Reports from England:
From The Dietetic Reformer and Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester,
England), June 1886, p188:
Australia. - The Herald (Melbourne, 30 Swanston Street) of Wednesday,
February 24th, had the following paragraph: "A general meeting
of the Vegetarian Society of Australia was held at the Thistle Company's
Hall on Tuesday evening. There was a good attendance, and a number of
names were enrolled. The constitution of the society was read, discussed,
altered, improved, and finally adopted. The following office-bearers
were elected: Rev. J. Higgins, president; Miss Fanny E. Samuel and Mr.
Robert Jones, vice-presidents; Mr. Thomas Lang; treasurer and secretary;
Messrs. John Forbes, James Haydon, F. Hynes, George Jackson, and William
Mainwaring, members of committee. A short discussion on various matters
of interest took place after business was over, and it was arranged
that a friendly meeting should be held at an early date for still further
discussing these matters and imparting information.
From The Dietetic Reformer and Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester,
England), August 1886, p221:
[Editorial] The Vegetarian Society of Australia, founded in Melbourne
on the 4th February, 1886, held a meeting on the 16th of June, of which
particulars have not yet reached us. The Rev. J. Higgins, its president,
was expected to deliver an inaugural address at this, the first public
meeting of the society; specimen dishes of Vegetarian cookery were to
be submitted, and new members to be enrolled. Particulars of the constitution
and manifesto of the society, which in the main resemble our own, will
be given in our next number. Since the foundation of our own Society,
in 1847, no such important event has taken place in the history of the
Vegetarian movement as the inauguration of this new Vegetarian Society
in the Australasian world. No longer a colony, but a nation - we might
almost say a federation of nations - completely independent from the
nature of its geographical position and its inexhaustible resources,
yet friendly and loyal to the mother-country, which it bids fair to
equal in civilisation and to exceed in wealth - the position of Australia
is unique, and the possibilities of its future are boundless. That Vegetarianism
is among those possibilities is a fact worth reflecting on: for although
at present the social life of the country is passing out of the stage
of its infancy, and Australia, governed by uts own institutions, and
endowed with its own universities, has already all the elements of the
highest civilisation, yet side by side with the elegancies of wealth
and learning there still exists the ruder life of the hunter and the
farmer, and we in England are too are too apt to fancy that this is
the only life possible in the colonial regions. That in the very stronghold,
as we regard it, of the beef and mutton trade, the foundation of a Vegetarian
society is possible, is a thing to be greatly rejoiced at, for it shows
that our principles are not the accident of any expecial economic or
social conditions, but are founded on a world-wide basis. We must not,
however, fall into the error of expecting that all Australia will immediately
embrace our principles; our Australian allies will meet with as much
opposition and ridicule as was the case with the English Vegetarian
Society at its foundation. The fun however, though it may be quite as
stinging, will probably not be quite as clumsy as on British soil, for
in Australia, as in America, the co-existence side by side of the life
of books and the life of struggle for existence generates a variety
of humour much more genuine and caustic, in short much more funny, than
any fun that is to be found in the less contrasted conditions of our
English life. We wonder what the Melbourne Punch will say to
the new Vegetarian Society!
From the Dietetic Reformer and Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester,
England), September 1886, p281:
Melbourne, Australia. - The Vegetarian Society of Australia held a
meeting, to which the public was invited, in Melbourne, on June 16th.
The attendance was about 50. The President, Rev. J. Higgins, read his
inaugural address, which was listened to with great attention, and gave
universal satisfaction. Thereafter sample dishes of Vegetarian food,
well cooked, were partaken of by those present, and were highly approved
of. This was followed by a most interesting and agreeable conversation
on the subject of food: one gentleman expressed himself so satisfied
with the arguments of the president, that he would give Vegetarianism
a fair trial. A general wish was expressed that the president's address
should be printed and circulated. [We owe the above report to the kindness
of the honorary secretary of the Australian Vegetarian Society, Mr.
