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From: Sue Mackay <>
Subject: Settler Correspondence - Henry NOURSE
Date: Wed, 30 Aug 2006 23:51:30 +0100 (BST)

Transcribed from CO48/44 at the National Archives in
Kew, London

No.2 Copthall Buildings
26th July 1819
My Lord,
Referring to the recent encouragement intended by His
Majesty’s Government for emigration to the Cape of
Good Hope, the object of which as well as the general
commercial interests of that important colony having
been a subject of my peculiar consideration, and
having also been in some manner instrumental in
promoting this object by various practical experiments
during the course of upwards of 10 years commercial
connexion with the Cape. I respectfully presume to
suggest to your Lordships reflection, whether (in
order to give effect to the object in contemplation
and with a view to relieve the Colonial Office from
the mass of enquiry which it will no doubt occasion
and which it cannot be supposed that that Department
can fully answer) it may not be expedient to appoint
some Agent or authorise some Commercial Establishment
to give the required information and to act as a
channel thro the medium of which the necessary
negociations with your Lordship’s Department might be
transacted and at the same time direct & assist all
persons desirous of availing themselves of the
advantages held forth to them in the mode of
proceeding necessary for their attainment both here
and on their arrival at the Cape, together with the
requisites for the voyage & to negociate for their
passage out &c &c.
When I reflect upon the class of person likely to
avail themselves of this opening, their natural
ignorance in all these respects, and the trouble that
must necessarily arise to the Colonial Office from
such a chain of desultory enquiry, the inconvenience
and increased expences that must result to the parties
themselves from the want of due combination, I cannot
but think that some such appointment or authority
would greatly facilitate the object of His Majesty’s
Government by drawing the various applications to a
focus forming the necessary combinations, directing
the tide in a channel consistent with the views of His
Majesty’s Government and giving general assistance to
the scheme in a way which cannot be expected from any
official Department.
Having said sufficient to call your Lordship’s
consideration to the subject I trust I shall not be
deemed unnecessarily intrusive or impertinent in
stating that should your Lordship’s ideas correspond
with this suggestion I beg leave to tender the
services of my own Establishment both here & at the
Cape in furtherance of these views under such an
arrangement as may appear consistent with
circumstances – flattering myself that it will be
found from long practical experience in the [obscured]
and interests of the Colony in every respect eligible
for the purpose, and Mr. COURTENAY, Government Agent
to the Colony, I have no doubt will bear testimony to
the zeal & interest I have uniformly manifested in its
Attending your Lordship’s commands I have the honor to
be, my Lord
Your Lordship’s most obedient humble servant

[Note from GOULBURN across bottom: Lord B is much
obliged by the offer but does not at present consider
it necessary to make any appointment of the nature of
that suggested by him]

2 Copthall Buildings
August 2nd 1819
I have to acknowledge receipt of your letter of the
28th ult in reply to a letter I had the honor to
address to Earl BATHURST on the subject of Emigration
to the Cape of Good Hope, in which you state that his
Lordship does not at present consider it necessary to
make any appointment of the nature therein suggested.
Desirous of promoting the object in view as far as in
my power, & having thrown out the suggestion as it
occurred to me, I feel satisfied that his Lordship’s
determination is founded on the best considerations
and beg to thank you for your polite communication.
The same motive & the interest I have embarked in
the Colony induce me further to intrude the following
questions upon this important subject.
•In the event of a combination of 50 or 100
individuals disposed to avail themselves of the
proposed encouragement for proceeding as settlers to
the Cape and complying with the conditional deposit
required; how are they to proceed on their arrival at
the Cape to obtain possession of the proposed land –
and as no doubt the district intended to be colonized
will afford much diversity of soil under what
regulation with respect to the choice of situation as
it regards the different views which the parties may
jointly or respectively have as to its appropriation
to different kinds of culture?
•In the event of such a combination being formed or
any individual acting upon such a scale – is there
any objection to their proceeding to the Cape
forthwith? And supposing them to undertake to find
their own conveyance, what allowance would be made by
His Majesty’s Government for their so doing in lieu of
the facilities offered?
•Is it the intention of His Majesty’s Government to
provide implements of husbandry, clothing, provisions
and various necessaries which will be required by the
settlers on and after their arrival at the Cape, or
must these be provided by themselves. In which case
under what regulation for the conveyance of such
articles thither?
•What is the precise district intended to be
colonized and what a kind of sea coast does it
comprise? The object of this enquiry is to afford
opportunity to persons acquainted with the country to
estimate before they embark in such an undertaking or
encourage others to do so the probability of its being
applicable to any particular view they may
•Is there any objection on the part of His Majesty’s
Government to grant land in any other part of the
Colony than that immediately in view, provided such
situations can be found unoccupied?
•Will the proposed settlement (if it may be so
termed) be subject to the existing Dutch Colonial Laws
or English Laws? A most important consideration to
everyone creating property there.
These enquiries I beg to assure you are not dictated
by idle curiosity but a sincere desire of promoting
the object in view & in the positive contemplation of
embarking in it. As such I trust you will do me the
favor to afford me all the information on these points
consistent with the present arrangements of His
Majesty’s Government.
I have the honor to be, Sir
Your ob’t humble servant

