I was born in the year 1632, in the city of York, of a good family, though no_f that country, my father being a foreigner of Bremen, who settled first a_ull. He got a good estate by merchandise, and leaving off his trade, live_fterwards at York, from whence he had married my mother, whose relations wer_amed Robinson, a very good family in that country, and from whom I was calle_obinson Kreutznaer; but, by the usual corruption of words in England, we ar_ow called - nay we call ourselves and write our name - Crusoe; and so m_ompanions always called me.
I had two elder brothers, one of whom was lieutenant-colonel to an Englis_egiment of foot in Flanders, formerly commanded by the famous Colone_ockhart, and was killed at the battle near Dunkirk against the Spaniards.
What became of my second brother I never knew, any more than my father o_other knew what became of me.
Being the third son of the family and not bred to any trade, my head began t_e filled very early with rambling thoughts. My father, who was very ancient,
had given me a competent share of learning, as far as house-education and _ountry free school generally go, and designed me for the law; but I would b_atisfied with nothing but going to sea; and my inclination to this led me s_trongly against the will, nay, the commands of my father, and against all th_ntreaties and persuasions of my mother and other friends, that there seeme_o be something fatal in that propensity of nature, tending directly to th_ife of misery which was to befall me.
My father, a wise and grave man, gave me serious and excellent counsel agains_hat he foresaw was my design. He called me one morning into his chamber,
where he was confined by the gout, and expostulated very warmly with me upo_his subject. He asked me what reasons, more than a mere wanderin_nclination, I had for leaving father's house and my native country, where _ight be well introduced, and had a prospect of raising my fortune b_pplication and industry, with a life of ease and pleasure. He told me it wa_en of desperate fortunes on one hand, or of aspiring, superior fortunes o_he other, who went abroad upon adventures, to rise by enterprise, and mak_hemselves famous in undertakings of a nature out of the common road; tha_hese things were all either too far above me or too far below me; that min_as 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, th_ost suited to human happiness, not exposed to the miseries and hardships, th_abour and sufferings of the mechanic part of mankind, and not embarrasse_ith the pride, luxury, ambition, and envy of the upper part of mankind. H_old 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 hav_requently lamented the miserable consequence of being born to great things,
and wished they had been placed in the middle of the two extremes, between th_ean and the great; that the wise man gave his testimony to this, as th_tandard of felicity, when he prayed to have neither poverty nor riches.
He bade me observe it, and I should always find that the calamities of lif_ere shared among the upper and lower part of mankind, but that the middl_tation had the fewest disasters, and was not exposed to so many vicissitude_s the higher or lower part of mankind; nay, they were not subjected to s_any distempers and uneasinesses, either of body or mind, as those were who,
by vicious living, luxury, and extravagances on the one hand, or by har_abour, want of necessaries, and mean or insufficient diet on the other hand,
bring distemper upon themselves by the natural consequences of their way o_iving; that the middle station of life was calculated for all kind of virtu_nd all kind of enjoyments; that peace and plenty were the handmaids of _iddle fortune; that temperance, moderation, quietness, health, society, al_greeable diversions, and all desirable pleasures, were the blessing_ttending the middle station of life; that this way men went silently an_moothly through the world, and comfortably out of it, not embarrassed wit_he labours of the hands or of the head, not sold to a life of slavery fo_aily bread, nor harassed with perplexed circumstances, which rob the soul o_eace and the body of rest, nor enraged with the passion of envy, or th_ecret burning lust of ambition for great things; but, in easy circumstances,
sliding gently through the world, and sensibly tasting the sweets of living,
without the bitter; feeling that they are happy, and learning by every day'_xperience to know it more sensibly.
After this he pressed me earnestly, and in the most affectionate manner, no_o play the young man, nor to precipitate myself into miseries which nature,
and the station of life I was born in, seemed to have provided against; that _as under no necessity of seeking my bread; that he would do well for me, an_ndeavour to enter me fairly into the station of life which he had just bee_ecommending to me; and that if I was not very easy and happy in the world, i_ust be my mere fate or fault that must hinder it; and that he should hav_othing to answer for, having thus discharged his duty in warning me agains_easures which he knew would be to my hurt; in a word, that as he would d_ery kind things for me if I would stay and settle at home as he directed, s_e would not have so much hand in my misfortunes as to give me an_ncouragement to go away; and to close all, he told me I had my elder brothe_or an example, to whom he had used the same earnest persuasions to keep hi_rom going into the Low Country wars, but could not prevail, his young desire_rompting him to run into the army, where he was killed; and though he said h_ould not cease to pray for me, yet he would venture to say to me, that if _id take this foolish step, God would not bless me, and I should have leisur_ereafter to reflect upon having neglected his counsel when there might b_one to assist in my recovery.
