The following extracts are from various books on the 1820 Settlers:
From: 'Some Frontier Families' - I. Mitford-Barberton and Violet White:
The first Settler to be killed on the frontier was Benjamin Anderson, a boy of 15, who was murdered while herding cattle on David Hobson's farm in 1821.
From: 'Thus Came the English' - Dorothy E. Rivett Carnac:
More and more often, silent figures would appear at night at the cattle kraals, killing anyone who might be on guard and driving the cattle off across the river. It was useless to follow them in the thick bush. Benjamin Anderson who was guarding cattle, disappeared with the whole herd without trace. It was later discovered that he had been brutally murdered and the cattle driven across the border. Major Jones set out with 150 infantry, a detachment of Cape Calvalry and 20 mounted burghers in the hope of finding the boy alive but it was not until some time later that the Kaffir chief Botman revealed that he had caught the thief who had confessed to the murder.
Richard Freemantle when in charge of Mahoney's wagon, was attacked by Kaffirs and killed. Sam and John, Freemantle's two sons were wounded but managed to escape into the bush. Sam picked up his brother and carried him many miles to safety but John died from the wounds he had received.
From: 'The Story of the British Settlers of 1820 in South Africa' - H.E.Hockly:
...while Mahoney's wagon was returning from Bathurst in charge of Richard Freemantle, his two sons, Sam and John, and another Settler, the Kaffirs made a sudden attack. After killing Freemantle and wounding both his sons the murderers set off in pursuit of the fourth man, who had managed to escape their assegais but he was able to elude them. Taking advantage of their absence, Sam picked up his brother John and carried him some miles until they were met by some of Mahony's people, who escorted them to a place of safety, but John died from the wounds he had received. On returning to the wagon the Kaffirs plundered it and then drove the cattle into Kaffirland.
From: 'Some Frontier Families' - I. Mitford-Barberton and V. White:
In 1822 Settler Richard Freemantle with his two sons Sam and John and another man were returning from Bathurst with Mahoney's wagon to their location near the Clay Pits, when they were attacked by Xhosa. Richard was murdered and the two sons were wounded, although Samuel managed to escape into the bush. While the natives were following the fourth Settler, who had managed to escape, Sam carried his wounded brother for two miles until he reached the Mohany location where John died from the wounds he had received. Sam hurried into Grahamstown and had the bodies fetched. The Mahony wagon had been plundered and the cattle driven into Kaffirland. That same day, another man named Stubbs was also murdered by the Xhosa.
From: 'The Chronicle of Jeremiah Goldswain' - van Riebeeck Series 27
[This is a more or less contemporary account, being written by Jeremiah Goldswain*, who came to South African as a youth but, when an older man wrote out the story of his life as a Settler. It is probable that his description of the events formed the basis of later records. This is a book that is well worth reading, being an informative and amusing history of his times. He writes exactly as he spoke and it takes a page or two for one to get used to his Buckinghamshire accent, but thereafter it is as if he is carrying on a conversation and talking directly to the reader.]
About this time two boys ware missing from Willsons partey: they ware hearding thear fathers Cattle: they Cattle was sant for but cold not be found: in a few days they two Children was found partley eaten by the wild beast but they bodeys was in such a state that it could not be seen how they had met with thear death and they Cattle was never found. [This was in August 1823 - Mark Sloman aged eight and Thomas Donovan aged eleven - Ref: Cory 'The Rise of South Africa II page 141] About this time we did not think it was Kaffirs that stole they Cattle or killed meney of the Settlers. Jest before this thear ware sevril of they Settlers missed: Mr. Anderson about 22 years of age: Mr. Stubbs Left a wife and a large famley. After the two months I left Mr. Healeys and ingaged with Mr. James Cannon for two pounds five shillings per Month and bord. Juley  Mr. Mahoney had sent his wagon for a Load of fier wood and sum poles in charge of Richard Freemantle two of his sons [John and Samuel] and one other Englishman and as they ware returning and about a little more than a Mile from the howse they Kaffirs sprung out of the wood and sum of them thrue ther Asigies and others sprung on they men. Mr. Richard Freemantle was stabbed to death: Samul [Samuel] Freemantle was wounded and his Brother John had anasigie throne throne at him wich went almost thrue his bodey: he fell and as he fell his Brother Samuel was in the act of pulling out the asigie out of his leg: Quit under his knee it went right thrue his Leg and passed wright past his other leg so that he could not walk: but as soon as he could draw it out he sprung to his Brother John and thrue him on his back and run off with him wile they Jaffers were in chase of the other Englishman and cared him about half a mile and hrues [through] the cries and the poor men caling out it had a larmed Mr. Mahonys famley. They run down to see what was the caus of the alarm and met S. Freemantle running with his Brother John on his Back: as soon as they met he laid his Brother down and wile he was informing them of what had taken place his poor Brother died and he with the loss of blood was Quit faint. They Kaffers lost site of the other man: returned and out spanded the Oxen and tuck them away and every thing that they thought proper. They Killed two and wounded one out of four and the forth had averey narrow escape: he saw the Kaffer throu the Asisie at him and sprung out of the way of it and runafter it and the Kaffer run also but the man got the Asigie and thrue it at the Kaffre but missed him: the Kaffer came at him to stab him: he up fist and nocked him down: he got home Late in the evening much bruesed and fetueged. S. Freemantle was taken to the Militey post [at the Clay Pits] about one Mile an half: a padrole was sent after the Kaffer and Cattle but was uncucful. At the end of August I went to the claypites with a load of tiles for the barrix [Barracks for the blockhouse which Lieut.-Col. Scott established in 1822 at the Clay Pits for the purpose of controlling trade] and saw S. Freemantle as he was lien in a tent and saw the wound and the Asigie wich he was stabbed with, ...