Copthall Buildings
16th August 1819
My Lord,
I am already before your Lordship in various
communications relative to the Cape of Good Hope in
the commercial concerns of which Colony I have been
many years engaged.
It being now my intention personally to embark for
that Colony I beg respectfully to solicit the aid &
protection of your Lordship to my views in so doing.
The object in my immediate contemplation is the
formation of a Commercial or Agency Establishment in
Algoa Bay as a branch of my Cape House already
established in Cape Town, to which I mean to connect a
store for the supply of the various wants of the new
settlers going thither under the encouragement now
offered by His Majesty’s Government. Such an
establishment I conceive essentially calculated to
promote the views of Government in so doing not only
as it relates to the immediate wants of the new
settlers but as opening to them a market for their
surplus produce in exchange for their wants and
directing their attention to the growth of such
articles as are best adapted to the demands of the
trade of the Colony. It is to these last objects my
attention is principally directed, and I am inclined
to think they are as necessary to the prosperity of
the new settlement as the land itself, which is
useless beyond a certain extent without a market for
its produce; while by holding forth such a market and
creating a demand for their produce I should offer the
surest stimulus & encouragement to the exertions &
industry of the colonists.
Under this view of the subject, my Lord, I
respectfully solicit of his Majesty’s Government a
grant of land favorably situated upon the coast for
the purpose of such an Establishment.
Ignorant of the exact position of the land intended
to be settled, and consequently of its communications,
it is impossible for me to define the position I
should require but your Lordship will perhaps indulge
me with some further insight on this subject and
acquaint me with the mode by which such land is to be
taken up on arrival at the Cape.
It will be evident to your Lordship that some time
must elapse & considerable expence be incurred before
any advantage can be reaped from such an undertaking.
With reference therefore to a letter I have had the
honor to address to your Lordship tendering my
services in forwarding the views of His Majesty’s
Government, I respectfully submit to your Lordship’s
consideration whether any aid can be afforded me in
carrying into effect the object in view.
As it appears to me that it will be expedient for
Government to erect or employ store houses on the
coast for the purpose of depositing the agricultural
implements &c intended to be supplied to the settlers,
and that someone must necessarily be appointed to
issue them under certain regulations. Can your
Lordship in any way put them under my controul so as
to afford an early foundation to the plan I have in
view, or employ the stores I may erect for this
purpose? Or is there any commission, my Lord, of a
commercial nature, which may be combined with the
object I have in view to aid & encourage me in the
undertaking. Pardon me for presuming to appeal to your
Lordship in this indefinite manner, but ignorant of
what arrangements may be in the contemplation of His
Majesty’s Government with regard to the New Settlement
it is impossible for me to be more defined.
No-one has done more for a series of years to draw
forth the energies of this important Colony and to
develop its trade by practical experiment than myself,
and had my views been supported & my strength equal to
my zeal I feel, my Lord, that both it & I would have
mad a more conspicuous figure than we do at present.
Unfortunately, however, my means have been limited,
and unfortunately too these have been diminished by
recent casualties, but not extinguished; & my
connexions abroad & at home are in every way highly
respectable. Upon these grounds both public & private
I respectfully solicit your Lordship’s protection &
In concurrence & in combination with the views I have
set forth it is my intention to proceed forthwith to
the Cape to endeavour to anticipate the arrival of the
body of the settlers by my arrangements, and should I
meet sufficient encouragement to take with me 50 or
100 individuals, as I shall find persons calculated
for the purpose, under such minor arrangements,
however, as will leave me personally at liberty to
devote my time to my main object.
Would it in this case be consistent with the views of
His Majesty’s Government to appoint me an immediate
conveyance? Or will a ratable allowance be made to me
for finding such conveyance myself? What would such
allowance be per individual?
What tonage is it proposed to allow to each person in
the transports to be provided by Government for the
conveyance of their implements & stores? Is any
restriction to be imposed as to the number of settlers
that may be conveyed in each ship according to the
Will it be necessary to proceed to Cape Town, the
seat of the Colonial Government, to claim the land to
be granted in conformity with the circular that has
been issued, or will sufficient authority be found on
the spot to give possession under the proposed
In making the required deposit, which it is
understood is to be repaid in the Colony by
instalments, how is the same to be repaid? If in the
currency of the Colony, at what Exchange? If by Drafts
on your Lordship’s Department, how are they to be
negociated? This feature also presents to my mind a
complicated transaction, which will require an
authorised Agent there to negociate, and none so
effectual person to observe as a Commercial one
acquainted with such operations. Indeed my Lord every
step I advance in this interesting subject points to
the necessity of a resident Agent.
If the arrangement is made and the appointment filled
I have to apologize to your Lordship for my intrusion.
If on the contrary the paper is yet blank I throw
myself under the consideration of your Lordship to aid
& support my views by the sanction of some authority
or commission. Assuring your Lordship of my devoted
zeal to the undertaking
I have the honor to be my Lord
Your Lordship’s most obedient hum st

