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perform their labour without flesh, forget that the strongest and largest animals in creation are Vegetarians; and, at the same time, they are the most docile and longest lived, and that three-fourths of all the men and women in the world are Vegetarians. I have been for the last three months making a tour through the counties of Gloucester, Somerset, Dorset, Hants, and Wilts. Last year I addressed the readers of the Dietetic Reformer from this part of the country; when I had made a similar tour, and I am made glad by finding some impressions left yet of my footsteps there. One instance, a large farmer, keeping about sixty cows for cheese making, and feeding a very large flock of sheep, at whose house I was several times very hospitably entertained, was so impressed by the fact of my improved health under my present dietetic habits, that he has eaten no animal food since Christmas Day, 1861, and declares himself very much improved in health; that he has never for many years been so free from sickness, or enjoyed his life so much; that he feels so much lighter and better in spirits, and better able to attend to his various duties on the farm (he has more than a hundred acres under the plough). I am satisfied that, were it not that his present profession prevents him declaring himself a Vegetarian, he would not only make a consistent member of our society, but would become a zealous advocate of our principles, as he is already of thoroughgoing temperance.
Another case in the same village, the wife of a farmer. The lady has suffered from delicate health for some time, and through my persuasions she left off the use of animal food last New Year's Day, and declares herself much improved. Another, the cook for a gentleman, at whose house I dined on two or three occasions. The gentleman and his daughter abstained for some time, and declare they were better while so; but the cook adheres yet to our principle (more than a year), and says she not only has enjoyed better health, but can do her kitchen duties much easier, and never experiences the heaviness after dinner that she used to experience.
Another, an esteemed friend, who had broken out in boils in different parts of his body, was quite satisfied they arose from meat eating, and abstained for a time, until he was quite free from them; but has returned to his cannibal practice, only to make himself the same as before.
I might go on with other cases, but for fear your readers might be inclined to think my accounts resembled the quack advertisements, of "Cured by one box," I will refrain.
I find very little trouble in convincing the people in the west of England that work can be performed upon vegetable food, as the men who perform the work upon the farms only receive, at the most, 9s. per week, and out of that many have to keep five or six children after paying house-rent, so that very little animal food falls to their share; many never see it on their tables all the year round, yet, as a people, look healthy, and have very little to do with the doctor.
I am very seldom without copies of the "Penny Cookery" book, and wherever I find a person at all inclined to feel an interest in it, I leave them a copy, and find them trying the various dishes, and declaring that they never imagined for one moment that such dishes could be made without the flesh of animals. I supply some with other books upon the question, and recommend to all the Dietetic Reformer.
I found one lady who had practised abstinence from the flesh of animals for many years; when she heard of my being a Vegetarian she waited upon me at my hotel, and desired to know what literature she could get upon the subject, as her
husband was very much opposed to her practice, and as she was not posted up upon the question he vanquished her in argument. I sent her a copy of the "Vegetarian Armed at all Points," and recommended "Graham's Science of Human Life," which she ordered immediately. I am more and more persuaded that we only need a vigorous advocacy of our principles, and our truths disseminating, to make them popular. Although many go back who have tried them for a time, yet all declare that we have the best side, but appetite and custom drive them back; some have told me, that although they have gone back, they have learned a truth of great importance, viz.: that flesh food is unnecessary to the maintenance of health and strength, and they do not eat above one-quarter of what they used to do.
I trust the Dietetic Reformer is increasing in circulation, as all who see it speak in the highest terms in its praise. We never had a periodical conducted with such manifest ability. WAYFARER.
THE FAMILY HERALD AND VEGETARIANISM.
