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Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

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Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe


I WAS born in the year 1632, in the city of York, of a good family,
though not of that country, my father being a foreigner of Bremen,
who settled first at Hull. He got a good estate by merchandise,
and leaving off his trade, lived afterwards at York, from whence he
had married my mother, whose relations were named Robinson, a very
good family in that country, and from whom I was called Robinson
Kreutznaer; but, by the usual corruption of words in England, we
are now called - nay we call ourselves and write our name - Crusoe;
and so my companions always called me.

I had two elder brothers, one of whom was lieutenant-colonel to an
English regiment of foot in Flanders, formerly commanded by the
famous Colonel Lockhart, and was killed at the battle near Dunkirk
against the Spaniards. What became of my second brother I never
knew, any more than my father or mother knew what became of me.

Being the third son of the family and not bred to any trade, my
head began to be filled very early with rambling thoughts. My
father, who was very ancient, had given me a competent share of
learning, as far as house-education and a country free school
generally go, and designed me for the law; but I would be satisfied
with nothing but going to sea; and my inclination to this led me so
strongly against the will, nay, the commands of my father, and
against all the entreaties and persuasions of my mother and other
friends, that there seemed to be something fatal in that propensity
of nature, tending directly to the life of misery which was to
befall me.

My father, a wise and grave man, gave me serious and excellent
counsel against what he foresaw was my design. He called me one
morning into his chamber, where he was confined by the gout, and
expostulated very warmly with me upon this subject. He asked me
what reasons, more than a mere wandering inclination, I had for
leaving father's house and my native country, where I might be well
introduced, and had a prospect of raising my fortune by application
and industry, with a life of ease and pleasure. He told me it was
men of desperate fortunes on one hand, or of aspiring, superior
fortunes on the other, who went abroad upon adventures, to rise by
enterprise, and make themselves famous in undertakings of a nature
out of the common road; that these things were all either too far
above me or too far below me; that mine was the middle state, or
what might be called the upper station of low life, which he had
found, by long experience, was the best state in the world, the
most suited to human happiness, not exposed to the miseries and
hardships, the labour and sufferings of the mechanic part of
mankind, and not embarrassed with the pride, luxury, ambition, and
envy of the upper part of mankind. He told me I might judge of the
happiness of this state by this one thing - viz. that this was the
state of life which all other people envied; that kings have
frequently lamented the miserable consequence of being born to
great things, and wished they had been placed in the middle of the
two extremes, between the mean and the great; that the wise man
gave his testimony to this, as the standard of felicity, when he
prayed to have neither poverty nor riches.

He bade me observe it, and I should always find that the calamities
of life were shared among the upper and lower part of mankind, but
that the middle station had the fewest disasters, and was not
exposed to so many vicissitudes as the higher or lower part of
mankind; nay, they were not subjected to so many distempers and
uneasinesses, either of body or mind, as those were who, by vicious
living, luxury, and extravagances on the one hand, or by hard
labour, want of necessaries, and mean or insufficient diet on the
other hand, bring distemper upon themselves by the natural
consequences of their way of living; that the middle station of
life was calculated for all kind of virtue and all kind of
enjoyments; that peace and plenty were the handmaids of a middle
fortune; that temperance, moderation, quietness, health, society,
all agreeable diversions, and all desirable pleasures, were the
blessings attending the middle station of life; that this way men
went silently and smoothly through the world, and comfortably out
of it, not embarrassed with the labours of the hands or of the
head, not sold to a life of slavery for daily bread, nor harassed
with perplexed circumstances, which rob the soul of peace and the
body of rest, nor enraged with the passion of envy, or the secret
burning lust of ambition for great things; but, in easy
circumstances, sliding gently through the world, and sensibly
tasting the sweets of living, without the bitter; feeling that they
are happy, and learning by every day's experience to know it more

After this he pressed me earnestly, and in the most affectionate
manner, not to play the young man, nor to precipitate myself into
miseries which nature, and the station of life I was born in,
seemed to have provided against; that I was under no necessity of
seeking my bread; that he would do well for me, and endeavour to
enter me fairly into the station of life which he had just been
recommending to me; and that if I was not very easy and happy in
the world, it must be my mere fate or fault that must hinder it;
and that he should have nothing to answer for, having thus
discharged his duty in warning me against measures which he knew
would be to my hurt; in a word, that as he would do very kind
things for me if I would stay and settle at home as he directed, so
he would not have so much hand in my misfortunes as to give me any
encouragement to go away; and to close all, he told me I had my
elder brother for an example, to whom he had used the same earnest
persuasions to keep him from going into the Low Country wars, but
could not prevail, his young desires prompting him to run into the
army, where he was killed; and though he said he would not cease to
pray for me, yet he would venture to say to me, that if I did take
this foolish step, God would not bless me, and I should have
leisure hereafter to reflect upon having neglected his counsel when
there might be none to assist in my recovery.

I observed in this last part of his discourse, which was truly
prophetic, though I suppose my father did not know it to be so
himself - I say, I observed the tears run down his face very
plentifully, especially when he spoke of my brother who was killed:
and that when he spoke of my having leisure to repent, and none to
assist me, he was so moved that he broke off the discourse, and
told me his heart was so full he could say no more to me.

I was sincerely affected with this discourse, and, indeed, who
could be otherwise? and I resolved not to think of going abroad any
more, but to settle at home according to my father's desire. But
alas! a few days wore it all off; and, in short, to prevent any of
my father's further importunities, in a few weeks after I resolved
to run quite away from him. However, I did not act quite so
hastily as the first heat of my resolution prompted; but I took my
mother at a time when I thought her a little more pleasant than
ordinary, and told her that my thoughts were so entirely bent upon
seeing the world that I should never settle to anything with
resolution enough to go through with it, and my father had better
give me his consent than force me to go without it; that I was now
eighteen years old, which was too late to go apprentice to a trade
or clerk to an attorney; that I was sure if I did I should never
serve out my time, but I should certainly run away from my master
before my time was out, and go to sea; and if she would speak to my
father to let me go one voyage abroad, if I came home again, and
did not like it, I would go no more; and I would promise, by a
double diligence, to recover the time that I had lost.

This put my mother into a great passion; she told me she knew it
would be to no purpose to speak to my father upon any such subject;
that he knew too well what was my interest to give his consent to
anything so much for my hurt; and that she wondered how I could
think of any such thing after the discourse I had had with my
father, and such kind and tender expressions as she knew my father
had used to me; and that, in short, if I would ruin myself, there
was no help for me; but I might depend I should never have their
consent to it; that for her part she would not have so much hand in
my destruction; and I should never have it to say that my mother
was willing when my father was not.

Though my mother refused to move it to my father, yet I heard
afterwards that she reported all the discourse to him, and that my
father, after showing a great concern at it, said to her, with a
sigh, "That boy might be happy if he would stay at home; but if he
goes abroad, he will be the most miserable wretch that ever was
born: I can give no consent to it."

It was not till almost a year after this that I broke loose,
though, in the meantime, I continued obstinately deaf to all
proposals of settling to business, and frequently expostulated with
my father and mother about their being so positively determined
against what they knew my inclinations prompted me to. But being
one day at Hull, where I went casually, and without any purpose of
making an elopement at that time; but, I say, being there, and one
of my companions being about to sail to London in his father's
ship, and prompting me to go with them with the common allurement
of seafaring men, that it should cost me nothing for my passage, I
consulted neither father nor mother any more, nor so much as sent
them word of it; but leaving them to hear of it as they might,
without asking God's blessing or my father's, without any
consideration of circumstances or consequences, and in an ill hour,
God knows, on the 1st of September 1651, I went on board a ship
bound for London. Never any young adventurer's misfortunes, I
believe, began sooner, or continued longer than mine. The ship was
no sooner out of the Humber than the wind began to blow and the sea
to rise in a most frightful manner; and, as I had never been at sea
before, I was most inexpressibly sick in body and terrified in
mind. I began now seriously to reflect upon what I had done, and
how justly I was overtaken by the judgment of Heaven for my wicked
leaving my father's house, and abandoning my duty. All the good
counsels of my parents, my father's tears and my mother's
entreaties, came now fresh into my mind; and my conscience, which
was not yet come to the pitch of hardness to which it has since,
reproached me with the contempt of advice, and the breach of my
duty to God and my father.

All this while the storm increased, and the sea went very high,
though nothing like what I have seen many times since; no, nor what
I saw a few days after; but it was enough to affect me then, who
was but a young sailor, and had never known anything of the matter.
I expected every wave would have swallowed us up, and that every
time the ship fell down, as I thought it did, in the trough or
hollow of the sea, we should never rise more; in this agony of
mind, I made many vows and resolutions that if it would please God
to spare my life in this one voyage, if ever I got once my foot
upon dry land again, I would go directly home to my father, and
never set it into a ship again while I lived; that I would take his
advice, and never run myself into such miseries as these any more.
Now I saw plainly the goodness of his observations about the middle
station of life, how easy, how comfortably he had lived all his
days, and never had been exposed to tempests at sea or troubles on
shore; and I resolved that I would, like a true repenting prodigal,
go home to my father.

These wise and sober thoughts continued all the while the storm
lasted, and indeed some time after; but the next day the wind was
abated, and the sea calmer, and I began to be a little inured to
it; however, I was very grave for all that day, being also a little
sea-sick still; but towards night the weather cleared up, the wind
was quite over, and a charming fine evening followed; the sun went
down perfectly clear, and rose so the next morning; and having
little or no wind, and a smooth sea, the sun shining upon it, the
sight was, as I thought, the most delightful that ever I saw.

I had slept well in the night, and was now no more sea-sick, but
very cheerful, looking with wonder upon the sea that was so rough
and terrible the day before, and could be so calm and so pleasant
in so little a time after. And now, lest my good resolutions
should continue, my companion, who had enticed me away, comes to
me; "Well, Bob," says he, clapping me upon the shoulder, "how do
you do after it? I warrant you were frighted, wer'n't you, last
night, when it blew but a capful of wind?" "A capful d'you call
it?" said I; "'twas a terrible storm." "A storm, you fool you,"
replies he; "do you call that a storm? why, it was nothing at all;
give us but a good ship and sea-room, and we think nothing of such
a squall of wind as that; but you're but a fresh-water sailor, Bob.
Come, let us make a bowl of punch, and we'll forget all that; d'ye
see what charming weather 'tis now?" To make short this sad part
of my story, we went the way of all sailors; the punch was made and
I was made half drunk with it: and in that one night's wickedness I
drowned all my repentance, all my reflections upon my past conduct,
all my resolutions for the future. In a word, as the sea was
returned to its smoothness of surface and settled calmness by the
abatement of that storm, so the hurry of my thoughts being over, my
fears and apprehensions of being swallowed up by the sea being
forgotten, and the current of my former desires returned, I
entirely forgot the vows and promises that I made in my distress.
I found, indeed, some intervals of reflection; and the serious
thoughts did, as it were, endeavour to return again sometimes; but
I shook them off, and roused myself from them as it were from a
distemper, and applying myself to drinking and company, soon
mastered the return of those fits - for so I called them; and I had
in five or six days got as complete a victory over conscience as
any young fellow that resolved not to be troubled with it could
desire. But I was to have another trial for it still; and
Providence, as in such cases generally it does, resolved to leave
me entirely without excuse; for if I would not take this for a
deliverance, the next was to be such a one as the worst and most
hardened wretch among us would confess both the danger and the
mercy of.