I observed in this last part of his discourse, which was truly prophetic,
though I suppose my father did not know it to be so himself - I say, _bserved the tears run down his face very plentifully, especially when h_poke of my brother who was killed: and that when he spoke of my havin_eisure to repent, and none to assist me, he was so moved that he broke of_he discourse, and told me his heart was so full he could say no more to me.
I was sincerely affected with this discourse, and, indeed, who could b_therwise? and I resolved not to think of going abroad any more, but to settl_t home according to my father's desire. But alas! a few days wore it all off;
and, in short, to prevent any of my father's further importunities, in a fe_eeks after I resolved to run quite away from him. However, I did not ac_uite so hastily as the first heat of my resolution prompted; but I took m_other at a time when I thought her a little more pleasant than ordinary, an_old her that my thoughts were so entirely bent upon seeing the world that _hould never settle to anything with resolution enough to go through with it,
and my father had better give me his consent than force me to go without it;
that I was now eighteen years old, which was too late to go apprentice to _rade or clerk to an attorney; that I was sure if I did I should never serv_ut my time, but I should certainly run away from my master before my time wa_ut, and go to sea; and if she would speak to my father to let me go on_oyage abroad, if I came home again, and did not like it, I would go no more;
and I would promise, by a double diligence, to recover the time that I ha_ost.
This put my mother into a great passion; she told me she knew it would be t_o purpose to speak to my father upon any such subject; that he knew too wel_hat was my interest to give his consent to anything so much for my hurt; an_hat she wondered how I could think of any such thing after the discourse _ad had with my father, and such kind and tender expressions as she knew m_ather had used to me; and that, in short, if I would ruin myself, there wa_o 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 _hould never have it to say that my mother was willing when my father was not.
Though my mother refused to move it to my father, yet I heard afterwards tha_he reported all the discourse to him, and that my father, after showing _reat concern at it, said to her, with a sigh, “That boy might be happy if h_ould stay at home; but if he goes abroad, he will be the most miserabl_retch that ever was born: I can give no consent to it.”
It was not till almost a year after this that I broke loose, though, in th_eantime, I continued obstinately deaf to all proposals of settling t_usiness, and frequently expostulated with my father and mother about thei_eing so positively determined against what they knew my inclinations prompte_e to. But being one day at Hull, where I went casually, and without an_urpose of making an elopement at that time; but, I say, being there, and on_f my companions being about to sail to London in his father's ship, an_rompting me to go with them with the common allurement of seafaring men, tha_t should cost me nothing for my passage, I consulted neither father no_other any more, nor so much as sent them word of it; but leaving them to hea_f it as they might, without asking God's blessing or my father's, without an_onsideration of circumstances or consequences, and in an ill hour, God knows,
on the 1st of September 1651, I went on board a ship bound for London. Neve_ny young adventurer's misfortunes, I believe, began sooner, or continue_onger than mine. The ship was no sooner out of the Humber than the wind bega_o blow and the sea to rise in a most frightful manner; and, as I had neve_een at sea before, I was most inexpressibly sick in body and terrified i_ind. I began now seriously to reflect upon what I had done, and how justly _as overtaken by the judgment of Heaven for my wicked leaving my father'_ouse, and abandoning my duty. All the good counsels of my parents, m_ather's tears and my mother's entreaties, came now fresh into my mind; and m_onscience, which was not yet come to the pitch of hardness to which it ha_ince, reproached me with the contempt of advice, and the breach of my duty t_od and my father.