Note: The assegai which was removed from Samuel Freemantle's leg and which Jeremiah Goldswain saw was labelled as such and retained in the Albany Museum for many years, but it has since been removed from its original position and mixed in with many other 'cultural' weapons and other items in the historical museum.
From: 'When Boys Were Men' - Edited by Guy Butler.
John Stubbs from London arrived in the 'Northampton' with a large and growing family, as a member of Clarke's party. The inexperience of these town-bred people is vividly and comically remembered by Thomas, a lad of 12 at the time, as is the muddle of the frontier administration.
Stubb's record of his youth is, perhaps, the most exciting and tragic of all that have survived. He has considerable skill as a narrator, a good eye for peculiarities of dress, an excellent ear for dialects. The Clay Pits, close to the frontier, where the party was located, figure frequently and usually tragically in early Settler history. The district of Albany is rich in clays of various kinds, as Thomas Hancock, a potter from Staffordshire, was quick to note. One of its indigenous uses particularly intrigued him. Writing from the Salem party to his relatives in London in May 1821, he says: 'We are situated near Caffirland, a race little known to Europeans. We are informed they derive their name from Cafara an Arabic name for infidel ... The men are rather taller in general than the Hottentot, stronger made; their whole exterior denotes strength and spirit. The women are not as handsome, much smaller and seldom exceed five feet in height. Both men and women have a custom of colouring their bodies with red ochre which they mix with water, then rub themselves with it till it is dried on, then they smear it over with fat. There have been several thousands within these few days to a place not more than a day's journey from here for the purpose of getting this red earth ...'
'It seems that the Clay Pits had for many years been a favourite supply point for cosmetic clay for the Xhosa. Of this fact, the Settlers in the neighbourhood - Stubbs, Brown, Mahoney and others - were obviously ignorant. There seems to have been a quite deliberate silence on the part of the authorities on this score: the Settlers were simply not told that they were being located on disputed territory. In diary after diary this fact only dawns on them as they arrive on location, to find the burnt out hulk of a Boer's house; or to be given a friendly piece of advice to take their muskets with them when they went out to plough. Stubbs' account of his father's death leaves out certain important facts. It has been established that he and others were engaged in large-scale smuggling, not merely of beads and buttons, but of brandy. Trade of any sort with the tribesmen was illegal; but, faced with the failure of the soil to produce a livelihood, the Settlers had to break the law or starve - or abandon the piece of ground into which he had sunk his capital.'
Extracts below are from Thomas Stubb's own account:
[This, too, is a more or less contemporary record of Settler life, seen through the eyes of Thomas Stubbs, as a young boy, who travelled with his parents from London in the same ship as the Freemantle family and they were also located at the Clay Pits. As happened to the Freemantle children, his father was also murdered by the Xhosa. With all these similarities, it conveys many insights into the situations, which faced both families.
My father and family were put down here [Stoney Vale] by mistake, as our location was about eight miles further on, at the Caffer Clay Pits. Brown with his party were taken on. There was a great to-do off loading, pitching tents and making preparations. We had some sheep and cattle, which we received in Grahams Town for rations. It was a very dreary looking place, especially to us. (The cattle were untrained and unused to English commands) In 1822 we were still living in tents ... it was now arranged that I and my brother William were to herd the cattle. We had to take our books with us to learn lessons set by my mother and say them when we came home at night. This went on for some time until a young lad, named Williams, while herding cattle at Stoney Vale (he was reading his book) was murdered by Caffers and his body thrown into a vley. Our books were now exchanged for guns.
Shortly after we had commenced the house a Caffer interpreter came and bought a pass from an officer from Fort Wiltshire for 500 Caffers to get red clay at our place. The next day they arrived, the men chiefly on pack oxen, the women on foot. There could not have been less than 800 to 1000, but there was no protection sent for our stock and us. My father would not allow us boys to go with the cattle, which ran without a herd and I must say that although this sort of thing lasted about eight months, we never lost a beast.
The Caffers brought a great quantity of ivory. They had their camp about three miles from us on the Coombs river. We bought a large quantity of beads and buttons. For a large tooth [tusk] we gave from 60 to 80 belt-buttons, sometimes as much as 100. We gave about the same for an ox...
This sort of thing was carried on for about eight months, when it was recommended to the Government by that wise Landdrost, Harry Rivers (alias pumpkin-guts, alias humbug) that it should be put a stop to as he considered the clay too valuable for the Caffers to get for nothing and also to put a stop to our trading with them. He was doing a stunning trade himself by sending Boesak, captain of the Hottentots at Theopolis to trade under the pretence of shooting elephants (of which the country was full at that time).
