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Allt om 'A blyg Proposal'

A blyg Proposal

A Modest Proposal är en känd satir skriven av Jonathan Swift. Känd på svenska under namnet Ett anspråkslöst förslag.

Texten i sin helhet:

A Modest Proposal for preventing the children of poor people inIreland, from being a burden on their parents or country, and formaking them beneficial to the Dr. Jonathan Swift. 1729It is a melancholy object to those, who walk through this greattown, or travel in the country, when they see the streets, theroads and cabbin-doors crowded with beggars of the female sex,followed by three, four, or six children, all in rags, andimportuning every passenger for an alms. These mothers instead ofbeing able to work for their honest livelihood, are forced toemploy all their time in stroling to beg sustenance for theirhelpless infants who, as they grow up, either turn thieves forwant of work, or leave their dear native country, to fight forthe Pretender in Spain, or sell themselves to the Barbadoes.I think it is agreed by all parties, that this prodigious numberof children in the arms, or on the backs, or at the heels oftheir mothers, and frequently of their fathers, is in the presentdeplorable state of the kingdom, a very great additionalgrievance; and therefore whoever could find out a fair, cheap andeasy method of making these children sound and useful members ofthe common-wealth, would deserve so well of the publick, as tohave his statue set up for a preserver of the nation.But my intention is very far from being confined to provide onlyfor the children of professed beggars: it is of a much greaterextent, and shall take in the whole number of infants at acertain age, who are born of parents in effect as little able tosupport them, as those who demand our charity in the streets.As to my own part, having turned my thoughts for many years, uponthis important subject, and maturely weighed the several schemesof our projectors, I have always found them grossly mistaken intheir computation. It is true, a child just dropt from its dam,may be supported by her milk, for a solar year, with little othernourishment: at most not above the value of two shillings, whichthe mother may certainly get, or the value in scraps, by herlawful occupation of begging; and it is exactly at one year oldthat I propose to provide for them in such a manner, as, insteadof being a charge upon their parents, or the parish, or wantingfood and raiment for the rest of their lives, they shall, on thecontrary, contribute to the feeding, and partly to the cloathingof many thousands.There is likewise another great advantage in my scheme, that itwill prevent those voluntary abortions, and that horrid practiceof women murdering their bastard children, alas! too frequentamong us, sacrificing the poor innocent babes, I doubt, more toavoid the expence than the shame, which would move tears and pityin the most savage and inhuman breast.The number of souls in this kingdom being usually reckoned onemillion and a half, of these I calculate there may be about twohundred thousand couple whose wives are breeders; from whichnumber I subtract thirty thousand couple, who are able tomaintain their own children, (although I apprehend there cannotbe so many, under the present distresses of the kingdom) but thisbeing granted, there will remain an hundred and seventy thousandbreeders. I again subtract fifty thousand, for those women whomiscarry, or whose children die by accident or disease within theyear. There only remain an hundred and twenty thousand childrenof poor parents annually born. The question therefore is, Howthis number shall be reared, and provided for? which, as I havealready said, under the present situation of affairs, is utterlyimpossible by all the methods hitherto proposed. For we canneither employ them in handicraft or agriculture; we neitherbuild houses, (I mean in the country) nor cultivate land: theycan very seldom pick up a livelihood by stealing till they arriveat six years old; except where they are of towardly parts,although I confess they learn the rudiments much earlier; duringwhich time they can however be properly looked upon only asprobationers: As I have been informed by a principal gentleman inthe county of Cavan, who protested to me, that he never knewabove one or two instances under the age of six, even in a partof the kingdom so renowned for the quickest proficiency in thatart.I am assured by our merchants, that a boy or a girl before twelveyears old, is no saleable commodity, and even when they come tothis age, they will not yield above three pounds, or three poundsand half a crown at most, on the exchange; which cannot turn toaccount either to the parents or kingdom, the charge ofnutriments and rags having been at