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The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe (1808) by Daniel Defoe

Part 4 out of 11

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might then, even before they would be ready to come on shore, convey
myself unseen into thickets of trees, in one of which there was an
hollow large enough to conceal me entirely; and where I might sit, and
observe all their bloody doings, and take my full aim at their heads,
when they were so close together, as that it would be next to impossible
that I should miss my shoot, or that I could fail wounding three or four
of them at the first shoot.

In this place then I resolved to fix my design; and accordingly I
prepared two muskets and my ordinary fowling-piece. The two muskets I
loaded with a brace of slugs each, and four or five smaller bullets,
about the size of pistol-bullets, and the fowling-piece I loaded with
near an handful of swan-shot, of the largest size; I also loaded my
pistols with about four bullets each: and in this posture, well provided
with ammunition for a second and third charge, I prepared myself for my

After I had thus laid the scheme for my design, and in my imagination
put it in practice, I continually made my tour every morning up to the
top of the hill, which was from my castle, as I called it, about three
miles or more, to see if I could observe any boats upon the sea, coming
near the island, or standing over towards it; but I began to tire of
this hard duty, after I had for two or three months constantly kept my
watch; but came always back without any discovery, there having not in
all that time been the least appearance, not only on or near the shore,
but not on the whole ocean, so far as my eyes or glasses could reach
every way.

As long as I kept up my daily tour to the hill to look out, so long also
I kept up the vigour of my design, and my spirits seemed to be all the
while in a suitable frame for so outrageous an execution, as the killing
twenty or thirty naked savages for an offence, which I had not at all
entered into a discussion of in my thoughts, any further than my
passions were at first fired by the horror I conceived at the unnatural
custom of the people of that country, who, it seems, had been suffered
by Providence, in his wise disposition of the world, to have no other
guide than that of their own abominable and vitiated passions; and
consequently were left, and perhaps had been for some ages, to act such
horrid things, and receive such dreadful customs, as nothing but nature,
entirely abandoned of Heaven, and actuated by some hellish degeneracy,
could have run them into; but now, when, as I have said, I began to be
weary of the fruitless excursion which I had made so long, and so far,
every morning in vain; so my opinion of the action itself began to
alter, and I began, with cooler and calmer thoughts, to consider what it
was I was going to engage in; what authority or call I had to pretend to
be judge and executioner upon these men as criminals, whom Heaven had
thought fit for so many ages to suffer, unpunished, to go on, and to be,
as it were, the executioners of his judgments upon one another; also,
how far these people were offenders against me, and what right I had to
engage in the quarrel of that blood, which they shed promiscuously one
upon another. I debated this very often with myself thus: How do I know
what God himself judges in this particular case? It is certain these
people do not commit this as a crime; it is not against their own
consciences reproving, or their light reproaching them. They do not know
it to be an offence, and then commit it in defiance of divine justice,
as we do in almost all the sins we commit. They think it no more a crime
to kill a captive taken in war, than we do to kill an ox; nor to eat
human flesh, than we do to eat mutton.

When I had considered this a little, it followed necessarily, that I was
certainly in the wrong in it; that these people were not murderers in
the sense that I had before condemned them in my thoughts, any more than
those Christians were murderers, who often put to death the prisoners
taken in battle; or more frequently, upon many occasions, put whole
troops of men to the sword, without giving quarter, though they threw
down their arms and submitted.

In the next place, it occurred to me, that albeit the usage they gave
one another was thus brutish and inhuman, yet it was really nothing to
me: these people had done me no injury: that if they attempted me, or I
saw it necessary for my immediate preservation to fall upon them,
something might be said for it; but that I was yet out of their power,
and they had really no knowledge of me, and consequently no design upon
me; and therefore it could not be just for me to fall upon them: that
this would justify the conduct of the Spaniards, in all their
barbarities practised in America, where they destroyed millions of these
people, who, however they were idolaters and barbarians, and had several
bloody and barbarous rites in these customs, such as sacrificing human
bodies to their idols, were yet, as to the Spaniards, very innocent
people; and that the rooting them out of the country is spoken of with
the utmost abhorrence and detestation, even by the Spaniards themselves,
at this time, and by all other Christian nations of Europe, as a mere
butchery, a bloody and unnatural piece of cruelty, unjustifiable either
to God or man; and such, as for which the very name of a Spaniard is
reckoned to be frightful and terrible to all people of humanity, or of
Christian compassion: as if the kingdom of Spain were particularly
eminent for the product of a race of men, who were without principles of
tenderness, or the common bowels of pity to the miserable, which is
reckoned to be a mark of a generous temper in the mind.

These considerations really put me to a pause, and to a kind of a full
stop; and I began by little and little to be off of my design, and to
conclude I had taken a wrong measure in my resolutions to attack the
savages; that it was not my business to meddle with them, unless they
first attacked me, and this it was my business, if possible, to prevent;
but that, if I were discovered and attacked, then I knew my duty.

On the other hand, I argued with myself that this really was the way not
to deliver myself, but entirely to ruin and destroy myself; for unless I
was sure to kill every one that not only should be on shore at that
time, but that should ever come on shore afterwards, if but one of them
escaped to tell their country-people what had happened, they would come
over again by thousands to revenge the death of their fellows; and I
should only bring upon myself a certain destruction, which at present I
had no manner of occasion for.

Upon the whole, I concluded, that neither in principles nor in policy, I
ought one way or other to concern myself in this affair: that my
business was, by all possible means to conceal myself from them, and not
to leave the least signal to them to guess by, that there were any
living creatures upon the island, I mean of human shape.

Religion joined in with this prudential, and I was convinced now many
ways that I was perfectly out of my duty, when I was laying all my
bloody schemes for the destruction of innocent creatures, I mean
innocent as to me; as to the crimes they were guilty of towards one
another, I had nothing to do with them; they were national punishments
to make a just retribution for national offences; and to bring public
judgments upon those who offend in a public manner, by such ways as best
please God.

This appeared so clear to me now, that nothing was a greater
satisfaction to me, than that I had not been suffered to do a thing
which I now saw so much reason to believe would have been no less a sin
than that of wilful murder, if I had committed it; and I gave most
humble thanks on my knees to God, that had thus delivered me from
blood-guiltiness; beseeching him to grant me the protection of his
Providence, that I might not fall into the hands of barbarians; or that
I might not lay my hands upon them, unless I had a more clear call from
Heaven to do it, in defence of my own life.

In this disposition I continued for near a year after this: and so far
was I from desiring an occasion for falling upon these wretches, that in
all that time I never once went up the hill to see whether there were
any of them in sight, or to know whether any of them had been on shore
there, or not; that I might not be tempted to renew any of my
contrivances against them, or be provoked, by any advantage which might
present itself, to fall upon them; only this I did, I went and removed
my boat, which I had on the other side of the island, and carried it
down to the east end of the whole island, where I ran it into a little
cove which I found under some high rocks, and where I knew, by reason of
the currents, the savages durst not, at least would not, come with their
boats upon any account whatsoever.

With my boat I carried away every thing that I had left there belonging
to her, though not necessary for the bare going thither; viz. a mast and
sail, which I had made for her, and a thing like an anchor, but indeed
which could not be called either anchor or grappling; however, it was
the best I could make of its kind. All these I removed, that there might
not be the least shadow of any discovery, or any appearance of any boat,
or of any habitation upon the island.

Besides this, I kept myself, as I said, more retired than ever, and
seldom went from my cell, other than upon my constant employment, viz.
to milk my she-goats, and manage my little flock in the wood, which, as
it was quite on the other part of the island, was quite out of danger:
for certain it is, that these savage people, who sometimes haunted this
island, never came with any thoughts of finding any thing here, and
consequently never wandered off from the coast; and I doubt not but they
might have been several times on shore, after my apprehensions of them
had made me cautious, as well as before; and indeed I looked back with
some horror upon the thoughts of what my condition would have been, if I
had chopped upon them, and been discovered before that, when naked and
unarmed, except with one gun, and that loaded often only with small
shot. I walked every where, peeping and peering about the island, to see
what I could get: what a surprise should I have been in, if, when I
discovered the print of a man's foot, I had instead of that seen fifteen
or twenty savages, and found them pursuing me, and, by the swiftness of
their running, no possibility of my escaping them!

The thoughts of this sometimes sunk my very soul within me, and
distressed my mind so much, that I could not soon recover it; to think
what I should have done, and how I not only should not have been able to
resist them, but even should not have had presence of mind enough to do
what I might have done; much less what now, after so much consideration
and preparation, I might be able to do. Indeed, after serious thinking
of these things, I would be very melancholy, and sometimes it would last
a great while; but I resolved it at last all into thankfulness to that
Providence which had delivered me from so many unseen dangers, and had
kept me from those mischiefs, which I could no way have been the agent
in delivering myself from; because I had not the least notion of any
such thing depending, or the least supposition of its being possible.

This renewed a contemplation, which often had come to my thoughts in
former time, when first I began to see the merciful dispositions of
Heaven, in the dangers we run through in this life; how wonderfully we
are delivered when we know nothing of it: how, when we are in a
quandary, (as we call it) a doubt or hesitation, whether to go this way,
or that way, a secret hint shall direct us this way, when we intended to
go another way; nay, when sense, our own inclination, and perhaps
business, has called to go the other way, yet a strange impression upon
the mind, from we know not what springs, and by we know not what power,
shall over-rule us to go this way; and it shall afterwards appear, that
had we gone that way which we would have gone, and even to our
imagination ought to have gone, we should have been ruined and lost;
upon these, and many like reflections, I afterwards made it a certain
rule with me, that whenever I found those secret hints, or pressings of
my mind, to doing or not doing any thing that presented, or to going
this way or that way, I never failed to obey the secret dictate; though
I new no other reason for it, than that such a pressure, or such an
hint, hung upon my mind: I could give many examples of the success of
this conduct in the course of my life; but more especially in the latter
part of my inhabiting this unhappy island; besides many occasions which
it is very likely I might have taken notice of, if I had seen with the
same eyes then that I saw with now: but 'tis never too late to be wise;
and I cannot but advise all considering men, whose lives are attended
with such extraordinary incidents as mine, or even though not so
extraordinary, not to slight such secret intimations of Providence, let
them come from what invisible intelligence they will; that I shall not
discuss, and perhaps cannot account for; but certainly they are a proof
of the converse of spirits, and the secret communication between those
embodied, and those unembodied; and such a proof as can never be
withstood: of which I shall have occasion to give some very remarkable
instances, in the remainder of my solitary residence in this
dismal place.

I believe the reader of this will not think it strange, if I confess
that these anxieties, these constant dangers I lived in, and the concern
that was now upon me, put an end to all invention, and to all the
contrivances that I had laid for my future accommodations and
conveniences. I had the care of my safety more now upon my hands than
that of my food. I cared not to drive a nail, or chop a stick of wood
now, for fear the noise I should make should be heard; much less would I
fire a gun, for the same reason; and, above all, I was very uneasy at
making any fire, lest the smoke, which is visible at a great distance in
the day, should betray me; and for this reason I removed that part of my
business which required fire, such as burning of pots and pipes, &c.
into my new apartment in the wood; where, after I had been some time, I
found, to my unspeakable consolation, a mere natural cave in the earth,
which went in a vast way, and where, I dare say, no savage, had he been
at the mouth of it, would be so hardy as to venture in, nor indeed would
any man else, but one who, like me, wanted nothing so much as a
safe retreat.

The mouth of this hollow was at the bottom of a great rock, where, by
mere accident, (I would say, if I did not see an abundant reason to
ascribe all such things now to Providence,) I was cutting down some
thick branches of trees to make charcoal; and before I go on, I must
observe the reason of my making this charcoal, which was thus:

I was afraid of making a smoke about my habitation, as I said before;
and yet I could not live there without baking my bread, cooking my meat,
&c.; so I contrived to burn some wood here, as I had seen done in
England under turf, till it became chark, or dry coal; and then putting
the fire out, I preserved the coal to carry home, and perform the other
services, which fire was wanting for at home, without danger or smoke.

But this by the by: while I was cutting down some wood here, I perceived
that behind a very thick branch of low brushwood, or underwood, there
was a kind of hollow place: I was curious to look into it, and getting
with difficulty into the mouth of it, I found it was pretty large, that
is to say, sufficient for me to stand upright in it, and perhaps another
with me; but I must confess to you, I made more haste out than I did in,
when, looking further into the place, which was perfectly dark, I saw
two broad shining eyes of some creature, whether devil or man I knew
not, which twinkled like two stars, the dim light from the cave's mouth
shining directly in and making the reflection.

