Tuesday, February 28, 2017


THERE was once a great king of England who
was called William the Conqueror, and he had three
One day King William seemed to be thinking
of something that made him feel very sad; and the
wise men who were about him asked him what was
the matter.
“I am thinking,” he said, “of what my sons
may do after I am dead. For, unless they are wise
and strong, they cannot keep the kingdom which I
have won for them. Indeed, I am at a loss to know
which one of the three ought to be the king when I
am gone.”
“O king!” said the wise men, “if we only knew
what things your sons admire the most, we might
then be able to tell what kind of men they will be.
Perhaps, by asking each one of them a few
questions, we can find out which one of them will be
best fitted to rule in your place.”
“The plan is well worth trying, at least,” said
the king. “Have the boys come before you, and then
ask them what you please.”
The wise men talked with one another for a
little while, and then agreed that the young princes
should be brought in, one at a time, and that the
same questions should be put to each.
The first who came into the room was
Robert. He was a tall, willful lad, and was nicknamed
Short Stocking.
“Fair sir,” said one of the men, “answer me
this question: If, instead of being a boy, it had
pleased God that you should be a bird, what kind of
a bird would you rather be?”
“A hawk,” answered Robert. “I would rather
be a hawk, for no other bird reminds one so much
of a bold and gallant knight.”
The next who came was young William, his
father’s namesake and pet. His face was jolly and
round, and because he had red hair he was
nicknamed Rufus, or the Red.
“Fair sir,” said the wise man, “answer me this
question: If, instead of being a boy, it had pleased
God that you should be a bird, what kind of a bird
would you rather be?”
“An eagle,” answered William. “I would
rather be an eagle, because it is strong and brave. It
is feared by all other birds, and is therefore the king
of them all.”
Lastly came the youngest brother, Henry, with
quiet steps and a sober, thoughtful look. He had
been taught to read and write, and for that reason he
was nicknamed Beauclerc, or the Handsome Scholar.
“Fair sir,” said the wise man, “answer me this
question: If, instead of being a boy, it had pleased
God that you should be a bird, what kind of a bird
would you rather be?”
“A starling,” said Henry. “I would rather be a
starling, because it is good-mannered and kind and a
joy to every one who sees it, and it never tries to rob
or abuse its neighbor.”
Then the wise men talked with one another
for a little while, and when they had agreed among
themselves, they spoke to the king.
“We find,” said they, “that your eldest son,
Robert, will be bold and gallant. He will do some
great deeds, and make a name for himself; but in the
end he will be overcome by his foes, and will die in
“The second son, William, will be as brave
and strong as the eagle but he will be feared and
hated for his cruel deeds. He will lead a wicked life,
and will die a shameful death.
“The youngest son, Henry, will be wise and
prudent and peaceful. He will go to war only when
he is forced to do so by his enemies. He will be
loved at home, and respected abroad; and he will die
in peace after having gained great possessions.”
Years passed by, and the three boys had
grown up to be men. King William lay upon his
death-bed, and again he thought of what would
become of his sons when he was gone. Then he
remembered what the wise men had told him; and so
he declared that Robert should have the lands which
he held in France, that William should be the King
of England, and that Henry should have no land at
all, but only a chest of gold.
So it happened in the end very much as the
wise men had foretold. Robert, the Short Stocking,
was bold and reckless, like the hawk which he so
much admired. He lost all the lands that his father
had left him, and was at last shut up in prison, where
he was kept until he died.
William Rufus was so overbearing and cruel
that he was feared and hated by all his people. He
led a wicked life, and was killed by one of his own
men while hunting in the forest.
And Henry, the Handsome Scholar, had not
only the chest of gold for his own, but he became by
and by the King of England and the ruler of all the
lands that his father had had in France.