least four times that value.I shall now therefore humbly propose my own thoughts, which Ihope will not be liable to the least objection.I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintancein London, that a young healthy child well nursed, is, at a yearold, a most delicious nourishing and wholesome food, whetherstewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that itwill equally serve in a fricasie, or a ragoust.I do therefore humbly offer it to publick consideration, that ofthe hundred and twenty thousand children, already computed,twenty thousand may be reserved for breed, whereof only onefourth part to be males; which is more than we allow to sheep,black cattle, or swine, and my reason is, that these children areseldom the fruits of marriage, a circumstance not much regardedby our savages, therefore, one male will be sufficient to servefour females. That the remaining hundred thousand may, at a yearold, be offered in sale to the persons of quality and fortune,through the kingdom, always advising the mother to let them suckplentifully in the last month, so as to render them plump, andfat for a good table. A child will make two dishes at anentertainment for friends, and when the family dines alone, thefore or hind quarter will make a reasonable dish, and seasonedwith a little pepper or salt, will be very good boiled on thefourth day, especially in winter.I have reckoned upon a medium, that a child just born will weigh12 pounds, and in a solar year, if tolerably nursed, encreasethto 28 pounds.I grant this food will be somewhat dear, and therefore veryproper for landlords, who, as they have already devoured most ofthe parents, seem to have the best title to the children.Infants flesh will be in season throughout the year, but moreplentiful in March, and a little before and after; for we aretold by a grave author, an eminent French physician, that fishbeing a prolifick dyet, there are more children born in RomanCatholick countries about nine months after Lent, the marketswill be more glutted than usual, because the number of Popishinfants, is at least three to one in this kingdom, and thereforeit will have one other collateral advantage, by lessening thenumber of Papists among us.I have already computed the charge of nursing a beggars child(in which list I reckon all cottagers, labourers, and four-fifthsof the farmers) to be about two shillings per annum, ragsincluded; and I believe no gentleman would repine to give tenshillings for the carcass of a good fat child, which, as I havesaid, will make four dishes of excellent nutritive meat, when hehath only some particular friend, or his own family to dine withhim. Thus the squire will learn to be a good landlord, and growpopular among his tenants, the mother will have eight shillingsneat profit, and be fit for work till she produces another child.Those who are more thrifty (as I must confess the times require)may flea the carcass; the skin of which, artificially dressed,will make admirable gloves for ladies, and summer boots for finegentlemen.As to our City of Dublin, shambles may be appointed for thispurpose, in the most convenient parts of it, and butchers we maybe assured will not be wanting; although I rather recommendbuying 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 whosevirtues I highly esteem, was lately pleased, in discoursing onthis matter, to offer a refinement upon my scheme. He said, thatmany gentlemen of this kingdom, having of late destroyed theirdeer, he conceived that the want of venison might be wellsupplyd by the bodies of young lads and maidens, not exceedingfourteen years of age, nor under twelve; so great a number ofboth sexes in every country being now ready to starve for want ofwork and service: And these to be disposed of by their parents ifalive, or otherwise by their nearest relations. But with duedeference to so excellent a friend, and so deserving a patriot, Icannot be altogether in his sentiments; for as to the males, myAmerican acquaintance assured me from frequent experience, thattheir flesh was generally tough and lean, like that of ourschool-boys, by continual exercise, and their taste disagreeable,and to fatten them would not answer the charge. Then as to thefemales, it would, I think, with humble submission, be a loss tothe publick, because they soon would become breeders themselves:And besides, it is not improbable that some scrupulous peoplemight be apt to censure such a practice, (although indeed veryunjustly) as a little bordering upon cruelty, which, I confess,hath always been with me the strongest objection against anyproject, how well soever intended.But in order to justify my friend, he confessed, that thisexpedient was put into his head by the famous Salmanaazor, anative of the island Formosa, who came from