GSSAThe 1820 Settler Correspondence
 as preserved in the National Archives, Kew
 and edited by Sue Mackay

Selected Settler Correspondence 1820 - 1837

Whereas ALL the 1819 correspondence was transcribed (see CO48/41 through CO48/46 at the National Archives), whether or not the writers emigrated to the Cape, here only letters by known settlers or their families, or letters of great relevance to the 1820 settlers, have been transcribed. There are many other letters in later files, thought not to be written by eventual settlers. However, if an ancestor is known to have emigrated after the 1820 settlers then it might be worth looking through the rest of the correspondence, which is arranged alphabetically. The relevant files for letters written in 1820 are CO48/52 (A-L) and CO48/53 (M-Y). Later files are labelled "Original Correspondence" followed by the year, and can be found from CO48/56 (1821) to CO48/186 (1837).

Unless otherwise stated letters were written to either the Secretary of State for the Colonies or his deputy. The original correspondence is filed in order of receipt. Here it has been placed in alphabetical order according to the surname of the writer, with letters by the same writer in chronological order, for ease of reading. Original spelling has been maintained. Reference numbers, where given, refer to printed page numbers stamped on the letters and will enable visitors to the National Archives to locate the letter more easily.

FRANCIS, David Polley, 1835

National Archives, Kew CO48/164, 99

Mount Ellis, Port Elizabeth
20th May 1835

Dear Sir,
          I have had the honor of receiving your letter dated the 30th October last, referring to a letter of mine written in July last on the general state of things in this Colony. I deeply regret to say that the late irruption of the Kaffirs has overturned and destroyed all that commercial & agricultural prosperity and advancement which was in such active operation in this part of the Colony previous to this lamentable event. I fear under the most favourable circumstances in which this affair can terminate the effect it will produce will throw this Division of the Colony back at least 10 or 15 years. At first the consternation and alarm was beyond description, the extent of mischief done in Somerset & part of the Uitenhage Districts by these merciless savages is beyond calculation at present, but as you will be made acquainted with all the circumstances, together with the causes and consequences incident to this unhappy invasion, through the direct and proper channel, it is therefore unnecessary (indeed it would be presumption in me) to attempt to relate the passin[g] events of the last four months, suffice to say they have been of the most distressing nature. I sincerely hope from the last account from Kaffir Land this disastrous war is nearly at and end; the Governor appears to have done all that is possible to be accomplished, with such an enemy who is gifted with cunning, and faithless to a degree above most others of the coloured population in the World; much of the curse of the late attack by the Kaffirs on the Colonists has been attributed to the machination of missionary enthusiasm, misrepresentation and missionary influence, supposing to have caused for some time a system of defence which we have long known and represented to be inefficient for the security and protection of the Frontier Inhabitants; this has been expressed in the strongest terms by many persons who ought to be well acquainted with these matters, however as time will shortly develop these occurrences I will refrain from offering my decided opinion on the subject. It is perfectly true that we have many excellent and good men as missionaries in this Colony and beyond the Frontier, all sects of which appear to me to have attended far more to their proper calling and interfered less in political matters than those missionaries belonging to the London Missionary Society, whose labours have (as far as I have been able to judge) been of much less utility in a Religious, Moral & Political point of view than most others. The future prosperity of the Colony depends entirely on the settlement of the Boundry line and the protection hereafter to be given to the Frontier Districts, should these matters be settled upon sound principals of security to life and property, if on the other hand any thing is left to chance, or in the power of the Kafirs, I fear the same tragical occurences will be acted over again in a very short period.
   I enclose for Mr. ELLIS a letter and two or three newspapers, also a letter for Lord WESTERN which I shall feel obliged by your forwarding – a pamphlet is about to be published on matters relating to this Frontier which I will send you as soon as it is published.
See Graham's Town Journal 163, 175, 176, 177 & Supp't.
I have the honor to be, Dear Sir,
Your very obedient and obliged humble servant

PS I must apologize for the hurried manner in which I have written this letter, which I hope you will excuse.

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