Archiver > SOUTH-AFRICA-IMMIGRANTS-BRITISH > 2005-12 > 1134681744-02

From: "Jack WRIGHT" <>
Subject: 1820 Settlers
Date: Thu, 15 Dec 2005 23:22:24 +0200
In-Reply-To: X-Scanned-By: MIMEDefang 2.52 on

Herewith a wonderful excerpt of South African history regarding the
background to and arrival of the 1820 Settlers, drawn from "History of South
Africa from 1795 to 1872" by George McCall THEAL. Vol I, George Allen &
Unwin Ltd, London, 1914.


Before 1820 the white population of the Cape Colony was almost entirely
Dutch, and it was so prolific that it doubled in number every quarter of a
century. It was engaged chiefly in agricultural and pastoral pursuits. The
only British residents in the country were the principal civil servants,
some merchants in Capetown, the staff of the naval arsenal in Simonstown,
two or three farmers, a few missionaries, and some mechanics and labourers
recently introduced by Mr. Benjamin Moodie, Mr. James Gosling, and Mr. Peter

In 1817 Mr. Moodie, with the concurrence of the secretary of state, engaged
about two hundred young men in the south of Scotland, and brought them out
as apprentices indentured for three years. Three-fourths of the number were
mechanics, and the remainder were labourers. With two or three exceptions,
they were without family ties. They cost Mr. Moodie about £20 each for their
passages, and so great was the demand for their services that he had no
difficulty in selling the indentures for more than double that amount, in
many cases to the men themselves. Some of these people settled in Capetown,
others in the country districts, and in a short time all of them who were
industrious and steady were in prosperous circumstances. By writing to their
friends at home they helped to bring the country to the notice of the
labouring classes of Great Britain, and it was largely owing to their
success that Earl Bathurst came to regard South Africa as a suitable field
colonisation. Mr. Moodie himself settled on an excellent farm at
Grootvadersbosch, in the district of Swellendam.

Mr. Gosling was an experimental gentleman farmer in the district of
Stellenbosch. In 1818 he got out twelve boys as apprentices from a
charitable institution termed the Refuge for the Destitute, but his
expectations of success were not realised, and some of the lads with
criminal instincts turned out badly.

In 1818 a gentleman named Peter Tait took to the colony seven Scotch
labourers. He received from the government a tract of land in the district
of George, where he considered the prospects of farming so good that in the
following year he had nineteen others of the same class sent out to him. All
were under indentures, and he was able to obtain a considerable advance upon
the cost of passage for as many of these as he cared to dispose of. The men
thus introduced throve better than they could have done in Scotland, but Mr.
Tait himself lost his capital through the failure of his crops in 1820, 21,
and 22, and after struggling on until 1824 gave up farming and returned to

Some seven or eight hundred time-expired soldiers, principally of the 60th
regiment, had recently been discharged in Capetown, but most of these men
were foreigners. They readily obtained employment as labourers, though as
they were of indifferent character and formed connections with the coloured
people, they were more harmful than useful to the colony. Of late, Earl
Bathurst had been offering land in South Africa to persons desirous of
emigrating, in extent proportionate to their means of cultivating it, but as
no other inducement was held out, the offer was almost without result.

For some years after the termination of the long war with France there was
much distress among the labouring people of Great Britain, as the country
could not furnish employment at once for the large numbers who directly or
indirectly had been occupied in carrying on the contest. The only remedy
seemed to be emigration to other parts of the empire where the condition of
things was different, where there was land without people, or work to be
dons and no one to do it. This was the state of the Cape Colony, with its
genial climate, its sparsely inhabited territory, and its undeveloped

On the 28th of July 1817 the subject of emigration to South Africa on a
large scale was first mooted in a despatch from Earl Bathurst, in which Lord
Charles Somerset was called upon for an expression of opinion. The governor
replied on the 18th of December, enthusiastically favouring the scheme. He
described the territory between the Sunday and Fish Rivers, known as the
Zuurveld or Albany, in glowing terms, and certainly, judging from its
appearance in favourable seasons, he was justified in doing so. It has
always been the case in South Africa that any advantages possessed by a
locality are recognised at first sight, and its faults only become known by
experience. Thus the governor knew no other bane than Kaffir marauders, for
which a dense population behind his frontier defensive line would be an
effectual remedy. He described the climate as delicious, and the soil as
fertile. Wool, corn, tobacco, and cotton, he affirmed, could be produced for
exportation. It was a land where, in his opinion, steady and industrious
mechanics and labourers would be certain to succeed.

