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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.


National Archives, Kew CO48/45, 709

To the Right Honorable N. VANSITTART &c &c &c

Salvador House

17 July 1819


I feel confident that your well known anxiety for the public Good, will excuse any appearance of intrusive application to Yourself on a subject connected with the public Welfare. My own high respect for you convinces me that I shall not lay the accompanying queries on the subject of the Cape Colonization before you in vain.

A few succinct replies in the margin, of points to each question, would be deemed sufficient for the family in question - but should it appear to you requisite to make further inquiries on the subject & deem it necessary to see me on their behalf I will with great punctuality attend any meeting you may do me the honor to appoint.

I am Sir

Your obedient servant





National Archives, Kew CO48/45, 742

Salvador House

23 July 1819


The extreme condescension with which you have so politely answered the various queries with which I have ventured to trouble you commands, and I beg leave to tender them in the most respectful manner, my sincere acknowledgements.

The usual effect of such kindness is to encourage importunity but whilst I state the fact, your highly respected character teaches me, that whilst I employ your leisure moments on public ground for public good, I shall eventually feel secure of your pardon.

The plans of the family on whose behalf I have ventured on your obliging encouragement, to importune you, are not yet sufficiently matured to lay a direct proposition before my Lord BATHURST; and in the mean time, trusting to the interest you must take in the Colonizing of the Cape, I venture to ask you more than mere answer to the following Querys:-

I respectfully solicit your advice on its propriety, (& as it appears to me) its eventual service both to the Country & to the Enterprize.

I am Sir

Your respectful servant


Whether Government would admit as sufficient colonists, to entitle the Chief Colonist so taking charge of them, to the usual allowance of 100 acres of land per head


50 youths of from 15@17 years of age to be selected from, or recommended by, the Governors of the valuable Charities: The Philanthropic Society, The Refuge for the Destitute, or any other Society having already instilled into the minds of its “Eleves” [French for students] a habit of industry & a knowledge of handicraft work?



The said youths for the sake of our subordination to enter into engagements with the Chief Colonist to serve him faithfully and obediently for 3 years, or a less period, should Government deem it necessary, for no predilection is entertained, beyond the general good on this point.


These 50 youths might be advantageously placed with 50 already established families: by established families I mean married Couples, under whose care they might receive further instruction by buffetting during the first three years of the establishment, with the privations & contrivances incident to an infant colony, & at the end of such period, or earlier if it should please God to prosper the new colony, to occupy & cultivate land on their own account, but all within the 10,000 acres which the Chief Colonist, if necessary, might be bound to grant to them.


Such establishment of these youths, if effected at the period of three years hence, when they would be rising 18@20 years of age, would allow of 50 young females of industrious habits from the same charitable institutions being sent out, at Government's expense, & at first boarded with the same families whence the males would have withdrawn themselves; affording thereby an opportunity of marriages by preference & affection, so essentially requisite towards the formation of permanent establishment of a colony.


Lord B does not consider it consistent with the views of the Gov't‘s [encouragement of emigration] to give any encouragement to a plan of this nature.

The means of rendering cohabitation legal contract - I mean of providing on the spot the means of solemnizing the marriage ceremony & of rendering it legally binding appears at present somewhat difficult but Government would no doubt provide for this in due time.


If military authority on the part of Chief colonist over such a colony were to be superceded by military establishments for its protection by regular military posts commissioned by Government; might not a Consular appointment to the Colony - and supposing the selection of a spot to be the extreme [verge] of the colony, on Great Fish River - to the neighbouring Chiefs of the Kaffres - admit at once if of the due celebration of the office of matrimony & lead to other useful results?





National Archives, Kew CO48/45, 812/814

Salvador House

4 August 1819


I have received the honor of your reply to a note of mine which Mr DARROW permitted me to address him on the subject of Colonizing the Cape on the 23rd Ultimo, and which he informed me having sent to your office.

