Treasure Island

The sea-cook on board the Hispaniola, Long John Silver soon turns out to be a notorious pirate, who has lost his leg in some kind of unspoken battle when he was part of Captain Flint’s group of buccaneers. We’re first introduced to the man only in rumor, through Billy Bones’s fear of a one-legged man. Jim, for his part, immediately likes Silver, who treats him kindly and invites him into his confidence. Soon, though, it becomes clear that what Silver excels at is precisely manipulating people into trusting him. Silver cares more than anything else about ensuring his own survival, and will do whatever it takes to save himself—even if that means betraying one group, then turning around and betraying another. Jim is initially repelled by this behavior and disillusioned by Silver’s pragmatic lack of morals. Ultimately, however, he (and the book as a whole) maintain a certain respect for this man, who is clever and nimble enough to evade death or punishment just by plotting and conniving.

Long John Silver Quotes in Treasure Island

The Treasure Island quotes below are all either spoken by Long John Silver or refer to Long John Silver. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Fortune and Greed Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Classics edition of Treasure Island published in 1999.
Chapter 8 Quotes

Now, to tell you the truth, from the very first mention of Long John in Squire Trelawney’s letter, I had taken a fear in my mind that he might prove to be the very one-legged sailor whom I had watched for so long at the old “Benbow.” But one look at the man before me was enough. I had seen the captain, and Black Dog, and the blind man Pew, and I thought I knew what a buccaneer was like—a very different creature, according to me, from this clean and pleasant-tempered landlord.

Related Characters: Jim Hawkins (speaker), Long John Silver, Billy Bones (“the captain”), Pew, Black Dog
Page Number: 42
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 10 Quotes

All the crew respected and even obeyed him. He had a way of talking to each, and doing everybody some particular service. To me he was unweariedly kind; and always glad to see me in the galley, which he kept as clean as a new pin; the dishes hanging up burnished, and his parrot in a cage in one corner.
“Come away, Hawkins,” he would say; “come and have a yarn with John. Nobody more welcome than yourself, my son. Sit you down and hear the news.”

Related Characters: Jim Hawkins (speaker), Long John Silver (speaker)
Page Number: 54
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 11 Quotes

“Here it is about gentlemen of fortune. They lives rough, and they risk swinging, but they eat and drink like fighting-cocks, and when a cruise is done, why, it’s hundreds of pounds instead of hundreds of farthings in their pockets. Now the most goes for rum and a good fling, and to sea again in their shirts. But that’s not the course I lay.”

Related Characters: Long John Silver (speaker)
Page Number: 58
Explanation and Analysis:

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“But mark my words here: I’m an easy man—I’m quite the gentleman, says you; but this time it’s serious. Dooty is dooty, mates. I give my vote—death. When I’m in Parlyment, and riding in my coach, I don’t want non of those sea-lawyers in the cabin a-coming home, unlooked for, like the devil at prayers. Wait is what I say, but when the time comes, why let her rip!”

Related Characters: Long John Silver (speaker)
Page Number: 61
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 13 Quotes

Then it was that there came into my head the first of the mad notions that contributed so much to save our lives. If six men were left by Silver, it was plain our party could not take and fight the ship; and since only six were left, it was equally plain that the cabin party had no present need of my assistance. It occurred to me at once to go ashore. In a jiffy I had slipped over the side, and curled up in the fore-sheets of the nearest boat, and almost at the same time she shoved off.

Related Characters: Jim Hawkins (speaker), Long John Silver
Page Number: 72
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 15 Quotes

“I were in Flint’s ship when he buried the treasure; he and six along—six strong seamen. They was ashore nigh on a week, and us standing off and on in the old Walrus. One fine day up went the signal, and here come Flint by himself in a little boat, and his head done up in a blue scarf. The sun was getting up, and mortal white he looked about the cutwater. But, there he was, you mind, and the six all dead—dead and buried. How he done it, not a man aboard us could make out. It was battle, murder, and sudden death, leastways—him against six. Billy Bones was the mate; Long John, he was quartermaster; and they asked him where the treasure was. ‘Ah,’ says he, ‘you can go ashore, if you like, and stay,’ he says; ‘but as for the ship, she’ll beat up for more, by thunder!’ That’s what he said.”