The plan he recommended was that parties of working people should be sent
out, each under a competent head who should receive a grant of land
proportionate in size to the number of his retainers. Apart from such a
system being one which he as a member of an aristocratic family would
naturally favour there was a special reason, in his opinion, for its
adoption in the eastern part of the Cape Colony. It would provide in the
best manner for defence against the Kaffirs, as a number of men would be
always ready on every estate to repel marauders. It was indeed the common
system of the colony, for instances were very rare of the owner of a plot of
ground cultivating it with his own hands. In the west the proprietors of the
cornfields and vineyards had numerous slaves, in the midland and
north-eastern districts the graziers had always Hottentots and other
coloured dependents upon their farms. But the parallel was not complete.
What answered well where the labourers were of an inferior race might not
succeed where the proprietor of the ground and the dependents were of the
same blood and of the same, or nearly the same, station in society.

The imperial government then resolved to send to South Africa some of the
surplus population of Great Britain and Ireland, and in 1819 parliament was
asked to grant £50,000 for the purpose. The money was voted without demur,
and measures were immediately taken to carry out the scheme. The first step
was to call for applications from persons desirous of taking out emigrants,
which was done by inserting notices in the leading newspapers.

The conditions were that each applicant should engage to take with him at
least nine other able-bodied males over eighteen years of age. Passages,
including provisions for the persons composing such parties and their
families, would be provided free of charge to the port of landing, but the
responsibility of the government for further maintenance would then cease.
Ground to the extent of one hundred acres for each male over eighteen years
of age would be allotted at once, and at the expiration of three years a
title-deed would be issued free of all charges to the head of the party for
as many hundred acres as there should be then such males remaining on it. No
taxes were to be payable for the ground during the first ten years, and
thereafter the annual quitrent was not to exceed £2 per hundred acres. Each
person taking out emigrants was to deposit with the government £10 for every
man with his wife and two children and every unmarried male over eighteen
years of age, and where there were more than two children in a family £5 for
every one in excess between fourteen and eighteen, and £5 for every two
under fourteen years of age. One-third of this deposit was to be returned
when the party landed, one-third when the ground was occupied, and the
remaining third three months thereafter. Agricultural implements, seed corn,
and rations for a short period were to be supplied to any who might need
them at cost price, to be paid for out of the deposit money. The head of a
party was to be at liberty to make any arrangements with his people that he
and they might consider best for their mutual advantage; and every party of
one hundred families was to have the privilege of selecting a clergyman of
any denomination of Christians to accompany it, to whom a salary would be
paid by the colonial government.

In reply to this invitation so many applications were received that the
government had fully twenty times as many to choose from as could be sent
out with the means provided by parliament. A careful selection was then
made, which ended in the approval of fifty-seven heads of parties, who
undertook to take out one thousand and thirty-four Englishmen, four hundred
and twelve Scotchmen, one hundred and seventy-four Irishmen, and forty-two
Welsh-men, about two-thirds of whom were to be accompanied by wives and
children. Before embarking, however, a good many changes were made in the
lists of names, and one party of four hundred Scotch families under Captain
J. Grant withdrew altogether.

The parties were variously constituted. Only a few, and they the smallest of
all, consisted of servants bound by agreements to their head. Many consisted
of groups of persons each of whom had a few servants, together with some who
were dependent on their own labour alone, and who elected a head merely as
an intermediary with the government. Such parties agreed to divide the
ground that was to be granted to the head in fair proportions among them.
Others consisted entirely of independent units, with only a nominal head,
and these agreed that each man was to receive one hundred acres of the
grant, and each one contributed his own deposit money. One such party, from
Nottingham, was supplied by public subscription with the necessary funds. In
a few instances parishes furnished the os to families who, in consequence of
dearth of employment, were likely to become burdensome on them.

Many of the leaders of parties were military or naval officers, who, in
consequence of the peace, were obliged to live on half pay. There were four
large English parties : of one hundred and two men, seventy-two women, and
hundred and thirty-three children, under Mr. Thomas Wilson, accompanied by
the reverend William Boardman, a clergyman of the English Episcopal church ;
one of one hundred and one men, eighty-two women, and one hundred sixty-one
children, under Mr. Hezekiah Sephton, accompanied by the reverend William
Shaw, a clergyman of the Wesleyan church ; one of ninety men, fifty-eight
women, and hundred and eight children, under Mr. John Bailie ; and of sixty
men, thirty-four women, and seventy-three children, under Mr. Thomas Calton.
There was an Irish party seventy-five men, fifty women, and ninety-five
children, under Mr. William Parker, accompanied by the reverend Francis
McCleland, a clergyman of the English Episcopal Church. The others were all
groups ranging from ten to thirty men, with a number of women and children.
In some instances the men left their wives and children behind, these did
not reach South Africa until several years.