Thomas Lang.] The manifesto of the society is deferred till our next
From the Dietetic Reformer and Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester,
England), October 1886, p296-300:
THE AUSTRALIAN VEGETARIAN SOCIETY
The following is the Manifesto of the Australian Vegetarian Society,
the inauguration of which we recently welcomed :-
- This Society having been established in the Australian colonies, the
members think that one of their first duties is to give information
as to the objects of the Society, and advance reasons for its existence.
- The object of the Society is to induce habits of abstinence from
the flesh of animals (fish, flesh, and fowl) as food.
- The members claim to be acting from unselfish and philanthropic motives.
They have experienced the advantages of a simple and nutritious diet,
and they are desirous to communicate their knowledge, and the results
of their experience, to their fellow-men.
- During the past century the progress of science had been great and
beyond any former period of the world's history, and the researches
of scientific men have been extended industriously into every branch
- The science of chemistry, in particular, has been cultivated with
most assiduous care. Exact analyses have been made of the bodily organs
which constitute a human being, and most exact analyses have been made
of the various foods which he is in the custom of using.
- The science of physiology has also been prosecuted with much success,
and the great majority of the processes which are continuously being
carried on in the human system have been pretty well explained.
- It has been found that food serves two leading and important purposes
in the human economy: First it supplies material for keeping up the
muscular, bony, cartilaginous, nervous, and other portions of the framework
of man's body; and, next, it furnishes a supply of fuel to be consumed
in the lungs, which keep up the heat of the body.
- Chemical analysis proves that VEGETABLE SUBSTANCES
contain all the elements necessary for keeping the human body in perfect
health and strength, and for furnishing the supply of heat to the system.
- Not only so, but it is proved that in the same weight of food there
is much more of the nutritive and heat-forming elements in vegetable
than there is in animal food.
- There are extensive tables no furnished of the various kinds of food,
but we can insert here only a few of the leading articles in juxtaposition
- At a glance it is obvious that a very large percentage of animal
food consists of water; and, in proportion to the water, these vegetable
substances contain much more nitrogenous or muscle forming matter than
the animal substances do; and the carbo-hydrates, which keep up the
animal heat, abound in the vegetable kingdom.
- Taking these facts into consideration, it will be seen, when we come
to calculate the cost of animal food as compared with vegetable, how
much more expensive the former is than the latter. Even in Australia,
where flesh-meat is much more abundant and cheaper than in Great Britain,
the difference is remarkable, and how much more remarkable is it in
countries where flesh-meat is double the price, and vegetable substances
one-half the price, of what they are in Australia; for instance -
100lbs of steak, at 8d., cost £3 6s. 8d., and contain 28lbs. useful
substances, being 2s. 4 1/2d. per lb.
100lbs haricots, at 4d., cost £1 13s. 4d., and contain 91lbs useful
substances, being 4 1/2d. per lb.
- Plums, apples, and other delicious fruits are incomparably more wholesome
than animal food.
- It is natural for the human race universally, from their earliest
infancy, to pluck and eat fruit with relish; but it is not natural for
them to slay anmals and eat their flesh.
- The teeth do not indicate that man is by nature an eater of animal
food: his teeth, his stomach, his intestines indicate that it is natural
for him to feed on fruits, grains, and roots.
- Vegetarians assert that the consumption of animal food promotes disease
and unhappiness amongst mankind; whilst Vegetarian diet conduces to
health, happiness, and longevity.
- Vegetarians are not liable to the attacks of diseases; and when they
do become ill; their recovery is much more probable and more rapid.
- Vegetarians do not claim to be exempt from sickness; because sickness
often depends on the violation of other laws than those which concern
their food - such, for instance, as the breathing of impure air, or
the subjection of the system to extreme heat or cold. And they also
are aware that mistakes may even be made in using vegetable food; but
their belief is that sickness should not in any case arise from the
judicious use of the foods which they advocate.
- Animal food does directly engender many painful, loathsome,
and fatal disorders - such as hydatids, trichinosis, tapeworms, carbuncles,
- Many diseases such as consumption, cancer, gout, epilepsy, have frequently
their origin in the use of animal food; while these same diseases are
cured by the adoption of a Vegetarian diet.