The sixth day of our being at sea we came into Yarmouth Roads; the
wind having been contrary and the weather calm, we had made but
little way since the storm. Here we were obliged to come to an
anchor, and here we lay, the wind continuing contrary - viz. at
south-west - for seven or eight days, during which time a great
many ships from Newcastle came into the same Roads, as the common
harbour where the ships might wait for a wind for the river.

We had not, however, rid here so long but we should have tided it
up the river, but that the wind blew too fresh, and after we had
lain four or five days, blew very hard. However, the Roads being
reckoned as good as a harbour, the anchorage good, and our ground-
tackle very strong, our men were unconcerned, and not in the least
apprehensive of danger, but spent the time in rest and mirth, after
the manner of the sea; but the eighth day, in the morning, the wind
increased, and we had all hands at work to strike our topmasts, and
make everything snug and close, that the ship might ride as easy as
possible. By noon the sea went very high indeed, and our ship rode
forecastle in, shipped several seas, and we thought once or twice
our anchor had come home; upon which our master ordered out the
sheet-anchor, so that we rode with two anchors ahead, and the
cables veered out to the bitter end.

By this time it blew a terrible storm indeed; and now I began to
see terror and amazement in the faces even of the seamen
themselves. The master, though vigilant in the business of
preserving the ship, yet as he went in and out of his cabin by me,
I could hear him softly to himself say, several times, "Lord be
merciful to us! we shall be all lost! we shall be all undone!" and
the like. During these first hurries I was stupid, lying still in
my cabin, which was in the steerage, and cannot describe my temper:
I could ill resume the first penitence which I had so apparently
trampled upon and hardened myself against: I thought the bitterness
of death had been past, and that this would be nothing like the
first; but when the master himself came by me, as I said just now,
and said we should be all lost, I was dreadfully frighted. I got
up out of my cabin and looked out; but such a dismal sight I never
saw: the sea ran mountains high, and broke upon us every three or
four minutes; when I could look about, I could see nothing but
distress round us; two ships that rode near us, we found, had cut
their masts by the board, being deep laden; and our men cried out
that a ship which rode about a mile ahead of us was foundered. Two
more ships, being driven from their anchors, were run out of the
Roads to sea, at all adventures, and that with not a mast standing.
The light ships fared the best, as not so much labouring in the
sea; but two or three of them drove, and came close by us, running
away with only their spritsail out before the wind.

Towards evening the mate and boatswain begged the master of our
ship to let them cut away the fore-mast, which he was very
unwilling to do; but the boatswain protesting to him that if he did
not the ship would founder, he consented; and when they had cut
away the fore-mast, the main-mast stood so loose, and shook the
ship so much, they were obliged to cut that away also, and make a
clear deck.

Any one may judge what a condition I must be in at all this, who
was but a young sailor, and who had been in such a fright before at
but a little. But if I can express at this distance the thoughts I
had about me at that time, I was in tenfold more horror of mind
upon account of my former convictions, and the having returned from
them to the resolutions I had wickedly taken at first, than I was
at death itself; and these, added to the terror of the storm, put
me into such a condition that I can by no words describe it. But
the worst was not come yet; the storm continued with such fury that
the seamen themselves acknowledged they had never seen a worse. We
had a good ship, but she was deep laden, and wallowed in the sea,
so that the seamen every now and then cried out she would founder.
It was my advantage in one respect, that I did not know what they
meant by FOUNDER till I inquired. However, the storm was so
violent that I saw, what is not often seen, the master, the
boatswain, and some others more sensible than the rest, at their
prayers, and expecting every moment when the ship would go to the
bottom. In the middle of the night, and under all the rest of our
distresses, one of the men that had been down to see cried out we
had sprung a leak; another said there was four feet water in the
hold. Then all hands were called to the pump. At that word, my
heart, as I thought, died within me: and I fell backwards upon the
side of my bed where I sat, into the cabin. However, the men
roused me, and told me that I, that was able to do nothing before,
was as well able to pump as another; at which I stirred up and went
to the pump, and worked very heartily. While this was doing the
master, seeing some light colliers, who, not able to ride out the
storm were obliged to slip and run away to sea, and would come near
us, ordered to fire a gun as a signal of distress. I, who knew
nothing what they meant, thought the ship had broken, or some
dreadful thing happened. In a word, I was so surprised that I fell
down in a swoon. As this was a time when everybody had his own
life to think of, nobody minded me, or what was become of me; but
another man stepped up to the pump, and thrusting me aside with his
foot, let me lie, thinking I had been dead; and it was a great
while before I came to myself.

We worked on; but the water increasing in the hold, it was apparent
that the ship would founder; and though the storm began to abate a
little, yet it was not possible she could swim till we might run
into any port; so the master continued firing guns for help; and a
light ship, who had rid it out just ahead of us, ventured a boat
out to help us. It was with the utmost hazard the boat came near
us; but it was impossible for us to get on board, or for the boat
to lie near the ship's side, till at last the men rowing very
heartily, and venturing their lives to save ours, our men cast them
a rope over the stern with a buoy to it, and then veered it out a
great length, which they, after much labour and hazard, took hold
of, and we hauled them close under our stern, and got all into
their boat. It was to no purpose for them or us, after we were in
the boat, to think of reaching their own ship; so all agreed to let
her drive, and only to pull her in towards shore as much as we
could; and our master promised them, that if the boat was staved
upon shore, he would make it good to their master: so partly rowing
and partly driving, our boat went away to the northward, sloping
towards the shore almost as far as Winterton Ness.

We were not much more than a quarter of an hour out of our ship
till we saw her sink, and then I understood for the first time what
was meant by a ship foundering in the sea. I must acknowledge I
had hardly eyes to look up when the seamen told me she was sinking;
for from the moment that they rather put me into the boat than that
I might be said to go in, my heart was, as it were, dead within me,
partly with fright, partly with horror of mind, and the thoughts of
what was yet before me.

While we were in this condition - the men yet labouring at the oar
to bring the boat near the shore - we could see (when, our boat
mounting the waves, we were able to see the shore) a great many
people running along the strand to assist us when we should come
near; but we made but slow way towards the shore; nor were we able
to reach the shore till, being past the lighthouse at Winterton,
the shore falls off to the westward towards Cromer, and so the land
broke off a little the violence of the wind. Here we got in, and
though not without much difficulty, got all safe on shore, and
walked afterwards on foot to Yarmouth, where, as unfortunate men,
we were used with great humanity, as well by the magistrates of the
town, who assigned us good quarters, as by particular merchants and
owners of ships, and had money given us sufficient to carry us
either to London or back to Hull as we thought fit.

Had I now had the sense to have gone back to Hull, and have gone
home, I had been happy, and my father, as in our blessed Saviour's
parable, had even killed the fatted calf for me; for hearing the
ship I went away in was cast away in Yarmouth Roads, it was a great
while before he had any assurances that I was not drowned.

But my ill fate pushed me on now with an obstinacy that nothing
could resist; and though I had several times loud calls from my
reason and my more composed judgment to go home, yet I had no power
to do it. I know not what to call this, nor will I urge that it is
a secret overruling decree, that hurries us on to be the
instruments of our own destruction, even though it be before us,
and that we rush upon it with our eyes open. Certainly, nothing
but some such decreed unavoidable misery, which it was impossible
for me to escape, could have pushed me forward against the calm
reasonings and persuasions of my most retired thoughts, and against
two such visible instructions as I had met with in my first

My comrade, who had helped to harden me before, and who was the
master's son, was now less forward than I. The first time he spoke
to me after we were at Yarmouth, which was not till two or three
days, for we were separated in the town to several quarters; I say,
the first time he saw me, it appeared his tone was altered; and,
looking very melancholy, and shaking his head, he asked me how I
did, and telling his father who I was, and how I had come this
voyage only for a trial, in order to go further abroad, his father,
turning to me with a very grave and concerned tone "Young man,"
says he, "you ought never to go to sea any more; you ought to take
this for a plain and visible token that you are not to be a
seafaring man." "Why, sir," said I, "will you go to sea no more?"
"That is another case," said he; "it is my calling, and therefore
my duty; but as you made this voyage on trial, you see what a taste
Heaven has given you of what you are to expect if you persist.
Perhaps this has all befallen us on your account, like Jonah in the
ship of Tarshish. Pray," continues he, "what are you; and on what
account did you go to sea?" Upon that I told him some of my story;
at the end of which he burst out into a strange kind of passion:
"What had I done," says he, "that such an unhappy wretch should
come into my ship? I would not set my foot in the same ship with
thee again for a thousand pounds." This indeed was, as I said, an
excursion of his spirits, which were yet agitated by the sense of
his loss, and was farther than he could have authority to go.
However, he afterwards talked very gravely to me, exhorting me to
go back to my father, and not tempt Providence to my ruin, telling
me I might see a visible hand of Heaven against me. "And, young
man," said he, "depend upon it, if you do not go back, wherever you
go, you will meet with nothing but disasters and disappointments,
till your father's words are fulfilled upon you."

We parted soon after; for I made him little answer, and I saw him
no more; which way he went I knew not. As for me, having some
money in my pocket, I travelled to London by land; and there, as
well as on the road, had many struggles with myself what course of
life I should take, and whether I should go home or to sea.

As to going home, shame opposed the best motions that offered to my
thoughts, and it immediately occurred to me how I should be laughed
at among the neighbours, and should be ashamed to see, not my
father and mother only, but even everybody else; from whence I have
since often observed, how incongruous and irrational the common
temper of mankind is, especially of youth, to that reason which
ought to guide them in such cases - viz. that they are not ashamed
to sin, and yet are ashamed to repent; not ashamed of the action
for which they ought justly to be esteemed fools, but are ashamed
of the returning, which only can make them be esteemed wise men.

In this state of life, however, I remained some time, uncertain
what measures to take, and what course of life to lead. An
irresistible reluctance continued to going home; and as I stayed
away a while, the remembrance of the distress I had been in wore
off, and as that abated, the little motion I had in my desires to
return wore off with it, till at last I quite laid aside the
thoughts of it, and looked out for a voyage.


THAT evil influence which carried me first away from my father's
house - which hurried me into the wild and indigested notion of
raising my fortune, and that impressed those conceits so forcibly
upon me as to make me deaf to all good advice, and to the
entreaties and even the commands of my father - I say, the same
influence, whatever it was, presented the most unfortunate of all
enterprises to my view; and I went on board a vessel bound to the
coast of Africa; or, as our sailors vulgarly called it, a voyage to

It was my great misfortune that in all these adventures I did not
ship myself as a sailor; when, though I might indeed have worked a
little harder than ordinary, yet at the same time I should have
learnt the duty and office of a fore-mast man, and in time might
have qualified myself for a mate or lieutenant, if not for a
master. But as it was always my fate to choose for the worse, so I
did here; for having money in my pocket and good clothes upon my
back, I would always go on board in the habit of a gentleman; and
so I neither had any business in the ship, nor learned to do any.

It was my lot first of all to fall into pretty good company in
London, which does not always happen to such loose and misguided
young fellows as I then was; the devil generally not omitting to
lay some snare for them very early; but it was not so with me. I
first got acquainted with the master of a ship who had been on the
coast of Guinea; and who, having had very good success there, was
resolved to go again. This captain taking a fancy to my
conversation, which was not at all disagreeable at that time,
hearing me say I had a mind to see the world, told me if I would go
the voyage with him I should be at no expense; I should be his
messmate and his companion; and if I could carry anything with me,
I should have all the advantage of it that the trade would admit;
and perhaps I might meet with some encouragement.