The people who were about to leave Britain and Ireland, where they could
then obtain no employment, with the intention of making homes for themselves
in a country of which they knew little more than the name, consisted of a
men who were unfit for manual labour but who were possession of small
capitals, clerks, mechanics of all disciplines, farm labourers, discharged
sailors and soldiers, boatmen, fishermen, workers in towns, men in short of
most every known occupation. They were not aware that the physical condition
of South Africa was very different from that of the land they were leaving,
but pictured to themselves wide-spreading cornfields and flourishing
villages on their little grants, a hundred acres of land seeming to them a
considerable estate.

The first transports—the Chapman and Nautilus—left the Thames on the 5th and
9th of December 1819, and arrived together in Table Bay on the 17th of March
1820. They were followed by the Garland, Canada, Belle Alliance, Brilliant,
Zoroaster, Aurora, and Sir George Osborne from London, the John, Stentor,
and Albury from Liverpool, the Northampton, Ocean, Weymouth, and Duke of
Marlborough from Portsmouth, the Kennersley Castle from Bristol, and the
Amphitrite from Torbay. Altogether these ships brought to South Africa one
thousand and seventy-nine men, six hundred and thirty-two women, and one
thousand and sixty-four children as immigrants. Four Irish parties, under
Mr. William Parker, Captain Walter Synnot, Captain Thomas Butler, and Mr.
John Ingram, numbering together one hundred and twenty-six men,
seventy-three women, and one hundred and fifty children, sailed from Cork in
the transports East Indian and Fanny on the 12th of February 1820, and
arrived in Simon's Bay on the 30th of April and 1st of May.

It had been Lord Charles Somerset's intention to locate the whole of the
immigrants in the Zuurveld, but Sir Rufane Donkin made a different
arrangement. Earl Bathurst had directed that each nationality—English,
Scotch, and Irish —should be provided with ground by itself, so the acting
governor decided to keep the Irish and some of the other parties in the
western districts of the colony. The Scotch party under Mr. Thomas Pringle,
consisting of twelve men, five women, and seven children, was directed by
him to be located in the valley of the Baviaans' river in the sub-district
of Cradock, and the principal English parties were to be placed in the
Zuurveld. In accordance with this decision, the East Indian and Fanny on
their arrival were sent to Saldanha Bay to disembark their passengers. Four
parties of mixed Welsh and English, under Captain Duncan Campbell,
Lieutenant Valentine Griffith, Lieutenant Thomas bite, and Mr. Joseph
Neave, consisting together of fifty men, twenty-five women, and thirty-two
children, were landed at Capetown, and the transports containing all the
others were sent to Algoa Bay. Captain Moresby, in his Majesty's ship Menai,
accompanied the Chapman and Nautilus when they sailed for that bay, and
remained there superintend the landing of the immigrants and the stores.
between the 10th of April and the 25th of June 1820 one thousand and twenty
men, six hundred and seven women, one thousand and thirty-two children, were
set ashore the sandy beach below Fort Frederick without a single incident

The number of immigrants about to arrive was unknown the Cape authorities,
but preparations for their reception been made on such a scale at Algoa Bay
that there was lack of food or tents for shelter. A surveyor had been d to
make a rough chart of the country between the 'e and Fish rivers, and from
his sketches and descriptions the soil and water locations were selected for
the various 'houses according to their size. One party, under Mr. Charles
Gurney, consisting chiefly of fishermen from Deal, and posed of thirteen
men, three women, and eight children, erred to remain at Algoa Bay, where
they thought they t succeed in the occupation to which they were accused
They established themselves near the mouth of the Swartkops river, and
called their little station Deal in memory of their old home. Wagons were
requisitioned the Dutch farmers of George, Uitenhage, and Graaff Reinet, and
with as little delay as possible the other immigrants were sent forward and
placed on the ground selected them. Mr. Henry Ellis, who since July 1819 had
been deputy colonial secretary, was there to superintend the arrival
arrangements until Sir Rufane Donkin should arrive.

The acting governor decided to locate the four Irish Parties in the valley
of the Jan Dissel's river at Clanwilliam. It was an unfortunate choice of
locality, for the ground capable of cultivation was too limited in extent to
support so many people, and the heat in summer is so great that nothing can
grow there without irrigation. But under the most favourable circumstances
very few of these people could have made a living by agriculture, as the
great majority of them were mechanics or town labourers. Mr. William Parker,
the head of the largest party, had come to South Africa with the expectation
that he would be granted land at the Knysna, where he intended to engage in
commerce, and was greatly disappointed when he was informed that the ground
there was private property. He then with a companion visited Clanwilliam,
and returned to Saldanha Bay, where the East Indian and Fanny were at
anchor, with such an unfavourable impression that discontent became general
among the immigrants.

