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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.

LAWSON, George

National Archives, Kew CO48/44, 408


Sept 23rd 1819


The undernamed, who are all honest, industrious & sober men, are anxious to better their situations by going to the Cape of Good Hope but at this distance from London they can get no precise information so as to avail themselves of the generous intentions of His Majesty's Ministers.

They have waited for some time in the hope that a specific plan of the method of proceeding would be made publick, but now that Winter draws on apace they are afraid of missing any opportunity which may in the meantime occur.

The object of this letter is to learn when and where the embarkation is to take place, what money they must deposit, and with what necessary articles they must be fitted out. The undernamed are all able and willing to work but their respective trades are so bad that with their utmost exertions they can scarcely support their families & they see that if this last resort (going to the Cape) be denied them they will be compelled to apply for parochial relief.

If in answer to this you will have the kindness to afford them the necessary information to carry their designs in execution they will offer you what they only have to give – the prayers & thanks of grateful hearts.

1 Edward STAINTON aged 32 years, flaxdresser, with a wife & four children, all young

2 William POSTLETHWAITE aged 27, joiner & cartwright with a wife & two children

3 James MACKBETH aged 30, bleacher, with a wife & one child

4 George LAWSON, aged 38, flaxdresser, with a wife & ten children, three of the children above fourteen years

A letter directed to J,L. LAWSON, Egremont will be thankfully received.




National Archives, Kew CO48/44, 420


Oct 17th 1819

My Lord,

It is neatly a month since I presumed to write to your Lordship concerning my emigration to Africa but my letter has somehow miscarried – being convinced from your known humanity that if rejected you would not have kept us in suspence but have informed me of it. I have collected three families besides my own to embark for the Cape if your Lordship would condescend to accept us & I have beneath wrote a true account of the ages of the individuals. At this distance from the metropolis we can learn nothing of the state of the expedition and are in great anxiety lest we should be too late in our application. Having never been in the Society nor had any communication with the great I beg your Lordship will excuse me if I say anything improper – all I wish is to state to your Lordship our great anxiety to be accepted & our readiness to conform to every regulation prescribed. The men are all able bodied, willing to work & of great sobriety.

George LAWSON aged 38, flaxdresser

Ann LAWSON his wife aged 39

Their sons Jonathan aged 16 years

Daniel 10

George 2

William 6 months

Robert 6 months

Their daughters Dinah aged 19 years

Sarah 14

Mary Ann 12

Elizabeth 6

Jane 4

William POSTLETHWAITE aged 25 years, joiner

Hannah his wife aged 25 years

Their son William aged 4 yrs

Their daughter Elizabeth aged 2 yrs

James MACKBETH aged 29 years, flaxdresser

Elizabeth his wife aged 35

William their son aged 4 years

John THOMAS, flaxdresser, aged 32 years

Margaret his wife aged 34 years

The above is a correct list and if the number be too few I beg to state to your Lordship that we would be very willing to join with any party at the place of embarkation. If your Lordship will be so condescending as to accept us & to inform us when we must embark and what money must be deposited I shall always remain with the deepest gratitude

Your Lordship's most humble obedient and devoted servant


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