PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS.
HER MOST GRiACl:,. MAJESTY THE QUEEN.
H.R.H the Prince of Wales, H.R.H. the Princess of Wales, H.R.H. the Duke, and
H.R. and I.H. the Duchess of Edinburgh, H.R.H. the Duke of Connaught, H.R.H. the
Duchess of Connaught, H.R.H. Prince Christian, H.R.H. Princess Christian, H.R.H.
the Princess Louise, H.R.H. the Princess Henry of Battenberg, H.R.H. the Duchess
of Albany. H.R.H. the Duke of Cambridge, H.R.H. the Duchess of Teck, H.H. the
Duke of Teck, H.R.H. the Princess Frederica, Baion von Pawel Rammingen, H.S.H.
Prince Edward of Saxe-Weimar, H.S.H. Princess Edward of Saxe-Weimar
j3 tib Hnt:--His RovAL HIGHNESS THE DUKE OF YORK, K.G
ftsibtnt of tlt Habits' COImaitte :-RT HON. BARONESS BURDETT-COUTTS.
Th/i Vv/,,me 14 an-aide. to
DIAMOND JUBILEE, 1897.
/1.r an EssY o ji I-Alanus Did)y towards
An,,,,a/s,' and /.,sc,,Id at the Crystal
A111.1 Jermn S t. o1o
0 'till' V to, ]eermyn St., Lontdon..
d't, I! I
"PULLING AS WELL AS WE COULD TOWARDS rTHE LAND."
The Life and Strange
E. P. DUTTON AND CO.
Printed In Bavaria.
"PULLING AS WELL AS WE COULD TOWARDS THE LAND" Frontispiece
"IT WOULD HAVE MADE A STOIC SMILE TO HAVE SEEN ME AND
MY FAMILY SIT DOWN TO DINNER".. facing 60
"THE PRINT OF A MAN'S NAKED FOOT IN THE SHORE" .. I20
"WE CUT AND HEWED THE OUTSIDE INTO THE TRUE SHAPE OF
A BOAT" . 172
"A FIERCE ENGAGEMENT BETWEEN THE SPANIARD AND ONE OF
THE SAVAGES" 246
"So HE BEGAN JUMPING AND SHAKING THE BOUGH, AT WHICH
THE BEAR BEGAN TO TOTTER" .298
AND UPWARDS OF EIGHTY BLACK-AND-WHITE DRAWINGS
BY J. FINNEMORE, G. H. THOMPSON, AND ARCHIBALD WEBB.
- ---*0-- -
ROBINS ON CRUSOE.
IWAS born in the year 1632, in the city of York, of a good family, though not
of that country, my father being a foreigner, .of Bremen, who settled first at Hull:
he got a good estate by merchandise, and leaving off his trade, lived afterwards
at York; from whence he had married my mother, whose relations were named Robinson,
a very good family in that country, and from whom I was called Robinson Kreutznaer;
but, by the usual corruption of words in England, we are now called,-nay, we call
ourselves, and write our name, Crusoe; and so my companions always called me.
I had two elder brothers, one of whom was lieutenant-colonel to an English
regiment of foot in Flanders, formerly commanded by the famous Colonel Lockhart,
and was killed at the battle near Dunkirk against the Spaniards. What became
of my second brother I never knew, any more than my father or mother did know
what was become of me.
Being the third son of the family, and not bred to any trade, my head began
to be filled very early with rambling thoughts; my father, who was very ancient,
had given me a competent share of learning, as far as house-education and a country
free-school generally goes, and designed me for the law; but I would be satisfied with
nothing but going to sea; and my inclination to this led me so strongly against the
will, nay, the commands, of my father, and against all the entreaties and persuasions
of my mother and other friends, that there seemed to be something fatal in that
propension of nature, tending directly to the life of misery which was to befall me.
My father, a wise and grave man, gave me serious and excellent counsel against
what he foresaw was my design. He called me one morning into his chamber, where
he was confined by the gout, and expostulated very warmly with me upon this subject:
he asked me what reasons, more than a mere wandering inclination, I had for leaving
my father's house and my native country, where I might be well introduced, and had
a prospect of raising my fortune by application and industry, with a life of ease
and pleasure. He told me it was men of desperate fortunes on one hand, or of
aspiring, superior fortunes on the other, who went abroad upon adventures, to rise
by enterprise, and make themselves famous in undertakings of a nature out of the
common road; that these things were all either too far above me, or too far below
me; that mine was the middle state, or what might be called the upper station of
low life, which he had found, by long experience, was the best state in the world, the
most suited to human happiness, not exposed to the miseries and hardships, the
labour and sufferings of the mechanic part of mankind, and not embarrassed with
the pride, luxury, ambition, and envy of the upper part of mankind. He told me, I
might judge of the happiness of this state by this one thing, viz., that this was the
state of life which all other people envied; that kings have frequently lamented the
miserable consequence of being born to great things, and wished they had been placed
in the middle of two extremes, between the mean and the great; that the wise man
gave his testimony to this, as the just standard of true felicity, when he prayed to have
neither poverty nor riches.
He bade me observe it, and I should always find, that the calamities of life
were shared among the upper and lower part of mankind; but that the middle station
had the fewest disasters, and was not exposed to so many vicissitudes as the higher
or lower part of mankind; nay, they were not subjected to so many distempers, and
uneasiness, either of body or mind, as those were who, by vicious living, luxury, and
extravagances on one hand, or by hard labour, want of necessaries, and mean or insuf-
ficient diet on the other hand, bring distempers upon themselves by the natural conse-
quences of their way of living; that the middle station of life was calculated for
all kind of virtues and all kind of enjoyments; that peace and plenty were the hand-
maids of a middle fortune; that temperance, moderation, quietness, health, society,
all agreeable diversions, and all desirable pleasures, were the blessings attending
the middle station of life; that this way men went silently and smoothly through
the world, and comfortably out of it, not embarrassed with the labours of the hands
or of the head, not sold to a life of slavery for daily bread, nor harassed with per-
plexed circumstances, which rob the soul of peace, and the body of rest; nor enraged
with the passion of envy, or the secret burning lust of ambition for great things;
but, in easy circumstances, sliding gently through the world, and sensibly tasting
the sweets of living, without the bitter; feeling that they are happy, and learning by
every day's experience to know it more sensibly.
After this, he pressed me earnestly, and in the most affectionate manner, not
to play the young man, nor to precipitate myself into miseries which nature, and
the station of life I was born in, seemed to have provided against; that I was under
no necessity of seeking my bread; that he would do well for me, and endeavour to
enter me fairly into the station of life which he had just been recommending to me;
and that if I was not very easy and happy in the world, it must be my mere fate
or fault that must hinder it; and that he should have nothing to answer for, having
thus discharged his duty in warning me against measures which he knew would be
to my hurt; in a word, that as he would do very kind things for me if I would stay
and settle at home as he directed, so he would not have so much hand in my mis-
fortunes, as to give me any encouragement to go away; and to close all, he told me
I had my elder brother for an example, to whom he had used the same earnest per-
suasions to keep him from going into the Low Country wars, but could not prevail,
his young desires prompting him to run into the army, where he was killed; and
though he said he would not cease to pray for me, yet he would venture to say to
me, that if I did take this foolish step God would not bless me, and I should have
leisure hereafter to reflect upon having neglected his counsel, when there might be
none to assist in my recovery.
I LEA VE HOME.
I observed in this last part of his discourse, which was truly prophetic, though
I suppose my father did not know it to be so himself; I say, I observed the tears
run down his face very plentifully, especially when he spoke of my brother who was
killed; and that when he spoke of my having leisure to repent, and none to assist
me, he was so moved that he broke off the discourse, and told me his heart was so
full he could say no more to me.
I was sincerely affected with this discourse, and, indeed, who could be other-
wise? and I resolved not to think of going abroad any more, but to settle at home
according to my father's desire. But alas! a few days wore it all off; and, in short,
to prevent any of my father's further importunities, in a few weeks after I resolved
to run quite away from him. However, I did not act quite so hastily as the first
heat of my resolution prompted, but I took my mother at a time when I thought
her a little more pleasant than ordinary, and told her that my thoughts were so
entirely bent upon seeing the world, that I should never settle to anything with
resolution enough to go through with it, and my father had better give me his consent
than force me to go without it; that I was now eighteen years old, which was too
late to go apprentice to a trade, or clerk to an attorney; that I was sure if I did I
should never serve out my time, but I should certainly run away from my master
before my time was out, and go to sea; and if she would speak to my father to let
me go one voyage abroad, if I came home again, and did not like it, I would go no
more; and I would promise, by a double diligence, to recover the time that I had lost.
This put my mother into a great passion; she told me she knew it would be
to no purpose to speak to my father upon any such subject; that he knew too well
what was my interest to give his consent to anything so much for my hurt; and that
she wondered how I could think of any such thing after the discourse I had had
with my father, and such kind and tender expressions as she knew my father had
used to me; and that, in short, if I would ruin myself, there was no help for me;
but I might depend I should never have their consent to it; that for her part, she
would not have so much hand in my destruction; and I should never have it to say
that my mother was willing when my father was not.
Though my mother refused to move it to my father, yet I heard afterwards
that she reported all the discourse to him, and that my father, after showing a great
concern at it, said to her, with a sigh: "That boy might be happy if he would stay
at home; but if he goes abroad, he will be the most miserable wretch that ever was
born: I can give no consent to it."
It was not till almost a year after this that I broke loose, though, in the mean
time, I continued obstinately deaf to all proposals of settling to business, and frequently
expostulated with my father and mother about their being so positively determined
against what they knew my inclinations prompted me to. But being one day at
Hull, whither I went casually, and without any purpose of making an elopement at
that time; but, I say, being there, and one of my companions being going by sea
to London in his father's ship, and prompting me to go with them with the common
allurement of a seafaring man, that it should cost me nothing for my passage, I con-
sulted neither father nor mother any more, nor so much as sent them word of it;
but leaving them to hear of it as they might, without asking God's blessing or my
father's, without any consideration of circumstances or consequences, and in an ill
hour God knows, on the Ist of September, 1651, I went on board a ship bound for
London. Never any young adventurer's misfortunes, I believe, began sooner, or
continued longer, than mine. The ship was no sooner got out of the Humber, than the
wind began to blow and the sea to rise in a most frightful manner; and, as I had
never been at sea before, I was most inexpressibly sick in body, and terrified in mind.
I began now seriously to reflect upon what I had done, and how justly I was over-
taken by the judgment of Heaven for my wicked leaving my father's house, and
abandoning my duty. All the good counsels of my parents, my father's tears and
my mother's entreaties, came now fresh into my mind; and my conscience, which
was not yet come to the pitch of hardness to which it has come since, reproached
me with the contempt of advice, and the breach of my duty to God and my father.
All this while the storm increased, and the sea went very high, though nothing
like what I have seen many times since; no, nor what I saw a few days after; but
it was enough to affect me then, who was but a young sailor, and had never known
anything of the matter. I expected every wave would have swallowed us up, and
that every time the ship fell down, as I thought it did, in the trough or hollow of
the sea, we should never rise more: in this agony of mind, I made many vows and
resolutions, that if it would please God to spare my life in this one voyage, if ever
I got once my foot upon dry land again, I would go directly home to my father, and
never set it into a ship again while I lived; that I would take his advice, and never
run myself into such miseries as these any more. Now I saw plainly the goodness
of his observations about the middle station of life, how easy, how comfortably he
had lived all his days, and never had been exposed to tempests at sea, or troubles
on shore; and I resolved that I would, like a true repenting prodigal, go home to
These wise and sober thoughts continued all the while the storm lasted, and
indeed some time after; but the next day the wind was abated, and the sea calmer,
and I began to be a little inured to it: however, I was very grave for all that day,
being also a little sea-sick still, but towards night the weather cleared up, the wind
was quite over, and a charming fine evening followed; the sun went down perfectly
clear, and rose so the next morning; and having little or no wind, and a smooth
sea, the sun shining upon it, the sight was, as I thought, the most delightful that
ever I saw.
I had slept well in the night, and was now no more sea-sick, but very cheerful,
looking with wonder upon the sea that was so rough and terrible the day before,
and could be so calm and so pleasant in so little a time after. And now, lest my
good resolutions should continue, my companion, who had enticed me away, comes
to me: "Well, Bob," says he, clapping me upon the shoulder, "how do you do after
it? I warrant you were frighted, wer'n't you, last night, when it blew but a capful
of wind?" A capful, d'you call it?" said I; "'twas a terrible storm." "A storm,
you fool you," replies he; "do you call that a storm? why, it was nothing at all;
give us but a good ship and sea-room, and we think nothing of such a squall of
wind as that; but you're but a fresh-water sailor, Bob. Come, let us make a bowl
of punch, and we'll forget all that; d'ye see what charming weather 'tis now?" To
make short this sad part of my story, we went the way of all sailors; the punch
was made, and I was made half-drunk with it; and in that one night's wickedness I
drowned all my repentance, all my reflections upon my past conduct, all my resolu-
tions for the future. In a word, as the sea was returned to its smoothness of surface
and settled calmness by the abatement of that storm, so the hurry of my thoughts
being over, my fears and apprehensions of being swallowed up by the sea being
forgotten, and the current of my former desires returned, I entirely forgot the vows
and promises that I made in my distress. I found, indeed, some intervals of reflec-
tion; and the serious thoughts did, as it were, endeavour to return again sometimes;
but I shook them off, and roused myself from them as it were from a distemper,
and applying myself to drinking and company, soon mastered the return of those
fits-for so I called them; and I had in five or six days got as complete a victory
over my conscience as any young fellow that resolved not to be troubled with it could
desire. But I was to have another trial for it still; and Providence, as in such cases
generally it does, resolved to leave me entirely without excuse; for if I would not
take this for a deliverance, the next was to be such a one as the worst and most
hardened wretch among us would confess both the danger and the mercy.
The sixth day of our being at sea we came into Yarmouth Roads; the wind
A TERRIBLE STORM..
having been contrary, and the weather calm, we had made but little way since the
storm. Here we were obliged to come to an anchor, and here we lay, the wind
continuing contrary, viz., at south-west, for seven or eight days, during which time a
great many ships from Newcastle came into the same Roads, as the common harbour
where the ships might wait for a wind for the river.
We had not, however, rid here so long, but we should have tided it up the
river, but that the wind blew too fresh, and, after we had lain four or five days,
blew very hard. However, the Roads being reckoned as good as an harbour, the
anchorage good, and our ground-tackle very strong, our men were unconcerned, and
not in the least apprehensive of danger, but spent the time in rest and mirth, after
the tanner of the sea; but the eighth day, in the morning, the wind increased, and
we had all hands at work to strike our top-masts, and make everything snug and
MY FATHER GAVE ME
SERIOUS AND EXCELLENT COUNSEL" (p. 7).
close, that the ship might ride as easy as possible. By noon the sea went very high
indeed, and our ship rode forecastle in, shipped several seas, and we thought once
or twice our anchor had come home; upon which our master ordered out the sheet-
anchor, so that we rode with two anchors ahead, and the cables veered out to the
By this time it blew a terrible storm indeed; and now I began to see terror
and amazement in the faces even of the seamen themselves. The master, though
vigilant in the business of preserving the ship, yet as he went in and out of his cabin
by me, I could hear him softly to himself say, several times, Lord, be merciful to
us! we shall be all lost; we shall be all undone!" and the like. During these first
hurries I was stupid, lying still in my cabin, which was in the steerage, and cannot
describe my temper: I could ill resume the first penitence which I had so apparently
trampled upon, and hardened myself against: I thought the bitterness of death had
been past; and that this would be nothing too, like the first; but when the master himself
came by me, as I said just now, and said we should be all lost, I was dreadfully
frighted. I got up out of my cabin, and looked out; but such a dismal sight I never
saw: the sea ran mountains high, and broke upon us every three or four minutes:
when I could look about, I could see nothing but distress round us; two ships that
rode near us, we found, had cut their masts by the board, being deep laden; and
our men cried out, that a ship which rode about a mile ahead of us was foundered.
Two more ships, being driven from their anchors, were run out of the Roads to sea,
at all adventures, and that not with a mast standing. The light ships fared the best,
as not so much labouring in the sea; but two or three of them drove, and came close
by us, running away with only their spritsail out before the wind.
Towards evening the mate and boatswain begged the master of our ship to let
them cut away the fore-mast, which he was very unwilling to do; but the boatswain
protesting to him, that if he did not, the ship would founder, he consented; and
when they had cut away the fore-mast, the main-mast stood so loose, and shook the
ship so much, they were obliged to cut that away also, and make a clear deck.
And one must judge what a condition I must be in at alJ this, who was but
a young sailor, and who had been in such a fright before at but a little. But if I
can express at this distance the thoughts I had about me at that time, I was in
tenfold more horror of mind upon account of my former convictions, and the having
returned from them to the resolutions I had wickedly taken at first, than I was at
death itself; and these, added to the terror of the storm, put me into such a condition,
that I can by no words describe it. But the worst was not come yet; the storm
continued with such fury, that the seamen themselves acknowledged they had never
seen a worse. We had a good ship, but she was deep laden, and wallowed in the
sea, so that the seamen every now and then cried out she would founder. It was
my advantage in one respect that I did not know what they meant by founder, till I
inquired. However, the storm was so violent, that I saw, what is not often seen, the
master, the boatswain, and some others more sensible than the rest, at their prayers,
and expecting every moment when the ship would go to the bottom. In the middle
of the night, and under all the rest of our distresses, one of the men that had been
down to see, cried out we had sprung a leak; another said, there was four feet water
in the hold. Then all hands were called to the pump. At that word, my heart, as
I thought, died within me: and I fell backwards upon the side of my bed where I
sat, into the cabin. However, the men roused me, and told me, that I, that was
able to do nothing before, was as well able to pump as another; at which I stirred
up, and went to the pump, and worked very heartily. While this was doing, the
master seeing some light colliers, who, not able to ride out the storm, were obliged
to slip, and run away to the sea, and would come near us, ordered to fire a gun as
a signal of distress. I, who knew nothing what they meant, thought the ship had
broken, or some dreadful thing happened. In a woid, I was so surprised that I fell
down* in a swoon. As this was a time when everybody had his own life to think
of, nobody minded me, or what was become of me; but another man stepped up to
the pump, and thrusting me aside with his foot, let me lie, thinking I had been dead;
and it was a great while before I came to myself.
We worked on; but the water increasing in the hold, it was apparent that
the ship would founder; and though the storm began to abate a little, yet it was not
possible she could swim till we might run into any port; so the master continued
firing guns for help; and a light ship, who had rid it out just ahead of us, ventured
a boat out to help us. It was with the utmost hazard the boat came near us; but
it was impossible for us to get on board, or for the boat to lie near the ship's side,
till at last the men rowing very heartily, and venturing their lives to save ours, our
men cast them a rope over the stern with a buoy to it, and then veered it out a
ON DRY LAND AGAIN.
great length, which they, after much labour and hazard, took hold of, and we hauled
them close under our stern, and got all into their boat. It was to no purpose for
them or us, after we were in the boat, to think of reaching to their own ship; so all
agreed to let her drive, and only to pull her in towards shore as much as we could;
and our master promised them, that if the boat was staved upon shore, he would
make it good to their master: so partly rowing, and partly driving, our boat went
away to the northward, sloping towards the shore almost as far as Winterton Ness.
We were not much more than a quarter of an hour out of our ship till we
saw her sink, and then I understood for the first time what was meant by a ship
foundering in the sea. I must acknowledge I had hardly eyes to look up when the
seamen told me she was sinking; for from the moment that they rather put me into
the boat, than that I might be said to go in, my heart was, as it were, dead within
me, partly with fright, partly with horror of mind, and the thoughts of what was yet
While we were in this condition-the men yet labouring at the oar to bring
the boat near the shore-we could see (when, our boat mounting the waves, we were
able to see the shore) a great many people running along the strand, to assist us
when we should come near; but we made but slow way towards the shore; nor were
we able to reach the shore, till, being past the lighthouse at Winterton, the shore
falls off to the westward towards Cromer, and so the land broke off a little the vio-
lence of the wind. 'Here we got in, and, though not without much difficulty, got all
safe on shore, and walked afterwards on foot to Yarmouth, where, as unfortunate
men, we were used with great humanity, as well by the magistrates of the town, who
assigned us good quarters, as by particular merchants and owners of ships, and had
money given us sufficient to carry us either to London or back to Hull, as we
Had I now had the sense to have gone back to Hull, and have gone home I had
been happy, and my father, an emblem of our blessed Saviour's parable, had even
killed the fatted calf for me; for hearing the ship I went away in was cast away
in Yarmouth Roads, it was a great while before he had any assurances that I was
But my ill fate pushed me on now with an obstinacy that nothing could resist;
and though I had several times loud calls from my reason, and my more composed
judgment, to go home, yet I had no power to do it. I know not what to call this,
nor will I urge that it is a secret overruling decree, that hurries us on to be the
instruments of our own destruction, even though it be before us, and that we rush
upon it with our eyes open. Certainly, nothing but some such decreed unavoidable
misery attending, which it was impossible for me to escape, could have pushed me
forward against the calm reasoning and persuasions of my most retired thoughts, and
against two such visible obstructions as I had met with in my first attempt.
My comrade, who had helped to harden me before, and who was the master's
son, was now less forward than I. The first time he spoke to me after we were at
Yarmouth, which was not till two or three days, for we were separated in the town
to several quarters; I say, the first time he saw me, it appeared his tone was altered;
and, looking very melancholy, and shaking his head, he asked me how I did, and
telling his father who I was, and how I had come this voyage only ior a trial, in
order to go farther abroad: his father, turning to me with a very grave and concerned
tone, "Young man," says he, "you ought never to go to sea any more; you
ought to take this for a plain and visible token that you are not to Ie a seafaring
man." "Why, sir," said I, "will you go to sea no more?" That is another case,"
said he; "it is my calling, and therefore my duty; but as you made this voyage for
a trial, you see what a taste Heaven has given you of what you are to expect if you
persist. Perhaps this has all befallen us on your account, like Jonah in the ship of
Tarshish. Pray," continues he, "what are you; and on what account did you go
Sto sea?" Upon that I told him some of my story; at the end of which he burst out
into a strange kind of passion: "What had I done," says he, "that such an unhappy
wretch should come into my ship? I would not set my foot in the same ship with
thee again for a thousand pounds." This indeed was, as I said, an excursion of his
spirits, which were yet agitated by the sense of his loss, and was farther than he
could have authority to go. However, he afterwards talked very gravely to me,
exhorting me to go back to my father, and not tempt Providence to my ruin, telling
me I might see a visible hand of Heaven against me. "And, young man," said he,
"depend upon it, if you do not go back, wherever you go, you will meet with nothing
but disasters and disappointments, till your father's words are fulfilled upon you."
We parted soon after; for I made him little answer, and I saw him no more;
which way he went I know not. As for me, having some money in my pocket,
I travelled to London by land; and there, as well as on the road, had many struggles
with myself, what course of life I should take, and whether I should go home or
go to sea.
As to going home, shame opposed the best motions that offered to my thoughts;
and it immediately occurred to me how I should be laughed at among the neigh-
bours, and should be ashamed to see, not my father and mother only, but even every-
body else; from whence I have often since observed, how incongruous and irrational
the common temper of mankind is, especially of youth, to that reason which ought
to guide them in such cases, viz., that they are not ashamed to sin, and yet are
ashamed to repent; not ashamed of the action for which they ought justly to be
esteemed fools, but are ashamed of the returning, which only can make them be
esteemed wise men.
In this state of life, however, I remained some time, uncertain what measures
to take, and what course of life to lead. An irresistible reluctance continued to going
home; and as I stayed awhile, the remembrance of the distress I had been in wore
off; and as that abated, the little motion I had in my desires to return irore off with
it, till at last I quite laid aside the thoughts of it, and looked out for a voyage.
That evil influence which carried me first away from my father's house,-
which hurried me into the wild and undigested notion of raising my fortune; and
that impressed those conceits so forcibly upon me, as to make me deaf to all good
advice, and to the entreaties and even the commands of my father;-I say, the same
influence, whatever it was, presented the most unfortunate of all enterprises to my
view; and I went on board a vessel bound to the coast of Africa; or, as our sailors
vulgarly called it, a voyage to Guinea.*
It was my great misfortune that in all these adventures I did not ship myself
as a sailor; when, though I might indeed have worked a little harder than ordinary,
yet at the same time I should have learnt the duty and office of a fore-mast man,
and in time might have qualified myself for a mate or lieutenant, if not for a master.
But as it was always my fate to choose for the worst, so I did here; for having
money in my pocket and good clothes upon my back, I would always go on board
in the habit of a gentleman; and so I neither had any business in the ship, nor
learned to do any.
It was my lot first of all to fall into pretty good company in London, which
does not always happen to such loose and misguided young fellows as I then was;
the devil generally not omitting to lay some snare for them very early; but it was
not so with me. I first got acquainted with the master of a ship who had been on
the coast of Guinea; and who, having had very good success there, was resolved to
go again. This captain taking a fancy to my conversation, which was not at all
Guinea A district of that part of the West Coast of Africa where the land runs nearly due east
and west. The six countries into which it is divided are known to sailors under the names of Sierra Leone,
Grain Coast, Ivory Coast, Gold Coast, Slave Coast, and Benin.
AfY FIRST 7RADING VOYAGE.
"WE WORKED ON" (p. 12).
disagreeable at that time, hearing me say I had a mind to see the world, told me if
I would go the voyage with him I should be at no expense; I should be his mess-
mate and his companion; and if I could carry anything with me, I should have all
the advantage of it that the trade would admit; and perhaps I might meet with
I embraced the offer; and entering into a strict friendship with this captain,
who was an honest, plain-dealing man, I went the voyage with him, and carried a
small adventure with me, which, by the disinterested honesty of my friend the captain,
I increased very considerably; for I carried about [40 in such toys and trifles as the
captain directed me to buy. This 40 I had mustered together by the assistance
of some of my relations whom I corresponded with; and who, I believe, got my
father, or at least my mother, to contribute so much as that to my first adventure.
This was the only voyage which I may say was successful in all my adven-
tures, and which I owe to the integrity and honesty of my friend the captain; under
whom also I got a competent knowledge of the mathematics and the rules of navi-
gation, learned how to keep an account of the ship's course, take an observation, and,
in short, to understand some things that were needful to be understood by a sailor;
for, as he took delight to instruct me, I took delight to learn; and, in a word, this
voyage made me both a sailor and a merchant; for I brought home five pounds nine
ounces of gold-dust for my adventure, which yielded me in London, at my return,
almost [300; and this filled me with those aspiring thoughts which have since so
completed my ruin.
Yet even in this voyage I had my misfortunes too; particularly, that I was
continually sick, being thrown into a violent calenture by the excessive heat of the
climate; our principal trading being upon the coast, from the latitude of fifteen
degrees north even to the line itself.
I was now set up for a Guinea trader; and my friend, to my great misfortune,
dying soon after his arrival, I resolved to go the same voyage again, and I embarked
in the same vessel with one who was his mate in the former voyage, and had now
got the command of the ship. This was the unhappiest voyage that ever man made;
for though I did not carry quite 100oo of my new-gained wealth, so that I had [200
left, which I had lodged with my friend's widow, who was very just to me, yet I fell
into terrible misfortunes in this voyage; and the first was this, viz. our ship making her
course towards the Canary Islands, or rather between those islands and the African
shore, was surprised in the grey of the morning by a Moorish rover of Sallee, who gave
chase to us with all the sail she could make. We crowded also as much canvas as our
yards would spread, or our masts carry, to have got clear; but finding the pirate gained
upon us, and would certainly come up with us in a few hours, we prepared to fight; our
ship having twelve guns, and the rogue eighteen. About three in the afternoon he came
up with us, and bringing to, by mistake, just athwart our quarter, instead of athwart our
stern, as he intended, we brought eight of our guns to bear on that side, and poured
in a broadside upon him, which made him sheer off again, after returning our fire,
and pouring in also his small shot from near two hundred men which he had on
board. However, we had not a man touched, all our men keeping close. He
prepared to attack us again, and we to defend ourselves. But laying us on board
the next time upon our other quarter, he entered sixty men upon our decks, who
immediately fell to cutting and hacking the sails and rigging. We plied them with
small shot, half-pikes, powder-chests, and such like, and cleared our deck of them
twice. However, to cut short this melancholy part of our story, our ship being
disabled, and three of our men killed, and eight wounded, we were obliged to yield,
and were carried all prisoners into Sallee, a port belonging to the Moors.
The usage I had there was not so dreadful as at first I apprehended; nor was
I carried up the country to the emperor's court, as the rest of our men were, but
was kept by the captain of the rover as his proper prize, and made his slave, being
young and nimble, and fit for his business. At this surprising change of my circum-
stances, from a merchant to a miserable slave, I was perfectly overwhelmed; and
now I looked back upon my father's prophetic discourse to me, that I should be
miserable and have none to relieve me, which I thought was now so effectually
brought to pass, that I could not be worse; for now the hand of Heaven had over-
taken me, and I was undone without redemption; but, alas! this was but a taste of
the misery I was to go through, as will appear in the sequel of this story.
As my new patron, or master, had taken me home to his house, so I was in
hopes that he would take me with him when he went to sea again, believing that it
would some time or other be his fate to be taken by a Spanish or Portuguese man-
of-war; and that then I should be set at liberty. But this hope of mine was soon
taken away; for when he went to sea, he left me on shore to look after his little
garden, and do the common drudgery of slaves about his house; and when he came
home again from his cruise, he ordered me to lie in the cabin to look after the ship.
