Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe








I WAS born in the year 1632, in the city of York, of a good family,

though not of that country, my father being a foreigner of Bremen,

who settled first at Hull.  He got a good estate by merchandise,

and leaving off his trade, lived afterwards at York, from whence he

had married my mother, whose relations were named Robinson, a very

good family in that country, and from whom I was called Robinson

Kreutznaer; but, by the usual corruption of words in England, we

are now called - nay we call ourselves and write our name - Crusoe;

and so my companions always called me.


I had two elder brothers, one of whom was lieutenant-colonel to an

English regiment of foot in Flanders, formerly commanded by the

famous Colonel Lockhart, and was killed at the battle near Dunkirk

against the Spaniards.  What became of my second brother I never

knew, any more than my father or mother knew what became of me.


Being the third son of the family and not bred to any trade, my

head began to be filled very early with rambling thoughts.  My

father, who was very ancient, had given me a competent share of

learning, as far as house-education and a country free school

generally go, and designed me for the law; but I would be satisfied

with nothing but going to sea; and my inclination to this led me so

strongly against the will, nay, the commands of my father, and

against all the entreaties and persuasions of my mother and other

friends, that there seemed to be something fatal in that propensity

of nature, tending directly to the life of misery which was to

befall me.


My father, a wise and grave man, gave me serious and excellent

counsel against what he foresaw was my design.  He called me one

morning into his chamber, where he was confined by the gout, and

expostulated very warmly with me upon this subject.  He asked me

what reasons, more than a mere wandering inclination, I had for

leaving father's house and my native country, where I might be well

introduced, and had a prospect of raising my fortune by application

and industry, with a life of ease and pleasure.  He told me it was

men of desperate fortunes on one hand, or of aspiring, superior

fortunes on the other, who went abroad upon adventures, to rise by

enterprise, and make themselves famous in undertakings of a nature

out of the common road; that these things were all either too far

above me or too far below me; that mine was the middle state, or

what might be called the upper station of low life, which he had

found, by long experience, was the best state in the world, the

most suited to human happiness, not exposed to the miseries and

hardships, the labour and sufferings of the mechanic part of

mankind, and not embarrassed with the pride, luxury, ambition, and

envy of the upper part of mankind.  He told me I might judge of the

happiness of this state by this one thing - viz. that this was the

state of life which all other people envied; that kings have

frequently lamented the miserable consequence of being born to

great things, and wished they had been placed in the middle of the

two extremes, between the mean and the great; that the wise man

gave his testimony to this, as the standard of felicity, when he

prayed to have neither poverty nor riches.


He bade me observe it, and I should always find that the calamities

of life were shared among the upper and lower part of mankind, but

that the middle station had the fewest disasters, and was not

exposed to so many vicissitudes as the higher or lower part of

mankind; nay, they were not subjected to so many distempers and

uneasinesses, either of body or mind, as those were who, by vicious

living, luxury, and extravagances on the one hand, or by hard

labour, want of necessaries, and mean or insufficient diet on the

other hand, bring distemper upon themselves by the natural

consequences of their way of living; that the middle station of

life was calculated for all kind of virtue and all kind of

enjoyments; that peace and plenty were the handmaids of a middle

fortune; that temperance, moderation, quietness, health, society,

all agreeable diversions, and all desirable pleasures, were the

blessings attending the middle station of life; that this way men

went silently and smoothly through the world, and comfortably out

of it, not embarrassed with the labours of the hands or of the

head, not sold to a life of slavery for daily bread, nor harassed

with perplexed circumstances, which rob the soul of peace and the

body of rest, nor enraged with the passion of envy, or the secret

burning lust of ambition for great things; but, in easy

circumstances, sliding gently through the world, and sensibly

tasting the sweets of living, without the bitter; feeling that they

are happy, and learning by every day's experience to know it more



After this he pressed me earnestly, and in the most affectionate

manner, not to play the young man, nor to precipitate myself into

miseries which nature, and the station of life I was born in,

seemed to have provided against; that I was under no necessity of

seeking my bread; that he would do well for me, and endeavour to

enter me fairly into the station of life which he had just been

recommending to me; and that if I was not very easy and happy in

the world, it must be my mere fate or fault that must hinder it;

and that he should have nothing to answer for, having thus

discharged his duty in warning me against measures which he knew

would be to my hurt; in a word, that as he would do very kind

things for me if I would stay and settle at home as he directed, so

he would not have so much hand in my misfortunes as to give me any

encouragement to go away; and to close all, he told me I had my

elder brother for an example, to whom he had used the same earnest

persuasions to keep him from going into the Low Country wars, but

could not prevail, his young desires prompting him to run into the

army, where he was killed; and though he said he would not cease to

pray for me, yet he would venture to say to me, that if I did take

this foolish step, God would not bless me, and I should have

leisure hereafter to reflect upon having neglected his counsel when

there might be none to assist in my recovery.


I observed in this last part of his discourse, which was truly

prophetic, though I suppose my father did not know it to be so

himself - I say, I observed the tears run down his face very

plentifully, especially when he spoke of my brother who was killed:

and that when he spoke of my having leisure to repent, and none to

assist me, he was so moved that he broke off the discourse, and

told me his heart was so full he could say no more to me.


I was sincerely affected with this discourse, and, indeed, who

could be otherwise? and I resolved not to think of going abroad any

more, but to settle at home according to my father's desire.  But

alas! a few days wore it all off; and, in short, to prevent any of

my father's further importunities, in a few weeks after I resolved

to run quite away from him.  However, I did not act quite so

hastily as the first heat of my resolution prompted; but I took my

mother at a time when I thought her a little more pleasant than

ordinary, and told her that my thoughts were so entirely bent upon

seeing the world that I should never settle to anything with

resolution enough to go through with it, and my father had better

give me his consent than force me to go without it; that I was now

eighteen years old, which was too late to go apprentice to a trade

or clerk to an attorney; that I was sure if I did I should never

serve out my time, but I should certainly run away from my master

before my time was out, and go to sea; and if she would speak to my

father to let me go one voyage abroad, if I came home again, and

did not like it, I would go no more; and I would promise, by a

double diligence, to recover the time that I had lost.


This put my mother into a great passion; she told me she knew it

would be to no purpose to speak to my father upon any such subject;

that he knew too well what was my interest to give his consent to

anything so much for my hurt; and that she wondered how I could

think of any such thing after the discourse I had had with my

father, and such kind and tender expressions as she knew my father

had used to me; and that, in short, if I would ruin myself, there

was no help for me; but I might depend I should never have their

consent to it; that for her part she would not have so much hand in

my destruction; and I should never have it to say that my mother

was willing when my father was not.


Though my mother refused to move it to my father, yet I heard

afterwards that she reported all the discourse to him, and that my

father, after showing a great concern at it, said to her, with a

sigh, "That boy might be happy if he would stay at home; but if he

goes abroad, he will be the most miserable wretch that ever was

born: I can give no consent to it."


It was not till almost a year after this that I broke loose,

though, in the meantime, I continued obstinately deaf to all

proposals of settling to business, and frequently expostulated with

my father and mother about their being so positively determined

against what they knew my inclinations prompted me to.  But being

one day at Hull, where I went casually, and without any purpose of

making an elopement at that time; but, I say, being there, and one

of my companions being about to sail to London in his father's

ship, and prompting me to go with them with the common allurement

of seafaring men, that it should cost me nothing for my passage, I

consulted neither father nor mother any more, nor so much as sent

them word of it; but leaving them to hear of it as they might,

without asking God's blessing or my father's, without any

consideration of circumstances or consequences, and in an ill hour,

God knows, on the 1st of September 1651, I went on board a ship

bound for London.  Never any young adventurer's misfortunes, I

believe, began sooner, or continued longer than mine.  The ship was

no sooner out of the Humber than the wind began to blow and the sea

to rise in a most frightful manner; and, as I had never been at sea

before, I was most inexpressibly sick in body and terrified in

mind.  I began now seriously to reflect upon what I had done, and

how justly I was overtaken by the judgment of Heaven for my wicked

leaving my father's house, and abandoning my duty.  All the good

counsels of my parents, my father's tears and my mother's

entreaties, came now fresh into my mind; and my conscience, which

was not yet come to the pitch of hardness to which it has since,

reproached me with the contempt of advice, and the breach of my

duty to God and my father.


All this while the storm increased, and the sea went very high,

though nothing like what I have seen many times since; no, nor what

I saw a few days after; but it was enough to affect me then, who

was but a young sailor, and had never known anything of the matter. 

I expected every wave would have swallowed us up, and that every

time the ship fell down, as I thought it did, in the trough or

hollow of the sea, we should never rise more; in this agony of

mind, I made many vows and resolutions that if it would please God

to spare my life in this one voyage, if ever I got once my foot

upon dry land again, I would go directly home to my father, and

never set it into a ship again while I lived; that I would take his

advice, and never run myself into such miseries as these any more. 

Now I saw plainly the goodness of his observations about the middle

station of life, how easy, how comfortably he had lived all his

days, and never had been exposed to tempests at sea or troubles on

shore; and I resolved that I would, like a true repenting prodigal,

go home to my father.


These wise and sober thoughts continued all the while the storm

lasted, and indeed some time after; but the next day the wind was

abated, and the sea calmer, and I began to be a little inured to

it; however, I was very grave for all that day, being also a little

sea-sick still; but towards night the weather cleared up, the wind

was quite over, and a charming fine evening followed; the sun went

down perfectly clear, and rose so the next morning; and having

little or no wind, and a smooth sea, the sun shining upon it, the

sight was, as I thought, the most delightful that ever I saw.


I had slept well in the night, and was now no more sea-sick, but

very cheerful, looking with wonder upon the sea that was so rough

and terrible the day before, and could be so calm and so pleasant

in so little a time after.  And now, lest my good resolutions

should continue, my companion, who had enticed me away, comes to

me; "Well, Bob," says he, clapping me upon the shoulder, "how do

you do after it?  I warrant you were frighted, wer'n't you, last

night, when it blew but a capful of wind?"  "A capful d'you call

it?" said I; "'twas a terrible storm."  "A storm, you fool you,"

replies he; "do you call that a storm? why, it was nothing at all;

give us but a good ship and sea-room, and we think nothing of such

a squall of wind as that; but you're but a fresh-water sailor, Bob. 

Come, let us make a bowl of punch, and we'll forget all that; d'ye

see what charming weather 'tis now?"  To make short this sad part

of my story, we went the way of all sailors; the punch was made and

I was made half drunk with it: and in that one night's wickedness I

drowned all my repentance, all my reflections upon my past conduct,

all my resolutions for the future.  In a word, as the sea was

returned to its smoothness of surface and settled calmness by the

abatement of that storm, so the hurry of my thoughts being over, my

fears and apprehensions of being swallowed up by the sea being

forgotten, and the current of my former desires returned, I

entirely forgot the vows and promises that I made in my distress. 

I found, indeed, some intervals of reflection; and the serious

thoughts did, as it were, endeavour to return again sometimes; but

I shook them off, and roused myself from them as it were from a

distemper, and applying myself to drinking and company, soon

mastered the return of those fits - for so I called them; and I had

in five or six days got as complete a victory over conscience as

any young fellow that resolved not to be troubled with it could

desire.  But I was to have another trial for it still; and

Providence, as in such cases generally it does, resolved to leave

me entirely without excuse; for if I would not take this for a

deliverance, the next was to be such a one as the worst and most

hardened wretch among us would confess both the danger and the

mercy of.


The sixth day of our being at sea we came into Yarmouth Roads; the

wind having been contrary and the weather calm, we had made but

little way since the storm.  Here we were obliged to come to an

anchor, and here we lay, the wind continuing contrary - viz. at

south-west - for seven or eight days, during which time a great

many ships from Newcastle came into the same Roads, as the common

harbour where the ships might wait for a wind for the river.


We had not, however, rid here so long but we should have tided it

up the river, but that the wind blew too fresh, and after we had

lain four or five days, blew very hard.  However, the Roads being

reckoned as good as a harbour, the anchorage good, and our ground-

tackle very strong, our men were unconcerned, and not in the least

apprehensive of danger, but spent the time in rest and mirth, after

the manner of the sea; but the eighth day, in the morning, the wind

increased, and we had all hands at work to strike our topmasts, and

make everything snug and close, that the ship might ride as easy as

possible.  By noon the sea went very high indeed, and our ship rode

forecastle in, shipped several seas, and we thought once or twice

our anchor had come home; upon which our master ordered out the

sheet-anchor, so that we rode with two anchors ahead, and the

cables veered out to the bitter end.


By this time it blew a terrible storm indeed; and now I began to

see terror and amazement in the faces even of the seamen

themselves.  The master, though vigilant in the business of

preserving the ship, yet as he went in and out of his cabin by me,

I could hear him softly to himself say, several times, "Lord be

merciful to us! we shall be all lost! we shall be all undone!" and

the like.  During these first hurries I was stupid, lying still in

my cabin, which was in the steerage, and cannot describe my temper:

I could ill resume the first penitence which I had so apparently

trampled upon and hardened myself against: I thought the bitterness

of death had been past, and that this would be nothing like the

first; but when the master himself came by me, as I said just now,

and said we should be all lost, I was dreadfully frighted.  I got

up out of my cabin and looked out; but such a dismal sight I never

saw: the sea ran mountains high, and broke upon us every three or

four minutes; when I could look about, I could see nothing but

distress round us; two ships that rode near us, we found, had cut

their masts by the board, being deep laden; and our men cried out

that a ship which rode about a mile ahead of us was foundered.  Two

more ships, being driven from their anchors, were run out of the

Roads to sea, at all adventures, and that with not a mast standing. 

