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“‘The heads of the firm—two brothers—paid a visit to Ireland, and, coming back, a terrific storm arose; they were washed off the deck of the steamer and drowned, leaving in the firm only the junior, the son of the elder brother, a young man of twenty years of age. As his capacity was moderate, and his habits not very regular, the trustees of the two deceased partners, of their own accord, proposed that I should receive £750 per annum, take the entire charge of the business, and stay an hour longer than hitherto. But after six months, finding that I lost rather than gained by the arrangement, as it encroached on the time I had hitherto devoted to my private business, I plainly told the trustees that I must be taken into partnership, or I would abandon the concern and establish a rival business, which might very seriously damage theirs. They proposed that I should be partner for life, with £1,500 a-year as a first charge on the profits of the business, but should have no right to leave any part of it to my family, but should have two-thirds of the profits as surviving partner in case of the death of the present head of the firm without children. A deed was executed to embrace these provisions, and I bound p. 80myself not to enter into any other business which would aim to rival that of the firm. On this I took a superior house, kept a horse and open carriage, two gardeners, and otherwise lived at the rate of about £1,200 a-year. My wife now retired entirely from business, which she had seen after for about the half of three days in the week.

“‘About four years after this, to my sorrow, but at the same time pecuniary advantage, the young man, my senior partner, died, after a few days’ illness, from pleurisy, brought on by bathing. His constitution was mainly built up on beer, beef, and tobacco. I, a vegetarian, was never ill after bathing. This young man was a martyr to the abuse of stimulants, who his foolish doctor encouraged in their use. I have made my will, and none of my children shall inherit a penny if they are not at the time of my death vegetarians and total abstainers.

“‘We had been so absorbed in business since we were married, that we had not for ten years taken a sea-side holiday; so in the summer of 1846 we determined on a yacht voyage to last two months, from May 1st till July 1st, round the coast of Ireland. We hired a yacht of fourteen tons, four men, and a boy. My wife and three eldest children and self went on board at Liverpool, and we had a most enjoyable sail until we reached the north-west coast of Ireland. We landed and explored many rocky bays, and I collected many beautiful sea-birds’ eggs, and shot many of the more uncommon of the sea-fowl, of which I have at present a trophy of stuffed birds, nine feet long, in my hall.

“‘Wishing to see the wildest part of the Irish coast, we sailed for the Arran Isles, and, landing there, spent some days in examining the curious stones for which these islands are famous. Some fishermen there spoke of an isolated rock in the sea, about a quarter of a mile long, very high, with a cavern in it, as the haunt of myriads of sea-fowl, some of species found nowhere else in the same abundance. With one of these fishermen as our pilot we reached the spot. There was a heavy swell round this island-rook, and we had great difficulty in landing. We determined to anchor the yacht about half a mile off, and proceed to the island in the boat with two of our men. Thinking we might like to spend the day there, we took with us two bags of rice, a basket of oranges, some loaves of bread, some peas and beans for soup, p. 81and utensils and wood for cooking. In order to afford a seat for the children, a tin chest from the cabin, full of a variety of provisions, was put in the boat’s stern, and we embarked, my wife expressing a regret that the provisions had not been emptied out lest they should make the boat too heavy. With great difficulty we managed to run the boat into a chasm about twenty feet wide and one hundred feet long in the cliff, which was high and very precipitous. This chasm formed a miniature harbour, where the boat could lie without any danger of being swamped, in deep water close to the cliff, against which it was moored to a projecting rock, as to an artificial quay. It was a considerable scramble to get out of the boat and up the cliff; we just managed it, and landing our provisions, one of our men made a fire and acted as cook, while we wandered over the island, and explored the cave. It was, in fact, a sort of twin cavern, two branches having one entrance; that on the right-hand side was about 150 feet deep, and was not tenanted, as it had no exit; that on the left hand was a tunnel of even greater length, and about forty feet high; it was the nesting-place of many sea-birds; cormorants, puffins, guillemots, razorbills, several species of seagulls, the arctic tern and gannet very abundant, and a few pairs of the shearwater; of some sort we took a good many eggs. We packed baskets with at least 100 dozen. I did not shoot, as I did not like disturbing the birds, they were so tame, being but little accustomed to the visits of man. There were some goats on the island, which we conjectured had swum ashore from a shipwrecked vessel.

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“‘This plateau, which was the highest part of the island, was reached by a path ascending about 200 feet. It was a beautiful emerald meadow, bounded by almost precipitous cliffs, which my eldest boy and I climbed up, but my wife declined the ascent. At about five we sat down to our dinner of pea-soup, boiled cabbage, bread, haricot beans, batter-pudding, and fruit.

“‘We were seated in the entrance of the cave, when suddenly a storm sprang up. The wind was so violent, that though we sadly wished it, we did not deem it prudent to get into our boat to rejoin the yacht. One of the sailors went on a high part of the island to observe, and soon informed us that the yacht had apparently dragged its anchor, and was fast disappearing.