Related Characters: Ben Gunn (speaker), Long John Silver, Billy Bones (“the captain”), Captain Flint
Related Symbols: The Map of Treasure
Page Number: 82-83
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 20 Quotes

“Now you’ll hear me. If you’ll come up one by one, unarmed, I’ll engage to clap you all in irons, and take you home to a fair trial in England. If you won’t, my name is Alexander Smollett. I’ve flown my sovereign’s colours, and I’ll see you all to Davy Jones. You can’t find the treasure. You can’t sail the ship—there’s not a man among you fit to sail the ship. You can’t fight us—Gray, there, got away from five of you. Your ship’s in irons, Master Silver; you’re on a lee shore, and so you’ll find. I stand here and tell you so; and they’re the last good words you’ll get from me; for, in the name of heaven, I’ll put a bullet in your back when next I meet you. Tramp, my lad. Bundle out of this, please, hand over hand, and double quick.”

Related Characters: Captain Smollett (speaker), Long John Silver, Abraham Gray
Page Number: 107-108
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 28 Quotes

“I was in the apple barrel the night we sighted land, and I heard you, John, and you, Dick Johnson, and Hands, who is now at the bottom of the sea, and told every word you said before the hour was out. And as for the schooner, it was I who cut her cable, and it was I that killed the men you had aboard of her, and it was I who brought her where you’ll never see her more, not one of you. The laugh’s on my side; I’ve had the top of the business from the first; I no more fear you than I fear a fly. Kill me, if you please, or spare me.”

Related Characters: Jim Hawkins (speaker), Long John Silver, Israel Hands, Dick
Page Number: 153-154
Explanation and Analysis:

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“Understand me, Jim,” he said, returning. “I’ve a head on my shoulders, I have. I’m on squire’s side now. I know you’ve got that ship safe somewhere. How you done it, I don’t know, but safe it is. I guess Hands and O’Brien turned soft. I never much believed in any of them. Now you mark me. I ask no questions, nor I won’t let others. I know when a game’s up, I do: and I know a lad that’s staunch. Ah, you that’s young—you and me might have done a power of good together!”

Related Characters: Long John Silver (speaker), Jim Hawkins
Page Number: 156-157
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 31 Quotes

Should the scheme he had now sketched prove feasible, Silver, already doubly a traitor, would not hesitate to adopt it. He had still a foot in either camp, and there was no doubt he would prefer wealth and freedom with the pirates to a bare escape from hanging, which was the best he had to hope on our side.

Related Characters: Jim Hawkins (speaker), Long John Silver
Page Number: 171
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 34 Quotes

Of Silver we have heard no more. That formidable seafaring man with one leg has at last gone clean out of my life; but I daresay he met his old negress, and perhaps still lives in comfort with her and Captain Flint. It is to be hoped so, I suppose, for his chances of comfort in another world are very small.

Related Characters: Jim Hawkins (speaker), Long John Silver, Captain Flint (parrot)
Page Number: 190
Explanation and Analysis:

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Long John Silver Character Timeline in Treasure Island