The contents of that note embraced merely an elementary part of a plan seriously entertained (of which I do myself the honor to transmit a Sketch to you under this cover) - & could never have been entertained as an isolated proposition. I have therefore to request your pardon for its having occasioned you the trouble of a reply.

Even the enclosed sketch is subject to amendment, but all for public good, & should it not be couched in the forms compatible with your office, I have to request your directions on this head which shall be immediately complied with.

I am Sir

Your most obedt svt


[Enclosed "Sketch"]

Cape Colony Colonization

Whether Government independent of the assistance lately proposed to Parliament to be afforded to Emigrants still preserved its former declared intention of allowing to individuals undertakings to transport at their own proper cost & to settle there with such families as they might select for the purpose of colonization a grant of 100 acres per each male of 17 years of age & upward?

Whether government would not by way of encouragement to such System of colonization & in order to form a centre round which individual colonists might singly settle, looking thereto for help, support & protection when required, which their own isolated efforts might not otherwise afford them, concede to a family offering within itself six males above the prescribed age, one of which 38 years of age, married with a family, the others between 20 & 30 years of age & capable of devoting £5000 to the enterprise to be employed in conveying and settling within the Colony, at least 50 males above the prescribed age; - indeed it might be said 50 families for a preference would be given to young married couples; - by lawful grant here, before embarcation, in full title from Government to the Senior of the Family in Chief, but at the same time with reversion to each member of it in common, as they might agree among themselves, but with right of Succession in perpetuity at a fixed quitrent; - a Tract of Land equal to 10,000 acres, which considering the patchy quality of the soil at the Cape would hardly afford 2500 acres of cultivated ground? The spot to be at the choice of such Familys after arrival there, nearest to or farther from the lands now colonized, but with the Seashore for a Southern boundary in order to secure a port where a Coasting trade might be established with the Cape Town.

By the declaration made to Parliament it appears that Government is willing to be the expence of conveying Settlers to their destinations: -

Whether under this supposition it would enter into the views of Government; -

Since the ultimate safety of the infant Colony might depend on the simultaneous landings of the Colonists together, in order to take up & occupy the ground to be colonized at one & the same moment; - and on the Chief Colonist [affreighting] a vessel to convey his Family & Colonists to the nearest Port with all the necessary provisions, stores & agricultural implements it would be incumbent on him for the safety of his enterprise to provide; -

To allow, in lieu of the expenses of conveyance out, a certain sum per head for the voyage, to be drawn for on the Treasury after landing at the Cape?

Whether, in order to secure a due subordination & for the safety of the infant Colony it might not be deemed advisable to entrust the Chief Colonist with the rank of Captain of Militia - strictly confined within his own district & amenable & subordinate at all times to the orders of the commander in chief at the Cape; and his Brothers, or relatives with the rank of lieutenants by Seniority of ages; - with power in the Chief to nominate Serjeants & Corporals from the body of the colonists as their conduct & abilities might be approved.

Each man capable of bearing arms to be trained to the use of them, and the whole force to be at the disposal of Government whenever public reasons called for its Service in the field?

Whether in the affirmative of the case proposed, Government would not undertake to supply the necessary arms & ammunition, allowing a certain expenditure of the latter for parade & exercise & for the useful practice of [obscured] firing?

The arms & ammunition to be under the sole control of the Chief & on his responsibility for the proper use to be made of them.

The characters, abilities, energy & means of the individuals embarking on this undertaking would on examination appear to promise the completest success.

They propose to ask extreme discrimination in the selection of the labouring colonists accompanying them; comprizing within their choice, a selection of youths, well disposed labourers from useful trades, indispensable in such a Colony, including a majority of labouring agriculturists.

They would take with them a supply of at least 2 years consumption, of every useful implement in agriculture, mason Building & Carpentry, with seeds, roots, plants & abundant varieties of every promising product which the climate may be presumed to favor & they do not doubt of rendering this distant portion of H.M. Dominions within 7 years a productive & happy part of his extended Empire.

