CollectionGB 0231 University of Aberdeen, Special Collections
Ref NoMS 2137
TitlePapers of Reverend Patrick Bell, minister and inventor
Date1833 - 1837
Extent3 volumes
Creator NameReverend Patrick Bell (c 1799 - 1869)
Administrative HistoryPatrick Bell was born at Mid-Leoch farm, Auchterhouse, Dundee, c 1799, son of George Bell, tenant farmer there. He studied divinity at St Andrews University, and was ordained and appointed minister to the parish of Carmylie, Arbroath in 1843, where he remained until his death in 1869. He was for many years credited as inventor of the reaping machine, though the title now rests with John Common of Denwick, who invented a machine based upon the essential principals of the modern reaper in 1812, some 15 years ahead of Bell. The machine which Bell developed in 1827, whilst still a student at St Andrews, remained in regular use until c 1868, when it was purchased for the museum of the Patent Office. In recognition of his services to agriculture, he received a presentation from the Highland Society, subscribed for by the farmers of Scotland and others, and was awarded the degree of LL.D. by the University of St Andrews.

From 1833 - 1837 he travelled in Canada, where he seems to have found work as a private tutor. During this time he kept a detailed journal of his travels, making particular note of the geography, natural history, and agriculture observed.
SourceGifted to the University in 1945, by James Hendrick (d 1949), Emeritus Professor of Agriculture, Aberdeen University.
DescriptionJournals of the Reverend Patrick Bell (c 1799 - 1869) kept during his visit to Canada, 1833 - 1837. Each volume is illustrated with sketches and diagrams of farm steadings, houses, agricultural implements, and detailed pencil drawings of plants and animals observed. His observations of people and places encountered are detailed, often amusing, and full of social and political comment (see in particular his account of the "Campaign against the Swine in New York" which "terminated shamefully for those in power", MS 2317/1 p 50 - 52.
AccrualsNone expected.
ArrangementChronological. MS 2137/3 was previously listed as MS 2138.
Access StatusOpen
Access ConditionsThe records are available subject to the signed acceptance of the Department's access conditions.
Physical DescriptionNo physical conditions affecting use of collection.
Publication NoteDiaries of Rev. Patrick Bell (c.1799-1869) during his visit to Canada 1833-37. Northern Scotland, Volume 1, No. 1 (1972), p.123.

For a short description of MS 2137, in the context of other diaries and journals deposited in the University, see Colin McLaren, 'Reports and surveys of archives in northern Scotland', Northern Scotland, 1 (1) (1972), 123.

Transcripts of the journals were being prepared for publication by a Canadian author in 1997, but it is not known if they have yet been published. No further details available.
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