A Modest Proposal

A Modest Proposal

please read the article and answer Q1,Q2 in one page and,Q3 in one page , and make outline for the article in the third page
dont worry about the Q3 just write one full page double space

For Preventing the Children of Poor People in Ireland

from Being a Burden to Their Parents or Country, and for

Making Them Beneficial to the Public

It is a melancholy object to those who walk through this great town

or travel in the country, when they see the streets, the roads, and cabin

doors, crowded with beggars of the female sex, followed by three, four,

or six children, all in rags and importuning every passenger for an alms.

These mothers, instead of being able to work for their honest livelihood,

are forced to employ all their time in strolling to beg sustenance for their

helpless infants: who as they grow up either turn thieves for want of

work, or leave their dear native country to fight for the Pretender in

Spain, or sell themselves to the Barbadoes.

I think it is agreed by all parties that this prodigious number of chil-

dren in the arms, or on the backs, or at the heels of their mothers, and

frequently of their fathers, is in the present deplorable state of the king-

dom a very great additional grievance; and, therefore, whoever could

find out a fair, cheap, and easy method of making these children sound,

useful members of the commonwealth, would deserve so well of the

public as to have his statue set up for a preserver of the nation.

But my intention is very far from being confined to provide only for

the children of professed beggars; it is of a much greater extent, and shall

take in the whole number of infants at a certain age who are born of

parents in effect as little able to support them as those who demand our

charity in the streets.

As to my own part, having turned my thoughts for many years upon

this important subject, and maturely weighed the several schemes of our

projectors, 1 I have always found them grossly mistaken in their compu-

tation. It is true, a child just dropped from its dam may be supported by

her milk for a solar year, with little other nourishment; at most not

above the value of 2s., 2 which the mother may certainly get, or the value

in scraps, by her lawful occupation of begging; and it is exactly at one

year old that I propose to provide for them in such a manner as instead

of being a charge upon their parents or the parish, or wanting food and

raiment for the rest of their lives, they shall on the contrary contribute to

the feeding, and partly to the clothing, of many thousands.

There is likewise another great advantage in my scheme, that it will

prevent those voluntary abortions, and that horrid practice of women

murdering their bastard children, alas! too frequent among us! sacrific-

ing the poor innocent babes I doubt more to avoid the expense than the

shame, which would move tears and pity in the most savage and inhu-

man breast.

The number of souls in this kingdom being usually reckoned one

million and a half, of these I calculate there may be about 200,000

couple whose wives are breeders; from which number I subtract 30,000

couple who are able to maintain their own children (although I appre-

hend there cannot be so many, under the present distress of the king-

dom) ; but this being granted, there will remain 1 70,000 breeders. I again

subtract 50,000 for those women who miscarry, or whose children die

by accident or disease within the year. There only remain 1 20,000 chil-

dren of poor parents annually born. The question therefore is, how this

number shall be reared and provided for? which, as I have already said,

under the present situation of affairs, is utterly impossible by all the

methods hitherto proposed. For we can neither employ them in handi-

craft or agriculture; we neither build houses (I mean in the country) nor

cultivate land; they can very seldom pick up a livelihood by stealing, till

they arrive at six years old, except where they are of towardly parts;

although I confess they learn the rudiments much earlier; during which

time they can, however, be properly looked upon only as probationers;

as I have been informed by a principal gentleman in the county of

Cavan, who protested to me that he never knew above one or two

instances under the age of six, even in a part of the kingdom so

renowned for the quickest proficiency in that art.

I am assured by our merchants, that a boy or a girl before twelve

years old is no salable commodity; and even when they come to this age

they will not yield above 3£. or 3£. 2s. 6d. 3 at most on the exchange;

which cannot turn to account either to the parents or kingdom, the

charge of nutriment and rags having been at least four times that value.

I shall now therefore humbly propose my own thoughts, which I

hope will not be liable to the least objection.

I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquain-

tance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old

a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed,

roasted, baked, or broiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve

in a fricassee or a ragout.

