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the Prime Minister have decided to come direct here to

213



MEMORIES

Naples to spend a few days, and a telegram has just
come saying they arrive on May 23rd .... I suppose the
coming Supplementary Estimates and also types of new
ships about which I am in deadly antagonism with every
living soul at the Admiralty, and one of the consequences
has been that a great Admiralty official has got the
boot ! ! ! So Winston is right when he writes to me
this morning that in all vital points I have had my way !
He adds : " The Future of the Navy rests in the hands of
men in whom your confidence is as strong as mine . . .
and no change of Government would carry with it any
change of policy in this respect."

igi2. KiLVERSTONE HaLL,

June soth. Thetford.

My plot is working exactly as forecast. By and by
you'll say it's the best thing I ever did. The Prime
Minister and Winston would not listen at Naples to my
urgent cry " Increase your margin ! " They have got
to recruit without stint and build 8 " Mastodons "
instead of 4. Wait and see !

The recruiting HAS begun. The 8 will follow.

We want 8
We won't wait.

No other course but that now in progress would have
done it. I don't mind personal obloquy, but it's a bit
hard to undergo my friends' doubts of me ; but the
clouds will roll by. . . . I've got all rny " working bees "
round me here of the Royal Commission [on Oil and the
Internal Combustion engine] . We shall stagger humanity !



1912.

July 6th. Kilverstone Hall.

. . . Really all my thoughts are with my Royal Com-
mission. I expect you will see that the course of action

214



LETTERS TO LORD ESHER

will inevitably result in what I ventured to indicate if
only the Admiralty will keep their backs to the wall of
the irreducible margin required in Home Waters. The

only pity was that dear old said we were sufficiently

strong for two years or more, which of course is quite
true, but his saying so may prevent Lloyd George being
hustled {as he otherwise would have been). Luckily I

prevented saying even more of our present great

preponderance — but let us hope " All's well that ends
well." Ian Hamilton came in most effectively with his
witnessing the armoured Cruiser " Suffolk " laden with a
Battalion of the Malta Garrison being twice torpedoed
by a submarine.

1912.
July 15/A.

. . . This instant the news has come to me that there
are 750 eligible and selected candidates for 60 vacancies
for Boy- Artificers in the Navy at the approaching examina-
tion ! When I introduced this scheme 8 years ago every
man's hand was against me, and the whole weight of
Trades Unionism inside the House of Commons and out
of it was organised against me. . . . We were dominated by
the Engineers ! We had to accept Engine Room artificers
for the Navy who had been brought up on making
bicycles ! NoWy these boys are suckled on the marine
engine ! and they have knocked out the old lot com-
pletely. Our very best Engine Room artificers now in
the Navy are these boys ! Not one of my colleagues or
anyone else supported me ! Do you wonder that I don't
care a d—n what anyone says ? The man you are going
to see on Wednesday — how has he recognised that we
are at this moment stronger than the Triple Alliance ?
The leaders of both political parties— how have they
recognised that 19 millions sterling of public money
actually allocated was saved and the re-arrangement of
British Sea Power so stealthily carried out that not a

215



MEMORIES

sign appeared of any remark by either our own or by
any Foreign Diplomatists, until an obscure article in
the Scientific American by Admiral Mahan stated that
of a sudden he (Mahan) had discovered that 88 per
cent, of the Sea Power of England was concentrated
on Germany ? But the most ludicrous thing of all
is that up to this very moment no one has really
recognised that the Dreadnought caused such a
deepening and dredging of German harbours and
their approaches, and a new Kiel Canal, as to cripple
Germany up to a.d. 191 5, and make their coasts
accessible, which were previously denied to our ships
because of their heavy draught for service in all the
world !



1912.
August 2nd.

At the Defence Committee yesterday ... we had a
regular set-to with Lloyd George (supported by Harcourt
and Morley chiefly) against the provision of defence for
Cromarty as a shelter anchorage for the Fleet, and the
Prime Minister adjourned the discussion to the Cabinet
as the temperature got hot ! As you know, I've always
been " dead on " for Cromarty and hated Rosyth, which
is an unsafe anchorage — ^the whole Fleet in jeopardy
the other day— and there's that beastly bridge which, if
blown up, makes the egress very risky without examina-
tion. . . . Also Cromarty is strategically better than
Rosyth. . . . Also Lloyd George had a row about the
airships — Seely's Sub-Committee. We must have air-
ships.



1912.

August yth.

