A Modest Proposal for preventing the politically interned wives of poor Fenian Irishmen in Ireland from being a financial burden on your country and for making them beneficial to the British publick. I seek also to prevent a re-occurrence of the Great Irish Holocaust, under your majesty's pleasure, that cost 6,257,456 Irish person's lives, during your Viceroyal Villiers family ancestor reign in Ireland previously.
by Dr. Jonny SwiftishNUJ
It is a subject to those, who walk through this great towns or travel in the country known as British Occupied Ireland, when they see the streets, roads and former hospitals daubed with grafitti of free price or crowded with beggars of the female sex, followed by three, four, or six children, all in rags, and importuning every Orangeman for peace and alms. These mothers who are not yet interned, at great expense or instead of being able to work for their honest livelihood at home for their husbands, are forced to employ all their time in strolling out and about to beg for work and sustenance for their helpless Fenian infants who, as they grow up, either turn dissident for want of work or leave their dear native occupied country, to fight for the US of A or sell themselves into Banks or Taliban slavery.
I think it is agreed by all parties, that this prodigious number of Fenian women not yet interned, carrying children in their arms, or on their backs, or at their heels, is in the present deplorable state of the occupied six counties, a very great additional grievance; and therefore whoever could find out a fair, cheap and easy method of making these women sound and useful members of the British common-wealth, would deserve, so well of the publick, as to have his statue set up for a preserver of the nation beside the existing one at Stormont.
But my intention is very far from being confined to provide only for the wives of Irish Fenians: it is of a much greater extent, and shall take in the whole number of women at a certain age, who are married to Fenian husbands in effect as little able to restrain them, as those who demand Orange charity in the streets.
As to my own part, having turned my thoughts for many years, upon this important subject, and maturely weighed the several schemes of our projectors, I have always found them grossly mistaken in their computation. It is true that a Fenian wife with a child just dropt may be supported by her milk, for a solar year, with little other nourishment than force feeding: at most not above the value of two hundred pounds, which the mother may certainly get, or the value in scraps, by her unlawful occupation of human rights campaigning for prisoners; and it is exactly at the age of their child being one year old that I propose to provide for them in such a manner, as, instead of being a charge upon their husbands, or the British empire, or wanting food and raiment for the rest of their Fenian lives, they shall, on the contrary, contribute to the feeding, and partly to the cloathing of many thousands of children.
There is likewise another great advantage in my scheme, that it will prevent those voluntary abortions, and that horrid practice of women murdering their Fenian bastard children, alas! too frequent among us, sacrificing the poor innocent babes, I doubt, more to avoid the expense than the shame, which would move tears and pity in the most dissident and inhuman Fenian breast.
The number of souls in British Occupied Ireland being usually reckoned one million and a half, of these I calculate there may be about two hundred thousand Fenian couples whose wives are breeders; from which number I subtract thirty thousand couple, who are able to maintain their own children, (although I suspect there cannot be so many, under the present distresses of the kingdom) but this being granted, there will remain an hundred and seventy thousand Fenian breeders. I again subtract fifty thousand, for those women who miscarry, or whose children die by accident or disease within the year. There only remain an hundred and twenty thousand children of poor parents annually born. The question therefore is, How this number shall be reared, and provided for? which, as I have already said, under the present situation of affairs, is utterly impossible by all the methods hitherto proposed. 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 girl before twelve years old, is no saleable commodity, and even when they come to this age, they will not yield above thirty 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 nutriments 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 with a rather large white hat of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy Irish woman well nursed is a most delicious nourishing and wholesome meal, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricasie, or a ragoust.
I do therefore humbly offer it to publick consideration, that of the hundred and twenty thousand Fenian women, already computed, twenty thousand may be reserved for breed, which is more than we allow to sheep, black cattle, or swine, and my reason is, that these women are seldom of circumstance not much regarded by our Orangemen, therefore, one orange male will be sufficient to serve four fenian females. That the remaining hundred thousand may, be offered in sale to Loyalist persons of quality and fortune, through the United Kingdom, always advising the Fenian women to let their Loyal orangemen to suck plentifully, so as to render your majesty's kingdom plump and fat unlike your great great grand father's subjects of his Irish holocaust. A woman will make two or three good meals a day and excellent entertainment for friends, and when the family dines alone, her fore or hind quarter will make a delicious dish, seasoned with little herbs or tinctures, will be very good boiled on the fourth day of her internment should that be necessary.
