THE LIFE AND STRANGE SURPRIZING ADVENTURES OF ROBINSON CRUSOE, Of YORK, MARINER: Who lived Eight and Twenty Years, all alone in an un-inhabited Island on the Coast of AMERICA, near the Mouth of the Great River of OROONOQUE; Having been cast on Shore by Shipwreck, wherein all the Men perished but himself.
WITH An Account how he was at last as strangely deliver’d by PYRATES.
Written by Himself.
LONDON: Printed for W. TAYLOR at the Ship in Pater-Noster-Row. MDCCXIX.
IF ever the Story of any private Man’s Adventures in the World were worth making Pvblick, and were acceptable when Publish’d, the Editor of this Acccount thinks this will be so.
The Wonders of this Man’s Life exceed all that (he thinks) is to be found extant; the Life of one Man being scarce capable of a greater Variety.
The Story is told with Modesty, with Seriousness, and with a religious Application of Events to the Uses to which wise Men
always apyly them (viz.) to the Instruction of others by this Example, and to justify and honour the Wisdom of Providence in all the Variety of our Circumstances, let them happen how they will.
The Editor believes the thing to be a just History of Fact; neither is there any Appearance of Fiction in it: And however thinks, because all such things are dispatch’d, that the Improvement of it, as well to the Diversion, as to the Instruction of the Reader, will be the same; and as such, he thinks, without farther Compliment to the World, he does them a great Service in the Publication.
THE LIFE AND ADVENTURES OF ROBINSON CRUSOE, &c.
I Was born in the Year 1632, in the City of York, of a good Family, tho’ 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 afterward 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 our selves, and write our Name Crusoe, and so my Companions always call’d me.
I had two elder Brothers, one of which was Lieutenant Collonel to an English Regiment of Foot in Flanders, formerly commanded by the famous Coll. Lockhart, and was killed at the Battle near Dunkirk inagast the Spaniards: What became of my second Brother I never knew any more than my Father or Mother did know what was become of me.
Being the third Son of the Family, and not bred to any Trade, my Head began to be fill’d very early with rambling Thoughts: My Father, who was very ancient, had given me a competent Share of Learning, as far as House-Education, and a Country Free-School generally goes, and design’d 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 Perswasions of my Mother and other Friends, that there seem’d to be something fatal in that Propension of Nature tending directly to the Life of Misery which was to befal me.
My Father, a wise and grave Man, gave me serious and excellent Counsel against what he foresaw was my Design. He call’d me one Morning into his Chamber, where he was confined by the Gout, and expostulated very warmly with me upon this Subject: He ask’d me what Reasons more than a meer wandring Inclination I had for leaving my Father’s House and my native Country, where I might be well introduced, and had a Prospect of raising my Fortunes by Application and Industry, with a Life of Ease and Pleasure. He told me it was for Men of desperate Fortunes on one Hand, or of aspiring, superior Fortunes on the other, who went abroad upon Adventures, to rise by Enterprize, 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 mechanick Part of Mankind, and not embarass’d 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 Consequences of being born to great things, and wish’d they had been placed in the Middle of the two Exremes, between the Mean and the Great; that the wise Man gave his Testimony to this as the just Standard of true Felicity, when he prayed to have neither Poverty or Riches.
He bid 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 expos’d 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 Extravagancies on one Hand, or by hard Labour, Want of Necessaries, and mean or insufficient Diet on the other Hand, bring Distempers upon themselves by the natural Consequences of their Way of Living; That the middle Station of Life was calculated for all kind of Vertues and all kinds of Enjoyments; that Peace and Plenty were the Hand-maids of a middle Fortune; that Temperance, Moderation, Quietness, Health,
Society, all agreeable Diversions, and all desirable Pleasures, were the Blessings attending the middle Station of Life; that this Way Men went silently and smoothly thro’ the World, and comfortably out of it, not embarass’d with the Labours of the Hands or of the Head, not sold to the Life of Slavery for daily Bread, or harrast with perplex’d Circumstances, which rob the Soul of Peace, and the Body of Rest; not enrag’d with the Passion of Envy, or secret burning Lust of Ambition for great things; but in easy Circumstances sliding gently thro’ the World, and sensibly tasting the Sweets of living, without the bitter, feeling that they are happy, and learning by every Day’s Experience to know it more sensibly.
After this, he press’d me earnestly, and in the most affectionate manner, not to play the young Man, not to precipitate my self into Miseries which Nature and the Station of Life I was born in, seem’d 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 been just recommending to me; and that if I was not very easy and happy in the World, it must be my meer Fate or Fault that must hinder it, and that he should have nothing to answer for, having thus discharg’d 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 Perswasions 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 kill’d; and tho’ 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 would 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 Prophetick, tho’ I suppose my Father did not know it to be so himself; I say, I observed the Tears run down his Face very plentifully, and especially when he spoke of my Brother who was kill’d; and that when he spoke of my having Leisure to repent, and none to assist me, he was so mov’d, 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, as indeed who could be otherwise; and I resolv’d 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 farther Importunities, in a few Weeks after, I resolv’d to run quite away from him. However, I did not act so hastily neither as my first Heat of Resolution prompted, but I took my Mother, at a time when I thought her a little pleasanter than ordinary, and told her, that my Thoughts were so entirely bent upon seeing the World, that I should never settle to any thing 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, and 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 but 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 that Time 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 any thing so much for my Hurt, and that she wondered how I could think of any such thing after such a Discourse as I had had with my Father, and such kind and tender Expressions as she knew my Father had us’d to me; and that in short, if I would ruine my self 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.
Tho’ my Mother refused to move it to my Father, yet as I have heard afterwards, she reported all the Discourse to him, and that my Father, after shewing 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 miserablest Wretch that was ever born: I can give no Consent to it.
It was not till almost a Year after this that I broke loose, tho’ in the mean time I continued obstinately deaf to all Proposals of settling to Business, and frequently expostulating with my Father and Mother, about their being so positively determin’d 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 that time; but I say, being there, and
one of my Companions being going by Sea to London, in his Father’s Ship, and prompting me to go with them, with the common Allurement of Seafaring Men, viz That it should cost me nothing for my Passage, I consulted neither Father or 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 first of September 1661 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 gotten out of the Humber, but the Wind began to blow, and the Winds to rise in a most frightful manner; and as I had never been at Sea before, I was most inexpressibly sick in Body, and terrify’d in my 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 Counsel 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 which it has been since, reproach’d me with the Contempt of Advice, and the Breach of my Duty to God and my Father.
All this while the Storm encreas’d, and the Sea, which I had never been upon before, went very high, tho’ nothing like what I have seen many times since; no, nor like 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 any thing of the matter. I expected every Wave would have swallowed us up, and that every time the Ship fell down, as I thought, in the Trough or Hollow
of the Sea, we should never rise more; and in this Agony of Mind, I made many Vows and Resolutions, that if it would please God here to spare my Life 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 liv’d; that I would take his Advice, and never run my self 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 liv’d all his Days, and never had been expos’d to Tempests at Sea, or Troubles on Shore; and I resolv’d that I would, like a true repenting Prodigal, go home to my Father.
These wise and sober Thoughts continued all the while the Storm continued, and indeed some time after; but the next Day the Wind was abated and the Sea calmer, and I began to be a little inur’d to it: However I was very grave for all that Day, being also a little Sea sick still; but towards Night the Weather clear’d up, the Wind was quite over, and a charming fine Evening follow’d; 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 chearful, 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 time after. And now least my good Resolutions should continue, my Companion, who had indeed entic’d me away, comes to me, Well Bob, says he, clapping me on the Shoulder, How do you do after it? I warrant you were frighted, wa’n’t you, last Night, when it blew but a Cap full of
Wind? A Cap full 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 Squal 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 old way of all Sailors, the Punch was made, and I was made drunk with it, and in that one Night’s Wickedness I drowned all my Repentance, all my Reflections upon my past Conduct, and all my Resolutions for my 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 swallow’d up by the Sea being forgotten, and the Current of my former Desires return’d, 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 rouz’d my self from them as it were from a Distemper, and applying my self to Drink and Company, soon master’d the Return of those Fits, for so I call’d them, and I had in five or six Days got as compleat a Victory over Conscience as any young, Fellow that resolv’d not to be troubled with it, could desire: But I was to have anothet Trial for it still; and Providence, as in such Cases generally it does, resolv’d 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 Wretch among us would confess both the harden’d Danger and the Mercy.
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 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 Top-Masts, and make every thing snug and close, that the Ship might ride as easy as possible. By Noon the Sea went very high indeed, and our Ship rid Forecastle in, shipp’d several Seas, and we thought once or twice our Anchor had come home; upon which our Master order’d out the Sheet Anchor; so that we rode with two Anchors a-Head, and the Cables vered out to the better 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, tho’ vigilant to the Business of preserving the Ship, yet as he went in and out of his Cabbin 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 Cabbin, which was in the Steerage, and cannot describe my Temper: I could ill re-assume the first Penitence, which I had so apparently trampled upon, and harden’d my self against: I thought the Bitterness of Death had been past, and that this would be nothing too like the first. But when the Master himself came by me, as I said just now, and said we should be all lost, I was dreadfully frighted: I got up out of my Cabbin, and look’d out; but such a dismal Sight I never saw: The Sea went 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 rid near us we found had cut their Masts by the Board, being deep loaden; and our Men cry’d out, that a Ship which rid about a Mile a-Head 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 Sprit-sail out before the Wind.
Towards Evening the Mate and Boat-Swain begg’d the Master of our Ship to let them cut away the Foremast, which he was very unwilling to: But the Boat-Swain protesting to him, that if he did not, the Ship would founder, he consented; and when they had cut away the Foremast, the Main-Mast stood so loose, and shook the Ship so much, they were obliged to cut her 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 it self; 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 known a worse. We had a good Ship, but she was deep loaden, and wallowed in the Sea, 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 enquir’d. However, the Storm was so violent, that I saw what is not often seen, the Master, the Boat-Swain, 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 of our Distresses, one of the Men that had been down on Purpose to see, cried out we had sprung a Leak; another said there was four Foot Water in the Hold. Then all Hands were called to the Pump. At that very Word my Heart, as I thought, died within me, and I fell backwards upon the Side of my Bed where I sat, into the Cabbin. 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 stirr’d up, and went to the Pump and work’d very heartily. While this was doing, the Master seeing some light Colliers, who not able to ride out the Storm, were oblig’d to flip 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 that meant, was so surprised, that I thought the Ship had broke, or some
dreadful thing had happen’d. In a word, I was so surprised, that I fell down in a Swoon. As this was a time when every Body had his own Life to think of, no Body minded me, or what was become of me; but another Man stept up to the Pump, and thrusting me aside with his Foot, let me lye, thinking I had been dead; and it was a great while before I came to my self.
We work’d on, but the Water encreasing in the Hold, it was apparent that the Ship would founder, and tho’ the Storm began to abate a little, yet as it was not possible she could swim till we might run into a Port, so the Master continued firing Guns for Help; and a light Ship who had rid it out just a Head 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 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 vered it out a great Length, which they after great Labour and Hazard took hold of and we hall’d them close under our Stern and got all into their Boat. It was to no Purpose for them or us after we were in the Boat to think of reaching to their own Ship, so all agreed to let her drive and only to pull her in towards Shore as much as we could, and our Master promised them, That if the Boat was stav’d upon Shore he would make it good to their Master, so partly rowing and partly driving our Boat went away to the Norward sloaping towards the Shore almost as far as Winterton Ness.
We were not much more than a quarter of an Hour out of our Ship but 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 that Moment 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 Shore 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 Light-House 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 tho’ not without much Difficulty got all safe on Shore and walk’d afterwards on Foot to Yarmouth, where, as unfortunate Men, we were used with great Humanity as well by the Magistrates of the Town, who assign’d 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, an Emblem of our Blessed Saviour’s Parable, had even kill’d the fatted Calf for me; for hearing the Ship I went away in was cast away in Yarmouth Road, it was a great while before he had any Assurance that I was not drown’d.
But my ill Fate push’d me on now with an Obstinacy that nothing could resist; and tho’ 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 over-ruling Decree that hurries us on to be the Instruments of our own Destruction, even tho’ it be before us, and that we rush upon it with our Eyes open. Certainly nothing but some such decreed unavoidable Misery attending, and which it was impossible for me to escape, could have push’d me forward against the calm Reasonings and Perswasions of my most retired Thoughts, and against two such visible Instructions as I had met with in my first Attempt.
My Comrade, who had help’d 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 appear’d his Tone was alter’d, and looking very melancholy and shaking his Head, ask’d 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 farther abroad; his Father turning to me with a very grave and concern’d 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 for a Trial, you see what a Taste Heaven has given you of what you are to expect if ou persist; perhaps this is 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 with 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 talk’d very gravely to me, exhorted me to go back to my Father, and not tempt Providence to my Ruine; told 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, where-ever you go, you will meet with nothing but Disasters and Disappointments till your Father’s Words are fulfilled upon you.
We parted soon after; for I made him little Answer, and I saw him no more; which way he went, I know not. As for me, having some Money in my Pocket, I travelled to London by Land; and there, as well as on the Road, had many Struggles with my self, what Course of Life I should take, and whether I should go Home, or go to Sea.
As to going Home, Shame opposed the best Motions that offered to my Thoughts; and it immediately occurr’d to me how I should be laugh’d at among the Neighbours, and should be asham’d to see, not my Father and Mother only, but even every Body 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 asham’d to sin, and yet are asham’d to repent; not asham’d of the Action for which they ought justly to be esteemed Fools, but are asham’d of the returning, which only can make them be esteem’d 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 continu’d to going Home; and as I stay’d 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 a Return wore off with it, till at last I quite lay’d aside the Thoughts of it, and lookt out for a Voyage.
That evil Influence which carryed me first away from my Father’s House, that hurried me into the wild and indigested Notion of raising my Fortune; and that imprest those Conceits so forcibly upon me, as to make me deaf to all good Advice, and to the Entreaties and even Command 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 call it, a Voyage to Guinea.
It was my great Misfortune that in all these Adventures I did not ship my self as a Sailor; whereby, tho’ I might indeed have workt a little harder than ordinary, yet at the same time I had learn’d the Duty and Office of a Fore-mast Man; and in time might have quallified my self 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 Cloaths 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, or learn’d 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 unguided 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 fell 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; and who 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 Word, told me if I wou’d go the Voyage with him I should be at no Expence; I should be his Mess-mate and his Companion, and if I could carry any thing with me, I should have all the Advantage of it that the Trade would admit; and perhaps I might meet with some Encouragement.
I embrac’d the Offer, and entring into a strict Friendship with this Captain, who was an honest and 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 l. in such Toys and Trifles as the Captain directed me to buy. This 40 l. 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, and which I owe to the Integrity and Honesty of my Friend the Captain, under whom also I got a competent Knowledge of the Mathematicks and the Rules of Navigation, learn’d 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 introduce me, I took Delight to learn; and, in a word, this Voyage made me both a Sailor and a Merchant: for I brought Home L. 5.9 Ounces of Gold Dust for my Adventure, which yielded me in London at my Return, almost 300 l. and this fill’d me with those aspiring Thoughts which have since so compleated my Ruin.
Yet even in this Voyage I had my Misfortunes too; particularly, that I was continually sick, being thrown into a violent Calenture by the excessive Heat of the Climate; our principal Trading being upon the Coast, from the Latitude of 15 Degrees, North even to the Line it self.
I was now set up for a Guiney Trader; and my Friend, to my great Misfortune, dying soon after his Arrival, I resolved to go the same Voyage again, and I embark’d 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 tho’ I did not carry quite 100 l. of my new gain’d Wealth, so that I had 200 left, and which I lodg’d with my Friend’s Widow, who was very just to me, yet I fell into terrible Misfortunes in this Voyage; and the first was this, viz. Our Ship making her Course towards the Canary Islands, or rather between those Islands, and the African Shore, was surprised in the Grey of the Morning, by a Turkish Rover of Sallee, who gave Chase to us with all the Sail she could make. We crowded also as much Canvass as our Yards would spread, or our Masts carry, to have got clear; but finding the Pirate gain’d upon us, and would certainly come up with us in a few Hours, we prepar’d to fight; our Ship having 12 Guns, and the Rogue 18. 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 8 of our Guns to bear on that Side, and pour’d in a Broadside upon him, which made him sheer off again, after returning our Fire, and pouring in also his small Shot from near 200 Men which he had on Board. However, we had not a Man touch’d, all our Men keeping close. He prepar’d to attack us
again, and we to defend our selves; but laying us on Board the next time upon our other Quarter, he entred 60 Men upon our Decks, who immediatel fell to cutting and hacking the Decks and Rigging. We ply’d them with Small-shot, Half-Pikes, Powder-Chests, and such like, and clea’rd our Deck of them twice. However, to cut short this melancholly Part of our Story, our Ship being disabled, and three of our Men kill’d, and eight wounded, we were obliged to yield, and were carry’d 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 look’d back upon my Father’s prophetick 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 it could not be worse; that 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 thro’, 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 Shoar 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 order’d me to lye in the Cabbin 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 no Body to communicate it to, that would embark with me; no Fellow-Slave, no Englishman, Irishman, or Scotsman there but my self; so that for two Years, tho’ I often pleased my self with the Imagination, yet I never had the least encouraging Prospect of putting it in Practice.
After about two Years an odd Circumstance presented it self, 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 oftner, if the Weather was fair, to take the Ship’s Pinnace, and go out into the Road a-fishing; and as he always took me and a young Maresco with him to row the Boat, we made him very merry, and I prov’d 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 call’d him, to catch a Dish of Fish for him.
It happen’d one time, that going a fishing in a stark calm Morning, a Fog rose so thick, that tho’ we were not half a League from the Shoar we lost Sight of it; and rowing we knew not whither or which way, we labour’d all Day and all the next Night, and when the Morning came we found we had pull’d off to Sea instead of pulling in for the Shoar; and that we were at least two Leagues from
the Shoar: However we got well in again, tho’ with a great deal of Labour, and some Danger; for the Wind began to blow pretty fresh in the Morning; but particularly we were all very hungry.
But our Patron warn’d by this Disaster, resolved to take more Care of himself for the future; and having lying by him the Long-boat of our English Ship we 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 hale home the Main-sheet; and Room before for a hand or two to stand and work the Sails; she sail’d with that we call a Shoulder of Mutton Sail; and the Boom gib’d over the Top of the Cabbin, which lay very snug and low, and had in it Room for him to lye, 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 in; particularly his Bread, Rice and Coffee.
We went frequently out with this Boat a fishing, and as I was most dextrous to catch fish for him, he never went without me: It happen’d that he had appointed to go out in this Boat, either for Pleasure or for Fish, with two or three Moors of some Distinction in that Place, and for whom he had provided extraordinarily; and had therefore sent on board the Boat over Night, a larger Store of Provisions than ordinary; and had order’d me to get ready three Fuzees with Powder and Shot, which were on board his Ship; for that they design’d 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 Antient and Pendants out, and every thing to accomodate his Guests; when by and by my Patroon came on board alone, and told me his Guests had put off going, upon some Business that fell out, and order’d 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 had got some Fish I should bring it home to his House; all which I prepar’d to do.
This Moment my former Notions of Deliverance darted into my Thoughts, for now I found I was like to have a little Ship at my Command; and my Master being gone, I prepar’d to furnish my self, not for a fishing Business but for a Voyage; tho’ I knew not, neither did I so much as consider whither I should steer; for any where to get out of that Place was my Way.
My first Contrivance was to make a Pretence to speak to this Moor, to get something for our Subsistance on board; for I told him we must not presume to eat of our Patroon’s Bread, he said that was true; so he brought a large Basket of Rusk or Bisket of their kind, and three Jarrs with fresh Water into the Boat; I knew where my Patroon’s Case of Bottles stood, which it was evident by the make were taken out of some English Prize; and I convey’d them into the Boat while the Moor was on Shoar, as if they had been there before, for our Master: I convey’d also a great Lump of Bees-Wax into the Boat, which weighed above half a Hundred Weight, with a Parcel of Twine or Thread, a Hatchet, a Saw and a Hammer, all which were of great Use to us afterwards; especially the Wax to make Candles. Another Trick I try’d upon him, which he innocently came into also; his Name was Ismael, who they call Muly
or Moely, so I call’d to him, Moely said I, our Patroon’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 Curlieus) for our selves, for I know he keeps the Gunner’s Stores in the Ship? Yes, says he, I’ll bring some, and accordingly he brought a great Leather Pouch which held about a Pound and half of Powder, or rather more; and another with Shot, that had five or six Pound, with some Bullets; and put all into the Boat: At the same time I had found some Powder of my Masters in the Great Cabbin, with which I fill’d one of the large Bottles in the Case, which was almost empty; pouring what was in it into another: and thus furnished with every thing needful, we sail’d 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 hal’d in our Sail, and set us down to fish: The Wind blew from the N. NE. 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 reacht 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 fisht some time and catcht 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 serv’d, 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 run the Boat out near a League farther, and then brought her too as if I would fish; when giving the Boy the Helm, I stept forward to where the Moor was, and making as if I stoopt for something
hehind him, I took him by Surprize with my Arm under his Twist, and tost him clear over-board into the Sea; he rise immediately, for he swam like a Cork, and call’d to me, begg’d 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 reacht me very quickly, there bieng but little Wind; upon which I stept into the Cabbin 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 Shoar, and the Sea is calm, make the best of your Way to Shoar and I will do you no harm, but if you come near the Boat I’ll shoot you thro’ the Head; for I am resolved to have my Liberty; so he turn’d himself about and swam for the Shoar, and I make no doubt but he reacht it with Ease, for he was an Excellent Swimmer.
I could ha’ been content to ha’ taken this Moor with me, and ha’ drown’d the Boy, but there was no venturing to trust him: When he was gone I turn’d to the Boy, who they call’d 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 stroak 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 smil’d in my Face and spoke so innocently that I could not mistrust him; and swore to be faithful to me, and go all over the World with me.
While I was in 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 ha’ been supposed to do) for who would ha’ suppos’d we were saild
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 ne’er once go on shoar but we should be devour’d by savage Beasts, or more merciless Savages of humane kind.
But as soon as it grew dusk in the Evening, I chang’d my Course, and steer’d directly South and by East, bending my Course a little toward the East, that I might keep in with the Shoar; 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 a Clock in the Afternoon, when I first made the Land, I could not be less than 150 Miles South of Sallee; quite beyond the Emperor of Morocco’s Dominions, or indeed of any other King thereabouts, for we saw no People.
Yet such was the Fright I had taken at the Moors, and the dreadful Apprehensions I had of falling into their Hands, that I would not stop, or go on Shoar, or come to an Anchor; the Wind continuing fair, ’till I had sail’d 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 ventur’d to make to the Coast, and came to an Anchor in the Mouth of a little River, I knew not what, or where; neither what Latitude, what Country, what Nations, or what River: I neither saw, or desir’d to see any People, the principal thing I wanted was fresh Water: We came into this Creek in the Evening, resolving to swim on shoar 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 beg’d of me not to go on shoar till Day; well Xury said I, then I won’t, but it may be we may see Men by Day, who will be as bad to us as those Lyons; 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 Patroon’s Case of Bottles) to chear him up: After all, Xury’s Advice was good, and I took it, we dropt 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-shoar 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 Lyon, and it might be so for ought I know; but poor Xury cryed 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 perceiv’d the Creature (whatever it was) within Two Oars Length, which something surprized me; however I immediately stept to the Cabbin-door, and taking up my Gun fir’d at him, upon which he immediately turn’d about and swam towards the Shoar again.
But it is impossible to describe the horrible Noises, and hideous Cryes and Howlings, that were
raised as well upon the Edge of the Shoar, 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 Convinc’d me that there was no going on Shoar for us in the Night upon that Coast, and how to venture on Shoar 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 Lyons and Tygers; at least we were equally apprehensive of the Danger of it.
Be that as it would, we were oblig’d to go on Shoar somewhere or other for Water, for we had not a Pint left in the Boat; when or where to get to it was the Point: Xury said, if I would let him go on Shoar with one of the Jarrs, he would find if there was any Water and bring some to me. I ask’d him why he would go? Why I should not go and he stay in the Boat? The Boy answer’d with so much Affection that 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 Man’s 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 Patroons Case of Bottles which I mentioned before; and we hal’d the Boat in as near the Shoar as we thought was proper, and so waded on Shoar, carrying nothing but our Arms and two Jarrs 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 run 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 Jarrs and feasted on the Hare we had killed, and prepared to go on our Way, having seen no Foot-steps of any humane 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 Verd Islands also, lay not far off from the Coast. But as I had no Instruments to take an Observation to know what Latitude we were in, and did not exactly know, or at least remember what Latitude they were in; I knew not where to look for them, or when to stand off to Sea towards them; otherwise I might now easily have found some of these Islands. But my hope was, that if I stood along this Coast till I came to that Part where the English Traded, I should find some of their Vessels upon their usual Design of Trade, that would relieve and take us in.
By the best of my Calculation, that Place were I now was, must be that Country, which lying between the Emperor of Morocco’s Dominions and the Negro’s, lies wast and uninhabited, except by wild Beasts; the Negroes having abandon’d it and gone farther South for fear of the Moors; and the Moors
not thinking it worth inhabiting, by reason of its Barrenness; and indeed both forsaking it because of the prodigious Numbers of Tygers, Lyons, 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 an hundred Miles together upon this Coast, we saw nothing but a wast uninhabited Country, by Day; and heard nothing but Howlings and Roaring of wild Beasts, by Night.
Once or twice in the Day time, I thought I saw the Pico of Teneriffe, being the high top of the Mountain Teneriffe in the Canaries; and had a great mind to venture out in hopes of reaching thither; but having 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 Shoar.