Here I meditated nothing but my escape, and what method I might take to
effect it, but found no way that had the least probability in it; nothing presented
I ENTERTAIN IDEAS OF ESCAPE.
to make the supposition of it rational; for I had nobody to communicate it to that
would embark with me-no fellow-slave, no Englishman, Irishman, or Scotsman
there but myself; so that for two years, though I often pleased myself with the
imagination, yet I never had the least encouraging prospect of putting it in practice.
After about two years an odd circumstance presented itself,, which put the old
thought of making some attempt for my liberty again in my head. My patron lying
at home longer than usual without fitting out his ship, which, as I heard, was for
want of money, he used, constantly, once or twice a week, sometimes oftener, if the
weather was fair, to take the ship's pinnace, and go out into the road a-fishing; and,
as he always took me and a young Moresco with him to row the boat, we made him
very merry, and I proved very dexterous in catching fish; insomuch that sometimes
he would send me with a Moor, one of his kinsmen, and the youth-the Moresco,
as they called him-to catch a dish of fish for him.
It happened one time, that going a-fishing with him in a calm morning, a fog rose
so thick that, though we were not half a league from the shore, we lost sight of it;
and rowing we knew not whither or which way, we laboured all day, and all the
next night; and when the morning came, we found we had pulled off to sea instead
of pulling in for the shore; and that we were at least two leagues from the land.
However, we got well in again, though with a great deal of labour and some danger;
for the wind began to blow pretty fresh in the morning; but particularly we were
all very hungry.
But our patron, warned by this disaster, resolved to take more care of him-
self for the future; and having lying by him the long-boat of our English ship which
he had taken, he resolved he would not go a-fishing any more without a compass
and some provision; so he ordered the carpenter of his ship, who also was an Eng-
lish slave, to build a little state-room, or cabin, in the middle of the long-boat, like
that of a barge, with a place to stand behind it to steer, and haul home the main-
sheet; and room before for a hand or two to stand and work the sails. She sailed
with what we call a shoulder-of-mutton sail; and the boom jibbed over the top of
the cabin, which lay very snug and low, and had in it room for him to lie, with a
slave or two, and a table to eat on, with some small lockers to put in some bottles
of such liquor as he thought fit to drink; and particularly his bread, rice, and coffee.
We went frequently out with this boat a-fishing; and as I was most dexterous
to catch fish for him, he never went without me. It happened that he had appointed
to go out in this boat, either for pleasure or for fish, with two or three Moors of
some distinction in that place, and for whom he had provided extraordinarily, and
had therefore sent on board the boat over-night a larger store of provisions than
usual; and had ordered me to get ready three fusils* with powder and shot, which
were on board his ship, for that they designed some sport of fowling as well as fishing.
I got all things ready as he had directed, and waited the next morning with
the boat washed clean, her ancient and pendants out, and everything to accommo-
date his guests; when by-and-by my patron came on board alone, and told me his
guests had put off going, from some business that fell out, and ordered me, with the
man and boy, as usual, to go out with the boat and catch them some fish, for that
his friends were to sup at his house: he commanded me too that as soon as I had got
some fish 1 should bring it home to his house: all which I prepared to do.
This moment, my former notions of deliverance darted into my thoughts, for
now I found I was likely to have a little ship at my command; and my master
being gone, I prepared to furnish myself, not for fishing business, but for a voyage;
though I knew not, neither did I so much as consider, whither I should steer; for any-
where to get out of that place was my desire.
Fusil, a French word, meaning a light musket or firelock.
t Ancient, the old word, derived from the French ensigne, for a flag, or the man who carries it.
ROBINSON CR USOE.
My first contrivance was to make a pretence to speak to this Moor, to get some-
thing for our subsistence on board; for 1 told him we must not presume to eat of
our patron's bread. He said that was true; so he brought a large basket of rusk or
biscuit of their kind, and three jars with fresh water, into the boat. I knew where my
patron's case of bottles stood, which it was evident, by the make, were taken out of some
English prize, and I conveyed them into the boat while the Moor was on shore, as
if they had been there before for our master. I conveyed also a great lump of bees-
wax into the boat, which weighed about half an hundredweight, with a parcel of twice
or thread, a hatchet, a saw, and a hammer, all of which were of great use to us
afterwards, especially the wax to make candles. Another trick I tried upon him,
which he innocently came into also: his name was Ismael, which they call Muley,
or Moely; so I called to him:-" Moely," said I, "our patron's guns are on board
the boat; can you not get a little powder and shot? It may be we may kill some
alcamies" (a fowl like our curlews) "for ourselves, for I know he keeps the gunner's
stores in the ship." "Yes," says he, "I'll bring some;" and accordingly he brought
a great leather pouch, which held about a pound and a half of powder, or rather more;
and another with shot, that had five or six pounds, with some bullets, and put all
into the boat. At the same time, I had found some powder of my master's in the
great cabin, with which I filled one of the large bottles in the case, which was
almost empty, pouring what was in it into another; and thus furnished with every-
thing needful, we sailed out of the port to fish. The castle, which is at the entrance
of the port, knew who we were, and took no notice of us; and we were not above
a mile out of the port before we hauled in our sail, and set us down to fish. The
wind blew from the N.N.E., which was contrary to my desire, for had it blown
southerly, I had been sure to have made the coast of Spain, and at least reached
to the bay of Cadiz; but my resolutions were, blow which way it would, I would be
gone from that horrid place where I was, and leave the rest to fate.
After we had fished some time and caught nothing, for when I had fish on my
hook, I would not pull them up, that he might not see them, I said to the Moor,
"This will not do; our master will nct be thus served; we must stand farther off."
He, thinking no harm, agreed, and, being in the head of the boat, set the sails; and,
as I had the helm I ran the boat out near a league farther, and then brought her
to, as if I would fish; when, giving the boy the helm, I stepped forward to where
the Moor was, and making as if I stooped for something behind him, I took him by
surprise with my arm under his waist, and tossed him clear overboard into the sea.
He rose immediately, for he swam like a cork, and called to me, begged to be taken
in, telling me he would go all over the world with me. He swam so strong after the
boat, that he would have reached me very quickly, there being but little wind; upon
which I stepped into the cabin, and fetching one of the fowling-pieces, I presented
it at him and told him I had done him no hurt, and if he would be quiet I would
do him none: "But," said I, "you swim well enough to reach the shore, and the
sea is calm; make the best of your way to shore, and I will do you no harm; but if
you come near the boat, I'll shoot you through the head, for I am resolved to have
my liberty:" so he turned himself about, and swam for the shore, and I make no
doubt but he reached it with ease, for he was an excellent swimmer.
I could have been content to have taken this Moor with me, and have drowned
the boy, but there was no venturing to trust him. When he was gone, I turned to
the boy, whom they called Xury, and said to him, "Xury, if you will be faithful
to me, I'll make you a great man; but if you will not stroke your face to be true
to me" (that is, swear by Mahomet and his father's beard), "I must throw you into
the sea too." The boy smiled in my face, and spoke so innocently, that I could not
mistrust him, and swore to be faithful to me, and go all over the world with me.
While I was in the view of the Moor that was swimming, I stood out directly to
sea with the boat, rather stretching to windward, that they might think me gone
-. ?." ; -
"HE LAY STRUGGLING FOR LIFE."
fSee p. 23a,
__._- = ..
--~ -~-~-=- -----s;s~
towards the Straits'* mouth (as indeed any one that had been in their wits must have
been supposed to do): for who would have supposed we were sailing on to the
southward, to the truly barbarian coast, where whole nations of negroes were sure
to surround us with their canoes, and destroy us; where we could never once go on
shore but we should be devoured by savage beasts, or mere merciless savages of
But as soon as it grew dusk in the evening, I changed my course, and steered
directly south and by east, bending my course a little towards the east that I might
keep in with the shore: and having a fair, fresh gale of wind, and a smooth, quiet
sea, I made such sail that I believe by the next day at three o'clock in the afternoon,
when I first made the land, I could not be less than one hundred and fifty miles
south of Sallee: quite beyond the Emperor of Morocco's dominions, or indeed of any
other king thereabouts, for we saw no people.
Yet such was the fright I had taken at the Moors, and the dreadful apprehensions
I had of falling into their hands, that I would not stop, or go on. shore, or come to
an anchor; the wind continuing fair till I had sailed in that manner five days; and
then the wind shifting to the southward, I concluded also that if any of our vessels
were in chase of me, they also would now give over: so. I ventured to make to the
coast, and came to an anchor in the mouth of a little river, I knew not what, nor
where; neither what latitude, what country, what nation, or what river. I neither
saw, nor desired to see, any people; the principal thing I wanted was fresh water.
We came into this creek in the evening, resolving to swim on shore as soon as it
was dark, and discover the country; but as soon as it was quite dark, we heard such
dreadful noises of the barking, roaring, and howling of wild creatures, of we knew
not what kinds, that the poor boy was ready to die with fear, and begged of me not
to go on shore till day. "Well, Xury," said I, "then I won't; but it may be
we may see men by day, who will be as bad to us as those lions." "Than we give
them the shoot-gun," says Xury, laughing, "make them run wey." Such English
Xury spoke by conversing among us slaves. However, I was glad to see the boy
so cheerful, and I gave him a dram (out of our patron's case of bottles) to cheer him
up. After all, Xury's advice was good, and I took it: we dropped our little anchor,
and lay still all night; I say still, for we slept none; for in two or three hours we
saw vast great creatures (we knew not what to call them) of many sorts, come down
to the sea-shore, and run into the water, wallowing and washing themselves for the
pleasure of cooling themselves; and they made such hideous howlings and yelling,
that I never indeed heard the like.
Xury was dreadfully frighted, and indeed so was I too; but we were both more
frighted when we heard one mighty creature come swimming towards our boat;
we could not see him, but we might hear him by his blowing to be a monstrous,
huge, and furious beast. Xury said it was a lion, and it might be so for aught I
know; but poor Xury cried to me to weigh the anchor and row away. "No," says I,
"Xury, we can slip our cable, with the buoy to it, and go to sea; they cannot
follow us far." I had no sooner said so, but I perceived the creature (whatever it
was) within two oars' length, which something surprised me; however, I immediately
stepped to the cabin-door, and taking up my gun, fired at him; upon which he
immediately turned about, and swam towards the shore again.
But it is impossible to describe the horrid noises, and hideous cries and howlings,
that were raised, as well upon the edge of the shore as higher within the country,
upon the noise or report of the gun, a thing I have some reason to believe those
creatures had never heard before: this convinced me that there was no going on shore
for us in the night upon that coast, and how to venture on shore in the day was
another question too; for to have fallen into the hands of any of the savages, had
* Straits, the Straits of Gibraltar.
I GO ON SHORE WITH XURY. 21
"IT WAS A PORTUGUESE SHIP" (. 25).
been as bad as to have fallen into the paws of the lions and tigers; at least we
were equally apprehensive of the danger of it.
Be that as it would, we were obliged to go on shore somewhere or other for
water, for we had not a pint left in the boat; when or where to get it was the
point. Xury said, if I would let him go on shore with one of the jars, he would
find if there was any water, and bring some to me. I asked him why he would go?
why I should not go, and he stay in the boat? The boy answered with so much
affection, as made me love him ever after. Says he, "If wild mans come, they eat
me, you go wey." '"Well, Xury," said I, "we will both go, and if the wild mans
come, we will kill them-they shall eat neither of us." So I gave Xury a piece of
rusk bread to eat, and a dram out of our patron's case of bottles which I mentioned
before; and we hauled the boat in as near the shore as we thought was proper, and
waded on shore; carrying nothing but our arms, and two jars for water.
I did not care to go out of sight of the boat, fearing the coming of canoes with
savages down the river; but the boy, seeing a low place about a mile up the country,
rambled to it, and by-and-by I saw him come running toward me. I thought he
was pursued by some savage, or frighted with some wild beast, and I ran forward
towards him to help him; but when I came nearer to him, I saw something hanging
over his shoulders, which was a creature that he had shot, like a hare, but different
in colour, and longer legs; however, we were very glad of it, and it was very good
meat; but the great joy that poor Xury came with, was to tell me he had found
good water, and seen no. wild mans.
But we found afterwards that we need not take such pains for water, for a little
higher up the creek where we were, we found the water fresh when the tide was out,
which flows but a little way up; so we filled our jars, and feasted on the hare we
had killed, and prepared to go on our way, having seen no footsteps of any human
creature in that part of the country.
As I had been one voyage to this coast before, I knew very well that the islands
23 ROBTNSON CRUSOE.
of the Canaries, and the Cape de Verd Islands also, lay not far off from the coast.
But as I had no instruments to take an observation to know what latitude we were
in, and did not exactly know, or at least not remember, what latitude they were in, I
knew not where to look for them, or when to stand off to sea towards them; otherwise
I might now easily have found some of these islands. But my hope was that if I stood
along this coast till I came to that part where the English traded, I should find some
of their vessels upon their usual design of trade, that would relieve and take us in.
By the best of my calculation, that place where I now was must be that country
which, lying between the Emperor of Morocco's dominions and the negroes, lies
waste and uninhabited, except by wild beasts; the negroes having abandoned it, and
gone farther south, for fear of the Moors; and the Moors not thinking it worth
inhabiting, by reason of its barrenness; and indeed both forsaking it because of the
prodigious numbers of tigers, lions, leopards, and other furious creatures which harbour
there; so that the Moors use it for their hunting only, where they go like an army,
two or three thousand men at a time: and, indeed, for near a hundred miles
together upon this coast, we saw nothing but a waste uninhabited country by day, and
heard nothing but howlings and roarings of wild beasts by night.
Once or twice in the day-time, I thought I saw the Pico of Teneriffe, being the
high top of the mountain Teneriffe in the Canaries; and had a great mind to venture
out, in hopes of reaching thither; but having failed twice, I was forced in again by
contrary winds, the sea also going too high for my little vessel; so I resolved to
pursue my first design, and keep along the shore.
Several times I was obliged to land for fresh water, after we had left this place;
and once in particular, being early in the morning, we came to an anchor under a
little point of land, which was pretty high; and the tide beginning to flow, we lay
still to go farther in. Xury, whose eyes were more about him than it seems mine
were, calls softly to me, and tells me that we had best go farther off the shore;
'for," says he, "look, yonder lies a dreadful monster on the side of that hillock, fast
asleep." I looked where he pointed, and saw a dreadful monster indeed, for it was
a terrible great lion that lay on the side of the shore, under the shade of a piece of
the hill that hung as it were a little over him. "Xury," says I, "you shall go on
shore and kill him." Xury looked frighted, and said, "Me kill! he eat me at one
mouth;" one mouthful he meant. However, I said no more to the boy, but bade him
be still, and took our biggest gun, which was almost musket bore, and loaded it
with a good charge of powder, and with two slugs, and laid it down; then I loaded
another gun with two bullets; and the third (for we had three pieces) I loaded with
five smaller bullets. I took the best aim I could with the first piece to have shot
him in the head, but he lay so with his leg raised a little above his nose that the
slugs hit his leg about the knee, and broke the bone. He started up, growling at
first, but finding his leg broke, fell down again; and then got up upon three legs,
and gave the most hideous roar that ever I heard. I was a little surprised that I
had not hit him on the head; however, I took up the second piece immediately, and
though lie began to move off, fired again, and shot him in the head, and had the
pleasure to see him drop; and making but little noise, he lay struggling for life. Then
Xury took heart, and would have me let him go on shore. "Well, go," said I: so
the boy jumped into the water, and taking the little gun in one hand, swam to shore
with the other hand, and coming close to the creature, put the muzzle of the piece
to his ear, and shot him in the head again, which despatched him quite.
This was game indeed to us, but this was no food; and I was very sorry to lose
three charges of powder and shot upon a creature that was good for nothing to us.
However, Xury said he would have some of him; so he comes on board, and asked
me to give him the hatchet. "For what, Xury?" said I. "Me cut off his head,"
said he. However, Xury could not cut off his head, but he cut off a foot, and
brought it with him, and it was a monstrous great one.
TVWE ENCOUNTER NAKED SA VA GES.
I bethought myself, however, that perhaps the skin of him might, one way or
other, be of some value to us; and I resolved to take off his skin. if I could. So
Xury and I went to work with him; but Xury was much the better workman at it,
for I knew very ill how to do it. Indeed, it took us up both the whole day, but at
last we got off the hide of him, and spreading it on the top of our cabin, the sun
effectually dried it in two days' time, and it afterwards served me to lie upon.
After this stop, we made on to the southward continually for ten or twelve days,
living very sparingly on our provisions, which began to abate very much, and going
no oftener into the shore than we were obliged to for fresh water. My design in this
was, to make the River Gambia or Senegal, that is to say, anywhere about the Cape
de Verd, where I was in hopes to meet with some European ship; and if I did not,
I knew not what course 1 had to take, but to seek for the islands, or perish there
among the negroes. I knew that all the ships from Europe, which sailed either to
the coast of Guinea or to Brazil, or to the East Indies, made this cape, or those
"THEY CAME TO MAKE A SECRET PROPOSAL TO ME" (P. 29).
islands; and, in a word, I put the whole of my fortune upon this single point, either
that I must meet with some ship, or must perish.
When I had pursued this resolution about ten days longer, as I have said, I
began to see that the land was inhabited; and in two or three places, as we sailed
by, we saw people stand upon the shore to look at us; we could also perceive they
were quite black, and stark naked. I was once inclined to have gone on shore to them;
but Xury was my better counsellor, and said to me, "No go, no go." However, I
hauled in nearer the shore that I might talk to them, and I found they ran along
the shore by me a good way: I observed they had no weapons in their hands, except
one, who had a long slender stick, which Xury said was a lance, and that they could
throw them a great way with good aim; so I kept at a distance, but talked with
them by signs as well as I could; and particularly made signs for something to eat;
they beckoned to me to stop my boat, and they would fetch me some meat. Upon
this, I lowered the top of my sail, and lay by, and two of them ran up into the
country, and in less than half an hour came back, and brought with them two pieces
of dried flesh and some corn, such as is the produce of their country; but we neither
knew what the one or the other was: however, we were willing to accept it, but how
to come at it was our next dispute, for I would not venture on shore to them, and
they were as much afraid of us: but they took a safe way for us all, for they brought
it to the shore and laid it down, and went and stood a great way off till we fetched
it on board, and then came close to us again.
We made signs of thanks to them, for we had nothing to make them amends;
but an opportunity offered that very instant to oblige them wonderfully: for while we
were lying on the shore, came two mighty creatures, one pursuing the other (as we
took it) with great fury from the mountains towards the sea; whether it was the male
pursuing the female, or whether they were in sport or in rage, we could not tell, any
more than we could tell whether it was usual or strange, but I believe it was the
latter; because, in the first place, those ravenous creatures seldom appear but in the
night; and, in the second place, we found the people terribly frighted, especially the
women. The man that had the lance or dart did not fly from them, but the rest
did; however, as the two creatures ran directly into the water, they did not offer to
fall upon any of the negroes, but plunged themselves into the sea, and swam about,
as if they had come for their diversion: at last one of them began to come nearer
our boat than at first I expected; but I lay ready for him, for I had loaded my gun
with all possible expedition, and bade Xury load both the others. As soon as he
came fairly within my reach, I fired, and shot him directly in the head: immediately
he sank down into the water, but rose instantly, and plunged up and down, as if he
was struggling for life, and so indeed he was: he immediately made to the shore;
but between the wound, which was his mortal hurt, and the strangling of the water,
he died just before he reached the shore.
It is impossible to express the astonishment of these poor creatures at the noise
and fire of my gun; some of them were ready even to die for fear, and fell down as
dead with the very terror. But when they saw the creature dead, and sunk into the
water, and that I made signs to them to come to the shore, they took heart and
came to the shore, and began to search for the creature. I found him by his blood
staining the water: and by the help of a rope, which I slung round him, and gave the
negroes to haul, they dragged him on shore, and found that it was a most curious
leopard, spotted, and fine to an admirable degree; and the negroes held up their
hands with admiration, to think what it was I killed him with.
The other creature, frighted with the flash of fire and the noise of the gun, swam
to the shore, and ran up directly to the mountains from whence they came; nor could I,
at that distance, know what it was.. I found quickly the negroes were for eating the
flesh of this creature, so I was willing to have them take it as a favour from me;
which, when I made signs to them that they might take him, they were very thankful
for. Immediately they fell to work with him; and though they had no knife, yet,
with a sharpened piece of wood, they took off his skin as readily, and much more
readily, than we would have done with a knife. They offered me some of the flesh,
which I declined, making as if I would give it them; but made signs for the
skin, which they gave me very freely, and brought me a great deal more of their
provision, which, though I did not understand, yet I accepted. Then I made signs
to them for some water, and held out one of my jars to them, turning its bottom
upward, to show that it was empty, and that I wanted to have it filled. They called
immediately to some of their friends, and there came two women, and brought a great
vessel made of earth, and burnt, as I supposed, in the sun; this they set down for
me, as before, and I sent Xury on shore with my jars, and filled them all three.
The women were as stark naked as the men.
I was now furnished with roots and corn, such as it was, and water; and leaving
my friendly negroes, I made forward for about eleven days more, without offering to
RESCUED BY A PORTUGUESE SHIP.
go near the shore, till I saw the land run out a great length into the sea, at about
the distance of four or five leagues before me; and the sea being very calm, I kept
a large offing to make this point. At length, doubling the point, at about two leagues
from the land, I saw plainly land on the other side, to seaward: then I concluded,
as it was most certain indeed, that this was the Cape de Verd, and those the islands
called, from thence, Cape de Verd Islands. However, they were at a great distance,
and I could not well tell what I had best do; for if I should be taken with a fresh
gale of wind, I might neither reach one nor other.
In this dilemma, as I was very pensive, I stepped into the cabin, and sat me down,
Xury having the helm; when, on a sudden, the boy cried out, "Master, master, a
ship with a sail!" and the foolish boy was frighted out of his wits, thinking it must
needs be some of his master's ships sent to pursue us, when I knew we were gotten far
enough out of their reach. I jumped out of the cabin, and immediately saw, not only
the ship, but that it was a Portuguese ship; and, as I thought, was bound to the coast
of Guinea, for negroes. But, when I observed the course she steered, I was soon con-
vinced they were bound some other way, and did not design to go any nearer
the shore: upon which I stretched out to the sea as much as I could, resolving to
speak with them if possible.
With all the sail I could make, I found I should not be able to come in their
way, but that they would be gone by before I could make any signal to them: but
after I had crowded to the utmcst, and began to despair, they, it seems, saw me, by
the help of their perspective glasses, and that it was some European boat, which they
supposed must belong to some ship that was lost; so they shortened sail to let me
come up. I was encouraged with this, and as I had my patron's ancient on board,
I made a waft of it to them, for a signal of distress, and fired a gun, both of which
they saw; for they told me they saw the smoke, though they did not hear the gun.
Upon these signals they very kindly brought to, and lay by for me; and in about
three hours' time I came up with them.
They asked me what I was, in Portuguese, and in Spanish, and in French, but
I understood none of them; but, at last, a Scotch. sailor, who was on board, called
to me: and I answered him, and told him I was an Englishman, that had made
my escape out of slavery from the Moors, at Sallee; they then bade me come on
board, and very kindly took me in, and all my goods.
It was an inexpressible joy to me, which any one will believe, that I was thus
delivered, as I esteemed it, from such a miserable and almost hopeless condition as
I was in; and I immediately offered all I had to the captain of the ship, as a return
for my deliverance; but he generously told me, he would take nothing from me, but
that all I had should be delivered safe to me, when I came to the Brazils. "For,"
says he, "I have saved your life on no other terms than as I would be glad to be
saved myself; and it may, one time or other, be my lot to be taken up in the same
condition. Besides," said he, "when I carry you to the Brazils, so great a way from
your own country, if I should take from you what you have, you will be starved
there, and then I only take away that life I have given. No, no," says he; "Seignor
Inglese" (Mr. Englishman), "I will carry you thither in charity, and these things
will help you to buy your subsistence there, and your passage home again."
As he was charitable in this proposal, so he was just in the performance to a
tittle; for he ordered the seamen, that none should offer to touch anything I had: then
he took everything into his own possession, and gave me back an exact inventory of
them, that I might have them, even to my three earthen jars.
As to my boat, it was a very good one; and that he saw, and told me he would
buy it of me for the ship's use; and asked me what I could have for it? I told him,
he had been so generous to me in everything, that I could not offer to make any
price of the boat, but left it entirely to him: upon which, he told me he would give
me a note of his hand to pay me eighty pieces of eight for it at Brazil; and when it
came there, if any one offered to give more, he would make it up. He offered me
also sixty pieces of eight more for my boy Xury, which I was loth to take; not that
I was unwilling to let the captain have him, but I was very loth to sell the poor
boy's liberty, who had assisted me so faithfully in procuring my own. However,
when I let him know my reason, he owned it to be just, and offered me this medium,
that he would give the boy an obligation to set him free in ten years, if he turned
Christian: upon this, and Xury saying he was willing to go to him, I let the captain
We had a very good voyage to the Brazils, and I arrived in the Bay de Tolos
los Santos, or All Saints' Bay, in about twenty-two days after. And now I was once
more delivered from the most miserable of all conditions of life; and what to do next
with myself I was to consider.
The generous treatment the captain gave me, I can never enough remember: he
would take nothing of me for my passage, gave me twenty ducats for the leopard's
skin, and forty for the lion's skin, which I had in my boat, and caused everything
I had in the ship to be punctually delivered to me; and what I was willing to sell,
he bought of me, such as the case of bottles, two of my guns, and a piece of the
lump of bees'-wax, for I had made candles of the rest: in a word, I made about two
hundred and twenty pieces of eight of all my cargo; and with this stock, I went on
shore in the Brazils.
I had not been long here, but being recommended to the house of a good,
honest man, like himself, who had an ingenio, as they call it (that is, a plantation
and a sugar-house), I lived with him some time, and acquainted myself, by that
means, with the manner of their planting and making of sugar; and seeing how well the
planters lived, and how they got rich suddenly, I resolved, if I could get a licence
to settle there, I would turn planter among them; resolving, in the mean time, to
find out some way to get my money, which I had left in London, remitted to me.
To this purpose, getting a kind of letter of naturalisation, I purchased as uinch land
that was uncured as my money would reach, and formed a plan for my plantation
and settlement; such a one as might be suitable to the stock which I proposed to
myself to receive from England.
I had a neighbour, a Portuguese, of Lisbon, but born of English parents, whose
name was Wells, and in much such circumstances as I was. I call him neighbour,
because his plantation lay next to mine, and we went on very sociably together. My
stock was but low, as well as his; and we rather planted for food than anything else,
for about two years. However, we began to increase, and our land began to come
into order; so that the third year we planted some tobacco, and made each of us a
large piece of ground ready for planting canes in the year to come. But we both
wanted help; and now I found, more than before, I had done wrong in parting with
my boy Xury.
But, alas! for me to do wrong that never did right, was no great wonder. I had
no remedy but to go on: I had got into employment quite remote to my genius,
and directly contrary to the life I delighted in, and for which I forsook my father's
house, and broke through all his good advice. Nay, I was coming into the very
middle station, or upper degree of low life, which my father advised me to before,
and which, if I resolved to go on with, I might as well have stayed at home, and
never fatigued myself in the world, as I have done; and I used often to say to
myself, I could have done this as well in England, among my friends, as have gone
five thousand miles off to do it among strangers and savages, in a wilderness, and at
such a distance as never to hear from any part of the world that had the least know-
ledge of me.
In this manner I used to look upon my condition with the utmost regret. I had
nobody to converse with, but now and then this neighbour; no work to be done, but
by the labour of my hands; and I used to say, I lived just like a man cast away
MY LIFE IN THE BRAZILS.
upon some desolate island, that had nobody there but himself. But how just has it
been-and how should all men reflect, that when they compare their present conditions
with others that are worse, Heaven may oblige them to make the exchange, and be
convinced of their former felicity by their experience-I say, how just has it been,
that the truly solitary life I reflected on, in an island of mere desolation, should be
my lot, who had so often unjustly compared it with the life which I then led, in
which, had I continued, I had, in all probability, been exceedingly prosperous and rich.
I was, in some degree, settled in my measures for carrying on the plantation,
"I RESOLVED TO HOLD FAST BY A PIECE OF THE ROCK" (p. 33).
before my kind friend, the captain of the ship that took me up at sea, went back-for
the ship remained there, in providing her lading, and preparing for her voyage, near
three months; when, telling him what little stock I had left behind me in London,
he gave me this friendly and sincere advice:-" Seignor Inglese," says he (for so he
always called me), "if you will give me letters, and a procuration here in form to me,
with orders to the person who has your money in London, to send your effects to
Lisbon, to such persons as I shall direct, and in such goods as are proper for this
country, I will bring you the produce of them, God willing, at my return; but, since
human affairs are all subject to changes and disasters, I would have you give orders
ROBINSOAT CR USOE.
but for one hundred pounds sterling, which, you say, is half your stock, and let the
hazard be run for the first; so that, if it come safe, you may order the rest the
same way; and, if it miscarry, you may have the other half to have recourse to for
This was so wholesome advice, and looked so friendly, that I could not but be
convinced it was the best course I could take; so I accordingly prepared letters to
the gentlewoman with whom I had left my money, and a procuration to the Portu-
guese captain, as he desired.
