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International Vegetarian Congress 1904
St. Louis, USA

From The Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester) January 1905.

An edited version also appeared in The Vegetarian (London), February 1905.

The Vegetarian Congress at St. Louis

The British visitors to the St. Louis Congress consisted of Rev. James Clark, Miss Bertha Clark, Messrs. W.E.A. Axon, William Harrison, Nathaniel Bradley, J.P., and Albert Broadbent. Previous to sailing an intimation was sent to the Cunard Steamship Company intimating that a party of six Vegetarians would travel by the Aurania on September 6th. After the boat left Liverpool Mr. Broadbent interviewed the chef and arranged a week's menus, so that we had quite an excellent variety of cooked food at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Though our party returned on three different boats, viz., "Campania", "Umbria", "Etruria", all were able to speak of the unfailing courtesy on the part of the Cunard Company's officers, the chefs especially being exceedingly ready to meet our wishes with regard to Vegetarian diet. Both going and returning all the delegates except one were able to appear at all meals. We arrived in New York on September 15th, and were met by a few Vegetarian friends, including the Rev. H. S. Clubb, of Philadelphia, Mr. and Mrs. Haviland and Mr. G. Brunswick, of New York. The latter gentleman very kindly entertained us to lunch, and proved a hearty and genial host. In the afternoon we journeyed to Philadelphia, and were generously entertained by the Vegetarian friends who are connected with the Bible Christian Church - the sister Church to the one in Salford. We were shown much kindness by the Philadelphian friends.

On Tuesday, 20th September, we began the tedious journey to St. Louis, arriving there on the Thursday morning. Our party felt honoured because of the fact that one of our number, Mr. W. E. A. Axon, LL.D., was one of two selected from Europe to address the Congress of Arts and Science on "The Library." We had the great pleasure of hearing Mr. Axon give his address on the "Library in Relation to Knowledge and Life," and the added pleasure of seeing that it was well received by those present at the Congress. On Monday evening, the 26th September, the delegates to the Congress were entertained by the St. Louis Vegetarian Society and friends in the rooms of Mr. Henry Reichard, president of the St. Louis Society. Mr. Conrad spoke some words of welcome, and Rev. Jas. Clark, Messrs. Axon, Harrison, Bradley and Broadbent responded ; after this other American Vegetarians also expressed their pleasure at meeting the English friends.

The Congress proper was formally opened on the 27th September, by speeches from the Secretary and President of the St. Louis Society, Mr. Conrad giving the address of welcome. Mr. Axon very fitly replied after which we adjourned until 2 o'clock the next day. Mr. Conrad again presided over the second day's Congress, which was carried on without cessation until 7 o'clock in the evening, and in addition to speeches fromthe English friends, the Rev. H. S. Clubb, Dr. Kellogg, Mrs. Green, Dr. Green, and others took part.

The Rev. H. S. Clubb submitted the following resolutions and sentiments to the Congress, the various speakers moving one or more of them.

First.- That pure food is essential to health, physically, morally and spiritually. That the flesh of even healthy animals contains ptomaine poisons, while many animals are diseased when slaughtered. Such impure food produces many of the organic diseases that afflict and shorten human life." The last, which is particularly striking, runs as follows:- "That the practice of eating the flesh of animals, like indulgence in intoxicating liquors, using tobacco and other poisonous drugs, tends to deaden the sensibilities to the evil it accomplishes. The only way to obtain a clear perception on the subject is to abstain long enough for the mind to become free from its influences.

Second.- That the noble profession of agriculture is degraded by the practice of slaughtering domestic animals, our companions and comrades in tilling the soil. That better grain, fruit and vegetables are produced from vegetable and mineral fertilizers than from animal manures.

Third.- That the experiments in agriculture and horticulture when freed from the delusion in regard to flesh-eating, will lead to the adoption of a cleaner system of farming in which mineral and vegetable fertilizers will supercede the use of animal manures and the insect pests will be reduced by prevention, and spraying with poisons become less necessary, and eventually be discontinued.

