From The Vegetarian (London), January 25, 1890:
The Work in Australia
Right cheering are the accounts that come to us of the progress of the
movement and its allied interests in the antipodes. The third number of
our little Melbourne contemporary, Progress, is just to hand, and
merits our warmest congratulations. Its pages are instinct with the broad
and fraternal spirit that inspires the recentyl established Vegetarian
Federal Union, into whose embrace we look confidently to welcome the Australian
Societies ; and in the fact that the new paper stands pledged, not only
to the first principles of Vegetarianism so-called, but to those great
and progessive movements which are in vital union with it, we recognise
the development of a powerful advocacy in the near future which shall
join hands with us in lifting Vegetarianism out of the narrow ruts into
which it had got well-nigh fixed, on to the broad road of progressive
reform, and into the forefront of physical, intellectual, and spiritual
development. The word, "Come forth!" rings over land and sea
in the name of the Federal Union, and our graveclothes are falling off,
and revealing, in its native manhood and its divine right, the real spirit
and life of the movement.
Speaking of co-operation, Mr. Henry Murphy, president of the Lanark Co-operative
"Mankind have set up many graven images and false gods which they
worship. Insead of truth, benevolence, and justice being their rule
of conduct, they have forsaken the spirit of divinity and, to the utter
neglect of all conseqences, have established the idea of 'Will it pay
me in hard cash?" Will it yield a profit to me, no matter what
it yield to others?' Harmony is the highest law of nature ; towards
this end all the efforts of reformers are ever directed, not to destroy
but to build up ; not to annihilate, but to recreate ; to build a new
world in which the individual selfishness shall be utilised, and find
ample scope, not in antagonism to, but in conjuction with, the well
being of others. This is the highest aim of all true reformers."
At a meeting of the Vegetarian Society of Australia, Mr. Robert Jones
presiding, after a few introductory remarks from the Chairman on the great
spread of the movement in England and America :
"Miss Fanny E. Samuel delivered an address on 'The Influence of
the Reformed Diet on the Senses.' She said that man's anatomical structure
proclaimed him a fruit and grain eater. This was the opinion of the
highest authorities, from Linnæus and Gassendi down to Hæckel
and Darwin, who all classified man amongst the frugivora or fruit-eaters.
The apes, which most nearly approached man in structure, were non-flesh
eaters, and developed prodigious strength.Man was probably driven into
eating flesh during the glacial period, when grains and fruits had been
destroyed by the intense cold. He was now, however, emerging from that
savage condition, and was destined to develop powers of mind and body
of which we could barely form a conception. Food would play a great
part in this development. Our bodies were built uo of the food we ate.
Now all experience showed that man lived a healthier and a longer life
on a non-flesh diet ; for very many diseases had been directly or indirectly
traced to the practice of flesh-eating. But there was another benefit
deriveable from the reformed diet. This was the improvement in the senses.
Sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing all became more acute under
the new regimen. And this was something far more than a mere addition
to the pleasure of life. It meant increased protection from disease.
Thus a person with a weak sense of smell would go into, and remain in,
an atmosphere whose foulness would be recognised and avoided by one
with a keen scent. One great cause of disease was the breathing of vitiated
air. This was a matter on which the pure feeder was sensitive, and it
generally happened that he lived habitually wih windows open night and
day. In the same way a person with a keen taste often rejected food
which another partook of heartily. He thus avoided the painful conseqiences
which the other endured. Man's intuitive powere were also increased,
even in the course of his own life, and were destined to increase much
more during the progress of the race, by adopting a simple dietary.
Such people could tell instinctively whether a person or a thing was
dangerous or not, and thus escaped many dangers. But it was irrational
to expect that a state of health which was the outcome of many years'
practice of false habits of life could be entirely changed by the adoption
for a few weeks or months of the better habits. Poisons accumulated
for years in the blood, and time was required to expel them. Unfortunately
the great mass of people were so apathetic, and so bent on pursuing
"pleasure," that they could not be induced to consdier diet
until they had lost their health. Then they got alarmed and became Teetotallers
or Vegetarians, or both, and the strong argument against the adoption
of the new course. Thus the good habits were blamed for the ill-health
which had been produced before those good habits had been adopted. Let
no-one be deceived by this false logic, but examine the case fully and
impartially. She had no dount of the conclusion which would be arrived
Four lectures given under the auspices of the Australian Health Society
during the month of November, are noticed and commented on in the number
to hand :
"On the 4th, Dr. Astles gave an address on 'The Coming Race.'
He said a large amount of disease and ill-health was due to heredity.
Wrong habits of life were responsible for much more. Tight lacing, for
instance, not only injured ladies, but mischieviously affected the unborn
also. Personal and national habits of cleanliness were doing much to
reduce disease. In the 18th century the death-rate in London was 80
per 1000 ; now it was 24 per 1000. Legislation was necessary in the
direction of preventing marriage among the diseased. Health lectures
also should be given daily in all schools. By these and similar methods,
the vitality of the race would be greatly increased, and disease would
ultimately be eliminated.
"On the 11th, Jas. Smith Esq., lectured on 'Wealth as an enemy
to Health.' He said that medical men lived in the fashionable quarters
of large cities, and derived their chief revenue from attending to the
real or imaginary ailments of the wealthy, especially the nouveaux
riches. The latter had but one aim in life, and that was to make
money. Having made it, they built for themselves most elaborate houses
and, knowing next to nothing about physiology and the laws of health,
gave themselves up to luxury in food and drink, and generally to self-indulgence.
The philosophy of self-restraint was unknown to them. The inevitable
result was a disordered digestive system, and they became vistims of
the fiend, dyspepsia. Man, however, would learn the folly of this kind
of life, and would strive to live in harmony with the laws of health.
Then he would attain the age which both science and Scripture (Genesis)
assigned to him, namely one hundred and twenty years. Buffon had shown
that other animals lived to about six times the period of their growth.
Man reached maturity in about twenty years, and six times this, or one
hundred and twenty years, was therefore the age whichmight reasonably
be predicted as that of future man."
[Similar reports, based on the magazine from Ausralia, appeared
in The Vegetarian during 1890]