1. Its inception occurred in two stages during 1881 which were recorded in The Dietetic Reformer and Vegetarian Messenger:
“The new Anglo-Catholic Guild, the ‘Company of St. James’, seeks to promote the glory of God and the good of man – ‘by living and inculcating a life of simplicity in eating and drinking’, by ‘encouraging self-denial in each other in regard to diet’, and ‘remembering man’s fellowship with the lower animals’. Health and prosperity to the Company of St. James! We will not quarrel about names. Be as ‘Anglo’ as you please, and take any Saint you like for patron, you will do well to stop eating the dead bodies of your warm-blooded friends, the sheep who clothe you, and the cows who give you milk. As for pigs, when you consider what they eat, you will not much care to eat them. We welcome the new guild as a sign of the times, men and women are beginning to think of the important matter of the right of building up and daily renewal of their bodies. As the casket of the soul, the body needs care; but it is much more than a casket. It is the organ of the soul as well. How we think and how we feel depends upon the proper nourishment and exercise of the body. Pure food makes pure blood. Brain and nerves require the purest and finest elements. A gross animal diet has never, in any age, been the promoter of spirituality. Brahmin, Buddhist, and Christian have agreed in this, and the Company of St. James but revives the doctrines and practice of the founders of the Christian faith, and of all the religious orders of the Church. All men who have most aspired to purity of thought and life have been vegetarians. The rule of abstinence from debasing foods and drinks has been universal. Pure eating and drinking has accompanied pure feeling and thinking. Therefore, there can scarcely be a greater scandal than the English mode of keeping Christmas, with its display of incitements to the two deadly sins of gluttony and drunkenness.”
The Dietetic Reformer and Vegetarian Messenger, March 1881.
(Reprinted from The Herald of Health – published in Glasgow and London)
“We have been requested to chronicle the founding of the Order of Companions of the Golden Age, dedicated to the memory of St. James the Less,* whose appropriate motto is “Non nocebunt et non occident”:
The first general meeting of the above Order was held at Brympton, Yeovil, on Thursday, September 8. After the opinions of those unable to be present had been read, the rules and constitutions, as sent in draft to the members of the Order, were adopted without substantial alteration. It was agreed to print 100 copies, one copy to be sent to each member, the remainder to be sold to inquirers at 6d each. The officers for the ensuing year were elected, viz:- Provost, the Rev. H.J. Williams, Brympton, Yeovil; Deputy – Provost, R. Bailey Walker, 56 Peter Street, Manchester; Bursar, F.L. Latcheside, St. Cuthbert’s College, Aylesbury; Registrar, G.W. Gulliver, Bramshott, Liphook, Hants.
* Hegesippus, a Jewish Christian very near the Apostles’ times, tells us that he (St. James) drank no wine or strong drink, nor ate animal food. – Sanctorale Catholicum.
The Dietetic Reformer and Vegetarian Messenger, October 1881.
“The Order of the Golden Age. – The tendency of a section of Churchmen to abstinent, if not ascetic, vows is curiously illustrated by the proposals now being formulated for a new guild, to be called the ” Order of Companions of the Golden Age.” Each companion must be a baptised Christian, professing the faith as set forth in the Apostles Creed, be an early riser ( at least as early as seven a.m.), use prayers and intercessions for the objects of the Order, dress soberly, and lead a life which is “tender, temperate and humane.” So qualified and accepted, he shall be distinguished by a purple badge, and may at any time after six months’ probation proceed to the following grades, with at least six months interval between each:- The crimson – abstinence from the flesh of birds and beasts; the blue – additional abstinence from fish; the white – additional abstinence from alcoholic beverages and tobacco. The motto of the Order is the prophetic Non noncebunt et non occident. If a word of criticism may be offered, it is that the “Golden Age” is a pagan and not a Christian tradition, though doubtless in all ages of the Christian Church there have been individuals and congregations who have carried out such a rule of life as is laid down for the members of the new Order.”
(Reprinted from: The Manchester Guardian)
2. A dispute occurred in the correspondence pages of The Vegetarian early in 1896:
THE ORDER OF THE GOLDEN AGE
To the Editor of The Vegetarian.
Sir, – An “order” having lately arisen (only a month old) to do the work which the Vegetarian Society seems to do exceedingly well already, we wish to say that our “Order of the Golden Age,” known also as the “Order of Atonement,” and the “United Templars Society,” incepted in 1881 and promulgated 1888, with a literature of forty various publications, is the Original Order, and must not be confounded with the recent one which has taken our name. Our Order was founded for an object distinct from all others, and has its own special work, which is to select, revise, and re-issue (as the scanty means at our command will enable us) the forms of worship of the Catholic Church, Eastern and Western, Greek and pre-Christian, purified and filled with the Christian spirit of humaneness, justice, and righteousness and love to all the creatures of God, as they never before have been, and the lack of which has been at the root of the indifference of the Christian Churches to animal suffering. Where in our dogmas, liturgies, or rites is this humaneness and love to all creatures and abstinence from all cruelties inculcated? We know not of one instance – all for man, nothing for our lesser brothers and sisters. No end of shedding blood of the innocent for self, nothing of tenderness for all God’s creatures, or suggestive of it even, except it be hymns or prayers in time of “cattle plague” that our lesser brothers and sisters may be spared in order that we may hunt, worry, torture, and kill and eat them. We are therefore doing a work that no one else will do, and for which we are specially qualified, having the necessary acquaintance with the dogmas, liturgies, and rites of the Greek, the Latin, and the non-Christian religions. The only pledge we require of members is total abstinence from flesh, alcohol, tobacco, from all cruelty and from all things gotten by cruelty, for we feel that they who engage in such work must come with clean hands. Yours,
I. G. Ouseley, Sec.,
3, Evelyn Terrace,
M .A. Londini, President,
30th January, 1896.
