International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
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Physiological/Vegetarian Conferences
Surrey/Kent, England 1847

Note: the page numbers given refer to the 1847/48 volume of the Truth Tester held in the library of the Vegetarian Society UK. This incorporated two other journals, The Temperance Advocate and The Healthian. None of the individual issues are dated but they appear to run from August 1846 to July 1848, as issue 6 mentions the 'new year'. The front covers were not included and the title page merely says 'New Series, Vol. 1, 1847', then 'Vol. 2, 1848'.

from The Truth Tester (1847 Vol.II p.19):


At the conclusion of the Physiological Conference on the 8th of July [at Alcott House], it was resolved that a second meeting should be held in the month of September. We beg to call attention to the notice in our columns, stating that it will take place on Thursday, the 30th of this month, at Northwood Villa, Ramsgate, Kent. (continues at some length rather off-subject - they tended to launch into general sermons . . .)

from The Truth Tester (1847 Vol.II p.20):


Vegetarian Friends, - The period fixed for the adjourned Vegetarian Conference being at hand . . . The formation of societies may be either positive or negative in their operation . . . In the formation of a society of vegetarian, it is to be hoped, however, . . . to secure the practical benefits of improved habits of diet to society generally. (again continued at some length) Yours faithfully, James Simpson Jun. Great Malvern, Thursday Sept. 9, 1847.

same page as above:

To be held at Northwood Villa on the 30th Sept. 1847
(a poem followed)

photos (not great quality) from 'Fifty Years of Food Reform' - published 50 years later...

from The Truth Tester (1847 Vol.II p.29)


The adjourned meeting of the Conference of Vegetarians met, pursuant to public announcement, at the Hydropathic Institution, Northwood Villa, a delightful spot near Ramsgate, on Thursday, Sept. 30, 1847. And altho' at the remote south-eastern corner of England, it was attended by many zealous, influential and eloquent friends of the cause, from various parts, some of whom had travelled not less than 300 miles to be present. Most of the friends arrived on the previous afternoon and evening. The meeting, which was presided over by Joseph Brotherton, Esq., M.P. for Salford, was one of no ordinary occurrence. Nine of those present have abstained from flesh and alcohol for upwards of 30, most of them 38 years. They all looked truly patriarchal, healthy, strong, and full of intelligence and love.

Most of our readers are aware that the object of the Conference was the formation of a society for the purpose of promulgating advanced knowledge on the subject of diet, and particularly the reasons for, and the advantages and duty of, abstinence from the flesh of animals as food.

The objects of this society are to induce habits of abstinence from the flesh of animals as food, by the dissemination of information upon the subject by means of tracts, essays, and lectures, proving the many advantages of a physical, intellectual, and moral character, resulting from vegetarian habits of diet; and thus to secure, through the association, example, and efforts of its members, the adoption of a principle which will tend essentially to true civilisation, to universal brotherhood, and to the increase of human happiness generally.

This subject, considered by the mass as ridiculous, visionary, or impracticable, was illustrated an enforced by a vast amount of evidence, in so clear and powerful manner, that it was, we should think, almost impossible for any one present to avoid conviction. The physical health and energy - the intellectual clearness and vigor - the moral suavity, purity, and high principle of the company generally, together with the unanimity which prevailed throughout the whole day's proceedings, were conspicuous and delightful, rendering it one of the most harmonious, remarkable, and interesting meetings we ever attended. Altho' all present were not abstainers, no one attempted to adduce a single argument against the views advanced; and for ourselves, we felt that if any one could have remained in such society, and heard the arguments advanced during the day, and not have been brought to a decision as to the superior advantages of a fruit and farinaceous diet, over that of a mixed one, he 'would not be persuaded though one rose from the dead.'

The morning was devoted to preliminary arrangements, reading correspondence, discussing rules for the Vegetarian Society, and the formation of the society, which was joined by upwards of 150 persons. The company partook of dinner at half-past 1 o'clock, a particular account of which, with some of the recipes, we intend giving in our next number.

We intended to have given a full report of the proceedings, together with abstracts from the speeches of the various speakers, in the present number, but have declined doing so in consequence of its having been thought preferable to give the whole report in a supplementary number of the Truth-Tester, which will be ready for delivery by the 22nd inst., price 2d.

The form of Declaration of Membership, as agreed upon at the Conference, is as follows :-
"I hereby declare that I have abstained from the flesh of animals as food, for the space of one month and upwards, and that I desire to become a member of the Vegetarian Society, and to co-operate with that body in promulgating the knowledge of the advantages of a vegetarian diet."
Signed aged
Address (in full)
Attested by
Address (in full)

The above declaration may be made by any person (male or female) above 14 years of age, to some neighboring member of the society, or by letter to the secretary, W. Horsell, Northwood Villa, Ramsgate, by either of whom it may be attested.

We cannot close our brief report of the proceedings without observing, that in this age of enterprise, public discussion, and private enquiry, when all subjects interesting to human reason, and dear to the feelings of our nature, are brought before our eyes in every variety of form, distinguished by every shade of ability, - whether the labored work of deep-thoughted philosophy, or the momentary effusion of the humble essay-writer, - at this period, teeming with information, distinguished for benevolent enterprize and humane efforts to benefit the human race of man, further movements may be deemed uncalled for and unnecessary, if not injurious, as dividing the energy of those who are already in the field. We should be greatly pained if we thought the Vegetarian Society could be fairly charged as above; and believe the majority of those with whom we have the honour to be associated in its formation and promotion, would be amongst the first to sound an alarm if such were the case. But we believe that 'all truth is kindred,' and so far from clashing, must work together for good to them that love it for its own sake. The world, with all its boastings, is hardly out of its swaddling clothes, and has little notion of throwing off the prejudices and habits - especially those marshalled by Prince Palate - in which it has been nursed and trained. There is therefore a great work before all reformers, who, instead of finding fault with and blaming each other for not working exactly in their way, should each work as judges best for the public good, and show others 'a more excellent way,' by exhibiting the practical efficiency of his own plans. These are essentially the days of utilitarianism, Fine-spun theories go for nothing with practical men.'By their works ye shall know them.' (again continued at some length)