I still hate Rosyth and fortifications and East Coast
Docks and said so the other day ! but what we devise at

216



LETTERS TO LORD ESHER

Cromarty is for another purpose — to fend off German
Cruisers possibly by an accident of fog or stupidity
getting loose on our small craft taking their ease or
re-fuelling in Cromarty (Oil will change all this in time,
but as yet we have for years coal-fed vessels to deal
with). ... I've got enthusiastic colleagues on the oil
business ! They're all bitten ! Internal Combustion
Engine Rabies !



1912.
September.

, . . What an ass I was to come home ! but it was next
door to impossible to resist the pressure put on me,
and then can you think it was wise of me to plunge once
more into so vast a business as future motor Battleships ?
Changing the face of the Navy, and, as Lloyd George
said to me last Friday, getting the Coal of England as my
mortal enemy !



1912.

Sept. 14th.

This Royal Commission [on oil] is a wonder ! We have
our first meeting on September 24th, and practically it is
finished though it will go on for years and years and
never submit a Report ! You will love the modus
operandi when some day I expound it to you ! ... In
the second week of December we have an illustration on
the scale of 12 inches to a foot of producing oil from coal.
Twenty-five tons a day will be produced as an example.
All that is required is to treble the retorting jjlant of all
gas works in the United Kingdom where there is a Mayor
and Corporation, and to treble their " through put " of
coal ! We get two million tons of oil that way ! We
only want one million.

I addressed the Directors of the S.E. & Chatham Rail-
way last Tuesday, and hope I persuaded them to build a

217



MEMORIES

motor vessel of 24 knots between Calais and Dover,
and proved to them they could save an hour between
Paris and London — the whole side of the vessel falls down
and makes a gangway on to a huge pontoon at Calais
and Dover and all the passengers march straight out
(** Every man straight before him," like the Israelites did
at Jericho, and the walls fell down before them !) No
more climbing up Mont Blanc up a narrow precipitous
gangway from the steamer to the jetty in the rain, and an
old woman blocking you with her parcels and umbrella
jammed by the stanchions, and they ask her for her
ticket and she don't know which pocket it's in ! and the
rain going down your neck all the time ! A glass roof
goes over the motor vessel — she has no funnels, and her
telescopic wireless masts wind down by a 2 h.p. motor
so as not to go through the glass roof. But all this is
nothing to H.M.S. " Incomparable " — a 25 knot battleship
that will go round the whole earth without refuelling ! . . .
The plans of her will be finished next Monday, and I
wrote last night to say I proposed in my capacity as a
private British Citizen to go over in three weeks' time
in the White Star " Adriatic " to get Borden [the Canadian
Prime Minister] to build her at Quebec. The Building Yard
put up there by Vickers is under a guarantee to build
a Dreadnought in Canada in May and the great Dread-
nought Dock left Barrow for Quebec on August 31st.
No English Government would ever make this plunge,
which is why I propose going to Canada — to that great
man, Borden— and take the Vickers people to make their
bargain for building.



1912.
Sept. 20th.

. . . My idea now is to raise a syndicate to build the
*' Non-Pareil " ! A few millionaires would suffice, and I
know sufficient of them to do it. All the drawings and
designs quite ready. The one all pervading, all absorbing

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LETTERS TO LORD ESHER

thought is to get in first with motor ships before the
Germans I Owing to our apathy during the last two years
they are ahead with internal combustion engines ! They
have killed 15 men in experiments with oil engines and we
have not killed one ! And a d — d fool of an English
politician told me the other day that he thinks this credit-
able to us !

Without any doubt (I have it from an eye-witness of
part of the machinery for her at Nuremberg) a big
German oil engine Cruiser is under weigh ! We must
press forward. . . . These d — ^d politics are barring the
way. ..." What ! " (say these trembling idiots)
'* Another Dreadnought Revolution ! " and these boneless
fools chatter with fear like apes when they see an elephant I
The imagination cannot picture that ^^ a greater than the
Dreadnought is here ! " Imagine a silhouette presenting
a target 33 per cent, less than any living or projected
Battleship ! No funnels — no masts — no smoke — she
carries over 5,000 tons of oil, enough to take her round
the world without refuelling ! Imagine what that means !
Ten motor boats carried on board in an armoured pit
in the middle of her, where the funnels and the boilers
used to be. Two of these motor boats are over 60 feet
long and go 45 knots ! and carry 21 -inch Torpedoes that
go five miles ! Imagine these let loose in a sea fight 1^
Imagine projectiles far over a ton weight ! going over a
mile or more further than even the i3j-inch gun can
carry, and that gun has rightly staggered humanity ! —
Yes ! that i3j-inch gun that all my colleagues (bar one !
and he is our future Nelson ! [Jellicoe]) thought me mad
to force through against unanimous disapproval ! and
see where we are now in consequence ! We shall have
16 British Dreadnoughts with the i3j-inch gun
before the Germans have one ! ! ! So it will be with
the " Non-Pareil " ! WE HAVE GOT TO HAVE HER

