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thinks this will be so. The wonders of this man's life exceed all that, he thinks, are to be found extant; the life of one man being scarce capable of greater variety. The story is told with modesty, with seriousness, and with a reli. gious application of events to the uses to which wise men always apply them; viz. to the instruction of others by example, and to justify and honor the wisdom of Providence in all the variety of our circumstances, let them bappen how they will. The Editor believes the thing to be a just history of fact; neither is there any appearance of fiction in it. However this may be (for all such things are disputed), he is of opinion that the improvement of it, as well to the diversion as to the instruction of the reader, will be the same; and as such, he thinks, without farther compliment to the world, he does them a great service in the publication,

Unquestionably, on this point, there can be no hesitation in pro. nouncing, that there is as much internal evidence of the reality of the circumstances which form the substance of this “ strange, surprising, history,” as of numerous printed accounts of shipwrecks, and other disastrous adventures, or hazardous escapes, which have been presented to the public, under the sanction of names, the superior respectability, and the authenticity of which, have never been called in question.* This sentiment receives strong confirmation from a passage in the preface to a publication which appeared the year after the Adventures; namely, the “Serious Reflections.”+ It is worthy of particular notice, as presenting a declaration on this head, purporting to be a decisive answer in direct terms to all insinuations of an opposite description.

« 1 Robinson Crusoe, being at this time in perfect and sound memory (thanks be to God therefore), do hereby declare their objection is an invention, scandalous in design, and false in fact ; and do affirm, that the story, though allegorical is also historical; and that it is the beautiful representation of a life of unex. ampled misfortunes ; and of a variety not to be met with in the world: sincerely adapted to, and intended for, the common good of mankind; and designed at first, as it is now farther applied, to the most serious uses possible.”

This deposition, countenanced as it was by the plain and honest complexion of the narrative, and by what was yet more valid, the most abundant

* The Editor will particularise only three narratives, illustrative of his idea on this subject, comprised in an interesting book, entituled “ Naufragia :" they are, 1, that of PIERRE VIAUD, (Vol. i, p. 191.) 2. Captain RiCHARD FALCONER, (ibid, p. 259.) 3. That of Mr. RANDALL, (ib. p. 281.) Something pertinent to the question of probabilities, and possibilities, might also be alleged with reference to the voyages of SINBAD the sailor, in the “ Arabian Nights ;" but that discussion would lead us too faz beyond the bounds of annotation.

+ Serious Reflections, during the life and surprising adventures of Robinson Crusoe ; witk his vision of the angelie world. Entered at Stationers-ball for W.Taylor, 3d August 1720

favor of the public, and the rapid circulation of the work, (for TAYLOR is said to have gained a thousand pounds, a marvellous profit in those days!) appears to have speedily put down all invidious attempts to impeach the credit and veracity of this delightful history : in the same year at the distance of only four months from the publication of the first volume, a second was announced ; and, although assailed like the former, probably from the same quarter, and certainly with the same malignity, it triumphed like it's predecessor, by the pure ascendancy of exalted merit ; the shafts of malevolence werc levelled in vain; the adversary was compelled to retire from the field, and Robinson Crusoe, with his man Friday, were left in undisputed possession of the ground which they had won by superior virtue.

In the preface to the second part,* we find the Editor complaining of the continuance of envious attempts to the prejudice of the work, and of practices detrimental to the best interests of literature, instigated by the workings of a mercenary spirit. To complete this historical sketch, we here transcribe that document also :

“ The success the former part of this work bas met with in the world, has yet been no other than is acknowledged to be due to the surprising variety of the subject, and to the agreeable manner of the performance. All the endeavours of envious persons to reproach it with being a romance, to search it for errors in geography, inconsistency in the relation, and contradictions in the fact, have proved ineffectụal, and as impotent as malicious. The just application of every incident, the religious and useful inferences drawn from every part, are so many testimonies to the good design of making it public, and must legitimate all the part thaç may be called invention, or parable in the story. The second part, if the Editor's opinion may pass, is (contrary to the usage of second parts) every way as entertaining as the first, contains as strange and surprising incidents, and as great a variety of them ; nor is the application less serious, or suitable ; and doubtless will, to the sober, as well as ingenuous reader, be every way as profitable and diverting; and this makes the abridging this work as scandalous as it is knavish and ridiculous, seeing, while to sborten the book, that they may seem to reduce the value, they strip it of all those reflections, as well religious as moral, which are not only the greatest beauties of the work, but are calculated for the infinite advautage of the reader. By this they leave the work naked of its brightest ornaments; and if they would, at the same time, pretend, that the author has supplied the story out of his invention, they take from it the improvement, which alone recommends that invention to wise and good men. The injury these men do the proprietor of this work, is a practice all honest men abhor; and he believes he may challenge them to show the difference between that and robbing on the highway, or breaking open a house. If they cannot show

