National Archives, Kew CO48/41, 515/516
Sept 17th 1819
The humble request of William BENBOW of Coalport near Shifnal sheweth that himself and other persons as directors in this neighbourhood are desirous of availing themselves of the offer made by Government of settling at the Cape of Good Hope and are ready to comply with all the conditions set forth in the Government circular to that effect, but before they can proceed with satisfaction to make final engagements with the families that have offered to put themselves under their directions, they with all due deference humbly beg leave to solicit answers to the following questions, viz:
When will be the precise time of embarkation and where, so that proper arrangements may be made accordingly with as little expence, loss of time and inconvenience as possible
What weight of luggage & implements of husbandry & tools &c will be allowed each individual or family
If gunpowder & arms are allowed to be taken and what quantity
If it is necessary to take out seeds for the land & what sort would be most adviseable
If it is the intention of government to get in a store of the common necessaries, particularly flour, till the Colony supply their own wants
If any part of a man's family (for instance a mother, sister &c) should be desirous of accompanying their family but should be thought in some respects ineligible, though by no means infirm or incapable of domestic affairs and under forty five years of age, would such be allowed to go out and if so what would be the charge of passage
Have His Majesty's Government any definite description of persons to point out, so as to lessen the risk of disapproval when inspected as that may be a mean of saving expence and vexation to the conductor, whose care must naturally be directed to such individuals as in their judgement they conceive most eligible for the undertaking.
Such information as this letter does most humbly solicit and can be granted upon the above heads will most thankfully be acknowledged and attended to by the aforementioned Wm. BENBOW on behalf of himself and others who are extreamly anxious of gaining previous knowledge and safe guidance in their pursuits.