Fourth.- That being unecessary, the stockyards and slaughterhouses are a disgrace to our civilization and will eventually be abolished by the force of public enlightenment, reformed dietary habits and humane sentiment.

Fifth.- That it is self-evident that as the prairies are brought under profitable culture in the production of grain, fruit and vegetables, flesh meat must become more and more expensive.

Sixth. - That chemical analysis shows that grain, pulse and nuts contain a larger proportion of nutriment than any animal body, and being free from diseases to which animals are subject, man can best be sustained by the direct productions of the earth.

Seventh.- That the manufacture of health foods from grain, nuts and fruit is an industry that can be carried on in connection with agriculture, finding winter as well as summer employment for labor in the country.

Eighth.- That the establishment of a parcels post, as in England and Germany, is greatly needed in America to enable the manufacturer of health foods to supply them fresh and at moderate cost to his customers.

Ninth. - That good home influence (free from scenes of slaughter and bloodshed) is essential to a humane civilisation.

Tenth.- That children brought up on farms where animals are slaughtered, are subject to degrading influences that produce much of the lamentable immorality of the time.

Eleventh.- That the practice of entrusting children with firearms and training them to shoot at harmless and inoffensive animals and birds should be discontinued, as not only dangerous to the children and their associates, but as inducing habits of cruelty that may seriously affect their dispositions and future lives.

Twelfth.- That the practice of killing for sport is wholly unjustifiable, and is an evidence if selfish depravity of thoughtless cruelty.

Thirteenth.- That this convention hereby tenders its grateful thanks for valuable aid, co-operation and assistance rendered the vegetarian movement to

  1. A. The Press of America and othe countries.
  2. The Battle Creek Sanitarium and its numerous branches and to all other Sanitariums and Hospitals that have adopted the Vegetarian principle in their treatment of patients.
  3. The various Health Culture, Physical Culture and other Vegetarian Restaurants, Boarding Houses and Hotels that have demonstrated vegetarian practice.
  4. The inventors and manufacturers of Health Foods, Nut Butters and Health Beverages.
  5. The refiners of vegetable oils.
  6. The Horticultural and Agricultural Societies.
  7. The Agricultural Department at Washington D.C.
  8. The College of Agriculture.
  9. The Experiment Stations in Agriculture.
  10. The pioneers in Vegetarian Colonization.
  11. The Meat Trust, in increasing the price of their products.
  12. The movement for promoting health food legislation and punishing adulterators of food.
  13. The HUmane Societies in calling attention to the cruelties of the prairies, the transit, and abbatoirs.
  14. General Miles and others, who exposed the canned meat poisoning of the army and navy.
  15. The churches and religious and moral and scientific organizations who, from a study of the Bible and other ancient systems of religion, have been induced to adopt vegetarian principles and are now advocating the same.

Fourteenth.- That the practice of eating the flesh of animals, like indulgence in intoxicating liquors, using tobacco and other poisonous drugs, tends to deaden the sensibilities to the evil it accomplishes. The only way to obtain a clear perception on the subject is to abstain long enough for the mind to become free from its influences.

The third day of the Congress was called "Battle Creek" day, and was carried on from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Battle Creek helpers - doctors, nurses and demonstrators - gave interesting exhibitions of their curative methods. There was a great array of speakers, the whole of the proceedings being characterised by much enthusiasm, and the gathering was most impressive. The day was brought to a fitting close by a Sanatorium banquet served in a most elaborate and tasteful manner; there was a great variety of dishes to demonstrate the possibilities of vegetarian diet.

