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Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

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My thoughts were now wholly employed about securing myself against
either savages, if any should appear, or wild beasts, if any were
in the island; and I had many thoughts of the method how to do
this, and what kind of dwelling to make - whether I should make me
a cave in the earth, or a tent upon the earth; and, in short, I
resolved upon both; the manner and description of which, it may not
be improper to give an account of.

I soon found the place I was in was not fit for my settlement,
because it was upon a low, moorish ground, near the sea, and I
believed it would not be wholesome, and more particularly because
there was no fresh water near it; so I resolved to find a more
healthy and more convenient spot of ground.

I consulted several things in my situation, which I found would he
proper for me: 1st, health and fresh water, I just now mentioned;
2ndly, shelter from the heat of the sun; 3rdly, security from
ravenous creatures, whether man or beast; 4thly, a view to the sea,
that if God sent any ship in sight, I might not lose any advantage
for my deliverance, of which I was not willing to banish all my
expectation yet.

In search of a place proper for this, I found a little plain on the
side of a rising hill, whose front towards this little plain was
steep as a house-side, so that nothing could come down upon me from
the top. On the one side of the rock there was a hollow place,
worn a little way in, like the entrance or door of a cave but there
was not really any cave or way into the rock at all.

On the flat of the green, just before this hollow place, I resolved
to pitch my tent. This plain was not above a hundred yards broad,
and about twice as long, and lay like a green before my door; and,
at the end of it, descended irregularly every way down into the low
ground by the seaside. It was on the N.N.W. side of the hill; so
that it was sheltered from the heat every day, till it came to a W.
and by S. sun, or thereabouts, which, in those countries, is near
the setting.

Before I set up my tent I drew a half-circle before the hollow
place, which took in about ten yards in its semi-diameter from the
rock, and twenty yards in its diameter from its beginning and

In this half-circle I pitched two rows of strong stakes, driving
them into the ground till they stood very firm like piles, the
biggest end being out of the ground above five feet and a half, and
sharpened on the top. The two rows did not stand above six inches
from one another.

Then I took the pieces of cable which I had cut in the ship, and
laid them in rows, one upon another, within the circle, between
these two rows of stakes, up to the top, placing other stakes in
the inside, leaning against them, about two feet and a half high,
like a spur to a post; and this fence was so strong, that neither
man nor beast could get into it or over it. This cost me a great
deal of time and labour, especially to cut the piles in the woods,
bring them to the place, and drive them into the earth.

The entrance into this place I made to be, not by a door, but by a
short ladder to go over the top; which ladder, when I was in, I
lifted over after me; and so I was completely fenced in and
fortified, as I thought, from all the world, and consequently slept
secure in the night, which otherwise I could not have done; though,
as it appeared afterwards, there was no need of all this caution
from the enemies that I apprehended danger from.

Into this fence or fortress, with infinite labour, I carried all my
riches, all my provisions, ammunition, and stores, of which you
have the account above; and I made a large tent, which to preserve
me from the rains that in one part of the year are very violent
there, I made double - one smaller tent within, and one larger tent
above it; and covered the uppermost with a large tarpaulin, which I
had saved among the sails.

And now I lay no more for a while in the bed which I had brought on
shore, but in a hammock, which was indeed a very good one, and
belonged to the mate of the ship.

Into this tent I brought all my provisions, and everything that
would spoil by the wet; and having thus enclosed all my goods, I
made up the entrance, which till now I had left open, and so passed
and repassed, as I said, by a short ladder.

When I had done this, I began to work my way into the rock, and
bringing all the earth and stones that I dug down out through my
tent, I laid them up within my fence, in the nature of a terrace,
so that it raised the ground within about a foot and a half; and
thus I made me a cave, just behind my tent, which served me like a
cellar to my house.

It cost me much labour and many days before all these things were
brought to perfection; and therefore I must go back to some other
things which took up some of my thoughts. At the same time it
happened, after I had laid my scheme for the setting up my tent,
and making the cave, that a storm of rain falling from a thick,
dark cloud, a sudden flash of lightning happened, and after that a
great clap of thunder, as is naturally the effect of it. I was not
so much surprised with the lightning as I was with the thought
which darted into my mind as swift as the lightning itself - Oh, my
powder! My very heart sank within me when I thought that, at one
blast, all my powder might be destroyed; on which, not my defence
only, but the providing my food, as I thought, entirely depended.
I was nothing near so anxious about my own danger, though, had the
powder took fire, I should never have known who had hurt me.

Such impression did this make upon me, that after the storm was
over I laid aside all my works, my building and fortifying, and
applied myself to make bags and boxes, to separate the powder, and
to keep it a little and a little in a parcel, in the hope that,
whatever might come, it might not all take fire at once; and to
keep it so apart that it should not be possible to make one part
fire another. I finished this work in about a fortnight; and I
think my powder, which in all was about two hundred and forty
pounds weight, was divided in not less than a hundred parcels. As
to the barrel that had been wet, I did not apprehend any danger
from that; so I placed it in my new cave, which, in my fancy, I
called my kitchen; and the rest I hid up and down in holes among
the rocks, so that no wet might come to it, marking very carefully
where I laid it.

In the interval of time while this was doing, I went out once at
least every day with my gun, as well to divert myself as to see if
I could kill anything fit for food; and, as near as I could, to
acquaint myself with what the island produced. The first time I
went out, I presently discovered that there were goats in the
island, which was a great satisfaction to me; but then it was
attended with this misfortune to me - viz. that they were so shy,
so subtle, and so swift of foot, that it was the most difficult
thing in the world to come at them; but I was not discouraged at
this, not doubting but I might now and then shoot one, as it soon
happened; for after I had found their haunts a little, I laid wait
in this manner for them: I observed if they saw me in the valleys,
though they were upon the rocks, they would run away, as in a
terrible fright; but if they were feeding in the valleys, and I was
upon the rocks, they took no notice of me; from whence I concluded
that, by the position of their optics, their sight was so directed
downward that they did not readily see objects that were above
them; so afterwards I took this method - I always climbed the rocks
first, to get above them, and then had frequently a fair mark.

The first shot I made among these creatures, I killed a she-goat,
which had a little kid by her, which she gave suck to, which
grieved me heartily; for when the old one fell, the kid stood stock
still by her, till I came and took her up; and not only so, but
when I carried the old one with me, upon my shoulders, the kid
followed me quite to my enclosure; upon which I laid down the dam,
and took the kid in my arms, and carried it over my pale, in hopes
to have bred it up tame; but it would not eat; so I was forced to
kill it and eat it myself. These two supplied me with flesh a
great while, for I ate sparingly, and saved my provisions, my bread
especially, as much as possibly I could.

Having now fixed my habitation, I found it absolutely necessary to
provide a place to make a fire in, and fuel to burn: and what I did
for that, and also how I enlarged my cave, and what conveniences I
made, I shall give a full account of in its place; but I must now
give some little account of myself, and of my thoughts about
living, which, it may well be supposed, were not a few.

I had a dismal prospect of my condition; for as I was not cast away
upon that island without being driven, as is said, by a violent
storm, quite out of the course of our intended voyage, and a great
way, viz. some hundreds of leagues, out of the ordinary course of
the trade of mankind, I had great reason to consider it as a
determination of Heaven, that in this desolate place, and in this
desolate manner, I should end my life. The tears would run
plentifully down my face when I made these reflections; and
sometimes I would expostulate with myself why Providence should
thus completely ruin His creatures, and render them so absolutely
miserable; so without help, abandoned, so entirely depressed, that
it could hardly be rational to be thankful for such a life.

But something always returned swift upon me to check these
thoughts, and to reprove me; and particularly one day, walking with
my gun in my hand by the seaside, I was very pensive upon the
subject of my present condition, when reason, as it were,
expostulated with me the other way, thus: "Well, you are in a
desolate condition, it is true; but, pray remember, where are the
rest of you? Did not you come, eleven of you in the boat? Where
are the ten? Why were they not saved, and you lost? Why were you
singled out? Is it better to be here or there?" And then I
pointed to the sea. All evils are to be considered with the good
that is in them, and with what worse attends them.

Then it occurred to me again, how well I was furnished for my
subsistence, and what would have been my case if it had not
happened (which was a hundred thousand to one) that the ship
floated from the place where she first struck, and was driven so
near to the shore that I had time to get all these things out of
her; what would have been my case, if I had been forced to have
lived in the condition in which I at first came on shore, without
necessaries of life, or necessaries to supply and procure them?
"Particularly," said I, aloud (though to myself), "what should I
have done without a gun, without ammunition, without any tools to
make anything, or to work with, without clothes, bedding, a tent,
or any manner of covering?" and that now I had all these to
sufficient quantity, and was in a fair way to provide myself in
such a manner as to live without my gun, when my ammunition was
spent: so that I had a tolerable view of subsisting, without any
want, as long as I lived; for I considered from the beginning how I
would provide for the accidents that might happen, and for the time
that was to come, even not only after my ammunition should be
spent, but even after my health and strength should decay.

I confess I had not entertained any notion of my ammunition being
destroyed at one blast - I mean my powder being blown up by
lightning; and this made the thoughts of it so surprising to me,
when it lightened and thundered, as I observed just now.

And now being about to enter into a melancholy relation of a scene
of silent life, such, perhaps, as was never heard of in the world
before, I shall take it from its beginning, and continue it in its
order. It was by my account the 30th of September, when, in the
manner as above said, I first set foot upon this horrid island;
when the sun, being to us in its autumnal equinox, was almost over
my head; for I reckoned myself, by observation, to be in the
latitude of nine degrees twenty-two minutes north of the line.

After I had been there about ten or twelve days, it came into my
thoughts that I should lose my reckoning of time for want of books,
and pen and ink, and should even forget the Sabbath days; but to
prevent this, I cut with my knife upon a large post, in capital
letters - and making it into a great cross, I set it up on the
shore where I first landed - "I came on shore here on the 30th
September 1659."

Upon the sides of this square post I cut every day a notch with my
knife, and every seventh notch was as long again as the rest, and
every first day of the month as long again as that long one; and
thus I kept my calendar, or weekly, monthly, and yearly reckoning
of time.

In the next place, we are to observe that among the many things
which I brought out of the ship, in the several voyages which, as
above mentioned, I made to it, I got several things of less value,
but not at all less useful to me, which I omitted setting down
before; as, in particular, pens, ink, and paper, several parcels in
the captain's, mate's, gunner's and carpenter's keeping; three or
four compasses, some mathematical instruments, dials, perspectives,
charts, and books of navigation, all which I huddled together,
whether I might want them or no; also, I found three very good
Bibles, which came to me in my cargo from England, and which I had
packed up among my things; some Portuguese books also; and among
them two or three Popish prayer-books, and several other books, all
which I carefully secured. And I must not forget that we had in
the ship a dog and two cats, of whose eminent history I may have
occasion to say something in its place; for I carried both the cats
with me; and as for the dog, he jumped out of the ship of himself,
and swam on shore to me the day after I went on shore with my first
cargo, and was a trusty servant to me many years; I wanted nothing
that he could fetch me, nor any company that he could make up to
me; I only wanted to have him talk to me, but that would not do.
As I observed before, I found pens, ink, and paper, and I husbanded
them to the utmost; and I shall show that while my ink lasted, I
kept things very exact, but after that was gone I could not, for I
could not make any ink by any means that I could devise.