A company of soldiers of the 6th Regiment under Captain Duke pitched their tents about half a mile from us and commenced to build a fort close to the Clay Pits. The soldiers fired at some Caffirs getting clay and one of them reached Cafferland. Now commenced our troubles; the Caffers stole our cattle and murdered a man called Johnstone in the Cap river. Shortly after Mahoney's wagon was bringing a load of poles from the bush when they were attacked by Caffers and Old Mr. Freemantle was on the wagon, his son John leading. They were both murdered. The other son, Samuel, escaped with an assagie through his leg, and a man named Dick Wilton made his escape after having a tussle with a Caffer. The Caffers cut the oxen loose and made off with them. Samuel Freemantle gave the alarm to the soldiers, who fetched the two bodies, where I saw them.
My father was continually buying cattle in Graham's Town and the Caffers were continually stealing them, so that his funds ran out. The only chance to get cattle was to go to Cafferland at the Fish river, and trade for beads and buttons. As this was against the law, patrols were continually set out to intercept them....
...Thomas Stubbs' father was also 'murdered by the Caffers']...
My father was taken to Graham's Town to be buried. My brother, John and Tom Hood were allowed to attend the funeral. They were afterwards tried by the Landdrost and Heemraden, and sentenced to six months imprisonment, and the cattle, horses, ivory, gins & c., confiscated. But they were liberated the next day when Hood laid information against Boesak, captain of the Hottentots, for having two wagons laden with ivory, which they had bought from the Caffers....
[They were employed by Harry Rivers]
[About six months after his father's death, his mother died 'evidently heartbroken,' leaving an eight month old baby, George, the eldest, John 17 and 'no female near us to help' ... 'I was obliged to wash and dress the baby.' ...
'The Orphan Chamber took all we had and sold them by Public Auction. Major Dundas was the Landdrost at the time, and bought largely of the splendid linen goods my mother brought out (they were not to be had in the Colony.) ...
Our family was now to be broken up, which came very hard upon us, as we had always been, while our parents were alive, as happy as princes.
[The older boys were apprenticed and each of the others went into different homes.]
From: 'Roll of the British Settlers in South Africa.' - E. Morse Jones.
Thomas Stubbs 1809- , A son of John Stubbs he sailed in 'Northampton and was married in 1832 to Sarah Miller. In 1841 he started an omnibus service between Grahamstown and Port Frances and in 1843 with Samuel Dell, he formed a sporting club at Grahamstown. In the war of 1846-1847 he raised and commanded Stubb's Mounted Rangers. He started a weekly passenger cart service between Grahamstown and Port Elizabeth in 1848. In the war of 1850-1853 he was appointed Field-cornet, Grahamstown District and, as Captain, he led the Albany Rangers in a succession of engagements. He was a committee member of the Albany Rifle Club and in 1857 Steward of the Grahamstown Turf Club. He left a 'Diary'.
[For further reading: The voyage of the 'Northampton' to the Cape is described in 'The Reminiscences of Thomas Stubbs' - edited by W.A.Maxwell and R.T.McGeogh (Cape Town - A.A.Balkema 1978) and in 'The Journal of Sophia Pigot' - edited by Maragret Rainier (Cape Town, A.A.Balkema, 1974)]
From: 'The Settler Handbook' by M.D.Nash.
No. 4 on the Colonial Department List, led by Thomas Mahoney, an architect and builder of 53, Charles Street, Westminster. In his letter of application, Mahoney claimed to own property in London and to have been employed for 12 years by the Royal Engineering Department in Ireland, where he built Martello and signal towers at Cork harbour and Bantry Bay. His party originally included Edward Turvey, and was accepted on the recommendation of Turvey's patroness, the Dowager Countess of Liverpool. Mahoney subsequently excluded Turvey from the party and the latter, in high indignation, formed a separate party of his own.
[Mahoney's] was a proprietary party, and although it included a number of Irish families, it seems likely it was recruited in London. Under their articles of agreement, Mahoney's men were to work for him for three years, to be fed and clothed and to receive, in addition, wages of seven pounds a year in the case of labourers and ten pound a year for skilled tradesmen. Mahoney undertook to give each family 35 acres of land and a two-roomed house at the end of the service period.
Deposits were paid for 16 men, and after numerous last minute changes the party embarked at Deptford in the 'Northampton's transport, which sailed from Gravesend on 13 December 1819. A fellow-passenger in the ship, Sophie Pigot, recorded in her journal that several 'great disturbances' were caused during the voyage by the belligerent behaviour of Mahoney and his Irish servants. The 'Northampton' anchored in Table Bay on 26 March 1820 and reached Algoa Bay on 30 April. The party was located on the right bank of the Coombs River, and the location was known as The Coombs.
Mahoney's men soon mutinied against his treatment of them and were released from his service, and Tom Berrington took over the leadership of what remained of the party.
[Articles of Agreement between Thomas Mahoney and his servants, signed in the Downs, off Deal are reproduced in Cory's 'Rise of South Africa II' page 41.]