We are much impressed by all we saw of the Battle Creek methods, and by Dr. Kellogg's band of zealous workers, who are carrying the gospel of pure food to the uttermost parts of the earth. Mr. Harrison, when congratulating Dr. Kellogg upon the magnificent work which he had originated and carried on so successfully, was assured by the doctor that the work was commenced at the Bible Christian Church, Manchester, nearly 100 years ago. We were invited to visit the famous Battle Creek Sanatorium in Michigan, and guaranteed an audience of 1,500 Vegetarians, medicals, nursing staff and patients. At St. Louis Exhibition the most popular restaurants were those where the specialities were grain foods - notably rice and wheat foods. Not only was there more variety and cheaper food, but the places in which these were served were cleaner and sweeter. At the St. Louis Exhibition our party were entertained to luncheon by the Ralston Pure Food Co., the manager showing us much courtesy. This company is practically vegetarian in its aims but prefers to advance on purely business lines. We much enjoyed all the foods with which we were served. We met with equally generous treatment at the Carolina Rice Kitchen. These two places seemed the most popular in the whole exhibition.

On October 3rd we addressed a meeting at Philadelphia, in a branch institution of the Battle Creek Sanatarium. It was well attended. Addresses were given almost every day in Philadelphia, at the Bible Christian Church, schools, and at parlour meetings. Also on the eve of the departure of Mr. Axon and the Secretary, Mr. Montgomery, Secretary of the New York Vegetarian Society, entertained British delegates to lunch. Here as elsewhere, we were called upon for short speeches by our genial and humorous host, and had the unexpected pleasure of meeting Ernest Crosby, author of "Plain Talk in Psalm and Parable," and the additional pleasure of hearing him give an address. We were glad to find that he was an ardent vegetarian. Mr. Ralph Waldo Trine, author of "In Tune with the Infinite," who is President of the New York Society, was absent from the city or would have joined us.

A visit to the Peace Congress at Boston had preceeded the meeting at New York. Here we had a spell of peace from speech-making and indulged in the luxury of listening to others. We felt inspired by what we heard and our faith in vegetarian principles was deepened, for it extends pity even to the meanest. Whilst in Boston Mr. Harrison was interviewed by representatives of the Boston Record and the Boston Journal, and was thus able to say a word as to the practise of vegetarianism promoting peace. This was gratifying as the newspapers have a large circulation. A successful lecture which Mr. Harrison gave at the United Congregational Church, Brooklyn, on October 17, was reported in the Brooklyn Daily Times. We visited the homes and graves of Emerson, Hawthorn, the Alcotts, and Thoreau, at Concord, to some of us the Mecca of America.

On the 8th October our party was broken up by the return of Mr. Axon and the Secretary in the "Campania." A number of friends from Philadelphia and New York were present to give them a hearty send off. The Rev. James Clark and his daughter stayed behind to enjoy the generous hospitality of the vegetarian friends at Frankford. Mr. Harrison returned a week later.

The English visitors have to thank their American friends for the great kindness and courtesy shown to them. The vigour and energy displayed by the Rev. H. S. Clubb, the President of the Vegetarian Society of America, was a pleasure to witness. He bore the tedium of a day's sightseeing and meetings remarkably well. We were glad to see him manifest, in his 78th year, an undiminshed belief in the ultimate triumph of Vegetarianism. But perhaps the most remarkable feature was the zeal which Mr. Harrison manifested. He missed no opportunity of speaking a word in praise of Vegetarian principles, on the cars, the steamers, everywhere, and no one seemed to be offended ; his kindly manner disarming all opposition. Mr. Harrison took addresses of 60 people, and on his return sent a parcel of Vegetarian literature to each.

There are marked differences between the method of propaganda in Great Britain and the United States. The use of health foods is greater among the Americans than with us. The Sanatoria which there appear to be numerous and flourishing are almost unknown in this country. In this the work of Dr. Kellogg and his colleagues is having a powerful influence. "Good Health" has an influential circulation. But we did not find in the United States that the systematic propaganda by meetings and lectures which is carried on in Great Britain. - A. Broadbent.

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