Camden has a hearsay story written, it must be remembered, in James I.'s time that Buchanan, on his death-bed, repented of his harsh words against Queen Mary; and an old Lady Rosyth is said to have said that when she was young a certain David Buchanan recollected hearing some such words from George Buchanan's own mouth.

I have seen it suggested that the destruction of Essen, Wilhelmshaven, and Heligoland ought to be a condition of peace with Germany. Certainly the disappearance of these phenomena would be a gain to the world. So would the disappearance of Rosyth and Toulon.

Reforms in naval gunnery urged by Admiral Sir Percy Scott were taken up, and plans were made for new bases in the Humber, in the Forth at Rosyth, and in the Orkneys, necessitated by the shift of front from the Channel to the North Sea.

A shock to British traditions came with the new order that ships must abandon injured consorts and make all speed away. In the bases at Rosyth and Scapa Flow, which at the outbreak of war were totally unprotected against submarines and thought to be beyond their reach, the Grand Fleet felt less secure than when cruising on the open sea.

I mistook the date for the Grand Review. I signed the order for mobilisation at the Admiralty, seven days ago. We are safe, Hebblethwaite! I've been getting wireless messages all day yesterday and to-day. We are at Cromarty and Rosyth. Our torpedo squadron is in position, our submarines are off the German coast.

Again, the preparations which they are making in the North Sea show clearly that they certainly have contemplated an attack on Germany. These preparations are like a strategic march, and the natural extension of their naval bases leaves no doubt as to their meaning. The great military harbour of Rosyth is admittedly built for the eventuality of a war with Germany, and can mean nothing else.

For instance, there was a Cabinet Council yesterday, I believe, and someone was going to suggest that a secret but official visit be paid to your new harbour works up at Rosyth. An announcement will probably be made in the papers during the next few days as to whether the visit is to be undertaken or not.

The blockading fleet finds, therefore, a base in the great harbour of Rosyth, while a cruiser squadron might lie in support off the Orkney Isles. Every attacking fleet from the German north coast will be unhesitatingly attacked on the flank from Rosyth and Sheerness, and cut off from its line of retreat.

Such a blockade might, after all, be very costly to the attacking party. We may therefore fairly assume that the English would decide in favour of the second kind. At all events, the harbour constructions, partly building, partly projected, at Rosyth and Scapa Flow, were chosen with an eye to this line of blockade.

Naval strategy was reduced to the dull but arduous task of blocking the exits from the North Sea and guarding against the furtive German raids. The battle-fleet was stationed in Scapa Flow, the cruisers off Rosyth, while little more than a patrol backed by a squadron of pre-Dreadnoughts in the Channel was left to watch the Straits of Dover and supplement the mine-fields.