Several times I was obliged to land for fresh Water, after we had left this Place; and once in particular, being early in the Morning, we came to an Anchor under a little Point of Land which was pretty high, and the Tide beginning to flow, we lay still to go farther in; Xury, whose Eyes were more about him than it seems mine were, calls softly to me, and tells me that we had best go farther off the Shoar; for, says he, look yonder lies a dreadful Monster on the side of that Hillock fast asleep: I look’d where he pointed, and saw a dreadful Monster indeed, for it was a terrible great Lyon that lay on the Side of the Shoar, under the Shade of a Piece of the Hill that hung as it were a little over him. Xury, says I, you shall go on Shoar and kill him; Xury look’d frighted, and said, Me kill! he eat me at one Mouth; one Mouthful he meant; however, I said no more to the Boy, but
bad him lye still, and I took our biggest Gun, which was almost Musquet-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 into the Head, but he lay so with his Leg rais’d a little above his Nose, that the Slugs hit his Leg about the Knee, and broke the Bone. He started up growling at first, but finding his Leg broke fell down again, and then got up upon three Legs and gave the most hideous Roar that ever I heard; I was a little suppriz’d that I had not hit him on the Head; however I took up the second Piece immediately, and tho’ he began to move off fir’d again, and shot him into the Head, and had the Pleasure to see him drop, and make but little Noise, but lay struggling for Life. Then Xury took Heart, and would have me let him go on Shoar: Well, go said I, so the Boy jump’d into the Water, and taking a little Gun in one Hand swam to Shoar with the other Hand, and coming close to the Creature, put the Muzzle of the Piece to his Ear, and shot him into the Head again which dispatch’d 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 ask’d 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 my self however, that perhaps the Skin of him might one way or other be of some Value to us; and I resolved to take off his Skin if I could. So Xury and I went to work with him; but Xury was much the better Workman at it, for I knew very ill how to do it. Indeed it took us up both the whole Day, but at last we got of the Hide of him, and spreading it on the top of our Cabbin, the Sun effectually dried it in two Days time, and it afterwards serv’d me to lye upon.
After this Stop we made on to the Southward continually for ten or twelve Days, living very sparing on our Provisions, which began to abate very much, and going no oftner into the Shoar than we were oblig’d to for fresh Water; my Design in this was to make the River Gambia or Sennegall, that is to say, any where about the Cape de Verd, where I was in hopes to meet with some European Ship, and if I did not, I knew not what Course I had to take, but to seek out for the Islands, or perish there among the Negroes. I knew that all the Ships from Europe, which sail’d either to the Coast of Guiney, or to Brasil, 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 perish.
When I had pursued this Resolution about ten Days longer, as I have said, I began to see that the Land was inhabited, and in two or three Places as we sailed by, we saw People stand upon the Shoar to look at us, we could also perceive they were quite Black and Stark-naked. I was once inclin’d to ha’ gone on Shoar to them; but Xury was my better Councellor, and said to me, no go, no go; however I hal’d in nearer the Shoar that I might talk to them, and I found they run along the Shoar by me a good way; I observ’d they had
no Weapons in their Hands, except one who had a long slender Stick, which Xury said was a Lance, and that they would throw them a great way with good aim; so I kept at a distance, but talk’d with them by Signs as well as I could; and particularly made Signs for some thing to Eat, they beckon’d to me to stop my Boat, and that they would fetch me some Meat; upon this I lower’d the top of my Sail, and lay by, and two of them run up into the Country, and in less than half an Hour came back and brought with them two Pieces of dry 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 was not for venturing on Shore to them, and they were as much affraid 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 fetch’d 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 offer’d 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 seem to offer to fall upon any of the Negroes, but plung’d 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 bad Xury load both the other; as soon as he came fairly within my reach, I fir’d, and shot him directly into the Head; immediately he sunk down into the Water, but rose instantly and plung’d up and down as if he was struggling for Life; and so indeed he was, he immediately made to the Shore, but between the Wound which was his mortal Hurt, and the strangling of the Water, he dyed just before he reach’d the Shore.
It is impossible to express the Astonishment of these poor Creatures at the Noise and the Fire of my Gun; some of them were even ready to dye 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 to the Shore and began to search for the Creature, I found him by his Blood staining the Water, and by the help of a Rope which I slung round him and gave the Negroes to hawl, they drag’d 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 kill’d 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 were for eating the Flesh of this Creature, so I was willing
to have them take it as a Favour from me, which when I made Signs to them that they might take him, they were very thankful for, immediately they fell to work with him, and tho’ they had no Knife, yet with a sharpen’d Piece of Wood they took off his Skin as readily, and much more readily than we cou’d have done with a Knife; they offer’d me some of the Flesh, which I declined, making as if I would give it them, but made Signs for the Skin, which they gave me very freely, and brought me a great deal more of their Provision, which tho’ I did not understand, yet I accepted; then I made Signs to them for some Water, and held out one of my Jarrs to them, turning it bottom upward, to shew that it was empty, and that I wanted to have it filled. They call’d immediately to some of their Friends, and there came two Women and brought a great Vessel made of Earth, and burnt as I suppose in the Sun; this they set down for me, as before, and I sent Xury on Shore with my Jarrs, and filled them all three: The Women were as stark Naked as the Men.
I was now furnished with Roots and Corn, such as it was, and Water, and leaving my friendly Negroes, I made forward for about eleven Days more without offering to go near the Shoar, till I saw the Land run out a great Length into the Sea, at about the Distance of four or five Leagues before me, and the Sea being very calm I kept a large, offing to make this Point; at length, doubling the Point at about two Leagues from the Land, I saw plainly Land on the other Side to Seaward; then I concluded, as it was most certain indeed, that this was the Cape de Verd, and those the Islands, call’d from thence Cape de Verd 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 other.
In this Dilemna, as I was very pensive, I stept into the Cabbin and sat me down, Xury having the Helm, when on a suddain the Boy cry’d out, Master, Master, a Ship with a Sail, and the foolish Boy was frighted out of his Wits, thinking it must needs be some of his Master’s Ships sent to pursue us, when, I knew we were gotten far enough out of their reach. I jump’d out of the Cabbin, and immediately saw not only the Ship, but what she was, (viz.) that it was a Portuguese Ship, and as I thought was bound to the Coast of Guinea for Negroes. But when I observ’d the Course she steer’d, I was soon convinc’d they were bound some other way, and did not design to come any nearer to the Shoar; upon which I stretch’d 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 me by the help of their Perspective-Glasses, and that it was some European Boat, which as they supposed must belong to some Ship that was lost, so they shortned Sail to let me come up. I was encouraged with this, and as I had my Patroon’s Antient on Board, I made a Waft of it to them for a Signal of Distress, and fir’d a Gun, both which they saw, for they told me they saw the Smoke, tho’ they did not hear the Gun; upon these Signals they very kindly brought too, and lay by for me, and in about three Hours time I came up with them.
They ask’d me what I was, in Portuguese, and in Spanish, and in French, but I understood none of
them; but at last a Scots Sailor who was on board, call’d to me, and I answer’d him, and told him I was an Englishman, that I had made my escape out of Slavery from the Moors at Sallee; then they bad me come on board, and very kindly took me in, and all my Goods.
It was an inexpressible Joy to me, that any one will believe, that I was thus deliver’d, as I esteem’d 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 deliver’d safe to me when I came to the Brasils, for says he, I have sav’d your Life on no other Terms than I would be glad to be saved my self, 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 Brasils, 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, Seignor Inglese, says he, Mr. Englishman, I will carry you thither in Charity, and those things will help you to buy your Subsistance there and your Passage home again.
As he was Charitable in his Proposal, so he was Just in the Performance to a tittle, for he ordered the Seamen that none should offer to touch any thing I had; then he took every thing into his own Possession, and gave me back an exact Inventory of them, that I might have them, even so much as my three Earthen Jarrs.
As to my Boat it was a very good one, and that he saw, and told me he would buy it of me for the Ship’s use, and ask’d me what I would have for it? I told him he had been so generous to me in every thing, that I could not offer to make any
Price of the Boat, but left it entirely to him, upon which he told me he would give me a Note of his Hand to pay me 80 Pieces of Eight for it at Brasil, and when it came there, if any one offer’d to give more he would make it up; he offer’d me also 60 Pieces of Eight more for my Boy Xury, which I was loath to take, not that I was not willing to let the Captain have him, but I was very loath 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 own’d it to be just, and offer’d me this Medium, that he would give the Boy an Obligation to set him free in ten Years, if he turn’d Christian; upon this, and Xury saying he was willing to go to him, I let the Captain have him.
We had a very good Voyage to the Brasils, and arriv’d in the Bay de Todos los Santos, or All-Saints Bay, in about Twenty-two Days after. And now I was once more deliver’d from the most miserable of all Conditions of Life, and what to do next with my self I was now to consider.
The generous Treatment the Captain gave me, I can never enough remember; he would take nothing of me for my Passage, gave me twenty Ducats for the Leopard’s Skin, and forty for the Lyon’s Skin which I had in my Boat, and caused every thing I had in the Ship to be punctually deliver’d me, and what I was willing to sell he bought, such as the Case of Bottles, two of my Guns, and a Piece of the Lump of Bees-wax, for I had made Candles of the rest; in a word, I made about 220 Pieces of Eight of all my Cargo, and with this Stock I went on Shoar in the Brasilo.
I had not been long here, but being recommended to the House of a good honest Man like himself, who had an Ingeino as they call it; that is, a
Plantation and a Sugar-House. I lived with him some time, and acquainted my self by that means with the Manner of their planting and making of Sugar; and seeing how well the Planters liv’d, and how they grew rich suddenly, I resolv’d, if I could get Licence to settle there, I would turn Planter among them, resolving in the mean time to find out some Way to get my Money which I had left in London remitted to me. To this Purpose getting a kind of a Letter of Naturalization, I purchased as much Land that was Uncur’d, as my Money would reach, and form’d a Plan for my Plantation and Settlement, and such a one as might be suitable to the Stock which I proposed to my self to receive from England.
I had a Neighbour, a Portugueze 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 any thing else, for about two Years. However, we began to increase, and our Land began to come into Order; so that the third Year we planted some Tobacco, and made each of us a large Piece of Ground ready for planting Canes in the Year to come; but we both wanted Help, and now I found more than before, I had done wrong in parting with my Boy Xury.
But alas! for me to do wrong that never did right, was no great Wonder: I had no Remedy but to go on; I was gotten 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 thro’ 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 ha’ staid at Home, and never have fatigu’d my self in the World as I had done; and I used often to say to my self, I could ha’ done this as well in England among my Friends, as ha’ gone 5000 Miles off to do it among Strangers and Salvages 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 no body 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 liv’d just like a Man cast away upon some desolate Island, that had no body 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 convinc’d 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 meer Desolation should be my Lot, who had so often unjustly compar’d 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 Loading, and preparing for his Voyage, near three Months, when telling him what little Stock I had left behind me in London, he gave me this friendly and sincere Advice, Seignior Inglese says he; for so he always called me, if you will give me Letters, and a Procuration here in Form to me, with Orders to the Person who has your Money in London, to send your Effects to Lisbon, to such Persons as I shall direct,
and in such Goods as are proper for this Country, I will bring you the Produce of them, God willing, at my Return; but since human Affairs are all subject to Changes and Disasters, I would have you give Orders but for One Hundred Pounds Sterl. 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 wholesom Advice, and look’d so friendly, that I could not but be convinc’d 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 desired.
I wrote the English Captain’s Widow a full Account of all my Adventures, my Slavery, Escape, and how I had met with the Portugal Captain at Sea, the Humanity of his Behaviour, and in what Condition I was now in, with all other necessary Directions for my Supply; and when this honest Captain came to Lisbon, he found means by some of the English Merchants there, to send over not the Order only, but a full Account of my Story to a Merchant at London, who represented it effectually to her; whereupon, she not only delivered the Money, but out of her own Pocket sent the Portugal Captain a very handsom Present for his Humanity and Charity to me.
The Merchant in London vesting this Hundred Pounds in English Goods, such as the Captain had writ for, sent them directly to him at Lisbon, and he brought them all safe to me to the Brasils, among which, without my Direction (for I was too young in my Business to think of them) he had taken Care to have all Sorts of Tools, Iron-Work, and Utensils
necessary for my Plantation, and which were of great Use to me.
When this Cargo arrived, I thought my Fortunes made, for I was surprised with the Joy of it; and my good Steward the Captain had laid out the Five Pounds which my Friend had sent him for a Present for himself, to purchase, and bring me over a Servant under Bond for six Years Service, and would not accept of any Consideration, except a little Tobacco, which I would have him accept, being of my own Produce.
Neither was this all; but my Goods being all English Manufactures, such as Cloath, Stuffs, Bays, 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 abus’d Prosperity is oftentimes made the very Means of our greatest Adversity, so was it with me. I went on the next Year with great Success in my Plantation: I raised fifty great Rolls of Tobacco on my own Ground, more than I had disposed of for Necessaries among my Neighbours; and these fifty Rolls being each of above a 100 Wt. were well cur’d and laid by against the Return of the Fleet from Lisbon: and now increasing in Business and in Wealth, my Head began to be full of Projects and Undertakings beyond my Reach; such as are indeed often the Ruine 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 describ’d 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 encrease my Fault and double the Reflections upon my self, 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 wandring abroad and pursuing that Inclination, in contradiction to the clearest Views of doing my self 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 my self down again into the deepest Gulph of human Misery that ever Man fell into, or perhaps could be consistent with Life and a State Health of in the World.
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 Brasilo, and beginning to thrive and prosper very well upon my Plantation; I had not only learn’d the Language, but had contracted Acquaintance and Friendship among my Fellow-Planters, as well as among the Merchants at St. Salvadore, which was our Port; and that in my 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, Scissars, Hatchets, bits of Glass, and the like; not only Gold Dust, Guinea Grains, Elephants Teeth, &c. but Negroes for the Service of the Brasils, in great Numbers.
They listened always very attentively to my Discourses on these Heads, but especially to that Part which related to the buying Negroes, which was a Trade at that time not only not far entred into, but as far as it was, had been carried on by the Assiento’s, or Permission of the Kings of Spain and Portugal, and engross’d in the Publick, so that few Negroes were brought, and those excessive dear.
It happen’d, being in Company with some Merchants and Planters of my Acquaintance, and talking of those things very earnestly, three of them came to me the next Morning, and told me they had been musing very much upon what I had discoursed with them of, the last Night, and they came to make a secret Proposal to me; and after enjoining me 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 straiten’d for nothing so much as Servants; that as it was a Trade that could not be carried on, because they could not publickly sell the Negroes when they came home, so they desired to make but one Voyage, to bring the Negroes on Shoar privately, and divide them among their own Plantations; and in a Word, the Question was, whether I would go their Super-Cargo in the Ship to manage the Trading Part upon the Coast
of Guinea? And they offer’d 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 confess’d, had it been made to any one that had not had a Settlement and Plantation of his own to look after, which was in a fair way of coming to be very Considerable, and with a good Stock upon it. But for me that was thus entered and established, and had nothing to do but go on as I had begun for three or four Years more, and to have sent for the other hundred Pound from England, and who in that time, and with that little Addition, could scarce ha’ fail’d of being worth three or four thousand Pounds Sterling, and that encreasing too; for me to think of such a Voyage, was the most prepostorous Thing that ever Man in such Circumstances could be guilty of.
But I that was born to be my own Destroyer, could no more resist the Offer than I could restrain my first rambling Designs, when my Father’s good Counsel was lost upon me. In a word, I told them I would go with all my Heart, if they would undertake to look after my Plantation in my Absence, and would dispose of it to such as I should direct if I miscarry’d. This they all engag’d to do, and entred 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 sav’d 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 ship’d to England.
In short, I took all possible Caution to preserve my Effects, and keep up my Plantation; had I used half as much Prudence to have look’d into my
own Intrest, 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 my self.
But I was hurried on, and obey’d 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
, being the same Day eight Year 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 Interest.
Our Ship was about 120 Tun Burthen, carried 6 Guns, and 14 Men, besides the Master, his Boy, and my self; we had on board no large Cargo of Goods, except of such Toys as were fit for our Trade with the Negroes, such as Beads, bits of Glass, Shells, and odd Trifles, especially little Looking-Glasses, Knives, Scissars, 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 Affrican Coast, when they came about 10 or 12 Degrees of Northern Latitude, which it seems was the manner of their Course in those Days. We had very good Weather, only excessive hot, all the way upon our own Coast, till we came the Height of Cape St. Augustino, from whence keeping farther off at Sea we lost Sight of Land, and steer’d as if we was bound for the Isle Fernand de Noronha holding
our Course N.E. by N. and leaving those Isles on the East; in this Course we past the Line in about 12 Days time, and were by our last Observation in 7 Degrees 22 Min. Northern Latitude, when a violent Tournado or Hurricane took us quite out of our Knowledge; it began from the South-East, came about to the North-West, and then settled into the North-East, from whence it blew in such a terrible manner, that for twelve Days together we could do nothing but drive, and scudding away before it, let it carry us whither ever 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 dyed of the Calenture, and one Man and the Boy wash’d over board; about the 12th Day the Weather abating a little, the Master made an Observation as well as he could, and found that he was in about 11 Degrees North Latitude, but that he was 22 Degrees of Longitude difference West from Cape St. Augustino; so that he found he was gotten upon the Coast of Guinea, or the North Part of Brasil, beyond the River Amozones, toward that of the River Oronoque, commonly call’d 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 Brasil.
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 Carrible-Islands, and therefore resolved to stand away for Barbadoes, which by keeping off
at Sea, to avoid the Indraft of the Bay or Gulph 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 Affrica without some Assistance, both to our Ship and to our selves.
With this Design we chang’d our Course and steer’d 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 12 Deg. 18 Min. a second Storm came upon us, which carry’d us away with the same Impetuosity Westward, and drove us so out of the very Way of all humane Commerce, that had all our Lives been saved, as to the Sea, we were rather in Danger of being devoured by Savages than ever returning to our own Country.
In this Distress, the Wind still blowing very hard, one of our Men early in the Morning, cry’d out, Land; and we had no sooner run out of the Cabbin to look out in hopes of seeing where abouts in the World we were; but the Ship struck upon a Sand, and in a moment her Motion being so stopp’d, the Sea broke over her in such a manner, that we expected we should all have perish’d immediately, and we were immediately driven into our close Quarters to shelter us from the very Foam and Sprye 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; and as the Rage of the Wind was still great, tho’ rather less than at first, we could not so much as
hope to have the Ship hold many Minutes without breaking in Pieces, unless the Winds by a kind of Miracle should turn immediately about. In a word, we sat looking upon one another, and expecting Death every Moment, and every Man acting accordingly, as preparing for another World, for there was little or nothing more for us to do in this; that which was our present Comfort, and all the Comfort we had, was, that contrary to our Expectation the Ship did not break yet, and that the Master said the Wind began to abate.
Now tho’ 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 stav’d by dashing against the Ship’s Rudder, and in the next Place she broke away, and either sunk or was driven off to Sea, so there was no hope from her; we had another Boat on board, but how to get her off into the Sea, was a doubtful thing; however there was no room to debate, for we fancy’d 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 lays hold of the Boat, and with the help of the rest of the Men, they got her slung over the Ship’s-side, and getting all into her, let go, and committed our selves being Eleven in Number, to God’s Mercy, and the wild Sea; for tho’ the Storm was abated considerably, yet the Sea went dreadful high upon the Shore, and might well be call’d, 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 ha’ done any thing with it; so we work’d at the Oar towards the Land, tho’ with heavy Hearts, like Men going to Execution; for we all knew, that when the Boat came nearer the Shore, she would be dash’d 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 hasten’d our Destruction with our own Hands, pulling as well as we could towards Land.
What the Shore was, whether Rock or Sand, whether Steep or Shoal, we knew not; the only Hope that could rationally give us the least Shadow of Expectation, was, if we might happen into some Bay or Gulph, or the Mouth of some River, where by great Chance we might have run our Boat in, or got under the Lee of the Land, and perhaps made smooth Water. But there was nothing of this appeared; but as we made nearer and nearer the Shore, the Land look’d more frightful than the Sea.
After we had row’d, or rather driven about a League and a Half, as we reckon’d it, a raging Wave, Mountain-like, came rowling a-stern of us, and plainly bad us expect the Coup de Grace. In a word, it took us with such a Fury, that it overset the Boat at once; and separating us as well from the Boat, as from one another, gave us not time hardly to say, O God! for we were all swallowed up in a Moment.
Nothing can describe the Counfusion of Thought which I felt when I sunk into the Water; for tho’ I swam very well, yet I could not deliver my self 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 it self, 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 my self nearer the main Land 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 my self upon the Water, if I could; and so by swimming to preserve my Breathing, and Pilot my self 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 Sea.
The Wave that came upon me again, buried me at once 20 or 30 Foot deep in its own Body; and I could feel my self carried with a mighty Force and Swiftness towards the Shore a very great Way; but I held my Breath, and assisted my self to swim still forward with all my Might. I was ready to burst with holding my Breath, when, as I felt my self rising up, so to my immediate Relief, I found my Head and Hands shoot out above the Surface of the Water; and tho’ it was not two Seconds of Time that I could keep my self so, yet it reliev’d 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 it self, and began to return, I strook 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 Water went from me, and then took to my Heels, and run with what Strength I had farther towards the Shore. But neither would this deliver me from the Fury of the Sea, which came pouring in after me again, and twice more I was lifted up by the Waves, and carried forwards as before, the Shore being very flat.
The last Time of these two had well near been fatal to me; for the Sea having hurried me along as before, landed me, or rather dash’d me against a Piece of a Rock, and that with such Force, as it left me senseless, and indeed helpless, as to my own Deliverance; for the Blow taking my Side and Breast, beat the Breath as it were quite out of my Body; and had it returned again immediately, I must have been strangled in the Water; but I recover’d a little before the return of the Waves, and seeing I should be cover’d again with the Water, I resolv’d 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 fetch’d another Run, which brought me so near the Shore, that the next Wave, tho’ 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 main Land, where, to my great Comfort, I clamber’d up the Clifts 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 sav’d 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 Extasies and Transports of
the Soul are, when it is so sav’d, as I may say, out of the very Grave; and I do not wonder now at that Custom, viz. That when a Malefactor who has the Halter about his Neck, is tyed up, and just going to be turn’d 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 walk’d about on the Shore, lifting up my Hands, and my whole Being, as I may say, wrapt up in the Contemplation of my Deliverance, making a Thousand Gestures and Motions which I cannot describe, reflecting upon all my Comerades that were drown’d, and that there should not be one Soul sav’d but my self; for, as for them, I never saw them afterwards, or any Sign of them, except three of their Hats, one Cap, and two Shoes that were not Fellows.
I cast my Eyes to the stranded Vessel, when the Breach and Froth of the Sea being so big, I could hardly see it, it lay so far off, and considered, Lord! how was it possible I could get on Shore?
After I had solac’d 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 any thing either to eat or drink to comfort me, neither did I see any Prospect before me, but that of perishing with Hunger, or being devour’d 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 my self 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 Provision, and this threw me into terrible Agonies of Mind, that for a while I run about like a Mad-man; Night coming upon me, I began with a heavy Heart to consider what would be my Lot if there were any ravenous Beasts in that Country, seeing at Night they always come abroad for their Prey.
All the Remedy that offer’d to my Thoughts at that Time, was, to get up into a thick bushy Tree like a Firr, but thorny, which grew near me, and where I resolv’d to set all Night, and consider the next Day what Dearh I should dye, for as yet I saw no Prospect of Life; I walk’d 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 in my Mouth to prevent Hunger, I went to the Tree, and getting up into it, endeavour’d to place my self so, as 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 fatigu’d, I fell fast asleep, and slept as comfortably as, I believe, few could have done in my Condition, and found my self the most refresh’d with it, that I think I ever was on such an Occasion.
When I wak’d 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 surpris’d me most, was, that the Ship was lifted off in the Night from the Sand where she lay, by the Swelling of the Tyde, and was driven up almost as far as the Rock which I first mention’d,
where I had been so bruis’d by the 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 wish’d my self on board, that, at least, I might save some necessary things for my use.
When I came down from my Appartment in the Tree, I look’d about me again, and the first thing I found was the Boat, which lay as the Wind and the Sea had toss’d her up upon the Land, about two Miles on my right Hand, I walk’d 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 hop’d to find something for my present Subsistence.
A little after Noon I found the Sea very calm, and the Tyde ebb’d so far out, that I could come within a Quarter of a Mile of the Ship; and here I found a fresh renewing of my Grief, for I saw evidently, that if we had kept on board, we had been all safe, that is to say, we had all got safe on Shore, and I had not been so miserable as to be left entirely destitute of all Comfort and Company, as I now was; this forc’d Tears from my Eyes again, but as there was little Relief in that, I resolv’d, if possible, to get to the Ship, so I pull’d 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 a ground, 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 spy’d a small Piece of a Rope, which I wonder’d I did not see at first, hang down by the Fore-Chains so low,
as that with great Difficulty I got hold of it, and by the help of that Rope, got up into the Forecastle of the Ship, here I found that the Ship was bulg’d, 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 spoil’d and what was free; and first I found that all the Ship’s Provisions were dry and untouch’d by the Water, and being very well dispos’d to eat, I went to the Bread-room and fill’d my Pockets with Bisket, and eat it as I went about other things, for I had no time to lose; I also found some Rum in the great Cabbin, 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 my self 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 rouz’d my Application; we had several spare Yards, and two or three large sparrs of Wood, and a spare Top-mast or two in the Ship; I resolv’d to fall to work with these, and I flung as many of them over board 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 ty’d four of them fast together at both Ends as well as I could, in the Form of a Raft, and laying two or three short Pieces of Plank upon them cross-ways, I found I could walk upon it very
well, but that it was not able to bear any great Weight, the Pieces being too light; so I went to work, and with the Carpenters Saw I cut a spare Top-mast into three Lengths, and added them to my Raft, with a great deal of Labour and Pains, but hope of furnishing my self with Necessaries, encourag’d 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 Plank or Boards upon it that I could get, and having consider’d well what I most wanted, I first got three of the Seamens Chests, which I had broken open and empty’d, and lower’d them down upon my Raft; the first of these I fill’d with Provision, viz. Bread, Rice, three Dutch Cheeses, five Pieces of dry’d Goat’s Flesh, which we liv’d 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 kill’d, there had been some Barly and Wheat together, but, to my great Disappointment, I found afterwards that the Rats had eaten or spoil’d 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 stow’d by themselves, there being no need to put them into the Chest, nor no room for them. While I was doing this, I found the Tyde began to flow, tho’ very calm, and I had the Mortification to see my Coat, Shirt, and Wast-coat which I had left on Shore upon the Sand, swim away; as for my Breeches which were only Linnen and open knee’d, I swam on board in them and my Stockings: However
this put me upon rummaging for Clothes, of which I found enough, but took no more than I wanted for present use, for I had other things which my Eye was more upon, as first Tools to work with on Shore, and it was after long searching that I found out the Carpenter’s Chest, which was indeed a very useful Prize to me, and much more valuable than a Ship Loading of Gold would have been at that time; I got it down to my Raft, even whole as it was, without losing time to look into it, for I knew in general what it contain’d
My next Care was for some Ammunition and Arms; there were two very good Fowling-pieces in the great Cabbin, and two Pistols, these I secur’d 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 stow’d 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 my self pretty well freighted, and began to think how I should get to Shore with them, having neither Sail, Oar, or Rudder, and the least Cap full of Wind would have overset all my Navigation.