The timeline below shows where the character Long John Silver appears in Treasure Island. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 7. I Go to Bristol
Fortune and Greed Theme Icon
Deception, Secrecy, and Trust Theme Icon
...sick but is now yearning to get back to sea. The squire hired him—Long John Silver, who lost a leg in the army—and Silver helped him recruit another six or seven... (full context)
Chapter 8. At the Sign of the “Spy-glass”
Father Figures and “Becoming a Man” Theme Icon
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After breakfast, the squire gives Jim a note addressed to Long John Silver and sends him to the tavern, which is full of loud, chatting sailors. Since receiving... (full context)
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As Jim approaches, Long John Silver sees the letter, gives a slight start, and then loudly greets him as the new... (full context)
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Silver tells Jim that the man used to come to his tavern with a blind beggar:... (full context)
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Silver declares that he and Jim will get along well. They walk through the quays together,... (full context)
Chapter 9. Powder and Arms
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...believes him. In any case, it remains a mystery. The doctor declares that Smollett and Silver are, at least, two honest men that the squire found for the crew: the squire,... (full context)
Chapter 10. The Voyage
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...doesn’t want to leave the deck since he’s fascinated by everything going on. Long John Silver begins to sing the sailor song ending, “Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!”, which recalls... (full context)
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...some of the mate’s duties in place of Mr. Arrow. Hands is a confidant of Silver, and shares with Jim that Silver once used to be able to fight four men... (full context)
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Silver himself treats Jim kindly, often welcoming him into the galley with his parrot, whom he’s... (full context)
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...is about to climb back out when he hears a few significant words spoken in Silver’s voice, so he remains silent and listens. (full context)
Chapter 11. What I Heard in the Apple Barrel
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Long John Silver is relating the tale of the night he lost his leg and Pew lost his... (full context)
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Silver says that “gentlemen of fortune” live roughly and dangerously, but it’s worth it when they... (full context)
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...a pirate, and that he’s witnessing perhaps the last honest crewman aboard being corrupted by Silver’s flattery. Jim then hears the voice of Israel Hands, who asks how long they’ll to... (full context)
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...what they’ll do with the others once on the island—abandon them there or kill them—and Silver says he prefers death, if only to prevent the chance of them testifying at trial... (full context)
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Jim also hears Hands whisper to Silver that a few crewmen still haven’t been brought over to their side. Suddenly the voice... (full context)
Chapter 12. Council of War
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...and listening to Captain Smollett’s orders. The captain asks if anyone’s seen this island before. Silver says that the best place to anchor is on Skeleton Island, which used to be... (full context)
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Jim begins to feel terrified at the sight of Silver, even though he recognizes that Silver didn’t know he overheard him. Jim goes to the... (full context)
Chapter 13. How My Shore Adventure Began
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Silver is the only cheerful one, as if he’s masking the others’ discontent. Jim, Smollett, the... (full context)
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Thirteen men leave, with Silver, while six remain aboard. Jim realizes that with six enemies still aboard, they cannot hope... (full context)
Chapter 14. The First Blow
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Jim sneaks towards the voices, and hears Silver saying that he only wants to save their lives. A red-faced crewman, Tom, declares he... (full context)
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Then Silver whistles: terrified, Jim creeps backward from the thicket and runs as fast as he can... (full context)
Chapter 15. The Man of the Island
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...caught sight of a dark, shaggy figure. He’s now cut off on both sides, and Silver suddenly seems less terrifying than this unknown figure. Little by little, the man approaches, and... (full context)
Chapter 19. Narrative Resumed by Jim Hawkins: The Garrison in the Stockade
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...of rum. But early in the morning, they hear a voice crying, “Flag of truce!”—it’s Silver himself. (full context)
Chapter 20. Silver’s Embassy
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Outside the stockade it’s just Silver and another pirate. Smollett tells the others to stay inside, as it could well be... (full context)
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Silver limps up the knoll to the log-house. When Silver asks why he won’t be let... (full context)
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Silver says that all the pirates want is the treasure, while Smollett and the others presumably... (full context)
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...and there’s none among them who can sail the ship. The next time he sees Silver, the captain concludes, he’ll shoot him straightaway. Suddenly furious, Silver roars for someone to help... (full context)
Chapter 22. How My Sea Adventure Began
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...sea breeze. He catches sight of the Hispaniola with the Jolly Roger flag waving, and Silver and some of his men prowling the decks. Suddenly he hears horrible screaming: he is... (full context)
Chapter 24. The Cruise of the Coracle
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...just sea lions). He decides to steer the coracle towards the northward current, to what Silver had told him is the Cape of the Woods. (full context)
Chapter 27. “Pieces of Eight”
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...leg of a man sleeping. Suddenly he hears a shrill voice shouting “Pieces of eight!”—it’s Silver’s parrot. With no time to run, Jim backs into a man, who grabs him and... (full context)
Chapter 28. In the Enemy’s Camp
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...left here, however: five have sprung up to see Jim, while one looks severely wounded. Silver looks paler and sterner than usual, but casually remarks that it’s Jim Hawkins—what a pleasant... (full context)
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Jim doesn’t respond but only stares Silver in the face. He’s always liked Jim, Silver says, as he tells him that the... (full context)
