ANNUAL REPORT 1897
In presenting my Report for the past year I feel bound to express
my conviction as to the general awakening of the people in relation
to our movement. As I journey up and down my District I am continually
meeting people who are considering the matter, and are attempting
to follow our principles as far as they can in the circumstances
in which they are placed thus showing that the seeds sown are bringing
forth plants, which will in time bear fruit, although sometimes
apparently a long time in fructifying.
I am persuaded that our Cause is rapidly growing far more rapidly
than our membership indicates. For instance - many of our converts
are reformers in other ways, and have their hands full of work,
and so they do not join a Society for fear of having more work to
do; others, who are poor, would join were it not for the subscription
while there are those who are with us at heart, but the circumstances
in which they are placed will not allow of their becoming Vegetarians
outright. Some would become members at once if their wives would
cook Vegetarian meals for them, or would do so if they could get
fruit, nuts, etc., at a more reasonable price than they at present
can in country towns and villages. Others are satisfied that our
principles are right, but they are afraid of being classed among
the "faddists," and so, while discontinuing the use of
meat at home, when they go out they take a little, for fear of inconveniencing
their hosts or to prevent disparaging remarks from those in whose
company they are.
These are all obstacles with which we have to contend, but which
doubtless will be overcome as time goes on.
The proportionate number of Vegetarians in and out of our Societies
is, I think, very similar to the Temperance Movement, for therein
it is found that the number of workers and members of Societies
in proportion to the whole body of Total Abstainers is exceedingly
small, and I therefore do not think we should be discouraged on
this account. As our movement becomes more popular, the membership
of our Societies will, I believe, increase more rapidly.
Meetings held. - The year just ended has been a busy one
in my District, every opportunity possible being taken in the time
at my command to spread the knowledge of our truths. Every town
in Berks. and South Oxon. and many of the villages also have been
visited and meetings of some kind held, as more particularly noticed
further on in this Report.
I have acted as Secretary of the Reading Society, and in connection
therewith have organized several successful public meetings, a cookery
demonstration, and attended the monthly and other committee meetings.
Besides local friends who have taken part in these meetings we have
had Mrs. McDouall, Mrs. F. L. Boult, and Dr. Oldfield, who have
rendered good service, and Mrs. A. B. Bonsor, who gave a useful
I organized a Debate at Culham Training College for Schoolmasters,
which passed off very successfully, and was the means of instructing
the future teachers of the youth of our country in our principles.
Stands were arranged at three Trades and Cookery Exhibitions, and
these were of very great benefit in bringing our objects before
a large number of people, and in introducing us to those who were
already in sympathy with us. It also enabled us to discuss our principles
with many whom we might not otherwise reach, and I consider that
this has been one of the best means of propaganda during the year.
I attended the whole of the meetings of the Jubilee Congress, rendering
help when required, and gaining fresh knowledge and inspiration
for my work. I also attended the Jubilee meetings of the Vegetarian
Society in Manchester.
Lantern lectures have been given in the towns of Reading, Newbury,
Maidenhead, Didcot, Abingdon, and Wallingford; also in Pangbourne,
Earley, Checkendon and other villages in the district. Addresses
have been given at l.O.G.T. Lodges, Juvenile Temples, Bands of Hope,
Temperance and other Societies the full list of engagements including
six public meetings, thirteen public lantern lectures, three bazaars,
two debates, three exhibitions (twenty-seven days), two fruit banquets,
one cookery demonstration, Congress five days, and forty-one other
Formation of Societies.- A branch of the Ivy Leaves has
been established in Reading, which promises to be of great usefulness
in teaching the children the principles of our movement.
New Experiments.- I contested one of the Wards of Reading
for a seat on the Board of Guardians as a Vegetarian anti-Vaccinationist.
I was successful, and have attended every meeting of the Board.
During the contest I became acquainted with Vegetarians of whose
existence I was previously unaware, and in my canvass I was often
able to introduce our principles to persons who otherwise I should
not have been able to reach. While on the Board I have endeavoured
to improve the diet of the inmates of the Union, and I have strenuously
opposed the execution of the Compulsory Vaccination Acts.
The cookery teachers of the School Board have been supplied with
cookery books, and as a result many Vegetarian dishes have been
taught the children
Press.- The local newspapers have shown sympathy with us
during the year, the Reading Observer and Berks. Chronicle
having accepted paragraphs of general interest, and the Reading
Standard has agreed to insert Vegetarian Cookery Recipes weekly
during the year 1898.
Literature.- I have attended three Bazaars with cookery
books and other suitable literature, and have sold and otherwise
distributed books, etc., at all the meetings I have attended during
The Vegetarian and other publications have been pushed wherever
possible, and our local newsagents have been encouraged by our ordering
through them for our members in their various districts.
Arrangements have been made for a number of meetings in the year
1898, which promises to be a year full of work.
Signs of encouragement are to be seen on all hands, which I trust
will develop during the coming year, so that the adherents to our
cause will have increased and multiplied into a great army, ready
to go forth, conquering and to conquer for the right, and to win,
the world for our great and glorious cause.
D. W. BISHOP ACKERMAN
Provincial Secretary for Berks. and District.
Vegetarian Federal Union index
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