I had three Encouragements, 1. A smooth calm Sea, 2. The Tide rising and setting in to the Shore, 3. What little Wind there was blew me towards the Land; and thus, having found two or three broken Oars belong to the Boat, and besides the Tools which were in the Chest, I found two Saws, an Axe, and a Hammer, and 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 perceiv’d that there was some Indraft
of the Water, and consequently I hop’d 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 imagin’d, so it was, there appear’d 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 suffer’d a second Shipwreck, which, if I had, I think verily would have broke my Heart, for knowing nothing of the Coast, my Raft run a-ground at one End of it upon a Shoal, and not being a-ground at the other End, it wanted but a little that all my Cargo had slip’d off towards that End that was a-float, and so fall’n 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, 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 my self in the Mouth of a little River, with Land on both Sides, and a strong Current or Tide running up, I look’d on both Sides for a proper Place to get to Shore, for I was not willing to be driven too high up the River, hoping in time to see some Ship at Sea, and therefore resolv’d to place my self as near the Coast as I could.
At length I spy’d 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,
as that, reaching Ground with my Oar, I could thrust her directly in, but here I had like to have dipt all my Cargo in 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 run 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 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 Water, I thrust her on upon that flat Piece of Ground, and there fasten’d or mor’d 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 ebb’d away, and left my Raft and all my Cargoe safe on Shore.
My next Work was to view the Country, and seek a proper Place for my Habitation, and where to stow my Goods to secure them from whatever might happen; where I was I yet knew not, whether on the Continent or 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 seem’d to over-top 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 an Horn of Powder, and thus arm’d I travell’d for Discovery up to the Top of that Hill, where after I had with great Labour and Difficulty got to the Top, I saw my Fate to my great Affliction, (viz.) that I was in an Island environ’d
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, un-inhabited, except by wild Beasts, of whom however I saw none, yet I saw Abundance of Fowls, but knew not their Kinds, neither when I kill’d 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 fir’d there since the Creation of the World; I had no sooner fir’d, but from all the Parts of the Wood there arose an innumerable Number of Fowls of many Sorts, making a confus’d Screaming, and crying every one according to his usual Note; but not one of them of any Kind that I knew: As for the Creature I kill’d, I took it to be a Kind of a Hawk, its Colour and Beak resembling it, but had no Talons or Claws more than common, its Flesh was Carrion, and fit for nothing.
Contented with this Discovery, I came back to my Raft, and fell to Work to bring my Cargoe on Shore, which took me up the rest of that Day, and what to do with my self 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, tho’, as I afterwards found, there was really no Need for those Fears.
However, as well as I could, I barricado’d my self round with the Chests and Boards that I had brought on Shore, and made a Kind of a Hut for that Night’s Lodging; as for Food, I yet saw not which Way to supply my self, 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 resolv’d 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 resolv’d to set all other Things apart, ’till I got every Thing out of the Ship that I could get; then I call’d a Council, that is to say, in my Thoughts, whether I should take back the Raft, but this appear’d impracticable; so I resolv’d to go as before, when the Tide was down, and I did so, only that I stripp’d before I went from my Hut, having nothing on but a Chequer’d Shirt, and a Pair of Linnen Drawers, and a Pair of Pumps on my Feet.
I got on Board the Ship, as before, and prepar’d a second Raft, and having had Experience of the first, I neither made this so unweildy, nor loaded it so hard, but yet I brought away several Things very useful to me; as first, in the Carpenter’s Stores I found two or three Bags full of Nails and Spikes, a great Skrew-Jack, a Dozen or two of Hatchets, and above all, that most useful Thing call’d a Grindstone; all these I secur’d together, with several Things belonging to the Gunner, particularly two or three Iron Crows, and two Barrels of Musquet Bullets, seven Musquets, and another fowling Piece, with some small Quantity of Powder more; a large Bag full of small Shot, and a great Roll of Sheet Lead: But this last was so heavy, I could not hoise it up to get it over the Ship’s Side.
Besides these Things, I took all the Mens Cloths that I could find, and a spare Fore-top-sail, a Hammock,
and some Bedding; and with this I loaded my second Raft, and brought them all safe on Shore to my very great Comfort.
I was under some Apprehensions during my Absence from the Land, that at least my Provisions might be devour’d 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 compos’d, and unconcern’d, and look’d 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 unconcern’d at it, nor did she offer to stir away; upon which I toss’d her a Bit of Bisket, tho’ by the Way I was not very free of it, for my Store was not great: However, I spar’d her a Bit, I say, and she went to it, smell’d of it, and ate it, and look’d (as pleas’d) for more, but I thank’d her, and could spare no more; so she march’d off.
Having got my second Cargoe on Shore, tho’ 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 every Thing 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 block’d up the Door of the Tent with some Boards within, and an empty Chest set up an 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 labour’d very hard all Day, as well to fetch all those Things from the Ship, as to get them on Shore.
I had the biggest Maggazin of all Kinds now that ever were laid up, I believe, for one Man, but I was not satisfy’d still; for while the Ship sat upright in that Posture, I thought I ought to get every Thing out of her that I could; so every Day at low Water I went on Board, and brought away some Thing 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 Canvass, which was to mend the Sails upon Occasion, the Barrel of wet Gun-powder: 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 meer Canvass only.
But that which comforted me more still was, that at last of all, after I had made five or six such Voyages as these, and thought I had nothing more to expect from the Ship that was worth my medling with, I say, after all this, I found a great Hogshead of Bread and three large Runlets of Rum or Spirits, and a Box of Sugar, and a Barrel of fine Flower; this was surprizing to me, because I had given over expecting any more Provisions, except what was spoil’d by the Water: I soon empty’d the Hogshead of that Bread, and wrapt 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 plunder’d the Ship of what was portable
and fit to hand out, I began with the Cables; and cutting the great Cable into Pieces, such as I could move, I got two Cables and a Hawser on Shore, with all the Iron Work I could get; and having cut down the Spritsail-yard, and the Missen-yard, and every Thing I could to make a large Raft, I loaded it with all those heavy Goods, and came away: But my good Luck began now to leave me; for this Raft was so unweildy, and so overloaden, that after I was enter’d 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 Cargoe into the Water; as for my self it was no great Harm, for I was near the Shore; but as to my Cargoe, it was great Part of it lost, especially the Iron, which I expected would have been of great Use to me: However, when the Tide was out, I got most of the Pieces of Cable ashore, and some of the Iron, tho’ with infinite Labour; for I was fain to dip for it into the Water, a Work which fatigu’d 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 suppos’d capable to bring, tho’ I believe verily, had the calm Weather held, I should have brought away the whole Ship Piece by Piece: But preparing the 12th Time to go on Board, I found the Wind begin to rise; however at low Water I went on Board, and tho’ I thought I had rumag’d the Cabbin so effectually, as that nothing more could be found, yet I discover’d a Locker with Drawers in it, in one of which I found two or three Razors, and one Pair of large Sizzers, 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 Brasil, some Pieces of Eight, some Gold, some Silver.
I smil’d to my self 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 of 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 saving. 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 over-cast, and the Wind began to rise, and in a Quarter of an Hour it blew a fresh Gale from the Shore; it presently occur’d to me, that it was in vain to pretend to make a Raft with the Wind off Shore, and that it was my Business to be gone before the Tide of Flood began, otherwise I might not be able to reach the Shore at all: Accordingly I let my self down into the Water, and swam cross 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 was gotten home to my little Tent, where I lay with all my Wealth about me very secure. It blew very hard all that Night, and in the Morning when I look’d out, behold no more Ship was to be seen; I was a little surpriz’d, but recover’d my self with this satisfactory Reflection, viz. That I had lost no time, nor abated no Dilligence to get every thing 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 any thing 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 employ’d about securing my self 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 resolv’d upon both, the Manner and Discription of which, it may not be improper to give an Account of.
I sooon found the Place I was in was not for my Settlement, particularly because it was upon a low moorish Ground near the Sea, and I believ’d would not be wholsome, and more particularly because there was no fresh Water near it, so I resolv’d to find a more healthy and more convenient Spot of Ground.
I consulted several Things in my Situation which I found would be proper for me, 1st. Health, and fresh Water I just now mention’d, 2dly. Shelter from the Heat of the Sun, 3dly. Security from ravenous Creatures, whether Men or Beasts, 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 Side of this 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 resolv’d to pitch my Tent: This Plain was not above an 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-grounds by the Sea-side. It was on the N. N. W. Side of the Hill, so that I was shelter’d 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 Ending.
In this half Circle I pitch’d 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 about Five Foot and a Half, and sharpen’d 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 I 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 In-side, leaning against them, about two Foot and a half high, like a Spurr to a Post, and this Fence was so strong, that neither Man or 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 compleatly fenc’d in, and fortify’d, as I thought, from all the World, and consequently slept secure in the Night, which otherwise I could not have done, tho’, as it appear’d afterward, 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 carry’d all my Riches, all my Provisions, Ammunition and Stores, of which you have the Account above, and I made me a large Tent, which, to preserve me from the Rains that in one Part of the Year are very violent there, I made double, viz. One smaller Tent within, and one larger Tent above it, and cover’d the uppermost with a large Tarpaulin which I had sav’d 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 belong’d to the Mate of the Ship.
Into this Tent I brought all my Provisions, and every thing that would spoil by the Wet, and having thus enclos’d all my Goods, I made up the Entrance, which till now I had left open, and so pass’d and re-pass’d, 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 thro’ my Tent, I laid ’em up within my Fence in the Nature of a Terras, that so it rais’d the Ground within about a Foot and a Half; and thus I made me a Cave just behind my Tent, which serv’d 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
happen’d 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 happen’d, and after that a great Clap of Thunder, as is naturally the Effect of it; I was not so much surpris’d with the Lightning as I was with a Thought which darted into my Mind as swift as the Lightning it self: O my Powder! My very Heart sunk within me, when I thought, that at one Blast all my Powder might be destroy’d, on which, not my Defence only, but the providing me Food, as I thought, entirely depended; I was nothing near so anxious about my own Danger, tho’ had the Powder took fire, I had never known who had hurt me.
Such Impression did this make upon me, that after the Storm was over, I laid aside all my Works, my Building, and Fortifying, and apply’d my self to make Bags and Boxes to separate the Powder, and keep it a little and a little in a Parcel, in 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 finish’d this Work in about a Fort night, and I think my Powder, which in all was about 240 l. 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 plac’d it in my new Cave, which in my Fancy I call’d my Kitchin, 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 my self, as to see if I could kill any thing fit for Food, and as near as I could to acquaint
my self with what the Island produc’d. The first time I went out I presently discover’d 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 subtile, and so swift of Foot, that it was the difficultest thing in the World to come at them: But I was not discourag’d at this, not doubting but I might now and then shoot one, as it soon happen’d, for after I had found their Haunts a little, I laid wait in this Manner for them: I observ’d if they saw me in the Valleys, tho’ 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 Opticks, their Sight was so directed downward, that they did not readily see Objects that were above them; so afterward I took this Method, I always clim’d the Rocks first to get above them, and then had frequently a fair Mark. The first shot I made among these Creatures, I kill’d a She-Goat which had a little Kid by her which she gave Suck to, which griev’d me heartily; but 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 carry’d the Old one with me upon my Shoulders, the Kid follow’d me quite to my Enclosure, upon which I laid down the Dam, and took the Kid in my Arms, and carry’d it over my Pale, in hopes to have bred it up tame, but it would not eat, so I was forc’d to kill it and eat it my self; these two supply’d me with Flesh a great while, for I eat sparingly; and sav’d my Provisions (my Bread especially) as much as possibly I could.
Having now fix’d my Habitation, I found it absolutely necessary to provide a Place to make a Fire in, and Fewel to burn; and what I did for that, as also how I enlarg’d my Cave, and what Conveniencies I made, I shall give a full Account of in its Place: But I must first give some little Account of my self, and of my Thoughts about Living, which it may well be suppos’d 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 my self, Why Providence should thus compleatly ruine its Creatures, and render them so absolutely miserable, so without Help abandon’d, so entirely depress’d, that it could hardly be rational to be thankful for such a Life.
But something always return’d swift upon me to check these Thoughts, and to reprove me; and particularly one Day walking with my Gun in my Hand by the Sea-side, I was very pensive upon the Subject of my present Condition, when Reason as it were expostulated with me t’other Way, thus: Well, you are in a desolate Condition ’tis true, but pray remember, Where are the rest of you? Did not you come Eleven of you into the Boat, where are the Ten? Why were not they sav’d and you lost? Why were you singled out? Is it better to be here or there, and then I pointed to the Sea? All
Evills are to be consider’d with the Good that is in them, and with what worse attends them.
Then it occurr’d to me again, how well I was furnish’d for my Subsistence, and what would have been my Case if it had not happen’d, Which was an 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 to have liv’d 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, (tho’ to my self) what should I ha’ done without a Gun, without Ammunition, without any Tools to make any thing, or to work with, without Clothes, Bedding, a Tent, or any manner of Covering, and that now I had all these to a Sufficient Quantity, and was in a fair way to provide my self in such a manner, as to live without my Gun when my Ammunition was spent; so that I had a tollerable View of subsisting without any Want as long as I liv’d; for I consider’d 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 or Strength should decay.
I confess I had not entertain’d any Notion of my Ammunition being destroy’d 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 lighten’d and thunder’d, as I observ’d just now.
And now being 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 Sept. when, in the Manner as above said, I first set Foot upon this horrid Island, when the Sun being, to us, in its Autumnal Equinox, was almost just over my Head, for I reckon’d my self, by Observation, to be in the Latitude of 9 Degrees 22 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 from the working Days; but to prevent this I cut it with my Knife upon a large Post, in Captital Letters, and making it into a great Cross I set it up on the Shore where I first landed, viz. I came on Shore here on the 30th of Sept. 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 Kalander, 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 mention’d, I made to it, I got several things of less Value, but not 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 huddel’d 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 pack’d up among my things; some Portugueze Books also, and among them two
or three Popish Prayer-Books, and several other Books, all which I carefully secur’d. 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 carry’d both the Cats with me, and as for the Dog, he jump’d 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 observ’d before, I found Pen, Ink and Paper, and I husbanded them to the utmost, and I shall shew, 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 amass’d together, and of these, this of Ink was one, as also Spade, Pick-Axe, and Shovel to dig or remove the Earth, Needles, Pins, and Thread; as for Linnen, I soon learn’d 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 finish’d my little Pale or surrounded Habitation: The Piles or Stakes, which were as heavy as I could well lift, were a long time in cutting and preparing in the Woods, and more by far in bringing home, so that I spent some times two Days in cuttting 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 my self of one of the Iron Crows, which however tho’ I found it, yet
it made driving those Posts or Piles very laborious and tedious Work.
But what need I ha’ been concern’d at the Tediousness of any thing 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 Circumstance I was reduc’d to, and I drew up the State of my Affairs in Writing, not so much to leave them to any that were to come after me, for I was like to have but few Heirs, as to deliver my Thoughts from daily poring upon them, and afflicting my Mind; and as my Reason began now to master my Despondency, I began to comfort my self as well as I could, and to set the good against the Evil, that I might have something to distinguish my Case from worse, and I stated it very impartially, like Debtor and Creditor, the Comforts I enjoy’d, against the Miseries I suffer’d, Thus,
I am cast upon a horrible desolate Island, void of all hope of Recovery.
I am singl’d out and separated, as it were, from all the World to be miserable.
I am divided from Mankind, a Solitaire, one banish’d from humane Society.
I have not Clothes to cover me.
I am without any Defence or Means to resist any Violence of Man or Beast.
I have no Soul to speak to, or relieve me.
But I am alive, and not drown’d as all my Ship’s Company was.
But I am singl’d out too from all the Ship’s Crew to be spar’d from Death; and he that miraculously sav’d me from Death, can deliver me from this Condition.
But I am not starv’d and perishing on a barren Place, affording no Sustenance.
But I am in a hot Climate, where if I had Clothes I could hardly wear them.
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 Shipwreck’d there?
But God wonderfully sent the Ship in near enough to the Shore, that I have gotten out so many necessary things as will either supply my Wants, or enable me to supply my self even as long as I live.
Upon the whole, here was an undoubted Testimony, that there was scarce any Condition in the World so miserable, but there was something Negativ or something Positiv 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 our selves from, and to set in the Description of Good and Evil, on the Credit Side of the Accompt.
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 began to apply my self to accommodate my way of Living, and to make things as easy to me as I could.
I have already describ’d 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 rais’d a kind of Wall up against it of Turfs, about two Foot thick on the Out-side, and after some time, I think it was a Year and Half, I rais’d Rafters from it leaning to the Rock, and thatch’d or cover’d it with Bows 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 observ’d how I broughr 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 confus’d Heap of Goods, which as they lay in no Order, so they took up all my Place, I had no room to turn my self; so I set my self to enlarge my Cave and Works farther into the Earth, for it was a loose sandy Rock, which yielded easily to the Labour I bestow’d on it; and so when I found I was pretty safe as to Beasts of Prey, I work’d side-ways to the Right Hand into the Rock, and then turning to the Right again, work’d quite out and made me a Door to come out, on the Out-side of my Pale or Fortification.
This gave me not only Egress and Regress, as it were a back Way to my Tent and to my Store-house, but gave me room to stow my Goods.
And now I began to apply my self to make such necessary things as I found I most wanted, as particularly a Chair and a Table, for without these I was not able to enjoy the few Comforts I had in the World, I could not write, or eat, or do several things with so much Pleasure without a Table.
So I went to work; and here I must needs observe, that as Reason is the Substance and Original
of the Mathematicks, so by stating and squaring every thing by Reason, and by making the most rational Judgment of things, every Man may be in time Master of every mechanick Art. I had never handled a Tool in my Life, and yet in time by Labour, Application, and Contrivance, I found at last that I wanted nothing but I could have made it, especially if I had had Tools; however I made abundance of things, even without Tools, and some with no more Tools than an Adze and a Hatchet, which perhaps were never made that way before, and that with infinite Labour: For Example, If I wanted a Board, I had no other Way but to cut down a Tree, set it on an Edge before me, and hew it flat on either Side with my Axe, till I had brought it to be thin as a Plank, and then dubb 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 employ’d one way as another.
However, I made me a Table and a Chair, as I observ’d 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 Half one over another, all along one Side of my Cave, to lay all my Tools, Nails, and Iron-work, and in a Word, to separate every thing at large in their Places, that I might come easily at them; I knock’d 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 look’d like a general Magazine of all Necessary things, and I had every thing so ready at my Hand, that it was a grear Pleasure to me to see all my Goods in such Order, and especially to find my Stock of all Necessaries so great.
And now it was when I began to keep a Journal of every Days 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 ha’ been full of many dull things: For Example, I must have said thus. Sept. the 30th. After I got to Shore and had escap’d drowning, instead of being thankful to God for my Deliverance, having first vomited with the great Quantity of salt Water which was gotten into my Stomach, and recovering my self 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 tyr’d and faint I was forc’d to lye down on the Ground to repose, but durst not sleep for fear of being devour’d.
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 spy’d a Sail, please my self 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 encrease my Misery by my Folly.
But having gotten over these things in some Measure, and having settled my houshold Stuff 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 (tho’ in it will be told all these Particulars over again) as long as it lasted, for having no more Ink I was forc’d to leave it off.
SEptember 30, 1659. I poor miserable Robinson Crusoe, being shipwreck’d, during a dreadful Storm, in the offing, came on Shore on this dismal unfortunate Island, which I call’d the Island of Despair, all the rest of the Ship’s Company being drown’d, and my self almost dead.
All the rest of that Day I spent in afflicting my self at the dismal Circumstances I was brought to, viz. I had neither Food, House, Clothes, Weapon, or Place to fly to, and in Despair of any Relief, saw nothing but Death before me, either that I should be devour’d by wild Beasts, murther’d by Savages, or starv’d to Death for Want of Food. At the Approach of Night, I slept in a Tree for fear of wild Creatures, but slept soundly tho’ it rain’d 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 sit upright, and not broken to Pieces, I hop’d▪ 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 renew’d my Grief at the Loss of my Comrades, who I imagin’d if we had all staid on board might have sav’d the Ship, or at least that they would not have been all drown’d as they were; and that had the Men been sav’d, 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 my self 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 continu’d raining, tho’ 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 these Days, tho’ 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 recover’d many of them when the Tide was out.
Oct. 25. It rain’d 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 sav’d, that the Rain might not spoil them.
Oct. 26. I walk’d about the Shore almost all Day to find out a place to fix my Habitation, greatly concern’d to secure my self from an Attack in the Night, either from wild Beasts or Men. Towards Night I fix’d upon a proper Place under a Rock, and mark’d out a Semi-Circle for my Encampment, which I resolv’d to strengthen with a Work, Wall, or Fortification made of double Piles, lin’d within with Cables, and without with Turf.
From the 26th. to the 30th. I work’d very hard in carrying all my Goods to my new Habitation,
tho’ some Part of the time it rain’d exceeding hard
The 31st. in the Morning I went out into the Island with my Gun to see for some Food, and discover the Country, when I kill’d a She-Goat, and her Kid follow’d me home, which I afterwards kill’d 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 form’d a Fence round me, a little within the Place I had mark’d out for my Fortification.
Nov. 3. I went out with my Gun and kill’d 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 walk’d out with my Gun for two or three Hours if it did not rain, then employ’d my self to work till about Eleven a-Clock, then eat what I had to live on, and from Twelve to Two I lay down to sleep, the Weather being excessive hot, and then in the Evening to work again: The working Part of this Day and of the next were wholly employ’d in making my Table, for I was yet but a very sorry Workman, tho’ Time and Necessity made me a compleat natural Mechanick soon after, as I believe it would do any one else.
Nov. 5. This Day went abroad with my Gun and my Dog, and kill’d a wild Cat, her Skin pretty soft, but her Flesh good for nothing: Every
Creature I kill’d I took off the Skins and preserv’d them: Coming back by the Sea Shore, I saw many Sorts of Sea Fowls which I did not understand, but was surpris’d and almost frighted with two or three Seals, which, while I was gazing at, not well knowing what they were, got into the Sea and escap’d me for that time.
Nov. 6. After my Morning Walk I went to work with my Table again, and finish’d it, tho’ not to my liking; nor was it long before I learn’d 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 pull’d 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 rain’d, which refresh’d me exceedingly, and cool’d the Earth, but it was accompany’d with terrible Thunder and Lightning, which frighted me dreadfully for fear of my Powder; as soon as it was over, I resolv’d to separate my Stock of Powder into as many little Parcels as possible, that it might not be in Danger.
Nov. 14, 15, 16. These three Days I spent in making little square Chests or Boxes, which might hold about a Pound or two Pound, at most, of Powder, and so putting the Powder in, I stow’d it in Places as secure and remote from one another as possible. On one of these three Days I kill’d a large Bird that was good to eat, but I know not what to call it.
Nov. 17. This Day I began to dig behind my Tent into the Rock to make room for my farther
Conveniency: Note, Two Things I wanted exceedingly for this Work, viz. A Pick-axe, a Shovel, and a Wheel-barrow or Basket, so I desisted from my Work, and began to consider how to supply that Want and make me some Tools; as for a Pick-axe, I made use of the Iron Crows, which were proper enough, tho’ 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 Brasils 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 having no other Way, made me a long while upon this Machine, for I work’d it effectually by little and little into the Form of a Shovel or Spade, the Handle exactly shap’d like ours in England, only that the broad Part having no Iron shod upon it at Bottom, it would not l
t me so long, however it serv’d 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 a making.
I was still deficient, for I wanted a Basket or a Wheel-barrow, a Basket I could not make by any Means, having no such things as Twigs that would bend to make Wicker Ware, at least none yet found out; and as to a Wheel-barrow, I fancy’d 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 Hodd, which the Labourers carry Morter in, when they serve the Bricklayers.
This was not so difficult to me as the making the Shovel; and yet this, and the Shovel, and the Attempt which I made in vain, to make a Wheel-Barrow, took me up no less than four Days, I mean always, excepting my Morning Walk with my Gun, which I seldom fail’d, and very seldom fail’d 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 finish’d, I went on, and working every Day, as my Strength and Time allow’d, I spent eighteen Days entirely in widening and deepening my Cave, that it might hold my Goods commodiously.
Note, During all this Time, I work’d to make this Room or Cave spacious enough to accommodate me as a Warehouse or Magazin, a Kitchen, a Dining-room, and a Cellar; as for my Lodging, I kept to the Tent, except that some Times in the wet Season of the Year, it rain’d so hard, that I could not keep my self 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 Flaggs and large Leaves of Trees like a Thatch.
December 10th, I began now to think my Cave or Vault finished, when on a Sudden, (it seems I had made it too large) a great Quantity of Earth fell down from the Top and one Side, so much, that in short it frighted me, and not without Reason too; for if I had been under it I had never wanted a Grave-Digger: Upon this Disaster I had
a great deal of Work to do over again; for I had the loose Earth to carry out; and which was of more Importance, I had the Seiling 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 pitch’d upright to the Top, with two Pieces of Boards a-cross over each Post, this I finish’d the next Day; and setting more Posts up with Boards, in about a Week more I had the Roof secur’d; and the Posts standing in Rows, serv’d me for Partitions to part of my House.
Dec. 17. From this Day to the Twentieth I plac’d Shelves, and knock’d up Nails on the Posts to hang every Thing up that could be hung up, and now I began to be in some Order within Doors.
Dec. 20. Now I carry’d every Thing 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 pleasanter.
Dec. 27. Kill’d a young Goat, and lam’d another so as that I catch’d it, and led it Home in a String; when I had it Home, I bound and splinter’d up its Leg which was broke, N. B. I took such Care of it, that it liv’d, 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 entertain’d 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. 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 Center of the Island, I found there was plenty of Goats, tho’ exceeding shy and hard to come at, however I resolv’d 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 fac’d 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 attack’d by some Body, I resolv’d to make very thick and strong.
N. B. This Wall being describ’d before, I purposely omit what was said in the Journal; it is sufficient to observe, that I was no less Time than from the 3d of January to the 14th of April, working, finishing, and perfecting this Wall, tho’ it was no more than about 24 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 Center behind it.
All this Time I work’d 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 finish’d; and it is
scarce credible what inexpressible Labour every Thing 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 need to have done.
When this Wall was finished, and the Out-side double fenc’d with a Turff-Wall rais’d up close to it, I perswaded my self, that if any People were to come on Shore there, they would not perceive any Thing like a Habitation; and it was very well I did so, as may be observ’d hereafter upon a very remarkable Occasion.