The light ships fared the best, as not so much labouring in the

sea; but two or three of them drove, and came close by us, running

away with only their spritsail out before the wind.


Towards evening the mate and boatswain begged the master of our

ship to let them cut away the fore-mast, which he was very

unwilling to do; but the boatswain protesting to him that if he did

not the ship would founder, he consented; and when they had cut

away the fore-mast, the main-mast stood so loose, and shook the

ship so much, they were obliged to cut that away also, and make a

clear deck.


Any one may judge what a condition I must be in at all this, who

was but a young sailor, and who had been in such a fright before at

but a little.  But if I can express at this distance the thoughts I

had about me at that time, I was in tenfold more horror of mind

upon account of my former convictions, and the having returned from

them to the resolutions I had wickedly taken at first, than I was

at death itself; and these, added to the terror of the storm, put

me into such a condition that I can by no words describe it.  But

the worst was not come yet; the storm continued with such fury that

the seamen themselves acknowledged they had never seen a worse.  We

had a good ship, but she was deep laden, and wallowed in the sea,

so that the seamen every now and then cried out she would founder. 

It was my advantage in one respect, that I did not know what they

meant by FOUNDER till I inquired.  However, the storm was so

violent that I saw, what is not often seen, the master, the

boatswain, and some others more sensible than the rest, at their

prayers, and expecting every moment when the ship would go to the

bottom.  In the middle of the night, and under all the rest of our

distresses, one of the men that had been down to see cried out we

had sprung a leak; another said there was four feet water in the

hold.  Then all hands were called to the pump.  At that word, my

heart, as I thought, died within me: and I fell backwards upon the

side of my bed where I sat, into the cabin.  However, the men

roused me, and told me that I, that was able to do nothing before,

was as well able to pump as another; at which I stirred up and went

to the pump, and worked very heartily.  While this was doing the

master, seeing some light colliers, who, not able to ride out the

storm were obliged to slip and run away to sea, and would come near

us, ordered to fire a gun as a signal of distress.  I, who knew

nothing what they meant, thought the ship had broken, or some

dreadful thing happened.  In a word, I was so surprised that I fell

down in a swoon.  As this was a time when everybody had his own

life to think of, nobody minded me, or what was become of me; but

another man stepped up to the pump, and thrusting me aside with his

foot, let me lie, thinking I had been dead; and it was a great

while before I came to myself.


We worked on; but the water increasing in the hold, it was apparent

that the ship would founder; and though the storm began to abate a

little, yet it was not possible she could swim till we might run

into any port; so the master continued firing guns for help; and a

light ship, who had rid it out just ahead of us, ventured a boat

out to help us.  It was with the utmost hazard the boat came near

us; but it was impossible for us to get on board, or for the boat

to lie near the ship's side, till at last the men rowing very

heartily, and venturing their lives to save ours, our men cast them

a rope over the stern with a buoy to it, and then veered it out a

great length, which they, after much labour and hazard, took hold

of, and we hauled them close under our stern, and got all into

their boat.  It was to no purpose for them or us, after we were in

the boat, to think of reaching their own ship; so all agreed to let

her drive, and only to pull her in towards shore as much as we

could; and our master promised them, that if the boat was staved

upon shore, he would make it good to their master: so partly rowing

and partly driving, our boat went away to the northward, sloping

towards the shore almost as far as Winterton Ness.


We were not much more than a quarter of an hour out of our ship

till we saw her sink, and then I understood for the first time what

was meant by a ship foundering in the sea.  I must acknowledge I

had hardly eyes to look up when the seamen told me she was sinking;

for from the moment that they rather put me into the boat than that

I might be said to go in, my heart was, as it were, dead within me,

partly with fright, partly with horror of mind, and the thoughts of

what was yet before me.


While we were in this condition - the men yet labouring at the oar

to bring the boat near the shore - we could see (when, our boat

mounting the waves, we were able to see the shore) a great many

people running along the strand to assist us when we should come

near; but we made but slow way towards the shore; nor were we able

to reach the shore till, being past the lighthouse at Winterton,

the shore falls off to the westward towards Cromer, and so the land

broke off a little the violence of the wind.  Here we got in, and

though not without much difficulty, got all safe on shore, and

walked afterwards on foot to Yarmouth, where, as unfortunate men,

we were used with great humanity, as well by the magistrates of the

town, who assigned us good quarters, as by particular merchants and

owners of ships, and had money given us sufficient to carry us

either to London or back to Hull as we thought fit.


Had I now had the sense to have gone back to Hull, and have gone

home, I had been happy, and my father, as in our blessed Saviour's

parable, had even killed the fatted calf for me; for hearing the

ship I went away in was cast away in Yarmouth Roads, it was a great

while before he had any assurances that I was not drowned.


But my ill fate pushed me on now with an obstinacy that nothing

could resist; and though I had several times loud calls from my

reason and my more composed judgment to go home, yet I had no power

to do it.  I know not what to call this, nor will I urge that it is

a secret overruling decree, that hurries us on to be the

instruments of our own destruction, even though it be before us,

and that we rush upon it with our eyes open.  Certainly, nothing

but some such decreed unavoidable misery, which it was impossible

for me to escape, could have pushed me forward against the calm

reasonings and persuasions of my most retired thoughts, and against

two such visible instructions as I had met with in my first



My comrade, who had helped to harden me before, and who was the

master's son, was now less forward than I.  The first time he spoke

to me after we were at Yarmouth, which was not till two or three

days, for we were separated in the town to several quarters; I say,

the first time he saw me, it appeared his tone was altered; and,

looking very melancholy, and shaking his head, he asked me how I

did, and telling his father who I was, and how I had come this

voyage only for a trial, in order to go further abroad, his father,

turning to me with a very grave and concerned tone "Young man,"

says he, "you ought never to go to sea any more; you ought to take

this for a plain and visible token that you are not to be a

seafaring man."  "Why, sir," said I, "will you go to sea no more?" 

"That is another case," said he; "it is my calling, and therefore

my duty; but as you made this voyage on trial, you see what a taste

Heaven has given you of what you are to expect if you persist. 

Perhaps this has all befallen us on your account, like Jonah in the

ship of Tarshish.  Pray," continues he, "what are you; and on what

account did you go to sea?"  Upon that I told him some of my story;

at the end of which he burst out into a strange kind of passion:

"What had I done," says he, "that such an unhappy wretch should

come into my ship?  I would not set my foot in the same ship with

thee again for a thousand pounds."  This indeed was, as I said, an

excursion of his spirits, which were yet agitated by the sense of

his loss, and was farther than he could have authority to go. 

However, he afterwards talked very gravely to me, exhorting me to

go back to my father, and not tempt Providence to my ruin, telling

me I might see a visible hand of Heaven against me.  "And, young

man," said he, "depend upon it, if you do not go back, wherever you

go, you will meet with nothing but disasters and disappointments,

till your father's words are fulfilled upon you."


We parted soon after; for I made him little answer, and I saw him

no more; which way he went I knew not.  As for me, having some

money in my pocket, I travelled to London by land; and there, as

well as on the road, had many struggles with myself what course of

life I should take, and whether I should go home or to sea.


As to going home, shame opposed the best motions that offered to my

thoughts, and it immediately occurred to me how I should be laughed

at among the neighbours, and should be ashamed to see, not my

father and mother only, but even everybody else; from whence I have

since often observed, how incongruous and irrational the common

temper of mankind is, especially of youth, to that reason which

ought to guide them in such cases - viz. that they are not ashamed

to sin, and yet are ashamed to repent; not ashamed of the action

for which they ought justly to be esteemed fools, but are ashamed

of the returning, which only can make them be esteemed wise men.


In this state of life, however, I remained some time, uncertain

what measures to take, and what course of life to lead.  An

irresistible reluctance continued to going home; and as I stayed

away a while, the remembrance of the distress I had been in wore

off, and as that abated, the little motion I had in my desires to

return wore off with it, till at last I quite laid aside the

thoughts of it, and looked out for a voyage.








THAT evil influence which carried me first away from my father's

house - which hurried me into the wild and indigested notion of

raising my fortune, and that impressed those conceits so forcibly

upon me as to make me deaf to all good advice, and to the

entreaties and even the commands of my father - I say, the same

influence, whatever it was, presented the most unfortunate of all

enterprises to my view; and I went on board a vessel bound to the

coast of Africa; or, as our sailors vulgarly called it, a voyage to



It was my great misfortune that in all these adventures I did not

ship myself as a sailor; when, though I might indeed have worked a

little harder than ordinary, yet at the same time I should have

learnt the duty and office of a fore-mast man, and in time might

have qualified myself for a mate or lieutenant, if not for a

master.  But as it was always my fate to choose for the worse, so I

did here; for having money in my pocket and good clothes upon my

back, I would always go on board in the habit of a gentleman; and

so I neither had any business in the ship, nor learned to do any.


It was my lot first of all to fall into pretty good company in

London, which does not always happen to such loose and misguided

young fellows as I then was; the devil generally not omitting to

lay some snare for them very early; but it was not so with me.  I

first got acquainted with the master of a ship who had been on the

coast of Guinea; and who, having had very good success there, was

resolved to go again.  This captain taking a fancy to my

conversation, which was not at all disagreeable at that time,

hearing me say I had a mind to see the world, told me if I would go

the voyage with him I should be at no expense; I should be his

messmate and his companion; and if I could carry anything with me,

I should have all the advantage of it that the trade would admit;

and perhaps I might meet with some encouragement.


I embraced the offer; and entering into a strict friendship with

this captain, who was an honest, plain-dealing man, I went the

voyage with him, and carried a small adventure with me, which, by

the disinterested honesty of my friend the captain, I increased

very considerably; for I carried about 40 pounds in such toys and

trifles as the captain directed me to buy.  These 40 pounds I had

mustered together by the assistance of some of my relations whom I

corresponded with; and who, I believe, got my father, or at least

my mother, to contribute so much as that to my first adventure.


This was the only voyage which I may say was successful in all my

adventures, which I owe to the integrity and honesty of my friend

the captain; under whom also I got a competent knowledge of the

mathematics and the rules of navigation, learned how to keep an

account of the ship's course, take an observation, and, in short,

to understand some things that were needful to be understood by a

sailor; for, as he took delight to instruct me, I took delight to

learn; and, in a word, this voyage made me both a sailor and a

merchant; for I brought home five pounds nine ounces of gold-dust

for my adventure, which yielded me in London, at my return, almost

300 pounds; and this filled me with those aspiring thoughts which

have since so completed my ruin.


Yet even in this voyage I had my misfortunes too; particularly,

that I was continually sick, being thrown into a violent calenture

by the excessive heat of the climate; our principal trading being

upon the coast, from latitude of 15 degrees north even to the line



I was now set up for a Guinea trader; and my friend, to my great

misfortune, dying soon after his arrival, I resolved to go the same

voyage again, and I embarked in the same vessel with one who was

his mate in the former voyage, and had now got the command of the

ship.  This was the unhappiest voyage that ever man made; for

though I did not carry quite 100 pounds of my new-gained wealth, so

that I had 200 pounds left, which I had lodged with my friend's

widow, who was very just to me, yet I fell into terrible

misfortunes.  The first was this: our ship making her course

towards the Canary Islands, or rather between those islands and the

African shore, was surprised in the grey of the morning by a

Turkish rover of Sallee, who gave chase to us with all the sail she

could make.  We crowded also as much canvas as our yards would

spread, or our masts carry, to get clear; but finding the pirate

gained upon us, and would certainly come up with us in a few hours,

we prepared to fight; our ship having twelve guns, and the rogue

eighteen.  About three in the afternoon he came up with us, and

bringing to, by mistake, just athwart our quarter, instead of

athwart our stern, as he intended, we brought eight of our guns to

bear on that side, and poured in a broadside upon him, which made

him sheer off again, after returning our fire, and pouring in also

his small shot from near two hundred men which he had on board. 

However, we had not a man touched, all our men keeping close.  He

prepared to attack us again, and we to defend ourselves.  But

laying us on board the next time upon our other quarter, he entered

sixty men upon our decks, who immediately fell to cutting and

hacking the sails and rigging.  We plied them with small shot,

half-pikes, powder-chests, and such like, and cleared our deck of

them twice.  However, to cut short this melancholy part of our

story, our ship being disabled, and three of our men killed, and

eight wounded, we were obliged to yield, and were carried all

prisoners into Sallee, a port belonging to the Moors.


The usage I had there was not so dreadful as at first I

apprehended; nor was I carried up the country to the emperor's

court, as the rest of our men were, but was kept by the captain of

the rover as his proper prize, and made his slave, being young and

nimble, and fit for his business.  At this surprising change of my

circumstances, from a merchant to a miserable slave, I was

perfectly overwhelmed; and now I looked back upon my father's

prophetic discourse to me, that I should be miserable and have none

to relieve me, which I thought was now so effectually brought to

pass that I could not be worse; for now the hand of Heaven had

overtaken me, and I was undone without redemption; but, alas! this

was but a taste of the misery I was to go through, as will appear

in the sequel of this story.


As my new patron, or master, had taken me home to his house, so I

was in hopes that he would take me with him when he went to sea

again, believing that it would some time or other be his fate to be

taken by a Spanish or Portugal man-of-war; and that then I should

be set at liberty.  But this hope of mine was soon taken away; for

when he went to sea, he left me on shore to look after his little

garden, and do the common drudgery of slaves about his house; and

when he came home again from his cruise, he ordered me to lie in

the cabin to look after the ship.