- Dipsomania, or drunkenness - that is the craving for strong drink
- is stimulated by the use of animal food, and is entirely removed by
the adoption of the Vegetarian diet. This has been satisfactorily proved
by Dr. Jackson in his establishment for the treatment of inebriates
at Dansville, New York.
- The use of food recommended by Vegetarians is specially conducive
to physical beauty, to clearness of complexion, to clean and healthy
skin, and to cheerful and agreeable expression of countenance: and much
simple food tends to the restoration of the physical beauty which has
deteriorated in consequence of the indulgence in animal food throughout
- The indulgence in animal food tends to brutalise the human race; whilst
a Vegetarian diet tends to the development of the moral and intellectual
faculties of man.
- The effect of anmial food on the dispositions of living beings is
seen conspicuouslyin the carnivora; whilst the effect of vegetable food
is seen conspicuously in the elephant, the horse, the ox, the sheep,
and such animals.
- It is obvious that man has dominion over all animals. This does not
imply that he is entitled to exercise cruelty towards them, deprive
them of their lives, and devour their flesh.
- Animal food makes men ferocious and quarrelsome, and tends to keep
up the love of war.
- The advancement of the human race in moral and intellectual development
depends on their wisdom in adopting a Vegetarian diet. The human race
will not attain its highest development on a diet of which animal food
forms an important part.
- In a new country like Australia, where land is abundant and not fully
occupied, the question of economising land is not yet of pressing importance,
but in densely populated countries like Great Britain the question of
cultivating the land for the production of vegetable food, is of paramount
importance, and will soon demand universal attention.
- A given acreage of wheat will feed at least ten times as many men
as the same acreage employed in growing mutton.
- In order to have a sufficient quantity of animal food to meet the
demand, the inspector of the London Metropolitan Meat Market states
that he has had to pass many animals that were diseased; and he declares
that were he strictly to condemn all that are unsound there would not
be sufficient animal food for the people. Similar statements have been
made by the inspector of markets in Melbourne.
- The cruelties to which animals are often subjected in bringing them
to market and to the slaughter-yards is unjustifiable; and if these
cruelties could be realised by the thoughtful members of the community,
they would rise up, and with one voice demand that a stop should be
put to such unnecessary proceedings.
- The use of animal food leads to the unnecessary and wanton cruelties
of hunting and killing animals in certain field sports, the cruelties
and the sport being all on the one side - that is on the side supposed
to be gifted with godlike reason and humanity.
- The use of animal food keeps up amongst us a class of men who have,
of necessity, to follow a cruel trade; and it is a wrong thing to have
such a class, just as it is a wrong thing to have a class of slaves,
and could only be justified by there being an absolute necessity for
using slaughtered meat as food. Vegetarians sympathise very much with
those whom circumstances compel to follow the calling of slaughtermen,
and their anxious desire is to educate society so that this class shall
be emancipated fromt their present onjectionable occupation.
- The feeding of the poor is one of the most important matters connected
with Vegetarianism, particularly in densely-peopled countries. Vegetarians
assert that their diet is much cheapert than animal food diet, and at
the same time more nutritious, more enjoyable, and more conducive to
health and contentment.
- The economy of the working-man's household is vitally affected by
his selection of a complete Vegetarian diet, or a diet containing animal
food. An erroneous opinion prevails that animal food is the superior
food, whereas the opposite is the case; and whenever working-men become
satisfied of the truth of our views, and adopt our simple, agreeable,
and rational diet, they will advance in prosperity, enjoy substantial
comforts, and increase in physical strength.
- The term "Vegetarian" is not a satisfactory term to denote
the principles or habits of those who abstain from fish, flesh, or fowl
as food. There are a few - a very few - who do confine themselves rigidly
to vegetable food, produced directly from the soil; but the great majority
of so-called Vegetarians indulge in the use of eggs, milk, butter and
cheese. It is not necessary to deprive animals of their lives in order
to obtain these articles of food. On the contrary, many animals are,
in consequence of the use of these substances, called into existence,
and live happy lives in the society of mankind. Vegetarians object to
the custom that prevails in appropriating all the benefits from these
inoffensive animals, and then at last depriving them of their lives
and eating up their flesh. It seems to be Vegetarians who have had occasion
to reflect on these matters a very shocking, unjustifiable, and arbitrary
proceeding on the part of the human race, and in good time coming future
generations will look back with astonishment and horror at the customs
of their ancestors.
