I will venture to affirm, that the three seasons wherein our corn has miscarried did no more contribute to our present misery, than one spoonful of water thrown upon a rat already drowned would contribute to his death; and that the present plentiful harvest, although it should be followed by a dozen ensuing, would no more restore us, than it would the rat aforesaid to put him near the fire, which might indeed warm his fur-coat, but never bring him back to life.
Jonathan Swift (1667–1745), Anglo-Irish satirist. repr. In The Prose Works of Jonathan Swift, vol. 12, ed. Herbert Davies (1955). A Proposal that all the Ladies and Women of Ireland Should Appear Constantly in Irish Manufactures (1729).
Swift argued that the chronic situation in Ireland was principally due to the harsh policies carried out by the English over a prolonged period.