International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
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Letters Proposing a Vegetarian Society
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 is a compound volume of three magazines, the Truth-Tester, the Temperance Advocate and the Healthian Journal. 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'. It is not clear whether the three journals were originally published separately or as one combined issue, or whether the page numbers in the bound volume are the same as those in the original magazines, or in any other versions which may still exist. Some issues have extra, un-numbered, pages which may have been added later.

from the Truth-Tester (1847 Vol. 1 p.112):

Whitchurch, Hampshire, April 1st, 1847

Dear Sir.- I have often thought it desirable, that vegetarians as a body, were better organized - drawn more often into contact with each other - or that extensive and particular statistical information could be regularly obtained respecting the numbers, occupation, and daily dietary and sanatory habits of those who abstain from the flesh and blood eating practices of our fellow-countrymen ; this would at least be interesting - and perhaps useful, since those whose acquaintance with the various methods of preparing the different products of our fields and gardens is but slight, would have the benfit of the knowledge and practice of others. Another thing also has seemed to me desirable besides what I have just advanced - namely the occasional or periodical meeting together of vegetarians - or the formation of societies for mutual instruction and encouragement. I say encouragement, because we all know the Ishmael-like position which of necessity we hold in society as at present constituted - whether we be anti-flesh and blood men from low and selfish motives, or actuated by higher and benevolent principles ; and it may be that, as 'iron sharpeneth iron', so we, by personal communication - by brotherly intimacy - by kind and helpful interchange of thought and feeling - may strengthen each other in the loving strife against the habits of those with whom we live and labor from day to day. Ardently longing for the spread of knowledge and purity, and especially of the knowledge of the glory of God in Jesus Christ,
I remain, yours truly,
A Vegetarian

[We commend the above to the consideration of our friends. - Ed]

from the Truth-Tester (1847 Vol.1 p 121):

To the Editor of the Truth-Tester

Dear Sir, - On page 112 of your last Number is a suggestion that persons who on principle adopt a vegetable, that is to say, a fruit and farinaceous diet, should hold personal communication with each other, as both interesting and useful in the work of human purification.

The conductors of this establishment respond with pleasure to the idea, and are ready to co-operate in carrying it out.

After consulting with some persons, who are also desirous that such unions should take place, they have determined to call a meeting of such friends on Thursday the 8th July next. They propose to appropriate the hours to communing together on the subjects of Physiology generally; of abstinence from the consumption of animal food, and the best means of disseminating a knowledge of its advantages - advantages not limited to the pocket and the physical health, but ascending to the still higher spheres of mental and moral harmony. Nor are the benefits limited by personal considerations, but may possibly solve the question of national famine, which threatens not Ireland alone, but many of the finest countries in Europe. It is proposed that a morning meeting be held at half-past 11 o'clock, that a dinner be on the table at half-past one, that a second meeting be held at 3 o'clock, and supper at 6. Should any friends desire it, they can be accommodated with beds, either on the previous or subsequent night. The charge to be 1s. for each meal, and 1s for each bed. As persons from all parts of the kingdom may, in these cheap postage and railway days, assist in this meeting, it is hoped that every one who feels deeply interested in human improvement will join the party and that those to whom distance or other circumstances may render attendance impossible, will, at least, express their sentiments by letter.

The friends who may design to participate in this rational and benign festival, are requested to inform me by letter, on or before the 1st of July, in order that arrangements may be effected to the comfort and satisfaction of all parties.

I am, dear sir, for self and associates,
Yours truly, Wm. Oldham
[Believing the above to be a most important proposal, highly calculated to promote the objects contemplated, we intend doing ourselves the pleasure of being present on the occasion, and hope to meet a goodly number of persons interested in the physical elevation of the community. Let all attend who can; and let those who cannot write. A few short essays might prove useful, and suggest topics for conversation. - Ed. T. T. (William Horsell)]