A Modest Proposal
How we cite our quotes:
He said that, many gentlemen of this kingdom having of late destroyed their deer, he concluded that the want of venison might be well supplied by the bodies of young lads and maidens (17)
Deer were a precious commodity in 18th-century Ireland. If you were eating venison for dinner, you were probably doing pretty well for yourself.
[…] 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 (18)
Swift lifted this gory little story from George Psalmanazar, a French explorer whose accounts were later exposed as lies.
Secondly, the poorer tenants will have something valuable of their own, which by law may be made liable to distress and help to pay their landlord's rent, their, corn and cattle being already seized, and money a thing unknown. (21)
The narrator suggests that his plan would give the poorer tenants power in the form of leverage for rent and food. Everybody's a winner in A Modest Proposal.