The government now offered the Irish parties the choice of being located at
Clanwilliam or the Zuurveld, upon which they selected the former, and were
conducted to Jan Diesel's Valley in wagons requisitioned from the farmers.
Mr. Parker, however, with some of his indentured servants remained at
Saldanha Bay, where he formed fantastic plans of founding a town, engaging
in commerce, and establishing a large fishery, though his means were very
limited. As a matter of course, these schemes came to nothing, and he then
threw the blame of his failure upon the government, and particularly upon
Lieutenant-Colonel Bird, the colonial secretary, whom he accused of having
purposely sought to ruin him. Colonel Bird was a Roman Catholic, and this
was before the Catholic Emancipation Act was passed in England. Mr. Parker
'asserted that he was conspiring to subvert Protestantism in the colony, and
that as a Catholic it was illegal for him to hold a civil office. He wrote
long letters on this subject and his own distress to Earl Bathurst and many
leading men in England, and after his departure from South Africa in October
1822 he pestered the colonial office with letters and pamphlets for several
years, in the vain hope of obtaining either a lucrative situation or
pecuniary compensation for his losses.

A few weeks' experience convinced the settlers at Clanwilliam that it would
be an impossibility for so many persona to make a living there. The
government also recognised that a mistake had been made, and on the 25th of
July offered to remove them to the Zuurveld and supply them with rations
free of charge until they could gather crops, in consideration of their loss
of time. Most of them accepted the offer, and thereafter became blended with
the English settlers in Albany. Some of Mr. Parker's people, whom he had
abandoned, preferred, however, to remove to Capetown, where they could
obtain employment at high wages, and they were permitted to do so. Mr.
Ingram was allowed to purchase the claims of some of the others at a very
low rate, and had a title to the ground given to him, so he remained there a
couple of years longer, though his party removed to Albany. Captain Walter
Synnot remained also, and on the 30th of November 1821 became deputy
landdrost of Clanwilliam, in succession to Mr. Olof Martini Bergh. The
reverend Francis McCleland, who was in receipt of a salary from government,
was retained at Clanwilliam, where after 1822 he had only six
English-speaking families to minister to, until November 1825, when he was
transferred to Port Elizabeth.

The parties under Messrs. Griffith, White, Campbell, and Neave were sent to
the farm Wolvegat purchased by the government for £1,200 for the purpose,
adjoining some vacant ground on the Zonderend river, not far from the
Moravian mission station Genadendal. But the soil proved so poor that all
idea of permanent residence there was soon abandoned by most of the
settlers, and on the 25th of July an offer was made to them similar to that
made to the parties at Clanwilliam. Lieutenant Griffith preferred to take
over from the tenant the lease of the Old Post farm in Groenekloof, and with
his brother and some labourers moved to it; Mr. Neave chose to remain where
he was; the others accepted the offer of the government, and were conveyed
to Albany. Thus the immigrants with very few exceptions were located on the
ground that Lord Charles Somerset intended they should be settled upon. At
the time of their arrival there were only thirty-eight farms occupied in the
whole of that district, so completely had the depredations of the Kaffirs
deterred the old colonists from settling there. Of these farms sixteen were
subsequently resumed by the government, so that from the first Albany was
almost purely a British settlement, although at a later date several Dutch
colonists had land granted to them there.

The immigrants had hardly reached their destination when dissatisfaction
appeared among them. They found a beautiful country indeed, clothed with
grass and dotted over with trees like an English park, but it was not the
country they had pictured to themselves before seeing it. The proportion
that was capable of being tilled was small, and the hundred acres allotted
for each man included that which was fit only for pasture as well as that
adapted for the plough. Then in many cases redistribution of locations
became necessary, as fresh parties arrived, and those who were moved to
inferior ground were loud in their complaints.
Besides this, the mechanics and the labourers who were indentured to heads
of parties came to hear of the high wages paid in other districts of the
colony, and were desirous of breaking their engagements. To keep them
together very stringent regulations were made by the government, so that no
one could leave his location without a pass from the head of his party, or
the district without a pass from the landdrost, under penalty of being
apprehended and punished as a vagrant. The majority of the settlers knew
nothing of agriculture, and those who had been accustomed to farm life in
England had yet to learn a great deal in Africa. Still, with all the
dissatisfaction, the settlers generally speaking set to work with the utmost
energy. They had obtained seed corn and farm implements from the government
on credit, and were furnished with rations on security of the two-thirds of
their deposit money that had not yet been repaid. And so large patches of
ground were turned over and sown with wheat, and cottages of simple
structure were put up to serve until more substantial houses could be built.

