Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
William Bell Journal, 1830-1833

Finding aid created by
Cheney J. Schopieray, July 2010, and Meg Hixon, December 2011

Summary Information
Title: William Bell journal
Creator: Bell, William, Sir, ca. 1787-1873
Inclusive dates: 1830-1833
Extent: 172 pages
Abstract:
The journal of William Bell, a British army officer, contains his notes on Barbados and Gibraltar, observations on slavery in the West Indies, Spanish language exercises, and extracts from Alain-René Le Sage's Historia de Gil Blas de Santillana and Henri Jean Baptiste de Bousmard's Essai général de fortification et d'attaque et défense des places.

Language: The material is in English and Spanish
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu


Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1928. M-19.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

Copyright:

Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.

Preferred Citation:

William Bell journal, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Biography

William Bell enrolled as a Gentleman Cadet in the Royal artillery in 1803. He served in the Napoleonic Wars in the West Indies, including the 1807 capture of St. Thomas and St. Croix, the siege of Fort Desaix, Martinique, the 1809 capture of Iles des Saintes, and the seizure of Guadeloupe in 1810. He was transferred to Europe in 1813, and served in the battles of Toulouse, Quatre Bras, and Waterloo. Bell returned to the West Indies in December 1829, remaining in Barbados until at least the following September. In 1831, he landed at Gibraltar.


Collection Scope and Content Note

The journal of William Bell, a British army officer, contains his notes on Barbados and Gibraltar, observations on slavery in the West Indies, Spanish language exercises, and extracts from Alain-René Le Sage's Historia de Gil Blas de Santillana and Henri Jean Baptiste de Bousmard's Essai général de fortification et d'attaque et défense des places.

The first 51 pages of the journal date from January 1 to September 26, 1830, while Bell resided in Barbados. His descriptions of Barbados include thoughts on religion and religious officials, schools and education, agriculture and plant life, and various aspects of slaves' lives. He comments on the rights and privileges of slaves, interactions between the black (free and enslaved) and white populations, slavery and Christianity, and the sale of slaves. Pages 53-54 contain a brief description of Gibraltar, dated May 1831. Pages 55-56, June 1833, contain a quotation from the second volume of Henri Jean Baptiste de Bousmard's Essai général de fortification et d'attaque et défense des places. Pages 57-128 and 171-172 consist of Spanish language exercises, and pages 129 to 171 are excerpts from Alain-René Le Sage's Historia de Gil Blas de Santillana.

Subject Terms

    Subjects:
    • Barbados--Description and travel.
    • Education--Barbados.
    • Gibraltar--Description and travel.
    • Great Britain. Army--Officers.
    • Slavery--Barbados.
    • Slavery--West Indies.
    • Slaves--Religion.
    Contributors:
    • Bousmard, Henri Jean Baptiste de, 1749-1807.
    • Le Sage, Alain René, 1668-1747.
    Genre Terms:
    • Diaries.
    Contents List
       Container / Location    Title
    Volume   1  
    William Bell journal,  1830-1833 [series]:
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Bibliography

    Borome, Joseph Alfred. William Bell and his second visit to Barbados, 1829-1830. In The Journal of the Barbados Museum and Historical Society, v. XXX, no. 1, November 1962.