Here I meditated nothing but my escape, and what method I might

take to effect it, but found no way that had the least probability

in it; nothing presented to make the supposition of it rational;

for I had nobody to communicate it to that would embark with me -

no fellow-slave, no Englishman, Irishman, or Scotchman there but

myself; so that for two years, though I often pleased myself with

the imagination, yet I never had the least encouraging prospect of

putting it in practice.


After about two years, an odd circumstance presented itself, which

put the old thought of making some attempt for my liberty again in

my head.  My patron lying at home longer than usual without fitting

out his ship, which, as I heard, was for want of money, he used

constantly, once or twice a week, sometimes oftener if the weather

was fair, to take the ship's pinnace and go out into the road a-

fishing; and as he always took me and young Maresco with him to row

the boat, we made him very merry, and I proved very dexterous in

catching fish; insomuch that sometimes he would send me with a

Moor, one of his kinsmen, and the youth - the Maresco, as they

called him - to catch a dish of fish for him.


It happened one time, that going a-fishing in a calm morning, a fog

rose so thick that, though we were not half a league from the

shore, we lost sight of it; and rowing we knew not whither or which

way, we laboured all day, and all the next night; and when the

morning came we found we had pulled off to sea instead of pulling

in for the shore; and that we were at least two leagues from the

shore.  However, we got well in again, though with a great deal of

labour and some danger; for the wind began to blow pretty fresh in

the morning; but we were all very hungry.


But our patron, warned by this disaster, resolved to take more care

of himself for the future; and having lying by him the longboat of

our English ship that he had taken, he resolved he would not go a-

fishing any more without a compass and some provision; so he

ordered the carpenter of his ship, who also was an English slave,

to build a little state-room, or cabin, in the middle of the long-

boat, like that of a barge, with a place to stand behind it to

steer, and haul home the main-sheet; the room before for a hand or

two to stand and work the sails.  She sailed with what we call a

shoulder-of-mutton sail; and the boom jibed over the top of the

cabin, which lay very snug and low, and had in it room for him to

lie, with a slave or two, and a table to eat on, with some small

lockers to put in some bottles of such liquor as he thought fit to

drink; and his bread, rice, and coffee.


We went frequently out with this boat a-fishing; and as I was most

dexterous to catch fish for him, he never went without me.  It

happened that he had appointed to go out in this boat, either for

pleasure or for fish, with two or three Moors of some distinction

in that place, and for whom he had provided extraordinarily, and

had, therefore, sent on board the boat overnight a larger store of

provisions than ordinary; and had ordered me to get ready three

fusees with powder and shot, which were on board his ship, for that

they designed some sport of fowling as well as fishing.


I got all things ready as he had directed, and waited the next

morning with the boat washed clean, her ancient and pendants out,

and everything to accommodate his guests; when by-and-by my patron

came on board alone, and told me his guests had put off going from

some business that fell out, and ordered me, with the man and boy,

as usual, to go out with the boat and catch them some fish, for

that his friends were to sup at his house, and commanded that as

soon as I got some fish I should bring it home to his house; all

which I prepared to do.


This moment my former notions of deliverance darted into my

thoughts, for now I found I was likely to have a little ship at my

command; and my master being gone, I prepared to furnish myself,

not for fishing business, but for a voyage; though I knew not,

neither did I so much as consider, whither I should steer -

anywhere to get out of that place was my desire.


My first contrivance was to make a pretence to speak to this Moor,

to get something for our subsistence on board; for I told him we

must not presume to eat of our patron's bread.  He said that was

true; so he brought a large basket of rusk or biscuit, and three

jars of fresh water, into the boat.  I knew where my patron's case

of bottles stood, which it was evident, by the make, were taken out

of some English prize, and I conveyed them into the boat while the

Moor was on shore, as if they had been there before for our master. 

I conveyed also a great lump of beeswax into the boat, which

weighed about half a hundred-weight, with a parcel of twine or

thread, a hatchet, a saw, and a hammer, all of which were of great

use to us afterwards, especially the wax, to make candles.  Another

trick I tried upon him, which he innocently came into also: his

name was Ismael, which they call Muley, or Moely; so I called to

him - "Moely," said I, "our patron's guns are on board the boat;

can you not get a little powder and shot?  It may be we may kill

some alcamies (a fowl like our curlews) for ourselves, for I know

he keeps the gunner's stores in the ship."  "Yes," says he, "I'll

bring some;" and accordingly he brought a great leather pouch,

which held a pound and a half of powder, or rather more; and

another with shot, that had five or six pounds, with some bullets,

and put all into the boat.  At the same time I had found some

powder of my master's in the great cabin, with which I filled one

of the large bottles in the case, which was almost empty, pouring

what was in it into another; and thus furnished with everything

needful, we sailed out of the port to fish.  The castle, which is

at the entrance of the port, knew who we were, and took no notice

of us; and we were not above a mile out of the port before we

hauled in our sail and set us down to fish.  The wind blew from the

N.N.E., which was contrary to my desire, for had it blown southerly

I had been sure to have made the coast of Spain, and at least

reached to the bay of Cadiz; but my resolutions were, blow which

way it would, I would be gone from that horrid place where I was,

and leave the rest to fate.


After we had fished some time and caught nothing - for when I had

fish on my hook I would not pull them up, that he might not see

them - I said to the Moor, "This will not do; our master will not

be thus served; we must stand farther off."  He, thinking no harm,

agreed, and being in the head of the boat, set the sails; and, as I

had the helm, I ran the boat out near a league farther, and then

brought her to, as if I would fish; when, giving the boy the helm,

I stepped forward to where the Moor was, and making as if I stooped

for something behind him, I took him by surprise with my arm under

his waist, and tossed him clear overboard into the sea.  He rose

immediately, for he swam like a cork, and called to me, begged to

be taken in, told me he would go all over the world with me.  He

swam so strong after the boat that he would have reached me very

quickly, there being but little wind; upon which I stepped into the

cabin, and fetching one of the fowling-pieces, I presented it at

him, and told him I had done him no hurt, and if he would be quiet

I would do him none.  "But," said I, "you swim well enough to reach

to the shore, and the sea is calm; make the best of your way to

shore, and I will do you no harm; but if you come near the boat

I'll shoot you through the head, for I am resolved to have my

liberty;" so he turned himself about, and swam for the shore, and I

make no doubt but he reached it with ease, for he was an excellent



I could have been content to have taken this Moor with me, and have

drowned the boy, but there was no venturing to trust him.  When he

was gone, I turned to the boy, whom they called Xury, and said to

him, "Xury, if you will be faithful to me, I'll make you a great

man; but if you will not stroke your face to be true to me" - that

is, swear by Mahomet and his father's beard - "I must throw you

into the sea too."  The boy smiled in my face, and spoke so

innocently that I could not distrust him, and swore to be faithful

to me, and go all over the world with me.


While I was in view of the Moor that was swimming, I stood out

directly to sea with the boat, rather stretching to windward, that

they might think me gone towards the Straits' mouth (as indeed any

one that had been in their wits must have been supposed to do): for

who would have supposed we were sailed on to the southward, to the

truly Barbarian coast, where whole nations of negroes were sure to

surround us with their canoes and destroy us; where we could not go

on shore but we should be devoured by savage beasts, or more

merciless savages of human kind.


But as soon as it grew dusk in the evening, I changed my course,

and steered directly south and by east, bending my course a little

towards the east, that I might keep in with the shore; and having a

fair, fresh gale of wind, and a smooth, quiet sea, I made such sail

that I believe by the next day, at three o'clock in the afternoon,

when I first made the land, I could not be less than one hundred

and fifty miles south of Sallee; quite beyond the Emperor of

Morocco's dominions, or indeed of any other king thereabouts, for

we saw no people.


Yet such was the fright I had taken of the Moors, and the dreadful

apprehensions I had of falling into their hands, that I would not

stop, or go on shore, or come to an anchor; the wind continuing

fair till I had sailed in that manner five days; and then the wind

shifting to the southward, I concluded also that if any of our

vessels were in chase of me, they also would now give over; so I

ventured to make to the coast, and came to an anchor in the mouth

of a little river, I knew not what, nor where, neither what

latitude, what country, what nation, or what river.  I neither saw,

nor desired to see any people; the principal thing I wanted was

fresh water.  We came into this creek in the evening, resolving to

swim on shore as soon as it was dark, and discover the country; but

as soon as it was quite dark, we heard such dreadful noises of the

barking, roaring, and howling of wild creatures, of we knew not

what kinds, that the poor boy was ready to die with fear, and

begged of me not to go on shore till day.  "Well, Xury," said I,

"then I won't; but it may be that we may see men by day, who will

be as bad to us as those lions."  "Then we give them the shoot

gun," says Xury, laughing, "make them run wey."  Such English Xury

spoke by conversing among us slaves.  However, I was glad to see

the boy so cheerful, and I gave him a dram (out of our patron's

case of bottles) to cheer him up.  After all, Xury's advice was

good, and I took it; we dropped our little anchor, and lay still

all night; I say still, for we slept none; for in two or three

hours we saw vast great creatures (we knew not what to call them)

of many sorts, come down to the sea-shore and run into the water,

wallowing and washing themselves for the pleasure of cooling

themselves; and they made such hideous howlings and yellings, that

I never indeed heard the like.


Xury was dreadfully frighted, and indeed so was I too; but we were

both more frighted when we heard one of these mighty creatures come

swimming towards our boat; we could not see him, but we might hear

him by his blowing to be a monstrous huge and furious beast.  Xury

said it was a lion, and it might be so for aught I know; but poor

Xury cried to me to weigh the anchor and row away; "No," says I,

"Xury; we can slip our cable, with the buoy to it, and go off to

sea; they cannot follow us far."  I had no sooner said so, but I

perceived the creature (whatever it was) within two oars' length,

which something surprised me; however, I immediately stepped to the

cabin door, and taking up my gun, fired at him; upon which he

immediately turned about and swam towards the shore again.


But it is impossible to describe the horrid noises, and hideous

cries and howlings that were raised, as well upon the edge of the

shore as higher within the country, upon the noise or report of the

gun, a thing I have some reason to believe those creatures had

never heard before: this convinced me that there was no going on

shore for us in the night on that coast, and how to venture on

shore in the day was another question too; for to have fallen into

the hands of any of the savages had been as bad as to have fallen

into the hands of the lions and tigers; at least we were equally

apprehensive of the danger of it.


Be that as it would, we were obliged to go on shore somewhere or

other for water, for we had not a pint left in the boat; when and

where to get to it was the point.  Xury said, if I would let him go

on shore with one of the jars, he would find if there was any

water, and bring some to me.  I asked him why he would go? why I

should not go, and he stay in the boat?  The boy answered with so

much affection as made me love him ever after.  Says he, "If wild

mans come, they eat me, you go wey."  "Well, Xury," said I, "we

will both go and if the wild mans come, we will kill them, they

shall eat neither of us."  So I gave Xury a piece of rusk bread to

eat, and a dram out of our patron's case of bottles which I

mentioned before; and we hauled the boat in as near the shore as we

thought was proper, and so waded on shore, carrying nothing but our

arms and two jars for water.


I did not care to go out of sight of the boat, fearing the coming

of canoes with savages down the river; but the boy seeing a low

place about a mile up the country, rambled to it, and by-and-by I

saw him come running towards me.  I thought he was pursued by some

savage, or frighted with some wild beast, and I ran forward towards

him to help him; but when I came nearer to him I saw something

hanging over his shoulders, which was a creature that he had shot,

like a hare, but different in colour, and longer legs; however, we

were very glad of it, and it was very good meat; but the great joy

that poor Xury came with, was to tell me he had found good water

and seen no wild mans.


But we found afterwards that we need not take such pains for water,

for a little higher up the creek where we were we found the water

fresh when the tide was out, which flowed but a little way up; so

we filled our jars, and feasted on the hare he had killed, and

prepared to go on our way, having seen no footsteps of any human

creature in that part of the country.


As I had been one voyage to this coast before, I knew very well

that the islands of the Canaries, and the Cape de Verde Islands

also, lay not far off from the coast.  But as I had no instruments

to take an observation to know what latitude we were in, and not

exactly knowing, or at least remembering, what latitude they were

in, I knew not where to look for them, or when to stand off to sea

towards them; otherwise I might now easily have found some of these

islands.  But my hope was, that if I stood along this coast till I

came to that part where the English traded, I should find some of

their vessels upon their usual design of trade, that would relieve

and take us in.


By the best of my calculation, that place where I now was must be

that country which, lying between the Emperor of Morocco's

dominions and the negroes, lies waste and uninhabited, except by

wild beasts; the negroes having abandoned it and gone farther south

for fear of the Moors, and the Moors not thinking it worth

inhabiting by reason of its barrenness; and indeed, both forsaking

it because of the prodigious number of tigers, lions, leopards, and

other furious creatures which harbour there; so that the Moors use

it for their hunting only, where they go like an army, two or three

thousand men at a time; and indeed for near a hundred miles

together upon this coast we saw nothing but a waste, uninhabited

country by day, and heard nothing but howlings and roaring of wild

beasts by night.


Once or twice in the daytime I thought I saw the Pico of Teneriffe,

being the high top of the Mountain Teneriffe in the Canaries, and

had a great mind to venture out, in hopes of reaching thither; but

having tried twice, I was forced in again by contrary winds, the

sea also going too high for my little vessel; so, I resolved to

pursue my first design, and keep along the shore.