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p. 82“‘We were all in a sad dilemma. Leaving my dinner unfinished, I, with my eldest son, went up the cliff; the yacht was nowhere to be seen, and the wind was so violent that we were hardly able to keep our feet on the cliff. I came down, and said we should be obliged to pass the night on the island. Accordingly, the sailors brought out of the boat all we had left in it, including some shawls, a large fur rug, and two sails and a quantity of tarpaulin, which we had intended to sit on had the ground been damp. Lighting a small lamp, I made a careful survey of the right-hand cavern; it was not straight, but turned at a sharp angle; the floor was dry, as were also the walls. I collected a heap of loose dry sand eight or ten feet long, by as many feet wide, and in this I spread the tarpaulin, and over this some shawls. As it got dark, myself, wife, and three children lay down on this extemporised bed, covering ourselves with the large fur rug. The wind made a great noise. The sailors lay down a short distance from us, wrapped in the sails. The next morning, between five and six, we were all up, and I made an inventory of our provisions. We had about eight pounds of oatmeal, about the same quantity of haricot beans, about fourteen pounds of lentils, about twelve pounds of maize flour, three pounds of arrowroot, two pounds of potatoes, a cabbage, four loaves of bread, and about a dozen oranges. With economy, we had vegetarian provisions to last a fortnight, if we could get fresh water—as yet we had found none. In the cavern where the sea-birds were, there was a patch of green moss on the wall, nearly obscuring a deep crack, extending for some yards into the rock. On putting my ear to the crack I distinctly heard water dropping. I tied a towel to a walking-stick and poked it into the crack, and pulled out the towel dripping. By dint of probing the rock, I increased the supply, and at last was enabled to get an oar into the crack, which, being placed obliquely, acted as a lead to the water, which now trickled down sufficiently fast to fill a tin can of a gallon capacity in about a quarter of an hour. I considered this providential. We were on this island ten days, and slept in the same manner. During the day we kept a sail on an oar attached to the boat’s mast, on the highest part of the island, as a signal of distress. We saw several vessels, but they did not come near the island. At last a smack lay to, and sent a boat to the island, and in about an hour we p. 83were on board the smack. On the island we adhered strictly to our vegetarian diet, substituting sea-fowls’ eggs for hens’ eggs. [83]

“‘The sailors killed and roasted two kids.

“‘The smack put us on shore at Dingle Bay, and after a month’s travel in Ireland we returned home, and heard that our sailors, taking advantage of our absence, had drunk too much of the store of rum they had provided at their own expense for the voyage, and that the vessel, becoming unmanageable, had capsised, the two men and pilot being drowned, the boy alone escaping, and, clinging to the keel of the yacht, he was picked up a few hours after. The yacht was righted by some fishermen, and eventually brought to the Isle of Man, where she was claimed by her owners, who had to pay a salvage of £70. As this incident had occurred during my hiring of her, I recouped them of part, and received back my baggage, not so very much injured as I expected. At the bottom of our box of provisions were some seeds from our garden, which we were carrying to distribute amongst the poor Irish at the places where we landed; so, thinking that some future shipwrecked wanderers might be benefited thereby, I cleared a patch of ground, and planted carrot, parsnip, and cabbage seed, before I left the little island; hoping, but not expecting, the goats would leave the tender vegetables unmolested.

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“‘I had been married about sixteen years, when I resolved to print a pamphlet on the subject of vegetarianism, giving my experiences and those of my wife and family. I gave away 2,000 copies, and with some result, for they were the means of adding over forty to the vegetarian flock. In this pamphlet I propounded a scheme for the renovation of my neighbourhood on vegetarian principles. At this time I employed about eight servants, male and female, in the house and garden. I gave the men 14s. a-week to find themselves, and they were allowed a certain proportion of such common vegetables as potatoes, carrots, turnips, and onions free. Being married men, they had each a distinct cottage, large and comfortable, with an ornamental flower-garden in front, and a fruit-garden at the back. They were built in the Gothic style, after my own design. Each of them kept bees p. 84and fowls for their own profit. Their style of living was the envy of all their neighbours. I allow none of them to take lodgers, and insisted on cleanliness; no rooms were papered, but all were whitewashed annually. During the many years that have elapsed since the first cottage was built, according to this plan, I have added to them, until the number has reached fourteen. They are mostly inhabited by Scotchmen. They are all temperance men, anti-tobacco, and mostly vegetarians. I do not give a man a cottage to himself until he is married to a clean, orderly, industrious women. My labourers’ children turn out well.