I embraced the offer; and entering into a strict friendship with
this captain, who was an honest, plain-dealing man, I went the
voyage with him, and carried a small adventure with me, which, by
the disinterested honesty of my friend the captain, I increased
very considerably; for I carried about 40 pounds in such toys and
trifles as the captain directed me to buy. These 40 pounds I had
mustered together by the assistance of some of my relations whom I
corresponded with; and who, I believe, got my father, or at least
my mother, to contribute so much as that to my first adventure.

This was the only voyage which I may say was successful in all my
adventures, which I owe to the integrity and honesty of my friend
the captain; under whom also I got a competent knowledge of the
mathematics and the rules of navigation, learned how to keep an
account of the ship's course, take an observation, and, in short,
to understand some things that were needful to be understood by a
sailor; for, as he took delight to instruct me, I took delight to
learn; and, in a word, this voyage made me both a sailor and a
merchant; for I brought home five pounds nine ounces of gold-dust
for my adventure, which yielded me in London, at my return, almost
300 pounds; and this filled me with those aspiring thoughts which
have since so completed my ruin.

Yet even in this voyage I had my misfortunes too; particularly,
that I was continually sick, being thrown into a violent calenture
by the excessive heat of the climate; our principal trading being
upon the coast, from latitude of 15 degrees north even to the line

I was now set up for a Guinea trader; and my friend, to my great
misfortune, dying soon after his arrival, I resolved to go the same
voyage again, and I embarked in the same vessel with one who was
his mate in the former voyage, and had now got the command of the
ship. This was the unhappiest voyage that ever man made; for
though I did not carry quite 100 pounds of my new-gained wealth, so
that I had 200 pounds left, which I had lodged with my friend's
widow, who was very just to me, yet I fell into terrible
misfortunes. The first was this: our ship making her course
towards the Canary Islands, or rather between those islands and the
African shore, was surprised in the grey of the morning by a
Turkish rover of Sallee, who gave chase to us with all the sail she
could make. We crowded also as much canvas as our yards would
spread, or our masts carry, to get clear; but finding the pirate
gained upon us, and would certainly come up with us in a few hours,
we prepared to fight; our ship having twelve guns, and the rogue
eighteen. About three in the afternoon he came up with us, and
bringing to, by mistake, just athwart our quarter, instead of
athwart our stern, as he intended, we brought eight of our guns to
bear on that side, and poured in a broadside upon him, which made
him sheer off again, after returning our fire, and pouring in also
his small shot from near two hundred men which he had on board.
However, we had not a man touched, all our men keeping close. He
prepared to attack us again, and we to defend ourselves. But
laying us on board the next time upon our other quarter, he entered
sixty men upon our decks, who immediately fell to cutting and
hacking the sails and rigging. We plied them with small shot,
half-pikes, powder-chests, and such like, and cleared our deck of
them twice. However, to cut short this melancholy part of our
story, our ship being disabled, and three of our men killed, and
eight wounded, we were obliged to yield, and were carried all
prisoners into Sallee, a port belonging to the Moors.

The usage I had there was not so dreadful as at first I
apprehended; nor was I carried up the country to the emperor's
court, as the rest of our men were, but was kept by the captain of
the rover as his proper prize, and made his slave, being young and
nimble, and fit for his business. At this surprising change of my
circumstances, from a merchant to a miserable slave, I was
perfectly overwhelmed; and now I looked back upon my father's
prophetic discourse to me, that I should be miserable and have none
to relieve me, which I thought was now so effectually brought to
pass that I could not be worse; for now the hand of Heaven had
overtaken me, and I was undone without redemption; but, alas! this
was but a taste of the misery I was to go through, as will appear
in the sequel of this story.

As my new patron, or master, had taken me home to his house, so I
was in hopes that he would take me with him when he went to sea
again, believing that it would some time or other be his fate to be
taken by a Spanish or Portugal man-of-war; and that then I should
be set at liberty. But this hope of mine was soon taken away; for
when he went to sea, he left me on shore to look after his little
garden, and do the common drudgery of slaves about his house; and
when he came home again from his cruise, he ordered me to lie in
the cabin to look after the ship.

Here I meditated nothing but my escape, and what method I might
take to effect it, but found no way that had the least probability
in it; nothing presented to make the supposition of it rational;
for I had nobody to communicate it to that would embark with me -
no fellow-slave, no Englishman, Irishman, or Scotchman there but
myself; so that for two years, though I often pleased myself with
the imagination, yet I never had the least encouraging prospect of
putting it in practice.

After about two years, an odd circumstance presented itself, which
put the old thought of making some attempt for my liberty again in
my head. My patron lying at home longer than usual without fitting
out his ship, which, as I heard, was for want of money, he used
constantly, once or twice a week, sometimes oftener if the weather
was fair, to take the ship's pinnace and go out into the road a-
fishing; and as he always took me and young Maresco with him to row
the boat, we made him very merry, and I proved very dexterous in
catching fish; insomuch that sometimes he would send me with a
Moor, one of his kinsmen, and the youth - the Maresco, as they
called him - to catch a dish of fish for him.

It happened one time, that going a-fishing in a calm morning, a fog
rose so thick that, though we were not half a league from the
shore, we lost sight of it; and rowing we knew not whither or which
way, we laboured all day, and all the next night; and when the
morning came we found we had pulled off to sea instead of pulling
in for the shore; and that we were at least two leagues from the
shore. However, we got well in again, though with a great deal of
labour and some danger; for the wind began to blow pretty fresh in
the morning; but we were all very hungry.

But our patron, warned by this disaster, resolved to take more care
of himself for the future; and having lying by him the longboat of
our English ship that he had taken, he resolved he would not go a-
fishing any more without a compass and some provision; so he
ordered the carpenter of his ship, who also was an English slave,
to build a little state-room, or cabin, in the middle of the long-
boat, like that of a barge, with a place to stand behind it to
steer, and haul home the main-sheet; the room before for a hand or
two to stand and work the sails. She sailed with what we call a
shoulder-of-mutton sail; and the boom jibed over the top of the
cabin, which lay very snug and low, and had in it room for him to
lie, with a slave or two, and a table to eat on, with some small
lockers to put in some bottles of such liquor as he thought fit to
drink; and his bread, rice, and coffee.

We went frequently out with this boat a-fishing; and as I was most
dexterous to catch fish for him, he never went without me. It
happened that he had appointed to go out in this boat, either for
pleasure or for fish, with two or three Moors of some distinction
in that place, and for whom he had provided extraordinarily, and
had, therefore, sent on board the boat overnight a larger store of
provisions than ordinary; and had ordered me to get ready three
fusees with powder and shot, which were on board his ship, for that
they designed some sport of fowling as well as fishing.

I got all things ready as he had directed, and waited the next
morning with the boat washed clean, her ancient and pendants out,
and everything to accommodate his guests; when by-and-by my patron
came on board alone, and told me his guests had put off going from
some business that fell out, and ordered me, with the man and boy,
as usual, to go out with the boat and catch them some fish, for
that his friends were to sup at his house, and commanded that as
soon as I got some fish I should bring it home to his house; all
which I prepared to do.

This moment my former notions of deliverance darted into my
thoughts, for now I found I was likely to have a little ship at my
command; and my master being gone, I prepared to furnish myself,
not for fishing business, but for a voyage; though I knew not,
neither did I so much as consider, whither I should steer -
anywhere to get out of that place was my desire.

My first contrivance was to make a pretence to speak to this Moor,
to get something for our subsistence on board; for I told him we
must not presume to eat of our patron's bread. He said that was
true; so he brought a large basket of rusk or biscuit, and three
jars of fresh water, into the boat. I knew where my patron's case
of bottles stood, which it was evident, by the make, were taken out
of some English prize, and I conveyed them into the boat while the
Moor was on shore, as if they had been there before for our master.
I conveyed also a great lump of beeswax into the boat, which
weighed about half a hundred-weight, with a parcel of twine or
thread, a hatchet, a saw, and a hammer, all of which were of great
use to us afterwards, especially the wax, to make candles. Another
trick I tried upon him, which he innocently came into also: his
name was Ismael, which they call Muley, or Moely; so I called to
him - "Moely," said I, "our patron's guns are on board the boat;
can you not get a little powder and shot? It may be we may kill
some alcamies (a fowl like our curlews) for ourselves, for I know
he keeps the gunner's stores in the ship." "Yes," says he, "I'll
bring some;" and accordingly he brought a great leather pouch,
which held a pound and a half of powder, or rather more; and
another with shot, that had five or six pounds, with some bullets,
and put all into the boat. At the same time I had found some
powder of my master's in the great cabin, with which I filled one
of the large bottles in the case, which was almost empty, pouring
what was in it into another; and thus furnished with everything
needful, we sailed out of the port to fish. The castle, which is
at the entrance of the port, knew who we were, and took no notice
of us; and we were not above a mile out of the port before we
hauled in our sail and set us down to fish. The wind blew from the
N.N.E., which was contrary to my desire, for had it blown southerly
I had been sure to have made the coast of Spain, and at least
reached to the bay of Cadiz; but my resolutions were, blow which
way it would, I would be gone from that horrid place where I was,
and leave the rest to fate.

After we had fished some time and caught nothing - for when I had
fish on my hook I would not pull them up, that he might not see
them - I said to the Moor, "This will not do; our master will not
be thus served; we must stand farther off." He, thinking no harm,
agreed, and being in the head of the boat, set the sails; and, as I
had the helm, I ran the boat out near a league farther, and then
brought her to, as if I would fish; when, giving the boy the helm,
I stepped forward to where the Moor was, and making as if I stooped
for something behind him, I took him by surprise with my arm under
his waist, and tossed him clear overboard into the sea. He rose
immediately, for he swam like a cork, and called to me, begged to
be taken in, told me he would go all over the world with me. He
swam so strong after the boat that he would have reached me very
quickly, there being but little wind; upon which I stepped into the
cabin, and fetching one of the fowling-pieces, I presented it at
him, and told him I had done him no hurt, and if he would be quiet
I would do him none. "But," said I, "you swim well enough to reach
to the shore, and the sea is calm; make the best of your way to
shore, and I will do you no harm; but if you come near the boat
I'll shoot you through the head, for I am resolved to have my
liberty;" so he turned himself about, and swam for the shore, and I
make no doubt but he reached it with ease, for he was an excellent

I could have been content to have taken this Moor with me, and have
drowned the boy, but there was no venturing to trust him. When he
was gone, I turned to the boy, whom they called Xury, and said to
him, "Xury, if you will be faithful to me, I'll make you a great
man; but if you will not stroke your face to be true to me" - that
is, swear by Mahomet and his father's beard - "I must throw you
into the sea too." The boy smiled in my face, and spoke so
innocently that I could not distrust him, and swore to be faithful
to me, and go all over the world with me.

While I was in view of the Moor that was swimming, I stood out
directly to sea with the boat, rather stretching to windward, that
they might think me gone towards the Straits' mouth (as indeed any
one that had been in their wits must have been supposed to do): for
who would have supposed we were sailed on to the southward, to the
truly Barbarian coast, where whole nations of negroes were sure to
surround us with their canoes and destroy us; where we could not go
on shore but we should be devoured by savage beasts, or more
merciless savages of human kind.