From The Vegetarian, February 8th, 1896.
THE ORDER OF THE GOLDEN AGE
To the Editor of The Vegetarian.
Sir, – I was surprised to see in your correspondence column last week a letter from the Rev. I. G. Ouseley, containing certain statements concerning the Order of the Golden Age, which has recently been re-established at Exeter, and the Official Journal of which is the Herald of the Golden Age.
Although I have no wish to emulate the example of your correspondent by saying anything which might tend to lessen his influence for good, or to hinder his efforts to promote Social Reform, yet I feel it to be my duty to reply to his statements, and to show first, that they are incorrect, second, that the writer knew them to be so – lest unworthy motives should be attributed to those who are associated with me in a movement which has already gained the sympathy and co-operation of the most earnest Vegetarians in the country.
Mr. Ouseley’s letter states, first: that his institution, which was promulgated in 1888, and which bears the additional names of the “Order of the Atonement,” and “United Templars Society,” is the original Order of the Golden Age, and that we have taken his name; second, that our Order is only a month old, and has arisen to do the work of the Vegetarian Society. Now the facts of the case are as follows, viz:- The Order of the Golden Age was founded in 1882 by Rev. H.J. Williams, Rector of Kinross, a member of our council, the prospectus was printed (a copy of which can be seen at our office, 15, St. James’ Road, Exeter), and officers were appointed, but the society has been lying in a dormant state, for financial and other reasons, until its recent re-establishment on a wider and more comprehensive basis.
I have a letter in my possession dated January 8th, 1896, in which Mr. Ouseley states that he knew of the existence of our order in its earliest days, and that he wrote to the founder of it to get the rules, some years before printing those of his own institution at Brighton, which is a conclusive proof that his institution is not the original Order, and that instead of having taken the name of his society, he has taken the name of ours.
Mr. Ouseley is also perfectly well aware from the correspondence that has passed between us that our Order has not been established to do the work of the Vegetarian societies but to strengthen and help all the societies by endeavouring to make all their members realize more fully the religious aspect of the movement, and the many reasons for regarding the same as practical Christian and philanthropic endeavour.
We wish it to be distinctly understood that we have no desire to obtain distinction or preeminence; but we wish to encourage and assist all Vegetarian societies and all workers to increased zeal, activity, and enthusiasm, with a view to lessening as rapidly as possible the volume of the great river of blood which is daily being shed un-necessarily. This is however only one branch of our work, which includes the advocacy of the Christian spirit of self-sacrifice and devotion to the doing of God’s will, practical philanthropy, peace, mercy, benevolence, and universal goodwill. We shall be pleased to send gratis to any of your readers a copy of our prospectus and of the first number of our Official Journal, in order to remove any misapprehension which may have been created in their minds by Mr. Ouseley’s letter. – Yours Faithfully,
Sidney H. Beard,
15, St. James’ Road,
February 8th, 1896.
From The Vegetarian, February 22nd, 1896.
THE ORDER OF THE GOLDEN AGE
To the Editor of The Vegetarian.
Sir, – Having nothing but good will to all workers in the cause of truth, righteousness, and humanity, and having expressed that good will to the heads of this recently founded or re-founded order of Mr. Williams, I am surprised to find that any misunderstanding should arise from my letter explaining our position. I need only reply to that part of Mr. Beard’s letter which accuses me of making an incorrect statement, and that “knowingly.” My reply is very simple. By Mr. Beard’s own statement Mr. Williams’ Society bearing same name as ours was founded in 1882, a year after ours was incepted – 1881. Consequently I could not have taken his name, which, by the way, I think was “The order of or guild? St. James and the Golden Age,” but I have mislaid the paper I then got.
It is quite correct that I heard of some new order and wrote for the rules of it “some years before printing my own in 1888;” but I certainly took nothing from it that I remember, and if I did it was under the impression that it was as I was told, “broken up and dead.”
The most then that can be truly said is that the same name, “Order of Golden Age,” occurred to two individuals – ours in 1881, Mr. Williams 1882 – independently of each other. But this I do know (for I have the letter before me) that Mr. Beard asked me, October 6th, 1895, for “particulars of the Order of the Golden Age and its modus operandi,” and that I sent him all particulars I could and the rules I had drawn up (in 1881), and that in January, 1896, for the first time, I heard that by a mere accident through a friend of the new “Order of the Golden Age.” We have not the least wish to “lessen the influence of the latter order for good,” and never had; but as our work and object is, though partly the same, yet quite distinct in that it goes to the root of the matter, – the religious and moral teaching and the formularies, rites, and devotions of Christianity as we now have it in many sects, which ignore and exclude all ideas of the rights of our lesser brethren and our duties to them – we naturally desired to explain. For so long as the reaping of benefits to ourselves, real or supposed, by the sufferings of others is recognized as defensible by our religious teachers and in text-books of moral philosophy, so long religion stands in danger of being rejected as being of the evil one rather than of God.