Several times I was obliged to land for fresh water, after we had

left this place; and once in particular, being early in morning, we

came to an anchor under a little point of land, which was pretty

high; and the tide beginning to flow, we lay still to go farther

in.  Xury, whose eyes were more about him than it seems mine were,

calls softly to me, and tells me that we had best go farther off

the shore; "For," says he, "look, yonder lies a dreadful monster on

the side of that hillock, fast asleep."  I looked where he pointed,

and saw a dreadful monster indeed, for it was a terrible, great

lion that lay on the side of the shore, under the shade of a piece

of the hill that hung as it were a little over him.  "Xury," says

I, "you shall on shore and kill him."  Xury, looked frighted, and

said, "Me kill! he eat me at one mouth!" - one mouthful he meant. 

However, I said no more to the boy, but bade him lie still, and I

took our biggest gun, which was almost musket-bore, and loaded it

with a good charge of powder, and with two slugs, and laid it down;

then I loaded another gun with two bullets; and the third (for we

had three pieces) I loaded with five smaller bullets.  I took the

best aim I could with the first piece to have shot him in the head,

but he lay so with his leg raised a little above his nose, that the

slugs hit his leg about the knee and broke the bone.  He started

up, growling at first, but finding his leg broken, fell down again;

and then got upon three legs, and gave the most hideous roar that

ever I heard.  I was a little surprised that I had not hit him on

the head; however, I took up the second piece immediately, and

though he began to move off, fired again, and shot him in the head,

and had the pleasure to see him drop and make but little noise, but

lie struggling for life.  Then Xury took heart, and would have me

let him go on shore.  "Well, go," said I: so the boy jumped into

the water and taking a little gun in one hand, swam to shore with

the other hand, and coming close to the creature, put the muzzle of

the piece to his ear, and shot him in the head again, which

despatched him quite.


This was game indeed to us, but this was no food; and I was very

sorry to lose three charges of powder and shot upon a creature that

was good for nothing to us.  However, Xury said he would have some

of him; so he comes on board, and asked me to give him the hatchet. 

"For what, Xury?" said I.  "Me cut off his head," said he. 

However, Xury could not cut off his head, but he cut off a foot,

and brought it with him, and it was a monstrous great one.


I bethought myself, however, that, perhaps the skin of him might,

one way or other, be of some value to us; and I resolved to take

off his skin if I could.  So Xury and I went to work with him; but

Xury was much the better workman at it, for I knew very ill how to

do it.  Indeed, it took us both up the whole day, but at last we

got off the hide of him, and spreading it on the top of our cabin,

the sun effectually dried it in two days' time, and it afterwards

served me to lie upon.








AFTER this stop, we made on to the southward continually for ten or

twelve days, living very sparingly on our provisions, which began

to abate very much, and going no oftener to the shore than we were

obliged to for fresh water.  My design in this was to make the

river Gambia or Senegal, that is to say anywhere about the Cape de

Verde, where I was in hopes to meet with some European ship; and if

I did not, I knew not what course I had to take, but to seek for

the islands, or perish there among the negroes.  I knew that all

the ships from Europe, which sailed either to the coast of Guinea

or to Brazil, or to the East Indies, made this cape, or those

islands; and, in a word, I put the whole of my fortune upon this

single point, either that I must meet with some ship or must



When I had pursued this resolution about ten days longer, as I have

said, I began to see that the land was inhabited; and in two or

three places, as we sailed by, we saw people stand upon the shore

to look at us; we could also perceive they were quite black and

naked.  I was once inclined to have gone on shore to them; but Xury

was my better counsellor, and said to me, "No go, no go."  However,

I hauled in nearer the shore that I might talk to them, and I found

they ran along the shore by me a good way.  I observed they had no

weapons in their hand, except one, who had a long slender stick,

which Xury said was a lance, and that they could throw them a great

way with good aim; so I kept at a distance, but talked with them by

signs as well as I could; and particularly made signs for something

to eat: they beckoned to me to stop my boat, and they would fetch

me some meat.  Upon this I lowered the top of my sail and lay by,

and two of them ran up into the country, and in less than half-an-

hour came back, and brought with them two pieces of dried flesh and

some corn, such as is the produce of their country; but we neither

knew what the one or the other was; however, we were willing to

accept it, but how to come at it was our next dispute, for I would

not venture on shore to them, and they were as much afraid of us;

but they took a safe way for us all, for they brought it to the

shore and laid it down, and went and stood a great way off till we

fetched it on board, and then came close to us again.


We made signs of thanks to them, for we had nothing to make them

amends; but an opportunity offered that very instant to oblige them

wonderfully; for while we were lying by the shore came two mighty

creatures, one pursuing the other (as we took it) with great fury

from the mountains towards the sea; whether it was the male

pursuing the female, or whether they were in sport or in rage, we

could not tell, any more than we could tell whether it was usual or

strange, but I believe it was the latter; because, in the first

place, those ravenous creatures seldom appear but in the night;

and, in the second place, we found the people terribly frighted,

especially the women.  The man that had the lance or dart did not

fly from them, but the rest did; however, as the two creatures ran

directly into the water, they did not offer to fall upon any of the

negroes, but plunged themselves into the sea, and swam about, as if

they had come for their diversion; at last one of them began to

come nearer our boat than at first I expected; but I lay ready for

him, for I had loaded my gun with all possible expedition, and bade

Xury load both the others.  As soon as he came fairly within my

reach, I fired, and shot him directly in the head; immediately he

sank down into the water, but rose instantly, and plunged up and

down, as if he were struggling for life, and so indeed he was; he

immediately made to the shore; but between the wound, which was his

mortal hurt, and the strangling of the water, he died just before

he reached the shore.


It is impossible to express the astonishment of these poor

creatures at the noise and fire of my gun: some of them were even

ready to die for fear, and fell down as dead with the very terror;

but when they saw the creature dead, and sunk in the water, and

that I made signs to them to come to the shore, they took heart and

came, and began to search for the creature.  I found him by his

blood staining the water; and by the help of a rope, which I slung

round him, and gave the negroes to haul, they dragged him on shore,

and found that it was a most curious leopard, spotted, and fine to

an admirable degree; and the negroes held up their hands with

admiration, to think what it was I had killed him with.


The other creature, frighted with the flash of fire and the noise

of the gun, swam on shore, and ran up directly to the mountains

from whence they came; nor could I, at that distance, know what it

was.  I found quickly the negroes wished to eat the flesh of this

creature, so I was willing to have them take it as a favour from

me; which, when I made signs to them that they might take him, they

were very thankful for.  Immediately they fell to work with him;

and though they had no knife, yet, with a sharpened piece of wood,

they took off his skin as readily, and much more readily, than we

could have done with a knife.  They offered me some of the flesh,

which I declined, pointing out that I would give it them; but made

signs for the skin, which they gave me very freely, and brought me

a great deal more of their provisions, which, though I did not

understand, yet I accepted.  I then made signs to them for some

water, and held out one of my jars to them, turning it bottom

upward, to show that it was empty, and that I wanted to have it

filled.  They called immediately to some of their friends, and

there came two women, and brought a great vessel made of earth, and

burnt, as I supposed, in the sun, this they set down to me, as

before, and I sent Xury on shore with my jars, and filled them all

three.  The women were as naked as the men.


I was now furnished with roots and corn, such as it was, and water;

and leaving my friendly negroes, I made forward for about eleven

days more, without offering to go near the shore, till I saw the

land run out a great length into the sea, at about the distance of

four or five leagues before me; and the sea being very calm, I kept

a large offing to make this point.  At length, doubling the point,

at about two leagues from the land, I saw plainly land on the other

side, to seaward; then I concluded, as it was most certain indeed,

that this was the Cape de Verde, and those the islands called, from

thence, Cape de Verde Islands.  However, they were at a great

distance, and I could not well tell what I had best to do; for if I

should be taken with a fresh of wind, I might neither reach one or



In this dilemma, as I was very pensive, I stepped into the cabin

and sat down, Xury having the helm; when, on a sudden, the boy

cried out, "Master, master, a ship with a sail!" and the foolish

boy was frighted out of his wits, thinking it must needs be some of

his master's ships sent to pursue us, but I knew we were far enough

out of their reach.  I jumped out of the cabin, and immediately

saw, not only the ship, but that it was a Portuguese ship; and, as

I thought, was bound to the coast of Guinea, for negroes.  But,

when I observed the course she steered, I was soon convinced they

were bound some other way, and did not design to come any nearer to

the shore; upon which I stretched out to sea as much as I could,

resolving to speak with them if possible.


With all the sail I could make, I found I should not be able to

come in their way, but that they would be gone by before I could

make any signal to them: but after I had crowded to the utmost, and

began to despair, they, it seems, saw by the help of their glasses

that it was some European boat, which they supposed must belong to

some ship that was lost; so they shortened sail to let me come up. 

I was encouraged with this, and as I had my patron's ancient on

board, I made a waft of it to them, for a signal of distress, and

fired a gun, both which they saw; for they told me they saw the

smoke, though they did not hear the gun.  Upon these signals they

very kindly brought to, and lay by for me; and in about three

hours; time I came up with them.


They asked me what I was, in Portuguese, and in Spanish, and in

French, but I understood none of them; but at last a Scotch sailor,

who was on board, called to me: and I answered him, and told him I

was an Englishman, that I had made my escape out of slavery from

the Moors, at Sallee; they then bade me come on board, and very

kindly took me in, and all my goods.


It was an inexpressible joy to me, which any one will believe, that

I was thus delivered, as I esteemed it, from such a miserable and

almost hopeless condition as I was in; and I immediately offered

all I had to the captain of the ship, as a return for my

deliverance; but he generously told me he would take nothing from

me, but that all I had should be delivered safe to me when I came

to the Brazils.  "For," says he, "I have saved your life on no

other terms than I would be glad to be saved myself: and it may,

one time or other, be my lot to be taken up in the same condition. 

Besides," said he, "when I carry you to the Brazils, so great a way

from your own country, if I should take from you what you have, you

will be starved there, and then I only take away that life I have

given.  No, no," says he: "Seignior Inglese" (Mr.  Englishman), "I

will carry you thither in charity, and those things will help to

buy your subsistence there, and your passage home again."


As he was charitable in this proposal, so he was just in the

performance to a tittle; for he ordered the seamen that none should

touch anything that I had: then he took everything into his own

possession, and gave me back an exact inventory of them, that I

might have them, even to my three earthen jars.


As to my boat, it was a very good one; and that he saw, and told me

he would buy it of me for his ship's use; and asked me what I would

have for it?  I told him he had been so generous to me in

everything that I could not offer to make any price of the boat,

but left it entirely to him: upon which he told me he would give me

a note of hand to pay me eighty pieces of eight for it at Brazil;

and when it came there, if any one offered to give more, he would

make it up.  He offered me also sixty pieces of eight more for my

boy Xury, which I was loth to take; not that I was unwilling to let

the captain have him, but I was very loth to sell the poor boy's

liberty, who had assisted me so faithfully in procuring my own. 

However, when I let him know my reason, he owned it to be just, and

offered me this medium, that he would give the boy an obligation to

set him free in ten years, if he turned Christian: upon this, and

Xury saying he was willing to go to him, I let the captain have



We had a very good voyage to the Brazils, and I arrived in the Bay

de Todos los Santos, or All Saints' Bay, in about twenty-two days

after.  And now I was once more delivered from the most miserable

of all conditions of life; and what to do next with myself I was to



The generous treatment the captain gave me I can never enough

remember: he would take nothing of me for my passage, gave me

twenty ducats for the leopard's skin, and forty for the lion's

skin, which I had in my boat, and caused everything I had in the

ship to be punctually delivered to me; and what I was willing to

sell he bought of me, such as the case of bottles, two of my guns,

and a piece of the lump of beeswax - for I had made candles of the

rest: in a word, I made about two hundred and twenty pieces of

eight of all my cargo; and with this stock I went on shore in the



I had not been long here before I was recommended to the house of a

good honest man like himself, who had an INGENIO, as they call it

(that is, a plantation and a sugar-house).  I lived with him some

time, and acquainted myself by that means with the manner of

planting and making of sugar; and seeing how well the planters

lived, and how they got rich suddenly, I resolved, if I could get a

licence to settle there, I would turn planter among them: resolving

in the meantime to find out some way to get my money, which I had

left in London, remitted to me.  To this purpose, getting a kind of

letter of naturalisation, I purchased as much land that was uncured

as my money would reach, and formed a plan for my plantation and

settlement; such a one as might be suitable to the stock which I

proposed to myself to receive from England.


I had a neighbour, a Portuguese, of Lisbon, but born of English

parents, whose name was Wells, and in much such circumstances as I

was.  I call him my neighbour, because his plantation lay next to

mine, and we went on very sociably together.  My stock was but low,

as well as his; and we rather planted for food than anything else,

for about two years.  However, we began to increase, and our land

began to come into order; so that the third year we planted some

tobacco, and made each of us a large piece of ground ready for

planting canes in the year to come.  But we both wanted help; and

now I found, more than before, I had done wrong in parting with my

boy Xury.


