Robinson Crusoe rescues the Spaniard (facing p. 235) — Phiz's second illustration for Defoe's Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, including A Memoir of the Author, and an Essay on his Writings, (London and New York), 1864. Steel engraving for Chapter XVI, "Rescue of the Prisoners from the Cannibals." Phiz's style of composition is far more vigorous than either Cruikshank's or Stothard's as Crusoe ministers to the captive surrounded by the sprawled corpses of aboriginal warriors, even as Friday discharges his rifle at no less than eight of the fleeing cannibals. Vignette: 8.0 cm high x 14.3 cm wide.

Scanned image and text by Philip V. Allingham. [You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the person who scanned the image and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]

Passage Illustrated

While my man Friday fired at them, I pulled out my knife and cut the flags that bound the poor victim; and loosing his hands and feet, I lifted him up, and asked him in the Portuguese tongue what he was. He answered in Latin, Christianus; but was so weak and faint that he could scarce stand or speak. I took my bottle out of my pocket and gave it him, making signs that he should drink, which he did; and I gave him a piece of bread, which he ate. Then I asked him what countryman he was: and he said, Espagniole; and being a little recovered, let me know, by all the signs he could possibly make, how much he was in my debt for his deliverance. “Seignior,” said I, with as much Spanish as I could make up, “we will talk afterwards, but we must fight now: if you have any strength left, take this pistol and sword, and lay about you.” He took them very thankfully; and no sooner had he the arms in his hands, but, as if they had put new vigour into him, he flew upon his murderers like a fury, and had cut two of them in pieces in an instant; for the truth is, as the whole was a surprise to them, so the poor creatures were so much frightened with the noise of our pieces that they fell down for mere amazement and fear, and had no more power to attempt their own escape than their flesh had to resist our shot; and that was the case of those five that Friday shot at in the boat; for as three of them fell with the hurt they received, so the other two fell with the fright. [Chapter XVI, "Rescue of the Prisoners from the Cannibals," pp. 235-236]

Related Scenes from Stothard (1790), Cruikshank (1831), Cassell's (1863-64), and Gilbert (1860s)

Left: Stothard's 1790 realisation of the consequence of the rescue scene, an illustration of which Phiz was probably aware, Robinson Crusoe and Friday making a tent to lodge Friday's father and the Spaniard (copper-plate engraving, [Chapter XVI). Right: Sir John Gilbert's contemporary illustration focussing just on Crusoe and the captive, Robinson Crusoe rescues the Spaniard (1860s).

Above: Cruikshank's suspenseful but static illustration of Crusoe and Friday's scouting the cannibals' position, Crusoe and Friday watch the Cannibals from hiding (1831). [Click on the images to enlarge them.]

Above: A Cassell's illustrator's action-packed composite woodblock engraving of Crue's second intervention with the cannibals, Crusoe rescues the Spaniard (1863-64). [Click on the images to enlarge them.]

Related Material


De Foe, Daniel. Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, including A Memoir of the Author, and an Essay on his Writings. Illustrated by Phiz. London & New York: Routledge, Warne, and Routledge, 1864.

Lester, Valerie Browne. Phiz: The Man Who Drew Dickens. London: Chatto and Windus, 2004.

Last modified 17 February 2018