From – Life in the Open – a 1919 book.
“Eggs were meant to produce chickens and not omelettes; and cow’s milk is a perfect food for a calf, but most assuredly not for a grown-up human being“.
The Vegetarian Messenger & Health Review, p. 237 – Dugald Semple – 1912.
In our Ernest Bell Library, one beautiful shelf is specifically dedicated to the books and articles of Cathie & Dugald Semple.
Over the next months & years we will be systematically reprinting their writings – and also many other wonderful books, articles, pamphlets – for more about the library see – http://www.happycow.net/blog/?p=5665
Ernest Bell published two of Dugald’s books: –
Joys of the Simple Life – in 1915
Life in the Open – in 1919 – with Cathie’s 8 pages of – Recipes for Campers.
We have copies of each.
Dugald’s articles also appeared in Ernest Bell’s monthly magazines The Animals’ Friend..
Dugald Semple was a proponent of the ‘vegan’ diet & lifestyle 100+ years ago – long before Donald Watson & other of Dugald’s friends officially started The Vegan Society in the UK.
Donald Watson wrote about Dugald in the first ever issue of The Vegan News –
“Our friend and fellow member Dugald Semple tells us he has never tasted cheese, therefore it cannot be considered as an essential ‘binding agent’ for body and soul!“ – The Vegan News No.1 November 1944 – link below..
During the winters of the years just prior to WW1 Dugald had conducted lecture tours as far south as Southampton, talking to local Food Reform Societies about vegetarianism & simple living. He had also visited London.
“……the First World War broke out in 1914, and though a pacifist for religious reasons, I nevertheless felt it my duty to offer my services in a civil capacity to help my country. My view was that no one was exempt from the sins of his fellows, and should, therefore, do something, both in peace and war, to shoulder one’s social obligations.
First of all, I obtained a Government permit to give lectures on “Food Economy” along the Ayrshire coast, provided my caravan had no lights shining and was removed inland at night.“ – from Joy in Living – Dugald’s autobiography – 1957..
Catherine ‘Cathie’ Amos, already a very active vegetarian, was a widow when they married in 1916.
Semple, Dugald (b. Feb. 7, 1884 Johnstone – d. Jan. 19, 1964)
Son of Robert Semple, Clothier from Johnstone.
Married Catherine Amos in 1916.
Author: Simple Life Visitors 1909, Life in the Open 1919, Round Kintyre 1950.
Address: Rose Cottage, Fairlee, Ayreshire, Scotland.
Who Was Who Vol. VI 1961-1970.
The same year they moved together to London – experiencing German Zeppelin raids – staying there for more than 2 years.
Dugald had accepted the post of Secretary to the London Vegetarian Society and was soon very actively lecturing about ‘Food Economy’ in London.
From The Heretics Feast by Colin Spencer:
“At the end of the war civilian rationing began on 1 January 1918 with sugar, then meat, butter and margarine. The Government used two vegetarians Mrs Leonard Cohen and Mr Dugald Semple, to spread the message, so as to eke out the rations and propose meat substitutes.”
In the Ernest Bell Library we have several of Dugald’s & Cathie’s articles from the London Vegetarian Society’s magazines..
Cathie died in December 1941, from heart failure, just a few days after a stray German bomb fell near to their cottage. They had no children together. Cathie’s son, Ian, went ‘missing’ during WW1. Dugald lived until 1964..
Dugald – on diet
Dugald had practised his ‘fruitarian’ & mainly ‘vegan’ diet from about 1905/6.
“I began rather drastically over 50 years ago by cutting out not only all meat or flesh foods, but milk, eggs, butter, tea and coffee. Cheese I have never eaten; indeed I hate the very smell of this decayed milk. Next, I adopted a diet of nuts, fruit, cereals and vegetables. On this Edenic fare I lived for some ten years, and found that my health and strength were greatly improved. […] While I was in London (during World War I), I found it necessary to add some dairy products to my meals, but on returning to Scotland I gradually eliminated these again.“ – Dugald writing in about 1963 – from – HERE’S HARMLESSNESS An Anthology of Ahimsa – H. Jay Dinshah, Editor..
