I'm closing the week out with yet another post from The American Frugal Housewife ©1835. I find this book helpful in two ways, one it has some great information for my 19th century characters. 2, in our day and age where gas prices are sky rocketing, I feel it is important to be as economical as possible and this book is Mrs. Child's work on the topic of economics. I believe the passage below gives the reader a peak into the heart of Mrs. Child and her views of economics.
The other day, I heard a mechanic say, ' I have a wife and two little children ; we live in a very small house; but, to save my life, I cannot spend less than twelve hundred a year.' Another replied, ' You are not economical; I spend but eight hundred.' I thought to myself,—' Neither of you pick up your twine and paper.' A third one, who was present, was silent; but after they were gone, he said, 'I keep house, and comfortably too, with a wife and children, for six hundred a year; but I suppose they would have thought me mean, if I had told them so.' I did not think him mean; it merely occurred to me that his wife and children were in the habit of picking up paper and twine.
Economy is generally despised as a low virtue, tending to make people ungenerous and selfish. This is true of avarice ; but it is not so of economy. The man who is economical, is laying up for himself the permanent power of being useful and generous. He who thoughtlessly gives away ten dollars, when he owes a hundred more than he can pay, deserves no praise,—ho obeys a sudden impulse,. more like instinct than reason: it would be real charity to check this feeling; because the good he does may be doubtful, while the injury he does his family and creditors is certain. True economy is a careful treasurer in the service of benevolence ; and where they are united, respectability, prosperity and peace will follow.