- Many people who are not convinced of the propriety of abstaining from
flesh entirely are yet thoroughly convinced that the use of such food
three times a day, and in large quantities, is very injurious to those
who indulge in such excesses. It is desireable that there should be
united effort to induce flesh-eaters to be moderate in their use of
flesh; and the Vegetarian Society of Australia will welcome to its meetings
"subscribers" who advocate moderation in flesh-eating, and
will be glad of their co-operation.
- There are many who think favourably of the object of the Society,
but who cannot, or at all events think they cannot, adopt the correct
habits at all times. Those are admitted as "associates", the
other members fondly hoping that in course of time their difficulties,
real or imaginary, will be overcome, and that they will ultimately adopt
in its entirety the natural system of maintaining life in comfort and
From the Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), June 1887,
Melbourne. - The annual meeting of the Vegetarian Society of Australia
was held in the Thistle Company's Hall, Melbourne, Australia, on the
evening of 1st March, 1887; Re. J. Higgins, the president, in the chair.
The meeting was well attended, both by members and visitors, and was
an unqualified success. The following is the report of the Committee
of Management: "Twelve months have elapsed since the foundation
of the Vegetarian Society of Australia. The Commitee of Management have
not been able to do as much work and make as much progress as they desired
to do, but they have no reason to be dissatisfied with the position
of the society. Forty-seven names have been enrolled in the books, and
a number of friends are on the point of giving their names. It has been
an agreeable surprise to find that there exist so many in the community
who practise Vegetarian habits or are favourably disposed to the cause.
At the same time the committee feel a little dissapointed that many
who have experienced the advantages of a healthful mode of living delay
or hesitate to give in their names.
The committee would remark to these that the efforts of the society
to disseminate valuable the knowledge knowledge in matters of diet which
Vegetarians have acquired are, of course, limited by the means placed
at their disposal, and it seems to be a duty which men owe to each other
that they should subscribe a small sum for the purpose of imparting
the good news to others. Two thousand copies of the constitution and
manifesto were printed, and a great many have been disseminated. There
are still some on hand, however, and members and friends are requested
to give to the secretay the addresses of persons to whom it is advisable
to send our manifesto. As regards this manifesto, the committee indulge
in a littel pardonable pride in finding that the Vegetarian journal
published in Great Britain copied it into their October number in full,
and moreover the leaders of the movement at home have expressed their
opinion that the foundation of the Vegetarian Society of Australia has
been the most important move made in the cause since the foundation
of the Vegetarian Society in Great Britain in 1847. Such compliments
must have the effect of inducing us all to continue our exertions with
renewed energy, and cause us to remember that the eyes of our fellow-workers
all over the world are upon us, in expectation of our doing something
worthy of the great Australian community, which has attracted so much
attention in Europe during the past twelve months.
The committee report that they purchased a supply of literature for
distribution from the Vegetarian Society of Great Britain, and that
the greater number of these documents have been issued. The committee
have made application to the Commisioners for the Centenary Exhibition,
which is to be held in the colony of Victoria in 1888, for accommodation
to enable them to make arrangements for opening a Vegetarian dining-room
during the exhibition. The Vegetarian dining-room that was kept open
during the International Healtheries Exhibition in London during 1884
was one of the most popular and attractive features in that great exhibition,
and did more to popularise Vegetarianism than any other means that had
ever been tried; it led to the establishment of a number of Vegetarian
dining-rooms. There are now at least seventeen such dining-rooms in
The following office-bearers were elected: Rev. J. Higgins, president;
Miss Fanny E. Samuel, Messrs. Robert Jones and William Mainwaring, vice-presidents;
Mrs. Harvie, Messrs. Forbes, Jackson, Hall, and Hynes, members of the
Committee of Management; Mr. Thomas Lang, secretary, to be assisted
by Mr. Robert Jones, who volunteered his services. A vote of thanks
was passed to the office-bearers of last year. Thereafter the Rev. J.
