Mr. Hewitt said: "But, my lord, so far as I am concerned I do not think so."
"Because," answered Mr. Hewitt, "then I could never have been a guest on equal terms in your house."
Mr. Hewitt was one of the foremost iron founders and steel manufacturers of the country. At the time of our Civil War our government was very short of guns, and we were unable to manufacture them because we did not know the secret of gun-metal.
The government sent Mr. Hewitt abroad to purchase guns. The English gunmakers at once saw the trouble he was in and took advantage of it. They demanded prices several times greater than they were asking from other customers, and refused to give him any information about the manufacture of gun-metal.
After he had made the contract, with all its exorbitant conditions, he went to his hotel and invited the foreman of each department of the factory to meet him. They all came. Mr. Hewitt explained to them his mission, and found that they were sympathetic with Mr. Lincoln and his administration and the Union cause. Then he told them of the trouble he had had with their employers, and the hard terms which they had imposed. He asked them then all about the manufacture of gun-metal. Each one of the foremen was very clear and explicit as to his part, and so when they had all spoken, Mr. Hewitt, with his expert knowledge of the business, knew all the secrets of the manufacture of gun-metaI, which he, of course, gave to the government at Washington for use in their several arsenals and shops.
"Now," he said to his guests, "you have done me a great favor. I will return it. Your company is obliged by the contract to deliver this immense order within a limited time. They are going to make an enormous amount of money out of it. You strike and demand what you think is right, and you will get it immediately."
The gun company made a huge profit but had to share some of it with their workers. It was an early instance of the introduction of profit-sharing, which has now become common all over the world.
One of the most interesting Englishmen, whom I saw much of both in London and in the United States, was Sir Henry Irving. The world of art, drama, and history owes much to him for his revival of Shakespeare. Irving was a genius in his profession, and in private life perfectly delightful.