P.S. – The original idea in the first set of rules was that all reform societies should be united under one roof – “United Reformers Temple,” – and so gain knowledge of each other in a spirit of brother and sisterhood, and save time, money, and labour which are now wasted in separate efforts often to the misunderstanding of each other. And this would be an enormous gain, for “Union is Strength.” But I gave up the idea as impossible in this hard, selfish age of competition, and changed the basis to a simpler one, as may be seen in “Church of the Future,” which, with a copy of the original rules if desired, any may have from me for 3d. post free. With most kindly wishes to all fellow – workers for God and humanity. – Yours,
I. G. Ouseley.
Founder, Order of the Golden Age and United Templary,
3 Evelyn Terrace,
From The Vegetarian, February 29th, 1896.
In 1904 the O.G.A. was reconstituted and declared “…founded in 1895 by Sidney H. Beard” with the consent of Rev. H.J. Williams.
All extracts from The Vegetarian used with kind permission of The Vegetarian Society
3. The work was first published as articles in The Lindsey and Lincolnshire Star – a regional, weekly newspaper with an anti-vivisectionist agenda – between July 30th, 1898 and March 10th, 1901.
4. There is an apparent pattern of evolution in Rev. Ouseley’s exegesis; from the orthodox to the delusive, in the course of a series of tracts which were published from the 1880’s onwards.
5. During this period the term food reformer had become interchangeable with vegetarian whilst in 1912 a food reform journal; The British Health Review was incorporated within The Herald of the Golden Age. (see also: The Fruitarian Society – Notes)
6. The Herald of the Golden Age, Vol.1, No.1. January 1896.
7. The Herald of the Golden Age, Vol.4, No.12. December 1899
8. An example of the former appeared in Beard’s Editorial Notes of The Herald of the Golden Age for September 1896:
“Our possibilities and opportunities are now such, that there is abundant reason for believing that a great influence upon the world’s future may be exercised through our instrumentality, for God is with us – blessing our efforts in a wonderful manner – and truth is on our side. With increased faith and devotion it is difficult to over-estimate what we can accomplish.”
And the latter:
“The sense of ‘universal kinship’ is in the air, and the days of systematic and unblushing tyranny towards God’s other creatures are numbered.”
The Herald of the Golden Age, October 1917.
9. The Herald of the Golden Age, March 1896.
10. “Announcement” in The Herald of the Golden Age, January, 1898.
11. It is unlikely that The Order of the Golden Age would have been surprised at the ecclesiastical attitude of their times. In 1901, Dr. Josiah Oldfield founded The Society for the Abolition of Capital Punishment which received short shrift from the judiciary of the day:
“…Dr. Oldfield next approached the Bishops of the Anglican Church:- ‘But here again [he says] I was grievously saddened by the fact that while I received most courteous replies from nearly every Bishop, there was not one who took up any other position than that hanging should be perpetuated, and in no case was there any suggestion that the Church should take any steps to replace this crude penalty of putting wicked men to death; by adopting the position of Pope Clement that the function of the penalty is the improvement of the character, and not the ending of the life.’ Cardinal Vaughan and two Roman Catholic Bishops who answered said they were in favour of hanging.”
The Vegetarian; Saturday, May 25th, 1901.
12. The Editorial Notes spoke of “…a few decades time, when the Food Reformation has triumphed completely – as it will assuredly do through Christendom.” and referred to:
“…the part which was played by some of the great ones in the religious world in connection with this revolution in thought and custom. We have approached most of them with literature and correspondence – in some cases repeatedly – and, we could a tale unfold! But we refrain, contenting ourselves with the remark that our hopes are centred in the young amongst the laity of the Churches, and in those who are outside the Churches altogether, rather than in “the Masters of Israel.”
The Herald of the Golden Age; May 1899.
“those who are outside the Churches altogether” was a reference to The Salvation Army whose leadership and many of its Officers were notably supportive of the Food Reformation. Bramwell Booth (1856-1929) wrote an article for The Herald of the Golden Age of May 1900; as the Salvationists’ Chief-of-Staff. The essay was reprinted as the O.G.A. pamphlet: “Vegetarianism – Bramwell Booth” (1901)
13. From a Farewell Address delivered at Macclesfield Congregationalist Church on 3rd May 1903:
“I go out from you carrying with me all the experience of twenty-one years’ ministry; but I feel that I am only just beginning to live in the truest and highest sense; only beginning to realise God’s meaning in my own life. I go out from you loving you and remembering all your kindness. I go out in response to the cry of the animal world, and to help human souls up to higher visions of life and duty and service.
Why need I go out? Why not do the work here? No, the limitations are too great. It could not be done. I want you to know that I go to take up a work not less sacred than my pulpit ministry. I simply leave the limitations of Church life and a minister’s work to give myself to a work as sacred, if not more so, and which is so sorely needed in this hour because it lies at the root of the world’s sorrow, and only the setting of it right will turn that sorrow into the joy of God – not that I can set it right, but I am going to contribute my part towards its realization.