Higgins gave an address on "The General Aspects of Vegetarianism,
and the duty of those who were favourable to the cause to join the Society."
Mr. Robert Jones gave an address on "The Humanitarian Aspect of
the Movement," and Mr. Thomas Lang read the following paper on
"Vegetarianism as a Cure for Drunkeness" :- [paper reproduced
in full] .
From the Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England),
August 1887, p282:
Melbourne, Australia - On the evening of the Queen's birthday, the
Australian Vegetarian Society had a banquet at the Thistle Company's
Hall, Littel Collins Street, to which the public were admitted at the
rate of 2s. a head. This banquet afforded a text for more than a column
of banter in the Argus of May 25, which has at least had the
excellent effect of making the Australian Vegetarian Society known to
a large public.
From the Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), January
Melbourne, Australia.- Vegetarianism has lately attracted some attention
in Melbourne. In April 27th  the members of the Vegetarian
Society of Australia met to discuss the bread question, Many of the
outside public attended, and a most interesting meeting was held. Speicmens
of various sorts of bread were produced and cut up. On the Queen's birthday
a grand Vegetarian dinner was given in the Thistle Company's Hall, in
honour of the day. This was attended by twice as many as we expected,
including several prominent citizens. Mrs. Harvie was interested in
the arrangement and furnishing of the tables, and everything was done
satisfactorily. Only one little event ruffled the tempers of the carnivorous
members of the party. Vegetarian duck was in the menu as one
of the dishes, and much curiosity was aroused as to what Vegetarian
duck would consist of. Unfortunately the dish was placed before an Englishman
possesed of a large benevolence, and he began at once to freely help
those who applied, and in a very little time the dish was empty. It
was intended that this high-flavoured dish should be supplied in small
quantities along with some other articles of food. The growls from the
disappointed were loud and deep, but they soon recovered their peace
of mind, and made the most of the other good things that were left.
Our leading paper, the Argus, occupied more than a column in
reporting this dinner, showing that the subject is considered worthy
of some consideration.
Another meeting, open to the public also, was held on June 24th, when
an analysis was given by Mr. A. J. Hall of a well-written American book,
"The Diet Question : Giving the Reason Why," by Mrs. Susanna
Doods, M.D. [further details were given of this talk, and of a talk
given by a member to a newly formed church.]
p.23: Melbourne.- A Vegetarian Meeting. - Those who have given themselves
up to Vegetarianism held a meeting last night [Sep. 30, 1887]
in the Thistle Hall. There were between fifty and sixty ladies and gentlemen
- probably more of the latter than the former - and the chair was occupied
by the Rev. Mr. Higgins. Like many others who have become converted
to Vegetarianism, the Chairman, so he told us, first became acquainted
with the system through the phonographic works of Isaac Pitman [further
details of his talk followed]. The exposition of the advantages
of the system was next taken up by Mr. Lang, a veteran Vegetarian of
some seventy years of age [further details of his talk followed].
Now there was a little variety in the proceedings. One of the lady
members of the Society, Mrs. Jones, had compounded a new Vegetarian
dish, which she had called "orange snow," and, in order to
introduce it she had a supply made for the meeting. The dish, which
is composed of oranges, sugar and eggs was distributed, and appeared
to please the palates of all who partook of it. Following this Mr. R.
Jones gave a short treatise on the meat v. vegetable diet, with the
voew of proving the latter was infinitely the more advantageous of the
two systems. Subsequently the meeting assumed a kind of "testimony"
shape. One member assured us he had trained himself to two meals a day;
another stated that since he became a Vegetarian - none months ago -
he "had known what it was to have a liver;" and a third testified
that while he used to enjoy his glass and his pipe before he adopted
the system, he had no desire for wither now. And thus a not unprofitable
couple of hours were spent among the Vegetarians. - Melbourne Herald,
October 1st 
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