|International Vegetarian Union (IVU)|
Vegetarian Federal Union 1889-1911
From The Vegetarian (London), May 31, 1890:
The Vegetarian Federal Union
The Fourth sitting of the above Union was held on Tuesday, the 20th inst., by kind permission of the Vegetarian Society, Manchester, in the hall of the Church of England Young Men's Society, Orford-street, Norwich. Considering the long distance for most of the delegates, there was a good attendance. The Societies represented were the Vegetarian Society, Manchester, by the Rev. James Clarke, Messrs. W. Harrison, P. Foxcroft, and J. Knight ; the London Society, by Mrs. Hawkins, Miss Harding, and Messrs. W. H. Sullivan and C. W. Forward ; West Ham Society, by Mr. A. F. Hills ; Oxford Society, by Mrs. Davis ; Portsmouth Society by Mr. J. C. Prior ; Cambridge Society by Rev. Prof. Mayor ; Northern Heights Society by Mr. J. G. C. Bull ; Sheffield Society, by Mr. W. A. Hall ; Southampton Society, by Mr. W. Hallum ; and West London Society, by Mr. R. E. O'Callghan.
A letter from the Brighton Society was read, regretting their inability to send a representative, but expressing their best wishes for a successful conference.
A letter from Mr. W. E. A. Axon was also read, challenging the accuracy of the minutes, in so far as they alleged that the alteration of the constitution, by the payment of delegates' expenses, was adopted at the last sitting, whereas he was clearly of the opinion that the question was but raised, and referred to the next sitting for decision.
In reply hereto, the Secretary produced the original resolution as written and put in by Mr. Oldfield, and, the accuracy of the minutes being spoken to by those present, they were passed.
The financial statement of the Union was read by the Chairman, as follows:
After som short comments, the financial account was passed ; and Mr. O'Callaghan (West London) moved that the sum of £5 be voted from the Union funds to the Exeter Society, on condition that they organised and carried through a week's mission in their city and district.
This was seconded by Mr. Prior (Portsmouth), and carried.
Mr. Knight drew attention to the fact that the minutes read referred to a grant to the Norwich friends, and asked why that had not been made.
The Secretary replied that the Norwich friends had failed hitherto to show that they were a duly constitued Society, upon which the grant of £5 was dependent.
Mr. Knight thought the grant should be made inasmuch as a week's mission was being carried out by the Manchester Society in Norwich. In reply, however, to the Chairman, he was not prepared to say that his executive would accept such a grant, even if passed. In view of this fact no vote was taken.
The Chairman pointed out the large scope of work open to the Union, and said that, if it were in a position, it could help all the weaker centres. They were delendent upon the amounts coming from the affiliated societies, and he invited delegates asembled to convey these facts to their different committees. With reference to the payment of delegates' expenses to the Union meetings, the Chairman referred to the difficulty that would be felt for some time in getting a full representation at the sittings of the Union of the societies were to defray their own expenses, out of their own, in many cases, meagre funds. It was therefore proposed that, where necessary, such expenses should be met from the central fund of the Union.
Mr. Prior expressed the approval of the Portsmouth Society of the principle of the resolution. At the same time, it was necessary to be very cautious, for the fear that the whole of the funds be swallowed up in delegates' expenses, and thus the Union be unable to initiate and assist mission work throughout the kingdom. He thought no expenses should be paid unless absolutely necessary. Cetain societies might be assisted in part by, say, a grant of 30s., or, in the case of the southern societies, so far as London.
Mr. Hallum (Southampton), Mr. W. A. Hall (Sheffield), and Mrs. Davis (Oxford), also supported the resolution.
Mr. J. G. C. Bull (Northern Heights) stated that the feeling of his society was that the delegates' expenses should fall neither upon the Union nor the Societies, but be borne by the delegate.
Mr. Hallum pointed out that this would inflict a wrong upon the equally earnest but less monied member.
The Rev. J. Clark did not know how the resolution was to be worked, without making the Union bamkrupt. Having regard to the position of the societies, and the ways of human nature, he thought there would be many applications, amongst which the Union funds would not go far. Rather than that the funds should be ascribed in that way, it were better to adopt some system of paper represntation : that those who could not afford to come should send their votes, and signify how they desired to have certain matters settled which might be submitted to the meeting.
Mr. Knight (Manchester) signified that his society assented to the principle of the resolution, but suggested that all delegates should be paid, and that each society should contribute to the general funds a fair proportion of the total expenses according to their representation.
It was thereupon proposed by Mr. Hills (West Ham), seconded by Mr. Prior, and carried, "That, upon due request being made, the treasurer of the Vegetarian Federal Union shall be empowered to discharge the journey expenses of one delegate of any society that shall desire to be represented at any meeting of the Union, but that it shall be understood that such advance be made under the pressure of necessity only.
It was proposed by Mr. A. F. Hills, and seconded by Mr. C. W. Forward, "That, inasmuch as the objects of the Vegetarian Federal Union are to create a bond of mutual help and organisation between existing Vegetarian Societies, and to strengthen the development of local societies upon a self-governing and independent basis, the affiliation od smaller societies by larger societies is contrary to the rules and policies of the Union."