Mahoney;s party is one of the most difficult of the settler parties to list with any degree of confidence. On 22 December 1819, the Colonial Department formally instructed the Commissioners of the Navy to allow substitutes to board the transport ships in place of men who had withdrawn from the emigrant parties, provided the original numbers for whom deposits had been paid and provision made were not exceeded. Mahoney's people had embarked in the 'Northampton' a month before this instruction was issued, and rather than risk rejection, the numerous substitutes in the party had temporarily adopted the names of the men they had replaced. This deception does not seem to have been discovered by the authorities; the Agent of Transports who was responsible for the settlers on board the 'Northampton' did not sail in her but in her sister ship the 'Ocean'.
A more reliable source of names than the Agent of Transports' list, in this case, is the agreement signed by Mahoney and his servants in the Downs off Deal after the party had sailed. A comparison of the two lists suggests that James McFarland Snr. and Jnr., Alexander Patten and Charles (or Cornelius) Lamb, whose names appear on the agent's list, did not in fact sail with the party. They seem to have been replaced by Richard Freemantle, Samuel Freemantle, Thomas Alder, John Shearan, Denis Sullivan (all of whom signed the agreement) and Thomas Berrington. Berrington's signature does not appear on the agreement; he may have been an independent settler who paid his own deposit and was not bound in service to Mahoney. References traced in Colonial records confirm that all six of these 'replacements' were in fact in the Cape between 1820 and 1825.
John Brown - owner of the Red Clay Pits (Kaffir Clay Pits) near Kaffir Drift, Great Fish River was murdered at the outbreak of war - 22.12.1834, with Whittaker, at Thomas Mahoney's farm near the Clay Pits, while in command of a patrol of 24 Hottentots and other persons of colour and one white man. The farm was surrounded by Kaffirs who induced Brown and Whittaker to leave the patrol in order to hold a parley. When beyond musket range, both men were killed. Their action in leaving the patrol for the purpose of a parley was strongly condemned.
From: 'Frontier Post - the Story of Grahamstown' - Joy Collier
"[...the Settlers'] feelings were well described by the Rev. Henry Hare Dugmore. 'It was a forlorn plight in which we found ourselves when the Dutch wagoners had emptied us and our luggage onto the green-sward, and left us sitting on our boxes and bundles under the open firmament of heaven. Our roughly-kind carriers seemed, as they wished us goodbye, to wonder what would become of us. There we were in the wilderness, and when they had gone we had no means of following, had we wished to do so. We must take root and grow, or die where we stood. But we were standing on our own ground, and it was the first time many could say so. This thought raised us to action - the tents were pitched - the night-fires kindled around them to scare away wild beasts, and the life of the settler began'
...Cattle rustling was part of their [the Kaffirs] way of life and the war of 1819 had made them more rather than less violent. The Sloman children were murdered while herding cattle; two settlers were killed and a third wounded near the Clay Pits on the boarder of Kaffirland. As for the theft of cattle it became an occupational hazard, which the cattle owner was forced to accept as permanent, and to trace the thieves or murderers proved almost impossible. The supposed murderer of the men of Mahoney's party at Clay Pits was caught and put in the new gaol, only to be found innocent and released - but not before a visit from Phillips who gives a surprisingly pleasant picture of the occasion. 'Gaika gave up one Caffre as the murderer and he was lodged in the tronk [gaol]. As soon as I heard of it, I went to see him ... There were several Hottentots and some slaves squatting around the courtyard, but on the first view he was more prominent, not only blacker, but so much taller and more muscular than the others. A diminutive Hottentot (acted as interpreter) and the conversation commenced.
'On the first question being exchanged, it was pleasing to see the animation which instantly overspread his countenance, his fine raised forehead lost its wrinkles, and such an amiable smile appeared that I felt in my heart as if I should encourage him by a friendly shake of the hand.
'He said he was entirely innocent of the crime ... This you may suppose created in us a greater interest, and his manner altogether, and the smoothness of his language, and his expressive way of stating ... made me inwardly ask, "Can this be an untutored savage"'
'He begged us to believe 'That he was a good Caffre that he not only would not murder a white man, but that he never had and never would steal cattle from us.'
'The Officer (with me) with a laugh exclaimed looking at him, "I would not trust you though, my Old Boy, amongst a herd of fine cows."
'The Caffre could not understand him of course, but he caught the inflection and burst into a jolly laugh also, in which we all joined.
'When after assuring him that if he were innocent he should be again set at liberty, we left him, happier, I am convinced, than we found him.'
ABOUT THE BRITISH EMIGRATION SCHEME TO THE CAPE COLONY-1820.
From 'The Settler Handbook' - M.D.Nash.
[Note: In most books concerning the Settlers, Thomas Mahoney's name is spelt like that (with an 'ey'), and judging from the name as written on the lists, it seems to have been spelt that way. However, M.D.Nash, after access to and comparison of these, plus the letters of application to the Colonial Department, spelt it in 'The Settler Handbook thus: MAHONY.]
The Cape Emigration scheme for which the British Government voted Fifty Thousand Pounds in July, 1819 had a threefold purpose. In the first place it was intended to settle the disputed eastern frontier of the Cape of Good Hope with an agrarian farming community whose presence would discourage Xhosa pastoralists and cattle raiders from crossing the colonial boundary. Secondly, it was intended to increase the English-speaking population of a recently acquired Colony that was still predominantly Dutch in its language and customs. Thirdly, it was an expedient gesture on the part of a shaky government to ease political tensions in Britain that had been stretched to snapping point by post-war unemployment, 'the distress of the times and the badness of the trade'.
