“No,” he said, “but it is always good policy to claim the uttermost and then you will be sure to get something.”
Could he have looked forward fifty years and have seen the present condition of his unhappy country, he would have known that English greed and selfishness could defeat any policy, however wise and far-seeing. The successive steps by which Irish commerce was ruined and religious feuds between her people continually fanned into life, and the nation subjugated, form the darkest page in the history of England. But the people are awakening at last to their duty, and, for the first time, organizing English public sentiment in favor of “Home Rule.” I attended several large, enthusiastic meetings when last in England, in which the most radical utterances of Irish patriots were received with prolonged cheers. I trust the day is not far off when the beautiful Emerald Isle will unfurl her banner before the nations of the earth, enthroned as the Queen Republic of those northern seas!
We visited Wordsworth’s home at Grasmere, among the beautiful lakes, but he was not there. However, we saw his surroundings—the landscape that inspired some of his poetic dreams, and the dense rows of hollyhocks of every shade and color, leading from his porch to the gate. The gardener told us this was his favorite flower. Though it had no special beauty in itself, taken alone, yet the wonderful combination of royal colors was indeed striking and beautiful. We saw Harriet Martineau at her country home as well as at her house in town. As we were obliged to converse with her through an ear trumpet, we left her to do most of the talking. She gave us many amusing experiences of her travels in America, and her comments on the London Convention were rich and racy. She was not an attractive woman in either manner or appearance, though considered great and good by all who knew her.
We spent a few days with Thomas Clarkson, in Ipswich. He lived in a very old house with long rambling corridors, surrounded by a moat, which we crossed’ by means of a drawbridge. He had just written an article against the colonization scheme, which his wife read aloud to us. He was so absorbed in the subject that he forgot the article was written by himself, and kept up a running applause with “hear!” “hear!” the English mode of expressing approbation. He told us of the severe struggles he and Wilberforce had gone through in rousing the public sentiment of England to the demand for emancipation in Jamaica. But their trials were mild, compared with what Garrison and his coadjutors had suffered in America.
Having read of all these people, it was difficult to realize, as I visited them in their own homes from day to day, that they were the same persons I had so long worshiped from afar!