A Modest Proposal

by Jonathan Swift


A Modest Proposal For preventing the Children of Poor People From being a Burthen to Their Parents or Country, and For making them Beneficial to the Public, commonly referred to as A Modest Proposal, is a Juvenalian satirical essay written and published anonymously by Jonathan Swift in 1729. The essay suggests that the impoverished Irish might ease their economic troubles by selling their children as food to rich gentlemen and ladies. This satirical hyperbole mocked heartless attitudes towards the poor, predominantly Irish Catholic as well as British policy toward the Irish in general. 
In English writing, the phrase "a modest proposal" is now conventionally an allusion to this style of straight-faced satire. 
Excerpted from A Modest Proposal on Wikipedia.