CLARKSON, Thomas re William BYERS
National Archives, Kew CO48/42, 390
October 5th 1819
Mr. William BYERS, Butcher, living near the Jews Hospital on the Mile End road, has written to me today, that he has made a regular application at your Lordships office to be taken with ten others to the Settlement about to be formed near the Cape of Good Hope, and has desired me to speak of him in Point of Character as I have known him. Unwilling as I am to trespass upon your Lordships valuable time, I think I should be unjust both towards him and the new Settlement itself, if I were to hesitate to comply with his request.
I have known Mr. William BYERS from a lad for the last sixteen years, and it is my opinion, that for Industry, Sobriety, Loyalty, and Morality of Life, no one Colonist who is going out, can excel him: nor will anyone be found more useful. He is a good farmer, and can do every sort of Husbandry work, whether mowing, reaping, sowing, hedging, thrashing &c &c with his own hand. He can also turn his hand to many departments that would be useful in a new Colony. He can do carpenters rough work; he can act as a Butcher; he can make mats. He can dip sheep, and act usefully in various capacities. When he first came to London out of Westmoreland, I procured him the situation of a Porter in the West Indian or London Dock, I cannot tell which at this moment. Here he gave satisfaction. The hours of work there were from 8 in the morning till 4 in the afternoon. Determining never to be idle, he employed himself usefully for two hours before he went to the Dock and two hours after he returned from his labours there, and this daily that, though only a labourer, he saved a little money of which he sent handsome presents to an aged father, wishing still to get forward and became independent, he took a Butchers shop. I lent him 30 £ at his own request to enable him so to do. All this money he has repaid me out of his savings. He finds, however, that of late people have not been able either to buy of him to the extent or to pay him, as formerly, and beginning to be alarmed about his situation, he would wish, while he has a little money, to avail himself of the opportunity of going to the Cape of Good Hope. If the other ten, who have given their names to go with him, are from Cumberland and Westmoreland, as I suspect they are, finer subjects for a Colony cannot be selected, as the young men there are generally sober, very frugal, very industrious, and capable of [laying] their hands to many things, to which the labourers of the south cannot. I have a very high respect for Mr. BYERS. I would go to great lengths to serve him; and I only regret, that a man of such character should have thought it prudent to leave [this] Country.
I have the honour to be, with respect, your Lordships obedient Serv't.