Corporations should the poor appear to be a source of trouble and hope my humble efforts may be the means of relieving both parties of their present sufferings.

I have been several years resident in Lisbon and Madeira as a general merchant & have attended the planting of vines and been a considerable dealer in wines as well as had the management of it from the period of the grapes being pressed. I have offered my services as an overseer, should my plan be approved, desirous of becoming one of the emigrants and flattering myself that my general knowledge, as well as experience may be of use to myself and those concerned with me.

I have the honour to be your most obedient humble servant,

Thomas Price ADAMS

[the following prospectus is printed and accompanies the preceding letter]


Of a Plan for relieving the Parishes of the Poor that are capable of work, as well as to ensure to the Poor the means of supporting themselves and with prudence to become in seven years, or perhaps less time, honourable independent Men, leaving at their death a Provision for their Wives and Children.

I propose that the Parish or Parishes shall take of Government as many hundred Acres of Land as there are Families disposed to emigrate.

That the Parish or Parishes shall remit to the Government of the Cape, or their Overseers, Funds for the support of these Poor for seven years, or until the lands are sufficiently cultivated to support them, and shall have produced a fund for their future cultivation.

The Poor emigrating must give Bonds to co-operate in the cultivation of these lands for seven years – in consideration of which, and their having a certificate of good conduct during their seven years, the Parish or Parishes shall grant to each Man eighty Acres of Land, and a Hut or Cottage, both of which Land and Hut or Cottage shall be theirs for ever, provided they forfeit not their Bond or engagement with the Parish or Parishes during their servitude.

All persons emigrating shall be subject to Overseers appointed by the Parish or Parishes, who shall direct the Tillage or cultivation of the lands: the produce of which, or proceeds, shall be in the hands of the Overseers for seven years, or till the lands are sufficiently cultivated: after which period, the produce or proceeds to be divided in equal proportions, to the Parish and individuals according to the number of Acres; that is to say, in the proportion of one-fifth to the Parish and four-fifths to each family or individual.

The Emigrants to work together upon the lands, to commence from East to West, or from North to South, as weather or circumstances may require – no undue partiality to be shewn to any particular land.

In seven years, or as soon as the lands are sufficiently cultivated, the contract between the Parish and the Emigrants is to cease, the Bond to be cancelled, and the Parish to remain with a fair proportion of one-fifth of the land, and each Emigrant with his four-fifths of the same as granted by Government; say one hundred Acres to each family. During the seven years, or the period of this contract, the Emigrants are to be supported out of Funds remitted from the Parish to the Cape.

The Parish or Parishes to send out Tents, (unless they can borrow them from Government), Clothing, Agricultural Implements, Tools, and Ironmongery, at their own expense, to be equally divided at the end of the term with the land.

Each Family to have their Hut or Cottage as soon as it can be built by the joint efforts of the Emigrants, surrounded by one Acre of land, deducted from the eighty Acres.

Provisions and Wine to be measured out to each family according to the number of persons, in the same proportion as is allowed soldiers and their families on foreign service.

All persons committing any depredations, or refusing to work, must be tried by a Committee of Overseers and respectable persons, and on being found guilty of the offence, the Bond to be in force, their Cottage and Land to be taken from them, and themselves turned off the Estate.

The Emigrants with the consent of Government to be enrolled as Militia Men, and supplied with Rifles &c for the defence of the Property, as well as to enable them as occasion may require to hunt for food. In case of the Estate being near a River, Nets &c to be provided at the expense of the Parish.

By this or some similar plan the Parish or Parishes might in seven years be relieved of a serious burthen, and in possession of an Estate of considerable extent and value; many hundreds of Poor People now wandering about distressed, discontented, a burthen to themselves, their Country, their Parishes, might be made happy in the enjoyment of the requisites of life, and a heavenly climate in which to spend their days.

The same plan might answer to an opulent Individual whose estate is surcharged with Poor.


17 Queen Street, Edgeware Road

& 32 Trinity Square

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