“‘One cottage is inhabited by my second gardener and his wife, without children. She teaches the boys and girls of the other cottages, and has done so for twenty years. I pay her £30 a-year. She was a trained schoolmistress before she was married. My head gardener is a religious man, and holds divine service in one of my barns, for about 100 persons connected with the estate. It is like a mother’s meeting, children of all ages being present. I am not sorry for this, for the parson of the neighbourhood is a great man for beef and beer, and his influence I dread on my little Arcadia. My head gardener now and then gives a lecture on vegetarianism in school-rooms, and we two have drown up a table suggestive of expenditure for rich and poor. Out of his wages he keeps his father and mother and two maiden aunts, comfortably, at an expenditure of about 7s. per week. He is an Aberdeenshire man, and about forty years of age. I hope his eldest son will become an eminent man; and I am paying for his education at one of the universities, on account of his extraordinary ability and fine natural disposition, and also on account of the respect which I feel for his father, who has helped me to carry out my principles on my estate. This man’s parents and aunts live in Aberdeenshire, and have never been on the parish. The laird gives them three rooms over an outhouse at 6d. a-week. They spent 2s. a-week on oatmeal, and 1s. a-week on milk. They grow vegetables enough to make a stew for dinner; a shilling’s-worth of flour gives them a meal of bread in the evening. They eat their bread without butter, but with their vegetable soup, made either of peas or beans; 3d. buys what condiments or groceries they require. They are always clean and tidy, and gather what fuel they need from the peat on the moor. The blind aunts p. 85are very strong, whereas the father is very feeble. They work the garden and collect the wood, he going with them to lead them on their way. My gardener has drawn up a table how an adult man may supply himself with wholesome food, lodging, and clothing at 7s. 6d. per week on vegetarian principles. He can get a room unfurnished for 1s. a-week; he can get attendance, to a certain extent, for 1s. a-week extra; his broad bill need not be more than 1s. 6d. per week; 1s. 6d. for green vegetables, including potatoes; 6d. for butter or oil; 6d. for cocoa, and 6d. for groceries; 6d. for clothing 6d. for washing. So the money is spent.

“‘Some of my gardeners’ sons, trained on the estate, spend no more when they go away from it. In one of them, named Dickenson, I have always taken a great interest, as he was the first born on the estate, and for a humble working man he has had a glorious career. At sixteen I gave him 16s. a-week for attending to my stove plants. At fourteen he had 10s. a-week. When he was eighteen a nobleman’s steward saw him, and offered him 30s. a-week to superintended a great stove-house. As I could not give such wages I let him go, but with great reluctance. He wrote to his father that, although he got 30s. a-week and many perquisites, yet he limited his expenditure to 8s. a-week until they offered to feed him and house him, when he cut down his expenditure to 3s. a-week. He could have had the best of meat, but he still preferred the vegetarian diet, and he induced two of the other servants, who were much troubled with indigestion, to become vegetarians. This vegetarian movement in the servants’ hall attracted the notice of the nobleman, who was much pleased to hear of it. By the greater use of vegetables than had been done formerly, especially by the introduction of potato pie, haricot-bean stew, and macaroni as every-day dishes in the servants’ hall, a saving of £500 per annum was effected in the commissariat of the vast establishment; therefore the nobleman was well satisfied, and presented my young Dickenson with a gold watch and chain, value £36, with an inscription, acknowledging his economy and fidelity. Dickenson’s head was not turned by all this, although his wages were soon after raised to £3 per week, and all food found. When the nobleman died, his successor presented Dickenson with £250, accompanied p. 86by a flattering letter, and retained him in his service at a salary of £200 a-year, Dickenson still living as he did before. After eighteen years’ service he was pensioned off with £100 per annum, and now has a nursery of his own, and is reputed to be worth between £7,000 and £8,000, although he is not more than forty years of age. He has married lately a most frugal but accomplished governess, who has saved £2,000. She was not a vegetarian when he married her, but is so now. I am as proud of Dickenson as if he was my own son. His sister is a most exemplary vegetarian governess; she has induced no less than eight families, with whom she has lived, to become vegetarians; and from her economy in her dress she has saved, in the course of twenty years of governessing, £400. On her showing me her bank-book I added £100 to it, and said if she saved £1,000 during my lifetime, I would add £500 to it. She is trying hard, and her brother has given her £110 towards it.

“‘My eldest unmarried daughter keeps my domestic accounts most beautifully, and audits those of any of the people I employ, with the object of impressing on them the advantages of economy. I have intimated to my children, that in proportion as they save they shall inherit. This may be an excess of paternal government in the estimation of many, but it has had a most beneficial effect. My family are so methodical and self-denying that they are said to realise some people’s idea of Quakers; but I have had little intercourse with that sect. The success of my own offspring, and the prosperity of my household and establishment, as you remarked to me, seemed to be due to an exceptional combination of qualities and circumstances—in my wife and myself in the first instance, and, secondly, in those I employ, who are somewhat like myself. This is true, I will admit; but it does not militate against the great principle as laid down in the Bible, that ‘the hand of the diligent maketh rich,’ that ‘industry has its sure reward,’ and that those who honour their parents shall receive blessing. I have done more for my parents than all my brothers and sisters united, and I have received more blessing than all my brothers and sisters united. Pardon my egotism.

