February 25, 2010


The diary of James Bell, junior officer aboard "The Planter" which sailed to Adelaide from Deptford in east London in 1838, is on sale in London next month.
Bell told how they [the crew of the ship] blatantly took up with a band of prostitutes in search of a better life in the colonies.

He called the women "... natives of some obscene alley, in some obscene street, of that renowned city, London, and who are conveying in themselves all the filth of the place of their nativity, to Adelaide."

Sure, he's disgusted by women who sell their bodies, and the fights and drunkenness aboard, but how pure can he be?

Bell kept his diary for a female friend back in England, but interestingly for the time spared her few blushes.

Back in 1838, women were supposed to be protected from this sort of information. It was impolite to even discuss a woman's indigestion, let alone her naked debauchery. Yet somehow, Bell managed to fill over 200 pages with tales of the captain engaging in a threesome on deck.

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