Thus have I spoken to you the burden of my soul. Think much of it. Though you cannot understand it all now, yet the day will come when the truth of it all will break in upon your own soul, making most real to you those visions and voices of the spiritual world that come to charm away our sorrows and heal our woe by calling us into that fuller life which comprehends all life, and that higher service which reveals itself as Divine Love, and touches sympathetically all views of life and every living creature.”
The Herald of the Golden Age, June 1903.
14. In 1915 The Imperial Medical Association for the Prevention of Cancer was launched from 155 Brompton Road:
Patrons and Honorary Members
His Eminence Cardinal Bourne
The Earl of Plymouth
The Countess of Plymouth
The Bishop of Jamaica
Sir Frederick Banbury, Bart., M.P.
Sir William P. Beale, Bart., M.P.
Colonel C.P. Burn, M.P.
Sir Frederick Cardew
The Right Hon. T.R. Ferens, P.C., M.P.
Sir Norval W. Helme, M.P., J.P.
Sir Alexander Henderson, Bart., M.P.
Daniel T. Holmes, Esq., M.P.
The Right Hon. Sir David Brynmore Jones, P.C., K.C., M.P.
The Right Hon. The Lord Advocate. Sir Francis Lowe, M.P.
Arthur J. Sherwell., Esq., M.P.
J. Cathcart Wason, Esq., M.P.
Robert Bell, M.D., F.R.F.P.S., President.
Sidney H. Beard, Esq.
George Brown, M.R.C.S., L.S.A.
Captain Walter Carey, R.N.
Sir William Earnshaw Cooper, C.I.E.
Thomas Dutton, M.D., M.R.C.P., L.R.C.S., Ed.
Edward Sidney Ellis, Esq.
Percy Beard, Esq., 155, Brompton Road, London S.W.3.
Sir William Earnshaw Cooper, C.I.E., 155, Brompton Road, S.W.3.
Edward Sidney Ellis, Esq., London County and Westminster Bank, St. James Street, S.W.3.
Who will be glad to receive subscriptions in aid of the work of the Association.
This Association of Medical men is of a purely philanthropic character. It has been organised with one grand object in view, which is, to combat those conditions which, after patient investigation into the Causation of Cancer extending over 35 years, are now known to predispose to the development of the disease. It is, therefore, hoped and believed that the Association will be able to reduce materially, if not altogether, the ever increasing mortality from this terrible scourge.
It is an appalling fact that the death rate from Cancer has increased 200 per cent during the last fifty years. It is also known that this malignant disease is steadily increasing. And, owing to the prevalence of the disease in White countries, it is computed that 25,000,000 of the civilised peoples now living must succumb to its ravages.
It stands to reason there must have been introduced into human life certain malign conditions or influences accounting for this alarming state of affairs. It will be the duty of this Association to undertake the necessary research work so that the nature of these evil influences may be completely revealed and means suggested whereby they may be nullified and finally driven out of existence. Fortunately the greater part of this research work has already been accomplished, and while much valuable experience has been gathered together during 30 years of patient experimentation there is yet important work to be done before this menace to the human race can be completely overcome and extirpated. Typhus Fever, Smallpox and other human scourges have been fought and practically beaten out of existence. Cancer, the most terrible of all diseases, is still triumphing in its ravages, but this dread foe can yet be fought and vanquished.
It would be idle to pretend that the present treatment of Cancer by the knife is anything but a colossal failure. Unfortunately the disease is too deep-seated to lie within reach of the surgeon’s knife. And, while it is obvious that treatment must be resorted to so long as the disease is permitted to remain as a scourge to Man, there are other forms of treatment which, while being painless, have proved highly successful in numerous cases. IT IS, HOWEVER, A WISER THING TO PREVENT DISEASE THAN TO ATTEMPT TO CURE IT.
As the title of the Association implies, its energies will be concentrated upon – (1) The elucidation of the CAUSATION of Cancer. (2) Upon its treatment. (3) Upon educational work showing by written matter and oral demonstration the CAUSE of Cancer and how it may be avoided.
It will be the privilege of the Association to keep the public advised from time to time of the results of their labour, so that people of all classes may have the opportunity of keeping in touch with the means taken by its medical research members of grappling with this human scourge.
The Constitution of the Association shall be as follows:-
1. Ordinary Members composed entirely of members of the Medical Profession.
2. Patrons and Patronesses, who shall be ex-officio Honorary Members.
3. Honorary Members, being those who pledge themselves to support by practical sympathy and effort the objects of the Association.
The Executive Council shall consist of seven Members, three of whom shall be Registered Medical Practitioners; the President, Secretary and Treasurers shall be Members ex-officio.
When sufficient funds are forthcoming it will be the aim of the Association to establish branches in the various cities and towns of the provinces, and by this means extend its influence to the greatest possible extent. It is also proposed to institute a series of lectures, both in London and Provincial centres, and literature bearing upon the subject will be distributed to as great an extent as the funds will permit.
An earnest appeal is, therefore, made to the public to join this Association, and, by active support, show their sympathy with a Movement which has become of vital moment to all civilised races.
