The sixth and final reason for introducing the author’s plan is that it is going to be a great inducement for marriage, as well as it is going to make mothers and husbands treat respectively their children and wives better. There are also many more advantages such as increasing the export of beef once the domestic meat consumption is sated with child meat and so on.
Summing up, the author says he can think of no objection to his plan other than it is going to decrease the population of Ireland. But that is its whole point and he doesn’t suggest it to any other country. Here Swift drops his mask of a “projector” and lets his anger show: he lists the whole list of other plans he suggested in his earlier pamphlets, such as limiting private spending to only home-made products in order to decrease trade deficit, raising taxes for absentee landlords and generally becoming better and more patriotic people. He has no hope of ever implementing any of them, and he thinks his last plan is the only one which has a chance of succeeding, because England can’t possibly object to it. The infant meat is too tender to be exported to England, even though he knows a country (of course he still means England) which would like to devour a whole nation. If you have any other ideas, I’m open to them, he says, but first tell me, how are you going to feed and clothe 100,000 people a year, and secondly, if you ask the parents of these children doomed to life of misery and starvation, wouldn’t they choose rather for them to be disposed of in the manner he suggested? At the end, he delivers one more poisoned dart, saying that he is completely objective in this matter, because he cannot gain anything by it: his youngest child is nine years old, and his wife is past child-bearing age.
Thus ends this text, which I think didn’t lose its acidity. In the early 1980s Peter O’Toole picked it for a performance at the opening gala for a Dublin theatre and the Irish radio cut off the transmission because they had received too many complaints from the listeners. (That’s why this YouTube recording is cut off.) It also ends the selection of Jonathan Swift’s writings in the NAEL. As a cynical teenager I used to adore him, but now after this big dose of Swift I think a little bit of him goes a long way. Am I getting too soft in my old age? Or maybe Swift is like horseradish, enjoyable in small doses, but not as the main dish. On the whole, I think he said it best in his epitaph, which, in Yeats’s beautiful translation, says that he left where “savage indignation there/cannot lacerate his breast”. He was a man extremely sensitive to the suffering and injustice around him, and he channelled it into his ice-cold satire which cuts to the bone.