But as soon as it grew dusk in the evening, I changed my course,
and steered directly south and by east, bending my course a little
towards the east, that I might keep in with the shore; and having a
fair, fresh gale of wind, and a smooth, quiet sea, I made such sail
that I believe by the next day, at three o'clock in the afternoon,
when I first made the land, I could not be less than one hundred
and fifty miles south of Sallee; quite beyond the Emperor of
Morocco's dominions, or indeed of any other king thereabouts, for
we saw no people.

Yet such was the fright I had taken of the Moors, and the dreadful
apprehensions I had of falling into their hands, that I would not
stop, or go on shore, or come to an anchor; the wind continuing
fair till I had sailed in that manner five days; and then the wind
shifting to the southward, I concluded also that if any of our
vessels were in chase of me, they also would now give over; so I
ventured to make to the coast, and came to an anchor in the mouth
of a little river, I knew not what, nor where, neither what
latitude, what country, what nation, or what river. I neither saw,
nor desired to see any people; the principal thing I wanted was
fresh water. We came into this creek in the evening, resolving to
swim on shore as soon as it was dark, and discover the country; but
as soon as it was quite dark, we heard such dreadful noises of the
barking, roaring, and howling of wild creatures, of we knew not
what kinds, that the poor boy was ready to die with fear, and
begged of me not to go on shore till day. "Well, Xury," said I,
"then I won't; but it may be that we may see men by day, who will
be as bad to us as those lions." "Then we give them the shoot
gun," says Xury, laughing, "make them run wey." Such English Xury
spoke by conversing among us slaves. However, I was glad to see
the boy so cheerful, and I gave him a dram (out of our patron's
case of bottles) to cheer him up. After all, Xury's advice was
good, and I took it; we dropped our little anchor, and lay still
all night; I say still, for we slept none; for in two or three
hours we saw vast great creatures (we knew not what to call them)
of many sorts, come down to the sea-shore and run into the water,
wallowing and washing themselves for the pleasure of cooling
themselves; and they made such hideous howlings and yellings, that
I never indeed heard the like.

Xury was dreadfully frighted, and indeed so was I too; but we were
both more frighted when we heard one of these mighty creatures come
swimming towards our boat; we could not see him, but we might hear
him by his blowing to be a monstrous huge and furious beast. Xury
said it was a lion, and it might be so for aught I know; but poor
Xury cried to me to weigh the anchor and row away; "No," says I,
"Xury; we can slip our cable, with the buoy to it, and go off to
sea; they cannot follow us far." I had no sooner said so, but I
perceived the creature (whatever it was) within two oars' length,
which something surprised me; however, I immediately stepped to the
cabin door, and taking up my gun, fired at him; upon which he
immediately turned about and swam towards the shore again.

But it is impossible to describe the horrid noises, and hideous
cries and howlings that were raised, as well upon the edge of the
shore as higher within the country, upon the noise or report of the
gun, a thing I have some reason to believe those creatures had
never heard before: this convinced me that there was no going on
shore for us in the night on that coast, and how to venture on
shore in the day was another question too; for to have fallen into
the hands of any of the savages had been as bad as to have fallen
into the hands of the lions and tigers; at least we were equally
apprehensive of the danger of it.

Be that as it would, we were obliged to go on shore somewhere or
other for water, for we had not a pint left in the boat; when and
where to get to it was the point. Xury said, if I would let him go
on shore with one of the jars, he would find if there was any
water, and bring some to me. I asked him why he would go? why I
should not go, and he stay in the boat? The boy answered with so
much affection as made me love him ever after. Says he, "If wild
mans come, they eat me, you go wey." "Well, Xury," said I, "we
will both go and if the wild mans come, we will kill them, they
shall eat neither of us." So I gave Xury a piece of rusk bread to
eat, and a dram out of our patron's case of bottles which I
mentioned before; and we hauled the boat in as near the shore as we
thought was proper, and so waded on shore, carrying nothing but our
arms and two jars for water.

I did not care to go out of sight of the boat, fearing the coming
of canoes with savages down the river; but the boy seeing a low
place about a mile up the country, rambled to it, and by-and-by I
saw him come running towards me. I thought he was pursued by some
savage, or frighted with some wild beast, and I ran forward towards
him to help him; but when I came nearer to him I saw something
hanging over his shoulders, which was a creature that he had shot,
like a hare, but different in colour, and longer legs; however, we
were very glad of it, and it was very good meat; but the great joy
that poor Xury came with, was to tell me he had found good water
and seen no wild mans.

But we found afterwards that we need not take such pains for water,
for a little higher up the creek where we were we found the water
fresh when the tide was out, which flowed but a little way up; so
we filled our jars, and feasted on the hare he had killed, and
prepared to go on our way, having seen no footsteps of any human
creature in that part of the country.

As I had been one voyage to this coast before, I knew very well
that the islands of the Canaries, and the Cape de Verde Islands
also, lay not far off from the coast. But as I had no instruments
to take an observation to know what latitude we were in, and not
exactly knowing, or at least remembering, what latitude they were
in, I knew not where to look for them, or when to stand off to sea
towards them; otherwise I might now easily have found some of these
islands. But my hope was, that if I stood along this coast till I
came to that part where the English traded, I should find some of
their vessels upon their usual design of trade, that would relieve
and take us in.

By the best of my calculation, that place where I now was must be
that country which, lying between the Emperor of Morocco's
dominions and the negroes, lies waste and uninhabited, except by
wild beasts; the negroes having abandoned it and gone farther south
for fear of the Moors, and the Moors not thinking it worth
inhabiting by reason of its barrenness; and indeed, both forsaking
it because of the prodigious number of tigers, lions, leopards, and
other furious creatures which harbour there; so that the Moors use
it for their hunting only, where they go like an army, two or three
thousand men at a time; and indeed for near a hundred miles
together upon this coast we saw nothing but a waste, uninhabited
country by day, and heard nothing but howlings and roaring of wild
beasts by night.

Once or twice in the daytime I thought I saw the Pico of Teneriffe,
being the high top of the Mountain Teneriffe in the Canaries, and
had a great mind to venture out, in hopes of reaching thither; but
having tried twice, I was forced in again by contrary winds, the
sea also going too high for my little vessel; so, I resolved to
pursue my first design, and keep along the shore.

Several times I was obliged to land for fresh water, after we had
left this place; and once in particular, being early in morning, we
came to an anchor under a little point of land, which was pretty
high; and the tide beginning to flow, we lay still to go farther
in. Xury, whose eyes were more about him than it seems mine were,
calls softly to me, and tells me that we had best go farther off
the shore; "For," says he, "look, yonder lies a dreadful monster on
the side of that hillock, fast asleep." I looked where he pointed,
and saw a dreadful monster indeed, for it was a terrible, great
lion that lay on the side of the shore, under the shade of a piece
of the hill that hung as it were a little over him. "Xury," says
I, "you shall on shore and kill him." Xury, looked frighted, and
said, "Me kill! he eat me at one mouth!" - one mouthful he meant.
However, I said no more to the boy, but bade him lie still, and I
took our biggest gun, which was almost musket-bore, and loaded it
with a good charge of powder, and with two slugs, and laid it down;
then I loaded another gun with two bullets; and the third (for we
had three pieces) I loaded with five smaller bullets. I took the
best aim I could with the first piece to have shot him in the head,
but he lay so with his leg raised a little above his nose, that the
slugs hit his leg about the knee and broke the bone. He started
up, growling at first, but finding his leg broken, fell down again;
and then got upon three legs, and gave the most hideous roar that
ever I heard. I was a little surprised that I had not hit him on
the head; however, I took up the second piece immediately, and
though he began to move off, fired again, and shot him in the head,
and had the pleasure to see him drop and make but little noise, but
lie struggling for life. Then Xury took heart, and would have me
let him go on shore. "Well, go," said I: so the boy jumped into
the water and taking a little gun in one hand, swam to shore with
the other hand, and coming close to the creature, put the muzzle of
the piece to his ear, and shot him in the head again, which
despatched him quite.

This was game indeed to us, but this was no food; and I was very
sorry to lose three charges of powder and shot upon a creature that
was good for nothing to us. However, Xury said he would have some
of him; so he comes on board, and asked me to give him the hatchet.
"For what, Xury?" said I. "Me cut off his head," said he.
However, Xury could not cut off his head, but he cut off a foot,
and brought it with him, and it was a monstrous great one.

I bethought myself, however, that, perhaps the skin of him might,
one way or other, be of some value to us; and I resolved to take
off his skin if I could. So Xury and I went to work with him; but
Xury was much the better workman at it, for I knew very ill how to
do it. Indeed, it took us both up the whole day, but at last we
got off the hide of him, and spreading it on the top of our cabin,
the sun effectually dried it in two days' time, and it afterwards
served me to lie upon.


AFTER this stop, we made on to the southward continually for ten or
twelve days, living very sparingly on our provisions, which began
to abate very much, and going no oftener to the shore than we were
obliged to for fresh water. My design in this was to make the
river Gambia or Senegal, that is to say anywhere about the Cape de
Verde, where I was in hopes to meet with some European ship; and if
I did not, I knew not what course I had to take, but to seek for
the islands, or perish there among the negroes. I knew that all
the ships from Europe, which sailed either to the coast of Guinea
or to Brazil, or to the East Indies, made this cape, or those
islands; and, in a word, I put the whole of my fortune upon this
single point, either that I must meet with some ship or must

When I had pursued this resolution about ten days longer, as I have
said, I began to see that the land was inhabited; and in two or
three places, as we sailed by, we saw people stand upon the shore
to look at us; we could also perceive they were quite black and
naked. I was once inclined to have gone on shore to them; but Xury
was my better counsellor, and said to me, "No go, no go." However,
I hauled in nearer the shore that I might talk to them, and I found
they ran along the shore by me a good way. I observed they had no
weapons in their hand, except one, who had a long slender stick,
which Xury said was a lance, and that they could throw them a great
way with good aim; so I kept at a distance, but talked with them by
signs as well as I could; and particularly made signs for something
to eat: they beckoned to me to stop my boat, and they would fetch
me some meat. Upon this I lowered the top of my sail and lay by,
and two of them ran up into the country, and in less than half-an-
hour came back, and brought with them two pieces of dried flesh and
some corn, such as is the produce of their country; but we neither
knew what the one or the other was; however, we were willing to
accept it, but how to come at it was our next dispute, for I would
not venture on shore to them, and they were as much afraid of us;
but they took a safe way for us all, for they brought it to the
shore and laid it down, and went and stood a great way off till we
fetched it on board, and then came close to us again.

We made signs of thanks to them, for we had nothing to make them
amends; but an opportunity offered that very instant to oblige them
wonderfully; for while we were lying by the shore came two mighty
creatures, one pursuing the other (as we took it) with great fury
from the mountains towards the sea; whether it was the male
pursuing the female, or whether they were in sport or in rage, we
could not tell, any more than we could tell whether it was usual or
strange, but I believe it was the latter; because, in the first
place, those ravenous creatures seldom appear but in the night;
and, in the second place, we found the people terribly frighted,
especially the women. The man that had the lance or dart did not
fly from them, but the rest did; however, as the two creatures ran
directly into the water, they did not offer to fall upon any of the
negroes, but plunged themselves into the sea, and swam about, as if
they had come for their diversion; at last one of them began to
come nearer our boat than at first I expected; but I lay ready for
him, for I had loaded my gun with all possible expedition, and bade
Xury load both the others. As soon as he came fairly within my
reach, I fired, and shot him directly in the head; immediately he
sank down into the water, but rose instantly, and plunged up and
down, as if he were struggling for life, and so indeed he was; he
immediately made to the shore; but between the wound, which was his
mortal hurt, and the strangling of the water, he died just before
he reached the shore.

