International Vegetarian Union
This year Manchester had the pleasure of welcoming the
delegates sent by the various societies belonging to the above Union.
When the Congress met in Dresden last year it was decided to meet
at "Headquarters" in 1909, and the meeting being fixed in
conjunction with the 62nd Annual Gathering of the Vegetarian Society
and the Centenary Celebrations of the Bible Christian Church, the
delegates were able to join in both these functions. This afforded
great pleasure to them, and lent an added dignity and interest to
the proceedings above named.
Most of the foreign guests arrived in Manchester on
Friday, 15th October, and a hearty, but quite informal welcome was
extended to them over a cup of tea at the Restaurant in Fountain Street.
Dr. Axon spoke a few words of welcome, and some of the delegates responded
Miss Hompes assured the guests from the knowledge gained
by her long residence in this city, that nowhere could they meet with
greater courtesy and kindness. She knew that when their visit came
to an end they would agree with her that the opinion so often expressed
on the Continent of Europe that Englishmen were not polite, was a
fiction based on imperfect knowledge ; and so well did our English
friends bear themselves that several of the delegates did actually
witness the truth of Miss Hompes' prophecy. They vowed that they had
"quite changed their opinion about English people." Hospitality
was extended by resident vegetarians so that the delegates were escorted
to English homes after our little meal, and had not to go to hotels.
On Saturday morning we set to work in earnest. Delegates and friends
met at 5, Fountain Street at 11 o'clock. Dr Axon occupied the chair
and opened the proceedings with a fitting and well-considered speech,
after which the delegates read or spoke their reports. It was a marked
and surprising feature of the gathering that the foreigners all spoke
such good English that no interpreter was needed.
Mr. Scott spoke for the "Battle Creek Idea," and explained
how from very small beginnings Dr. Kellogg's movement had now grown
to what one might fairly call gigantic dimensions. Vegetarianism is
not their only tenet, but it is a very important one.
[this refers to the sanitorium run by Dr John Harvey Kellogg on
behalf of the the Seventh Day Adventists in Battle Creek, Michigan,
USA, since 1876. There was a comment elsewhere of a delegate from
the US and presumably this was Mr Scott. He was probably representing
the American Vegetarian
Society whose President, Henry S. Clubb was also a Vice-President
of the British Society having migrated to the US in 1853.]
For the Continent of Europe we had representatives from Belgium,
Holland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Russia, and Spain.
Germany was prevented
at the last moment from sending its President, who is on the Committee
of the International Union, but Mr Becker, a German residing in London,
gave some account of the movement in his native country.
Miss Nicholson spoke of her excellent work in London,
especially that connected with the feeding of poor children. Her heroic
effort in this department has gained her public recognition from the
Education Committee of the London County Council. Now that she had
got her foot in, she said she did not meant to take it out, and she
owed it all to vegetarianism. Her energy is amazing and she speaks
well for the diet.
Dr. Ernest Nyssens, of Brussels gave an account of the movement in
Belgium, and told how, from their very first meeting consisting of
three, they had grown to a very respectable society, which stood well
in the eyes of the medical profession. They made much of the scientific
aspect of vegetarianism.
Owing to the unavoidable absence of Dr.
Danjou, of Nice, which was all the more to be regretted because
he was the projector of the International Union, Dr. Nyssens read
a long letter from him.
Mdme. Lombard spoke in a spirited way for Sweden
and Norway, and also read the Danish
report for Dr. Larsen. The Swedish Society numbers over 1000 members,
does much good work by lecturing and travelling, cookery schools,
and propagandist lierature. Mr. Saxon unfurled their banner, which
is of the colour of the sun, spreading light, also handed round their
pretty badges for inspection, and soe of their books. Later in the
day a proposal was made that this badge should be adopted as international,
but there was an amendment that no existing badge should be adopted,
for fear of hurting anyone's feelings.
Dr. Lybeck spoke for Finland and commanded attention by some of his
illuminating remarks on personal affinity and influence.
Mr. W. Mann read the Spanish report, which had been sent by the president
and translated by Dr. Axon. The Spanish Society is young, but has
the vigour of youth ; it is growing, and supports two organs [magazines].