The Executive Staff will consist entirely of voluntary workers. Money will, however, be required for literature and for the paid clerical staff. Honorary Membership will be free, but it is hoped and believed that, bearing in mind the benevolent nature of the Movement, and the gravity of the issues involved, many Honorary Members will show their appreciation of this crusade against the Cancer foe by practical material support.
There can be no doubt that if the philanthropic public will extend their valuable aid to this Association it will become speedily manifest that Cancer is quite as amenable to preventative measures as any other disease.
All communications to be addressed to the Hon. Secretary, 155 Brompton Road, S.W.3. Donations may be sent to the Hon. Secretary or the Hon. Treasurers.
Advertisement in The Herald of the Golden Age of January 1915.
15. Established in 1881 “… for the advocacy of ‘good, right, and truth’. This journal is an advocate of progressive thought and social reconstruction.’ – The Newspaper Press Directory, 1909. The fortnightly page of food reform articles and adverts became monthly within a few years and absent by 1919; when the weekly newspaper became The New Commonwealth.
16. The following is the full text of an editorial, entitled; “God, Humanity, and Animals” which appeared in The Universe dated May 1st, 1914:
“Correspondents have exercised themselves for some weeks past on the relation of men to animals, an interesting and profitable subject of controversy. It is not without sympathy that we read from one contributor that “the horrors in the slaughter-houses committed so that we can have flesh meat for our daily diet, the suffering caused by the traffic in worn-out horses, the merciless treatment of calves torn from their mothers and bled white so that people may have veal, the massacres of beautiful birds for their plumage, so that women may feed their vanity, the cruel trappings of animals for their furs, the disgusting brutality of bull-fights and hare coursing, to say nothing of hunting hinds heavy with young, and the numerous atrocities of the farmyard to provide soft succulent flesh for the table – all these together make life a nightmare, and rip relentlessly away the last remaining illusions of life.” It is an altogether admirable development of the age that the humanitarian impulse towards a wider and a more kindly comprehension of the place of animal life in the grand scheme of creation should have replaced the narrow-minded brutality which is the modern survival of paganism in the minds of Christians. The pagan mind was essentially selfish. The pagan regarded his slave as a chattel. He was subject to torture and to death at the caprice of his master. Delicately nurtured ladies could remind their maids-in-waiting of their wishes with a bare bodkin. Fathers could doom their children to death as the modern would drown a puppy dog. Pedanius Secundus, Prefect of Rome, was murdered in his house by one of his slaves, and four hundred men, women, and children were marched to a common execution because they were slaves in the same household. It was the law. They had no rights. They were chattels. “No law nor any custom protected the labour, the honour, the life of the slave from his master” in the palmy days of Rome. Neither man, nor animal, nor any subject creature had “rights” against the free citizen of the Roman State.
Why? Because the soul of man was ignored. And ignoring the soul of man the omnipotent God is ignored. It is only in the presence of God that we can realise our relations to his creatures. It is in our duty to God that we embrace our duty to our fellow creatures. It is only in the love of God that we can find that rational and ordered love of His creatures which raises humanity above the beasts, and the motive of human action above the law of the jungle. Humanitarianism is not a sickly sentiment; it is a law of religion. It is the worship of God in His creatures. The man who sees God in all His creatures finds in “the meanest flower that blows thoughts that do lie too deep for tears.” The Christian who reverences life does so because it is the gift of God. It is not the selfish thought of the Hindu, who sees in every animal a prospective reincarnation of himself. But he sees in life in any form a mystery. It is sacred. The act of destruction is the proper work of the fiend. God alone can bestow life, and every creature that God made is good. He has said it. He who wantonly destroys life challenges God. Not a sparrow falls but by the will of the Father. But the mystery of life is impenetrable, and the farther the horizon of science is pushed outward the deeper does the mystery become. Life is a force which carries us into the realm of the unseen. The Church has always guarded it with care. Bloodshed is abhorrent to her. The man of blood may not enter the sanctuary. The slayer of animals may not lift his hands in the sacrifice of the altar. Our Lord chose his first dwelling-place on earth with the ox and the ass. Shepherds were his first visitors. The saints have been the best friends of animals. Their tenderness towards their “lesser brethren” is one of the beauties of their lives. The saint who could brave the anger of kings could give shelter to the hare and forbid the chase while the dumb thing made good its escape. If the legend of the wolf of Gubbio is a legend, it is worthy to be true, for ferocity is tamed by kindness. The keepers of wild animals have wrought miracles by their studied and systematic kindness to the wild things from the jungle. A touch of kindness makes the whole world kin.
