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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.

PRINGLE, Thomas, 1820 Settler

National Archives, Kew CO48/45, 236

Salisbury Street


September 22 1819


I beg leave to enclose a Petition to Earl BATHURST a copy of which I lately transmitted to the Colonial Office through the hands of Mr SCOTT of Abbotsford, - and I now take the liberty (as authorised by that gentleman and by Mr.CROKER of the Admiralty), to address you on the subject of it.

Understanding that it is the intention of His Majesty's Government in forming the present settlement to give preference to those possessed of some small Capital, & can at the same time be recommended for steadiness, enterprise & agricultural skill, I humbly venture to claim for my friends some consideration on each of these points. In addition to what is specified in the inclosed petition, I may confidently say that my father and brothers (who form four of the party) are allowed to be as good farmers as any in the county of Roxburgh, and should it be considered of any importance, they are ready to produce the most respectable certificates in regard to this and the other qualifications above mentioned.

Mr Walter SCOTT, to whom I have the honour to be known, informed me that he has mentioned something of my own individual situation and wishes to Mr. CROKER who he says will communicate with you on the subject. To the candid explanations therefore of that illustrious friend I beg, Sir, respectfully to refer you in regard to myself in the belief that they will have infinitely more weight than anything I could personally presume to urge.

I will not further intrude upon your time - except to add that it will exceedingly oblige me if you will be so good as inform me as soon as your conveniency will permit, whether I may hope for success in this double application – for my friends & for myself – if accepted, at what period we may expect to embark – and whether one of my brothers who is now in the United States (but who is anxious to join me at the Cape) may be permitted to rank in the allotment of land as one of my party?

I have the honour to be Sir

With the highest respect

Your obedient Servt.





National Archives, Kew CO48/45, 238

The Petition of Thomas PRINGLE, residing at No. 24 Salisbury Street Edinburgh, humbly sheweth,

That the petitioner is desirous to avail himself of the generosity of His majesty's Government in sending out settlers to the Cape of Good Hope : That he is ready to carry with him a party of at least ten able bodied men, seven of whom (being the petitioner's own relatives) have been bred to farming in the South of Scotland, & can muster among them about five hundred pounds sterling of capital: That the rest of the party will consist of a joiner, a blacksmith, a gardener, & perhaps two or three ploughmen, with women and children within the specified proportion: And that the petitioner and his party pledge themselves to fulfil all the other points prescribed in the official circulars, and to conform themselves to the general regulations that Government may find expedient.

May it therefore please your Lordship graciously to attend to this petition, - to afford the party a free passage to the Colony and to grant them such a settlement there as may be most advantageous for their individual benefit and for the general welfare – and the Petitioner will ever pray etc.





National Archives, Kew CO48/45, 275

Edinburgh, 24 Salisbury Street,

October. 5. 1819


Since I had the honour of addressing my former letter to you two individuals of my acquaintance have applied to be included in my party for the Cape in the event of a favourable answer to my petition. They are young men of most respectable connection & good character & can be highly recommended – one of them, Mr. Charles SYDSERFF, is a nephew of the late Baron HEPBURN, and related to Lord DALHOUSIE – the other is a brother of the rector of the High School of Edinburgh. They can raise between them about £1000 of capital, and propose to carry out six or seven ploughmen and artificers. With this accession our number would be increased to seventeen or eighteen men, & our total capital to about £1500 sterling. If letters of recommendation are required from them or the rest of the party, they can be provided in a few days. If you approve of it I shall be happy to have them joined to our party, but in this as in other matters I wish to be regulated by your advice.

I am particularly anxious to be honoured with an early reply from the Colonial office – with copies of the approved notices - the period and place of embarkation specified – and such other information as may be thought competent – in the event of a favourable reception to our application.

May I venture humbly to hope for your favourable consideration to my request - & to solicit respectfully the honour of your attention to my personal wishes so far as agreeable to the views of Government.

Mr SCOTT, whom I had the pleasure of seeing at Abbotsford a few days ago, told me that he understood it would be in the spring before any of the emigrants to Algoa Bay would sail but I presume he has been mistaken as I have just met with some leaders of a party from Glasgow whose application has been accepted and who have got notice to be in readiness by the middle of next month. Information on this point would be exceedingly acceptable to myself & friends.

Hoping that you will have the goodness to excuse the liberty I have taken of again addressing you. I have the honour to remain with the highest respect Sir

Your obedient servant





National Archives, Kew CO48/45, 322

Edinburgh 24 Salisbury Street

Oct. 18.1829.


