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I shall put before you, principally, the scientific aspects of the question. First, I will speak of the misunderstanding under which we Vegetarians lie. Only two days ago I took up a popular society paper in which Vegetarians were spoken of as "poor, crazy creatures flying in the face of nature." Another writer spoke of us, in the Times, as "poor weaklings." I don't think that phrase exactly applicable to us or our history, either past, present, or future as Vegetarians. As there is a great deal of misapprehension about, let me point out a few facts about Vegetarianism scientifically considered. Some have the idea that we would send out men to graze like Nebuchadnezzar. They never seem to have heard of the class of animals called "frugivorous." They can never have read Huxley, or the works of the great anatomists and physiologists. They have never followed the arguments on the doctrine of evolution. I won't say if I am an evolutionist or not. On one point there is no doubt whatever: if we study the anatomy of man, we find it is just the same as that of the higher apes; both are anatomically and physiologically the same. This is a little against our pride, perhaps, to think that we only belong to the family of apes; but I am not speaking of their moral qualities. If you go into a dissecting room and see an ape on one table and a human creature on another, you have a great deal of difficulty in seeing the difference between them, especially if the skin has been stripped off. The teeth of man are precisely the same as the teeth of the ape. We hear a great deal from people, who don't understand it, about the canine teeth. These, they say, are flesh-tearing teeth. They

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are nothing of the sort. The cuspid teeth of the ape are for the purpose of defence and of cracking nuts, and certainly under no circumstances for eating beefsteaks or mutton chops. A grown man has thirty-two teeth, if he has them all, wisdom teeth included. There are apes of the Old World, and apes of the New. The apes of the Old World have thirty-two teeth also. The teeth of the ape are exactly the same as those of man, in form and method of growth. Will anyone say that the ape is carnivorous. If you go to any of our great museums or menageries, here or abroad, you will find the rations of the apes are apples, bread, and so forth. The keepers perfectly well recognise that the ape is not a carnivorous animal. I don't want to dwell too long upon this question of anatomy, or I could prove that in the formation of the mouth, the stomach, and the intestinal canal, man is exactly the same as an ape. Among the great writers on anatomy or physiology, you find no difference of opinion. Thus the food of man is fixed by science – and science is a very hard thing to argue against. Man is formed to eat the fruits of the earth, and not to eat flesh. If man has adapted himself to eat flesh, it is by custom, not by nature. With regard to the economical aspect of the question, we are told Vegetarians cannot be strong; it is impossible to have force unless you eat meat. Let us look at the question scientifically. The food needed by the body can be divided into two great classes – nitrogenous and carbonaceous. If you try experiments upon man, you will find that these two great classes answer two great purposes in the economy of the human body. The nitrogenous food goes to form muscle and tissue; the carbonaceous gives heat and force. It has been calculated that the amount of nitrogenous and carbonaceous matter we require – taken according to the proportions of Dr. Pavy, Dr. Edward Smith, and others – is of nitrogenous four to five ounces, and of carbonaceous fifteen to twenty-two ounces daily. The carbons are divided into two groups, the hydro-carbons and the carbo-hydrates; these are hard names. The hydro-carbons are all oils and fats; the carbo-hydrates are all starches and sugars. According to Dr. Playfair, the starches and sugars are necessary in the proportion of seventeen to eighteen ounces every day. With one single exception, these are obtained from the vegetable kingdom. It is necessary that we should absorb a certain quantity of sugar; there is no sugar to be found, except in milk, out of

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the vegetable kingdom. We will glance at the approximate value of these foods, and see how very much richer the vegetable kingdom is. We hear it said: "If you want to build up muscle and tissue and so on, you must go to the animal kingdom for it. If you wish to be strong you must consume nitrogenous matter contained in flesh-meat." Now, pork and ham contain 8 %, lean beef and mutton 18 % of nitrogenous matter; flesh-meats thus contain from 8 to 18 %. If you get your nitrogen from the vegetable kingdom, you will find it much cheaper. You get from 25 to 30 % of nitrogenous matter out of lentils, pease, beans, and all kinds of cereals. With regard to the carbonaceous foods, we get all we need from the vegetable kingdom. And the oils too are far more cleanly when obtained from the vegetable than from the animal kingdom. This is clear to the meanest capacity, and I do not dwell upon the point. Again, animals are liable to many diseases. All the worm diseases proceed from eating animal food, and the poor get the worst kinds of meat; that is, they are obliged to get the intestines, the lights and liver, precisely those parts where the germs of disease abound. These germs of disease are not to be seen by the naked eye, but as soon as they get into the human frame they develop slowly and surely. In the intestinal canal, perhaps, there is a tiny speck, hardly to be seen by the aid of the microscope. Yet this may develop into a worm four or five feet long. Nor is that the only animal disease. Another disease, well known to butchers, is "pearl" disease, which is a form of tubercular disease. We heard the other day of butcher's meat being 80 to 90 % diseased. We even can give for this the authority of Dr. Alfred Carpenter, speaking before the Medical Congress of 1881; so we may take it for granted it is true, yet it seems almost incredible, that from 80 to 90 % of butcher's meat should be unfit for food. Put it down at a lower figure, and you may say that 60 to 70 % is diseased. This is frightful when you come to think of it. From the worm diseases the vegetable kingdom is absolutely free. Men may, of course, get unsound vegetables, but they are easily seen to be not good, and we do not eat them. Meat, however, deceives us; it may look perfectly well, and we may not be aware of disease in it, but it may contain the very germs I mentioned just now. Now, about one of the "strong" arguments our opponents adduce. They say if we did not kill animals we