However, after some pause, I recovered myself, and began to call myself
a thousand fools, and tell myself, that he that was afraid to see the
devil, was not fit to live twenty years in an island all alone, and that
I durst to believe there was nothing in this cave that was more
frightful than myself: upon this, plucking up my courage, I took up a
large firebrand, and in I rushed again, with the stick flaming in my
hand: I had not gone three steps in, but I was almost as much frightened
as I was before; for I heard a very loud sigh, like that of a man in
some pain; and it was followed by a broken noise, as if of words
half-expressed, and then a deep sigh again: I stepped back, and was
indeed struck with such a surprise, that it put me into a cold sweat;
and if I had had an hat on my head, I will not answer for it that my
hair might not have lifted it off. But still plucking up my spirits as
well as I could, and encouraging myself a little, with considering that
the power and presence of God was every where, and was able to protect
me; upon this I stepped forward again, and by the light of the
firebrand, holding it up a little over my head, I saw lying on the
ground a most monstrous frightful old he-goat, just making his will, as
we say, gasping for life, and dying indeed of a mere old age.

I stirred him a little to see if I could get him out, and he essayed to
get up, but was not able to raise himself; and I thought with myself, he
might even lie there; for if he had frightened me so, he would certainly
fright, any of the savages, if any of them should be so hardy as to come
in there, while he had any life in him.

I was now recovered from my surprise, and began to look round me, when I
found the cave was but very small; that is to say, it might be about
twelve feet over, but in no manner of shape, either round or square, no
hands having ever been employed in making it but those of mere nature: I
observed also, that there was a place at the farther side of it that
went in farther, but so low, that it required me to creep upon my hands
and knees to get into it, and whither it went I knew not; so having no
candle, I gave it over for some time, but resolved to come again the
next day, provided with candles and a tinder-box, which I had made of
the lock of one of the muskets, with some wildfire in the pan.

Accordingly, the next day, I came provided with six large candles of my
own making, for I made very good candles now of goats tallow; and going
into this low place, I was obliged to creep upon all fours, as I have
said, almost ten yards; which, by the way, I thought was a venture bold
enough, considering that I knew not how far it might go, or what was
beyond it. When I was got through the streight, I found the roof rose
higher up, I believe near twenty feet; but never was such a glorious
sight seen in the island, I dare say, as it was, to look round the sides
and roof of this vault or cave. The walls reflected an hundred thousand
lights to me from my two candles; what it was in the rock, whether
diamonds, or any other precious stones, or gold, which I rather supposed
it to be, I knew not.

The place I was in was a most delightful cavity, or grotto, of its kind,
as could be expected, though perfectly dark; the floor was dry and
level, and had a sort of small loose gravel upon it; so that there was
no nauseous creature to be seen; neither was there any damp or wet on
the sides of the roof: the only difficulty in it was the entrance,
which, however, as it was a place of security, and such a retreat as I
wanted, I thought that was a convenience; so that I was really rejoiced
at the discovery, and resolved, without any delay, to bring some of
those things which I was most anxious about to this place; particularly,
I resolved to bring hither my magazine of powder, and all my spare arms,
viz. two fowling-pieces (for I had three in all) and three muskets; (for
of them I had eight in all) so I kept at my castle only five, which
stood ready mounted, like pieces of cannon, on my utmost fence, and
were ready also to take out upon any expedition.

Upon this occasion of removing my ammunition, I was obliged to open the
barrel of powder which I took up out of the sea, and which had been wet;
and I found, that the water had penetrated about three or four inches
into the powder on every side, which, caking and growing hard, had
preserved the inside like a kernel in a shell; so that I had near sixty
pounds of very good powder in the centre of the cask; and this was an
agreeable discovery to me at that time; so I carried all away thither,
never keeping above two or three pounds of powder with me in my castle,
for fear of a surprise of any kind; I also carried thither all the lead
I had left for bullets.

I fancied myself now like one of the ancient giants, which were said to
live in caves and holes in the rocks, where none could come at them; for
I persuaded myself while I was here, if five hundred savages were to
hunt me, they could never find me out; or if they did, they would not
venture to attack me here.

The old goat, which I found expiring, died in the mouth of the cave the
next day after I made this discovery; and I found it much easier to dig
a great hole there, and throw him in, and cover him with earth, than to
drag him out: so I interred him there, to prevent offence to my nose.

I was now in my twenty-third year of residence in this island, and was
so naturalized to the place, and to the manner of living, that could I
have but enjoyed the certainty that no savages would come to the place
to disturb me, I could have been content to have capitulated for
spending the rest of my time there, even to the last moment, till I had
laid me down and died, like the old goat, in the cave: I had also
arrived to some little diversions and amusements, which made the time
pass more pleasantly with me a great deal than it did before; as, first,
I had taught my Pol, as I noted before, to speak; and he did it so
familiarly, and talked so articulately and plain, that it was very
pleasant to me; and he lived with me no less than six-and-twenty years:
how long he might live afterwards I knew not; though I know they have a
notion in the Brasils, that they live an hundred years; perhaps some of
my Polls may be alive there still, calling after poor Robin Crusoe to
this day; I wish no Englishman the ill luck to come there and hear them;
but if he did, he would certainly believe it was the devil. My dog was a
very pleasant and loving companion to me for no less than sixteen years
of my time, and then died of mere old age; as for my cats, they
multiplied, as I have observed, to that degree, that I was obliged to
shoot several of them at first, to keep them from devouring me, and all
I had; but at length, when the two old ones I brought with me were gone,
and after some time continually driving them from me, and letting them
have no provision with me, they all ran wild into the woods, except two
or three favourites, which I kept tame, and whose young, when they had
any, I always drowned, and these were part of my family: besides these,
I always kept two or three household kids about me, which I taught to
feed out of my hand; and I had also more parrots which talked pretty
well, and would all call Robin Crusoe, but none like my first; nor,
indeed, did I take the pains with any of them that I had done with him:
I had also several tame sea-fowls, whose names I know not, which I
caught upon the shore, and cut their wings; and the little stakes, which
I had planted before my castle wall, being now grown up to a good thick
grove, these fowls all lived among these low trees, and bred there,
which was very agreeable to me; so that, as I said above, I began to be
very well contented with the life I led, if it might but have been
secured from the dread of savages.

But it was otherwise directed; and it might not be amiss for all people
who shall meet with my story to make this just observation from it, viz.
How frequently, in the course of our lives, the evil, which in itself
we seek most to shun, and which, when we are fallen into, is the most
dreadful to us, is oftentimes the very means or door of our deliverance,
by which alone we can be raised again from the affliction we are fallen
into. I could give many examples of this in the course of my
unaccountable life; but in nothing was it more particularly remarkable,
than in the circumstances of my last years of solitary residence in
this island.

It was now the mouth of December, as I said above, in my twenty-third
year; and this being the southern solstice, for winter I cannot call it,
was the particular time of my harvest, and required my being pretty much
abroad in the fields; when going out pretty early in the morning, even
before it was thorough daylight, I was surprised with seeing a light of
some fire upon the shore, at a distance from me of about two miles,
towards the end of the island, where I had observed some savages had
been, as before; but not on the other side; but, to my great affliction,
it was on my side of the island.

I was indeed terribly surprised at the sight, and stopped short within
my grove, not daring to go out, lest I might be surprised; and yet I had
no more peace within, from the apprehensions I had, that if these
savages, in rambling over the island, should find my corn standing, or
cut, or any of my works and improvements, they would immediately
conclude that there were people in the place, and would then never give
over till they found me out. In this extremity I went back directly to
my castle, pulled up the ladder after me, having made all things without
look as wild and natural as I could.

Then I prepared myself within, putting myself in a posture of defence; I
loaded all my cannon, as I called them, that is to say, my muskets,
which were mounted upon my new fortification, and all my pistols, and
resolved to defend myself to the last gasp; not forgetting seriously to
recommend myself to the divine protection, and earnestly to pray to God
to deliver me out of the hands of the barbarians; and in this posture I
continued about two hours, but began to be mighty impatient for
intelligence abroad, for I had no spies to send out.

After sitting awhile longer, and musing what I should do in this case, I
was not able to bear sitting in ignorance longer; so setting up my
ladder to the side of the hill, where there was a flat place, as I
observed before, and then pulling the ladder up after me, I set it up
again, and mounted to the top of the hill; and pulling out my
perspective glass, which I had taken on purpose, I laid me down flat on
my belly on the ground, and began to look for the place. I presently
found there were no less than nine naked savages sitting round a small
fire they had made; not to warm them, for they had no need of that, the
weather being extreme hot; but, as I supposed, to dress some of their
barbarous diet of human flesh which they had brought with them, whether
alive or dead I could not know.

They had two canoes with them, which they had haled up upon the shore;
and as it was then tide of ebb, they seemed to me to wait the return of
the flood to go away again. It is not easy to imagine what confusion
this sight put me into, especially seeing them come on my side the
island, and so near me too; but when I observed their coming must be
always with the current of the ebb, I began afterwards to be more sedate
in my mind, being satisfied that I might go abroad with safety all the
time of tide of flood, if they were not on shore before; and having made
this observation, I went abroad about my harvest work with the more

As I expected, so it proved; for as soon as the tide made to the
westward, I saw them all take boat, and row (or paddle, as we call it)
all away: I should have observed, that for an hour and more before they
went off, they went to dancing, and I could easily discern their
postures and gestures by my glasses; I could only perceive, by my nicest
observation, that they were stark naked, and had not the least covering
upon them; but whether they were men or women, that I could not

As soon as I saw them shipped and gone, I took two guns upon my
shoulders, and two pistols at my girdle, and my great sword by my side,
without a scabbard; and with all the speed I was able to make, I went
away to the hill, where I had discovered the first appearance of all. As
soon as I got thither, which was not less than two hours, (for I could
not go apace, being so loaded with arms as I was,) I perceived there had
been three canoes more of savages on that place; and looking out
further, I saw they were all at sea together, making over for the main.

This was a dreadful sight to me, especially when, going down to the
shore, I could see the marks of horror which the dismal work they had
been about had left behind it, viz. the blood, the bones, and part of
the flesh of human bodies, eaten and devoured by those wretches with
merriment and sport. I was so filled with indignation at the sight, that
I began now to premeditate the destruction of the next that I saw there,
let them be who or how many soever.

It seemed evident to me, that the visits which they thus made to this
island were not very frequent; for it was above fifteen months before
any more of them came on shore there again; that is to say, I never saw
them, or any footsteps or signals of them, in all that time; for as to
the rainy seasons, then they are sure not to come abroad, at least not
so far; yet all this while I lived uncomfortably, by reason of the
constant apprehensions I was in of their coming upon me by surprise;
from whence I observe, that the expectation of evil is more bitter than
the suffering, especially if there is no room to shake off that
expectation or those apprehensions.

During all this time, I was in the murdering humour; and took up most of
my hours, which should have been better employed, in contriving how to
circumvent and fall upon them the very next time I should see them;
especially if they should he divided, as they were the last time, into
two parties; nor did I consider at all, that if I killed one party,
suppose ten or a dozen, I was still the next day, or week, or mouth, to
kill another, and so another, even _ad infinitum_, till I should be at
length no less a murderer than they were in being men-eaters, and
perhaps much mere so.

I spent my days now in great perplexity and anxiety of mind, expecting
that I should one day or other fall into the hands of those merciless
creatures; if I did at any time venture abroad, it was not without
looking round me with the greatest care and caution imaginable; and now
I found, to my great comfort, how happy it was that I had provided a
tame flock or herd of goats; for I durst not, upon any account, fire my
gun especially near that side of the island, where they usually came,
lest I should alarm the savages; and if they had fled from me now, I was
sure to have them come back again, with perhaps two or three hundred
canoes with them in a few days, and then I knew what to expect.

However, I wore out a year and three months more before I ever saw any
more of the savages, and then I found them again, as I shall soon
observe. It is true, they might have been there once or twice, but
either they made no stay, or, at least, I did not hear them; but in the
month of May, as near as I could calculate, and in my four-and-twentieth
year, I had a very strange encounter with them, of which in its place.

