Document 9B: "Vegetarian Festival. Banquet at Metropolitan Hall," New York Times, Sept. 5, 1853, p. 1.

[p. 1]



Speeches of Horace Greeley, Mrs. Vaughn, Mrs.
Frances D. Gage and others.

    The New-York Vegetarian Society inaugurated a Vegetarian Festival at Metropolitan Hall on Saturday evening. Some three hundred men and women sat down at table. The tables were set for double that number, but a dispersion was effected, and the paucity of numbers was more real than apparent. The display of vegetables was not tempting. The viands were poorly dressed, and the meat-eating public gained no especial knowledge of the delights of a GRAHAM life; but, after all, the evening cannot be called a failure. The speakers, and there were plenty of them, did their best to entertain, and really succeeded very well. The spirit was, of course, all in the talking. Tea and coffee even were prohibited.

    The tables, ten in number, were ranged longitudinally, occupying all the available space on the floor of the Hall. The galleries were set apart, at one shilling per man, for the benefit of spectators who had no desire for vegetable banquetings. The company on the floor was composed, probably, of two-thirds ladies and one-third gentlemen. Attentive ushers, with appropriate badges, performed the duties of stewards, and contributed to the comfort of the diners whenever they could be caught.

    The presiding officers were HORACE GREELEY, Esq., and Mrs. FRANCES D. GAGE. On the dais with them, were Rev. JOHN PIERPONT, LUCY STONE, C. C. BURLEIGH. Mrs. NICHOLS, and several other prominent speakers and actors in these movements of reform.

    The hour announced for the banquet was 6 o'clock; but it was a half-hour beyond that time when the tables were occupied.

    Mr. GREELEY said he had been requested to state that the Dinner was not yet quite ready. While we waited, friends were invited to take seats and await the approaching event with calmness.

    The assemblage--the company is perhaps the better term, although as everything was odd, there is no good reason why the appellations should not be made uniform,--the assemblage accordingly ranged back upon the cushioned benches; gazed wistfully upon the melons and the pumpkins, and pine-apples, squashes, sweet-potatoes, blanc mange and cold water,--and waited, as per order. The suspense was presently relieved.

    The CHAIRMAN--While we are waiting, I will ask the Amphions to favor us with a song.

    The Amphions came forth. They sang a lay of Reform. It was, of course, well received and roundly applauded.

    The CHAIRMAN called upon Rev. Mr. SHAW to invoke a blessing, which was done.

    The CHAIRMAN then announced the appearance of THE DINNER. There was instantly a general scramble. Strong-minded women helped weak limbed men to manage heavy tureens of soup--rice and tomato Epicures--and there were not a few among the auditors who had come to test the cuisine of Vegetarianism, as well as to see sights and bear wonders--epicures, we repeat, looked with dubious glances upon gelatinous compounds, soups, destitute alike of fleshy savor, of condiment, of salt even, and deficient in quantity where the onslaught was fiercest. The rice soup we pronounce very much unseasoned: the tomato might have been improved had there been castors on the table, or shout the ante-rooms. Both, however went off remarkably well, and were popular. Then followed the farinacea [?], the vegetables proper, the cooked fruits and the raw, the relishes--"cocoa-nut custard" and "fruited ice-cream." Very good. The "beverage" was "pure cold water." The purity we had no objection to assenting to; the "cold" was purely imaginary; the warmth of the festivity affected the liquids to an alarming extent. In fact, it may be said, with no fear of exaggeration, that there was no ice in any portion of the evening's programme. This, perhaps, was to be regretted; a little of pleasant frigidity is a good thing to be borne in mind on a warm evening, early in September.

    For the inspection of the curious in such matters, we append a copy of the bill of fare furnished for the occasion, including the programme of performances before and after the feast. It was as follows:


Song of Grace........................ By the Amphions.

    Lo, the world is rich in blessings!
Thankful all, His praise report;
"Every herb, and each tree yielding"
Seed and fruit, shall be our meat."
Nature's banquet, pure and peaceful,
Is a "feast of reason" too;
Every healthful sense delighting,
Ever changing, ever new.

Prayer........ By Rev. P. H. Shaw, of Williamsburg.



    Tomato Soup, Rice Soup.


    Graham Bread,

    Fruited Bread,

    Wheat Meal Cakes,

    Corn Blanc Mange,

    Mixed Fruit Cake,

    Apple Biscuit,

    Moulded Rice,

    Moulded Farina,

Moulded Wheaten Grits.


Baked Sweet Potatoes, Stewed Cream Squashes.


Mixed Fruit Pies, Pumpkin Pies.









    Plum Jelly,

    Baked Apples.


    Cocoanut Custard,

    Fruited Ice Cream.


Pure Cold Water.

Speeches, sentiments songs will succeed the Festival.

Festival Tickets--Gentleman's, $1; Lady's, 50 cents.

