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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.

DYASON, George, 1829

National Archives, Kew, CO48/133, 94


15th June 1829


I have the honor to transmit herewith a copy of a certificate granted to me by His Excellency the Governor of the Cape of Good Hope, the original thereof being with the Right Honorable T.P. COURTNAY, Agent for the Government of that Colony, and with reference thereto I have respectfully to solicit that His Majesty's Secretary of State for the Colonies will be pleased to grant me a further leave of six months in addition to my present leave, the urgency of my affairs requiring a further indulgence.

I have the honor to be Sir

Your obedient servant





National Archives, Kew, CO48/133, 96

[Enclosed with above]

This is to certify that I have granted leave of absence for the term of six months from the period of his embarkation from this Colony to Mr. George DYASON to return to Europe on his private affairs, that Mr. DYASON holds the two situations of Clerk to the Resident Magistrate at Graham's Town with a salary of one hundred and twenty pounds sterling per annum, and Postmaster at that place, with a salary of forty pounds sterling per annum:- and that sh'd it appear that the urgency of his affairs requires a prolongation of leave I have no objection to the same being granted to him as arrangements have been made for having the duties of both his offices performed during his absence without inconvenience or additional expence to the public service.

(Signed) J Henry COLE, Governor

Cape of Good Hope, 25th February 1829

97/110 (this letter appears twice)


15th July 1829


I have the honor to transmit to you herewith a memorial which I beg leave to request you will be pleased to forward to Sir George MURRAY.

The usual limits of a memorial not offering the means required to enter sufficiently at large to explain many circumstances that crave the attention of His Majesty's Secretary of State, I avail myself of this opportunity to enter on the detail thereof.

It may be known to you Sir that I was one of the leading men or principal persons who engaged in colonizing the Eastern Districts of the Cape and in 1820 received my allotments of land. On reference to the Registers it will be seen I hold a very large tract of land, say 4500 acres, and am one of the four of those persons whose interest is larger than any of the remaining 938.

The difficulties we met with in Location was such as we were not prepared to meet, because we considered that a due and safe controul over the labour of these persons we had taken out was a matter well understood to have claimed the attention of the Government, but unfortunately through a misconception of orders the military officer charged with the administration of the political and judicial departments, instead of giving us the protection of the Government, rather encouraged the labouring class to idleness; thus exposing us to evils that brought on the distress that was so severely felt, while the Government were obliged to receive the gratuitous aid of many of the superior settlers in subordinate situations to quell internal irregularities and offer personal security against the incursion of the Tribes of natives that acted in hostility towards us.

Desirous of supporting at all times the views of Government when called upon, I entered upon duties far beneath the gradation in society or my interests in the Colony entitled me to, & performed the fatiguing duties of Field Cornet, Landdrost's Clerk and Postmaster, which in the Eastern District from the extent of location, its population and their habits was more arduous than others. Thus continuing at the risk of my personal safety and at a nominal salary only (£50) to serve the Government until the year 1825, when I was removed from my home to Graham's Town to perform the no less difficult duties of District Clerk, Registrar & Guardian of Slaves and Postmaster for the Eastern District at an annual salary of £97:10, an amount barely sufficient to defray the expences attendant upon the assumption of an Office in which respectability of character and gentlemanly appearance were absolutely and indispensably necessary.

Vide documents A,B,C,D,E

In the year 1828 when the new regulations took place under the administration of General BOURKE a mistake occurred that was very injurious to my interests, namely a Return was called for of the services of the Persons then in employ when it appeared that mine was represented to be three years less than they had been, and in consequence thereof the following circumstances took place; the most respectable situations I held, those of District Clerk & Guardian of Slaves, the duties of which I had done at a salary of £67:10, were taken from me, and analogous ones given, the first to a junior officer to myself at a fixed salary of £300 per annum and that of Guardian of Slaves to a settler without a shadow of claim for previous service at a fixed salary of £400 per annum. Other appointments, altho' of a minor nature, but likewise naturally affecting me, also took place in the departments with which I was immediately connected and in which I had served for ten years.