The perturbation of my mind, during this fifteen or sixteen months
interval, was very great; I slept unquiet, dreamed always frightful
dreams, and often started out of my sleep in the night; in the day great
troubles overwhelmed my mind; in the night I dreamed often of killing
the savages, and the reasons why I might justify the doing of it. But to
wave all this for awhile, it was in the middle of May, on the sixteenth
day, I think, as well as my poor wooden calendar would reckon, for I
marked all upon, the post still; I say, it was on the sixteenth of May
that it blew a great storm of wind all day, with a great deal of
lightning and thunder, and a very foul night was after it: I know not
what was the particular occasion of it; but as I was reading in the
Bible, and taken up with serious thoughts about my present condition, I
was surprised with the noise of a gun, as I thought, fired at sea.

This was, to be sure, a surprise of a quite different nature from any I
had met with before; for the notions this put into my thoughts were
quite of another kind: I started up in the greatest haste imaginable;
and in a trice clapped up my ladder to the middle place of the rock, and
pulled it after me, and mounting it the second time, got to the top of
the hill; that very moment a flash of fire bade me listen for a second
gun, which accordingly in about half a moment I heard, and by the sound
knew that it was from that part of the sea where I was driven out with
the current in my boat.

I immediately considered that this must be some ship in distress, and
that they had some comrade, or some other ship in company, and fired
these guns for signals of distress, and to obtain help. I had this
presence of mind at that minute as to think, that though I could not
help them, it may be they might help me; so I brought together all the
dry wood I could get at hand, and making a good handsome pile, I set it
on fire upon the hill; the wood was dry, and blazed freely, and though
the wind blew very hard, yet it burnt fairly out, so that I was certain,
if there was any such thing as a ship, they must need see it, and no
doubt they did; for as soon as ever my fire blazed up, I heard another
gun, and after that several others, all from the same quarter. I plied
my fire all night long, till day broke; and when it was broad day, and
the air cleared up, I saw something at a great distance at sea, full
east of the island, whether a sail, or an hull, I could not distinguish,
no not with my glasses, the distance was so great, and the weather
still something hazy also; at least it was so out at sea.

I looked frequently at it all that day, and soon perceived that it did
not move; so I presently concluded that it was a ship at anchor; and
being eager, you may be sure, to be satisfied, I took my gun in my hand,
and ran towards the south-east side of the island, to the rocks, where I
had been formerly carried away with the current; and getting up there,
the weather by this time being perfectly clear, I could plainly see, to
my great sorrow, the wreck of a ship cast away in the night upon those
concealed rocks which I found when I was out in my boat; and which
rocks, as they checked the violence of the stream, and made a kind of
counter-stream, or eddy, were the occasion of my recovering then from
the most desperate hopeless condition that ever I had been in all
my life.

Thus, what is one man's safety is another man's destruction; for it
seems these men, whoever they were, being out of their knowledge, and
the rocks being wholly under water, had been driven upon them in the
night, the wind blowing hard at E. and E.N.E. Had they seen the island,
as I must necessarily suppose they did not, they must, as I thought,
have endeavoured to have saved themselves on shore by the help of their
boat; but the firing of their guns for help, especially when they saw,
as I imagined, my fire, filled me with many thoughts: first, I imagined,
that, upon seeing my light, they might have put themselves into their
boat, and have endeavoured to make the shore; but that the sea going
very high, they might have been cast away; other times I imagined, that
they might have lost their boat before, as might be the case many ways;
as particularly, by the breaking of the sea upon their ship, which many
times obliges men to stave, or take in pieces their boat; and sometimes
to throw it overboard with their own hands; other times I imagined, they
had some other ship or ships in company, who, upon the signals of
distress they had made, had taken them up, and carried them off: other
whiles I fancied they were all gone off to sea in their boat, and being
hurried away by the current that I had been formerly in, were carried
out into the great ocean, where there was nothing but misery and
perishing; and that perhaps they might by this time think of starving,
and of being in a condition to eat one another.

All these were but conjectures at best, so, in the condition I was in, I
could do no more than look upon the misery of the poor men, and pity
them; which had still this good effect on my side, that it gave me more
and more cause to give thanks to God, who had so happily and comfortably
provided for me in my desolate condition; and that of two ships'
companies, who were now cast away upon this part of the world, not one
life should be spared but mine. I learnt here again to observe, that it
is very rare that the providence of God casts us into any condition of
life so low, or any misery so great, but we may see something or other
to be thankful for, and may see others in worse circumstances than
our own.

Such certainly was the case of these men, of whom I could not so much as
see room to suppose any of them were saved; nothing could make it
rational, so much as to wish or expect that they did not all perish
there, except the possibility only of their being taken up by another
ship in company: and this was but mere possibility indeed; for I saw not
the least signal or appearance of any such thing.

I cannot explain, by any possible energy of words, what a strange
longing, or hankering of desire, I felt in my soul upon this sight;
breaking out sometimes thus: "O that there had been but one or two, nay,
but one soul saved out of the ship, to have escaped to me, that I might
but have had one companion, one fellow-creature to have spoken to me,
and to have conversed with!" In all the time of my solitary life, I
never felt so earnest, so strong a desire after the society of my
fellow-creatures, or so deep a regret at want of it.

There are some secret moving springs in the affections, which, when
they are set a going by some object in view, or be it some object though
not in view, yet rendered present to the mind by the power of
imagination, that motion carries out the soul by its impetuosity to such
violent eager embracings of the object, that the absence of it is

Such were these earnest wishings, "That but one man had been saved! O
that it had been but one!" I believe I repeated the words, "O that it
had been but one!" a thousand times; and my desires were so moved by it,
that when I spoke the words, my hands would clinch together, and my
fingers press the palms of my hands, that if I had had any soft thing in
my hand, it would have crushed it involuntarily; and my teeth in my head
would strike together, and set against one another so strong, that for
some time I could not part them again.

Let the naturalists explain these things, and the reason and manner of
them: all I can say of them is, to describe the fact, which was ever
surprising to me when I found it, though I knew not from what it should
proceed; it was doubtless the effect of ardent wishes, and of strong
ideas formed in my mind, realizing the comfort which the conversation of
one of my fellow-christians would have been to me.

But it was not to be; either their fate, or mine, or both, forbad it;
for till the last year of my being on this island, I never knew whether
any were saved out of that ship, or no; and had only the affliction some
days after to see the corpse of a drowned boy come on shore, at the end
of the island which was next the shipwreck: he had on no clothes but a
seaman's waistcoat, a pair of open kneed linen drawers, and a blue linen
shirt; but nothing to direct me so much as to guess what nation he was
of: he had nothing in his pocket but two pieces of eight, and a
tobacco-pipe; the last was to me of ten times more value than the first.

It was now calm, and I had a great mind to venture out in my boat to
this wreck, not doubting but I might find something on board that might
be useful to me; but that did not altogether press me so much, as the
possibility that there might be yet some living creature on board, whose
life I might not only save, but might, by saving that life, comfort my
own to the last degree: and this thought clung so to my heart, that I
could not be quiet night nor day, but I must venture out in my boat on
board this wreck; and committing the rest to God's providence, I thought
the impression was so strong upon my mind, that it could not be
resisted, that it must come from some invisible direction, and that I
should be wanting to myself if I did not go.

Under the power of this impression, I hastened back to my castle,
prepared every thing for my voyage, took a quantity of bread, a great
pot for fresh water, a compass to steer by, a bottle of rum, (for I had
still a great deal of that left) a basket full of raisins: and thus
loading myself with every thing necessary, I went down to my boat, got
the water out of her, and got her afloat, loaded all my cargo in her,
and then went home again for more: my second cargo was a great bag full
of rice, the umbrella to set up over my head for shade, another large
pot full of lush water, and about two dozen of my small loaves, or
barley-cakes, more than before, with a bottle of goat's milk, and a
cheese: all which, with great labour and sweat, I brought to my boat;
and praying to God to direct my voyage, I put out, and rowing or
paddling the canoe along the shore, I came at last to the utmost point
of the island, on that side, viz. N.E. And now I was to launch out into
the ocean, and either to venture, or not to venture; I looked on the
rapid currents which ran constantly on both sides of the island, at a
distance, and which were very terrible to me, from the remembrance of
the hazard I had been in before, and my heart began to fail me; for I
foresaw, that if I was driven into either of those currents, I should
be carried a vast way out to sea and perhaps out of my reach, or sight
of the island again; and that then, as my boat was but small, if any
little gale of wind should rise, I should be inevitably lost.

These thoughts so oppressed my mind, that I began to give over my
enterprise, and having haled my boat into a little creek on the shore, I
stepped out, and sat me down upon a little spot of rising ground, very
pensive and anxious, between fear and desire, about my voyage; when, as
I was musing, I could perceive that the tide was turned, and the flood
came on, upon which my going was for so many hours impracticable: upon
this it presently occurred to me, that I should go up to the highest
piece of ground I could find, and observe, if I could, how the sets of
the tide or currents lay, when the flood came in, that I might judge
whether, if I was driven one way out, I might not expect to be driven
another way home, with the same rapidness of the currents. This thought
was no sooner in my head, but I cast my eye upon a little hill which
sufficiently overlooked the sea both ways, and from whence I had a clear
view of the currents, or sets of the tide, and which way I was to guide
myself in my return: here I found, that as the current of the ebb set
out close by the south point of the island, so the current of the flood
set in close by the shore of the north side; and that I had nothing to
do but to keep to the north of the island in my return, and I should do
well enough.

Encouraged with this observation, I resolved the next morning to set out
with the first of the tide; and reposing myself for that night in the
canoe, under the great watch-coat I mentioned, I launched out. I made
first a little out to sea full north, till I began to feel the benefit
of the current, which sat eastward, and which carried me at a great
rate, and yet did not so hurry me as the southern side current had done
before, and so as to take from me all government of the boat; but having
a strong steerage with my paddle, I went, I say, at a great rate,
directly for the wreck, and in less than two hours I came up to it.

It was a dismal sight to took at: the ship, which by its building was
Spanish, stuck fast, jambed in between two rocks; all the stern and
quarter of her was beaten to pieces with the sea; and as her forecastle,
which stuck in the rocks, had run on with great violence, her main-mast
and fore-mast were brought by the board, that is to say, broken short
off, but her boltsprit was sound, and the head and bow appeared firm.
When I came close to her, a dog appeared upon her, which, seeing me
coming, yelped and cried, and as soon as I called him, jumped into the
sea to come to me: and I took him into the boat, but found him almost
dead for hunger and thirst: I gave him a cake of my bread, and he ate
like a ravenous wolf that had been starving a fortnight in the snow: I
then gave the poor creature some fresh water, with which, if I would
have let him, he would have burst himself.

After this I went on board. The first sight I met with was two men
drowned in the cook-room, or forecastle of the ship, with their arms
fast about one another. I concluded, as is indeed probable, that when
the ship struck, it being in a storm, the sea broke so high, and so
continually over her, that the men were not able to bear it, and were
strangled with the constant rushing in of the water, as much as if they
had been under water. Besides the dog, there was nothing left in the
ship that had life, nor any goods that I could see, but what were
spoiled by the water: there were some casks of liquor, whether wine or
brandy I knew not, which lay lower in the hold, and which, the water
being ebbed out, I could see; but they were too big to meddle with: I
saw several chests, which I believed belonged to some of the seamen, and
I got two of them into the boat without examining what was in them.

Had the stern of the ship been fixed, and the fore part broken off, I am
persuaded I might have made a good voyage; for by what I found in these
two chests, I had room to suppose the ship had a great deal of wealth
on board; and if I may guess by the course she steered, she must have
been bound from the Buenos Ayres, or the Rio de la Plata, in the south
part of America, beyond the Brasils, to the Havanna, in the Gulf of
Mexico, and so perhaps to Spain: she had, no doubt, a great treasure in
her, but of no use at that time to any body; and what became of the rest
of her people I then knew not.

I found, besides these chests, a little cask full of liquor, of about
twenty gallons, which I got into my boat with much difficulty. There
were several muskets in a cabin, and a great powder-horn, with about
four pounds of powder in it: as for the muskets, I had no occasion for
them, so I left them, but took the powder-horn. I took a fire-shovel and
tongs, which I wanted extremely; as also two little brass kettles, a
copper pot to make chocolate, and a gridiron; and with this cargo, and
the dog, I came away, the tide beginning to make home again; and the
same evening, about an hour within night, I reached the island again,
weary and fatigued to the last degree.