• This was entered at Stationers-ball for W. TAYLOR, the 17th August 1719,

any difference in the crime, they will find it hard to show why there should be any difference in the punishment; and he will answer for it, that nothing shall be wanting on his part to do them justice.”

In thus bringing under the eye of the reader the original remarks with which Robinson Crusoe was ushered into the world, it may not be supposed that the present editor is answering objections which truth never countenanced, and time has rendered obsolete ; much less, that he is courting approbation, where there already exists a broad foundation of assured applause : rather let it be understood, that it was considered a desirable and proper thing to introduce the present undertaking (which may be said to form, as it were, a new aera in the circulation of the work) with something in the shape of a literary preamble, illustrative of the publication, and of its public heralds from the date of its first appearance.

In no other view do we stop to notice the superfluous importance which has been attached to the old story of ALEXANDER SELKIRK'S papers. Whether the original editor, De Foe, did or did not, in any shape, apply to the more perfect illustration of his own original matter, any of the information imagined to have come from that source, is one of those idle problems, the studious discussion of which affords an ensincnt proof of the charm which attaches to mystery, and of the propensity of scholars to indulge in speculations, which not all the wit or power of man can bring to a sure conclusion. The real limits of the enquiry are, in truth, extremely narrow. It is an undisputed fact, that Captain Woodes-Rogers revealed the whole of Selkirk's story to the world in the year 1712; and consequently that it had been full seven years in print at the time when Robinson Crusoe was presented unto the public: in common with all other printed information, it was open to the consultation and familiar to the knowledge of thousands of readers; and in its nature was such as every inquisitive and reflecting mind must have received and retained a strong impression of: is it to be charged, then, as a crime to a literary man of that day, if it should appear, that he was not ignorant of what every other person in the nation was acquainted with ? or that, knowing it, should use the privilege never before or since denied to any other editor of adopting, for the completion of what was imperfect in his MSS. any of the authentic information that was current at the time, and which, in fact, had become the domain of literature, and was mixed up with the floating mass of general knowledge? Or will any one seriously maintain, that there is any thing either strange or dishonorable in the circumstance of a

history, professing to detail the adventures of a shipwrecked mariner, presenting, in its rough outline, a correspondence with the features of some other narrative, recording the particulars of a similar catastrophe ? But, indeed, we have bestowed more words than enough on a subject so trite and unworthy of grave attention. We venture to think it is high time that the learned trifling, so long expended on this point to so little purpose, should at length give place to the influence of candor and good-sensc. It is only necessary to recollect that De Foe was an acute general satirist; that, as such, he had made for himself a multitude of enemies ; and that these sought the gratification of their resentment in depreciating, with the greatest zeal, whatever tended most to the exaltation of bis fame: this is amply sufficient to account for the origin of the story about SELKIRK's papers, though not for the strange and important way in which it has been countenanced, and ambitiously discussed by the learned of later times : it might have been expected, that the liberality, not to say the gratitude, of an age which calls itself enlightened, might, in return for the rich entertainment bequeathed unto it, at least have disdained to cherish the calumpies of the envious eotemporaries of a learned and extraordinary man, a lively and instructive writer.

