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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.

WILLSON, Thomas, 1836

National Archives, Kew, London CO48/170, 286


Hotwells, Bristol
6 January 1836

My Lord,
          I have been honoured with Your Lordship's reply and deeply regret the circumstance that my petition to the King, which was transmitted to the Colonial Department by Lieut general Sir Herbert TAYLOR, has by some accident not reached the hands of Your Lordship. Fortunately I kept a copy, which I now beg leave to submit to Your Lordship, and I most fervently pray that at the hands of Your Lordship I may receive that just and kindly feeling which I have so long flattered myself cannot fail to emanate from His Majesty's Government. Waiting your commands, I have the honor to be, My Lord,
Your Lordship's most devoted, obedient and very humble servant,


[briefing note in Colonial Office clerk's hand]


Mr. WILLSON's Case

   In the year 1810 Parliament assigned the means of carrying out a large body of immigrants to the Cape free of expence.
   A free passage and 100 acres of land – such was the encouragement held out to every able bodied settler. And in order to encourage the association of families the same terms were held out to persons who should offer to take out one hundred families under their direction, it being left to these directors of parties to settle the distribution of the lands amongst them. But no settler or parties were to receive the actual Grants or title deeds to the lands until they had resided thereon and brought them into cultivation during a period of three years.
   It should be stated further that from every able bodied settler there was required to be paid here a deposit of £10. From parties the deposit was required to be made by the head, whether on his own behalf or on behalf of the persons going out under his direction.
   The object of this arrangement was to provide security for any advances which the Cape Government might be compelled to make for protecting the settlers against starvation.
   This deposit scheme answered its purpose insufficiently but it had the distinct effect of breaking up every party which had been hastily formed between people who had no knowledge of each other.
It was in that way that Mr. WILLSON contrived to place himself at the head of one hundred families. He had not much capital: the larger portion of his deposit money was not his own, the Colonial Government would not give it up, his party clamoured for their money, they quarrelled with him, he lost his temper and left them and their affairs in utter confusion.
DS to [illegible initials, but thought to be T?n]


[Transcriber's Note: The Under Secretary of State at this time was Henry LABUCHERE, 1st Baron TAUNTON, and his Private Secretary was Dudley, Viscount SANDON]


Draft of letter from DS to Thomas WILLSON

Feb 1836

   Lord GLENELG has directed me to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 6th instant, with the copy therein enclosed of a Petition which has been by you presented to His majesty praying compensation for a Grant, to which you consider yourself entitled, of 10,000 acres of land at the cape of Good Hope.
   Upon a review of the voluminous correspondence which has already passed between you and this Department upon the subject matter of your Petition to His Majesty, and by which it appears that your claim to the Grant has been repeatedly and decidedly declared to be inadmissible, Lord GLENELG regrets to find himself placed under the necessity of referring you to that correspondence & of informing you that he is unable to arrive at a different conclusion regarding your case than that which was adopted by his predecessor in this Department.


[Transcriber's Note: A copy of WILLSON's Petition to the King is attached to this correspondence. This has already been transcribed in the correspondence for 1835]

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