thence to London,above twenty years ago, and in conversation told my friend, thatin his country, when any young person happened to be put todeath, the executioner sold the carcass to persons of quality, asa prime dainty; and that, in his time, the body of a plump girlof fifteen, who was crucified for an attempt to poison theEmperor, was sold to his imperial majestys prime minister ofstate, and other great mandarins of the court in joints from thegibbet, at four hundred crowns. Neither indeed can I deny, thatif the same use were made of several plump young girls in thistown, who without one single groat to their fortunes, cannot stirabroad without a chair, and appear at a play-house and assembliesin foreign fineries which they never will pay for; the kingdomwould not be the worse.Some persons of a desponding spirit are in great concern aboutthat vast number of poor people, who are aged, diseased, ormaimed; and I have been desired to employ my thoughts what coursemay be taken, to ease the nation of so grievous an incumbrance.But I am not in the least pain upon that matter, because it isvery well known, that they are every day dying, and rotting, bycold and famine, and filth, and vermin, as fast as can bereasonably expected. And as to the young labourers, they are nowin almost as hopeful a condition. They cannot get work, andconsequently pine away from want of nourishment, to a degree,that if at any time they are accidentally hired to common labour,they have not strength to perform it, and thus the country andthemselves are happily delivered from the evils to come.I have too long digressed, and therefore shall return to mysubject. I think the advantages by the proposal which I have madeare obvious and many, as well as of the highest importance.For first, as I have already observed, it would greatly lessenthe number of Papists, with whom we are yearly over-run, beingthe principal breeders of the nation, as well as our mostdangerous enemies, and who stay at home on purpose with a designto deliver the kingdom to the Pretender, hoping to take theiradvantage by the absence of so many good Protestants, who havechosen rather to leave their country, than stay at home and paytithes against their conscience to an episcopal curate.Secondly, The poorer tenants will have something valuable oftheir own, which by law may be made liable to a distress, andhelp to pay their landlords rent, their corn and cattle beingalready seized, and money a thing unknown.Thirdly, Whereas the maintainance of an hundred thousandchildren, from two years old, and upwards, cannot be computed atless than ten shillings a piece per annum, the nations stockwill be thereby encreased fifty thousand pounds per annum,besides the profit of a new dish, introduced to the tables of allgentlemen of fortune in the kingdom, who have any refinement intaste. And the money will circulate among our selves, the goodsbeing entirely of our own growth and manufacture.Fourthly, The constant breeders, besides the gain of eightshillings sterling per annum by the sale of their children, willbe rid of the charge of maintaining 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 thebest receipts for dressing it to perfection; and consequentlyhave their houses frequented by all the fine gentlemen, whojustly value themselves upon their knowledge in good eating; anda skilful cook, who understands how to oblige his guests, willcontrive to make it as expensive as they please.Sixthly, This would be a great inducement to marriage, which allwise nations have either encouraged by rewards, or enforced bylaws and penalties. It would encrease the care and tenderness ofmothers towards their children, when they were sure of asettlement for life to the poor babes, provided in some sort bythe publick, to their annual profit instead of expence. We shouldsoon see an honest emulation among the married women, which ofthem could bring the fattest child to the market. Men wouldbecome as fond of their wives, during the time of theirpregnancy, as they are now of their mares in foal, their cows incalf, or sow when they are ready to farrow; nor offer to beat orkick them (as is too frequent a practice) for fear of amiscarriage.Many other advantages might be enumerated. For instance, theaddition of some thousand carcasses in our exportation ofbarreld beef: the propagation of swines flesh, and improvementin the art of making good bacon, so much wanted among us by thegreat destruction of pigs, too frequent at our tables; which areno way comparable in taste or magnificence to a well grown, fatyearly child, which roasted whole will make a considerable figureat a Lord Mayors feast, or any other publick entertainment. Butthis, and many others, I omit, being studious of brevity.Supposing that one thousand families in