The Rev. J. Clark failed to see where, in the constitution of the Union, it was implied or understood that one society should not affiliate another. The Vegetarian Society (Manchester), in its printed rules, was expressly empowered to affiliate other societies ; and it was not stated, or, as far as they understood, implied, when the Union was formed, that their society would have to alter its rules as to affiliation. When the Union was first formed, he understood it was to proceed by advice ; now it would appear to proceed by legislation, if not by castigation.
The Chairman pointed out that the London Society's rules also empowered affiliation, and hence the Manchester Society was in no worse position than the London Society. It was to prevent the friction that inevitably arose by the endeavours of the larger societies to secure affiliates, by offering them certain privileges, that the Union was formed, through which such privileges were secured to all societies alike.
Mr. Prior, whilst agreeing that affiliation of one society by another was not wise, could not see wherein it was forbidden by the present constitution of the Union.
Mr. Hills pointed out that it was a misapprehension to suppose that the resolution implied a censure, or was retrospective ; it should be taken as a new rule, and prospective.
Mr. Forward thought that neither Manchester nor London had any right to raise themselves above any other society. The Union was to be a bond of harmony, and it was obvious that, so soon as a society arose, if some other society sought to affiliate it, jealousy would be created, and thus the bond would be broken. London had thirteen affiliates, Manchester but three ; hence London made by far the greatest sacrifice in putting forward this new rule. He suggested that "shall be" should be substituted for the word "is" in the resolution.
Mr. Knight thought that a censure was certainly conveyed in the resolution as it then stood.
Mr. Bull was instructed to support the resolution.
The Rev. J, Clark proposed, as an amendment, "That, the Vegetarian Federal Union having been established on the basis of offering advice and co-operation, and not of using constraint, this meeting declines to declare the acceptance of affiliated societies by any other society to be contrary to this rule."
Mr. A. F. Hills repeated that the idea of the Union was to join societies together, without putting constraint on individual societies ; and the constitution was framed so that each society was free to adopt its own rules and retain full freedom of action ; but that was quite a different thing from interfering in the action of other societies. He would be sorry to pass a resolution which would involve the withdrawal of the Manchester friends from the Union, of which they were a source of strength. Inasmuch as the next sitting of the Union owuld probably be held in London in connection with the International Vegetarian Conference, he proposed that this resolution should be adjourned to that meeting, when probably there would be a larger number of delegates present. They would have further time within the next three or four months to bring the question before their respective committees once more, and consider it in all its bearings.
It was thereupon resolved to postpone this qestion of affiliation to the next sitting of the Union.
In reply to a question by Mr. Knight, the Chairman stated that the tendency undoubtedly was for all societies to become local.The Manchester Society of course, from its long establishment and larger number of members, would probably for some time resist this tendency, but would ultimately follow the rule.
Mr. Knight said that the Mancheste Society had existed for over forty years, not as a local, or national, but as an international and world-wide society, and he was satisfied would never forsake its proud prvilege in that respect.
The next item on the agenda was that the Union be asked to prepare and issue free literature to its affiliates. It was thought however that as this resolution was closely connected with the foregoing, it would be adviseable to adjourn it also to the next sitting, which was accordingly done, as was also the next item, as to the general catalogue of Vegetarian literature.
"The best methods of conducting Mission work" was next discussed.
The Chairman said that, the objects of the Union being as already mentioned, the helping of the weak by the strong, and not the pushing forward of any one society at the expense of another, whether in London or elsewhere, he was instructed by his society to propose that any future mission work should be conducted under the auspices and name and credit of the Union, and, so far as the London Society was concerned, they were prepared, whenever they carried out a mission, to forego nay distinction, and any mission they henceforth undertook would be carried out in the name and title of the Union.
Mr. Prior thought this question also should come on in connection with the former items, and should thusd be adjourned to the next meeting.
The Rev. Jas. Clark could not see the object of the suggestion. He took it that, if any individual chose to mission anywhere thoughout the world, the Union would or could have nothing to say to him ; and if it might be done by an individual, he could not see why it should not be done by a Society, if it chose to mission outside its own immediate domain or centre. He could not see why the Union should put a stumbling-block in the way, and say, "That is not your department ; that cannot be done execpt by the Union." But, so far as means would allow, and the power of the Union extend, it would be but right to say from time to time where and how it should proceed to mission, and this had been done.
Mr. Hills said that the object of the resolution was not to check mission work, but to amalgamate their forces. The Manchester friends were holding a week's mission in Norwich ; the London Society had had similar missions in Leicester, Southampton, Sheffield and elsehwere. They had also sent lecturers to Glasgow and the North. The desire now, however, was to conserve their strength, by utilising the power of other societies in these missions, and, by putting them under the common name of the Union, to prevent any one society obtaining undue prominence.
It was ultimately resolved to postpone this question also to the next sitting, to come on with the other matters.
As to the International Conference, it was proposed by the Rev. J. Clark, seconded by Mr. W. A. Hall, and carried, that "The Vegetarian International Conference of 1890 be held in the Memorial Hall, London, on the 11th, 12th, and 13th of September next ; that the London Society be requested to make all arrangements for the Congress ; and that they be requested to appoint a Reception Committee of influential friends from all parts of the country."
The enxt meeting of the Union, is thus arranged to be held at the Memorial Hall, on the 10th September next, at 3 p.m.