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Vegetarian Federal Union 1889-1911

From The Vegetarian (London) July 6 and July 13, 1895:

Vegetarian Federal Union

Agenda for the Semi-Annual Meeting of the Vegetarian Federal Union, to be held in the Board Room of the Memorial Hall, Farringdon Street, E.C., on FRIDAY, JULY 19th, at 5 p.m. Open to the public.

  1. Minutes
  2. Roll call of Delegates
  3. Resolution proposed by the EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE :-
    1. - That to Rule 14 the following words be added at the end, viz.: "And that a month's notice of this meeting shall be sent to the several affiliated Socieites." The rule should therefore read :-
      "These rules shall not be amended nor added to, except at a General Meeting of the Union, consisting of not less than seven Delegates representing seven different Societies, and thereat by a majority vote consisting of not less than two-thirds of the votes present at such meeting. And that a month's notice of this meeting shall be sent to the several affiliated Societies."
    2. - That in the Model Rules it be suggested that Members only do serve on the Executive Committee, and that Associates be not eligible for this.
  4. Resolutions proposed by the BOLTON VEGETARIAN SOCIETY :-
    1. - That the Agenda (when complete and in order) for each of the several conferences and meetings (Annual, Semi-annual, and Special) of the Vegetarian Federal Union shall be sent to the Secretary of each Affiliated Society, Association, or Provincial Council at least ten days before such Conference or Meeting so that he may convene a meeting of his Committee and receive instructions to give to their Delegate attending such Conference or Meeting.
    2. - That all Delegates to Conferences, etc., and other officers of the Vegetarian Federal Union be pronounced Vegetarians and Members of some Affiliated Society, Association, or Provincial Council.
      N.B. - It follows herefrom that Vice-Presidents, Treasurers, and certain Members of Committees of Societies, etc., who are merely Associates (as allowed by the suggested Model Rules) would be ineligible.
    3. - That in future any Member or Associate of any Affiliated Society, Association or Provincial Council shall have the same rights to have placed in his or her own name on the Agenda for any conference or meeting of the Vegetarian Federal Union, or on that for any meeting of the Executive Committee any motions, suggestions, or ideas as affiliated bodies have at present. And that notices of all such forthcoming conferences and meetings, and copies of the Agenda (both in preliminary and complete forms) for such meetings (Committee meetings excepted) shall be printed in the columns of the organs of teh Vegetarian Federal Union, at the same time as when sent to Secretaries of Societies, and such shall be deemed due notice to the Members or Associates in question.
    4. - That in view of the present unsatisfactory position of the Vegetarian Federal Union a Special Committee be appointed to inquire into and report upon its resources and expenditure.
      [AMENDMENT PROPOSED BY THE LONDON VEGETARIAN SOCIETY to 3.]
      That no business be placed on the Agenda for the General or Special Meetings of the Vegetarian Federal Union excepting either
      1. By the executive committee to whom shall be submitted for approval all resolutions or suggestions made by individual Vegetarians.
      2. By an affiliated Society. Business which an affiliated Society wishes to place on the Agenda must be forwarded by the Secretary of his Society to the Hon. Secretary of the Vegetarian Federal Union in the form of a resolution passed by the Committee of the Society and signed by the Chairman of the same and dated with the date at which it was passed.
  5. Resolution proposed by the DUTCH VEGETARIAN SOCIETY :-
    1. - That the possesion of votes and their controlling power by flesh-eaters in the affairs of Vegetarian Societies is against the best interests of the Vegetarian movement, therefore their voting powers be abolished, and the inclusion of Associates on Committees in the set of Model Rules as suggested by the Vegetarian Federal Union be and is hereby repealed.
  6. Discussion re plurality of voting powers.

From The Vegetarian (London) July 27, 1895:

Semi-Annual Meeting
OF THE
VEGETARIAN FEDERAL UNION

The Half-yearly Meeting of the above Union was held omn Friday last, the 19th inst., in the capacious Board Room of the Memorial Hall, Farringdon Street, London, E.C. There was a strong muster of representatives of the different affiliated societies, and the room was well filled by their members and friends. The President (A. F. Hills, Esq.) took the chair at five p.m., and the work of getting through the long and important agenda paper was at once commenced.