The Scottish Vegetarian Society featured Dugald’s article entitled “Fruitarianism” in their Health Reform journal in August 1907. In it Dugald contested that:
“By fruitarianism is meant a dietary consisting chiefly of nuts and fruits. Cooked cereals and vegetables are not necessarily excluded, although the exclusion of all cooked foods, should means and knowledge permit, will lead to better results. For this dietary it will be noticed that not only is flesh and meat omitted, but also the animal products milk and eggs. The use of these products by vegetarians has long been one of the chief objections to vegetarianism, especially in medical circles“. – Health Reform, August 1907..
“Most people do not die, they kill themselves with their knives and forks.“ – Dugald quoted in a piece in – The Glasgow Herald – Oct 12, 1953.
Dugald – quoted on simple living & being a crank
~ A practical exponent of the truly simple life is Mr. Dugald Semple, who lives in an old omnibus which he purchased for five pounds. In his book Living in Liberty, he states that it is not an ideal house but that it has some good points. “The first point,” he says, “in favour of such a house is, that you can have any locality or exposure you like, as your house is mounted on wheels. This feature, too, I should say in passing, would be rather a convenient one for those people who believe in moonlight flittings.” He remarks that an omnibus is well lit; the one he occupies having twelve windows and twelve ventilators in the roof. Mr. Semple is one of those who believes in going through the world hatless. “Being known as a crank, it did not bother me what other folks would say, for I had previously reckoned that if most people applaud your actions there must be something wrong with them.” ~ – from John Harris Stone’s 1914 book – Caravanning & camping-out; experiences and adventures in a living-van and in the open air, with hints and facts for would-be caravanners.
Dugald – Living the Simple Life – http://www.happycow.net/blog/living-the-simple-life-by-dugald-semple-vegan-108-years-ago/.
Here is one of Dugald Semple’s ‘leaflets’ from 1913 – we have added some notes below the article.
The Fruitarian System of Living.
By Dugald Semple.
The average individual when confronted with the question of abstinence from meat-eating usually replies that animals were meant for food, and that they would soon overrun the Earth if we did not eat them. Such statements, however, will not bear the light of criticism, and are only surface thoughts. We are apt to forget that Man’s appearance upon this planet is only of recent years as compared with the great period of evolution; and that many other animals lived their day long before the advent of the so-called beneficial influence of mankind. Even granting that Man is the highest creature in existence, he must not ignore the rights of the lower creation. It should rather be his duty to guide and guard them, so that he may be worthy of his honoured place.
The idea that animals would soon overrun the Earth if it were not for Man’s accommodating stomach, would certainly, if true, be a most serious objection to Fruitarianism, but the facts of the case are very much otherwise. Only a very small proportion of the animals used for food are bred in this country, the great majority coming from the cattle ranches of America, where they are purposely bred for meat-eating.
In order to know the perfect dietary for Man we must determine first his true position in Nature. Once we have proved this point, a real foundation to a scientific system of dietetics can be established.
The higher animals are classified by naturalists into four great divisions – carnivorous, omnivorous, herbivorous and frugivorous. To prove that Man is not carnivorous, we need only compare his physical structure with that of other animals.
If, for instance, we start with the digestive organs, and compare the length of the alimentary canal with the length of the body, we find that with Man, in common with the frugivora, such as the monkey, it is twelve times; in the herbivora, such as the sheep, it is thirty times; in the omnivora, as the pig, it is ten times; and in the carnivora, as the dog, it is three times the length of the body.
If again, we compare the teeth of Man with these four classes of animals, not only do we find that they most closely resemble in arrangement and form those of a frugivorous animal, that is an animal whose diet consists chiefly of nuts and fruits, but we also find that they are exactly the same in numbers as in the higher anthropoids. In fact, as all our great naturalists, such as Owen, Darwin or Linnaeus have shown, Man essentially belongs to the frugivorous family of the anthropoid apes. To put it in the words of Professor Baron Cuvier : – ” Comparative anatomy teaches us that Man resembles the frugivorous animals in everything, the carnivorous in nothing.” (1)
With regard to the so-called canine teeth of Man, these are found also in the frugivorous ape, and have no more to do with meat-eating than the gill-like slits in the embryo of Man have to do with fishing rods.
