For we can neither employ them in handicraft 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 three pounds, or three pounds and half-a-crown 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 acquaintance 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 boiled; 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 hundred and twenty thousand children already computed, twenty thousand 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.
Compare Swift's thoughts on this "useful and innocent . . . pleasure" with those expressed by Francis Bacon in Samuel Johnson in William Cowper in "On Conversation," and H.G. Wells in "Of Conversation: An Apology." For links to other classic essays on this , see .
Jonathan Swift was an Anglo-Irish satirist. He is best known for such works as Gulliver’s Travels, A Modest Proposal, and A Tale of a Tub. Swift originally published all of his works under pseudonyms, such as Lemuel Gulliver, Isaac Bickerstaff, MB Drapier, or anonymously. He is a master of two styles of satire: the Horation and Juvenalian styles. Critics hail Gulliver’s Travels as a satiric reflection on the shortcomings of Enlightenment thought.
Language plays asignificant role in how 's concepts ofsociology are interpreted throughout the story, particularly with regard to theunusual manner he incorporates satire of his own changing function in Books I,II and IV.
The number of Souls in thisKingdom being usually reckoned one Million and a half, Of these Icalculate there may be about two hundred thousand Couple whoseWives are breeders, from which number I Substract thirty ThousandCouples, who are able to maintain their own Children, although Iapprehendthere cannot be so many, under the present distresses of theKingdom, but this being granted, there will remain an hundredand seventy thousand Breeders. I again Subtract fifty Thousand forthose Women who miscarry, or whose Children dye by accident, ordisease within the Year. There only remain an hundred and twentythousand Children of poor Parents annually born: The questiontherefore is, How this number shall be reared, and provided for,which, as I have already said, under the present Situation ofAffairs, is utterly impossible by all the methods hithertoproposed, for we can neither employ them in Handicraft, orAgriculture; we neither build Houses, (I mean in theCountry) nor cultivate Land: they canvery seldom pick up a Livelyhood by Stealing until theyarrive at six years Old, except where they are of towardly parts, although,I confess they learn the Rudiments much earlier; during which timethey can however be properly looked upon only asProbationers, as I have been informed by a principalGentleman in the County of Cavan, who protested to me, thathe never knew above one or two Instances under the Age of six, evenin a part of the Kingdom so renowned for the quickestproficiency in that Art.
In a far less fairy tale like work entitled "A Modest Proposal," Swift presents his society with a solution to the thorny question of the staggering poverty and overpopulation among the lower classes of Ireland.
In Jonathan Swift’s beloved tale , the protagonist Lemuel Gulliver travels to a number of fantasy lands, and spends extended periods of time getting to know the members of the societies he visits.
An Essay on Criticism by Alexander Pope Reviews Discussion An illustration from Jonathan Swift s A Tale of a Tub showing the three stages of human life the pulpit the theatre and the gallows