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should have our fields and back gardens swarming with cattle! It is amusing that people do not stop for a moment to see what this means. Is it not perfectly well known that we breed animals to kill? They say if we do not destroy the bullocks and other animals we shall have sheep and oxen running all about the streets. We should be eaten out of house and home by cows. We should soon see if they were indigenous to this country, were all the people Vegetarians. The fact is that the land which ought to be the people’s is given to the beasts. In this England of ours we want to have the cottagers on their own land. We want to have this land of England cultivated as a garden, and not left for sheep to wander over and for game deer to run wild in. We want to prevent men being sent out of the country as they are now. Now, many of the best and ablest of the people cannot find work, so they cross the seas and leave behind them a surplus of women, a mass of terrible distress and awful sin and misery. We want to give the land back to the people, that they may live in an economical and happy manner; that when old they may live on their savings by their own firesides. You know, perhaps, in foreign countries, especially in France, there are no workhouses. They live there in a very economical manner, in order to keep their homes together, the result being that whole families gather together round one fireside, and in one cottage, instead of being separated as in England, where we send old people to the workhouse, and our sons over the sea to find bread. Instead of pressing large numbers into degrading occupations, now necessitated by the requirements of the people, were we to be Vegetarians, at once these would be set free. How much more happily they could live on vegetable produce! It is lamentable that the poor have the idea that no food is good except meat. A friend of mine used to give the poor in his neighbourhood vegetable soup, and they gladly received it at first; but as soon as they found there was no "stock" in the soup they would not have it. This is a very common idea. Who should be blamed for it? We have the doctors to blame. In the hospitals again and again we hear the words, "You must take flesh-meat," or, "You know you must get some port wine," and that sort of thing. Well, my own experience is this – I cured myself of tubercular consumption by living on vegetable food. A doctor told me I had not six months to live. What was I to do? I was to eat raw meat and drink port wine.

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Well, I went into the country and ate porridge and fruit, and appear to-day on this platform! Then, again, there is the Leather Question. I was determined that on this point I would not have my boots thrown at my head as a reproach; so I went about London to find a man who would make boots without leather, and I found him, and have the boots on this evening. The argument about leather then is answered, for soles, uppers, and everything else are made without it. Two years ago I climbed the hills of Switzerland in boots made without leather. I have pretty well solved this question, then. When there comes a demand for boots made without leather, you will be able to get them. I am afraid I have over-talked my time now. I had a great many things to say, but I am afraid I shall forget them. There is much to say with regard to the history of Vegetarianism. There have been a great many very illustrious names connected with Vegetarianism: men of such calibre as Gautama Buddha, whose life has been given to the world in that beautiful poem, The Light of Asia, which is now issued as cheap as possible – at one shilling. You should read that work and the teaching of Edwin Arnold, and if that does not convert you to Vegetarianism, nothing will; it is full of the most beautiful language and most pathetic sentiment possible to imagine. You will find that a book to smile over, and a book to weep over. It is the sort of literature I should like to see widely disseminated in London. I could point to such men as Pythagoras, as Seneca the friend of St Paul, and to a whole army of Vegetarian saints – in the Church and out of it; to Shelley, the king of poets, to whose beautiful poem, Queen Mab, there is appended a long note in the form of an "Essay on Flesh-eating." Plutarch, too, is with us, and all the greatest teachers and philosophers in the world. It does not seem much as if we are "poor weaklings." Physically, too, the gorilla, which is a Vegetarian, is one of the strongest animals. Du Chaillu tells us how once he was frightened by a gorilla, and dropped his gun, which that animal took up and snapped in two as though it had been a hazel twig! Yet this gorilla was fed on nuts and fruits. Well, the hardest work of the world in our cities, and in our battle-fields, and in our wheat-fields too, is done by animals which, side by side with us, build our towns and cultivate our lands, and are Vegetarians. So, from a physical point of view, we repudiate the epithet of "poor weaklings." And we

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do so as regards intellect also. With regard to the moral point of view, we have a tower of strength, and can easily prove we are not "poor weaklings." I think on every point we can prove our strength, and, let me say it with all modesty, our superiority also. We are superior to animals of prey, and we rise above them. We don't want to drag ourselves down to the level of the tiger, but we rather rise above it. Our motto is "Upwards and onwards!" We should strive to teach men to live simply and purely, and we should reduce our own wants as much as we can. We should assimilate ourselves more and more to the teaching of those men who have been pioneers of the cause. Let us adopt the teaching of Pythagoras – "Learn to love that which is right, and custom will make it pleasant and delightful." I will close my remarks by quoting two verses of a little poem (1) of Goldsmith, which perhaps you have heard. They appear to place our doctrine in a beautiful light, so I don't think I can do better than quote them to you. They are very simple, yet they are very expressive. They are:


                        "No flocks that range the valley free

                        To slaughter I condemn;

                        Taught by the Power that pities me,

                        I learn to pity them.


                        But from the mountain's grassy side

                        A guiltless feast I bring;

                        A scrip with fruit and corn supplied,

                        And water from the spring."





(113:1) From the Report of the Address given by Anna Kingsford on 12th January 1885 at Exeter Hall, London, at the close of the International Health Exhibition, under the auspices of the Manchester Vegetarian Society. It is one of many addresses that were, on that occasion, given by prominent vegetarians; it is taken from the Report of the Exeter Hall Meeting that was issued by the above-mentioned society (see Biographical Preface, p. 52 ante).

(118:1) In The Vicar of Wakefield.




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