During this Time, I made my Rounds in the Woods for Game every Day when the Rain admitted me, and made frequent Discoveries in these Walks of something or other to my Advantage; particularly I found a Kind of wild Pidgeons, who built not as Wood Pidgeons in a Tree, but rather as House Pidgeons, in the Holes of the Rocks; and taking some young ones, I endeavoured to bread them up tame, and did so; but when they grew older they flew all away, which perhaps was at first for Want of feeding them, for I had nothing to give them; however I frequently found their Nests, and got their young ones, which were very good Meat.
And now, in the managing my houshold Affairs, I found my self wanting in many Things, which I thought at first it was impossible for me to make, as indeed as to some of them it was; for Instance, I could never make a Cask to be hooped, I had a small Runlet or two, as I observed before, but I cou’d never arrive to the Capacity of making one by them, tho’ I spent many Weeks about it; I could neither put in the Heads, or joint 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 Candle; so that as soon as ever it was dark, which was generally by Seven-a-Clock, I was oblig’d to go to Bed: I remembred the Lump of Bees-wax 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 kill’d a Goat, I sav’d the Tallow, and with a little Dish made of Clay, which I bak’d in the Sun, to which I added a Wick of some Oakum, I made me a Lamp; and this gave me Light, tho’ not a clear steady Light like a Candle; in the Middle of all my Labours it happen’d, that rumaging my Things, I found a little Bag, which, as I hinted before, had been fill’d with Corn for the feeding of Poultry, not for this Voyage, but before, as I suppose, when the Ship came from Lisbon, what little Remainder of Corn had been in the Bag, was all devour’d with 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 mention’d, that I threw this Stuff away, taking no Notice of any Thing, and not so much as remembring that I had thrown any Thing there; when about a Month after, or thereabout, I saw some few Stalks of something green, shooting out of the Ground, which I fancy’d might be some Plant I had not seen, but I was surpriz’d and perfectly astonish’d, 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, or had entertain’d any Sense of any Thing that had befallen me, otherwise than as a Chance, or, as we lightly say, what pleases God; without so much as enquiring into the End of Providence in these Things, or his Order in governing Events in the World: But after I saw Barley grow there, in a Climate which I know was not proper for Corn, and especially that I knew not how it came there, it startl’d me strangely, and I began to suggest, that God had miraculously caus’d this 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 touch’d my Heart a little, and brought Tears out of my Eyes, and I began to bless my self, 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 prov’d to be Stalks of Ryce, 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, but 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 occur’d to my Thoughts, that I had 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; tho’ I ought to have been as thankful for so strange and unforseen Providence, as if it had been miraculous; for it was really the Work of Providence as to me, that should order or appoint, that 10 or 12 Grains of Corn should remuin unspoil’d, (when the Rats had destroy’d all the rest,) as if it had been dropt 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 destroy’d.
I carefully sav’d 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 resolv’d to sow them all again, hoping in Time to have some Quantity sufficient to supply me with Bread; But it was not till the 4th Year that I could allow my self 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 sow’d the first Season, by not observing the proper Time; for I sow’d it just before the dry Season, so that it never came up at all, at least, not as it would ha’ done: Of which in its Place.
Besides this Barley, there was, as above, 20 or 30 Stalks of Ryce, which I preserv’d with the same Care, and whose Use was of the same Kind or to the same Purpose, (viz.) to make me Bread, or rather Food; for I found Ways to cook it up without baking, tho’ I did that also after some Time. But to return to my Journal,
I work’d 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 in the Out-side of my Habitation.
April 16. I finish’d the Ladder, so I went up with the Ladder to the Top, and then pull’d it up after me, and let it down in the In-side: This was a compleat 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 finish’d, I had almost had all my Labour overthrown at once, and my self kill’d, the Case was thus, As I was busy in the Inside of it, behind my Tent, just in 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 crack’d in a frightful Manner; I was heartily scar’d, but thought nothing of what was really the Cause, only thinking that the Top of my Cave was falling in, as some of it had done before; and for Fear I shou’d be bury’d in it, I run foreward to my Ladder, and not thinking my self safe there neither, I got over my Wall for Fear of the Pieces of the Hill which I expected might roll down upon me: I was no sooner stepp’d down upon the firm Ground, but 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 overturn’d the strongest Building that could be suppos’d 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 perceiv’d 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 amaz’d with the Thing it self, having never felt the like, or discours’d with any one that had, that I was like one dead or stupify’d; and the Motion of the Earth made my Stomach sick like one that was toss’d at Sea; but the Noise of the falling of the Rock awak’d me as it were, and rousing me from the stupify’d Condition I was in, fill’d me with Horror, and I thought of nothing then but the Hill falling upon my Tent and all my houshold 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 ha’ Mercy upon me; and when it was over, that went away too.
While I sat thus, I found the Air over-cast, and grow cloudy, as if it would Rain; soon after that the Wind rose 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 cover’d over with Foam and Froth, the Shore was cover’d with the Breach of the Water, the Trees were torn up by the Roots, and a terrible Storm it was; and this held about three Hours, and then began to abate, and in two Hours more it was stark calm, and began to rain very hard.
All this while I sat upon the Ground very much terrify’d and dejected, when on a sudden it came into my thoughts, that these Winds and Rain being the Consequences of the Earthquake, the Earthquake
it self 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 perswade 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 forc’d to go into my Cave, tho’ very much affraid and uneasy for fear it should fall on my Head.
This violent Rain forc’d me to a new Work, viz. To cut a Hole thro’ my new Fortification like a Sink to let the Water go out, which would else have drown’d my Cave. After I had been in my Cave some time, and found still no more Shocks of the Earthquake follow, I began to be more compos’d; 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 continu’d raining all that Night, and great Part of the next Day, so that I could not stir abroad, but my Mind being more compos’d, 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 me some little Hut in an open Place which I might surround with a Wall as I had done here, and so make my self secure from wild Beasts or Men; but concluded, if I staid where I was, I should certainly, one time or other, be bury’d alive.
With these Thoughts I resolv’d 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 swallow’d up alive, made me that I never slept in quiet, and yet the Apprehensions of lying abroad without any Fence was almost equal to it; but still when I look’d about and saw how every thing was put in order, how pleasantly conceal’d I was, and how safe from Danger, it made me very loath to remove.
In the mean time it occur’d to me that it would require a vast deal of time for me to do this, and that I must be contented to run the Venture where I was, till I had form’d a Camp for my self, and had secur’d it so as to remove to it: So with this Resolution I compos’d my self for a time, and resolv’d 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 finish’d, but that I would venture to stay where I was till it was finish’d and fit to remove to. This was the 21st.
April 22. The next Morning I began to consider of Means to put this Resolve in Execution, but I was at a great loss about my Tools; I had three large Axes and abundance of Hatchets, (for we carried the Hatchets for Traffick with the Indians) but with much chopping and cutting knotty hard Wood, they were all full of Notches and dull, and tho’ 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 bestow’d upon a grand Point of Politicks, or a Judge upon the Life and Death of a Man. At length I contriv’d 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, tho’ since I
have observ’d it is very common there; besides that, my Grindstone was very large and heavy. This Machine cost me a full Weeks 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 perceiv’d my Bread had been low a great while, now I took a Survey of it, and reduc’d my self to one Bisket-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 lye on the Shore bigger than ordinary, and it look’d 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 seem’d to lye higher out of the Water than it us’d to do; I examin’d 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 cak’d as hard as a Stone, however I roll’d it farther on Shore for the present, and went on upon the Sands as near as I could to the Wreck of the Ship to look for more.
When I came down to the Ship I found it strangely remov’d, The Fore-castle which lay before bury’d in Sand, was heav’d up at least Six Foot, and the Stern which was broke to Pieces and parted from the rest by the Force of the Sea soon after I had left rummaging her, was toss’d, 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 surpriz’d with this at first, but soon concluded it must be done by the Earthquake, and as by this Violence the Ship was more broken open than formerly, so many Things came daily on Shore, which the Sea had loosen’d, 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 my self mightily that Day especially, in searching whether I could make any Way into the Ship, but I found nothing was to be expected of that Kind, for that all the In-side of the Ship was choack’d up with Sand: However, as I had learn’d not to despair of any Thing, I resolv’d to pull every Thing to Pieces that I could of the Ship, concluding, that every Thing 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 thro’, which I thought held some of the upper Part or Quarter-Deck together, and when I had cut it thro’, I clear’d away the Sand as well as I could from the Side which lay highest; but the Tide coming in, I was oblig’d 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 car’d to eat; all which I dry’d in the Sun, and eat them dry.
May 5. Work’d on the Wreck, cut another Beam asunder, and brought three great Fir Planks off from the Decks, which I ty’d together, and made swim on Shore when the Tide of Flood came on.
May 6. Work’d on the Wreck, got several Iron Bolts out of her, and other Pieces of Iron Work, work’d very hard, and came Home very much tyr’d, and had Thoughts of giving it over.
May 7. Went to the Wreck again, but with an Intent not to work, but found the Weight of the Wreck had broke itself down, the Beams being cut, that several Pieces of the Ship seem’d to lie loose, and the In-side of the Hold lay so open, that I could see into it, but almost full of Water and Sand.
May 8. Went to the Wreck, and carry’d an Iron Crow to wrench up the Deck, which lay now quite clear of the Water or Sand; I wrench’d 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 loosen’d them with the Crow, but could not break them up; I felt also the Roll of English Lead, and could stir it, but it was too heavy to remove.
May 10, 11, 12, 13, 14. Went every Day to the Wreck, and got a great deal of Pieces of Timber, and Boards, or Plank, and 2 or 300 Weight of Iron.
May 15. I carry’d two Hatchets to try if I could not cut a Piece off of 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 blow’d hard in the Night, and the Wreck appear’d more broken by the Force of the Water; but I stay’d so long in the Woods to get Pidgeons for Food, that the Tide prevented me going to the Wreck that Day.
May 17. I saw some Pieces of the Wreck blown on Shore, at a great Distance, near two Miles off me, but resolv’d 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 work’d on the Wreck, and with hard Labour I loosen’d some Things so much with the Crow, that the first blowing Tide several Casks floated out, and two of the Seamens 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 spoil’d it.
I continu’d 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 ebb’d out, and by this Time I had gotten Timber, and Plank, and Iron-Work enough, to have builded a good Boat, if I had known how; and also, I got at several Times, and in several Pieces, near 100 Weight of the Sheet-Lead.
June 16. Going down to the Sea-side, I found a large Tortoise or Turtle; this was the first I had seen, which it seems was only my Misfortune, not any Defect of the Place, or Scarcity; for had I happen’d to be on the other Side of the Island, I might have had Hundreds of them every Day, as I found afterwards; but perhaps had paid dear enough for them.
June 17. I spent in cooking the Turtle; I found in her threescore Eggs; and her Flesh was to me at that Time the most savoury and pleasant that ever I tasted in my Life, having had no Flesh,
but of Goats and Fowls, since I landed in this horrid Place.
June 18. Rain’d all Day, and I stay’d within. I thought at this Time the Rain felt Cold, and I was something chilly, which I knew was not usual in that Latitude.
June 19. Very ill, and shivering, as if the Weather had been cold.
June 20. No Rest all Night, violent Pains in my Head, and feaverish.
June 21. Very ill, frighted almost to Death with the Apprehensions of my sad Condition, to be sick, and no Help: Pray’d to GOD for the first Time since the Storm off of Hull, but scarce knew what I said, or why; my Thoughts being all confused.
June 22. A little better, but under dreadful Apprehensions of Sickness.
June 23. Very bad again, cold and shivering, and then a violent Head-ach.
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 my self very weak; however I kill’d a She-Goat, and with much Difficulty got it Home, and broil’d some of it, and eat; I wou’d fain have stew’d it, and made some Broath, but had no Pot.
June 27. The Ague again so violent, that I lay a-Bed all Day, and neither eat or drank. I was ready to perish for Thirst, but so weak, I had not Strength to stand up, or to get my self any Water to drink: Pray’d 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
cry’d, 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 wak’d, I found my self much refresh’d, but weak, and exceeding thirsty: However, as I had no Water in my whole Habitation, I was forc’d 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 Out-side 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 stepp’d upon the Ground with his Feet, I thought the Earth trembl’d, just as it had done before in the Earthquake, and all the Air look’d, to my Apprehension, as if it had been fill’d 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 remain’d upon my Mind when I awak’d and found it was but a Dream.
I had alas! no divine Knowledge; what I had received by the good Instruction of my Father was then worn out by an uninterrupted Series, for 8 Years, of Seafaring Wickedness, and a constant Conversation with nothing but such as were like my self, wicked and prophane 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 toward 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 overwhelm’d me, and I was all that the most hardned, 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 Deliverances.
In the relating what is already past of my Story, this will be the more easily believ’d, when I shall add, that thro’ 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 desart 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 whether 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 meerly thoughtless of a God, or a Providence; acted like a meer Brute from the Principles of Nature, and by the Dictates of common Sense only, and indeed hardly that.
When I was deliver’d and taken up at Sea by the Portugal Captain, well us’d, and dealt justly and honourably with, as well as charitably, I had not the least Thankfulness on my Thoughts: When again I was shipwreck’d, ruin’d, 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 my self 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 drown’d, and my self spar’d, I was surpriz’d with a Kind of Extasie, and some Transports of Soul, which, had the Grace of God assisted, might have come up to true Thankfulness; but it ended where it begun, in a meer common Flight of Joy, or as I may say, being glad I was alive, without the least Reflection upon the distinguishing Goodness of the Hand which had preserv’d me, and had singled me out to be preserv’d, when all the rest were destroy’d; or an Enquiry why Providence had been thus merciful to 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 humane 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 begun to be very easy, apply’d my self 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 enter’d into 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 remov’d, all the Impression which was rais’d from it, wore off also, as I have noted already.
Even the Earthquake, tho’ 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 Burthen of a strong Distemper, and Nature was exhausted with the Violence of the Feaver; Conscience that had slept so long, begun to awake, and I began to reproach my self with my past Life, in which I had so evidently, by uncommon Wickedness, provok’d the Justice of God to lay me under uncommon Strokes, and to deal with me in so vindictive a Manner.
These Reflections oppress’d me for the second or third Day of my Distemper, and in the Violence, as well of the Feaver, as of the dreadful Reproaches of my Conscience, extorted some Words from me, like praying to God, tho’ I cannot say they were either a Prayer attended with Desires or with Hopes; it was rather the Voice of meer Fright and Distress; my Thoughts were confus’d, the
Convictions great upon my Mind, and the Horror of dying in such a miserable Condition rais’d Vapours into my Head with the meer Apprehensions; and in these Hurries of my Soul, I know 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 mention’d 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 my self, or 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 refus’d their Help and Assistance who wou’d have lifted me into the World, and wou’d have made every Thing 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 cry’d 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 I return to my Journal.
June 28. Having been somewhat refresh’d with the Sleep I had had, and the Fit being entirely off, I got up; and tho’ the Fright and Terror of my Dream was very great, yet I consider’d, that the Fit of the Ague wou’d return again the next Day, and now was my Time to get something to refresh and support my self when I should be ill; and the first Thing I did, I fill’d 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 a guish Disposition of the Water, I put about a Quarter of a Pint of Rum into it, and mix’d them together; then I got me a Piece of the Goat’s Flesh, and broil’d it on the Coals, but could eat very little; I walk’d about, but was very weak, and withal very sad and heavy-hearted in the 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 eat, as we call it, in the Shell; and this was the first Bit of Meat I had ever ask’d God’s Blessing to, even as I cou’d remember, in my whole Life.
After I had eaten, I try’d to walk, but found my self so weak, that I cou’d hardly carry the 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 produc’d, and what am I, and all the other Creatures, wild and tame, humane and brutal, whence are we?
Sure we are all made by some secret Power, who form’d the Earth and Sea, rhe Air and Sky; and who is that?
Then it follow’d most naturally, It is God that has made it 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 befal me.
Nothing occurr’d 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 befal me; that I was brought to this miserable Circumstance by his Direction, he having the sole Power, not of me only, but of every Thing that happen’d in the World. Immediately it follow’d,
Why has God done this to me? What have I done to be thus us’d?
My Conscience presently check’d me in that Enquiry, as if I had blasphem’d, and methought it spoke to me like a Voice; WRETCH! dost thou ask what thou hast done! look back upon a dreadful mis-spent Life, and ask thy self what thou hast not done? ask, Why is it that thou wert not long ago destroy’d? Why wert thou not drown’d in Yarmouth Roads? Kill’d in the Fight when the Ship was taken by the Sallee Man of War? Devour’d by the wild Beasts
on the Coast of Africa? Or, Drown’d HERE, when all the Crew perish’d but thy self? Dost thou ask, What have I done?
I was struck dumb with these Reflections, as one astonish’d, and had not a Word to say, no not to answer to my self, but rise up pensive and sad, walk’d back to my Retreat, and went up over my Wall, as if I had been going to Bed, but my Thoughts were sadly disturb’d, 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 terrify’d me very much, it occurr’d to my Thought, that the Brasilians take no Physick 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 cur’d, and some also that was green and not quite cur’d.
I went, directed by Heaven no doubt; for in this Chest I found a Cure, both for Soul and Body, I open’d the Chest, and found what I look’d for, viz. the Tobacco; and as the few Books, I had sav’d, lay there too, I took out one of the Bibles which I mention’d before, and which to this Time I had not found Leisure, or so much as Inclination to look into; I say, I took it out, and brought both that and the Tobacco with me to the Table.
What Use to make of the Tobacco, I knew not, as to my Distemper, or whether it was good for it or no; but I try’d several Experiments with it, as if I was resolv’d it should hit one Way or other: I first took a Piece of a Leaf, and chew’d it in my Mouth, which indeed at first almost stupify’d my Brain, the Tobacco being green and strong, and that I had not been much us’d to it; then I took some and steeped it an Hour or two in some Rum, and resolv’d 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 disturb’d with the Tobacco to bear reading, at least that Time; only having open’d the Book casually, the first Words that occurr’d to me were these, Call on me in the Day of Trouble, and I will deliver, and thou shalt glorify me.
The Words were very apt to my Case, and made some Impression upon my Thoughts at the Time of reading them, tho’ not so much as they did afterwards; for as for being deliver’d, 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 promis’d 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 Hope appear’d, this prevail’d 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, doz’d my Head so much, that I inclin’d to sleep; so I left my Lamp burning in the Cave, least I should want any Thing in the Night, and went to Bed; but before I lay down, I did what I never had done in all my Life, I kneel’d down and pray’d to God to fulfil the Promise to me, that if I call’d upon him in the Day of Trouble, he would deliver me; after my broken and imperfect Prayer was over, I drunk the Rum in which I had steep’d the Tobacco, which was so strong and rank of rhe Tobacco, that indeed I could scarce get it down; immediately
upon this I went to Bed, I found presently it flew up in my Head violently, but I fell into a sound Sleep, and wak’d no more ’till by the Sun it must necessarily be near Three a-Clock in the Afternoon the next Day; nay, to this Hour, I’m partly of the Opinion, that I slept all the next Day and Night, and ’till almost Three that Day after; for otherwise I knew not how I should lose a Day out of my Reckoning in the Days of the Week, as it appear’d some Years after I had done: for if I had lost it by crossing and re-crossing the Line, I should have lost more than one Day: But certainly I lost a Day in my Accompt, and never knew which Way.
Be that however one Way or th’ other, when I awak’d I found my self exceedingly refresh’d, and my Spirits lively and chearful; 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 continu’d much alter’d 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 kill’d a Sea Fowl or two, something like a brand Goose, and brought them Home, but was not very forward to eat them; so I ate some more of the Turtle’s Eggs, which were very good This Evening I renew’d the Medicine which I had suppos’d did me good the Day before, viz. the Tobacco steep’d 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 hop’d I shou’d have been; for I had a little Spice of the cold Fit, but it was not much.
July 2. I renew’d the Medicine all the three Ways, and doz’d my self with it as at first; and doubled the Quantity which I drank.
3. I miss’d the Fit for good and all, tho’ I did not recover my full Strength for some Weeks after; while I was thus gathering Strength, my Thoughts run exceedingly upon this Scripture, I will deliver thee, and the Impossibility of my Deliverance lay much upon my Mind in Barr of my ever expecting it: But as I was discouraging my self with such Thoughts, it occurr’d to my Mind, that I pored so much upon my Deliverance from the main Affliction, that I disregarded the Deliverance I had receiv’d; and I was, as it were, made to ask my self such Questions as these, viz. Have I not been deliver’d, and wonderfully too, from Sickness? from the most distress’d Condition that could be, and that was so frightful to me, and what Notice I had taken of it: Had I done my Part, God had deliver’d me, but I had not glorify’d him; that is to say, I had not own’d and been thankful for that as a Deliverance, and how cou’d I expect greater Deliverance?
This touch’d my Heart very much, and immediately I kneeel’d 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 impos’d upon my self to read a while every Morning and every Night, not tying my self to the Number of Chapters, but as long as my Thoughts shou’d engage me: It was not long after I set seriously to this Work, but I found my Heart more deeply and sincerely affected with the Wickedness of my past Life: The Impression of my Dream reviv’d, and the Words, All these Things have not brought thee to Repentance, ran seriously in my Thought: I was earnestly begging of God to give me Repentance, when it happen’d providentially the very Day that reading the Scriture,
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 Extasy of Joy, I cry’d out aloud, Jesus, thou Son of David, Jesus, thou exalted Prince and Saviour, give me Repentance!
This was the first Time that I could say, in the true Sense of the Words, that I pray’d in all my Life; for now I pray’d with a Sense of my Condition, and with a true Scripture View of Hope founded on the Encouragement of the Word of God; and from this Time, I may say, I began to have Hope that God would hear me.
Now I began to construe the Words mentioned above, Call on me, and I will deliver you, in a different Sense from what I had ever done before; for then I had no Notion of any thing being call’d Deliverance, but my being deliver’d from the Captivity I was in; for tho’ I was indeed at large in the Place, yet the Island was certainly a Prison to me, and that in the worst Sense in the World; but now I learn’d to take it in another Sense: Now I look’d back upon my past Life with such Horrour, and my Sins appear’d 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 deliver’d 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, that Deliverance from Affliction.
But leaving this Part, I return to my Journal.
My Condition began now to be, tho’ 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, as my Health and Strength returned, I bestirr’d my self to furnish my self with every thing 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 employ’d 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 imagin’d, how low I was, and to what Weakness I was reduc’d. The Application which I made Use of was perfectly new, and perhaps what had never cur’d an Ague before, neither can I recommend it to any one to practise, by this Experiment; and tho’ 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 learn’d 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 always most accompany’d with such Storms, so I found that Rain was much more dangerous than the Rain which fell in September and October.
I had been now in this unhappy Island above 10 Months, all Possibility of Deliverance from this Condition, seem’d to be entirely taken from me; and I firmly believed, that no humane Shape had ever set Foot upon that Place: Having now secur’d
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 the 15th of July that I began to take a more particular Survey of the Island it self: 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, and very fresh and good; but this being the dry Season, there was hardly any Water in some Parrs of it, at least, not enough to run in any Stream, so as it could be perceiv’d.
On the Bank of this Brook I found many pleasant Savana’s, or Meadows; plain, smooth, and cover’d with Grass; and on the rising Parts of them next to the higher Grounds, where the Water, as it might be supposed, never overflow’d, 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, and might perhaps have Vertues 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 Alloes, but did not then understand them. I saw several Sugar Canes, but wild, and for want of Cultivation, imperfect. I contented my self with these Discoveries for this Time, and came back musing with my self what Course I might take to know the Vertue 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 Brasils, that I knew little
of the Plants in the Field, at least very little that might serve me to any Purpose now in my Distress.
The next Day, the 16th, I went up the same Way again, and after going something farther than I had gone the Day before, I found the Brook, and the Savana’s began to cease, and the Country became more woody than before; in this Part I found different Fruits, and particularly I found Mellons 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 warn’d by my Experience to eat sparingly of them, remembring, that when I was ashore in Barbary, the eating of Grapes kill’d several of our English Men who were Slaves there, by throwing them into Fluxes and Feavers: But I found an excellent Use for these Grapes, and that was to cure or dry them in the Sun, and keep them as dry’d Grapes or Raisins are kept, which I thought would be, as indeed they were, as wholesom as agreeable to eat, when no Grapes might be to be had.
I spent all that Evening there, and went not back to my Habitation, which by the Way was the first Night, as I might say, I had lain from Home. In the Night I took my first Contrivance, and got up into a Tree, where I slept well, and the next Morning proceeded upon my Discovery, travelling near 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 seem’d to descend to the
West, and a litrle Spring of fresh Water which issued out of the Side of the Hill by me, run the other Way, that is due East; and the Country appear’d so fresh, so green, so flourishing, every thing 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, (tho’ mixt with my other afflicting Thoughts) to think that this was all my own, that I was King and Lord of all this Country indefeasibly, and had a Right of Possession; and if I could convey it, I might have it in Inheritance, as compleatly as any Lord of a Mannor in England. I saw here Abundance of Cocoa Trees, Orange, and Lemmon, 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 mix’d 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 resolv’d to lay up a Store, as well of Grapes, as Limes and Lemons, to furnish my self for the wet Season, which I knew was approaching.
In Order to this, I gather’d a great Heap of Grapes in one Place, and 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 travell’d homeward, and resolv’d 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 spoil’d, the Richness of the Fruits, and the Weight of the Juice having broken them, and bruis’d 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 19th, I went back, having made me two small Bags to bring Home my Harvest: But I was surpriz’d, when coming to my Heap of Grapes, which were so rich and fine when I gather’d them, I found them all spread about, trod to Pieces, and dragg’d about, some here, some there, and Abundance eaten and devour’d: 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 there was no laying them up on Heaps, and no carrying them away in a Sack, but that one Way they would be destroy’d, and the other Way they would be crush’d with their own Weight. I took another Course; for I gather’d a large Quantity of the Grapes, and hung them up upon the out Branches of the Trees, that they might cure and dry in the Sun; and as for the Limes and Lemons, I carry’d 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 Scituation, the Security from Storms on that Side the Water, and the Wood, and concluded, that I had pitch’d upon a Place to fix my Abode, which was by far the worst Part of the Country. Upon the Whole I began to consider of removing my Habitation; and to look out for a Place equally safe, as where I now was scituate, if possible, in that pleasant fruitful Part of the Island.
This Thought run 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, and to consider that I was now by the Sea-Side, 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 tho’ it was scarce probable that any such Thing should ever happen, yet to enclose my self among the Hills and Woods, in the Center of the Island, was to anticipate my Bondage, and to rend such an Affair not only Improbable, but Impossible; and that therefore I ought not by any Means to remove.