And this put me in mind that I wanted many things notwithstanding
all that I had amassed together; and of these, ink was one; as also
a spade, pickaxe, and shovel, to dig or remove the earth; needles,
pins, and thread; as for linen, I soon learned to want that without
much difficulty.

This want of tools made every work I did go on heavily; and it was
near a whole year before I had entirely finished my little pale, or
surrounded my habitation. The piles, or stakes, which were as
heavy as I could well lift, were a long time in cutting and
preparing in the woods, and more, by far, in bringing home; so that
I spent sometimes two days in cutting and bringing home one of
those posts, and a third day in driving it into the ground; for
which purpose I got a heavy piece of wood at first, but at last
bethought myself of one of the iron crows; which, however, though I
found it, made driving those posts or piles very laborious and
tedious work. But what need I have been concerned at the
tediousness of anything I had to do, seeing I had time enough to do
it in? nor had I any other employment, if that had been over, at
least that I could foresee, except the ranging the island to seek
for food, which I did, more or less, every day.

I now began to consider seriously my condition, and the
circumstances I was reduced to; and I drew up the state of my
affairs in writing, not so much to leave them to any that were to
come after me - for I was likely to have but few heirs - as to
deliver my thoughts from daily poring over them, and afflicting my
mind; and as my reason began now to master my despondency, I began
to comfort myself as well as I could, and to set the good against
the evil, that I might have something to distinguish my case from
worse; and I stated very impartially, like debtor and creditor, the
comforts I enjoyed against the miseries I suffered, thus:-

Evil: I am cast upon a horrible, desolate island, void of all hope
of recovery.

Good: But I am alive; and not drowned, as all my ship's company

Evil: I am singled out and separated, as it were, from all the
world, to be miserable.

Good: But I am singled out, too, from all the ship's crew, to be
spared from death; and He that miraculously saved me from death can
deliver me from this condition.

Evil: I am divided from mankind - a solitaire; one banished from
human society.

Good: But I am not starved, and perishing on a barren place,
affording no sustenance.

Evil: I have no clothes to cover me.

Good: But I am in a hot climate, where, if I had clothes, I could
hardly wear them.

Evil: I am without any defence, or means to resist any violence of
man or beast.

Good: But I am cast on an island where I see no wild beasts to hurt
me, as I saw on the coast of Africa; and what if I had been
shipwrecked there?

Evil: I have no soul to speak to or relieve me.

Good: But God wonderfully sent the ship in near enough to the
shore, that I have got out as many necessary things as will either
supply my wants or enable me to supply myself, even as long as I

Upon the whole, here was an undoubted testimony that there was
scarce any condition in the world so miserable but there was
something negative or something positive to be thankful for in it;
and let this stand as a direction from the experience of the most
miserable of all conditions in this world: that we may always find
in it something to comfort ourselves from, and to set, in the
description of good and evil, on the credit side of the account.

Having now brought my mind a little to relish my condition, and
given over looking out to sea, to see if I could spy a ship - I
say, giving over these things, I begun to apply myself to arrange
my way of living, and to make things as easy to me as I could.

I have already described my habitation, which was a tent under the
side of a rock, surrounded with a strong pale of posts and cables:
but I might now rather call it a wall, for I raised a kind of wall
up against it of turfs, about two feet thick on the outside; and
after some time (I think it was a year and a half) I raised rafters
from it, leaning to the rock, and thatched or covered it with
boughs of trees, and such things as I could get, to keep out the
rain; which I found at some times of the year very violent.

I have already observed how I brought all my goods into this pale,
and into the cave which I had made behind me. But I must observe,
too, that at first this was a confused heap of goods, which, as
they lay in no order, so they took up all my place; I had no room
to turn myself: so I set myself to enlarge my cave, and work
farther into the earth; for it was a loose sandy rock, which
yielded easily to the labour I bestowed on it: and so when I found
I was pretty safe as to beasts of prey, I worked sideways, to the
right hand, into the rock; and then, turning to the right again,
worked quite out, and made me a door to come out on the outside of
my pale or fortification. This gave me not only egress and
regress, as it was a back way to my tent and to my storehouse, but
gave me room to store my goods.

And now I began to apply myself to make such necessary things as I
found I most wanted, particularly a chair and a table; for without
these I was not able to enjoy the few comforts I had in the world;
I could not write or eat, or do several things, with so much
pleasure without a table: so I went to work. And here I must needs
observe, that as reason is the substance and origin of the
mathematics, so by stating and squaring everything by reason, and
by making the most rational judgment of things, every man may be,
in time, master of every mechanic art. I had never handled a tool
in my life; and yet, in time, by labour, application, and
contrivance, I found at last that I wanted nothing but I could have
made it, especially if I had had tools. However, I made abundance
of things, even without tools; and some with no more tools than an
adze and a hatchet, which perhaps were never made that way before,
and that with infinite labour. For example, if I wanted a board, I
had no other way but to cut down a tree, set it on an edge before
me, and hew it flat on either side with my axe, till I brought it
to be thin as a plank, and then dub it smooth with my adze. It is
true, by this method I could make but one board out of a whole
tree; but this I had no remedy for but patience, any more than I
had for the prodigious deal of time and labour which it took me up
to make a plank or board: but my time or labour was little worth,
and so it was as well employed one way as another.

However, I made me a table and a chair, as I observed above, in the
first place; and this I did out of the short pieces of boards that
I brought on my raft from the ship. But when I had wrought out
some boards as above, I made large shelves, of the breadth of a
foot and a half, one over another all along one side of my cave, to
lay all my tools, nails and ironwork on; and, in a word, to
separate everything at large into their places, that I might come
easily at them. I knocked pieces into the wall of the rock to hang
my guns and all things that would hang up; so that, had my cave
been to be seen, it looked like a general magazine of all necessary
things; and had everything so ready at my hand, that it was a great
pleasure to me to see all my goods in such order, and especially to
find my stock of all necessaries so great.

And now it was that I began to keep a journal of every day's
employment; for, indeed, at first I was in too much hurry, and not
only hurry as to labour, but in too much discomposure of mind; and
my journal would have been full of many dull things; for example, I
must have said thus: "30TH. - After I had got to shore, and escaped
drowning, instead of being thankful to God for my deliverance,
having first vomited, with the great quantity of salt water which
had got into my stomach, and recovering myself a little, I ran
about the shore wringing my hands and beating my head and face,
exclaiming at my misery, and crying out, 'I was undone, undone!'
till, tired and faint, I was forced to lie down on the ground to
repose, but durst not sleep for fear of being devoured."

Some days after this, and after I had been on board the ship, and
got all that I could out of her, yet I could not forbear getting up
to the top of a little mountain and looking out to sea, in hopes of
seeing a ship; then fancy at a vast distance I spied a sail, please
myself with the hopes of it, and then after looking steadily, till
I was almost blind, lose it quite, and sit down and weep like a
child, and thus increase my misery by my folly.

But having gotten over these things in some measure, and having
settled my household staff and habitation, made me a table and a
chair, and all as handsome about me as I could, I began to keep my
journal; of which I shall here give you the copy (though in it will
be told all these particulars over again) as long as it lasted; for
having no more ink, I was forced to leave it off.


SEPTEMBER 30, 1659. - I, poor miserable Robinson Crusoe, being
shipwrecked during a dreadful storm in the offing, came on shore on
this dismal, unfortunate island, which I called "The Island of
Despair"; all the rest of the ship's company being drowned, and
myself almost dead.

All the rest of the day I spent in afflicting myself at the dismal
circumstances I was brought to - viz. I had neither food, house,
clothes, weapon, nor place to fly to; and in despair of any relief,
saw nothing but death before me - either that I should be devoured
by wild beasts, murdered by savages, or starved to death for want
of food. At the approach of night I slept in a tree, for fear of
wild creatures; but slept soundly, though it rained all night.

OCTOBER 1. - In the morning I saw, to my great surprise, the ship
had floated with the high tide, and was driven on shore again much
nearer the island; which, as it was some comfort, on one hand -
for, seeing her set upright, and not broken to pieces, I hoped, if
the wind abated, I might get on board, and get some food and
necessaries out of her for my relief - so, on the other hand, it
renewed my grief at the loss of my comrades, who, I imagined, if we
had all stayed on board, might have saved the ship, or, at least,
that they would not have been all drowned as they were; and that,
had the men been saved, we might perhaps have built us a boat out
of the ruins of the ship to have carried us to some other part of
the world. I spent great part of this day in perplexing myself on
these things; but at length, seeing the ship almost dry, I went
upon the sand as near as I could, and then swam on board. This day
also it continued raining, though with no wind at all.

FROM THE 1ST OF OCTOBER TO THE 24TH. - All these days entirely
spent in many several voyages to get all I could out of the ship,
which I brought on shore every tide of flood upon rafts. Much rain
also in the days, though with some intervals of fair weather; but
it seems this was the rainy season.

OCT. 20. - I overset my raft, and all the goods I had got upon it;
but, being in shoal water, and the things being chiefly heavy, I
recovered many of them when the tide was out.

OCT. 25. - It rained all night and all day, with some gusts of
wind; during which time the ship broke in pieces, the wind blowing
a little harder than before, and was no more to be seen, except the
wreck of her, and that only at low water. I spent this day in
covering and securing the goods which I had saved, that the rain
might not spoil them.

OCT. 26. - I walked about the shore almost all day, to find out a
place to fix my habitation, greatly concerned to secure myself from
any attack in the night, either from wild beasts or men. Towards
night, I fixed upon a proper place, under a rock, and marked out a
semicircle for my encampment; which I resolved to strengthen with a
work, wall, or fortification, made of double piles, lined within
with cables, and without with turf.

From the 26th to the 30th I worked very hard in carrying all my
goods to my new habitation, though some part of the time it rained
exceedingly hard.

The 31st, in the morning, I went out into the island with my gun,
to seek for some food, and discover the country; when I killed a
she-goat, and her kid followed me home, which I afterwards killed
also, because it would not feed.

NOVEMBER 1. - I set up my tent under a rock, and lay there for the
first night; making it as large as I could, with stakes driven in
to swing my hammock upon.

NOV. 2. - I set up all my chests and boards, and the pieces of
timber which made my rafts, and with them formed a fence round me,
a little within the place I had marked out for my fortification.

NOV. 3. - I went out with my gun, and killed two fowls like ducks,
which were very good food. In the afternoon went to work to make
me a table.

NOV. 4. - This morning I began to order my times of work, of going
out with my gun, time of sleep, and time of diversion - viz. every
morning I walked out with my gun for two or three hours, if it did
not rain; then employed myself to work till about eleven o'clock;
then eat what I had to live on; and from twelve to two I lay down
to sleep, the weather being excessively hot; and then, in the
evening, to work again. The working part of this day and of the
next were wholly employed in making my table, for I was yet but a
very sorry workman, though time and necessity made me a complete
natural mechanic soon after, as I believe they would do any one

NOV. 5. - This day went abroad with my gun and my dog, and killed a
wild cat; her skin pretty soft, but her flesh good for nothing;
every creature that I killed I took of the skins and preserved
them. Coming back by the sea-shore, I saw many sorts of sea-fowls,
which I did not understand; but was surprised, and almost
frightened, with two or three seals, which, while I was gazing at,
not well knowing what they were, got into the sea, and escaped me
for that time.