Robinson Crusoe, in truth, is a narrative which has seen an old age of honor and renown ; which has not only outlived the feelings of enry, but which it is impossible for any eulogium now to exalt. During the lapse of ncarly a century from the period of its coming forth from the press, it has travelled, like its hero, into the most distant regions, and worn the costume of literature, and the garland of fame in almost every civilized country of the globe : the eye of scienco and of beauty has wandered over its pages with renewed delight: youth and old-age have been enamoured of its simplicity, and have dwelt with rapture on its heart-moving details; there is scarcely a language in Europe that hath not been employed to multiply the knowledge of these " surprising adventures;” scarcely a scholar of any celebrity, or a preceptor of any distinction, who hath not, in one shape or other, in writing, or in discourse, borne testimony to the matchless excellencies of this attractive record of the most strange vicissitudes. The multiplied grounds which have been taken by such persons for their commendation, shew, indeed, by their very diversity how various and how vast are the undisputed claims which it possesses to the high reputation that it has secured. One has discovered its principal merit in the ingenious display which it offers of the mechanical arts, and their adaptation to man's common necessities : thas Dr. BEATTIE:_66 Robinson Crusoe must be allowed, by the most rigid moralist, to be one of those books which one may read not only with pleasure, but also with profit. It breathes throughout a spirit of piety and benevolence : it sets in a very striking light, as I have elsewhere observed, the impor. tance of the mechanical arts, which they who know not what it is to be without them, are so apt to undervalue: it fixes in the mind a lively idea of the horrors of solitude, and consequently of the sweets of social life, and of the blessings we derive from conversation, and mutual aid : and it shows, how by labouring with one's own hands, one may secure independence, and open for ourself many sources of health and amusement. I agree, therefore, with Rousseau, * that this is one of the best books that can be put in the hands of children.

* Je hais les livres; ils n'apprennent qu' à parler de ce qu'on ne sait pas. On dit quen Hermès grava sur des colonnes les élémens des sciences, pour mettre ses découvertes à l'abri d'un déluge. S'il les eut bien imprimées dans la tête des hommes, elles s'y seroient conservées par trudition. Des cerveaur bien préparés sont les monumens où se gravent le plus surement les connoisances humaines. N'y auroit-il point moyen de rapprocher tant de leçons éparses dans tant de livres, de les réunir sous un objet commun qui pút etre facile à voir, interessant à suivre, et qui pút servir de stimulant, même à cet age? Si l'on peut inventer une situation tous les besoins naturels de l'homme se montrent d'une maniere sensible á l'esprit d'un enfant, et les moyens de pourvoir à ces mémes besoins se developpent successivement uvec la même facilité, c'est par la pein ure vive f naïve de cet état qu'il faut donner le premier exercice à son imagination. Philosophe ardent ! je vois déjà s'allumer la vôire. Ne vous mettes pas en frais ; cette situation est trouvée, elle est décrite, et sans vous faire tort, beaucoup mieur que vous ne la décriries vous-mème ; du moins avec plus de vérité & de simplicité. Puisqu' il nous faut absolument des livres, il en esiste un qui fournit, à mon gré, le plus heureus traité d'éducation naturelle. Ce livre sera le premier que lira mon Emile: seul il composera durant long-tems toute sa bibliothéque, et il y tiendra toujours une place distinguée. Il sera le texte auquel tous nos entretiens sur les sciences naturelles ne serviront que de commentaire. Il servira d épreuve, durant nos progrès, à l'état de notre jugement, et tant que notre goût ne sera pas gáté sa lecture nous plaira toujours. Quel est donc ce mervelleus livre ? Est-ce Aristote? est-ce Pline? est-ce Buffon? Non; c'est Robinson Crusoe. Robinson Crusoe dans son isle, seul, dépourvu de l'assistance de ses semblables et des instrumens de tous les arts, pourvnyant cependant à sa subsistance, à si conservation, et se procurant méme une sorte de bien-étre ; voilà un objet interessant pour tout age, et qu'on a mille moyens de rendre agréable aur enfants. Voilà comment nous réalisons l'isle déserte qui me servoit d'abord de comparaison, Cet état n'est pas, j'en conviens, celui de l'homme social; vraisemblablement il ne doit pas étre celui d'EMILE; mais c'est sur ce méme état qu'il doit apprécier tous les autres. Le plus sur moyen de s'elever au-dessus des prejugés, et d'ordonner ses jugemens sur les vrais rapports des choses, est de se mettre à la place d'un homme isolé, et de juger de tout comme cet homme en doit juger lui-même, en égard à sa propre utilité. (J. J. ROUSSEAU: Emile ou de l'éducation, ii.)

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