“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 everything I had in the ship to be punctually deliver’d me, and what I was willing to sell he bought…”

This passage in Chapter 3, which occurs after the Portuguese captain welcomes Crusoe and Xury aboard after their escape from slavery, wraps the captain’s character in generosity and kindness. Not only does he take the men onto his ship and lodge them, but he also buys much of Crusoe’s property from him, settling Crusoe’s need for money and shelter. As a total stranger, the Portuguese captain serves as a strong contrast to the other strangers Crusoe has met up to this point. 

“He offered me also sixty pieces of eight more for my boy Xury, which I was loth to take; not that I was unwilling to let the captain have him, but I was very loth to sell the poor boy's liberty, who had assisted me so faithfully in procuring my own. However, when I let him know my reason, he owned it to be just, and offered me this medium, that he would give the boy an obligation to set him free in ten years, if he turned Christian; upon this, and Xury saying he was willing to go to him, I let the captain have him.”

At the time of Crusoe and the Portuguese captain’s meeting, Crusoe decides to sell Xury to the captain. Both the captain and Crusoe appear to consider the offer generous; they see setting Xury free after ten years as a favorable outcome. What this passage makes clear, however, is that Crusoe feels entitled not only to claim Xury as his property but to profit off of him, and that both he and the captain see the boy’s freedom as something to be bought and sold. The added condition that Xury must convert to Christianity to gain his liberty after ten years underscores the idea that his very humanity is, to the captain and to Crusoe, conditional. Although Crusoe seeks to establish the captain’s purity of character, this moment tarnishes it.

“If the Portugal Captain that took me up at sea had serv’d me so, and took all I had for my deliverance, I must have starv’d, or have been as much a slave at the Brasils as I had been in Barbary.”

This passage from Chapter 19 characterizes the captain as a hero in Crusoe’s eyes. Crusoe is now contributing much of his success and survival to a man whom he only briefly knew, contradicting the novel’s running theme of solitary enterprise. It’s clear the captain has played a major role in Crusoe’s good fortune, reinforcing the significance of social connections.