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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.


Filed under P

National Archives, Kew CO48/45, 84


4th August 1819

My Lord

With submission I beg to inform your Lordship, that I made an application for leave to go out as a Settler to the Cape of Good Hope about two years ago when Mr GOULBURNE informed me, by your Lordship's desire that Government gave no Encouragement at that time.

I now find that there is a Parliamentary Grant for the Encouragement of settlers at the Cape, and Hope my past services in the Navy and Army will intitle me to a preference, as I am informed the choice of persons (who obtain grants) will be left to your Lordship, and I can get recommended by several Gentlemen who formed part of the Grand Jury and the Late Assizes - whenever your Lordship requires it.

A Gentleman in the neighbourhood of Wicklow with a capital of two thousand pounds proposes to purchase a Vessel and take out his Farming implements Furniture & ten families under such regulations as your Lordship may require, and on account of my knowledge of the Cape he is desirous of my making one of the Ten if it meets your Lordship's approbation, and he is now on the point of disposing of a part of his Property, for the purpose of going to the Cape or in case of failure he will proceed to America.

He wishes to know if he takes out Ten Families at his own expence and finds them in Provisions and Water what compensation he will receive from Government and whether his Furniture and Private Property will be subject to any duty on his landing at the Cape.

We now hope your Lordship will be pleased to order such information and instructions as will enable us to proceed to the Cape before the westerly gales set in.

I am with the greatest respect

your Lordship's very humble servant


Wicklow Ireland

The gentleman I have alluded to would be willing to go out in an Indiaman if they would permit him to take his Furniture and Farming implements with him.




National Archives, Kew CO48/45, 139


17th August 1819


Permit me to return you my sincere thanks for the printed instructions dated the 9th inst. and as I am not the Principal, request you will allow me to change the correspondence to Mr John GILBERT of Sandymount near Wicklow who is now with me and dictates the following letter. In the mean time I beg leave to subscribe myself, Sir

Your much Obliged humble servant


To the Right Hon'ble Earl BATHURST

My Lord

From the Encouragement given by Government and the information I have received from MCPHAIL who was four years at the Cape I am induced to offer myself as a settler at Algoa Bay and am willing to conform to the Regulations laid down by Government respecting the people going out under my care.

I have upwards of £2000 in ready money and shall leave behind me as a reserve in case of failure about £250 pounds a year - permit me to ask your Lordship where and with whom I shall leave the deposit money and what Port we shall embark at, as I have a Thrashing Mill, Winnowing Machines, Ploughs &c to take with me, if allowed and Waterford or Cork would be convenient enough if any ships sail from thence.

Many people have made application to me, but I cannot as yet give any answer to them, but my intent is to select the most usefull and before I Encourage them to quit their present situations, I would wish to be certain of our not being disappointed, as it may be a means of ruining them, besides, I shall have to advance Money to pay the debt of some of them, over and above the Money that is to be deposited in the hands of Government.

The following persons I would give the preference to if approved of by your Lordship, viz a Carpenter, a Smith, seven Petit Farmers who are tenants under me and MCPHAIL who is a master of all Trades and a tolerable Farmer & who with my assistance and instructions will do well at the Cape. I knew him an officer in the Somerset Fensibles in Wicklow in 1801 and believe he is a deserving Man, has seen much service and has too large a family and but a small income.

I hope your Lordship will pardon me when I say that we are impatient to know what step to take - any information or your Lordships Order will be most thankfully received and instantly obeyed by your Lordship's most obedient and very humble servant

[signed] J. GILBERT

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