A Modest Proposal .pdf

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A M ODEST P ROPOSAL
FOR PREVENTING THE DOCTORAL CANDIDATES OF THIS U NIVERSITY FROM BEING
A BURDEN TO THEIR A LMA M ATER AND FOR RENDERING THEM
BENEFICIAL TO THE PUBLIC

It is a melancholy Object to those who walk through this great University, when they see the Streets, the Roads, and even the
Carriageway of the Rotman School of Business crowded with ‘Strikers’ of both sexes importuning an already generous Alma
Mater for yet greater Emolument. These sad Ingrates, instead of quietly and contentedly attending to their tutorial Duties and
to the assiduous preparation of their Dissertations on divers Matters Scientific, employ all their time in strolling about and
disturbing the Peace with their raucous Complaints.
I think it is agreed by all parties that this prodigious number of idle Doctorandi in the present Deplorable State of the
University is a very great additional Grievance; and therefore whoever could find out a fair, cheap, and easy method of making
these students sound, useful members of Society would deserve so well of the Governing Council as to have his statue set up
for a Preserver of the Academy.
As to my own part, having turned my thoughts for many hours upon this important subject, and maturely weighed the several
schemes of both Apologists and Critics of the Malcontents, I have always found them grossly mistaken in their Computations.
The number of doctorandi in our Academy is usually reckoned at six thousand, but of these I calculate that no fewer than five
thousand are supernumerary to the necessities of the Respublica Litterarum. I have therefore lately employed my thoughts
without intermission on what course may be taken to ease the University of so grievous an Encumbrance.
I humbly offer it to public consideration that we relieve doctoral candidates of all pecuniary subventions, and rather regard
them as a species of unremunerated ‘Interns,’ or better, Apprentices to the Master Craftsmen of the University, to wit, the
Learned Professors of our several Faculties.
The advantages of my Scheme are as obvious as they are many. First, it will put to an end those pernicious Combinations or
‘Unions’ of persons, by which the Ill-Disposed endeavour to extort, as of right, a portion of the Common Wealth of the
University, for there would be nothing to which they could lay claim. Secondly, it would ensure that the Condition and Status
of Doctoral Candidate would be closed to all but Gentlemen or Ladies of private means, with the happy result that our
Parnassus would finally be rid of the spawn of vagabonds, tinkers, mechanics, and other low sorts who now crowd its fair
groves. Thirdly, as I have been assured by an Acquaintance versed in the Mysteries of the Exchange, we would render an
inestimable service to Men of Wealth by considerably augmenting the ranks of that ‘Reserve Army of the Unemployed’ so
indispensable for the discipline of the Mob. Fourthly, the Revenues liberated by my Scheme could be most justly devoted to
ameliorating the lamentable ‘Liabilities,’ or Debts, of the Fund from which the Stipends of aged, decayed, and decrepit
Academicians are drawn. Finally, those who aspire to the Professorial Estate shall know once and for all that their preferment
is a matter of Grace and Favour, not of Desert or Demand.
I protest, in the sincerity of my heart, that I have not the least personal interest in endeavouring to promote this Necessary
Work, having no other motive than the Common Good of the Academy by giving some pleasure to the Rich.

LAWRIN ARMSTRONG


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