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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.

MOODIE, Benjamin, 1820

Included with the dispatches of Sir Rufane DONKIN

National Archives, Kew, CO48/49, 53

Copy of an application made by Mr. Benjamin MOODIE to be allowed to participate in such advantages as are now granted to persons conducting emigrants to the Cape of Good Hope. Enclosure in Sir R.S. DONKIN’s Despatch No.8 dated 17 Feb 1820

Cape of Good Hope

February 11th 1820


I have the honour to submit through your medium to His Excellency the Governor’s consideration the following circumstances, trusting that your knowledge of them will enable you to elucidate the subject, and satisfied that His Excellency will give it the attention he may deem it to merit.

At the period when Emigration under my direction left England, His Majesty’s Ministers had not decided on giving any encouragement to settlers in this colony; subsequent, however, to the date of a memorial to which the above was the substance of the answer received, I was informed that although I could expect no immediate assistance my claim would be admitted for such advantages as Ministers might afterwards be induced to offer to others. With a recommendation therefore from Earl BATHURST to Lord Charles SOMERSET, I engaged in an undertaking, the result of which has been the location of two hundred persons of the most valuable description in this colony. The success of the individuals composing this emigration has tended in a great measure to attract to this quarter the attention of the public, and the colony at the Cape of Good Hope promises not only to afford an asylum to many thousands of the distressed at present but to rival America as a receptacle for the annual emigration that must take place from a Society so far advanced in Civilization as that of Great Britain. Government having at length turned its attention to the subject have held out to those engaging in similar undertakings passages for their people free of expence, to cover which Parliament have voted £50,000. Government have also held out certain inducements in this colony to the person leading emigrations to it. To be admitted to a proportional share in these advantages is the object of my now soliciting the interference of His Excellency the Governor by application in my behalf to His Majesty’s Ministers. As the first who engaged in an undertaking fraught with so many advantages to the colony it may perhaps also appear to His Excellency that my claims are entitled to some farther consideration from the Colonial Government than those of such as may follow in my footsteps, guided by my experience, particularly as the result will show that many of my followers have amassed fortunes and all acquired competancies, my circumstances have not been improved by it.

With regard to the difficulties I have had to encounter, notwithstanding the interest the Colonial Government took in them and the support it gave me, I shall only say that as no legislative enactment could be effectual where there is not a sufficient party to support it in the community, I derived no further advantage from that Securing to Master the Services of their Apprentices than those in the expression of the approbation of Government. But it was addressed to a Society whose immediate interests as slave owners were opposed to it.

The expence I incurred for the passage of my people from Scotland to London and from London to the Cape somewhat exceeds £20 st per head.
I have the honor to be Sir,
Your most obed’t humble servant



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