NOV. 6. - After my morning walk I went to work with my table again,
and finished it, though not to my liking; nor was it long before I
learned to mend it.

NOV. 7. - Now it began to be settled fair weather. The 7th, 8th,
9th, 10th, and part of the 12th (for the 11th was Sunday) I took
wholly up to make me a chair, and with much ado brought it to a
tolerable shape, but never to please me; and even in the making I
pulled it in pieces several times.

NOTE. - I soon neglected my keeping Sundays; for, omitting my mark
for them on my post, I forgot which was which.

NOV. 13. - This day it rained, which refreshed me exceedingly, and
cooled the earth; but it was accompanied with terrible thunder and
lightning, which frightened me dreadfully, for fear of my powder.
As soon as it was over, I resolved to separate my stock of powder
into as many little parcels as possible, that it might not be in

NOV. 14, 15, 16. - These three days I spent in making little square
chests, or boxes, which might hold about a pound, or two pounds at
most, of powder; and so, putting the powder in, I stowed it in
places as secure and remote from one another as possible. On one
of these three days I killed a large bird that was good to eat, but
I knew not what to call it.

NOV. 17. - This day I began to dig behind my tent into the rock, to
make room for my further conveniency.

NOTE. - Three things I wanted exceedingly for this work - viz. a
pickaxe, a shovel, and a wheelbarrow or basket; so I desisted from
my work, and began to consider how to supply that want, and make me
some tools. As for the pickaxe, I made use of the iron crows,
which were proper enough, though heavy; but the next thing was a
shovel or spade; this was so absolutely necessary, that, indeed, I
could do nothing effectually without it; but what kind of one to
make I knew not.

NOV. 18. - The next day, in searching the woods, I found a tree of
that wood, or like it, which in the Brazils they call the iron-
tree, for its exceeding hardness. Of this, with great labour, and
almost spoiling my axe, I cut a piece, and brought it home, too,
with difficulty enough, for it was exceeding heavy. The excessive
hardness of the wood, and my having no other way, made me a long
while upon this machine, for I worked it effectually by little and
little into the form of a shovel or spade; the handle exactly
shaped like ours in England, only that the board part having no
iron shod upon it at bottom, it would not last me so long; however,
it served well enough for the uses which I had occasion to put it
to; but never was a shovel, I believe, made after that fashion, or
so long in making.

I was still deficient, for I wanted a basket or a wheelbarrow. A
basket I could not make by any means, having no such things as
twigs that would bend to make wicker-ware - at least, none yet
found out; and as to a wheelbarrow, I fancied I could make all but
the wheel; but that I had no notion of; neither did I know how to
go about it; besides, I had no possible way to make the iron
gudgeons for the spindle or axis of the wheel to run in; so I gave
it over, and so, for carrying away the earth which I dug out of the
cave, I made me a thing like a hod which the labourers carry mortar
in when they serve the bricklayers. This was not so difficult to
me as the making the shovel: and yet this and the shovel, and the
attempt which I made in vain to make a wheelbarrow, took me up no
less than four days - I mean always excepting my morning walk with
my gun, which I seldom failed, and very seldom failed also bringing
home something fit to eat.

NOV. 23. - My other work having now stood still, because of my
making these tools, when they were finished I went on, and working
every day, as my strength and time allowed, I spent eighteen days
entirely in widening and deepening my cave, that it might hold my
goods commodiously.

NOTE. - During all this time I worked to make this room or cave
spacious enough to accommodate me as a warehouse or magazine, a
kitchen, a dining-room, and a cellar. As for my lodging, I kept to
the tent; except that sometimes, in the wet season of the year, it
rained so hard that I could not keep myself dry, which caused me
afterwards to cover all my place within my pale with long poles, in
the form of rafters, leaning against the rock, and load them with
flags and large leaves of trees, like a thatch.

DECEMBER 10. - I began now to think my cave or vault finished, when
on a sudden (it seems I had made it too large) a great quantity of
earth fell down from the top on one side; so much that, in short,
it frighted me, and not without reason, too, for if I had been
under it, I had never wanted a gravedigger. I had now a great deal
of work to do over again, for I had the loose earth to carry out;
and, which was of more importance, I had the ceiling to prop up, so
that I might be sure no more would come down.

DEC. 11. - This day I went to work with it accordingly, and got two
shores or posts pitched upright to the top, with two pieces of
boards across over each post; this I finished the next day; and
setting more posts up with boards, in about a week more I had the
roof secured, and the posts, standing in rows, served me for
partitions to part off the house.

DEC. 17. - From this day to the 20th I placed shelves, and knocked
up nails on the posts, to hang everything up that could be hung up;
and now I began to be in some order within doors.

DEC. 20. - Now I carried everything into the cave, and began to
furnish my house, and set up some pieces of boards like a dresser,
to order my victuals upon; but boards began to be very scarce with
me; also, I made me another table.

DEC. 24. - Much rain all night and all day. No stirring out.

DEC. 25. - Rain all day.

DEC. 26. - No rain, and the earth much cooler than before, and

DEC. 27. - Killed a young goat, and lamed another, so that I caught
it and led it home in a string; when I had it at home, I bound and
splintered up its leg, which was broke.

N.B. - I took such care of it that it lived, and the leg grew well
and as strong as ever; but, by my nursing it so long, it grew tame,
and fed upon the little green at my door, and would not go away.
This was the first time that I entertained a thought of breeding up
some tame creatures, that I might have food when my powder and shot
was all spent.

DEC. 28,29,30,31. - Great heats, and no breeze, so that there was
no stirring abroad, except in the evening, for food; this time I
spent in putting all my things in order within doors.

JANUARY 1. - Very hot still: but I went abroad early and late with
my gun, and lay still in the middle of the day. This evening,
going farther into the valleys which lay towards the centre of the
island, I found there were plenty of goats, though exceedingly shy,
and hard to come at; however, I resolved to try if I could not
bring my dog to hunt them down.

JAN. 2. - Accordingly, the next day I went out with my dog, and set
him upon the goats, but I was mistaken, for they all faced about
upon the dog, and he knew his danger too well, for he would not
come near them.

JAN. 3. - I began my fence or wall; which, being still jealous of
my being attacked by somebody, I resolved to make very thick and

N.B. - This wall being described before, I purposely omit what was
said in the journal; it is sufficient to observe, that I was no
less time than from the 2nd of January to the 14th of April
working, finishing, and perfecting this wall, though it was no more
than about twenty-four yards in length, being a half-circle from
one place in the rock to another place, about eight yards from it,
the door of the cave being in the centre behind it.

All this time I worked very hard, the rains hindering me many days,
nay, sometimes weeks together; but I thought I should never be
perfectly secure till this wall was finished; and it is scarce
credible what inexpressible labour everything was done with,
especially the bringing piles out of the woods and driving them
into the ground; for I made them much bigger than I needed to have

When this wall was finished, and the outside double fenced, with a
turf wall raised up close to it, I perceived myself that if any
people were to come on shore there, they would not perceive
anything like a habitation; and it was very well I did so, as may
be observed hereafter, upon a very remarkable occasion.

During this time I made my rounds in the woods for game every day
when the rain permitted me, and made frequent discoveries in these
walks of something or other to my advantage; particularly, I found
a kind of wild pigeons, which build, not as wood-pigeons in a tree,
but rather as house-pigeons, in the holes of the rocks; and taking
some young ones, I endeavoured to breed them up tame, and did so;
but when they grew older they flew away, which perhaps was at first
for want of feeding them, for I had nothing to give them; however,
I frequently found their nests, and got their young ones, which
were very good meat. And now, in the managing my household
affairs, I found myself wanting in many things, which I thought at
first it was impossible for me to make; as, indeed, with some of
them it was: for instance, I could never make a cask to be hooped.
I had a small runlet or two, as I observed before; but I could
never arrive at the capacity of making one by them, though I spent
many weeks about it; I could neither put in the heads, or join the
staves so true to one another as to make them hold water; so I gave
that also over. In the next place, I was at a great loss for
candles; so that as soon as ever it was dark, which was generally
by seven o'clock, I was obliged to go to bed. I remembered the
lump of beeswax with which I made candles in my African adventure;
but I had none of that now; the only remedy I had was, that when I
had killed a goat I saved the tallow, and with a little dish made
of clay, which I baked in the sun, to which I added a wick of some
oakum, I made me a lamp; and this gave me light, though not a
clear, steady light, like a candle. In the middle of all my
labours it happened that, rummaging my things, I found a little bag
which, as I hinted before, had been filled with corn for the
feeding of poultry - not for this voyage, but before, as I suppose,
when the ship came from Lisbon. The little remainder of corn that
had been in the bag was all devoured by the rats, and I saw nothing
in the bag but husks and dust; and being willing to have the bag
for some other use (I think it was to put powder in, when I divided
it for fear of the lightning, or some such use), I shook the husks
of corn out of it on one side of my fortification, under the rock.

It was a little before the great rains just now mentioned that I
threw this stuff away, taking no notice, and not so much as
remembering that I had thrown anything there, when, about a month
after, or thereabouts, I saw some few stalks of something green
shooting out of the ground, which I fancied might be some plant I
had not seen; but I was surprised, and perfectly astonished, when,
after a little longer time, I saw about ten or twelve ears come
out, which were perfect green barley, of the same kind as our
European - nay, as our English barley.

It is impossible to express the astonishment and confusion of my
thoughts on this occasion. I had hitherto acted upon no religious
foundation at all; indeed, I had very few notions of religion in my
head, nor had entertained any sense of anything that had befallen
me otherwise than as chance, or, as we lightly say, what pleases
God, without so much as inquiring into the end of Providence in
these things, or His order in governing events for the world. But
after I saw barley grow there, in a climate which I knew was not
proper for corn, and especially that I knew not how it came there,
it startled me strangely, and I began to suggest that God had
miraculously caused His grain to grow without any help of seed
sown, and that it was so directed purely for my sustenance on that
wild, miserable place.

This touched my heart a little, and brought tears out of my eyes,
and I began to bless myself that such a prodigy of nature should
happen upon my account; and this was the more strange to me,
because I saw near it still, all along by the side of the rock,
some other straggling stalks, which proved to be stalks of rice,
and which I knew, because I had seen it grow in Africa when I was
ashore there.

I not only thought these the pure productions of Providence for my
support, but not doubting that there was more in the place, I went
all over that part of the island, where I had been before, peering
in every corner, and under every rock, to see for more of it, but I
could not find any. At last it occurred to my thoughts that I
shook a bag of chickens' meat out in that place; and then the
wonder began to cease; and I must confess my religious thankfulness
to God's providence began to abate, too, upon the discovering that
all this was nothing but what was common; though I ought to have
been as thankful for so strange and unforeseen a providence as if
it had been miraculous; for it was really the work of Providence to
me, that should order or appoint that ten or twelve grains of corn
should remain unspoiled, when the rats had destroyed all the rest,
as if it had been dropped from heaven; as also, that I should throw
it out in that particular place, where, it being in the shade of a
high rock, it sprang up immediately; whereas, if I had thrown it
anywhere else at that time, it had been burnt up and destroyed.

