The History of Crusonia

Spence's token 'After the Revolution'

The History of Crusonia was published as a group of stories for children (“Robinson Crusoe's Friends of all Sizes”). Spence was at the time teaching English to children, and needed reading material printed in his new orthography - the first printed version of the History is in Spence's new script. The History of Crusonia itself is original to Thomas Spence; the other three stories are modified version of stories from The Valentine's Gift: or, a plan to enable children of all Denominations to behave with honour, integrity, and humanity. To which is added, some account of Old Zigzag, published by T.Carnan and F.Newbery in London in 1777, and itself an anthology of stories first published in the Lilliputian Magazine in 1750.

Spence grouped the first three stories together. In the first, Crusonia, the island discovered by Robinson Crusoe some 80 years before, is populated by descendants of the mutineers and ‘savages’ from nearby islands. When the population grows too large for a further division of lands, they spontaneously adopt a system of Parish ownership identical to Spence's Plan. The bulk of the story is an explanation of the system given by a local to the visiting Captain Wishit.

The second story places the island of Lilliput close to Crusonia. After an enlightened monarch comes to the throne, the nation adopts the Crusonian (Spencean) system of phonetic spelling. This accelerates the process of enlightenment, and the people realise that they are oppressed by their landlords (this part of the story appears to be in part a diatribe against infamous characters in Newcastle). Under the influence of their Crusonian neighbours, the Lilliputians overthrow the landlords and adopt the Spencean system.

The third story, the History of the Mercolians, describes events in a third country in the Lilliputian sea. The story is short, and Spence's modified version is oddly less radical than the original, removing a section on wealth redistribution and replacing it with a description of a voting system.

Finally, the Story of Old Zigzag (not transcribed) features a magical ear-trumpet which allows ZigZag to understand conversations between animals used by Man, discussing how badly treated they are. The story concludes that animals are “our Fellow-Tenants of the Globe; and that we ought to be kind to those that are innocent, and do not mean to hurt us; and if we kill such as are noxious and endanger our Safety, we are to do it without Torture.” This story is copied directly from the Valentine's Gift and does not seem to have been edited by Spence.


  1. A supplement to the History of Robinson Crusoe, Being the History of Crusonia, or Robinson Crusoe's Island
    1. Cover page
    2. On reading the History of Crusonia, a poem written by Thomas's younger brother, Jeremiah
    3. The History of Crusonia
  2. An History of the Rise and Progress of Learning in Lilliput
  3. The History of the Mercolians
  4. On Tenderness to Animals: An Account of what passed on a Journey with old ZIGZAG