Under the same Government | have been appointed to a very troublesome duty that occupied me from nine till five in a crowded court, a duty extremely harassing and prejudicial to health in a climate like the Cape, and one of no respectability. Vide Document F.

In an interview I had with General BOURKE at Cape Town he stated to me his regret, and the letter dated 4th Jan'y 1828 from the Colonial Secretary in reply to a remonstrance, he expressed a similar feeling, but as yet I have received no redress.

I can only attribute this neglect and injustice to my zeal and previous exertions to promote the good of the public service, which during the previous administration, surrounded by party feeling inimical to the Government, I had felt it my duty, in the subordinate situations I held, to perform the business of my office without questioning the propriety of the conduct of the Government, and perhaps from meeting with the approbation of the persons in charge of the departments I then served in I became a victim to party feeling. This party knowing my activity and zeal in the performance of my duties placed my exertions rather to the account of private friendship than the true sense I have heretofore entertained of the absolute necessity of a rigid attention at all times to my duty – that I ever strictly practised this I beg, Sir, to show by Document H.

The appointments before alluded to, combined with the circumstance of the error of the return giving me credit for three years less service than I was entitled to, found ground of suspicion that some one or more of the party charged with carrying into execution the new arrangements had an unfriendly feeling towards me.

The Commissioners of Inquiry in their Report dated 6th Sept 1826 have reference page 13. Extract.

“We will not conclude this subject without bringing to Your Lordship's notice the great importance of giving due encouragement to the junior civil servants, by their advancement to situations of trust and emolument for which they may be found competent, some promotions that at one time were made tended greatly to encourage the sons of respectable families in the Colony to engage in the public service, and to induce them to adhere to it upon very inadequate salaries. Their hopes of preferment have, however, in many cases been defeated by the appointment of persons to lucrative and responsible situations who possessed no claims from previous service or from their knowledge of business; and we are bound also to observe that in several instances the duties have been performed by the junior servants upon the depreciated salaries of clerks, whilst the principals of the departments have enjoyed almost gratuitously very considerable emoluments.”

This abstract will be found to have been extremely correct, and may be applied justly to my case, in as much as my services were given as it were gratuitously and when the period of reward arrived, others, who had not performed any public duties, were handsomely provided for while mine were overlooked.

In the cultivation of Lands and in the execution of buildings I have sunk £4000, for which I have been able to realize an income of £100 per annum only, and this commencing the last year. All my time has been given to the public service, and have imposed on me a laborious and unprofitable duty, while others who have no personal interest in the Colony have either been promoted or appointed over my head.

From the unavoidable disadvantages of locality and the difficulty of procuring labour it is evident the large holders of land can only look to the increase of population and to well doing of the District for improvement in the value of their lands and produce. It is therefore to be hoped Sir George MURRAY will be pleased to admit the pretentions to public employment such settlers as have imported large capitals and have no prospect for many years to come of receiving a due remuneration for the capital they have sunk, the time they would otherwise unprofitably expend, while also their interests might be seriously inconvenienced by the appointment of persons inexperienced in and unacquainted with the true interests of that Division of the Colony in which my Brother Settlers and myself have so much at stake. I therefore hope the Right Honorable Secretary for the Colonies will take my case into favourable consideration and appoint me to a situation of more emolument and respectability than that of Clerk to the Resident Magistrate, that as Graham's Town has increased both in population and traffic the office of Postmaster may be considered to have grown into correspondent trust and importance, it being the principal office in the Eastern Division and second in importance in the Colony while its salary bears no affinity with that of Cape Town altho' recommended by His Majesty's Commissioners of Inquiry that it should do so. I therefore respectfully solicit the appointment of Deputy Postmaster General for the Eastern Division, with a corresponding salary to the Postmaster General, who enjoys a salary of £600 per annum, and hope my pretentions will not be considered presumptuous in naming the salary for the performance of this duty at half that of the Postmaster General (£300). Should I be empowered with the influence this office will rest in me it would afford me the means of improving the revenue arising out of this department and enable me to facilitate the modes of conveying the Posts through the Frontier and Eastern Districts which their great distance from (800 miles) and want of local knowledge at the Head Office precludes the possibility of their being sufficiently provided for or attended to.