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...this, Jim demands to know how they’ve seized the house and where his friends are. Silver tells Jim that Dr. Livesey had met him the day before with a flag of... (full context)
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...cares little what might happen to him—he’s seen too many die as a result of Silver’s mischief. But he says that Silver is not exactly in a state of victory: he’s... (full context)
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The men are staring at Jim as he asks Silver to let the doctor know how he died, should it come to that. Silver agrees... (full context)
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Morgan pauses, but the others murmur restlessly that Morgan is in the right. Silver bends forward, threatening them to have it out with Morgan, despite his disabled state. No... (full context)
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...crew is dissatisfied, upset with such bullying, and he asks for a council outside without Silver. One by one each man slips out, leaving just Silver and Jim. Silver whispers that... (full context)
Chapter 29. The Black Spot Again
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...hand. Then they all march back towards the house, where one pirate slips something into Silver’s hand and then steps back. It’s the black spot—Silver declares that he’s not surprised, but... (full context)
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Silver continues to taunt Dick and George Merry, the pirate who wrote “deposed” on the slip,... (full context)
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...the treasure out with no ship. It was Merry’s men who lost the ship and Silver’s who found the treasure, Silver reminds them, saying that he now resigns for anyone to... (full context)
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Jim lies awake late that night, amazed by Silver’s careful game, keeping the pirates content even while desperately trying to save his own life.... (full context)
Chapter 30. On Parole
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...morning by the doctor’s voice. Jim is glad to hear it but also feels ashamed. Silver greets the doctor cheerfully, telling him that a little stranger has arrived. The doctor asks... (full context)
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Jim and Silver advance across the sand to where the doctor is waiting. Silver tells the doctor that... (full context)
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...sure to protect him. Livesey also starts to mention Ben Gunn, but at that moment Silver returns, and the doctor tells him not to hurry after the treasure. Silver replies that... (full context)
Chapter 31. The Treasure Hunt—Flint’s Pointer
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Silver tells Jim that he guessed Dr. Livesey told him to run for it, and he’s... (full context)
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Jim’s heart sinks, as he realizes that Silver won’t hesitate to be a double traitor, and would probably prefer wealth and a pirate... (full context)
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...Skeleton Island. They see a number of tall trees, and each man picks his favorite. Silver orders them to continue straight ahead anyway. (full context)
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...in one direction, his hands, raised and clasped, in the other. All are terrified, and Silver remarks that this body must be a kind of compass: indeed, it points E.S.E. It... (full context)
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...frightful Flint and the men he killed: one almost thinks he hears Flint’s sailor song. Silver chides him, saying Flint is dead and can’t walk or sing, but still the pirates... (full context)
Chapter 32. The Treasure Hunt—The Voice among the Trees
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...the sea on the east, its emptiness underlining the sense of solitude on this island. Silver takes his bearings and cheerfully says they must be close to finding the treasure. But... (full context)
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...pale, and Merry cries that it’s Flint. To Jim, the voice sounded simply sweet, but Silver too seems shaken, though he tells the others that it must be someone trying to... (full context)
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Merry tells Silver not to cross a spirit, and the others seem ready to run, though they fear... (full context)
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...nothing. Finally they approach a huge, 200-foot tree, and the pirates’ eyes burn with excitement. Silver grunts and limps, glancing every so often to Jim shrewdly: Jim is certain that all... (full context)
Chapter 33. The Fall of a Chieftain
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Everyone is thunderstruck. Silver is the first to regain his composure and quickly think up a new plan. He... (full context)
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...pirates leap into the pit, and Morgan finds one gold piece. He shakes it at Silver, cursing at him for all their wasted efforts. Merry accuses Silver of knowing it all... (full context)
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...information from Gunn, so the next morning, seeing the Hispaniola gone, the doctor had given Silver the map and the provisions, since Gunn’s cave was well-stocked, as well as the stockade,... (full context)
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...wait. Gunn, who had gone out ahead, hoped to play with his fellow pirates’ superstitions. Silver says that it was lucky Jim was there—otherwise they would have killed Silver, too, without... (full context)
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...meet the squire, who treats Jim kindly and doesn’t mention his escapade. The squire tells Silver that he’s a villain and impostor, who deserves all the blame and guilt for the... (full context)
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...done well, but that neither of them should go to to sea again. He asks Silver what he’s doing there: Silver says he’s returned to his duty, and the captain simply... (full context)
Chapter 34. And Last
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...the hill, when they hear shrieking and singing: the doctor cries that it’s the mutineers. Silver says that they’re all drunk. Jim had noticed how everyone has been treating Silver no... (full context)
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...the mutineers are insane, rather than drunk, in which case he should go assist them. Silver tells him that there’s no way the doctor could do so and hope to live.... (full context)
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...some time aboard his ship. When they return to the Hispaniola, Ben Gunn says that Silver has escaped, with one of the coin sacks worth three or four hundred guineas. They... (full context)
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...money in three weeks and returned to begging. They’ve never since heard of Long John Silver, though Jim imagines he met his wife and perhaps lives comfortably with her and the... (full context)