I reposed that night in the boat, and in the morning I resolved to
harbour what I had gotten in my new cave, not to carry it home to my
castle. After refreshing myself, I got all my cargo on shore, and began
to examine the particulars: the cask of liquor I found to be a kind of
rum, but not such as we had at the Brasils; and, in a word, not at all
good; but when I came to open the chests, I found several things which I
wanted: for example, I found in one a fine case of bottles, of an
extraordinary kind, and filled with cordial waters, fine, and very good;
the bottles held about three pints each, and were tipped with silver: I
found two pots of very good succades, or sweetmeats, so fastened also on
the top, that the salt water had not hurt them; and two more of the
same, which the water had spoiled: I found some very good shirts, which
were very welcome to me, and about a dozen and a half of white linen
handkerchiefs and coloured neckcloths; the former were also very
welcome, being exceeding refreshing to wipe my face in a hot day.
Besides this, when I came to the till in the chests, I found there three
great bags of pieces of eight, which held about eleven hundred pieces in
all; and in one of them, wrapt up in a paper, six doubloons of gold, and
some small bars or wedges of gold; I suppose they might all weigh near
a pound.

The other chest I found had some clothes in it, but of little value; but
by the circumstances, it must have belonged to the gunner's mate, as
there was no powder in it, but about two pounds of glazed powder in the
three flasks, kept, I suppose, for charging their fowling-pieces on
occasion. Upon the whole, I got very little by this voyage that was of
much use to me; for, as to the money, I had no manner of occasion for
it; it was to me as the dirt under my feet; and I would have given it
all for three or four pair of English shoes and stockings, which were
things I greatly wanted, but had not had on my feet now for many years:
I had, indeed, got two pair of shoes now, which I took off the feet of
the two drowned men whom I saw in the wreck; and I found two pair more
in one of the chests, which were very welcome to me; but they were not
like our English shoes, either for case or service, being rather what we
call pumps than shoes. I found in the seaman's chest about fifty pieces
of eight in royals, but no gold: I suppose this belonged to a poorer man
than the other, which seemed to belong to some officer.

Well, however, I lugged the money home to my cave, and laid it up, as I
had done that before, which I brought from our own ship; but it was
great pity, as I said, that the other part of the ship had not come to
my share, for I am satisfied I might have loaded my canoe several times
over with money, which, if I had ever escaped to England, would have
lain here safe enough till I might have come again and fetched it.

Having now brought all my things on shore, and secured them, I went back
to my boat, and rowed or paddled her along the shore to her old
harbour, where I laid her up, and made the best of my way to my old
habitation, where I found every thing safe and quiet; so I began to
repose myself, live after my old fashion, and take care of my family
affairs; and for awhile I lived easy enough; only that I was more
vigilant than I used to be, looked out oftener, and did not go abroad so
much; and if at any time I did stir with any freedom, it was always to
the east part of the island, where I was pretty well satisfied the
savages never came, and where I could go without so many precautions,
and such a load of arms and ammunition as I always carried with me, if I
went the other way.

I lived in this condition near two years more; but my unlucky head, that
was always to let me know it was born to make my body miserable, was all
these two years filled with projects and designs, how, if it were
possible, I might get away from this island; for sometimes I was for
making another voyage to the wreck, though my reason told me, that there
was nothing left there worth the hazard of my voyage; sometimes for a
ramble one way, sometimes another; and I believe verity, if I had had
the boat that I went from Sallee in, I should have ventured to sea,
bound any where, I knew not whither.

I have been, in all my circumstances, a memento to those who are touched
with that general plague of mankind, whence, for aught I know, one half
of their miseries flow; I mean, that of not being satisfied with the
station wherein God and nature hath placed them; for, not to look back
upon my primitive condition, and the excellent advice of my father, the
opposition to which was, as I may call it, my original sin, my
subsequent mistakes of the same kind have been the means of my coming
into this miserable condition; for had that Providence, which so happily
had seated me at the Brasils as a planter, blessed me with confined
desires, and could I have been contented to have gone on gradually, I
might have been by this time, I mean in the time of my being on this
island, one of the most considerable planters in the Brasils; nay, I am
persuaded, that by the improvements I had made in that little time I
lived there, and the increase I should probably have made if I had
stayed, I might have been worth a hundred thousand moidores; and what
business had I to leave a settled fortune, well-stocked plantation,
improving and increasing, to turn supercargo to Guinea, to fetch
Negroes, when patience and time would have so increased our stock at
home, that we could have bought them at our own doors, from those whose
business it was to fetch them? And though it had cost us something more,
yet the difference of that price was by no means worth saving at so
great a hazard.

But as this is ordinarily the fate of young heads, so reflection upon
the folly of it is as ordinarily the exercise of more years, or of the
dear-bought experience of time; and so it was with me now; and yet, so
deep had the mistake taken root in my temper, that I could not satisfy
myself in my station, but was continually poring upon the means and
possibility of my escape from this place; and that I may, with the
greater pleasure to the reader, bring on the remaining part of my story,
it may not be improper to give some account of my first conceptions on
the subject of this foolish scheme for my escape; and how, and upon what
foundation, I acted.

I am now to be supposed to be retired into my castle, after my late
voyage to the wreck, my frigate laid up, and secured under water as
usual, and my condition restored to what it was before: I had more
wealth, indeed, than I had before, but was not at all the richer; for I
had no more use for it than the Indians of Peru had before the Spaniards
came thither.

It was one of the nights in the rainy season in March, the
four-and-twentieth year of my first setting foot in this island of
solitariness, I was lying in my bed or hammock, awake, and very well in
health, had no pain, no distemper, no uneasiness of body, no, nor any
uneasiness of mind more than ordinary, but could by no means close my
eyes, that is, so as to sleep; no, not a wink all night long, otherwise
than as follows:

It is as impossible as needless to set down the innumerable crowd of
thoughts that whirled through that great thoroughfare of the brain, the
memory, in this night's time: I ran over the whole history of my life in
miniature, or by abridgment, as I may call it, to my coming to this
island; and also of that part of my life since I came to this island; in
my reflections upon the state of my case, since I came on shore on this
island; I was comparing the happy posture of my affairs, in the first
years of my habitation here, to that course of anxiety, fear, and care,
which I had lived in ever since I had seen the print of a foot in the
sand; not that I did not believe the savages had frequented the island
even all the while, and might have been several hundreds of them at
times on the shore there; but as I had never known it, and was incapable
of any apprehensions about it, my satisfaction was perfect, though my
danger was the same; and I was as happy in not knowing my danger, as if
I had never really been exposed to it; this furnished my thoughts with
many very profitable reflections, and particularly this one: How
infinitely good that Providence is, which has settled in its government
of mankind such narrow bounds to his sight and knowledge of things; and
though he walks in the midst of so many thousand dangers, the sight of
which, if discovered to him, would distract his mind and sink his
spirits, he is kept serene and calm, by having the events of things hid
from his eyes, and knowing nothing of the dangers which surround him.

After these thoughts had for some time entertained me, I came to reflect
seriously upon the real danger I had been in for so many years in this
very island; and how I had walked about in the greatest security, and
with all possible tranquillity, even perhaps when nothing but a brow on
a hill, a great tree, or the casual approach of night, had been between
me and the worst kind of destruction, viz. that of falling into the
hands of cannibals, and savages, who would have seized on me with the
same view, as I did of a goat, or a turtle; and have thought it no more
a crime to kill and devour me, than I did of a pigeon, or a curlieu: I
would unjustly slander my self, if I should say I was not sincerely
thankful to my great Preserver, to whose singular protection I
acknowledged, with great humility, that all these unknown deliverances
were due; and without which, I must inevitably have fallen into their
merciless hands.

When these thoughts were over, my head was for some time taken up in
considering the nature of these wretched creatures; I mean, the savages;
and how it came to pass in the world, that the wise governour of all
things should give up any of his creatures to such inhumanity; nay, to
something so much below, even brutality it self, as to devour its own
kind; but as this ended in some (at that time fruitless) speculations,
it occurred to me to enquire, what part of the world these wretches
lived in; how far off the coast was from whence they came; what they
ventured over so far from home for; what kind of boats they had; and why
I might not order my self, and my business so, that I might be as able
to go over thither, as they were to come to me.

I never so much as troubled my self to consider what I should do with my
self, when I came thither; what would become of me, if I fell into the
hands of the savages; or how I should escape from them, if they
attempted me; no, nor so much as how it was possible for me to reach the
coast, and not be attempted by some or other of them, without any
possibility of delivering my self; and if I should not fall into their
hands, what I should do for provision, or whither I should bend my
course; none of these thoughts, I say, so much as came in my way; but my
mind was wholly bent upon the notion of my passing over in my boat, to
the main land: I looked back upon my present condition as the most
miserable that could possibly be; that I was not able to throw myself
into any thing but death that could be called worse; that if I reached
the shore of the main, I might, perhaps, meet with relief; or I might
coast along, as I did on the shore of Africa, till I came to some
inhabited country, and where I might find some relief; and after all,
perhaps, I might fall in with some Christian ship that might take me in:
and if the worst came to the worst, I could but die, which would put an
end to all these miseries at once. Pray, note all this was the fruit of
a disturbed mind, an impatient temper, made, as it were, desperate by
the long continuance of my troubles, and the disappointments I had met
in the wreck I had been on board of, and where I had been so near the
obtaining of what I so earnestly longed for, viz. somebody to speak to,
and to learn some knowledge from of the place where I was, and of the
probable means of my deliverance; I say, I was agitated wholly by these
thoughts. All my calm of mind in my resignation to Providence, and
waiting the issue of the dispositions of Heaven, seemed to be suspended;
and I had, as it were, no power to turn my thoughts to any thing but the
project of a voyage to the main; which came upon me with such force, and
such an impetuosity of desire, that it was not to be resisted.

When this had agitated my thoughts for two hours or more, with such
violence that it set my very blood into a ferment, and my pulse beat as
high as if I had been in a fever, merely with the extraordinary fervour
of my mind about it; nature, as if I had been fatigued and exhausted
with the very thought of it, threw me into a sound sleep: one would have
thought I should have dreamed of it; but I did not, nor of any thing
relating to it; but I dreamed, that as I was going out in the morning,
as usual, from my castle, I saw upon the shore two canoes and eleven
savages coming to land, and that they brought with them another savage,
whom they were going to kill, in order to eat him; when on a sudden, the
savage that they were going to kill jumped away, and ran for his life:
then I thought in my sleep, that he came running into my little thick
grove, before my fortification, to hide himself; and that I seeing him
alone, and not perceiving that the others sought him that way, shewed
myself to him, and, smiling upon him, encouraged him: that he kneeled
down to me, seeming to pray me to assist him; upon which I shewed my
ladder, made him go up it, and carried him into my cave, and he became
my servant; and that as soon as I had got this man, I said to myself,
"Now I may certainly venture to the main land; for this fellow will
serve me as a pilot, and will tell me what to do, and whither to go for
provisions, and whither not to go for fear of being devoured; what
places to venture into, and what to escape." I waked with this thought,
and was under such inexpressible impressions of joy at the prospect of
my escape in my dream, that the disappointments which I felt upon coming
to myself, and finding it was no more than a dream, were equally
extravagant the other way, and threw me into a very great dejection
of spirit.

Upon this, however, I made this conclusion, that my only way to go about
an attempt for an escape, was, if possible, to get a savage in my
possession; and, if possible, it should be one of their prisoners whom
they had condemned to be eaten, and should bring hither to kill: but
these thoughts still were attended with this difficulty, that it was
impossible to effect this, without attacking a whole caravan of them,
and killing them all; and this was not only a very desperate attempt,
and might miscarry; but, on the other hand, I had greatly scrupled the
lawfulness of it to me, and my heart trembled at the thoughts of
shedding so much blood, though it was for my deliverance: I need not
repeat the arguments which occurred to me against this, they being the
same mentioned before: but though I had other reasons to offer now, viz.
that those men were enemies to my life, and would devour me, if they
could; that it was self-preservation, in the highest degree, to deliver
myself from this death of a life, and was acting in my own defence, as
much as if they were actually assaulting me, and the like; I say, though
these things argued for it, yet the thoughts of shedding human blood for
my deliverance were very terrible to me, and such as I could by no means
reconcile myself to a great while.