On the 29th of April Sir Rufane Donkin left Capetown to visit the new
settlement. He found that the cost of conveyance of the immigrants from
Algoa Bay inland would absorb the whole of their funds still held by the
government, so that nothing would remain to meet the charge for rations. He
therefore proposed to the secretary of state that they should be relieved
from payment of inland transport, and to this Earl Bathurst consented.

In the centre of the locations Sir Rufane Donkin selected a site for a
village, which he intended to be a seat of magistracy. It was on the left
bank of the Kowie river, about nine miles or fourteen kilometres from the
sea, and was a situation of much natural beauty. He caused building
allotments to be laid out, some of which were granted to applicants free of
charge, and others were sold. This place he named Bathurst, in honour of the
secretary of state, and on the 23rd of May Captain Charles Trappes, of the
72nd regiment, was stationed there as provisional magistrate. Shortly
after-wards a commencement was made with the erection of the necessary
public buildings. On the hill above the landing-place at Algoa Bay the
acting governor erected a monument to the memory of his deceased wife. On
the 6th of June he named the rising town upon the shore Port Elizabeth after
her, of which notice was given in the Gazette of the 23rd. On the 25th of
the same month he reached Capetown again.

Upon the withdrawal of the large party of Highland Scotch, the emigration
commissioners selected other families in different parts of Great Britain,
who embarked in seven vessels, of which four arrived towards the close of
1820 and two early in 1821. These immigrants were not very numerous, and all
of them were located in Albany. The fate of those who left in the other
vessel was extremely sad.

The Abeona, a transport of 328 tons burden, sailed from the Firth of Clyde
on the 13th of October 1820. She bad a crew of twenty-one officers and men,
and there were on board a party of emigrants consisting of twenty-nine men,
twenty-one women, and seventy-six children, under the leadership of Mr.
William Russell, besides two men, three women, and nine children who had
paid their passages, and Lieutenant Robert Mudge, the admiralty agent. On
the 25th of November, in latitude 4° 30' N., longitude 25° 30' W., shortly
after mid-day a fire broke out in the store-room, caused by the chief mate
using a lighted candle when drawing off some spirits. The flames spread with
such rapidity that they were immediately beyond control, and only three
small boats could be got out. Into these forty-nine persons crowded, when
they could contain no more. The boats remained by the burning ship until she
disappeared. A little before daybreak next morning the survivors were picked
up by a Portuguese vessel from Bahia, and were taken to Lisbon, where they
arrived on the 20th of December. Of Mr. Russell's party twenty-one men,
twenty women, and fifty-nine children perished, including himself and his
family. Of the other passengers, one woman and four children, and of the
ship's crew eight men, met the same fate. Of those who were saved, five men
and one woman persisted in their wish to settle in South Africa, and were
sent out some months later.

At the same time that emigrants were being sent from Great Britain and
Ireland at the expense of the government, a number of persons proceeded to
South Africa without any aid, on the assurance of the secretary of state
that they would receive larger grants of land if they paid for their
passages. Some of these settled in Capetown and its neighbourhood, being
induced to do so by the prospect of a comfortable livelihood there, others
went on to Albany. Altogether, nearly five thousand individuals of British
or Irish birth became residents in the colony between March 1820 and May
1821. The cost of conveyance of those who were sent out by the imperial
government was 186,760 5s. 4d.

To provide more fully for the maintenance of order in the new settlement, on
the 15th of September 1820 Sir Rufane Donkin issued a proclamation by which
special heemraden with considerable authority could be appointed, and
Messrs. Thomas Phillips, Duncan Campbell, and Miles Bowker were empowered to
act in this capacity. This proclamation was followed on the 13th of October
by an-other, by which from the date of assumption of duty by a landdrost the
portion of the district of Uitenhage east of the Bushman's river, together
with the tract of land between the Fish and Keiskama rivers, was created a
separate district called Albany. The office of landdrost was offered to
Lieutenant-Colonel John Graham, who was then commandant of Simonstown, but
illness prevented him from removing, and in March 1821 he died. The
situation was then offered to Colonel Moncton, who declined it ; and it was
only on the 24th of May 1821 that it was filled by the appointment of Major
James Jones, an officer on half pay who had recently arrived in the colony.
On the 30th of May Major Jones was installed as landdrost and military
commandant of the frontier, and Albany was severed from Uitenhage. Captain
Trappes, the provisional magistrate at Bathurst, was now relieved of duty,
but on the 4th of January 1822 he was appointed landdrost of Tulbagh in
succession to Mr. Jan Hendrik Fischer, who retired. The office of deputy
landdrost of Grahamstown, which had been filled since October 1819 by
Captain Henry Somerset, was also abolished when Albany became a fully
constituted district.