I carefully saved the ears of this corn, you may be sure, in their
season, which was about the end of June; and, laying up every corn,
I resolved to sow them all again, hoping in time to have some
quantity sufficient to supply me with bread. But it was not till
the fourth year that I could allow myself the least grain of this
corn to eat, and even then but sparingly, as I shall say
afterwards, in its order; for I lost all that I sowed the first
season by not observing the proper time; for I sowed it just before
the dry season, so that it never came up at all, at least not as it
would have done; of which in its place.

Besides this barley, there were, as above, twenty or thirty stalks
of rice, which I preserved with the same care and for the same use,
or to the same purpose - to make me bread, or rather food; for I
found ways to cook it without baking, though I did that also after
some time.

But to return to my Journal.

I worked excessive hard these three or four months to get my wall
done; and the 14th of April I closed it up, contriving to go into
it, not by a door but over the wall, by a ladder, that there might
be no sign on the outside of my habitation.

APRIL 16. - I finished the ladder; so I went up the ladder to the
top, and then pulled it up after me, and let it down in the inside.
This was a complete enclosure to me; for within I had room enough,
and nothing could come at me from without, unless it could first
mount my wall.

The very next day after this wall was finished I had almost had all
my labour overthrown at once, and myself killed. The case was
thus: As I was busy in the inside, behind my tent, just at the
entrance into my cave, I was terribly frighted with a most
dreadful, surprising thing indeed; for all on a sudden I found the
earth come crumbling down from the roof of my cave, and from the
edge of the hill over my head, and two of the posts I had set up in
the cave cracked in a frightful manner. I was heartily scared; but
thought nothing of what was really the cause, only thinking that
the top of my cave was fallen in, as some of it had done before:
and for fear I should be buried in it I ran forward to my ladder,
and not thinking myself safe there neither, I got over my wall for
fear of the pieces of the hill, which I expected might roll down
upon me. I had no sooner stepped do ground, than I plainly saw it
was a terrible earthquake, for the ground I stood on shook three
times at about eight minutes' distance, with three such shocks as
would have overturned the strongest building that could be supposed
to have stood on the earth; and a great piece of the top of a rock
which stood about half a mile from me next the sea fell down with
such a terrible noise as I never heard in all my life. I perceived
also the very sea was put into violent motion by it; and I believe
the shocks were stronger under the water than on the island.

I was so much amazed with the thing itself, having never felt the
like, nor discoursed with any one that had, that I was like one
dead or stupefied; and the motion of the earth made my stomach
sick, like one that was tossed at sea; but the noise of the falling
of the rock awakened me, as it were, and rousing me from the
stupefied condition I was in, filled me with horror; and I thought
of nothing then but the hill falling upon my tent and all my
household goods, and burying all at once; and this sunk my very
soul within me a second time.

After the third shock was over, and I felt no more for some time, I
began to take courage; and yet I had not heart enough to go over my
wall again, for fear of being buried alive, but sat still upon the
ground greatly cast down and disconsolate, not knowing what to do.
All this while I had not the least serious religious thought;
nothing but the common "Lord have mercy upon me!" and when it was
over that went away too.

While I sat thus, I found the air overcast and grow cloudy, as if
it would rain. Soon after that the wind arose by little and
little, so that in less than half-an-hour it blew a most dreadful
hurricane; the sea was all on a sudden covered over with foam and
froth; the shore was covered with the breach of the water, the
trees were torn up by the roots, and a terrible storm it was. This
held about three hours, and then began to abate; and in two hours
more it was quite calm, and began to rain very hard. All this
while I sat upon the ground very much terrified and dejected; when
on a sudden it came into my thoughts, that these winds and rain
being the consequences of the earthquake, the earthquake itself was
spent and over, and I might venture into my cave again. With this
thought my spirits began to revive; and the rain also helping to
persuade me, I went in and sat down in my tent. But the rain was
so violent that my tent was ready to be beaten down with it; and I
was forced to go into my cave, though very much afraid and uneasy,
for fear it should fall on my head. This violent rain forced me to
a new work - viz. to cut a hole through my new fortification, like
a sink, to let the water go out, which would else have flooded my
cave. After I had been in my cave for some time, and found still
no more shocks of the earthquake follow, I began to be more
composed. And now, to support my spirits, which indeed wanted it
very much, I went to my little store, and took a small sup of rum;
which, however, I did then and always very sparingly, knowing I
could have no more when that was gone. It continued raining all
that night and great part of the next day, so that I could not stir
abroad; but my mind being more composed, I began to think of what I
had best do; concluding that if the island was subject to these
earthquakes, there would be no living for me in a cave, but I must
consider of building a little hut in an open place which I might
surround with a wall, as I had done here, and so make myself secure
from wild beasts or men; for I concluded, if I stayed where I was,
I should certainly one time or other be buried alive.

With these thoughts, I resolved to remove my tent from the place
where it stood, which was just under the hanging precipice of the
hill; and which, if it should be shaken again, would certainly fall
upon my tent; and I spent the two next days, being the 19th and
20th of April, in contriving where and how to remove my habitation.
The fear of being swallowed up alive made me that I never slept in
quiet; and yet the apprehension of lying abroad without any fence
was almost equal to it; but still, when I looked about, and saw how
everything was put in order, how pleasantly concealed I was, and
how safe from danger, it made me very loath to remove. In the
meantime, it occurred to me that it would require a vast deal of
time for me to do this, and that I must be contented to venture
where I was, till I had formed a camp for myself, and had secured
it so as to remove to it. So with this resolution I composed
myself for a time, and resolved that I would go to work with all
speed to build me a wall with piles and cables, &c., in a circle,
as before, and set my tent up in it when it was finished; but that
I would venture to stay where I was till it was finished, and fit
to remove. This was the 21st.

APRIL 22. - The next morning I begin to consider of means to put
this resolve into execution; but I was at a great loss about my
tools. I had three large axes, and abundance of hatchets (for we
carried the hatchets for traffic with the Indians); but with much
chopping and cutting knotty hard wood, they were all full of
notches, and dull; and though I had a grindstone, I could not turn
it and grind my tools too. This cost me as much thought as a
statesman would have bestowed upon a grand point of politics, or a
judge upon the life and death of a man. At length I contrived a
wheel with a string, to turn it with my foot, that I might have
both my hands at liberty. NOTE. - I had never seen any such thing
in England, or at least, not to take notice how it was done, though
since I have observed, it is very common there; besides that, my
grindstone was very large and heavy. This machine cost me a full
week's work to bring it to perfection.

APRIL 28, 29. - These two whole days I took up in grinding my
tools, my machine for turning my grindstone performing very well.

APRIL 30. - Having perceived my bread had been low a great while,
now I took a survey of it, and reduced myself to one biscuit cake a
day, which made my heart very heavy.

MAY 1. - In the morning, looking towards the sea side, the tide
being low, I saw something lie on the shore bigger than ordinary,
and it looked like a cask; when I came to it, I found a small
barrel, and two or three pieces of the wreck of the ship, which
were driven on shore by the late hurricane; and looking towards the
wreck itself, I thought it seemed to lie higher out of the water
than it used to do. I examined the barrel which was driven on
shore, and soon found it was a barrel of gunpowder; but it had
taken water, and the powder was caked as hard as a stone; however,
I rolled it farther on shore for the present, and went on upon the
sands, as near as I could to the wreck of the ship, to look for


WHEN I came down to the ship I found it strangely removed. The
forecastle, which lay before buried in sand, was heaved up at least
six feet, and the stern, which was broke in pieces and parted from
the rest by the force of the sea, soon after I had left rummaging
her, was tossed as it were up, and cast on one side; and the sand
was thrown so high on that side next her stern, that whereas there
was a great place of water before, so that I could not come within
a quarter of a mile of the wreck without swimming I could now walk
quite up to her when the tide was out. I was surprised with this
at first, but soon concluded it must be done by the earthquake; and
as by this violence the ship was more broke open than formerly, so
many things came daily on shore, which the sea had loosened, and
which the winds and water rolled by degrees to the land.

This wholly diverted my thoughts from the design of removing my
habitation, and I busied myself mightily, that day especially, in
searching whether I could make any way into the ship; but I found
nothing was to be expected of that kind, for all the inside of the
ship was choked up with sand. However, as I had learned not to
despair of anything, I resolved to pull everything to pieces that I
could of the ship, concluding that everything I could get from her
would be of some use or other to me.

MAY 3. - I began with my saw, and cut a piece of a beam through,
which I thought held some of the upper part or quarter-deck
together, and when I had cut it through, I cleared away the sand as
well as I could from the side which lay highest; but the tide
coming in, I was obliged to give over for that time.

MAY 4. - I went a-fishing, but caught not one fish that I durst eat
of, till I was weary of my sport; when, just going to leave off, I
caught a young dolphin. I had made me a long line of some rope-
yarn, but I had no hooks; yet I frequently caught fish enough, as
much as I cared to eat; all which I dried in the sun, and ate them

MAY 5. - Worked on the wreck; cut another beam asunder, and brought
three great fir planks off from the decks, which I tied together,
and made to float on shore when the tide of flood came on.

MAY 6. - Worked on the wreck; got several iron bolts out of her and
other pieces of ironwork. Worked very hard, and came home very
much tired, and had thoughts of giving it over.

MAY 7. - Went to the wreck again, not with an intent to work, but
found the weight of the wreck had broke itself down, the beams
being cut; that several pieces of the ship seemed to lie loose, and
the inside of the hold lay so open that I could see into it; but it
was almost full of water and sand.

MAY 8. - Went to the wreck, and carried an iron crow to wrench up
the deck, which lay now quite clear of the water or sand. I
wrenched open two planks, and brought them on shore also with the
tide. I left the iron crow in the wreck for next day.

MAY 9. - Went to the wreck, and with the crow made way into the
body of the wreck, and felt several casks, and loosened them with
the crow, but could not break them up. I felt also a roll of
English lead, and could stir it, but it was too heavy to remove.

MAY 10-14. - Went every day to the wreck; and got a great many
pieces of timber, and boards, or plank, and two or three
hundredweight of iron.

MAY 15. - I carried two hatchets, to try if I could not cut a piece
off the roll of lead by placing the edge of one hatchet and driving
it with the other; but as it lay about a foot and a half in the
water, I could not make any blow to drive the hatchet.

MAY 16. - It had blown hard in the night, and the wreck appeared
more broken by the force of the water; but I stayed so long in the
woods, to get pigeons for food, that the tide prevented my going to
the wreck that day.

MAY 17. - I saw some pieces of the wreck blown on shore, at a great
distance, near two miles off me, but resolved to see what they
were, and found it was a piece of the head, but too heavy for me to
bring away.

