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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 76

Crossing the North Sea

Crossing the North Sea

we got on the dangerous "Knock" Sand near the English Coast, on a stormy November evening. The fine ship struck hard, and might soon have become a wreck, but for the skill and local knowledge of the master of an English fishing smack, the only vessel in sight, who came alongside and got us off the bank and out of danger before midnight, for which we were all devoutly thankful. My fellow-passengers were mostly Dutch; and I had thus a good chance to increase my knowledge of their language, which was of great service to me in dealing afterwards with officials, and mixing in society of the Dutch colonists. On arriving at Batavia I was most kindly received by my friends, and soon appointed to the command of a barque, in which I made several intercolonial voyages with fair success, and under pleasant circumstances, as regards society, at every port; but my health began to give way, and I page 22 suffered from severe attacks of nervous illness and depression, which inclined me to think of seeking a more temperate climate; and having accidentally, or rather providentially, met a gentleman who had come from Australia, and spoke in high terms of the prospects that colony afforded for the investment of a small capital, as well as for health and employment, I determined to go there as soon as my engagements in the East were completed.