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Cape Town anti-convict petition

Reference Code: GBR/0115/RCS/RCMS 196

Scope and Contents

460 x 29 cm. In 1841 it had been suggested that criminals from India might be brought to Cape Town, and in 1842 that young offenders might be more suitable, but both ideas had been opposed. Then, on 7th August 1848, Earl Grey, Secretary of State for the Colonies, sent a public despatch to the Governor of Cape Colony, Sir Harry Smith, in which he suggested men with tickets of leave might be a useful addition to the labour force and sought local views on the matter. Local reaction was hostile and a batch of petitions against the scheme sent back to Earl Grey. However, Grey had not waited for the colonists’ response and had despatched The Neptune to land convicts on Bermuda and the Cape. At the suggestion of Mr John Fairbairn, Editor of the Commercial Advertizer, a petition was drawn up and placed in the Commercial Exchange for signature. This is the document now in the Royal Commonwealth Society Library.


  • Creation: 1849

Conditions Governing Access

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1 rolled item(s) (1 roll)

Language of Materials


Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

good condition

Former / Other Reference

MSS 59

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Presented by Professor G.C. Moore-Smith, great-nephew of Sir Harry Smith, in 1920.


This entry was created by RMR and MJC.

Includes index.
2018-08-22 10:23:56+00:00
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

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