In the nineteenth century, Ireland was marked by extensive personal suffering. Civilians, predominantly the catholic lower and middle-classes, were having a hard time finding jobs, paying rent, feeding their children, as well as putting up with overpopulation which contributed to the overall growing problem of poverty. During this time of suffering, many began to question whether Britain acted as hastily and as effectively as they could have, as well as believing that centuries of British rule and / or political oppression was a fundamental cause of the famine (which originated from a potato crop failure). Jonathan Swift, a poor-boy who found his niche as a social critic / spokesman for Irish rights, after analyzing the possible causes, he concludes that England should not be the sole one to blame and therefore proposes a rather straightforward solution to Ireland's evident predicament by insisting that the abundance of children of the poor to be used as a food supply.
Jonathan Swift blames the English Protestants for their cruel and inhumane treatment of the papists, or poor Irish Catholics, through both political and economic oppression. This is seen when the author's "persona" believes that England would be more than willing to eat the Irish poor even if such a proposal had never been suggested, saying that, .".. I could name a country which would be glad to eat up our whole nation without it." Being a son of pauper parents, as well as having spent years in Ireland, he first handedly experienced poverty-stricken Ireland. Since the poor cannot afford to pay their rent at due, the property owners would seize their property and kick them out onto the streets, creating even more complications. As the streets become crowded with the "begging mothers" and whining babies, slums multiply and worsen. He detests the idle English aristocrats for the seemingly lack of concern in attempting to resolve the growing problem of poverty either by the English courts through legislation or otherwise.
He, as well as many other Irishmen, readily sees the clear denial of the English in accepting their part in the poverty in Ireland, though Britain did in fact provide much relief to the starving public. Swift shows his readers that his contempt for the irresponsibility, greed, and moral indifference of the wealthy is parallel to that of his disgust at the failure of Ireland's political leaders. The Irish too were in part to be those to blame for the famine because they should have been aware of such misfortune in advance. With proprietors throwing families out onto the streets, both the parents and children resorted such acts as begging and stealing. Jonathan Swift criticizes them, mostly the parents, by saying," These mothers, instead of being able to work for their honest livelihood, are forced to employ all their time in strolling to beg...
." He believes that resorting to thievery was a strong sign of laziness, and that they should dedicate more effort to finding a job to provide for their families. Furthermore, Swift took the suffering of the Irish to heart and, immodestly, came up with and proposed a very well thought out solution. Though at first Swift shocks his readers, he then precedes it with an outline of his argument which slowly causes him / her to rationalize such a practice. Through-out his argument, it was made apparent that it was a classic situation / case of the pot calling the tea kettle black, where as the pot is the suffering Irish and the tea kettle is England; both strongly believed that the other was to blame while not realizing that they too may have been at fault.