As kindness is a virtue instinctive to rational beings, and is raised to its highest power by pure religion, so cruelty is an outrage on God’s goodness and a defacement of the soul of man. A cruel nature is the most abominable deformity in creation, in whatever guise cruelty may display itself. True kindness is not, however, a sentiment only, much less is it sentimentality, but it is a reasoned attitude of the mind, just as cruelty is a distortion opposed to reason, as it is a violation of love. We have little sympathy with the refuge of those who are “cruel to be kind.” There is no condonation of cruelty under the law of love. But here we are brought once more against the impenetrable mystery of life and death. Nature is “red in tooth and claw.” Nature seems lavish in destruction, and yet we know that nothing good is lost, that all created things are good, and all things work together in the Providence of God for good. That is our certain faith and sure hope under the law of love. The seeds that perish are as the sands of the desert compared with the seeds that take root and live. No man can tell which grain will grow and which will not. The teeming life of every species that fills the sea and the air and the dry land is as a raindrop to the ocean compared with the life that disappears even as it is called into being. In all creation we see death paying the tribute of life to the creatures that survive. But it is the prerogative of man, as he is merciful to his kind, to show mercy to the lower animals in the disposal of their lives. The mystery of pain in the jungle we cannot fathom. But it is the spiritual privilege of the human soul to lessen pain, and if in that pursuit of mercy life must needs be sacrificed for food and healing, that very end enjoins the condition in the means that will forbid torture and show mercy, even as the surgeon’s hand is moved in mercy. But tenderness to animals is in no wise to be confounded with the selfish caricature of kindness to animals which lavishes on pets luxuries foreign to their nature, while the children of misfortune are perishing with hunger.”
The Universe – Editorial of May 1st, 1914.
17. Towards Universal Peace by Sidney H. Beard
A most practical, reasonable and hopeful plan for the prevention of War, and for hastening the Era of Universal Peace, has recently been offered to the world for its consideration, and it is so full of promise and so feasible that it deserves the active support of every thoughtful humanitarian and philanthropist.
The dream of International Disarmament has been long cherished, but notwithstanding the establishment of the Hague Tribunal we seem to be farther off than ever from its realization. International rivalry, suspicion, misunderstanding and fear, existing between two groups of great Nations, block the way; so it is to remove these obstacles that a League has been established by Sir Max Waechter, D.L., J.P., to promote the Federation of the great powers of Europe. If this pacific Alliance or Federation can be brought about – and it is by no means impossible – partial disarmament would automatically follow and the appalling burden of Militarism be alleviated. Without it, the prospect of any reduction in the expenditure which is becoming more costly and ruinous than war itself, seems well nigh hopeless.
Many persons will doubtless be hastily inclined to think this plan Utopian at the present time, but is there just reason for such a pessimistic mental attitude?
It may be very difficult to bring about the Federation of Europe. No great reform has been easily accomplished. But it is certainly not impossible. The Founder of this European Unity League has closely studied the problems which divide the nations of Europe, by visiting all European States and examining their problems on the spot. In his investigation he has had the advantage of discussing the question of International Federation with nearly all the ruling Sovereigns and their Ministers, with the leading statesmen of Republics, and with numerous politicians and eminent men. These investigations and discussions have convinced him that the unity of Europe can be brought about, if there be a will to do so.
Most of the leading statesmen, and all the Sovereigns, are in favour of such an Alliance or Federation. They do not need to be convinced. Therefore a great popular campaign in favour of bringing about the Federation of Europe, a powerful propaganda among the masses of the people of all States is necessary – and it is to enlist advocates and workers for this great Cause that the League has been established.
Sir Max Waechter is devoting the remainder of his life and the bulk of his fortune to this work. He was encouraged to proceed with this scheme by our late King Edward VII and was assisted by his advice. The German Emperor is favourably disposed towards it, although conscious of the difficulties to be overcome – one of the chief of which is the attitude of the War party in Germany. The mass of the people in Germany are thoroughly pacific and do not want War. The Tsar is heartily in sympathy with the idea.
The urgent need that exists for such effort is generally recognised. At present the preservation of Peace costs Europe about £1,000,000,000 per annum. This expenditure is increasing so rapidly that within another decade it may be two thousand millions sterling instead of one. To provide this stupendous amount every inhabitant of Europe is heavily taxed and made to suffer privation and loss. Let us try to realize what this money would do for the struggling multitudes if it could be wisely spent instead of being thus wasted. Even at the present rate of expenditure it would provide 4,000,000 working men every year with the gift of a good freehold house, costing £250, in which they could live rent free for life. Or it would enable 50,000,000 men to live rent free in houses worth £20 per annum.
Let us think what could be done in abolishing slums, improving artizans’ dwellings, eliminating poverty and uplifting the lives of the people. Surely it is a prospect worth striving for – and the people of Europe can bring it to pass if they will!
To abolish War, and these expensive preparations for it, the fundamental causes of War must be removed. Dissension must give place to Alliance and Federation, suspicion and jealousy to trust and fraternal sentiment. Just as the imaginary hostility between England, France and Russia, which existed twenty years ago, has been changed into a friendliness and a Triple Entente, so the imaginary hostility between these nations and the other three great poers of Europe which exists to-day, can be dissipated, and a Sextuple Alliance be formed on an economic basis. The other nations of Europe would then hasten to join such a Federation, and European Unity and Peace would follow. The Concert of Europe would then be a reality instead of a diplomatic fiction.
This Federation would probably be soon joined by the United States of America, and perhaps Japan, and permanent peace throughout the world would then almost become assured – at any rate between the great nations. And their united influence should be able to enforce Peace and Arbitration elsewhere.
The proposed modus operandi set forth in the preliminary manifesto of the European Unity League is a very sensible and businesslike programme. Briefly it can be summarised as follows:
“In order to achieve the Alliance or the Federation of the States of Europe on an economic basis, it is intended to organise in all the States of Europe a propaganda by means of which public opinion may be enlightened as to the great advantages which all the peoples of Europe would derive from such an Alliance or Federation.
