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Vegetarian Federal Union 1889-1911

From The Vegetarian (London), November 2, 1889:

The Vegetarian Federal Union

On Monday, the 21st ult., the above recently founded Union held its second meeting, in the rooms of the Vegetarian Restaurant, Fountain-street, Manchester. The chair was taken shortl after 3 p.m. by Mr. A. F. Hills. There was a good attendance of delegates and friends, amongst whom were Prof. Mayor, the Rev. Jas. Clark, Mr. and Mrs. Owen (Oswestry), Mrs Hawkins, Miss Harding, Messrs. Axon, Lloyd, Sullivan, André, Foxcroft, Roberts, J. G. C. Bull, Tongue, Greenhalgh, Holt, Knowles, R. E. O'Callghan, Flynt, Martin, Forward, the Rev. J. Bruce, etc. Representatives were present from the London, Cambridge, Sheffield, Northern Heights, West London, West Ham, and Nottingham Societies.

The minutes having been read and confirmed, and letters read from the Treasurer and the Newcastle representative regretting their enforced absence, the Chairman gave a short address, in which he welcomed the delegates to the conference, and for the benefit of those assembled, narrated the events leading up to the formation of the Federal Union, briefly sketching the work it was hoped the Union would perform.

Some doubt having arisen as to whether the Officers of the Union had votes apart from their representative capacity, the question was set at rest by a resolution declaring that the voting power of each Society in the Union should e limited to the number prescribed by the rules, in proportion to the number of their members and associates - thus at once removing any ground of jealousy.

A question was raised as to the formation and treatment of bogus Societies claiming admittance to the Union, it being contended that the appointment of proper officers, and the issuing of a code of rules, should precede enrolment. It was eventually decided that any Society, desiring to federate itself with the Union, should send in its application, together with the rules adopted, to the Secretary, to be considered at the next meeting of the Executive Council, with whom shall rest the final decision in all cases.

To provide for the better distribution of the best Vegetarian works issued by the Societies of the Union, it was resolved, after some little argument, that a general catalogue should be drawn up and issued by the Union, of the different works and papers published by the associated societies, under the headings of such societies, with the price of each work. It was further agreed that each society should furnish the associated societies with its publications at cost price. This arrangement ought to enable the public to see what a capital literature the Vegetarian body possesses.

The forthcoming International Congress of Vegetarian Societies was also taken in hand. Originally invited by the London Society to hold its meetings in the great metropolis, the task of carrying out the arrangements is now confided to the Union ; and, to ensure the best possible results, it was determined to invite the co-operation of all known Vegetarian Societies in the work. It is clear that John Bull (Vegetus) is upon his mettle, and that when our brethren visit this "right little tight little island" great things are intended. So be it!

An important proposition was brought forward by the representatives of the London Society, to wit, the establishment of a Union Fund, voluntarily contributed by the associated societies according to their riches or their poverty, to aid struggling societies to keep or attain their feet by pecuniary or other assistance, as also to found societies or local centres where such are thought desireable. Some little hesitation was experienced in discussing this suggestion, most of the socities feeling that they required all the funds, and more, at their disposal, to meet pressing local work. One speaker wittily expressed it as an attempt to solve perpetual motion, viz. the giving of a little and the reception of a great deal. It was resolved ultimately that the delegates should consult their respective committees, and be prepared with their decision a the next sitting.

To make clear the powers of the delegates, however, in future, it was resolved that they should have full power to vote upon all questions as they arise, so far as the assistance and encouragement of local work and organisation was concerned, but that at least three weeks' notice should be given in cases where any question of principle is concerned.

The London Society having added practice to precept by voting £20 to this suggested Union Fund, it was determined to put the amount out at good interest. It was therefore resolved to divide it into four parts, paying £5 each to the representatives of the following towns : Oxford, Cambridge, Sheffield and Leicester, on condition that they undertook to organise a week's mission in their respective towns, in conjunction with the Union. We are therefote expecting to hear shortly that the Isis, Cam, Sheaf, etc. have been set on fire in several places and are blazing merrily.

The Union showed a die regard for the future by discussiong at lengththe best means of influencing the children, reference being made to the "Daisy Society" and the "Band of Love," some beautifully coloured cards by this latter society being handed around. It was ultimately recommended that each society should form a junior branch, to seek to enrol and interest the children in its work. The decision to hold the next conference of the Federal Union in London, on the 14th January, 1890, brought a highly interesting and useful meeting to a close.