Skip to main content
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 CO48/46, 286

Dudley, Worcestershire

[Received 29 July 1819]

Queries respecting the Cape

1.             When are the vessels to sail? {Margin note from GOULBURN: Vide Circular]

2.             Is Government bound to compel the persons taken out by the individual to remain with him at the Cape. If not will Government rescind that part of the plan which makes the land revert to them if not cultivated? [Margin note from GOULBURN: No]

3.             Can two individuals unite to take out ten, that is take out five each? Or may they together take but five?

4.             Can an individual make the deposit and have the grant of 100 acres? Or may one family? Or may a number of individual families make the deposit and each take 100 acres? [Margin note from GOULBURN: No]

5.             Is the Principal to be included in the ten and if not is he to make a similar deposit for himself and take his own family upon the same terms? [Margin note from GOULBURN: If not included Yes, if included No]

6.             Is tonnage allowed and to what extent for each individual or family? [Margin note from GOULBURN: Reasonable allowance made]

7.             Is there a good market for produce?

8.             Can every kind of implement necessary for the system of agriculture pursued at the Cape be procured there? [Margin note from GOULBURN: Yes]

9.             Are there at present any means of comfort upon the spot to which the settlers are to be consigned?

10.          Would it not be necessary that they should take out a sufficient stock of bedding &c or would it be better to procure it there? [Margin note from GOULBURN: As they please]

11.          Will the new settlers be subject to any tax whatever? And if not how long will the exemption continue? [Margin note from GOULBURN: To Colonial Laws fall into whether tax or not]

12.          How will settlers be disposed on board during the voyage – under what class will they be arranged? Or will they all fare alike? [Margin note from GOULBURN: In the same manner as soldiers going on foreign service]

The above are a few queries which myself and a number of individuals besides have a desire to be satisfied more respecting

Your obed't serv't





National Archives, Kew CO48/46, 292


2 August 1819


In consequence of the postscript not having been attached to the Government circular respecting the emigration to the Cape of Good Hope I was induced to make a journey to London for the purpose of gaining all the information at the Colonial Office that could be given on the subject – not knowing how soon the transports might sail upon that service. On being informed, however, by those in attendance in Downing Street that no further information could then be given I was led from their suggestions to leave a paper of queries respecting what I then wished to learn – with a note and my address – directed to you. As this was done in great haste and perhaps irregularly I have thought it advisable to address you again upon the subject, and find this the more necessary as the circular already published by Government imparts no information except that which relates immediately to the terms of emigrating. Altho' the month of November is fixed upon for the time when the vessels are to sail it should seem that the individuals who have an intention of going should be apprized immediately of the steps which they are to take for the purpose of preparing themselves and their followers for the voyage. It might be well to know whether unmarried females above eighteen years of age would be classed among the able bodied individuals, as a female servant would be quite necessary to the health and comfort of some families. It should be understood perhaps whether a house or tent will be provided by government for the settlers when they first arrive, or whether it would be advisable for the individual to provide a tent or tents for his own family and those who accompany him. Perhaps these accommodations will be sent out by government as they have no doubt plenty unemployed. As the land at the Cape appears to be principally a stiff clay covered with heath I could wish to be informed what room would be allowed in the transports for salt to be employed as a manure – or whether it would be advisable or not to take it. The success of an enterprize of this nature would depend so much upon the copiousness of the information given to the individuals who embark in it [so] that it might be proper to inform them what sees or plants they should take out and particularly of such as may not be to be obtained there, or as have not been introduced into the settlement. Afraid of having trespassed too much upon your time, I remain Sir

Your most obed't serv't


PS. I should be glad to receive the above information or any other that is to be given as [obscured] as possible – either individually or through the means of a general circular.




National Archives, Kew CO48/46, 348


August 13th 1819


As I have fully made up my mind to emigrate to the Cape under the conditions proposed by Government, and have the offer of a considerable number of men, out of which I can make choice of ten exactly suited to my own views. I wish to know in what manner I must make the deposit of ten pounds for each head of a family and whether I must include myself in the ten, that I may be quite certain of being enabled to go out and that I may have sufficient time to prepare myself and family for the voyage. I remain Sir

Your obed't serv't


[Note at top of letter: Answered. Must make a proposal]

  • Hits: 8188