I grant this dish will become somewhat dear, and therefore very proper for loyalists, who, as they have already devoured a lot of the parents, seem to have the best right to these women. Dissident's flesh will be in season throughout the year, but more plentiful in March, and a little before and after; for we are told by a grave author, an eminent French physician, that fish being a prolifick dyet, there are more Irishwomen born in Roman Catholick countries about nine months after Lent, the markets will be more glutted than usual, because the number of Popish women, is at least three to one in this kingdom of British Occupied Ireland, and therefore it will have one other collateral advantage, by lessening considerably the number of Papists among us.
I have already computed the charge of interning a Fenian (in which list I reckon all cottagers, labourers, and four-fifths of the farmers) to be about two hundred thousand pounds per annum, rags included; and I believe no Loyalist gentleman would repine to give ten shillings for the carcass of a good Fenian, which, as I have said, will make dishes of excellent meat, even Fenain males who can be gay who because of dire poverty hath only some particular friend, or his own family to dine with him. Thus the Loyalist squire will learn to be a good master, and grow popular among his Fenians, the mother well fed albeit occasionally force fed be fit to produces orange children.
Those who are more thrifty of Scotch origin(as I must confess the times require) may flea the Fenian carcass; the skin of which, artificially dressed, will make admirable gloves for loyal ladies, and summer boots for fine marching gentlemen.
As to our City of Belfast, shambles may be appointed for this purpose, in the most convenient parts of it, and butchers we may be assured will not be wanting; although I rather recommend interning the women alive initially, and dressing them hot from the knife, as we do roasting pigs.
A very worthy person, a true lover of his British Occupied country and whose virtues I highly esteem, was lately pleased, in discoursing on this matter, to offer a refinement upon my scheme. He said, that many loyal gentlemen of this kingdom, having of late destroyed their deer, he conceived that the want of venison might be well supply'd by the bodies of certain gay young lads and comely Fenian maidens, not exceeding sixty years of age, nor under twelve; so great a number of both sexes in every country being now ready to starve for want of work, peace and justice and these to be disposed of by their political leaders if alive, or otherwise by their nearest relations. But with due deference to so excellent a friend, and so deserving a patriot, I cannot be altogether in his sentiments; for as to the males, my American acquaintance with the rather large white hat assured me from frequent experience, that their flesh was generally tough and lean, like that of our school-boys, by continual exercise, and their taste disagreeable, and to fatten them would not answer the charge. Then as to the females, it would, I think, with humble submission, be a loss to the publick, because they soon would become breeders themselves: 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, how well soever intended.
But in order to justify my friend, he confessed, that this expedient was put into his head by the famous Salmanaazor, a native of the island Formosa, who came from thence to London, above twenty years ago, and in conversation told my friend, that in his country, when any female person happened to be put to death, the executioner sold the carcass to persons of quality, as a prime dainty; and that, in his time, the body of a plump girl of fifteen, who was crucified for an attempt to poison the Emperor, was sold to his imperial majesty's prime minister of state, and other great mandarins of the court in joints from the gibbet, at four hundred crowns. Neither indeed can I deny, that if the same use were made of several plump young girls in this town, who without one single groat to their fortunes, cannot stir abroad without a chair, and appear at a play-house and assemblies in foreign fineries which they never will pay for; the kingdom would not be the worse.
Some persons of a desponding spirit are in great concern about that vast number of poor Fenians, who are aged, diseased, or maimed; and I have been desired to employ my thoughts what course may be taken, to ease British Occupied Ireland of so grievous an incumbrance. 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. And as to the young labourers, they are now in almost as hopeful a condition. They cannot get work, and consequently 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 and themselves are happily delivered from the evils to come.
I have too long digressed, and therefore shall return to my subject. I think the advantages by the proposal which I have made are obvious and many, as well as of the highest importance.
For first, as I have already observed, it would greatly lessen the number of Papists, with whom we are yearly over-run, being the principal breeders, as well as our most dangerous enemies, and who stay at home on purpose with a design to deliver British Occupied Ireland to the Pope, hoping to take their advantage by the absence of so many good Protestants, who have chosen rather to leave their country, than stay at home and pay tithes against their conscience to an episcopal curate.
Secondly, The Fenain tenants will have something valuable of their own, which by law may be made liable to a distress and help to pay their landlord's rent, their corn and cattle being already seized, and money a thing unknown.
Thirdly, Whereas the maintainance of potentially a hundred thousand Fenian women interned, the nation's stock will be thereby increased two hundred thousand pounds per annum, besides the profit of a new dish, introduced to the tables of all orange gentlemen of fortune in the kingdom, who have any refinement in taste. And the money will circulate among our selves, the goods being entirely of our own growth and manufacture.
Fourthly, The constant breeders will interned be rid of the charge of maintaining their Fenian offspring.