' N.B. — These very motor boats here described sank two battleships
of the Bolshevists only the other day. See Chapter IV. — F. 21/9/ig.

219



MEMORIES

. . . Fve worked harder over this job than in all my life
before !^



1912.
Dec, 2gth.

... I'm getting sick of England and want to get back
to Naples and the sun ! and the " dolce far niente ! "
What fools we all are to work like we do ! Till we drop !



- Then after this came the i^-inchgun ; then the iS-inch
gun J actually used at sea in the War ; and then the 20-inch
giuiy ready to be built and go into the " Incomparable " of
40,000 tons and 40 knots speedy on May 22nd y 19 15
— F. 21/9/19.



220



CHAPTER XIII

AMERICANS.

My very best friends are Americans. I was the
Admiral in North America, and saw " American
Beauties " at Bermuda. (Those American roses and
the American women are equal !) And without question
they are the very best dancers in the world ! (I suppose
it's from so much skating !) My only son married an
American lady (which rejoiced me), and an American
gentleman on the steamer complimented me that she had
come over and vanquished him instead of his going, as
the usual way is, to America to capture her ! I had
such a time in America when I went over to the wedding !
I never can forget the hospitality so boundless and
sincere ! I really might have spent three years in America
(so I calculated) in paying visits earnestly desired. The
Reporters (25 of them) asked me when I left what I
thought of their country (I tried to dodge them, but
found them all in my cabin when I went on board !) I
summed it up in the one word I greatly admire —
*' HUSTLE ! " and I got an adhesive label in America

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MEMORIES



which I also loved ! Great Black Block letters on a
crimson ground—



RUSH



You stick it on a letter or the back of a slow fool. Mr.
McCrea, the President of the Pennsylvania Railway, had
his private car to take me to Philadelphia from New
York. We went 90 miles in 90 minutes, and such a
dinner ! Two black gentlemen did it all. And I found
my luggage in my room when I arrived labelled :

"MR. LORD FISHER"

(How it got there so quick I can't imagine.) I was bombed
by a photographer as we arrived late at night, and an
excellent photograph he took, but it gave me a shock !
I had never been done like that ! I had the great pleasure
of dining with Mr. Woodrow Wilson. I predicted to the
reporters he would be the next President for sure ! I was
told I was about the first to say so — anyhow, the 25
reporters put it down as my news !

I met several great Americans during my visit ; but
the loveliest meeting I ever had was when, long
before, a charming company of American gentlemen
came on July 4th to Admiralty House at Bermuda
to celebrate " Independence Day ! " I got my speech

222



AMERICANS

in before theirs ! I said George Washington was
the greatest Englishman who ever lived ! England
had never been so prosperous, thanks solely to him,
as since his time and now I because he taught us
how to associate with our fellow countrymen when they
went abroad and set up house for themselves ! And
that George Washington was the precursor of that
magnificent conception of John Bright in his speech of
the ages when he foretold a great Commonwealth — yes
a great Federation — of all those speaking the same tongue
— that tongue which is the " business " tongue of the
world — as it expresses in fewer words than any other
language what one desires to convey ! And I suppose
now we have got Palestine that this Federal House of
Commons of the future will meet at Jerusalem, the
capital of the lost Ten Tribes of Israel, whom we are
without doubt, for how otherwise could ever we have so
prospered when we have had such idiots to guide us and
rule us as those who gave up Heligoland, Tangier,
Cura^oa, Corfu, Delagoa Bay, Java, Sumatra, Minorca,
etc., etc. ? I have been at all the places named, so am
able to state from personal knowledge that only con-
genital idiots could have been guilty of such inconceivable
folly as the surrender of them, and again I say : " Let
us thank God that we are the lost ten tribes of Israel ! "
Mr. Lloyd George, in a famous speech long ago in the
War, showed how we had been 14 times " too late ! "
How many more " too lates " since he made that
memorable speech ? Especially what about our ship-
building and the German submarine menace and Ration -

223



MEMORIES

ing ? (The only favoured trades seem to be Brewing
and Racing ! Both so flourishing !)