Dr Meyroos spoke for Holland,
where vegetarianism is growing apace and commanding attention in the
public press. Holland has good vegetarian restaurants, a sanitorium,
a children's home, a good organ, De 'Bode, and has borne a
child in the Vegetarian Society of the East Indies.
Mr. W.M.Mann craved the attention of the Conference for Esperanto.
The Esperanto Society worked like the Vegetarian Society for humanitarian
ends ; it is desired to bring the peoples of the earth into closer
union, and therefore the two should shake hands and join in their
efforts. On his suggestion it was decided that at the Conferences
of the International Vegetarian Union, Esperanto should be recognised
as one of the languages in which papers may be submitted.
Mr Broadbent spoke a few words as to the home movement. Next year's
Congress, which it has been decided to hold at Brussels, was discussed,
as also some future methods of work and the name of the Union.
The following resolution was passed and sent by telegraph:- "The
International Vegetarian Congress now in session at Manchester, sends
Mr. A. F. Hills a grateful message of sympathy and appreciation for
his many services to the cause of a humane diet. - William E.A. Axon,
Chairman. - Oct. 15th 1909.
[Mr Hills was the founder/president of both the London
Vegetarian Society and the Vegetarian
Federal Union, as well as being involved in many other vegetarian
projects (and a long standing Vice-President of the Manchester based
Vegetarian Society). Way back in 1890 the VFU had organised a pioneering
International Congress in London but had been unable to sustain the
idea. In a later issue of the Messenger Mr Hills is described as being
' on his back in an invalid chair' though no further details are given.]
The meetings occupied also the whole of the afternoon, and were much
enjoyed, as well as profitable. The Congress then merged into the
social gathering and other proceedings of the Annual Meeting. Greetings
and good wishes were received from Dr.Dressler, Mr George Förster
and Mr. Heinrich Rothe, Dresden, Mr. Karl Mann, and Mr. Emerich Rath,
International Vegetarian Congress
Our continental visitors have sent very appreciative reports of our
October gatherings to their respective organs. The Vegetarische
Warte [Germany] embodies the impressions of Mr. W. Becker, who
gives a detailed report of all our proceedings and some account of
the Bible Christian Church, pointing his readers for further information
on this institution to Dr.Axon's book.
The Vegetarische 'Bode [Netherlands] contains Dr. Meyroos'
glowing account. He evidently had a good time among us, and from what
we remember of him, I should say he carries his own good spirits with
him everywhere. Whether he liked that happy name some one found for
him, or not, "the genial giant" certainly suits him. Dr.
Meyroos is impressed with the English way of work. He holds that we
all feel the ethical side of our movement (I hope he is right) but
we do not neglect the business side of our organisation. The English
business spirit pervades all. He refers to our stores, which are carried
on at a profit, and withal do a grand service to our members, and
we pay our officials in a fair manner, so that they can devote themselves
to our service. Dr. Meyroos highly appreciates our hearty welcome
to the visitors and the home-hospitality held out to them. This gave
a sense of common, brotherly feeling, a hearty, living spirit "which
they have carried home and should turn to profit. This meeting, "
concludes Dr. Meyroos, "may well stand as a model for future
International Congresses." The Dutch version of the paper which
Dr. Meyroos read at Manchester appears in the current issue of the
In La Réforme Alimentaire [Belgium/France] Dr Nyssens
is hardly less enthusiastic than our Dutch friend. He says that we
"extended to all delegates that hearty hospitality for which
Englishmen are noted. Our every desire might have been anticipated
; we were everywhere surrounded by that hearty sympathy which should
blind all who work and battle in a common cause towards a common end.
We owe them heartfelt thanks, which I here tender in my own name and
in that of the societies which I represented. All good things come
to an end, and we left the busy manufacturing city of Manchester with
deep regret as we said good-bye to our friends. We hope to meet them
again in Brussels in 1910, and I hope to give the programme of that
Congress in our next issue." Brussels is about to open a Natura-Vigor,
it is hoped on December 15 - on the model of the Paris establishment.
Dr .Ernest Nyssens announces that the International Vegetarian
Congress will take place at Brussels from 10th to the 12th June next.