I do therefore humbly offer it to public consideration that of the

1 20,000 children already computed, 20,000 may be reserved for breed,

whereof only one-fourth part to be males; which is more than we allow

to sheep, black cattle, or swine; and my reason is, that these children are

seldom the fruits of marriage, a circumstance not much regarded by our savages; therefore one male will be sufficient to serve four females. That

the remaining 1 00,000 may, at a year old, be offered in sale to the persons

of quality and fortune through the kingdom; always advising the mother

to let them suck plentifully in the last month, so as to render them plump

and fat for a good table. A child will make two dishes at an entertainment

for friends; and when the family dines alone, the fore or hind quarter will

make a reasonable dish, and seasoned with a little pepper or salt will be

very good boiled on the fourth day, especially in winter.

I have reckoned upon a medium that a child just born will weigh

twelve pounds, and in a solar year, if tolerably nursed, will increase to

twenty-eight pounds.

I grant this food will be somewhat dear, and therefore very proper

for landlords, who, as they have already devoured most of the parents,

seem to have the best title to the children.

Infant’s flesh will be in season throughout the year, but more plentiful

in March, and a little before and after: for we are told by a grave author, an

eminent French physician, that fish being a prolific diet, there are more

children born in Roman Catholic countries about nine months after Lent

than at any other season; therefore, reckoning a year after Lent, the mar-

kets will be more glutted than usual, because the number of popish infants

is at least three to one in this kingdom: and therefore it will have one

other collateral advantage, by lessening the number of papists among us.

I have already computed the charge of nursing a beggar’s child (in

which list I reckon all cottagers, laborers, and four-fifths of the farmers)

to be about 2s. per annum, rags included; and I believe no gentleman

would repine to give 1 0s. for the carcass of a good fat child, which, as I

have said, will make four dishes of excellent nutritive meat, when he

has only some particular friend or his own family to dine with him. Thus

the squire will learn to be a good landlord, and grow popular among the

tenants; the mother will have 8s. net profit, and be fit for work till she

produces another child.

Those who are more thrifty (as I must confess the times require)

may flay the carcass; the skin of which artificially dressed will make

admirable gloves for ladies, and summer boots for fine gentlemen.

As to our city of Dublin, shambles 4 may be appointed for this pur-

pose in the most convenient parts of it, and butchers we may be assured

will not be wanting: although I rather recommend buying the children

alive, and dressing them hot from the knife as we do roasting pigs.

A very worthy person, a true lover of his country, and whose virtues

I highly esteem, was lately pleased in discoursing on this matter to offer

a refinement upon my scheme. He said that many gentlemen of this

kingdom, having of late destroyed their deer, he conceived that the want

of venison might be well supplied by the bodies of young lads and maid-

ens, not exceeding fourteen years of age nor under twelve; so great a number of both sexes in every country being now ready to starve for

want of work and service; and these to be disposed of by their parents, if

alive, or otherwise by their nearest relations. But with due deference to

so excellent a friend and so deserving a patriot, I cannot be altogether in

his sentiments; for as to the males, my American acquaintance assured

me from frequent experience that their flesh was generally tough and

lean, like that of our schoolboys by continual exercise, and their taste

disagreeable; and to fatten them would not answer the charge. Then as

to the females, it would, I think, with humble submission be a loss to the

public, because they soon would become breeders themselves: and

besides, it is not improbable that some scrupulous people might be apt to

censure such a practice (although indeed very unjustly) , as a little bor-

dering upon cruelty; which, I confess, has always been with me the

strongest objection against any project, how well soever intended.

But in order to justify my friend, he confessed that this expedient

was put into his head by the famous Psalmanazar 5 a native of the island

Formosa, who came from thence to London about twenty years ago: and

in conversation told my friend, that in his country when any young per-

son happened to be put to death, the executioner sold the carcass to per-

sons of quality as a prime dainty; and that in his time the body of a

plump girl of fifteen, who was crucified for an attempt to poison the

emperor, was sold to his imperial majesty’s prime minister of state, and

other great mandarins of the court, in joints from the gibbet, at 400

crowns. Neither indeed can I deny, that if the same use were made of

several plump young girls in this town, who without one single groat to

their fortunes cannot stir abroad without a chair, and appear at the play-

house and assemblies in foreign fineries which they never will pay for,

the kingdom would not be the worse.