Throughout South Africa the wheat crops in 1820 were attacked by a kind of
blight previously unknown in the country, and those in Albany were
completely destroyed. This was a very severe blow to the settlers, who had
expended their strength chiefly in attempting to produce corn, and who now
found their labour fruitless. Under these circumstances many of the
mechanics evaded the regulations of the government to keep them on the
ground, and made their way to other parts of the country where they could
obtain profitable employment. The great majority of the settlers, however,
remained on the locations, and it is indeed much to their credit that they
did not lose heart altogether, but resolved to bear the disaster bravely and
to persevere in the effort to make for themselves comfortable homes.
In June 1821 Sir Rufane Donkin again visited the eastern frontier. He found
the immigrants in fairly good spirits, and making much greater progress in
cultivating the ground than could have been expected from the previous
occupations of most of them. Some had purchased a few working and breeding
cattle, and had large gardens, with plenty of vegetables, pigs, and poultry.
The majority were still of necessity provided with rations by the
government, the meal for the purpose being brought from the western
districts, where there was still corn left from the exceptionally good crop
of 1819. Some of the parties had broken up, and were reorganised under other
leaders ; one of the largest had been abandoned by its head, Mr. Thomas
Willson, who returned to England to pester the colonial office with his
complaints and demands for compensation for his losses. Each member of this
party now regarded himself as an independent settler, but the reverend Mr.
Boardman was acting as a general director and was the medium of
communication with the government With the exception of the Scotch party at
Baviaans' river, the large party under Mr. Sephton was the most thriving of
them all. They had already built a neat little village, which they named
Salem, where they had established a school, and where their clergyman, the
reverend William Shaw, conducted services regularly.

The bar at the mouth of the Kowie river had been crossed frequently by a
small fishing boat, and it was believed to be passable by sailing craft of
light burden. There was a fine sheet of deep water above the bar, and
strong hopes were entertained that it would furnish a safe harbour and do
away with the long land carriage to and from Port Elizabeth. The health of
the settlers was remark-ably good ; there was hardly one who was not more
robust and hearty than when in England. Since their arrival the deaths had
not exceeded a dozen, and the births had been over a hundred.

The Royal African corps was at this time under orders to return to England
to be disbanded. Sir Rufane Donkin thought he could utilise the best men in
it as an advanced guard of the colony, by forming a settlement with them in
the lower portion of the vacant territory east of the Fish river. It was
Lord Charles Somerset's intention to keep the district between the Fish and
Keiskama rivers unoccupied except by soldiers, to have it constantly
patrolled, and thus to prevent depredations by the Xosas and illegal
intercourse between the two races. This design was now set aside by Sir
Rufane Donkin, who resolved to fill a portion of it with Europeans. It had
been his intention to locate the large party expected from Scotland in the
valleys at the sources of the Kat river, and the ground there was surveyed
for the purpose ; but the Highlanders changed their minds and remained at
home, so that those beautiful and fertile valleys were still open. It was at
the other end of the vacant district, however, that he now resolved to
settle the discharged soldiers. At an interview with Gaika, after a short
and friendly discussion that chief consented to his proposal.

On the 13th of June 1821 the acting governor entered into an agreement with
Captains M. J. Sparks and R. Birch, Lieutenants A. Heddle, W. Cartwright, C.
McCombie, and J. P. Sparks, Ensigns A. Matthewson, A. Chisholm, and C.
Mackenzie, and Assistant-Surgeon R. Turnbull, officers of the Royal African
corps, that to each of them should be granted a farm of two thousand morgen
of land between the Beka and Fish rivers, free of charge for survey or
title, and of quitrent for ten years, on condition that they should engage
among them at least sixty men of the corps as servants and occupy the ground
personally. The servants were to be provided with rations for nine months,
were to receive two months' pay from the 25th of June—the date of
disbandment, and each was to have a free grant of one hundred acres of
ground at the end of three years' service, if he was an artificer fifty
acres extra, if he should marry within three years fifty acres extra and
twenty-five acres for each child. They were to be provided with arms and
ammunition free of charge. No intoxicating liquor was to be sold within the
settlement during the next three years, and neither men nor cattle were to
cross the Beka.

On the same conditions, and with the approval of the officers, Mr. Benjamin
Moodie, who brought out the Scotch mechanics in 1817, and who was then
residing at Grootvadersbosch near the confluence of the Breede and
Buffelsjagts rivers, and his two brothers, Donald and John Dunbar Moodie,
retired lieutenants of the navy and army, who had recently arrived in the
colony, were to receive farms of two thousand morgen each. A little later
three brothers Crause, retired officers who were among the settlers in the
Zuurveld, entered into a similar agreement.