However, at last, after many secret disputes with myself, and after
great perplexities about it, (for all these arguments, one way and
another, struggled in my head a long time,) the eager prevailing desire
of deliverance at length mastered all the rest, and I resolved, if
possible, to get one of these savages into my bands, cost what it would:
the next thing then was to contrive how to do it; and this indeed was
very difficult to resolve on: but as I could pitch upon no probable
means for it, so I resolved to put myself upon the watch to see them
when they came on shore, and leave the rest to the event, taking such
measures as the opportunity should present, let it be what it would.

With these resolutions in my thoughts, I set myself upon the scout as
often as possible, and indeed so often, till I was heartily tired of it;
for it was above a year and a half that I waited, and for a great part
of that time went out to the west end, and to the south-west corner of
the island, almost every day, to see the canoes, but none appeared. This
was very discouraging, and began to trouble me much; though I can't say
that it did in this case, as it had done some time before that, viz.
wear off the edge of my desire to the thing; but the longer it seemed to
be delayed, the more eager I was for it: in a word, I was not at first
more careful to shun the sight of these savages, and avoid being seen by
them, than I was now eager to be upon them.

Besides, I fancied myself able to manage one, nay, two or three savages,
if I had them, so as to make them entirely slaves to me, to do whatever
I should direct them, and to prevent their being able, at any time, to
do me any hurt. It was a great while that I pleased myself with this
affair, but nothing still presented; all my fancies and schemes came to
nothing, for no savages came near me for a great while.

About a year and a half after I had entertained these notions, and, by
long musing, had, as it were, resolved them all into nothing, for want
of an occasion to put them in execution, I was surprised one morning
early, with seeing no less than five canoes all on shore together, on my
side the island, and the people who belonged to them all landed, and out
of my sight: the number of them broke all my measures; for seeing so
many, and knowing that they always came four, or six, or sometimes more,
in a boat, I could not tell what to think of it, or how to take my
measures, to attack twenty or thirty men single-handed; so I lay still
in my castle, perplexed and discomforted; however, I put myself into all
the same postures for an attack that I had formerly provided, and was
just ready for action, if any thing had presented. Having waited a good
while, listening to hear if they made any noise; at length being very
impatient, I set my guns at the foot of my ladder, and clambered up to
the top of the hill by my two stages, as usual, standing so, however,
that my head did not appear above the hill, so that they could not
perceive me by any means. Here I observed, by the help of my perspective
glass, that they were no less than thirty in number; that they had a
fire kindled, and that they had had meat dressed; how they cooked it,
that I knew not, or what it was; but they were all dancing in I know not
how many barbarous gestures and figures, their own way, round the fire.

When I was thus looking on them, I perceived by my perspective two
miserable wretches dragged from the boats, where, it seems, they were
laid by, and were now brought out for the slaughter: I perceived one of
them immediately fall, being knocked down, I suppose, with a club or
wooden sword, for that was their way; and two or three others were at
work immediately, cutting him open for their cookery, while the other
victim was left standing by himself, till they should be ready for him.
In that very moment this poor wretch, seeing himself a little at
liberty, nature inspired him with hopes of life, and he started away
from them, and ran with incredible swiftness along the sands, directly
towards me, I mean towards that part of the coast where my
habitation was.

I was dreadfully frighted (that I must acknowledge) when I perceived him
to run my way; and especially when, as I thought, I saw him pursued by
the whole body; and now I expected that part of my dream was coming to
pass, and that he would certainly take shelter in my grove; but I could
not depend, by any means, upon my dream for the rest of it, viz. that
the other savages would not pursue him thither, and find him there.
However, I kept my station, and my spirits began to recover, when I
found that there were not above three men that followed him; and still
more was I encouraged, when I found that he out-stript them exceedingly
in running, and gained ground of them, so that if he could but hold it
for half an hour, I saw easily he would fairly get away from them all.

There was between them and my castle the creek, which I mentioned often
at the first part of my story, when I landed my cargoes out of the ship;
and this I knew he must necessarily swim over, or the poor wretch would
be taken there: but when the savage escaping came thither, he made
nothing of it, though the tide was then up; but plunging in, swam
through in about thirty strokes, or thereabouts, landed, and ran on with
exceeding strength and swiftness. When the three pursuers came to the
creek, I found that two of them could swim, but the third could not, and
that he, standing on the other side, looked at the other, but went no
farther; and soon after went softly back again, which, as it happened,
was very well for him in the main.

I observed, that the two who swam were yet more than twice as long
swimming over the creek than the fellow was that fled from them. It
came now very warmly upon my thoughts, and indeed irresistibly, that now
was my time to get a servant, and perhaps a companion, or assistant, and
that I was called plainly by Providence to save this poor creature's
life. I immediately got down the ladders with all possible expedition,
fetched my two guns, for they were both at the foot of the ladder, as I
observed above; and getting up again with the same haste to the top of
the hill, I crossed towards the sea; and having a very short cut, and
all down hill, clapped myself in the way between the pursuers and the
pursued, hallooing aloud to him that fled, who, looking back, was at
first perhaps as much frighted at me as at them; but I beckoned with my
hand to him to come back; and in the meantime I slowly advanced towards
the two that followed; then rushing at once upon the foremost, I knocked
him down with the stock of my piece; I was loath to fire, because I
would not have the rest hear, though at that distance it would not have
been easily heard; and being out of sigh of the smoke too, they would
not have easily known what to make of it. I having knocked this fellow
down, the other who pursued him stopped, as if he had been frightened,
and I advanced apace towards him; but as I came nearer, I perceived
presently he had a bow and arrow, and was fitting it to shoot at me; so
I was then necessitated to shoot at him first; which I did, and killed
him at the first shot. The poor savage who fled, but had stopped, though
he saw both his enemies fallen, and killed, (as he thought) yet was so
frighted with the fire and noise of my piece, that he stood stock-still,
and neither came forward, nor went backward, though he seemed rather
inclined to fly still, than to come on. I hallooed again to him, and
made signs to come forward, which he easily understood, and came a
little way, then stopped again, and then a little farther, and stopped
again; and I could then perceive that he stood trembling, as if he had
been taken prisoner, and had just been to be killed, as his two enemies
were. I beckoned him again to come to me, and gave him all the signs of
encouragement that I could think of; and he came nearer and nearer,
kneeling down every ten or twelve steps, in token of acknowledgment for
saving his life. I smiled at him, and looked pleasantly, and beckoned to
him to come still nearer. At length he came close to me, and then he
kneeled down again, kissed the ground, and laid his head upon the
ground, and taking me by the foot, set my foot upon his head. This, it
seems, was in token of swearing to be my slave for ever. I took him up,
and made much of him, and encouraged him all I could. But there was more
work to do yet; for I perceived the savage, whom I knocked down, was not
killed, but stunned with the blow, and began to come to himself: so I
pointed to him, and showed him the savage, that he was not dead: upon
this he spoke some words to me; and though I could not understand them,
yet I thought they were pleasant to hear, for they were the first sound
of a man's voice that I had heard, my own excepted, for above
five-and-twenty years. But there was no time for such reflections now:
the savage, who was knocked down, recovered himself so far as to sit up
upon the ground; and I perceived that my savage began to be afraid; but
when I saw that, I presented my other piece at the man, as if I would
shoot him: upon this my savage, for so I call him now, made a motion to
me to lend him my sword, which hung naked in a belt by my side: so I
did: he no sooner had it, but he runs to his enemy, and at one blow cut
off his head so cleverly, no executioner in Germany could have done it
sooner or better; which I thought very strange for one, who, I had
reason to believe, never saw a sword in his life before, except their
own wooden swords: however, it seems, as I learnt afterwards, they make
their wooden swords so sharp, so heavy, and the wood is so hard, that
they will cut off heads even with them, nay, and arms, and that at one
blow too. When he had done this, he comes laughing to me in sign of
triumph, and brought me the sword again, and, with abundance of
gestures, which I did not understand, laid it down, with the head of the
savage that he had killed, just before me.

But that which astonished him most was, to know how I had killed the
other Indian so far off; so pointing to him, he made signs to me to let
him go to him: so I bade him go, as well as I could. When he came to
him, he stood like one amazed, looking at him; turned him first on one
side, then on t'other; looked at the wound the bullet had made, which it
seems was just in his breast, where it had made a hole, and no great
quantity of blood had followed; but he had bled inwardly, for he was
quite dead. Then he took up his bow and arrows, and came back; so I
turned to go away, and beckoned him to follow me, making signs to him
that more might come after them.

Upon this he signed to me, that he should bury them with sand, that they
might not he seen by the rest, if they followed; and so I made signs
again to him to do so. He fell to work, and in an instant he had scraped
a hole in the sand with his hands, big enough to bury the first in, and
then dragged him into it, and covered him, and did so also by the other;
I believe he had buried them both in a quarter of an hour: then calling
him away, I carried him not to my castle, but quite away to my cave, on
the farther part of the island; so I did not let my dream come to pass
in that part; viz. that he came into my grove for shelter.

Here I gave him bread and a bunch of raisins to eat, and a draught of
water, which I found he was indeed in great distress for, by his
running; and having refreshed him, I made signs for him to go lie down
and sleep, pointing to a place where I had laid a great parcel of
rice-straw, and a blanket upon it, which I used to sleep upon myself
sometimes; so the poor creature lay down, and went to sleep.

He was a comely handsome fellow, perfectly well made, with straight long
limbs, not too large, tall, and well-shaped, and, as I reckon, about
twenty-six years of age. He had a very good countenance, not a fierce
and surly aspect, but seemed to have something very manly in his face,
and yet he had all the sweetness and softness of an European in his
countenance too, especially when he smiled: his hair was long and black,
not curled like wool; his forehead very high and large, and a great
vivacity and sparkling sharpness in his eyes. The colour of his skin was
not quite black, but very tawny, and yet not of an ugly yellow nauseous
tawny, as the Brasilians and Virginians, and other natives of America
are, but of a bright kind of a dun olive colour, that had in it
something very agreeable, though not very easy to describe. His face was
round and plump, his nose small, not flat like the Negroe's, a very good
mouth, thin lips, and his teeth fine, well-set, and white as ivory.
After he had slumbered, rather than slept, about half an hour, he waked
again, and comes out of the cave to me, for I had been milking my goats,
which I had in the enclosure just by: when he espied me, he came running
to me, laying himself down again upon the ground, with all the possible
signs of an humble thankful disposition, making many, antic gestures to
shew it. At last he lays his head flat upon the ground, close to my
foot, and sets my other foot upon his head, as he had done before; and
after this, made all the signs to me of subjection, servitude, and
submission imaginable, to let me know how much he would serve me as long
as he lived. I understood him in many things, and let him know I was
very well pleased with him. In a little time I began to speak to him,
and teach him to speak to me; and first, I made him know his name should
be Friday, which was the day I saved his life; and I called him so for
the memory of the time; I likewise taught him to say Master, and then
let him know that was to be my name; I likewise taught him to say Yes
and No, and to know the meaning of them. I gave him some milk in an
earthen pot, and let him see me drink it before him, and sop my bread in
it; and I gave him a cake of bread to do the like, which he quickly
complied with, and made signs that it was very good for him.

I kept there with him all that night; but as soon as it was day, I
beckoned him to come with me, and let him know I would give him some
clothes; at which he seemed very glad, for he was stark-naked. As we
went by the place where he had buried the two men, he pointed exactly to
the spot, and shewed me the marks that he had made to find them again,
making signs to me that we should dig them up again, and eat them: at
this I appeared very angry, expressed my abhorrence of it, made as if I
would vomit at the thoughts of it, and beckoned with my hand to him to
come away, which he did immediately, with great submission. I then led
him up to the top of the hill, to see if his enemies were gone, and
pulling out my glass, I looked, and saw plainly the place where they had
been, but no appearance of them, or of their canoes; so that it was
plain that they were gone, and had left their two comrades behind them,
without, any search after them.