Sunday, February 26, 2017


Daniel Defoe (1660-1731)
AFTER this stop, we made on to the southward
continually for ten or twelve days, living very sparingly on
our provisions, which began to abate very much, and
going no oftener to the shore than we were obliged to for
fresh water. My design in this was to make the river
Gambia or Senegal, that is to say anywhere about the
Cape de Verde, where I was in hopes to meet with some
European ship; and if I did not, I knew not what course I
had to take, but to seek for the islands, or perish there
among the negroes. I knew that all the ships from Europe,
which sailed either to the coast of Guinea or to Brazil, or
to the East Indies, made this cape, or those islands; and, in
a word, I put the whole of my fortune upon this single
point, either that I must meet with some ship or must
When I had pursued this resolution about ten days
longer, as I have said, I began to see that the land was
inhabited; and in two or three places, as we sailed by, we
saw people stand upon the shore to look at us; we could
also perceive they were quite black and naked. I was once
inclined to have gone on shore to them; but Xury was my
better counsellor, and said to me, ‘No go, no go.’
However, I hauled in nearer the shore that I might talk to
them, and I found they ran along the shore by me a good
way. I observed they had no weapons in their hand,
except one, who had a long slender stick, which Xury said
was a lance, and that they could throw them a great way
with good aim; so I kept at a distance, but talked with
them by signs as well as I could; and particularly made
signs for something to eat: they beckoned to me to stop
my boat, and they would fetch me some meat. Upon this I
lowered the top of my sail and lay by, and two of them
ran up into the country, and in less than half-an- hour
came back, and brought with them two pieces of dried
flesh and some corn, such as is the produce of their
country; but we neither knew what the one or the other
was; however, we were willing to accept it, but how to
come at it was our next dispute, for I would not venture
on shore to them, and they were as much afraid of us; but
they took a safe way for us all, for they brought it to the
shore and laid it down, and went and stood a great way off
till we fetched it on board, and then came close to us
We made signs of thanks to them, for we had nothing
to make them amends; but an opportunity offered that
very instant to oblige them wonderfully; for while we
were lying by the shore came two mighty creatures, one
pursuing the other (as we took it) with great fury from the
mountains towards the sea; whether it was the male
pursuing the female, or whether they were in sport or in
rage, we could not tell, any more than we could tell
whether it was usual or strange, but I believe it was the
latter; because, in the first place, those ravenous creatures
seldom appear but in the night; and, in the second place,
we found the people terribly frighted, especially the
women. The man that had the lance or dart did not fly
from them, but the rest did; however, as the two creatures
ran directly into the water, they did not offer to fall upon
any of the negroes, but plunged themselves into the sea,
and swam about, as if they had come for their diversion; at
last one of them began to come nearer our boat than at
first I expected; but I lay ready for him, for I had loaded
my gun with all possible expedition, and bade Xury load
both the others. As soon as he came fairly within my
reach, I fired, and shot him directly in the head;
immediately he sank down into the water, but rose
instantly, and plunged up and down, as if he were
struggling for life, and so indeed he was; he immediately
made to the shore; but between the wound, which was his
mortal hurt, and the strangling of the water, he died just
before he reached the shore.
It is impossible to express the astonishment of these
poor creatures at the noise and fire of my gun: some of
them were even ready to die for fear, and fell down as
dead with the very terror; but when they saw the creature
dead, and sunk in the water, and that I made signs to them
to come to the shore, they took heart and came, and
began to search for the creature. I found him by his blood
staining the water; and by the help of a rope, which I
slung round him, and gave the negroes to haul, they
dragged him on shore, and found that it was a most
curious leopard, spotted, and fine to an admirable degree;
and the negroes held up their hands with admiration, to
think what it was I had killed him with.
The other creature, frighted with the flash of fire and
the noise of the gun, swam on shore, and ran up directly
to the mountains from whence they came; nor could I, at
that distance, know what it was. I found quickly the
negroes wished to eat the flesh of this creature, so I was
willing to have them take it as a favour from me; which,
when I made signs to them that they might take him, they
were very thankful for. Immediately they fell to work with
him; and though they had no knife, yet, with a sharpened
piece of wood, they took off his skin as readily, and much
more readily, than we could have done with a knife. They
offered me some of the flesh, which I declined, pointing
out that I would give it them; but made signs for the skin,
which they gave me very freely, and brought me a great
deal more of their provisions, which, though I did not
understand, yet I accepted. I then made signs to them for
some water, and held out one of my jars to them, turning
it bottom upward, to show that it was empty, and that I
wanted to have it filled. They called immediately to some
of their friends, and there came two women, and brought
a great vessel made of earth, and burnt, as I supposed, in
the sun, this they set down to me, as before, and I sent
Xury on shore with my jars, and filled them all three. The
women were as naked as the men.
I was now furnished with roots and corn, such as it
was, and water; and leaving my friendly negroes, I made
forward for about eleven days more, without offering to
go near the shore, till I saw the land run out a great length
into the sea, at about the distance of four or five leagues
before me; and the sea being very calm, I kept a large
offing to make this point. At length, doubling the point, at
about two leagues from the land, I saw plainly land on the
