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Vegetarian Federal Union 1889-1911

From The Vegetarian (London) October 17, 1891:

Federal Union Meeting

On Thirsday, the 8th inst., the Vegetarian Federal Union held its half-yearly meeting at Cambridge.

A full agenda gave hopes for a full meeting, but so little had the various societies weighed the value of the work to be done, that practically speaking, London, Manchester, and Portsmouth, were the onyl centres represented.

From the London Society the delegates were Mr. A. F. Hills, Mrs. Hawkins, Miss Harding, and Mr. Josiah Oldfield ; from the Vegetarian Society, (Manchester), The Rev. Professor J. E. B. Mayor ; from the Norhern Heights, Mr. Matthews ; from Portsmouth, Mr. G. C. Prior.

It was no less than an absurdity for the representatives of these societies to be summoned to meet at Cambridge, when they could have transacted their business equally well in London, and the palpable lack of spirit which prevented the northern amd eastern societies of the willingness of the southern societies to meet them half-way, attained its climax by the utter absence of the Cambridge Society itself. It is true that Professor Mayor was there but he spoke and voted under instructions from Manchester, and did not appear to claim to be there as the authorised representative of the Cambridge Committee. There were rumours too, that Miss Linsay was in Cambridge, but she was not seen in the hall, so that outside of Portsmouth, and the two London Societies, there seems to be very little of that willingness to incur inconveniences which springs from enthusiasm for teh spread of a cause which is deep at heart.

The work, however, that was got through was of a most important nature, and the resolutions arrived at, augurs well for a great amount of work during the coming winter.

After the adoption of the minutes of the last meeting held at Portsmouth, the Treasurer read the Financial statement (which showed a small balance in hand), and the Secretary his report of work done during the preceeding half-year.

The first question which then arose for discussion was one of funds, and the two notices relating to this were dealt with.

The first was one from the L.V.S. suggesting that a special appeal should be made to all our societies, and also to philanthropists interested in the work of Vegetarianism.

Mr. Hills explained that the object of this resolution was to ensure that each society should remember that its duty to the union lay in regularly helping the funds of the union, it might no be able to do much, but it ought to do something, and that something it ought to do regularly. If each societypromised an annual subscription - however small - there would be something definite to bind the one side, and for the other side to rely upon.

As to outside individuals, it would be well to get philanthropists to help on the work of the union, because much of its scope lay in assisting objects which were generally recognised by all parties as being of the utmost value for the good of the community.

The Portsmouth resolution was simply to the effect that steps should be taken to put the Union upon a sound financial basis.

Mr. Prior, in moving it, explained that the two ways of doing this were by reducing present expenditure and by inceasing the present revenue. The first could be attained by substituting an annual for a half yearly meeting (which was not so necessary, since a permanent committee was now in existence) and so save on travelling expenses of delegates. The second could be obtained by preparing and publishing a list of subscribers as well as donors, and so gradually get a list of permanently reliable subscribers.

After some criticism and suggestions from Prof. Mayor, Mr. Josiah Oldfield and Mr. Moor, the two notices were consolidated into one resolution instructing the Secretary to ask the various societies etc., to notify the amount they would fix as their annual minimum subscription and also to issue an appeal to philantropists in general.

The question of the annual in place of the half-yearly meeting could only be decided at the next annual meeting, and it was therefore postponed till then.

The next question which was raised was one by the L.V.S., as to the advisability of the Federal Union taking up the work of innagurating Health Councils throughout the country. This raised a most interesting discussion as to what constituted the scope of Vegetarianism. Miss Yates gave some details of what the L.V.S. are doing in htis direction.

(Continuation of this report is unavoidably postponed till next week, owing to pressure on space.)

From The Vegetarian (London) October 24, 1891:

Federal Union Meeting
(Continued)

The discussion waxed warm over the meaning of the word "Vegetarian." Mr. Prior championed the limitation to abstinence from fish, flesh, and fowl - presumably, therefore, he would be unwilling even to include advocacy for wholemeal bread as opposed to white bread from a Vegetarian platform - while Mr. Hills maintained that all the subjects suggested for the Health Councils lay within the scope of Vegetarianism as being the science of that which it vital ; while Mr. Oldfield, though supporting the view that abstinence from fish, flesh and fowl was but crossing the Rubicon towards becoming a Vegetarian, yet moved as an amendment that the work of the Health Councils should not be undertaken by the Federal Union till some experience had been gained from the results of the L.V.S. in this direction.

This amendment having been carried, the subject of the best means for promoting fruit culture next arose.

Professor Mayor put forward the splendid work the G.E.R. had done to help on the closer relations of producer and consumer, by cheapening rates of small quantities of vegetables, so that from Methwold a hundredweight of potatoes could be sent for 1s., and delivered free withinthe comapny's radius.

A vote of congatulation was moved by Mr. Hills to the G.E.R. for their willingness to pioneer in this driection, which was carried unanimously.