The American barber on board the " Baltic " told me a
good story. He was a quaint man, clean shaved and wore
black alpaca throughout. Halfway across the Atlantic I
was waiting to have my hair cut, when a gentleman
bounced in on him, kicking up a devil of a fuss about
wanting something at once ! The barber, without moving
a muscle, calmed him by saying : " Are you leaving to-day,
Sir ? " But this was his story. He was barber in the
train from Chicago to New York that never stops *' even
for a death " (so he told me) when the train suddenly
stopped at a small village and a lady got out. Mr.
Thompson, the President of the Railway, was in the
train, and asked why ? The conductor showed an order
signed by a great man of the Railway to stop there.
When Mr. Thompson got to New York he asked this
great man " What excuse ? " and added : ''I wouldn't
have done it for my wife ! " and the answer he got was :
" No more would II"

But the sequel of the story is that I told this tale at an
international cosmopolitan lunch party at Lucerne and
said : " The curious thing is I knew the man ! " when
Mr. Chauncey Depew wiped me out by saying that
" he knew the woman ! "

This American Barber quaintly praised the Engine
Driver of this Chicago train by telling me that " he was
always looking for what he didfi't zvant I " and so had
avoided the train going into a River by noticing some-
thing wrong with the points !

224




\ Bj' khui teTinissicii of " London Opinion.'

America and the Blockade.

" Why Mr. Wilson should expect this country to refrain from exercising
a right in return for Germany's refraining from committing wrongs is
not very clear to the ordinary intelhgence." — Daily Paper.

Dame Wilson {to P. C. Fisher) : — "Oh, Constable ! Don't hurt him.
I'm sure he won't murder anyone else i "



AMERICANS

Admiral Sampson brought his Squadron of the United
States Navy to visit me at Bermuda. I was then the
Admiral in North America. At the banquet I gave in
his honour I proposed his health, and that of the United
States. He never said a word. Presently one of his
Officers went up and whispered something in his ear.
I sent the wine round, and the Admiral then got up, and
made the best speech I ever heard. All he said was :
" It was a d — d fine old hen that hatched the American
Eagle ! " His chaplain, after dinner, complimented me
on the Officers of my Flagship, the " Renown." He said :
" He had not heard a single ' swear ' from ' Soup to
Pea-nuts ' " !

Lord Fisher on John Bright

(From " Bright's House Journal ")

At a dinner held in London the other day to Mr.
Josephus Daniels, Secretary to the United States Navy,
Lord Fisher made the following speech in which he
referred to a speech by Mr. John Bright ; —

" Admiral of the Fleet Lord Fisher, who was called
upon also to respond, was received with cheers, the whole
company standing up and drinking his health. He said
he had no doubt it would be pleasing to them if he spoke
about America. He was there one week. Mr. Daniels
had been here about one week. He was in America one
week because his only son was married there to the only
daughter of a great Philadelphian.

flp •ir •jP tP w ^F

" ' King Edward who was a kind friend to me — in fact
he was my only friend at one time ' — remarked Lord

225 Q



MEMORIES

Fisher, ' said to me, " You are the best hated man in the
British Empire/' and I repHed, " Yes, perhaps I am."
The King then said, '' Do you know I am the only friend
you have ? " I said, '' Perhaps your Majesty is right, but
you have backed the winner." Afterwards I came out on
top when I said, '' Do you remember you backed the
winner and now everyone is saying what a sagacious
King you are ? The betting was a thousand to one." '

" But he was going to tell them about America, and
some of them would hear things they had never before
heard about their own country. When he was at Bermuda
a deputation of American citizens waited upon him on
July 4th. To tell the honest truth he had forgotten about
it. He told the deputation he knew what they had
come there for. ' You know,' he said to them, * the
greatest Englishman that ever lived was George
Washington. He taught us how to rule our Colonies.
He told us that freedom was the thing to give them.
Why, if it had not been for George Washington America
might have been Ireland.' * I shook hands with them,'
continued Lord Fisher, ' and they went away and said
nothing they had come to say. ...