On calling the role of delegates it was found that the following were present :- The London V.S., Mrs. A. McDouall, Mrs. Clifford, Mr. Bell, Mr. Welch ; Portsmouth V.S., Mr. W. Turner ; Irish V.U., Mr. Robert Semple ; Dutch V. S., Miss E. Wardlaw Best : Bolton V.S., Mr. H. E. Brierley ; Northern Heights V.S. Mrs. G. F. Phillips, Mr. W. Theobald, Mr. Dorrington Boyle, Mr. J. W. Sidley ; Dearness Valle V.S., Mr. C. W. Forward ; American V.S., Mr. Hanson, Miss Yates ; Devon and Exeter V.S., Major Richardson ; Halifax V.S., Miss C. B. Cole ; West Ham V.S., Mr. J. T. Barlow ; Kilburn V.S., Mr. T. R. Rodger ; Brighton V.S., Mr. Slatter ; Sheffield V.S., Mr. G. W. Mottram ; St. Pancras V.S., Mrs. Wallace ; Dunfermline V.S., Miss Cole; German V.U., Mr. W. Becker ; Punjaub V.S., Miss Veigle.

The Minutes of the Annual Meeting, held on January 17th, were read and confirmed . A very satisfactory statement of the financial position of the Union was submitted and read by the Honorary Treasurer, Mr. W. THEOBALD.

The Agent of the Northern Province, Mr. F. P. DOREMUS, read an account of his work during the past six months and the same proved to be a gratifying record of solid and enduring progress. A similar verbal report was given by the agent of the Southern Province, Mr. R. E. O'CALLAHAN.

The HON. SECRETARY (Mr. Josiah Oldfield), in a terse speech, completed the record of the Union's work, specially adverting to the internal work, the growth of funds, number of committees held, and increase in affiliated societies.

The CHAIRMAN, in summing up these reports, said it was manifest that there was a new growth of energy and power all over the world - "shame, therefore on the false reformer who lingers in his home while Vegetarian triumphs have yet to come." He thought, that afternoon, they must see a promise and an augury very near to hand that they had not been able to see before. He had had a few figures prepared as to the past five years' work, and in every direction, financial and otherwise, gratifying progress was manifest.For example, in 1890 they had but eight societies affiliated ; now they had thirty six societies in existence. In 1890 they had no agents ; now there were two, and four sub-agents. In 1890 they held but two conferences ; this year they had held eleven combined confrences and committees. From that simple statement they would see that the Union had made substantial progress in bringing together for mutual work Vegetarian Societies, not only in England, but throughout the world. Again, the organization of the Union has been greatly developed and strengthened during the past two years. When first established they had to learn by experience the best form of organic machinery, and they had now a system which he thought would serve them for many years to come. They had first the local society, then the local societies in certain centres grouped together, and lastly, they had the Federal Union, the central organisation for all societies, and he was quite satisfied from past experience that this organisation had began to make its mark. That very afternoon they had affiliated a German society of over 800 members, and it must be a significant sign of progress when a Vegetarian Society outside England began to feel that they would derive help and strength from the Union. With this welcome prospect and compact organisation the responsibility would rest with his hearers and be on their shoulders if the work did not go forward with increased vigour. He desired to congratulate them on the present position and progress of Vegetarianism, and to express a hope that they had sufficient faith in their executive and officers to believe that the work entrusted to them was being done well. (Applause.)

On the motion of Mr. BARLOW, seconded by Mr. SIDLEY the foregoing reports and statements were accepted and passed.

The first of the resolutions proposed by the Executive Committee, viz, to amend Rule 14, were then taken on the proposition of Mr. SLATTER (Brighton V.S.), seconded by Miss YATES (America). After some little discussion the rule was resolved to stand as follows :- "These rules shall not be amended or added to except at a general meeting of the Union, consisting of not less than seven delegates, representing seven different societies, and thereat by a majority vote consisting of not less than two thirds of the delegates present at such meeting. And that a month's notice of this meeting with the purpose thereof shall be sent to the several affiliated societies."

The second resolution of the Executive was as follows : "That in the Model Rules it be suggested that Members only do serve on the Executive Committee and that Associates be not eligible for this."

The CHAIRMAN, in submitting the proposition, suggested that as a solution of the difficulty, which in time past had caused much trouble, that Associates and members should have equal rights of voting at annual and semi-annual meetings of their societies, but on the Executive only Vegetarians of members should be allowed or be qualified to sit. He thought it only fair that they should require from each affiliated society that its Executive should consist wholly of true Vegetarians. In legislative work, as at the meeting that afternoon, they had to consider the policy of teh Society, its constitution and rules, and at the annual meeting to elect officers; in these matters every members was equally concerned, whether Associate or true Vegetarian, and he would suggest that they should have equal power of voting but when they came to the Committee, the Executive, they had to do with administrative functions, to carry on business, arrange meetings, regulate or rule the working of the machinery, and in that work Associates should have no part or lot, for there might be danger in such persons sitting upon the Committee.

