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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.

DOWLING, Vincent George

National Archives, Kew CO48/42, 647/648

No.6 Lyons Inn

2nd August 1819


Although in all probability in comparison with many of those by whose applications you have been assailed in consequence of the intended formation of the new settlement at the Cape of Good Hope my reputation may stand many degrees removed from theirs, yet the ordinary chances in the Lottery of Life which cast in favour of every individual induce me to use a common, and perhaps on this occasion an appropriate phrase, “to try my luck”

As in the formation of the proposed settlement officers of different descriptions will no doubt be appointed for whom various duties will be assigned connected with the internal management and superintendence of the Colony, I venture humbly to offer myself as a candidate for one of those situations.

My pretensions to such an appointment are founded on a life hitherto devoted to the more [obscured] pursuits of life and in channels where experience and information were most likely to be attained. To enumerate the particular paths through which I passed would be tedious. It will be sufficient for me to state that when a boy I was accustomed to the management of small communities in [National?] Schools, that from thence I became the correspondent and managing Clerk of a Contractor of [obscured] that I subsequently had the superintendence and management of the Royal Naval Asylum, in its infancy, for three years and that for the last [obscured] years my engagements with the Public Press have forced me to a diligent and watchful observation of the proceedings of all our Courts of Law, whether [civil] or criminal, to the proceedings of the two Houses of Parliament and in fact to every important [obscured] connected with the progress of Society in almost every part of the Kingdom – a course of study which must have given me advantages and enable me to obtain experience not often within the grasp of one individual and which I may humbly venture to say qualifies me for any situation in which such experience may be considered desirable. I may also add with confidence that during all those labors I have obtained for myself a character for zeal intelligence and activity at least not exceeded by any of my competitors.

Such are the grounds on which I tender my services in the way to which I have alluded. My claims to your notice, independent of these pretensions, are few. My name is no doubt familiar to your recollection from occurrences which to me have been an increasing source of uneasiness and which had me all the more anxious to seek a change of scene, and especially such a change as would open a door to my advancement through the medium of my own exertions.

Upon the subject of character I flatter myself that no man can put down testimonials more respectable or less questionable. In addition to those who, I have no doubt, would feel pleasure in [promoting?] my welfare I shall perhaps be excused for [mentioning] the name of your brother, to whom I had the [honor] of being personally introduced and who may be kind enough to offer a word in my behalf.

I have only to add Sir that my age is [obscured], that I am blessed with good health, that I have a wife and five children and that I shall on all occasions, should I have the good fortune to be included in your arrangements, prove that I am not undeserving of confidence or [obscured] in gratitude.

I have the honor to be Sir with great respect

Your obed't humble sev't

Vincent George DOWLING

[written across the bottom: Give him the usual answer..]

[Transcriber's note: From the Guardian Unlimited website:-

1812 - Observer journalist Vincent George DOWLING had a real scoop when he not only witnessed the assassination of Prime Minister Spencer PERCEVAL but also seized the assassin.]

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