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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.

REEVES, George

National Archives, Kew CO48/45, 518

Navy Prize Office


August 7th 1819

My Lord,

I beg leave to inquire with respect to people about to become settlers at the Cape of Good Hope in what manner they are to proceed to obtain a settlement – my object for this enquiry is in consequence of a number of people having a desire of becoming settlers has asked my opinion on the subject and not being legally authorized to give my advice on the subject have taken the liberty of writing, and should be much obliged on behalf of these people if you will allow me to communicate to them what the terms of government is and proposals that I may give those people information on the subject, as they can ill afford to make personal application without knowing its principles. Your authority to me in so doing will confer great honor on

Your most obedient humble servant

George REEVES Jun

Navy Agent




National Archives, Kew CO48/45, 555

St.John's Street


August 13th 1819

My Lord,

I was honored with your circular of the 9th ult and beg leave to state to your Lordship that I have collected nearly 100 individuals some of whom have families but all of them of good repute and their characters bear strict investigation, they being comprised of strong healthy and able bodied young men who have always been brought up as farmers and agriculturalists and managing lands to the best advantage. Having taken pains in the choice of these enterprising men I should wish to proceed to the Cape of Good Hope with them, having their unanimous consent, and I beg leave to know how they are to proceed to join the ship destined to convey them and where they are to repair to for it.

I wish further to know if your Lordship will grant me the same proportion of land for every head of family I take out should I provide a ship and victual them at my own expence and becoming in every respect under the jurisdiction of the Governor at the Cape and liable to every thing laid down in your circular. The men are all subservient and dutiful subjects and will always cherish and support that constitution which has always governed them in so good a path. They are all of the Church of England together with myself and we will always fulfill our duties as Christians to keep safe its dignity not only of church but of state and hope ultimately to prove an ornament to the colony we are to proceed to establish.

I have the honor to be

Your Lordship's most obedient humble servant





National Archives, Kew CO48/45, 581

Exeter, St. Johns Street

August 29th 1819

My Lord,

I am under the necessity of making my application to your Lordship that I may throw off that calumny which is now in circulation on my character. The following your Lordship will perceive is the details. I made application to your Lordship three weeks since for instructions on what head emigration to the Cape of Good Hope was grounded as a number of people had made enquiry of me about it, but did not think myself justified unless your Lordship transmitted me the instructions, which I received by the next post from the Colonial Department. I therefore had it advertised in the newspapers and large bills posted over this city to give information to people which thought of emigrating – the enclosed bills is the one I had posted up and the other the bill for which redress I now crave – People in consequence made their applications to me and it being my intention to proceed with them I made the following binding proposals – if a person was inclined to go I gave him instructions according to your circular and if he was determined to go I entered him in my book with the necessary particulars, for which he paid me 2/6 which was to be returned to him on his embarkation, but if he forfeited his word he likewise did his money. Now my Lord this libellous bill specifies it is a gross imposition and my bill most unlawfully done. Therefore the redress I crave from your Lordship is whether or not I have acted unlawfully and subjected myself to the displeasure of your Lordship. This bill is posted all over this city and has caused serious alarm among the disaffected people and I am not certain how I might share a worse fate than being the Constable of Manchester. [Transcriber's Note: The Peterloo Riots in Manchester took place on 16 August 1819] Your answer to me as soon as possible will be gratefully received that I may [obscured] by the laws of my country to [obscured] its author. I am no ways conscious of acting contrary to instruction and sorry if I have so done it having been an officer in His Majesty's Service and have born a good character in [this city?]

I have the honor to be

Your Lordship's most obedient humble servant


[note from GOULBURN]

Acknowledge receipt and acquaint him that Lord B cannot consider himself responsible for the inconvenience which he may sustain from having assumed a character and title for which he had no authority and consequently cannot afford him any relief

[first enclosed bill - printed]


A glorious opportunity now offers itself to any person wishing to settle at the Cape of Good Hope.

The most healthy climate in the world,

and a country where labour will flourish & meet with its reward,

where the husbandman can derive benefit from his industry and encouragement from his country,

The whole colony being compared to a second Paradise.

All people having any knowledge of Farming and Husbandry are certain if success, as large


will be given them, and their


Immediate Application must be made to Mr. George REEVES, Colonial Office, St.John's St Exeter;

Where all information and proposals are obtained.

NB People wishing to be in time for the planting season must not delay making their enquiry, as the ships destined to convey them will sail with all speed.

All letters will be returned if not post paid. Address as follows:

On Colonial Business, Mr. George REEVES Jun. Colonial Office, St.John's St, Exeter

Cullum General Printing Office, Exeter.

[second enclosed bill – printed]


A most flaming and unauthorised Posting Bill, having been stuck up in various parts of this city, holding out great but fallacious encouragement to those who entertain thoughts of emigrating to the Cape of Good Hope, it will be necessary to address to them a few words on the subject of the said Bill, to prevent the needy and the unwary becoming the dupes of crafty and unprincipled speculators, who watch every opportunity to gratify their cupidity at the expence of the credulous and necessitous.

This is therefore to inform those, whom the most severe and complicated distresses have driven to the melancholy alternative of seeking their food in a foreign clime, or miserably perishing for want in their native land, that GEORGE REEVES JUN, the publisher of the aforesaid Posting Bill, and who pretends to keep an office for transacting Colonial Business, has no authority whatever for such proceedings, he having received no appointment for that purpose from the Colonial Department, as he is totally unknown and unauthorised by that office.

His motives for thus unwarrantably obtruding himself on the public seems to be pretty apparent – to extract a half crown from the scanty pockets of those unfortunates who are weak enough to apply to him for information, and which he demands as his fee, for merely reading the Earl BATHURST's circular.

The writer of this has now before him a letter, in reply to one sent, from the Under Secretary of State, dated the 19th instant, in which is the following paragraph, “With reference to that part of your letter in which you allude to the conduct of a person at Exeter who states himself to be an Agent of this Department, I have to inform you that this Department has no cognizance of any such person.” H.G.

NB The letter is now open for inspection at the Britannia Public House, South Street to anyone who may wish to peruse it; and it is therefore recommended to all those who have been cajoled out of their cash under such flimsy pretences to demand immediate restitution.

Dated August 23rd 1819


T. BESLEY Junior, Printer, High Street, Exeter


Mr. GOULBURN has got the letter from the Exeter carpenter complaining that a person of that town extracted 2/6 for a perusal of the circular. In reply to that letter I added the post script which will be found in the small printed bill


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