by Daniel Defoe
Robinson Crusoe Wealth Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Page Number). We used the 2008 Oxford World Classics edition.
He told me, I might judge of the Happiness of this State, by the one thing, viz. That this was the State of Life which all other People envied, that Kings have frequently lamented the miserable Consequence of being born to great things, and wish'd they had been placed in the Middle of the two Extremes, between the Mean and the Great; that the wise Man gave his Testimony to this as the just Standard of true Felicity, when he prayed to have neither Poverty or Riches. (6)
Crusoe's father argues that it's best to have neither extreme wealth nor be in dire poverty. Instead, the moderation of the middle classes presents the happiest and most contented state of life possible in that society.
The generous Treatment the Captain gave me, I can never enough remember; he would take nothing of me for my Passage, gave me twenty Ducats for the Leopard's Skin, and forty for the Lyon's Skin which I had in my Boat, and caused every thing I had in the Ship to be punctually deliver'd me, and what I was willing to sell he bought, such as the Case of Bottles, two of my Guns, and a Piece of the Lump of Bees-wax, for I had made Candles of the rest; in a word, I made about 220 Pieces of Eight of all my Cargo, and with this Stock I went on Shoar in the Brasils. (31)
As a man of trade, Crusoe is very interested in the acquisition of goods and wealth. The novel often catalogues in great detail how much money he makes.
Neither was this all; but my Goods being all English Manufactures, such as Cloath, Stuffs, Bays, and things particularly valuable and desirable in the Country, I found means to sell them to a very great Advantage; so that I might say, I had more than four times the Value of my first Cargo, and was now infinitely beyond my poor Neighbour, I mean in the Advancement of my Plantation; for the first thing I did, I bought me a Negro Slave, and an European Servant also; I mean another besides that which the Captain brought me from Lisbon. (33)
Crusoe's sugar plantations in Brazil depend upon cheap labor and slave labor. The acquisition of wealth depends on the exploitation and slavery of others. This is all a part of imperialist expansion and capitalism.