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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.

WILLSON, Thomas, 1820

National Archives, Kew, CO48/53, 455

La Belle Alliance


3 January 1820


I have the honor to inclose herewith a final correction of my return of settlers proceeding to the Cape of Good Hope, and not having received your instructions as to the mode of my drawing my deposit at the Cape I am particularly anxious to know what steps will be taken to ensure me the difference of the exchange, and the interest of the money, or whether I am to provide myself with dollars in this country! I shall therefore do myself the honor of waiting upon you for this purpose previous to leaving Deptford

I have the honor to be Sir

Your most obedient servant


I have also returned the dispatch for the Governor agreeable to you

[Note from GOULBURN]

Alter accordingly. The Governor will pay him his deposit according to the terms laid down in the circular without interest & at the [average?] rate of exchange




National Archives, Kew, CO48/53, 459

Millers Hotel

Westminster Bridge (Surry Side)

6 January 1820


On Monday the 3rd instant agreeable to your desire I had the honor of forwarding to you the final correction of my return of settlers and also the Governors Dispatch, requesting at the same time to be favored with your instructions as to the mode of drawing the deposit &c & I must beg to wait in London to ascertain your pleasure thereon.

As the Rev'd Will'm BOARDMAN pursuant to his appointment has now embarked his large family, it has now become necessary from peculiar circumstances for me to request that he may be permitted to draw his stipend or a [moiety?] of it in advance, for without meaning any disrespect I cannot but apprehend much inconvenience unless he receives such pecuniary aid: requesting your early attention hereto

I have the honor to be Sir

Your most obedient humble servant





National Archives, Kew, CO48/53, 496

Cape Town

16 May 1820

My Lord,

With all due feelings of respect and high consideration and a grateful sense of your Lordships benign views in the arrangements which have been made on board La Belle Alliance Transport for the health and comfort of the settlers who have arrived in this Colony under my direction, I cannot proceed onwards from this port without feeling it to be my duty to express my best and most grateful acknowledgements.

We have made the passage without accident in eleven weeks from the Downs and except in the cases of Measles and Small Pox which was brought on board by some of the settlers children we have had excellent health, and it is my duty to say that in general the settlers have not only stated themselves to be well satisfied but have expressed their gratitude for the excellent accommodation and provisions which were furnished for them by your Lordships direction, and I believe in so large and varied a party it would be difficult to select an instance wherein greater order has more generally prevailed, with exception of two juvenile thieves who for example sake [I] have found it necessary to be punished, but careful to avoid the character of severity on the passage, notwithstanding their repeated depredations, for the sake of example only (the agent being of the same opinion) I have been induced to deliver them over to His Majesty's Fiscal for punishment: it is not in my power to do ample justice to the humane character of Cap't YOUNG of Deptford whose benevolent views appear to have anticipated every minute comfort for us (consistent with the nature of service) more particularly for the female settlers, who I am very sure will not fail to hold him in grateful remembrance who with myself must ever feel particularly obliged for such great precaution as to our health and accommodation. We also owe much to Cap't ROLFE (the Master) for his polite attention and humanity, and obliging civility to all classes during the voyage, and to Lieut. WILLIAMS RN, the agent on board, whose gentlemanly conduct is beyond all praise, I must always feel myself highly indebted for the dignified, firm and concilliating manner with which he has carried the Government regulations into effect and whose duty I believe it is to furnish your Lordship with a return of the Births and Deaths which have occurred on the passage.