other side, to seaward; then I concluded, as it was most
certain indeed, that this was the Cape de Verde, and those
the islands called, from thence, Cape de Verde Islands.
However, they were at a great distance, and I could not
well tell what I had best to do; for if I should be taken
with a fresh of wind, I might neither reach one or other.
In this dilemma, as I was very pensive, I stepped into
the cabin and sat down, Xury having the helm; when, on
a sudden, the boy cried out, ‘Master, master, a ship with a
sail!’ and the foolish boy was frighted out of his wits,
thinking it must needs be some of his master’s ships sent to
pursue us, but I knew we were far enough out of their
reach. I jumped out of the cabin, and immediately saw,
not only the ship, but that it was a Portuguese ship; and, as
I thought, was bound to the coast of Guinea, for negroes.
But, when I observed the course she steered, I was soon
convinced they were bound some other way, and did not
design to come any nearer to the shore; upon which I
stretched out to sea as much as I could, resolving to speak
with them if possible.
With all the sail I could make, I found I should not be
able to come in their way, but that they would be gone by
before I could make any signal to them: but after I had
crowded to the utmost, and began to despair, they, it
seems, saw by the help of their glasses that it was some
European boat, which they supposed must belong to some
ship that was lost; so they shortened sail to let me come
up. I was encouraged with this, and as I had my patron’s
ancient on board, I made a waft of it to them, for a signal
of distress, and fired a gun, both which they saw; for they
told me they saw the smoke, though they did not hear the
gun. Upon these signals they very kindly brought to, and
lay by for me; and in about three hours; time I came up
with them.
They asked me what I was, in Portuguese, and in
Spanish, and in French, but I understood none of them;
but at last a Scotch sailor, who was on board, called to me:
and I answered him, and told him I was an Englishman,
that I had made my escape out of slavery from the Moors,
at Sallee; they then bade me come on board, and very
kindly took me in, and all my goods.
It was an inexpressible joy to me, which any one will
believe, that I was thus delivered, as I esteemed it, from
such a miserable and almost hopeless condition as I was in;
and I immediately offered all I had to the captain of the
ship, as a return for my deliverance; but he generously told
me he would take nothing from me, but that all I had
should be delivered safe to me when I came to the Brazils.
‘For,’ says he, ‘I have saved your life on no other terms
than I would be glad to be saved myself: and it may, one
time or other, be my lot to be taken up in the same
condition. Besides,’ said he, ‘when I carry you to the
Brazils, so great a way from your own country, if I should
take from you what you have, you will be starved there,
and then I only take away that life I have given. No, no,’
says he: ‘Seignior Inglese’ (Mr. Englishman), ‘I will carry
you thither in charity, and those things will help to buy
your subsistence there, and your passage home again.’
As he was charitable in this proposal, so he was just in
the performance to a tittle; for he ordered the seamen that
none should touch anything that I had: then he took
everything into his own possession, and gave me back an
exact inventory of them, that I might have them, even to
my three earthen jars.
As to my boat, it was a very good one; and that he saw,
and told me he would buy it of me for his ship’s use; and
asked me what I would have for it? I told him he had been
so generous to me in everything that I could not offer to
make any price of the boat, but left it entirely to him:
upon which he told me he would give me a note of hand
to pay me eighty pieces of eight for it at Brazil; and when
it came there, if any one offered to give more, he would
make it up. He offered me also sixty pieces of eight more
for my boy Xury, which I was loth to take; not that I was
unwilling to let the captain have him, but I was very loth
to sell the poor boy’s liberty, who had assisted me so
faithfully in procuring my own. However, when I let him
know my reason, he owned it to be just, and offered me
this medium, that he would give the boy an obligation to
set him free in ten years, if he turned Christian: upon this,
and Xury saying he was willing to go to him, I let the
captain have him.
We had a very good voyage to the Brazils, and I arrived
in the Bay de Todos los Santos, or All Saints’ Bay, in
about twenty-two days after. And now I was once more
delivered from the most miserable of all conditions of life;
and what to do next with myself I was to 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 lion’s skin, which I had in my boat, and
caused everything I had in the ship to be punctually
delivered to me; and what I was willing to sell he bought
of me, such as the case of bottles, two of my guns, and a
piece of the lump of beeswax - for I had made candles of
the rest: in a word, I made about two hundred and twenty
pieces of eight of all my cargo; and with this stock I went
on shore in the Brazils.
I had not been long here before I was recommended to
the house of a good honest man like himself, who had an
INGENIO, as they call it (that is, a plantation and a sugarhouse).
I lived with him some time, and acquainted myself
by that means with the manner of planting and making of
sugar; and seeing how well the planters lived, and how
they got rich suddenly, I resolved, if I could get a licence
to settle there, I would turn planter among them:
resolving in the meantime to find out some way to get my
money, which I had left in London, remitted to me. To
this purpose, getting a kind of letter of naturalisation, I
purchased as much land that was uncured as my money
would reach, and formed a plan for my plantation and
settlement; such a one as might be suitable to the stock
which I proposed to myself to receive from England.
I had a neighbour, a Portuguese, of Lisbon, but born of
English parents, whose name was Wells, and in much such
circumstances as I was. I call him my neighbour, because
his plantation lay next to mine, and we went on very
sociably together. My stock was but low, as well as his;
and we rather planted for food than anything else, for
