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Vegetarian Federal Union 1889-1911



THE year that has just terminated has marked an epoch in the Vegetarian movement. It has been the Jubilee year of the Vegetarian Society, and every organization throughout the land has done something to mark its sense of the importance of the cycle accomplished.


In the first place a Jubilee Fund was inaugurated before the beginning of the year by the Vegetarian Society and by the Vegetarian Federal Union; and later on, by mutual arrangement, the funds were combined and, in part, shared equally between the two organizations. It is a point of considerable importance to note that this Fund reached the handsome total of over Fourteen Hundred Pounds, and that over one hundred and fifty persons contributed to it, proving conclusively that the Vegetarian world is not slow to appreciate and support when the need for strenuous efforts is demonstrated.


This Fund has proved the means of enabling a number of large Jubilee meetings to be held, which, by the imposing character of the halls taken, the audiences assembled, and the speeches delivered, have done much to imbue a feeling of respect in that numerous class who judge of the value of a movement by the éclat which is attached to it.

Amongst the meetings thus held may be mentioned those which took place in the Town Halls or large Public Halls in Manchester, Ramsgate, Exeter, Burslem, Stratford, Canning Town, Reading, Coventry, Portsmouth, Croydon, Bermondsey, Birmingham, Brighton, Oswestry, etc., besides a number of smaller meetings, missions, conferences, entertainments, eta, held by various societies as a special Juhilee effort.

The two sets of meetings which will stand out in the minds of men for many years to come, in connection with this year, will be those which took place at Ramsgate, in memory of the formation of the Vegetarian Society there fifty years ago, and those which took place in London in the International Congress week. The arrangements of the first, which were carried out in an admirable manner, and well in keeping with the historic character of the occasion were in the hands of the Vegetarian Society, and those of the latter under the ægis of the Federal Union.


We are naturally led on from a glance at the Jubilee meetings held, to the Congress itself. The international character of this was manifested by the number of Societies, representing many lands and peoples, who sent delegates, or letters, or telegrams, or kindly messages to it. A large box of Indian sweetmeats was also sent from India at very considerable expense, and to Mr. Bhaidas B. Doshy is due the honour of enthusing men of rank and position in India with the necessity of recognising the great work that the Federal Union is doing, and of assisting it financially, so that it may become strong to stem the wave of materialism which threatens to drown the historic spirituality of the nations of the East. Full particulars of the Congress, its work, the papers read thereat, and resolutions passed, can be found by reference to the volume of "Transactions," just published (price 6d.). The success attending upon this Congress, and the comparative smallness of its cost compared with the magnitude of its influence has induced the Executive to arrange for a National Congress in London, in 1898, from September 11th to 18th, and for an International Congress in Paris, in September, 1900. All Vegetarians and Vegetarian Societies are especially asked to book up these dates and arrange for as many members as possible to be present on both these occasions.

At the Congress of 1897 there were five sessions held, sixteen papers read, a dinner at the Crystal Palace to 200 representative people, a public meeting, also at the Palace, with over 2,000 present, a five days' exhibition in London, a conversazione, seven receptions of different character, columns of notices in the most influential papers of England and abroad, some thousands of handbills distributed, and some hundreds of posters on the walls and displayed by sandwichmen in the streets of the Metropolis, while the total cost to the ordinary funds of the Union was Under Twenty Pounds.


The Ideal Publishing Union has now taken over all the work connected with the production and sale of books and pamphlets, so that this item which has hitherto figured in the Vegetarian Federal Union balance-sheet is now considerably reduced in amount.

This does not mean that the sale of literature has been reduced, for every Vegetarian organization knows well that the amount of literature sold is some criterion of the interest aroused in the subject and more than ever are we keen to bring before the public, books and pamphlets attractive in appearance and reasonable as well as interesting in their contents.

A number of volumes of Vegetarian works have been presented in prizes at fruit and flower shows, and a large quantity of free leaflets has been distributed.

A Jubilee Library has been issued by the Ideal Publishing Union at a cheap rate so as to bring within reach of all some of the best works that have been written on the subject. A new edition of Dr. Anna Kingsford's "Perfect Way in Diet" has also been issued by Messrs. Kegan Paul, owing to arrangements initiated by the Order of the Golden Age; while a handsome edition of Mr. Howard Williams' invaluable "Ethics of Diet" has appeared to appeal to students of culture and of the humanities in literature.

The official organs - the Vegetarian and the Vegetarian Review - have continued their mission during the year, and as the New Year commences, an important change takes place in the amalgamation of the Vegetarian Messenger (the official organ of the Vegetarian Society), and the Vegetarian Review (an official organ of the Vegetarian Federal Union), under the title of the Vegetarian Messenger and Review. The editorship remains with Mr. Ernest Axon, of Manchester.

This combined monthly will still be sent out free of charge to all subscribers of ten shillings, or upwards, to the funds of the Union.


During the year a grant of £5 has been made to the Bolton Vegetarian Society for mission work, to meet an equal amount raised by themselves, and a similar grant on similar conditions to the Reading Society, but of this only £3 has yet been paid, owing to lack of funds. A grant of £5 was also made to Mr. Furnival towards recouping him for the heavy loss incurred by him on the great Jubilee dinner and meeting which he undertook and arranged at Burslem Town Hall.


The Dutch Society has withdrawn from affiliation, owing to some political articles which appeared in the Vegeterian Review, while the Arbroath Society and the Dundee Society have joined the Union during the year.


The dawn of the Coming Century is upon us. We are the pioneers of the greatest reform that it will see. Let us rise to the responsibility of our mission, and let every one of us do the best we know to bring on the consummation of the time when the world shall he won for

"God's own kingdom
Some glad day."

Vegetarian Federal Union index | 1897 Annual Report index