All this while the storm increased, and the sea went very high, though nothin_ike what I have seen many times since; no, nor what I saw a few days after;
but it was enough to affect me then, who was but a young sailor, and had neve_nown anything of the matter. I expected every wave would have swallowed u_p, and that every time the ship fell down, as I thought it did, in the troug_r hollow of the sea, we should never rise more; in this agony of mind, I mad_any vows and resolutions that if it would please God to spare my life in thi_ne voyage, if ever I got once my foot upon dry land again, I would g_irectly home to my father, and never set it into a ship again while I lived;
that I would take his advice, and never run myself into such miseries as thes_ny more. Now I saw plainly the goodness of his observations about the middl_tation of life, how easy, how comfortably he had lived all his days, an_ever had been exposed to tempests at sea or troubles on shore; and I resolve_hat I would, like a true repenting prodigal, go home to my father.
These wise and sober thoughts continued all the while the storm lasted, an_ndeed some time after; but the next day the wind was abated, and the se_almer, and I began to be a little inured to it; however, I was very grave fo_ll that day, being also a little sea-sick still; but towards night th_eather cleared up, the wind was quite over, and a charming fine evenin_ollowed; the sun went down perfectly clear, and rose so the next morning; an_aving little or no wind, and a smooth sea, the sun shining upon it, the sigh_as, 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 ver_heerful, looking with wonder upon the sea that was so rough and terrible th_ay before, and could be so calm and so pleasant in so little a time after.
And now, lest my good resolutions should continue, my companion, who ha_nticed me away, comes to me; “Well, Bob,” says he, clapping me upon th_houlder, “how do you do after it? I warrant you were frighted, wer'n't you,
last night, when it blew but a capful of wind?” “A capful d'you call it?” sai_; “'twas a terrible storm.” “A storm, you fool you,” replies he; “do you cal_hat a storm? why, it was nothing at all; give us but a good ship and sea-
room, and we think nothing of such a squall of wind as that; but you're but _resh-water sailor, Bob. Come, let us make a bowl of punch, and we'll forge_ll that; d'ye see what charming weather 'tis now?” To make short this sa_art of my story, we went the way of all sailors; the punch was made and I wa_ade half drunk with it: and in that one night's wickedness I drowned all m_epentance, all my reflections upon my past conduct, all my resolutions fo_he future. In a word, as the sea was returned to its smoothness of surfac_nd settled calmness by the abatement of that storm, so the hurry of m_houghts being over, my fears and apprehensions of being swallowed up by th_ea being forgotten, and the current of my former desires returned, I entirel_orgot the vows and promises that I made in my distress. I found, indeed, som_ntervals of reflection; and the serious thoughts did, as it were, endeavou_o return again sometimes; but I shook them off, and roused myself from the_s it were from a distemper, and applying myself to drinking and company, soo_astered the return of those fits - for so I called them; and I had in five o_ix days got as complete a victory over conscience as any young fellow tha_esolved not to be troubled with it could desire. But I was to have anothe_rial for it still; and Providence, as in such cases generally it does,
resolved to leave me entirely without excuse; for if I would not take this fo_ deliverance, the next was to be such a one as the worst and most hardene_retch among us would confess both the danger and the mercy of.
The sixth day of our being at sea we came into Yarmouth Roads; the wind havin_een contrary and the weather calm, we had made but little way since th_torm. Here we were obliged to come to an anchor, and here we lay, the win_ontinuing contrary - viz. at south-west - for seven or eight days, durin_hich time a great many ships from Newcastle came into the same Roads, as th_ommon harbour where the ships might wait for a wind for the river.
We had not, however, rid here so long but we should have tided it up th_iver, but that the wind blew too fresh, and after we had lain four or fiv_ays, blew very hard. However, the Roads being reckoned as good as a harbour,
the anchorage good, and our ground- tackle very strong, our men wer_nconcerned, and not in the least apprehensive of danger, but spent the tim_n rest and mirth, after the manner of the sea; but the eighth day, in th_orning, the wind increased, and we had all hands at work to strike ou_opmasts, and make everything snug and close, that the ship might ride as eas_s possible. By noon the sea went very high indeed, and our ship rod_orecastle in, shipped several seas, and we thought once or twice our ancho_ad come home; upon which our master ordered out the sheet-anchor, so that w_ode with two anchors ahead, and the cables veered out to the bitter end.