It is impossible to express the astonishment of these poor
creatures at the noise and fire of my gun: some of them were even
ready to die for fear, and fell down as dead with the very terror;
but when they saw the creature dead, and sunk in the water, and
that I made signs to them to come to the shore, they took heart and
came, and began to search for the creature. I found him by his
blood staining the water; and by the help of a rope, which I slung
round him, and gave the negroes to haul, they dragged him on shore,
and found that it was a most curious leopard, spotted, and fine to
an admirable degree; and the negroes held up their hands with
admiration, to think what it was I had killed him with.

The other creature, frighted with the flash of fire and the noise
of the gun, swam on shore, and ran up directly to the mountains
from whence they came; nor could I, at that distance, know what it
was. I found quickly the negroes wished to eat the flesh of this
creature, so I was willing to have them take it as a favour from
me; which, when I made signs to them that they might take him, they
were very thankful for. Immediately they fell to work with him;
and though they had no knife, yet, with a sharpened piece of wood,
they took off his skin as readily, and much more readily, than we
could have done with a knife. They offered me some of the flesh,
which I declined, pointing out that I would give it them; but made
signs for the skin, which they gave me very freely, and brought me
a great deal more of their provisions, which, though I did not
understand, yet I accepted. I then made signs to them for some
water, and held out one of my jars to them, turning it bottom
upward, to show that it was empty, and that I wanted to have it
filled. They called immediately to some of their friends, and
there came two women, and brought a great vessel made of earth, and
burnt, as I supposed, in the sun, this they set down to me, as
before, and I sent Xury on shore with my jars, and filled them all
three. The women were as naked as the men.

I was now furnished with roots and corn, such as it was, and water;
and leaving my friendly negroes, I made forward for about eleven
days more, without offering to go near the shore, till I saw the
land run out a great length into the sea, at about the distance of
four or five leagues before me; and the sea being very calm, I kept
a large offing to make this point. At length, doubling the point,
at about two leagues from the land, I saw plainly land on the other
side, to seaward; then I concluded, as it was most certain indeed,
that this was the Cape de Verde, and those the islands called, from
thence, Cape de Verde Islands. However, they were at a great
distance, and I could not well tell what I had best to do; for if I
should be taken with a fresh of wind, I might neither reach one or

In this dilemma, as I was very pensive, I stepped into the cabin
and sat down, Xury having the helm; when, on a sudden, the boy
cried out, "Master, master, a ship with a sail!" and the foolish
boy was frighted out of his wits, thinking it must needs be some of
his master's ships sent to pursue us, but I knew we were far enough
out of their reach. I jumped out of the cabin, and immediately
saw, not only the ship, but that it was a Portuguese ship; and, as
I thought, was bound to the coast of Guinea, for negroes. But,
when I observed the course she steered, I was soon convinced they
were bound some other way, and did not design to come any nearer to
the shore; upon which I stretched out to sea as much as I could,
resolving to speak with them if possible.

With all the sail I could make, I found I should not be able to
come in their way, but that they would be gone by before I could
make any signal to them: but after I had crowded to the utmost, and
began to despair, they, it seems, saw by the help of their glasses
that it was some European boat, which they supposed must belong to
some ship that was lost; so they shortened sail to let me come up.
I was encouraged with this, and as I had my patron's ancient on
board, I made a waft of it to them, for a signal of distress, and
fired a gun, both which they saw; for they told me they saw the
smoke, though they did not hear the gun. Upon these signals they
very kindly brought to, and lay by for me; and in about three
hours; time I came up with them.

They asked me what I was, in Portuguese, and in Spanish, and in
French, but I understood none of them; but at last a Scotch sailor,
who was on board, called to me: and I answered him, and told him I
was an Englishman, that I had made my escape out of slavery from
the Moors, at Sallee; they then bade me come on board, and very
kindly took me in, and all my goods.

It was an inexpressible joy to me, which any one will believe, that
I was thus delivered, as I esteemed it, from such a miserable and
almost hopeless condition as I was in; and I immediately offered
all I had to the captain of the ship, as a return for my
deliverance; but he generously told me he would take nothing from
me, but that all I had should be delivered safe to me when I came
to the Brazils. "For," says he, "I have saved your life on no
other terms than I would be glad to be saved myself: and it may,
one time or other, be my lot to be taken up in the same condition.
Besides," said he, "when I carry you to the Brazils, so great a way
from your own country, if I should take from you what you have, you
will be starved there, and then I only take away that life I have
given. No, no," says he: "Seignior Inglese" (Mr. Englishman), "I
will carry you thither in charity, and those things will help to
buy your subsistence there, and your passage home again."

As he was charitable in this proposal, so he was just in the
performance to a tittle; for he ordered the seamen that none should
touch anything that I had: then he took everything into his own
possession, and gave me back an exact inventory of them, that I
might have them, even to my three earthen jars.

As to my boat, it was a very good one; and that he saw, and told me
he would buy it of me for his ship's use; and asked me what I would
have for it? I told him he had been so generous to me in
everything that I could not offer to make any price of the boat,
but left it entirely to him: upon which he told me he would give me
a note of hand to pay me eighty pieces of eight for it at Brazil;
and when it came there, if any one offered to give more, he would
make it up. He offered me also sixty pieces of eight more for my
boy Xury, which I was loth to take; not that I was unwilling to let
the captain have him, but I was very loth to sell the poor boy's
liberty, who had assisted me so faithfully in procuring my own.
However, when I let him know my reason, he owned it to be just, and
offered me this medium, that he would give the boy an obligation to
set him free in ten years, if he turned Christian: upon this, and
Xury saying he was willing to go to him, I let the captain have

We had a very good voyage to the Brazils, and I arrived in the Bay
de Todos los Santos, or All Saints' Bay, in about twenty-two days
after. And now I was once more delivered from the most miserable
of all conditions of life; and what to do next with myself I was to

The generous treatment the captain gave me I can never enough
remember: he would take nothing of me for my passage, gave me
twenty ducats for the leopard's skin, and forty for the lion's
skin, which I had in my boat, and caused everything I had in the
ship to be punctually delivered to me; and what I was willing to
sell he bought of me, such as the case of bottles, two of my guns,
and a piece of the lump of beeswax - for I had made candles of the
rest: in a word, I made about two hundred and twenty pieces of
eight of all my cargo; and with this stock I went on shore in the

I had not been long here before I was recommended to the house of a
good honest man like himself, who had an INGENIO, as they call it
(that is, a plantation and a sugar-house). I lived with him some
time, and acquainted myself by that means with the manner of
planting and making of sugar; and seeing how well the planters
lived, and how they got rich suddenly, I resolved, if I could get a
licence to settle there, I would turn planter among them: resolving
in the meantime to find out some way to get my money, which I had
left in London, remitted to me. To this purpose, getting a kind of
letter of naturalisation, I purchased as much land that was uncured
as my money would reach, and formed a plan for my plantation and
settlement; such a one as might be suitable to the stock which I
proposed to myself to receive from England.

I had a neighbour, a Portuguese, of Lisbon, but born of English
parents, whose name was Wells, and in much such circumstances as I
was. I call him my neighbour, because his plantation lay next to
mine, and we went on very sociably together. My stock was but low,
as well as his; and we rather planted for food than anything else,
for about two years. However, we began to increase, and our land
began to come into order; so that the third year we planted some
tobacco, and made each of us a large piece of ground ready for
planting canes in the year to come. But we both wanted help; and
now I found, more than before, I had done wrong in parting with my
boy Xury.

But, alas! for me to do wrong that never did right, was no great
wonder. I hail no remedy but to go on: I had got into an
employment quite remote to my genius, and directly contrary to the
life I delighted in, and for which I forsook my father's house, and
broke through all his good advice. Nay, I was coming into the very
middle station, or upper degree of low life, which my father
advised me to before, and which, if I resolved to go on with, I
might as well have stayed at home, and never have fatigued myself
in the world as I had done; and I used often to say to myself, I
could have done this as well in England, among my friends, as have
gone five thousand miles off to do it among strangers and savages,
in a wilderness, and at such a distance as never to hear from any
part of the world that had the least knowledge of me.

In this manner I used to look upon my condition with the utmost
regret. I had nobody to converse with, but now and then this
neighbour; no work to be done, but by the labour of my hands; and I
used to say, I lived just like a man cast away upon some desolate
island, that had nobody there but himself. But how just has it
been - and how should all men reflect, that when they compare their
present conditions with others that are worse, Heaven may oblige
them to make the exchange, and be convinced of their former
felicity by their experience - I say, how just has it been, that
the truly solitary life I reflected on, in an island of mere
desolation, should be my lot, who had so often unjustly compared it
with the life which I then led, in which, had I continued, I had in
all probability been exceeding prosperous and rich.

I was in some degree settled in my measures for carrying on the
plantation before my kind friend, the captain of the ship that took
me up at sea, went back - for the ship remained there, in providing
his lading and preparing for his voyage, nearly three months - when
telling him what little stock I had left behind me in London, he
gave me this friendly and sincere advice:- "Seignior Inglese," says
he (for so he always called me), "if you will give me letters, and
a procuration in form to me, with orders to the person who has your
money in London to send your effects to Lisbon, to such persons as
I shall direct, and in such goods as are proper for this country, I
will bring you the produce of them, God willing, at my return; but,
since human affairs are all subject to changes and disasters, I
would have you give orders but for one hundred pounds sterling,
which, you say, is half your stock, and let the hazard be run for
the first; so that, if it come safe, you may order the rest the
same way, and, if it miscarry, you may have the other half to have
recourse to for your supply."

This was so wholesome advice, and looked so friendly, that I could
not but be convinced it was the best course I could take; so I
accordingly prepared letters to the gentlewoman with whom I had
left my money, and a procuration to the Portuguese captain, as he

I wrote the English captain's widow a full account of all my
adventures - my slavery, escape, and how I had met with the
Portuguese captain at sea, the humanity of his behaviour, and what
condition I was now in, with all other necessary directions for my
supply; and when this honest captain came to Lisbon, he found
means, by some of the English merchants there, to send over, not
the order only, but a full account of my story to a merchant in
London, who represented it effectually to her; whereupon she not
only delivered the money, but out of her own pocket sent the
Portugal captain a very handsome present for his humanity and
charity to me.

The merchant in London, vesting this hundred pounds in English
goods, such as the captain had written for, sent them directly to
him at Lisbon, and he brought them all safe to me to the Brazils;
among which, without my direction (for I was too young in my
business to think of them), he had taken care to have all sorts of
tools, ironwork, and utensils necessary for my plantation, and
which were of great use to me.

When this cargo arrived I thought my fortune made, for I was
surprised with the joy of it; and my stood steward, the captain,
had laid out the five pounds, which my friend had sent him for a
present for himself, to purchase and bring me over a servant, under
bond for six years' service, and would not accept of any
consideration, except a little tobacco, which I would have him
accept, being of my own produce.

