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Admiral Sir Lewis Bayly, Commander, Southern Ireland, to Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters

Admiralty House,   


10 . 3 . 18

My dear Admiral

     So very many thanks for the books which I am now returning. Freytag’s1 deductions are very interesting as showing the German turn of mind. Everything they do is right: when other nations do the same it is barbarity. Curious that there should be intellectual people like that.

I am very much distressed at the present situation: all our leading men talk about the coming German offensive, as if the surest way to dislocate the German plans were not to strike first ourselves. We seem ‘anxious to wound, and yet afraid to strike.’2 And by this method of advertisement Germany prevails on us to wait trembling for a blow while she finishes off Russia & Roumania. It reminds one of the women who fears there is a burglar under the bed, and neither dares to look for him nor to go to bed.

It will look pretty bad in in history, when compared to Wellington Wolfe Drake Napoleon.3

I have just had Jellicoe4 here for two days he was fascinated with the Melville & destroyers; made a very neat little speech at the men’s club, said just the right thing in the right way and enjoyed his visit.

I hope they will send him to Versailles,5 but he did not tell me his plans, thought I told him he ought to be doing something. There is no place in this world for a man with a grievance. Hope to see you at Easter

yours very sincerely    

Lewis Balyly  

I hear that your people are charged very heavily for uniforms. My tailor charges me £11 . 15° cash for a suit of uniform stripes included .


          9 Drury St.

               St. James. if it is any use to you.

Source Note: ALS, DLC-MSS, William Sims Papers, Box 47. Document is on, “Admiral House,/Queenstown;” stationary.

Footnote 1: Bayly is referring to Debit and Credit (Soll und Haben), the celebrated work by German author and playwright Gustav Freytag.

Footnote 2: Bayly is incorrectly quoting the English poet Alexander Pope who wrote “Willing to wound, and yet afraid to strike” in his poem “Atticus.”

Footnote 3: Bayly is referencing a series of bold leaders: Gen. Arthur Wellesley, The Duke of Wellington (1769-1852), Maj. Gen. James Wolfe (1727-1759), Sir Francis Drake (1540-1596), and Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821).

Footnote 4: Former First Sea Lord Adm. Sir John R. Jellicoe.

Footnote 5: There was a proposal to send Jellicoe to Paris, as naval representative to the Supreme War Council. See: Richard H. Jackson to Sims, 1 March 1918.