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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.

SMITH, John (WILLSON's Party), 1820 Settler

National Archives, Kew CO48/45, 868

No. 19 Bedford Street


August 17th, 1819

Honored Sir,

Your Petitioner; has a Salery of 50 pounds a year for Part Services in his Majestys Services, which is not sufficient to support my family, consisting of a wife; and three sons all under 15 years of age – and hearing that their was a Colony to be established at the Cape of Good Hope I hope you will have goodness to give me a grant of so much of the land as you may think fitt; and also to grant me and my family a Passage out when the Ships Sails with the other Imegrants as to Reference to my Caracter I will Produce Several Admirals and Captains of his Majestys Navy whom I have had the honor to serve under. I hope you will excuse me for trespassing on your time and if this is not a [requisite] way for me to Proceed I hope you will be so kind as to Point [out] the form I am to go by so as I obtain a grant of Land for my Part Services and by so doing you will much oblige.

Your much obedient and very humble Servant

John SMITH Late

Boatswain H.M.S. Impregnable




National Archives, Kew CO48/45, 873

19 Bedford Street


24 August, 1819


Agreeable to the Printed form, I have the Deposit ready to put down at any time when called upon for the under mentioned Persons that I am going to take out to the Cape of Good Hope and subjoined is the names occupations and ages of the Same –

John SMITH, 42, Husbandman

His wife, Rebecca, 36

Children, boy John 15

Children, boy, Thomas, 8

Children, boy, William 4

William WOODS, 30, Husbandman

His wife, Mary, 30

One child, James, 3

One chills, John, 12 months

James WOODS, 24, Painter

His wife, Jane, 22

One child, Thomas 3

One child, Elizabeth, ? months

William CORNISH, 34, Cork Cutter, Single

Thomas, HENDERSON, 40, Blacksmith,

His wife, Mary 38

Child, Jane, 11 years old

William THOMPSON, 26, Joiner

His wife, Mary, 29

Children James, 11

Children John, 6

William DAVIS, 32, Carpenter, Single

John WATTS, 26, Painter

His wife, Mary, 20

One Child , James 1

William FINLEY, 25, Surveyor

His wife, Ellen, 24

Richard FITZSIMONS, 42, Carpenter

His wife, Hannah, 38

His son, John 18, Carpenter

His son, William, 7

His son, Thomas, 5

His son, Henery, 3

Richard, 1

William BARRATT, 38, Gardner

His son, William , 19}

His son, Charles, 19} Twins

And I hope you will have the goodness to let me have earliest notice possible as I have a little Property to Dispose off and by So doing you will much oblige

Your most obedient






National Archives, Kew CO48/45, 977

Bedford Street


October 1 1819

My Lord

I have received your letter of the 30th of September informing me that my Proposals cannot be attended to.

It has put me and my party to a great disadvantage; for I have already Sold off my effects to be ready to go to the Cape of Good Hope; and almost all the Party connected have done the Same not thinking at this recent date we Should have been refused. I humbly beg to know whether it is me, (individually) or the whole Party, and for what reason we are objected and I Remain with due Respect

Your most obedient and Humble Servant


Superannuated Boatswain of H.M.S. Impregnable

[Note from GOULBURN – John SMITH and others wish to go at their own expence]




National Archives, Kew CO48/45, 1000

19Bedford Street


6th Oct, 1819


I inclose a list of Ten men that wishes to go to settle at the Cape of Good Hope, and they cannot go out on government account they will pay there own passage, if Government will grant them a Certain proportion of Land on there arivel at the Cape of(f) Good Hope, they are All very respectable men and all of them have some property by them and can have any referance Earl BARTHURST may require, they are they same party that was rejected with me and I hope you will have the kindness to use your influance with Earl BARTHURST in my favour as we have greatly Disapointed , and likewise at a great Lose by Disposing of our Effects.

I am Sir,

Your Hbl. Servt.