Some persons of a depending spirit are in great concern about the vast

number of poor people, who are aged, diseased, or maimed, and I have

been desired to employ my thoughts what course may be taken to ease the

nation of so grievous an encumbrance. But I am not in the least pain upon

that matter, because it is very well known that they are every day dying

and rotting by cold and famine, and filth and vermin, as fast as can be rea-

sonably expected. And as to the young laborers, they are now in as hope-

ful a condition: They cannot get work, and consequently pine away for

want of nourishment, to a degree that if at any time they are accidentally

hired to common labor, they have not strength to perform it; and thus the

country and themselves are happily delivered from the evils to come.

I have too long digressed, and therefore shall return to my subject. I

think the advantages by the proposal which I have made are obvious

and many, as well as of the highest importance.

For first, as I have already observed, It would greatly lessen the num-

ber of papists, with whom we are yearly overrun, being the principal

breeders of the nation as well as our most dangerous enemies; and who

stay at home on purpose to deliver the kingdom to the Pretender, hoping

to take their advantage by the absence of so many good Protestants, who

have chosen rather to leave their country than stay at home and pay

tithes against their conscience to an Episcopal curate.

Secondly, The poor tenants will have something valuable of their

own, which by law may be made liable to distress and help to pay their

landlord’s rent, their corn and cattle being already seized, and money a

thing unknown.

Thirdly, Whereas the maintenance of 1 00,000 children from two

years old and upward, cannot be computed at less than 1 0s. apiece per

annum, the nation’s stock will be thereby increased £50,000 per annum,

beside the profit of a new dish introduced to the tables of all gentlemen

of fortune in the kingdom who have any refinement in taste. And the

money will circulate among ourselves, the goods being entirely of our

own growth and manufacture.

Fourthly, The constant breeders beside the gain of 8s.sterling per

annum by the sale of their children, will be rid of the charge of main-

taining them after the first year.

Fifthly, This food would likewise bring great custom to taverns,

where the vintners will certainly be so prudent as to procure the best

receipts for dressing it to perfection, and consequently have their houses

frequented by all the fine gentlemen, who justly value themselves upon

their knowledge in good eating; and a skilful cook who understands how

to oblige his guests, will contrive to make it as expensive as they please.

Sixthly, This would be a great inducement to marriage, which all

wise nations have either encouraged by rewards or enforced by laws and

penalties. It would increase the care and tenderness of mothers toward

their children, when they were sure of a settlement for life to the poor

babes, provided in some sort by the public, to their annual profit instead

of expense. We should see an honest emulation among the married

women, which of them would bring the fattest child to the market. Men

would become as fond of their wives during the time of their pregnancy

as they are now of their mares in foal, their cows in calf, their sows

when they are ready to farrow; nor offer to beat or kick them (as is too

frequent a practice) for fear of a miscarriage.

Many other advantages might be enumerated. For instance, the addi-

tion of some thousand carcasses in our exportation of barreled beef, the

propagation of swine’s flesh, and improvement in the art of making good

bacon, so much wanted among us by the great destruction of pigs, too

frequent at our table; which are no way comparable in taste or magnifi-

cence to a well-grown, fat, yearling child, which roasted whole will make

a considerable figure at a lord mayor’s feast or any other public entertain-

ment. But this and many others I omit, being studious of brevity Supposing that 1,000 families in this city would be constant customers

for infants’ flesh, besides others who might have it at merry-meetings, par-

ticularly at weddings and christenings, I compute that Dublin would take

off annually about 20,000 carcasses; and the rest of the kingdom (where

probably they will be sold somewhat cheaper) the remaining 80,000.