By this time it blew a terrible storm indeed; and now I began to see terro_nd amazement in the faces even of the seamen themselves. The master, thoug_igilant in the business of preserving the ship, yet as he went in and out o_is cabin by me, I could hear him softly to himself say, several times, “Lor_e merciful to us! we shall be all lost! we shall be all undone!” and th_ike. During these first hurries I was stupid, lying still in my cabin, whic_as in the steerage, and cannot describe my temper: I could ill resume th_irst penitence which I had so apparently trampled upon and hardened mysel_gainst: I thought the bitterness of death had been past, and that this woul_e nothing like the first; but when the master himself came by me, as I sai_ust now, and said we should be all lost, I was dreadfully frighted. I got u_ut of my cabin and looked out; but such a dismal sight I never saw: the se_an mountains high, and broke upon us every three or four minutes; when _ould look about, I could see nothing but distress round us; two ships tha_ode near us, we found, had cut their masts by the board, being deep laden;
and our men cried out that a ship which rode about a mile ahead of us wa_oundered. Two more ships, being driven from their anchors, were run out o_he Roads to sea, at all adventures, and that with not a mast standing. Th_ight ships fared the best, as not so much labouring in the sea; but two o_hree of them drove, and came close by us, running away with only thei_pritsail out before the wind.
Towards evening the mate and boatswain begged the master of our ship to le_hem cut away the fore-mast, which he was very unwilling to do; but th_oatswain protesting to him that if he did not the ship would founder, h_onsented; and when they had cut away the fore-mast, the main-mast stood s_oose, and shook the ship so much, they were obliged to cut that away also,
and make a clear deck.
Any one may judge what a condition I must be in at all this, who was but _oung sailor, and who had been in such a fright before at but a little. But i_ can express at this distance the thoughts I had about me at that time, I wa_n tenfold more horror of mind upon account of my former convictions, and th_aving returned from them to the resolutions I had wickedly taken at first,
than I was at death itself; and these, added to the terror of the storm, pu_e into such a condition that I can by no words describe it. But the worst wa_ot come yet; the storm continued with such fury that the seamen themselve_cknowledged they had never seen a worse. We had a good ship, but she was dee_aden, and wallowed in the sea, so that the seamen every now and then crie_ut she would founder. It was my advantage in one respect, that I did not kno_hat they meant by FOUNDER till I inquired. However, the storm was so violen_hat I saw, what is not often seen, the master, the boatswain, and some other_ore sensible than the rest, at their prayers, and expecting every moment whe_he ship would go to the bottom. In the middle of the night, and under all th_est of our distresses, one of the men that had been down to see cried out w_ad sprung a leak; another said there was four feet water in the hold. The_ll hands were called to the pump. At that word, my heart, as I thought, die_ithin me: and I fell backwards upon the side of my bed where I sat, into th_abin. However, the men roused me, and told me that I, that was able to d_othing before, was as well able to pump as another; at which I stirred up an_ent to the pump, and worked very heartily. While this was doing the master,
seeing some light colliers, who, not able to ride out the storm were oblige_o slip and run away to sea, and would come near us, ordered to fire a gun a_ signal of distress. I, who knew nothing what they meant, thought the shi_ad broken, or some dreadful thing happened. In a word, I was so surprise_hat I fell down in a swoon. As this was a time when everybody had his ow_ife to think of, nobody minded me, or what was become of me; but another ma_tepped up to the pump, and thrusting me aside with his foot, let me lie,
thinking I had been dead; and it was a great while before I came to myself.
We worked on; but the water increasing in the hold, it was apparent that th_hip would founder; and though the storm began to abate a little, yet it wa_ot possible she could swim till we might run into any port; so the maste_ontinued firing guns for help; and a light ship, who had rid it out jus_head of us, ventured a boat out to help us. It was with the utmost hazard th_oat came near us; but it was impossible for us to get on board, or for th_oat to lie near the ship's side, till at last the men rowing very heartily,
and venturing their lives to save ours, our men cast them a rope over th_tern with a buoy to it, and then veered it out a great length, which they,
after much labour and hazard, took hold of, and we hauled them close under ou_tern, and got all into their boat. It was to no purpose for them or us, afte_e were in the boat, to think of reaching their own ship; so all agreed to le_er drive, and only to pull her in towards shore as much as we could; and ou_aster promised them, that if the boat was staved upon shore, he would make i_ood to their master: so partly rowing and partly driving, our boat went awa_o the northward, sloping towards the shore almost as far as Winterton Ness.
We were not much more than a quarter of an hour out of our ship till we sa_er sink, and then I understood for the first time what was meant by a shi_oundering in the sea. I must acknowledge I had hardly eyes to look up whe_he seamen told me she was sinking; for from the moment that they rather pu_e 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 th_houghts of what was yet before me.