Arriving at this port I have great pleasure and satisfaction in saying that the most prompt facility and explanation have been afforded us by Colonel BIRD, the Colonial Secretary, as far as is consistent with his public duty, and I am informed that we are to be located not far from Grahams Town on the Great Fish River: this I very much regret to say has excited a considerable degree of anxiety and some dissatisfaction and even dismay, from its being a greater distance from the coast than the Government circular would appear to imply, and as the settlers were not prepared for this unexpected information of their having to travel thus far into the Interior at their individual expence and resources, I cannot conceal my fears upon the subject, that it will greatly distress the party. I am already inundated (upon the ground of the consuming expence and great distance) with daily remonstrances that it will make beggars of more than one half of the party before we arrive at the place of our destination. Thus I feel myself placed in a most hazardous and even dangerous situation, which I feel the more acutely from the weighty responsibility which naturally attaches to me as their Leader, and that too without any legal authority to control the disaffected: otherwise than by some wholesome [covenant?] to prevent theft and illegal combinations which I have thought proper to insert and have printed at this place as part of the conditions of my sub-grants: and I must pray your Lordship to suggest to His Excellency the Governor for my personal security that he will be pleased to invest me with some kind of station which will afford me a little respect and safety as a means of checking the turbulent, otherwise after all my heavy expences, excessive labour and severe anxiety with a view of promoting the views of Government by undertaking the direction of so large a party in a foreign and remote colony, thus easing my country of part of its redundant population (if I am to believe what I hear) I [have?] to anticipate from disappointed hope that I am destined to be the first victim on the altar of revenge! These feelings of dissatisfaction I am aware may in some measure arise from the varied, contradictory and prejudiced accounts which daily arrive from the Interior and from the settlers who have preceded us; but confiding always in the wisdom of the Executive and His Excellency the Governor, who I understand will receive us personally at Algoa Bay, I hope I shall be able in a great measure to dissipate the jealousy and distrust which have created so much alarm, and that I may shortly have it in my power from my own observation to furnish your Lordship (if such information will be acceptable) with more satisfactory details than I have been in the habit of receiving here.

Taking all things into consideration it has occurred to me from the great influx of population in the district I am to inhabit, foreseeing that a number of artificers and persons of mechanical genius who have entered themselves as farmers will naturally fall with their former occupations and that additional towns and villages will most probably grow out of such a state of things; I have suggested a plan for a town which can be systematically and progressively acted upon: to express its origin I have given it the name of Angloville, which name I have also inserted in my printed forms for sub-grants. It will in the beginning simply take the form of a square, which with your Lordships permission as a token of my respect and from a grateful sense of duty I must beg leave to call Bathurst Square, in the center of which it is proposed when our funds will admit of the expence to erect a colossal monument of our beloved Sovereign King George the Fourth, and as other squares and streets occur in the design His Majesty's Ministers will not be omitted in marking our gratitude for the present epoch of our lives, with the natural feeling and spirit we must ever have for our native and beloved country.

But when I reflect upon the probable results of this most arduous but interesting enterprise I must beg leave to throw myself upon your Lordships protection and indulgence, as you must be aware that I am exposed not only to great danger from the disaffected but to every deception, ingratitude, insult and misrepresentation! Before I left England I felt it incumbent upon me to dismiss and return the deposits of several who had embarked apparently with a view of forming desperate combinations and I must beg to submit to your Lordships consideration injustice to the difficult and arduous enterprise in which I am engaged upon public grounds, that I may derive some real benefit for my descendants (for myself it will be impossible) but in return for all my labour, anxiety and excessive expence, toil and care which I must encounter for years to come, that I should be permitted as a voluntary servant of this country to hold a freehold grant for the number of acres to which I may be entitled, so that I may look forward to some real benefit and be enabled to pursue my views in this colony with some better hope of profit and advantage to my family.

Trusting that your Lordship will do me the honor of a communication upon this subject and that you will condescend to recommend me to the protection and support of His Excellency the Governor, permit me to place my personal services entirely at your Lordships disposal, in the hope of some appointment amongst the number that must arise under our System of Improvement, and that I may be distinguished by the honor of your Lordships remembrance.

I have the honor to be, my Lord, with all deference and devotion

Your most obedient, faithful and very humble servant


[Note from GOULBURN across second page]

Acquaint him that Ld B only forbears to take his request into consideration because he considers it more advisable that it should be submitted to the Governor for his consideration & approval


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