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Additional info for Defoe and the Nature of Man
This presents a problem, for should Defoe, an ardent opponent of tyranny, have made why his hero into a despot. In order to understand Defoe's purpose, the Surprising Adventures and the Farther Adventures of Robinson the arrival of Crusoe must be regarded as a single work concerned with the nature. political evolution of society in the state of Defoe once advanced the argument that whoever owned the property of a nation was the actual ruler. He developed this idea by suggesting that foreigners might conquer England merely by buying up all the land, a theory which seemed absurd even to Walter Wilson, Defoe's most idolatrous biographer.
P. 131. , p, 150. THE STATE OF NATURE 4I The implication of this statement is unmistakable: the Euro pean makes the natives avaricious, fierce, and suspicious by corrupting their innocence. This becomes a familiar theme in Defoe's subsequent works. The pirate, Captain Roberts, finds that the natives at Calabar refuse to trade with him and his vicious crew, providing Captain Johnson, Defoe's narrator, with an opportunity to moralize on this: Indication that these poor Creatures, in the narrow Circumstances they were in, and without the Light of the Gospel, or the Advan tages of an Education, have, notwithstanding, such a moral innate Honesty, as would upbraid and shame the most knowing Christian.
No one reading Robinson Crusoe could be unaware of the new current of thought. But there can be no question that many of Defoe's contemporaries saw much in Crusoe's relation to the cannibals and to Friday which Defoe never intended. 1 The Royal Slave, in The Novels of Mrs. Aphra Behn, ed. Ernest Baker 3), P- 3- Walter Hammond, 3 Characteristics, i. A Paradox, in Harleian Miscellany (i8ro), xi. 536. 226. ROBINSON CRUSOE AND 40 Although he did not have the opportunity to expatiate on the and long didactic ideals of primitivism before writing his novels works, Defoe occasionally referred to the moral probity of savages even in his early pamphlets and poems.