Whether on complying with the regulations laid down by government towards encouraging an extended colonization of the Cape Colony the following concessions would be granted to a family of Four Brothers, uniting their means to accompany thither, & settle there with such labouring colonists as they would select, amounting together with their own families to 100 males, of or above the age required: -

1. A grant of land within the Cape Colony of 10,000 acres (to which indeed, by the proposals of Government they are entitled) in one Lot: - The situation to be at their selection & the allotment of ground to be either a square, or a parallelogram so as not to interfere with lands already assigned.

The object in view is to secure the 10,000 acres of ground within a ring fence, if the term may be employed, and to have one Angle of it resting on the Sea.

For the sake of illustration and with reference to "Wily's map published by Faden", it would appear that a line drawn from West to East from the point where the road crosses the Kowee River to Trumpeter's Drift on the Great Fish River, would afford as nearly as may be the allotment required.

Whether such allotment if approved of on inspection, would be at the service of the parties making this application?

If so, whether Government with the view of strengthening such position would prefer increasing the Military force at "Upper Caffre Drift" & establish an additional post at "Lower Caffre Drift" - or grant to the Senior Brother of the party, the rank of Captain of Militia & to his Brothers by seniority, that of Lieutenant (such rank to be merely local, within their own district) with power to arm & organise the male population into a militia for mutual defence against the Caffres?

Probably both might be combined: - the Militia to be subservient to the regular Force at the Military Post, and the rank to be conceded to the Chief Colonist of the party, merely that of Field Cornet; since some distinguished authority derived from Government would appear necessary for the preservation of due order & subordination among the Colonists themselves.

The latest [acts?] from the Cape would render it more than ever imperative to provide for the present and permanent safety of such an infant Establishment.

There is no doubt, great scope for every art of conciliation towards the Caffres & they would be sedulously tried, but conciliation succeeds best when backed by respectable strength. The new colonists may err even with the best intentions, but placing their fortunes on the issue of the attempt; -informing them bred to the very front of danger; they deem themselves justly entitled to the best Support of Government & should their plan be approved & their means on examination be found equal to the attempt, they feel confident of receiving the most efficacious aid.

A successful concentration of a (comparatively) dense population on the frontier, which would be the natural consequence, within a very few years, of such Establishments along the Banks of the Great Fish River, would tranquillise & consequently improve the Cape Colony much earlier than by merely wedging up the now occupied land by settling on the unoccupied districts between them, even if the nature of the soil permitted it.

2. Whether Government would appropriate a transport to the sole use of the 100 families making such an attempt; -

To convey them & their families to the nearest landing place on the Coast within the limit specified.

From a rough estimate of the tonnage required, it is presumed that 200 tons at least would be wanted for the conveyance of such articles as are hereunder enumerated independent of the necessary room for the Colonists themselves, & their provisions & water for the voyage.

Viz: - Building materials & implements for the early covering in of the Colonists, on which the Health of the Settlement would so materially depend.

Husbandry implements of all sorts for the immediate tillage of the land on which the future supply of the Colonists would depend.

Supplies of iron, lead, a Forge, Smiths', Carpenters', masons' & other tools.

Supplies of provisions to last until the crops came round.

Stores of every useful requisite either for wear and tear of Colonists, or for Trade - of all which an ample supply would be requisite. Boats, Seines, lines &c for the establishment of a fishery & the supply of food. &c &c &c

[Note from GOULBURN]

Acquaint him that the principal part of his inquiry is already answered in the printed circular. That I have only in addition to acquaint him that Govt can not enter into any engagement with particular individuals as to the places in which the Military force destined for the protection of the Cape is to be stationed, nor can any assurance be given as to 100 families being conveyed in the same ship until the number of persons comprising such families be known, & the offers made to the Navy board for this conveyance be advised. The land granted to any one individual will be of course as nearly in one Lot as the existing settlement in the Colony would permit.

[Transcriber's Note: Salvador House was in Bishopsgate, London]

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