I wrote the English captain's widow a full account of all my adventures-my
slavery, escape, and how I had met with the Portuguese captain at sea, the humanity
of his behaviour, and what condition I was now in, with all other necessary directions
for my supply; and when this honest captain came to Lisbon, he found means, by
some of the English merchants there, to send over, not the order only, but a full
account of my story to a merchant at London, who represented it effectually to her;
whereupon she not only delivered the money, but, out of her own pocket, sent the
Portugal captain a very handsome present for his humanity and charity to me.
The merchant in London vested this hundred pounds in English goods, such
as the captain had written for, sent them directly to him at Lisbon, and he brought
them all safe to me to the Brazils; among which, without my direction (for I was too
young in my business to think of them), he had taken care to have all sorts of tools,
iron work, and utensils, necessary for my plantation, and which were of great use to me.
When this cargo arrived, I thought my fortune made, for I was surprised with
the joy of it; and my good steward, the captain, had laid out the five pounds, which
my friend had sent him for a present for himself, to purchase and bring me over a
servant, under bond for six years' service, and would not accept of any consideration,
except a little tobacco, which I would have him accept, being of my own produce.
Neither was this all; for my goods being all English manufacture, such as cloths,
stuffs, baize, and things particularly valuable and desirable in the country, I found
means to sell them at a very great advantage; so that I may say, I had more than
four times the value of my first cargo, and was now infinitely beyond my poor neigh-
bour-I mean in the advancement of my plantation; for the first thing I did, I bought
me a negro slave, and an European servant also-I mean another besides that which
the captain brought me from Lisbon.
But as abused prosperity is oftentimes made the very means of our greatest
adversity, so was it with me. I went on the next year with great success in my
plantation: I raised fifty great rolls of tobacco on my own ground, more than I had
disposed of for necessaries among my neighbours; and these fifty rolls, being each of
above a hundred-weight, were well cured, and laid by against the return of the fleet
from Lisbon: and now increasing in business and wealth, my head begin to be
full of projects and undertakings beyond my reach; such as are, indeed, often the
ruin of the best heads in business. Had I continued in the station I was now in, I
had room for all the happy things to have yet befallen me, for which my father so
earnestly recommended a quiet, retired life, and which he had so sensibly described
the middle station of life to be full of; but other things attended me, and I was still
to be the wilful agent of all my own miseries; and particularly, to increase my fault,
and double the reflections upon myself, which in my future sorrows I should have
leisure to make, all these miscarriages were procured by my apparent obstinate
adhering to my foolish inclination of wandering abroad, and pursuing that inclination,
in contradiction to the clearest views of doing myself good in a fair and plain pursuit
of those prospects, and those measures of life, which nature and Providence concurred
to present me with, and to make my duty.
As I had once done thus in breaking away from my parents, so I could not
be content now, but I must go and leave the happy view I had of being a rich and
thriving man in my new plantation, only to pursue a rash and immoderate desire of
-- ~'"\L ~-U*""r--^-c~- -~---O~~ 11--
THE SLA VE-DEALING SCHEME.
rising faster than the nature of the thing admitted; and thus I cast myself down again
into the deepest gulf of human misery that ever man fell into, or perhaps could be
consistent with life, and a state of health in the world.
To come, then, by just degrees, to the particulars of this part of my story:
-You may suppose, that having now lived almost four years in the Brazils, and
beginning to thrive and prosper very well upon my plantation, I had not only learned
the language, but had contracted acquaintance and friendship among my fellow-planters,
as well as among the merchants at St. Salvadore, which was our port; and that, in
my discourse among them, I had frequently given them an account of my two
voyages to the coast of Guinea; the manner of trading with the negroes there, and
how easy it was to purchase upon the coast for trifles-such as beads, toys, knives,
scissors, hatchets, bits of glass, and the like-not only gold dust, Guinea grains,
elephants' teeth, &c., but negroes, for the service of the Brazils, in great numbers.
They listened always very attentively to my discourse on these heads, but
especially to that part which related to the buying negroes, which was a trade, at
that time, not only not far entered into, but, as far as it was, had been carried on
by the assiento, or permission, of the Kings of Spain and Portugal, and engrossed in the
public stock; so that few negroes were brought, and those excessively dear.
It happened, being in company one day with some merchants and planters of my
acquaintance, and talking of those things very earnestly, three of them came to me the
next morning, and told me they had been musing very much upon what I had discoursed
of with them the last night, and they came to make a secret proposal to me; and,
after enjoining me secresy, they told me that they had a mind to fit out a ship to
go to Guinea; that they had all plantations as well as I, and were straitened for
nothing so much as servants; that as it was a trade that could not be carried on,
because they could not publicly sell the negroes when they came home, so they
desired to make but one voyage, to bring the negroes on shore privately, and divide
them among their own plantations; and, in a word, the question was, whether I would
go their supercargo in the ship, to manage the trading part upon the coast of Guinea;
and they offered me that I should have my equal share of the negroes, without
providing any part of the stock.
This was a fair proposal, it must be confessed, had it been made to any one that
had not had a settlement and a plantation of his own to look after, which was in a
fair way of coming to be very considerable, and with a good stock upon it; but for
me, that was thus entered and established, and had nothing to do but go on as
I had begun, for three or four years more, and to have sent for the other hundred
pounds from England; and who in that time, and with that little addition, could
scarce have failed of being worth, three or four thousand pounds sterling, and that
increasing too-for me to think of such a voyage was the most preposterous thing
that ever man in such circumstances could be guilty of.
But I, that was born to be my own destroyer, could no more resist the offer than
I could restrain my first rambling designs when my father's good counsel was lost
upon me. In a word, I told them I would go with all my heart, if they would under-
take to look after my plantation in my absence, and would dispose of it as
I should direct, if I miscarried. This they all engaged to do, and entered into
writings and covenants to do so. I made a formal will, disposing of my plantation
and effects in case of my death, making the captain of the ship that had saved my
life, as before, my universal heir, but obliging him to dispose of my effects as I had
directed in my will: one-half of the produce being to himself, and the other to be
shipped to England.
In short, I took all possible caution to preserve my effects, and to keep up my
plantation. Had I used half as much prudence to have looked into my own interest,
and have made a judgment of what I ought to have done and not to have done, I
had certainly never gone away from so prosperous an undertaking, leaving all the
probable views of a thriving circumstance, and gone upon a voyage to sea, attended
with all its common hazards, to say nothing of the reasons I had to expect particular
misfortunes to myself.
But I was hurried on, and obeyed blindly the dictates of my fancy rather than
my reason; and, accordingly, the ship being fitted out, and the cargo finished, and
all things done, as by agreement, by my partners in the voyage, I went on board in
an evil hour again, the ist of September, 1659, being the same day eight years that I
went from my father and mother at Hull, in order to act the rebel to their authority,
and the fool to my own interests.
Our ship was about one hundred and twenty tons burden, carried six guns, and
fourteen men, besides the master, his boy, and myself. We had on board no large
cargo of goods, except of such toys as were fit for our trade with the negroes, such
as beads, bits of glass, shells, and odd trifles, especially little looking-glasses, knives,
scissors, hatchets, and the like.
The same day I went on board we set sail, standing away to the northward upon
our own coasts, with design to stretch over for the African coast when they came into
about ten or twelve degrees of northern latitude, which, it seems, was the manner of
their course in those days. We had very good weather, only excessively hot, all the way
upon our own coast, till we came to the height of Cape St. Augustino; from whence,
keeping farther off at sea, we lost sight of land, and steered as if we were bound for
the isle Fernando de Noronha, holding our course N.E. by N., and leaving those
isles on the east. In this course we passed the line in about twelve days' time, and
were, by our last observation, in seven degrees twenty-two minutes northern latitude,
when a violent tornado, or hurricane, took us quite out of our knowledge. It began
from the south-east, came about to the north-west, and then settled into the north-east;
from whence it blew in such a terrible manner, that for twelve days together we
could do nothing but drive, and, scudding away before it, let it carry us wherever
fate and the fury of the winds directed; and, during these twelve days, I need not
say that I expected every day to be swallowed up; nor did any in the ship expect
to save their lives.
In this distress we had, besides the terror of the storm, one of our men died of
the calenture, and a man and a boy washed overboard. About the twelfth day,
the weather abating a little, the master made an observation as well as he could,
and found that he was in about eleven degrees of north latitude, but that he was twenty-
two degrees of longitude difference west from Cape St. Augustino; so that he found
he was gotten upon the coast of Guiana, or the north part of Brazil, beyond the river
Amazons, towards that of the river Oroonoque, commonly called the Great River;
and now he began to consult with me what course he should take, for the ship was
leaky, and very much disabled, and he was for going directly back to the coast of Brazil.
I was positively against that; and looking over the charts of the sea coast of
America with him, we concluded there was no inhabited country for us to have
recourse to, till we came within the circle of the Caribbee Islands, and therefore
resolved to stand away for Barbadoes; which, by keeping off at sea, to avoid the
indraft of the Bay or Gulf of Mexico, we might easily perform, as we hoped, in
about fifteen days' sail; whereas we could not possibly make our voyage to the coast
of Africa without some assistance both to our ship and to ourselves.
With this design we changed our course, and steered away N.W. by W., in
order to reach some of our English islands, where I hoped for relief. But our
voyage was otherwise determined; for, being in the latitude of twelve degrees eighteen
minutes, a second storm came upon us, which carried us away with the same impetuosity
westward, and drove us so out of the way of all human commerce, that, had all our
lives been saved as to the sea, we were rather in danger of being devoured by savages
than ever returning to our own country.
In this distress, the wind still blowing very hard, one of our men early one
OUR VESSEL IS DRIVEN ON SHORE.
"THE SHIP WAS DRIVEN UP ALMOST AS FAR AS THE ROCK" (P. 34).
morning cried out, "Land!" and we had no sooner run out of the cabin to look out,
in hopes of seeing whereabouts in the world we were, than the ship struck upon a
sand, and in a moment, her motion being so stopped, the sea broke over her in such
a manner, that we expected we should all have perished immediately, and we were even
driven into our close quarters, to shelter us from the very foam and spray of the sea.
It is not easy for any one who has not been in the like condition to describe or
conceive the consternation of men in such circumstances. We knew nothing where
we were, or upon what land it was we were driven-whether an island or the main,
whether inhabited or not inhabited. As the rage of the wind was still great, though
rather less than at first, we could not so much as hope to have the ship hold many
minutes without breaking in pieces, unless the winds, by a kind of miracle, should
turn immediately about. In a word, we sat looking upon one another, and expecting
death every moment, and every man acting accordingly, as preparing for another
world; for there was little or nothing more for us to do in this. That which was
our present comfort, and all the comfort we had, was that, contrary to our expectation,
the ship did not break yet, and that the master said the wind began to abate.
Now, though we thought that the wind did a little abate, yet the ship having
thus struck upon the sand, and sticking too fast for us to expect her getting off, we
were in a dreadful condition indeed, and had nothing to do but to think of saving our
lives as well as we could. We had a boat at our stern just before the storm, but
she was first staved by dashing against the ship's rudder, and in the next place, she
broke away, and either sunk, or was driven off to sea; so there was no hope from
her. We had another boat on board, but how to get her off into the sea was a
doubtful thing. However, there was no room to debate, for we fancied the ship would
break in pieces every minute, and some told us she was actually broken already.
In this distress, the mate of our vessel laid hold of the boat, and with the help
of the rest of the men, they got her flung over the ship's side; and getting all into her,
let go, and committed ourselves, being eleven in number, to God's mercy and the
wild sea; for though the storm was abated considerably, yet the sea ran dreadfully
high upon the shore, and might be well called den wild zee, as the Dutch call the sea
in a storm.
And now our case was very dismal indeed; for we all saw plainly, that the sea
went so high that the boat could not escape, and that we should be inevitably drowned.
As to making sail, we had none, nor, if we had, could we have done anything with
it; so we worked at the oar towards the land, though with heavy hearts, like men
going to execution; for we all knew that when the boat came near the shore, she
would be dashed in a thousand pieces by the breach of the sea. However, we
committed our souls to God in the most earnest manner; and the wind driving us
towards the shore, we hastened our destruction with our own hands, pulling as well
as we could towards land.
What the shore was, whether rock or sand, whether steep or shoal we knew not.
The only hope that could rationally give us the least shadow of expectation, was, if we
might happen into some bay or gulf, or the mouth of some river, where by great chance
we might have run our boat in, or got under the lee of the land, and perhaps made
smooth water. But there was nothing of this appeared; but as we made nearer
and nearer the shore, the land looked more frightful than the sea.
After we had rowed or rather driver about a league and a half, as we reckoned
it, a raging wave, mountain-like; came rolling astern of us, and plainly bade us
expect the coup de grace. In a word, it took us with such a fury, that it overset the
boat at once; and separating us, as well from the boat as from one another, gave us
not time hardly to say, "0 God!" for we were all swallowed up in a moment.
Nothing can describe the confusion of thought which I felt, when I sank into
the water; for though I swam very well, yet I could not deliver myself from the
waves so as to draw breath, till that wave having driven me, or rather carried me,
a vast way on towards the shore, and having spent itself, went back, and left me
upon the land almost dry, but half dead with the water I took in. I had so much
presence of mind, as well as breath left, that, seeing myself nearer the mainland
than I expected, I got upon my feet, and endeavoured to make on towards the land
as fast as I could, before another wave should return and take me up again; but I
soon found it was impossible to avoid it; for I saw the sea come after me as high
as a great hill, and as furious as an enemy, which I had no means or strength to
contend with: my business was to hold my breath, and raise myself upon the water,
if I could; and so, by swimming, to preserve my breathing and pilot myself towards
the shore, if possible, my greatest concern now being, that the wave, as it would carry
me a great way towards the shore when it came on, might not carry me back again
with it when it gave back towards the sea.
The wave that came upon me again, buried me at once twenty or thirty feet
deep in its own body, and I could feel myself carried with a mighty force and
swiftness towards the shore a very great way; but I held my breath, and assisted
myself to swim still forward with all my might. I was ready to burst with holding
my breath, when as I felt myself rising up, so, to my immediate relief, I found my
head and hands shoot out above the surface of the water; and though it was not
two seconds of time that I could keep myself so, yet. it relieved me greatly, gave me
breath and new courage. I was covered again with water a good while, but not so
long but I held it out; and, finding the water had spent itself and began to return,
I struck forward against the return of the waves, and felt ground again with my feet.
I stood still a few moments to recover breath and till the waters went from me, and
then took to my heels and ran, with what strength I had, farther towards the shore.
But neither would this deliver me from the fury of the sea, which came pouring in
after me again; and twice more I was lifted up by the waves and carried forwards
as before, the shore being very flat.
The last time of these two had well-nigh been fatal to me, for the sea having
MY ECSTASIES AT MY ESCAPE.
hurried me along, as before, landed me, or rather dashed me, against a piece of a
rock, and that with such force, as it left me senseless, and indeed helpless, as to
my own deliverance; for the blow taking my side and breast, beat the breath, as it
were, quite out of my body; and had it returned again .immediately, I must have
been strangled in the water; but I recovered a little before the return of the waves,
and seeing I should be covered again with the water, I resolved to hold fast by a
piece of the rock, and so to hold my breath, if possible, till the wave went back.
Now, as the waves were not so high as at first, being nearer land, I held my
hold till the wave abated, and then fetched
another run, which brought me so near the "I GOT IT DOWN
shore, that the next wave, though it went over S TO MY IAFT"
me, yet did not so swallow me up as to carry (p. 36).
me away; and the next run I took, I got to
the mainland, where, to my great comfort, I
clambered up the cliffs of the shore, and sat me
down upon the grass, free from danger and quite
out of the reach of the water.
I was now landed, and safe on shore, and
began to look up and thank God that my life was
saved, in a case wherein there was, some minutes
before, scarce any room to hope. I believe it
is impossible to express, to the life, what
the ecstasies and transports of the soul are,
when it is so saved, as I may say, out of -
the very grave, and I do not wonder now
at that custom, when a malefactor, who has
the halter about his neck, is tied up, and just going to
be turned off, and has a reprieve brought to him-
I say, I do not wonder that they bring a surgeon
with it, to let him blood that very moment they tell him of
it; that the surprise may not drive the animal spirits from the
heart, and overwhelm him.
For sudden joys, like griefs, confound at first.
I walked about on the shore lifting up my hands, and my
whole being, as I may say, wrapt up in a contemplation of my
deliverance; making a thousand gestures and motions, which I
cannot describe; reflecting upon all my comrades that were
drowned, and that there should not be one soul saved but
myself; for, as for them, I never saw them afterwards, or any
sign of them, except three of their hats, one cap, and two
shoes that were not fellows.
I cast my eyes to the stranded vessel, when, the breach
and froth of the sea being so big, I could hardly see it, it lay
so far off; and considered, Lord! how was it possible I could
get on shore ?
After I had solaced my mind with the comfortable part of
my condition, I began to look round me, to see what kind of
place I was in, and what was next to be done: and I soon
found my comforts abate, and that, in a word, I had a dreadful
deliverance: for I was wet, had no clothes to shift me, nor
anything either to eat or drink to comfort me; neither did I see
any prospect before me, but that of perishing .with hunger, or
being devoured by wild beasts; and that which was particularly
ROBINSON CR USOB.
afflicting to me was, that I had no weapon, either to hunt and kill any creature for
my sustenance, or to defend myself against any other creature that might desire to
kill me for theirs. In a word, I had nothing about me but a knife, a tobacco-pipe,
and a little tobacco in a box. This was all my provisions; and this threw me into
terrible agonies of mind, that for a while, I ran about like a madman. Night coming
upon me, I began, with a heavy heart, to consider what would be my lot if there
were any ravenous beasts in that country, seeing at night they always come abroad
for their prey.
All the remedy that offered to my thoughts at that time, was to get up into a
thick bushy. tree like a fir, but thorriy, which grew near me, and where I resolved
to sit all night, and consider the next day what death I should die, for as yet I
saw no prospect of life. I walked about a furlong from the shore, to see if I could
find any fresh water to drink, which I did, to my great joy; and having drunk, and
put a little tobacco in my mouth to prevent hunger, I went to the tree, and getting
up into it, endeavoured to place myself so that if I should sleep I might not fall.
And having cut me a short stick, like a truncheon, for my defence, I took up my
lodging; and being excessively fatigued, I fell fast asleep, and slept as comfortably
as, I believe, few could have done in my condition, and found myself more refreshed
with it than, I think, I ever was on such an occasion.
When I waked it was broad day, the weather clear, and the storm abated, so
that the sea did not rage and swell as before. But that which surprised me most
was, that the ship was lifted off in the night from the sand where she lay, by the
swelling of the tide, and was driven up almost as far as the rock which I at first
mentioned, where I had been so bruised by the wave dashing me against it. This
being within about a mile from the shore where I was, and the ship seeming to stand
upright still, I wished myself on board, that at least I might save some necessary
things for my use.
When I came down from my apartment in the tree, I looked about me again,
and the first thing I found was the boat, which lay, as the wind and the sea had
tossed her up, upon the land, about two miles on my right hand. I walked as far
as I could upon the shore to have got to her; but found a neck or inlet of water
between me and the boat which was about half a mile broad; so I came back for
the present, being more intent upon getting at the ship, where I hoped to find
something for my present subsistence.
A little after noon, I found the sea very calm, and the tide ebbed so far out that
I could come within a quarter of a mile of the ship. And here I found a fresh
renewing of my grief; for I saw evidently, that if we had kept on board, we had
been all safe-that is to say, we had all got safe on shore, and I had not been so
miserable as to be left entirely destitute of all comfort and company as I now was.
This forced tears to my eyes again; but as there was little relief in that, I resolved,
if possible, to get to the ship; so I pulled off my clothes, for the weather was hot to
extremity, and took the water. But when I came to the ship, my difficulty was still
greater to know how to get on board; for, as she lay aground, and high out of the
water, there was nothing within my reach to lay hold of. I swam round her twice,
and the second time I espied a small piece of rope, which I wondered I did not see
at first, hanging down by the fore-chains so low, that with great difficulty I got hold
of it, and by the help of that rope got up into the forecastle of the ship. Here
I found that the ship was bulged, and had a great deal of water in her hold; but
that she lay so on the side of a bank of hard sand, or rather earth, that her stern
lay lifted up upon the bank, and her head low, almost to the water. By this means
all her quarter was free, and all that was in that part was dry; for you may be sure
my first work was to search, and to see what was spoiled and what was free. And,
first, I found that all the ship's provisions were dry and untouched by the water,
and being very well disposed to eat, I went to the bread-room, and filled my pockets
I MAKE A RAFT.
with biscuit, and ate it as I went about other things, for I had no time to lose.
I also found some rum in the great cabin, of which I took a large dram, and which
I had, indeed, need enough of to spirit me for what was before me. Now I wanted
nothing but a boat to furnish myself with many things which I foresaw would be
very necessary to me.
It was in vain to sit still and wish for what was not to be had; and this
extremity roused my application. We had several spare yards, and two or three
large spars of wood, and a spare top-mast
or two in the ship: I resolved to fall to
work with these, and I flung as many of
them overboard as I could manage for their
weight, tying every one with a rope, that
they might not drive away. When this
was done, I went down the ship's side, and
pulling them to me, I tied four of them
together at both ends, as well as I could,
in the form of a raft, and laying two or
three short pieces of plank upon them cross-
ways, I found I could walk upon it very
well, but that it was not able to bear any
great weight, the pieces being too light.
So I went to work, and with a carpenter's
saw I cut a spare top-mast into three
lengths, and added them to my raft, with
a great deal of labour and pains. But the
hope of furnishing myself with necessaries,
encouraged me to go beyond what I should
have been able to have done upon another
My raft was now strong enough to
bear any reasonable weight. My next care
was what to load it with, and how to pre-
serve what I laid upon it from the surf of
the sea: but I was not long considering
this. I first laid all the planks or boards
upon it that I could get, and
having considered well what I
most wanted, I first got three _-
of the seamen's chests, which I s
had broken open and emptied,: .
and lowered them down upon *' .-
my raft; the first of these I....
filled with provisions, viz. bread,
rice, three Dutch cheeses, five
pieces of dried goat's flesh "THESE I SECURED FIRST" (P. 36).
(which we lived much upon),
and a little remainder of European corn, which had been laid by for some fowls
which we brought to sea with us, but the fowls were killed. There had been some
barley and wheat together; but, to my great disappointment, I found afterwards that
the rats had eaten or spoiled it all. As for liquors, I found several cases of bottles
belonging to our skipper, in which were some cordial waters; and, in all, about five
or six gallons of arrack. These I stowed by themselves, there being no need to put
them into the chest, nor any room for them. While I was doing this, I'found the
tide began to flow, though very calm; and I had the mortification to see my coat,
shirt, and waistcoat, which I had left on shore, upon the sand, swim away. As
for my breeches, which were only linen, and open-knee'd, I swam on board in them
and my stockings. However, this put me upon rummaging for clothes, of which
I found enough, but took no more than I wanted for present use, for I had other
things which my eye was more upon-as, first, tools to work with on shore. And it
was after long searching that I found out the carpenter's chest, which was, indeed,
a very useful prize to me, and much more valuable than a ship-lading of gold would
have been at that time. I got it down to my raft, whole as it was, without losing
time to look into it, for I knew in general what it contained.
My next care was for some ammunition and arms. There were'two very good
fowling-pieces in the great cabin, and two pistols. These I secured first, with
powder-horns, a small bag of shot, and two old rusty swords. I knew there were
three barrels of powder in the ship, but knew not where our gunner had stowed
them; but with much search I found them, two of them dry and good, the third had
taken water. Those two I got to my raft, with the arms. And now I thought myself
pretty wll freighted, and began to think how I should get to shore with them, having
neither sail, oar, nor rudder; and the least cap-full of wind would have overset all
I had three encouragements: first, a smooth, calm sea; secondly, the tide rising,
and setting in to the shore; thirdly, what little wind there was blew me towards the
land. And thus, having found two or three broken oars belonging to the boat, and,
besides the tools which were in the chest, I found two saws, an axe, and a hammer:
with this cargo I put to sea. For a mile, or thereabouts, my raft went very well,
only that I found it drive a little distant from the place where I had landed before;
by which I perceived that there was some indraught of the water, and consequently,
I hoped to find some creek or river there, which I might make use of as a port to
get to land with my cargo.
As I imagined, so it was. There appeared before me a little opening of the land,
and I found a strong current of the tide set into it; so I guided my raft, as well as
I could, to keep in the middle of the stream.
But here I had like to have suffered a second shipwreck, which, if I had, I think
verily, would have broken my heart; for, knowing nothing of the coast, my raft ran
aground at one end of it upon a shoal, and not being aground at the other end, it
wanted but a little that all my cargo had slipped off towards the end that was afloat,
and so fallen into the water. I did my utmost, by setting my back against the
chests, to keep them in their places, but could not thrust off the raft with all my
strength; neither durst I stir from the posture I was in; but holding up the chests
with all my might, I stood in that manner near half an hour, in which time the
rising of the water brought me a little more upon a level; and, a little after, the
water still rising, my raft floated again, and I thrust her off with the oar I had into
the channel, and then driving up higher, I at length found myself in the mouth of
a little river, with land on both sides, and a strong current of tide running up.
I looked on both sides for a proper place to get to shore, for I was not willing to
be driven too high up the river: hoping, in time, to see some ship at sea, and
therefore resolved to place myself as near the coast as I could.
At length I spied a little cove on the right shore of the creek, to which, with
great pain and difficulty, I guided my raft, and at last got so near, that, reaching
ground with my oar, I could thrust her directly in. But here I had like to have
dipped all my cargo into the sea again; for that shore lying pretty steep-that is to
say, sloping-there was no place to land, but where one end of my float, if it ran
on shore, would lie so high, and the other sink lower, as before, that it would
endanger my cargo again. All that I could do, was to wait till the tide was at the
highest, keeping the raft with my oar like an anchor, to hold the side of it fast to
the shore, near a flat piece of ground, which I expected the water would flow over;
"WITH THIS CARGO I PUT TO SEA."
(See p. 36.)
and so it did. As soon as I found water enough-for my raft drew about a foot of
water-I thrust her upon that flat piece of ground, and there fastened or moored
her, by sticking my two broken oars into the ground, one on one side, near one end,
and one on the other side, near the other end; and thus I lay till the water ebbed
away, and left my raft and all my cargo safe on shore.
My next work was to view the country, and seek a proper place for my
habitation, and where to stow my goods to secure them from whatever might happen.
Where I was, I yet knew not; whether on the continent or an island; whether
inhabited or not inhabited; whether in danger of wild beasts or not. There was a
hill not above a mile from me, which rose up very steep and high, and which seemed
to overtop some other hills, which lay as in a ridge from it, northward. I took out
one of the fowling-pieces, and one of the pistols, and a horn of powder; and thus
armed, I travelled for discovery up to the top of that hill, where, after I had with
great labour and difficulty got to the top, I saw my fate, to my great affliction, viz.
that I was in an island environed every way with the sea; no land to be seen
except some rocks, which lay a great way off; and two small islands, less than this,
which lay. about three leagues to the west.
I found also that the island I was in was barren, and, as I saw good reason to
believe, uninhabited except by wild beasts, of which, however, I saw none. Yet I
saw abundance of fowls, but knew not their kinds; neither when I killed them could
I tell what was fit for food, and what not. At my coming back, I shot at a great
bird which I saw sitting upon a tree on the side of a great wood. I believe it was
the first gun that had been fired there since the creation of the world. I had no
sooner fired, but from all parts of the wood there arose an innumerable number of
fowls, of many sorts, making a confused screaming and crying, every one
according to his usual note, but not one of them of any kind that I knew. As for
the creature I killed, I took it to be a kind of hawk, its colour and beak resembling
it, but it had no talons or claws more than common. Its flesh was carrion, and fit
Contented with this discovery, I came back to my raft and fell to work to bring
my cargo on shore, which took me up the rest of the day. What to do with myself
at night I knew not, nor indeed where to rest, for I was afraid to lie down on the
ground, not knowing but some wild beast might devour me, though, as I afterwards
found, there was really no need for those fears.
However, as well as I could, I barricaded myself round with the chests and
boards that I had brought on shore, and made a kind of hut for that night's lodging.
As for food, I yet saw not which way to supply myself, except that I had seen two
or three creatures, like hares, run out of the wood where I shot the fowl.
I now began to consider that I might yet get a great many things out of the
ship, which would be useful to me, and particularly some of the rigging and sails,
and such other things as might come to land; and I resolved to make another voyage
on board the vessel, if possible. And as I knew that the first storm that blew must
necessarily break her all in pieces, I resolved to set all other things apart, till I
got everything out of the ship that I could get. Then I called a council-that is to
say, in my thoughts-whether I should take back the raft, but this appeared
impracticable: so I resolved to go as before, when the tide was down; and I did so,
only that I stripped before I went from my hut, having nothing on but a chequered
shirt, a pair of linen drawers, and a pair of pumps on my feet.
I got on board the ship as before, and prepared a second raft; and, having had
experience of the first, I neither made this so unwieldy, nor loaded it so hard, but
yet I brought away several things very useful to me; as, first, in the carpenter's
stores, I found two or three bags full of nails and spikes, a great screw-jack, a dozen
or two of hatchets, and, above all, that most useful thing called a grindstone. All
these I secured, together with several things belonging to the gunner, particularly
MY MEETING TITH THE WILD CAT. 39
"A IiTTLE FLAIN CIN THE ciDE
OF Al F14irIG HILL. (P 42) .
two or three iron crows, and two barrels of musket bullets, seven muskets, and another
fowling-piece, with some small quantity of powder more; a large bag-full of small shot,
and a great roll of sheet-lead; but this last was so heavy, I could not hoist it up to
get it over the ship's side.
