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

pre 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.

BOARDMAN, Rev. William, 1820 Settler

[This first letter dated 8th November can be found mis-filed in CO48/42 under C]

National Archives, Kew CO48/42, 507

Blackburn 8th Nov 1819


I have this morning received a letter from Mr WILLSON of Bridge Cottage Chelsea requesting me to further to him my letters of orders, and testimonials without delay, which I propose to do after I have seen his Lordship the Bishop of Chester, with whom I am to dine this afternoon at the Vicarage.

There are, it appears, many other candidates for the chaplaincy, and the appointment will be submitted to the consideration of the Secretary of State; a letter from you to him in my favour, may therefore perhaps be of service. You will, I know, excuse my importunity when I inform you, that, in a very few days, emigration or ruin must be my lot. I write the more urgently as I fear the party from Liverpool will not be suffered by our Government to go out: notwithstanding their respectable appearance it is to be feared that the conductors are little better than the swindlers. Such is my situation, and such are my prospects that I will thankfully accept of any office how[ever] small the enrolments; nay I am willing to go out as a private settler, and to earn a living by manual labour.

Requesting most earnestly that you will lose no time in making intercession on my behalf with the Secretary or Mr WILLSON. I remain

Your much obliged and most gratefully


P.S. I will keep this open until I have seen his Lordship.


[Transcriber's comment: This next part was added to the bottom of the second page of the above letter below a line draw across the page. Although it is clearly dated 9th April 1819, it is obvious from the context and placement that it was written the next day, so should have been dated 9th November 1819. William in his distressed state must have in haste written April instead of November.]

9th April 1819

I was detained at the Vicarage last night until the post was gone. His Lordship behaved to me in a friendly manner: nothing however can be done for me here in the Church unless I give up the [school?] I have therefore no hopes or prospect whatsoever in this Kingdom. It grieves me much to have lost a day in waiting for the Bishop. That you will not lose a moment in writing as above is my most earnest request: God grant that your application may succeed.




National Archives, Kew CO48/41, 687

Blackburn 13 Nov 1819

My Lord,

At the earnest request of several poor but honest and industrious families I take the liberty to write to your Lordship requesting to know whether a vessel will go out from Liverpool with settlers for the Cape of Good Hope, and how soon she may be expected to sail.

They have engaged to go out to the Cape with Messrs WHITELY & Co from Liverpool, who have called upon them for the Government deposits, but give them no satisfactory answer with respect to the time when the vessel will sail. As the deposits are to be paid from the sale of their furniture, working looms &c unless the vessel sail in a very short time they will be reduced to great distress and forced to go into the workhouse.

It was my wish to have gone out with the party from Liverpool; but the number of families not amounting to 100, no chaplain will be allowed. I have therefore offered my services to a gentleman who is about to take out a party from London; in case of acceptance I propose humbly to submit to your Lordship something that may be of great advantage to the mother country as well as to the colony.

I am with the greatest respect

Your Lordship's most obedient and respectful sevt.


PS My address is the Rev. Wm. BOARDMAN

Headmaster of Blackburn School




National Archives, Kew CO48/41, 702

Blackburn, 20 Nov 1819

My Lord,

Having been put in nomination to your Lordship for a chaplaincy to the Cape of Good Hope by Thos. WILLSON Esq of Chelsea Cottage at the recommendation of Mr, CLAUGHTON Esq, MP for Newton, I have transmitted my letters testimonials to the Bishop of Chester for countersignature, which I trust will be forwarded to your Lordship in due time.

As the vessels are expected to sail for the Cape in a very short time, and as I have some arrangements to make previously to my departure, I humbly request that your Lordship will be pleased to give me the earliest intelligence of my appointment, should it take place. I am

Your Lordship's most respectful and humble servant





National Archives, Kew CO48/41, 703

To the Right Honourable Earl BATHURST, Secretary for the Colonies

We the undersigned do hereby testify that the Reverend William BOARDMAN hath been personally known to us for three years last past, during which time he hath behaved himself soberly, honestly and piously, nor hath he to the best of our knowledge and belief written or maintained anything contrary to the doctrine or discipline of the Church of England: as witness our hands this 19th day of November 1819


Incumbent of St.John's Blackburn


Vicar of Blackburn & Whalley


Incumbent of Balderston

Robt. DOBSON Incumbent of Great Horwood

*I have been personally acquainted with Mr. BOARDMAN for one year and three months J.D.W.