But, alas! for me to do wrong that never did right, was no great

wonder.  I hail no remedy but to go on: I had got into an

employment quite remote to my genius, and directly contrary to the

life I delighted in, and for which I forsook my father's house, and

broke through all his good advice.  Nay, I was coming into the very

middle station, or upper degree of low life, which my father

advised me to before, and which, if I resolved to go on with, I

might as well have stayed at home, and never have fatigued myself

in the world as I had done; and I used often to say to myself, I

could have done this as well in England, among my friends, as have

gone five thousand miles off to do it among strangers and savages,

in a wilderness, and at such a distance as never to hear from any

part of the world that had the least knowledge of me.


In this manner I used to look upon my condition with the utmost

regret.  I had nobody to converse with, but now and then this

neighbour; no work to be done, but by the labour of my hands; and I

used to say, I lived just like a man cast away upon some desolate

island, that had nobody there but himself.  But how just has it

been - and how should all men reflect, that when they compare their

present conditions with others that are worse, Heaven may oblige

them to make the exchange, and be convinced of their former

felicity by their experience - I say, how just has it been, that

the truly solitary life I reflected on, in an island of mere

desolation, should be my lot, who had so often unjustly compared it

with the life which I then led, in which, had I continued, I had in

all probability been exceeding prosperous and rich.


I was in some degree settled in my measures for carrying on the

plantation before my kind friend, the captain of the ship that took

me up at sea, went back - for the ship remained there, in providing

his lading and preparing for his voyage, nearly three months - when

telling him what little stock I had left behind me in London, he

gave me this friendly and sincere advice:- "Seignior Inglese," says

he (for so he always called me), "if you will give me letters, and

a procuration in form to me, with orders to the person who has your

money in London to send your effects to Lisbon, to such persons as

I shall direct, and in such goods as are proper for this country, I

will bring you the produce of them, God willing, at my return; but,

since human affairs are all subject to changes and disasters, I

would have you give orders but for one hundred pounds sterling,

which, you say, is half your stock, and let the hazard be run for

the first; so that, if it come safe, you may order the rest the

same way, and, if it miscarry, you may have the other half to have

recourse to for your supply."


This was so wholesome advice, and looked so friendly, that I could

not but be convinced it was the best course I could take; so I

accordingly prepared letters to the gentlewoman with whom I had

left my money, and a procuration to the Portuguese captain, as he



I wrote the English captain's widow a full account of all my

adventures - my slavery, escape, and how I had met with the

Portuguese captain at sea, the humanity of his behaviour, and what

condition I was now in, with all other necessary directions for my

supply; and when this honest captain came to Lisbon, he found

means, by some of the English merchants there, to send over, not

the order only, but a full account of my story to a merchant in

London, who represented it effectually to her; whereupon she not

only delivered the money, but out of her own pocket sent the

Portugal captain a very handsome present for his humanity and

charity to me.


The merchant in London, vesting this hundred pounds in English

goods, such as the captain had written for, sent them directly to

him at Lisbon, and he brought them all safe to me to the Brazils;

among which, without my direction (for I was too young in my

business to think of them), he had taken care to have all sorts of

tools, ironwork, and utensils necessary for my plantation, and

which were of great use to me.


When this cargo arrived I thought my fortune made, for I was

surprised with the joy of it; and my stood steward, the captain,

had laid out the five pounds, which my friend had sent him for a

present for himself, to purchase and bring me over a servant, under

bond for six years' service, and would not accept of any

consideration, except a little tobacco, which I would have him

accept, being of my own produce.


Neither was this all; for my goods being all English manufacture,

such as cloths, stuffs, baize, and things particularly valuable and

desirable in the country, I found means to sell them to a very

great advantage; so that I might say I had more than four times the

value of my first cargo, and was now infinitely beyond my poor

neighbour - I mean in the advancement of my plantation; for the

first thing I did, I bought me a negro slave, and an European

servant also - I mean another besides that which the captain

brought me from Lisbon.


But as abused prosperity is oftentimes made the very means of our

greatest adversity, so it was with me.  I went on the next year

with great success in my plantation: I raised fifty great rolls of

tobacco on my own ground, more than I had disposed of for

necessaries among my neighbours; and these fifty rolls, being each

of above a hundredweight, were well cured, and laid by against the

return of the fleet from Lisbon: and now increasing in business and

wealth, my head began to be full of projects and undertakings

beyond my reach; such as are, indeed, often the ruin of the best

heads in business.  Had I continued in the station I was now in, I

had room for all the happy things to have yet befallen me for which

my father so earnestly recommended a quiet, retired life, and of

which he had so sensibly described the middle station of life to be

full of; but other things attended me, and I was still to be the

wilful agent of all my own miseries; and particularly, to increase

my fault, and double the reflections upon myself, which in my

future sorrows I should have leisure to make, all these

miscarriages were procured by my apparent obstinate adhering to my

foolish inclination of wandering abroad, and pursuing that

inclination, in contradiction to the clearest views of doing myself

good in a fair and plain pursuit of those prospects, and those

measures of life, which nature and Providence concurred to present

me with, and to make my duty.


As I had once done thus in my breaking away from my parents, so I

could not be content now, but I must go and leave the happy view I

had of being a rich and thriving man in my new plantation, only to

pursue a rash and immoderate desire of rising faster than the

nature of the thing admitted; and thus I cast myself down again

into the deepest gulf of human misery that ever man fell into, or

perhaps could be consistent with life and a state of health in the



To come, then, by the just degrees to the particulars of this part

of my story.  You may suppose, that having now lived almost four

years in the Brazils, and beginning to thrive and prosper very well

upon my plantation, I had not only learned the language, but had

contracted acquaintance and friendship among my fellow-planters, as

well as among the merchants at St. Salvador, which was our port;

and that, in my discourses among them, I had frequently given them

an account of my two voyages to the coast of Guinea: the manner of

trading with the negroes there, and how easy it was to purchase

upon the coast for trifles - such as beads, toys, knives, scissors,

hatchets, bits of glass, and the like - not only gold-dust, Guinea

grains, elephants' teeth, &c., but negroes, for the service of the

Brazils, in great numbers.


They listened always very attentively to my discourses on these

heads, but especially to that part which related to the buying of

negroes, which was a trade at that time, not only not far entered

into, but, as far as it was, had been carried on by assientos, or

permission of the kings of Spain and Portugal, and engrossed in the

public stock: so that few negroes were bought, and these

excessively dear.


It happened, being in company with some merchants and planters of

my acquaintance, and talking of those things very earnestly, three

of them came to me next morning, and told me they had been musing

very much upon what I had discoursed with them of the last night,

and they came to make a secret proposal to me; and, after enjoining

me to secrecy, they told me that they had a mind to fit out a ship

to go to Guinea; that they had all plantations as well as I, and

were straitened for nothing so much as servants; that as it was a

trade that could not be carried on, because they could not publicly

sell the negroes when they came home, so they desired to make but

one voyage, to bring the negroes on shore privately, and divide

them among their own plantations; and, in a word, the question was

whether I would go their supercargo in the ship, to manage the

trading part upon the coast of Guinea; and they offered me that I

should have my equal share of the negroes, without providing any

part of the stock.


This was a fair proposal, it must be confessed, had it been made to

any one that had not had a settlement and a plantation of his own

to look after, which was in a fair way of coming to be very

considerable, and with a good stock upon it; but for me, that was

thus entered and established, and had nothing to do but to go on as

I had begun, for three or four years more, and to have sent for the

other hundred pounds from England; and who in that time, and with

that little addition, could scarce have failed of being worth three

or four thousand pounds sterling, and that increasing too - for me

to think of such a voyage was the most preposterous thing that ever

man in such circumstances could be guilty of.


But I, that was born to be my own destroyer, could no more resist

the offer than I could restrain my first rambling designs when my

father' good counsel was lost upon me.  In a word, I told them I

would go with all my heart, if they would undertake to look after

my plantation in my absence, and would dispose of it to such as I

should direct, if I miscarried.  This they all engaged to do, and

entered into writings or covenants to do so; and I made a formal

will, disposing of my plantation and effects in case of my death,

making the captain of the ship that had saved my life, as before,

my universal heir, but obliging him to dispose of my effects as I

had directed in my will; one half of the produce being to himself,

and the other to be shipped to England.


In short, I took all possible caution to preserve my effects and to

keep up my plantation.  Had I used half as much prudence to have

looked into my own interest, and have made a judgment of what I

ought to have done and not to have done, I had certainly never gone

away from so prosperous an undertaking, leaving all the probable

views of a thriving circumstance, and gone upon a voyage to sea,

attended with all its common hazards, to say nothing of the reasons

I had to expect particular misfortunes to myself.


But I was hurried on, and obeyed blindly the dictates of my fancy

rather than my reason; and, accordingly, the ship being fitted out,

and the cargo furnished, and all things done, as by agreement, by

my partners in the voyage, I went on board in an evil hour, the 1st

September 1659, being the same day eight years that I went from my

father and mother at Hull, in order to act the rebel to their

authority, and the fool to my own interests.


Our ship was about one hundred and twenty tons burden, carried six

guns and fourteen men, besides the master, his boy, and myself.  We

had on board no large cargo of goods, except of such toys as were

fit for our trade with the negroes, such as beads, bits of glass,

shells, and other trifles, especially little looking-glasses,

knives, scissors, hatchets, and the like.


The same day I went on board we set sail, standing away to the

northward upon our own coast, with design to stretch over for the

African coast when we came about ten or twelve degrees of northern

latitude, which, it seems, was the manner of course in those days. 

We had very good weather, only excessively hot, all the way upon

our own coast, till we came to the height of Cape St. Augustino;

from whence, keeping further off at sea, we lost sight of land, and

steered as if we were bound for the isle Fernando de Noronha,

holding our course N.E. by N., and leaving those isles on the east. 

In this course we passed the line in about twelve days' time, and

were, by our last observation, in seven degrees twenty-two minutes

northern latitude, when a violent tornado, or hurricane, took us

quite out of our knowledge.  It began from the south-east, came

about to the north-west, and then settled in the north-east; from

whence it blew in such a terrible manner, that for twelve days

together we could do nothing but drive, and, scudding away before

it, let it carry us whither fate and the fury of the winds

directed; and, during these twelve days, I need not say that I

expected every day to be swallowed up; nor, indeed, did any in the

ship expect to save their lives.


In this distress we had, besides the terror of the storm, one of

our men die of the calenture, and one man and the boy washed

overboard.  About the twelfth day, the weather abating a little,

the master made an observation as well as he could, and found that

he was in about eleven degrees north latitude, but that he was

twenty-two degrees of longitude difference west from Cape St.

Augustino; so that he found he was upon the coast of Guiana, or the

north part of Brazil, beyond the river Amazon, toward that of the

river Orinoco, commonly called the Great River; and began to

consult with me what course he should take, for the ship was leaky,

and very much disabled, and he was going directly back to the coast

of Brazil.


I was positively against that; and looking over the charts of the

sea-coast of America with him, we concluded there was no inhabited

country for us to have recourse to till we came within the circle

of the Caribbee Islands, and therefore resolved to stand away for

Barbadoes; which, by keeping off at sea, to avoid the indraft of

the Bay or Gulf of Mexico, we might easily perform, as we hoped, in

about fifteen days' sail; whereas we could not possibly make our

voyage to the coast of Africa without some assistance both to our

ship and to ourselves.


With this design we changed our course, and steered away N.W. by

W., in order to reach some of our English islands, where I hoped

for relief.  But our voyage was otherwise determined; for, being in

the latitude of twelve degrees eighteen minutes, a second storm

came upon us, which carried us away with the same impetuosity

westward, and drove us so out of the way of all human commerce,

that, had all our lives been saved as to the sea, we were rather in

danger of being devoured by savages than ever returning to our own



In this distress, the wind still blowing very hard, one of our men

early in the morning cried out, "Land!" and we had no sooner run

out of the cabin to look out, in hopes of seeing whereabouts in the

world we were, than the ship struck upon a sand, and in a moment

her motion being so stopped, the sea broke over her in such a

manner that we expected we should all have perished immediately;

and we were immediately driven into our close quarters, to shelter

us from the very foam and spray of the sea.


It is not easy for any one who has not been in the like condition

to describe or conceive the consternation of men in such

circumstances.  We knew nothing where we were, or upon what land it

was we were driven - whether an island or the main, whether

inhabited or not inhabited.  As the rage of the wind was still

great, though rather less than at first, we could not so much as

hope to have the ship hold many minutes without breaking into

pieces, unless the winds, by a kind of miracle, should turn

immediately about.  In a word, we sat looking upon one another, and

expecting death every moment, and every man, accordingly, preparing

for another world; for there was little or nothing more for us to

do in this.  That which was our present comfort, and all the

comfort we had, was that, contrary to our expectation, the ship did

not break yet, and that the master said the wind began to abate.


Now, though we thought that the wind did a little abate, yet the

ship having thus struck upon the sand, and sticking too fast for us

to expect her getting off, we were in a dreadful condition indeed,

and had nothing to do but to think of saving our lives as well as

we could.  We had a boat at our stern just before the storm, but

she was first staved by dashing against the ship's rudder, and in

the next place she broke away, and either sunk or was driven off to

sea; so there was no hope from her.  We had another boat on board,

but how to get her off into the sea was a doubtful thing.  However,

there was no time to debate, for we fancied that the ship would

break in pieces every minute, and some told us she was actually

broken already.


In this distress the mate of our vessel laid hold of the boat, and

with the help of the rest of the men got her slung over the ship's

side; and getting all into her, let go, and committed ourselves,

being eleven in number, to God's mercy and the wild sea; for though

the storm was abated considerably, yet the sea ran dreadfully high

upon the shore, and might be well called DEN WILD ZEE, as the Dutch

call the sea in a storm.