This last object was the most urgent of the three; faced with mass protest meetings, strikes and the threat of riots, the government was anxious to make 'a show of doing something for the people'. Emigration was seen by many as their chance for a better life, although Radical critics of the Government argued that political reform, not emigration, was what Britain needed.
As soon as the scheme was announced, the Colonial Department in Downing Street was inundated with applications, most of them from individuals from the middle and lower middle classes of society. These individual applications, however, fell outside the terms of the emigration scheme, which was restricted to organised groups or 'parties' of 10 or more men. To reduce the administrative load for the organisers of the scheme and for the Colonial authorities, and to ensure that the land at the Cape would be granted only to settlers with the capital and labour to develop it, the Colonial Department decreed that selection was to be limited to men who could afford to engage and maintain a party of at least 10 able-bodied labourers over the age of 18, with or without families.
Head of approved parties would receive free sea passages and victuals during the voyage for themselves and their servants, and be granted land at the Cape in the proportion of 100 acres for each man they took out. Full title to their estates would be given them after their land had been occupied and cultivated for three years. To ensure that the settlers would have the means of subsistence until they could harvest their first crops, each head of party was required to deposit with the authorities, before leaving Britain, the sum of ten pounds for each single man or family group of man, wife and two children under the age of 14 in his party. The money was to be refunded to him in instalments, either in cash or in the form of rations, after arrival in the colony. A deposit of ten pounds was payable for a single woman over 18, five pounds for a child from 14 to 18, and two pounds, ten shillings for every additional child under 14. Large parties of 100 or more families would be permitted to take with them an approved clergyman of their own denomination whose salary would be paid by government.
Under the prevailing system of poor relief, unemployed labourers were subsidised from parish rates, which imposed a heavy burden on landowners, particularly in areas where unemployment was high. Such parishes were invited to advance the necessary deposit money for able-bodied labourers who wished to emigrate, organised in parties under the leadership of some 'intelligent individual'.
Although the emigration scheme was primarily designed for men of capital - 'proprietors' with a labour force of their own indentured servants - less than a third of the 60 odd parties that eventually emigrated were of this type. The leaders of the 'proprietary parties' were officers of the army or navy on half-pay, gentlemen farmers or respectable merchants who saw themselves becoming landed gentry of the new settlement. Their labourers and workmen were contracted to serve them for a number of years, and in most cases were promised a few acres of land at the expiry of their service contracts so that they could become smallholders in their own right.
The majority of the emigrants, however, in parties ranging in size from ten to one hundred families, consisted of men who were not wealthy enough to head their own proprietary parties, but not so poor or low in the social scale as to hire themselves as labourers. They included men of education and some means, as well as artisans, tradesmen and agriculturists, who formed themselves into parties under nominal leaders. Some of these groups were made up of friends, neighbours and relatives, recruited by word of mouth; the larger parties were mostly recruited through advertisements and public meetings, and taverns in London and Liverpool became known as meeting places for prospective emigrants. Each man paid his own deposit, and in some cases that of one or more servants.
Most of the groups were organised on a basis of mutual assistance, shared labour and a jointly-owned stock of tools and implements. Although the nominal head of such a 'joint-stock party' would eventually receive title to the party's grant of land in his own name, it was to be divided as soon as possible into agreed shares among all members. Included among the joint-stock parties were several parish-aided groups, some or all of whose members had their deposits paid by the parishes from which they came. Other parties were formed that were variations or combinations of these two types...
The Colonial Department confined its dealings to the heads of parties only, and did not concern itself with service contracts, articles of agreement or other internal arrangements made between the settlers themselves. The actual selection of parties was based in almost every case on the recommendation of influential friends or patrons of the directors. In an age when influence frequently counted more than ability, the patronage was the key to entry and promotion in most professions, it was to be expected that the choice of emigrants would depend on whom they knew or were known to.
Thomas Wilson's application was accepted in error when he was confused with another man of the same name who had been influentially recommended; the Colonial Department suffered William Parker's importunities because of its reluctance to offend his powerful friends. The Department's staff had no first-hand knowledge of the party leaders on which to base their selection; the Under-Secretary, Henry Goulburn, admitted to a friend, 'I know of no person whom I could call responsible that is going to the Cape. Many indeed have offered and have engaged parties to accompany them but they are unknown to me except for their correspondence'.
About the Settler Lists:
As part of his application to emigrate, each head of party was required to complete an official form giving the names, ages and occupations of all his proposed settlers. These lists were amended as the Colonial Department was notified of any changes that took place. The lists formed the basis on which the amount of deposit money was calculated, copies were sent to the naval authorities in charge of transport arrangements, and in due course copies were delivered to the Colonial office at the Cape.
These official lists, which are now preserved in the Cape Archives Depot and the Public Record Office, London, provide the information on which all later attempts to list the 1820 Settlers have been based. However, for a variety of reasons they cannot be taken simply at face value.
