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.

WAIT, William, 1820

National Archives, Kew, CO48/53, 447

Orange Coffee House

Friday Morn [presumably January 1820]

Sir,

In compliance with the request of Mr. SMITH, I proceed to give you the history of my connexion with Mr. THORNHILL, our present state of disagreement and what has led thereto.

Chance threw us together at the period when I solicited permission to take out my settlers to the Cape. I alone had provided the men and required for his half share £2000 advance – he proposed taking quarter share for £1000 – with a liberality, I am sorry to say, I have not experienced in return. I told him our pleasures and cares should be upon an equality, that I would grant him a moiety of the whole without the proposed advance on his part, but that the whole was to be under my entire control. I even submitted to his advancing only £500 – but I intended myself to take out letters of credit and some dollars as I might find it convenient. With a view to facilitate this object in the month of October I proposed to a partner I had admitted into my wine concern at Brentford that I should give it up to him allowing me to draw out a specific sum. To this he fully assented; but at this period our Bankers were in advance to us the sum of £2000 – he therefore told me I must continue it without their aid. He then laid a trap to do me serious injury. He represented to me that our Bankers had solicited of him better security for the advance, and as they required our joint warrant of attorney for the £2000 hoped I would comply. Suspecting no guile I immediately executed the instrument which has since proved so fatal to my views. Every thing then went on pleasantly till the 10th of December. When said my Partner your ship is about to sail, and I require you instantly to sign this dissolution of Partnership. What! said I, without reading it, without consulting a friend – Yes he replied, you are in my power, and if you do not, take the consequences. I still objected till proper arrangements were made, and that the deed were approved by a legal friend. My Partner left me. Our bankers, previously having an indemnity, lent themselves to his views, and he acted upon the warrant of attorney I had so confidentially signed. My person was seized, a few packages for the voyage of small amount not exceeding £70 consisting of some books and bottled beer, but which has been represented to be of immense amount, were also seized. A writ of ne exeat regno [Transcriber's Note: a writ to restrain him from leaving the country] was also issued against me by my Partner for £1600. While under arrest for so large a sum as £4000 – I conceived it impossible to go out with our Settlers but to follow them, which occasioned my writing the letter to yourself and brought THORNHILL to your notice. But I never intended to give him the command of the party longer than necessary. I never intended to put him in my own situation as to the settlers; and it is with pain I say after giving him voluntarily a moiety of the concern (under indeed of my control and direction), and after placing the greatest confidence in him – the first thing after obtaining my liberty, I learned he had with a bad motive actually made a new agreement with the Settlers without my knowledge or consent, and without having my name even mentioned in it. He even intended to leave all my family behind in case the ship had sailed, as his Son in Law FISHER has since declared to me. His intention was thus no doubt fraudulently to seize the whole of the concern, and would have done so, had I not fortunately kept the original receipt for the deposit money. When the men signed the agreement to THORNHILL, they understood it was to myself, and he was in the agreement fraudulently contrived to cheat the men of their lawful wages for three years having left it at his own option whether to pay them the average of one years sales of wheat or of three years – and indeed having it in his power to force the actual wheat upon the men, whereas I have engaged to pay them the actual amount. But this fraud is not equal in enormity to the one committed on myself. I drew up an agreement between myself and THORNHILL with which he appeared well pleased, but his Son in Law FISHER being in the house, he requested permission to show it him. In about 20 minutes he returned, saying his Son in Law had put it in better form, but was otherwise a transcript of my own, producing a deed, which taking it for granted was so, I foolishly never read, but signed it. What has been my surprise now to find, that this deed had been prepared for this purpose, and compleatly different to my own. As a proof of it being ready prepared, I have at this moment, the rough draft of it, altered by interlineation &c. Still I am ready to execute a proper deed, admitting him to a moiety of the concern under my control – or I will most cheerfully submit our differences to a proper arbitration. But this will not answer his purpose. Mr. THORNHILL has put some things on board, but will give me no list of them. He has rejected things [having?] ordered by myself – such as a still, ready to put on board, without which I cannot bring our wines to perfection. A pair of French Stones, ready prepared with the mill work, for grinding corn, he has left behind. A brewing copper also made to my order he has refused to put on board. Indeed in all his proceedings he has been so dilatory that altho' he had sufficient notice to put the heavy goods on board – he has thought it necessary to petition for freight for 8 or 10 tons on board some other Government ship. At a Government sale where I requested him to buy a few blankets, etc. for our men he laid out approx. £460 most foolishly – ridiculously – in old cloaths, knapsacks, gaiters, &c. I have offered to refund his advance of the deposit, which indeed is but trifling, he having received Mr. BARKER's deposit of £142.10 – and that of his own family amounting to 400 £ 50 -. As to stores I understand they will be abundant at the Cape every kind of goods being taken out on speculation and if he should not choose to spare me, such as he has laid in, and are useful – I am easy as to the result of being able to make what purchases we may have occasion for at the place of settlement, as time will not now permit me to make the purchases here. Again I repeat, Mr. THORNHILL having while I was under difficulties, taken advantage of my situation by preparing a new arrangement in his own name with the men, without inserting my name, and making to them false representations – it is painfully unpleasant to my feelings to have any thing to do with a man whose conduct has created in my mind so much distrust.