" ' Now I will talk about the League of Nations. In
A.D. 1910 an American citizen wished to see me ; and
he said to me, taking a paper out of his pocket, " Have
you read that ? " I looked at it and saw it was a speech
by John Bright, mostly in words of one syllable — sim-
plicity is, of course, the great thing. That speech is
really very little known on this side of the Atlantic or
on the other, but it so impressed me at the time that I
have been thinking of it ever since. John Bright said he
looked forward to the time when there would be a com-
pulsory peace — when those who spoke with the same
tongue would form a great federation of free nations
joined together.' "

226



AMERICANS

The following is an extract from the speech by Mr.
John Bright. It was delivered at Edinburgh in 1868 : —

" I do not know whether it is a dream or a vision, or
the foresight of a future realitj^ that sometimes passes
across my mind— I like to dwell upon it — but I frequently
think the time may come when the maritime nations of
Europe — this renowned country of which we are citizens,
France, Prussia, resuscitated Spain, Italy, and the
United States of America — may see that vast fleets are
of no use ; that they are merely menaces offered from
one country to another ; and that they may come to this
wise conclusion — that they will combine at their joint
expense, and under some joint management, to supply
the sea with a sufficient sailing and armed police which
may be necessary to keep the peace on all parts of the
watery surface of the globe, and that those great instru-
ments of war and oppression shall no longer be upheld.
This, of course, by many will be thought to be a dream
or a vision, not the foresight of what they call a states-
man."

Sir Hiram Maxim

When Sir Hiram Maxim — that great American — was
very little known, he came to see me when I was Captain
of the Gunnery ship at Portsmouth, bringing with him
his ever-famous Maxim gun, to be tried by me. So we
went to Whale Island to practise with the gun ; and when
he was ready to fire I adopted the usual practice in trying
all new guns and ordered the experimental party to get
under cover ; and at that order they were supposed to
go into a sort of dug-out. Evidently old Maxim con-
sidered this an insult to his gun, and he roared out at
the top of his voice : " Britishers under cover, Yankees

227 Q 2



MEMORIES

out in the open ! " The gun didn't burst and it was all
right ; but it might have, all the same.

Admiral Hornby the bravest of the brave, was one of
the Britishers ; and he came to lunch with me, being
extremely fascinated with Hiram's quaintness. Hiram
was a delightful man in my opinion, and I remember
his telling me that if I wanted to live long and see good
days the thing was to eat Pork and Beans. I never had
the chance, till 1 910, of eating them cooked a VAmeri-
caine ; and I then agreed with Hiram Maxim — no more
delicious dish in the world, but you can't get it in England 1
After lunch there were some oranges on the table ; and
to my dying day I shall never forget the extraordinary
look on Sir Geoffrey Hornby's beautiful, refined face as
Hiram reached out and grasped an orange from the centre
of the table — tore it apart, and buried his face sucking
out the contents, emerging all orange. He told us that
was the way to enjoy an orange. We neither of us were
up to it !



228



CHAPTER XIV

SOME SPECIAL MISSIONS

I WAS sent as a very young Lieutenant to a little fishing
village called Heppens in Oldenburg. It is now Wilhelms-
haven, chief Naval Port of Germany. Its river, the Jahde,
was then a shallow stream. The occasion for my visit
was the cession to King V/illiam of Prussia, as he was
then, of this place, Heppens, by the Grand Duke of
Oldenburg ; and there I met King William, to whom I
sat next but one at lunch, and Bismarck and von Moltke
and von Roon were there. We had a very long-winded
speech from the Burgomaster, and Bismarck, whom I was
standing next to, said to me in the middle of it : " I didn't
know this was going to happen, or I would have cut him
short." The King asked me at lunch why I had been
sent, and if there was no one else who knew about
torpedoes. Well, I don't think there was. It was an
imposing and never-to-be-forgotten sight, that lunch.
They all wore their helmets and great-coats at lunch —
so mediaeval — and telegrams kept coming to Bismarck,
who would get up and draw the King aside, and then
they would sit down again. Von Roon I thought very

229



MEMORIES

debonnairey and Moltke was like an old image, taciturn
and inscrutable, but he talked English as well as I did.

Years after this, Prince Adalbert's Naval Aide-de-camp,
who was a great friend of mine, told me that on the day
of mobilization in the war with France he was sent to
von Moltke with a message from Prince Adalbert, who
was King William's brother and Head of the Navy,
to ask him whether he could see Prince Adalbert for a
few moments. To his astonishment, my friend found
Moltke lying on a sofa reading " Lady Audley's Secret,"


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