From the time the first lists were submitted to the Colonial Department in August, 1819 until the transports finally sailed, numerous changes took place in the composition of the settler parties. Some of these changes were put down to 'prejudices' - Radical propaganda against emigration, and fears of ferocious wild beasts and bloodthirsty savages. Most of the parties were not informed of the success of their applications until October or November; Michaelmas quarter-day - 29 September - was a traditional time for renewing leases and labour contracts, and many prospective emigrants, unsure whether their parties would be accepted or rejected, decided to play safe and withdrew from the party rather than risk possible homelessness and unemployment
Ill-health was frequently given as the reason for withdrawal from an emigrant party, but the most powerful factor was probably fear of leaving the familiar for the unknown. Changes of heart resulted in almost 100 per cent replacement in some settler parties, and even after families had gone on board their allotted transports, the icy weather conditions which enforced weeks of delay before sailing gave a last opportunity for second thoughts about emigration.
As places in the emigrant parties became vacant through withdrawals or desertions, most of them were taken up by eager substitutes, often former members of other parties whose applications had been rejected. Even after the parties had embarked, would-be emigrants hung about the docks on the chance of becoming official or unofficial replacements for last minute deserters, or even smuggling themselves aboard as stowaways.
It was a common practice for substitutes to travel under the names of the men they replaced. Party leaders neglected to inform the authorities of changes, or hesitated to do so in case objections were raised. When the first parties went on board their transports, the Navy Board agents turned away anyone whose name was not on the official lists, and emigrants were quick to adopt other men's names rather than risk rejection. It was not until late December 1819 that a formal directive was issued permitting substitutes to embark, so long as the original number of settlers in the party was not exceeded. An attempt to reconcile the names of the settlers that appear in colonial records with the names on the official party lists makes it abundantly clear that many of the people on the lists did not in the event emigrate, and that those who did emigrate were not always listed under their own names.
Even when families are known beyond doubt to have been among actual emigrants, the details given in the official lists are often unreliable. Variations in spelling and ages suggest that some of the emigrants themselves were uncertain of their and their children's actual ages and the spelling of their own names - perhaps not surprising when church registers were the only formal population records, and the level of literacy among the labouring classes was low. A spoken name, particularly if the speaker's dialect was unfamiliar, could be misheard and consequently misspelt; an illiterate settler would not be aware of the error. Badly written names could be misread and miscopied.
In addition, apart from inadvertent mistakes made in writing and copying, the terms of the emigration scheme itself invited deliberate falsification. Ages, occupations, number of children and even marital status were deliberately falsified by the settlers themselves or by the party heads who compiled the returns, in order to make applications more acceptable and to reduce the amount of deposit money that had to be paid. Children from large families were temporarily transferred to other 'parents' to avoid paying extra deposits; apprentice lads were listed as 'sons' of adult settlers, single women as 'wives' of unmarried men and, any 16-year-old who could reasonably pass as 'under 14' was listed accordingly. Middle aged men reduced their ages in case they were considered too old to make useful settlers. Clerks, confectioners and piano-tuners were entered on the official lists as 'agriculturists' in order to improve their chances of selection.
(Ironically, it was seen as an advantage in the Albany settlement a year or so later to belong to the 'ornamental trades', when permission to leave their locations was granted only to men who could not reasonably be expected to earn a living on the land. As many settlers then claimed to be coach-painters and pastry-cooks as had formerly claimed to be farmers.)
[For a personal account and details of the emigration scheme, refer in HF2 HBM Howard's Family in Rhodesia, after the section on Winifred Howard = Ronald S. Marillier H2/5.b for the Marillier Family Connection, headed 'General Notes on the Marillier Family' to find copy of a letter written by Phillip Richard Marillier* to his brother, prior to emigration.]
Extracts from 'The Manchester Guardian'.
These are being included because of the insight given into the lives of the 1820 Settlers shortly after their arrival in the Colony. Introductory notes pertaining to the Settler families concerned are given first, followed by copy of the information in the newspaper cutting which is retained in the possession of Mrs. A. Collings (of the Stanford family), who was living at 'Waterkloof', Somerset West, Cape.
FRANCIS David* 36, of Scalen's party, in 'East Indian; wife Ann, aged 38.
When the Irish parties moved from Clanwilliam to the Zuurveld, he
became head of one of the re-organised parties.
LATHAM Henry* 20, of Scalen's party, in 'East Indian'
LATHAM James* 30 0f Scalen's party, in 'East Indian'; family William 16.
When the Irish parties moved from Clanwilliam to the Zuurveld he also became head of one of the parties.
[Scalen's Party from Cork:
(Location No:42 on the Settler's map. Available in Grahamstown).
They were located at Frogmore (near Martindale) more or less south of the Clay Pits, where the other Irish party, under Mahoney, was placed (Location No: 29).]
From: 'The Manchester Guardian' - Saturday. 5th. May, 1821.