It was here suggested and agreed that the resolution of the Dutch V.S. should be discussed at the same time. This last resolution was as follows :-

"That the possesion of votes and their controlling power by flesh-eaters in the affairs of Vegetarian Societies is against the best interests of the Vegetarian movement, therefore their voting powers be abolished, and the inclusion of Associates on Committees in the set of Model Rules as suggested by the Vegetarian Federal Union be and is hereby repealed."

The Dutch delegate having moved, and Major RICHARDSON (Devon and Exeter) having seconded,

Miss WARDLAW BEST said that in her opinion an Associate joined a Vegetarian Society as a learner, and as such had no right to interfere with or shape the policy of his or her Society. In her opinion it was not honourable for an Associate to desire or use a vote, and to her knowledge several Associates had so expressed themselves. She had no bitter feelings against Associates or flesh-eaters, but viewed the matter simply as a question of right or wrong. It had been said that Associates liked the power of voting, but she could not beleive that any one who joined a Society axiously desiring of learning anything would be mean enough to want a vote. It was certainly very strange that the Punjaub Vegetarian Society, who desired voting power to their Assocates, should wish that the English Societies should concede this right.

Mr. W. THEOBALD (Northern Heights V.S.) felt strongly like the last speaker upon this question, but at the same time thought it was simply a matter of policy. Nine out of ten Vegetarians joined their Societies as Associates. (No! no!) He personally was quite two years an Associate Member of his Society before he considered himself able to be a full member. Sometimes the local Societies were very small organizations, and could not afford to lose the managing and business help of any one who would show an interest in the question. There were many people who believed theoretically in Vegetarianism, but did not feel able to put the system fully into practice. Perhaps this was not a very logical position, but it was impossible for them all to be logical through life, and it would be a great pity to try to be. Vegetarianism at present had so few followers that they ought to encourage those interested in the question, whether they felt able to follow it fully or not.

Miss VEIGELE (Punjaub V.S.) inclined to the view of the Chairman on the question.

Mr. OLDFIELD (Hon. Secretary) thought that these two propositions might be harmonised by making a slight alteration in the model rules by which means they would be in the position that friends willing to do something for the cause would be able to be present at the public meetings and have a voice, just as all Members shouldhave a voice, in deciding who should be their representatives, who should represent them on Committee. By this means they would be dealing justly ; they wanted to attract Associates, and when they were attracted, certainly something should be done for them. This could be done by giving the Associates a vote at the Annual and Semi-annual meeting, permitting them to say what they would like to say, and able to elect the Vegetarian they wish to represent them on the Executive Committee.

Major RICHARDSON (Devon and Exeter) supported the resolution as it stood on the agenda paper, but whatever was done it was simply a recommendation to the Societies on the question of model rules. They could not lay down the law and say, "You shall not permit your Associates a vote." Was this recommendation to be on the higher or lower plane. The Hon. Secretary had said that if they had Associates they must give them some position. The fact of being admitted or connected with a Vegetarian Society was a position in itself. The matter was simply one of degree. At present Associates were refused a seat on the Committee, hence there was equal right, if desired, to limit still further their position. To limit their voting would not prevent their speaking. Members and Associates might have equal rights to speak, discuss, and debate, but Members only should have voting power. He thought when Associates had a right to speak they had a great right, and had nothing to complain of. If Vegetarians were to do good work let them be as thorough as possible, and as representaives of the Vegetarian world they should speak with no uncertain tone. They were not desirous of shutting out Associates altogether, but while allowing them full freedom of speech it was undesireable that Associates be allowed to vote.

Mr. J. T. BARLOW thought legislative more important than executive work, inasmuch as the former made the laws and government and dominated the work of a Society, and thus dictated to a large extent to the Executive the course they should adopt. To his mind only Vegetarians should legislate for a Vegetarian Society, otherwise they might easily get a majority of Associates who would dominate the whole affair according to their sweet will, and the Executive would only have the duty of carrying out the behests of the majority of an annual meeting composed largely of Associates.

