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Vegetarian Federal Union 1889-1911

From The Vegetarian (London) September 6, 1890:

Wednesday September 10th. - Federal Union Conference will commence at 3 p.m. , in the Board Room, Memorial Hall, Farringdon-street, E.C. Open to all. Friends especially invited. Only delegates may vote.

From The Vegetarian (London), September 20, 1890:

The Federal Union

On Wednesday last the Vegetarian Federal Union met in conference in the Memorial Hall, Farringdon-street, London, E.C. On account, probably of the International Congress on the following days there was a much larger attendance of delegates and friends than on former ocassions. Th following Socieites were represented by one or more delegates:- The Vegetarian Society, Manchester, by the Rev. James Clark, Mr. P. Foxcroft, Mr. W. Harrison, Mr. A. Tongue, and Mr. Joseph Knight ; The London Vegetarian Society by Mrs. Hawkins, Messrs. Forward Oldfield and Sullivan ; The Oxford Vegetarian Society, by Mr. Anstey ; The Exeter Vegetarian Society, Mr. and Mrs. Pengelly ; The Newcastle Vegetarian Society, Mr. Nicholson, the Brighton Vegetarian Society, Mr. Slatter ; Cambridge Vegetarian Society, Mr. Mayor ; Sheffield Vegetarian Society, Mr. W. A. Hall ; Portsmouth Vegetarian Society, Mr. Prior ; West London Society, Mr. R. E. O'Callaghan ; Northern Heights Society, Mrs. Boult and Mr. E. W. Richardson ; West Ham Society, Mr. G. Brewster, The Southport Society, Mr. G. W. Flynt ; The South East London Society, Mr. P. Newbould ; Dover Food Reform Society, Mr. Kennard ; Southampton Society, Mr. Kemp ; Bolton Society, Miss Farrington ; Norwich Society, Mr. W. Lloyd. Mr. A. F. Hills in the Chair.

The Minutes having been duly read and confirmed, the Treausrer presented the Accounts, from which it appeared that £26 4s. 0d. had been received this year, the amount in hand being £10 18s. 6d. The Chairman intimated that he was authorised by the London Society to state that they were prepared to double their present subscription of £20 - (Applause). Mr. Pengelly (Exeter) thought that members ought to subscribe more freely than had been the case hitherto. Mr. Prior (Portsmouth), enquired whether individual persons could make donations through their local Society to the Union, and was answered in the affirmative. Mr. Oldfield, as Treasurer, regretted that they had not received that spontaneous flow of money which every Union should receive from its affiliates. The Rev. James Clark pointed out that unless the Union had adequate funds at its command it was practically paralysed in action ; he did not see, however, what more could be suggested than had been done by the Chairman, viz., that each Society should send a subscription, and if possible, increase the amount of their usual subscription. Mr. Hills proposed and Mr. Flynt (Southport), seconded a proposition that the delegates assembled should make a special representation to their respective committees with reference to the advisability of augmenting the funds of the Vegetarian Federal Union. The Hon. Sec. reported that since their last meeting five societies had applied for affiliation with the Union, viz. : The Vegetarian Society of America, The Irish Vegetarian Union of Belfast, the Bolton and Norwich Vegetarian Societies, and the Dover Food Reform Society. These Societies were thereupon duly elected into the Union. The draft list of Vegetarian literature compiled by Mr. W. E. A. Axon, was presented to the Union and on the motion of Mr. Forward, seconded by Mr. Hall (Sheffield), it was resolved to print and publish the catalogue. In reply to a query the Chairman stated that the books and pamphlets would appear under the names of the societies publishing them and that any book in the list might be had from the Secretary of the Union. Mr. Lloyd (Norwich) then proposed, and Mr. Flynt seconded tha the catalogues should be sold at one penny each, and this was agreed to, it being understood that the cost would be under that sum. It was determined to send Mr. W. E. A. Axon a vote of thanks for his kindness in compiling the list of Vegetarian literature for the use of the Union.

Mr. Hills moved the next resolution that it was essential for the welfare of the V.F.U. that it sould have a permanent secetary. He explained that Mr. O'Callaghan's duties as Secretary of the London Society had been seriously interfered with by his honorary work for the Union. It had, therefore, been discussed and proposed with the consent of the London Committee and Mr. O'Callaghan that he should resign the secretaryship of the London Society and give his whole to the Union as permanent secretary. Mr. Flynt did not think that Mr. O'Callaghan's services should be passed over in silence. They of the Southport Society had had much correspondence with Mr. O'Callaghan and had found him prompt and useful in furnishing infomation about the Union, and therefore he proposed a vote of thanks be given to M. O'Callaghan for his past services. Mr. Nicholson said that the Society in Newcastle were indebted to Mr. O'Callaghan for the kind way in which he had kept them in touch with the Union, and he was very glad to second the proposition. Mr. William Harrison (Manchester) wished to bear testimony to the good generalship and devotion of their Hon. Sec. As with the spring of a watch so a good secretary kept all parts in activity ; a hon. sec. meant a living society, and he believed in Mr. O'Callaghan they had such a man. Mr. W. A. Hall said that they had had the Hon. Sec. down several times to Sheffield, and whilst there he had worked hard. Mr. Forward said that the London Committee would not look lightly upon this vote were it not for the fact it was proposed to hand over to the Union a good proportion of their work and which they felt to be somewhat beyond their sphere. He was confident they could not choose a better man for the Union work than Mr. O'Callaghan. He had made himself familiar with the different phases of Vegetarian work, and more than 10 years ago when he (Mr. Forward) first came into the movement he foundMr. O'Callaghan and active worker then. The resolution that Mr. O'Callaghan be henceforth permanent seretary to the Union, coupled with a hearty vote of thanks for his past honorary services was then carried with acclamation to which the newly elected Secretary suitably responded.

