Thursday, December 13, 2012

Robinson Crusoe in Formosa

I'm sure you've heard of Robinson Crusoe, Daniel Defoe's masterpiece, first published in 1719. But Defoe also published sequels to Robinson Crusoe, including the Further Adventures of  Robinson Crusoe, in which the hero makes a stop at Formosa on his way to China....


"We would have gone into the bay of Tonquin, for we wanted to inform ourselves of what was to be known concerning the Dutch ships that had been there; but we durst not stand in there, because we had seen several ships go in, as we supposed, but a little before; so we kept on NE. towards the island of Formosa, as much afraid of being seen by a Dutch or English merchant ship as a Dutch or English merchant ship in the Mediterranean is of an Algerine man-of-war.

When we were thus got to sea, we kept on NE., as if we would go to the Manillas or the Philippine Islands; and this we did that we might not fall into the way of any of the European ships; and then we steered north, till we came to the latitude of 22 degrees 30 seconds, by which means we made the island of Formosa directly, where we came to an anchor, in order to get water and fresh provisions, which the people there, who are very courteous in their manners, supplied us with willingly, and dealt very fairly and punctually with us in all their agreements and bargains. This is what we did not find among other people, and may be owing to the remains of Christianity which was once planted here by a Dutch missionary of Protestants, and it is a testimony of what I have often observed, viz. that the Christian religion always civilises the people, and reforms their manners, where it is received, whether it works saving effects upon them or no."

According to the intertubes (here and here), the original edition of the sequel was published in 1719. This 1815 edition hosted on Google Books offers a bonus map and extensive footnotes on the island of Formosa.
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