Thursday, March 26, 2009

Conservative Senator Nancy Ruth channels Jonathon Swift

A MODEST PROPOSAL

  FOR PREVENTING THE CANADA GEESE IN ONTARIO FROM BEING A BURDEN TO CONSERVATIVE SENATORS, AND FOR MAKING THEM BENEFICIAL TO THE PUBLIC

IT IS a melancholy object to those who walk through this great town or travel in the country, when they see the streets, the roads, and cabin doors, crowded with geese of the female sex, followed by three, four, or six goslings, all in rags and importuning every passenger for some grassseed. These mothers, instead of being able to work for their honest livelihood, are forced to employ all their time in strolling to beg sustenance for their helpless infants: who as they grow up either turn thieves for want of work, or leave their dear native country to migrate to the Barbadoes.

I think it is agreed by all parties that this prodigious number of goslings on the backs, or at the heels of their mothers, and frequently of their fathers, is in the present deplorable state of the kingdom a very great additional grievance; and, therefore, whoever could find out a fair, cheap, and easy method of making these goslings sound, useful members of the commonwealth, would deserve so well of the public as to have her statue set up for a preserver of the nation.

But my intention is very far from being confined to provide only for the goslings of foul waterfowl; it is of a much greater extent, and shall take in the whole number of chicks at a certain age who are born of parents in effect as little able to support them as those who demand our birdseed 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 other projectors, I have always found them grossly mistaken in the computation. It is true, an egg just dropped from its goose may be supported by her yolk for a month, with little other nourishment; at most not above the value of 2s., which the mother may certainly get, or the value in scraps, by her lawful occupation of begging; and it is exactly at one year old that I propose to provide for them in such a manner as instead of being a charge upon their parents or the parish, or wanting food and raiment for the rest of their lives, they shall on the contrary contribute to the feeding, and partly to the clothing, of many thousands.

There is likewise another great advantage in my scheme, that it will prevent those voluntary egg squashings, and that horrid practice of abandoning their nest, 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 savage and inhuman breast.

I am assured by our merchants, that a bird before one years old is no salable commodity; and even when they come to this age they will not yield above thirty dollars at most on the exchange; which cannot turn to account either to the parents or kingdom, the charge of nutriment 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 of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy goose well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee or a ragout.

...

I have reckoned upon a medium that a chick just born will weigh 50 grams, and in a solar year, if tolerably nursed, increaseth to 9 kilograms.

...

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 geese, with whom we are yearly overrun, being the principal breeders of the nation as well as our most dangerous national symbols; and who stay at home on purpose causing swimmers itch, hoping to take their advantage by the absence of so many good Conservatives.

...

I profess, in the sincerity of my heart, that I have not the least personal interest in endeavoring to promote this necessary work, having no other motive than the public good of my country, by advancing our trade, providing for chicks, relieving the poor, and giving some pleasure to the cottage owners. I have no geese by which I can propose to get a single penny; the youngest being nine years old, and my wife past egg laying.

But I doubt Senator Ruth understood the satire.  This is not as 21st Century as GritGirl's take.  But it was what the Senators comments brought to my mind.  The wonderful original may be found here.

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2 comments:

Saskboy said...

Not bad.
I do wonder how much an edible goose is like an Irish baby though.

Constant Vigilance said...

Tough to say. I suppose it comes down to the kind of stuffing you use. Oh yeah, and the kind of gravy each would render. But both would be great with some mashed potatoes, no?