Langham Place, November 24 1819

The subscribers to this testimonial are beneficed in my diocese and I believe them to be worthy of credit

Geo.H. Chester




National Archives, Kew CO48/41, 728

Blackburn 29th November 1819


I happened most unfortunately to be absent at Liverpool when your letter came to hand. However I lost no time in calling a meeting of our governors, and waiting on Dr. WHITAKER, not attending the meeting, I know not exactly the result of it, but have every reason to think that it will be favourable. They are all very honourable and know me too well to speak of me with disrespect.

A memorial from them will be transmitted thro' you to Earl BATHURST, which I am persuaded you will lose no time in delivering to his Lordship. I also requested to hear from you, if possible by return of post, as altho' I have given up my school I will not come to London unless on such grounds; but greatly as I dislike the inhabitants, will immediately ship myself and my family for the United States.

If Earl BATHURST would give the names of my calumniators I shall be truly thankful for the favour. I am persuaded that the charge comes from the disaffected, or in other words the dissenters in this neighbourhood. I have inserted the Blackburn Mail essays occasionally to prove that the present distress arises not from the fault of our Government but chiefly from the multitude of superfluous hands, by which the price of labour is reduced. The remedy which I proposed is emigration to some of our colonies; this measure the disaffected strenuously oppose, and we have had as it were a kind of paper war. It is also well known here that a correspondence will be opened between myself and our worthy Magistrate Dr. WHITTAKER as well as with Legender STARKIE of Huntroid and Messrs. HORNBY & MAUDE in which I am [pledged] to give them a faithful description of the capabilities of the Cape, as a noble subscription is about to be raised to enable poor but honest and industrious families to emigrate to the Cape.

It has been a current report among the dissenters that I neither have gotten a situation at the [Cape?] nor ever will: this menace had a meaning.

I shall not dispose of my furniture until I have heard from you whether I am to go out or no; and then perhaps it will be too late as I learn from Mr. WILLSON that the vessel is about to sail in a few days. I am, altho' almost distressed,

Yours most gratefully





National Archives, Kew CO48/41, 730/732

Blackburn, 29 November 1819


I am directed by the governors of the Free Grammar School in this Town to transmit to you the inclosed memorial relative to the conduct of Mr. BOARDMAN, lately the Head Master of the School, and to request that you will have the goodness to present the same to Lord BATHURST at your earliest convenience.

I have the honour to be Sir

Your most obed't humble svt



The Memorial of the Governors of the Free Grammar School of Queen Elizabeth in Blackburn in the County of Lancaster resolved upon at a Meeting of the Governors held in the School this twenty ninth day of November 1819


That your memorialists have heard with Surprize and Regret that a communication has been made to your Lordship by some person unknown to your memorialists, highly prejudicial to the character of the Reverend William BOARDMAN, late Head Master of this School, by stating him to be addicted to Habits of Intoxication.

That many of your memorialists have known Mr. BOARDMAN ever since his appointment to the School in the year 1808 and are happy in this opportunity of bearing testimony to his great mental acquirements, his amiable disposition, his general good conduct and his attention to the duties of his situation.

That with respect to the charge of intoxication particularly imputed to Mr. BOARDMAN, your memorialists conceive it to be entirely without foundation, for although an insinuation of a similar nature was thrown out at the time of Mr. BOARDMAN's election to the Mastership of this School, his subsequent demeanour has been such as to convince your memorialists of the incorrectness of the charge, and to have gained for him the almost universal esteem of the inhabitants of this Town.

That your memorialists have subscribed their address for the purpose of counteracting as far as is in their power the mischievous effect which the calumny above alluded to is at this time particularly calculated to occasion to Mr. BOARDMAN and his numerous family, and they have also caused their treasurer to affix hereto their common seal.

Your memorialists therefore humbly trust that the stigma which has been very unjustly attempted to be cast upon the character of Mr. BOARDMAN may not operate to his prejudice with your Lordship.

We have the honour to remain my Lord

Your Lordship's most obedient and humble servants


Vicar of Blackburn


William MAUDE




Robt. DOBSON, Clerk

(illegible signature)

Will. CARR






National Archives, Kew CO48/41, 770

London, 31st Dec 1819


I did myself the honour to wait upon you yesterday in order to ascertain the amount of my stipend as clergyman to Mr. WILLSON's party, but was informed that being occupied with other business you could not see me. I take the liberty therefore to request that you will be pleased to communicate to me whatever information you think expedient on the subject in a letter directed to the care of Mr. WILLSON on board of the Belle Alliance: as also that you will inclose my letters of orders and testimonials from the neighbouring clergy countersigned by the Bishop of Chester that they may be submitted to the Bishop of London.

I have the honour to be Sir

Your very obedient and respectful servant


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