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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.

CAMPBELL, John (2)

National Archives, Kew CO48/42, 130


31st July 1819


I have observed in one of our public prints a paper stated to belong to an official circular, dated Downing Street July 1819, mentioning in detail the terms on which His Majesty's Government propose to encourage emigrants proceeding to the Cape of Good Hope. From the complexion of this paper I have not doubted that it is authentic and some enquiries have been made here about it.

I should think it very probable altho America for a course of years has been more especially the object with Highlanders that when the subject & nature of the country shall be more fully brought under their view that persons both in the Highlands & in the Low Country of Scotland will embrace the opportunity now offered. For in truth there is much distress especially among manufacturers, chiefly weavers, many of whom had at some period of their lives been employed in agriculture.

In case such should come forward in numbers is it probable that Government would make some port in Scotland a rendezvous and if shipping shall not be provided there, would any allowance be made for transporting from the nearest port in Scotland where they could find shipping to the Thames or where else in England they may embark.

It has been said that the Taxes at the Cape are less favourable for the settlers than in the British provinces in America. Is there intended any immunity or temporary relief for settlers at the Cape in regard to Taxes? I have the honour to be with great respect

Your most obedient humble servant





National Archives, Kew CO48/42, 252

Easdale Slate Works


31st August 1819


On my way hither upon the business of these works in which I have a joint concern with Lord BREADALBANE, I had the honour of yours of the 12th inst, which followed me to Glasgow.

I have taken occasion to mention to the Magistracy of that City and to several respectable individuals, landed proprietors and others, the terms resolved upon by Government on which settlers might proceed to the Cape of Good Hope with a view of gathering information how far there appears an inclination in these countries for emigration to that quarter. So far as I could find, altho' the subjects are as yet little known, there has been discovered a preference by some to the Cape and at Glasgow it has been stated by some that several are seriously thinking of it, whereas in other cities local attachment has less influence. I have been in this country spoken to by a respectable gentleman farmer possessed of some property who has this project under serious contemplation.

I think I shall be able to collect in a short time more particular information for whenever it shall have become a topic of general communication in this narrow circle – it will not spread rapidly. I find that in the manufacturing districts the distress from want of employment is by no means exaggerated in the public prints, but here as in other countries where agriculture is the chief object there is very little complaint.

I am to send a few copies of the circular to different persons in these districts, but I presume to think that more publicity might be given by advertising in the Scotch prints or some of them. If this is the wish of Earl BATHURST will you have the goodness to mention which of the two circulars is to be adopted or if both are to be inserted.

I observe that in case of compliance with the terms of Government that transports will be provided for conveying the settlers from the ports that may be found most convenient for their embarkation. I am with great respect Sir

Your most obedient humble servant


If you shall be pleased to write in the course of one or two posts a letter will reach me sooner than via Edinburgh by addressing George ?JONES? Glasgow

326 (see also Colin CAMPBELL)


24th September 1819


I had the honour to address you from Easdale the 31st ult. Since that time I had some communications with various persons on the subject of emigration to the Cape but the subject had, tho' under the consideration of several people who came under my notice, yet had not been a general topic of enquiry, nor had they distinctly understood what were the terms held out my His majesty's Government. For they have sagacity enough not to trust in vague reports by newspapers unless regularly authenticated by persons in whom they have some confidence or knowledge of.

Having shewn to Mr. Colin CAMPBELL of Kintraw in Argyllshire the papers communicated by you, he took them under consideration and I had some interesting conversation with him, and the result from himself is inclosed in a letter dated 7th September. As on the former occasion with regard to Canada I gave no opinion but left him entirely to his own judgement. Mr. CAMPBELL is an expert gentleman farmer upon the estate of Lord BREADALBANE and of Lt.Gen. Duncan CAMPBELL of Lochnell. He understands thoroughly the rearing of cattle and sheep and has applied himself to husbandry and various kinds of agriculture, and is of an enterprising mind, active and intelligent in every respect and highly respectable in his line. For gentlemen farmers on Great Highland Estates form a sort of third aristocracy and are persons of authority to whom the people look up. In the hebrides such as Lord McDONALD's country they are the only aristocracy and are very frequently Justices of Peace, for there the people look no higher except occasionally than the head of the Clan.

Mr. CAMPBELL was for several years Manager of the extensive Easdale Slate concerns and I had occasion to see him in that line extremely intelligent and very fit for enterprise where he might head a number of his countrymen, and he is justly popular. He is acquainted too with general business and expert in accounts, and I know no person fitter for such an undertaking, for the Highlanders are attached to him and he to them, and yet he is a man of authority and general good principles & of honour. Indeed altho' I know his property does not exceed £2,500, for he had suffered in the hard years before [obscured] this little purse and his extensive farm gives more influence and consequence than is possessed by proprietors of £500 to £700 a year in the same district. I have no hesitation in recommending Mr.CAMPBELL as an acquisition to any colony, if he shall determine to emigrate after being satisfied with the terms and receives satisfactory answers to his queries.

Mr. CAMPBELL is married to the daughter of a highly respectable landed proprietor and he is nephew to the Collector of Customs at Fort William. I must also mention that he had a company in the 5th Batt. Argyllshire Volunteers of which he had the honour to be commandant. His age about 46.

I observe that several are concerned at the idea of the residence of the emigrants being at such a distance from Cape Town, and it has been also said that in that quarter there is a scarcity of water, and that the inhabitants have been reduced to great difficulties for want of this inestimable blessing.

I am with great respect Sir

Your most obed't and very humble servant


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