Captain Alexander Smollett

Captain Alexander Smollett is the fictional captain of the schooner Hispaniola in Robert Louis Stevenson's 1883 novel Treasure Island. He plays an important part in disciplining the main characters on the ship as the story progresses, and helps the protagonists survive against the pirates later on.

Captain Alexander Smollett
Treasure Island character
TI-Smollett (restored).jpg
Captain Smollet Defies the Mutineers illustration by N. C. Wyeth for 1911 edition.
Created byRobert Louis Stevenson
In-universe information
OccupationSea captain

In the novelEdit

He first appears to the reader as a strict, bitter man who finds fault with everything and is never satisfied.[1] However, he quickly reveals that not all is well aboard the ship, and his first conversation with Jim Hawkins, Dr. Livesey, and Squire Trelawney foreshadows the eventual mutiny of many of the Hispaniola's members under the leadership of Long John Silver, a cunning and wealthy one-legged pirate. When the Hispaniola finally reaches its destination and the pirates rebel, he organizes the faithful crew's flight from the Hispaniola onto the shores of the island and helps in gaining a stockade. The next day, he attempts to negotiate with "Captain" Long John Silver, but the negotiations fail due to the arrogance of Silver and the stubbornness of Smollett. (Indeed, Smollett admits[2] that he has goaded Silver on purpose, reasoning that battle is probably inevitable and might as well be fought sooner rather than later, while they are alert and fresh.) As a result, Silver storms off in a rage, and Smollett is left to organize the defence of the stockade. In the battle of the stockade, he is seriously wounded by two bullets, though neither incapacitates him, and he disappears from the story for the most part. In the end, he and the faithful crew sail back to Bristol laden with treasure, and he retires from seafaring.

Captain Smollett's role in the story is crucial, but he is usually remembered for his temperamental personality. He is obsessed with duty and expects all his orders to be followed to the letter.[3] When the stockade's defences break down during his negotiations with Silver, he explodes, venting his rage on the Doctor and Squire Trelawney for abandoning their stations to watch the negotiations.[4] Yet, he doesn't fail to reward those who perform well and praises Abraham Gray, a mutineer who defects to their side, for staying at his post dutifully.[5]

Film adaptationsEdit


  1. ^ Stevenson, pp. 52-57, Smollett says, "I'll have no favourites on my ship!"
  2. ^ Stevenson, p. 124 "My lads," said he, "I've given Silver a broadside. I pitched it in red-hot on purpose; and before the hour's out, as he said, we shall be boarded. We're outnumbered, I needn't tell you that, but we fight in shelter; and a minute ago I should have said we fought with discipline. I've no manner of doubt that we can drub them, if you choose."
  3. ^ Stevenson, p. 172, Silver says, "'Dooty is dooty,' says he, and right he is."
  4. ^ Stevenson, p. 124, Smollett says, "Mr. Trelawney, I'm surprised at you, sir. Doctor, I thought you had worn the king's coat!"
  5. ^ Stevenson, p. 124, Smollett says, "Gray, I'll put your name in the log; you've stood by your duty like a seaman."
  6. ^ "Harry Moore Holden, Actor".

External linksEdit