The following extract of letters, just received from one of the recently formed settlements in Southern Africa, are addressed by a Lady of the name of Francis, who accompanied her husband as one of the settlers, to her friends in this country and give a melancholy picture of the hardships to which she, in common with so many others who rashly quitted their native shores, have been exposed. The first letter is dated Frogmore, near Assagga Bush, and is addressed to 'Miss Blackburn, Laytonston (?), Essex'
"My beloved Sister, - I have the pleasure to tell you, after all my perils and adventures, that I have at last gained shelter. We have been here since the 12th. of October. Till we could get a room built I suffered beyond expression, and the weather was so stormy, that for one whole month it rained in-cessantly, accompanied by the most dreadful tempests of thunder and lightening. You can have no idea of its effect, enclosed as we were on all sides by high mountains. It would give us both pain if I were to relate all that I have felt. God grant that you may never know by experience the miseries of settling; yet, in comparison to hundreds, we are to be envied. We have built an excellent room, which serves us for a 'kitchen, parlour and all' and we are completely sheltered from the weather. The sun here scorches to that degree that it burns the skin and raises blisters, exactly as if one had been in the fire, but the evenings and nights are sometimes so cold, that, after a burning day, we are shivering over a fire. This I think the most miserable country in the world, for it produces nothing without manure, and the gardens, which we have made are all burnt up before they come to any perfection. The whole of the wheat harvest has totally failed here and in every part of the country; indeed the misery of the unhappy settlers are (sic) anything I can express. Flour is not to be purchased at any price, except that served out by Government, and then it is most execrable stuff: there is the bread bran. and the whole grains of wheat with a mixture of peas and Indian corn, but all this I would not consider for myself, as I do not eat more than would satisfy an infant. I have been very ill for some weeks, and my spirits are dreadfully depressed; I hope time will reconcile me to my situation. If I had society, I would endeavour to make myself easy, but there is not an English settler nearer than seven miles, and I know none of them but Mrs. Latham, who returned from Clanwilliam, with many others, chiefly Irish: he has been our frequent visitor, but he is as miserable as myself, and detests this country as much as I do. When I reflect that it was on this day twelvemonth I parted from you, my heart is like to break! Why did I ever leave you, my poor mother, and my dear Patty? Never shall I see you and my dear native country again! Yet the thought of staying in this miserable solitude is dreadful; debarred from all social intercourse - not a female friend to converse with - no doctor within fifty miles - no clergyman or church in the whole country - no post office nearer than Graham's Town, which is a wretched place, the road to it terrible. I am more wretched than I can describe; but what are my miseries compared to those who went to Clan William, they are absolutely starving and the Government will do nothing for them, because they would not come up here. I do not think anyone will stop a year in this wretched country that can help it, many have already left it, and other are going. What will be the end of it, God only knows, but I dread the worst. There is little short of famine now, great numbers have nothing to eat but mutton; they can get neither bread nor vegetables, and wine and spirits are all out of price. Not an ounce of tea or sugar is to be got at Graham's Town for 'love or money', except now and then, as everything is to be brought from Cape Town and the conveyance is very uncertain. We have indeed been miserably deceived, both as to the soil and the climate. Oh, if anything would but turn up, that I once more might return to England, I would not care if I lived on bread and water, for I envy the poorest there. The wretched thought of ending my days in this savage wilderness, surrounded by wild beasts. And everything that is horrid, quite distracts me. As for poor David [Mr. Francis] he is well in health, but almost mad to think he ever brought me to such a place. He has led the life of a slave, for as there are no enclosures, the cattle are no sooner over the hills than they are out of sight. He has lost a horse, and four bullocks, and also three sheep. Which, I suppose, were picked off by wolves. It is the same for all the settlers; they have all lost cattle. I am afraid you think I am a croaker - but, believe me, I have not told you of half our miseries. Oh, how different from the account I first wrote to you on our arrival in this country! But then the weather was mild, and everything seemed enchanting. I was surrounded by friends, by whom I was beloved. Now I am separated from all I ever knew, and have no hope of ever seeing them again. David seems to have no wish to return, and is only unhappy to see me in this state [here follows some allusions to family affairs] I believe that I have never laughed since I have been here, but at the loss of 'My Jokey's [Majocchi] memory. Tell one about the Queen[?] and what your own opinion is about the trial.
[Signed] Anna Francis.
[The second letter is dated January 22nd, 1821, near Assagya Bush, Nossai [?] River, near Graham's Town and is directed to 'Mrs. Galabin, 12 Old Jewry, London.']