MAY 24. - Every day, to this day, I worked on the wreck; and with
hard labour I loosened some things so much with the crow, that the
first flowing tide several casks floated out, and two of the
seamen's chests; but the wind blowing from the shore, nothing came
to land that day but pieces of timber, and a hogshead, which had
some Brazil pork in it; but the salt water and the sand had spoiled
it. I continued this work every day to the 15th of June, except
the time necessary to get food, which I always appointed, during
this part of my employment, to be when the tide was up, that I
might be ready when it was ebbed out; and by this time I had got
timber and plank and ironwork enough to have built a good boat, if
I had known how; and also I got, at several times and in several
pieces, near one hundredweight of the sheet lead.

JUNE 16. - Going down to the seaside, I found a large tortoise or
turtle. This was the first I had seen, which, it seems, was only
my misfortune, not any defect of the place, or scarcity; for had I
happened to be on the other side of the island, I might have had
hundreds of them every day, as I found afterwards; but perhaps had
paid dear enough for them.

JUNE 17. - I spent in cooking the turtle. I found in her three-
score eggs; and her flesh was to me, at that time, the most savoury
and pleasant that ever I tasted in my life, having had no flesh,
but of goats and fowls, since I landed in this horrid place.

JUNE 18. - Rained all day, and I stayed within. I thought at this
time the rain felt cold, and I was something chilly; which I knew
was not usual in that latitude.

JUNE 19. - Very ill, and shivering, as if the weather had been

JUNE 20. - No rest all night; violent pains in my head, and

JUNE 21. - Very ill; frighted almost to death with the
apprehensions of my sad condition - to be sick, and no help.
Prayed to God, for the first time since the storm off Hull, but
scarce knew what I said, or why, my thoughts being all confused.

JUNE 22. - A little better; but under dreadful apprehensions of

JUNE 22. - Very bad again; cold and shivering, and then a violent

JUNE 24. - Much better.

JUNE 25. - An ague very violent; the fit held me seven hours; cold
fit and hot, with faint sweats after it.

JUNE 26. - Better; and having no victuals to eat, took my gun, but
found myself very weak. However, I killed a she-goat, and with
much difficulty got it home, and broiled some of it, and ate, I
would fain have stewed it, and made some broth, but had no pot.

JUNE 27. - The ague again so violent that I lay a-bed all day, and
neither ate nor drank. I was ready to perish for thirst; but so
weak, I had not strength to stand up, or to get myself any water to
drink. Prayed to God again, but was light-headed; and when I was
not, I was so ignorant that I knew not what to say; only I lay and
cried, "Lord, look upon me! Lord, pity me! Lord, have mercy upon
me!" I suppose I did nothing else for two or three hours; till,
the fit wearing off, I fell asleep, and did not wake till far in
the night. When I awoke, I found myself much refreshed, but weak,
and exceeding thirsty. However, as I had no water in my
habitation, I was forced to lie till morning, and went to sleep
again. In this second sleep I had this terrible dream: I thought
that I was sitting on the ground, on the outside of my wall, where
I sat when the storm blew after the earthquake, and that I saw a
man descend from a great black cloud, in a bright flame of fire,
and light upon the ground. He was all over as bright as a flame,
so that I could but just bear to look towards him; his countenance
was most inexpressibly dreadful, impossible for words to describe.
When he stepped upon the ground with his feet, I thought the earth
trembled, just as it had done before in the earthquake, and all the
air looked, to my apprehension, as if it had been filled with
flashes of fire. He was no sooner landed upon the earth, but he
moved forward towards me, with a long spear or weapon in his hand,
to kill me; and when he came to a rising ground, at some distance,
he spoke to me - or I heard a voice so terrible that it is
impossible to express the terror of it. All that I can say I
understood was this: "Seeing all these things have not brought thee
to repentance, now thou shalt die;" at which words, I thought he
lifted up the spear that was in his hand to kill me.

No one that shall ever read this account will expect that I should
be able to describe the horrors of my soul at this terrible vision.
I mean, that even while it was a dream, I even dreamed of those
horrors. Nor is it any more possible to describe the impression
that remained upon my mind when I awaked, and found it was but a

I had, alas! no divine knowledge. What I had received by the good
instruction of my father was then worn out by an uninterrupted
series, for eight years, of seafaring wickedness, and a constant
conversation with none but such as were, like myself, wicked and
profane to the last degree. I do not remember that I had, in all
that time, one thought that so much as tended either to looking
upwards towards God, or inwards towards a reflection upon my own
ways; but a certain stupidity of soul, without desire of good, or
conscience of evil, had entirely overwhelmed me; and I was all that
the most hardened, unthinking, wicked creature among our common
sailors can be supposed to be; not having the least sense, either
of the fear of God in danger, or of thankfulness to God in

In the relating what is already past of my story, this will be the
more easily believed when I shall add, that through all the variety
of miseries that had to this day befallen me, I never had so much
as one thought of it being the hand of God, or that it was a just
punishment for my sin - my rebellious behaviour against my father -
or my present sins, which were great - or so much as a punishment
for the general course of my wicked life. When I was on the
desperate expedition on the desert shores of Africa, I never had so
much as one thought of what would become of me, or one wish to God
to direct me whither I should go, or to keep me from the danger
which apparently surrounded me, as well from voracious creatures as
cruel savages. But I was merely thoughtless of a God or a
Providence, acted like a mere brute, from the principles of nature,
and by the dictates of common sense only, and, indeed, hardly that.
When I was delivered and taken up at sea by the Portugal captain,
well used, and dealt justly and honourably with, as well as
charitably, I had not the least thankfulness in my thoughts. When,
again, I was shipwrecked, ruined, and in danger of drowning on this
island, I was as far from remorse, or looking on it as a judgment.
I only said to myself often, that I was an unfortunate dog, and
born to be always miserable.

It is true, when I got on shore first here, and found all my ship's
crew drowned and myself spared, I was surprised with a kind of
ecstasy, and some transports of soul, which, had the grace of God
assisted, might have come up to true thankfulness; but it ended
where it began, in a mere common flight of joy, or, as I may say,
being glad I was alive, without the least reflection upon the
distinguished goodness of the hand which had preserved me, and had
singled me out to be preserved when all the rest were destroyed, or
an inquiry why Providence had been thus merciful unto me. Even
just the same common sort of joy which seamen generally have, after
they are got safe ashore from a shipwreck, which they drown all in
the next bowl of punch, and forget almost as soon as it is over;
and all the rest of my life was like it. Even when I was
afterwards, on due consideration, made sensible of my condition,
how I was cast on this dreadful place, out of the reach of human
kind, out of all hope of relief, or prospect of redemption, as soon
as I saw but a prospect of living and that I should not starve and
perish for hunger, all the sense of my affliction wore off; and I
began to be very easy, applied myself to the works proper for my
preservation and supply, and was far enough from being afflicted at
my condition, as a judgment from heaven, or as the hand of God
against me: these were thoughts which very seldom entered my head.

The growing up of the corn, as is hinted in my Journal, had at
first some little influence upon me, and began to affect me with
seriousness, as long as I thought it had something miraculous in
it; but as soon as ever that part of the thought was removed, all
the impression that was raised from it wore off also, as I have
noted already. Even the earthquake, though nothing could be more
terrible in its nature, or more immediately directing to the
invisible Power which alone directs such things, yet no sooner was
the first fright over, but the impression it had made went off
also. I had no more sense of God or His judgments - much less of
the present affliction of my circumstances being from His hand -
than if I had been in the most prosperous condition of life. But
now, when I began to be sick, and a leisurely view of the miseries
of death came to place itself before me; when my spirits began to
sink under the burden of a strong distemper, and nature was
exhausted with the violence of the fever; conscience, that had
slept so long, began to awake, and I began to reproach myself with
my past life, in which I had so evidently, by uncommon wickedness,
provoked the justice of God to lay me under uncommon strokes, and
to deal with me in so vindictive a manner. These reflections
oppressed me for the second or third day of my distemper; and in
the violence, as well of the fever as of the dreadful reproaches of
my conscience, extorted some words from me like praying to God,
though I cannot say they were either a prayer attended with desires
or with hopes: it was rather the voice of mere fright and distress.
My thoughts were confused, the convictions great upon my mind, and
the horror of dying in such a miserable condition raised vapours
into my head with the mere apprehensions; and in these hurries of
my soul I knew not what my tongue might express. But it was rather
exclamation, such as, "Lord, what a miserable creature am I! If I
should be sick, I shall certainly die for want of help; and what
will become of me!" Then the tears burst out of my eyes, and I
could say no more for a good while. In this interval the good
advice of my father came to my mind, and presently his prediction,
which I mentioned at the beginning of this story - viz. that if I
did take this foolish step, God would not bless me, and I would
have leisure hereafter to reflect upon having neglected his counsel
when there might be none to assist in my recovery. "Now," said I,
aloud, "my dear father's words are come to pass; God's justice has
overtaken me, and I have none to help or hear me. I rejected the
voice of Providence, which had mercifully put me in a posture or
station of life wherein I might have been happy and easy; but I
would neither see it myself nor learn to know the blessing of it
from my parents. I left them to mourn over my folly, and now I am
left to mourn under the consequences of it. I abused their help
and assistance, who would have lifted me in the world, and would
have made everything easy to me; and now I have difficulties to
struggle with, too great for even nature itself to support, and no
assistance, no help, no comfort, no advice." Then I cried out,
"Lord, be my help, for I am in great distress." This was the first
prayer, if I may call it so, that I had made for many years.

But to return to my Journal.

JUNE 28. - Having been somewhat refreshed with the sleep I had had,
and the fit being entirely off, I got up; and though the fright and
terror of my dream was very great, yet I considered that the fit of
the ague would return again the next day, and now was my time to
get something to refresh and support myself when I should be ill;
and the first thing I did, I filled a large square case-bottle with
water, and set it upon my table, in reach of my bed; and to take
off the chill or aguish disposition of the water, I put about a
quarter of a pint of rum into it, and mixed them together. Then I
got me a piece of the goat's flesh and broiled it on the coals, but
could eat very little. I walked about, but was very weak, and
withal very sad and heavy-hearted under a sense of my miserable
condition, dreading, the return of my distemper the next day. At
night I made my supper of three of the turtle's eggs, which I
roasted in the ashes, and ate, as we call it, in the shell, and
this was the first bit of meat I had ever asked God's blessing to,
that I could remember, in my whole life. After I had eaten I tried
to walk, but found myself so weak that I could hardly carry a gun,
for I never went out without that; so I went but a little way, and
sat down upon the ground, looking out upon the sea, which was just
before me, and very calm and smooth. As I sat here some such
thoughts as these occurred to me: What is this earth and sea, of
which I have seen so much? Whence is it produced? And what am I,
and all the other creatures wild and tame, human and brutal?
Whence are we? Sure we are all made by some secret Power, who
formed the earth and sea, the air and sky. And who is that? Then
it followed most naturally, it is God that has made all. Well, but
then it came on strangely, if God has made all these things, He
guides and governs them all, and all things that concern them; for
the Power that could make all things must certainly have power to
guide and direct them. If so, nothing can happen in the great
circuit of His works, either without His knowledge or appointment.