Fifthly, This food would likewise bring great custom to taverns, where the vintners will certainly be so prudent as to procure the best receipts for dressing it to perfection; and consequently have their houses frequented by all the fine Loyal gentlemen, who justly value themselves upon their knowledge in good eating; and a skilful cook, who understands how to oblige his guests, will contrive to make it as expensive as they please.
Sixthly, This would be a great inducement to marriage, which all wise nations have either encouraged by rewards, or enforced by laws and penalties. It would encrease the care and tenderness of mothers towards their husbands, when they were sure of a settlement for life, provided in some sort by the publick, to their annual profit instead of expense. We should soon see an honest emulation among the married women, which of them could bring the fattest daughter to the market.Fenianmen would become as fond of their wives, as they are now of their mares in foal, their cows in calf, or sow when they are ready to mate; nor offer to beat or kick them (as is too frequent a practice) for fear of damaged goods.With the legal option of internment of their wives such extremities would not be necessary.
Many other advantages might be enumerated. For instance, the addition of some thousand female carcasses in our exportation of barrel'd beef: the propagation of swine's flesh, and improvement in the art of making good bacon, so much wanted among us by the great destruction of pigs, too frequent at our tables; which are no way comparable in taste or magnificence to a well grown, fat woman, which after internment and forced feeding, roasted whole will make a considerable figure at a Loyal Lord Mayor's feast, or any other publick entertainment. But this, and many others, I omit, being studious of brevity.
Supposing that one thousand Loyalist families in this city, would be constant customers for Fenian flesh, besides others who might have it at merry meetings, particularly at weddings and christenings, I compute that Belfast would take off annually about twenty thousand carcasses; and the rest of the kingdom (where probably they will be sold somewhat cheaper) the remaining eighty thousand.
I can think of no one objection, that will possibly be raised against this proposal, unless it should be urged, that the number of dissidents will be thereby much lessened in the kingdom. This I freely own, and 'twas indeed one principal design in offering it to the world. I desire the reader will observe, that I calculate my remedy for this one individual Kingdom of British Occupied Ireland, and for no other that ever was, is, or, I think, ever can be upon Earth. Therefore let no man talk to me of other expedients: Of taxing our absentees at five shillings a pound: Of using neither cloaths, nor houshold furniture, except what is of our own growth and manufacture: Of utterly rejecting the materials and instruments that promote foreign luxury: Of curing the expensiveness of pride, vanity, idleness, and gaming in our women: Of introducing a vein of parsimony, prudence and temperance: Of learning to love our country, wherein we differ even from Laplanders, and the inhabitants of Topinamboo: Of quitting our animosities and factions, nor acting any longer like the Jews, who were murdering one another at the very moment their city was taken: Of being a little cautious not to sell our country and consciences for nothing: Of teaching landlords to have at least one degree of mercy towards their tenants. Lastly, of putting a spirit of honesty, industry, and skill into our shop-keepers, who, if a resolution could now be taken to buy only our native goods, would immediately unite to cheat and exact upon us in the price, the measure, and the goodness, nor could ever yet be brought to make one fair proposal of just dealing, though often and earnestly invited to it.
Therefore I repeat, let no man talk to me of these and the like expedients, 'till he hath at least some glympse of hope, that there will ever be some hearty and sincere attempt to put them into practice.
But, as to my self, 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, of no expence and little trouble, full in our own power, and whereby we can incur no danger in disobliging England. For this kind of commodity will not bear exportation, and flesh being of too tender a consistence, to admit a long continuance in salt, although perhaps I could name a country, which would be glad to eat up our whole nation without it.
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. But before something of that kind shall be advanced in contradiction to my scheme, and offering a better, I desire the author or authors will be pleased maturely to consider two points. First, As things now stand, how they will be able to find food and raiment for a hundred thousand useless mouths and backs. And secondly, There being a round million of creatures in humane figure throughout this kingdom, whose whole subsistence put into a common stock, would leave them in debt two million of pounds 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; I desire those politicians who dislike my overture, and may perhaps be so bold to attempt an answer, that they will first ask the husbands of these mortals, whether they would not at this day think it a great happiness to have their wives sold for food rather than interned more than a year, in the manner I prescribe, and thereby have avoided such a perpetual scene of misfortunes, as they have since gone through, by the oppression of landlords, the impossibility of paying rent without money or trade, the want of common sustenance, with neither house nor cloaths to cover them from the inclemencies of the weather, and the most inevitable prospect of intailing the like, or greater miseries, upon their breed for ever.
I profess, in the sincerity of my heart, that I have not the least personal interest in endeavouring to promote this necessary work, having no other motive than the publick good of my country, by advancing our trade, providing for women, relieving the poor, and giving some pleasure to the rich. I have only one wife by which I can propose to get a single penny but unfortunately for you Viceroyal Villiers she is not Irish.