Neither was this all; for my goods being all English manufacture,
such as cloths, stuffs, baize, and things particularly valuable and
desirable in the country, I found means to sell them to a very
great advantage; so that I might say I had more than four times the
value of my first cargo, and was now infinitely beyond my poor
neighbour - I mean in the advancement of my plantation; for the
first thing I did, I bought me a negro slave, and an European
servant also - I mean another besides that which the captain
brought me from Lisbon.

But as abused prosperity is oftentimes made the very means of our
greatest adversity, so it was with me. I went on the next year
with great success in my plantation: I raised fifty great rolls of
tobacco on my own ground, more than I had disposed of for
necessaries among my neighbours; and these fifty rolls, being each
of above a hundredweight, were well cured, and laid by against the
return of the fleet from Lisbon: and now increasing in business and
wealth, my head began to be full of projects and undertakings
beyond my reach; such as are, indeed, often the ruin of the best
heads in business. Had I continued in the station I was now in, I
had room for all the happy things to have yet befallen me for which
my father so earnestly recommended a quiet, retired life, and of
which he had so sensibly described the middle station of life to be
full of; but other things attended me, and I was still to be the
wilful agent of all my own miseries; and particularly, to increase
my fault, and double the reflections upon myself, which in my
future sorrows I should have leisure to make, all these
miscarriages were procured by my apparent obstinate adhering to my
foolish inclination of wandering abroad, and pursuing that
inclination, in contradiction to the clearest views of doing myself
good in a fair and plain pursuit of those prospects, and those
measures of life, which nature and Providence concurred to present
me with, and to make my duty.

As I had once done thus in my breaking away from my parents, so I
could not be content now, but I must go and leave the happy view I
had of being a rich and thriving man in my new plantation, only to
pursue a rash and immoderate desire of rising faster than the
nature of the thing admitted; and thus I cast myself down again
into the deepest gulf of human misery that ever man fell into, or
perhaps could be consistent with life and a state of health in the

To come, then, by the just degrees to the particulars of this part
of my story. You may suppose, that having now lived almost four
years in the Brazils, and beginning to thrive and prosper very well
upon my plantation, I had not only learned the language, but had
contracted acquaintance and friendship among my fellow-planters, as
well as among the merchants at St. Salvador, which was our port;
and that, in my discourses among them, I had frequently given them
an account of my two voyages to the coast of Guinea: the manner of
trading with the negroes there, and how easy it was to purchase
upon the coast for trifles - such as beads, toys, knives, scissors,
hatchets, bits of glass, and the like - not only gold-dust, Guinea
grains, elephants' teeth, &c., but negroes, for the service of the
Brazils, in great numbers.

They listened always very attentively to my discourses on these
heads, but especially to that part which related to the buying of
negroes, which was a trade at that time, not only not far entered
into, but, as far as it was, had been carried on by assientos, or
permission of the kings of Spain and Portugal, and engrossed in the
public stock: so that few negroes were bought, and these
excessively dear.

It happened, being in company with some merchants and planters of
my acquaintance, and talking of those things very earnestly, three
of them came to me next morning, and told me they had been musing
very much upon what I had discoursed with them of the last night,
and they came to make a secret proposal to me; and, after enjoining
me to secrecy, they told me that they had a mind to fit out a ship
to go to Guinea; that they had all plantations as well as I, and
were straitened for nothing so much as servants; that as it was a
trade that could not be carried on, because they could not publicly
sell the negroes when they came home, so they desired to make but
one voyage, to bring the negroes on shore privately, and divide
them among their own plantations; and, in a word, the question was
whether I would go their supercargo in the ship, to manage the
trading part upon the coast of Guinea; and they offered me that I
should have my equal share of the negroes, without providing any
part of the stock.

This was a fair proposal, it must be confessed, had it been made to
any one that had not had a settlement and a plantation of his own
to look after, which was in a fair way of coming to be very
considerable, and with a good stock upon it; but for me, that was
thus entered and established, and had nothing to do but to go on as
I had begun, for three or four years more, and to have sent for the
other hundred pounds from England; and who in that time, and with
that little addition, could scarce have failed of being worth three
or four thousand pounds sterling, and that increasing too - for me
to think of such a voyage was the most preposterous thing that ever
man in such circumstances could be guilty of.

But I, that was born to be my own destroyer, could no more resist
the offer than I could restrain my first rambling designs when my
father' good counsel was lost upon me. In a word, I told them I
would go with all my heart, if they would undertake to look after
my plantation in my absence, and would dispose of it to such as I
should direct, if I miscarried. This they all engaged to do, and
entered into writings or covenants to do so; and I made a formal
will, disposing of my plantation and effects in case of my death,
making the captain of the ship that had saved my life, as before,
my universal heir, but obliging him to dispose of my effects as I
had directed in my will; one half of the produce being to himself,
and the other to be shipped to England.

In short, I took all possible caution to preserve my effects and to
keep up my plantation. Had I used half as much prudence to have
looked into my own interest, and have made a judgment of what I
ought to have done and not to have done, I had certainly never gone
away from so prosperous an undertaking, leaving all the probable
views of a thriving circumstance, and gone upon a voyage to sea,
attended with all its common hazards, to say nothing of the reasons
I had to expect particular misfortunes to myself.

But I was hurried on, and obeyed blindly the dictates of my fancy
rather than my reason; and, accordingly, the ship being fitted out,
and the cargo furnished, and all things done, as by agreement, by
my partners in the voyage, I went on board in an evil hour, the 1st
September 1659, being the same day eight years that I went from my
father and mother at Hull, in order to act the rebel to their
authority, and the fool to my own interests.

Our ship was about one hundred and twenty tons burden, carried six
guns and fourteen men, besides the master, his boy, and myself. We
had on board no large cargo of goods, except of such toys as were
fit for our trade with the negroes, such as beads, bits of glass,
shells, and other trifles, especially little looking-glasses,
knives, scissors, hatchets, and the like.

The same day I went on board we set sail, standing away to the
northward upon our own coast, with design to stretch over for the
African coast when we came about ten or twelve degrees of northern
latitude, which, it seems, was the manner of course in those days.
We had very good weather, only excessively hot, all the way upon
our own coast, till we came to the height of Cape St. Augustino;
from whence, keeping further off at sea, we lost sight of land, and
steered as if we were bound for the isle Fernando de Noronha,
holding our course N.E. by N., and leaving those isles on the east.
In this course we passed the line in about twelve days' time, and
were, by our last observation, in seven degrees twenty-two minutes
northern latitude, when a violent tornado, or hurricane, took us
quite out of our knowledge. It began from the south-east, came
about to the north-west, and then settled in the north-east; from
whence it blew in such a terrible manner, that for twelve days
together we could do nothing but drive, and, scudding away before
it, let it carry us whither fate and the fury of the winds
directed; and, during these twelve days, I need not say that I
expected every day to be swallowed up; nor, indeed, did any in the
ship expect to save their lives.

In this distress we had, besides the terror of the storm, one of
our men die of the calenture, and one man and the boy washed
overboard. About the twelfth day, the weather abating a little,
the master made an observation as well as he could, and found that
he was in about eleven degrees north latitude, but that he was
twenty-two degrees of longitude difference west from Cape St.
Augustino; so that he found he was upon the coast of Guiana, or the
north part of Brazil, beyond the river Amazon, toward that of the
river Orinoco, commonly called the Great River; and began to
consult with me what course he should take, for the ship was leaky,
and very much disabled, and he was going directly back to the coast
of Brazil.

I was positively against that; and looking over the charts of the
sea-coast of America with him, we concluded there was no inhabited
country for us to have recourse to till we came within the circle
of the Caribbee Islands, and therefore resolved to stand away for
Barbadoes; which, by keeping off at sea, to avoid the indraft of
the Bay or Gulf of Mexico, we might easily perform, as we hoped, in
about fifteen days' sail; whereas we could not possibly make our
voyage to the coast of Africa without some assistance both to our
ship and to ourselves.

With this design we changed our course, and steered away N.W. by
W., in order to reach some of our English islands, where I hoped
for relief. But our voyage was otherwise determined; for, being in
the latitude of twelve degrees eighteen minutes, a second storm
came upon us, which carried us away with the same impetuosity
westward, and drove us so out of the way of all human commerce,
that, had all our lives been saved as to the sea, we were rather in
danger of being devoured by savages than ever returning to our own

In this distress, the wind still blowing very hard, one of our men
early in the morning cried out, "Land!" and we had no sooner run
out of the cabin to look out, in hopes of seeing whereabouts in the
world we were, than the ship struck upon a sand, and in a moment
her motion being so stopped, the sea broke over her in such a
manner that we expected we should all have perished immediately;
and we were immediately driven into our close quarters, to shelter
us from the very foam and spray of the sea.

It is not easy for any one who has not been in the like condition
to describe or conceive the consternation of men in such
circumstances. We knew nothing where we were, or upon what land it
was we were driven - whether an island or the main, whether
inhabited or not inhabited. As the rage of the wind was still
great, though rather less than at first, we could not so much as
hope to have the ship hold many minutes without breaking into
pieces, unless the winds, by a kind of miracle, should turn
immediately about. In a word, we sat looking upon one another, and
expecting death every moment, and every man, accordingly, preparing
for another world; for there was little or nothing more for us to
do in this. That which was our present comfort, and all the
comfort we had, was that, contrary to our expectation, the ship did
not break yet, and that the master said the wind began to abate.

Now, though we thought that the wind did a little abate, yet the
ship having thus struck upon the sand, and sticking too fast for us
to expect her getting off, we were in a dreadful condition indeed,
and had nothing to do but to think of saving our lives as well as
we could. We had a boat at our stern just before the storm, but
she was first staved by dashing against the ship's rudder, and in
the next place she broke away, and either sunk or was driven off to
sea; so there was no hope from her. We had another boat on board,
but how to get her off into the sea was a doubtful thing. However,
there was no time to debate, for we fancied that the ship would
break in pieces every minute, and some told us she was actually
broken already.

In this distress the mate of our vessel laid hold of the boat, and
with the help of the rest of the men got her slung over the ship's
side; and getting all into her, let go, and committed ourselves,
being eleven in number, to God's mercy and the wild sea; for though
the storm was abated considerably, yet the sea ran dreadfully high
upon the shore, and might be well called DEN WILD ZEE, as the Dutch
call the sea in a storm.

And now our case was very dismal indeed; for we all saw plainly
that the sea went so high that the boat could not live, and that we
should be inevitably drowned. As to making sail, we had none, nor
if we had could we have done anything with it; so we worked at the
oar towards the land, though with heavy hearts, like men going to
execution; for we all knew that when the boat came near the shore
she would be dashed in a thousand pieces by the breach of the sea.
However, we committed our souls to God in the most earnest manner;
and the wind driving us towards the shore, we hastened our
destruction with our own hands, pulling as well as we could towards

What the shore was, whether rock or sand, whether steep or shoal,
we knew not. The only hope that could rationally give us the least
shadow of expectation was, if we might find some bay or gulf, or
the mouth of some river, where by great chance we might have run
our boat in, or got under the lee of the land, and perhaps made
smooth water. But there was nothing like this appeared; but as we
made nearer and nearer the shore, the land looked more frightful
than the sea.