The Report of the Commissioners of Inquiry I have read with much attention, and am happy to bear testimony of many of the salutary provisions contained therein, and beg to express my sincere opinion arising out of the experience of 10 years I have been at the Colony that their labours have been of infinite service to its interests.

In the statement I have made having reference to the appointment of Individuals to Offices over my head, I beg to declare that I disclaim any intention of depreciating the merit of individuals who have been so placed and have only the desire to shew my disappointments have been numerous and the conduct of the Government of the day to have injured me in the omission from the accumulation of public business, which injustice the Lieutenant Governor seems to have been conscious of. Vide Doc.G.

I beg leave to add that should Sir George MURRAY be pleased to direct an inquiry to be made to the late Governor Lord Charles SOMERSET, or to General BOURKE, relating to my conduct as a public officer in addition to the certificate hereunto annexed, I have no doubt the answers will be such as will be most satisfactory.

I have the honor to be Sir

Your obedient servant



Annexure A

[To George DYASON from Thomas LAWSON]

Graham's Town, Cape of Good Hope

18th June 1828

My Dear Sir,

I regret, in common with all the respectable part of the community of Albany, your being obliged to leave us at this time to visit England for a short period on your private concerns. I hope, however, it will be for your good, and that your absence will be as short as possible, for altho' an excellent young man has been appointed by the Lieut. Governor to act in your absence as my Secretary, yet your intimate knowledge of the whole business of this district of the Colony, and of the people, acquired by your long and active experience in the different situations you have so creditably filled under the Government, will render your early return most desirable to me, and advantageous for the Colony in general. Wishing you a prosperous voyage and all success,

I remain, my dear Sir,

Yours very faithfully


Resident Mag'te of Albany.




National Archives, Kew, CO48/133, 105

Annexure D

[To George DYASON from W.B. DUNDAS]

Graham's Town

June 7th 1828

Dear Sir,

As you are about to avail yourself of your leave of absence to proceed to England, and as it is my intention shortly to relinquish the situation I have for some time held in Albany, we may not perhaps meet again in our official capacities. I cannot therefore allow you to depart from this without your bearing with you the Testimony of my approval of your conduct while acting under me, which I have much satisfaction in saying has been always such as to merit my unqualified praise.

Sincerely hoping that you will attain the object of your visit to England and return to the Colony with increased means for the comfortable support of your family.

I remain

Yours most sincerely


Civil Commissioner for Albany and Somerset.


Annexure E

[To George DYASON, Bathurst, from Harry RIVERS]

Graham's Town

21st October 1822


In pursuance of the provisions and authority of the proclamation of His Excellency the Governor of the 4th of this month, I hereby appoint you Adjutant of th Albany Levy.

I am Sir

Your obedient servant


Landdrost of Albany


Annexure H

[To George DYASON from Capt. John FERNANDEZ]


June 1st 1829

Dear Sir,

I received your letter of the 30th ulto informing me of your arrival from the Cape and that you wished me to give you a certificate that you had served under me as clerk while I was acting as Asst. Comm'y Gen'l at Salamanca.

I think you served under my orders during the space of two years. Your attention to your public duties induced me to recommend you to the notice of the Commissary General who from on acting appointed you a clerk in the Commissariat.

I consider it but justice due to you to state that I received through the medium of a private friend the opinion of an Inspector who examined my public accounts, who told him that my accounts were so correctly made up, and the numbers accompanying so carefully arranged, that little trouble was experienced in their examination considering their magnitude and in consequence had but three queries made on them.

It gives me great pleasure to be able to comply with your request as it affords me the opportunity of acknowledging thus publicly the merit that is truly your due, and no more, and should you obtain any public employment any further reference that may be required whether personally or otherwise, you may at all times command me, a duty I consider your due, and in doing which I shall consider I am promoting the advantage of His Majesty's Service by being instrumental in placing a public trust in the hands of one who has at an early period of his life evinced a due estimate of so confidential and honorable a duty.

I beg to assure you of my sincere regard acquired by your upright conduct and remain

Yours truly


Capt. Late A.A.C.G.

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