about two years. However, we began to increase, and our
land began to come into order; so that the third year we
planted some tobacco, and made each of us a large piece
of ground ready for planting canes in the year to come.
But we both wanted help; and now I found, more than
before, I had done wrong in parting with my boy Xury.
But, alas! for me to do wrong that never did right, was
no great wonder. I hail no remedy but to go on: I had got
into an employment quite remote to my genius, and
directly contrary to the life I delighted in, and for which I
forsook my father’s house, and broke through all his good
advice. Nay, I was coming into the very middle station, or
upper degree of low life, which my father advised me to
before, and which, if I resolved to go on with, I might as
well have stayed at home, and never have fatigued myself
in the world as I had done; and I used often to say to
myself, I could have done this as well in England, among
my friends, as have gone five thousand miles off to do it
among strangers and savages, in a wilderness, and at such a
distance as never to hear from any part of the world that
had the least knowledge of me.
In this manner I used to look upon my condition with
the utmost regret. I had nobody to converse with, but
now and then this neighbour; no work to be done, but by
the labour of my hands; and I used to say, I lived just like
a man cast away upon some desolate island, that had
nobody there but himself. But how just has it been - and
how should all men reflect, that when they compare their
present conditions with others that are worse, Heaven may
oblige them to make the exchange, and be convinced of
their former felicity by their experience - I say, how just
has it been, that the truly solitary life I reflected on, in an
island of mere desolation, should be my lot, who had so
often unjustly compared it with the life which I then led,
in which, had I continued, I had in all probability been
exceeding prosperous and rich.
I was in some degree settled in my measures for
carrying on the plantation before my kind friend, the
captain of the ship that took me up at sea, went back - for
the ship remained there, in providing his lading and
preparing for his voyage, nearly three months - when
telling him what little stock I had left behind me in
London, he gave me this friendly and sincere advice:-
‘Seignior Inglese,’ says he (for so he always called me), ‘if
you will give me letters, and a procuration in form to me,
with orders to the person who has your money in London
to send your effects to Lisbon, to such persons as I shall
direct, and in such goods as are proper for this country, I
will bring you the produce of them, God willing, at my
return; but, since human affairs are all subject to changes
and disasters, I would have you give orders but for one
hundred pounds sterling, which, you say, is half your
stock, and let the hazard be run for the first; so that, if it
come safe, you may order the rest the same way, and, if it
miscarry, you may have the other half to have recourse to
for your supply.’
This was so wholesome advice, and looked so friendly,
that I could not but be convinced it was the best course I
could take; so I accordingly prepared letters to the
gentlewoman with whom I had left my money, and a
procuration to the Portuguese captain, as he 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 Portuguese captain at sea, the humanity of his
behaviour, and what condition I was now in, with all
other necessary directions for my supply; and when this
honest captain came to Lisbon, he found means, by some
of the English merchants there, to send over, not the order
only, but a full account of my story to a merchant in
London, who represented it effectually to her; whereupon
she not only delivered the money, but out of her own
pocket sent the Portugal captain a very handsome present
for his humanity and charity to me.
The merchant in London, vesting this hundred pounds
in English goods, such as the captain had written for, sent
them directly to him at Lisbon, and he brought them all
safe to me to the Brazils; among which, without my
direction (for I was too young in my business to think of
them), he had taken care to have all sorts of tools,
ironwork, and utensils necessary for my plantation, and
which were of great use to me.
When this cargo arrived I thought my fortune made,
for I was surprised with the joy of it; and my stood
steward, the captain, had laid out the five pounds, which
my friend had sent him for a present for himself, to
purchase and bring me over a servant, under bond for six
years’ service, and would not accept of any consideration,
except a little tobacco, which I would have him accept,
being of my own produce.
Neither was this all; for my goods being all English
manufacture, such as cloths, stuffs, baize, and things
particularly valuable and desirable in the country, I found
means to sell them to a very great advantage; so that I
might say I had more than four times the value of my first
cargo, and was now infinitely beyond my poor neighbour
- I mean in the advancement of my plantation; for the first
thing I did, I bought me a negro slave, and an European
servant also - I mean another besides that which the
captain brought me from Lisbon.
But as abused prosperity is oftentimes made the very
means of our greatest adversity, so it was with me. I went
on the next year with great success in my plantation: I
raised fifty great rolls of tobacco on my own ground, more
than I had disposed of for necessaries among my
neighbours; and these fifty rolls, being each of above a
hundredweight, were well cured, and laid by against the
return of the fleet from Lisbon: and now increasing in
business and wealth, my head began to be full of projects
and undertakings beyond my reach; such as are, indeed,
often the ruin of the best heads in business. Had I
continued in the station I was now in, I had room for all
the happy things to have yet befallen me for which my
father so earnestly recommended a quiet, retired life, and
of which he had so sensibly described the middle station of
life to be full of; but other things attended me, and I was
still to be the wilful agent of all my own miseries; and
particularly, to increase my fault, and double the
reflections upon myself, which in my future sorrows I