“The first practical step to bring about the Federation of Europe will consist in an endeavour to create a complete and cordial understanding between England and Germany. England and Germany hold the key to the position. They are the leaders of the two great groups. The one is the greatest land power and the other the greatest sea power.
“As soon as an Anglo-German understanding has been created, the service of the League will be offered to the French and Germans with a view to assisting them to remove all the difficulties existing between their two nations and establishing a full and unreserved accord between them.
“When a cordial understanding has been established between England, Germany, and France, the League will approach the other European countries and ask them to join the new Alliance of Peace. Round an Anglo-German-French understanding the Alliance of Europe would quickly form itself.
“The European Unity League will neither carry on nor encourage agitation against armies and navies. The league only advocates the reduction of excessive armaments where and when such reduction has become possible in view of the political and military circumstances. As long as the present political organisation of Europe remains unchanged, armies and navies must be preserved and are likely to increase. This being its view, every statesman, every soldier and every patriot can join the League. He can be a member of the League and can yet, without inconsistency, advocate the strengthening of the Army and Navy, which at present secure the safety of his nation.
“It is clear that in the present state of Europe a war between two Great Powers will probably involve all the six Powers of the Triple Alliance and the Triple Entente. Such a war would be disastrous not only to business, but to the very economic life of Europe. It would destroy commerce and industry. A great European war can best be avoided by the recognition that such a struggle would be suicidal to all the combatants; by the recognition that the economic interests of all nations are so much interwoven that the losses experienced by one nation will severely injure all other nations. All practical businessmen will recognise the truth of this assertion, and should endeavour to work for the preservation of the peace of Europe by joining the European Unity League.
“As the European Unity League is working for the Federation of Europe, it is working for the cause of Peace. Hence every man of peace, every banker, every merchant, every manufacturer, every employee, in short everyone who can lose by war should join the League.
“Wars are contrary to the ideals of Christianity. Therefore every devout Churchman of every denomination should join the League. In doing so he will do a Christian work.
“None are more interested in the preservation of European peace and civilisation than are the women of Europe, who in a war may lose their husbands, brothers and children. None stand to lose more by the general impoverishment and ruin which a great European war would produce than the women. Let them work actively for the Federation and the peace of Europe, and let them bring all their immense influence to bear upon the furtherance of this great and urgent reform. As the first step, every woman and every women’s organisation should join the European Unity League.
“A great war will be most destructive to the European industries. It would create widespread unemployment and distress, and it would therefore most severely affect the working classes. Therefore every working man who loves his home, every working woman, and every labour organisation in the country should join the League in order to protest against avoidable wars, and in order to show that they are in favour of a policy which strives to make European war impossible and to abolish the enormous waste of the armament race.
“It is possible that the Federation of the British Empire will precede and finally form part of the Federation of Europe. But even if this should not be the case, it is not likely that the British self-governing Dominions would refuse to join such a Federation. Every imperialist can therefore join the League without inconsistency, and without ceasing or lessening his efforts towards the Federation of the British Empire.
“Those who advocate an Anglo-American reunion, those who wish to bring about an alliance between the British Empire and the United States of America, will realize the fact that the League promotes their own ideals in a practical way. Therefore all who wish for an Anglo-American reunion should support it.
“The League is at present occupied in forming an International Advisory Council composed of leading and influential men and women. Their names will be published in due course. The constitution and the rules of the League will then be submitted to this Council for approval and amendment.
“Everybody who wishes to join the League should send in his or her name for registration. No charge will be made for registration, and no financial or other obligation will be incurred by those who desire to become members of the League. The temporary headquarters are at 39, St. James’s Street, Piccadilly, London, S.W.”
This new development of the Peace Ideal, this practical ‘way out’ of the morass of Militarism into which Europe has drifted, this great scheme for preventing the appalling disasters and suffering which menace us and our children, should appeal to the heart and intellect of every member of The Order of the Golden Age and of every reader of this magazine. I commend it to their most earnest consideration and invoke their hearty support.
There is much to be done before the project can be accomplished, but every one can help. Doubt needs to be removed, faith created, obstacles overcome, and ways and means devised.
Each new adherent will augment the battery of mental influence making for Peace. Each new worker in this Cause can enlist others by expounding the ideal and its advantages, and by emphasising the need which exists for its realisation.
Here is an opportunity for every philanthropist, humanitarian, patriot, zoophilist and follower of the Christ – a means of lessening the suffering of this world, and of increasing its happiness. For when the stupendous wealth, and aggregate of effort, that are now devoted to the arts and machinery of War are applied to the solution of our social problems, to productive industry, and to the benefit of mankind there will be a great and beneficent transformation of our social conditions, and a great augmentation of the welfare of the toiling and suffering masses of the people.
The Era of Peace and Fraternity is coming! Though long delayed, its advent is certain! Let us hasten it by doing what we can for its advancement and thus win for ourselves the blessing that is promised to those who labour and strive to bring about the fulfilment of the Divine Purpose.
Opening essay of The Herald of the Golden Age, April, 1914.