I have had the honour to receive your official letter dated 11th October informing me that my application to take twelve able bodied settlers out to the Cape has been accepted – and also your note of the 15th about the Returns. I beg leave to express my respectful acknowledgements for your attention, so have only to add that the returns for my party shall be forwarded with the least possible delay – but having to procure exact lists of some of the families at a distance in the Country a few days must necessarily intervene before it be in my power to transmit. I believe they will be completely ready in four or five days at the latest.

I have the honour to be,

With the highest respect Sir

Your obt. Svt.





National Archives, Kew CO48/45, 343

Edinburgh, Oct.25 1819


I return the lists of the party proceeding with me to the Cape of Good Hope filled up according to your directions. The name of my brother Alexander, who is to join us at the Cape form America, is however not put in the list, as I did not know whether in his peculiar case any land could be allotted for him or any deposit required. If this indulgence can be granted, his age is 25 and like his brothers he was bred an agriculturist.

In regard to Miss Janet BROWN my wife's sister (whose name is inserted last in the list) I beg to say that she goes out as a companion to my wife - but if her passage must be paid she will not go out at present.

If my own profession is to be inserted I may be styled Clerk, or Agriculturist as seems expedient.

Begging your excuse for troubling you with such matters, and requesting as a particular favour any information that can be given respecting the time of embarkation. I have the honour to remain,

With high respect Sir,

Your Obd. Svt.





National Archives, Kew CO48/45, 392

London, 43 Princess Street, Soho

Nov 27 1819


Your letter of the 12th inst. reached me the day before I left Edinburgh, but having previously remitted the deposit money for my party to Mr HILL agreeably to your directions, I thought it unnecessary to trouble you with any further correspondence on the subject until I reached London. I am advised by a letter from Edinburgh today that Mr. HILL has acknowledged the receipt of the £150.

Permit me now, Sir, through the hands of Mr. CROKER, respectfully to solicit your favourable attention to my personal application for employment under the Colonial Government at the Cape. Mr. Walter SCOTT has already through the medium of his friend Mr. CROKER been so good as make you somewhat acquainted with my wishes and qualifications. I find it difficult at present, from my imperfect acquaintance with the civil arrangements of that Colony, to express myself more definitely on the subject. I will only venture to add that I am anxious to be usefully employed, and if any respectable situation (of whatever description might be found most suitable & expedient) could be obtained for me in the Colony or in the new settlement where I might more agreeably reside among my relations, a very moderate income would satisfy my wishes. All I am very ambitious about obtaining is a secure competence for my family dependant only on my own exertions and the approbation of Government. My pretensions are not lofty, indeed I can neither boast of scientific knowledge nor of much experience in affairs –- I may only venture to lay claim to some little literary experience, and (what is perhaps of more importance in the present case) to habits of attention and accuracy formed during ten years employment upon the Public Records under the superintendence of Mr. THOMSON the Deputy Clerk Register of Scotland, & in the management of a newspaper and magazine for more than two years. I think it right to state however that I have hitherto had little or no practice in figures or accounts and cannot therefore pretend to any great expertness in matters where they are the principal requisites. For the rest, I understand French and Latin and am at present acquiring some knowledge of the Dutch language.

These I am aware are but humble qualifications, but if, such as they are, they might be turned to any account in the service of the Colony, I should feel honoured and obliged by being put in the way of employment.

I feel the more anxious on this point because my personal infirmity and want of capital prevent me from engaging in the cultivation of land or other common occupations with the same advantages as the friends and relatives who accompany me to Africa. I therefore take the liberty once more, Sir, earnestly to request your favourable consideration, & to solicit the important favour of your influence in regard to it.

It may be proper to add that none of the party except myself and my wife have come up to London. The rest await your further direction in Edinburgh. It has lately been reported that a vessel is to be sent round to Greenock – to take on board the Scotch settlers -- as such an arrangement would be an important advantage to my friends they would feel greatly obliged by being informed through me whether this report is correct – and if so, about what time they must hold themselves in readiness to embark.

Again begging your indulgence for all this trouble

I remain with the highest respect Sir,

Your obliged and odbt servt


[Note from GOULBURN]

Acquaint him how far the arrangements made for the conveyance of the Settlers admit of them being embarked at Greenwich & add that the number of applications for Colonial situations are so extremely numerous that Ld B cannot hold out any expectation of a compliance with that part of his request.

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