However, I was so Enamour’d of this Place, that I spent much of my Time there, for the whole remaining Part of the Month of July; and tho’ upon second Thoughts I resolv’d as above, not to remove, yet I built me a little kind of a Bower, and surrounded it at a Distance with a strong Fence, being a double Hedge, as high as I could reach, well stak’d, and fill’d between with Brushwood; and here I lay very secure, sometimes two or three Nights together, always going over it with a Ladder, as before; so that I fancy’d 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 finish’d my Fence, and began to enjoy my Labour, but the Rains came on, and made me stick close to my first Habitation; for tho’ 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 finish’d my Bower, and began to enjoy my self. The third of August, I found the Grapes I had hung up were perfectly dry’d, 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 follow’d would have spoil’d 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 carry’d most of them Home to my Cave, but it began to rain, and from hence, which was the fourteenth of August, it rain’d 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 surpriz’d with the Increase of my Family; I had been concern’d for the Loss of one of my Cats, who run away from me, or as I thought had been dead, and I heard no more Tale or 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 tho’ I had kill’d a wild Cat, as I call’d it, with my Gun; yet I thought it was a quite differing Kind from our European Cats; yet the young Cats were the same Kind of House breed like 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 pester’d with Cats, that I was forc’d to kill them like Vermine, or wild Beasts, and to drive them from my House as much as possible.
From the fourteenth of August to the twenty sixth, 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 straitned for Food, but
venturing out twice, I one Day kill’d a Goat, and the last Day, which was the twenty sixth, found a very large Tortoise, which was a Treat to me, and my Food was regulated thus; I eat a Bunch of Raisins for my Breakfast, a Piece of the Goat’s Flesh, or of the Turtle for my Dinner broil’d; for to my great Misfortune, I had no Vessel to boil or stew any Thing; and two or three of the Turtle’s Eggs for my Supper.
During this Confinement in my Cover, by the Rain, I work’d daily two or three Hours at enlarging my Cave, and by Degrees work’d it on towards one Side, till I came to the Out-Side 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 manag’d my self before, I was in a perfect Enclosure, whereas now I thought I lay expos’d, and open for any Thing 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.
September the thirtieth, 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 to Religious Exercise, prostrating my self 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 having not tasted the least Refreshment for twelve Hours, even till the going down of the Sun, I then eat a Bisket Cake, and a Bunch of Grapes, and went to Bed, finishing the Day as I began it.
I had all this Time observ’d 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 my self 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 learn’d to divide them so, as to provide for them accordingly. But I bought all my Experience before I had it; and this I am going to relate, was one of the most discouraging Experiments that I made at all: I have mention’d that I had sav’d the few Ears of Barley and Rice, which I had so surprizingly found spring up, as I thought, of themselves, and believe there was 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 sow’d my Grain; but as I was sowing, it casually occur’d 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 sow’d about two Thirds of the Seed, leaving about a Handful of each.
It was a great Comfort to me afterwards, that I did so, for not one Grain of that I sow’d this Time came to any Thing; 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 imagin’d was by the Drought, I sought for a moister Peice of Ground to make another Trial in, and I dug up a Piece of Ground near my new Bower, and sow’d 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 surpriz’d, and yet very well pleas’d, to see the young Trees grow; and I prun’d 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 cover’d it; and it was a compleat 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 Semicircle 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 afterward serv’d for a Defence also, as I shall observe in its Order.
I found now, That the Seasons of the Year might generally be divided, not into Summer and Winter, as in Europe; but into the Rainy Seasons, and the Dry Seasons, which were generally thus,
Half February, Rainy, the Sun being then on, or near the Equinox.
March, Rainy, the Sun being then on, or near the Equinox.
Half April, Rainy, the Sun being then on, or near the Equinox.
Half April, Dry, the Sun being then to the North of the Line.
May, Dry, the Sun being then to the North of the Line.
June, Dry, the Sun being then to the North of the Line.
July, Dry, the Sun being then to the North of the Line.
Half August, Dry, the Sun being then to the North of the Line.
Half August, Rainy, the Sun being then come back.
September, Rainy, the Sun being then come back.
Half October, Rainy, the Sun being then come back.
Half October, Dry, the Sun being then to the South of the Line.
November, Dry, the Sun being then to the South of the Line.
December, Dry, the Sun being then to the South of the Line.
January, Dry, the Sun being then to the South of the Line.
Half February, Dry, the Sun being then to the South of the Line.
The Rainy Season sometimes held longer or shorter, as the Winds happen’d to blow; but this was the general Observation I made: After I had found by Experience, the ill Consequence of being abroad in the Rain. I took Care to furnish my self with Provisions before hand, that I might not be oblig’d 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 of many Things which I had no way to furnish my self with, but by hard Labour and constant Application; particularly, I try’d many Ways to make my self a Basket, but all the Twigs I could get for the Purpose prov’d so brittle, that they would do nothing. It prov’d of excellent Advantage to me now, That when I was a Boy, I used to take great Delight in standing at a Basket-makers, in the Town where my Father liv’d, to see them make their Wicker-ware; and being as Boys usually are, very officious to help, and a great Observer of the Manner how they work’d those Things, and sometimes lending a Hand, I had by this Means full Knowledge of the Methods of it, that I wanted nothing but the Materials; when it came into my Mind, That the Twigs of that Tree from whence I cut my Stakes that grew,
might possibly be as tough as the Sallows, and Willows, and Osiers in England, and I resolv’d to try.
Accordingly the next Day, I went to my Country-House, as I call’d 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 prepar’d 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 carry’d them to my Cave, and here during the next Season, I employ’d my self in making, as well as I could, a great many Baskets, both to carry Earth, or to carry or lay up any Thing as I had occasion; and tho’ I did not finish them very handsomly, yet I made them sufficiently serviceable for my Purpose; and thus afterwards I took Care never to be without them; and as my Wicker-ware decay’d, I made more, especially, I made strong deep Baskets to place my Corn in, instead of Sacks, when I should come to have any Quantity of it.
Having master’d this Difficulty, and employ’d a World of Time about it, I bestirr’d my self to see if possible how to supply two Wants: I had no Vessels to hold any Thing that was Liquid, except two Runlets which were almost full of Rum, and some Glass-Bottles, some of the common Size, and others which were Case-Bottles-Square, for the holding of Waters, Spirits, &c. I had not so much as a Pot to boil any Thing, except a great Kettle, which I sav’d out of the Ship, and which was too big for such Use as I desir’d it, viz. To make Broth, and stew a Bit of Meat by it self. The Second Thing I would fain 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 employ’d my self 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 imagin’d I could spare.
I mention’d before, That I had a great Mind to see the whole Island, and that I had travell’d 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 resolv’d to travel quite Cross 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 Bisket Cakes, and a great Bunch of Raisins in my Pouch for my Store, I began my Journey; when I had pass’d 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 descry’d Land, whether an Island or a Continent, I could not tell; but it lay very high, extending from the West, to the W. S. W. at a very great Distance; by my Guess it could not be less than Fifteen or Twenty Leagues of.
I could not tell what Part of the World this might be, otherwise than that I know it must be Part of America, and as I concluded by all my Observations, must be near the Spanish Dominions, and perhaps was all Inhabited by Savages, where if I should have landed, I had been in a worse Condition than I was now; and therefore I acquiesced in the Dispositions of Providence, which I began now to own, and to believe, order’d every Thing for the best; I say, I quieted my Mind with this, and left afflicting my self with Fruitless Wishes of being there.
Besides, after some Pause upon this Affair, I consider’d, that if this Land was the Spanish Coast, I should certainly, one Time or other, see some Vessel pass or re-pass one Way or other; but if not, then it was the Savage Coast between the Spanish Country and Brasils, which are indeed the worst of Savages; for they are Cannibals, or Men-eaters, and fail not to murther and devour all the humane Bodies that fall into their Hands.
With these Considerations I walk’d very leisurely forward, I found that Side of the Island where I now was, much pleasanter than mine, the open or Savanna Fields sweet, adorn’d 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 Pains taking, catch a young Parrot, for I knock’d it down with a Stick, and having recover’d it, I brought it home; but it was some Years before I could make him speak: However, at last I taught him to call me by my Name very familiarly: But the Accident that follow’d, tho’ it be a Trifle, will be very diverting in its Place.
I was exceedingly diverted with this Journey: I found in the low Grounds Hares, as I thought them to be, and Foxes, but they differ’d greatly from all the other Kinds I had met with; nor could I satisfy my self to eat them, tho’ I kill’d several: But I had no Need to be ventrous; for I had no Want of Food, and of that which was very good too; especially these three Sorts, viz. Goats, Pidgeons, and Turtle or Tortoise; which, added to my Grapes, Leaden-hall Market could not have furnish’d a Table better than I, in Proportion to the Company; and tho’ my Case was deplorable enough, yet I had great Cause for Thankfulness,
that I was not driven to any Extremities for Food; but rather Plenty, even to Dainties.
I never travell’d in this Journey above two Miles outright in a Day, or thereabouts; but I took so many Turns and Returns, to see what Discoveries I could make, that I came weary enough to the Place where I resolv’d to sit down for all Night; and then I either repos’d my self in a Tree, or surrounded my self 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 surpriz’d to see that I had taken up my Lot on the worst Side of the Island; for here indeed the Shore was cover’d with innumerable Turtles, whereas on the other Side I had found but three in a Year and half. Here was also an infinite Number of Fowls, of many Kinds, some which I had seen, and some which I had not seen of before, and many of them very good Meat; but such as I knew not the Names of, except those call’d Penguins.
I could have shot as many as I pleas’d, 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 Hill.
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 fix’d in my Habitation, it became natural to me, and I seem’d all the while I was here, to be as it were upon a Journey, and from Home: However, I travell’d along
the Shore of the Sea, towards the East, I suppose about twelve Miles; and then setting up a great Pole upon the Shore for a Mark, I concluded I would go Home again; and that the next Journey I took should be on the other Side of the Island, East from my Dwelling, and so round till I came to my Post again: Of which in its Place.
I took another Way to come back than that I went, thinking I could easily keep all the Island so much in my View, that I could not miss finding my first Dwelling by viewing the Country; but I found my self mistaken; for being come about two or three Miles, I found my self descended into a very large Valley; but so surrounded with Hills, and those Hills cover’d 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 happen’d to my farther Misfortune, That the Weather prov’d hazey for three or four Days, while I was in this Valley; and not being able to see the Sun, I wander’d about very uncomfortably, and at last was oblig’d to find out the Sea Side, look for my Post, and come back the same Way I went; and then by easy Journies I turn’d Homeward, the Weather being exceeding hot, and my Gun, Ammunition, Hatchet, and other Things very heavy.
In this Journey my Dog surpriz’d a young Kid, and seiz’d upon it, and I running in to take hold of it, caught it, and sav’d 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 to this little Creature, and with a String which I made of some Rope-Yarn, which I always carry’d about me, I led him along, tho’ with some Difficulty, till I came to my Bower, and there I enclos’d 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 lye down in my Hamock-Bed: This little wandring Journey, without settled Place of Abode, had been so unpleasant to me, that my own House, as I call’d it to my self, was a perfect Settlement to me, compar’d to that; and it rendred every Thing about me so comfortable, that I resolv’d I would never go a great Way from it again, while it should be my Lot to stay on the Island.
I repos’d my self here a Week, to rest and regale my self 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 meer Domestick, and to be mighty well acquainted with me. Then I began to think of the poor Kid, which I had penn’d in within my little Circle, and resolv’d 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 almost starv’d for want of Food: I went and cut Bows of Trees, and Branches of such Shrubs as I could find, and threw it over, and having fed it, I ty’d it as I did before, to lead it away; but it was so tame with being hungry, that I had no need to have ty’d it; for it follow’d 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 Domesticks also, and would never leave me afterwards.
The rainy Season of the Autumnal Equinox was now come, and I kept the 30th of Sept. 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 deliver’d, 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 pleas’d to discover to me, even that it was possible I might be more happy in this Solitary Condition, than I should have been in a Liberty of Society, and in all the Pleasures of the World. That he could fully make up to me, the Deficiencies of my Solitary State, and the want of Humane 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 chang’d both my Sorrows and my Joys; my very Desires alter’d, my Affections chang’d 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 walk’d 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 Desarts I was in; and how I was a Prisoner lock’d up with the Eternal Bars and Bolts of the
Ocean, in an uninhabited Wilderness, without Redemption: In the midst of the greatest Composures of my Mind, this would break out upon me like a Storm, and make me wring my Hands, and weep like a Child: Sometimes it would take me in the middle of my Work, and I would immediately sit down and sigh, and look upon the Ground for an Hour or two together; and this was still worse to me; for if I could burst out into Tears, or vent my self by Words, it would go off, and the Grief having exhausted it self would abate.
But now I began to exercise my self with new Thoughts; I daily read the Word of God, and apply’d all the Comforts of it to my present State: One Morning being very sad, I open’d the Bible upon these Words, I will never, never leave thee, nor forsake thee; immediately it occurr’d, 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 wou’d 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 shock’d my Mind at that Thought, and I durst not speak the Words: How canst thou be sueh a Hypocrite,
(said I, even audibly) to pretend to be thankful for a Condition, which however thou may’st endeavour to be contented with, thou would’st rather pray heartily to be deliver’d from; so I stopp’d there: But though I could not say, I thank’d 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 open’d the Bible, or shut it, but my very Soul within me, bless’d 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 tho’ I have not given the Reader the Trouble of so particular Account of my Works this Year as the first; yet in General it may be observ’d, 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, curing, preserving, and cooking what I had kill’d or catch’d for my Supply; these took up great Part of the Day; also it is to be considered that 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 suppos’d to work in; with this Exception, That sometimes I chang’d 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 allow’d 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; every Thing I did, took up out of my Time: For Example, I was full two and forty Days making me a Board for a long Shelf, which I wanted in my Cave; whereas two Sawyers with their Tools, and a Saw-Pit, would have cut six of them out of the same Tree in half a Day.
My Case was this, It was to be a large Tree, which was to be cut down, because my Board was to be a broad one. This Tree I was three Days a cutting down, and two more cutting off the Bows, and reducing it to a Log, or Piece of Timber. With inexpressible hacking and hewing I reduc’d both the Sides of it into Chips, till it begun to be light enough to move; than I turn’d it, and made one Side of it smooth, and flat, as a Board from End to End; then turning that Side downward, cut the other Side, till I brought the Plank to be about three Inches thick, and smooth on both Sides. Any one may judge the Labour of my Hands in such a Piece of Work; but Labour and Patience carry’d me through that and many other Things: I only observe this in Particular, to shew, 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 requir’d a prodigious Time to do alone, and by hand.
But notwithstanding this, with Patience and Labour I went through many Things; and indeed every Thing 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 manur’d or dug up for them was not great; for as I observ’d, 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 promis’d 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 scarce possible to keep from it; as First, The Goats, and wild Creatures which I call’d 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 requir’d Speed. However, as my Arable Land was but small, suited to my Crop, I got it totally well fenc’d, in about three Weeks Time; and shooting some of the Creatures in the Day Time, I set my Dog to guard it in the Night, tying him up to a Stake at the Gate, where he would stand and bark all Night long; so in a little Time the Enemies forsook the Place, and the Corn grew very strong, and well, and began to ripen apace.
But as the Beasts ruined me before, while my Corn was in the Blade; so the Birds were as likely to ruin me now, when it was in the Ear; for going along by the Place to see how it throve, I saw my little Crop surrounded with Fowls of I know not how many sorts, who stood as it were watching till I should be gone: I immediately let fly among them (for I always had my Gun with me) I had no sooner shot but there rose up a a little
Cloud of Fowls, which I had not seen at all, from among the Corn it self.
This touch’d me sensibly, for I foresaw, that in a few Days they would devour all my Hopes, that I should be starv’d, and never be able to raise a Crop at all, and what to do I could not tell: However I resolv’d not to loose my Corn, if possible, tho’ 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 spoil’d 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 like to be a good Crop if it could be sav’d.
I staid 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 walk’d off as if I was gone, I was no sooner out of their sight, but they dropt down one by one into the Corn again. I was so provok’d that I could not have Patience to stay till more came on, knowing that every Grain that they eat now, was, as it might be said, a Peck-loaf to me in the Consequence; but coming up to the Hedge, I fir’d again, and kill’d three of them. This was what I wish’d for; so I took them up, and serv’d them as we serve notorious Thieves in England, (viz.) Hang’d them in Chains for a Terror to others; it is impossible to imagine almost, that this should have such an Effect, as it had; for the Fowls wou’d 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 Scare-Crows 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 reap’d my Crop.
I was sadly put to it for a Scythe or a Sicle to cut it down, and all I could do was to make one as well as I could out of one of the Broad Swords or Cutlasses, which I sav’d 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 reap’d it my Way, for I cut nothing off but the Ears, and carry’d it away in a great Basket which I had made, and so rubb’d 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 above two Bushels and half of Barley, that is to say, by my Guess, for I had no Measure at that time.
However, this was a great Encouragement to me, and I foresaw that in time, it wou’d please God to supply me with Bread: And yet here I was perplex’d 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 resolv’d not to taste any of this Crop but to preserve it all for Seed against the next Season, and in the mean time to employ all my Study and Hours of Working to accomplish this great Work of Providing my self with Corn and Bread.
It might be truly said, that now I work’d for my Bread; ’tis a little wonderful, and what I believe few People have thought much upon, (viz.) the strange multitude of little Things necessary in the
Providing, Producing, Curing, Dressing, Making and Finishing this one Article of Bread.
I that was reduced to a meer State of Nature, found this to my daily Discouragement, and was made more and more sensible of it every Hour, even after I had got the first Handful of Seed-Corn, which, as I have said, came up unexpectedly, and indeed to a surprize.
First, I had no Plow to turn up the Earth, no Spade or Shovel to dig it. Well, this I conquer’d, by making a wooden Spade, as I observ’d before; but this did my Work in but a wooden manner, and tho’ it cost me a great many Days to make it, yet for want of Iron it not only wore out the sooner, but made my Work the harder,, and made it be perform’d 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 sow’d, I had no Harrow, but was forced to go over it my self and drag a great heavy Bough of a Tree over it, to Scratch it, as it may be call’d, rather than Rake or Harrow it.
When it was growing and grown, I have observ’d 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, and yet all these things I did without, as shall be observ’d; and yet the Corn was an inestimable Comfort and Advantage to me too. All this, as I said, made every thing 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 resolv’d to use none of the Corn for Bread till I had a greater Quantity by me, I had the next six Months to apply my self wholly by Labour and Invention to furnish my self with Utensils proper for the performing all the Operations necessary for the making the Corn (when I had it) fit for my use.
But first, I was to prepare more Land, for I had now Seed enough to sow above an Acre of Ground. Before I did this, I had a Weeks-work at least to make me a Spade, which when it was done was but a sorry one indeed, and very heavy, and requir’d double Labour to work with it; however I went thro’ that, and sow’d my Seed in two large flat Pieces of Ground, as near my House as I could find them to my Mind, and fenc’d them in with a good Hedge, the Stakes of which were all cut of that Wood which I had set before, and knew it would grow, so that in one Year’s time I knew I should have a Quick or Living-Hedge, that would want but little Repair. This Work was not so little as to take me up less than three Months, because great Part of that time was of 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 on the following Occasions; always observing, that all the while I was at work I diverted my self with talking to my Parrot, and teaching him to Speak, and I quickly learn’d him to know his own Name, and at last to speak it out pretty loud POLL, which was the first Word I ever heard spoken in the Island by any Mouth but my own. This therefore was not my Work, but an assistant to my Work, for now, as I said, I had a great Employment upon my Hands, as follows, (viz.) I had
long study’d by some Means or other, to make my self 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 such Clay, I might botch up some such Pot, as might, being dry’d in the Sun, be hard enough, and strong enough to bear handling, and to hold any Thing that was dry, and requir’d to be kept so; and as this was necessary in the preparing Corn, Meal, &c. which was the Thing I was upon, I resolv’d to make some as large as I could, and fit only to stand like Jarrs 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 mishapen 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 crack’d 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 dry’d; and in a word, how after having labour’d 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 Jarrs, in about two Months Labour.
However, as the Sun bak’d 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 stuff’d 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.
Tho’ 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 turn’d to, and the Heat of the Sun bak’d them strangely 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 happen’d 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 Earthen-ware Vessels in the Fire, burnt as hard as a Stone, and red as a Tile. I was agreeably suppris’d to see it, and said to my self, that certainly they might be made to burn whole if they would burn broken.
This set me to studying how to order my Fire, so as to make it burn me some Pots. I had no Notion of a Kiln, such as the Potters burn in, or of glazing them with Lead, tho’ I had some Lead to do it with; but I plac’d three large Pipkins, and two or three Pots in a Pile one upon another, and plac’d my Fire-wood all round it with a great Heap of Embers under them, I ply’d the Fire with fresh Fuel round the out-side, and upon the top, till I saw the Pots in the inside red hot quite thro’, and observ’d that they did not crack at all; when I saw them clear red, I let them stand in that Heat abour 5 or 6 Hours, till I found one of them, tho’ 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 slack’d 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 cou’d be desir’d; and one of them perfectly glaz’d with the Running of the Sand.
After this Experiment, I need not say that I wanted no sort of Earthen Ware 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 learn’d to raise Past.
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 upon 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 so 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 at arriving to that Perfection of Art, with one Pair of Hands. To supply this Want I was at a great Loss; for of all Trades in the World I was as perfectly unqualify’d 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, or 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 resolv’d 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 form’d it in the Out-side 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 Brasil make their Canoes. After this, I made a great heavy Pestle or Beater, of the Wood call’d the Iron-wood, and this I prepar’d and laid by against I had my next Crop of Corn, when I propos’d to my self, to grind, or rather pound my Corn into Meal to make my Bread.
My next Difficulty was to make a Sieve, or Search, 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, so much as but 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 search the Meal through. And here I was at a full Stop for many Months; nor did I really know what to do; Linnen I had none left, but what was meer Rags; I had Goats Hair, but neither knew I how to weave it, or spin it; and had I known how, here was 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 Seamens Cloaths which were sav’d out of the Ship, some Neckcloths of Callicoe, or Muslin; and with some Pieces of these, I made three small Sieves, but proper enough for the Work; and thus I made shift for some Years; how I did afterwards, I shall shew in its Place.
The baking Part was the next Thing to be consider’d, and how I should make Bread when I came to have Corn; for first I had no Yeast; as to that Part, as there was no supplying the Want, so I did not concern my self 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 Foot Diameter, and not above nine Inches deep; these I burnt 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 pav’d with some square Tiles of my own making, and burning also; but I should not call them square.
When the Fire-wood was burnt 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 lye, 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 Out-side of the Pot, to keep in, and add to the Heat; and thus, as well as in the best Oven in the World, I bak’d my Barley Loaves, and became in little Time a meer Pastry-Cook into the Bargain; for I made my self several Cakes of the Rice, and Puddings; indeed I made no Pies, neither had I any Thing to put into them, supposing I had, except the Flesh either of Fowls or Goats.
It need not be wondred at, if all these Things took me up most Part of the third Year of my Abode here; for it is to be observ’d, That in the Intervals of these Things, I had my new Harvest and Husbandry to manage; for I reap’d my Corn in its Season, and carry’d it Home as well as I could, and laid it up in the Ear, in my large Baskets, till I had
Time to rub it out; for I had no Floor to thrash it on, or Instrument to thrash it with.
And now indeed my Stock of Corn increasing, I really wanted to build my Barns bigger. I wanted a Place to lay it up in; for the Increase of the Corn now yielded me so much, that I had of the Barley about twenty Bushels, and of the Rice as much, or more; insomuch, that now I resolv’d to begin to use it freely; for my Bread had been quite gone a great while; Also I resolved to see what Quantity would be sufficient for me a whole Year, and to sow but once a Year.
Upon the whole, I found that the forty Bushels of Barley and Rice, was much more than I could consume in a Year; so I resolv’d to sow just the same Quantity every Year, that I sow’d the last, in Hopes that such a Quantity would fully provide me with Bread, &c.
All the while these Things were doing, you may be sure my Thoughts run many times upon the Prospect of Land which I had seen from the other Side of the Island, and I was not without secret Wishes that I were on Shore there, fancying the seeing the main Land, and in an inhabited Country, I might find some Way or other to convey my self farther, and perhaps at last find some Means of Escape.
But all this while I made no Allowance for the Dangers of such a Condition, and how I might fall into the Hands of Savages, and perhaps such as I might have Reason to think far worse than the Lions and Tigers of Africa. That if I once came into their Power, I should run a Hazard more than a thousand to one of being kill’d, and perhaps of being eaten; for I had heard that the People of the Carribean Coast were Canibals, or Man-eaters; and I knew by the Latiude that I could not be far off
from that Shore. That suppose they were not Canibals, yet that they might kill me, as many Europeans who had fallen into their Hands had been serv’d, even when they had been ten or twenty together; much more I that was but one, and could make little or no Defence: All these Things, I say, which I ought to have consider’d well of, and did cast up in my Thoughts afterwards, yet took up none of my Apprehensions at first; but my Head run mightily upon the Thought of getting over to the Shore.
Now I wish’d for my Boy Xury, and the long Boat, with the Shoulder of Mutton Sail, with which I sail’d above a thousand Miles on the Coast of Africk; but this was in vain. Then I thought I would go and look at our Ship’s Boat, which, as I have said, was blown up upon the Shore, a great Way in the Storm, when we were first cast away. She lay almost where she did at first, but not quite; and was turn’d by the Force of the Waves and the Winds almost Bottom upward, against a high Ridge of Beachy rough Sand; but no Water about her as before.
If I had had Hands to have refitted her, and to have launch’d her into the Water, the Boat would have done well enough, and I might have gone back into the Brasils with her easily enough; but I might have foreseen, That I could no more turn her, and set her upright upon her Bottom, than I could remove the Island: However, I went to the Woods, and cut Levers and Rollers, and brought them to the Boat, resolv’d to try what I could do, suggesting to my self, That I if could but turn her down, I might easily repair the Damage she had receiv’d, and she would be a very good Boat, and I might go to Sea in her very easily.
I spar’d no Pains indeed, in this Piece of fruitless Toil, and spent, I think, three or four Weeks about
it; at last finding it impossible to heave it up with my little Strength, I fell to digging away the Sand, to undermine it, and so to make it fall down, setting Pieces of Wood to thrust and guide it right in the Fall.
But when I had done this, I was unable to stir it up again, or to get under it, much less to move it forward, towards the Water; so I was forc’d to give it over; and yet, though I gave over the Hopes of the Boat, my desire to venture over for the Main increased, rather than decreased, as the Means for it seem’d impossible.