18. The Herald of the Golden Age, January 1915.
19. From The Vegetarian Messenger and Health Review, June 1918:
We regret to note that Lieut. – Col. Josiah Oldfield has just been gazetted out of the Army on the grounds of ill-health. Dr. Oldfield was in camp as a Territorial officer when the War began and has been on active service ever since. He was first given the duty of raising a casualty clearing station, and then of forming and commanding a Field Ambulance. Between September and November, 1914, Col. Oldfield raised a complete Field Ambulance, and amongst the men who enlisted under his command were many fruitarian disciples of his own, and also ten clergy of the Church of England, ten officers of the Salvation Army and pastors of other denominations. Dr. Oldfield remained a strict fruitarian during the whole of his Army service, and never had a day off duty through illness, until, subsequently to his horse falling, he developed symptoms which have necessitated his retirement from the arduous duties of the Army. It is hoped, however, that after a short rest, his experience in medical dietics will be again available.”
20. The Herald of the Golden Age, July 1916.
21. On an earlier occasion, Beard’s Editorial Notes contained the assertion that: “When people know things and are convinced that they are right, it is impossible for them not to act in accordance with their knowledge“.
The Herald of the Golden Age; April 1900.
22. The Herald of the Golden Age, August 1896.
23. It should be mentioned that The Vegetarian Messenger and Health Review which was published by The Vegetarian Society in Manchester and The Vegetarian News – the journal of The London Vegetarian Society – were both available in the main public libraries of the period.
“I became a vegetarian when a young man and as a necessary expression of my religious life. I had read of the cruelties, uglinesses, and debasements of the flesh-meat traffic, and as a keen member of the Young Men’s Christian Association I was humiliated at the thought that I was partly responsible for these seeing I ate flesh meat. I accordingly gave up the meat although the Y.M.C.A. doctor said I could not live three months without it.
Five years before this I had become acquainted with the vegetarian movement in Scotland as a boy in the shop of Provost John Storie, East Linton, who was a Vice-president of The Vegetarian Society and loved to discuss the subject with his customers. Mr. Storie was an ardent disciple with an alert and genial wit and seemed to me always to get the better of the argument. When over seventy he boasted he could climb Pencraik – a local hill a mile long – in fifteen minutes, and vault a five-barred gate. Of course he was scoffed at and dubbed a crank by most of the people, but he did not mind this, for his reading of history was that the most helpful revolutions in the world had been brought about by so-called cranks. It was not, however, till I read Carlyle that my inner nature was touched to the higher issues of things.
“Make yourself an honest man,” said the sage, “and you will know there is one rogue less in the world.” Not much of a reward it may be said for doing right, yet enough.
What of the results? It is difficult to say much on this point without appearing unduly egotistical. At the same time it is due to the facts to say that I became fitter in body, clearer in mind and with a fuller appreciation of the Verities generally than before. When I gave up flesh meat I could not run more than a mile at a time. Soon afterwards I was able to run six and eight miles as a harrier, and, later, along with my old friend, J. O. Quinton, to walk over fifty miles – Brighton to London – in the day. At seventy-five I still foot it o’er moor and fell and crag and torrent up to ten miles, rejoicing at the beauties Nature spreads before us and grateful for the many vegetist friends I have met and companioned with on life’s journey.
In conclusion, I would say with Bentham that the question of the animals is not can they reason, nor can they talk, but can they suffer; and, with him I would pray that “the day may soon come when the rest of the animal creation may acquire those rights which never could have been withheld from them but by the hand of tyranny.”
“Why I am a Vegetarian” – The Vegetarian Messenger and Health Review, February 1945.
Ernest Bell took an essentially secular approach to humanitarian activities yet touched upon theology in a 1927 pamphlet, entitled; Superiority in the Lower Animals:
“Man is an almost hopelessly conceited animal. He thinks that not only the earth with all that it contains was created for his essential benefit, but also the sky, the sun, and indeed, the whole universe, as far as he has any knowledge of it, were designed for his purposes and welfare.
The sun shines to warm him; the earth brings forth fruits to feed him; the mountains contain metals that he may use them; the mines produce coal that he may work his machinery and cook his dinners. He is the standard by which everything must be measured. What he does not care for has no value. The flowers which he does not see are said, in practical language, ‘to waste their sweetness on the desert air’.
When this is his view of inanimate nature, the world of life by which he is surrounded, of course, meets with no more respectful treatment. The animals whom he can use were, according to his view, created for that purpose by a beneficent Creator – the horse to draw his burdens, the cow to give her milk, the cat to kill mice for him. Even those animals whom he cannot use directly are held to be connected in some mysterious way with his welfare, as otherwise, he says, why should they exist? The Eton boy who wrote in defence of the Eton beagles that ‘the hare is a useless animal, you must own, and the only use to be made for it is for the exercise of human beings’, is typical of many others.
Man is the head, the apex of creation, towards whom God has been working from the beginning of time, and when he leaves this world he will find a special heaven prepared for him where no one else may enter except angels, and they, even, will not be superior to him, for he will be one himself then.
Truly a conceited being is this pigmy, whose knowledge of the universe is limited to what he can learn from or guess at by his five very imperfect senses, and a paltry undeveloped intellect which is ever palpably leading him astray”.