And now our case was very dismal indeed; for we all saw plainly

that the sea went so high that the boat could not live, and that we

should be inevitably drowned.  As to making sail, we had none, nor

if we had could we have done anything with it; so we worked at the

oar towards the land, though with heavy hearts, like men going to

execution; for we all knew that when the boat came near the shore

she would be dashed in a thousand pieces by the breach of the sea. 

However, we committed our souls to God in the most earnest manner;

and the wind driving us towards the shore, we hastened our

destruction with our own hands, pulling as well as we could towards



What the shore was, whether rock or sand, whether steep or shoal,

we knew not.  The only hope that could rationally give us the least

shadow of expectation was, if we might find some bay or gulf, or

the mouth of some river, where by great chance we might have run

our boat in, or got under the lee of the land, and perhaps made

smooth water.  But there was nothing like this appeared; but as we

made nearer and nearer the shore, the land looked more frightful

than the sea.


After we had rowed, or rather driven about a league and a half, as

we reckoned it, a raging wave, mountain-like, came rolling astern

of us, and plainly bade us expect the COUP DE GRACE.  It took us

with such a fury, that it overset the boat at once; and separating

us as well from the boat as from one another, gave us no time to

say, "O God!" for we were all swallowed up in a moment.


Nothing can describe the confusion of thought which I felt when I

sank into the water; for though I swam very well, yet I could not

deliver myself from the waves so as to draw breath, till that wave

having driven me, or rather carried me, a vast way on towards the

shore, and having spent itself, went back, and left me upon the

land almost dry, but half dead with the water I took in.  I had so

much presence of mind, as well as breath left, that seeing myself

nearer the mainland than I expected, I got upon my feet, and

endeavoured to make on towards the land as fast as I could before

another wave should return and take me up again; but I soon found

it was impossible to avoid it; for I saw the sea come after me as

high as a great hill, and as furious as an enemy, which I had no

means or strength to contend with: my business was to hold my

breath, and raise myself upon the water if I could; and so, by

swimming, to preserve my breathing, and pilot myself towards the

shore, if possible, my greatest concern now being that the sea, as

it would carry me a great way towards the shore when it came on,

might not carry me back again with it when it gave back towards the



The wave that came upon me again buried me at once twenty or thirty

feet deep in its own body, and I could feel myself carried with a

mighty force and swiftness towards the shore - a very great way;

but I held my breath, and assisted myself to swim still forward

with all my might.  I was ready to burst with holding my breath,

when, as I felt myself rising up, so, to my immediate relief, I

found my head and hands shoot out above the surface of the water;

and though it was not two seconds of time that I could keep myself

so, yet it relieved me greatly, gave me breath, and new courage.  I

was covered again with water a good while, but not so long but I

held it out; and finding the water had spent itself, and began to

return, I struck forward against the return of the waves, and felt

ground again with my feet.  I stood still a few moments to recover

breath, and till the waters went from me, and then took to my heels

and ran with what strength I had further towards the shore.  But

neither would this deliver me from the fury of the sea, which came

pouring in after me again; and twice more I was lifted up by the

waves and carried forward as before, the shore being very flat.


The last time of these two had well-nigh been fatal to me, for the

sea having hurried me along as before, landed me, or rather dashed

me, against a piece of rock, and that with such force, that it left

me senseless, and indeed helpless, as to my own deliverance; for

the blow taking my side and breast, beat the breath as it were

quite out of my body; and had it returned again immediately, I must

have been strangled in the water; but I recovered a little before

the return of the waves, and seeing I should be covered again with

the water, I resolved to hold fast by a piece of the rock, and so

to hold my breath, if possible, till the wave went back.  Now, as

the waves were not so high as at first, being nearer land, I held

my hold till the wave abated, and then fetched another run, which

brought me so near the shore that the next wave, though it went

over me, yet did not so swallow me up as to carry me away; and the

next run I took, I got to the mainland, where, to my great comfort,

I clambered up the cliffs of the shore and sat me down upon the

grass, free from danger and quite out of the reach of the water.


I was now landed and safe on shore, and began to look up and thank

God that my life was saved, in a case wherein there was some

minutes before scarce any room to hope.  I believe it is impossible

to express, to the life, what the ecstasies and transports of the

soul are, when it is so saved, as I may say, out of the very grave:

and I do not wonder now at the custom, when a malefactor, who has

the halter about his neck, is tied up, and just going to be turned

off, and has a reprieve brought to him - I say, I do not wonder

that they bring a surgeon with it, to let him blood that very

moment they tell him of it, that the surprise may not drive the

animal spirits from the heart and overwhelm him.



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



I walked about on the shore lifting up my hands, and my whole

being, as I may say, wrapped up in a contemplation of my

deliverance; making a thousand gestures and motions, which I cannot

describe; reflecting upon all my comrades that were drowned, and

that there should not be one soul saved but myself; for, as for

them, I never saw them afterwards, or any sign of them, except

three of their hats, one cap, and two shoes that were not fellows.


I cast my eye to the stranded vessel, when, the breach and froth of

the sea being so big, I could hardly see it, it lay so far of; and

considered, Lord! how was it possible I could get on shore


After I had solaced my mind with the comfortable part of my

condition, I began to look round me, to see what kind of place I

was in, and what was next to be done; and I soon found my comforts

abate, and that, in a word, I had a dreadful deliverance; for I was

wet, had no clothes to shift me, nor anything either to eat or

drink to comfort me; neither did I see any prospect before me but

that of perishing with hunger or being devoured by wild beasts; and

that which was particularly afflicting to me was, that I had no

weapon, either to hunt and kill any creature for my sustenance, or

to defend myself against any other creature that might desire to

kill me for theirs.  In a word, I had nothing about me but a knife,

a tobacco-pipe, and a little tobacco in a box.  This was all my

provisions; and this threw me into such terrible agonies of mind,

that for a while I ran about like a madman.  Night coming upon me,

I began with a heavy heart to consider what would be my lot if

there were any ravenous beasts in that country, as at night they

always come abroad for their prey.


All the remedy that offered to my thoughts at that time was to get

up into a thick bushy tree like a fir, but thorny, which grew near

me, and where I resolved to sit all night, and consider the next

day what death I should die, for as yet I saw no prospect of life. 

I walked about a furlong from the shore, to see if I could find any

fresh water to drink, which I did, to my great joy; and having

drank, and put a little tobacco into my mouth to prevent hunger, I

went to the tree, and getting up into it, endeavoured to place

myself so that if I should sleep I might not fall.  And having cut

me a short stick, like a truncheon, for my defence, I took up my

lodging; and having been excessively fatigued, I fell fast asleep,

and slept as comfortably as, I believe, few could have done in my

condition, and found myself more refreshed with it than, I think, I

ever was on such an occasion.








WHEN I waked it was broad day, the weather clear, and the storm

abated, so that the sea did not rage and swell as before.  But that

which surprised me most was, that the ship was lifted off in the

night from the sand where she lay by the swelling of the tide, and

was driven up almost as far as the rock which I at first mentioned,

where I had been so bruised by the wave dashing me against it. 

This being within about a mile from the shore where I was, and the

ship seeming to stand upright still, I wished myself on board, that

at least I might save some necessary things for my use.


When I came down from my apartment in the tree, I looked about me

again, and the first thing I found was the boat, which lay, as the

wind and the sea had tossed her up, upon the land, about two miles

on my right hand.  I walked as far as I could upon the shore to

have got to her; but found a neck or inlet of water between me and

the boat which was about half a mile broad; so I came back for the

present, being more intent upon getting at the ship, where I hoped

to find something for my present subsistence.


A little after noon I found the sea very calm, and the tide ebbed

so far out that I could come within a quarter of a mile of the

ship.  And here I found a fresh renewing of my grief; for I saw

evidently that if we had kept on board we had been all safe - that

is to say, we had all got safe on shore, and I had not been so

miserable as to be left entirety destitute of all comfort and

company as I now was.  This forced tears to my eyes again; but as

there was little relief in that, I resolved, if possible, to get to

the ship; so I pulled off my clothes - for the weather was hot to

extremity - and took the water.  But when I came to the ship my

difficulty was still greater to know how to get on board; for, as

she lay aground, and high out of the water, there was nothing

within my reach to lay hold of.  I swam round her twice, and the

second time I spied a small piece of rope, which I wondered I did

not see at first, hung down by the fore-chains so low, as that with

great difficulty I got hold of it, and by the help of that rope I

got up into the forecastle of the ship.  Here I found that the ship

was bulged, and had a great deal of water in her hold, but that she

lay so on the side of a bank of hard sand, or, rather earth, that

her stern lay lifted up upon the bank, and her head low, almost to

the water.  By this means all her quarter was free, and all that

was in that part was dry; for you may be sure my first work was to

search, and to see what was spoiled and what was free.  And, first,

I found that all the ship's provisions were dry and untouched by

the water, and being very well disposed to eat, I went to the bread

room and filled my pockets with biscuit, and ate it as I went about

other things, for I had no time to lose.  I also found some rum in

the great cabin, of which I took a large dram, and which I had,

indeed, need enough of to spirit me for what was before me.  Now I

wanted nothing but a boat to furnish myself with many things which

I foresaw would be very necessary to me.


It was in vain to sit still and wish for what was not to be had;

and this extremity roused my application.  We had several spare

yards, and two or three large spars of wood, and a spare topmast or

two in the ship; I resolved to fall to work with these, and I flung

as many of them overboard as I could manage for their weight, tying

every one with a rope, that they might not drive away.  When this

was done I went down the ship's side, and pulling them to me, I

tied four of them together at both ends as well as I could, in the

form of a raft, and laying two or three short pieces of plank upon

them crossways, I found I could walk upon it very well, but that it

was not able to bear any great weight, the pieces being too light. 

So I went to work, and with a carpenter's saw I cut a spare topmast

into three lengths, and added them to my raft, with a great deal of

labour and pains.  But the hope of furnishing myself with

necessaries encouraged me to go beyond what I should have been able

to have done upon another occasion.


My raft was now strong enough to bear any reasonable weight.  My

next care was what to load it with, and how to preserve what I laid

upon it from the surf of the sea; but I was not long considering

this.  I first laid all the planks or boards upon it that I could

get, and having considered well what I most wanted, I got three of

the seamen's chests, which I had broken open, and emptied, and

lowered them down upon my raft; the first of these I filled with

provisions - viz. bread, rice, three Dutch cheeses, five pieces of

dried goat's flesh (which we lived much upon), and a little

remainder of European corn, which had been laid by for some fowls

which we brought to sea with us, but the fowls were killed.  There

had been some barley and wheat together; but, to my great

disappointment, I found afterwards that the rats had eaten or

spoiled it all.  As for liquors, I found several, cases of bottles

belonging to our skipper, in which were some cordial waters; and,

in all, about five or six gallons of rack.  These I stowed by

themselves, there being no need to put them into the chest, nor any

room for them.  While I was doing this, I found the tide begin to

flow, though very calm; and I had the mortification to see my coat,

shirt, and waistcoat, which I had left on the shore, upon the sand,

swim away.  As for my breeches, which were only linen, and open-

kneed, I swam on board in them and my stockings.  However, this set

me on rummaging for clothes, of which I found enough, but took no

more than I wanted for present use, for I had others things which

my eye was more upon - as, first, tools to work with on shore.  And

it was after long searching that I found out the carpenter's chest,

which was, indeed, a very useful prize to me, and much more

valuable than a shipload of gold would have been at that time.  I

got it down to my raft, whole as it was, without losing time to

look into it, for I knew in general what it contained.


My next care was for some ammunition and arms.  There were two very

good fowling-pieces in the great cabin, and two pistols.  These I

secured first, with some powder-horns and a small bag of shot, and

two old rusty swords.  I knew there were three barrels of powder in

the ship, but knew not where our gunner had stowed them; but with

much search I found them, two of them dry and good, the third had

taken water.  Those two I got to my raft with the arms.  And now I

thought myself pretty well freighted, and began to think how I

should get to shore with them, having neither sail, oar, nor

rudder; and the least capful of wind would have overset all my



I had three encouragements - 1st, a smooth, calm sea; 2ndly, the

tide rising, and setting in to the shore; 3rdly, what little wind

there was blew me towards the land.  And thus, having found two or

three broken oars belonging to the boat - and, besides the tools

which were in the chest, I found two saws, an axe, and a hammer;

with this cargo I put to sea.  For a mile or thereabouts my raft

went very well, only that I found it drive a little distant from

the place where I had landed before; by which I perceived that

there was some indraft of the water, and consequently I hoped to

find some creek or river there, which I might make use of as a port

to get to land with my cargo.


As I imagined, so it was.  There appeared before me a little

opening of the land, and I found a strong current of the tide set

into it; so I guided my raft as well as I could, to keep in the

middle of the stream.


But here I had like to have suffered a second shipwreck, which, if

I had, I think verily would have broken my heart; for, knowing

nothing of the coast, my raft ran aground at one end of it upon a

shoal, and not being aground at the other end, it wanted but a

little that all my cargo had slipped off towards the end that was

afloat, and to fallen into the water.  I did my utmost, by setting

my back against the chests, to keep them in their places, but could

not thrust off the raft with all my strength; neither durst I stir

from the posture I was in; but holding up the chests with all my

might, I stood in that manner near half-an-hour, in which time the

rising of the water brought me a little more upon a level; and a

little after, the water still-rising, my raft floated again, and I

thrust her off with the oar I had into the channel, and then

driving up higher, I at length found myself in the mouth of a

little river, with land on both sides, and a strong current of tide

running up.  I looked on both sides for a proper place to get to

shore, for I was not willing to be driven too high up the river:

hoping in time to see some ships at sea, and therefore resolved to

place myself as near the coast as I could.