should have leisure to make, all these miscarriages were
procured by my apparent obstinate adhering to my foolish
inclination of wandering abroad, and pursuing that
inclination, in contradiction to the clearest views of doing
myself good in a fair and plain pursuit of those prospects,
and those measures of life, which nature and Providence
concurred to present me with, and to make my duty.
As I had once done thus in my breaking away from my
parents, so I could not be content now, but I must go and
leave the happy view I had of being a rich and thriving
man in my new plantation, only to pursue a rash and
immoderate desire of rising faster than the nature of the
thing admitted; and thus I cast myself down again into the
deepest gulf of human misery that ever man fell into, or
perhaps could be consistent with life and a state of health
in the 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 Brazils, and beginning to
thrive and prosper very well upon my plantation, I had
not only learned the language, but had contracted
acquaintance and friendship among my fellow-planters, as
well as among the merchants at St. Salvador, which was
our port; and that, in my discourses among them, I had

frequently given them an account of my two voyages to
the coast of Guinea: the manner of trading with the
negroes there, and how easy it was to purchase upon the
coast for trifles - such as beads, toys, knives, scissors,
hatchets, bits of glass, and the like - not only gold-dust,
Guinea grains, elephants’ teeth, &c., but negroes, for the
service of the Brazils, in great numbers.
They listened always very attentively to my discourses
on these heads, but especially to that part which related to
the buying of negroes, which was a trade at that time, not
only not far entered into, but, as far as it was, had been
carried on by assientos, or permission of the kings of Spain
and Portugal, and engrossed in the public stock: so that
few negroes were bought, and these excessively dear.
It happened, being in company with some merchants
and planters of my acquaintance, and talking of those
things very earnestly, three of them came to me next
morning, and told me they had been musing very much
upon what I had discoursed with them of the last night,
and they came to make a secret proposal to me; and, after
enjoining me to secrecy, they told me that they had a
mind to fit out a ship to go to Guinea; that they had all
plantations as well as I, and were straitened for nothing so
much as servants; that as it was a trade that could not be

