2nd International Vegetarian
An extract from the VFU Secretary's annual report, given in May 1891:
. . . Probably the most important work of the Union was the conduct
of the International Vegetarian Congress in September last, full details
of which were duly published.
Suffice to say here that the Congress was admitted by all, save the
mst unfriendly of critics, to have been a great success. Both in the
accredited representatives, as also in the papers read, the meetings
were truly international. The sitting extended over three days, and
besides the English delegates, there were those from America, France,
Germany and Italy, and elsewhere. The proceedings of the Congress
were reported from day to day by the leading newspapers, and from
them were extensively copied by the provincial press. The Daily
Graphic sought to catch and portray the expression of our leading
men ; unfortunately, however, with but scant success. Many articles
and leaderettes were written on the Congress, ranging from partial
commendation and feeble satire to stern reproof. By these means a
considerable amount of attention was focussed upon our cause, which
could not fail to be of the utmost importance.
The petition for the regulation of the cattle has been printed, and
with proper paper widely circulated, a large number of signatures
being already affixed. . . .
An interesting visitor to the Congress was a 20 year old Indian law
student by the name of M.K.Gandhi (later the Mahatma). He contributed
regular articles to The Vegetarian in 1891, and the June 20 issue
contained an interview with him, which included the following: "It
was at the International Congress that I may be said to have known the
L.V.S. [London Vegetarian Society, of which he later became a committee
member]. That the Congress was sitting I knew by the kind courtesy of
Josiah Oldfield, who heard of me from a friend and was good enough to
ask me to attend it."
We are fairly certain that a young, unknown, Irish writer, George Bernard
Shaw, was also present at the Congress. The day trip to the Thames Iron
Works probably had some influence on the story of Major Barbara
15 years later.
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