Besides these things, I took all the men's clothes that I could find, and a spare
fore-top sail, a hammock, and some bedding; and with this I loaded my second raft
and brought them all safe on shore, to my very great comfort.
I was under some apprehension during my absence from the land, that at least
my provisions might be devoured on shore; but when I came back, I found no sign
of any visitor; only there sat a creature like a wild cat, upon one of the chests,
which, when I came towards it, ran away a little distance, and then stood still. She
sat very composed and unconcerned, and looked full in my face, as if she had a
mind to be acquainted with me. I presented my gun to her, but, as she did not
understand it, she was perfectly unconcerned at it, nor did she offer to stir away;
upon which I tossed her a bit of biscuit, though, by the -way, I was not very free
of it, for my store was not great; however, I spared her a bit, I say, and she went
to it, smelled at it, and ate it, and looked (as pleased) for more; but I thanked
her, and could spare no more: so she marched off.
Having got my second cargo on shore-though I was obliged to open the barrels
of powder, and bring them by parcels, for they were too heavy, being large casks-I
went to work to make me a little tent, with the sail, and some poles which I cut
for that purpose; and into this tent I brought everything that I knew would spoil
40 ROBINSON CRUSOE.
either with rain or sun; and I piled all the empty chests and casks up in a circle
round the tent, to fortify it from any sudden attempt, either from man or beast.
When I had done this, I blocked up the door of the tent with some boards
within, and an empty chest set up on end without; and spreading one of the beds
upon the ground, laying my two pistols just at my head, and my gun at length by
me, I went to bed for the first time, and slept very quietly all night. I was very
weary and heavy; for the night before I had slept little, and had laboured very hard
all day, as well to fetch those things from the ship, as to get them on shore.
I had the biggest magazine of all kinds now that ever was laid up, I believe,
for one man; but still I was not satisfied, for while the ship sat upright in that
posture, I thought I ought to get everything out of her that I could; so every day,
at low water, I went on board, and brought away something or other; but parti-
cularly the third time I went, I brought away as much of the rigging as I could, as
also all the small ropes and rope-twine I could get, with a piece of spare canvas,
which was to mend the sails upon occasion, and the barrel df wet gunpowder. In
a word, I brought away all the sails first and last; only that I was fain to cut them
in pieces, and bring as much at a time as I could, for they were no more useful to
me for sails, but as mere canvas only.
But that which comforted me more still was that at last of all, after I had made
five or six such voyages as these, and thought I had nothing more to expect from
the ship that was worth my meddling with-I say, after all this, I found a great
hogshead of bread, three large runlets of rum, or spirits, a box of fine sugar, and a
barrel of fine flour: this was surprising to me, because I had given over expecting
any more provisions except what was spoiled by the water. I soon emptied the
hogshead of the bread, and wrapped it up, parcel by parcel, in pieces of the sails,
which I cut out; and, in a word, I got all this safe on shore also, though at several times.
The next day 1 made another voyage, and now, having plundered the ship of
what was portable and fit to hand out, I began with the cable; cutting the great
cable into pieces such as I could move, I got two cable and a hawser on shore,
with all the iron-work I could get; and having cut down the spritsail-yard, and the
mizen-yard, and everything I could, to make a large raft, I loaded it with all those
heavy goods, and came away. But my good luck began to leave me, for this
raft was so unwieldy, and so overladen, that after I entered the little cove, where
I had landed the rest of my goods, not being able to guide it so handily as I did
the other, it overset, and threw me and all my cargo into the water. 'As for myself,
it was no great harm, for I was near the shore; but as to my cargo, it was great
part of it lost, especially the iron, which I expected would have been of great use to
me; however, when the tide was out, I got most of the pieces of cable ashore, and
some of the iron, though with infinite labour; for I was fain to dip for it into the
water, a work which fatigued me very much. After this, I went every day on board,
and brought away what I could get.
I had now been thirteen days on shore, and had been eleven times on board the
ship, in which time I had brought away all that one pair. of hands could well be
supposed capable of bringing; though I verily believe, had the calm weather held, I
should have brought away the whole ship, piece by piece; but preparing the twelfth
time to go on board, I found the wind began to rise. However, at low water I went
on board, and though I thought I had rummaged the cabin so effectually, that nothing
more could be found, yet I discovered a locker with drawers in it, in one of which
I found two or three razors, and one pair of large scissors, with some ten or a dozen
of good knives and forks; in another I found about thirty-six pounds value in money
-some European coin, some Brazil, some pieces of eight, some gold, and some silver.
I smiled to myself at the sight of this money. "Oh, drug!" said I, aloud, "what
art thou good for? Thou art not worth to me-no, not the taking off the ground;
one of those knives is worth all this heap; I have no manner of use for thee; e'en
DISAPPEARANCE OF THE SHIP.
remain where thou art, arid go to the bottom, as a creature whose life is not worth
saving." However, upon second thoughts, I took it away; and, wrapping all in
a piece of canvas, I began to think of making another raft; but while I was preparing
this, I found the sky overcast, and the wind began to rise, and in a quarter of an
hour it blew a fresh gale from the shore. It presently occurred to me that it was
in vain to pretend to make a raft with the wind off shore; and that it was my
business to be gone before the tide of flood began, otherwise I might not be able to
reach the shore at all. Accordingly, I let myself down into the water, and swam
across the channel which lay between the ship and the sands, and even that with
difficulty enough, partly with the weight of the things I had about me, and partly
I CARRIED ALL MY RICHES" (P. 42).
from the roughness of the water; for the wind rose very hastily, and before it was
quite high water it blew a storm.
But I was gotten home to my little tent, where I lay, with all my wealth about
me very secure. It blew very hard all that night, and in the morning, when I looked
out, behold, no more ship was to be seen. I was a little surprised, but recovered
myself with this satisfactory reflection, that I had lost no time, nor abated any
diligence, to get everything out of her that could be useful to me; and that, indeed,
there was little left in her that I was able to bring away, if I had had more time.
I now gave over any more thoughts of the ship, or of anything out of her, except
what might drive on shore from her wreck; as, indeed, divers pieces of her afterwards
did; but those things were of small use to me.
My thoughts were now wholly employed about securing myself against either
savages, if any should appear, or wild beasts, if any were in the island; and I had
many thoughts of the method how to do this, and what kind of dwelling to make-
whether I should make me a cave in the earth, or a tent upon the earth; and, in
short, I resolved upon both; the manner and description of which, it may not be
improper to give an account of.
I soon found the place I was in was not fit for my settlement, particularly
because it was upon a low, moorish ground near the sea, and ILbelieved would not be
wholesome, and more particularly because there was no fresh water near it; so I
resolved to find a more healthy and more convenient spot of ground.
* I consulted several things in my situation, which I found would be proper for
me: Ist, health and fresh water, I just now mentioned; 2ndly, shelter from the heat
of the sun; 3rdly, security from ravenous creatures, whether man or beast; 4thly, a
view to the sea, that if God sent any ship in sight, I might not lose any advantage
for my deliverance, of which I was not willing to banish my expectation yet.
In search of a place proper for this, I found a little plain on the side of a rising
hill, whose front towards this little plain was steep as a house-side, so that nothing
could come down upon me from the top. On the side of the rock there was a hollow
place, worn a little way in, like the entrance or door of a cave; but there was not
really any cave, or way into the rock, at all.
On the flat of the green, just below this hollow place, I resolved to pitch my
tent. This plain was not above a hundred yards broad, and about twice as long, and
lay like a green before my door; and, at the end of it, descended irregularly every
way down into the low ground by the sea-side. It was on the N.N.W. side of the
hill; so that it was sheltered from the heat every day, till it came to the W. and by
S. sun or thereabouts, which, in those countries, is near the setting.
Before I set up my tent, I drew a half-circle before the hollow place, which took
in about ten yards in its semi-diameter, from the rock, and twenty yards in its
diameter from its beginning and ending.
In this half-circle I pitched two rows of strong stakes, driving them into the
ground till they stood very firm like piles, the biggest end being out of the ground
above five feet and a half, and sharpened on the top. The two rows did not stand
above six inches from one another.
Then I took the pieces of cable which I had cut in the ship, and laid them in
rows, one upon another, within the circle, between these two rows of stakes, up to
the top, placing other stakes in the inside, leaning against them, about two feet and
a half high, like a spur to a post; and this fence was so strong that neither man
nor beast could get into it or over it. This cost me a great deal of time and labour,
especially to cut the piles in the woods, bring them to the place, and drive them
into the earth.
The entrance into this place I made to be, not by a door, but by a short ladder
to go over the top; which ladder, when I was in, I lifted over after me; and so I
was completely fenced in and fortified, as I thought, from all the world, and conse-
quently slept secure in the night, which otherwise I could not have done; though,
as it appeared afterwards, there was no need of all this caution from the enemies
that I apprehended danger from.
Into this fence, or fortress, with infinite labour, I carried all my riches, all my
provisions, ammunition, and stores, of which you have the account above; and I
made me a large tent also, to preserve me from the rains, that in one part of the
year are very violent there. I made it double-viz., one smaller tent within, and one
larger tent above it; and covered the uppermost part of it with a large tarpaulin,
which I had saved among the sails.
And now I lay no more for a while in the bed which I had brought on shore, but
in a hammock, which was indeed a very good one, and belonged to the mate of the ship.
Into this tent I brought all my provisions, and everything that would spoil by
the wet; and having thus enclosed all my goods, I made up the entrance, which till
now I had left open, and so passed and re-passed, as I said, by a short ladder.
When I had done this, I began to work my way into the rock, and bringing
all the earth and stones that I dug
down out through my tent, I laid them
up within my fence, in the nature of a
terrace, so that it raised the ground
within about a foot and a half; and
thus I made me a cave, just behind
my tent, which served me like a cellar
to my house.
It cost me much labour and many
days before all these things were
brought to perfection; and therefore
I must go back to some other things
which took up some of my thoughts.
At the same time it occurred, after I
had laid my scheme for the setting up
the tent, and making the cave, that a
storm of rain falling from a thick, dark
cloud, a sudden flash of lightning
happened, and after that, a
great clap of thunder, as is
naturally the effect of it. I
was not so much surprised
with the lightning, as I was
with a thought which darted
into my mind as swift as
the lightning itself-Oh, my
powder! My very heart
sank within me when I
thought that, at one blast, all
my powder might be destroyed;
on which, not my defence only,
but the providing me food, as I
thought, entirely depended. I
was nothing near so anxious
about my own danger; though,
had the powder took fire, I had
never known who had hurt me.
Such impression did this
make upon me, that after the
storm was over, I laid aside all
my work, my building and forti-
lying, and applied myself to
make bags and boxes, to separate
.,my powder, and to keep it a
little and a little in a parcel, in
hopes that, whatever might come,
it might not all take fire at
once; and to keep it so apart,
that it should not be possible
"A GREAT QUANTITY OF EARTH FELL DOWN" (P. SI). to make one part fire another.
I finished this work in about a fortnight; and I think my powder, which in all
was about one hundred and forty pounds weight, was divided into no less than a
hundred parcels. As to the barrel that had been wet, I did not apprehend any danger
from that; so I placed it in my new cave, which, in my fancy, I called my kitchen;
and the rest I hid up and down in holes among the rocks, so that no wet might
come to it, marking very carefully where I laid it.
In the interval of time while this was doing, I went out at least once every day
with my gun, as well to divert myself, as to see if I could kill anything fit for food;
and, as near as I could, to acquaint myself with what the island produced. The first
time I went out, I presently discovered that there were goats in the island, which
was a great satisfaction to me; but then it was attended with this misfortune to me,
viz., that they were so shy, so subtle, and so swift of foot, that it was the most difficult
thing in the world to come at them; but I was not discouraged at this, not doubting
but I might now and then shoot one, as it soon happened; for after I had found
their haunts a little, I laid wait in this manner for them: I observed if they saw me
in the valleys, though they were upon the rocks, they'would run away, as in a terrible
fright; but if they were feeding in the valleys, and I was upon the rocks, they took
no notice of me; from whence I concluded that by the position of their optics, their
sight was so directed downward that they did not readily see objects that were above
them; so afterwards I took this method-I always climbed the rocks first, to get
above them, and then had frequently a fair mark.
The first shot I made among these creatures, I killed a she-goat, which had a
little kid by her, which she gave suck to, which grieved me heartily; for, when the
old one fell, the kid stood stock-still by her, till I came and took her up; and not
only so, but when I carried the old one with me upon my shoulders, the kid followed
me quite to my enclosure; upon which, I laid down the dam, and took the kid in
my arms, and carried it over my pale, in hopes to have bred it up tame; but "it would
not eat; so I was forced to kill it, and eat it myself. These two supplied me with
flesh a great while, for I ate sparingly, and saved my provisions, my bread especially,
as much as I possibly could.
Having now fixed my habitation, I found it absolutely necessary to provide a
place to make a fire in, and fuel to bum; and what I did for that, as also how I
enlarged my cave, and what conveniences I made, I shall give a full account of in
its place; but I must now give some little account of myself, and of my thoughts
about living, which, it may well be supposed, were not a few.
I had a dismal prospect of my condition, for as I was not cast away upon that
island without being driven, as is said, by a violent storm quite out of the course
of our.intended voyage, and a great way, viz., some hundreds of leagues, out of the
ordinary course of the trade of mankind, I had great reason to consider it as a deter-
mination of Heaven that in this desolate place, and in this desolate manner, I should
end my life. The tears would run plentifully down my face when I made these
reflections; and sometimes I would expostulate with myself why Providence should
thus completely ruin its creatures, and render them so absolutely miserable, so
without help abandoned, and so entirely depressed, that it could hardly be rational to
be thankful for such a life.
But something always returned swift upon me to check these thoughts, and to
reprove me; and particularly one day walking with my gun in my hand by the sea-
side, I was very pensive upon the subject of my present condition, when Reason, as
it were, put in expostulating with me the other way, thus: Well, you are in a desolate
condition, it is true; but, pray remember, where are the rest of you? Did not you
come eleven of you into the boat? Where are the ten? Why were not they saved,
and you lost? Why are you singled out? Is it better to be here or there?" And
then I pointed to the sea. All evils are to be considered with the good that is in
them, and with what worse attended them.
MY MANNER OF RECKONING TIME.
Then it occurred to me again, how well
I was furnished for my subsistence, and what
would have been my case if it had not hap-
pened (which was a hundred thousand to
one) that the ship floated from the place
where first she struck, and was driven so
near to the shore, that I had time to get all
these things out of her? what would have
been my case, if I had been forced to have
lived in the condition in which I at first
came on shore, without necessaries of life,
or any means to supply and procure them?
"Particularly," said I aloud (though to my-
self), "what should I have done without a
gun, without ammunition, without any tools
to make anything, or to work with? without
clothes, bedding, a tent, or any manner of
coverings?" and that now I had all these to
a sufficient quantity, and was in a fair way
to provide myself in such a manner as to live
without my gun, when my ammunition was
spent: so that I had a tolerable view of
subsisting without any want as long as I
lived; for I considered from the beginning
how I would provide for the accidents that
might happen, and for the time that was to
come, even not only after my ammunition
should be spent, but even after my health and
strength should decay.
I confess I had not then entertained any .
notion of my ammunition being destroyed
at one blast-I mean, my powder being
blown up by lightning; and this made the
thoughts of it surprising to me, when it
lightened and thundered, as I observed just
now. "GRINDING MY TOOLS" (f. 57).
And now, being to enter into a melan-
choly relation of a scene of silent life, such, perhaps, as was never heard of in the
world before, I shall take it from its beginning, and continue it in its order. It was,
by my account, the 3oth of September when, in the manner as above said, I first
set foot upon this horrid island; when the sun, being to us in its autumnal equinox,
was almost just over my head: for I reckoned myself, by observation, to be in the
latitude of nine degrees twenty-two minutes north of the line.
After I had been there about ten or twelve days, it came into my thoughts that
I should lose my reckoning of time for want of books, and pen, and ink, and should
even forget the Sabbath day from the working days; but to prevent this, I cut it with
my knife upon a large post, in capital letters; and making it into a great cross, I set
it up on the shore where I first landed, viz., "I came on shore here on the 3oth of
Upon the sides of this square post I cut every day a notch with my knife, and
every seventh notch was as long again as the rest, and every first day of the month
as long again as that long one; and thus I kept my calendar, or weekly, monthly,
and yearly reckoning of time.
In the next place, we are to observe that among the many things which I brought
from the ship, in the several voyages which, as above mentioned, I made to it, I
got several things of less value, but not at all less useful to me, which I omitted
setting down before; as, in particular, pens, ink, and paper; several parcels in the
captain's, mate's, gunner's, and carpenter's keeping; three or four compasses, some
mathematical instruments, dials, perspectives, charts, and books of navigation; all
which I huddled together, whether I might want them or no: also I found three very
good Bibles, which came to me in my cargo from England, and which I had packed
up among my things; some Portuguese books also; and, among them, two or three
Popish prayer-books, and several other books; all which I carefully secured. And I
must not forget that we had in the ship a dog and two cats, of whose eminent
history I must have occasion to say something in its place, for I carried both the
cats with me; and as for the dog, he jumped out of the ship of himself, and swam
on shore to me the day after I went on shore with my first cargo, and was a trusty
servant to me many years; I wanted nothing that he could fetch me, nor any company
that he could make up to me; I only wanted to have him talk to me, but that he could
not do. As I observed before, I found pens, ink, and paper, and I husbanded them
to the utmost; and I shall show that while my ink lasted I kept things very exact;
but after that was gone I could not, for I could not make any ink by any means
that I could devise.
And this put me in mind that I wanted many things, notwithstanding all that I
had amassed together; and of these, ink was one: as also a spade, pick-axe, and
shovel, to dig or remove the earth; needles, pins, and thread: as for linen, I soon
learned to want that without much difficulty.
This want of tools made every work I did go on heavily; and it was near a
whole year before I had entirely finished my little pale, or surrounded habitation.
The piles or stakes, which were as heavy as I could well lift, were a long time in
cutting and preparing in the woods, and more, by far, in bringing home; so that I
spent sometimes two days in cutting and bringing home one of those posts, and a
third day in driving it into the ground; for which purpose, I got a heavy piece of
wood at first, but at last bethought myself of one of the iron crows; which, however,
though I found it, yet made driving those posts or piles very laborious and tedious work.
But what need I have been concerned at the tediousness of anything I had to do,
seeing I had time enough to do it in? nor had I any other employment, if that had
been over, at least that I could foresee, except the ranging the island to seek for food,
which I did, more or less, every day.
I now began to consider seriously my condition, and the circumstances I was
reduced to; and I drew up the state of my affairs in writing, not so much to leave
them to any that were to come after me, for I was like to have but few heirs, as to deliver
my thoughts from daily poring upon them, and afflicting my mind; and as my reason
began now to master my despondency, I began to comfort myself as well as I could,
and to set the good against the evil, that I might have something to distinguish my
case from worse, and I stated it very impartially, like debtor and creditor, the comfort
I enjoyed against the miseries I suffered, thus:-
I am cast upon a horrible, desolate But I am alive; and not drowned,
island; void of all hope of recovery, as all my ship's company was.
I am singled out and separated, as But I am singled out, too, from all
it were, from all the world, to be miserable, the ship's crew, to be spared from death;
and He that miraculously saved me from
death can deliver me from this condition.
REFLECTIONS ON MY CONDITION.
I am divided from mankind, a soli- But I am not starved, and perish-
tary; one banished frcm human society, ing on a barren place, affording no sus-
I have no clothes to cover me. But I am in a hot climate, where
if I had clothes, I could hardly wear them.
I am without any defence, or means But I am cast on an island where
to resist any violence of man or beast. I see no wild beasts to hurt me, as I
saw on the coast of Africa; and what if
I had been shipwrecked there?
I have no soul to speak to or relieve But God wonderfully sent the ship
me. in near enough to the shore, that I have
got out so many necessary things as will
either supply my wants or enable me to
supply myself, even as long as I live.
Upon the whole, here was an undoubted testimony that there was scarce any
condition in the world so miserable but there was something negative, or something
positive, to be thankful for in it: and let this stand as a direction, from the experience
of the most miserable of all conditions in this world-that we may always find in it
something to comfort ourselves from, and to set, in the description of good and evil,
on the credit side of the account.
Having now brought my mind a little to relish my condition, and given over looking
out to sea if I could spy a ship-I say, giving over these things, I began to apply
myself to accommodate my way of living, and to make things as easy to me as I could.
I have already described my habitation, which was a tent under the side of a
rock, surrounded with a strong pale of posts and cables; but I might now rather call
it a wall, for I raised a kind of wall up against it of turfs, about two feet thick, on
the outside; and after some time (I think it was a year and a half) I raised rafters
from it, leaning to the rock, and thatched or covered it with boughs of trees, and
such things as I could get to keep out the rain, which I found at some times of
the year very violent.
I have already observed how I brought all my goods into this pale, and into the
cave which I had made behind me. But I must observe, too, that at first this was
a confused heap of goods, which, as they lay in no order, so they took up all my
place; I had no room to turn myself: so I set myself to enlarge my cave, and worked
farther into the earth; for it was a loose, sandy rock, which yielded easily to the
labour I bestowed on it: and so when I found I was pretty safe as to beasts of
prey, I worked sideways, to the right hand, into the rock, and then turning to the
right again, worked quite out, and made me a door to come out on the outside of
my pale or fortification.
This gave me not only egress and regress, as it was a back way to my tent
and to my storehouse, but gave me room to stow my goods.
And now I began to apply myself to make such necessary things as I found I
most wanted, particularly a chair and a table; for without these I was not able to
enjoy the few comforts I had in the world; I could not write, or eat, or do several
things, with so much pleasure without a table.
So I went to work; and here I must needs observe that as reason is the
substance and original of the mathematics, so by stating and squaring every-
thing by reason, and by making the most rational judgment of things, every man
may be, in time, master of every mechanic art. I had never handled a tool in
my life; and yet, in time, by labour, application, and contrivance, I found, at last,
that I wanted nothing but I could have made it, especially if I had had tools.
However, I made abundance of things, even without tools; and some with no more
tools than an adze and a hatchet, which, perhaps, were never made that way before,
and that with infinite labour. For example, if I wanted a board, I had no
other way but to cut down a tree, set it on an edge before me, and hew it flat on
either side with my axe, till I had brought it to be as thin as a plank, and then dub
it smooth with my adze. It is true, by this method I could make but one board
out"of a whole tree; but this I had no remedy for but patience, any more than I had
for the prodigious deal of time and labour which it took me up to make a plank or
board: but my time or labour was little worth, and so it was as well employed one
way as another.
However, I made me a table and a chair, as I observed above, in the first
place; and this I did out of the short pieces of boards that I brought on my raft
from the ship. But when I had wrought out some boards as above, I made large
shelves, of the breadth of a foot and an half, one over another, all along one side of
my cave, to lay all my tools, nails, and iron-work on; and, in a word, to separate
everything at large into their places that I might come easily at them; also I knocked
pieces into the wall of the rock to hang my guns and all things that would hang up:
so that had my cave been to be seen, it looked like a general magazine of all
necessary things; and I had everything so ready at my hand, that it was a great
pleasure to me to see all my goods in such order, and especially to find my stock of
all necessaries so great.
And now it was when I began to keep a Journal of every day's employment; for,
indeed, at first I was in too much hurry, and not only an hurry as to labour, but in
too much discomposure of mind; and my Journal would have been full of many dull
things: for example, I must have said thus: "Sept. the 3oth.-After I had got to shore,
and had escaped drowning, instead of being thankful to God for my deliverance,
having first vomited, with the great quantity of salt water which was gotten into my
stomach, and recovering myself a little, I ran about the shore wringing my hands
and beating my head and face, exclaiming at my misery, and crying out I was
undone, undone! till, tired and faint, I was forced to lie down on the ground to
repose, but durst not sleep, for fear of being devoured."
Some days after this, and after I had been on board the ship, and had got all
I could out of her, yet I could not forbear getting up to the top of a little mountain,
and looking out to sea, in hopes of seeing a ship: then fancy at a vast distance
I spied a sail, please myself with the hopes of it, and then, after looking steadily,
till I was almost blind, lose it quite, and sit down and weep like a child, and thus
increase my misery by my folly.
But having gotten over these things in some measure, and having settled my
household stuff and habitation, made me a table and a chair, and all as handsome
about me as I could, I began I say to keep my Journal: of which I shall here give
you the copy (though in it will be told all these particulars over again), as long as
it lasted; for at last, having no more ink, I was forced to leave it off.
September 30, 1659.-I, poor miserable Robinson Crusoe, being shipwrecked,
during a dreadful storm, in fhe offing, came on shore on this dismal, unfortunate
island, which I called "The Island of Despair"; all the rest of the ship's company
being drowned, and myself almost dead.
All the rest of the day I spent in afflicting myself at the dismal circumstances
I was brought to: viz., I had neither food, house, clothes, weapon, nor place to fly
to; and, in despair of any relief, saw nothing but death before me: either that I
should be devoured by wild beasts, murdered by savages, or starved to death for
want of food. At the approach of night I slept in a tree, for fear of wild creatures;
but slept soundly, though it rained all night.
October i.-In the morning I saw, to my great surprise, the ship had floated with
the high tide, and was driven on shore again, much nearer the island; which, as it
was some comfort, on one hand (for seeing her set upright, and not broken to
pieces, I hoped, if the wind abated, I might get on board, and get some food and
necessaries out of her for my relief), so, on the other hand, it renewed my grief at
the loss of my comrades, who, I imagined, if we had all stayed on board, might
have saved the ship, or, at least, that they would not have been all drowned, as
they were; and that, had the men been saved, we might perhaps have built us a
boat out of the ruins of the ship to have carried us to some other part of the world.
I spent great part of this day in perplexing
myself on these things; but at length, seeing
the ship almost dry, I went upon the sand
as near as I could, and then swam on board.
This day also it continued raining, though
with no wind at all.
From the Ist of October to the 24th.-All
these days entirely spent in many several
voyages to get all I could
out of the ship, which I
brought on shore, every tide
of flood, upon rafts. Much
rain also, in these days,
though with some intervals
of fair weather; but it seems
this was the rainy season.
"I KILLED A SHE-GOAT AND WITH MUCH DIFFICULTY GOT IT HOME" (. 59).
Oct. 24.-I overset my raft, and all the goods I had got upon it; but being in
shoal-water, and the things being chiefly heavy, I recovered many of them when
the tide was out.
Oct. 25.-It rained all night and all day, with some gusts of wind; during which
time the ship broke in pieces, the wind blowing a little harder than before, and was
no more to be seen, except the wreck of her, and that only at low water. I spent
this day in covering and securing the goods which I saved, that the rain might not
Oct. 26.- I walked about the shore almost all day, to find out a place to fix my
habitation, greatly concerned to secure myself from any attack in the night, either from
wild beasts or men. Towards night, I fixed upon a proper place, under a rock, and
marked out a semi-circle for my encampment, which I resolved to strengthen with a
work, wall, or fortification, made of double piles, lined within with cables, and without
From the 26th to the 3oth, I worked very hard in carrying all my goods to my
new habitation, though some part of the time it rained exceeding hard.
The 3ist, in the morning, I went out into the island with my gun, to see for
some food, and discover the country; when I killed a she-goat, and her kid followed
me home, which I afterwards killed also, because it would not feed.
November I.-I set up my tent under a rock, and lay there for the first night;
making it as large as I could, with stakes driven in to swing my hammock upon.
Nov. 2.-I set up all my chests and boards and the pieces of timber which made
my rafts, and with them formed a fence round me, a little within the place I had
marked out for my fortification.
Nov. 3.-I went out with my gun, and killed two fowls like ducks, which were
very good food. In the afternoon went to work to make me a table.
Nov. 4.-This morning I began to order my times of work, of going out with
my gun, time of sleep, and time of diversion: viz., every morning I walked out with
my gun for two or three hours, if it did not rain; then employed myself to work till
about eleven o'clock; then ate what I had to live on; and from twelve to two I lay
down to sleep, the weather being excessive hot; and then, in the evening, to work
again. The working part of this day and the next were wholly employed in making
this table, for I was yet but a very sorry workman, though time and necessity made me
a complete natural mechanic soon after, as I believe they would do any one else.
Nov. 5.-This day I went abroad with my gun and my dog, and killed a wild cat;
her skin pretty soft, but her flesh good for nothing. Every creature I killed, I
took off the skins and preserved them. Coming back by the sea-shore, I saw many
sorts of sea-fowls, which I did not understand; but was surprised, and almost
frighted, with two or three seals, which, while I was gazing at, not well -knowing
what they were, got into the sea, and escaped me for that time.
Nov. 6.-After my morning walk, I went to work with my table again, and
finished it, though not to my liking; nor was it long before I learned to mend it.
Nov. 7.-Now it began to be settled fair weather. The 7th, 8th, 9th, Ioth, and
part of the I2th (for the Ilth was Sunday according to my reckoning), I took wholly
up to make me a chair, and with much ado brought it to a tolerable shape, but
never to please me; and even in the making I pulled it to pieces several times.
Note.-I soon neglected keeping Sundays; for, omitting my mark for them on my
post, I forgot which was which.
Nov. 13.-This day it rained, which refreshed me exceedingly, and cooled the
earth; but it was accompanied with terrible thunder and lightning, which frighted
me dreadfully for fear of my powder. As soon as it was over, I resolved to separate
my stock of powder into as many little parcels as possible, that it might not be
Nov. 14, 15, I6.-These three days I spent in making little square chests, or
boxes, which might hold about a pound, or two pounds at most, of powder; and so,
putting the powder in, I stowed it in places as secure and remote from one another
as possible. On one of these three days I killed a large bird that was good to eat,
but I knew not what to call it.
