In Cramer’s Pittsburgh Magazine Almanack, for the Year of Our Lord 1810, an essay by “Nicholas Pennyworth” provides instructions for financial survival during “Hard Times”:
Messrs. Almanack Makers,
Hard Times, is the cry among many worthy people. The times really deserved that name during the struggles of the American Revolution, and it may not be amiss to apply the same remedy now, that proved successful then, Economy and Industry. Set your spinning-wheels agoing, and make shirts and trowsers at home, instead of hiring speculators to go three thousand miles to get them spun for you. Raise more sheep and improve their breed, that fine coats can be made at your own fire-sides, instead of hiring your enemies to make them for you. Wear your old coats until this can be done, even should they be like unto Joseph’s, patched with many colours. Drink less whiskey and sow more flax and hemp. Talk less and raise more potatoes. Lose less time in winter, and build better houses for your cattle. Trim your orchards in season, and repair your fences before the corn comes up. A stitch in time saves nine, therefore patch your barn door while it is yet on its hinges. Stay at home and mind your own business. Runners and gunners come home barefoot. Boil the tea-kettle less, and churn more butter. Delay buying what your present need can put off, for small interests eat up big principals. Never pay your debts with promises, if you do, your purse has the advantage of you, it swims while you sink. If you want to travel easy, make good roads. Streams run best when the rocks are cleared from the bottom. If you want to make money, raise poultry and go to market. New fashions are the invention of the idle and cunning, avaricious speculators import them, and the vain and foolish, being caught with the glare, wear them. Our friends over the big water like us best when we work for nothing and find ourselves, that is, when we go to their market instead of attending to our own; when we employ their stocking-weavers and button-makers, while our own are starving for want of work.
Advice from an old man is generally spurned at – in whatever manner these hints may be taken, I cannot refrain from making them, and request you to print them, and if attended to in time, they may avert the coming of harder times.
Your old friend,