I can think of no one objection that will possibly be raised against this

proposal, unless it should be urged that the number of people will be

thereby much lessened in the kingdom. This I freely own, and it was

indeed one principal design in offering it to the world. I desire the reader

will observe, that I calculate my remedy for this one individual kingdom

of Ireland and for no other that ever was, is, or I think ever can be upon

earth. Therefore let no man talk to me of other expedients: of taxing our

absentees at 5s. a pound; of using neither clothes nor household furniture

except what is of our own growth and manufacture; of utterly rejecting

the materials and instruments that promote foreign luxury; of curing the

expensiveness of pride, vanity, idleness, and gaming in our women; of

introducing a vein of parsimony, prudence, and temperance; of learning

to love our country, in the want of which we differ even from Laplanders

and the inhabitants of Topinamboo; of quitting our animosities and fac-

tions, nor acting any longer like the Jews, who were murdering one

another at the very moment their city was taken; of being a little cautious

not to sell our country and conscience for nothing; of teaching landlords

to have at least one degree of mercy toward their tenants; lastly, of put-

ting a spirit of honesty, industry, and skill into our shopkeepers; who, if a

resolution could now be taken to buy only our native goods, would

immediately unite to cheat and exact upon us in the price the measure,

and the goodness, nor could ever yet be brought to make one fair pro-

posal of just dealing, though often and earnestly invited to it.

Therefore I repeat, let no man talk to me of these and the like expe-

dients, till he has at least some glimpse of hope that there will be ever

some hearty and sincere attempt to put them in practice.

But as to myself, having been wearied out for many years with offer-

ing vain, idle, visionary thoughts, and at length utterly despairing of suc-

cess, I fortunately fell upon this proposal; which, as it is wholly new, so it

has something solid and real, of no expense and little trouble, full in our

own power, and whereby we can incur no danger in disobliging Eng-

land. For this kind of commodity will not bear exportation, the flesh

being of too tender a consistence to admit a long continuance in salt,

although perhaps I could name a country which would be glad to eat up

our whole nation without it.

After all, I am not so violently bent upon my own opinion as to reject

any offer proposed by wise men, which shall be found equally innocent,

cheap, easy, and effectual. But before something of that kind shall be

advanced in contradiction to my scheme, and offering a better, I desire

the author or authors will be pleased maturely to consider two points.

First, as things now stand, how they will be able to find food and raiment for 1 00,000 useless mouths and backs. And secondly, there being a round

million of creatures in human figure throughout this kingdom, whose sub-

sistence put into a common stock would leave them in debt 2,000,000£.

sterling, adding those who are beggars by profession to the bulk of farm-

ers, cottagers, and laborers, with the wives and children who are beggars

in effect; I desire those politicians who dislike my overture, and may per-

haps be so bold as to attempt an answer, that they will first ask the par-

ents of these mortals, whether they would not at this day think it a great

happiness to have been sold for food at a year old in the manner I pre-

scribe, and thereby have avoided such a perpetual scene of misfortunes

as they have since gone through by the oppression of landlords, the

impossibility of paying rent without money or trade, the want of com-

mon sustenance, with neither house nor clothes to cover them from the

inclemencies of the weather, and the most inevitable prospect of entail-

ing the like or greater miseries upon their breed for ever.

I profess, in the sincerity of my heart, that I have not the least per-

sonal interest in endeavoring to promote this necessary work, having no

other motive than the public good of my country, by advancing our trade,

providing for infants, relieving the poor, and giving some pleasure to the

rich. I have no children by which I can propose to get a single penny; the

youngest being nine years old, and my wife past childbearing.

Q1 .In paragraph 4 the speaker of the essay mentions proposals set forth by

“projectors” — that is, by advocates of other proposals or projects. On

the basis of the first two paragraphs of “A Modest Proposal,” how would

you characterize this projector, the speaker of the essay? Write your

characterization in one paragraph. Then, in a second paragraph, charac-

terize the projector as you understand him, having read the entire essay.

In your second paragraph, indicate what he thinks he is and also what the

reader sees he really is.

Q2. The speaker or persona of “A Modest Proposal” is confident that selling

children “for a good table” (para. 1 0) is a better idea than any of the

then current methods of disposing of unwanted children, including

abortion and infanticide. Can you think of any argument that might

favor abortion or infanticide for parents in dire straits, rather than the

projector’s scheme?

Q3. In paragraph 29 the speaker considers, but dismisses out of hand, sev-

eral other solutions to the wretched plight of the Irish poor. Write a 500-

word essay in which you explain each of these ideas and their combined

merits as an alternative to the solution he favor





……………………………….Answer preview………………………………

“A modest proposal” outlines different aspects based on children of poor people in Ireland. Generally, the speaker in the “Modest proposal” describes more than a few effects that result to poverty in Ireland. In addition, the essay “Modest proposal” describes the situation of Ireland and the effects of poverty………………………………………

1165 words

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