Imágenes de páginas

order. It was, by my account, the 30th of September, when, in the manner as above said, I first set my foot upon this horrid island; when the sun, being to us in its autumnal equinox, was almost just over my head; for I reckoned myself, 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 1 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 capital letters; and making ^ into a great cross, I set it up on the shore where I first lande "** viz. "I came on shore here on the 30th of September, 16$i Upon the sides of this square post I cut every day a notch witH my knife, and every seventh notch was as long again as the rest, and every first day of the month as long again as that long one; and thus I kept my calendar, or weekly, monthly, and yearly reckoning of time.

But it happened, that among the many things which 1 brought out ot the ship, in the several voyages which, as above mentioned, I made to it, I got several things of less value, but not at all less useful to me, which I found, some time after, in rummaging the chests; 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 nuddled together, whether 1 might want them or no: also I found three very good Bibles} which came to me in my cargo from England, ana which 1 had packed up among my things; some Portuguese books also, and, among them, two or three popish prayer books, and several othei books, all which 1 carefully secured. And I must not forget, that we had in the ship a dog, and two cats, of whose eminent history I may have occasion to say something, in its place; for I carried both the cats with me; and as for the dog, he jumped out of the ship 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 for many years: I wanted nothing that he could fetch me, nor any company that he could make up to me ; I only wanted to have him talk to me; but that would not do. As I observed before, 1 found pens, ink, and paper, and I husbanded them to the utmost; and I shall show that while my ink lasted, I kept things very exact, but after that was gone I could not; for I could not make any ink, by any meana that 1 could devise.

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

This want of tools made every work I did go on heavily; and it was near a whole year before I had entirely finished my little pale, or surrounded my habitation. The piles or stakes, which were as heavy as I could well lift, were a long time in cutting and preparing in the woods, and more, by far, in bringing home; so that I spent sometimes two days in cutting and bringing home one of those posts, and a third day in driving it into the ground; for which purpose, I got a heavy piece of wood at first, but at last bethought myself of one of the iron crows; which, however, though I found it, yet it made driving these posts or piles very laborious and tedious work. But what need I have been concerned at the tediousness of any thin^ 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 reduced to; and I drew up the state of my affiirs 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 mastei my despondency, 1 began to comfort myself as well as I could and to set the good against the evil, that I might have something to distinguish my case from worse; ana 1 stated very impartially, like debtor and creditor, the comforts I enjoyed against the miseries I suffered, thus:—

Good. But I am alive; and not drown ed, as all my ship's company were.

But I am singled out, too, from all the ship's crew, to be spared -, from death; and He that miracu^j lously saved me from death, can" deliver me from this condition.

But I am not starved, and perishing in 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 beast to hurt me, as I saw on the coast of Africa; and what if I had been shipwrecked there?

But God wonderfully sent the ship in near enough to the shore, that I have got out so many necessary things as will either supply my wants, or enable me to supply myself, 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 negative, or something positive, to be thankful for in it; and let this stand as a direction, from the experience of the most miserable of all conditions in this world, that we may always find in it something to coinfort ourselves


1 am cast upon a horrible, desolate island, void of all hope of recovery.

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

1 am divided from mankind, a solitaire; one banished from human society.

I have no clothes to cover me.

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

1 have no soul to speak to, relieve me.

from, and to set, in the description of good and evil, on the credit side of the account.

Haying 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, 1 began to apply myself to accommodate my way of living, and to make things as easy to me as I could.

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

I have already observed how I brought all my goods into this pale, and into the cave which I had made behind me. But I must observe, too, that at first this was a confused heap of goods, which as they lay in no order, so they took up all my place: I had no room to turn myself: so I set myself to enlarge my cave, and work farther into the earth; for it was a loose, sandy rock, which yielded easily to the labor I bestowed on it; and when I found I was pretty safe as to the beasts of prey, 1 worked sideways, to the right hand, into the rock, and then, turning to the right again, worked quite out, and made me a door to come out in the outside of my pale or fortification.

This gave me not only egress and regress, as it were, a backway to my tent and to my storehouse, but gave me room to stow my goods.

And now I began to apply myself to make such necessary things as I found I most wanted, particularly a chair and a table; for without these 1 was not able to enjoy the few comforts I had in the world; I could not write, or eat, or do several tilings with so much pleasure, without a fable: so I went to work. And here 1 must needs observe, that as reason is the substance and original of the mathematics, 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 mechanic art. I had never handled a tool in my life; and yet, in time, by labor, application, and contrivance, 1 found, at last, that I wanted nothing but I could have made, 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 labor. For example, if 1 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 as thin as a plank, and then dub it smooth with my adze. It is true, by this method I could make but one board of a whole tree; but this I had no remedy for but patience, any more than I had for a prodigious deal of time and labor wnich it took me up to make a plank or board; but my time or labor was little worth, and so it was as well employed, one way as another.

However, I made me a table and a chair, as I observed above, in the first place; and this 1 did out of the short pieces of boards that 1 brought on my raft from the ship. But when I wrought out some boards, as above, I made large shelves, of the breadth of a foot and a half, one over another; all along one side of my cave, to lay all my tools, nails, and iron-work on; and, in a word, to separate every thine at large in their places, that 1 might easily come at them. I knocked pieces into the wall of the rock, to hang my guns, and all things that would hang up; so that had my cave been seen, it looked like a general magazine of all necessary things; and I had every things so ready at my hand, that it was a great pleasure to me to see all my goods in such order, and especially to find my stock of all necessaries so great. .

And now it was that I began to keep a journal of every day's employment; for, indeed, at first, I was in too much

« AnteriorContinuar »