The next item on the agenda was the adjourned motion as to the affiliation of smaller societies by larger societies. The Chairman stated that he had been requested by the London Society, to say that they did not intend to mve any further in the matter. They had resigned the 13 Societies hitherto affiliated with them, and had resolved not to affiliate any more, feeling that all societies in the Union should meet on the same footing, and as one got stronger so the others should be helped. The Rev. Jas. Clark said that it was fully expected by his Society that this resolution would not be brought forward again after the expression of opinion at the Norwich Congress, and it had thus turned out pretty much as they had expected. If the resolution had been passed it would have been the building of a very large instrument for a very small purpose.

Mr. Flynt, on behalf of the Southport Society, moved that it be recommended in the propagation of the Food Reform movement that a wider scope be given so as to enlist the most general sympathy from those who are not strict Vegetarians with a view to increasing the number of associates. He said they had a number of friends, medical, and other professional men in connection with their Society who had the greatest sympathy with their aims and work, and who were quite willing to render them all the support in their power, and oftentimes valuable support, but who, nevertheless, were unable, for valid reasons, to subscribe fully to their rules. He had felt it highly desireable to spare no pains to include these men in their work and numbers, and strengthen and advance their cause in turn. Mr. Flynt was apparently under the impression the Vegetarian Societies required abstinence from flesh-meat, but not fish from their Associates. Professor J. E. B. Mayor also spoke as to the wisdom of utilising every offer of assistance, and not rejecting those who could not at once yeild a full adhesion to the rules . Could they prevail on their friends to abstain from meat one or two days in the week much good would be done, and the way opened for complete abstinence later on. Mr. Lloyd pointed out that the conditions asked for by Mr. Flynt were fully met by the Associate grade. Mr. Knight had been somewhat puzzled as to the exact meaning of the Southport friends' recommendation but he thought the would see from the rule of the Vegetarian Society that nothing more was required of an Associate than sympathy with Vegetarianism, and that no restriction was placed upon diet. Mr. Foxcroft pointed out that the practice of their Society in Manchester was to welcome assistance from any direction ; but like the Church of England Temperance Society, to have two sections : abstainers, and non-abstainers, but sympathisers - but these latter were not entitled to sit upon the Committee. Mr. Pengelly (Exeter) said that in his Society the Associates rendered much service, and, by their rules, were entitled to sit upon the Committee and to vote. Mr. Hills said that it was clearly ladi down in the Constitution of the Union that each Society should frame its own rules and be guided thereby. He, however, very strongly held the opinion with the Exeter representative that it would be of the very greatest assistance to all Societies to allow their Associates to be properly represented upon their Committtee. That had been the experience of the London Society. Very man men would not be admissable under the Manchester rules, as being only Associates, had done them good service and helped their society to be strong, and it stood to common-sense that if they wanted their Associates to take a part in the work they must give them some sort of representation. Mr. Nicholson gave his testimony as to the value of admitting Associates to the Committee. Mr. Flynt felt gratified with the result of his recommendation and its subsequent discussion, and would go back strengthened to start a new programme.

As to the next meeting of the Union, and the place, Mr. Harrison proposed, and Mr. Nicholson (Newcastle) seconded, that it should be Leicester. Mr. Prior proposed, and Mr. Pengelly seconded , Portsmouth, and after some littel discussion this was carried, and it was further resolved that it should be in May, and that the Vegetarian Society should be invited to hold their May Meeting at the same place and time.

The Chairman asked for promises to undertake missions of a week, or less, duration. Invitations were given from the Portsmouth, Newcastle, Southampton, Sheffield, and Essex delegates : - Oxford suggested the third week in November ; Norwich, the middle of the same month, and Southport suggested October next.

Mr. Harrison wished in connection with this Mission work to call attention to the need of a good hymn-book suitable for opening the meetings. It should consist of Vegetarian literature set to good tunes, unsectarian, and of the widest scope so that no-one could object to use it. Again, there was another very important point : most of them had met withScriptural objections in their course of propaganda, and few had time to dive into the Scripture to find out the best arguments from the Scriptural ground. They had in the Rev. M. Clubb, of America, a man pre-eminently fitted to assist them is such a work and he would propose that they should ask him to give them a treatise upon the biblical question. If this work were undertaken he would be quite willing to subscribe £5 thereto. He proposed that Mr. Clubb be invited to prepare such a work. Mr. Prior thought the less they introduced the Bible or theology into their arguments the better. Mr. Oldfield stated that he had promised to edit a Vegetarian hymn-book if he were supplied with suitable materials, but as these latter were not forthcoming he had as yet been unable to move in the matter. Mr. Nicholson seconded Mr. Harrison's proposition. Mr. Forward thoughtthat a work upon the Biblical aspect of Vegetarianism could be written by English Vegetarian writers as well as by Mr. Clubb, and suggested that Mr. Clark should be invited to undertake this work. The Rev. James Clark said many there knew the great dislike with which he took the pen into his hand ; he would sooner talk for the week than write by the minute. Perhaps Professor Mayor could find time for such a task. Professor Mayor said it was quite impossible for him to find time for any more work than he had at present. He had in hand some 20 books, and some of them had been for 20 years in the press. Mr. Foxcroft had a clear recolection of Mr. Clubb and narrated some interesting facts as to the early work of the Bible Christian Church Ministers and the Vegetarians of their time. All things considered, however, he hardly thought Mr. Clubb was the best writer they could select for this work.

Mr. Harrison moved a hearty vote of thanks to their Chairman, Mr. Hills, for so ably presiding over their deliberations as well as for his zeal and generosity on behalf of the Union. Mr. Flynt seconded the vote which was carried with much applause. Mr. Hills having briefly replied, the proceedings closed.