The author of an article in The Times of 24 July 1795 on ‘The Way to Peace and Plenty’ did not explain why he had felt the need to write the piece. There were certainly wheat shortages at the time due to a series of bad harvests, and the country generally was suffering from the economic effects of the French Revolutionary war, and trouble was brewing in the pesky American colonies. Or perhaps he had been moved by a particularly stirring sermon on the evils of spending and waste?
Anyhow, the Rules for the Rich and Rules for the Poor have some points that make sense still today – although animal-lovers might take offence at a couple of the ideas.
The Way to Peace and Plenty.
Rules for the Rich.
1. Abolish gravy soups, and second courses.
2. Buy no starch when wheat is dear.
3. Destroy all useless dogs.
4. Give no dog, or other animal, the smallest bit of bread or meat.
5. Save all your skim-milk carefully, and give it all to the poor, or sell it at a cheap rate.
6. Make broth, rice pudding, &c, for the poor, and teach them to make such things.
7. Go to church yourselves, and take care your servants go constantly.
8. Look into the management of your own families, and visit your poor neighbours.
9. Prefer those poor who keep steadily to their work, and go constantly to church, and give nothing to those who are idle, and riotous, or keep useless dogs.
10. Buy no weighing meat, or gravy beef: if the rich would buy only the prime pieces, the poor could get the others cheap.
Rules for the Poor.
1. Keep steady to your work, and never change masters, if you can help it,
2. Go to no gin-shop, or alehouse: but lay out all your earnings in food, and cloaths, for yourself, and your family: and try to lay up a little for rent, and rainy days.
3. Avoid bad company.
4. Keep no dogs: for they rob your children, and your neighbours.
5. Go constantly to church, and carry your wives, and children, with you, and God will bless you.
6. Be civil to your superiors, and they will be kind to you.
7. Learn to make broth, milk pottage, rice-pudding, &c. One pound of meat, in both, will go further than two pounds boiled or roasted.
8. Be quiet, and contented, and never steal, or swear, or you will never thrive.
The article actually included some recipes for the dishes mentioned. I have chosen two for you.
Half a pound of rice, two quarts of skim milk, and three ounces of brown sugar, well baked, make an excellent pudding. The expense is about sevenpence (if you buy the milk and pay for the baking) and it will make a good meal for a family of seven or eight.
Warm a gallon of small beer, and put into it three quarters of a pint of oatmeal, and a little allspice and ginger, both pounded. Boil it half an hour and sweeten it to your taste.