Friday, August 23, 2013

Ships and Mariners: 19th c Cape and Natal 16 Bell

Following on the heels of the petition by Durban residents to the Cape Government on behalf of Captain William Bell came the resignation of John Douglas, who had in the interim filled the dual role of Port Captain and Pilot at Natal, necessitating the urgent appointment of a suitable person in the latter's place.

The post was offered to Bell ‘at his former emoluments’, though the authorities, who were beginning to get Bell’s measure, had Lieutenant Joseph Nourse in reserve in case Bell declined.

Bell accepted on Christmas Eve, 1849. Without further delay, he and Mary Ann packed their belongings and the family embarked on the schooner Douglas for Natal, arriving on 19 January 1850. 

Captain Bell, Mrs Bell and four children recorded as passengers on the schooner Douglas,
under Captain R Clarkson. Note Captain Smerdon was also a passenger on this voyage to
 Port Natal January 1850*

As he stood on deck watching the familiar sight of the headland known as the Bluff come into view, Bell must have felt a profound relief that the uncertainties of the past few years were over and that he was about to enter the sphere for which he had long been destined.

* NAB EI Vol 73 

1 comment:


the etching of the Bluff is exquisite. It compliments Captain Bell fulfilling his destiny very aptly.