While we were in this condition - the men yet labouring at the oar to brin_he boat near the shore - we could see (when, our boat mounting the waves, w_ere able to see the shore) a great many people running along the strand t_ssist us when we should come near; but we made but slow way towards th_hore; nor were we able to reach the shore till, being past the lighthouse a_interton, the shore falls off to the westward towards Cromer, and so the lan_roke off a little the violence of the wind. Here we got in, and though no_ithout much difficulty, got all safe on shore, and walked afterwards on foo_o Yarmouth, where, as unfortunate men, we were used with great humanity, a_ell by the magistrates of the town, who assigned us good quarters, as b_articular merchants and owners of ships, and had money given us sufficient t_arry 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 ha_een happy, and my father, as in our blessed Saviour's parable, had eve_illed the fatted calf for me; for hearing the ship I went away in was cas_way in Yarmouth Roads, it was a great while before he had any assurances tha_ was not drowned.
But my ill fate pushed me on now with an obstinacy that nothing could resist;
and though I had several times loud calls from my reason and my more compose_udgment to go home, yet I had no power to do it. I know not what to cal_his, nor will I urge that it is a secret overruling decree, that hurries u_n to be the instruments of our own destruction, even though it be before us,
and that we rush upon it with our eyes open. Certainly, nothing but some suc_ecreed unavoidable misery, which it was impossible for me to escape, coul_ave pushed me forward against the calm reasonings and persuasions of my mos_etired thoughts, and against two such visible instructions as I had met wit_n my first attempt.
My comrade, who had helped to harden me before, and who was the master's son,
was now less forward than I. The first time he spoke to me after we were a_armouth, which was not till two or three days, for we were separated in th_own to several quarters; I say, the first time he saw me, it appeared hi_one was altered; and, looking very melancholy, and shaking his head, he aske_e how I did, and telling his father who I was, and how I had come this voyag_nly for a trial, in order to go further abroad, his father, turning to m_ith a very grave and concerned tone “Young man,” says he, “you ought never t_o to sea any more; you ought to take this for a plain and visible token tha_ou are not to be a seafaring man.” “Why, sir,” said I, “will you go to sea n_ore?” “That is another case,” said he; “it is my calling, and therefore m_uty; but as you made this voyage on trial, you see what a taste Heaven ha_iven you of what you are to expect if you persist. Perhaps this has al_efallen 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 tha_ told him some of my story; at the end of which he burst out into a strang_ind of passion: “What had I done,” says he, “that such an unhappy wretc_hould come into my ship? I would not set my foot in the same ship with the_gain for a thousand pounds.” This indeed was, as I said, an excursion of hi_pirits, which were yet agitated by the sense of his loss, and was farthe_han he could have authority to go. However, he afterwards talked very gravel_o me, exhorting me to go back to my father, and not tempt Providence to m_uin, telling me I might see a visible hand of Heaven against me. “And, youn_an,” said he, “depend upon it, if you do not go back, wherever you go, yo_ill meet with nothing but disasters and disappointments, till your father'_ords are fulfilled upon you.”
We parted soon after; for I made him little answer, and I saw him no more;
which way he went I knew not. As for me, having some money in my pocket, _ravelled to London by land; and there, as well as on the road, had man_truggles with myself what course of life I should take, and whether I shoul_o home or to sea.
As to going home, shame opposed the best motions that offered to my thoughts,
and it immediately occurred to me how I should be laughed at among th_eighbours, and should be ashamed to see, not my father and mother only, bu_ven everybody else; from whence I have since often observed, how incongruou_nd irrational the common temper of mankind is, especially of youth, to tha_eason which ought to guide them in such cases - viz. that they are no_shamed to sin, and yet are ashamed to repent; not ashamed of the action fo_hich they ought justly to be esteemed fools, but are ashamed of th_eturning, which only can make them be esteemed wise men.
In this state of life, however, I remained some time, uncertain what measure_o take, and what course of life to lead. An irresistible reluctance continue_o going home; and as I stayed away a while, the remembrance of the distress _ad been in wore off, and as that abated, the little motion I had in m_esires to return wore off with it, till at last I quite laid aside th_houghts of it, and looked out for a voyage.