A Modest Proposal
How we cite our quotes:
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)
Swift really, really did not like landlords. In "Causes of the Wretched Condition of Ireland" (1726), he likens them to Egyptian slave drivers. Harsh!
First, as things now stand, how they will be able to find food and raiment for one hundred thousand useless mouths and backs. (32)
Swift exaggerates the problem, as usual. This is a direct critique of what he perceived to be English colonialism (source.)
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. (33)
Once again, we see how Swift is comparing beggars to farmers and other poor-but-employed folks. If people who work this hard for a living are in trouble, he's saying, something's not right.