Nov. 17.-This day I began to dig behind my tent into the rock, to make room
for my further conveniency.
Note.-Three things I wanted exceedingly for this work: viz., a pick-axe, a shovel,
and a wheel-barrow, or basket; so I desisted from my work, and began to consider
how to supply that want, and make me some tools. As for the pick-axe, I made use
of the iron crows, which were proper enough, though heavy; but the next thing was
a shovel, or spade; this was so absolutely necessary that indeed I could do nothing
effectually without it; but what kind of one to make 1 knew not.
CONTINUATION OF MY JOURNAL.
Nov. 18.-The next day, in searching the woods, I found a tree of that wood,
or like it, which in the Brazils they call the iron-tree, for its exceeding hardness;
of this, with great labour, and almost spoiling my axe, I cut a piece, and brought
it home, with difficulty enough, for it was exceeding heavy. The excessive
hardness of the wood, and having no other way, made me a long while upon
this machine, for I worked it effectually by little and little into the form of a shovel
or spade; the handle exactly shaped like ours in England, only that the board part
having no iron shod upon it at bottom, it would not last me so long; however, it
served well enough for the uses which I had occasion to put it to; but never was a
shovel, I believe, made after that fashion, or so long making.
I was still deficient, for I wanted a basket, or a wheel-barrow. A basket I could
not make by any means, having no such things as twigs that would bend to make
wicker-ware-at least, none yet found out; and as to the wheel-barrow, I fancied I could
make all but the wheel; but that I had no notion of; neither did I know how to go
about it; besides, I had no possible way to make the iron gudgeons for the spindle
or axis of the wheel to run in; so I gave it over, and so, for carrying away the earth
which I dug out of the cave, I made me a thing like a hod which the labourers carry
mortar in when they serve the bricklayers. This was not so difficult to me as the
making the shovel; and yet this and the shovel, and the attempt which I made in
vain to make a wheel-barrow, took me up no less than four days, I mean always
excepting my morning's walk with my gun, which I seldom failed, and very seldom
failed also of bringing home something fit to eat.
Nov. 23.-My other work having stood still, because of my making these
tools, when they were finished I went on, and working every day, as my strength
and time allowed, 1 spent eighteen days entirely in widening and deepening my cave,
that it might hold my goods commodiously.
Note.-During all this time I worked to make this room, or cave, spacious
enough to accommodate me as a warehouse or magazine, a kitchen, a dining-room,
and a cellar. As for a lodging, I kept to the tent; except that sometimes, in the
wet season of the year, it rained so hard that I could not keep myself dry, which
caused me afterwards to cover all my place within my pale with long poles, in the
form of rafters, leaning against the rock, and load them with flags and large leaves
of trees, like a thatch.
December io.-I began now to think my cave or vault finished, when on a sudden
(it seems I had made it too large) a great quantity of earth fell down from the top
and one side; so much that, in short, it frighted me-and not without reason, too;
for if I had been under it, I had never wanted a grave-digger. Upon this disaster
I had a great deal of work to do over again, for I had the loose earth to carry
out; and, which was of more importance, I had the ceiling to prop up, so that I
might be sure no more would come down.
Dec. ii.-This day I went to work with it accordingly, and got two shores or
posts pitched upright to the top, with two pieces of board across over each post;
this I finished the next day, and setting more posts up with boards, in about a
week more I had the roof secured; and the posts, standing in rows, served me for
partitions to part off my house.
Dec. 17.-From this day to the 20th I placed shelves, and knocked up nails on
the posts, to hang everything up that could be hung up; and now I began to be in
some order within doors.
Dec. 20.-Now I carried everything into the cave, and began to furnish my
house, and set up some pieces of board like a dresser, to order my victuals upon;
but board began to be very scarce with me: also I made me another table.
Dec. 24.-Much rain all night and all day: no stirring out.
Dec. 25.-Rain all day.
Dec. 26.-No rain, and the earth much cooler than before, and pleasanter.
Dec. 27.-Killed a young goat, and lamed another so that I catched it and led it
home in a string; when I had it at home, I bound and splintered up its leg, which
N.B.-I took such care of it that it lived, and the leg grew well and as strong
as ever; but by nursing it so long it grew tame, and fed upon the little green
at my door, and would not go away. This was the first time that I entertained
a thought of breeding up some tame creatures, that I might have food when my
powder and shot was all spent.
Dec. 28, 29, 30, 31.-Great heats, and no breeze, so that there was no stirring
abroad, except in the evening, for food; this time I spent in putting all my things
in order within doors.
January I.-Very hot still: but I went abroad early and late with my gun, and
lay still in the middle of the day. This evening, going farther into the valleys which
lay towards the centre of the island, I found there was plenty of goats, though
exceedingly shy, and hard to come at; however, I resolved to try if I could not
bring my dog to hunt them down.
Jan. 2.-Accordingly, the next day I went out with my dog, and set him upon
the goats; but I was mistaken, for they all faced about upon the dog, and he knew
his danger too well, for he would not come near them.
Jan. 3.-I began my fence, or wall; which, being still jealous of my being
attacked by somebody, I resolved to make very thick and strong.
N.B.-This wall being described before, I purposely omit what was said in the
Journal; it is sufficient to observe that I was no less time than from the 3rd of
January to the i4th of April working, finishing, and perfecting this wall, though it
was no more than about twenty-four yards in length, being a half-circle, from one
place in the rock to another place, about eight yards from it, the door of the cave
being in the centre behind it.
All this time I worked very hard, the rains hindering me many days, nay,
sometimes weeks together; but I thought I should never be perfectly secure till this
wall was finished; and it is scarce credible what inexpressible labour everything was
done with, especially the bringing piles out of the woods, and driving them into the
ground; for I made them much bigger than I needed to have done.
When this wall was finished, and the outside double-fenced, with a turf wall
raised up close to it, I persuaded myself that if any people were to come on shore
there, they would not perceive anything like a habitation; and it was very well I
did so, as may be observed hereafter, upon a very remarkable occasion.
During this time I made rounds in the woods for game every day, when the
rain permitted me, and made frequent discoveries in these walks of something or
other to my advantage; particularly I found a kind of wild pigeons, which build, not
as wood-pigeons in a tree, but rather as house-pigeons, in the holes of the rocks;
and taking some young ones, I endeavoured to breed them up tame, and did so; but
when they grew older they flew all away, which perhaps was at first for want of feeding
them, for I had nothing to give them; however, I frequently found their nests, and
got their young ones, which were very good meat.
And now, in the managing my household affairs, I found myself wanting in
many things, which I thought at first it was impossible for me to make; as, indeed,
as to some of them it was: for instance, I could never make a cask to be hooped.
I had a small runlet or two, as I observed before; but I could never arrive at the
capacity of making one by them, though I spent many weeks about it; I could
neither put in the heads, nor join the staves so true to one another as to make them
hold water; so I gave that also over.
In the next place, I was at a great loss for candles; so that as soon as it was
dark, which was generally by seven o'clock, I was obliged to go to bed. I remembered
the lump of bees'-wax with which I made candles in.my African adventure; but I
"I GOT ME A FIECE OF GOAT'S FLESH, AND BROILED IT."
ISee p. 6l.j
had none of that now; the only remedy I had was, that when I had killed a goat
I saved the tallow, and with a little dish made of clay, which I baked in the sun,
to which I added a wick of some oakum, I made me a lamp; and this gave me
light, though not a clear steady light like a candle. In the middle of all my labours
it happened that, rummaging my things, I found a little bag which, as I hinted
before, had been filled with corn for the feeding of poultry-not for this voyage, but
before, as I suppose, when'the ship came from Lisbon. What little remainder of corn
that had been in the bag was all devoured by the rats, and I saw nothing in the
bag but husks and dust; and being willing to have the bag for some other use
(I think it was to put powder in, when 1 divided it for fear of the lightning, or
some such use), I shook the husks of corn out of it on one side of my fortification,
under the rock.
It was a little before the great rains just now mentioned that I threw this stuff
away, taking no notice, of anything, and not so much as remembering that I had
thrown anything there, when, about a month after, or thereabouts, I saw some few
stalks of something green shooting upon the ground, which I fancied might be some
plant I had not seen; but I was surprised and perfectly astonished when, after a
little longer time, I saw about ten or twelve ears come out, which were perfectly green
barley, of the same kind as our European-nay, as our English barley.
It is impossible to express the astonishment and confusion of my thoughts on
this occasion; I had hitherto acted upon no religious foundation at all; indeed, I had
very few notions of religion in my head, nor had entertained any sense of anything
that had befallen me, otherwise than as chance, or, as we lightly say, what pleases
God, without so much as inquiring into the end of Providence in these things, or
His order in governing events in the world. But after I saw barley grow there in
a climate which I knew was not proper for corn, and especially that I knew not how
it came there, it startled me strangely, and I began to suggest that God had mira-
culously caused this grain to grow without any help of seed sown, and that it was
so directed purely for my sustenance in that wild, miserable place.
This touched my heart a little, and brought tears out of my eyes, and I began
to bless myself that such a prodigy of Nature should happen upon my account; and
this was the more strange to me because I saw near it still, all along by the side
of the rock, some other straggling stalks, which proved to be stalks of rice, and which
I knew, because I had seen it grow in Africa, when I was ashore there.
I not only thought these the pure productions of Providence for my support, but
not doubting that there was more in the place, I went all over that part of the island
where I had been before, peering in every corner and under every rock, to see for
more of it, but I could not find any. At last it occurred to my thoughts that I
had shaken the bag of chickens' meat out in that place; and the wonder began to
cease; and I must confess, my religious thankfulness to God's providence began to
abate too, upon the discovering that all this was nothing but what was common:
though I ought to have been as thankful for so strange and unforeseen providence,
as if it had been miraculous; for it was really the work of Providence as to me, that
should order or appoint that ten or twelve grains of corn should remain unspoiled,
when the rats had destroyed all the rest, as if it had been dropped from heaven;
as also that I should throw it out in to that particular place, where, it being in the
shade of a high rock, it sprang up immediately; whereas, if I had thrown it any-
where else at that time, it had been burnt up and destroyed.
I carefully saved the ears of this corn, you may be sure, in their season, which
was about the end of June; and laying up every corn, I resolved to sow them all
again, hoping in time to have some quantity, sufficient to supply me with bread.
But it was not till the fourth year that I would allow myself the least grain of this
corn to eat, and even then but sparingly, as I shall say afterwards, in its order;
for I lost all that I sowed the first season, by not observing the proper time; for I
THE EARTHQUA TE.
sowed it just before the dry season, so that it never came up at all, at least not as
it would have done: of which in its place.
Besides this barley, there were, as above, twenty or thirty stalks of rice, which
I preserved with the same care, and whose use was of the same kind, or to the same
purpose, viz., to make me bread, or rather food; for I found ways to cook it up
without baking, though I did that also after some time.
But to return to my. Journal:-
I worked excessive hard these three or four months, to get my wall done; and
the 14th of April I closed it up, contriving to go into it, not by a door, but over
a wall, by a ladder, that there might be no sign on the outside of my habitation.
April 16.-I finished the ladder; so I went up the ladder to the top, and then
pulled it up after me, and let it down on the inside: this was a complete enclosure
to me; for within I had room enough, and nothing could come at me from without,
unless it could first mount my wall.
The very next day after this wall was finished, I had almost had all my labour
overthrown at once, and myself killed. The case was thus:-As I was busy in the
"I DID, AFTER MUCH PAINSTAKING, CATCH A YOUNG PARROT (P. 7t).
inside of it, behind my tent, just in the entrance into my cave, I was terribly frightened
with a most dreadful surprising thing indeed: for, all on a sudden, I found the earth
came tumbling down from the roof of my cave, and from the edge of the hill over
my head, and two of the posts I had set up in the cave cracked in a frightful
manner. I was heartily scared; but thought nothing of what really was the cause,
only thinking that the top of my cave was falling in, as some of it had done before:
and for fear I should be buried in it, I ran forwards to my ladder, and not thinking
myself safe there neither, I got over my wall for fear of the pieces of the hill, which
I expected might roll down upon me. I was no sooner stepped down upon the firm
ground, than I plainly saw it was a terrible earthquake; for the ground I stood on
shook three times at about eight minutes' distance, with three such shocks as would
have overturned the strongest building that could be supposed to have stood upon the
earth; and a great piece of the top of the rock which stood about half a mile from me,
next the sea, fell down with such a terrible noise as I never heard in all my life.
I perceived also the very sea was put into a violent motion by it; and I believe the
shocks were stronger under the water than on the island.
I was so amazed with the thing itself, having never felt the like, or discoursed
with any one that had, that I was like one dead or stupefied; and the motion
of the earth made my stomach sick like one that was tossed at sea; but the noise
of the falling of the rock awaked me as it were, and rousing me from the.
stupefied condition I was in, filled me with horror, and I thought of nothing then
but the hill falling upon my tent and all my household goods, and burying all at
once; and this sunk my very soul within me a second time.
After the third shock was over, and I felt no more for some time, I began to
take courage; and yet I had not heart enough to get over my wall again, for fear of
being buried alive, but still sat upon the ground, greatly cast down and diconsolate,
not knowing what to do. All this while, I had not the least serious religious thought;
nothing but the common "Lord, have mercy upon me!" and when it was over, that
went away too.
While I sat thus, I found the air overcast, and it grow cloudy, as if it would rain;
soon after that, the wind arose by little and little, so that in less than half an hour
it blew a most dreadful hurricane of wind: the sea was, all on a sudden, covered with
foam and froth; the shore was covered with the breach of the water; the trees were
torn up by the roots; and a terrible storm it was. This held about three hours, and
then began to abate; and then in two hours more it was calm, and began to rain
very hard. All this while I sat upon the ground very much terrified and dejected;
when on a sudden it came into my thoughts that these winds and rain being the
consequences of the earthquake, the earthquake itself was spent and over, and I
might venture into my cave again. With this thought, my spirits began to revive;
and the rain also helping to persuade me, I went in and sat down in my tent; but
the rain was so violent that my tent was ready to be beaten down with it; and I
was forced to go into my cave, though very much afraid and uneasy, for fear it
should fall on my head. This violent rain forced me to a new work, viz., to cut a
hole through my new fortifications, like a sink, to let the water go out, which would
else have drowned my cave. After I had been in my cave some time, and found
still no more shocks of the earthquake follow, I began to be more composed. And
now to support my spirits, which indeed wanted it very much, I went to my little
store, and took a small sup of rum; which, however, I did then and always very
sparingly, knowing I could have no more when that was gone. It continued raining all
that night, and great part of the next day, so that I could not stir abroad; but my
mind being more composed, I began to think of what I had best to do; concluding
that if the island was subject to these earthquakes, there would be no living for me
in a cave, but I must consider of building me some little hut in an open place which I
might surround with a wall, as I had done here, and so make myself secure from
wild beasts or men; for I concluded if I stayed where I was, I should certainly, one
time or other, be buried alive.
With these thoughts, I resolved to move my tent from the place where it now
stood, which was just under the hanging precipice of the hill; and which, if it should
be shaken again, would certainly fall upon my tent: and I spent the two next days,
being the 19th and 2oth of April, in contriving where and how to remove my
habitation. The fear of being swallowed up alive made me that I never slept in
quiet; and yet the apprehensions of lying abroad without any fence were almost equal
to it; but still, when I looked about, and saw how everything was put in order, how
pleasantly concealed I was, and how safe from danger, it made me loth to remove.
In the meantime, it occurred to me that it would require a vast deal of time for
me to do this, and that I must be contented to run the venture where I was, till
I had formed a camp for myself, and had secured it so as to remove to it. So with
this resolution I composed myself for a time, and resolved that I would go to work
with all speed to build me a wall with piles and cables, &c., in a circle, as before,
and set my tent up in it, when it was finished; but that I would venture to stay
where I was till it was finished, and fit to remove to. This was the 2Ist.
REAPPEARANCE OF THE WRECK.
April 22.-The next morning I began to consider of means to put this resolve
in execution; but I was at a great loss about my tools. I had three large axes,
and abundance of hatchets (for we carried the hatchets for traffic with the Indians);
but with much chopping and cutting knotty hard wood, they were all full of notches,
and dull; and though I had a grindstone, I could not turn it and grind my tools too.
This cost me as much thought as a statesman would have bestowed upon a grand
point of politics, or a judge upon the life and death of a man. At length, I contrived a
wheel with a string, to turn it with my foot, that I might have both my hands at liberty.
Note.-I had not seen any such things in England, or at least not to take
notice how it was done, though since I have observed it was very common there;
besides that, my grindstone was very large and heavy. This machine cost me a full
week's work to bring it to perfection.
April 28, 29.-These two whole days I took up in grinding my tools, my machine
for turning my grindstone performing very well.
April 3o.-Having perceived my bread had been low a great while, I now took
a survey of it, and reduced myself to one biscuit-cake a day, which made my heart
May i.-In the morning, looking towards the sea-side, the tide being low, I saw
something lie on the shore bigger than ordinary, and it looked like a cask; when I
came to it, I found a small barrel, and two or three pieces of the wreck of the ship,
which were driven on shore by the late hurricane; and looking towards the wreck
itself, I thought it seemed to lie higher out of the water than it used to do. I
examined the barrel which was driven on shore, and soon found it was a barrel of
gunpowder; but it had taken water, and the powder was caked as hard as a stone:
however, I rolled it farther on shore for the present, and went on upon the sands,
as near as I could to the wreck of the ship, to look for more.
When I came down to the ship I found it strangely removed. The forecastle,
which lay before buried in sand, was heaved up at least six feet, and the stern,
which was broken to pieces and parted from the rest by the force of the sea soon
after I had left rummaging of her, was tossed, as it were, up, and cast on one side;
and the sand was thrown so high on that side next her stern, that whereas there
was a great place of water before, so that I could not come within a quarter of a
mile of the wreck without swimming, I could now walk quite up to her when the
tide was out. I was surprised with this at first, but soon concluded it must be done
by the earthquake; and as by this violence the ship was more broken open than
formerly, so many things came daily on shore, which the sea had loosened, and which
the winds and water rolled by degrees to the land.
This wholly diverted my thoughts from the design of removing my habitation,
and I busied myself mightily, that day especially, in searching whether I could make
any way into the ship; but I found nothing was to be expected of that kind, for that all
the inside of the ship was choked up with sand. However, as I had learned not to
despair of anything, I resolved to pull everything to pieces that I could of the ship,
concluding that everything I could get from her would be of some use or other to me.
May 3.-I began with my saw, and cut a piece of a beam through, which I thought
held some of the upper part or quarter-deck together, and when I had cut it through,
I cleared away the sand as well as I could from the side which lay highest; but the
tide coming in, I was obliged to give over for that time.
May 4.-I went a-fishing, but caught not one fish that I durst eat of, till I was
weary of my sport; when, just going to leave off, I caught a young dolphin. I had
made me a long line of some rope-yarn, but I had no hooks; yet I frequently caught
fish enough, as much as I cared to eat; all which I dried in the sun, and ate them dry.
May 5.-Worked on the wreck; cut another beam asunder, and brought three
great fir planks off from the decks, which I tied together, and made swim on shore
when the tide of flood came on.
May 6.-Worked on the wreck; got several iron bolts out of her, and other pieces
of iron-work; worked very hard, and came home very much tired, and had thoughts
of giving it over.
May 7.-Went to the wreck again, with an intent not to work, but found the
weight of the wreck had broken itself down, the beams being cut; that several pieces
of the ship seemed to lie loose, and the inside of the hold lay so open that I could
see into it; but it was almost full of water and sand.
May 8.-Went to the wreck, and carried an iron crow to wrench up the deck,
which lay now quite clear .of the water or sand. I wrenched open two planks, and
brought them on shore also with the tide. I left the iron crow in the wreck for
May 9.-Went to the wreck, and with the crow made way into the body of the
wreck, and felt several casks, and loosened them with the crow, but could not break
them up. I felt also a roll of English lead, and could stir it, but it was too heavy
May o1, II, 12, 13, 14.-Went every day to the wreck; and got a great deal of
pieces of timber, and boards, or planks, and two or three hundredweight of iron.
May 15.-I carried two hatchets, to try if I could not cut a piece off the roll of
lead, by placing the edge of one hatchet, and driving it with the other; but as it lay
about a foot and a half in the water, I could not make any blow to drive the hatchet.
May 16.-It had blown hard in the night, and the wreck appeared more broken
by the force of the water; but I stayed so long in the woods, to get pigeons for food,
that the tide prevented me going to the wreck that day.
May 17.-I saw some pieces of the wreck blown on shore, at a great distance,
near two miles off me, but resolved to see what they were, and found they were
pieces of the head, but too heavy for me to bring away.
May 24.-Every day, to this day, I worked on the wreck; and with hard labour
I loosened some things so much with the crow, that the first flowing tide several
casks floated out, and two of the seamen's chests; but the wind blowing from the
shore, nothing came to land that day but pieces of timber, and a hogshead, which
had some Brazil pork in it; but the salt water and the sand had spoiled it. I con-
tinued this work every day to the I5th of June, except the time necessary to get food,
which I always appointed, during this part of my employment, to be when the tide
was up, that I might be ready when it was ebbed out; and by this time I had gotten
timber, and plank, and iron-work enough to have built a good boat, if I had known
how; and also I got, at several times, and in several pieces, near one hundredweight
of the sheet-lead.
Yune 16.-Going down to the sea-side, I found a large tortoise, or turtle. This
was the first I had seen, which, it seems, was only my misfortune, not any defect of
the place, or the scarcity; for had I happened to be on the other side of the island, I
might have had hundreds of them every day, as I found afterwards, but perhaps had
paid dear enough for them.
June 17 I spent in cooking the turtle. I found in her threescore eggs; and her
flesh was to me, at that time, the most savoury and pleasant that ever I tasted in
my life, having had no flesh, but of goats and fowls, since I landed in this horrible place.
June 18.-Rained all the day, and I stayed within. I thought, at this time, the
rain felt cold, and I was something chilly, which I knew was not usual in that latitude.
June 19.-Very ill, and shivering, as if the weather had been cold.
June 20.-No rest all night; violent pains in my head, and feverish.
June 21.-Very ill; frighted almost to death with the apprehensions of my sad
condition-to be sick, and no help: prayed to God, for the first time since the storm
off Hull, but scarce knew what I said or why; my thoughts being all confused.
June 22.-A little better; but under dreadful apprehensions of sickness.
June 23.-Very bad again; cold and shivering, and then a violent headache.
AN AFFRIGHTING DREAM.
June 24.-Much better.
June 25.-An ague, very violent: the fit held me seven hours; cold fit, and hot
with faint sweats after it.
June 26.-Better; and having no victuals to eat, took my gun, but found myself
very weak; however, I killed a she-goat, and with much difficulty got it home, and
broiled some of it, and ate. I would fain have stewed it, and made some broth, but
had no pot.
June 27.-The ague again so violent that I lay
a-bed all day and neither ate nor drank. I was ready
to perish for thirst; but so weak I had no strength
to stand up, or to get myself any water to drink.
Prayed to God again, but was light-headed; and when
I was not, I was
so ignorant that
I knew not what
to say; only I
lay and cried,
"Lord, look upon
me! Lord, pity
me! Lord, have
mercy upon me!"
I suppose I did
nothing else for
two or three
hours; till the fit
"THERE ROSE UP A LITTLE CLOUD OF FOWLS" (A. 76).
wearing off, I fell asleep, and did not awake till far in
the night. When I awoke, I found myself much re-
freshed, but weak, and exceeding thirsty; however, as
I had no water in my whole habitation, I was forced to
lie till morning, and went to sleep again. In this second
sleep, I had this terrible dream: I thought that I was
sitting on the ground, on the outside of my wall, where
I sat when the storm blew after the earthquake, and
that I saw a man descend from a great black cloud, in
a bright flame of fire, and light upon the ground; he
was all over as bright as a flame, so that I could but
just bear to look towards him: his countenance was
most inexpressibly dreadful, impossible for words to describe; when he stepped upon
the ground with his feet, I thought the earth trembled, just as it had done before in
the earthquake, and all the air looked, to my apprehension, as if it had been filled
with flashes of fire. He was no sooner landed upon the earth, but he moved for-
wards towards me, with a long spear or weapon in his hand, to kill me; and when
he came to a rising ground, at some distance, he spoke to me-or I heard a voice
so terrible that it is impossible to express the terror of it. All that I can say I
understood was this:-" Seeing all these things have not brought thee to repentance,
now thou shalt die;"-at which words, I thought he lifted up the spear that was
in his hand to kill me.
No one that shall ever read this account will expect that I should be able to
describe the horrors of my soul at this terrible vision. I mean, that even while it
was a dream, I even dreamed of those horrors. Nor is it any more possible to
describe the impression that remained upon my mind when I awaked, and found it
was but a dream.
I had, alas! no divine knowledge. What I had received by the good instruction
of my father was then worn out by an uninterrupted series, for eight years, of seafaring
wickedness, and a constant conversation with none but such as were, like myself,
wicked and profane to the last degree. I do not remember that I had, in all that
time, one thought that so much as tended either to looking upwards towards God,
or inwards towards a reflection upon my own ways; but a certain stupidity of soul,
without desire of good, or conscience of evil, had entirely overwhelmed me; and I
was all that the most hardened, unthinking, wicked creature among our common
sailors can be supposed to be-not having the least sense, either of the fear of God
in dangers, or of thankfulness to God in deliverances.
In the relating what is already past of my story, this will be the more easily
believed when I shall add, that through all the variety of miseries that had to this
day befallen me, I never had so much as one thought of its being the hand of God,
or that it was a just punishment for my sins-my rebellious behaviour against my
father-or my present sins, which were great-or so much as a punishment for the
general course of my wicked life. When I was on the desperate expedition on the
desert shores of Africa, I never had so much as one thought of what would become
of me, or one wish to God to direct me whither I should go, or to keep me from
the danger which apparently surrounded me, as well from voracious creatures as cruel
savages; but I was merely thoughtless of a God or a Providence-I acted like a mere
brute, from the principles of nature, and by the dictates of common sense only, and
indeed hardly that. When I was delivered and taken up at sea by the Portugal
captain, well used, and dealt justly and honourably with, as well as charitably, I had
not the least thankfulness'in my thoughts. When, again, I was shipwrecked, ruined,
and in danger of drowning on this island, I was as far from remorse, or looking on
it as a judgment. I only said to myself often that I was an unfortunate dog, and
born to be always miserable.
It is true, when I got on shore first here, and found all my ship's crew drowned,
and myself spared, I was surprised with a kind of ecstasy, and some transports of
soul, which, had the grace of God assisted, might have come up to true thankfulness;
but it ended where it began, in a mere common flight of joy, or, as I may say, being
glad I was alive, without the least reflection upon the distinguishing goodness of the
Hand which had preserved me, and had singled me out to be preserved when all the
rest were destroyed, or an inquiry why Providence had been thus merciful to me.
Even just the same common sort of joy which seamen generally have, after they have
got safe ashore from a shipwreck, all which they drown in the next bowl of punch,
and forget almost as soon as it is over, and all the rest of my life was like it. Even
when I was afterwards, on due consideration, made sensible of my condition, how I
was cast on this dreadful place, out of the reach of human kind, out of all hope of relief,
or prospect of redemption, as soon as I saw a probability of living, and that I should
not starve and perish for hunger, all the sense of my affliction wore off; and I began
to be very easy, applied myself to the works proper for my preservation and supply,
and was far enough from being afflicted at my condition, as a judgment from Heaven,
or as the hand of God against me: these were thoughts which very seldom entered
into my head.
"I F \\(T'ILD HA\VE MIADE, A STfOIC SMIL.E TO HAV SEE I N ME, AND MY F AMIL Y
S-'1 DOWN TO D1\N1.1R,.
The growing up of the corn, as is hinted in my Journal, had, at first, some little
influence upon me, and began to affect me with seriousness, as long as I thought it
had something miraculous in it; but as soon as ever that part of the thought was
removed, all the impression which was raised from it wore off also, as I have noted
already. Even the earthquake, though nothing could be more terrible in its nature,
or more immediately directing to the invisible Power which alone directs such things,
yet no sooner was the first fright over but the impression it had made went off also.
I had no more sense of God, or His judgments-much less of the present affliction ot my
circumstances being from His hand-than if I had been in the most prosperous
condition of life. But now when I began to be sick, and a leisurely view of the
miseries of death came to place itself before me; when my spirits began to sink under
the burden of a strong distemper, and nature was exhausted with the violence of the
fever, conscience, that had slept so long, began to awake, and I began to reproach myself
with my past life, in which I had so evidently, by uncommon wickedness, provoked the
justice of God to lay me under uncommon strokes, and to deal with me in so vindictive
a manner. These reflections oppressed me from the second or third day of my distemper;
and in the violence, as well of the fever as of the dreadful reproaches of my conscience,
extorted some words from me like praying to God, though I cannot say they were
either a prayer attended with desires or with hopes: it was rather the voice of mere
fright and distress. My thoughts were confused, the convictions great upon my mind,
and the horror of dying in such a miserable condition raised vapours into my head
with the mere apprehensions; and in these hurries of my soul, I knew not what my
tongue might express. But it was rather exclamation, such as, "Lord, what a
miserable creature am I! If I should be sick, I shall certainly die for want of help,
and what will become of me?" Then, the tears burst out of my eyes, and I could
say no more for a good while. In this interval, the good advice of my father came
to my mind, and presently his prediction, which I mentioned at the beginning of this
story, viz., that if I did take this foolish step, God would not bless me, and I would
have leisure hereafter to reflect upon having neglected his counsel when there might
be none to assist me in my recovery. "Now," said I aloud, "my dear father's words
are come to pass; God's justice has overtaken me, and I have none to help or hear
me. I rejected the voice of Providence, which had mercifully put me in a posture
or station of life wherein I might have been happy and easy; but I would neither
see it myself, nor learn to know the blessing of it from my parents. I left them to
mourn over my folly; and now I am left to mourn under the consequences of it. I
refused their help and assistance, who would have lifted me into the world, and would
have made everything easy to me; and now I have difficulties to struggle with too
great for even nature itself to support, and no assistance, no help, no comfort, no
advice." Then I cried out, "Lord, be my help, for I am in great distress." This
was the first prayer, if I might call it so, that I had made for many years.
