Skip to main content
The 1820 Settler Correspondence
 as preserved in the National Archives, Kew
 and edited by Sue Mackay

Correspondence 1821 to 1837.

Here only letters by known settlers or their families, or letters of great relevance to the 1820 settlers, have been transcribed, whereas ALL the 1819 correspondence was transcribed (see CO48/41 through CO48/46) whether or not the writers emigrated to the Cape.

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.

BIDDULPH, Thomas Jervis (son of Simon BIDDULPH), 1831

National Archives, Kew, CO48, CO48/145, 253


The Humble petition of Tho's Jervis BIDDULPH of No.35 Tavistock Place in the County of Middlesex sheweth

That in the year 1819 your Petitioner's Father and Mother with 5 of their Children emigrated to the Cape of Good Hope under the auspices of His Majesty's Government on which occasion your Petitioner's Father received a Grant of Land in the District of Albany from the Colonial Government there. Your petitioner has understood that this Grant was obtained at the particular instance of Henry ELLIS Esq, then Colonial Secretary at [tear in paper] who took an unusual degree of interest in the Location of your Petitioner's Father and was also pleased to confer upon him many other acts of friendship as a mark of his respect for him.
That in the year 1828 another of your Petitioner's Brothers emigrated to the Cape, but did not obtain any Grant of Land.
That your Petitioner was prevented by unavoidable circumstances from emigrating to the Cape with his Father, but it has ever since been your Petitioner's most anxious wish to go to that Colony as soon as he had the means to do so.
That your Petitioner is now possessed in money, and in goods suitable for an emigrant of the sum of £2000 Sterling and is desirous of obtaining a Grant of Land at the Cape suitable to his circumstances and capital.
That your Petitioner's family already settled in that Colony have strongly urged upon your Petitioner the necessity which exists for your Petitioner's receiving, before he embarks, a letter of instruction or recommendation from the Government at Home, to the authorities at the Cape, for a Grant of Land to be made to your Petitioner, without which your Petitioner in all probability will never obtain one. Your Petitioner has understood that there is abundance of excellent Land, not granted out, situate in what is commonly called the "Ceded Territory".
That all or most of the Goods which your Petitioner has purchased as necessary and suited to the Soil and Climate of the Cape, and which are now ready to be embarked, are subject, as he is informed, to Duties both here and at the Cape, but your Petitioner has heard that the Colonial Government here can give, on proper application, an order that the Goods of an "Emigrant" shall pass free of the usual Duties imposed on the like Goods when shipped and consigned by Merchants for Profit.
That according to the rate at which Grants of Land were made to former Emigrants upon their Capital, expended or to be expended, your petitioner's Capital of £2000 would entitle him to receive a Grant of at least 5000 acres of Land, a quantity which, tho' it may appear large, is not, as your petitioner is informed, any too much for a Grazing Farmer in that Colony, which it is your Petitioner's wish to become.
That your Petitioner is ready and proposes to embark almost immediately
Your Petitioner therefore humbly prays Your Lordship
Firstly, to be pleased to give Your Petitioner a letter or document addressed to His Excellency the Governor or to the proper authorities at the Cape of Good Hope recommending or directing them to give to your Petitioner, on the usual Conditions, a Grant of Land in the "Ceded Territory" or elsewhere in its vicinity suitable to his aforesaid Capital of £2000, and
Secondly, to be pleased to give to your Petitioner (if it be not inconsistent with the usual practice of Your Lordship's Department) and Order that shall exempt your Petitioner's Goods and Implements (which may amount to about 6 Tons measurement) from the usual export and import Duties imposed upon the like Goods when shipped to that Colony by Merchants for Profit. And your Petitioner will ever pray
17th January 1831


Reply [Copy]
Downing Street
February 1831
To T. Jervis BIDDULPH Esq
I am directed by Viscount GODERICH to acknowledge receipt of your memorial of the 17 ultimo and to acquaint you in reply that he is very well disposed to assist you in obtaining a Grant of Land in that particular District of the Cape which is called the Ceded Territory: although at the same time His Lordship is not prepared to think that it will be consistent with the publick interests to grant the lands in that District upon the conditions in which lands are usually now granted throughout the Colony, and it will probably be determined either to sell such lands to the best bidder or to establish some scale of Value according to which it will be open to individuals to purchase them.
These are points, however, that can only be finally settled in the Colony. If, under these circumstances, you should be resolved to proceed to the Cape, His Lordship will instruct the Governor to assign a Grant of Land to you upon such terms as may be found mutually advantageous to yourself and to the Publick: but His Lordship does not consider that it will be in his power to give any direction for exempting your Goods and Implements from the duties to which they may be liable upon their exportation from this country and their importation into the Cape.
I am Sir, your most obed't servant
[No signature]

  • Hits: 5796