Mr. HANSON (America) spoke briefly in favour of the resolution, as also Mr. BROADBENT (Manchester V.S.), Mrs. WALLACE (St.Pancras V.S.), Mr C. W. FORWARD (Dereness Valley V.S.), and others ; whereas Mr. Otto THOMAS (St. Pancras V.S.), Mr. BOYLE (Northern Heights V.S.), Miss YATES (America), Mr. SIDLEY (Northern Heights), Mr. MORLEY (St.Pancras V.S.), spoke strongly against the expendiency of adipting the resolution. Messrs. BRIERLEY (Bolton V.S.) and SEMPLE (Belfast V.S.) also suggested verbal alterations or additons to expedite a settlement.

In the result, after a long and animated discussion, and the suggesting of diver amendments and cross-amendments, the resolution of the Dutch Society was carried by seventeen votes for to eleven against.

This resolution entailing a change of rule, it was necessary that it should be passed by a two-thirds majority before it could be effectual. Since the voting did not give this majority, the resolution was lost. The resolution of the Executive was then put to the meeting, and amended to the following :- "That in the Model Rules it be suggested that Members only do serve on the Executive Committee of local Societies." and this was carried by twenty-one for and five against ; a further amendment thereto that Associates "be not allowed to vote in any capacity," being lost by thirteen votes against eleven.

Item six on the agenda - viz. the question of plurality of voting - was next submitted by the CHAIRMAN who suggested that in view of the difficulty that had arisen in the present and past meetings it would be better to pass a resolution to the effect that no representaive should be entitled to more than one vote. If any Society entitled to more than one vote felt keen on any subject, it must then send a representative for each vote it desired and was entitled to.

Mr. BROADBENT (Manchester) moved, and Mr. WELCH (London V.S.) seconded the resolution.

Mr. BRIERLEY (Bolton) thought that the acceptance of such a resolution would throw the whole government of the Union into the hands of the London members, which would be intolerable.Societies in say Lancashire or Yorkshirein the North, and Cornwall in the South, would find it impossible to send their five or six representatives, indeed they found it as much as they could do to send one. In London the delegates were comparatively close at hand, and it would be very easy to get them into that building, and thus the working of the Union would be entirely in their hands, although they in the country contributed to its work and funds.

The CHAIRMAN explained that any country Society could appoint a London friend to represent them.Mr. W. THEOBOLD (Northern Heights) thought the question was merely one of procedure. If the Hon. Secretary before any meeting prepared a list of the voting powers of each Society, it was easy enough to cast them up. He thought the Bolton representative had reason on his side. It was not always convenient for Societies so far away to appoint London representatives, and would rather leave themselves in the hands of their bona fide representative who was in personal touch with them and therefore fully cogniznat of their wishes.

On putting the resolution to the meeting, it was resolved that each delegate should represent but one Society.

SOn the proposition that no representative should cast more than one vote, Mr. DOREMUS, from his knowledge of many Societies in the country, felt sure that this proposition would do an injustice to many provincial workers who, fully entitled to several votes, from lack of funds would be debarred from sending the necessary number of representatives to secure their rights.

Mr. FORWARD also thought that unless very careful they would disfranchise many country districts, unless they had money to come to town. If such Societies appointed London men they would simply get London opinion. They had abundant evidence to prove that London representatives were ofttimes out of touch with the Societies they were supposed to represent. If they were to have local opinion it were far better to encourage local men to come. On the resolution being put to the meeting, it was lost. The rule hereto, therefore, stands as before.

Mr. BRIERLEY (Bolton) moved the next resolution as follows: "That in view of the present unsatisfactory position of the Vegetarian Federal Union a Special Committee be appointed to inquire into and report upon its resources and expenditure." intimating that his Sopiety were unanimous that it should be passed, because in the first place they had recently had a request for financial assistance to be sent to the Central Office for a bazaar, showing of course that the Executive Committee desired to raise funds. It was also know that much valuable information could be obtained from people for furthering the work, if only they could be got to attend as witnesses before a committee. It would also save much of the trouble that had occured that afternoon, and simplify matters a great deal by making the model rules of the Union and all other matters much less complicated than at present.