And if nothing happens without His knowledge, He knows that I am
here, and am in this dreadful condition; and if nothing happens
without His appointment, He has appointed all this to befall me.
Nothing occurred to my thought to contradict any of these
conclusions, and therefore it rested upon me with the greater
force, that it must needs be that God had appointed all this to
befall me; that I was brought into this miserable circumstance by
His direction, He having the sole power, not of me only, but of
everything that happened in the world. Immediately it followed:
Why has God done this to me? What have I done to be thus used? My
conscience presently checked me in that inquiry, as if I had
blasphemed, and methought it spoke to me like a voice: "Wretch!
dost THOU ask what thou hast done? Look back upon a dreadful
misspent life, and ask thyself what thou hast NOT done? Ask, why
is it that thou wert not long ago destroyed? Why wert thou not
drowned in Yarmouth Roads; killed in the fight when the ship was
taken by the Sallee man-of-war; devoured by the wild beasts on the
coast of Africa; or drowned HERE, when all the crew perished but
thyself? Dost THOU ask, what have I done?" I was struck dumb with
these reflections, as one astonished, and had not a word to say -
no, not to answer to myself, but rose up pensive and sad, walked
back to my retreat, and went up over my wall, as if I had been
going to bed; but my thoughts were sadly disturbed, and I had no
inclination to sleep; so I sat down in my chair, and lighted my
lamp, for it began to be dark. Now, as the apprehension of the
return of my distemper terrified me very much, it occurred to my
thought that the Brazilians take no physic but their tobacco for
almost all distempers, and I had a piece of a roll of tobacco in
one of the chests, which was quite cured, and some also that was
green, and not quite cured.

I went, directed by Heaven no doubt; for in this chest I found a
cure both for soul and body. I opened the chest, and found what I
looked for, the tobacco; and as the few books I had saved lay there
too, I took out one of the Bibles which I mentioned before, and
which to this time I had not found leisure or inclination to look
into. I say, I took it out, and brought both that and the tobacco
with me to the table. What use to make of the tobacco I knew not,
in my distemper, or whether it was good for it or no: but I tried
several experiments with it, as if I was resolved it should hit one
way or other. I first took a piece of leaf, and chewed it in my
mouth, which, indeed, at first almost stupefied my brain, the
tobacco being green and strong, and that I had not been much used
to. Then I took some and steeped it an hour or two in some rum,
and resolved to take a dose of it when I lay down; and lastly., I
burnt some upon a pan of coals, and held my nose close over the
smoke of it as long as I could bear it, as well for the heat as
almost for suffocation. In the interval of this operation I took
up the Bible and began to read; but my head was too much disturbed
with the tobacco to bear reading, at least at that time; only,
having opened the book casually, the first words that occurred to
me were these, "Call on Me in the day of trouble, and I will
deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me." These words were very
apt to my case, and made some impression upon my thoughts at the
time of reading them, though not so much as they did afterwards;
for, as for being DELIVERED, the word had no sound, as I may say,
to me; the thing was so remote, so impossible in my apprehension of
things, that I began to say, as the children of Israel did when
they were promised flesh to eat, "Can God spread a table in the
wilderness?" so I began to say, "Can God Himself deliver me from
this place?" And as it was not for many years that any hopes
appeared, this prevailed very often upon my thoughts; but, however,
the words made a great impression upon me, and I mused upon them
very often. It grew now late, and the tobacco had, as I said,
dozed my head so much that I inclined to sleep; so I left my lamp
burning in the cave, lest I should want anything in the night, and
went to bed. But before I lay down, I did what I never had done in
all my life - I kneeled down, and prayed to God to fulfil the
promise to me, that if I called upon Him in the day of trouble, He
would deliver me. After my broken and imperfect prayer was over, I
drank the rum in which I had steeped the tobacco, which was so
strong and rank of the tobacco that I could scarcely get it down;
immediately upon this I went to bed. I found presently it flew up
into my head violently; but I fell into a sound sleep, and waked no
more till, by the sun, it must necessarily be near three o'clock in
the afternoon the next day - nay, to this hour I am partly of
opinion that I slept all the next day and night, and till almost
three the day after; for otherwise I know not how I should lose a
day out of my reckoning in the days of the week, as it appeared
some years after I had done; for if I had lost it by crossing and
recrossing the line, I should have lost more than one day; but
certainly I lost a day in my account, and never knew which way. Be
that, however, one way or the other, when I awaked I found myself
exceedingly refreshed, and my spirits lively and cheerful; when I
got up I was stronger than I was the day before, and my stomach
better, for I was hungry; and, in short, I had no fit the next day,
but continued much altered for the better. This was the 29th.

The 30th was my well day, of course, and I went abroad with my gun,
but did not care to travel too far. I killed a sea-fowl or two,
something like a brandgoose, and brought them home, but was not
very forward to eat them; so I ate some more of the turtle's eggs,
which were very good. This evening I renewed the medicine, which I
had supposed did me good the day before - the tobacco steeped in
rum; only I did not take so much as before, nor did I chew any of
the leaf, or hold my head over the smoke; however, I was not so
well the next day, which was the first of July, as I hoped I should
have been; for I had a little spice of the cold fit, but it was not

JULY 2. - I renewed the medicine all the three ways; and dosed
myself with it as at first, and doubled the quantity which I drank.

JULY 3. - I missed the fit for good and all, though I did not
recover my full strength for some weeks after. While I was thus
gathering strength, my thoughts ran exceedingly upon this
Scripture, "I will deliver thee"; and the impossibility of my
deliverance lay much upon my mind, in bar of my ever expecting it;
but as I was discouraging myself with such thoughts, it occurred to
my mind that I pored so much upon my deliverance from the main
affliction, that I disregarded the deliverance I had received, and
I was as it were made to ask myself such questions as these - viz.
Have I not been delivered, and wonderfully too, from sickness -
from the most distressed condition that could be, and that was so
frightful to me? and what notice had I taken of it? Had I done my
part? God had delivered me, but I had not glorified Him - that is
to say, I had not owned and been thankful for that as a
deliverance; and how could I expect greater deliverance? This
touched my heart very much; and immediately I knelt down and gave
God thanks aloud for my recovery from my sickness.

JULY 4. - In the morning I took the Bible; and beginning at the New
Testament, I began seriously to read it, and imposed upon myself to
read a while every morning and every night; not tying myself to the
number of chapters, but long as my thoughts should engage me. It
was not long after I set seriously to this work till I found my
heart more deeply and sincerely affected with the wickedness of my
past life. The impression of my dream revived; and the words, "All
these things have not brought thee to repentance," ran seriously
through my thoughts. I was earnestly begging of God to give me
repentance, when it happened providentially, the very day, that,
reading the Scripture, I came to these words: "He is exalted a
Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance and to give remission." I
threw down the book; and with my heart as well as my hands lifted
up to heaven, in a kind of ecstasy of joy, I cried out aloud,
"Jesus, thou son of David! Jesus, thou exalted Prince and Saviour!
give me repentance!" This was the first time I could say, in the
true sense of the words, that I prayed in all my life; for now I
prayed with a sense of my condition, and a true Scripture view of
hope, founded on the encouragement of the Word of God; and from
this time, I may say, I began to hope that God would hear me.

Now I began to construe the words mentioned above, "Call on Me, and
I will deliver thee," in a different sense from what I had ever
done before; for then I had no notion of anything being called
DELIVERANCE, but my being delivered from the captivity I was in;
for though I was indeed at large in the place, yet the island was
certainly a prison to me, and that in the worse sense in the world.
But now I learned to take it in another sense: now I looked back
upon my past life with such horror, and my sins appeared so
dreadful, that my soul sought nothing of God but deliverance from
the load of guilt that bore down all my comfort. As for my
solitary life, it was nothing. I did not so much as pray to be
delivered from it or think of it; it was all of no consideration in
comparison to this. And I add this part here, to hint to whoever
shall read it, that whenever they come to a true sense of things,
they will find deliverance from sin a much greater blessing than
deliverance from affliction.

But, leaving this part, I return to my Journal.

My condition began now to be, though not less miserable as to my
way of living, yet much easier to my mind: and my thoughts being
directed, by a constant reading the Scripture and praying to God,
to things of a higher nature, I had a great deal of comfort within,
which till now I knew nothing of; also, my health and strength
returned, I bestirred myself to furnish myself with everything that
I wanted, and make my way of living as regular as I could.

From the 4th of July to the 14th I was chiefly employed in walking
about with my gun in my hand, a little and a little at a time, as a
man that was gathering up his strength after a fit of sickness; for
it is hardly to be imagined how low I was, and to what weakness I
was reduced. The application which I made use of was perfectly
new, and perhaps which had never cured an ague before; neither can
I recommend it to any to practise, by this experiment: and though
it did carry off the fit, yet it rather contributed to weakening
me; for I had frequent convulsions in my nerves and limbs for some
time. I learned from it also this, in particular, that being
abroad in the rainy season was the most pernicious thing to my
health that could be, especially in those rains which came attended
with storms and hurricanes of wind; for as the rain which came in
the dry season was almost always accompanied with such storms, so I
found that rain was much more dangerous than the rain which fell in
September and October.


I HAD now been in this unhappy island above ten months. All
possibility of deliverance from this condition seemed to be
entirely taken from me; and I firmly believe that no human shape
had ever set foot upon that place. Having now secured my
habitation, as I thought, fully to my mind, I had a great desire to
make a more perfect discovery of the island, and to see what other
productions I might find, which I yet knew nothing of.

It was on the 15th of July that I began to take a more particular
survey of the island itself. I went up the creek first, where, as
I hinted, I brought my rafts on shore. I found after I came about
two miles up, that the tide did not flow any higher, and that it
was no more than a little brook of running water, very fresh and
good; but this being the dry season, there was hardly any water in
some parts of it - at least not enough to run in any stream, so as
it could be perceived. On the banks of this brook I found many
pleasant savannahs or meadows, plain, smooth, and covered with
grass; and on the rising parts of them, next to the higher grounds,
where the water, as might be supposed, never overflowed, I found a
great deal of tobacco, green, and growing to a great and very
strong stalk. There were divers other plants, which I had no
notion of or understanding about, that might, perhaps, have virtues
of their own, which I could not find out. I searched for the
cassava root, which the Indians, in all that climate, make their
bread of, but I could find none. I saw large plants of aloes, but
did not understand them. I saw several sugar-canes, but wild, and,
for want of cultivation, imperfect. I contented myself with these
discoveries for this time, and came back, musing with myself what
course I might take to know the virtue and goodness of any of the
fruits or plants which I should discover, but could bring it to no
conclusion; for, in short, I had made so little observation while I
was in the Brazils, that I knew little of the plants in the field;
at least, very little that might serve to any purpose now in my

The next day, the sixteenth, I went up the same way again; and
after going something further than I had gone the day before, I
found the brook and the savannahs cease, and the country become
more woody than before. In this part I found different fruits, and
particularly I found melons upon the ground, in great abundance,
and grapes upon the trees. The vines had spread, indeed, over the
trees, and the clusters of grapes were just now in their prime,
very ripe and rich. This was a surprising discovery, and I was
exceeding glad of them; but I was warned by my experience to eat
sparingly of them; remembering that when I was ashore in Barbary,
the eating of grapes killed several of our Englishmen, who were
slaves there, by throwing them into fluxes and fevers. But I found
an excellent use for these grapes; and that was, to cure or dry
them in the sun, and keep them as dried grapes or raisins are kept,
which I thought would be, as indeed they were, wholesome and
agreeable to eat when no grapes could be had.