But I was not content with this discovery; but having now more courage,
and consequently more curiosity, I took my man Friday with me, giving
him the sword in his hand, with the bow and arrows at his back, which I
found he could use very dexterously, making him carry one gun for me,
and I two for myself, and away we marched to the place where these
creatures had been; for I had a mind now to get some further
intelligence of them. When I came to the place, my very blood ran chill
in my veins, and my heart sunk within me at the horror of the spectacle:
indeed it was a dreadful sight, at least it was so to me, though Friday
made nothing of it: the place was covered with human bones, the ground
dyed with the blood, great pieces of flesh left here and there,
half-eaten, mangled, and scorched; and, in short, all the tokens of the
triumphant feast they had been making there, after a victory over their
enemies. I saw three skulls, five hands, and the bones of three or four
legs and feet, and abundance of other parts of the bodies; and Friday,
by his signs, made me understand that they brought over four prisoners
to feast upon; that three of them were eaten up, and that he, pointing
to himself, was the fourth; that there had been a great battle between
them and their next king, whose subjects, it seems, he had been one of;
and that they had taken a great number of prisoners, all which were
carried to several places by those that had taken them in the flight, in
order to feast upon them, as was done here by these wretches upon those
they brought hither.

I caused Friday to gather all the skulls, bones, flesh, and whatever
remained, and lay them together on an heap, and make a great fire upon
it, and burn them all to ashes. I found Friday had still a hankering
stomach after some of the flesh, and was still a cannibal in his nature;
but I discovered so much abhorrence at the very thoughts of it, and at
the least appearance of it, that he durst not discover it; for I had, by
some means, let him know that I would kill him if he offered it.

When we had done this, we came back to our castle, and there I fell to
work for my man Friday; and first of all, I gave him a pair of linen
drawers, which I had out of the poor gunner's chest I mentioned, and
which I found in the wreck; and which, with a little alteration, fitted
him very well; then I made him a jerkin of goat's skin as well as my
skill would allow, and I was now grown a tolerable good tailor; and I
gave him a cap, which I had made of a hare-skin, very convenient, and
fashionable enough: and thus he was dressed, for the present, tolerably
well, and mighty well was he pleased to see himself almost as well
clothed as his master. It is true, he went awkwardly in these things at
first; wearing the drawers was very awkward to him, and the sleeves of
the waistcoat galled his shoulders and the inside of his arms; but a
little easing them, where he complained they hurt him, and using himself
to them, at length he took to them very well.

The next day after I came home to my hutch with him, I began to
consider where I should lodge him; and that I might do well for him, and
yet be perfectly easy myself, I made a little tent for him in the vacant
place between my two fortifications, in the inside of the last, and in
the outside of the first: and as there was a door or entrance there into
my cave, I made a formal framed door-case, and a door to it of boards,
and set it up in the passage, a little within the entrance: and causing
the door to open on the inside, I barred it up in the night, taking in
my ladders too; so that Friday could no way come at me in the inside of
my innermost wall, without making so much noise in getting over, that it
must needs awaken me; for my first wall had now a complete roof over it
of long poles, covering all my tent, and leaning up to the side of the
hill, which was again laid cross with small sticks instead of laths, and
then thatched over a great thickness with the rice straw, which was
strong like reeds; and at the hole or place which was left to go in or
out by the ladder, I had placed a kind of trapdoor, which if it had been
attempted on the outside, would not have opened at all, but would have
fallen down, and made a great noise; and as to weapons, I took them all
in to my side every night.

But I needed none of all this precaution; for never man had a more
faithful, loving, sincere servant than Friday was to me; without
passions, sullenness, or designs; perfectly obliging and engaging; his
very affections were tied to me, like those of a child to a father; and
I dare say, he would have sacrificed his life for the saving mine, upon
any occasion whatsoever: the many testimonies he gave me of this put it
out of doubt; and soon convinced me, that I needed to use no precautions
as to my safety on his account.

This frequently gave me occasion to observe, and that with wonder, that,
however it had pleased God in his providence, and in the government of
the works of his hands, to take from so great a part of the world of his
creatures the best uses to which their faculties, and the powers of
their souls, are adapted; yet that he has bestowed upon them the same
powers, the same reason, the same affections, the same sentiments of
kindness and obligation, the same passions and resentments of wrongs,
the same sense of gratitude, sincerity, fidelity, and all the capacities
of doing good, and receiving good, that he has given to us; and that
when he pleases to offer them occasions of exerting these, they are as
ready, nay more ready, to apply them to the right uses for which they
were bestowed, than we are. And this made me very melancholy sometimes,
in reflecting, as the several occasions presented, how mean a use we
make of all these, even though we have these powers enlightened by the
great lamp of instruction, the Spirit of God, and by the knowledge of
his word, added to our understanding; and why it has pleased God to hide
the life saving knowledge from so many millions of souls, who, if I
might judge by this poor savage, would make a much better use of it
than we did.

From hence I sometimes was led too far to invade the sovereignty of
Providence; and, as it were, arraign the justice of so arbitrary a
disposition of things, that should hide that light from some, and reveal
it to others, and yet expect a like duty from both: but I shut it up,
and checked my thoughts with this conclusion: first, that we do not know
by what light and law these should be condemned; but that as God was
necessarily, and by the nature of his being, infinitely holy and just,
so it could not be, but that if these creatures were all sentenced to
absence from himself, it was on account of sinning against that light,
which, as the Scripture says, was a law to themselves, and by such rules
as their consciences would acknowledge to be just, though the foundation
was not discovered to us: and, secondly, that still, as we are all clay
in the hand of the potter, no vessel could say to him, "Why hast thou
formed me thus?"

But to return to my new companion: I was greatly delighted with him, and
made it my business to teach him every thing that was proper to make
him useful, handy, and helpful; but especially to make him speak, and
understand me when I spake: and he was the aptest scholar that ever was;
and particularly was so merry, so constantly diligent, and so pleased
when he could but understand me, or make me understand him, that it was
very pleasant to me to talk to him. And now my life began to be so easy,
that I began to say to myself, that could I but have been safe from more
savages, I cared not if I was never to remove from the place while
I lived.

After I had been two or three days returned to my castle, I thought,
that, in order to bring Friday off from his horrid way of feeding, and
from the relish of a cannibal's stomach, I ought to let him taste other
flesh; so I took him out with me one morning to the woods: I went,
indeed, intending to kill a kid out of my own flock, and bring it home
and dress it: but as I was going, I saw a she goat lying down in the
shade, and two young kids sitting by her. I catched hold of Friday:
"Hold," said I, "stand still;" and made signs to him not to stir.
Immediately I presented my piece, shot and killed one of the kids. The
poor creature, who had, at a distance indeed, seen me kill the savage
his enemy, but did not know, or could imagine how it was done, was
sensibly surprised, trembled and shook, and looked so amazed, that I
thought he would have sunk down: he did not see the kid I had shot at,
or perceive I had killed it, but ripped up his waistcoat to feel if he
was not wounded; and, as I found, presently thought I was resolved to
kill him: for he came and kneeled down to me, and, embracing my knees,
said a great many things I did not understand but I could easily see
that his meaning was to pray me not to kill him.

I soon found a way to convince him, that I would do him no harm; and
taking him up by the hand, laughed at him, and pointing to the kid which
I had killed, beckoned to him to run and fetch it, which he did: and
while he was wondering and looking to see how the creature was killed,
I loaded my gun again, and by and by I saw a great fowl, like a hawk,
sit upon a tree within shot; so, to let Friday understand a little what
I would do, I called him to me again, pointing at the fowl, which was
indeed a parrot, though I thought it had been a hawk: I say, pointing to
the parrot, and to my gun, and to the ground under the parrot, to let
him see I would make him fall, I made him understand that I would shoot
and kill that bird; accordingly I fired, and bid him look, and
immediately he saw the parrot fall; he stood like one frighted again,
notwithstanding all that I had said to him; and I found he was the more
amazed, because he did not see me put any thing into the gun; but
thought there must be some wonderful fund of death and destruction in
that thing, able to kill man, beast, bird, or any thing near or far off;
for the astonishment this created in him was such, as could not wear off
for a long time; and I believe, if I would have let him, he would have
worshipped me and my gun; as for the gun itself, he would not so much as
touch it for several days over; but would speak to it, and talk to it,
as if it had answered him, when he was by himself; which, as I
afterwards learnt of him, was to desire it not to kill him.

Well; after his astonishment was a little over at this, I pointed to him
to run and fetch the bird I had shot, which he did, but staid some time;
for the parrot, not being quite dead, had fluttered a good way off from
the place where she fell; however, he found her, took her up, and
brought her to me; and, as I had perceived his ignorance about the gun
before, I took this advantage to charge the gun again, and not let him
see me do it, that I might he ready for any other mark that might
present; but nothing more offered at that time; so I brought home the
kid; and the same evening I took the skin off, and cut it out as well as
I could, and having a pot for that purpose, I boiled or stewed some of
the flesh, and made some very good broth; after I had begun to eat some,
I gave some to my man, who seemed very glad of it, and liked it very
well; but that which was strangest to him, was, to see me eat salt with
it. He made a sign to me that the salt was not good to eat; and putting
a little into his own month, he seemed to nauseate it, and would spit
and sputter at it, washing his mouth with fresh water after it. On the
other hand, I took some meat in my mouth without salt, and I pretended
to spit and sputter for want of salt, as fast as he had done at the
salt; but it would not do, he would never care for salt with meat, or in
his broth; at least, not a great while, and then but a very little.

Having thus fed him with boiled meat and broth, I was resolved to feast
him the next day with roasting a piece of the kid: this I did by hanging
it before the fire in a string, as I had seen many people do in England,
setting two poles up, one on each side the fire, and one cross on the
top, and tying the string to the cross stick, letting the meat turn
continually: this Friday admired very much; but when he came to taste
the flesh, he took so many ways to tell me how well he liked it, that I
could not but understand him; and at last he told me he would never eat
man's flesh any more, which I was very glad to hear.

The next day I set him to work to beating some corn out, and sifting it
in the manner I used to do, as I observed before; and he soon understood
how to do it as well as I, especially after he had seen what the meaning
of it was, and that it was to make bread of; for after that I let him
see me make my bread, and bake it too; and in a little time Friday was
able to do all the work for me, as well as I could do it myself.

I began now to consider, that, having two mouths to feed instead of one,
I must provide more ground for my harvest, and plant a larger quantity
of corn, than I used to do; so I marked out a larger piece of land, and
began the fence in the same manner as before, in which Friday not only
worked very willingly and very hard, but did it very cheerfully; and I
told him what it was for, that it was for corn to make more bread,
because he was now with me, and that I might have enough for him and
myself too: he appeared very sensible of that part, and let me know,
that he thought I had much more labour upon me on his account, than I
had for myself, and that he would work the harder for me, if I would
tell him what to do.

This was the pleasantest year of all the life I led in this place.
Friday began to talk pretty well, and understand the names of almost
every thing I had occasion to call for, and of every place I had to send
him to, and talk a great deal to me; so that, in short, I began now to
have some use for my tongue again, which indeed I had very little
occasion for before; that is to say, about speech. Besides the pleasure
of talking to him, I had a singular satisfaction in the fellow himself;
his simple unfeigned honesty appeared to me more and more every day, and
I began really to love the creature; and on his side, I believe, he
loved me more than it was possible for him ever to love any
thing before.

I had a mind once to try if he had any hankering inclination to his own
country again; and having learnt him English so well, that he could
answer me almost any questions, I asked him, whether the nation that he
belonged to never conquered in battle? At which he smiled, and said,
"Yes, yes, we always fight the better;" that is, he meant, always get
the better in fight; and so we began the following discourse. "You
always fight the better!" said I: "how came you to be taken prisoner
then, Friday?"

_Friday._ My nation beat much for all that.

_Master_. How beat? if your nation beat them, how came you to be taken?

_Friday_. They more than my nation in the place where me was; they take
one, two, three, and me: my nation over-beat them in the yonder place,
where me no was; there my nation take one two great thousand.

_Master_. But why did not your side recover you from the hands of your
enemies then?

_Friday_. They run one, two, three, and me, and make go in the canoe; my
nation have no canoe that time.

_Master_. Well, Friday, and what does your nation do with the men they
take? Do they carry them away, and eat them as these did?

_Friday._ Yes, my nation eat mans too, eat all up.

_Master_. Where do they carry them?

_Friday_. Go to other place where they think.

_Master_. Do they come hither?

_Friday_. Yes, yes, they come hither; come other else place.

_Master_. Have you been here with them?

_Friday_. Yes, I been here [points to the N.W. side of the island,
which, it seems, was their side.]

By this I understood, that my man Friday had formerly been among the
savages, who used to come on shore on the farther part of the island, on
the said man eating occasions that he was now brought for; and some time
after, when I took the courage to carry him to that side, being the same
I formerly mentioned, he presently knew the place, and told me, he was
there once when they ate up twenty men, two women, and one child: he
could not tell twenty in English, but he numbered them by laying so many
stones in a row, and pointing to me to tell them over.