carried on, because they could not publicly sell the
negroes when they came home, so they desired to make
but one voyage, to bring the negroes on shore privately,
and divide them among their own plantations; and, in a
word, the question was whether I would go their
supercargo in the ship, to manage the trading part upon
the coast of Guinea; and they offered me that I should
have my equal share of the negroes, without providing any
part of the stock.
This was a fair proposal, it must be confessed, had it
been made to any one that had not had a settlement and a
plantation of his own to look after, which was in a fair
way of coming to be very considerable, and with a good
stock upon it; but for me, that was thus entered and
established, and had nothing to do but to go on as I had
begun, for three or four years more, and to have sent for
the other hundred pounds from England; and who in that
time, and with that little addition, could scarce have failed
of being worth three or four thousand pounds sterling, and
that increasing too - for me to think of such a voyage was
the most preposterous thing that ever man in such
circumstances could be guilty of.
But I, that was born to be my own destroyer, could no
more resist the offer than I could restrain my first rambling

designs when my father’ good counsel was lost upon me.
In a word, I told them I would go with all my heart, if
they would undertake to look after my plantation in my
absence, and would dispose of it to such as I should direct,
if I miscarried. This they all engaged to do, and entered
into writings or covenants to do so; and I made a formal
will, disposing of my plantation and effects in case of my
death, making the captain of the ship that had saved my
life, as before, my universal heir, but obliging him to
dispose of my effects as I had directed in my will; one half
of the produce being to himself, and the other to be
shipped to England.
In short, I took all possible caution to preserve my
effects and to keep up my plantation. Had I used half as
much prudence to have looked into my own interest, and
have made a judgment of what I ought to have done and
not to have done, I had certainly never gone away from so
prosperous an undertaking, leaving all the probable views
of a thriving circumstance, and gone upon a voyage to sea,
attended with all its common hazards, to say nothing of
the reasons I had to expect particular misfortunes to
But I was hurried on, and obeyed blindly the dictates of
my fancy rather than my reason; and, accordingly, the ship

being fitted out, and the cargo furnished, and all things
done, as by agreement, by my partners in the voyage, I
went on board in an evil hour, the 1st September 1659,
being the same day eight years that I went from my father
and mother at Hull, in order to act the rebel to their
authority, and the fool to my own interests.
Our ship was about one hundred and twenty tons
burden, carried six guns and fourteen men, besides the
master, his boy, and myself. We had on board no large
cargo of goods, except of such toys as were fit for our
trade with the negroes, such as beads, bits of glass, shells,
and other trifles, especially little looking-glasses, knives,
scissors, hatchets, and the like.
The same day I went on board we set sail, standing
away to the northward upon our own coast, with design
to stretch over for the African coast when we came about
ten or twelve degrees of northern latitude, which, it
seems, was the manner of course in those days. We had
very good weather, only excessively hot, all the way upon
our own coast, till we came to the height of Cape St.
Augustino; from whence, keeping further off at sea, we
lost sight of land, and steered as if we were bound for the
isle Fernando de Noronha, holding our course N.E. by
N., and leaving those isles on the east. In this course we

