The Irish methods of manifesting it, I endeavoured to show, were not exceptional, and did not prove either inability to make laws or unwillingness to obey them. I illustrated this by examples drawn from the United States. I might, had I had more time and space, have made these examples still more numerous and striking. I might have given very good reasons for believing that, were Ireland a state in the American Union, there probably would not have been any rent paid in the island within the last fifty years, and that the armed resistance of the tenants would have had the open or secret sympathy of the great bulk of the American people. In truth, the importance of Irish crime as a political symptom is grossly exaggerated by English writers. I venture to assert that more murders unconnected with robbery are committed in the State of Kentucky in one year than in Ireland in ten, and the condition of some other Southern and Western States is nearly as bad. All good Americans lament this and are ashamed of it, but it never enters into the heads of even the most lugubrious American moralists that Kentucky or any other State should be disfranchised and remanded to the condition of a Territory, because the offences against the person committed in it are so numerous, and the punishment of them, owing to popular sympathy or apathy, so difficult.
There are a great many Englishmen who think that when they show that Grattan’s Parliament was a venal and somewhat disorderly body, which occasionally indulged in mixed metaphor, they have proved the impossibility of giving Ireland a Parliament now. But then, as they are obliged to admit, Walpole’s Parliament was very corrupt, and no one would say that for that reason it would have been wise to suspend constitutional government in England in the eighteenth century. It is only through the pernicious habit of thinking of Irishmen as exceptions to all political rules that Grattan’s Parliament is considered likely, had it lasted, to have come down to our time unreformed and unimproved.