"AN UNWILLING CRIMIST," although he eats animal food, thinks it wicked to do so. Dr. Franklin, in early life, was troubled with the same scruple, and got out of the meshes of the contradiction by becoming a Vegetarian, which he was for years, until on his passage from England to America some codfish were caught and opened in his presence, when he discovered that they not only devoured other fish, but actually their own species. A little reasoning thereupon soon showed him the absurdity of his own practice, and he became again a flesh eater. The whole argument lies in the fact that man is carnivorous, and animal food is part of his natural diet. He really is omnivorous, and his appetite is regulated by babit and climate. As to the conscientious part of the subject, that is ably disposed of by a French philosopher. "Religious sects," says Richerand. "by which abstinence from animal food was considered a meritorious act, were all instituted in warm climates. The school of Pythagoras flourished in Greece, and the anchorets who in the beginning of the Christian religion peopled the solitude of Thebais could not bare endured such long fastings, or supported themselves on dates and water in a more severe climate. Thus the most austere were induced to add to vegetables, which formed the base of their food, eggs, butter, fish, and even water-fowl. In books of casuistry it may be seen on what ridiculous grounds there was granted a dispensation in favour of plovers, of water-hens, of wild ducks, snipes, and scoters,-birds whose brown flesh, more animalized and more heating, ought to have been proscribed from the kitchens of monasteries much more strictly than that of common poultry." And all physiologists agree in the principle that the inhabitants of cold regions prefer animal food, not merely from vegetables being scanty, ill-adapted for nourishment, or altogether wanting, but because they instinctively make choice of animal diet, in order to enable them to brave the rigours of the climate they inhabit.
Family Herald, No. 995. BEFORE reading the foregoing extract we were not aware of the cause of Dr. Franklin's change of dietetic habits, and we confess to a feeling of great disappointment that the reasoning and philosophical mind of such a man should have been led by so trivial and unsound a reason, to change from those habits of life which at one time he had so high an opinion of as to their physical and moral effects. We confess to being possessed of so much self conceit as to believe ourselves superior to all other animals in creation, and to think that the dietetic habits and modes of life of the lowest of them are not guides for us. Apparently Franklin (in this instance at least) had not the same opinion, and we presume, as the Family Herald quotes the anecdote of Franklin, that the editor entertains the same view. To base one's habits of life upon those of a cod-fish is a very low basis indeed, and detracts considerably from the position in the order of creation in which man is evidently placed. The argument in favour of flesh eating, derived from the practice of the cod-fish, was not by Franklin carried to its legitimate conclusion. The fish caught its own food, Franklin ought to have done the same. The fish killed its food and ate it uncooked, Franklin should have followed that example. The fish, according to the Family Herald, ate its own species, Franklin ought, therefore, to have turned cannibal. We presume that neither Franklin nor the editor of the Family Herald
would like to turn cannibal, nor kill their prey and eat it uncooked; it would, therefore, appear that they only follow out an argument or example just so far as inclination prompts them.
Since reading the extract from the Family Herald we have met with the true reason for Franklin's change in his dietetic habits. In a work called "The Printer Boy; or, How Benjamin Franklin made his Mark," we find the following, given in Franklin's own words :
"In my first voyage from Boston to Philadelphia, being becalmed off Block Island, our crew employed themselves in catching cod, and hauled up a great number. Till then I had stuck to my resolution to eat nothing that had had life; and on this occasion I considered, according to my master Tryon, the taking every fish as a kind of unprovoked murder, since none of them had nor could do us any injury that might justify this massacre. All this seemed very reasonable. But I had formerly been a great lover of fish, and when it came out of the frying-pan it smelt admirably well. I balanced some time between principle and inclination, till recollecting that, when the fish were opened, I saw smaller fish taken out of their stomachs; then, thought I, if you eat one another, I don't see why we may not eat you. So I dined upon cod very heartily, and have since continued to eat as other people; returning only now and then to a vegetable diet. So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to find or make a reason for everything one has a mind to do."
So it appears that it was no change in his principles, nor any argument particularly derivable from the habits of the cod-fish, but Franklin's own inclination which led him again to eat flesh; and that as he wanted a reason for eating it, he (as he himself says) being a reasonable creature, made a reason for the change to suit his inclination.
Nowhere in this account of Franklin's change of dietetic habits do we find any mention made of the cod-fish devouring its own species, so that, as far as we know, this cannibalism on the part of the fish is derived from the Family Herald's own imagination. We are thankful that we are enabled to clear Franklin from the charge we have previously made of being so poor a reasoner; but regret that he should have violated his principles to please his inclination.