I spent all that evening there, and went not back to my habitation;
which, by the way, was the first night, as I might say, I had lain
from home. In the night, I took my first contrivance, and got up
in a tree, where I slept well; and the next morning proceeded upon
my discovery; travelling nearly four miles, as I might judge by the
length of the valley, keeping still due north, with a ridge of
hills on the south and north side of me. At the end of this march
I came to an opening where the country seemed to descend to the
west; and a little spring of fresh water, which issued out of the
side of the hill by me, ran the other way, that is, due east; and
the country appeared so fresh, so green, so flourishing, everything
being in a constant verdure or flourish of spring that it looked
like a planted garden. I descended a little on the side of that
delicious vale, surveying it with a secret kind of pleasure, though
mixed with my other afflicting thoughts, to think that this was all
my own; that I was king and lord of all this country indefensibly,
and had a right of possession; and if I could convey it, I might
have it in inheritance as completely as any lord of a manor in
England. I saw here abundance of cocoa trees, orange, and lemon,
and citron trees; but all wild, and very few bearing any fruit, at
least not then. However, the green limes that I gathered were not
only pleasant to eat, but very wholesome; and I mixed their juice
afterwards with water, which made it very wholesome, and very cool
and refreshing. I found now I had business enough to gather and
carry home; and I resolved to lay up a store as well of grapes as
limes and lemons, to furnish myself for the wet season, which I
knew was approaching. In order to do this, I gathered a great heap
of grapes in one place, a lesser heap in another place, and a great
parcel of limes and lemons in another place; and taking a few of
each with me, I travelled homewards; resolving to come again, and
bring a bag or sack, or what I could make, to carry the rest home.
Accordingly, having spent three days in this journey, I came home
(so I must now call my tent and my cave); but before I got thither
the grapes were spoiled; the richness of the fruit and the weight
of the juice having broken them and bruised them, they were good
for little or nothing; as to the limes, they were good, but I could
bring but a few.

The next day, being the nineteenth, I went back, having made me two
small bags to bring home my harvest; but I was surprised, when
coming to my heap of grapes, which were so rich and fine when I
gathered them, to find them all spread about, trod to pieces, and
dragged about, some here, some there, and abundance eaten and
devoured. By this I concluded there were some wild creatures
thereabouts, which had done this; but what they were I knew not.
However, as I found there was no laying them up on heaps, and no
carrying them away in a sack, but that one way they would be
destroyed, and the other way they would be crushed with their own
weight, I took another course; for I gathered a large quantity of
the grapes, and hung them trees, that they might cure and dry in
the sun; and as for the limes and lemons, I carried as many back as
I could well stand under.

When I came home from this journey, I contemplated with great
pleasure the fruitfulness of that valley, and the pleasantness of
the situation; the security from storms on that side of the water,
and the wood: and concluded that I had pitched upon a place to fix
my abode which was by far the worst part of the country. Upon the
whole, I began to consider of removing my habitation, and looking
out for a place equally safe as where now I was situate, if
possible, in that pleasant, fruitful part of the island.

This thought ran long in my head, and I was exceeding fond of it
for some time, the pleasantness of the place tempting me; but when
I came to a nearer view of it, I considered that I was now by the
seaside, where it was at least possible that something might happen
to my advantage, and, by the same ill fate that brought me hither
might bring some other unhappy wretches to the same place; and
though it was scarce probable that any such thing should ever
happen, yet to enclose myself among the hills and woods in the
centre of the island was to anticipate my bondage, and to render
such an affair not only improbable, but impossible; and that
therefore I ought not by any means to remove. However, I was so
enamoured of this place, that I spent much of my time there for the
whole of the remaining part of the month of July; and though upon
second thoughts, I resolved not to remove, yet I built me a little
kind of a bower, and surrounded it at a distance with a strong
fence, being a double hedge, as high as I could reach, well staked
and filled between with brushwood; and here I lay very secure,
sometimes two or three nights together; always going over it with a
ladder; so that I fancied now I had my country house and my sea-
coast house; and this work took me up to the beginning of August.

I had but newly finished my fence, and began to enjoy my labour,
when the rains came on, and made me stick close to my first
habitation; for though I had made me a tent like the other, with a
piece of a sail, and spread it very well, yet I had not the shelter
of a hill to keep me from storms, nor a cave behind me to retreat
into when the rains were extraordinary.

About the beginning of August, as I said, I had finished my bower,
and began to enjoy myself. The 3rd of August, I found the grapes I
had hung up perfectly dried, and, indeed, were excellent good
raisins of the sun; so I began to take them down from the trees,
and it was very happy that I did so, for the rains which followed
would have spoiled them, and I had lost the best part of my winter
food; for I had above two hundred large bunches of them. No sooner
had I taken them all down, and carried the most of them home to my
cave, than it began to rain; and from hence, which was the 14th of
August, it rained, more or less, every day till the middle of
October; and sometimes so violently, that I could not stir out of
my cave for several days.

In this season I was much surprised with the increase of my family;
I had been concerned for the loss of one of my cats, who ran away
from me, or, as I thought, had been dead, and I heard no more
tidings of her till, to my astonishment, she came home about the
end of August with three kittens. This was the more strange to me
because, though I had killed a wild cat, as I called it, with my
gun, yet I thought it was quite a different kind from our European
cats; but the young cats were the same kind of house-breed as the
old one; and both my cats being females, I thought it very strange.
But from these three cats I afterwards came to be so pestered with
cats that I was forced to kill them like vermin or wild beasts, and
to drive them from my house as much as possible.

From the 14th of August to the 26th, incessant rain, so that I
could not stir, and was now very careful not to be much wet. In
this confinement, I began to be straitened for food: but venturing
out twice, I one day killed a goat; and the last day, which was the
26th, found a very large tortoise, which was a treat to me, and my
food was regulated thus: I ate a bunch of raisins for my breakfast;
a piece of the goat's flesh, or of the turtle, for my dinner,
broiled - for, to my great misfortune, I had no vessel to boil or
stew anything; and two or three of the turtle's eggs for my supper.

During this confinement in my cover by the rain, I worked daily two
or three hours at enlarging my cave, and by degrees worked it on
towards one side, till I came to the outside of the hill, and made
a door or way out, which came beyond my fence or wall; and so I
came in and out this way. But I was not perfectly easy at lying so
open; for, as I had managed myself before, I was in a perfect
enclosure; whereas now I thought I lay exposed, and open for
anything to come in upon me; and yet I could not perceive that
there was any living thing to fear, the biggest creature that I had
yet seen upon the island being a goat.

SEPT. 30. - I was now come to the unhappy anniversary of my
landing. I cast up the notches on my post, and found I had been on
shore three hundred and sixty-five days. I kept this day as a
solemn fast, setting it apart for religious exercise, prostrating
myself on the ground with the most serious humiliation, confessing
my sins to God, acknowledging His righteous judgments upon me, and
praying to Him to have mercy on me through Jesus Christ; and not
having tasted the least refreshment for twelve hours, even till the
going down of the sun, I then ate a biscuit-cake and a bunch of
grapes, and went to bed, finishing the day as I began it. I had
all this time observed no Sabbath day; for as at first I had no
sense of religion upon my mind, I had, after some time, omitted to
distinguish the weeks, by making a longer notch than ordinary for
the Sabbath day, and so did not really know what any of the days
were; but now, having cast up the days as above, I found I had been
there a year; so I divided it into weeks, and set apart every
seventh day for a Sabbath; though I found at the end of my account
I had lost a day or two in my reckoning. A little after this, my
ink began to fail me, and so I contented myself to use it more
sparingly, and to write down only the most remarkable events of my
life, without continuing a daily memorandum of other things.

The rainy season and the dry season began now to appear regular to
me, and I learned to divide them so as to provide for them
accordingly; but I bought all my experience before I had it, and
this I am going to relate was one of the most discouraging
experiments that I made.

I have mentioned that I had saved the few ears of barley and rice,
which I had so surprisingly found spring up, as I thought, of
themselves, and I believe there were about thirty stalks of rice,
and about twenty of barley; and now I thought it a proper time to
sow it, after the rains, the sun being in its southern position,
going from me. Accordingly, I dug up a piece of ground as well as
I could with my wooden spade, and dividing it into two parts, I
sowed my grain; but as I was sowing, it casually occurred to my
thoughts that I would not sow it all at first, because I did not
know when was the proper time for it, so I sowed about two-thirds
of the seed, leaving about a handful of each. It was a great
comfort to me afterwards that I did so, for not one grain of what I
sowed this time came to anything: for the dry months following, the
earth having had no rain after the seed was sown, it had no
moisture to assist its growth, and never came up at all till the
wet season had come again, and then it grew as if it had been but
newly sown. Finding my first seed did not grow, which I easily
imagined was by the drought, I sought for a moister piece of ground
to make another trial in, and I dug up a piece of ground near my
new bower, and sowed the rest of my seed in February, a little
before the vernal equinox; and this having the rainy months of
March and April to water it, sprung up very pleasantly, and yielded
a very good crop; but having part of the seed left only, and not
daring to sow all that I had, I had but a small quantity at last,
my whole crop not amounting to above half a peck of each kind. But
by this experiment I was made master of my business, and knew
exactly when the proper season was to sow, and that I might expect
two seed-times and two harvests every year.

While this corn was growing I made a little discovery, which was of
use to me afterwards. As soon as the rains were over, and the
weather began to settle, which was about the month of November, I
made a visit up the country to my bower, where, though I had not
been some months, yet I found all things just as I left them. The
circle or double hedge that I had made was not only firm and
entire, but the stakes which I had cut out of some trees that grew
thereabouts were all shot out and grown with long branches, as much
as a willow-tree usually shoots the first year after lopping its
head. I could not tell what tree to call it that these stakes were
cut from. I was surprised, and yet very well pleased, to see the
young trees grow; and I pruned them, and led them up to grow as
much alike as I could; and it is scarce credible how beautiful a
figure they grew into in three years; so that though the hedge made
a circle of about twenty-five yards in diameter, yet the trees, for
such I might now call them, soon covered it, and it was a complete
shade, sufficient to lodge under all the dry season. This made me
resolve to cut some more stakes, and make me a hedge like this, in
a semi-circle round my wall (I mean that of my first dwelling),
which I did; and placing the trees or stakes in a double row, at
about eight yards distance from my first fence, they grew
presently, and were at first a fine cover to my habitation, and
afterwards served for a defence also, as I shall observe in its

I found now that the seasons of the year might generally be
divided, not into summer and winter, as in Europe, but into the
rainy seasons and the dry seasons, which were generally thus:- The
half of February, the whole of March, and the half of April -
rainy, the sun being then on or near the equinox.

