The Prose Works of Jonathan Swift, D.D. - Volume 07 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 345 pages of information about The Prose Works of Jonathan Swift, D.D..
exported.  The land, as Swift wrote to Pope (August 11th, 1729) was in every place strewn with beggars.  The poor labourer, had work been found for him, was too weak in body to undertake it.  Thousands had already died of starvation and the diseases consequent on hunger.  Those that managed to exist did so in filth, and dying every day, as Swift wrote on another occasion, “and rotting, by cold and famine, and filth and vermin.”
No, there was only one way out of the difficulty, and that was to have these poor people breed children, which they could profitably dispose of for food.  Let them fatten their offspring as best they could and sell them dead or alive for cooking.  The irony of the proposition may sound appalling to us in this century, but Swift was not exaggerating the distress of his day.  Even Primate Boulter, who was certainly the last man to overstate an Irish case, sent such reports as gave the English Government anxiety.  To Swift it was no time for polite speeches and calm proposals.  He had already given them in abundance.  Now was the time for something merry and with laughter: 

       “I may storm and rage in vain;
       It but stupifies your brain. 
       But with raillery to nettle,
       Set your thoughts upon their mettle.”

It was in this spirit that the “Modest Proposal” was written.  Swift concludes with a final touch by telling us that he has nothing to gain personally by his suggestion, since his “youngest child is nine and his wife past child-bearing.”

* * * * *

     The text of the present edition is that of the original issue
     collated with that given by Faulkner.

     [T.  S.]

A MODEST

PROPOSAL

For preventing the

CHILDREN

OF

POOR PEOPLE

From being a Burthen to

Their Parents or Country,

AND

For making them Beneficial to the

PUBLICK.

* * * * *

By Dr. Swift.

* * * * *

Dublin, Printed by S.  Harding

London, Reprinted; and sold by J.  Roberts in Warwick-lane, and the Pamphlet-Shops.

M.DCC.XXIX.

A MODEST PROPOSAL

FOR PREVENTING THE CHILDREN OF POOR PEOPLE FROM BEING A BURTHEN TO THEIR
PARENTS OR COUNTRY, AND FOR MAKING THEM BENEFICIAL TO THE PUBLIC.

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The Prose Works of Jonathan Swift, D.D. - Volume 07 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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