passed the line in about twelve days’ time, and were, by
our last observation, in seven degrees twenty-two minutes
northern latitude, when a violent tornado, or hurricane,
took us quite out of our knowledge. It began from the
south-east, came about to the north-west, and then settled
in the north-east; from whence it blew in such a terrible
manner, that for twelve days together we could do
nothing but drive, and, scudding away before it, let it
carry us whither fate and the fury of the winds directed;
and, during these twelve days, I need not say that I
expected every day to be swallowed up; nor, indeed, did
any in the ship expect to save their lives.
In this distress we had, besides the terror of the storm,
one of our men die of the calenture, and one man and the
boy washed overboard. About the twelfth day, the
weather abating a little, the master made an observation as
well as he could, and found that he was in about eleven
degrees north latitude, but that he was twenty-two degrees
of longitude difference west from Cape St. Augustino; so
that he found he was upon the coast of Guiana, or the
north part of Brazil, beyond the river Amazon, toward
that of the river Orinoco, commonly called the Great
River; and began to consult with me what course he

should take, for the ship was leaky, and very much
disabled, and he was going directly back to the coast of
I was positively against that; and looking over the charts
of the sea-coast of America with him, we concluded there
was no inhabited country for us to have recourse to till we
came within the circle of the Caribbee Islands, and
therefore resolved to stand away for Barbadoes; which, by
keeping off at sea, to avoid the indraft of the Bay or Gulf
of Mexico, we might easily perform, as we hoped, in
about fifteen days’ sail; whereas we could not possibly
make our voyage to the coast of Africa without some
assistance both to our ship and to ourselves.
With this design we changed our course, and steered
away N.W. by W., in order to reach some of our English
islands, where I hoped for relief. But our voyage was
otherwise determined; for, being in the latitude of twelve
degrees eighteen minutes, a second storm came upon us,
which carried us away with the same impetuosity
westward, and drove us so out of the way of all human
commerce, that, had all our lives been saved as to the sea,
we were rather in danger of being devoured by savages
than ever returning to our own country.
In this distress, the wind still blowing very hard, one of

our men early in the morning cried out, ‘Land!’ and we
had no sooner run out of the cabin to look out, in hopes
of seeing whereabouts in the world we were, than the ship
struck upon a sand, and in a moment her motion being so
stopped, the sea broke over her in such a manner that we
expected we should all have perished immediately; and we
were immediately driven into our close quarters, to shelter
us from the very foam and spray of the sea.
It is not easy for any one who has not been in the like
condition to describe or conceive the consternation of
men in such circumstances. We knew nothing where we
were, or upon what land it was we were driven - whether
an island or the main, whether inhabited or not inhabited.
As the rage of the wind was still great, though rather less
than at first, we could not so much as hope to have the
ship hold many minutes without breaking into pieces,
unless the winds, by a kind of miracle, should turn
immediately about. In a word, we sat looking upon one
another, and expecting death every moment, and every
man, accordingly, preparing for another world; for there
was little or nothing more for us to do in this. That which
was our present comfort, and all the comfort we had, was
that, contrary to our expectation, the ship did not break

yet, and that the master said the wind began to abate.
Now, though we thought that the wind did a little
abate, yet the ship having thus struck upon the sand, and
sticking too fast for us to expect her getting off, we were
in a dreadful condition indeed, and had nothing to do but
to think of saving our lives as well as we could. We had a
boat at our stern just before the storm, but she was first
staved by dashing against the ship’s rudder, and in the next
place she broke away, and either sunk or was driven off to
sea; so there was no hope from her. We had another boat
on board, but how to get her off into the sea was a
doubtful thing. However, there was no time to debate, for
we fancied that the ship would break in pieces every
minute, and some told us she was actually broken already.
In this distress the mate of our vessel laid hold of the
boat, and with the help of the rest of the men got her
slung over the ship’s side; and getting all into her, let go,
and committed ourselves, being eleven in number, to
God’s mercy and the wild sea; for though the storm was
abated considerably, yet the sea ran dreadfully high upon
the shore, and might be well called DEN WILD ZEE, as
the Dutch call the sea in a storm.
And now our case was very dismal indeed; for we all
saw plainly that the sea went so high that the boat could

not live, and that we should be inevitably drowned. As to
making sail, we had none, nor if we had could we have
done anything with it; so we worked at the oar towards
the land, though with heavy hearts, like men going to
execution; for we all knew that when the boat came near
the shore she would be dashed in a thousand pieces by the
breach of the sea. However, we committed our souls to
God in the most earnest manner; and the wind driving us
towards the shore, we hastened our destruction with our
own hands, pulling as well as we could towards 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 find some bay or gulf, or the mouth of some
river, where by great chance we might have run our boat
in, or got under the lee of the land, and perhaps made
smooth water. But there was nothing like this appeared;
but as we made nearer and nearer the shore, the land
looked more frightful than the sea.
After we had rowed, or rather driven about a league
and a half, as we reckoned it, a raging wave, mountainlike,
came rolling astern of us, and plainly bade us expect
the COUP DE GRACE. It took us with such a fury, that

