BELL, Edward




Author Tags: 1700-1800, Geography

“...the fleshy parts of his thighs were most butcherly cut out...”

Edward Bell was a crewman aboard the Chatham that accompanied Captain Vancouver’s ship the Discovery, surveying the Pacific Northwest. In his diary Bell provided a circumstantial description of the murder of one of Captain Quadra’s servants after his body was discovered naked and mutilated at Friendly Cove on September 14, 1792.

Edward Bell wrote in his diary, “A fine little Spanish boy—one of Mr. Quadra’s servants, who had been missing about eight and forty hours—was found most barbarously murdered in a small bight within the Cove where the ships lay. A bloody knife was found lying near him. It is supposed he was decoyed thither by some of the Indians, under the pretence of gratifying an illicit intercourse with one of their women. But no reason could be assigned whatever for the taking away his life. No quarrel was known [to have] happened between the Indians and him or any of the Spaniards. On the contrary, the Indians enjoyed a happier time since the Spaniards had been first here. None of his clothes were to be found, but he was left naked with his throat cut from ear to ear. He had several stabs and cuts in his arms and on the backs of his hands, and the calves of his legs, and the fleshy parts of his thighs were most butcherly cut out and supposed to be eaten by the savage perpetrators of this act.”

Bell’s captain on the Chatham was Peter Puget, after whom Puget Sound is named.

BOOKS:

A New Vancouver Journal on the Discovery of Puget Sound, By [Edward Bell] a Member of Chatham's Crew (Seattle: University of Washington, 1915). Edited by Edmond S. Meany.

[Alan Twigg / BCBW 2003] "1700-1800" "English"