But I return to my Journal:-
7une 28.-Having been somewhat refreshed with the sleep I had had, and the
fit being entirely off, I got up; and though the fright and terror of my dream was
very great, yet I considered that the fit of the ague would return again the next day,
and now was my time to get something to refresh and support myself when I should
be ill: and the first thing I did, I filled a large square case-bottle with water, and
set it upon my table, in reach of my bed; and to take off the chill or aguish
disposition of the water, I put about a quarter of a pint of rum into it, and mixed
them together. Then I got me a piece of the goat's flesh, and broiled it on the coals,
but could eat very little. I walked about, but was very weak, and withal very sad and
heavy-hearted in the sense of my miserable condition, dreading the return of my dis-
temper the next day. At night, I made my supper of three of the turtle's eggs, which
I roasted in the ashes, and ate, as we call it, in the shell, and this was the first bit of
meat I had ever asked God's blessing to, even, as I could, remember, in my whole life.
After I had eaten, I tried to walk, but found myself so weak that 'I could hardly
carry the gun, for I never went out without that; so I went out but a little way,
and sat down upon the ground, looking out upon the sea, which was just before
me, and very calm and smooth. As I sat here, some thoughts such as these occurred
to me:-What is the earth and sea, of which I have seen so much? Whence is it
produced? And what am I, and all the other creatures, wild and tame, human and
brutal? Whence are we? Sure we are all made by some secret Power, who formed
the earth and sea, the air and sky. And who is that? Then it followed most naturally-
"It is God that has made it all. Well, but then," it came on strongly, "if God has made
all these things, He guides and governs them all, and all things that concern them;
for the Being that could make all things must certainly have power to guide and
direct them. If so, nothing can happen, in the great circuit of His works, either
without His knowledge or appointment.
"And if nothing happens without His knowledge, He knows that I am here, and
am in this dreadful condition; and if nothing happens without His appointment, He
has appointed all this to befall me." Nothing occurred to my thoughts to contradict
any of these conclusions, and therefore it rested upon me with the greater force, that
it must needs be that God had appointed all this to befall me; that I was brought
to this miserable circumstance by His direction, He having the sole power, not of
me only, but of everything that happened in the world. Immediately it followed-
"Why has God done this to me? What have I done to be thus used?" My
conscience presently checked me in that inquiry, as if I had blasphemed, and methought
it spoke to me like a voice, "Wretch, dost thou ask what thou hast done? Look
back upon a dreadful misspent life, and ask thyself, what thou hast not done?
Ask, why is it that thou wert not long ago destroyed? Why wert thou not drowned
in Yarmouth Roads? killed in the fight, when the ship was taken by the Sallee man-
of-war? devoured by the wild beasts off the coast of Africa? or drowned here, when
all the crew perished but thyself? Dost thou ask, 'What have I done?'" I was struck
dumb with these reflections, as one astonished, and had not a word to say-no, not
to answer to myself-but rose up pensive and sad, walked back to my retreat, and
went up over my wall, as if I had been going to bed; but my thoughts were sadly
disturbed, and I had no inclination to sleep; so I sat down in my chair, and lighted
my lamp, for it began to be dark. Now, as the apprehension of the return of my
distemper terrified me very much, it occurred to my thought that the Brazilians take
no physic but their tobacco for almost all distempers, and I had a piece of a roll of
tobacco in one of the chests, which was quite cured, and some also that was green,
and not quite cured.
I went, directed by Heaven, no doubt; for in this chest I found a cure both for
soul and body. I opened the chest, and found what I looked for, viz., the tobacco; and
as the few books I had saved lay there too, I took out one of the Bibles which I
mentioned before, and which to this time I had not found leisure, or so much as inclination
to look into. I say I took it out, and brought both that and the tobacco with me to
the table. What use to make of the tobacco I knew not, as to my distemper, or
whether it was good for it or no; but I tried several experiments with it, as if I
was resolved it should heal one way or other. I first took a piece of leaf, and chewed
it in my mouth, which indeed, at first, almost stupefied my brain, the tobacco being
green and strong, and that I had not been much used to it. Then I took some and
steeped it an hour or two in some rum, and resolved to take a dose of it when I
lay down; and, lastly, I burnt some upon a pan of coals, and held my nose close
over the smoke of it as long as I could bear it, as well for the heat as the virtue of
it, and I held it almost to suffocation. In the interval of this operation, I took up the
Bible, and began to read; but my head was too much disturbed with the tobacco to bear
reading, at least at that time; only having opened the book casually, the words first that
occurred to me were these, "Call upon Me in the day of trouble, and I will deliver thee,
MY RECOVERY FROM SICKNESS.
and thou shalt glorify Me." These words were very apt to my case, and made some
impression upon my thoughts at the time of reading them, though not so much as they
did afterwards; for, as for being delivered, the word had no sound, as I may say, to me:
the thing was so remote, so impossible in my apprehension of things, that I began
to say, as the children of Israel did when they were promised flesh to eat, "Can God
spread a table in the wilderness?" so I began to say, "Can God Himself deliver me
from this place?" And as it was not for many years that any hopes appeared, this
prevailed very often upon my thoughts; but, however, the words made a great
impression upon me, and I mused upon them very often. It grew now late, and the
tobacco had, as I said, dozed my head so much that I inclined to sleep: so I left
my lamp burning in the cave, lest I should want anything in the night, and went to
bed. But before I lay down, I did what I never had done in all my life: I kneeled
down, and prayed to God to fulfil the promise to me, that if I called upon Him in
the day of trouble, He would deliver me. After my broken and imperfect prayer was
over, I drank the rum in which I had steeped the tobacco, which was so strong and
rank of the tobacco, that indeed I could scarcely get it down; immediately upon this I
went to bed; and I found presently it flew up into my head violently; but I fell into a
sound sleep, and waked no more till, by the sun, it must necessarily be near three o'clock
in the afternoon the next day; nay, to this hour I am partly of opinion that I slept
all the next day and night, and till almost three the day after; for otherwise, I know
not how I should lose a day out of my reckoning in the days of the week, as it
appeared some years after I had done; for if I had lost it by crossing and recrossing
the line, I should have lost more than one day; but in my account it was lost,
and I never knew which way. Be that, however, one way or other, when
I awaked I found myself exceedingly refreshed, and my spirits lively and cheerful;
when I got up I was stronger than I was the day before, and my stomach better,
for I was hungry; and, in short, I had no fit the next day, but continued much
altered for the better. This was the 29th.
The 3oth was my well day, of course, and I went abroad with my gun, but did
not care to travel too far. I killed a sea-fowl or two, something like a brand goose,
and brought them home; but was not very forward to eat them; so I ate some more
of the turtle's eggs, which were very good. This evening I renewed the medicine,
which I had supposed did me good the day before, viz., the tobacco steeped in rum; only
I did not take so much as before, nor did I chew any of the leaf, or hold my head
over the smoke; however, I was not so well the next day, which was the Ist of July,
as I hoped I should have been; for I had little spice of the cold fit, but it was
yuly 2.-I renewed the medicine all the three ways; and dosed myself with it as
at first, and doubled the quantity which I drank.
July 3.-I missed the fit for good and all, though I did not recover my full
strength for some weeks after. While I was thus gathering strength, my thoughts ran
exceedingly upon this scripture, "I will deliver thee"; and the impossibility of my
deliverance lay much upon my mind, in bar of my ever expecting it; but as I was
discouraging myself with such thoughts, it occurred to my mind that I pored so much
upon my deliverance from the main affliction, that I disregarded the deliverance I
had received, and I was, as it were, made to ask myself such questions as these, viz.,
"Have I not been delivered, and wonderfully too, from sickness? from the most
distressed condition that could be, and that was so frightful to me? and what notice
had I taken of it? Had I done my part? God had delivered me, but I had not
glorified Him; that is to say, I had not owned and been thankful for that as a
deliverance; and how could I expect greater deliverance?" This touched my heart
very much; and immediately I kneeled down, and gave God thanks aloud for my
recovery from my sickness.
7uly 4.-In the morning, I took the Bible; and beginning at the New Testament,
I began seriously to read it, and imposed upon myself to read awhile every morning
and every night; not tying myself to the number of chapters, but as long as my thoughts
should engage me. It was not long after I set seriously to this work, till I found
my heart more deeply and sincerely affected with the wickedness of my past life.
The impression of my dream revived; and the words, "All these things have not
brought thee to repentance," ran seriously in my thoughts. I was earnestly begging
of God to give me repentance, when it happened providentially the very day that,
reading the Scripture, I came to these words: "He is exalted a Prince and a Saviour,
to give repentance and to give remission." I threw down the book; and with my
heart as well as my hands lifted up to heaven, in a kind of ecstasy of joy, I cried
out aloud, "Jesus, thou son of David! Jesus, thou exalted Prince and Saviour! give
me repentance!" This was the first time I could say, in the true sense of the words,
that I prayed in all my life; for now I prayed with a sense of my condition, and with
a true scripture view of hope, founded on the encouragement of the Word of God; and
from this time, I may say, I began to have hope that God would hear me.
Now I began to construe the words mentioned above, "Call on Me, and I will
deliver thee," in a different sense from what I had ever done before; for then I had
no notion of anything being called deliverance but my being delivered from the captivity
I was in; for though I was indeed at large in the place, yet the island was certainly
a prison to me, and that in the worst sense in the world. But now I learned to
take it in another sense; now I looked back upon my past life with such horror, and
my sins appeared so dreadful, that my soul sought nothing of God but deliverance
from the load of guilt that bore down all my comfort. As for my solitary life, it was
nothing; I did not so much as pray to be delivered from it, or think of it; it was
all of no consideration, in comparison of this. And I added this part here, to hint to
whoever shall read it, that whenever they come to a true sense of things, they will
find deliverance from sin a much greater blessing than deliverance from affliction.
But, leaving this part, I return to my Journal:-
My condition began now to be, though not less miserable as to my way of living,
yet much easier to my mind: and my thoughts being directed, by a constant reading
the Scripture and praying to God, to things of a higher nature, I had a great deal
of comfort within, which, till now, I knew nothing of; also, my health and strength
returned, I bestirred myself to furnish myself with everything that I wanted, and
make my way of living as regular as I could.
From the 4th of July to the i4th, I was chiefly employed in walking about with
my gun in my hand, a little and a little at a time, as a man that was gathering up
his strength after a fit of sickness: for it is hardly to be imagined how low I was,
and to what weakness I was reduced. The application which I made use of was
perfectly new, and perhaps what had never cured an ague before; neither can 1
recommend it to anyone to practise, by this experiment; and though it did carry off the
fit, yet it rather contributed to weaken me; for I had frequent convulsions in my
nerves and limbs for some time. I learned from it also this, in particular, that being
abroad in the rainy season was the most pernicious thing to my health that could
be, especially in those rains which came attended with storms and hurricanes of wind;
for as the rain which came in a dry season was always most accompanied with
such storms, so I found this rain was much more dangerous than the rain which fell
in September and October.
I had now been in this unhappy island above ten months; all possibility of
deliverance from this condition seemed to be entirely taken from me; and I firmly
believed that no human shape had ever set foot upon that place. Having now secured
my habitation, as I thought, fully to my mind, I had a great desire to make a more
perfect discovery of the island, and to see what other productions I might find, which
yet I knew nothing of.
It was the 15th of July that I began to take a more particular survey of the
I MAKE A SURVEY OF THE ISLAND.
island itself. I went up the creek first, where, as I hinted, I
brought my rafts onshore. I found, after I came about two
miles up, that the tide did not flow any higher; and that it
was no more than a little brook of running water, and very fresh
and good: but this being the dry season, there was hardly
any water in some parts of it; at least, not enough to run
in any stream, so as it could be perceived. On the banks of
this brook, I found many pleasant savannahs or meadows,
plain, smooth, and covered
with grass; and on the
rising parts of them, next
to the higher grounds,
where the water, as it
might be supposed, never
overflowed, I found a great
deal of tobacco, green,
and growing to a great
and very strong stalk;
there were divers other
plants, which I had no f
notion of or understand-
ing about, and might,
perhaps, have virtues of-
their own, which I could
not find out. I searched
for the cassava root, which
the Indians in all that
climate make their bread
of, but I could find none.
I saw large plants of
aloes, but did not then
understand them. I saw
several sugar-canes, but '!
wild, and, for want of
cultivation, imperfect. I
contented myself with
these discoveries for this
time, and came back, mus-
ing with myself what
course I might take to
know the virtue and
goodness of any of the
fruits of plants
which I should E
could bring it to
for, in short, I had .-. "
made so little obser- "'. <"
vation while I was
in the Brazils, that "THE FIRST THING I MADE WAS A GREAT CAP" (p. 86).
I knew little of the
plants of the field; at least, very little that might serve mne to any purpose now in my distress.
The next day, the i6th, I went up the same way again; and after going some-
thing further than I had gone the day before, I found the brook and savannahs cease,
and the country became more woody than before. In this part I found different
fruits, and particularly I found melons upon the ground, in great abundance, and
grapes upon the trees: the vines had spread indeed over the trees, and the
clusters of grapes were just now in their prime, very ripe and rich. This was a
surprising discovery, and I was exceeding glad of them; but I was warned by my
experience to eat sparingly of them, remembering that, when I was ashore in Barbary,
the eating of grapes killed several of our Englishmen, who were slaves there, by
throwing them into fluxes and fevers. But I found an excellent use for these grapes;
and that was, to cure or dry them in the sun, and keep them as dried grapes or
raisins are kept, which I thought would be, as indeed they were, as wholesome and
as agreeable to eat when no grapes might be had.
I spent all that evening there, and went not back to my habitation; which, by
the way, was the first night, as I might say, I had lain from home. In the night,
I took my first contrivance, and got up into a tree, where I slept well; and the next
morning proceeded upon my discovery, travelling nearly four miles, as I might judge
by the length of the valley, keeping still due north, with a ridge of hills on the
south and north side of me. At the end of this march I came to an opening, where
the country seemed to descend to the west; and a little spring of fresh water, which
issued out of the side of the hill by me, ran the other way, that is, due east; and
the country appeared so fresh, so green, so flourishing, everything being in a constant
verdure, or flourish of spring, that it looked like a planted garden. I descended a
little on the side of that delicious valley, surveying it with a secret kind of pleasure,
though mixed with other afflicting thoughts, to think that this was all my own;
that I was king and lord of all this country indefeasibly, and had a right of
possession; and, if I could convey it, I might have it in inheritance as completely
as any lord of a manor in England. I saw here abundance of cocoa-trees, orange and
lemon, and citron-trees; but all wild, and few bearing any fruit, at least not then.
However, the green limes that I gathered were not only pleasant to eat, but
very wholesome; and I mixed their juice afterwards with water, which made it very
wholesome, and very cool and refreshing. I found now I had business enough to
gather and carry home; and I resolved to lay up a store, as well of grapes as limes
and lemons, to furnish myself for the wet season, which I knew was approaching.
In order to do this, I gathered a great heap of grapes in one place, a lesser heap in
another place, and a great parcel of limes and lemons in another place; and taking
a few of each with me, I travelled homeward, and resolved to come again, and bring
a bag or sack, or what I could make to carry the rest home. Accordingly, having
spent three days in this journey, I came home (so I must now call my tent and my
cave); but before I got thither, the grapes were spoiled; the richness of the fruit, and
the weight of the juice, having broken them and bruised them, they were good for
little or nothing: as to the limes, they were good, but I could bring but a few.
The next day, being the I9th, I went back, having made me two small bags to
bring home my harvest; but I was surprised when, coming to my heap of grapes,
which were so rich and fine when I gathered them, I found them all spread abroad,
trodden to pieces, and dragged about, some here, some there, and abundance eaten and
devoured. By this I concluded there were some wild creatures thereabouts, which
had done this; but what they were I knew not. However, as I found there was no
laying them up on heaps, and no carrying them away in a sack, but that one way
they would be destroyed, and the other way they would be crushed with their own
weight, I took another course; for I gathered a large quantity of the grapes, and
hung them upon the out branches of the trees, that they might cure and dry in the
sun; and as for the limes and lemons, I carried as many back as I could well
When I came home from this journey, I contemplated with great pleasure the
THE ERECTION OF MY COUNTRY HOUSE.
fruitfulness of that valley, and the pleasantness of the situation; the security from
storm on that side of the water, and the wood; and concluded that I had pitched upon
a place to fix my abode which was by far the worst part of the country. Upon
the whole, I began to consider of removing my habitation, and to look out for a
place equally safe as where now I was situate, if possible, in that pleasant, fruitful
part of the island.
This thought ran long in my head, and I was exceeding fond of it for some
time, the pleasantness of the place tempting me; but when I came to a nearer view
of it, I considered that I was now by the sea-side, where it was at least possible
that something might happen to my advantage; and that the same ill fate that brought
me hither, might bring some other unhappy wretches to the same place; and though
it was scarce probable that any such thing should ever happen, yet to enclose myself
among the hills and woods in the centre of the island was to anticipate my bondage,
and to render such an affair not only improbable, but impossible; and that therefore
I ought not by any means to remove. However, I was so enamoured with this place
that I spent much of my time there for the whole remaining part of the month
of July; and though, upon second thoughts, I resolved as above not to remove, yet I
built me a little kind of a bower, and surrounded it at a distance with a strong
fence, being a double hedge, as high as I could reach, well staked, and filled
between with brushwood; and here I lay very secure, sometimes two or three nights
together, always going over it with a ladder as before; so that I fancied now I had my
country house and my sea-coast house; and this work took me up to the beginning
I had but newly finished my fence, and began to enjoy my labour, but the
rains came on, and made me stick close to my first habitation; for though I had
made me a tent like the other, with a piece of a sail, and spread it very well, yet
I had not the shelter of a hill to keep me from storms, nor a cave behind me to
retreat into when the rains were extraordinary.
About the beginning of August, as I said, I had finished my bower, and began
to enjoy myself. The 3rd of August, I found the grapes I had hung up were perfectly
dried, and indeed were excellent good raisins of the sun; so I began to take them
down from the trees, and it was very happy that I did so, for the rains which
followed would have spoiled them, and I had lost the best part of my winter food; for
I had above two hundred large bunches of them. No sooner had I taken them all
down, and carried most of them home to my cave, but it began to rain; and from
hence, which was the i4th of August, it rained more or less every day till the
middle of October, and sometimes so violently that I could not stir out of my cave
for several days.
In this season I was much surprised with the increase of my family; I had
been concerned for the loss of one of my cats, who ran away from me, or, as I
thought, had been dead, and I heard no more tidings of her till, to my astonishment,
she came home about the end of August, with three kittens. This was the more
strange to me because, though I had killed a wild cat, as I called it, with my gun,
yet I thought it was a quite different kind from our European cats; but the young
cats were the same kind of house-breed as the old one; and both my cats being
females, I thought it very strange. But from these three cats I afterwards came to
be so pestered with cats, that I was forced to kill them like vermin, or wild beasts,
and to drive them from my house as much as possible.
From the i4th of August to the 26th, incessant rain, so that I could not stir,
and was now very careful not to be much wet. In this confinement, I began to be
straitened for food: but venturing out twice, I one day killed a goat; and the last
day, which was the 26th, found a very large tortoise, which was a treat to me, and
my food was regulated thus:-I ate a bunch of raisins for my breakfast; a piece of
the goat's flesh, or of the turtle, for my dinner, broiled (for, to my great misfortune,
I had no vessel to boil or stew anything), and two or three of the turtle's eggs for
During this confinement in my cover by the rain, I worked daily two or three
hours at enlarging my cave, and by degrees worked it on towards one side, till I
came to the outside of the hill, and made a door or way out, which came beyond
my fence or wall; and so I came in and out this way. But I was not perfectly
easy at lying so open; for, as I had managed myself before, I was in a perfect
enclosure; whereas now, I thought, I lay exposed, and yet I could not perceive that
there was any living thing to fear; the biggest creature that I had yet seen upon the
island being a goat.
Sept. 30.-I was now come to the unhappy anniversary of my landing. I cast
up the notches on my post, and found I had been on shore three hundred and sixty-
five days. I kept this day as a solemn fast, setting it apart for religious exercise,
prostrating myself on the ground with the most serious humiliation, confessing my
sins to God, acknowledging his righteous judgment upon me, and praying to him to
have mercy on me through Jesus Christ; and having not tasted the least refreshment
for twelve hours, even till the going down of the sun, I then ate a biscuit-cake and
a bunch of grapes, and went to bed, finishing the day as I began it. I had all this
time observed no Sabbath-day, for as at first I had no sense of religion upon my
mind, I had, after some time, omitted to distinguish the weeks by making a longer
notch than ordinary for the Sabbath-day, and so did not really know what any of
the days were; but now, having cast up the days as above, I found I had been
there a year; so I divided it -into weeks, and set apart every seventh day for a
Sabbath; though I found at the end of my account I had lost a day or two in my
reckoning. A little after this, my ink began to fail me, and so I contented myself
to use it more sparingly, and to write down only the most remarkable events of my
life, without continuing a daily memorandum of other things.
The rainy season and the dry season began to now appear regular to me, and I
learned to divide them so as to provide for them accordingly; but I bought all my
experience before I had it, and this I am going to relate was one of the most
discouraging experiments that I made at all.
I have mentioned that I had saved the few ears of barley and rice which I had
so surprisingly found spring up, as I thought, of themselves; and I believe there
were about thirty stalks of rice, and about twenty of barley; and now I thought it
a proper time to sow it, after the rains, the sun being in its southern position, going
from me. Accordingly, I dug up a piece of ground as well as I could with my
wooden spade, and dividing it into two parts, I sowed my grain; but as I was
sowing, it casually occurred to my thoughts that I would not sow it all at first,
because I did not know when was the proper time for it, so I sowed about two-
thirds of the seed, leaving about a handful of each. It was a great comfort to me
afterwards that I did so, for not one grain of that I sowed this time came to
anything; for the dry months following, the earth having had no rain after the seed
was sown, it had no moisture to assist its growth, and never came up at all till the
wet season had come again, and then it grew as if it had been newly sown.
Finding my first seed did not grow, which I easily imagined was by the drought,
I sought for a moister piece of ground, to make another trial in, and I dug
up a piece of ground near my new bower, and sowed the rest of my seed
in February, a little before the vernal equinox; and this, having the rainy months
of March and April to water it, sprang up very pleasantly, and yielded a very
good crop; but having part of the seed left only, and not daring to sow all that
I had got, I had but a small quantity at last, my whole crop not amounting to above
half a peck of each kind. But by this experiment I was made master of my business,
and knew exactly when the proper season was to sow, and that I might expect two
seed-times and two harvests every year.
THE NATURAL ADORNMENT OF MY ABODES.
"I APPLIED MYSELF TO GET UP MY MAST" (p. 90).
While this corn was growing, I made a little discovery, which was of use to me
afterwards. As soon as the rains were over, and the weather began to settle, which
was about the month of November, I made a visit up the country to my bower,
where, though I had not been some months, I found all things just as I left
them. The circle or double hedge that I had made was not only firm and entire,
but the stakes which I had cut off of some trees that grew thereabouts were all
shot out and grown with long branches, as much as a willow-tree usually shoots the
first year after lopping its head. I could not tell what tree to call it that these
stakes were cut from. I was surprised, and yet very well pleased, to see the young
trees grow; and I pruned them, and led them up to grow as much alike as I could;
and it is scarcely credible how beautiful a figure they grew into, in three years; so that
though the hedge made a circle of about twenty-five yards in diameter, yet the trees,
for such I might now call them, soon covered it, and it was a complete shade,
sufficient to lodge under all the dry season. This made me resolve to cut some more
stakes, and make me a hedge like this in a semi-circle round my wall (I mean that
of my first dwelling), which I did; and placing the trees or stakes in a double row,
at about eight yards distance from- my first fence, they grew presently, and were at
first a fine cover to my habitation, and afterwards served for a defence also, as I
shall observe in its order.
I found now that the seasons of the year might generally be divided, not into
summer and winter, as in Europe, but into the rainy seasons and the dry seasons,
which were generally thus:-
The half of February, the whole of March, and the half of April-rainy, the sun
being then on or near the equinox.
The half of April, the whole of May, June, and July, and the half of August-
dry, the sun being then to the north of the line.
The half of August, the whole of September, and the half of October-rainy, the
sun being then come back.
The half of October, the whole of November, December, and January, and the
half of February-dry, the sun being then to the south of the line.
The rainy seasons sometimes held longer or shorter as the winds happened to
blow, but this was the general observation I made. After I had found, by experience,
the ill consequence of being abroad in the rain, I took care to furnish myself with
provisions beforehand, that I might not be obliged to go out, and I sat within doors
as much as possible during the wet months. In this time I found much employment,
and very suitable also to the time, for I found great occasion of many things which
I had no way to furnish myself with but by hard labour and constant application;
particularly, I tried many ways to make.myself a basket, but all the twigs I could
get for the purpose proved so brittle that they would do nothing. It proved of
excellent advantage to me now that when I was a boy I used to take great delight
in standing at a basket-maker's, in the town where my father lived, to see them
make their wicker-ware; and being, as boys usually are, very officious to help, and
a great observer of the manner how they worked those things, and sometimes
lent a hand, I had by this means so full knowledge of the methods of it that I
wanted nothing but the materials; when it came into my mind that the twigs of that
tree from whence I cut my stakes that grew might possibly be as tough as the
sallows, willows, and osiers in England, and I resolved to try. Accordingly, the next
day I went to my country house, as I called it, and cutting some of the smaller
twigs, I found them to my purpose as much as I could desire; whereupon I came
the next time prepared with a hatchet to cut down a quantity, which I soon found,
for there was a great plenty of them. These I set up to dry within my circle of hedges,
and when they were fit for use, I carried them to my cave; and here, during the
next season, I employed myself in making, as well as I could, a great many baskets,
both to carry earth or to carry or lay up anything, as I had occasion; and though
I did not finish them very handsomely, yet I made them sufficiently serviceable for
my purpose; and thus, afterwards, I took care never to be without them; and as
my wicker-ware decayed, I made more, especially strong, deep baskets to place my
corn in, instead of sacks, when I should come to have any quantity of it.
Having mastered this difficulty, and employed a world of time about it, I bestirred
myself to see, if possible, how to supply two wants. I had no vessel to hold any-
thing that was liquid, except two runlets, which were almost full of rum, and some
glass bottles-some of the common size, and others which were case-bottles, square,
for the holding of water, spirits, &c. I had not so much as a pot to boil anything in
except a great kettle, which I saved out of the ship, and which was too big for such uses
as I desired it for-viz., to make broth, and stew a bit of meat by itself. The second
thing I fain would have had was a tobacco-pipe, but it was impossible for me to
make one; however, I found a contrivance for that, too, at last. I employed myself
in planting my second row of stakes or piles, and in this wicker-work, all the
summer or dry season, when another business took me up more time than it could
be imagined I could spare.
I mentioned before that I had a great mind to see the whole island, and that
I had travelled up the brook, and so on to where I built my bower, and where I
had an opening quite to the sea on the other side of the island. I now resolved to
travel quite across to the sea-shore on that side; so, taking my gun, a hatchet, and
my dog, and a larger quantity of powder and shot than usual, with two biscuit-cakes
and a great bunch of raisins in my pouch for my store, I began my journey. When
I had passed the vale where my bower stood, as above, I came within view of the
sea to the west, and it being a very clear day, I fairly described land-whether an
FURTHER DISCOVERIES IN MY ISLAND.
island or a continent I could not tell; but it lay very high, extending from the W.
to the W.S.W., at a very great distance; by my guess, it could not be less than
fifteen or twenty leagues off.
I could not tell what part of the world this might be, otherwise than that I knew
it must be part of America, and, as I concluded, by all my observations, must be near
the Spanish dominions, and perhaps was all inhabited by savages, where, if I should
have landed, I had been in a worse condition than I was now; and therefore I acquiesced
in the dispositions of Providence, which I began ndw to own and to believe ordered
everything for the best; I say I quieted my mind with this, and left afflicting
myself with fruitless wishes of being there.
Besides, after some pause upon this affair, I considered that if this land was
the Spanish coast, I should certainly, one time or other, see some vessel pass or
repass one way or other; but if not, then it was the savage coast between the Spanish
country and the Brazils, which were indeed the worst of savages; for they are cannibals,
and fail not to murder and devour all the human bodies that fall into their hands.
