P R E F A C E
THE followincr volume embraces the testimony,
direct or indirect, of nearly ONE HUNDRED
individuals, —— besides that of societies and
communities — on the subject of vegetable diet. Most of
this one hundred persons are, or were, persons of
considerable distinction in society; and more than FIFTY
of them were either medical men, or such as have made
physiology, hygiene, anatomy, pathology, medicine, or
surgery a leading or favorite study.
As I llave written other works besides this —
especially the Young House-Keeper," — which
treat, more or less, of diet, it may possibly be
objected, that I sometimes repeat the same idea. But
how is it to be avoided? In writing for various
classes of the community, and presenting my views
in various connexions and aspects, I deem it
necessary to do so. Writers on theology, or
education, or any other important topic, do the same
probably to a far greater extent than I have yet
done. I repeat no idea for the sake of repeating it.
Not a word is inserted but what seems to me
necessary, in order that I may be intelligible.
Moreover, like the preacher of the truth on' many
other subjects, it is not so much my object to
produce something new in every paragraph, as to
explain, illustrate, and enforce what is already
It may also be thought that I make too many
books. But, as I do not claim to be so much an
originator of new things as an instrurnent for
diffusing the old, it will not be expected that I should
be twenty years on a volume, like Bishop Butler. I
have, however, been collecting my stock of
materials for this and other works—published or
unpublished — more than twenty-five years.
Besides, it might be safely and truly said that the
study and reading and writing, in the preparation of
this volume and the Young HouseKeeper," have
consumed at least three of the best years of my life,
at fourteen or fifteen hours a day. Several of my
other works, as the House I Live in," the Young
Mother," and the Young Wife have also been the
fruit of years of toil and investigation and
observation, of which those who think only of the
labor of merely writing them out, know nothing.
Even the Mother in her Family," — at vii
least some parts of it though in general a lighter
work, has been the result of much care and labor.
The circumstance of publishing several books at the
same, or nearly the same time, has nothinff to do
with their preparation.
hen I commenced putting together the
materials of this little treatise on year and
a half ago, — it was my intention simply to show
the SAFETY of a vegetable and fruit diet, both for
those who are afflicted with many forms of chronic
disease, and for the healthy. But I soon became
convinced that I ought to go farther, and prove its
SUPERIORITY over every other. This 1 have
attempted to do —with what success, the reader
must and will judge for himself.
I have said, it was not my original intention to
prove a vegetable and fruit diet to be anything more
than safe. But I wish not to be understood as
entertaining, even at that time, any doubts in regard
to the superiority of such a diet : the only questions
with me were, NVhether the public mind was ready
to hear and weigh the proofs, and Whether this
volume was the place in which to present them. Both
these questions, however, as I went on, were settled,
in the affirmative. I believed — and still believe —
that the public mind, in this country, is prepared for
the free discussion of
all topics — provided they are discussed candidly —
which have a manifest bearing on the well-being of man
; and I have governed myself accordingly.
An apology may be necessary for retaining,
unexplained, a few medical terms. But I did not feel at
liberty to change them, in the correspondence of Dr.
North, for more popular language ; and, having retained
them thus far, it did not seem desirable to explain them
elsewhere. Nor was I willing to deface the pages of the
work with explanatory notes. The fact is, the technical
terms alluded to, are, after all, very few in number, and
may be generally understood by the connexion in which
Boston, June, 1838.