To the non-commissioned officers of the Royal African corps who had saved
some money, an offer was made of grants of land from two to four hundred
acres in extent, according to their means, if they would engage a few of the
men. They were to have the same privileges of rations, pay, and arms as
those who took service with the officers. Six non-commissioned officers,
with eighteen private soldiers as their servants, accepted this offer.

In addition to the farms to be granted, a village was laid out, in which all
except the servants had plots of ground four acres in extent given to them
free of charge. This village Sir Rufane Donkin named Fredericksburg, in
honour of the Duke of York. The officers and seventy-eight discharged
soldiers engaged as servants, together with the non-commissioned officers
and their servants, at once took possession of it, and commenced to build
cottages and make gardens. A military post, garrisoned by thirty-three men
of the Cape corps, was established close by to protect the settlement in its

Everything went on well for a few months, but on the 26th of October the
landdrost Major Jones issued a notice that as many farms as were required
would be surveyed, and then the ownership would be decided by lot. The
officers had already selected the ground that they desired to have, but this
notice prevented all cultivation except that of the plots in the village.
Time went on, and no surveyor appeared. The two months' pay promised to the
soldiers was also withheld, which gave great dissatisfaction to the
non-commissioned officers' parties. Further, Mr. Benjamin Moodie, who was to
have been vested with magisterial authority, changed his mind and remained
at Grootvadersbosch, so that there were no means of preserving order at
Fredericksburg, and many of the servants were disposed to be unruly. These
causes combined made the prospects of the new settlement particularly gloomy
at the close of the year 1821.

For some time after the arrival of the British settlers the Kaffirs gave no
trouble, but in September 1821 a daring robbery took place. Forty-eight head
of cattle were driven off from Mr. Smith's location, and an English boy who
was herding them was murdered. Mr. Brownlee, the missionary and government
agent at the Tyumie, reported that the robbery was committed by the people
of Nambili, a petty captain of Ndlambe's faction, that the cattle had been
taken from the robbers by Dushane, and that the matter had been made known
to Gaika. Major Jones, with one hundred and fifty infantry, a detachment of
the Cape corps, and twenty mounted burghers, then entered Kaffirland to
recover the cattle or make reprisals, but on arriving at Nambili's kraal
found it abandoned, so he was obliged to return empty-handed. Gaika was
strongly suspected of complicity with the robbers, and some time afterwards
it was ascertained that several of the stolen cattle had been appropriated
by him. He still professed, however, to be a friend of the colony, though it
was recognised that no reliance could be placed on his word.

On the 20th of July 1821 Sir Rufane Donkin issued a proclamation for
establishing periodical fairs at Fort Wilshire. The method of trading with
the Kaffirs by permitting small parties of them to visit Grahamstown was a
failure, as they took nothing there except baskets and articles of trifling
value, and since the war even this petty traffic had ceased. Sir Rufane
Donkin's proclamation provided that, under supervision of government
officials, the Xosas could obtain anything they wanted, except spirituous
liquors and munitions of war. Licensed traders repaired to the ground
adjoining the fort with wagons laden with goods. In the morning of the day
appointed for the fair the Xosas were permitted to cross the Keiskama in
parties under their chiefs, with their women carrying ivory, hides, and gum.
The traders then made presents to the chiefs, and between them they fixed
the relative value of everything to be bartered, before the common people
were allowed to have any dealings. When these preliminaries were concluded,
trade commenced, the chiefs keeping order among their followers and taking
usually as a tax about half of what each one purchased.

But this could only meet to a very limited extent the desire for traffic,
and now adventurers began to make their way far into Kaffirland, where an ox
could be obtained for a few strings of beads or a crown's worth of bangles.
Very stringent regulations were issued by the government against this trade,
and all unauthorised persons were forbidden to cross the Fish river under
severe penalties ; but to no purpose. The annual fair at Fort Wilshire was
rapidly turned into a quarterly fair, then into a monthly fair, and next
into a weekly market, under official supervision. Still, the illicit
commerce was not checked. The gains were so large that the number of persons
engaged in it constantly increased, and in the course of a few years many of
them acquired a considerable amount of wealth. Traffic of this nature was
demoralising, but the government attempted to enforce the restrictive system
until the close of 1830, when traders were freely licensed to enter

In 1820 the commissioners of the admiralty proposed to establish an
astronomical observatory at the Cape, and the design received the approval
of the king in council. On the 12th of August 1821 the reverend Fearon
Fallowes arrived in the colony as astronomer royal. The first observatory
was a wooden structure in Capetown, which was only intended, however, to be
used temporarily. In 1822 a site was selected on a knoll in the Cape flats,
which could be seen from the shipping in the bay, and two years later
authority was received from England to construct the necessary buildings. In
1827 they were occupied, though they were still unfinished. The
establishment has continued to the present time to be maintained at the
expense of the imperial government, and a great deal of very excellent
scientific work has been performed by the talented men at the head of it.