[Draft of GOULBURN’s reply]
I am directed by Lord B to acknowledge receipt of your
letter of the 16th in which you state your intention
to form a commercial estab’t in Algoa Bay as a branch
of that which you already have at Cape Town & you wish
with this view to receive a grant of land in a
convenient situation & to acquaint you in reply that
Lord B will have no difficulty in recommending your
proposal to the favorable consideration of the Gov. of
the settlement in order that you may receive such a
grant of land in a proper situation & such other
indulgence as may be consistent with the regulations
under which other settlers proceed to the Colony &
with the extension to other deserving persons of
similar advantages should they be disposed to embark
in commercial operations of the same nature.
With respect to the other part of your letter I am
directed to acquaint you that Lord B does not see any
necessity for making the appointment of a commercial
agent in the Colony & that should you be induced to
make, in conformity with the enclosed letter, any
proposal for conveying out a number of persons to the
Colony Lord B will take it into consideration together
with the other proposals which may be made to him on
the same subject & communicate to you as early a
decision as circs. will admit.

Copthall Buildings
16th August 1819
I am requested by a correspondent in Cork to
ascertain whether, in the event of a sufficient number
of persons being found at that Port disposed to avail
themselves of the offers of His Majesty’s Government
to emigrate to the Cape, a vessel would be appointed
to take them up there, and what would be the fewest
number that would be a sufficient inducement for such
an appointment being made.
Also what tonage each individual would be allowed for
his stores, and whether any room would be allowed for
the conveyance out of machinery, such as for a Corn or
Flour Mill or other purpose useful for the settlers
I have the honor to be Sir
Your most obedient serv’t

[Transcriber’s Note: Henry NOURSE is not listed in
Nash. He was a wine merchant with business interests
at the Cape and eventually sailed to South Africa in
June 1820 on HMS Vigo. His wife Dorothy CHRISTIAN was
a cousin of Fletcher CHRISTIAN of Mutiny on the Bounty

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