After we had rowed, or rather driven about a league and a half, as
we reckoned it, a raging wave, mountain-like, came rolling astern
of us, and plainly bade us expect the COUP DE GRACE. It took us
with such a fury, that it overset the boat at once; and separating
us as well from the boat as from one another, gave us no time to
say, "O God!" for we were all swallowed up in a moment.

Nothing can describe the confusion of thought which I felt when I
sank into the water; for though I swam very well, yet I could not
deliver myself from the waves so as to draw breath, till that wave
having driven me, or rather carried me, a vast way on towards the
shore, and having spent itself, went back, and left me upon the
land almost dry, but half dead with the water I took in. I had so
much presence of mind, as well as breath left, that seeing myself
nearer the mainland than I expected, I got upon my feet, and
endeavoured to make on towards the land as fast as I could before
another wave should return and take me up again; but I soon found
it was impossible to avoid it; for I saw the sea come after me as
high as a great hill, and as furious as an enemy, which I had no
means or strength to contend with: my business was to hold my
breath, and raise myself upon the water if I could; and so, by
swimming, to preserve my breathing, and pilot myself towards the
shore, if possible, my greatest concern now being that the sea, as
it would carry me a great way towards the shore when it came on,
might not carry me back again with it when it gave back towards the

The wave that came upon me again buried me at once twenty or thirty
feet deep in its own body, and I could feel myself carried with a
mighty force and swiftness towards the shore - a very great way;
but I held my breath, and assisted myself to swim still forward
with all my might. I was ready to burst with holding my breath,
when, as I felt myself rising up, so, to my immediate relief, I
found my head and hands shoot out above the surface of the water;
and though it was not two seconds of time that I could keep myself
so, yet it relieved me greatly, gave me breath, and new courage. I
was covered again with water a good while, but not so long but I
held it out; and finding the water had spent itself, and began to
return, I struck forward against the return of the waves, and felt
ground again with my feet. I stood still a few moments to recover
breath, and till the waters went from me, and then took to my heels
and ran with what strength I had further towards the shore. But
neither would this deliver me from the fury of the sea, which came
pouring in after me again; and twice more I was lifted up by the
waves and carried forward as before, the shore being very flat.

The last time of these two had well-nigh been fatal to me, for the
sea having hurried me along as before, landed me, or rather dashed
me, against a piece of rock, and that with such force, that it left
me senseless, and indeed helpless, as to my own deliverance; for
the blow taking my side and breast, beat the breath as it were
quite out of my body; and had it returned again immediately, I must
have been strangled in the water; but I recovered a little before
the return of the waves, and seeing I should be covered again with
the water, I resolved to hold fast by a piece of the rock, and so
to hold my breath, if possible, till the wave went back. Now, as
the waves were not so high as at first, being nearer land, I held
my hold till the wave abated, and then fetched another run, which
brought me so near the shore that the next wave, though it went
over me, yet did not so swallow me up as to carry me away; and the
next run I took, I got to the mainland, where, to my great comfort,
I clambered up the cliffs of the shore and sat me down upon the
grass, free from danger and quite out of the reach of the water.

I was now landed and safe on shore, and began to look up and thank
God that my life was saved, in a case wherein there was some
minutes before scarce any room to hope. I believe it is impossible
to express, to the life, what the ecstasies and transports of the
soul are, when it is so saved, as I may say, out of the very grave:
and I do not wonder now at the custom, when a malefactor, who has
the halter about his neck, is tied up, and just going to be turned
off, and has a reprieve brought to him - I say, I do not wonder
that they bring a surgeon with it, to let him blood that very
moment they tell him of it, that the surprise may not drive the
animal spirits from the heart and overwhelm him.

"For sudden joys, like griefs, confound at first."

I walked about on the shore lifting up my hands, and my whole
being, as I may say, wrapped up in a contemplation of my
deliverance; making a thousand gestures and motions, which I cannot
describe; reflecting upon all my comrades that were drowned, and
that there should not be one soul saved but myself; for, as for
them, I never saw them afterwards, or any sign of them, except
three of their hats, one cap, and two shoes that were not fellows.

I cast my eye to the stranded vessel, when, the breach and froth of
the sea being so big, I could hardly see it, it lay so far of; and
considered, Lord! how was it possible I could get on shore

After I had solaced my mind with the comfortable part of my
condition, I began to look round me, to see what kind of place I
was in, and what was next to be done; and I soon found my comforts
abate, and that, in a word, I had a dreadful deliverance; for I was
wet, had no clothes to shift me, nor anything either to eat or
drink to comfort me; neither did I see any prospect before me but
that of perishing with hunger or being devoured by wild beasts; and
that which was particularly afflicting to me was, that I had no
weapon, either to hunt and kill any creature for my sustenance, or
to defend myself against any other creature that might desire to
kill me for theirs. In a word, I had nothing about me but a knife,
a tobacco-pipe, and a little tobacco in a box. This was all my
provisions; and this threw me into such terrible agonies of mind,
that for a while I ran about like a madman. Night coming upon me,
I began with a heavy heart to consider what would be my lot if
there were any ravenous beasts in that country, as at night they
always come abroad for their prey.

All the remedy that offered to my thoughts at that time was to get
up into a thick bushy tree like a fir, but thorny, which grew near
me, and where I resolved to sit all night, and consider the next
day what death I should die, for as yet I saw no prospect of life.
I walked about a furlong from the shore, to see if I could find any
fresh water to drink, which I did, to my great joy; and having
drank, and put a little tobacco into my mouth to prevent hunger, I
went to the tree, and getting up into it, endeavoured to place
myself so that if I should sleep I might not fall. And having cut
me a short stick, like a truncheon, for my defence, I took up my
lodging; and having been excessively fatigued, I fell fast asleep,
and slept as comfortably as, I believe, few could have done in my
condition, and found myself more refreshed with it than, I think, I
ever was on such an occasion.


WHEN I waked it was broad day, the weather clear, and the storm
abated, so that the sea did not rage and swell as before. But that
which surprised me most was, that the ship was lifted off in the
night from the sand where she lay by the swelling of the tide, and
was driven up almost as far as the rock which I at first mentioned,
where I had been so bruised by the wave dashing me against it.
This being within about a mile from the shore where I was, and the
ship seeming to stand upright still, I wished myself on board, that
at least I might save some necessary things for my use.

When I came down from my apartment in the tree, I looked about me
again, and the first thing I found was the boat, which lay, as the
wind and the sea had tossed her up, upon the land, about two miles
on my right hand. I walked as far as I could upon the shore to
have got to her; but found a neck or inlet of water between me and
the boat which was about half a mile broad; so I came back for the
present, being more intent upon getting at the ship, where I hoped
to find something for my present subsistence.

A little after noon I found the sea very calm, and the tide ebbed
so far out that I could come within a quarter of a mile of the
ship. And here I found a fresh renewing of my grief; for I saw
evidently that if we had kept on board we had been all safe - that
is to say, we had all got safe on shore, and I had not been so
miserable as to be left entirety destitute of all comfort and
company as I now was. This forced tears to my eyes again; but as
there was little relief in that, I resolved, if possible, to get to
the ship; so I pulled off my clothes - for the weather was hot to
extremity - and took the water. But when I came to the ship my
difficulty was still greater to know how to get on board; for, as
she lay aground, and high out of the water, there was nothing
within my reach to lay hold of. I swam round her twice, and the
second time I spied a small piece of rope, which I wondered I did
not see at first, hung down by the fore-chains so low, as that with
great difficulty I got hold of it, and by the help of that rope I
got up into the forecastle of the ship. Here I found that the ship
was bulged, and had a great deal of water in her hold, but that she
lay so on the side of a bank of hard sand, or, rather earth, that
her stern lay lifted up upon the bank, and her head low, almost to
the water. By this means all her quarter was free, and all that
was in that part was dry; for you may be sure my first work was to
search, and to see what was spoiled and what was free. And, first,
I found that all the ship's provisions were dry and untouched by
the water, and being very well disposed to eat, I went to the bread
room and filled my pockets with biscuit, and ate it as I went about
other things, for I had no time to lose. I also found some rum in
the great cabin, of which I took a large dram, and which I had,
indeed, need enough of to spirit me for what was before me. Now I
wanted nothing but a boat to furnish myself with many things which
I foresaw would be very necessary to me.

It was in vain to sit still and wish for what was not to be had;
and this extremity roused my application. We had several spare
yards, and two or three large spars of wood, and a spare topmast or
two in the ship; I resolved to fall to work with these, and I flung
as many of them overboard as I could manage for their weight, tying
every one with a rope, that they might not drive away. When this
was done I went down the ship's side, and pulling them to me, I
tied four of them together at both ends as well as I could, in the
form of a raft, and laying two or three short pieces of plank upon
them crossways, I found I could walk upon it very well, but that it
was not able to bear any great weight, the pieces being too light.
So I went to work, and with a carpenter's saw I cut a spare topmast
into three lengths, and added them to my raft, with a great deal of
labour and pains. But the hope of furnishing myself with
necessaries encouraged me to go beyond what I should have been able
to have done upon another occasion.

My raft was now strong enough to bear any reasonable weight. My
next care was what to load it with, and how to preserve what I laid
upon it from the surf of the sea; but I was not long considering
this. I first laid all the planks or boards upon it that I could
get, and having considered well what I most wanted, I got three of
the seamen's chests, which I had broken open, and emptied, and
lowered them down upon my raft; the first of these I filled with
provisions - viz. bread, rice, three Dutch cheeses, five pieces of
dried goat's flesh (which we lived much upon), and a little
remainder of European corn, which had been laid by for some fowls
which we brought to sea with us, but the fowls were killed. There
had been some barley and wheat together; but, to my great
disappointment, I found afterwards that the rats had eaten or
spoiled it all. As for liquors, I found several, cases of bottles
belonging to our skipper, in which were some cordial waters; and,
in all, about five or six gallons of rack. These I stowed by
themselves, there being no need to put them into the chest, nor any
room for them. While I was doing this, I found the tide begin to
flow, though very calm; and I had the mortification to see my coat,
shirt, and waistcoat, which I had left on the shore, upon the sand,
swim away. As for my breeches, which were only linen, and open-
kneed, I swam on board in them and my stockings. However, this set
me on rummaging for clothes, of which I found enough, but took no
more than I wanted for present use, for I had others things which
my eye was more upon - as, first, tools to work with on shore. And
it was after long searching that I found out the carpenter's chest,
which was, indeed, a very useful prize to me, and much more
valuable than a shipload of gold would have been at that time. I
got it down to my raft, whole as it was, without losing time to
look into it, for I knew in general what it contained.

My next care was for some ammunition and arms. There were two very
good fowling-pieces in the great cabin, and two pistols. These I
secured first, with some powder-horns and a small bag of shot, and
two old rusty swords. I knew there were three barrels of powder in
the ship, but knew not where our gunner had stowed them; but with
much search I found them, two of them dry and good, the third had
taken water. Those two I got to my raft with the arms. And now I
thought myself pretty well freighted, and began to think how I
should get to shore with them, having neither sail, oar, nor
rudder; and the least capful of wind would have overset all my

I had three encouragements - 1st, a smooth, calm sea; 2ndly, the
tide rising, and setting in to the shore; 3rdly, what little wind
there was blew me towards the land. And thus, having found two or
three broken oars belonging to the boat - and, besides the tools
which were in the chest, I found two saws, an axe, and a hammer;
with this cargo I put to sea. For a mile or thereabouts my raft
went very well, only that I found it drive a little distant from
the place where I had landed before; by which I perceived that
there was some indraft of the water, and consequently I hoped to
find some creek or river there, which I might make use of as a port
to get to land with my cargo.