Allow me to say I leave myself wholly in your hands to advise for the best, under the uncomfortable circumstances of the case.

As Mr. SMITH mentioned the writ which was to detain me in this country, it may be proper to state further, that my present legal friend Mr. ADAMS of Grays Inn Square a stranger to me till then, struck with the enormity of the aggression under which I suffered, in a few days after our first interview obtained my freedom, and not only relieved me from all my difficulties, but obtained the restoration of all the property I required, and put my Brentford Partnership on a fair footing for paying my Creditors full 20/- in the Pound, and for my receiving the further proceeds. He has taken the whole from my designing Partner, putting it into the hands of the most respectable Trustees. And to put beyond the possibility any deficiency I have signed over my copy hold estate at Brentford and the Creditors have in consequence executed a release to me, which shall be produced if required. My private debts were under £50 – which fact may be ascertained by reference to my opponents Attorney, NIND & Co Throgmorton Street. The amount of which would have been paid before my leaving Brentford had I not been so [unexpectedly?] arrested. The deeds are in the hands of Mr. ADAMS ready to be produced if required and Messrs. FISHER and THORNHILL are well informed of the satisfactory arrangement. Under these circumstances I hope and trust there will be no delay in the delivery of the grant of land to me in my own name, leaving Mr. THORNHILL to act upon his deed as he may be advised, should he decline my offer to leave it to my respectable man to decide between us; and to prevent any unnecessary delay I will propose a most honorable man unknown to me – COOKE Esq. King's Counsel, Stones building, Lincolns Inn - and as no papers or documents will be wanted, but only the true story to be related, I will propose forthwith to proceed to his Chambers for its immediate settlement.

I have honor to be Sir

Your most obedient honorable servant

Wm. WAIT

PS

So very strange has been the conduct of Mr. THORNHILL that I have great reason to fear there will be no room for my private packages sent this morning to the ship – altho his baggage and family of 7 – have been a month on board. His own feelings should have dictated a different conduct and creates in my mind most unpleasant feelings.

I trust the hasty scrall as well as the paper, may be pardoned; as time will not allow me to copy my final ideas, which have run to a greater length than I anticipated.

 

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National Archives, Kew, CO48/53, 461

Orange Coffee House

Charing Cross

Jan'y 18th 1820

Sir,

The partnership dispute which I was fearful would have prevented me going out with the settlers on board the Zoroaster under my direction having been settled by arbitration in my favour and all my property restored to me, I have to solicit the restoration of the dispatches &c sent to me to deliver to Lord Charles SOMERSET. It was never my intention that Mr. THORNHILL should have attempted to get them altered in his favor, even had I been unfortunately obliged to go out after the settlers. The original receipt I keep possession of.

I have the honor to be Sir

Your most obed't hble serv't

Wm. WAIT

 

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National Archives, Kew, CO48/53, 468

Orange Coffee House

Jan'y 21st 1820

Sir,

In reply to Mr. THORNHILL's vile insinuation that Mrs. WAIT is not actually my wife, I will only trouble you with a positive declaration that she has been my married wife for the seven years last past since November 7th and that she has been received as such in some of the first classes of society. We have lived ever since our marriage most happily and there is not a more prudent or virtuous woman breathing. This vile attempt at detraction affords another trait in the character of my opponent Mr. THORNHILL.

I have the honor to remain Sir

Your obed't serv't

Wm. WAIT

[Transcriber's note: Filed with the above letter on p.470 is a copy of a marriage certificate dated 24th January 1820 – he was obviously taking no chances!]

William WAIT of this parish and Marianne Gertrude WAIT of this parish heretofore COWAN spinster, the parties having been married heretofore to each other, were married in this church by licence this twenty fourth day of January eight hundred and twenty by me Thomas William McGUIRE Rector.

This marriage was solemnised between us

Signed William WAIT

Marianne Gertrude WAIT heretofore COWAN

In the presence of Rev Wm. COX, Harriet Dennis GARRETT

The above is a true copy of the Register of Marriages of the Parish of St.Paul, Deptford, Kent

Thos. Will'm McGUIRE

 

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National Archives, Kew, CO48/53, 466

Orange Coffee House

Jan'y 25th 1820

Sir,

As directed I send herewith a list of the settlers who I believe are actually on board the Zoroaster under my direction.

