Skip to main content
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.


National Archives, Kew CO48/46, 262

5 Arundel Street, Strand


24th July 1819


Being desired of embarking for the Cape as one of the settlers I beg leave to acquaint you that it is my intention to take out twenty families, solely with a view to the pursuits of agriculture and that I am ready at any time to deposit the amount required to be lodged. I therefore beg you will be so obliging as to favor me with a plan and the principle on which the colony is to be formed, whether HM Government will accommodate the new settlers with any kind of lodging until comfortable houses can be erected for them? Whether the coast on which the establishment to be formed is of a woody nature? If of stone whether lime should not be sent out by those who intend to settle to erect their dwellings? Would it not be advisable to take out one or two Masons & House Carpenters? Whether any husbandry utensils will be allowed by Government and when the settlers are on the spot, if at any great distance from Cape Town, whether a small military [fort] will not be allowed them until the settlers become sufficiently numerous to form themselves into a regular Militia. Whether the [tools] for farming and building go out freight free, also household furniture.

As it appears HM Government [must] approve of those persons going out, I beg leave to observe that I have been many years in the West Indies, several of which in the Public [Service]. The accompanying testimonials will show my conduct met with approbation. A very serious illness compelled me to return home in the hope of obtaining some permanent [employ] but failing in this I entered into contract with the Victualling Board and lost the whole of my property in consequence of the American War as the provisions for the troops could only be drawn from thence.

Such, Sir, is my present situation and I am most anxious to seize the present opportunity of providing for myself & wife and three children.

I have the honor to be with great respect Sir

Your most ob't hb st





June 3rd 1817

Dear Sir,

Notwithstanding my being much occupied by important and weighty business in consequence of a sudden order for my proceeding this day to Surinam, yet I cannot suffer you to depart for Europe without expressing my entire approbation of your conduct during the period of three years that you have executed the business of my office. The zeal [obscured] and the respectable and proper conduct that you have maintained cannot easily be exceeded. I am happy in the opportunity of giving testimony and shall be equally so in an opportunity of forwarding your intentions.

Being with great regard

Your faithful friend & humble servant

Signed Charles SHIPLEY

Brig Gen Royal Engineers West Indies

[Transcriber's Note: A second testimonial from Gen. SHIPLEY is filed with the above, but the image was too blurred for it to be accurately transcribed. It appears to be similar to the above]




National Archives, Kew CO48/46, 403

5 Providence Row

Finsbury Square

27th August 1819


I had the honor of addressing you some time since on the subject of Colonization at the Cape of Good Hope, transmitting at the same time testimonials for your inspection. I beg leave now to acquaint you that I yesterday returned from the country, where I have been procuring settlers for the new Colony, but the uncertainty whether they would be approved of and the expense of bringing them to town prevented my coming to a final conclusion.

If it meets with your approbation it is my intention to take out with me thirty families at least. They will entirely consist of farmers and gardeners with the exception of two masons and two house carpenters necessary for the purpose of erecting buildings and offices for myself and the settlers. I also propose taking with me many small articles necessary for their construction such as nails, hinges, locks &c with some implements of husbandry, stores, a little furniture, bedding &c and also tents for the temporary accommodation.

The period for their departure is approaching and I am therefore most anxious to learn whether this proposal will be accepted. My only object for this undertaking is to bring up [my] young family and to make them happy & comfortable who accompany me. When I am honored with a reply signifying your approval I shall with as little delay as possible transmit a list of the settlers and their families and deposit the amount mentioned in the circular.

I have the honor to be with great respect

Your most ob't hb sev't






National Archives, Kew CO48/46, 526

5 Providence Row

Finsbury Square

8th Oct 1819


On my return to town from Devonshire yesterday I was honored with your letter of the 30th Sept and it is with extreme regret I have to inform you that I find it will be impossible for me to embrace the favourable offer which I have received of taking out thirty families to the new settlement near the Cape this season. I therefore seize the earliest moment of communicating the same to you, that the permission which has been granted to me may be extended to others who may be anxious to accept it, but I most humbly hope that in the event of further Parliamentary aid and an additional number of settlers going out the ensuing season that my Lord BATHURST will be pleased to grant me permission to proceed then on the same terms. The fact is this that there are very considerable surcharges against me by the Hon'ble Commissioners for Victualling which I find it will be impossible to get removed so soon as I expected.

I have the honor to be Sir

Your obliged and obed't humble servant


[Note by clerk]

Mr. WATTLEWORTH declines permission given to him to go with a party of settlers to the Cape

  • Hits: 5822