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[Defoe, Daniel (?)]. Madagascar: or Robert Drury's Journal, during fifteen years' captivity on that island : containing I. His voyage to the East Indies ... II. An account of the shipwreck ... III. His being taken into captivity, hard usage, marriage and variety of fortune. IV. His travels through the island ... V. The nature of the people ... conferences ... concerning the Christian and their religion. VI. His redemption from thence by Capt. Mackett ... VII. A vocabulary of the Madagascar language ... illustrated with a sheet map of Madagascar and cuts... Written by Himself.

London: W. Meadows, 1729. First edition. Octavo, xvi, 464 pp. Folding map and five plates. Modern 3/4 calf. Final eighty pages stained, else very good.
sold

First edition. Very scarce in commerce. Though the attribution to Defoe will probably never be beyond dispute, it is likely his work. In recent years Robert Drury has been proven to have been a real person, and the outlines of his story contained herein are largely factual. In 1703 Drury and his 180 shipmates were washed up on the southern shore of Madagascar after the Degrave was wrecked. They were captured by the warlike Tandroy people, conscripted into the local army, and ordered to join the Tandroys in battles with local tribes. The captive crew decided to escape. They seized the Tandroys' king and held him hostage while they fled in the hope of finding a part of Madagascar more sympathetic to their plight. Pursued by 2,000 enraged warriors, the sailors headed eastwards but were eventually caught. Only a handful escaped. All except four boys were slaughtered. Drury was one of the four youngsters. He was kept as a slave of the Tandroys in a village for eight years. Again he tried to escape, this time fleeing to the west. There he was recaptured, this time by the army of the neighbouring Sakalava people. Again he was enslaved, and released only when an English ship arrived. Drury returned home on it. He later returned to Madagascar as, of all things, a slave trader, but spent his final years frequenting Old Tom's Coffee House in Birchin Lane, London, where he would tell of his adventures to anyone prepared to listen. Wreckage from the ship "Degrave" has been found off the coast of Madagascar. This copy is from the Driscoll Piracy collection with bookplate.