There are at present also on board some others that for my personal safety and the comfort of all on board I should wish were it possible might be excluded, altho' put on board originally as entered on my list; their names are

Wm. BROOKS with his family

Philip CAMM (THORNHILL's nephew)

Thos. BRUTON

Geo. ANNANDALE

__ GILFILLAN, put in by THORNHILL in his list

From Wm.BROOKS and Philip CAMM I should consider my life in danger should they go out in the same ship as myself. On going on board last night I received the grossest and most vile insults and abuse from Mr. THORNHILL & from the four first mentioned individuals. I never spoke one word in reply and trust to your [Lordship's] protection. These are the only persons on board whom THORNHILL has been able with all art to induce join him. Within these two days he offered all the men ½lb tobacco and also new clothing for each – all except the three aforementioned rejected his offer and said to a man they would sooner go out with myself without a shirt rather than receive his offer, and eventually last night of their own accord the moment I came on board presented me with a list of their names declaring of the same. Mr. DIASON {DYASON} told me that Mr. THORNHILL had used great exertions to prevail on him and the rest of his party to sign a paper to the injury of Mrs. WAIT, but he assured me they rejected it with indignation and that they esteemed her very highly.

I have the honor to be Sir

Your most obed't hble serv't

Wm. WAIT

 

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National Archives, Kew, CO48/53, 477

Gravesend

Jan'y 29th 1820

Sir,

Have just learnt that the articles underneath ordered long since are not on board our ship; altho Mr.THORNHILL was requested to put them on board from the very first of his interference. The success of my undertaking depends on my having these things, and I hope I may be permitted to entreat that my friend Joseph SILVER Esq of Sise? Lane may have permission to forward them to me free of expence by the first vessel that will follow us. The tonnage by measurement I believe will not exceed two tons or thereabouts, being a fold up waggon – 50 gallons still for wine making, an 80 gallon brewing copper – a corn mill – some plows & a grindstone.

I have the honor to be Sir

Your most obed't hble serv't

Wm. WAIT

 

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National Archives, Kew, CO48/53, 487

Orange Coffee House

Friday evening

[probably Feb 11 1820, the eve of the Zoroaster sailing]

Sir,

In compliance with the suggestion communicated to me by Mr.SMITH I called on Mr. THORNHILL immediately. I was informed that he was not at home. I then wrote a note to him of which the enclosed is a copy, and desired the servant who delivered it to wait for an answer. The reply was verbal that Mr. THORNHILL was at Deptford and it was not known when he would return. Mr. THORNHILL was not on board at Deptford this afternoon and I have reason to believe that he was then at Red Lion Square.

The deed to which I have alluded as being ready to execute I should be happy to submit to your perusal, it is impartially prepared and my legal adviser Mr. ADAMS will admit no other (except that reference to Mr. COOK) and I have no doubt but Mr. THORNHILL will gladly accede thereto, after we may have sailed; as he originally submitted to be inserted in my list as a labourer, after having been in negociation with Mr. BAILEY without effect, and after having his offer for himself and family without settlers rejected by Government.

I am very sorry to add that I have just learnt by a person who was on board our ship yesterday that Mr. THORNHILL had a communication to the men on board that within a few hours he should have to announce to them that all who belonged to me, and every man who adhered to me should be discarded from the ship, and that I myself was to have no concern on board. The men who to a man have been procured by myself and are [devoted?] to me were in the utmost alarm and confusion dreading what was to result. Hoping to be favored this morning with the return of my original letter for His Excellency the Governor Lord Charles SOMERSET, which was ever far from my intention to have exchanged by THORNHILL.

Have the honor to remain Sir

Your most obed't hble serv't

Wm. WAIT

PS Saturday morning

The Pilot I have learnt is on board and the ship expected to sail today

[Enclosed note to Christopher THORNHILL]

Jan 21st 1820

Sir,

Much wish to settle our unpleasant disputes. It appears to me that there is only one way, and that is to refer our differences to be settled by an impartial arbitrator. If you will be at the expence I have no objection that the arbitrator be Mr. COOK, the Kings Council of Stones Building, Lincolns Inn. Mr. COOK is unknown to me but I understand he is a most honorable man. It should be settled immediately, or if you prefer to execute the deed as prepared by Mr. ADAMS I will still agree to it. I am sure nothing can be more equitable. The bearer waits for your answer

I remain Sir

Your hble serv't

Wm.WAIT

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