    Just as the Dinner was completed, the BOUQUETMAN marched in, bearing his flowers with him. He was heavily laden. The bunches and baskets were not more lastly displayed at the Temperance gathering on the preceding two days. The vendor, in his pleasant way--very like HAROLD SKIMPOLE, an allusion for those who read Bleak House--wended his steps to the platform, which he ascended, and proceeded to deliver himself as follows:

    Friends! Have I an again, as you see! I have brought my flowers with me. The editors say that I am making my fortune with them. But I want you to understand that all the offerings I have made, and all that I shall make, are free-will gifts. It all comes out of my own pocket, and all the reward I ask is the privilege of reciting a short favorite recitation of my own. He began with the little poem beginning:

    "Go! feel what I have felt;
Go! bear what I have borne?"

    The President interrupted him, remarking, so far as we could understand him, that he (the Bouquet-vender) had "brass enough to make a bell-metal kettle." To which the individual in question immediately retorted that if such were really the case, the honorable Chairman "had sap enough to fill the kettle." These personal allusions, the only ones of the kind during the evening, were all taken pleasantly, and the company indulged in a cachinnatory explosion over them.

    Order was then restored.

    Rev. Mr. EBAUGH was called upon to return thanks for the provision of the evening.

    A song followed from the Amphions.

    Seats began to move, the diners endeavoring so to adjust them that a view of the platform should be commanded.

    The CHAIRMAN--Please be quiet! After the song, we will give you time.

    The song proceeded. It narrated the adventures of a Vermont lad, who went down to Boston to see a Temperance gathering. He was so favorably impressed, that he tried to found a Society of Temperance people at home. The girls all helped him to sing. Deacon SIMPKINS, however, was a hard case. He was finally brought to terms by the following offer, made in bad metre:

    "I agreed, if he would sign, I'd marry his daughter;

     And he went off and signed the pledge to drink nothing but cold water!"

    The latitude and longitude of the seats were now duly adjusted, and the speaking was commenced. It was kept up with great spirit until 10 o'clock.

    Mr. HORACE GREELEY, the presiding officer of the evening, was the first speaker. He said:

    Tonight we stand on the dividing ridge, so to speak, between two weeks of Reform movement. The two weeks we have passed and are to pass through are full of interest and value to the friends of Reform. The Convention which closed its session in this Hall last evening, met not without apprehension. It was an apprehension of annoyance on the one hand, and of indifference on the other. It was to be feared that the cry of factions would be raised, that the call for a Whole World's Temperance Convention would be considered as a disorganizing, ultra scheme. The press, always, and properly, conservative was inclined to consider the meeting not as a meeting for Temperance. The movement was therefore, exposed to the indifference if not the hostility of the Temperance press. The Pulpit, too, was generally against it. I therefore as an individual feared that the Convention would be a failure.--a failure, at least, as compared with the power and respectability and the opposing members of the Convention of next week. I think however, that the results have clearly proved otherwise. I think we have settled the question of the right and propriety of Woman's using her best efforts for Moral and Social Reform. This question will not be discussed hereafter, because it will not be again disputed. We have gained, therefore, a victory. In this movement, we have bad evidence of a large perhaps of a preponderating share of moral and intellectual power. Well, therefore, we look forward to another week. Tomorrow, (Sunday) this Hall will be appropriated to purposes of religious worship, to be conducted by our friend ANTOINETTE BROWN. On the afternoon and evening in the same place, we shall have the old and true friends of the Anti-Slavery cause. Their friends deemed it impossible to allow them to remain over for several days --and many of them are at present staying in the City-- without being enabled to hear from them. And then, we have the Woman's Rights Convention; and then the Temperance Convention, which I hope, sincerely, will be attended with lasting good results. At this noonday, then, between these various gatherings, it is eminently proper that we should meet here tonight, to partake of this simple and farmer-like repast. We have met, a band of earnest laborers, but rather as workers who are off duty, as it were, taking our ease and resting from our toils. I rejoice that this meeting has been called to night. I rejoice that the meal we have enjoyed has been so simple and regal in an age of those who believe that domestic reform underlies much of the Reform movement of our day. All reforms-- whether Anti-Slavery, Temperance or Women's Rights, for these all have natural afflictions and incite and encourage each other-- reformers cannot help being with the necessity of a reform. Our appetites do absorb too much of our attention. How frequently do we see individuals who are "indisposed" with headaches in the morning and headaches at night. These perpetual illnesses mainly the results either of willful violation or culpable neglect of Divine Law.  Pain is a belligerent reminder--a disguised angel sent from Heaven to warn us that we are not on the right track, and that we had better get to it again as soon as possible. Every thinking person,--every reform--and the terms are nearly synonymous, will agree that we, the American people eat a great deal too much animal food I have not met a man for the past ten years who was not willing to go to this extent. My own convictions go even further than that it is true that in regions of Polar ice and cold, where the animal economy is in need of life-sustaining influences, the use of animal food becomes a necessity, but it is deplorable that it should be equally a necessity in regions where the earth's products are yielded abundantly. And I hold that the world would become wiser and stronger and richer than it is now were it to discontinue the use of animal food altogether. Mere speaking, however will not effect this reform. It is to be brought about by multiplying and perfecting the production of the fruits of the earth. When we shall have a good vegetable product, it will be found that men will gradually disuse and reject animal food altogether. I often eat animal food for the reason that tables frequently contain nothing besides that is fit for the food of man. I wish that some enterprising man would favor us by starting a "Vegetarian Hotel" in New York, and a Vegetarian Eating-house. A simple. modest, quiet hotel, with a good Vegetarian Refectory, and well kept, in connection with it, and the whole well managed and well advertised in the City, would do well. Such a refectory should be conducted on strict Temperance principles and be entirely free from the fumes of tobacco (applause). Such an establishment would be the nucleus, the focus of an ever widening Reform movement. Reformers would tend toward it, and it would naturally become the headquarters of Reform. Mr. GREELEY warmly urged this project upon the attention of his hearers. We had but a word or two more to offer, and those were in connection with some remarks made in the Convention by Mr. CHAPNIN, concerning the necessity of providing amusements, intellectual and humorous - relaxation for the mind. Mr. GREELEY fully agreed to the importance of the principles here involved. We may grumble at the theatres, he said, and we know they are bad enough: we may growl at the  grog-shops and find fault with public amusements generally; but unless we do something practical this lamentation will be wasted.  The principle we accept that the human mind needs amusement. The rare demand is entertainment and relaxation. We should not grumbling, but should see, to present some elevating, moral, and purifying resort.