As I imagined, so it was. There appeared before me a little
opening of the land, and I found a strong current of the tide set
into it; so I guided my raft as well as I could, to keep in the
middle of the stream.

But here I had like to have suffered a second shipwreck, which, if
I had, I think verily would have broken my heart; for, knowing
nothing of the coast, my raft ran aground at one end of it upon a
shoal, and not being aground at the other end, it wanted but a
little that all my cargo had slipped off towards the end that was
afloat, and to fallen into the water. I did my utmost, by setting
my back against the chests, to keep them in their places, but could
not thrust off the raft with all my strength; neither durst I stir
from the posture I was in; but holding up the chests with all my
might, I stood in that manner near half-an-hour, in which time the
rising of the water brought me a little more upon a level; and a
little after, the water still-rising, my raft floated again, and I
thrust her off with the oar I had into the channel, and then
driving up higher, I at length found myself in the mouth of a
little river, with land on both sides, and a strong current of tide
running up. I looked on both sides for a proper place to get to
shore, for I was not willing to be driven too high up the river:
hoping in time to see some ships at sea, and therefore resolved to
place myself as near the coast as I could.

At length I spied a little cove on the right shore of the creek, to
which with great pain and difficulty I guided my raft, and at last
got so near that, reaching ground with my oar, I could thrust her
directly in. But here I had like to have dipped all my cargo into
the sea again; for that shore lying pretty steep - that is to say
sloping - there was no place to land, but where one end of my
float, if it ran on shore, would lie so high, and the other sink
lower, as before, that it would endanger my cargo again. All that
I could do was to wait till the tide was at the highest, keeping
the raft with my oar like an anchor, to hold the side of it fast to
the shore, near a flat piece of ground, which I expected the water
would flow over; and so it did. As soon as I found water enough -
for my raft drew about a foot of water - I thrust her upon that
flat piece of ground, and there fastened or moored her, by sticking
my two broken oars into the ground, one on one side near one end,
and one on the other side near the other end; and thus I lay till
the water ebbed away, and left my raft and all my cargo safe on

My next work was to view the country, and seek a proper place for
my habitation, and where to stow my goods to secure them from
whatever might happen. Where I was, I yet knew not; whether on the
continent or on an island; whether inhabited or not inhabited;
whether in danger of wild beasts or not. There was a hill not
above a mile from me, which rose up very steep and high, and which
seemed to overtop some other hills, which lay as in a ridge from it
northward. I took out one of the fowling-pieces, and one of the
pistols, and a horn of powder; and thus armed, I travelled for
discovery up to the top of that hill, where, after I had with great
labour and difficulty got to the top, I saw any fate, to my great
affliction - viz. that I was in an island environed every way with
the sea: no land to be seen except some rocks, which lay a great
way off; and two small islands, less than this, which lay about
three leagues to the west.

I found also that the island I was in was barren, and, as I saw
good reason to believe, uninhabited except by wild beasts, of whom,
however, I saw none. Yet I saw abundance of fowls, but knew not
their kinds; neither when I killed them could I tell what was fit
for food, and what not. At my coming back, I shot at a great bird
which I saw sitting upon a tree on the side of a great wood. I
believe it was the first gun that had been fired there since the
creation of the world. I had no sooner fired, than from all parts
of the wood there arose an innumerable number of fowls, of many
sorts, making a confused screaming and crying, and every one
according to his usual note, but not one of them of any kind that I
knew. As for the creature I killed, I took it to be a kind of
hawk, its colour and beak resembling it, but it had no talons or
claws more than common. Its flesh was carrion, and fit for

Contented with this discovery, I came back to my raft, and fell to
work to bring my cargo on shore, which took me up the rest of that
day. What to do with myself at night I knew not, nor indeed where
to rest, for I was afraid to lie down on the ground, not knowing
but some wild beast might devour me, though, as I afterwards found,
there was really no need for those fears.

However, as well as I could, I barricaded myself round with the
chest and boards that I had brought on shore, and made a kind of
hut for that night's lodging. As for food, I yet saw not which way
to supply myself, except that I had seen two or three creatures
like hares run out of the wood where I shot the fowl.

I now began to consider that I might yet get a great many things
out of the ship which would be useful to me, and particularly some
of the rigging and sails, and such other things as might come to
land; and I resolved to make another voyage on board the vessel, if
possible. And as I knew that the first storm that blew must
necessarily break her all in pieces, I resolved to set all other
things apart till I had got everything out of the ship that I could
get. Then I called a council - that is to say in my thoughts -
whether I should take back the raft; but this appeared
impracticable: so I resolved to go as before, when the tide was
down; and I did so, only that I stripped before I went from my hut,
having nothing on but my chequered shirt, a pair of linen drawers,
and a pair of pumps on my feet.

I got on board the ship as before, and prepared a second raft; and,
having had experience of the first, I neither made this so
unwieldy, nor loaded it so hard, but yet I brought away several
things very useful to me; as first, in the carpenters stores I
found two or three bags full of nails and spikes, a great screw-
jack, a dozen or two of hatchets, and, above all, that most useful
thing called a grindstone. All these I secured, together with
several things belonging to the gunner, particularly two or three
iron crows, and two barrels of musket bullets, seven muskets,
another fowling-piece, with some small quantity of powder more; a
large bagful of small shot, and a great roll of sheet-lead; but
this last was so heavy, I could not hoist it up to get it over the
ship's side.

Besides these things, I took all the men's clothes that I could
find, and a spare fore-topsail, a hammock, and some bedding; and
with this I loaded my second raft, and brought them all safe on
shore, to my very great comfort.

I was under some apprehension, during my absence from the land,
that at least my provisions might be devoured on shore: but when I
came back I found no sign of any visitor; only there sat a creature
like a wild cat upon one of the chests, which, when I came towards
it, ran away a little distance, and then stood still. She sat very
composed and unconcerned, and looked full in my face, as if she had
a mind to be acquainted with me. I presented my gun at her, but,
as she did not understand it, she was perfectly unconcerned at it,
nor did she offer to stir away; upon which I tossed her a bit of
biscuit, though by the way, I was not very free of it, for my store
was not great: however, I spared her a bit, I say, and she went to
it, smelled at it, and ate it, and looked (as if pleased) for more;
but I thanked her, and could spare no more: so she marched off.

Having got my second cargo on shore - though I was fain to open the
barrels of powder, and bring them by parcels, for they were too
heavy, being large casks - I went to work to make me a little tent
with the sail and some poles which I cut for that purpose: and into
this tent I brought everything that I knew would spoil either with
rain or sun; and I piled all the empty chests and casks up in a
circle round the tent, to fortify it from any sudden attempt,
either from man or beast.

When I had done this, I blocked up the door of the tent with some
boards within, and an empty chest set up on end without; and
spreading one of the beds upon the ground, laying my two pistols
just at my head, and my gun at length by me, I went to bed for the
first time, and slept very quietly all night, for I was very weary
and heavy; for the night before I had slept little, and had
laboured very hard all day to fetch all those things from the ship,
and to get them on shore.

I had the biggest magazine of all kinds now that ever was laid up,
I believe, for one man: but I was not satisfied still, for while
the ship sat upright in that posture, I thought I ought to get
everything out of her that I could; so every day at low water I
went on board, and brought away something or other; but
particularly the third time I went I brought away as much of the
rigging as I could, as also all the small ropes and rope-twine I
could get, with a piece of spare canvas, which was to mend the
sails upon occasion, and the barrel of wet gunpowder. In a word, I
brought away all the sails, first and last; only that I was fain to
cut them in pieces, and bring as much at a time as I could, for
they were no more useful to be sails, but as mere canvas only.

But that which comforted me more still, was, that last of all,
after I had made five or six such voyages as these, and thought I
had nothing more to expect from the ship that was worth my meddling
with - I say, after all this, I found a great hogshead of bread,
three large runlets of rum, or spirits, a box of sugar, and a
barrel of fine flour; this was surprising to me, because I had
given over expecting any more provisions, except what was spoiled
by the water. I soon emptied the hogshead of the bread, and
wrapped it up, parcel by parcel, in pieces of the sails, which I
cut out; and, in a word, I got all this safe on shore also.

The next day I made another voyage, and now, having plundered the
ship of what was portable and fit to hand out, I began with the
cables. Cutting the great cable into pieces, such as I could move,
I got two cables and a hawser on shore, with all the ironwork I
could get; and having cut down the spritsail-yard, and the mizzen-
yard, and everything I could, to make a large raft, I loaded it
with all these heavy goods, and came away. But my good luck began
now to leave me; for this raft was so unwieldy, and so overladen,
that, after I had entered the little cove where I had landed the
rest of my goods, not being able to guide it so handily as I did
the other, it overset, and threw me and all my cargo into the
water. As for myself, it was no great harm, for I was near the
shore; but as to my cargo, it was a great part of it lost,
especially the iron, which I expected would have been of great use
to me; however, when the tide was out, I got most of the pieces of
the cable ashore, and some of the iron, though with infinite
labour; for I was fain to dip for it into the water, a work which
fatigued me very much. After this, I went every day on board, and
brought away what I could get.

I had been now thirteen days on shore, and had been eleven times on
board the ship, in which time I had brought away all that one pair
of hands could well be supposed capable to bring; though I believe
verily, had the calm weather held, I should have brought away the
whole ship, piece by piece. But preparing the twelfth time to go
on board, I found the wind began to rise: however, at low water I
went on board, and though I thought I had rummaged the cabin so
effectually that nothing more could be found, yet I discovered a
locker with drawers in it, in one of which I found two or three
razors, and one pair of large scissors, with some ten or a dozen of
good knives and forks: in another I found about thirty-six pounds
value in money - some European coin, some Brazil, some pieces of
eight, some gold, and some silver.

I smiled to myself at the sight of this money: "O drug!" said I,
aloud, "what art thou good for? Thou art not worth to me - no, not
the taking off the ground; one of those knives is worth all this
heap; I have no manner of use for thee - e'en remain where thou
art, and go to the bottom as a creature whose life is not worth
saying." However, upon second thoughts I took it away; and
wrapping all this in a piece of canvas, I began to think of making
another raft; but while I was preparing this, I found the sky
overcast, and the wind began to rise, and in a quarter of an hour
it blew a fresh gale from the shore. It presently occurred to me
that it was in vain to pretend to make a raft with the wind
offshore; and that it was my business to be gone before the tide of
flood began, otherwise I might not be able to reach the shore at
all. Accordingly, I let myself down into the water, and swam
across the channel, which lay between the ship and the sands, and
even that with difficulty enough, partly with the weight of the
things I had about me, and partly the roughness of the water; for
the wind rose very hastily, and before it was quite high water it
blew a storm.

But I had got home to my little tent, where I lay, with all my
wealth about me, very secure. It blew very hard all night, and in
the morning, when I looked out, behold, no more ship was to be
seen! I was a little surprised, but recovered myself with the
satisfactory reflection that I had lost no time, nor abated any
diligence, to get everything out of her that could be useful to me;
and that, indeed, there was little left in her that I was able to
bring away, if I had had more time.

I now gave over any more thoughts of the ship, or of anything out
of her, except what might drive on shore from her wreck; as,
indeed, divers pieces of her afterwards did; but those things were
of small use to me.

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