With these considerations, I walked very leisurely forward. I found that side
of the island where I now was much pleasanter than mine-the open or savannah
fields sweet, adorned with flowers and grass, and full of very fine woods. I saw
abundance of parrots, and fain would I have caught one, if possible, to have kept
it to be tame, and taught it to speak to me. I did, after some painstaking, catch a
young parrot, for I knocked it down with a stick, and having recovered it, I brought
it home; but it was some years before I could make him speak; however, at last, I
taught him to call me by my name very familiarly. But the accident that followed,
though it be a trifle, will be very diverting in its place.
I was exceedingly diverted with this journey. I found in the low grounds hares
(as I thought them to be) and foxes; but they differed greatly from all the other kinds
I had met with, nor could I satisfy myself to eat them, though I killed several. But
I had no need to be venturous, for I had no want of food, and of that which was
very good, too, especially these three sorts, viz., goats, pigeons, and turtle, or tortoise,
which, added to my grapes, Leadenhall Market could not have furnished a table better
than I, in proportion to the company; and though my case was deplorable enough,
yet I had great cause for thankfulness that I was not driven to any extremities for
food, but had rather plenty, even to dainties.
I never travelled in this journey above two miles outright in a day, or there-
abouts; but I took so many turns and returns to see what discoveries I could make,
that I came weary enough to the place where I resolved to sit down for all night; and
then I either reposed myself in a tree, or surrounded myself with a row of stakes set
upright in the ground, either from one tree to another, or so as no wild creature could
come at me without waking me.
As soon as I came to the sea-shore I was surprised to see that I had taken up
my lot on the worst side of the island, for here, indeed, the shore was covered with
innumerable turtles, whereas on the other side I had found but three in a year and
a half. Here was also an infinite number of fowls of many kinds, some of which I
had not seen before, and many of them very good meat, but such as I knew not the
names of, except those called penguins.
I could have shot as many as I pleased, but was very sparing of my powder
and shot, and therefore had more mind to kill a she-goat, if I could, which I could
better feed on; and. though there were many goats here, more than on the other side
of the island, yet it was with much more difficulty that I could come near them, the
country being flat and even, and they saw me much sooner than when I was on the hills.
I confess this side of the country was much pleasanter than mine; but yet I had
not the least inclination to remove, for as I was fixed in my habitation it became
natural to me, and I seemed all the while I was here to be as it were upbn a journey,
and from home. However, I travelled along the shore of the sea towards the east,
I suppose about twelve miles, and then setting up a great pole upon the shore for a
mark, I concluded I would go home again, and that the next journey I took should
be on the other side of the island east from my dwelling, and so round till I came
to my post again, of which in its place.
I took another way to come back than that I went, thinking I could easily keep
all the island so much in my view, that I could not miss finding my first dwelling
by viewing the country; but I fund myself mistaken, for, being come about two or
three miles, I found myself descended into a very large valley, but so surrounded
with hills, and those hills covered with wood, that I could not see which was my
way by any direction but that of the sun, nor even then, unless I knew very well the
position of the sun at that time of the day. It happened, to my further misfortune,
that the weather proved hazy for three or four days while I was in this valley, and
not being able to see the sun, I wandered about very uncomfortably, and at last was
obliged to find out the sea-side, look for my post, and come back the same way I went:
and then, by easy journeys, I turned homeward, the weather being exceeding hot,
and my gun, ammunition, hatchet, and other things, very heavy.
In this journey my dog surprised a young kid, and seized upon it, and I running
in to take hold of it, caught it, and saved it alive from the dog. I had a great mind
to bring it home if I could, for I had often been musing whether it might not be
possible to get a kid or two, and so raise a breed of tame goats, which might supply
me when my powder and shot should be spent. I made a collar to this little
creature, and with a string, which I made of some rope-yarn, which I always carried
about me, I led him along, though with some difficulty, till I came to my bower, and
there I enclosed him and left him, for I was very impatient to be at home, from
whence I had been absent above a month.
I cannot express what a satisfaction it was to me to come into my old hutch,
and lie down in my hammock-bed. This little wandering journey, without settled
place of abode, had been so unpleasant to me that my own house, as I called it to
myself, was a perfect settlement to me, compared to that; and it rendered everything
about me so comfortable, that I resolved I would never go a great way from it again,
while it should be my lot to stay on the island.
I reposed myself here a week, to rest and regale myself after my long journey;
during which, most of the time was taken up in the weighty affair of making a cage
for my Poll, who began now to be a mere domestic, and to be mighty well acquainted
with me. Then I began to think of the poor kid which I had pent in within my little
circle, and resolved to go and fetch it home, or give it some food; accordingly I went,
and found it where I left it, for indeed it could not get out, but was almost starved
for want of food. I went and cut boughs of trees, and branches of such shrubs as
I could find, and threw them over, and having fed it, I tied it as I did before, to lead
it away; but it was so tame with being hungry that I had no need to have tied it,
for it followed me like a dog; and as I continually fed it, the creature became so
loving, so gentle, and so fond, that it became from that time one of my domestics
also, and would never leave me afterwards.
The rainy season of the autumnal equinox was now come, and I kept the 3oth
of September in the same solemn manner as before, being the anniversary of my
landing on the island, having now been there for two years, and no more prospect of
being delivered than the first day I came there. I spent the whole day in humble
and thankful acknowledgments of the many wonderful mercies 'which my solitary
condition was attended with, and without which it might have been infinitely more
miserable. I gave humble and hearty thanks that God had been pleased to discover
to me that it was possible I might be more happy in this solitary condition than I'
should have been in a liberty of society, and in all the pleasures of the world: that
He could fully make up to me the deficiencies of my solitary state, and the want of
human society, by His presence, and the communication of His grace to my soul;
MY ANGUISH OF SOUL.
supporting, comforting, and encouraging me to depend upon His providence here, and
hope for His eternal presence hereafter.
It was now that I began sensibly to feel how much more happy the life I now
led was, with all its miserable circumstances, than the wicked, cursed, abominable
life I led all the past part of my days; and now having changed both my sorrows and
my joys, my very desires altered, my affections changed their gusts, and my delights
were perfectly new from what they were at first coming, or, indeed, for the two
"I FELL ON MY KNEES AND GAVE GOD THANKS" (P. 90).
Before, as I walked about, either on my hunting, or for viewing the country,
the anguish of my soul at my condition would break out upon me on a sudden, and
my very heart would die within me, to think of the woods, the mountains, the deserts
I was in, and how I was a prisoner, locked up with the eternal bars and bolts of
the ocean, in an uninhabited wilderness, without redemption. In the midst of the
greatest composures of my mind, this would break out upon me like a storm, and
make me wring my hands, and weep like a child: sometimes it would take me in
the middle of my work, and I would immediately sit down and sigh, and look upon
the ground for an hour or two together; and this was still worse to me, for if I could
burst out into tears, or vent myself by words, it would go off, and the grief having
exhausted itself would abate.
But now I began to exercise myself with new thoughts. I daily read the Word
of God, and applied all the comforts of it to my present state. One morning, being
very sad, I opened the Bible upon these words, "I will never leave thee, nor
forsake thee." Immediately it occurred that these words were to me; why else should
they be directed in such a manner, just at the moment when I was mourning over
my condition, as one forsaken of God and man? "Well, then," said I, "if God does
not forsake me, of what ill consequence can it be, or what matters it, though the
world should all forsake me, seeing, on the other hand, if I had all the world, and
should lose the favour and blessing of God, there would be no comparison in the loss?"
From this moment I began to conclude in my mind that it was possible for me
to be more happy in this forsaken, solitary condition, than it was probable I.should
ever have been in any other particular state in the world; and with this thought I
was going to give thanks to God for bringing me to this place. I know not what
it was, but something shocked my mind at that thought, and I durst not speak the
words. "How canst thou become such a hypocrite," said I, even audibly, "to pretend
to be thankful for a condition which, however thou mayest endeavour to be contented
with, thou wouldst rather pray heartily to be delivered from?" So I stopped there:
but though I could not say i thanked God for being there, yet I sincerely gave thanks
to God for opening my eyes, by whatever afflicting providence, to see the former
condition of my life, and to mourn for my wickedness, and repent. I never opened
the Bible, or shut it, but my very soul within me blessed God for directing my friend
in England, without any order of mine, .to pack it up among my goods, and for
assisting me afterwards to save it out of the wreck of the ship.
Thus, and in this disposition of mind, I began my third year; and though I have
not given the reader the trouble of so particular an account of my works this year
as the first, yet in general it may be observed that I was very seldom idle, but
having regularly divided my time according to several daily employment that
were before me, such as, first, my duty to God, and the reading the Scriptures, which
I constantly set apart some time for, thrice every day; secondly, the going abroad
with my gun for food, which generally took up three hours in every morning,
when it did not rain; thirdly, the ordering, curing, preserving, and cooking what I
had killed or caught for my supply: these took up great part of the day; also, it is
to be considered that in the middle of the day, when the sun was in the zenith, the
violence of the heat was too great to stir out; so that about four hours in the evening
was all the time I could be supposed to work in, with this exception, that sometimes
I changed my hours of hunting and working, and went to work in the morning, and
abroad with my gun in the afternoon.
To this short time allowed for labour, I desire may be added the exceeding
laboriousness of my work; the many hours which for want of tools, want of help, and
want of skill, everything I did took up out of my time: for example, I was full two-
and-forty days in making a board for a long shelf, which I wanted in my cave;
whereas, two sawyers, with their tools and a saw-pit, would have cut six of them out
of the same tree in half a day.
My case was this: it was to be a large tree which was to be cut down, because
my board was to be a broad one. This tree I was three days a cutting down, and
two more cutting off the boughs, and reducing it to a log, or piece of timber. With
inexpressible hacking and hewing, I reduced both the sides of it into chips till it
began to be light enough to move; then I turned it, and made one side of it smooth
and flat as a board from end to end; then turning that side downward, cut the other
side till I brought the plank to be about three inches thick, and smooth on both sides.
Any one may judge the labour of my hands in such a piece of work; but labour and
TIE PROTECTION OF MY CROPS.
"I TIED THEM WITH
STRINGS TOGETHER (p. 93).
patience carried me through that, and many other things; I only observe this in
particular, to show the reason why so much of my time went away with so little
work, viz., that what might be a little to be done with help and tools, was a vast
labour and required a prodigious time to do alone, and by hand. But notwithstanding
this, with patience and labour, I went through many things, and indeed everything
that my circumstances made necessary to me to do, as will appear by what follows.
I was now in the months of November and December, expecting my crop of
barley and rice. The ground I had manured or dug up for them was not great;
for, as I observed, my seed of each was not above the quantity of half a peck, for
I had lost one whole crop by sowing in the dry season: but now my crop promised
very well, when on a sudden I found I was in danger of losing it all again by enemies
of several sorts, which it was scarcely possible to keep from it; as, first, the goats,
and wild creatures which I called hares, which, tasting the sweetness of the blade, lay
in it night and day, as soon as it came up, and ate it so close that it could get no
time to shoot up into stalk.
This I saw no remedy for but by making an enclosure about it with a hedge;
which I did with a great deal of toil, and the more because it required a great
deal of speed; the creatures daily spoiling my corn. However, as my arable land
was but small, suited to my crop, I got it totally well fenced in about three weeks'
time; and shooting some of the creatures in the day time, I set my dog to guard
it in the night, tying him up to a stake at the gate, where he would stand and bark
all night long; so in a little time the enemies forsook the place, and the corn .grew
very strong and well, and began to ripen apace.
But as the beasts ruined me before, while my corn was in the blade, so the birds
were as likely to ruin me now, when it was in the ear; for going along by the place
to see how it throve, I saw my little crop surrounded with fowls, of I know not how
many sorts, who stood, as it were, watching till I should be gone. I immediately let
fly among them, for I always had my gun with me. I had no sooner shot but there
rose up a little cloud of fowls, which I had not seen at all, from among the corn itself.
This touched me sensibly, for I foresaw that in a few days they would devour
all my hopes; that I should be starved, and never be able to raise a crop at all; and
what to do I could not tell; however, I resolved not to lose my corn, if possible,
though I should watch it night and day. In the first place, I went among it, to see
what damage was already done, and found they had spoiled a good deal of it; but
that as it was yet too green for them, the loss was not so great but the remainder was
likely to be a good crop, if it could be saved.
I stayed by it to load my gun, and then coming away, I could easily see the
thieves sitting upon all the trees about me, as if they only waited till I was gone
away, and the event proved it to be so; for as I walked off, as if I was gone, I was
no sooner out of their sight but they dropped down one by one into the corn again.
I was so provoked that I could not have patience to stay till more came on, knowing
that every grain that they ate now was, as it might be said, a peck-load to me in the
consequence; but coming up to the hedge, I fired again, and killed three of them.
This was what I wished for; so I took them up, and served them as we serve notorious
thieves, in England, viz., hanged them in chains, for a terror to others. It is impossible
to imagine almost that this should have had such an effect as it had, for the fowls would
not only not come at the corn, but, in short, they forsook all that part of the island, and
I could never see a bird near the place as long as my scarecrows hung there. This
I was very glad of, you may be sure, and about the latter end of December, which
was our second harvest of the year, I reaped my corn.
I was sadly put to it for a scythe or sickle to cut it down, and all I could do
was to make one, as well as I could, out of one of the broadswords, or cutlasses,
which I saved among the arms out of the ship. However, as my first crop was but
small, I had no great difficulty to cut it down; in short, I reaped it in my way, for
I cut nothing off but the ears, and carried it away in a great basket which I had
made, and so rubbed it out with my hands; and at the end of all my harvesting, I
found that out of my half-peck of seed I had near two bushels of rice, and about
two bushels and a half of barley; that is to say, by my guess, for I had no measure
at that time.
However, this was a great encouragement to me, and I foresaw that, in time, it
would please God to supply me with bread: and yet here I was perplexed again,
for I neither knew how to grind, or make meal of my corn, or indeed, how to clean
it and part it; nor, if made into meal, how to make bread of it; and if how to make
it, yet I knew not how to bake it. These things being added to my desire of having
a good quantity for store, and to secure a constant supply, I resolved not to taste
any of this crop, but to preserve it all for seed against the next season; and, in the
mean time, to employ all my study and hours of working to accomplish this great
work of providing myself with corn and bread.
It might be truly said, that now I worked for my bread. It is a little wonder-
ful, and what I believe few people have thought much upon, viz., the strange multitude
of little things necessary in the providing, producing, curing, dressing, making, and
finishing this one article of bread.
I, that was reduced to a mere state of nature, found this to my daily discou-
ragement, and was made more and more sensible of it every hour, even after I had
got the first handful of seed-corn, which, as I have said, came up unexpectedly,
and indeed to a surprise.
First, I had no plough to turn up the earth; no spade or shovel to dig it.
MY FARMING LABOURS.
Well, this I conquered by making me a wooden spade, as I
observed before; but this did my work but in a wooden
manner; and though it cost me a great many days to make
it, yet for want of iron, it not only wore out the sooner, but
made my work the harder, and made it be performed much
worse. However, this I bore with too, and was content to
work it out with patience, and bear with the badness of the
performance. When the corn was sown, I had no harrow,
but was forced to go over it myself,
and drag a great heavy bough of a
tree over it, to scratch it, as it may
be called, rather than rake or harrow
it. When it was growing, or grown,
.. I have observed already how many
.. things I wanted to fence it, secure
i it, mow or reap it, cure and carry
sg ait home, thrash, part it from the
chaff, and save it. Then I wanted
a mill to grind it, sieves to dress
it, yeast and salt to make it into
S bread, and an oven to bake it in;
i ,l l u stand all these things I did without,
as shall be observed; and yet the
corn was an inestimable comfort
S and advantage to me too. But this,
m as I said, made everything labo-
rious and tedious to me; but that
there was no help for. Neither
was my time so much loss to me,
because, as I had divided it, a
Y COUNTRY SEAT" (f. 96). certain part of it was every day
appointed to these works; and as
I had resolved to use none of the corn for bread till I had a greater quantity by me,
I had the next six months to apply myself wholly, by labour and invention, to furnish
myself with utensils proper for the performing all the operations necessary for making
the corn, when I had it, fit for my use.
But first I was to prepare more land, for I had now seed enough to sow above
an acre of ground. Before I did this, I had a week's work at least to make me a
spade, which, when it was done, was but a sorry one indeed, and very heavy, and
required double labour to work with it. However, I went through that, and sowed
my seed in two large flat pieces of ground, as near my house as I could find them
to my mind, and fenced them in with a good hedge, the stakes of which were all cut
of that wood which I had set before, which I knew would grow; so that, in one year's
time I knew I should have a quick or living hedge, that would want but little repair.
This work was not so little as to take me up less than three months, because a
great part of that time was of the wet season, when I could not go abroad. Within-
door-that is, when it rained and I could not go out-I found employment in the
following occupations, always observing, that all the while I- was at work I diverted
myself with talking to my parrot, and teaching him to speak; and I quickly learnt
him to know his own name, and at last to speak it out pretty loud--"Poll," which
was the first word I ever heard spoken in the island by any mouth but my own.
This, therefore, was not my work, but an assistant to my work; for now, as I said, I
had a great employment .upon my hands, as follows-viz., I had long studied, by
some means or other, to make myself some earthen vessels, which, indeed, I wanted
sorely, but knew not where to come at them. However, considering the heat of the
climate, I did not doubt but if I could find out any clay, I might botch up some such
pot as might, being dried by the sun, be hard enough and strong enough to bear
handling, and to hold anything that was dry, and required to be kept so; and as
this was necessary in preparing corn, meal, &c., which was the thing I was upon, I
resolved to make some as large as I could, and fit only to stand like jars, to hold
what should be put into them.
It would make the reader pity me, or rather laugh at me, to tell how many
awkward ways I took to raise this paste; what odd, misshapen, ugly things I made;
how many of them fell in, and how many fell out-the clay not being stiff enough to
bear its own weight;, how many cracked by the over-violent heat of the sun, being
set out too hastily; and how many fell to pieces with only removing, as well before
as after they were dried; and, in a word, how, after having laboured hard to find
the clay-to dig it, to temper it, to bring it home, and work it-I could not make
above two large earthen ugly things (I cannot call them jars) in about two months'
However, as the sun baked these two very dry and hard, I lifted them very gently
up, and set them down again in two great wicker baskets, which I had made on
purpose for them, that they might not break; and as between the pot and the basket
there was a little room to spare, I stuffed it full of the rice and barley straw; and
these two pots being to stand always dry, I thought would hold my dry corn, and
perhaps the meal, when the corn was bruised.
Though I miscarried so much in my design for large pots, yet I made several
smaller things with better success; such as little round pots, flat dishes, pitchers,
and pipkins, and anything my hand turned to; and the heat of the sun baked them
But 'all this would not answer my end, which was to get an earthen pot to hold
what was liquid, and bear the fire-which none of these could do. It happened after
some time, making a pretty large fire for cooking my meat, when I went to put it
out after I had done with it, 1 found a broken piece of one of my earthenware vessels
in the fire, burnt as hard as a stone, and red as a tile. I was agreeably surprised
to see it, and said to myself, that certainly they might be made to burn whole, if
they would burn broken.
This set me to study how to order my fire, so as to make it burn me some pots.
I had no notion of a kiln, such as the potters burn in, or of glazing them with lead,
though I had some lead to do it with; but I placed three large pipkins, and two or
three pots, in a pile, one upon another, and placed my firewood all round it with a
great heap of embers under them. I plied the fire with fresh fuel round the outside
and upon the top till I saw the pots in the inside red-hot quite through, and observed
that they did not crack at all. When I saw them clear red, I let them stand in that
heat about five or six hours, till I found one of them, though it did not crack, did
melt or run; for the sand which was mixed with the clay melted by the violence of
the heat, and would have run into glass if I had gone on; so I slacked my fire
gradually till the pots began to abate of the red colour; and, watching them all night,
that I might not let the fire abate too fast, in the morning I had three very good (I
will not say handsome) pipkins, and two other earthen pots, as hard burnt as could
be desired, and one of them perfectly glazed with the running of the sand.
After this experiment, I need not say that I wanted no sort of earthenware for
my use; but I must needs say, as to the shapes of them, they were very indifferent,
as any one may suppose, when I had no way of making them but as the children
make dirt pies, or as a woman would make pies that never learned to raise paste.
No joy at a thing of so mean a nature was ever equal to mine, when I found I
had made an earthen pot that would bear the fire, and I had hardly patience to stay
till they were cold before I set one on the fire again, with some water in it, to boil
MILLING AND BAKING OPERATIONS.
me some meat, which it did admirably well; and with a piece of a kid I made some
very good broth, though I wanted oatmeal and several other ingredients requisite to
make it as good as I would have had it.
My next concern was to get me a stone mortar to stamp or beat some corn in;
for as to the mill, there was no thought of arriving to that perfection of art with one
pair of hands. To supply this want, I was at a great loss, for, of all the trades in
the world, I was as perfectly unqualified for a stone-cutter as for any whatever,
neither had I any tools to go about it with. I spent many a day to find out a great
stone big enough to cut hollow, and make fit for a mortar, and could find none at
all, except what was in the solid rock, and which I had no way to dig or cut out;
nor, indeed, were the rocks in the island of hardness sufficient, but were all of a sandy,
crumbling stone, which would neither bear the weight of a heavy pestle, nor would
break the corn without filling it with sand. So, after a great deal of time lost in
searching for a stone, I gave it over, and resolved to look out for a great block of
hard wood, which I found, indeed, much easier; and getting one as big as I had
strength to stir, I rounded it and formed it on the outside with my axe and hatchet,
and then, with the help of fire and infinite labour, made a hollow place in it, as the
Indians in Brazil make their canoes. After this, I made a great heavy pestle, or
beater, of the wood called the ironwood; and this I prepared and laid by against I
had my next crop of corn, which I proposed to myself to grind, or rather pound, my
corn or meal, to make bread.
My next difficulty was to make a sieve, or sierce, to dress my meal, and to part
it from the bran and husk; without which I did not see it possible I could have any
bread. This was a most difficult thing, so much as but to think on; for to be sure I had
nothing like the necessary things to make it with-I mean fine thin canvas or stuff to
sierce the meal through. And here I was at a full stop for many months, nor did
I really know what to do. Linen I had none left but what was mere rags. I had
goats'-hair, but neither knew I how to weave or spin it; and had I known how, here
were no tools to work it with. All the remedy that I found for this was, that at last
I did remember I had, among the seamen's clothes which were saved out of the ship,
some neckcloths of calico or muslin; and with some pieces of these I made three
small sieves, but proper enough for the work; and thus I made shift for some years.
How I did afterwards I shall show in its place.
The baking part was the next thing to be considered, and how I should make
bread when I came to have corn; for, first, I had no yeast. As to that part, as there
was no supplying the want, so I did not concern myself much about it. But for an
oven I was indeed in great pain. At length I found out an experiment for that also,
which was this: I made some earthen vessels very broad, but not deep; that is to
say, about two feet in diameter and not above nine inches deep; these I burned in
the fire as I had done the other, and laid them by; and when I wanted to bake, I
made a great fire upon the hearth, which I had paved with some square tiles, of my
own making and burning also. But I should not call them square.
When the firewood was burned pretty much into embers, or live coals, I drew
them forward upon this hearth, so as to cover it all over, and there I let them lie
till the hearth was very hot; then, sweeping away all the embers, I set down my
loaf or loaves, and whelming down the earthen pot upon them, drew the embers all
round the outside of the pot, to keep in and add to the heat; and thus, as well as
in the best oven in the world, I baked my barley-loaves, and became, in little time,
a good pastrycook into the bargain; for I made myself several cakes and puddings
of the rice. Indeed, I made no pies, neither had I anything to put into them, sup-
posing I had, except the flesh either of fowls or goats.
It need not be wondered at if all these things took me up most part of the third
year of my abode here; for, it is to be observed that, in the intervals of these things,
1 had my new harvest and husbandry to manage; for I reaped my corn in its season,
and carried it home as well as I could, and laid it up in the ear, in my large
baskets, till I had time to rub it out, for I had no floor to thrash it on, or instrument
to thrash it with.
And now, indeed, my stock of corn increasing, I really wanted to build my barns
bigger. I wanted a place to lay it up in, for the increase of the corn now yielded
me so much that I had of the barley about twenty bushels, and of the rice as much,
or more; insomuch that I now resolved to begin to use it freely, for my bread had
been quite gone a great while; also I resolved to see what quantity would be sufficient
for me a whole year, and to sow but once a year.
Upon the whole, I found that the forty bushels of barley and rice were much
more than I could consume in a year; so I resolved to sow just the same quantity
every year that I sowed the last, in hopes that such a quantity would fully provide
me with bread, &c.
All the while these things were doing, you may be sure my thoughts ran many
times upon the prospect of land which I had seen from the other side of the island;
and I was not without secret wishes that I were on shore there, fancying that,
seeing the main-land and an inhabited country, I might find some way or other to
convey myself farther, and perhaps at last find some means of escape.
But all this while I made no allowance for the dangers of such a condition
and how I might fall into the hands of savages, and perhaps such as I might have
reason to think far worse than the lions and tigers of Africa; that. if I once came into
their power I should run a hazard of more than a thousand to one of being killed,
and perhaps of being eaten; for I had heard that the people of the Caribbean coast
were cannibals, or men-eaters, and I knew by the latitude that I could not be far off
from that shore; that, suppose they were not cannibals, yet they might kill me,
as many Europeans who had fallen into their hands had been served, even when
they had been ten or twenty together-much more I, that was but one, and could
make little or no defence. All these things, I say, which I ought to have considered well
of, and I did cast up in my thoughts afterwards, yet took up none of my apprehensions
at first, and my head ran mightily upon the thought of getting over to that shore.
Now, I wished for my boy Xury, and the long-boat with the shoulder-of-mutton
sail, with which I sailed above a thousand miles on the coast of Africa; but this was
in vain. Then I thought I would go and look at our ship's boat, which, as I have
said, was blown up upon the shore a great way in the storm, when we were first
cast away. She lay almost where she did at first, but not quite; and was turned,
by the force of the waves and the winds, almost bottom upward against a high ridge
of beachy, rough sand, but no water about her as before. If I had had hands to
have refitted her, and to have launched her into the water, the boat would have done well
enough, and I might have gone back into the Brazils with her easily enough; but I might
have easily foreseen that I could no more turn her and set her upright upon her bottom
than I could remove the island. However, I went to the wood, and cut levers and
rollers, and brought them to the boat; resolved to try what I could do, suggesting
to myself that if I could but turn her down, I might easily repair the damage she
had received and she would be a very good boat, and I might go to sea in her
I spared no pains, indeed, in this piece of fruitless toil, and spent, I think, three
or four weeks about it. At last, finding it impossible to heave it up with my little
strength, I fell to digging away the sand, to undermine it, and so to make it fall
down, setting pieces of wood to thrust and guide it right in the fall.
But when I had done this, I was unable to stir it up again, or to get under it,
much less to move it forward towards the water; so I was forced to give it over;
and yet, though I gave over the hopes of the boat, my desire to venture over
for the main increased, rather than decreased, as the means for it seemed impossible.
This at length put me upon thinking whether it was not possible to make myself
I COMMENCE TO MAKE A CANOE.
a canoe, or periagua, such
as the natives of those cli-
mates make, even without
tools, or, as I might say,
without hands-viz., of the
trunk of a great tree. This
I not only thought possible,
but easy, and pleased my-
self extremely with my
thoughts of making it, and
with my having much more
convenience for it than any
of the Negroes or Indians;
but not at all considering
the particular inconveniences
which I lay under more than
the Indians did, viz., want
of hands to move it into the
water when it was made, a
difficulty much harder for
me to surmount than all the
consequences of want of "MY GOATS WANTED
tools could be to them. For TO BE MILKED" (p. I0).
what was it to me that
when I had chosen a vast
tree in the wood, I might
with great trouble cut it down, if I might be able with my tools to hew and dub
the outside into the proper shape of a boat, and burn or cut out the inside to make
it hollow, so as to make a boat of it-if, after all this, I must leave it just there where
I found it, and was not able to launch it into the water?
One would have thought I could not have had the least reflection upon my
mind of my circumstances while I was making this boat, but I should have imme-
diately thought how I should get it into the sea; but my thoughts were so intent upon
my voyage over the sea in it, that I never once considered how I should get it off
the land; and it was really, in its own nature, more easy for me to guide it over
forty-five miles of sea, than about forty-five fathoms of land, where it lay, to set it
afloat in the water.
I went to work upon this boat the most like a fool that ever man did, who had
any of his senses awake. I pleased myself with the design, without determining
whether I was ever able to undertake it; not but that the difficulty of launching my
boat came often into my head; but I put a stop to my inquiries into it, by this
foolish answer, which I gave myself: "Let me first make it; I warrant I shall find
some way or other to get it along when it is done."
This was a most preposterous method; but the eagerness of my fancy prevailed,
and to work I went, and felled a cedar-tree. I question much whether Solomon
ever had such a one for the building of the Temple at Jerusalem; it was five feet
ten inches diameter at the :ower part next the stump, and four feet eleven inches
diameter at the end of twenty-two feet; after which it lessened for a while, and then
parted into branches. It was not without infinite labour that I felled this tree.
I was twenty days hacking and hewing at it at the bottom; I was fourteen more
getting the branches and limbs and the vast spreading head of it cut off, which I hacked
and hewed through with axe and hatchet, and inexpressible labour; after this, it
cost me a month to shape it and dub it to a proportion, and to something like the
bottom of a boat, that it might swim upright as it ought to do. It cost me near
three months more to clear the inside, and work it out so as to make an exact boat
of it; this I did, indeed, without fire, by mere mallet and chisel, and by the dint of
hard labour, till I had brought it to be a very handsome periagua, and big enough
to have carried six-and-twenty men, and consequently big enough to have carried
me and all my cargo.
