For Preventing the Children of Poor People
in Ireland, from Being a Burden on Their Parents
or Country, and for Making Them
Beneficial to the Publick
By Jonathan Swift
Swift was Irish, and though he much preferred living in England, he resented British policies toward the Irish. In a letter to Pope of 1729, he wrote, "Imagine a nation the two-thirds of whose revenues are spent out of it, and who are not permitted to trade with the other third, and where the pride of the women will not suffer [allow] them to wear their own manufactures even where they excel what come from abroad: This is the true state of Ireland in a very few words." His support for Irish causes has made him a renowned figure in modern Ireland.
It is sad 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 begging for money from every passerby. These Mothers instead of being able to work for their honest livelihood, are forced to wander around begging for Sustenance for their helpless Infants, who, as they grow up either become Thieves, or leave their dear native Country to fight for Spain. I think it is agreed by all Parties, that this current overpopulation of Children is deplorable in this Kingdom; therefore whoever could find out a fair, cheap and easy method of making these Children sound and useful members of society deserves to have his Statue set up as a preserver of the Nation. 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 Fricasie, or Ragout. I do...