At length I spied a little cove on the right shore of the creek, to

which with great pain and difficulty I guided my raft, and at last

got so near that, reaching ground with my oar, I could thrust her

directly in.  But here I had like to have dipped all my cargo into

the sea again; for that shore lying pretty steep - that is to say

sloping - there was no place to land, but where one end of my

float, if it ran on shore, would lie so high, and the other sink

lower, as before, that it would endanger my cargo again.  All that

I could do was to wait till the tide was at the highest, keeping

the raft with my oar like an anchor, to hold the side of it fast to

the shore, near a flat piece of ground, which I expected the water

would flow over; and so it did.  As soon as I found water enough -

for my raft drew about a foot of water - I thrust her upon that

flat piece of ground, and there fastened or moored her, by sticking

my two broken oars into the ground, one on one side near one end,

and one on the other side near the other end; and thus I lay till

the water ebbed away, and left my raft and all my cargo safe on



My next work was to view the country, and seek a proper place for

my habitation, and where to stow my goods to secure them from

whatever might happen.  Where I was, I yet knew not; whether on the

continent or on an island; whether inhabited or not inhabited;

whether in danger of wild beasts or not.  There was a hill not

above a mile from me, which rose up very steep and high, and which

seemed to overtop some other hills, which lay as in a ridge from it

northward.  I took out one of the fowling-pieces, and one of the

pistols, and a horn of powder; and thus armed, I travelled for

discovery up to the top of that hill, where, after I had with great

labour and difficulty got to the top, I saw any fate, to my great

affliction - viz. that I was in an island environed every way with

the sea: no land to be seen except some rocks, which lay a great

way off; and two small islands, less than this, which lay about

three leagues to the west.


I found also that the island I was in was barren, and, as I saw

good reason to believe, uninhabited except by wild beasts, of whom,

however, I saw none.  Yet I saw abundance of fowls, but knew not

their kinds; neither when I killed them could I tell what was fit

for food, and what not.  At my coming back, I shot at a great bird

which I saw sitting upon a tree on the side of a great wood.  I

believe it was the first gun that had been fired there since the

creation of the world.  I had no sooner fired, than from all parts

of the wood there arose an innumerable number of fowls, of many

sorts, making a confused screaming and crying, and every one

according to his usual note, but not one of them of any kind that I

knew.  As for the creature I killed, I took it to be a kind of

hawk, its colour and beak resembling it, but it had no talons or

claws more than common.  Its flesh was carrion, and fit for



Contented with this discovery, I came back to my raft, and fell to

work to bring my cargo on shore, which took me up the rest of that

day.  What to do with myself at night I knew not, nor indeed where

to rest, for I was afraid to lie down on the ground, not knowing

but some wild beast might devour me, though, as I afterwards found,

there was really no need for those fears.


However, as well as I could, I barricaded myself round with the

chest and boards that I had brought on shore, and made a kind of

hut for that night's lodging.  As for food, I yet saw not which way

to supply myself, except that I had seen two or three creatures

like hares run out of the wood where I shot the fowl.


I now began to consider that I might yet get a great many things

out of the ship which would be useful to me, and particularly some

of the rigging and sails, and such other things as might come to

land; and I resolved to make another voyage on board the vessel, if

possible.  And as I knew that the first storm that blew must

necessarily break her all in pieces, I resolved to set all other

things apart till I had got everything out of the ship that I could

get.  Then I called a council - that is to say in my thoughts -

whether I should take back the raft; but this appeared

impracticable: so I resolved to go as before, when the tide was

down; and I did so, only that I stripped before I went from my hut,

having nothing on but my chequered shirt, a pair of linen drawers,

and a pair of pumps on my feet.


I got on board the ship as before, and prepared a second raft; and,

having had experience of the first, I neither made this so

unwieldy, nor loaded it so hard, but yet I brought away several

things very useful to me; as first, in the carpenters stores I

found two or three bags full of nails and spikes, a great screw-

jack, a dozen or two of hatchets, and, above all, that most useful

thing called a grindstone.  All these I secured, together with

several things belonging to the gunner, particularly two or three

iron crows, and two barrels of musket bullets, seven muskets,

another fowling-piece, with some small quantity of powder more; a

large bagful of small shot, and a great roll of sheet-lead; but

this last was so heavy, I could not hoist it up to get it over the

ship's side.


Besides these things, I took all the men's clothes that I could

find, and a spare fore-topsail, a hammock, and some bedding; and

with this I loaded my second raft, and brought them all safe on

shore, to my very great comfort.


I was under some apprehension, during my absence from the land,

that at least my provisions might be devoured on shore: but when I

came back I found no sign of any visitor; only there sat a creature

like a wild cat upon one of the chests, which, when I came towards

it, ran away a little distance, and then stood still.  She sat very

composed and unconcerned, and looked full in my face, as if she had

a mind to be acquainted with me.  I presented my gun at her, but,

as she did not understand it, she was perfectly unconcerned at it,

nor did she offer to stir away; upon which I tossed her a bit of

biscuit, though by the way, I was not very free of it, for my store

was not great: however, I spared her a bit, I say, and she went to

it, smelled at it, and ate it, and looked (as if pleased) for more;

but I thanked her, and could spare no more: so she marched off.


Having got my second cargo on shore - though I was fain to open the

barrels of powder, and bring them by parcels, for they were too

heavy, being large casks - I went to work to make me a little tent

with the sail and some poles which I cut for that purpose: and into

this tent I brought everything that I knew would spoil either with

rain or sun; and I piled all the empty chests and casks up in a

circle round the tent, to fortify it from any sudden attempt,

either from man or beast.


When I had done this, I blocked up the door of the tent with some

boards within, and an empty chest set up on end without; and

spreading one of the beds upon the ground, laying my two pistols

just at my head, and my gun at length by me, I went to bed for the

first time, and slept very quietly all night, for I was very weary

and heavy; for the night before I had slept little, and had

laboured very hard all day to fetch all those things from the ship,

and to get them on shore.


I had the biggest magazine of all kinds now that ever was laid up,

I believe, for one man: but I was not satisfied still, for while

the ship sat upright in that posture, I thought I ought to get

everything out of her that I could; so every day at low water I

went on board, and brought away something or other; but

particularly the third time I went I brought away as much of the

rigging as I could, as also all the small ropes and rope-twine I

could get, with a piece of spare canvas, which was to mend the

sails upon occasion, and the barrel of wet gunpowder.  In a word, I

brought away all the sails, first and last; only that I was fain to

cut them in pieces, and bring as much at a time as I could, for

they were no more useful to be sails, but as mere canvas only.


But that which comforted me more still, was, that last of all,

after I had made five or six such voyages as these, and thought I

had nothing more to expect from the ship that was worth my meddling

with - I say, after all this, I found a great hogshead of bread,

three large runlets of rum, or spirits, a box of sugar, and a

barrel of fine flour; this was surprising to me, because I had

given over expecting any more provisions, except what was spoiled

by the water.  I soon emptied the hogshead of the bread, and

wrapped it up, parcel by parcel, in pieces of the sails, which I

cut out; and, in a word, I got all this safe on shore also.


The next day I made another voyage, and now, having plundered the

ship of what was portable and fit to hand out, I began with the

cables.  Cutting the great cable into pieces, such as I could move,

I got two cables and a hawser on shore, with all the ironwork I

could get; and having cut down the spritsail-yard, and the mizzen-

yard, and everything I could, to make a large raft, I loaded it

with all these heavy goods, and came away.  But my good luck began

now to leave me; for this raft was so unwieldy, and so overladen,

that, after I had entered the little cove where I had landed the

rest of my goods, not being able to guide it so handily as I did

the other, it overset, and threw me and all my cargo into the

water.  As for myself, it was no great harm, for I was near the

shore; but as to my cargo, it was a great part of it lost,

especially the iron, which I expected would have been of great use

to me; however, when the tide was out, I got most of the pieces of

the cable ashore, and some of the iron, though with infinite

labour; for I was fain to dip for it into the water, a work which

fatigued me very much.  After this, I went every day on board, and

brought away what I could get.


I had been now thirteen days on shore, and had been eleven times on

board the ship, in which time I had brought away all that one pair

of hands could well be supposed capable to bring; though I believe

verily, had the calm weather held, I should have brought away the

whole ship, piece by piece.  But preparing the twelfth time to go

on board, I found the wind began to rise: however, at low water I

went on board, and though I thought I had rummaged the cabin so

effectually that nothing more could be found, yet I discovered a

locker with drawers in it, in one of which I found two or three

razors, and one pair of large scissors, with some ten or a dozen of

good knives and forks: in another I found about thirty-six pounds

value in money - some European coin, some Brazil, some pieces of

eight, some gold, and some silver.


I smiled to myself at the sight of this money: "O drug!" said I,

aloud, "what art thou good for?  Thou art not worth to me - no, not

the taking off the ground; one of those knives is worth all this

heap; I have no manner of use for thee - e'en remain where thou

art, and go to the bottom as a creature whose life is not worth

saying."  However, upon second thoughts I took it away; and

wrapping all this in a piece of canvas, I began to think of making

another raft; but while I was preparing this, I found the sky

overcast, and the wind began to rise, and in a quarter of an hour

it blew a fresh gale from the shore.  It presently occurred to me

that it was in vain to pretend to make a raft with the wind

offshore; and that it was my business to be gone before the tide of

flood began, otherwise I might not be able to reach the shore at

all.  Accordingly, I let myself down into the water, and swam

across the channel, which lay between the ship and the sands, and

even that with difficulty enough, partly with the weight of the

things I had about me, and partly the roughness of the water; for

the wind rose very hastily, and before it was quite high water it

blew a storm.


But I had got home to my little tent, where I lay, with all my

wealth about me, very secure.  It blew very hard all night, and in

the morning, when I looked out, behold, no more ship was to be

seen!  I was a little surprised, but recovered myself with the

satisfactory reflection that I had lost no time, nor abated any

diligence, to get everything out of her that could be useful to me;

and that, indeed, there was little left in her that I was able to

bring away, if I had had more time.


I now gave over any more thoughts of the ship, or of anything out

of her, except what might drive on shore from her wreck; as,

indeed, divers pieces of her afterwards did; but those things were

of small use to me.


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

state.  One morning, being very sad, I opened the Bible upon these

words, "I will never, never leave thee, nor forsake thee." 

Immediately it occurred that these words were to me; why else

should they be directed in such a manner, just at the moment when I

was mourning over my condition, as one forsaken of God and man? 

"Well, then," said I, "if God does not forsake me, of what ill

consequence can it be, or what matters it, though the world should

all forsake me, seeing on the other hand, if I had all the world,

and should lose the favour and blessing of God, there would be no

comparison in the loss?"


From this moment I began to conclude in my mind that it was

possible for me to be more happy in this forsaken, solitary

condition than it was probable I should ever have been in any other

particular state in the world; and with this thought I was going to

give thanks to God for bringing me to this place.  I know not what

it was, but something shocked my mind at that thought, and I durst

not speak the words.  "How canst thou become such a hypocrite,"

said I, even audibly, "to pretend to be thankful for a condition

which, however thou mayest endeavour to be contented with, thou

wouldst rather pray heartily to be delivered from?"  So I stopped

there; but though I could not say I thanked God for being there,

yet I sincerely gave thanks to God for opening my eyes, by whatever

afflicting providences, to see the former condition of my life, and

to mourn for my wickedness, and repent.  I never opened the Bible,

or shut it, but my very soul within me blessed God for directing my

friend in England, without any order of mine, to pack it up among

my goods, and for assisting me afterwards to save it out of the

wreck of the ship.


Thus, and in this disposition of mind, I began my third year; and

though I have not given the reader the trouble of so particular an

account of my works this year as the first, yet in general it may

be observed that I was very seldom idle, but having regularly

divided my time according to the several daily employments that

were before me, such as: first, my duty to God, and the reading the

Scriptures, which I constantly set apart some time for thrice every

day; secondly, the going abroad with my gun for food, which

generally took me up three hours in every morning, when it did not

rain; thirdly, the ordering, cutting, preserving, and cooking what

I had killed or caught for my supply; these took up great part of

the day.  Also, it is to be considered, that in the middle of the

day, when the sun was in the zenith, the violence of the heat was

too great to stir out; so that about four hours in the evening was

all the time I could be supposed to work in, with this exception,

that sometimes I changed my hours of hunting and working, and went

to work in the morning, and abroad with my gun in the afternoon.


To this short time allowed for labour I desire may be added the

exceeding laboriousness of my work; the many hours which, for want

of tools, want of help, and want of skill, everything I did took up

out of my time.  For example, I was full two and forty days in

making a board for a long shelf, which I wanted in my cave;

whereas, two sawyers, with their tools and a saw-pit, would have

cut six of them out of the same tree in half a day.


My case was this: it was to be a large tree which was to be cut

down, because my board was to be a broad one.  This tree I was

three days in cutting down, and two more cutting off the boughs,

and reducing it to a log or piece of timber.  With inexpressible

hacking and hewing I reduced both the sides of it into chips till

it began to be light enough to move; then I turned it, and made one

side of it smooth and flat as a board from end to end; then,

turning that side downward, cut the other side til I brought the

plank to be about three inches thick, and smooth on both sides. 