Man is not designed to be a carnivorous animal any more than the monkey, the horse, and the camel are carnivorous; the flesh of animals is not his natural food. The Family Herald we presume has got hold of the idea (we admit very generally held) that because man in his constitution is neither allied to the herb-eating nor to the flesh-eating animals, but has intestines, teeth, and general configuration between the two classes, and that he has powers of adaptability which enable him to live on almost anything, that his natural food is a mixture of flesh and vetetables. We deny this conclusion, and say, that a more rational idea is, that as he is formed in constitution between the flesh-eating and herb-eating animals, so ought his food to be composed of substances which in their nature are between the two extremes of flesh and herbs.
We have now occasion to make a little complaint of unfairness on the part of the Family Herald. Richerand, in his "Element of Physiology," page 84, says :"The philosophical, or religious sects, by which the abstinence from animal food was considered a meritorious act," &c. Now, the writer in the Family Herald in the quotation he gives from this author, leaves out the word philosophical, which we contend is a very important omission, inasmuch as the existence of philosophical, as well as religious sects, led in different ways to the same pratice, adds weight to their testimony, and greatly favours any practices which they may adopt; hence, in giving the quotation from Richerand, the writer in the Family Herald does not allow to the sects that authority which Richerand himself is willing to accord to
them. Again, in quoting from Richerand, the same page as before, the Family Herald leaves out about four lines in the middle of his quotation, which omission makes Richerand say that which he did not mean. Richerand says-" The Anchorets, who in the beginning of the Christian religion peopled the solitudes of Thebais, could not have endured such long fastings, or supported themselves on dates and water, in a more severe climate. So that the monks that removed into different parts of Europe were obliged to relax from the excessive severity of such a regimen, and yielded to the irresistible influence of the climate." Now the Family Herald leaves out all that about the monks removing into different parts of Europe, thus leading its readers to suppose that the monks changed their dietetic habits whilst yet staying in Thebais,--that Richerand did not mean this is evident.
We are quite disposed to agree both with the Family Herald and Richerand that when people remove from a very mild climate to a very cold one, a necessity arises for a change in their food, but that that change necessarily must be to animal food, we distinctly deny-there are many other kinds of food which will serve the purpose better than flesh-meat; the need of a change in food in such circumstances arises from a greater requirement of heat-forming principle in the food, in order that a due proportion of heat may be kept up in the body; such heat-forming principle is to be found in greater proportion in many kinds of vegetable food than in any species of flesh-meat.
That "the inhabitants of cold regions prefer animal food" is a very questionable statement, because the inhabitants of cold regions have not had the opportunity of trying a proper vegetable diet, and therefore are not in a position to say which is preferable. That "they instinctively make choice of animal diet" is also questionable, because history informs us that the chief food of the Russians, the Norwegians, and other inhabitants of cold countries, is not animal but vegetable, and that these peoples are robust in health.
In conclusion, we would earnestly recommend to the Editor of the Family Herald to carefully consider the Vegetarian principle in all its bearings, and not be disposed, like Franklin, to cast principle on one side when inclination steps in the way, and we feel assured he will find that the proper, and, therefore, the best food of man is to be found in the vegetable, fruit, and farinaceous kingdoms, and that the simpler a person lives, the greater freedom from "great mortality and disease."
FORCED ABSTINENCE OFTEN BENEFICIAL.-More than fifty years ago a family belonging to the humbler classes was, by premature death, deprived of its head. The mother of five children, all of whom were under seven years of age, was left to struggle for a livelihood for herself and her babes. She had but little help from relatives and friends, occasionally went out as a nurse, and at other times worked in a mill. She had to practice rigid economy, and for seven years this widow and her children never tasted animal food. About the end of that period a neighbour killed a cow, and gave her a portion of it, that she and her children might have a treat. With wise caution she gave it very sparingly to the children, and avoided taking it freely herself; but what she did take made her so poorly that she dared not touch it again for several years. When her children were old enough to work, and her circumstances were somewhat improved, she gradually got into the way of taking a little now and then, but for more than thirty years she used it sparingly. She is now eighty-two years of age, with all her faculties clear and sound. It is evident that so far as health and vigour were concerned it was no real hardship that she was obliged to abstain from animal food. One son and two daughters, all married, are still living and likely to reach old age. Another remark may be added: The injurious effects of the flesh of animals after lengthened abstinence, is no slight argument in favour of a Vegetarian diet.