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.

PHILIPPS, Thomas, 1824

(see correspondence of R. HARRIES)

Lampeter

Near Bathurst

Cape of Good Hope

10th May 1824

Sir,

My relation Mr. HARRIES of Bernard St. forwarded to me copies of the correspondence with which you honoured him in the months of Sept and Oct last & in consequence of the directions which you were pleased to state to have been forwarded to His Excellency the Governor of this Colony, I immediately applied for an additional farm; a period however of 4 months has elapsed & no definitive answer has been given. I have now completed 4 years on the spot which was appropriated to me, I have cultivated on an extensive rate each year & each year have been disappointed reaping only a little barley & Indian corn not sufficient even for the consumption of my family. My returns of corn ought to have averaged me £400 per annum instead of which they have produced me £20. With these losses and of course diminution of my capital, it cannot appear surprising that I should wish to fly from the [home?] of such misfortunes, and that I should endeavour to invoke the aid of the Home Government in conveying my large family and a few followers to the more certain agricultural soil and climate on Van Diemens Land. As my Lord BATHURST, however, anxious for our well being in this Colony, has given direction that we should have additional farms to enable us to turn our attention to grazing, I have hitherto continued patient, but I must beg leave to remark that if the land I have now applied for is not granted to me there is not another spot in the whole District of Albany (unasked for) worth applying for, the country ceded by the Caffres, at present called neutral, being the only unoccupied land. It will be improper that I should take up more of your time in expatiating on this subject, and indeed, quite superfluous [feeling?] thoroughly convinced, from the patient and indefatigable inquiry of His Majesty's Commissioners, that nothing involving the interests of the Emigrants can have escaped them. A Period however has arrived which bids fair to lighten the prospects of the British Settler. They in general feel assured that their artificial obstacles, at least, will ere long disappear, and by the increase to their farms they will be enabled to partake of the natural advantages of the country, and at all events be placed on a footing with the [obscured] Boor. Under the impression I had the honor of a conversation with Mr. BIGGE on the subject of the necessity of an increase of labourers, [debarred?]as we are (and very properly so) of the use of slaves & subjected to the present enormous wages of the Europeans & even of Hottentots; the latter demanding cent for cent more than they were accustomed to, [we] cannot compete with our neighbours. As Mr. BIGGE was [obscured] to say that he not only entirely concurred with me but that he had also written to you on the subject, it is not necessary for me to enlarge.

As we fully trust therefore that that we shall be allowed to have a portion of the Irish labourers, for the transport of whom an annual [amount] is voted by Parliament; we have agreed together on certain terms & on certain wages, as it is extremely desirable that those persons should know before they embark what advantages they are to see from emigration and thereby save themselves disappointment from erroneous expectations. We have also agreed on deputing a Person from this Colony, or in England, to have the honor of conferring with you on the best method to be taken for the mutual interests of Government, the labourers & ourselves. I am not at present [aware] of the exact terms on which those are engaged who lately arrived at Cape Town, but there is one objection urged against the mode of distributing the adults and their families, & which seems to be grating to their feelings, particularly in a close country, is the transfer of their indentures for a premium, with boys and girls [obscured] orphans or who may have come out with their parents {obscured] might not be so much objection. The most advisable plan would be if Government advance a certain sum per head for conveyance and victualling and to include all expences till landing in Algoa Bay, or at Port Kowie, and the people to be delivered over without any stipulation of premium, to those who will engage [or] fulfill the agreements. I have commissioned Mr. HARRIES in the enclosed letter to make such enquiries as may be necessary as to the terms of freight &c and if you will think it proper to give him an audience on the subject I have no objection to become answerable for the distribution and maintenance of 1000 or 1500 souls, to be sent out in the course of this and the ensuing year [obscured] that no expence whatsoever shall accrue after the landing as above or be chargeable to the Government.

I have the honor to remain Sir

Your most humble and obedient servant

Thomas PHILIPPS

National Archives, Kew, CO48/67, 235

Lampeter

Near Bathurst

27th June 1824

Sir,

I had the honor of addressing you lately on the subject of the great want of labourers in this part of the Colony, and as our plans are now more matured I have again written to my relation Mr. HARRIES, which letter I have taken the liberty to enclose under the same cover as this. It may be necessary to mention that the number of the labourers with their families which I stated in my last as required are not wanted solely by the English settlers in Albany, but by the old residents likewise and unless a supply is poured in equal to the demand we shall not only be obliged to pay high wages but shall be in danger of losing them altogether, as the Boers seem gradually to be convinced of the superiority of European labor and in some cases I really think they would dispose of their slaves altogether, which would be a great desideratum for us & might be the means of expelling slavery, at least from this District, and therefore it becomes a two fold object with us to assist them with free labor. I do not know of any country where slavery is less required or where they are brought from a warmer to a colder country whereas the European finds himself in a congenial climate, in fact he can work more days in the year here than in England, he is not overpowered by the heat of summer nor pinched by the severity of the winter.

The seed season this year, altho late from want of rain, is favourable, and altogether I consider appearances to be propitious. Corn is however scarce all over the Colony. Mr. HAYWARD, who has been appointed Commissioner for [adjusting?] our claims is arrived on the Frontier. Mr. BIGGE has done me the [honor] of making me the medium of explaining to the settlers the object of [obscured] appointment and the very ample powers he is intrusted with, and [I have] the pleasure to say that the consolatory intelligence has been gratefully received & not less so has the intelligence from England of the public subscription which has been opened and in which are seen written the names of Lords BATHURST and yourself with such attention [obscured] for our interest & future welfare, our sufferings for the last 4 years will soon be forgotten. As an agent to the Committee of the Fund which has long been established in Cape Town I can with safety assure you that a more legitimate object for relief does not exist, but the public should be aware what part of the Emigration has really suffered. Sir Richard OTTLEY in his speech last year very properly divided them into 4 classes, the 1st & 2nd Masters, & those who worked on their claims, the 3rd & 4th mechanics and servants. The two latter are not entitled to the smallest consideration or relief; they have gained higher wages than ever they could hope for & where provident have already realised a small capital. It is the [1st] & a few of the 2nd class who have to be pitied; those who brought out capital, industry & servants. They have seen their capital dwindle away for 4 years, for their industry they have had no return & their servants have deserted them or scarcely did them a real day's labor. I thought [obscured] to give this explanation to you as there is much misunderstanding on the subject; the Committee at cape Town are however fully aware [obscured] and I am sure will justly discriminate in the appropriation, and I trust yet that the Government will not object to advance a small loan or mortgage to those masters who cannot even now, diminished as their capitals are, consent to accept of public charity.

The Caffres continue to molest us occasionally but not in any degree equal to what has been suffered from them. The measures that I am confident the Committee of Inquiry will recommend will soon put settlers on a different footing with them.

I have the honor to remain Sir

Your most obedient & most humble servant

Thomas PHILIPPS

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