Mr. FORWARD seconded the proposition, and pointed out that originally it was intended to be brought before the Executive Committee which accounted for its form. The Chairman had stated that afternoon that the Union had grown rapidly, and the discussion just had showed that the rules under which they worked did not quite tally. There were certain impressions or misapprehensions in the country as to the working of the Union, which ought to be speedily removed.Again, the Bolton Society had the opinion that the Union had now grown to such a size that a permanent official as secretary should be appointed. They knew that the present Hon. Secretary had several important poststo occupy, and the speaker thought it unfair to give so many posts to one man, and expect him to adequately fill them.He thought they ought to create posts, and to put separate men into them, so that they should have a definite stake in the movement. The post of Secretary was the most responsible in the Union, and the was abundant work and scope for employing the undivided attention of one man. This was one of the most important reasons for the having of a peramnent official. If they had but £50 a year income he thought their first work was to securesome gentleman who would be able to devote himself to the work of the Union. It was very desireable for the purpose of statistics to tabulate the information which could be furnished by the affiliated Societies, but such information was unattainable now by reason of the manifold duties upon their Hon.Secretary. With all these questions it was felt that a general meetin was not the place, and the General Committeewith its ordinary work could not undertake it, but if a Special Committee were appointed after taking full evidence, it would devise some way out of the present diffculty. Several Societies with which he was acquainted were of opinion that an inquiry into ways and means such as had been suggested could possibly do no harm, but might do much good.

The CHAIRMAN looked at this question very gravely, and hoped they would also look at it seriously, for it seemed to him a very determined attempt was being made to wreck the Union. The putting of the resolution on the agenda was mischevious, as it would necessarily give rise to the surmise that something must be wrong. As a matter of fact he knew of no reasons at all for any such inquiry as suggested. He had given ample evidence that the Union was making rapid progress, and it was wise to leave well alone. On the question of finance, the Committee had taken every means for increasing their income that could be taken, and had recently passed resolutions requiring their agentsand sub-agents to obtain a moiety of their salary as a condition of retaining their post, and there was no reason to suppose that the Hon. Secretary's other dutires would militate against his being able to continue his valuable services in the same capacity for some time to come. When the resolution first came before him in its present shape, he said it should disappear, because he thought it would give grave injury to the Union, and he felt so still.

Mr. THEOBALD, as treasurer of the Union, felt the resolution was an attack upon him. They had a Finance, Committee, and that Committee was the proper one to enquire into the finances of the Union. The resolution, however, apparently was aimed not at finance at all but the general management of the Union which, in his opinion, it was very unwise to discuss in such a public manner. He accepted Mr. Forward's explanation that it was intended for the Executive Committee, and under those circumstances he suggested that it be referred back to that Committee for consideration.

Major RICHARDSON (Devon and Exeter) said tha he had had a pressing letter from the Society he represented to support the resolution as it stood, and he was therefore in duty bound to speak. Their aims apparently, were solely to place the finances on other, and, as they thought, securer basis.

Mr. FORWARD having spoken again, Mr. BOYLE proposed, and Miss VIEGELE seconded, the proposition that having heard the various statements in this matter, the meeting pass on to the next business.

On being put to the meeting it was carried nem. con.

MR. BRIERLEY having accepted several slight amendments to his next resolution, the same was duly carried in the following form :-

"That the Agenda (when complete and in order) for each of the several conferences and meetings (Annual, Semi-annual, and Special) of the Vegetarian Federal Union shall be sent to the Secretary of each affiliated Society, Association, or Provincial Council at least fourteen days before such Conference or Meeting so that he may convene a meeting of his Committee and receive instructions to give to their Delegate attending such Conference or Meeting."

The next resolution was by Mr. BRIERLEY, and after a short discussion was passed as follows :-

"That all delegates to conferences, etc., and other officers of the Vegetarian Federal Union be Vegetarian."

The last resolution on the Agenda was also from the Bolton Society, and was moved by Mr. BRIERLEY, and seconded by Mr. FORWARD. After a brief debate, the following amendment of the London Society was proposed by Miss YATES, and seconded by Mr. WELCH, and on being put to the vote was carried :-

"That no business be placed on the Agenda for the general or Special Meetings of the Vegetarian Federal Union excepting either

"By the Executive Committee, to whom shall be submitted ofr approval all resolutions or suggestions made by individual Vegetarians.

By an affiliated Society. Business which an affilated society wishes to place on the Agenda must be forwarded by the Secretary of his Society to teh Honrary Secretary of teh Vegetarian Federal Union in the form of a resolution passed by the Committee of the Society and signed by the Chairman of the same and dated with the date at which it was passed."

On the motion of Mr. HANSON, seconded by Mrs. WALLACE, a vote of thanks to the Chairman for presiding, and to the Hon. Treasurer and Hon. Secretary for the way in which they had discharged their several duties, was accorded, and being duly acknowledged, brought a long and interesting meeting to a close.

[the report conclusded with a description of the subsequent garden party a Monkhams, the home of Mr. Hills]