Defoe, Daniel, 1661?-1731
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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

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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 myself, 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 myself, even tho' I was now a great way off 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 humane

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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 humane 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 considered 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 it was 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 itself, 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 wandered 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 staid in this desolate Island, as I would have been to have had them.

While these Reflections were rolling 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

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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 vanish'd; 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 before-hand, 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 hurried about, as differing Circumstances 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 exemplified in me at this time in the most lively Manner imaginable; for I, whose only Affliction was, that I seem'd banish'd from humane Society, that I was alone circumscrib'd by the boundless Ocean, cut off from Mankind, and condemn'd

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to what I call silent Life; that I was as one whom 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 on the Island.

Such is the uneven State of Humane Life; and it afforded me a great many curious Speculations afterwards, when I had a little recovered my first Surprize; I considered 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 sin'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.

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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 encouraged 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 myself 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.

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Now I began to take Courage, and to peep abroad again; for I had not stir'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 myself therefore with the Belief that this was nothing but the Print of one of my own Feet, 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 could not perswade myself 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 appeared evidently to me, that when I laid up my Boat, I could not possibly be on Shore any where thereabout. 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

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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 Resolutions 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 further, 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,

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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 Surprize, 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 tired, 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 myself, 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, lest 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

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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 Inside 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 myself 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

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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 proposed to myself 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 mischiefing 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;

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one was to find another convenient Place to dig 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 retir'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 myself 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 continu'd 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.

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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 murder'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

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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 Ships; 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

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been a Fire made, and a Circle dug in the Earth, like a Cockpit, where it is supposed 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 buried in the Thoughts of such a Pitch of inhumane, 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 could not bear to stay in the Place a Moment; so I got me up the Hill again with all the Speed I could, and walk'd on towards my own Habitation.

When I came a little out of that Part of the Island, I stood still awhile as amaz'd; and then recovering myself, 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 esteemed 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.

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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, nor 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 Footsteps 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 concealed 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 inhumane 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 could not think of ever making any more Attempts to bring the other Boat round the Island to me, lest I should meet with some of these Creatures at Sea,

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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 discovered 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, lest I should happen to be seen by any of them; and particularly, I was more cautious of firing my Gun, lest 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 myself 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 off, though I never went out without it; and which was more, as I had sav'd three Pistols out of the Ship, I always carried 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 myself, 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, compared to some others; nay, to many other Particulars of Life, which it might have pleased

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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.

Bibliographic details for the Electronic File

Defoe, D.: Robinson Crusoe (1719): a machine-readable transcript

Cambridge 1996
Eighteenth-Century Fiction Full-Text Database
Copyright (c) 1996 Chadwyck-Healey. Do not export or print from this database without checking the Copyright Conditions to see what is permitted.

Bibliographic details for the Source Text

Defoe, Daniel, 1661?-1731 (1660-1731)
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.
The Third Edition

Printed for W. Taylor [etc.] 1719
[4], 364, [4] p.