Vol. 6: Kelly, James.

Type: Article

Kelly, James. ‘Jonathan Swift and the Irish Economy in the 1720’s’, Eighteenth-century Ireland/Iris an dá chultúr, Vol. 6 (1991), pp 7-36..

This article examines Jonathan Swift’s pamphleteering career of the 1720’s which ultimately, “broadened the focus of Irish economic thinking…and stimulated greater interest in and enthusiasm for schemes that encouraged indigenous development”. The article focuses on four of Swift’s writings of the period: A Proposal for the universal use of Irish manufacture, A Modest Proposal, Drapier’s Letters and A Short view of the state of Ireland. Kelly discusses Swift’s reluctance to become involved in political issues for fear of damaging his hopes of ecclesiastical promotions. Though Swift was appalled at the state of poverty in Ireland and called for economic reform, he also showed disdain for the poor, especially beggars on the streets of Dublin. At the same time, he had a long-term economic vision of domestic consumption as a possible solution to Ireland’s poverty and was deeply distressed with the British and Irish governments’ unwillingness to alleviate the suffering of the kingdom’s inhabitants. Kelly also discusses the contributions of Molesworth, Hutchinson, Fownes, Pierson, Maculla, Dobbs, Browne and Prior to Ireland’s economic cause, maintaining that Swift was the most ‘consistent’ and ‘influential’.