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1st World Vegetarian Congress 1908

Dresden, Germany

Some notes leading up to the first IVU Congress:

From The Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester), July 1907:

Diamond Jubilee of the Vegetarian Society. - In October, of this year, the Vegetarian Society will celebrate its 60th Anniversary. The Executive hope to make the occasion in every way worthy of the Society. An International Congress will be held, and we hope to welcome delegates from the Vegetarian Societies on the Continent, and from other countries.

From The Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester), November 1907:

. . . The presence of the foreign representatives proved an attraction to all the meetings. Miss Wysmuller, secretary of the Dutch Vegetarian Society ; Dr. and Mrs. Danjou, from the French Vegetarian Society ; and Mr. Procharoff from Moscow. On Monday, Mr. de Clerq, president of the Dutch Vegetarian Society arrived, and Mr. Fellenburg. of Zurich, from the German Vegetarian Society. . . .

. . .The following resolution was unanimously passed, that "The Vegetarian Society assembled for the celebration of its Diamond Jubilee, sends frateranl greetings to the friends of the reformed diet in France, Germany, Holland, Switzerland, Russia, and other countries, and asks the foreign representatives present to convey these greetings on their return home."

From The Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester), November 1907 (report of a talk given during the Diamond Jubilee meetings of the Vegetarian Society).:

International Vegetarian Federation

In fulfilment of my pledge given at our splendid annual Conference, I have great pleasure in giving a summary of Dr. G. Danjou's speech. But it is not without a pang of pity, for those among us who missed the beauty of Dr. Danjou's clear dainty French. It was such a treat to listen to him when on the platform, and also in private conversation. He is a most delightful personality. To all of you this hearty invitation :- Come in your hundreds to learn French! The object dear to the doctor's heart, and which he previously laid before the Swedish Congress last year, is the formation of an International Vegetarian Federation. He now brings it for consideration before the oldest Vegetarian Society, "the mother of us all," calling upon us to take this matter in hand, to give it not only our sanction and support, but to take as it were the initiative, which by right belongs to us, and see it that the International Federation of Vegetarian Societies shall become more than an idea ; that it shall stand before the world as a powerful institution for the diminution of pain and the increase of happiness, based on respect for the sanctity of life among all sentient beings. For such, argues Dr. Danjou, is the common basis on which all vegetarians meet. Different nations, different conditions of life, and a variety of other causes call for differences in the local applications of this great doctrine of ours. But there is a grand common foundation on which we can all meet, and such international conferences and international communications as would spring out of an International Federation would surely redound to the common benefit of the civilized world. Dr. Danjou believes that there has been much international influence in the past. He draws attention to the fact that when Gleizes' Thaylisia appeared in 1842, it was like-minded people in England who were among its heartiest admirers, and not many years after, in 1847, the Vegetarian Society, whose headquarters are now in Manchester, was formed, and the Doctor feels that Gleizes' efforts were helpful in the formation of this Society, which has now become the great centre for the propagation of the vegetarian ideal. In France, Dr. Ph. Hecquet, drew attention as early as the 17th century, in connection with the abstinence from flesh foods during Lent, to the good influence produced on the human organism by this mode of diet. And it is not difficult to understand that the religious ideal should have introduced the practice of vegetarianism into the "Bible Christian Church." In France, the idea of vegetarianism, though based on the respect for life, has been largely shorn of the religious element, and bases itself mainly on the scientific. Again, we may recognise some international influence. It was in 1880, in the same year in which Dr. Anna Kingsford presented her Thesis on "L'Alimentation végétale chez l'homme" before the Medical Faculty of Paris, and Dr. Hureau founded in the same city the Paris Vegetarian Society, and its journal, La Réform alimentaire. Some time after the title of this small Society was extended to that of the "Société végétarienne de France," and took up once more the publication of the journal which had been interupted. But this time it had but two year's life. It was again revived by Drs. Bonnejoy, Pivion, Plateau, Dujardin-Beaumetz and others, in 1884-1888. And in 1890 Dr. Nyssens, of Brussels (whom we hoped to have with us at our Conference), managed to band together 30 vegetarians, and re-established the Society in France, over which, Dr. Jules Grand has presided since 1899. Those of us who were fortunate enough to visit Paris during the Vegetarian Congress in the Exhibition Hall of 1900, to which Dr. Danjou also alludes, will remember his excellent speech and his modest personality. The French Society has had a struggle for its existence, and should have developed good fibre thereby. And now it is a Frenchman who invites us to lead the way to an International Federation, to weld those friendly and fruitful relations, which already exist, into an organic system. Such a body could claim recognition at the hands of the world of Science, and would stand as a great disseminator of the Truth. Dr. Danjou proposes that the Federation should consist of the Presidents and Secretaries of all the now existing Societies, forming a Committee, who should meet regularly for consultation and mutual help. They would elect a President and a Secretary from among their number. But, unmistakably, the honour of precedence belongs to "your venerable President, Prof. Mayor, by reason of his years and his position, and to Mr. Broadbent, your sympathetic and devoted worker, to be our first President and Secretary." There will be no sinking oif individuality on the part of any Society, no meddling or dictation - only help, support, sympathy - this for ourselves. But to the world at large a message of Love and Peace and Goodwill, a furtherance of the "Entente Cordiale."

for the subsequent 1908 Congress see www.ivu.org/congress/wvc08