    After some further remarks, Mr. GREELEY concluded by proposing the following sentiment:

    "The Divorce of Festivity from Alcohol--May it be speedy, thorough and everlasting."

    (Loud applause.)

    DR. JACKSON was called upon to speak, and did so; but he sustained sundry severe interruptions, and was delayed in finishing.

    He discussed the entire question of Vegetarianism, and denounced meat eating. Our beef, said he, is stall-fed: our veal is stable-fed: and animals are placed in the most unhealthy condition possible, in order to secure to them such a state of body, organization, or condition as will justify us in eating them.

    A lady from the gallery, very excited--Put me down as a meat-eater. (Laughter and applause.)

    Dr. JACKSON--Another point to which I wish to call your attention is--

    Second Lady--I am a meat-eater. (Roars of laughter.)

    Dr. JACKSON--Another point to which I wish to call your--(Hisses and yells.)

    The Orator--I wanted to say nothing that in any way could be deemed personal, because I am a stranger here. But I want to say what I believe, and it is this: that meat is extremely injurious to children; it simulates them while young, and acts precociously in their development, giving them an early and undue maturity, making them men and women before they should be, in the order of nature.

    Mr. GEO. W. CLARK was called upon for a song, and gave "Pure Cold Water," holding a glass in his dexter [?] hand.

    The President here gave notice of a Woman's Temperance Convention, to be held in the Tabernacle this evening, and called upon the President of the Women's New-York State Temperance Society to make a speech, which she subsequently did, and was well received Several additional targets we've given and responded to. The speakers were Dr. HARRIET K. HUNT, Mrs. C. R. L. NICHOLS, and Mrs. FRANCIS G. GAGE. After these the Chairman read a sentiment, as follows:

    "The ballot-box." [Shouts for PIERPONT and BOOTH.]

    The Rev. Mr. PIERPONT said: "I will only give a sentiment. for I am not going to make a speech:

    "For a man who has spoken one evening too long,
To speak next evening at all would be wrong."

[Laughter and applause.]

    Mr. BURLEIGH--"I will amend that:"

    "A man who has spoken the first evening too short,
If called to speak the next certainly ought."

[Loud laughter and applause]

    THE BOUQUET-MAN--I'm the Bouquet-man [Laughter.] I can amend that:

    "If a man has nothing to say with a will,
I think he had better be still."

    Mr. BOOTH being called upon, responded to the toast. He made a good speech, and concluded by giving the following sentiment:

    "The Vegetarians of New-York and the vegetation of Wisconsin made for each other--If the growth of the former is equal to the latter, their cup of prosperity will be full."

    MR. BURLEIGH--I will give you Sancho Panza, with his noble sentiment, "Blessed be the man who invented sleep. It covers one all up so like a mantle."

    After some further by-play, the President suggested that an adjournment take place. It was Saturday night, and it was getting late. The hint was taken, the parting song was given by Mr. CLARKE, and the company dispersed--no doubt wiser and better than they came, but with appetites not appended, but sharpened.

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