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.

SHIELLS, William

National Archives, Kew CO48/45, 959


23 Sept 1819

My Lord,

I have used the freedom of troubling your Lordship to learn if I could be included in the number of those Government intend sending to the Cape of Good Hope, as I could command the sum necessary to make a deposit of £10 each for at least 10 settlers. I have hitherto been employed as a nursery and seedsman and in business in that line for the last 12 years with a small farm attach'd and from my knowledge and experience in botany and the qualities of soil necessary for propagating different vegetables I flatter myself I could benefit both the colony & myself in introducing or propagating vegetable productions not naturalized there, and also in supplying this country through the nurserymen &c in London & Edinburgh with new or scarce plants which are in much request. In contemplation of this I have for some time past been collecting seeds of different vegetables & fruits – gooseberries I have seeds from upwards of 100 varieties & with all the sorts of currants & rasps which plants I understand have as yet fail'd at the colony, and as I understand the kinds of apples and pears they have are bad I would take a collection of the best sorts, which I am well acquainted with. I am just now also collecting seeds of forrest trees which I would endeavour to cultivate any sorts that might be found usefull.

I have held a commission since 1803 in the Dalkeith Volunteers and transferred with them into the Local Militia (1st Midlothian) and as I attended regularly and took much interest in it I could take an active part in assisting to drill the settlers if found necessary. My age is 35 and have a wife and four children under 13. I humbly request your Lordship will have the goodness to cause me to be informed if I can be admitted as one of those sent out, that I might make the necessary arrangements, as in that event I would wish to take out an iron plough and other agricultural implements in use here. I would wish also to know how far the settlement is to be from the coast or any river and what time and from what ports the vessels will [sail]

I am most respectfully my Lord

Your Lordship's most humble servant


At Mr. James SCOTT

No.1 Park Street


  • Hits: 5842