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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.

CAMPBELL, John, (brother of Duncan CAMPBELL) 1827

National Archives, Kew, CO48/114, 90

Royal Marines Barracks


June 12th 1827


Having observed in a printed Pamphlet entitled “Bishop BURNETT's reply to the Commissioners report of” [sic] a copy of a letter from my Brother / Capt CAMPBELL / to Mr. BURNETT which the latter has published with a view to refute the statement of the Commissioners that during their residence in the Albany district in the early part of 1824 they observed a general disposition amongst the respectable classes of the settlers to withdraw themselves from all connexion with Mr BURNETT in any public proceeding; I conceive myself called upon, as much in justice to my Brother, as from an anxious wish on my own part, to prevent such a circumstance from making an unfavourable impression on your mind to lay before you an extract of a letter which I have just received from him dated Graham's Town April 1st 1827 which will, I trust, place this matter in its true light.__ “I have opened my letter to say that I have this instant heard that unprincipled person BURNETT has shown me up in his Pamphlet. __ I do not think I ever wrote one line to him on Public Matters as I always had a thorough contempt for him. __ I know not what may have disturbed his bile on this occasion, but it may perhaps arise from the following circumstance ___

“Shortly after his petition to Parliament arrived in this Colony I was written to by a gentleman requesting to know what dependence could be placed on BURNETT's assertions. I entered into detail and shewed that every word he uttered respecting transactions on the Frontier was utterly false. __

“This statement was afterwards forwarded to BROUGHAM. I know not whether it may not have been instrumental in making him relinquish the case, but I think it not improbable that BURNETT may have heard of it. __”

I must also beg to call your attention to the date of the letter inserted by Mr BURNETT /Feby 1823/ at which time his character might not have so decidedly developed itself as to prevent the interchange of civilities which near neighbourhood in a disturbed and thinly populated Country would naturally induce, but which in the early part of 1824 /the date of the Commissioner's Statement / might have totally ceased from his character being better understood. __

May I now be so far permitted to trespass on your very valuable time as to give a faint outline of the various losses, disappointments, and distressing embarrassments my Brother has had to contend with since his arrival in that Colony, in the anxious hope that he may not be deemed wholly unworthy of the kind consideration of the Home Government. __

On his first landing he and two or three others were sent towards the west into the district of Swellendam, distant about 100 miles from Cape Town, where however after many fruitless attempts they found the soil to be totally incapable of cultivation, and after a short residence and a very considerable sacrifice of Capital they were obliged to return to Cape Town. __ In consideration of his losses the Government allotted my Brother a very eligible Farm near Graham's Town which he took possession of with grateful feeling and sanguine hopes of better success, but the continual failure of Crops from Rust, Locust and Caterpillar, the already very exhausted state of his finances and above all the distressing want not to say almost total impossibility of procuring labourers at any price have rendered this extensive grant of Land and all his exertions worse than useless, and he finds himself after a residence of Six Years in the Colony in a worse situation than when he landed. __

I should indeed presume too much on your time, Sir were I to enter even upon the shortest stretch of the very lamentable accounts I continue to receive by almost every Ship, of his failures and his disappointments; __ these it is, however, which have induced me to trouble you with this general statement of his unhappy embarrassments and most earnestly to solicit that his Majesty's Government may be pleased to take his case into their kind consideration and bestow upon him some official situation in the Albany district, the emoluments of which together with his own unremitting exertions on his Farm may enable him to have a present existence and give him some hope that he may finally succeed in realizing a small independence. __

Twice he has had the honor of acting as Landrost in the Albany district but as it was only during the absence of Col. SOMERSET & he received no emolument or other gratification than that of having performed this arduous duty to the satisfaction of those who from being on the spot, had an opportunity of narrowly observing his conduct during the time he held the situation. He has also ever since his arrival in the district filled the office of Heemraad. __

I shall not, I feel confident, weaken his claims to the gracious protection of his Majesty's Government when I state, that in addition to his misfortunes as a Colonist he forms part of a Family, every man of which has devoted his life to the service of his King and Country. __ His Father (now deceased) and three of his Brothers held Commissions in the Army; two fell during the last war and it was not till after 26 years of honourable and approved active service during which from wounds, Shipwreck and bad Climate his health was much impaired, that himself solicited and obtained permission to retire on half Pay in order to avail himself of the facilities of that time afforded by the Government to those who wished to emigrate to the Cape of Good Hope.

For Testimonial to character and fitness for any situation Government may be pleased to bestow upon him I would refer to Mr. G. ELLIS late deputy Colonial Secretary at the Cape to whom he has the honor of being known and who has kindly permitted me to use his name on this occasion.

I have the honor to be, Sir, with great respect

Your very obedient Humble Servant


Captain R. Marines

[Note from Colonial Office written across letter: Acq't the Writer that I have submitted DLG* his explanation of Capt. C (and I have received the Lordship's direction to instruct Gen HAWKE?

to employ him whenever an opportunity may offer]

* Viscount GODERICH was the Colonial Secretary at this time

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