This at length put me upon thinking, Whether it was not possible to make my self a Canoe, or Periagua, such as the Natives of those Climates make, even without Tools, or, as I might say, without Hands, viz. of the Trunk of a great Tree. This I not only thought possible, but easy, and pleas’d my self extreamly with the Thoughts of making it, and with my having much more Convenience for it than any of the Negroes or Indians; but not at all considering the particular Inconveniences which I lay under, more than the Indians did, viz. Want of Hands to move it, when it was made, into the Water, a Difficulty much harder for me to surmount, than all the Consequences of Want of Tools could be to them; for what was it to me, That when I had chosen a vast Tree in the Woods, I might with much Trouble cut it down, if after I might be able with my Tools to hew and dub the Out-side into the proper Shape of a Boat, and burn or cut out the In-side to make it hollow, so to make a Boat of it: If after all this, I must leave it just there where I found it, and was not able to launch it into the Water.
One would have thought, I could not have had the least Reflection upon my Mind of my Circumstance,
while I was making this Boat; but I should have immediately thought how I should get it into the Sea; but my Thoughts were so intent upon my Voyage over the Sea in it, that I never once consider’d how I should get it off of the Land; and it was really in its own Nature more easy for me to guide it over forty five Miles of Sea, than about forty five Fathom of Land, where it lay, to set it a float in the Water.
I went to work upon this Boat, the most like a Fool, that ever Man did, who had any of his Senses awake. I pleas’d my self with the Design, without determining whether I was ever able to undertake it; not but that the Difficulty of launching my Boat came often into my Head; but I put a stop to my own Enquiries into it, by this foolish Answer which I gave my self, Let’s first make it, I’ll warrant I’ll find some Way or other to get it along, when ’tis done.
This was a most preposterous Method; but the Eagerness of my Fancy prevail’d, and to work I went. I fell’d a Cedar Tree: I question much whether Solomon ever had such a One for the Building of the Temple at Jerusalem. It was five Foot ten Inches Diameter at the lower Part next the Stump, and four Foot eleven Inches Diameter at the End of twenty two Foot, after which it lessen’d for a while, and then parted into Branches: It was not without infinite Labour that I fell’d this Tree: I was twenty Days hacking and hewing at it at the Bottom. I was fourteen more getting the Branches and Limbs, and the vast spreading Head of it cut off, which I hack’d and hew’d through with Axe and Hatchet, and inexpressible Labour: After this, it cost me a Month to shape it, and dub it to a Proportion, and to something like the Bottom of a Boat, that it might swim upright
as it ought to do. It cost me near three Months more to clear the In-side, and work it out so, as to make an exact Boat of it: This I did indeed without Fire, by meer Malett and Chissel, and by the dint of hard Labour, till I had brought it to be a very handsome Periagua, and big enough to have carry’d six and twenty Men, and consequently big enough to have carry’d me and all my Cargo.
When I had gone through this Work, I was extremely delighted with it. The Boat was really much bigger than I ever saw a Canoe, or Periagua, that was made of one Tree, in my Life. Many a weary Stroke it had cost, you may be sure; and there remain’d nothing but to get it into the Water; and had I gotten it into the Water, I make no question but I should have began the maddest Voyage, and the most unlikely to be perform’d, that ever was undertaken.
But all my Devices to get it into the Water fail’d me; tho’ they cost me infinite Labour too. It lay about one hundred Yards from the Water, and not more: But the first Inconvenience was, it was up Hill towards the Creek; well, to take away this Discouragement, I resolv’d to dig into the Surface of the Earth, and so make a Declivity: This I begun, and it cost me a prodigious deal of Pains; but who grutches Pains, that have their Deliverance in View: But when this was work’d through, and this Difficulty manag’d, it was still much at one; for I could no more stir the Canoe, than I could the other Boat.
Then I measur’d the Distance of Ground, and resolv’d to cut a Dock, or Canal, to bring the Water up to the Canoe, seeing I could not bring the Canoe down to the Water: Well, I began this Work, and when I began to enter into it, and calculate how deep it was to be dug, how broad,
how the Stuff to be thrown out, I found, That by the Number of Hands I had, being none but my own, it must have been ten or twelve Years before I should have gone through with it; for the Shore lay high, so that at the upper End, it must have been at least twenty Foot Deep; so at length, tho’ with great Reluctancy, I gave this Attempt over also.
This griev’d me heartily, and now I saw, tho’ too late, the Folly of beginning a Work before we count the Cost; and before we judge rightly of our own Strength to go through with it.
In the middle of this Work, I finish’d my fourth Year in this Place, and kept my Anniversary with the same Devotion, and with as much Comfort as ever before; for by a constant Study, and serious Application of the Word of God, and by the Assistance of his Grace, I gain’d a different Knowledge from what I had before. I entertain’d different Notions of Things. I look’d now upon the World as a Thing remote, which I had nothing to do with, no Expectation from, and indeed no Desires about: In a Word, I had nothing indeed to do with it, nor was ever like to have; so I thought it look’d as we may perhaps look upon it hereafter, viz. as a Place I had liv’d in, but was come out of it; and well might I say, as Father Abraham to Dives, Between me and thee is a great Gulph fix’d.
In the first Place, I was remov’d from all the Wickedness of the World here. I had neither the Lust of the Flesh, the Lust of the Eye, or the Pride of Life. I had nothing to covet; for I had all that I was now capable of enjoying: I was Lord of the whole Mannor; or if I pleas’d, I might call my self King, or Emperor over the whole Country which I had Possession of. There were no Rivals. I had no Competitor, none to dispute Sovereignty or
Command with me. I might have rais’d Ship Loadings of Corn; but I had no use for it; so I let as little grow as I thought enough for my Occasion. I had Tortoise or Turtles enough; but now and then one, was as much as I could put to any use. I had Timber enough to have built a Fleet of Ships. I had Grapes enough to have made Wine, or to have cur’d into Raisins, to have loaded that Fleet, when they had been built.
But all I could make use of, was, All that was valuable. I had enough to eat, and to supply my Wants, and, what was all the rest to me? If I kill’d more Flesh than I could eat, the Dog must eat it, or the Vermin. If I sow’d more Corn than I could eat, it must be spoil’d. The Trees that I cut down, were lying to rot on the Ground. I could make no more use of them than for Fewel; and that I had no Occasion for, but to dress my Food.
In a Word, The Nature and Experience of Things dictated to me upon just Reflection, That all the good Things of this World, are no farther good to us, than they are for our Use; and that whatever we may heap up indeed to give others, we enjoy just as much as we can use, and no more. The most covetous griping Miser in the World would have been cur’d of the Vice of Covetousness, if he had been in my Case; for I possess’d infinitely more than I knew what to do with. I had no room for Desire, except it was of Things which I had not, and they were but Trifles, though indeed of great Use to me. I had, as I hinted before, a Parcel of Money, as well Gold as Silver, about thirty six Pounds Sterling: Alas! There the nasty sorry useless Stuff lay; I had no manner of Business for it; and I often thought with my self, That I would have given a Handful of it for a Gross of
Tobacco-Pipes, or for a Hand-Mill to grind my Corn; nay, I would have given it all for Sixpenny-worth of Turnip and Carrot Seed out of England, or for a Handful of Pease and Beans, and a Bottle of Ink: As it was, I had not the least Advantage by it, or Benefit from it; but there it lay in a Drawer, and grew mouldy with the Damp of the Cave, in the wet Season; and if I had had the Drawer full of Diamonds, it had been the same Case; and they had been of no manner of Value to me, because of no Use.
I had now brought my State of Life to be much easier in it self than it was at first, and much easier to my Mind, as well as to my Body. I frequently sat down to my Meat with Thankfulness, and admir’d the Hand of God’s Providence, which had thus spread my Table in the Wilderness. I learn’d to look more upon the bright Side of my Condition, and less upon the dark Side; and to consider what I enjoy’d, rather than what I wanted; and this gave me sometimes such secret Comforts, that I cannot express them; and which I take Notice of here, to put those discontented People in Mind of it, who cannot enjoy comfortably what God has given them; because they see, and covet something that he has not given them: All our Discontents about what we want, appear’d to me, to spring from the Want of Thankfulness for what we have.
Another Reflection was of great Use to me, and doubtless would be so to any one that should fall into such Distress as mine was; and this was, To compare my present Condition with what I at first expected it should be; nay, with what it would certainly have been, if the good Providence of God had not wonderfully order’d the Ship to be cast up nearer to the Shore, where I not only could
come at her, but could bring what I got out of her to the Shore, for my Relief and Comfort; without which, I had wanted for Tools to work, Weapons for Defence, or Gun-Powder and Shot for getting my Food.
I spent whole Hours, I may say whole Days, in representing to my self in the most lively Colours, how I must have acted, if I had got nothing out of the Ship. How I could not have so much as got any Food, except Fish and Turtles; and that as it was long before I found any of them, I must have perish’d first. That I should have liv’d, if I had not perish’d, like a meer Savage. That if I had kill’d a Goat, or a Fowl, by any Contrivance, I had no way to flea or open them, or part the Flesh from the Skin, and the Bowels, or to cut it up; but must gnaw it with my Teeth, and pull it with my Claws like a Beast.
These Reflections made me very sensible of the Goodness of Providence to me, and very thankful for my present Condition, with all its Hardships and Misfortunes: And this Part also I cannot but recommend to the Reflection of those, who are apt in their Misery to say, Is any Affliction like mine! Let them consider, How much worse the Cases of some People are, and their Case might have been, if Providence had thought fit.
I had another Reflection which assisted me also to comfort my Mind with Hopes; and this was, comparing my present Condition with what I had deserv’d, and had therefore Reason to expect from the Hand of Providence. I had liv’d a dreadful Life, perfectly destitute of the Knowledge and Fear of God. I had been well instructed by Father and Mother; neither had they been wanting to me, in their early Endeavours, to infuse a religious Awe of God into my Mind, a Sense of my Duty, and
of what the Nature and End of my Being, requir’d of me. But alas! falling early into the Seafaring Life, which of all the Lives is the most destitute of the Fear of God, though his Terrors are always before them; I say, falling early into the Seafaring Life, and into Seafaring Company, all that little Sense of Religion which I had entertain’d, was laugh’d out of me by my Mess-Mates, by a harden’d despising of Dangers; and the Views of Death, which grew habitual to me; by my long Absence from all Manner of Opportunities to converse with any thing but what was like my self, or to hear any thing that was good, or tended towards it.
So void was I of every Thing that was good, or of the least Sense of what I was, or was to be, that in the greatest Deliverances I enjoy’d, such as my Escape from Sallee; my being taken up by the Portuguese Master of the Ship; my being planted so well in the Brasils; my receiving the Cargo from England, and the like; I never had once the Word Thank God, so much as on my Mind, or in my Mouth; nor in the greatest Distress, had I so much as a Thought to pray to him, or so much as to say, Lord have Mercy upon me; no nor to mention the Name of God, unless it was to swear by, and blaspheme it.
I had terrible Reflections upon my Mind for many Months, as I have already observ’d, on the Account of my wicked and hardned Life past; and when I look’d about me and considered what particular Providences had attended me since my coming into this Place, and how God had dealt bountifully with me; had not only punished me less than my Iniquity had deserv’d, but had so plentifully provided for me; this gave me great hopes that my
Repentance was accepted, and that God had yet Mercy in store for me.
With these Reflections I work’d my Mind up, not only to Resignation to the Will of God in the present Disposition of my Circumstances; but even to a sincere Thankfulness for my Condition, and that I who was yet a living Man, ought not to complain, seeing I had not the due Punishment of my Sins; that I enjoy’d so many Mercies which I had no reason to have expected in that Place; that I ought never more to repine at my Condition but to rejoyce, and to give daily Thanks for that daily Bread, which nothing but a Croud of Wonders could have brought. That I ought to consider I had been fed even by Miracle, even as great as that of feeding Elijah by Ravens; nay, by a long Series of Miracles, and that I could hardly have nam’d a Place in the unhabitable Part of the World where I could have been cast more to my Advantage: A Place, where as I had no Society, which was my Affliction on one Hand, so I found no ravenous Beast, no furious Wolves or Tygers to threaten my Life, no venomous Creatures or poisonous, which I might feed on to my Hurt, no Savages to murther and devour me.
In a word, as my Life was a Life of Sorrow, one way, so it was a Life of Mercy, another; and I wanted nothing to make it a Life of Comfort, but to be able to make my Sence of God’s Goodness to me, and Care over me in this Condition, be my daily Consolation; and after I did make a just Improvement of these things, I went away and was no more sad.
I had now been here so long, that many Things which I brought on Shore for my Help, were either quite gone, or very much wasted and near spent.
My Ink, as I observed, had been gone some time, all but a very little, which I eek’d out with Water a little and a little, till it was so pale it scarce left any Appearance of black upon the Paper: As long as it lasted, I made use of it to minuite down the Days of the Month on which any remarkable Thing happen’d to me, and first by casting up Times past: I remember that there was a strange Concurrence of Days, in the various Providences which befel me; and which, if I had been superstitiously inclin’d to observe Days as Fatal or Fortunate, I might have had Reason to have look’d upon with a great deal of Curiosity.
First I had observed, that the same Day that I broke away from my Father and my Friends, and run away to Hull, in order to go to Sea; the same Day afterwards I was taken by the Sally Man of War, and made a Slave.
The same Day of the Year that I escaped out of the Wreck of that Ship in Yarmouth Rodes, that same Day-Year afterwards I made my escape from Sallee in the Boat.
The same Day of the Year I was born on (viz.) the 30th of September, that same Day, I had my Life so miraculously saved 26 Year after, when I was cast on Shore in this Island, so that my wicked Life, and my solitary Life begun both on a Day.
The next Thing to my Ink’s, being wasted, was that of my Bread, I mean the Bisket which I brought out of the Ship, this I had husbanded to the last degree, allowing my self but one Cake of Bread a Day for above a Year, and yet I was quite without Bread for near a Year before I got any Corn of my own, and great Reason I had to be thankful that I had any at all, the getting it being, as has been already observed, next to miraculous.
My Cloaths began to decay too mightily: As to Linnen, I had had none a good while, except some chequer’d Shirts which I found in the Chests of the other Seamen, and which I carefully preserved, because many times I could bear no other Cloaths on but a Shirt; and it was a very great help to me that I had among all the Men’s Cloaths of the Ship almost three dozen of Shirts. There were also several thick Watch Coats of the Seamens, which were left indeed, but they were too hot to wear; and tho’ it is true, that the Weather was so violent hot, that there was no need of Cloaths, yet I could not go quite naked; no, tho’ I had been inclin’d to it, which I was not, nor could not abide the thoughts of it, tho’ I was all alone.
The Reason why I could not go quite naked, was, I could not bear the heat of the Sun so well when quite naked, as with some Cloaths on; nay, the very Heat frequently blistered my Skin; whereas with a Shirt on, the Air itself made some Motion and whistling under that Shirt was twofold cooler than without it, no more could I ever bring my self to go out in the heat of Sun, without a Cap or a Hat; the heat of the Sun beating with such Violence as it does in that Place, would give me the Head-ach presently, by darting so directly on my Head, without a Cap or Hat on, so that I could not bear it, whereas, if I put on my Hat, it would presently go away.
Upon those Views I began to consider about putting the few Rags I had, which I call’d Cloaths, into some Order; I had worn out all the Wast-coats I had, and my Business was now to try if I could not make Jackets out of the great Watch-Coats which I had by me, and with such other Materials as I had, so I set to Work a Taylering, or rather indeed a Botching, for I made most
piteous Work of it. However, I made shift to make two or three new Wastcoats, which I hoped wou’d serve me a great while; as for Breeches or Drawers, I made but a very sorry shift indeed, till afterward.
I have mentioned that I saved the Skins of all the Creatures that I kill’d, I mean four-footed ones, and I had hung them up stretch’d out with Sticks in the Sun, by which means some of them were so dry and hard that they were fit for little, but others it seems were very useful. The first thing I made of these was a great Cap for my Head, with the Hair on the out Side to shoor off the Rain; and this I perform’d so well, that after this I made me a Suit of Cloaths wholly of these Skins, that is to say, a Wastcoat, and Breeches open at Knees, and both loose, for they were rather wanting to keep me cool than to keep me warm. I must not omit to acknowledge that they were wretchedly made; for if I was a bad Carpenter, I was a worse Tayler. However, they were such as I made very good shift with; and when I was abroad, if it happen’d to rain, the Hair of my Wastcoat and Cap being outermost, I was kept very dry.
After this I spent a great deal of Time and Pains to make me an Umbrella; I was indeed in great want of one, and had a great Mind to make one; I had seen them made in the Brasils, where they are very useful in the great Heats which are there. And I felt the Heats every jot as great here, and greater too, being nearer the Equinox; besides, as I was oblig’d to be much abroad, it was a most useful thing to me, as well for the Rains as the Heats. I took a world of Pains at it, and was a great while before I could make any thing likely to hold; nay, after I thought I had hit the Way, I spoil’d 2 or 3 before I made one to my Mind; but
at last I made one that aswer’d indifferently well: The main Difficulty I found was to make it to let down. I could make it to spread, but if it did not let down too, and draw in, it was not portable for me any Way but just over my Head, which wou’d not do. However, at last, as I said, I made one to answer, and covered it with Skins, the Hair upwards, so that it cast off the Rains like a Penthouse, and kept off the Sun so effectually, that I could walk out in the hottest of the Weather with greater Advantage than I could before in the coolest, and when I had no need of it, cou’d close it and carry it under my Arm.
Thus I liv’d mighty comfortably, my Mind being entirely composed by resigning to the Will of God, and throwing my self wholly upon the Disposal of his Providence. This made my Life better than sociable, for when I began to regret the want of Conversation, I would ask my self whether thus conversing mutually with my own Thoughts, and, as I hope I may say, with even God himself by Ejaculations, was not better than the utmost Enjoyment of humane Society in the World.
I cannot say that after this, for five Years, any extraordinary thing happened to me, but I liv’d on in the same Course, in the same Posture and Place, just as before; the chief things I was employ’d in, besides my yearly Labour of planting my Barley and Rice, and curing my Raisins, of both which I always kept up just enough to have sufficient Stock of one Year’s Provisions beforehand. I say, besides this yearly Labour, and my daily Labour of going out with my Gun, I had one Labour to make me a Canoe, which at last I finished. So that by digging a Canal to it of six Foot wide, and four Foot deep, I brought it into the Creek, almost half a Mile. As for the first, which was so vastly big,
as I made it without considering before-hand, as I ought to do, how I should be able to launch it; so never being able to bring it to the Water, or bring the Water to it, I was oblig’d to let it lye where it was, as a Memorandum to teach me to be wiser next Time: Indeed, the next Time, tho’ I could not get a Tree proper for it, and in a Place where I could not get the Water to it, at any less Distance, than as I have said, near half a Mile; yet as I saw it was practicable at last, I never gave it over; and though I was near two Years about it, yet I never grutch’d my Labour, in Hopes of having a Boat to go off to Sea at last.
However, though my little Periagau was finish’d; yet the Size of it was not at all answerable to the Design which I had in View, when I made the first; I mean, Of venturing over to the Terra Firma, where it was above forty Miles broad; accordingly, the Smallness of my Boat assisted to put an End to that Design, and now I thought no more of it: But as I had a Boat, my next Design was to make a Tour round the Island; for as I had been on the other Side, in one Place, crossing as I have already describ’d it, over the Land; so the Discoveries I made in that little Journey, made me very eager to see other Parts of the Coast; and now I had a Boat, I thought of nothing but sailing round the Island.
For this Purpose, that I might do every Thing with Discretion and Consideration, I fitted up a little Mast to my Boat, and made a Sail to it, out of some of the Pieces of the Ship’s Sail, which lay in store; and of which I had a great Stock by me.
Having fitted my Mast and Sail, and try’d the Boat, I found she would sail very well: Then I made little Lockers, or Boxes, at either End of my Boat, to put Provisions, Necessaries and Ammunition,
&c. into, to be kept dry, either from Rain, or the Sprye of the Sea; and a little long hollow Place I cut in the In-side of the Boat, where I could lay my Gun, making a Flap to hang down over it to keep it dry.
I fix’d my Umbrella also in a Step at the Stern, like a Mast, to stand over my Head, and keep the Heat of the Sun off of me like an Auning; and thus I every now and then took a little Voyage upon the Sea, but never went far out, nor far from the little Creek; but at last being eager to view the Circumference of my little Kingdom, I resolv’d upon my Tour, and accordingly I victuall’d my Ship for the Voyage, putting in two Dozen of my Loaves (Cakes I should rather call them) of Barley Bread, an Earthen Pot full of parch’d Rice, a Food I eat a great deal of, a little Bottle of Rum, half a Goat, and Powder and Shot for killing more, and two large Watch-coats, of those which, as I mention’d before, I had sav’d out of the Seamen’s Chests; these I took, one to lye upon, and the other to cover me in the Night.
It was the sixth of November, in the sixth Year of my Reign, or my Captivity, which you please, That I set out on this Voyage, and I found it much longer than I expected; for though the Island it self was not very large, yet when I came to the East Side of it, I found a great Ledge of Rocks lye out above two Leagues into the Sea, some above Water, some under it; and beyond that, a Shoal of Sand, lying dry half a League more; so that I was oblig’d to go a great Way out to Sea to double the Point.
When first I discover’d them, I was going to give over my Enterprise, and come back again, not knowing how far it might oblige me to go out to Sea; and above all, doubting how I should get back
again; so I came to an Anchor; for I had made me a kind of an Anchor with a Piece of a broken Graplin, which I got out of the Ship.
Having secur’d my Boat, I took my Gun, and went on Shore, climbing up upon a Hill, which seem’d to over-look that Point, where I saw the full Extent of it, and resolv’d to venture.
In my viewing the Sea from that Hill where I stood, I perceiv’d a strong, and indeed, a most furious Current, which run to the East, and even came close to the Point; and I took the more Notice of it, because I saw there might be some Danger; that when I came into it, I might be carry’d out to Sea by the Strength of it, and not be able to make the Island again; and indeed, had I not gotten first up upon this Hill, I believe it would have been so; for there was the same Current on the other Side the Island, only, that it set off at a farther Distance; and I saw there was a strong Eddy under the Shore; so I had nothing to do but to get in out of the first Current, and I should presently be in an Eddy.
I lay here, however, two Days; because the Wind blowing pretty fresh at E. S. E. and that being just contrary to the said Current, made a great Breach of the Sea upon the Point; so that it was not safe for me to keep too close to the Shore for the Breach, nor to go too far off because of the Stream.
The third Day in the Morning, the Wind having abated over Night, the Sea was calm, and I ventur’d; but I am a warning Piece again, to all rash and ignorant Pilots; for no sooner was I come to the Point, when even I was not my Boat’s Length from the Shore, but I found my self in a great Depth of Water, and a Current like the Sluice of a Mill: It carry’d my Boat a long with it
with such Violence, That all I could do, could not keep her so much as on the Edge of it; but I found it hurry’d me farther and farther out from the Eddy, which was on my left Hand. There was no Wind stirring to help me, and all I could do with my Paddlers signify’d nothing, and now I began to give my self over for lost; for as the Current was on both Sides the Island, I knew in a few Leagues Distance they must joyn again, and then I was irrecoverably gone; nor did I see any Possibility of avoiding it; so that I had no Prospect before me but of Perishing; not by the Sea, for that was calm enough, but of starving for Hunger. I had indeed found a Tortoise on the Shore, as big almost as I could lift, and had toss’d it into the Boat; and I had a great Jar of fresh Water, that is to say, one of my Earthen Pots; but what was all this to being driven into the vast Ocean, where to be sure, there was no Shore, no main Land, or Island, for a thousand Leagues at least.
And now I saw how easy it was for the Providence of God to make the most miserable Condition Mankind could be in worse. Now I look’d back upon my desolate solitary Island, as the most pleasant Place in the World, and all the Happiness my Heart could wish for, was to be but there again. I stretch’d out my Hands to it with eager Wishes. O happy Desart, said I, I shall never see thee more. O miserable Creature, said I, whether am I going: Then I reproach’d my self with my unthankful Temper, and how I had repin’d at my solitary Condition; and now what would I give to be on Shore there again. Thus we never see the true State of our Condition, till it is illustrated to us by its Contraries; nor know how to value what we enjoy, but by the want of it. It is scarce possible to imagine the Consternation I was now in,
being driven from my beloved Island (for so it appear’d to me now to be) into the wide Ocean, almost two Leagues, and in the utmost Despair of ever recovering it again. However, I work’d hard, till indeed my Strength was almost exhausted, and kept my Boat as much to the Northward, that is, towards the Side of the Current which the Eddy lay on, as possibly I could; when about Noon, as the Sun pass’d the Meridian, I thought I felt a little Breeze of Wind in my Face, springing up from the S. S. E. This chear’d my Heart a little, and especially when in about half an Hour more, it blew a pretty small gentle Gale. By this Time I was gotten at a frightful Distance from the Island, and had the least Cloud or haizy Weather interven’d, I had been undone another Way too; for I had no Compass on Board, and should never have known how to have steer’d towards the Island, if I had but once lost Sight of it; but the Weather continuing clear, I apply’d my self to get up my Mast again, spread my Sail, standing away to the North, as much as possible, to get out of the Current.
Just as I had set my Mast and Sail, and the Boat began to stretch away, I saw even by the Clearness of the Water, some Alteration of the Current was near; for where the Current was so strong, the Water was foul; but perceiving the Water clear, I found the Current abate, and presently I found to the East, at about half a Mile, a Breach of the Sea upon some Rocks; these Rocks I found caus’d the Current to part again, and as the main Srress of it ran away more Southerly, leaving the Rocks to the North-East; so the other return’d by the Repulse of the Rocks, and made a strong Eddy, which run back again to the North-West, with a very sharp Stream.
They who know what it is to have a Reprieve brought to them upon the Ladder, or to be rescued from Thieves just a going to murther them, or, who have been in such like Extremities, may guess what my present Surprise of Joy was, and how gladly I put my Boat into the Stream of this Eddy, and the Wind also freshning, how gladly I spread my Sail to it, running chearfully before the Wind, and with a strong Tide or Eddy under Eoot.
This Eddy carryed me about a League in my Way back again directly towards the Island, but about two Leagues more to the Northward than the Current which carried me away at first; so that when I came near the Island, I found my self open to the Northern Shore of it, that is to say, the other End of the Island opposite to that which I went out from.
When I had made something more than a League of Way by the help of this Current or Eddy, I found it was spent and serv’d me no farther. However, I found that being between the two great Currents, (viz.) that on the South Side which had hurried me away, and that on the North which lay about a League on the other Side. I say between these two, in the wake of the Island, I found the Water at least still and running no Way, and having still a Breeze of Wind fair for me, I kept on steering directly for the Island, tho’ not making such fresh Way as I did before.
