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A Modest Proposal Quotes

20 of the best book quotes from A Modest Proposal
  1. #1
    “But as to myself, having been wearied out for many years with offering vain, idle, visionary thoughts, and at length utterly despairing of success, I fortunately fell upon this proposal, which, as it is wholly new, so it hath something solid and real.”
  2. #2
    “These mothers, instead of being able to work for their honest livelihood, are forced to employ all their time in strolling to beg for 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 Barbados.”
  3. #3
    “I grant this food will be somewhat dear, and therefore very proper for the landlords, who, as they have already devoured most of the parents, seem to have the best title for the children.”
  4. #4
    “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.”
  5. #5
    “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.”
  6. #6
    “Some persons of a desponding spirit are in great concern about that 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.”
  1. #7
    “But before something of that kind shall be advanced in contradiction of that scheme, and offering a better, I desire the author or authors will be pleased maturely to consider two points.”
  2. #8
    “And secondly, there being a round million of creatures in human figure throughout this kingdom whose whole subsistence, put into a common stock, would leave them in debt two million pounds of sterling, adding those who are beggars by profession to the bulk of farmers, cottagers and labourers with their wives and children, who are beggars in effect.”
  3. #9
    “They can very seldom pick up a livelihood by stealing […], 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 country of Cavan”
  4. #10
    “There is likewise another great advantage in my scheme, that it will prevent those abortions, and that horrid practice of women murdering their bastard children, alas, too frequent among us, sacrificing the poor innocent babes, I doubt, more to avoid the expense than the shame.”
  5. #11
    “Therefore, let no man talk to me of other expedients: […] of being a little cautious not to sell our country and consciences for nothing.”
  6. #12
    “I think it is agreed by all parties that this prodigious number of children 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 kingdom, a very great additional grievance.”

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  1. #13
    “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.”
  2. #14
    “I profess in the sincerity of my heart that I have not the least personal interest in endeavoring to promote this necessary work, having no other motive than the public good of my country.”
  3. #15
    “I desire those politicians who dislike my overture, and perhaps be so bold to attempt an answer, that they will first ask the parents of these mortals.”
  4. #16
    “For we [...] neither build houses (I mean in the country) nor cultivate land.”
  5. #17
    “The number of souls in this kingdom being usually reckoned one million and half, of these I calculate there may be about two hundred thousand couple whose wives are breeders.”
  6. #18
    “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 bordering upon cruelty, which, I confess, hath always been with me the strongest objection against any project, however well intended.”
  7. #19
    “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 reasonably expected.”
  8. #20
    “Tis 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 two shillings.”
Book Topics › poverty
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