“‘I will give you a few facts of vegetarians in our county. A squire and magistrate, with £2,000 a-year, used to spend £1,500 as a flesh-eater; he new spends £1,150, and is more p. 87comfortable, as a vegetarian. A barrister, whose doctor assured him that he should take three meals of meat and a bottle of wine daily for his health’s sake, now finds that by a vegetarian and temperance diet his expenses are reduced more than one-half, his health is better, and there is a corresponding increase of vigour and power of sustaining labour, such as he never before knew. A struggling clergyman, whom custom induced, he called it ‘compelled,’ to take three meals of meat daily, was under this system always in debt, and obliged to send the churchwardens, round every Christmas to ask for means to pay his way: now, on the vegetarian diet, he balances his income and expenditure, and is able to carry forward a few pounds every quarter. I believe, from more than forty years’ experience of the vegetarian diet, that were it generally adopted, nine-tenths of the pauperism and crime would disappear, that England would be able to supply herself with all the home-grown corn she requires, and that the national debt, if deemed desirable, could be paid off in thirty years.

“‘I corresponded regularly with my parents, and they, hearing I was getting into comfortable circumstances, would frequently write me complaints of poverty. To these I responded by remittances of money, and at this time wrote to my father, saying I would allow him £25 a-year, and my mother a similar amount. I visited my father about once in two years, but always took a lodging, and took my meals apart from him, for he was an inveterate smoker and a great beer-drinker, and filled his snuff-box three times weekly. I once made a random calculation that he had wasted £1,500 on stimulants in his life. These reflections prevented me from being more liberal to him. If I had given him £100 a-year, I only know he would have spent more on cigars. He would have bought wine at 6s. a bottle, and, perhaps, have increased his consumption of snuff. On getting a legacy of £75 once, £40 went to pay his publican’s bill. One day my father wrote asking me to accommodate my youngest brother and two sisters a few weeks, that they might see the sights of the town and get change of air. I wrote to my father that my wife and I would be very glad to see them, but they must not expect us to make any change in our vegetarian and temperance diet, but at the same time intimating that our style of living was very comfortable. There was an p. 88amount of formality between me and my father; he would sometimes call me, in derision, the Joseph of the family, because I went away from the rest and got rich, and I held his ill-success in life to be owing to his improvidence and self-indulgence, and feared he might want me to keep the whole family in idleness; accordingly I was not very much pleased at his proposal to send my sisters and younger brother to me. However, I assented, and they came. My elder sister, Mary Ann, was one of those sulky, vain, indolent natures which neither my wife nor I can sympathise with at all. Public opinion was her god, and Mrs. Grundy her godmother. One day she said to my wife, ‘I wonder you can endure to live as you do with your means; it strikes me as being very poor and miserable. Most people of your means have three meals of meat a-day. Do you never feel tired of the vegetables?’ My wife said no, and that she did not think she could preserve the same health and strength on a meat diet. My wife rose at six, and went to bed at half-past ten, whereas Mary Ann and her sister could not get down to breakfast till ten at home; but when they were with us we took care to have the breakfast cleared away at eight, so that if they came down at ten they had to wait till lunch before they got anything to eat. This strict commissariat roused Mary Ann two hours sooner than usual.

“‘Mary Ann was fantastic in her dress, and talked a great deal of nonsense to the servants, endeavouring to make them discontented with the vegetarian diet, and one of them gave notice to leave in consequence; so I thought it was time to settle with my sisters, and I placed them in a lodging and gave them £2 a-week to feed themselves as they chose, but they were welcome to come to our meals when they liked. To my surprise, although professing abhorrence of a vegetarian diet, they all came to take dinner and tea with us. My sisters were without watches or jewellery of any kind, and begged me to supply them. This I did, at a cost of about £40. My other sisters living at home, as well as those married and away, hearing of these gifts, wrote to me and demanded similar presents almost as a matter of right. I complied, although it cost me £120 more. I began to be weary of my family connections; they were no comfort to me, and my elder daughters began to be impertinent in consequence of the example of their aunts. My wife and I, when p. 89they left, resolved to drop all intercourse with them, lest the evil association might impair the discipline of our house.

“‘After staying six months, instead of a few weeks, my sisters and little brother left, saying they would probably come again about the same time next year. True to their promise they appeared the next year, and asked me to take a lodging for them as before. As they had come without any invitation, I thought that I would now for the first time read them a moral lecture, which, for the sake of the other members of the family, I put in the form of a letter, which was a good deal to the following effect. I have a copy of it in my letter-book at home. It began:—