A MODEST PROPOSAL
FOR PREVENTING THE CHILDREN OF POOR PEOPLE IN IRELAND
FROM BEING ABURDEN TO THEIR PARENTS OR COUNTRY, AND
FOR MAKING THEM BENEFICIAL TO THE PUBLIC
by Jonathan Swift
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 . . .