this city, would beconstant customers for infants flesh, besides others who mighthave it at merry meetings, particularly at weddings andchristenings, I compute that Dublin would take off annually abouttwenty thousand carcasses; and the rest of the kingdom (whereprobably they will be sold somewhat cheaper) the remaining eightythousand.I can think of no one objection, that will possibly be raisedagainst this proposal, unless it should be urged, that the numberof people will be thereby much lessened in the kingdom. This Ifreely own, and twas indeed one principal design in offering itto the world. I desire the reader will observe, that I calculatemy remedy for this one individual Kingdom of Ireland, and for noother that ever was, is, or, I think, ever can be upon Earth.Therefore let no man talk to me of other expedients: Of taxingour absentees at five shillings a pound: Of using neithercloaths, nor houshold furniture, except what is of our own growthand manufacture: Of utterly rejecting the materials andinstruments that promote foreign luxury: Of curing theexpensiveness of pride, vanity, idleness, and gaming in ourwomen: Of introducing a vein of parsimony, prudence andtemperance: Of learning to love our country, wherein we differeven from Laplanders, and the inhabitants of Topinamboo: Ofquitting our animosities and factions, nor acting any longer likethe Jews, who were murdering one another at the very moment theircity was taken: Of being a little cautious not to sell ourcountry and consciences for nothing: Of teaching landlords tohave at least one degree of mercy towards their tenants. Lastly,of putting a spirit of honesty, industry, and skill into ourshop-keepers, who, if a resolution could now be taken to buy onlyour native goods, would immediately unite to cheat and exact uponus in the price, the measure, and the goodness, nor could everyet be brought to make one fair proposal of just dealing, thoughoften and earnestly invited to it.Therefore I repeat, let no man talk to me of these and the likeexpedients, till he hath at least some glympse of hope, thatthere will ever be some hearty and sincere attempt to put theminto practice.But, as to my self, having been wearied out for many years withoffering vain, idle, visionary thoughts, and at length utterlydespairing of success, I fortunately fell upon this proposal,which, as it is wholly new, so it hath something solid and real,of no expence and little trouble, full in our own power, andwhereby we can incur no danger in disobliging England. For thiskind of commodity will not bear exportation, and flesh being oftoo tender a consistence, to admit a long continuance in salt,although perhaps I could name a country, which would be glad toeat up our whole nation without it.After all, I am not so violently bent upon my own opinion, as toreject any offer, proposed by wise men, which shall be foundequally innocent, cheap, easy, and effectual. But beforesomething of that kind shall be advanced in contradiction to myscheme, and offering a better, I desire the author or authorswill be pleased maturely to consider two points. First, As thingsnow stand, how they will be able to find food and raiment for ahundred thousand useless mouths and backs. And secondly, Therebeing a round million of creatures in humane figure throughoutthis kingdom, whose whole subsistence put into a common stock,would leave them in debt two million of pounds sterling, addingthose who are beggars by profession, to the bulk of farmers,cottagers and labourers, with their wives and children, who arebeggars in effect; I desire those politicians who dislike myoverture, and may perhaps be so bold to attempt an answer, thatthey will first ask the parents of these mortals, whether theywould not at this day think it a great happiness to have beensold for food at a year old, in the manner I prescribe, andthereby have avoided such a perpetual scene of misfortunes, asthey have since gone through, by the oppression of landlords, theimpossibility of paying rent without money or trade, the want ofcommon sustenance, with neither house nor cloaths to cover themfrom the inclemencies of the weather, and the most inevitableprospect of intailing the like, or greater miseries, upon theirbreed for ever.I profess, in the sincerity of my heart, that I have not theleast personal interest in endeavouring to promote this necessarywork, having no other motive than the publick good of my country,by advancing our trade, providing for infants, relieving thepoor, and giving some pleasure to the rich. I have no children,by which I can propose to get a single penny; the youngest beingnine years old, and my wife past child-bearing.

En analys av Ett anspråkslöst förslag skriven av Marianne Åberg -


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