I have told this passage, because it introduces what follows; that after
I had had this discourse with him, I asked him, how far it was from our
island to the shore, and whether the canoes were not often lost? He told
me there was no danger, no canoes ever lost; but that after a little way
out to sea, there was a current, and a wind always one way in the
morning, the other in the afternoon.

This I understand to be no more than the sets of the tide, as going out,
or coming in; but I afterwards understood it was occasioned by the great
draught and reflux of the mighty river Oroonoque; in the mouth of which
river, as I thought afterwards, our island lay; and that this land,
which I perceived to the W. and N.W. was the great island Trinidad, on
the north point of the mouth of the river. I asked Friday a thousand
questions about the country, the inhabitants, the sea, the coast, and
what nations were near: he told me all he knew with the greatest
openness imaginable. I asked him the names of the several nations of his
sort of people, but could get no other name than Caribs; from whence I
easily understood, that these were the Caribees, which our maps place on
that part of America which reaches from the mouth of the river Oroonoque
to Guinea, and onwards to St. Martha. He told me, that up a great way
beyond the moon, that was, beyond the setting of the moon, which must be
W. from their country, there dwelt white-bearded men, like me, and
pointed to my great whiskers, which I mentioned before; and that they
had killed much mans, that was his word: by which I understood he meant
the Spaniards, whose cruelties in America had been spread over the whole
countries, and were remembered by all the nations from father to son.

I inquired if he could tell me how I might come from this island, and
get among those white men; he told me, Yes, yes, I might go in two
canoe; I could not understand what he meant by two canoe; till at last,
with great difficulty, I found he meant, that it must be in a large
great boat as big as two canoes.

This part of Friday's discourse began to relish with me very well; and
from this time I entertained some hopes, that one time or other I might
find an opportunity to make my escape from this place, and that this
poor savage might be a means to help me to do it.

During the long time that Friday had now been with me, and that he began
to speak to me, and understand me, I was not wanting to lay a foundation
of religious knowledge in his mind; particularly I asked him one time,
Who made him? The poor creature did not understand me at all, but
thought I had asked who was his father: but I took it by another handle,
and asked him, Who made the sea, the ground he walked on, and the hills
and woods? He told me, it was one old Benamuckee that lived beyond all:
he could describe nothing of this great person, but that he was very
old; much older, he said, than the sea or the land, than the moon or the
stars. I asked him then, if this old person had made all things, why did
not all things worship him? He looked very grave, and with a perfect
look of innocence said, All things said O! to him. I asked him, if the
people who die in his country, went away any where? He said, Yes, they
all went to Benamuckee. Then I asked him, whether those they ate up,
went thither too? he said, Yes.

From these things I began to instruct him in the knowledge of the true
God. I told him, that the great Maker of all things lived there,
pointing up towards heaven; that he governs the world by the same power
and providence by which he made it; that he was omnipotent, could do
every thing for us, give every thing to us, take every thing from us:
and thus, by degrees, I opened his eyes. He listened with great
attention, and received with pleasure the notion of Jesus Christ being
sent to redeem us, and of the manner of making our prayers to God, and
his being able to hear us, even into heaven: he told me one day, that if
our God could hear us up beyond the sun, he must needs be a greater God
than their Benamuckee, who lived but a little way off, and yet could not
hear, till they went up to the great mountains, where he dwelt, to speak
to him. I asked him, if ever he went thither to speak to him? He said,
No, they never went that were young men; none went thither but the old
men; whom he called their Oowookakee, that is, as I made him explain it
to me, their religious, or clergy; and that they went to say O! (so he
called saying prayers,) and then came back, and told them what
Benamuckee said. By this I observed, that there is priestcraft even
amongst the most blinded ignorant Pagans in the world; and the policy of
making a secret religion, in order to preserve the veneration of the
people to the clergy, is not only to be found in the Roman, but perhaps
among all religious in the world, even among the most brutish and
barbarous savages.

I endeavoured to clear up this fraud to my man Friday; and told him,
that the pretence of their old men going up to the mountains to say O!
to their god Benamuckee, was a cheat; and their bringing word from
thence what he said, was much more so; that if they met with any answer,
or spoke with any one there, it must be with an evil spirit: and then I
entered into a long discourse with him about the devil, the original of
him, his rebellion against God, his enmity to man, the reason of it, his
setting himself up in the dark parts of the world to be worshipped
instead of God, and as God, and the many stratagems he made use of, to
delude mankind to their ruin; how he had a secret access to our passions
and to our affections, to adapt his snares so to our inclinations, as to
cause us even to be our own tempters, and to run upon our own
destruction by our own choice.

I found it was not so easy to imprint right notions in his mind about
the devil, as it was about the being of a God: nature assisted all my
arguments to evidence to him even the necessity of a great First Cause,
and over-ruling governing Power, a secret directing Providence, and of
the equity and justice of paying homage to Him that made us, and the
like: but there appeared nothing of all this in the notion of an evil
spirit, of his original, his being, his nature, and, above all, of his
inclination to do evil, and to draw us in to do so too: and the poor
creature puzzled me once in such a manner, by a question merely natural
and innocent, that I scarce knew what to say to him. I had been talking
a great deal to him of the power of God, his omnipotence, his dreadful
aversion to sin, his being a consuming fire to the workers of iniquity;
how, as he had made as all, he could destroy us, and all the world, in
a moment; and he listened with great seriousness to me all the while.

After this, I had been telling; him how the devil was God's enemy in the
hearts of men, and used all his malice and skill to defeat the good
designs of Providence, and to ruin the kingdom of Christ in the world,
and the like: "Well," says Friday, "but you say God is so strong, so
great, is he not much strong, much might, as the devil?"--"Yes, yes,"
said I, Friday, "God is stronger than the devil, God is above the devil,
and therefore we pray to God to tread him under our feet, and enable us
to resist his temptations, and quench his fiery darts."--"But," says he
again, "if God much strong, much might, as the devil, why God not kill
the devil, so make him no more wicked?"

I was strangely surprised at his question; and after all, though I was
now an old man, yet I was but a young doctor, and ill enough qualified
for a casuist, or a solver of difficulties: and, at first, I could not
tell what to say; so I pretended not to hear him, and asked him what he
said; but he was too earnest for an answer to forget his question; so
that he repeated it in the very same broken words, as above. By this
time I had recovered myself a little, and I said, "God will at last
punish him severely; he is reserved for the judgment, and is to be cast
into the bottomless pit, to dwell with everlasting fire." This did not
satisfy Friday; but he returns upon me, repeating my words, "Reserve at
last! me no understand: but why not kill the devil now, not kill great
ago?"--"You may as well ask me," said I, "why God does not kill you and
me, when we do wicked things here that offend him: we are preserved to
repent and be pardoned." He muses awhile at this; "Well, well," says he,
mighty affectionately, "that well; so you I, devil, all wicked, all
preserve, repent, God pardon all." Here I was run down again by him to
the last degree, and it was a testimony to me, how the mere notions of
nature, though they will guide reasonable creatures to the knowledge of
a God, and of a worship or homage due to the supreme being of God, as
the consequence of our nature; yet nothing but divine revelation can
form the knowledge of Jesus Christ, and of a redemption purchased for
us; of a Mediator; of a new covenant; and of an Intercessor at the
footstool of God's throne; I say, nothing but a revelation from Heaven
can form these in the soul; and that therefore the Gospel of our Lord
and Saviour Jesus Christ, I mean the word of God, and the Spirit of God,
promised for the guide and sanctifier of his people, are the absolutely
necessary instructors of the souls of men in the saving knowledge of
God, and the means of salvation.

I therefore diverted the present discourse between me and my man, rising
up hastily, as upon some sudden occasion of going out; then sending him
for some thing a great way off, I seriously prayed to God, that he would
enable me to instruct savingly this poor savage, assisting, by his
Spirit, the heart of the poor ignorant creature to receive the light of
the knowledge of God in Christ, reconciling him to himself, and would
guide me to speak so to him from the word of God, as his conscience
might be convinced, his eyes opened, and his soul saved. When he came
again to me, I entered into a long discourse with him upon the subject
of the redemption of man by the Saviour of the world, and of the
doctrine of the Gospel preached from Heaven, viz. of the repentance
towards God, and faith in our blessed Lord Jesus: I then explained to
him, as well as I could, why our blessed Redeemer took not on him the
nature of angels, but the seed of Abraham, and how, for that reason, the
fallen angels had no share in the redemption; that he came only to the
lost sheep of the house of Israel, and the like.

I had, God knows, more sincerity than knowledge, in all the methods I
took for this poor creature's instruction; and must acknowledge, what I
believe all that act upon the same principle will find, that in laying
things open to him, I really informed and instructed myself in many
things that either I did not know, or had not fully considered before;
but which occurred naturally to my mind, upon my searching into them for
the information of this poor savage; and I had more affection in my
inquiry after things upon this occasion, than ever I felt before; so
that whether this poor wild wretch was the better for me or no, I had
great reason to be thankful that ever he came to me: my grief sat
lighter upon me, my habitation grew comfortable to me beyond measure;
and when I reflected, that in this solitary life, which I had been
confined to, I had not only been moved myself to look up to Heaven, and
to seek to the Hand that brought me thither, but was now to be made an
instrument, under Providence, to save the life, and for aught I knew the
soul, of a poor savage, and bring him to the true knowledge of religion,
and of the Christian doctrine, that he might know Christ Jesus, to know
whom is life eternal; I say, when I reflected upon all these things, a
secret joy ran through every part of my soul, and I frequently rejoiced
that ever I was brought to this place, which I had often thought the
most dreadful of all afflictions that could possibly have befallen me.

In this thankful frame I continued all the remainder of my time; and the
conversation which employed the hours between Friday and me was such, as
made the three years which we lived there together perfectly and
completely happy, if any such thing as complete happiness can be found
in a sublunary state. The savage was now a good Christian, a much better
than I; though I have reason to hope, and bless God for it, that we were
equally penitent, and comforted restored penitents: we had here the Word
of God to read, and no farther off from his Spirit to instruct than if
we had been in England.

I always applied myself to reading the Scripture, and to let him know as
well as I could the meaning of what I read; and he again, by his serious
inquiries and questions, made me, as I said before, a much better
scholar in the Scripture knowledge, than I should ever have been by my
own private reading. Another thing I cannot refrain from observing here,
also from experience, in this retired part of my life; viz. how infinite
and inexpressible a blessing it is, that the knowledge of God, and of
the doctrine of salvation by Christ Jesus, is so plainly laid down in
the Word of God, so easy to be received and understood, that as the bare
reading the Scripture made me capable of understanding enough of my duty
to carry me directly on to the great work of sincere repentance for my
sins, and laying hold of a Saviour for life and salvation, to a stated
reformation in practice, and obedience to all God's commands, and this
without any teacher or instructor (I mean, human;) so the plain
instruction sufficiently served to the enlightening this savage
creature, and bringing him to be such a Christian, as I have known few
equal to him in my life.

As to the disputes, wranglings, strife, and contention, which has
happened in the world about religion, whether niceties in doctrines, or
schemes of church-government, they were all perfectly useless to us, as,
for aught I can yet see, they have been to all the rest in the world: we
had the sure guide to heaven, viz. the Word of God; and we had, blessed
be God! comfortable views of the Spirit of God, teaching and instructing
us by his Word, leading us into all truth, and making us both willing
and obedient to His instruction of his Word; and I cannot see the least
use that the greatest knowledge of the disputed points in religion,
which have made such confusions in the world, would have been to us, if
we could have obtained it. But I must go on with the historical part of
things, and take every part in its order.

After Friday and I became more intimately acquainted, and that he could
understand almost all I said to him, and speak fluently, though in
broken English, to me, I acquainted him with my own story, or at least
so much of it as related to my coming into the place, how I had lived
there, and how long: I let him into the mystery (for such it was to him)
of gunpowder and bullets, and taught him how to shoot: I gave him a
knife, which he was wonderfully delighted with; and I made him a belt
with a frog hanging to it, such as in England we wear hangers in; and in
the frog, instead of a hanger, I gave him a hatchet, which was not only
as good a weapon in some cases, but much more useful upon many

I described to him the countries of Europe, and particularly England,
which I came from; how we lived, how we worshipped God, how we behaved
to one another, and how we traded in ships to all the parts of the
world. I gave him an account of the wreck which I had been on board of,
and shewed him as near as I could, the place where she lay; but she was
all beaten in pieces long before, and quite gone.