About four a-Clock in the Evening, being then within about a League of the Island, I found the Point of the Rocks which occasioned this Disaster, stretching out as is describ’d before to the Southward, and casting off the Current more Southwardly, had of Course made another Eddy to the North, and this I found very strong, but not directly setting the Way my Course lay which was due West, but
almost full North. However having a fresh Gale, I stretch’d a-cross this Eddy slanting North-west, and in about an Hour came within about a Mile of the Shore, where it being smooth Water, I soon got to Land.
When I was on Shore I fell on my Knees and gave God Thanks for my Deliverance, resolving to lay aside all Thoughts of my Deliverance by my Boat, and refreshing my self with such Things as I had, I brought my Boat close to the Shore in a little Cove that I had spy’d under some Trees, and lay’d me down to sleep, being quite spent with the Labour and Fatigue of the Voyage.
I was now at a great Loss which Way to get Home with my Boat, I had run so much Hazard, and knew too much the Case to think of attempting it by the Way I went out, and what might be at the other Side (I mean the West Side) I knew not, nor had I any Mind to run any more Ventures; so I only resolved in the Morning to make my Way Westward along the Shore and to see if there was no Creek where I might lay up my Frigate in Safety, so as to have her again if I wanted her; in about three Mile or thereabout coasting the Shore, I came to a very good Inlet or Bay about a Mile over, which narrowed till it came to a very little Rivulet or Brook, where I found a very convenient Harbour for my Boat and where she lay as if she had been in a little Dock made on Purpose for her. Here I put in, and having stow’d my Boat very safe, I went on Shore to look about me and see where I was.
I soon found I had but a little past by the Place where I had been before, when I travell’d on Foot to that Shore; so taking nothing out of my Boat, but my Gun and my Umbrella, for it was exceeding hot, I began my March: The Way was comfortable enough after such a Voyage as I had
been upon, and I reach’d my old Bower in the Evening, where I found every thing standing as I left it; for I always kept it in good Order, being, as I said before, my Country House.
I got over the Fence, and laid me down in the Shade to rest my Limbs; for I was very weary, and fell asleep: But judge you, if you can, that read my Story, what a Surprize I must be in, when I was wak’d out of my Sleep by a Voice calling me by my Name several times, Robin, Robin, Robin Crusoe, poor Robin Crusoe, where are you Robin Crusoe? Where are you? Where have you been?
I was so dead asleep at first, being fatigu’d with Rowing, or Paddling, as it is call’d, the first Part of the Day, and with walking the latter Part, that I did not wake thoroughly, but dozing between sleeping and waking, thought I dream’d that some Body spoke to me: But as the Voice continu’d to repeat Robin Crusoe, Robin Crusoe, at last I began to wake more perfectly, and was at first dreadfully frighted, and started up in the utmost Consternation: But no sooner were my Eyes open, but I saw my Poll sitting on the Top of the Hedge; and immediately knew that it was he that spoke to me; for just in such bemoaning Language I had used to talk to him, and teach him; and he had learn’d it so perfectly, that he would sit upon my Finger, and lay his Bill close to my Face, and cry, Poor Robin Crusoe, Where are you? Where have you been? How come you here? And such things as I had taught him.
However, even though I knew it was the Parrot, and that indeed it could be no Body else, it was a good while before I could compose my self: First, I was amazed how the Creature got thither, and then, how he should just keep about the Place, and no where else: But as I was well satisfied it
could be no Body but honest Poll, I got it over; and holding out my Hand, and calling him by his Name Poll, the sociable Creature came to me, and sat upon my Thumb, as he used to do, and continu’d talking to me, Poor Robin Crusoe, and how did I come here? and where had I been? just as if he had been overjoy’d to see me again; and so I carry’d him Home along with me.
I had now had enough of rambling to Sea for some time, and had enough to do for many Days to sit still, and reflect upon the Danger I had been in: I would have been very glad to have had my Boat again on my Side of the Island; but I knew not how it was practicable to get it about as to the East Side of the Island, which I had gone round; I knew well enough there was no venturing that Way; my very heart would shrink, and my very Blood run chill but to think of it: And as to the other Side of the Island, I did not know how it might be there; but supposing the Current ran with the same Force against the Shore at the East as it pass’d by it on the other, I might run the same Risk of being driven down the Stream, and carry’d by the Island, as I had been before, of being carry’d away from it; so with these Thoughts I contented my self to be without any Boat, though it had been the Product of so many Months Labour to make it, and of so many more to get it unto the Sea.
In this Government of ms Temper, I remain’d near a Year, liv’d a very edate retir’d Life, as you may well suppose; and my Thoughts being very much composed as to my Condition, and fully comforted in resigning my self to the Dispositions of Providence, I thought I liv’d really very happily in all things, except that of Society.
I improv’d my self in this time in all the mechanick Exercises which my Necessities put me upon applying my self to, and I believe cou’d, upon Occasion, make a very good Carpenter, especially considering how few Tools I had.
Besides this, I arriv’d at an unexpected Perfection in my Earthen Ware, and contriv’d well enough to make them with a Wheel, which I found infinitely easyer and better; because I made things round and shapable, which before were filthy things indeed to look on. But I think I was never more vain of my own Performance, or more joyful for any thing I found out, than for my being able to make a Tobacco-Pipe. And tho’ it was a very ugly clumsy thing, when it was done, and only burnt red like other Earthen Ware, yet as it was hard and firm, and would draw the Smoke, I was exceedingly comforted with it, for I had been always used to smoke, and there were Pipes in the Ship, but I forgot them at first, not knowing that there was Tobacco in the Island; and afterwards, when I search’d the Ship again, I could not come at any Pipes at all.
In my Wicker Ware also I improved much, and made abundance of necessary Baskets, as well as my Invention shew’d me, tho’ not very handsome, yet they were such as were very handy and convenient for my laying things up in, or fetching things home in. For Example, if I kill’d a Goat abroad, I could hang it up in a Tree, flea it, and dress it, and cut it in Pieces, and bring it home in a Basket, and the like by a Turtle, I could cut it up, take out the Eggs, and a Piece or two of the Flesh, which was enough for me, and bring them home in a Basket, and leave the rest behind me. Also large deep Baskets were my Receivers for my Corn, which I always rubb’d out as
soon as it was dry, and cured, and kept it in great Baskets.
I began now to perceive my Powder abated considerably, and this was a Want which it was impossible for me to supply, and I began seriously to consider what I must do when I should have no more Powder; that is to say, how I should do to kill any Goat, I had, as is observ’d in the third Year of my being here, kept a young Kid, and bred her up tame, and I was in hope of getting a He-Goat, but I could not by any Means bring it to pass, ’till my Kid grew an old Goat; and I could never find in my Heart to kill her, till she dy’d at last of meer Age.
But being now in the eleventh Year of my Residence, and, as I have said, my Ammunition growing low, I set my self to study some Art to trap and snare the Goats, to see whether I could not catch some of them alive, and particularly I wanted a She-Goat great with young.
To this Purpose I made Snares to hamper them, and I do believe they were more than once taken in them, but my Tackle was not good, for I had no Wire, and I always found them broken, and my Bait devoured.
At length I resolv’d to try a Pit-fall, so I dug several large Pits in the Earth, in Places where I had observ’d the Goats used to feed, and over these Pits I plac’d Hurdles of my own making too, with a great Weight upon them; and several times I put Ears of Barley, and dry Rice, without setting the Trap, and I could easily perceive that the Goats had gone in and eaten up the Corn, for I could see the Mark of their Feet. At length I set three Traps in one Night, and going the next Morning I found them all standing, and yet the Bait eaten and gone: This was very discouraging.
However, I alter’d my Trap, and, not to trouble you with Particulars, going one Morning to see my Trap, I found in one of them a large old He-Goat, and in one of the other, three Kids, a Male and two Females.
As to the old one, I knew not what to do with him, he was so fierce I durst not go into the Pit to him; that is to say, to go about to bring him away alive, which was what I wanted. I could have kill’d him, but that was not my Business, nor would it answer my End. So I e’en let him out, and he ran away as if he had been frighted out of his Wits: But I had forgot then what I learn’d afterwards, that Hunger will tame a Lyon. If I had let him stay there three or four Days without Food, and then have carry’d him some Water to drink, and then a little Corn, he would have been as tame as one of the Kids, for they are mighty sagacious tractable Creatures where they are well used.
However, for the present I let him go, knowing no better at that time; then I went to the three Kids, and taking them one by one, I tyed them with Strings together, and with some Difficulty brought them all home.
It was a good while before they wou’d feed, but throwing them some sweet Corn, it tempted them and they began to be tame; and now I found that if I expected to supply my self with Goat-Flesh when I had no Powder or Shot left, breeding some up tame was my only way, when perhaps I might have them about my House like a Flock of Sheep.
But then it presently occurr’d to me, that I must keep the tame from the wild, or else they would always run wild when they grew up, and the only Way for this was to have some enclosed Piece of
Ground, well fenc’d either with Hedge or Pale, to keep them in so effectually, that those within might not break out, or those without break in.
This was a great Undertaking for one Pair of Hands, yet as I saw there was an absolute Necessity of doing it, my first Piece of Work was to find out a proper Piece of Ground, viz. where there was likely to be Herbage for them to eat, Water for them to drink, and Cover to keep them from the Sun.
Those who understand such Enclosures will think I had very little Contrivance, when I pitch’d upon a Place very proper for all these, being a plain open Piece of Meadow-Land, or Savanna, (as our People call it in the Western Collonies,) which had two or three little Drills of fresh Water in it, and at one end was very woody. I say they will smile at my Forecast, when I shall tell them I began my enclosing of this Piece of Ground in such a manner, that my Hedge or Pale must have been at least two Mile about. Nor was the Madness of it so great as to the Compass, for if it was ten Mile about I was like to have time enough to do it in. But I did not consider that my Goats would be as wild in so much Compass as if they had had the whole Island, and I should have so much Room to chace them in, that I should never catch them.
My Hedge was begun and carry’d on, I believe, about fifty Yards, when this Thought occurr’d to me, so I presently stopt short, and for the first beginning I resolv’d to enclose a Piece of about 150 Yards in length, and 100 Yards in breadth, which as it would maintain as many as I should have in any reasonable time, so as my Flock encreased, I could add more Ground to my Enclosure.
This was acting with some Prudence, and I went to work with Courage. I was about three Months hedging in the first Piece, and till I had done it I tether’d the three Kids in the best part of it, and us’d them to feed as near me as possible to make them familiar; and very often I would go and carry them some Ears of Barley, or a handful of Rice, and feed them out of my Hand; so that after my Enclosure was finished, and I let them loose, they would follow me up and down, bleating after me for a handful of Corn.
This answer’d my End, and in about a Year and half I had a Flock of about twelve Goats, Kids and all; and in two Years more I had three and forty, besides several that I took and kill’d for my Food. And after that I enclosed five several Pieces of Ground to feed them in, with little Pens to drive them into, to take them as I wanted, and Gates out of one Piece of Ground into another.
But this was not all, for now I not only had Goats Flesh to feed on when I pleas’d, but Milk too, a thing which indeed in my beginning I did not so much as think of, and which, when it came into my Thoughts, was really an agreeable Surprize. For now I set up my Dairy, and had sometimes a Gallon or two of Milk in a Day, And as Nature, who gives Supplies of Food to every Creature, dictates even naturally how to make use of it; so I that had never milk’d a Cow, much less a Goat, or seen Butter or Cheese made, very readily and handily, tho’ after a great many Essays and Miscarriages, made me both Butter and Cheese at last, and never wanted it afterwards.
How mercifully can our great Creator treat his Creatures, even in those Conditions in which they seem’d to be overwhelm’d in Destruction. How
can he sweeten the bitterest Providences, and give us Cause to praise him for Dungeons and Prisons. What a Table was here spread for me in a Wilderness, where I saw nothing at first but to perish for Hunger.
It would have made a Stoick smile to have seen, me and my little Family sit down to Dinner; there was my Majesty the Prince and Lord of the whole Island; I had the Lives of all my Subjects at my absolute Command. I could hang, draw, give Liberty, and take it away, and no Rebels among all my Sublects.
Then to see how like a King I din’d too all alone, attended by my Servants, Poll, as if he had been my Favourite, was the only Person permitted to talk to me. My Dog who was now grown very old and crazy, and had found no Species to multiply his Kind upon, sat always at my Right Hand, and two Cats, one on one Side the Table, and one on the other, expecting now and then a Bit from my Hand, as a Mark of special Favour.
But these were not the two Cats which I brought on Shore at first, for they were both of them dead, and had been interr’d near my Habitation by my own Hand; but one of them having multiply’d by I know not what Kind of Creature, these were two which I had preserv’d tame, whereas the rest run wild in the Woods, and became indeed troublesom to me at last; for they would often come into my House, and plunder me too, till at last I was obliged to shoot them, and did kill a great many; at length they left me with this Attendance, and in this plentiful Manner I lived; neither could I be said to want any thing but Society, and of that in some time after this, I was like to have too much.
I was something impatient, as I have observ’d, to have the Use of my Boat; though very loath to run any more Hazards; and therefore sometimes I sat contriving Ways to get her about the Island, and at other Times I sat my self down contented enough without her. But I had a strange Uneasiness in my Mind to go down to the Point of the Island, where, as I have said, in my last Ramble, I went up the Hill to see how the Shore lay, and how the Current set, that I might see what I had to do: This Inclination encreas’d upon me every Day, and at length I resolv’d to travel thither by Land, following the Edge of the Shore, I did so: But had any one in England been to meet such a Man as I was, it must either have frighted them, or rais’d a great deal of Laughter; and as I frequently stood still to look at my self, I could not but smile at the Notion of my travelling through Yorkshire with such an Equipage, and in such a Dress: Be pleas’d to take a Scetch of my Figure as follows,
I had a great high shapeless Cap, made of a Goat’s Skin, with a Flap hanging down behind, as well to keep the Sun from me, as to shoot the Rain off from running into my Neck; nothing being so hurtful in these Climates, as the Rain upon the Flesh under the Cloaths.
I had a short Jacket of Goat-Skin, the Skirts coming down to about the middle of my Thighs; and a Pair of open-knee’d Breeches of the same, the Breeches were made of the Skin of an old He-goat, whose Hair hung down such a Length on either Side, that like Pantaloons it reach’d to the middle of my Legs; Stockings and Shoes I had none, but had made me a Pair of some-things, I scarce know what to call them, like Buskins to flap over my Legs, and lace on either Side like Spatter-dashes;
but of a most barbarous Shape, as indeed were all the rest of my Cloaths.
I had on a broad Belt of Goat’s-Skin dry’d, which I drew together with two Thongs of the same, instead of Buckles, and in a kind of a Frog on either Side of this. Instead of a Sword and a Dagger, hung a little Saw and a Hatchet, one on one Side, one on the other. I had another Belt not so broad, and fasten’d in the same Manner, which hung over my Shoulder; and at the End of it, under my left Arm, hung two Pouches, both made of Goat’s-Skin too; in one of which hung my Powder, in the other my Shot: At my Back I carry’d my Basket, on my Shoulder my Gun, and over my Head a great clumsy ugly Goat-Skin Umbrella, but which, after all, was the most necessary Thing I had about me, next to my Gun: As for my Face, the Colour of it was really not so Moletta, like as one might expect from a Man not at all careful of it, and living within nineteen Degrees of the Equinox. My Beard I had once suffer’d to grow till it was about a Quarter of a Yard long; but as I had both Scissars and Razors sufficient, I had cut it pretty short, except what grew on my upper Lip, which I had trimm’d into a large Pair of Mahometan Whiskers, such as I had seen worn by some Turks, who I saw at Sallee; for the Moors did not wear such, tho’ the Turks did; of these Muschatoes or Whiskers, I will not say they were long enough to hang my Hat upon them; but they were of a Length and Shape monstrous enough, and such as in England would have pass’d for frightful.
But all this is by the by; for as to my Figure, I had so few to observe me, that it was of no manner of Consequence; so I say no more to that Part. In this kind of Figure I went my new Journey, and was out five or six Days. I travell’d first along the
Sea Shore, directly to the Place where I first brought my Boat to an Anchor, to get up upon the Rocks; and having no Boat now to take care of, I went over the Land a nearer Way to the same Height that I was upon before, when looking forward to the Point of the Rocks which lay out, and which I was oblig’d to double with my Boat, as is said above: I was surpriz’d to see the Sea all smooth and quiet, no Ripling, no Motion, no Current, any more there than in other Places.
I was at a strange Loss to understand this, and resolv’d to spend some Time in the observing it, to see if nothing from the Sets of the Tide had occasion’d it; but I was presently convinc’d how it was, viz. That the Tide of Ebb setting from the West, and joyning with the Current of Waters from some great River on the Shore, must be the Occasion of this Current; and that according as the Wind blew more forcibly from the West, or from the North, this Current came nearer, or went farther from the Shore; for waiting thereabouts till Evening, I went up to the Rock again, and then the Tide of Ebb being made, I plainly saw the Current again as before, only, that it run farther of, being near half a League from the Shore; whereas in my Case, it set close upon the Shore, and hurry’d me and my Canoe along with it, which at another Time it would not have done.
This Observation convinc’d me, That I had nothing to do but to observe the Ebbing and the Flowing of the Tide, and I might very easily bring my Boat about the Island again: But when I began to think of putting it in Practice, I had such a Terror upon my Spirits at the Remembrance of the Danger I had been in, that I could not think of it again with any Patience; but on the contrary, I took up another Resolution which was more safe,
though more laborious; and this was, That I would build, or rather make me another Periagau or Canoe; and so have one for one Side of the Island, and one for the other.
You are to understand, that now I had, as I may call it, two Plantations in the Island; one my little Fortification or Tent, with the Wall about it under the Rock, with the Cave behind me, which by this Time I had enlarg’d into several Apartments, or Caves, one within another. One of these, which was the dryest, and largest, and had a Door out beyond my Wall or Fortification; that is to say, beyond where my Wall joyn’d to the Rock, was all fill’d up with the large Earthen Pots, of which I have given an Account, and with fourteen or fifteen great Baskets, which would hold five or six Bushels each, where I laid up my Stores of Provision, especially my Corn, some in the Ear cut off short from the Straw, and the other rubb’d out with my Hand.
As for my Wall made, as before, with long Stakes or Piles, those Piles grew all like Trees, and were by this Time grown so big, and spread so very much, that there was not the least Appearance to any one’s View of any Habitation behind them.
Near this Dwelling of mine, but a little farther within the Land, and upon lower Ground, lay my two Pieces of Corn-Ground, which I kept duly cultivated and sow’d, and which duly yielded me their Harvest in its Season; and whenever I had occasion for more Corn, I had more Land adjoyning as fit as that.
Besides this, I had my Country Seat, and I had now a tollerable Plantation there also; for first, I had my little Bower, as I call’d it, which I kept in Repair; that is to say, I kept the Hedge which circled it in, constantly fitted up to its usual Height,
the Ladder standing always in the Inside; I kept the Trees which at first were no more than my Stakes, but were now grown very firm and tall; I kept them always so cut, that they might spread and grow thick and wild, and make the more agreeable Shade, which they did effectually to my Mind. In the Middle of this I had my Tent always standing, being a piece of a Sail spread over Poles set up for that Purpose, and which never wanted any Repair or Renewing; and under this I had made me a Squab or Couch, with the Skins of the Creatures I had kill’d, and with other soft Things, and a Blanket laid on them, such as belong’d to our Sea-Bedding, which I had saved, and a great Watch-Coat to cover me; and here, whenever I had Occasion to be absent from my chief Seat, I took up my Country Habitation.
Adjoyning to this I had my Enclosures for my Cattle, that is to say, my Goats: And as I had taken an inconceivable deal of Pains to fence and enclose this Ground, so I was so uneasy to see it kept entire, lest the Goats should break thro’, that I never left off till with infinite Labour I had stuck the Out-side of the Hedge so full of small Stakes, and so near to one another, that it was rather a Pale than a Hedge, and there was scarce Room to put a Hand thro’ between them, which afterwards when those Stakes grew, as they all did in the next rainy Season, made the Enclosure strong like a Wall, indeed stronger than any Wall.
This will testify for me that I was not idle, and that I spared no Pains to bring to pass whatever appear’d necessary for my comfortable Support; for I consider’d the keeping up a Breed of tame Creatures thus at my Hand, would be a living Magazine of Flesh, Milk, Butter and Cheese,
for me as long as I liv’d in the Place, if it were to be forty Years; and that keeping them in my Reach, depended entirely upon my perfecting my Enclosures to such a Degree, that I might be sure of keeping them together; which by this Method indeed I so effectually secur’d, that when these little Stakes began to grow, I had planted them so very thick, I was forced to pull some of them up again.
In this Place also I had my Grapes growing, which I principally depended on for my Winter Store of Raisins; and which I never fail’d to preserve very carefully, as the best and most agreeable Dainty of my whole Diet; and indeed they were not agreeable only, but physical, wholesome, nourishing, and refreshing to the last Degree.
As this was also about half Way between my other Habitation, and the Place where I had laid up my Boat, I generally stay’d, and lay here in my Way thither; for I used frequently to visit my Boat, and I kept all Things about or belonging to her in very good Order; sometimes I went out in her to divert my self, but no more hazardous Voyages would I go, nor scarce ever above a Stone’s Cast or two from the Shore, I was so apprehensive of being hurry’d out of my Knowledge again by the Currents, or Winds, or any other Accident. But now I come to a new Scene of my Life.
It happen’d one Day about Noon going towards my Boat, I was exceedingly surpriz’d with the Print of a Man’s naked Foot on the Shore, which was very plain to be seen in the Sand: I stood like one Thunder-struck, or as if I had seen an Apparition; I listen’d, I look’d round me, I could hear nothing, nor see any Thing, I went up to a rising Ground to look farther, I went up the Shore and down the Shore, but it was all one, I could see no other
Impression but that one, I went to it again to see if there were any more, and to observe if it might not be my Fancy; but there was no Room for that, for there was exactly the very Print of a Foot, Toes, Heel, and every Part of a Foot; how it came thither, I knew not, nor could in the least imagine. But after innumerable fluttering Thoughts, like a Man perfectly confus’d and out of my self, I came Home to my Fortification, not feeling, as we say, the Ground I went on, but terrify’d to the last Degree, looking behind me at every two or three Steps, mistaking every Bush and Tree, and fancying every Stump at a Distance to be a Man; nor is it possible to describe how many various Shapes affrighted Imagination represented Things to me in, how many wild Ideas were found every Moment in my Fancy, and what strange unaccountable Whimsies came into my Thoughts by the Way.
When I came to my Castle, for so I think I call’d it ever after this, I fled into it like one pursued; whether I went over by the Ladder as first contriv’d, or went in at the Hole in the Rock, which I call’d a Door, I cannot remember; no, nor could I remember the next Morning, for never frighted Hare fled to Cover, or Fox to Earth, with more Terror of Mind than I to this Retreat.
I slept none that Night; the farther I was from the Occasion of my Fright, the greater my Apprehensions were, which is something contrary to the Nature of such Things, and especially to the usual Practice of all Creatures in Fear: But I was so embarrass’d with my own frightful Ideas of the Thing, that I form’d nothing but dismal Imaginations to my self, even tho’ I was now a great way off of it. Sometimes I fancy’d it must be the Devil; and Reason joyn’d in with me upon this Supposition: For how should any other Thing in human
Shape come into the Place? Where was the Vessel that brought them? What Marks was there of any other Footsteps? And how was it possible a Man should come there? But then to think that Satan should take human Shape upon him in such a Place where there could be no manner of Occasion for it, but to leave the Print of his Foot behind him, and that even for no Purpose too, for he could not be sure I should see it; this was an Amusement the other Way; I consider’d that the Devil might have found out abundance of other Ways to have terrify’d me than this of the single Print of a Foot. That as I liv’d quite on the other Side of the Island, he would never have been so simple to leave a Mark in a Place where ’twas Ten Thousand to one whether I should ever see it or not, and in the Sand too, which the first Surge of the Sea upon a high Wind would have defac’d entirely: All this seem’d inconsistent with the Thing it self, and with all the Notions we usually entertain of the Subtilty of the Devil.
Abundance of such Things as these assisted to argue me out of all Apprehensions of its being the Devil: And I presently concluded then, that it must be some more dangerous Creature, (viz.) That it must be some of the Savages of the main Land over-against me, who had wander’d out to Sea in their Canoes; and either driven by the Currents, or by contrary Winds had made the Island; and had been on Shore, but were gone away again to Sea, being as loth, perhaps, to have stay’d in this desolate Island, as I would have been to have had them.
While these Reflections were rowling upon my Mind, I was very thankful in my Thoughts, that I was so happy as not to be thereabouts at that Time, or that they did not see my Boat, by which they would have concluded that some Inhabitants
〈1 page duplicate〉
〈1 page duplicate〉
had been in the Place, and perhaps have search’d farther for me: Then terrible Thoughts rack’d my Imagination about their having found my Boat, and that there were People here; and that if so, I should certainly have them come again in greater Numbers, and devour me; that if it should happen so that they should not find me, yet they would find my Enclosure, destroy all my Corn, carry away all my Flock of tame Goats, and I should perish at last for meer Want.
Thus my Fear banish’d all my religious Hope; all that former Confidence in God which was founded upon such wonderful Experience as I had had of his Goodness, now vanished, as if he that had fed me by Miracle hitherto, could not preserve by his Power the Provision which he had made for me by his Goodness▪ I reproach’d my self with my Easiness, that would not sow any more Corn one Year than would just serve me till the next Season, as if no Accident could intervene to prevent my enjoying the Crop that was upon the Ground; and this I thought so just a Reproof, that I resolv’d for the future to have two or three Years Corn beforehand, so that whatever might come, I might not perish for want of Bread.
How strange a Chequer Work of Providence is the Life of Man! and by what secret differing Springs are the Affections hurry’d about as differing Circumstance present! To Day we love what to Morrow we hate; to Day we seek what to Morrow we shun; to Day we desire what to Morrow we fear; nay even tremble at the Apprehensions of; this was exemplify’d in me at this Time in the most lively Manner imaginable; for I whose only Affliction was, that I seem’d banished from human Society, that I was alone, circumscrib’d by the boundless Ocean, cut off from Mankind, and condemn’d
to what I call’d silent Life; that I was as one who Heaven thought not worthy to be number’d among the Living, or to appear among the rest of his Creatures; that to have seen one of my own Species, would have seem’d to me a Raising me from Death to Life, and the greatest Blessing that Heaven it self, next to the supreme Blessing of Salvation, could bestow; I say, that I should now tremble at the very Apprehensions of seeing a Man, and was ready to sink into the Ground at but the Shadow or silent Appearance of a Man’s having set his Foot in the Island.
