Dr. Livesey first appears to be an ideal authority figure for the young Jim. Jim entrusts the treasure map to Livesey because Livesey is a respected, knowledgeable man. As the adventure unfolds, Livesey shows that Jim’s respect is merited, proving himself competent, clever, fair, and loyal. Livesey devises the brilliant plan of stalling the pirate brigade by sending Ben Gunn to give spooky imitations of their dead leader, Flint. He also comes up with the ruse of sending the pirates on the wild-goose chase to find the treasure. Livesey is not afraid of action and bravely fires on the pirates at the treasure site. He is noble in his willingness to provide medical attention to the wounded pirates, his enemies. He speaks tenderly to them and seems genuinely to care for their health. More so than the gruff Captain Smollett or the naïve Squire Trelawney, Livesey represents the best of the civilized world of men.
Despite his credentials and valuable achievements in the tale, however, Livesey is simply not charismatic. He does what is reasonable, practical, and ethical, but never acts impetuously or spontaneously, as the pirates and Jim do. Livesey thinks up ingenious plans, but only puts them into practice if they are safe and efficient. He gives the pirates the treasure map only when he knows it is useless. On the whole, Livesey never risks anything, and therefore Jim, as we do, sees him as good but not grand, decent but not inspirational. It is significant that while Jim gives a sentimental farewell to the memory of Silver at the end of his narrative, he omits mention of Livesey, despite Livesey’s importance in the adventure. Jim does not have an emotional connection to Livesey, and, by extension, does not have an emotional connection to the decent, civilized world Livesey represents. Jim does not fit completely into Silver’s world, but he does not fit completely into Livesey’s steady, practical world either.