I shewed him the ruins of our boat, which we lost when we escaped, and
which I could not stir with my whole strength then, but was now fallen
almost all to pieces. Upon seeing this boat, Friday stood musing a great
while, and said nothing; I asked him what it was he studied upon? At
last, says he, "Me see such boat like come to place at my nation."

I did not understand him a good while; but at last, when I had examined
further into it, I understood by him, that a boat, such as that had
been, came on shore upon the country where he lived; that is, as he
explained it, was driven thither by stress of weather. I presently
imagined, that some European ship must have been cast away upon their
coast, and the boat might get loose, and drive ashore; but was so dull,
that I never once thought of men making escape from a wreck thither,
much less whence they might come; so I only inquired after a description
of the boat.

Friday described the boat to me well enough; but brought me better to
understand him, when he added, with some warmth, "We save the white mans
from drown." Then I presently asked him, if there, were white mans, as
he called them, in the boat? "Yes," he said, "the boat full of while
mans." I asked him, how many! he told upon his fingers seventeen. I
asked him then, what became of them? he told me, "They live, they dwell
at my nation."

This put new thoughts into my head again; for I presently imagined, that
these might be the men belonging to the ship that was cast away in sight
of my island, as I now call it; and who, after the ship was struck on
the rock, and they saw her inevitably lost, had saved themselves in
their boat, and were landed upon that wild shore among the savages.

Upon this I inquired of him more critically, what was become of them? He
assured me they lived still there, that they had been there about four
years, that the savages let them alone, and gave them victuals to live.
I asked him, how it came to pass they did not kill them, and eat them?
He said, "No, they make brother with them:" that is, as I understood
him, a truce: and then he added, "They eat no mans but when make the war
fight:" that is to say, they never eat any men, but such as come to
fight with them, and are taken in battle.

It was after this, some considerable time, that being on the top of the
hill, at the east side of the island, from whence, as I have said, I had
in a clear day discovered the main or continent of America; Friday, the
weather being very serene, looks very earnestly towards the main land,
and in a kind of surprise falls a-jumping and dancing, and calls out to
me, for I was at some distance from him: I asked him what was the
matter? "O joy!" says he, "O glad! there see my country, there
my nation!"

I observed an extraordinary sense of pleasure appeared in his face, and
his eyes sparkled, and his countenance discovered a strange eagerness,
as if he had a mind to be in his own country again; and this observation
of mine put a great many thoughts into me; which made me at first not so
easy about my new man Friday as I was before; and I made no doubt, but
that if Friday could get back to his own nation again, he would not
only forget all his religion, but all his obligations to me; and would
be forward enough to give his countrymen an account of me, and come
back, perhaps, with an hundred or two of them, and make a feast upon me,
at which he might be as merry as he used to be with those of his
enemies, when they were taken in war.

But I wronged the poor honest creature very much, for which I was very
sorry afterwards: however, as my jealousy increased, and held me some
weeks, I was a little more circumspect, and not so familiar and kind to
him as before; in which I was certainly in the wrong too, the honest
grateful creature having no thought about it, but what consisted of the
best principles, both as a religious Christian and as a grateful friend,
as appeared afterwards to my full satisfaction.

Whilst my jealousy of him lasted, you may be sure I was every day
pumping him, to see if he would discover any of the new thoughts which I
suspected were in him; but I found every thing he said was so honest and
so innocent, that I could find nothing to nourish my suspicion; and, in
spite of all my uneasiness, he made me at last entirely his own again;
nor did he in the least perceive that I was uneasy; and therefore I
could not suspect him of deceit.

One day, walking up the same hill, but the weather being hazy at sea, so
that we could not see the continent, I called to him, and said, "Friday,
do not you wish yourself in your own country, your own nation"--"Yes,"
he said, "I be much O glad to be at my own nation."--"What would you do
there?" said I: "would you turn wild again, eat men's flesh again, and
be a savage as you were before?" He looked full of concern, and shaking
his head, said, "No, no, Friday tell them to live good; tell them to
pray God; tell them to eat corn-bread, cattle-flesh, milk, no eat man
again."--"Why, then," said I to him, "they will kill you." He looked
grave at that, and then said, "No, they no kill me, they willing love
learn:" he meant by this, they would be willing to learn. He added,
they learnt much of the bearded mans that came in the boat. Then I asked
him, if he would go back to them? He smiled at that, and told me he
could not swim so far. I told him I would make a canoe for him. He told
me he would go, if I would so with him. "I go!" said I, "why, they will
eat me if I come there."--"No, no," says he, "me make them no eat you,
me make they much love you:" he meant he would tell them how I had
killed his enemies and saved his life, and so he would make them love
me. Then he told me, as well as he could, how kind they were to
seventeen white men, or bearded men, as he called them, who came on
shore in distress.

From this time, I confess, I had a mind to venture over, and see if I
could possibly join with these bearded men, who, I made no doubt, were
Spaniards or Portuguese; not doubting but, if I could, we might find
some method to escape from thence, being upon the continent, and a good
company together, better than I could from an island forty miles off the
shore, and alone without help. So, after some days, I took Friday to
work again, by way of discourse; and told him, I would give him a boat
to go back to his own nation; and accordingly I carried him to my
frigate, which lay on the other side of the island; and having cleared
it of water (for I always kept it sunk in the water), I brought it out,
shewed it him, and we both went into it.

I found he was a most dexterous fellow at managing it, would make it go
almost as swift and fast again as I could; so when he was in, I said to
him, "Well, now, Friday, shall we go to your nation?" He looked very
dull at my saying so, which, it seems, was because he thought the boat
too small to go so far. I told him then I had a bigger; so the next day
I went to the place where the first boat lay which I had made, but which
I could not get into the water; he said that was big enough; but then,
as I had taken no care of it, and it had lain two or three and twenty
years there, the sun had split and dried it, that it was in a manner
rotten. Friday told me, such a boat would do very well, and would carry
"much enough vittle, drink, bread:" that was his way of talking.

Upon the whole, I was by this time so fixed upon my design of going over
with him to the continent, that I told him we would go and make one as
big as that, and he should go home in it. He answered not one word, but
looked very, grave and sad. I asked him, what was the matter with him?
He asked me again thus, "Why you angry mad with Friday? what me done?" I
asked him, what he meant? I told him I was not angry with him at all:
"No angry! no angry!" says he, repeating the words several times, "why
send Friday home away to my nation?"--"Why," said I, "Friday, did you
not say you wished you were there?"--"Yes, yes," says he, "wish be both
there; no wish Friday there, no master there." In a word, he would not
think of going there without me. "I go there, Friday!" said I; "what
should I do there?" He turned very quick upon me at this; "You do great
deal much good," says he; "you teach wild mans be good, sober, tame
mans; you tell them know God, pray God, and live new life."--"Alas,
Friday," said I, "thou knowest not what thou sayest; I am but an
ignorant man myself."--"Yes, yes," says he, "you teechee me good, you
teechee them good."--"No, no, Friday," said I, "you shall go without me;
leave me here to live by myself, as I did before." He looked confused
again at that word, and running to one of the hatchets which he used to
wear, he takes it up hastily, and gives it me. "What must I do with
this?" said I to him. "You take kill Friday," says he. "What must I kill
you for?" said I again, He returns very quick, "What you send Friday
away for? Take kill Friday, no send Friday away." This he spoke so
earnestly, that I saw tears stand in his eyes. In a word, I so plainly
discovered the utmost affection in him to me, and a firm resolution in
him, that I told him then, and often after, that I would never send him
away from me, if he was willing to stay with me.

Upon the whole, as I found by all his discourse a settled affection to
me, and that nothing should part him from me, so I found all the
foundation of his desire to go to his own country was laid in his ardent
affection to the people, and his hopes of my doing them good; a thing,
which as I had no notion of myself, so I had not the least thought, or
intention, or desire of undertaking it. But still I found a strong
inclination to my attempting an escape, as above, founded on the
supposition gathered from the former discourse; viz. that there were
seventeen bearded men there; and therefore, without any delay, I went to
work with Friday, to find out a great tree proper to fell, and make a
large periagua or canoe, to under take the voyage: there were trees
enough in the island to have built a little fleet, not of periaguas and
canoes only, but even of good large vessels: but the main thing I looked
at, was to get one so near the water, that we might launch it when it
was made, to avoid the mistake I committed at first.

At last Friday pitched upon a tree; for I found he knew much better than
I what kind of wood was fittest for it; nor can I tell to this day what
wood to call the tree we cut down, except that it was very like the tree
we call tustick, or between that and the Nicaragua wood, for it was much
of the same colour and smell. Friday was for burning the hollow or
cavity of this tree out, to make it into a boat: but I shewed him how
rather to cut it out with tools, which after I shewed him how to use, he
did very handily; and in about a month's hard labour we finished it, and
made it very handsome, especially, when, with our axes, which I shewed
him how to handle, we cut and hewed the outside into the true shape of a
boat; after this, however, it cost us near a fortnight's time to get her
along, as it were inch by inch, upon great rollers, into the water: but
when she was in, she would have carried twenty men with great ease.

When she was in the water, and though she was so big, it amazed me to
see with what dexterity and how swift my man Friday could manage her,
turn her, and paddle her along; so I asked him if he would, and if we
might venture over in her? "Yes," he said, "he venture over in her very
well, though great blow wind." However, I had a farther design that he
knew nothing of, and that was, to make a mast and sail, and to fit her
with an anchor and cable. As to a mast, that was easy enough to get; so
I pitched upon a straight young cedar-tree, which I found near the
place, and which there was a great plenty of in the island; and I set
Friday to work to cut it down, and gave him directions how to shape and
order it: but as to the sail, that was my particular care; I knew I had
old sails, or rather pieces of old sails enough; but as I had had them
now twenty-six years by me, and had not been very careful to preserve
them, not imagining that I should ever have this kind of use for them, I
did not doubt but they were all rotten; and indeed most of them were so;
however, I found two pieces which appeared pretty good, and with these I
went to work, and with a great deal of pains, and awkward tedious
stitching (you may be sure) for want of needles, I at length made a
three-cornered ugly thing, like what we call in England a
shoulder-of-mutton sail, to go with a boom at bottom, and a little short
sprit at the top, such as usually our ships' long-boats sail with, and
such as I best knew how to manage; because it was such a one as I used
in the boat in which I made my escape from Barbary, as related in the
first part of my story.

I was near two months performing this last work, viz. rigging and
fitting my mast and sails; for I finished them very complete, making a
small stay, and a sail or foresail to it, to assist, if we should turn
to windward; and, which was more than all, I fixed a rudder to the stern
of her, to steer with; and though I was but a bungling shipwright, yet
as I knew the usefulness, and even necessity of such a thing, I applied
myself with so much pains to do it, that at last I brought it to pass,
though, considering the many dull contrivances I had for it that failed,
I think it cost me almost as much labour as making the boat.

After all this was done, I had my man Friday to teach as to what
belonged to the navigation of my boat; for though he knew very well how
to paddle the canoe, he knew nothing what belonged to a sail and a
rudder, and was the more amazed when he saw me work the boat to and
again in the sea by the rudder, and how the sail gibed, and filled this
way or that way, as the course we sailed changed; I say, when he saw
this, he stood like one astonished and amazed: however, with a little
use, I made all these things familiar to him, and he became an expert
sailor, except that as to the compass I could make him understand very
little of that: on the other hand, as there was very little cloudy
weather, and seldom or never any fogs in those parts, there was the less
occasion for a compass, seeing the stars were always to be seen by
night, and the shore by day, except in the rainy seasons; and then
nobody cared to stir abroad, either by land or sea.

I was now entered on the seven-and-twentieth year of my captivity in
this place; though the three last years that I had this creature with
me, ought rather to be left out of the account, my habitation being
quite of another kind than in all the rest of my time. I kept the
anniversary of my landing here with the same thankfulness to God for his
mercies as at first; and if I had such cause of acknowledgment at first,
I had much more so now, having such additional testimonies of the care
of Providence over me, and the great hopes I had of being effectually
and speedily delivered; for I had an invincible impression upon my
thoughts, that my deliverance was at hand, and that I should not be

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