The half of April, the whole of May, June, and July, and the half
of August - dry, the sun being then to the north of the line.

The half of August, the whole of September, and the half of October
- rainy, the sun being then come back.

The half of October, the whole of November, December, and January,
and the half of February - dry, the sun being then to the south of
the line.

The rainy seasons sometimes held longer or shorter as the winds
happened to blow, but this was the general observation I made.
After I had found by experience the ill consequences of being
abroad in the rain, I took care to furnish myself with provisions
beforehand, that I might not be obliged to go out, and I sat within
doors as much as possible during the wet months. This time I found
much employment, and very suitable also to the time, for I found
great occasion for many things which I had no way to furnish myself
with but by hard labour and constant application; particularly I
tried many ways to make myself a basket, but all the twigs I could
get for the purpose proved so brittle that they would do nothing.
It proved of excellent advantage to me now, that when I was a boy,
I used to take great delight in standing at a basket-maker's, in
the town where my father lived, to see them make their wicker-ware;
and being, as boys usually are, very officious to help, and a great
observer of the manner in which they worked those things, and
sometimes lending a hand, I had by these means full knowledge of
the methods of it, and I wanted nothing but the materials, when it
came into my mind that the twigs of that tree from whence I cut my
stakes that grew might possibly be as tough as the sallows,
willows, and osiers in England, and I resolved to try.
Accordingly, the next day I went to my country house, as I called
it, and cutting some of the smaller twigs, I found them to my
purpose as much as I could desire; whereupon I came the next time
prepared with a hatchet to cut down a quantity, which I soon found,
for there was great plenty of them. These I set up to dry within
my circle or hedge, and when they were fit for use I carried them
to my cave; and here, during the next season, I employed myself in
making, as well as I could, a great many baskets, both to carry
earth or to carry or lay up anything, as I had occasion; and though
I did not finish them very handsomely, yet I made them sufficiently
serviceable for my purpose; thus, afterwards, I took care never to
be without them; and as my wicker-ware decayed, I made more,
especially strong, deep baskets to place my corn in, instead of
sacks, when I should come to have any quantity of it.

Having mastered this difficulty, and employed a world of time about
it, I bestirred myself to see, if possible, how to supply two
wants. I had no vessels to hold anything that was liquid, except
two runlets, which were almost full of rum, and some glass bottles
- some of the common size, and others which were case bottles,
square, for the holding of water, spirits, &c. I had not so much
as a pot to boil anything, except a great kettle, which I saved out
of the ship, and which was too big for such as I desired it - viz.
to make broth, and stew a bit of meat by itself. The second thing
I fain would have had was a tobacco-pipe, but it was impossible to
me to make one; however, I found a contrivance for that, too, at
last. I employed myself in planting my second rows of stakes or
piles, and in this wicker-working all the summer or dry season,
when another business took me up more time than it could be
imagined I could spare.


I MENTIONED before that I had a great mind to see the whole island,
and that I had travelled up the brook, and so on to where I built
my bower, and where I had an opening quite to the sea, on the other
side of the island. I now resolved to travel quite across to the
sea-shore on that side; so, taking my gun, a hatchet, and my dog,
and a larger quantity of powder and shot than usual, with two
biscuit-cakes and a great bunch of raisins in my pouch for my
store, I began my journey. When I had passed the vale where my
bower stood, as above, I came within view of the sea to the west,
and it being a very clear day, I fairly descried land - whether an
island or a continent I could not tell; but it lay very high,
extending from the W. to the W.S.W. at a very great distance; by my
guess it could not be less than fifteen or twenty leagues off.

I could not tell what part of the world this might be, otherwise
than that I knew it must be part of America, and, as I concluded by
all my observations, must be near the Spanish dominions, and
perhaps was all inhabited by savages, where, if I had landed, I had
been in a worse condition than I was now; and therefore I
acquiesced in the dispositions of Providence, which I began now to
own and to believe ordered everything for the best; I say I quieted
my mind with this, and left off afflicting myself with fruitless
wishes of being there.

Besides, after some thought upon this affair, I considered that if
this land was the Spanish coast, I should certainly, one time or
other, see some vessel pass or repass one way or other; but if not,
then it was the savage coast between the Spanish country and
Brazils, where are found the worst of savages; for they are
cannibals or men-eaters, and fail not to murder and devour all the
human bodies that fall into their hands.

With these considerations, I walked very leisurely forward. I
found that side of the island where I now was much pleasanter than
mine - the open or savannah fields sweet, adorned with flowers and
grass, and full of very fine woods. I saw abundance of parrots,
and fain I would have caught one, if possible, to have kept it to
be tame, and taught it to speak to me. I did, after some
painstaking, catch a young parrot, for I knocked it down with a
stick, and having recovered it, I brought it home; but it was some
years before I could make him speak; however, at last I taught him
to call me by name very familiarly. But the accident that
followed, though it be a trifle, will be very diverting in its

I was exceedingly diverted with this journey. I found in the low
grounds hares (as I thought them to be) and foxes; but they
differed greatly from all the other kinds I had met with, nor could
I satisfy myself to eat them, though I killed several. But I had
no need to be venturous, for I had no want of food, and of that
which was very good too, especially these three sorts, viz. goats,
pigeons, and turtle, or tortoise, which added to my grapes,
Leadenhall market could not have furnished a table better than I,
in proportion to the company; and though my case was deplorable
enough, yet I had great cause for thankfulness that I was not
driven to any extremities for food, but had rather plenty, even to

I never travelled in this journey above two miles outright in a
day, or thereabouts; but I took so many turns and re-turns to see
what discoveries I could make, that I came weary enough to the
place where I resolved to sit down all night; and then I either
reposed myself in a tree, or surrounded myself with a row of stakes
set upright in the ground, either from one tree to another, or so
as no wild creature could come at me without waking me.

As soon as I came to the sea-shore, I was surprised to see that I
had taken up my lot on the worst side of the island, for here,
indeed, the shore was covered with innumerable turtles, whereas on
the other side I had found but three in a year and a half. Here
was also an infinite number of fowls of many kinds, some which I
had seen, and some which I had not seen before, and many of them
very good meat, but such as I knew not the names of, except those
called penguins.

I could have shot as many as I pleased, but was very sparing of my
powder and shot, and therefore had more mind to kill a she-goat if
I could, which I could better feed on; and though there were many
goats here, more than on my side the island, yet it was with much
more difficulty that I could come near them, the country being flat
and even, and they saw me much sooner than when I was on the hills.

I confess this side of the country was much pleasanter than mine;
but yet I had not the least inclination to remove, for as I was
fixed in my habitation it became natural to me, and I seemed all
the while I was here to be as it were upon a journey, and from
home. However, I travelled along the shore of the sea towards the
east, I suppose about twelve miles, and then setting up a great
pole upon the shore for a mark, I concluded I would go home again,
and that the next journey I took should be on the other side of the
island east from my dwelling, and so round till I came to my post

I took another way to come back than that I went, thinking I could
easily keep all the island so much in my view that I could not miss
finding my first dwelling by viewing the country; but I found
myself mistaken, for being come about two or three miles, I found
myself descended into a very large valley, but so surrounded with
hills, and those hills covered with wood, that I could not see
which was my way by any direction but that of the sun, nor even
then, unless I knew very well the position of the sun at that time
of the day. It happened, to my further misfortune, that the
weather proved hazy for three or four days while I was in the
valley, and not being able to see the sun, I wandered about very
uncomfortably, and at last was obliged to find the seaside, look
for my post, and come back the same way I went: and then, by easy
journeys, I turned homeward, the weather being exceeding hot, and
my gun, ammunition, hatchet, and other things very heavy.

In this journey my dog surprised a young kid, and seized upon it;
and I, running in to take hold of it, caught it, and saved it alive
from the dog. I had a great mind to bring it home if I could, for
I had often been musing whether it might not be possible to get a
kid or two, and so raise a breed of tame goats, which might supply
me when my powder and shot should be all spent. I made a collar
for this little creature, and with a string, which I made of some
rope-yam, which I always carried about me, I led him along, though
with some difficulty, till I came to my bower, and there I enclosed
him and left him, for I was very impatient to be at home, from
whence I had been absent above a month.

I cannot express what a satisfaction it was to me to come into my
old hutch, and lie down in my hammock-bed. This little wandering
journey, without settled place of abode, had been so unpleasant to
me, that my own house, as I called it to myself, was a perfect
settlement to me compared to that; and it rendered everything about
me so comfortable, that I resolved I would never go a great way
from it again while it should be my lot to stay on the island.

I reposed myself here a week, to rest and regale myself after my
long journey; during which most of the time was taken up in the
weighty affair of making a cage for my Poll, who began now to be a
mere domestic, and to be well acquainted with me. Then I began to
think of the poor kid which I had penned in within my little
circle, and resolved to go and fetch it home, or give it some food;
accordingly I went, and found it where I left it, for indeed it
could not get out, but was almost starved for want of food. I went
and cut boughs of trees, and branches of such shrubs as I could
find, and threw it over, and having fed it, I tied it as I did
before, to lead it away; but it was so tame with being hungry, that
I had no need to have tied it, for it followed me like a dog: and
as I continually fed it, the creature became so loving, so gentle,
and so fond, that it became from that time one of my domestics
also, and would never leave me afterwards.

The rainy season of the autumnal equinox was now come, and I kept
the 30th of September in the same solemn manner as before, being
the anniversary of my landing on the island, having now been there
two years, and no more prospect of being delivered than the first
day I came there, I spent the whole day in humble and thankful
acknowledgments of the many wonderful mercies which my solitary
condition was attended with, and without which it might have been
infinitely more miserable. I gave humble and hearty thanks that
God had been pleased to discover to me that it was possible I might
be more happy in this solitary condition than I should have been in
the liberty of society, and in all the pleasures of the world; that
He could fully make up to me the deficiencies of my solitary state,
and the want of human society, by His presence and the
communications of His grace to my soul; supporting, comforting, and
encouraging me to depend upon His providence here, and hope for His
eternal presence hereafter.

It was now that I began sensibly to feel how much more happy this
life I now led was, with all its miserable circumstances, than the
wicked, cursed, abominable life I led all the past part of my days;
and now I changed both my sorrows and my joys; my very desires
altered, my affections changed their gusts, and my delights were
perfectly new from what they were at my first coming, or, indeed,
for the two years past.

Before, as I walked about, either on my hunting or for viewing the
country, the anguish of my soul at my condition would break out
upon me on a sudden, and my very heart would die within me, to
think of the woods, the mountains, the deserts I was in, and how I
was a prisoner, locked up with the eternal bars and bolts of the
ocean, in an uninhabited wilderness, without redemption. In the
midst of the greatest composure of my mind, this would break out
upon me like a storm, and make me wring my hands and weep like a
child. Sometimes it would take me in the middle of my work, and I
would immediately sit down and sigh, and look upon the ground for
an hour or two together; and this was still worse to me, for if I
could burst out into tears, or vent myself by words, it would go
off, and the grief, having exhausted itself, would abate.

But now I began to exercise myself with new thoughts: I daily read
the word of God, and applied all the comforts of it to my present

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