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

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 CO48/44, 612

Cove of Cork

21st August 1819

My Lord,

I am a Commander in the Navy and from having been put on the half pay since 1812 have devoted my time to agricultural pursuits.

The encouragement held out by Government to colonize Southern Africa has attracted the attention of numbers in this country and as I think the Irish Peasantry particularly well adapted to form a new settlement, being both very hardy and accustomed to great privations in their mode of living, would be easily satisfied at the commencement.

Having expressed among my friends a favorable opinion as to the views of Government and taken some pains to ascertain the nature of the country by all the publications on the subject, but particularly from M. WALKER, a Master in the Navy, now in the Dispatch Naval Transport, who surveyed that coast about fifteen months ago and favored me with copies of his maps and charts; and having expressed a desire of going out with settlers, a proposal has been put to me by Four respectable individuals whose views are purely that of agriculturalists, unmixed with any other pursuits, that they will go out to the Cape of Good Hope under my protection, as they are pleased to call it, and that they will carry out with them from 15 to 20 men and women each with such implements of husbandry as the peasantry of the country are accustomed to; and the means necessary for stocking a farm, and requesting me to apply to the Colonial Department to know whether they will grant to me and them Five portions of land contiguous to each other, according to the number of persons that we shall carry out – the number to be carried out, independent of our own families, would probably amount to from 70 to 80, among whom would be a proportion of such mechanics as would be necessary to farming and building, with about four fishermen that we may draw some supplies from the ocean, which I understand from Mr. WALKER and the Master of the Transport Nowhere to abound with fish; in addition to which I should propose a few working families (some having offered) on their own resources to have ground allotted to them adjoining us, so that we might materially assist each other, and a few mechanics serve all.

With respect to the part of coast, as it is a general wish to be near the sea I should prefer the harbour of Knisna but as I am aware that Mr. REX lays claim to large tracts in that part I shall propose to your Lordship to recommend us to be settles on a small river, the Komaromna, about 10 or 15 miles east of Plattenburg Bay. This inlet I have reason to believe is not generally known and that part of the coast entirely without inhabitants, that I should prefer to any other, the Knisna excepted.

I take it for granted that the Admiralty will grant me permission, as I feel that I am falling in with the true spirit and intentions of Government in uniting together a set of men of most respectable character and qualified by their knowledge and means to cultivate the soil to advantage, and if I was armed with the authority of a magistrate I should for the general good gladly undertake that [troublesome?] office.

If your Lordship should approve of my proposal and deem it necessary, I shall be ready to proceed to London and make such further arrangements as may be thought fit, and shall then produce such testimonials from Earl KELLIE, General WEMYSS the Member for Tipperary and Sir Henry BLACKWOOD as should convince your Lordship I am qualified for such an undertaking and should hope to deserve your Lordship's future favour.

I have the honor to be, My Lord

Your Lordship's obed't humble serv't


PS: I am quite aware to what extent Government will assist, I and my friends are therefore only anxious to know as soon as possible whether our offer will be accepted as we wish to make some arrangements with respect to the disposal of our property, and whether a transport will be sent to the harbour of Cork to embark us this next November as we wish to make timely preparations,

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