In 1817 Dr. Samuel Bailey, who was then practising medicine in Capetown,
made a proposal to the burgher senate to establish a hospital for merchant
seamen, slaves, and poor people generally, on conditions which would make it
partly a private and partly a public institution. The proposal was accepted,
and the governor's approval having been obtained, a building was commenced.
The burgher senate contributed a portion of the money required, on condition
of having the right at any time to take over the institution at a fair
valuation. In 1818 the hospital was opened. For about two years Dr. Bailey
conducted it on his own account, when his resources being found insufficient
for its proper maintenance, the burgher senate took possession of the
building, and paid him £4,500 for his interest in it. The institution has
ever since been in existence, though in recent years used only for certain
chronic and mental diseases. It is now known as the old Somerset hospital.

In 1819 the merchants of Capetown combined to establish a commercial
exchange, and for the erection and management of the building chose a
committee consisting of Messrs. Abraham Faure, Stephen Twycross, Andries
Brink, John Bardwell Ebden, Antonio Chiappini, John Collison, and Daniel
Dixon. The capital was raised in one hundred and fifty-eight shares of £37
10s. each, of which the government took twenty-five. On the 25th of August
1819 the north-eastern corner-stone of a large and handsome building on the
parade ground, which was in use until recent years, when it was removed to
provide a site for the present general post-office, was laid by Lord Charles
Somerset with much ceremony, a great number of people being present. The
troops were drawn up, the regimental bands were in attendance, and a salute
was fired from the castle. After the stone was laid, the governor, the
principal civil and military officers, and about two hundred of the leading
people of the town and suburbs sat down to tiffin in a huge temporary tent
erected close by. The hall was opened for use in 1821.

The knowledge of the natural history of South Africa was at this time
greatly increased by the labours of M. Lalande, who was sent out by the
government of France, and during the years 1819 and 1820 made a very large
collection of animals. Among the specimens which he sent to Paris were some
hundreds of previously undescribed insects.

In 1806 the three Roman Catholic clergymen then in Capetown—two military
chaplains and a priest maintained by the authorities in Rome to minister to
civilians—were required by Sir David Baird to leave the colony, and a
construction was afterwards put upon Mr. De Mist's proclamation granting
religious equality which its author had not intended it to bear. Under that
proclamation no clergy-man could perform service publicly without the
governor's permission. Mr. De Mist's motive was to prevent improper persons
of any denomination from acting as clergymen, but the wording of the
regulation was construed by the early English governors to mean that they
could refuse to admit the ministers of any creed that they disliked.

In 1819, however, at the request of the right reverend E. Slater, titular
bishop of Ruspa, who was about to proceed from England to Mauritius, Earl
Bathurst consented to a clergyman of the Roman Catholic church being
stationed in Capetown. On the first of January 1820 the bishop arrived, with
the reverend P. Scully, who remained in the colony. His duties for more than
a twelvemonth were confined almost entirely to the soldiers, but on the 17th
of January 1821 Sir Rufane Donkin made him an allowance of a thousand
rixdollars a year as a civil clergyman. Some months later he and his
congregation resolved to build a church, when not only the principal civil
servants and townspeople, but even the clergymen of other denominations
subscribed to the fund, and the burgher senate approved of a site being
granted free of charge. The place selected was off Harrington-street, where
Trinity church—English Episcopal—now stands. There, on the 28th of October
1822, the foundation-stone of a building was laid, which when completed was
used by the Roman Catholics to worship in. When Lord Charles Somerset
returned to the colony the stipend to the priest was withdrawn. In January
1826, however, Earl Bathurst sanctioned a salary of £100 a year being paid
from the colonial treasury to a clergyman in Capetown, and also to one in
Grahamstown whenever he could be obtained.

Practically, after 1821 there was political and civil equality for persons
of every religious belief, though it was still vaguely held in theory that
Roman Catholics could be excluded from civil offices by laws of England that
were binding in South Africa. The doubt remained until January 1830, when an
ordinance was issued, declaring Roman Catholics in the Cape Colony to have
full civil rights, but imposing restrictions upon members of certain
religious orders.


This thread: