Friday, June 1, 2012

Emigration to the Colony of Natal in the 1860s

Colony of Natal: Emigration and Land Grants Under Government Authority.

Entrance to the Bay of Natal, Bluff on the right, Point on the left,
with a sailing ship arriving.
The Colony of Natal is situate on the south-east coast of Africa, looking into the Indian Ocean, 800 miles beyond the Cape of Good Hope, and 6 900 miles from England.

It is in the 30º south latitude, and has its winter in July, and its midsummer in December. The winter is nearly as warm as an English summer in the middle of the day, but it has cool nights. The mean temperature of the year is from 64½ to 68º. Thirty inches of rain fall during the year, principally in the summer season. The winter is bright, dry and sunny. The elevation of the land varies from the sea level to 6 000 feet.

The Colony is about one-third the size of England; it contains 17 000 square miles and has a population of 17 000 Europeans and 170 000 native Africans. It possesses a fertile soil and a beautiful and healthy climate, and has an abundance of good pasture land.

Sugar, coffee, and arrowroot are grown in the coast districts, where the orange, pine-apple and banana ripen abundantly in the gardens. The hill-districts furnish good dairy-farms and grazing-grounds and grow wheat, oats, barley and other corn and root crops such as potatoes, beet and turnips. Indian corn grows everywhere; and tobacco in most places. Cattle, horses and sheep thrive in the uplands. The Colony has only been occupied by the English since the year 1842. But there are, nevertheless, now 300 000 cattle, 20 000 sheep and 17 000 horses on the pastures and about 6 000 tons of sugar are exported in the year.

The Colony affords an excellent field for the enterprise of practical agriculturists, who have a little means to start with, and who have a family to settle. But no one should go to it unless he has enough money to provide for himself until he can bring his land into cultivation and yielding, and unless he knows how to till the ground and manage stock and the dairy. The Colonial Government furnishes assistance and countenance to men of this class; but discountenances all other kinds of immigrants. Just now the Colony has as many artizans and handicraftsmen as it requires; and clerks, shop-men and persons trained to the learned professions, cannot find remunerative employment.

To men who have the requisite knowledge and skill, who pay their own passages, and who possess a capital of ₤500, or a sufficient yearly income, the Colonial Government gives a free grant of 200 acres of selected land, with a reserve of 200 other acres adjoining, which may be bought for 10s an acre, at the end of five years. Actual occupation for four years is required before the land is finally transferred in freehold.

Pastoral runs of one thousand acres in extent may be hired from the Government on eight years’ lease, at a rental of one penny per acre per annum, under the condition of actual occupation and stocking, the Government reserving to itself the right to terminate the occupation of any portion of the runs, by giving 60 days’ notice at the end of any one year, and allowing a fair sum for permanent improvements. These runs are purchaseable by the occupier at any time in the open market.

A limited number of approved men of smaller means, who know how to turn the land to account, and who can provide for themselves and their families until the land yields them sustenance, are sent out with assisted passages under arrangements that have to be considered and settled beforehand. The settlers get free grants of 50 acres of good land, with right to surrounding commonage, receive passages by Government ships on payment of ₤6 per statute adult to the Government Emigration Board, 8 Park Street, Westminster, in London, and are assisted at the lowest possible charge to themselves to get conveyed to and settled upon their grants.

The charges of first-class passages by sailing ships is 35 guineas for each adult but passages may occasionally be had for less, under special arrangements.*  The payments for these have to be made to the owners of the vessels, or to their agents, and not to the Government. The voyage averages about 65 days by sailing ship. It is made in 40 days by the mail steamers.

For further information application may be made to the special Immigration Agent of the Colonial Government, Dr Mann, at the Natal Immigration Office, 15 Buckingham Street, Strand, London.
July 1867.

Extract from Natal Almanac & Yearly Directory 1867.

* The cost of a steerage passage from British ports to Natal was from ₤12 to ₤15. An ‘intermediate’ passage could be obtained for between ₤20 and ₤31. Cabin passengers could pay between ₤30 and ₤50 depending on port of departure (London, Liverpool, Plymouth, Southampton or the Clyde ports).


Shannon said...

I was just reading that same edition of the Almanac yesterday. I found a record in the Pmb archive showing my ggg grandfather had applied for a permit to import guns "for personal safety".

In the same edition they listed the hunting season for Quagga, partridge and eland.

I hope my esteemed Settlers were not fond of hunting quagga.

Mole said...

Quagga were scarce even by the 1860s.
I'm sure that didn't prevent people, including settlers, shooting them.According to one source the true quagga was shot out by the 1870s.

Mole said...

Thanks for your kind mention of this blog on message board. Appreciated by Mole.