EMIGRANT, an anonymous
National Archives, Kew CO48/43, 74
London 19th Sept 1891 [sic]
The protracted suspence in which you keep us poor emigrants is alike hurtful to our property and feelings. Your Lordship knows what description of persons the Government consider most eligible, therefore when a list is presented why not say at once if it is or is not accepted, this would enable the applicants to prepare for quitting this country or to look after work if they remain in it. Quarter day is fast approaching, the poor man must either continue his house or give it up; if he continues it and should be amongst the elect number he must forfeit a quarters rent or break his engagement with the person leading the party, if he gives it up and should be amongst those rejected he and his family are destitute of a residence. This incertitude is equally oppressive upon those men undertaking to lead parties, they are at a considerable expence in forming engagements with their workmen, these engagements can only be conditional as your Lordship will not tell them whether they really can go and these workmens necessities will not allow a day of their letting work pass them in vague hopes only. Therefore should the engaging partys offer be at last accepted when he comes to look for his people one tells him he waited until tired and then took a long job which he cannot leave, another says the time is too short to dispose of my furniture to any advantage and without which I cannot provide necessaries for my children therefore I will not go. Thus the person engaging is obliged a second time to procure people and the list first sent to your Lordship must be altered accordingly, and all this at the moment when he should be purchasing what is necessary for himself and people, both on the passage and after being landed at the Colony.
If it is intended that the £50,000 granted by Parliament should do the greatest good to the men for whom it is meant to be expended I humbly conceive your Lordship should say to those persons offering to lead parties and who may be eligible for your offer of taking so many people to the Cape is accepted provided the men are of such and such descriptions.
However if the whole is only a political measure intended to form a barrier against the Caffres in order to enable Government to lessen or withdraw altogether the military posts on that frontier, the interest of the settler need not be so assiduously attended to as the poorer a man is the less reluctance he generally has to become a soldier or militiaman, but even in this case it would be only justice in your Lordship to give the people going out a hint of it, in order that they may not lay out all their little fortune on domestic and farming necessaries but reserve a part to furnish munitions of war so that when their Caffre neighbours pay them a visit more efficient response than pitchforks and spades may be at hand.
I am your Lordship's very humble servant
A Proposed Emigrant