List of the Mens Names and property

John SMITH £160 and £50 per annum

Thomas HENDERSON £100 and £30 per annum

William FINLEY, £150 per annum

Thomas THOMPSON, £150 per annum

William WOODS, £100 per annum

John WOODS, £80 per annum

William BARRETT 1st, £80 per annum

William BARRETT 2nd, £80 per annum

Stephen WHITE, £100 per annum

John HAYES, £150 per annum

William CORNISH, 160 pounds per annum

Each person can command the above Sums (anexed to there Name) Independent of there Deposet Money.

[On the back of one of the pages are two words written by one of the government officials “Too Late”.]




National Archives, Kew CO48/45, 1028

19 Bedford Street


15 October, 1819


I hope your kindness will excuse me in trespassing on your time at this Present but having Sent in a letter Some time back with the names and the little Capital they are possessed off = of the men that was to go out to the Cape of Good Hope with me and Pay their own Passage but I now find the Price of the Passage is so high that it is impossible for either me or them to Pay it. I therefore pray you will have the kindness to give me liberty to take them out as others go as we all have already disposed of our effects to be in readiness which will be a great loss to us all and if it should be that I am so unfortunate as not to obtain a grant, I hope your honour will not hold me so long in suspence as to loose the opportunity of entering into some other Party and if you will be Pleased to look at the letter I sent to Mr. SMITH in your office you will see the Capital we Possess and I my Self have been 17 years an officer in His Majesty's service and have a pension of fifty Pound per annum but I find it is not sufficient to Support my family here, but I think in a little time at the Cape I could make it do very well in the Cape of Good Hope.

In consideration of my Services and large family and the Selling off my Effects I hope your honour will take it into Consideration and grant me the favour of taking out my number of ten families and by so doing you much obliging

Your most obedient and humble Servant.

John SMITH late

Boatswain of H.M.S. Impregnable




National Archives, Kew CO48/45, 1054

19 Bedford Street


October 30, 1819


Being one of them that was Rejected from taking out 10 families to the Cape of Good Hope and having Sold almost all my effects for the purpose of going their, not [perceiving?] a refusal – in consequence of which I hope your Lordship will have the kindness to allow me individually a grant of land to be given me from the governor of the Coloney when I arrive their and if your Lordship cannot allow me and my family to go with the other Settlers I shall endeavour to get out [to] the Cape [any] way I can.

And I have with the greatest Respect the honour to be

Your Lordship's most obedient and humble Servant


Boatswain of H.M.S Impregnable




The following letter is possibly also by the same John SMITH, because of the recommendation by J.C. FREELING

National Archives, Kew CO48/45, 1003

No 23 John Street North

New Road

[undated, probably 6 October 1819]

My Lord

It is with the utmost respect I take the liberty in the name of, and for our society to address these lines to you to state that our society which consist of 18 respectable cullivators and Mecanics have Received according to your orders a Refusal of their proposals, when in the mean time another society without men have got the grant, and were obliged to advertise for men this day as your Lordship will see by the copy taking out of the Morning advertiser.

“Cape of good hope, a few respectable persons possessed of a small capital desirous of settling at the Cape, may meet with an opportunity by applying to A. B. joiners arms westminster road this day between the hours of 10 and 4. Wanted as well a few strong healthy Labourers apply as above.

October 6, 1819”

In addition to this, my lord I am requested to state to your Lordship that several of our society went to enter in the above society but were surprised at a demand being made of 5£ from each individual as gratitude Money, for the Expence which they had had to get the grant.

Having explained our motives for troubling you, I take the liberty of laying my unhappy Solicitation down before you my lord. I have served in his Majesty's navy upwards of 10 years for which I receive a pension of eleven pounds a year, which is all I have to maintain a wife and three small children no Employment to be got whatever, therefore I see no hopes before me but starvation except your Lordship would condescend to grant us your protection to go to the Cape.

I have the honour to subscribe myself in the name and in behalf of our society

Your Lordship's most obedient humble servant


Recommended by Mr Clayton FREELING private Secretary to the Chancellor of the Exchequer

Our agent name

Mr Edward MARTIN

No 51 Long Lane


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