When I had gone through this work, I was extremely delighted with it. The
boat was really much bigger than ever I saw a canoe or periagua, that was made
of one tree, in my life. Many a weary stroke it had cost, you may be sure-for there
remained nothing but to get it into the water; and had I gotten it into the water,
I make no question but I should have begun the maddest voyage, and the most
unlikely to be performed, that ever was undertaken.
But all my devices to get it into the water failed me; though they cost
infinite labour too. It lay about one hundred yards from the water, and not more;
but the first inconvenience was, it was up-hill towards the creek. Well, to take
away this discouragement, I resolved to dig into the surface of the earth, and so
make a declivity. This I began, and it cost me a prodigious deal of pains (but who
grudge pains that have their deliverance in view?); but when this was worked through,
and this difficulty managed, it was still much at one, for I could no more stir
the canoe than I could the other boat. Then I measured the distance of ground,
and resolved to cut a dock or canal, to bring the water up to the canoe, seeing I
could not bring the canoe down to the water. Well, I began this work; and when
I began to enter into it, and calculate how deep it was to be dug, how broad, how
the stuff was to be thrown out, I found that, by the number of hands I had, being
none but my own, it must have been ten or twelve years before I could have gone
through with it; for the shore lay so high, that at the upper end it must have been
at least twenty feet deep; so at length, though with great reluctancy, I gave this
attempt over also.
This grieved me heartily; and now I saw, though too late, the folly of beginning
a work before we count the cost, and before we judge rightly of our own strength to
go through with it.
In the middle of this work, I finished my fourth year in this place, and kept
my anniversary with the same devotion, and with as much comfort as ever before;
for, by a constant study and serious application of the Word of God, and by the
assistance of His grace, I gained a different knowledge from what I had before.
I entertained different notions of things. I looked now upon the world as a thing
remote, which I had nothing to do with, no expectation from, and, indeed, no desires
about; in a word, I had nothing indeed to do with it, nor was ever likely to have.
So I thought it looked, as we may perhaps look upon it hereafter, viz., as a place I
had lived in, but was come out of it; and well might I say, as Father Abraham to
Dives, "Between me and thee is a great gulf fixed."
In the first place, I was removed from all the wickedness of the world here;
I had neither the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, nor the pride of life. I had
nothing to covet, for I had all I was now capable of enjoying; I was lord of the
whole manor; or, if I pleased, I might call myself king or emperor over the whole
country which I had possession of. There were no rivals; I had no competitor,
none to dispute sovereignty or command with me. I might have raised ship-loadings
of corn, but I had no use for it; so I let as little grow as I thought enough for my
occasion. I had tortoises or turtles enough, but now and then one was as much as I
could put to any use; I had timber enough to have built a fleet of ships; and I had
grapes enough to have made wine, or to have cured into raisins, to have loaded that
fleet when it had been built.
But all I could make use of was all that was valuable; I had enough to eat and
supply my wants, and what was all the rest to me? If I killed more flesh than I
could eat, the dog must eat it, or the vermin; if I sowed more corn than I could eat,
it must be spoiled; the trees that I cut down were lying to rot on the ground;
I could make no more use of them than for fuel, and that I had no occasion for but
to dress my food.
In a word, the nature and experience of things dictated to me, upon just reflec-
tion, that all the good things of this world are no further good to us than they are
for our use; and that, whatever we may heap up indeed to give others, we enjoy just as
much as we can use, and no more. The most covetous, griping miser in the world
would have been cured of the vice of covetousness, if he had been in my case; for
I possessed infinitely more than I knew what to do with. I had no room for desire,
except it was of things which I had not, and they were but trifles, though, indeed,
of great use to me. I had, as I hinted before, a parcel of money, as well gold as
silver, about thirty-six pounds sterling. Alas! there the nasty, sorry, useless stuff lay!
I had no manner of business for it; and often thought with myself, that I would
have given a handful of it for a gross of tobacco-pipes; or for a hand-mill to grind
my corn; nay, I would have given it all for a sixpenny-worth of turnip and carrot
seed out of England, or for a handful of peas and beans, and a bottle of ink. As
it was, I had not the least advantage by it or benefit from it; but there it lay in a
drawer, and grew mouldy with the damp of the cave in the wet seasons; and if I
had had the drawer full of diamonds, it had been the same case, they had been of
no manner of value to me, because of no use.
I had now brought my state of life to be much easier in itself than it was at
first, and much easier to my mind, as well as to my body. I frequently sat down
to meat with thankfulness, and admired the hand of God's providence, which had
thus spread my table in the wilderness. I learned to look more upon the bright side
of my condition, and less upon the dark side, and to consider what I enjoyed rather
than what I wanted; and this gave me sometimes such secret comforts, that I cannot
express them; and which I take notice of here, to put those discontented people in
mind of it, who cannot enjoy comfortably what God has given them, because they
see and covet something that he has not given them. All our discontents about
what we want appeared to me to spring from the want of thankfulness for what
Another reflection was of great use to me, and doubtless would be so to anyone
that should fall into such distress as mine was; and this was, to compare my present
condition with what I expected it would be; nay, with what it would certainly have
been, if the good providence of God had not wonderfully ordered the ship to be
cast up nearer to the shore, where I not only could come at her, but could
bring what I got out of her to the shore, for my relief and comfort; without which,
I had wanted for tools to work, weapons for defence, and gunpowder and shot
for getting my food.
I. spent whole hours, I may say whole days, in representing to myself, in the most
lively colours, how I must have acted if I had got nothing out of the ship. How
I could not have so much as got any food, except fish and turtles; and that, as it
was long before I found any of them, I must have,perished first; that I should have
lived, if I had not perished, like a mere savage; that if I had killed a goat or a
fowl, by any contrivance, I had no way to flay or open it, or part the flesh from
the skin and the bowels, or to cut it up; but must gnaw it with my teeth, and pull
it with my claws, like a beast.
These reflections made me very sensible of the goodness of Providence to me,
and very thankful for my present condition, with all its hardships and misfortunes;
and this part also I cannot but recommend to the reflection of those who are apt,
in their misery, to say, "Is any affliction like mine?" Let them consider how much
worse the cases of some people are, and their case might have been, if Providence had
I had another reflection, which assisted me also to comfort my mind with hopes;
and this was comparing my present situation with what I had deserved, and had
tnerefore reason to expect from the hand of Providence. I had lived a dreadful life,
perfectly destitute of the knowledge and fear of God. I had been well instructed by
father and mother; neither had they been wanting to me, in their early endeavours
to infuse a religious awe of God into my mind, a sense of my duty, and what the
nature and end of my being required of me. But, alas! falling early into the
seafaring life, which, of all lives, is the most destitute of the fear of God, though
His terrors are always before them-I say, falling early into the seafaring life, and
into seafaring company, all that little sense of religion which I had entertained was
laughed out of me by my messmates; by a hardened despising of dangers, and the
views of death, which grew habitual to me; by my long absence from all manner of
opportunities to converse with anything but what was like myself, or to hear anything
that was good or tended towards it.
So void was I of everything that was good, or of the least sense of what I was,
or was to be, that, in the greatest deliverances I enjoyed-such as my escape from
Sallee; my being taken up by the Portuguese master of the ship; my being planted
so well in the Brazils; my receiving the cargo from England, and the like-I never
once had the words, "Thank God!" so much as on my mind; or in my mouth; nor
in the greatest distress had I so much thoughts to pray to him, or so much as to
say, "Lord, have mercy upon me!" no, not to mention the name of God, unless it
was to swear by, and blaspheme it.
I had terrible reflections upon my mind for many months, as I have already
observed, on the account of my wicked and hardened life past; and when I looked about
me, and considered what particular providence had attended me since my coming
into this place, and how God had dealt bountifully with me-had not only punished
me less than my iniquity had deserved, but had so plentifully provided for me-this
gave me great hopes that my repentance was accepted, and that God had yet mercies
in store for me.
With these reflections, I worked my mind up, not only to a resignation to the
will of God in the present disposition of my circumstances, but even to a sincere
thankfulness for my condition; and that I, who was yet a living man, ought not to
complain, seeing I had not the due punishment of my sins. That I enjoyed so many
mercies which I had no reason to have expected in that place; that I ought never
more to repine at my condition, but to rejoice, and to give daily thanks for that
daily bread, which nothing but a crowd of wonders could have brought; that I ought
to consider I had been fed even by a miracle, even as great as that of feeding
Elijah by ravens-nay, by a long series of miracles. And that I could hardly have
named a place in the uninhabited part of the world where I could have been cast
more to my advantage; a place where, as I had no society, which was my affliction
on one hand, so I found no ravenous beasts, no furious wolves or tigers, to threaten
my life; no venomous creatures, or poisonous, which I might feed on to my hurt; no
savages to murder and devour me. In a word, as my life was a life of sorrow one
way, so it was a life of mercy another; and I wanted nothing to make it a life of
comfort, but to be able to make my sense of God's goodness to me, and care over
me in this condition, be my daily consolation; and after I made a just improve-
ment of these things, I went away, and was no more sad. I had now been here
so long, that many things which I brought on shore for my help were either
quite gone, or very much wasted and near spent.
My ink, as I observed, had been gone some time, all but a very little, which I
eked out with water, a little and a little, till it was so pale, it scarce left any
appearance of black upon the paper. As long as it lasted, I made use of it to
minute down the days of the month on which any remarkable thing happened to me;
and first, by casting up times past, I remembered that there was a strange con-
currence of days in the various providence which befell me, and which, if I had
MY FA TAL AJNNVERSA PLIES.
"I WAS PERFECTLY CONFOUNDED AND AMAZED" (p. 104).
been superstitiously inclined to observe days as fatal or fortunate, I might have
had reason to have looked upon with a great deal of curiosity.
First, I had observed, that the same day that I broke away from my father and my
friends, and ran away to Hull, in order to go to sea, the same day afterwards I was
taken by the Sallee man-of-war, and made a slave; the same day of the year that
I escaped out of the wreck of that ship in Yarmouth Roads, that same day of the
year afterwards I made my escape from Sallee in a boat; the same day of the year I
was born on-viz., the 20th of September-the same day I had my life so miraculously
saved twenty-six years after, when I was cast on shore in this island; so that my
wicked life and solitary life began both on a day.
The next thing to my ink being wasted, was that of my bread-I mean the
biscuit which I brought out of the ship. This I had husbanded to the last degree,
allowing myself but one cake of bread a day for above a year; and yet I was quite
without bread for a year before I got any corn of my own; and great reason
I had to be thankful that I had any at all, the getting it being, as has been already
observed, next to miraculous.
My clothes, too, began to decay mightily; as to linen, I had had none a good
while, except some chequered shirts which I found in the chests of the other seamen,
and which I carefully preserved; because many times I could bear no other clothes on
but a shirt; and it was a very great help to me that I had, among all the men's
clothes of the ship, almost three dozen of shirts. There were also several thick
watch-coats of the seamen's which were left behind, but they were too hot to wear;
and though it is true that the weather was so violently hot that there was no need
"of clothes, yet I could not go quite naked-no, though I had been inclined to it,
which I was not; nor could I abide the thoughts of it, though I was alone. One
reason why I could not go naked was, I could not bear the heat of the sun so well
when quite naked as with some clothes on; nay, the very heat frequently blistered
my skin; whereas, with a shirt on, the air itself made some motion, and, whistling
under the shirt, was twofold cooler than without it. No more could I ever bring
myself to go out in the heat of the sun without a cap or a hat; the heat of the sun,
beating with such violence as it does in that place, would give me the headache
presently, by darting so directly on my head, without a hat or cap on, so that I
could not bear it; whereas, if I put on my hat, it would presently go away.
Upon these views, I began to consider about putting the few rags I had, which
I called clothes, into some order. I had worn out all the waistcoats I had, and my
business was now to try if I could not make jackets out of the great watch-coats
which I had by me, and with such other materials as I had; so I set to work
tailoring, or rather, indeed, botching, for I made most piteous work of it. However,
I made shift to make two or three waistcoats, which I hoped would serve me
a great while; as for breeches or drawers, I made but a very sorry shift indeed till
I have mentioned that I saved the skins of all the creatures that I killed-
I mean four-footed ones-and I had them hung up, stretched out with sticks, in the
sun, by which means some of them were so dry and hard that they were fit for
little; but others, it seems, were very useful. The first thing I made of these was a great
cap for my head, with the hair on the outside, to shoot off the rain; and this I performed
so well that, after, I made me a suit of clothes wholly of these skins-Lthat is to say,
a waistcoat, and breeches open at the knees, and both loose, for they were rather
wanting to keep me cool than to keep me warm. I must not omit to acknowledge
that they were wretchedly made; for if I was a bad carpenter, I was a worse tailor.
However, they were such as I made very good shift with, and when I was abroad, if
it happened to rain, the hair of the waistcoat and cap being outermost, I was kept
After this, I spent a great deal of time and pains to make an umbrella. I was
indeed in great want of one, and had a great mind to make one. I had seen them
made in the Brazils, where they are very useful in the great heats which are there,
and I felt the heats every jot as great here, and greater too, being nearer the equinox;
besides, as I was obliged to be much abroad, it was a most useful thing to me, as
well for the rains as the heats. I took a world of pains at it, and was a great while
before I could make anything likely to hold; nay, after I thought I had hit the
way, I spoiled two or three before I made one to my mind. But at last I made one
that answered indifferently well; the main difficulty I found was to make it to let down.
I could make it spread, but if it did not let down too, and draw in, it would not be
portable for me any way but just over my head, which would not do. However, at
last, as I said, I made one to answer. I covered it with skins, the hair upwards,
so that it cast off the rain like a pent-house, and kept off the sun so effectually
that I could walk out in the hottest of the weather with greater advantage than
I could before in the coolest, and when I had no need of it, I could close it, and
carry it under my arm.
Thus I lived mighty comfortably, my mind being entirely composed by resigning
I MAKE SOME VOYAGES IN MY BOAT.
to the will of God, and throwing myself wholly upon the disposal of His provi-
dence. This made my life better than sociable, for when I began to regret the want
of conversation, I would ask myself, whether thus conversing mutually with my
own thoughts, and (as I hope I may say) with even my Maker, by ejaculations
and petitions was not better than the utmost enjoyment of human society in the world?
I cannot say that, after this, for five years, any extraordinary thing happened
to me, but I lived on in the same course, in the same posture and place, just as before.
The chief thing I was employed in, besides my yearly labour of planting my barley
and rice, and curing my raisins-of both which I always kept up just enough to
have sufficient stock of the year's provision beforehand-I say, besides this yearly
labour, and my daily labour of going out with my gun, I had one labour, to make
me a canoe, which at last I finished; so that, by digging a canal to it of six feet
wide and four deep, I brought it into the creek, almost half a mile. As for
the first, which was so vastly big, as I made it without considering beforehand, as
I ought to do, how I should be able to launch it, so, never being able to
bring it into the water, or bring the water to it, I was obliged to let it lie where it
was, as a memorandum to teach me to be wiser the next time. Indeed, the next time,
though I could not get a tree proper for it, and was in a place where I could not
get the water to it at any less distance than, as I have said, of near half a mile, yet, as
I saw it was practicable at last, I never gave it over; and though I was near two years
about it, yet I never grudged my labour, in hopes of having a boat to go off to sea at last.
However, though my little periagua was finished, yet the size of it was not at
all answerable to the design which I had in view when I made the first-I mean of
venturing over to the terra firma, where it was above forty miles broad. Accordingly,
the smallness of my boat assisted to put an end to that design, and now I thought
no more of it. As I had a boat, my next design was to make a tour round the
island; for as I had been on the other side in one place, crossing, as I have already
described it, over the land, so the discoveries I made in that little journey made me
very eager to see other parts of the coast; and now I had a boat, I thought of
nothing but sailing round the island.
For this purpose, and that I might do everything with discretion and consideration,
I fitted up a little mast in my boat, and made a sail to it out of some of the pieces
of the ship's sails which lay in store, and of which I had a great store by me.
Having fitted my mast and sail, and tried the boat, I found she would sail very well;
then I made little lockers, or boxes, at each end of my boat, to put provisions,
necessaries, ammunition, &c., into, to be kept dry, either from rain or the spray of
the sea; and a little, long, hollow place I cut in the inside of the boat, where I could
lay my gun, making a flap to hang down over it, to keep it dry.
I fixed my umbrella also in a step at the stern, like a mast, to stand over my
head, and keep the heat of the sun off of me, like an awning. And thus I every now
and then took a little voyage upon the sea; but never went far out, nor far from the
little creek. At last, being eager to view the circumference of my little kingdom, I
resolved upon my tour; and accordingly I victualled my ship for the voyage, putting
in two dozen of loaves (cakes I should rather call them) of barley bread, an earthen
pot full of parched rice (a food I ate a great deal of), a little bottle of rum, half a
goat, and powder with shot for killing more, and two large watch-coats (of those which,
as I mentioned before, I had saved out of the seamen's chests). These I took, one
to lie upon, and the other to cover me in the night.
It was the 6th of November, in the sixth year of my reign, or my captivity,
which you please, that I set out on this voyage, and I found it much longer than I
expected; for though the island itself was not very large, yet when I came to the
east side of it, I found a great ledge of rocks lie out about two leagues into the sea-
some above water, some under it; and beyond that a shoal of sand, lying dry half a
league more, so that I was obliged to go a great way out to sea to double that point.
When first I discovered them, I was going to give over my enterprise, and come
back again, not knowing how far it might oblige me to go out to sea, and, above
all, doubting how I should get back again, so I came to an anchor; for I had made
a kind of an anchor with a piece of a broken grappling which I got out of the ship.
Having secured my boat, I took my gun and went on shore, climbing up a hill,
which seemed to overlook that point where I saw the full extent of it, and resolved
In my viewing the sea from that hill were I stood, I perceived a strong and,
indeed, a most furious current, which ran to the east, and even came close to the
point; and I took the more notice of it, because I saw there might be some danger,
that when I came into it, I might be carried out to sea by the strength of it, and
not be able to make the island again. And, indeed, had 1 not got first upon this hill,
I believe it would have been so, for there was the same current on the other side
the island, only that it set off at a farther distance, and I saw there was a strong
eddy under the shore; so I had nothing to do but to get out of the first current, and
I should presently be in an eddy.
I lay here, however, two days, because the wind, blowing pretty fresh at E.S.E.,
and that being just contrary to the current, made a great breach of the sea upon the
point; so that it was not safe for me to keep too close to the shore for the breach,
nor to go too far off, because of the stream.
The third day, in the morning, the wind having abated overnight, the sea was
calm, and I ventured. But I am a warning-piece to all rash and ignorant pilots, for no
sooner was I come to the point, when I was not even my boat's length from the
shore, but I found myself in a great depth of water, and a current like the sluice of
a mill. It carried my boat along with it with such violence that all I could do could
not keep her so much as on the edge of it; but I found it hurried me farther and
farther out from the eddy, which was on my left hand. There was no wind stirring to
help me, and all that I could do with my paddles signified nothing. And now I began
to give myself over for lost, for as the current was on both sides of the island, I
knew in a few leagues' distance they must join again, and then I was irrecoverably
gone; nor did I see any possibility of avoiding it; so that I had no prospect before
me but of perishing, not by the sea, for that was calm enough, but of starving from
hunger. I had, indeed, found a tortoise on the shore, as big almost as I could lift,
and had tossed it into the boat; and I had a great jar of fresh water-that is to say,
one of my earthen pots; but what was all this to being driven into the vast ocean,
where, to be sure, there was no shore, no main-land or island, for a thousand leagues
at least ?
And now I saw how easy it was for the providence of God to make the most
miserable condition that mankind could be in worse. Now I looked back upon my desolate,
solitary island as the most pleasant place in the world, and all the happiness my
heart could wish for was to be there again. I stretched out my hands to it with
eager wishes. "0 happy desert!" said I, "I shall never see thee more. 0 miserable
creature! whither am I going?" Then I reproached myself with my unthankful temper,
and how I had repined at my solitary condition; and now what would I give to be
on shore there again! Thus, we never see the true state of our condition till it is
illustrated to us by its contraries, nor know how to value what we enjoy, but by the
want of it. It is scarcely possible to imagine the consternation I was now in, being
driven from my beloved island (for so it appeared to me now to be) into the wide
ocean, almost two leagues, and in the utmost despair of ever recovering it again.
However, I worked hard till, indeed, my strength was almost exhausted, and kept my
boat as much to the northward-that is, towards the side of the current which the
eddy lay on-as possibly I could; when about noon, as the sun passed the meridian,
I thought I felt a little breeze of wind in my face, springing up from S.S.E. This
cheered my heart a little, and especially when, in about half an hour more, it blew
"I KEPT MY DAILY TOUR TO THE HILL TO LOOK OUT."
(See p. io7.)
a pretty small, gentle gale. By this time, I had got at a frightful distance from the
island; and had the least cloudy or hazy weather intervened, I had been undone
another way, too; for I had no compass on board, and should never have known how
to have steered towards the island, if I had but once lost sight of it. But the weather
continuing clear, I applied myself to get up my mast again, and spread my sail,
standing away to the north as much as possible, to get out of the current.
Just as I had set up my mast and sail, and the boat began to stretch away, I saw
even by the clearness of the water some alteration of the current was near; for where
the current was so strong the water was foul; but perceiving the water clear, I found
the current abate; and presently I found to the east, at about half a mile, a breach
of the sea upon some rocks. These rocks, I found, caused the current to part again,
and as the main stress of it ran away more southerly, leaving the rocks to the north-
east, so the other returned by the repulse of the rock, and made a strong eddy,
which ran back again to the north-west, with a very sharp stream.
They who know what it is to have a reprieve brought to them upon the ladder,
or to be rescued from thieves just going to murder them, or who have been in such
extremities, may guess what my present surprise of joy was, and how gladly I put
my boat into the stream of this eddy; and the wind also freshening, how gladly I
spread my sail to it, running cheerfully before the wind, and with a strong tide or
eddy under foot.
This eddy carried me about a league in my way back again, directly towards
the island, but about two leagues more towards the northward than the current lay
which carried me away at first; so that when I came near the island, I found myself
open to the northern shore of it-that is to say, the other end of the island, opposite
to that which I went out from.
When I had made something more than a league of way by help of this
current or eddy, I found it was spent, and saved me no farther. However, I found
that being between two great currents-viz., that on the south side, which had hurried
me away, and that on the north, which lay about two leagues on the other side-I
say, between these two, in the wake of the island, I found the water at least still,
and running no way; and having still a breeze of wind fair for me, I kept on steering
directly for the island, though not making such fresh way as I did before.
About four o'clock in the evening, being then within about a league of the island,
I found the point of the rocks which occasioned this disaster stretching out, as is
described before, to the southward, and casting off the current more southerly, had, of
course, made another eddy to the north; and this I found very strong, but not directly
setting the way my course lay, which was due west, but almost full north. However,
having a fresh gale, I stretched across this eddy, slanting north-west; and in about
an hour came within about a mile of the shore, where, it being smooth water, I soon
got to land.
When I was on shore, I fell on my knees, and gave God thanks for my deliver-
ance, resolving to lay aside all thoughts of my deliverance by my boat; and refreshing
myself with such things as I had, I brought my boat close to the shore, in a little
cove that I had spied under some trees, and laid me down to sleep, being quite spent
with the labour and fatigue of the voyage.
I was now at a great loss which way to get home with my boat! I had run so
much hazard, and knew too much of the case, to think of attempting it by the way
I went out; and what might be at the other side (I mean the west side) I knew not,
nor had I any mind to run any more ventures. So I resolved on the next morning
to make my way westward along the shore, and to see if there was no creek where I
might lay up my frigate in safety, so as to have her again, if I wanted her. In
about three miles, or thereabouts, coasting the. shore, I came to a very good inlet, or
bay, about a mile over, which narrowed till it came to a very little rivulet or brook,
where I found a very convenient harbour for my boat, and where she lay as if she
THE MYSTERIOUS VOICE.
had been in a little dock made on purpose for her. Here I put in, and having stowed
my boat very safe, I went on shore to look about me, and see where I was.
I soon found I had but little passed by the place where I had been before,, when
I had travelled on foot to that shore; so, taking nothing out of my boat but my
gun and umbrella, for it was exceedingly hot, I began my march. The way was com-
fortable enough after such a voyage as I had been upon, and I reached my old
bower in the evening, where I found everything standing as I left it; for I always
kept it in good order, being, as I said before, my country-house.
I got over the fence, and laid me
down in the shade to rest my limbs, .
for I was very weary, and fell asleep.
But judge you, if you can, that read
my story, what a surprise I must be
in when I was awaked out of my sleep
by a voice, calling me by my name
several times: "Robin, Robin, Robin
Crusoe! poor Robin Crusoe! Where
are you, Robin Crusoe? Where
are you? Where have you been?"
I was so dead asleep at first,
being fatigued with rowing, or pad-
dling, as it is called, the first part
of the day, and walking the latter
part, that I did not awake thoroughly;
and dozing between sleeping and
waking, thought I dreamed that
somebody spoke to me; but as the
voice continued to repeat, "Robin
Crusoe! Robin Crusoe!" at last I /.
began to awake more perfectly, and
was at first dreadfully frightened,
and started up in the utmost con-
sternation. But no sooner were my
eyes open but I saw my Poll sitting
on the top of the hedge; and im-
mediately knew that it was he that
spoke to me; for just in such be-
moaning language I had used to talk 1.
to him, and teach him; and he had .
learned it so perfectly that he would sit '
upon my finger, and lay his bill close
to my face, and cry, "Poor Robin
Crusoe! Where are you? Where
haveyoubeen? How cameyou here?" "I TOOK A FIREBRAND, AND IN I RUSHED AGAIN" (P. III).
and such things as 1 had taught him.
However, even though I knew it was the parrot, and that indeed it could be
nobody else, it was a good while before I could compose myself. First, I was amazed
how the creature got thither; and then, how he should just keep about the place,
and nowhere else; but as I was well satisfied it could be nobody but honest Poll, I
got over it; and holding out my hand, and calling him by his name, "Poll," the
sociable creature came to me, and sat upon my thumb, as he used to do, and con-
tinued talking to me, "Poor Robin Crusoe! and how did I come here? and where
had I been?" just as if he had been overjoyed to see me again; and so I carried
him home along with me.
I had now had enough of rambling to sea for some time, and had enough to do
for many days, to sit still and reflect upon the danger I had been in. I would have
been very glad to have had my boat again on my side of the island; but I knew
not how it was practicable to get it about. As to the east side of the island, which
I had gone round, I knew well enough there was no venturing that way; my very
heart would shrink, and my very blood run chill, but to think of it; and as to the
other side of the island, I did not know how it might be there. But supposing the
current ran with the same force against the shore at the east as it passed by it on
the other, I might run the same risk of being driven down the stream, and carried
by the island, as I had been before of being carried away from it. So with these
thoughts I contented myself to be without any boat, though it had been the product
of so many months' labour to make it, and of so many more to get it into the sea.
In this government of my temper, I remained near a year; and lived a very
sedate, retired life, as you may well suppose; and my thoughts being very much
composed, as to my condition, and fully comforted in resigning myself to the dis-
positions of Providence, I thought I lived really very happily in all things, except
that of society.
I improved myself in this time in all the mechanic exercises which my necessities
put me upon applying myself to; and I believe I should, upon occasion, have made
a very good carpenter, especially considering how few tools I had.
Besides this, I arrived at an unexpected perfection in my earthenware, and
contrived well enough to make them with a wheel, which I found infinitely easier
and better, because I made things round and shaped, which before were filthy things
indeed to look on. But I think I was never more vain of my own performance, or
more joyful for anything I found out, than for my being able to make a tobacco-pipe;
and though it was a very ugly, clumsy thing when it was done, and only burned red,
like other earthenware, yet as it was hard and firm, and would draw the smoke, I
was exceedingly comforted with it, for I had been always used to smoke; and there
were pipes in the ship, but I forgot them at first, not thinking that there was tobacco
in the island; and afterwards, when I searched the ship again, I could not come at
In my wickerware, also, I improved much, and made abundance of necessary
baskets, as well as my invention showed me; though not very handsome, yet they
were such as were very handy, and convenient for laying things up in, or fetching
things home. For example, if I killed a goat abroad, I could hang it up in a tree,
flay it, and dress it, and cut it in pieces, and bring it home in a basket: and the like
by a turtle; I could cut it up, take out the eggs, and a piece or two of the flesh, which
was enough for me, and bring them home in a basket, and leave the rest behind me.
Also, large deep baskets were my receivers for my corn, which I always rubbed out
as soon as it was dry, and cured, and kept it in great baskets, instead of a granary.
I began now to perceive my powder abated considerably; and this was a want
which it was impossible for me to supply, and I began seriously to consider what I
must do when I should have no more powder; that is to say, how I should do to kill
any goats. I had, as I observed, in the third year of my being here, kept a young
kid, and bred her up tame; I was in hopes of getting a he-kid: but I could not by
any means bring it to pass, till my kid grew an old goat; and as I could never find
in my heart to kill her, she died at last of mere age.
But being now in the eleventh year of my residence, and, as I have said, my
ammunition growing low, I set myself to study some art to trap and snare the goats,
to see whether I could not catch some of them alive; and particularly, I wanted a
she-goat great with young. To this purpose, I made snares to hamper them; and I
do believe they were more than once taken in them; but my tackle was not good, for
I had no wire, and always found them broken, and my bait devoured. At length,
-I resolved to try a pitfall: so I dug several large pits in the earth, in places where