My dear Fanny, I expected long before this that I should have had the pleasure of receiving a line from you; but that, as well as every other consolation, is denied me. I have received but two letters from England, both from my dear sister, the last dated 9th. of August. I wrote to my sister a short time since and explained to her my uncomfortable situation in this miserable solitude. I thought my position bad enough then, but though I told her I wanted for nothing, being provided by the Government for twelve months or more if required. All the parties which came off with us are in the same terms as some renumeration for the very great expense and loss of time we have incurred. For this we had the Governor's verbal promise, as well as a circular letter. We have now received a communication that all rations are to be stopped, unless paid for, or unless undeniable security be given for payment later. This is a blow, which, if persisted in, must break up the whole enterprise, as it is impossible to procure corn at any price, the whole of the crops having failed in every part of the Colony. As for me, you would hardly think I was the same creature. When I arrived at the Cape, I had grown fat and strong - the sea voyage had entirely restored my long lost health and I fondly looked forward to happiness. But alas! My dear friend, this is the last place in the world where I could expect to find it, for the country, from every part we have seen of it, is the most barren and desolate you can imagine, except some spots near Cape Town, which have been long made, at a vast expense, and are occupied by the Dutch merchants, and a few married people, for almost every estate in the country is heavily mortgaged. As a proof of the poverty of the soil, vegetables are sold in the capital at the most extravagant prices. You must give half-a-crown for a cabbage and 3/6 for a cauliflower, 6/- a pound for fresh butter, and everything else in proportion. And it was the same at Simon's Bay, but I had very good friends there, who were mainly English. "And is this the place in which I am to live out the remainder of my wretched existence? Forbid it, Heaven!" I find I cannot live on such terms. To be buried like a dog in a place surrounded by wild beasts - to me who have been used to every comfort! Think of my sensations when I hear the wolves howling round our dismal dwelling. You can have no idea of the dismal yell they make, as loud as a cow bellowing; add to this, the barking of the jackals , and the blowing of the porcupines. The ground swarms with insects and reptiles. I have had a snake a yard long coiled up by my bed-side, and a mouse, as large as a small rat, in my bed, where I was lying very ill. We cannot set a single article of provisions out of the way, but it is covered with millions of ants, some of them an inch long. The state of my mind is such that I cannot work for half an hour. I do nothing but cry and read over and over again the books and old newspapers I have read a hundred times before. Poor David blames himself continuously for bringing me out and has promised that if I am not more reconciled in a year he will send me to England but I shall never live that time. And if the Government do not assist us it will be impossible that anyone can stay. If I was near you, I could be happy to sit and work from morning to night. David has written a long letter to Colonel Strutt, explaining his situation. I envy this paper because it is going to England, and I declare, rather than stay here, I will leave the country in an open boat.
[Signed} Anna Francis
The originals of the above letters, and other of the same character, are in the hands of Dr. Bank.
From: 'Roll of the British Settlers in South Africa' - E. Morse Jones
David Francis - 1784 -1854. A member of Scalen's party he sailed in 'East Indian' in 1820. He led a division of Settlers from Jan Dissels Valley in Albany in that year. He visited England and returned to be Port Captain in Port Elizabeth in 1828, a Collector of Customs there in 1848. There he died.
From: 'The Story of the British Settlers of 1820 in South Africa' - H.E.Hockly.
While the Irish parties proceeded to Saldanha Bay by sea in the 'Fanny' and the 'East Indian' to disembark there, the leader of one of the parties, W. Parker, an ex-mayor of Cork, together with D. P. Francis, a member of Scalen's party, rode over land to Clan William to inspect the Jan Dissel Valley, where the parties were to be located and their investigations convinced them that the locality was altogether unsuitable; water was scarce, grazing was poor, and very little ground was suitable for agriculture. On meeting the Settlers at Saldanha Bay and apprising them of the true position, consternation and anxiety took the place of former hope and enthusiasm, but it was decided to give the location a fair trial and the five parties accordingly made their way to Clanwilliam. Parker, however, refused to return with them, shamelessly deserted his party, and remained at Saldanha Bay for some time...
... Several of the Settlers had returned to England to interview the Colonial Office, among them prominent men such as J. P. Erith, D. P. Francis, Major T. C. White and B. Wilmot: letters from the Cape to relatives and friends were constantly arriving informing them of the miserable plight of the settlers and the generally unfavourable conditions in the Colony; and Sir Rufane Donkin was also in England and in constant communication with the Colonial Office, defending his recent administration of the Colony and criticising Somerset's absurd measures. The press took up the matter and debates in parliament on Colonial policy further helped to enlighten and educate opinion as to the true state of affairs.
D.P.Francis was Port Captain and Collector of Customs at Port Elizabeth
At a Thanksgiving Service held in St. Mary's Church, [Port Elizabeth] ... Another settler, D. P. Francis, proposed a toast 'To the memory of Johan van Riebeeck and his gallant band who on 6th April, 1652, founded the Cape Colony, and the health and prosperity to their descendants'.
From: 'Thus Came the English' - Dorothy E. Rivett Carnac.
Pressure upon the authorities to do something to relieve the distress of the settlers, was steadily accumulating from numerous other sources. The friends and relatives to whom settlers had written, describing their desperate state, began to write letters to the newspapers and to Lord Bathurst himself. Some of the leading settlers themselves - men of substance, who were able to afford the journey such as B. Wilmot, Major T. C. White, D. P. Francis and J. T. Erith - travelled to England and visited the Colonial Office to add their personal testimony to the mass of evidence which had begun to disturb the equanimity of long-established bureaucrats.
Note: Energetic lobbying resulted in the House of Commons appointing a Commission of Enquiry into the 'high-handed methods of Lord Charles Somerset together with allegations of malpractice in several fields'. The two Commissioners embarked on the 'Lady Campbell' in the middle of 1823 and began their investigations in Cape Town. Only in February, 1824 did they arrive in Grahamstown to look into the situation 'in loco'.
Note: David Francis and his wife were located at Frogmore, near Martindale - this being one of the closest locations to the Clay Pits and the location of Mahoney's party, which lay on the other side of the Clay Pits, but one can appreciate from the letters of Anna Francis just how this area appeared to English eyes.