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

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

me, or rather dashed me, against a piece of rock, and that
with such force, that it left me senseless, and indeed
helpless, as to my own deliverance; for the blow taking my
side and breast, beat the breath as it were quite out of my
body; and had it returned again immediately, I must have
been strangled in the water; but I recovered a little before
the return of the waves, and seeing I should be covered
again with the water, I resolved to hold fast by a piece of
the rock, and so to hold my breath, if possible, till the
wave went back. Now, as the waves were not so high as at
first, being nearer land, I held my hold till the wave
abated, and then fetched another run, which brought me
so near the shore that the next wave, though it went over
me, yet did not so swallow me up as to carry me away;
and the next run I took, I got to the mainland, where, to
my great comfort, I clambered up the cliffs of the shore
and sat me down upon the grass, free from danger and
quite out of the reach of the water.
I was now landed and safe on shore, and began to look
up and thank God that my life was saved, in a case
wherein there was some minutes before scarce any room
to hope. I believe it is impossible to express, to the life,
what the ecstasies and transports of the soul are, when it is
so saved, as I may say, out of the very grave: and I do not

wonder now at the custom, when a malefactor, who has
the halter about his neck, is tied up, and just going to be
turned off, and has a reprieve brought to him - I say, I do
not wonder that they bring a surgeon with it, to let him
blood that very moment they tell him of it, that the
surprise may not drive the animal spirits from the heart
and overwhelm him.
‘For sudden joys, like griefs, confound at first.’
I walked about on the shore lifting up my hands, and
my whole being, as I may say, wrapped up in a
contemplation of my deliverance; making a thousand
gestures and motions, which I cannot describe; reflecting
upon all my comrades that were drowned, and that there
should not be one soul saved but myself; for, as for them, I
never saw them afterwards, or any sign of them, except
three of their hats, one cap, and two shoes that were not
I cast my eye to the stranded vessel, when, the breach
and froth of the sea being so big, I could hardly see it, it
lay so far of; and considered, Lord! how was it possible I
could get on shore
After I had solaced my mind with the comfortable part
of my condition, I began to look round me, to see what
kind of place I was in, and what was next to be done; and

I soon found my comforts abate, and that, in a word, I had
a dreadful deliverance; for I was wet, had no clothes to
shift me, nor anything either to eat or drink to comfort
me; neither did I see any prospect before me but that of
perishing with hunger or being devoured by wild beasts;
and that which was particularly afflicting to me was, that I
had no weapon, either to hunt and kill any creature for
my sustenance, or to defend myself against any other
creature that might desire to kill me for theirs. In a word, I
had nothing about me but a knife, a tobacco-pipe, and a
little tobacco in a box. This was all my provisions; and this
threw me into such terrible agonies of mind, that for a
while I ran about like a madman. Night coming upon me,
I began with a heavy heart to consider what would be my
lot if there were any ravenous beasts in that country, as at
night they always come abroad for their prey.
All the remedy that offered to my thoughts at that time
was to get up into a thick bushy tree like a fir, but thorny,
which grew near me, and where I resolved to sit all night,
and consider the next day what death I should die, for as
yet I saw no prospect of life. I walked about a furlong
from the shore, to see if I could find any fresh water to
drink, which I did, to my great joy; and having drank, and
put a little tobacco into my mouth to prevent hunger, I

went to the tree, and getting up into it, endeavoured to
place myself so that if I should sleep I might not fall. And
having cut me a short stick, like a truncheon, for my
defence, I took up my lodging; and having been
excessively fatigued, I fell fast asleep, and slept as
comfortably as, I believe, few could have done in my
condition, and found myself more refreshed with it than, I

think, I ever was on such an occasion.