Any one may judge the labour of my hands in such a piece of work;

but labour and patience carried me through that, and many other

things.  I only observe this in particular, to show the reason why

so much of my time went away with so little work - viz. that what

might be a little to be done with help and tools, was a vast labour

and required a prodigious time to do alone, and by hand.  But

notwithstanding this, with patience and labour I got through

everything that my circumstances made necessary to me to do, as

will appear by what follows.


I was now, in the months of November and December, expecting my

crop of barley and rice.  The ground I had manured and dug up for

them was not great; for, as I observed, my seed of each was not

above the quantity of half a peck, for I had lost one whole crop by

sowing in the dry season.  But now my crop promised very well, when

on a sudden I found I was in danger of losing it all again by

enemies of several sorts, which it was scarcely possible to keep

from it; as, first, the goats, and wild creatures which I called

hares, who, tasting the sweetness of the blade, lay in it night and

day, as soon as it came up, and eat it so close, that it could get

no time to shoot up into stalk.


This I saw no remedy for but by making an enclosure about it with a

hedge; which I did with a great deal of toil, and the more, because

it required speed.  However, as my arable land was but small,

suited to my crop, I got it totally well fenced in about three

weeks' time; and shooting some of the creatures in the daytime, I

set my dog to guard it in the night, tying him up to a stake at the

gate, where he would stand and bark all night long; so in a little

time the enemies forsook the place, and the corn grew very strong

and well, and began to ripen apace.


But as the beasts ruined me before, while my corn was in the blade,

so the birds were as likely to ruin me now, when it was in the ear;

for, going along by the place to see how it throve, I saw my little

crop surrounded with fowls, of I know not how many sorts, who

stood, as it were, watching till I should be gone.  I immediately

let fly among them, for I always had my gun with me.  I had no

sooner shot, but there rose up a little cloud of fowls, which I had

not seen at all, from among the corn itself.


This touched me sensibly, for I foresaw that in a few days they

would devour all my hopes; that I should be starved, and never be

able to raise a crop at all; and what to do I could not tell;

however, I resolved not to lose my corn, if possible, though I

should watch it night and day.  In the first place, I went among it

to see what damage was already done, and found they had spoiled a

good deal of it; but that as it was yet too green for them, the

loss was not so great but that the remainder was likely to be a

good crop if it could be saved.


I stayed by it to load my gun, and then coming away, I could easily

see the thieves sitting upon all the trees about me, as if they

only waited till I was gone away, and the event proved it to be so;

for as I walked off, as if I was gone, I was no sooner out of their

sight than they dropped down one by one into the corn again.  I was

so provoked, that I could not have patience to stay till more came

on, knowing that every grain that they ate now was, as it might be

said, a peck-loaf to me in the consequence; but coming up to the

hedge, I fired again, and killed three of them.  This was what I

wished for; so I took them up, and served them as we serve

notorious thieves in England - hanged them in chains, for a terror

to of them.  It is impossible to imagine that this should have such

an effect as it had, for the fowls would not only not come at the

corn, but, in short, they forsook all that part of the island, and

I could never see a bird near the place as long as my scarecrows

hung there.  This I was very glad of, you may be sure, and about

the latter end of December, which was our second harvest of the

year, I reaped my corn.


I was sadly put to it for a scythe or sickle to cut it down, and

all I could do was to make one, as well as I could, out of one of

the broadswords, or cutlasses, which I saved among the arms out of

the ship.  However, as my first crop was but small, I had no great

difficulty to cut it down; in short, I reaped it in my way, for I

cut nothing off but the ears, and carried it away in a great basket

which I had made, and so rubbed it out with my hands; and at the

end of all my harvesting, I found that out of my half-peck of seed

I had near two bushels of rice, and about two bushels and a half of

barley; that is to say, by my guess, for I had no measure at that



However, this was a great encouragement to me, and I foresaw that,

in time, it would please God to supply me with bread.  And yet here

I was perplexed again, for I neither knew how to grind or make meal

of my corn, or indeed how to clean it and part it; nor, if made

into meal, how to make bread of it; and if how to make it, yet I

knew not how to bake it.  These things being added to my desire of

having a good quantity for store, and to secure a constant supply,

I resolved not to taste any of this crop but to preserve it all for

seed against the next season; and in the meantime to employ all my

study and hours of working to accomplish this great work of

providing myself with corn and bread.


It might be truly said, that now I worked for my bread.  I believe

few people have thought much upon the strange multitude of little

things necessary in the providing, producing, curing, dressing,

making, and finishing this one article of bread.


I, that was reduced to a mere state of nature, found this to my

daily discouragement; and was made more sensible of it every hour,

even after I had got the first handful of seed-corn, which, as I

have said, came up unexpectedly, and indeed to a surprise.


First, I had no plough to turn up the earth - no spade or shovel to

dig it.  Well, this I conquered by making me a wooden spade, as I

observed before; but this did my work but in a wooden manner; and

though it cost me a great many days to make it, yet, for want of

iron, it not only wore out soon, but made my work the harder, and

made it be performed much worse.  However, this I bore with, and

was content to work it out with patience, and bear with the badness

of the performance.  When the corn was sown, I had no harrow, but

was forced to go over it myself, and drag a great heavy bough of a

tree over it, to scratch it, as it may be called, rather than rake

or harrow it.  When it was growing, and grown, I have observed

already how many things I wanted to fence it, secure it, mow or

reap it, cure and carry it home, thrash, part it from the chaff,

and save it.  Then I wanted a mill to grind it sieves to dress it,

yeast and salt to make it into bread, and an oven to bake it; but

all these things I did without, as shall be observed; and yet the

corn was an inestimable comfort and advantage to me too.  All this,

as I said, made everything laborious and tedious to me; but that

there was no help for.  Neither was my time so much loss to me,

because, as I had divided it, a certain part of it was every day

appointed to these works; and as I had resolved to use none of the

corn for bread till I had a greater quantity by me, I had the next

six months to apply myself wholly, by labour and invention, to

furnish myself with utensils proper for the performing all the

operations necessary for making the corn, when I had it, fit for my









BUT first I was to prepare more land, for I had now seed enough to

sow above an acre of ground.  Before I did this, I had a week's

work at least to make me a spade, which, when it was done, was but

a sorry one indeed, and very heavy, and required double labour to

work with it.  However, I got through that, and sowed my seed in

two large flat pieces of ground, as near my house as I could find

them to my mind, and fenced them in with a good hedge, the stakes

of which were all cut off that wood which I had set before, and

knew it would grow; so that, in a year's time, I knew I should have

a quick or living hedge, that would want but little repair.  This

work did not take me up less than three months, because a great

part of that time was the wet season, when I could not go abroad. 

Within-doors, that is when it rained and I could not go out, I

found employment in the following occupations - always observing,

that all the while I was at work I diverted myself with talking to

my parrot, and teaching him to speak; and I quickly taught him to

know his own name, and at last to speak it out pretty loud, "Poll,"

which was the first word I ever heard spoken in the island by any

mouth but my own.  This, therefore, was not my work, but an

assistance to my work; for now, as I said, I had a great employment

upon my hands, as follows: I had long studied to make, by some

means or other, some earthen vessels, which, indeed, I wanted

sorely, but knew not where to come at them.  However, considering

the heat of the climate, I did not doubt but if I could find out

any clay, I might make some pots that might, being dried in the

sun, be hard enough and strong enough to bear handling, and to hold

anything that was dry, and required to be kept so; and as this was

necessary in the preparing corn, meal, &c., which was the thing I

was doing, I resolved to make some as large as I could, and fit

only to stand like jars, to hold what should be put into them.


It would make the reader pity me, or rather laugh at me, to tell

how many awkward ways I took to raise this paste; what odd,

misshapen, ugly things I made; how many of them fell in and how

many fell out, the clay not being stiff enough to bear its own

weight; how many cracked by the over-violent heat of the sun, being

set out too hastily; and how many fell in pieces with only

removing, as well before as after they were dried; and, in a word,

how, after having laboured hard to find the clay - to dig it, to

temper it, to bring it home, and work it - I could not make above

two large earthen ugly things (I cannot call them jars) in about

two months' labour.


However, as the sun baked these two very dry and hard, I lifted

them very gently up, and set them down again in two great wicker

baskets, which I had made on purpose for them, that they might not

break; and as between the pot and the basket there was a little

room to spare, I stuffed it full of the rice and barley straw; and

these two pots being to stand always dry I thought would hold my

dry corn, and perhaps the meal, when the corn was bruised.


Though I miscarried so much in my design for large pots, yet I made

several smaller things with better success; such as little round

pots, flat dishes, pitchers, and pipkins, and any things my hand

turned to; and the heat of the sun baked them quite hard.


But all this would not answer my end, which was to get an earthen

pot to hold what was liquid, and bear the fire, which none of these

could do.  It happened after some time, making a pretty large fire

for cooking my meat, when I went to put it out after I had done

with it, I found a broken piece of one of my earthenware vessels in

the fire, burnt as hard as a stone, and red as a tile.  I was

agreeably surprised to see it, and said to myself, that certainly

they might be made to burn whole, if they would burn broken.


This set me to study how to order my fire, so as to make it burn

some pots.  I had no notion of a kiln, such as the potters burn in,

or of glazing them with lead, though I had some lead to do it with;

but I placed three large pipkins and two or three pots in a pile,

one upon another, and placed my firewood all round it, with a great

heap of embers under them.  I plied the fire with fresh fuel round

the outside and upon the top, till I saw the pots in the inside

red-hot quite through, and observed that they did not crack at all. 

When I saw them clear red, I let them stand in that heat about five

or six hours, till I found one of them, though it did not crack,

did melt or run; for the sand which was mixed with the clay melted

by the violence of the heat, and would have run into glass if I had

gone on; so I slacked my fire gradually till the pots began to

abate of the red colour; and watching them all night, that I might

not let the fire abate too fast, in the morning I had three very

good (I will not say handsome) pipkins, and two other earthen pots,

as hard burnt as could be desired, and one of them perfectly glazed

with the running of the sand.


After this experiment, I need not say that I wanted no sort of

earthenware for my use; but I must needs say as to the shapes of

them, they were very indifferent, as any one may suppose, when I

had no way of making them but as the children make dirt pies, or as

a woman would make pies that never learned to raise paste.


No joy at a thing of so mean a nature was ever equal to mine, when

I found I had made an earthen pot that would bear the fire; and I

had hardly patience to stay till they were cold before I set one on

the fire again with some water in it to boil me some meat, which it

did admirably well; and with a piece of a kid I made some very good

broth, though I wanted oatmeal, and several other ingredients

requisite to make it as good as I would have had it been.


My next concern was to get me a stone mortar to stamp or beat some

corn in; for as to the mill, there was no thought of arriving at

that perfection of art with one pair of hands.  To supply this

want, I was at a great loss; for, of all the trades in the world, I

was as perfectly unqualified for a stone-cutter as for any

whatever; neither had I any tools to go about it with.  I spent

many a day to find out a great stone big enough to cut hollow, and

make fit for a mortar, and could find none at all, except what was

in the solid rock, and which I had no way to dig or cut out; nor

indeed were the rocks in the island of hardness sufficient, but

were all of a sandy, crumbling stone, which neither would bear the

weight of a heavy pestle, nor would break the corn without filling

it with sand.  So, after a great deal of time lost in searching for

a stone, I gave it over, and resolved to look out for a great block

of hard wood, which I found, indeed, much easier; and getting one

as big as I had strength to stir, I rounded it, and formed it on

the outside with my axe and hatchet, and then with the help of fire

and infinite labour, made a hollow place in it, as the Indians in

Brazil make their canoes.  After this, I made a great heavy pestle

or beater of the wood called the iron-wood; and this I prepared and

laid by against I had my next crop of corn, which I proposed to

myself to grind, or rather pound into meal to make bread.


My next difficulty was to make a sieve or searce, to dress my meal,

and to part it from the bran and the husk; without which I did not

see it possible I could have any bread.  This was a most difficult

thing even to think on, for to be sure I had nothing like the

necessary thing to make it - I mean fine thin canvas or stuff to

searce the meal through.  And here I was at a full stop for many

months; nor did I really know what to do.  Linen I had none left

but what was mere rags; I had goat's hair, but neither knew how to

weave it or spin it; and had I known how, here were no tools to

work it with.  All the remedy that I found for this was, that at

last I did remember I had, among the seamen's clothes which were

saved out of the ship, some neckcloths of calico or muslin; and

with some pieces of these I made three small sieves proper enough

for the work; and thus I made shift for some years: how I did

afterwards, I shall show in its place.


The baking part was the next thing to be considered, and how I

should make bread when I came to have corn; for first, I had no

yeast.  As to that part, there was no supplying the want, so I did

not concern myself much about it.  But for an oven I was indeed in

great pain.  At length I found out an experiment for that also,

which was this: I made some earthen-vessels very broad but not

deep, that is to say, about two feet diameter, and not above nine

inches deep.  These I burned in the fire, as I had done the other,

and laid them by; and when I wanted to bake, I made a great fire

upon my hearth, which I had paved with some square tiles of my own

baking and burning also; but I should not call them square.


When the firewood was burned pretty much into embers or live coals,

I drew them forward upon this hearth, so as to cover it all over,

and there I let them lie till the hearth was very hot.  Then

sweeping away all the embers, I set down my loaf or loaves, and

whelming down the earthen pot upon them, drew the embers all round

the outside of the pot, to keep