Such is the uneven State of human Life: And it afforded me a great many curious Speculations afterwards, when I had a little recover’d my first Surprize; I consider’d that this was the Station of Life the infinitely wise and good Providence of God had determin’d for me, that as I could not foresee what the Ends of Divine Wisdom might be in all this, so I was not to dispute his Sovereignty, who, as I was his Creature, had an undoubted Right by Creation to govern and dispose of me absolutely as he thought fit; and who, as I was a Creature who had offended him, had likewise a judicial Right to condemn me to what Punishment he thought fit; and that it was my Part to submit to bear his Indignation, because I had sinn’d against him.
I then reflected that God, who was not only Righteous but Omnipotent, as he had thought fit thus to punish and afflict me, so he was able to deliver me; that if he did not think fit to do it, ’twas my unquestion’d Duty to resign my self absolutely and entirely to his Will; and on the other Hand, it was my Duty also to hope in him, pray to him, and quietly to attend the Dictates and Directions of his daily Providence.
These Thoughts took me up many Hours, Days; nay, I may say, Weeks and Months; and one particular Effect of my Cogitations on this Occasion, I cannot omit, viz. One Morning early, lying in my Bed, and fill’d with Thought about my Danger from the Appearance of Savages, I found it discompos’d me very much, upon which those Words of the Scripture came into my Thoughts, Call upon me in the Day of Trouble, and I will deliver, and thou shalt glorify me.
Upon this, rising chearfully out of my Bed, my Heart was not only comforted, but I was guided and encourag’d to pray earnestly to God for Deliverance: When I had done praying, I took up my Bible, and opening it to read, the first Words that presented to me, were, Wait on the Lord, and be of good Cheer, and he shall strengthen thy Heart; wait, I say, on the Lord: It is impossible to express the Comfort this gave me. In Answer, I thankfully laid down the Book, and was no more sad, at least, not on that Occasion.
In the middle of these Cogitations, Apprehensions and Reflections, it came into my Thought one Day, that all this might be a meer Chimera of my own; and that this Foot might be the Print of my own Foot, when I came on Shore from my Boat: This chear’d me up a little too, and I began to perswade my self it was all a Delusion; that it was nothing else but my own Foot, and why might not I come that way from the Boat, as well as I was going that way to the Boat; again, I consider’d also that I could by no Means tell for certain where I had trod, and where I had not; and that if at last this was only the Print of my own Foot, I had play’d the Part of those Fools, who strive to make stories of Spectres, and Apparitions; and then are frighted at them more than any body.
Now I began to take Courage, and to peep abroad again; for I had not stirr’d out of my Castle for three Days and Nights; so that I began to starve for Provision; for I had little or nothing within Doors, but some Barley Cakes and Water. Then I knew that my Goats wanted to be milk’d too, which usually was my Evening Diversion; and the poor Creatures were in great Pain and Inconvenience for want of it; and indeed, it almost spoil’d some of them, and almost dry’d up their Milk.
Heartning my self therefore with the Belief that this was nothing but the Print of one of my own Feeet, and so I might be truly said to start at my own Shadow, I began to go abroad again, and went to my Country House, to milk my Flock; but to see with what Fear I went forward, how often I look’d behind me, how I was ready every now and then to lay down my Basket, and run for my Life, it would have made any one have thought I was haunted with an evil Conscience, or that I had been lately most terribly frighted, and so indeed I had.
However, as I went down thus two or three Days, and having seen nothing, I began to be a little bolder; and to think there was really nothing in it, but my own Imagination: But I cou’d not perswade my self fully of this, till I should go down to the Shore again, and see this Print of a Foot, and measure it by my own, and see if there was any Similitude or Fitness, that I might be assur’d it was my own Foot: But when I came to the Place, First, It appear’d evidently to me, that when I laid up my Boat, I could not possibly be on Shore any where there about. Secondly, When I came to measure the Mark with my own Foot, I found my Foot not so large by a great deal; both these Things fill’d my Head with new Imaginations, and gave me the Vapours again, to the highest Degree; so that I
shook with cold, like one in an Ague: And I went Home again, fill’d with the Belief that some Man or Men had been on Shore there; or in short, that the Island was inhabited, and I might be surpriz’d before I was aware; and what course to take for my Security I knew not.
O what ridiculous Resolution Men take, when possess’d with Fear! It deprives them of the Use of those Means which Reason offers for their Relief. The first Thing I propos’d to my self, was, to throw down my Enclosures, and turn all my tame Cattle wild into the Woods, that the Enemy might not find them; and then frequent the Island in Prospect of the same, or the like Booty: Then to the simple Thing of Digging up my two Corn Fields, that they might not find such a Grain there, and still be prompted to frequent the Island; then to demolish my Bower, and Tent, that they might not see any Vestiges of Habitation, and be prompted to look farther, in order to find out the Persons inhabiting.
These were the Subject of the first Night’s Cogitation, after I was come Home again, while the Apprehensions which had so over-run my Mind were fresh upon me, and my Head was full of Vapours, as above: Thus Fear of Danger is ten thousand Times more terrifying than Danger it self, when apparent to the Eyes; and we find the Burthen of Anxiety greater by much, than the Evil which we are anxious about; and which was worse than all this, I had not that Relief in this Trouble from the Resignation I used to practise, that I hop’d to have. I look’d, I thought, like Saul, who complain’d not only that the Philistines were upon him; but that God had forsaken him; for I did not now take due Ways to compose my Mind, by crying to God in my Distress, and resting upon his Providence,
as I had done before, for my Defence and Deliverance; which if I had done, I had, at least, been more cheerfully supported under this new Surprise, and perhaps carry’d through it with more Resolution.
This Confusion of my Thoughts kept me waking all Night; but in the Morning I fell asleep, and having by the Amusement of my Mind, been, as it were, tyr’d, and my Spirits exhausted; I slept very soundly, and wak’d much better compos’d than I had ever been before; and now I began to think sedately; and upon the utmost Debate with my self, I concluded, That this Island, which was so exceeding pleasant, fruitful, and no farther from the main Land than as I had seen, was not so entirely abandon’d as I might imagine: That altho’ there were no stated Inhabitants who liv’d on the Spot; yet that there might sometimes come Boats off from the Shore, who either with Design, or perhaps never, but when they were driven by cross Winds, might come to this Place.
That I had liv’d here fifteen Years now, and had not met with the least Shadow or Figure of any People yet; and that if at any Time they should be driven here, it was probable they went away again as soon as ever they could, seeing they had never thought fit to fix there upon any Occasion, to this Time.
That the most I cou’d suggest any Danger from, was, from any such casual accidental Landing of straggling People from the Main, who, as it was likely if they were driven hither, were here against their Wills; so they made no stay here, but went off again with all possible Speed, seldom staying one Night on Shore, least they should not have the Help of the Tides, and Day-light back again; and that therefore I had nothing to do but to consider
of some safe Retreat, in Case I should see any Savages land upon the Spot.
Now I began sorely to repent, that I had dug my Cave so large, as to bring a Door through again, which Door, as I said, came out beyond where my Fortification joyn’d to the Rock; upon maturely considering this therefore, I resolv’d to draw me a second Fortification, in the same Manner of a Semicircle, at a Distance from my Wall, just where I had planted a double Row of Trees, about twelve Years before, of which I made mention: These Trees having been planted so thick before, they wanted but a few Piles to be driven between them, that they should be thicker, and stronger, and my Wall would be soon finish’d.
So that I had now a double Wall, and my outer Wall was thickned with Pieces of Timber, old Cables, and every Thing I could think of, to make it strong; having in it seven little Holes, about as big as I might put my Arm out at: In the In-side of this, I thickned my Wall to above ten Foot thick, with continual bringing Earth out of my Cave, and laying it at the Foot of the Wall, and walking upon it; and through the seven Holes, I contriv’d to plant the Musquets, of which I took Notice, that I got seven on Shore out of the Ship; these, I say, I planted like my Cannon, and fitted them into Frames that held them like a Carriage, that so I could fire all the seven Guns in two Minutes Time: This Wall I was many a weary Month a finishing, and yet never thought my self safe till it was done.
When this was done, I stuck all the Ground without my Wall, for a great way every way, as full with Stakes or Sticks of the Osier like Wood, which I found so apt to grow, as they could well stand; insomuch, that I believe I might set in near
twenty thousand of them, leaving a pretty large Space between them and my Wall, that I might have room to see an Enemy, and they might have no shelter from the young Trees, if they attempted to approach my outer Wall.
Thus in two Years Time I had a thick Grove and in five or six Years Time I had a Wood before my Dwelling, growing so monstrous thick and strong, that it was indeed perfectly impassable; and no Men of what kind soever, would ever imagine that there was any Thing beyond it, much less a Habitation: As for the Way which I propos’d to my self to go in and out, for I left no Avenue; it was by setting two Ladders, one to a Part of the Rock which was low, and then broke in, and left room to place another Ladder upon that; so when the two Ladders were taken down, no Man living could come down to me without mischieving himself; and if they had come down, they were still on the Out-side of my outer Wall.
Thus I took all the Measures humane Prudence could suggest for my own Preservation; and it will be seen at length, that they were not altogether without just Reason; though I foresaw nothing at that Time, more than my meer Fear suggested to me.
While this was doing, I was not altogether Careless of my other Affairs; for I had a great Concern upon me, for my little Herd of Goats; they were not only a present Supply to me upon every Occasion, and began to be sufficient to me, without the Expence of Powder and Shot; but also without the Fatigue of Hunting after the wild Ones, and I was loth to lose the Advantage of them, and to have them all to nurse up over again.
To this Purpose, after long Consideration, I could think of but two Ways to preserve them;
one was to find another convenient Place to dig a a Cave Under-ground, and to drive them into it every Night; and the other was to enclose two or three little Bits of Land, remote from one another and as much conceal’d as I could, where I might keep about half a Dozen young Goats in each Place: So that if any Disaster happen’d to the Flock in general, I might be able to raise them again with little Trouble and Time: And this, tho’ it would require a great deal of Time and Labour, I thought was the most rational Design.
Accordingly I spent some Time to find out the most retit’d Parts of the Island; and I pitch’d upon one which was as private indeed as my Heart could wish for; it was a little damp Piece of Ground in the Middle of the hollow and thick Woods, where, as is observ’d, I almost lost my self once before, endeavouring to come back that Way from the Eastern Part of the Island: Here I found a clear Piece of Land near three Acres, so surrounded with Woods, that it was almost an Enclosure by Nature, at least it did not want near so much Labour to make it so, as the other Pieces of Ground I had work’d so hard at.
I immediately went to Work with this Piece of Ground, and in less than a Month’s Time, I had so fenc’d it round, that my Flock or Herd, call it which you please, who were not so wild now as at first they might be supposed to be, were well enough secur’d in it. So, without any farther Delay, I removed ten young She-Goats and two He-Goats to this Piece; and when they were there, I continued to perfect the Fence till I had made it as secure as the other, which, however, I did at more Leisure, and it took me up more Time by a great deal.
All this Labour I was at the Expence of, purely from my Apprehensions on the Account of the Print of a Man’s Foot which I had seen; for as yet I never saw any human Creature come near the Island, and I had now liv’d two Years under these Uneasinesses, which indeed made my Life much less comfortable than it was before; as may well be imagin’d by any who know what it is to live in the constant Snare of the Fear of Man; and this I must observe with Grief too, that the Discomposure of my Mind had too great Impressions also upon the religious Part of my Thoughts, for the Dread and Terror of falling into the Hands of Savages and Canibals, lay so upon my Spirits, that I seldom found my self in a due Temper for Application to my Maker, at least not with the sedate Calmness and Resignation of Soul which I was wont to do; I rather pray’d to God as under great Affliction and Pressure of Mind, surrounded with Danger, and in Expectation every Night of being murther’d and devour’d before Morning; and I must testify from my Experience▪ that a Temper of Peace, Thankfulness, Love and Affection, is much more the proper Frame for Prayer than that of Terror and Discomposure; and that under the Dread of Mischief impending, a Man is no more fit for a comforting Performance of the Duty of praying to God, than he is for Repentance on a sick Bed: For these Discomposures affect the Mind as the others do the Body; and the Discomposure of the Mind must necessarily be as great a Disability as that of the Body, and much greater, Praying to God being properly an Act of the Mind, not of the Body.
But to go on; After I had thus secur’d one Part of my little living Stock, I went about the whole Island, searching for another private Place, to make
such another Deposit; when wandring more to the West Point of the Island, than I had ever done yet, and looking out to Sea, I thought I saw a Boat upon the Sea, at a great Distance; I had found a Prospective Glass, or two, in one of the Seamen’s Chests, which I sav’d out of our Ship; but I had it not about me, and this was so remote, that I could not tell what to make of it; though I look’d at it till my Eyes were not able to hold to look any longer; whether it was a Boat, or not, I do not know; but as I descended from the Hill, I could see no more of it, so I gave it over; only I resolv’d to go no more out without a Prospective Glass in my Pocket.
When I was come down the Hill, to the End of the Island, where indeed I had never been before, I was presently convinc’d, that the seeing the Print of a Man’s Foot, was not such a strange Thing in the Island as I imagin’d; and but that it was a special Providence that I was cast upon the Side of the Island, where the Savages never came: I should easily have known, that nothing was more frequent than for the Canoes from the Main, when they happen’d to be a little too far out at Sea, to shoot over to that Side of the Island for Harbour; likewise as they often met, and fought in their Canoes, the Victors having taken any Prisoners, would bring them over to this Shore, where according to their dreadful Customs, being all Canibals, they would kill and eat them; of which hereafter.
When I was come down the Hill, to the Shore, as I said above, being the S. W. Point of the Island, I was perfectly confounded and amaz’d; nor is it possible for me to express the Horror of my Mind, at seeing the Shore spread with Skulls, Hands, Feet, and other Bones of humane Bodies; and particularly I observ’d a Place where there had
been a Fire made, and a Circle dug in the Earth, like a Cockpit, where it is suppos’d the Savage Wretches had sat down to their inhumane Feastings upon the Bodies of their Fellow-Creatures.
I was so astonish’d with the Sight of these Things, that I entertain’d no Notions of any Danger to my self from it for a long while; All my Apprehensions were bury’d in the Thoughts of such a Pitch of inhuman, hellish Brutality, and the Horror of the Degeneracy of Humane Nature; which though I had heard of often, yet I never had so near a View of before; in short, I turn’d away my Face from the horrid Spectacle; my Stomach grew sick, and I was just at the Point of Fainting, when Nature discharg’d the Disorder from my Stomach; and having vomited with an uncommon Violence, I was a little reliev’d; but cou’d not bear to stay in the Place a Moment; so I gat me up the Hill again, with all the Speed I cou’d, and walk’d on towards my own Habitation.
When I came a little out of that Part of the Island, I stood still a while as amaz’d; and then recovering my self, I look’d up with the utmost Affection of my Soul, and with a Flood of Tears in my Eyes, gave God Thanks that had cast my first Lot in a Part of the World, where I was distinguish’d from such dreadful Creatures as these; and that though I had esteem’d my present Condition very miserable, had yet given me so many Comforts in it, that I had still more to give Thanks for than to complain of; and this above all, that I had even in this miserable Condition been comforted with the Knowledge of himself, and the Hope of his Blessing, which was a Felicity more than sufficiently equivalent to all the Misery which I had suffer’d, or could suffer.
In this Frame of Thankfulness, I went Home to my Castle, and began to be much easier now, as to the Safety of my Circumstances, than ever I was before; for I observ’d, that these Wretches never came to this Island in search of what they could get; perhaps not seeking, not wanting, or not expecting any Thing here; and having often, no doubt, been up in the cover’d woody Part of it, without finding any Thing to their Purpose. I knew I had been here now almost eighteen Years, and never saw the least Foot-steps of Humane Creature there before; and I might be here eighteen more, as entirely conceal’d as I was now, if I did not discover my self to them, which I had no manner of Occasion to do, it being my only Business to keep my self entirely conceal’d where I was, unless I found a better sort of Creatures than Canibals to make my self known to.
Yet I entertain’d such an Abhorrence of the Savage Wretches, that I have been speaking of, and of the wretched inhuman Custom of their devouring and eating one another up, that I continu’d pensive, and sad, and kept close within my own Circle for almost two Years after this: When I say my own Circle, I mean by it, my three Plantations, viz. my Castle, my Country Seat, which I call’d my Bower, and my Enclosure in the Woods; nor did I look after this for any other Use than as an Enclosure for my Goats; for the Aversion which Nature gave me to these hellish Wretches, was such, that I was fearful of seeing them, as of seeing the Devil himself; nor did I so much as go to look after my Boat, in all this Time; but began rather to think of making me another; for I cou’d not think of ever making any more Attempts, to bring the other Boat round the Island to me, least I should meet with some of these Creatures at Sea,
in which, if I had happen’d to have fallen into their Hands, I knew what would have been my Lot.
Time however, and the Satisfaction I had, that I was in no Danger of being discover’d by these People, began to wear off my Uneasiness about them; and I began to live just in the same compos’d Manner as before; only with this Difference, that I used more Caution, and kept my Eyes more about me than I did before, least I should happen to be seen by any of them; and particularly, I was more cautious of firing my Gun, least any of them being on the Island, should happen to hear of it; and it was therefore a very good Providence to me, that I had furnish’d my self with a tame Breed of Goats, that I needed not hunt any more about the Woods, or shoot at them; and if I did catch any of them after this, it was by Traps, and Snares, as I had done before; so that for two Years after this, I believe I never fir’d my Gun once of, though I never went out without it; and which was more, as I had sav’d three Pistols out of the Ship, I always carry’d them out with me, or at least two of them, sticking them in my Goat-skin Belt; also I furbish’d up one of the great Cutlashes, that I had out of the Ship, and made me a Belt to put it on also; so that I was now a most formidable Fellow to look at, when I went abroad, if you add to the former Description of my self, the Particular of two Pistols, and a great broad Sword, hanging at my Side in a Belt, but without a Scabbard.
Things going on thus, as I have said, for some Time; I seem’d, excepting these Cautions, to be reduc’d to my former calm, sedate Way of Living, all these Things tended to shewing me more and more how far my Condition was from being miserable, compar’d to some others; nay, to many other Particulars of Life, which it might have pleased,
God to have made my Lot. It put me upon reflecting, How little repining there would be among Mankind, at any Condition of Life, if People would rather compare their Condition with those that are worse, in order to be thankful, than be always comparing them with those which are better, to assist their Murmurings and Complainings.
As in my present Condition there were not really many Things which I wanted; so indeed I thought that the Frights I had been in about these Savage Wretches, and the Concern I had been in for my own Preservation, had taken off the Edge of my Invention for my own Conveniences; and I had dropp’d a good Design, which I had once bent my Thoughts too much upon; and that was, to try if I could not make some of my Barley into Malt, and then try to brew my self some Beer: This was really a whimsical Thought, and I reprov’d my self often for the Simplicity of it; for I presently saw there would be the want of several Things necessary to the making my Beer, that it would be impossible for me to supply; as First, Casks to preserve it in, which was a Thing, that as I have observ’d already, I cou’d never compass; no, though I spent not many Days, but Weeks, nay, Months in attempting it, but to no purpose. In the next Place, I had no Hops to make it keep, no Yeast to make it work, no Copper or Kettle to make it boil; and yet all these Things, notwithstanding, I verily believe, had not these Things interven’d, I mean the Frights and Terrors I was in about the Savages, I had undertaken it, and perhaps brought it to pass too; for I seldom gave any Thing over without accomplishing it, when I once had it in my Head enough to begin it.
But my Invention now run quite another Way; for Night and Day, I could think of nothing but how I might destroy some of these Monsters in their cruel bloody Entertainment, and if possible, save the Victim they should bring hither to destroy. It would take up a larger Volume than this whole Work is intended to be, to set down all the Contrivances I hatch’d, or rather brooded upon in my Thought, for the destroying these Creatures, or at least frighting them, so as to prevent their coming hither any more; but all was abortive, nothing could be possible to take effect, unless I was to be there to do it my self; and what could one Man do among them, when perhaps there might be twenty or thirty of them together, with their Darts, or their Bows and Arrows, with which they could shoot as true to a Mark, as I could with my Gun?
Sometimes I contriv’d to dig a Hole under the Place where they made their Fire, and put in five or six Pound of Gun-powder, which when they kindled their Fire, would consequently take Fire, and blow up all that was near it; but as in the first Place I should be very loth to wast so much Powder upon them, my Store being now within the Quantity of one Barrel; so neither could I be sure of its going off, at any certain Time; when it might surprise them, and at best, that it would do little more than just blow the Fire about their Ears and fright them, but not sufficient to make them forsake the Place; so I laid it aside, and then propos’d, that I would place my self in Ambush, in some convenient Place, with my three Guns, all double loaded; and in the middle of their bloody Ceremony, let fly at them, when I should be sure to kill or wound perhaps two or three at every shoot; and then falling in upon them with my three Pistols,
and my Sword, I made no doubt, but that if there was twenty I should kill them all: This Fancy pleas’d my Thoughts for some Weeks, and I was so full of it, that I often dream’d of it; and sometimes that I was just going to let fly at them in my Sleep.
I went so far with it in my Imagination, that I employ’d my self several Days to find out proper Places to put my self in Ambuscade, as I said, to watch for them; and I went frequently to the Place it self, which was now grown more familiar to me; and especially while my Mind was thus fill’d with Thoughts of Revenge, and of a bloody putting twenty or thirty of them to the Sword, as I may call it; the Horror I had at the Place, and at the Signals of the barbarous Wretches devouring one another, abated my Malice.
Well, at length I found a Place in the Side of the Hill, where I was satisfy’d I might securely wait, till I saw any of their Boats coming, and might then, even before they would be ready to come on Shore, convey my self unseen into Thickets of Trees, in one of which there was a Hollow large enough to conceal me entirely; and were I might sit, and observe all their bloody Doings, and take my full aim at their Heads, when they were so close together, as that it would be next to impossible that I should miss my Shoot, or that I could fail wounding three or four of them at the first Shoot.
In this Place then I resolv’d to fix my Design, and accordingly I prepar’d two Muskets, and my ordinary Fowling Piece. The two Muskets I loaded with a Brace of Slugs each, and four or five smaller Bullets, about the Size of Pistol Bullets; and the Fowling Piece I loaded with near a Handful of Swan-shot, of the largest Size; I also loaded my Pistols with about four Bullets each, and in this
Posture, well provided with Ammunition for a second and third Charge, I prepar’d my self for my Expedition.
After I had thus laid the Scheme of my Design, and in my Imagination put it in Practice, I continually made my Tour every Morning up to the Top of the Hill, which was from my Castle, as I call’d it, about three Miles, or more, to see if I cou’d observe any Boats upon the Sea, coming near the Island, or standing over towards it; but I began to tire of this hard Duty, after I had for two or three Months constantly kept my Watch; but came always back without any Discovery, there having not in all that Time been the least Appearance, not only on, or near the Shore; but not on the whole Ocean, so far as my Eyes or Glasses could reach every Way.
As long as I kept up my daily Tour to the Hill, to look out; so long also I kept up the Vigour of my Design, and my Spirits seem’d to be all the while in a suitable Form, for so outragious an Execution as the killing twenty or thirty naked Savages, for an Offence which I had not at all entred into a Discussion of in my Thoughts, any farther than my Passions were at first fir’d by the Horror I conceiv’d at the unnatural Custom of that People of the Country, who it seems had been suffer’d by Providence in his wise Disposition of the World, to have no other Guide than that of their own abominable and vitiated Passions; and consequently were left, and perhaps had been so for some Ages, to act such horrid Things, and receive such dreadful Customs, as nothing but Nature entirely abandon’d of Heaven, and acted by some hellish Degeneracy, could have run them into: But now, when as I have said, I began to be weary of the fruitless Excursion, which I had made so long, and so far, every
Morning in vain, so my Opinion of the Action it self began to alter, and I began with cooler and calmer Thoughts to consider what it was I was going to engage in. What Authority, or Call I had, to pretend to be Judge and Executioner upon these Men as Criminals, whom Heaven had thought fit for so many Ages to suffer unpunish’d, to go on, and to be as it were, the Executioners of his Judgments one upon another. How far these People were Offenders against me, and what Right I had to engage in the Quarrel of that Blood, which they shed promiscuously one upon another. I debated this very often with my self thus; How do I know what God himself judges in this particular Case; it is certain these People either do not commit this as a Crime; it is not against their own Consciences reproving, or their Light reproaching them. They do not know it be an Offence, and then commit it in Defiance of Divine Justice, as we do in almost all the Sins we commit. They think it no more a Crime to kill a Captive taken in War, than we do to kill an Ox; nor to eat humane Flesh, than we do to eat Mutton.
When I had consider’d this a little, it follow’d necessarily, that I was certainly in the Wrong in it, that these People were not Murtherers in the Sense that I had before condemn’d them, in my Thoughts; any more than those Christians were Murtherers, who often put to Death the Prisoners taken in Battle; or more frequently, upon many Occasions, put whole Troops of Men to the Sword, without giving Quarter, though they threw down their Arms and submitted.
In the next Place it occurr’d to me, that albeit the Usage they thus gave one another, was thus brutish and inhuman; yet it was really nothing to me: These People had done me no Injury. That if they
attempted me, or I saw it necessary for my immediate Preservation to fall upon them, something might be said for it; but that as I was yet out of their Power, and they had really no Knowledge me, and consequently no Design upon me; and therefore it could not be just for me to fall upon them. That this would justify the Conduct of the Spaniards in all their Barbarities practis’d in America, and where they destroy’d Millions of these People, who however they were Idolaters and Barbarians, and had several bloody and barbarous Rites in their Customs, such as sacrificing human Bodies to their Idols, were yet, as to the Spaniards, very innocent People; and that the rooting them out of the Country, is spoken of with the utmost Abhorrence and Detestation, by even the Spaniards themselves, at this Time; and by all other Christian Nations of Europe, as a meer Butchery, a bloody and unnatural Piece of Cruelty, unjustifiable either to God or Man; and such, as for which the very Name of a Spaniard is reckon’d to be frightful and terrible to all People of Humanity, or of Christian Compassion: As if the Kingdom of Spain were particularly Eminent for the Product of a Race of Men, who were without Principles of Tenderness, or the common Bowels of Pity to the Miserable, which is reckon’d to be a Mark of generous Temper in the Mind.
These Considerations really put me to a Pause, and to a kind of a Full-stop; and I began by little and little to be off of my Design, and to conclude, I had taken wrong Measures in my Resolutions to attack the Savages; that it was not my Business to meddle with them, unless they first attack’d me, and this it was my Business if possible to prevent; but that if I were discover’d, and attack’d, then I knew my Duty.
On the other hand, I argu’d with my self, That this reall