The Fellowship of Life
a Christian-based vegetarian group founded in 1973

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Letters

Joseph Brotherton correspondence

Salford, Manchester,
April 21st. (1819)

"Dear Sir,

"Your letter of the 13th instant, addressed to Mr. W., requesting information respecting the religious society established here, the members of which abstain from animal food and intoxicating liquor, he has sent to me, desiring I would answer your inquiries, which I shall do with great pleasure.

"The Society consists of about three hundred adults, whose occupations, of course, are various, but who are chiefly engaged in the different branches of manufacture carried on in this neighbourhood. According to the Church Register, 3 members have abstained from animal food and intoxicating liquor eleven years; 50 members ten years; 41, nine; 18, eight; 23, seven; 11, six; 45, five; 33, four; and about 70 three years and under. The general state of health of our members is certainly superior to that of persons who do not adopt the same mode of living: this is capable of being proved by the books of the sick societies, which have now been established among us nearly six years. I conceive we have living examples to combat every objection that can be brought against the system, as regards health, having members of all ages who adopted the change under the most trying circumstances. In order that you may form some idea of our mode of living, and the principles we profess, I send herewith a Vegetable Cookery Book, a Hymn Book, and the first part of a work entitled, "Facts, authentic in Science and Religion," by the late Mr. Cowherd: of which I beg your kind acceptance. It is with great pleasure I can state that the dietic principles are daily gaining ground, particularly among medical men; indeed it is quite perceptible that a great change in public sentiment has taken place during the last seven years, and I am convinced that if people would but consider the incalculable advantages that would result to society by the more general adoption of the system, both as respects the health and morals of the rising generation, they would find unanswerable arguments in its behalf. Religion, humanity, reason and experience are all in favour of the principle that we have no right to kill for our "daily bread," but that fruit and vegetables are the natural food of man. You will find on reference to the "Facts" that there is sufficient authority for believing that animal food and inebriating liquor are injurious to health, besides having a bad moral tendency in brutalizing the passions, weakening the rational powers, and blunting every humane feeling; whilst, on the other hand, a vegetable diet and sober habits are conducive to the health of the body and the enjoyment of the mind, and instead of degrading the human character to the level of a savage, are calculated to elevate man in the scale of rational beings, and to prepare him for a purer state of society hereafter.

"I am, sir,

"With much respect, etc.,

"Joseph Brotherton."

Reply to a letter from James Lucock of Birmingham, from the Monthly Repository of 1819, Vol.14, p.312

NB. Joseph Brotherton (17831857) was the first M.P. for Salford and author of the tract On Abstinence from Animal Food (1821). He ministered at the town's first Bible Christian chapel after the death of it's founder, Rev. William Cowherd (17631816) and Chaired the inaugural meeting of the Vegetarian Society in 1847 .  

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