Perhaps the latest defence of meat-eating is that which, while admitting Man’s previous fruitarian dietary, contends that he has altered his previous arrangement. It reads so delightfully simple. The great Creator, having pity for Man’s bulky diet of cereals, fit only for horses, bovrilised the food of the gods until Man found sustenance in roast beef and pâté de foie gras Still the words of Sir Benjamin Ward Richardson, F.R.S., remain true: – ” By weighing the facts that now lie before us, the inference is justified that in spite of the very long time during which Man has been subjected to an animal diet, he retains in preponderance his original and natural taste for an innocent diet derived from the first-fruits of the earth.” (2)
Man, being then not a flesh-eating animal, it follows that he is disobeying the laws of his body when he eats flesh-meat, and hence must suffer. Even granted that meat is free from disease, it can be easily shown that flesh-meat is far from being a safe food for human beings.
This may seem an astonishing statement, but let us examine, say, any given quantity of fleshmeat, and what do we find? Besides containing about 20% of proteid matter, and 75% of water, there is also a quantity of waste matter (urea, uric acid, creatin, leukomaine, etc.) which is produced by the wear and repair constantly going on in all animal bodies. To be plain, then, the great hygienic error in eating flesh meat is that the body gets an extra supply of waste matter, which accumulates in the system, owing to the body having quite sufficient work to do in expelling it own quantity of urea, uric acid, etc.; and it is in such diseases as gout, rheumatism, or kidney troubles, that we find an excess of uric acid in the system.
But it may be asked here, what about carnivorous animals in relation to uric acid? Well, the difference is that the liver of the carnivorous animal is able to destroy proportionately ten to fifteen times as much uric acid as the liver of Man, owing to the fact that in carnivorous animals the liver is proportionately much larger and much more active, receiving a greater blood supply in proportion to that received by the kidneys. Hence we see that physiologically the human organism is not adapted to a meat diet.
The humane aspect of Fruitarianism usually appeals most to those likely to become converts, and even the majority of vegetarians give chief prominence to the ethics of Diet Reform. This is no doubt because everything connected with the trade of the slaughter-house is revolting to a refined and humane person. Nevertheless, the great bulk of Western peoples are deaf to the shocking brutalities associated with the killing of animals for food. They are loath to admit that animals have rights, and that these should be considered before mere personal gratification. How different from the teachings of Eastern nations, who hold that all life is sacred!
In defence of meat-eating it is often argued that there need be no cruelty in the slaughtering of animals, provided it is done by painless methods. But is it not cruel to kill a highly sensitive animal in the prime of its life by any method?
It is not necessary to go to Chicago (3) to know what goes on at the slaughter-house, usually concealed at the back of some side street. Just go into the first one you come across, and there see for yourself what flesh-eating means.
Besides, the cruelty in connection with flesh-eating is not confined to the slaughter-house; trace, for instance, the history of the bulk of the animals imported into this country to be killed for food, and you will find that from their birth on the cattle ranches of the West to their appearance in the form of beef-steak, it is a terrible succession of cruelties. An eye witness speaks as follows with regard to the cruelties in connection with cattle transit : – ” If a cattle boat could be put down in our streets as it is seen in mid-ocean, such a chorus of indignation would rise up from thousands of outraged human hearts that the State authorities would be compelled to put an end to it for ever.”
An excuse for meat-eating is often found in the Bible, the place of refuge for many who would rather evade a guilty conscience.
It is not my intention to quote the Bible in favour of Fruitarianism, although a strong casecan be established, but rather to appeal to the universal instinct of humaneness existing inall truly cultured people. To say that flesh-eating is right because it is permitted by certain persons mentioned in the Bible, when your own conscience condemns it, is simply to confess that your religious creed is worse than your own morality.
As Science places Man among the frugivorous animals, and flesh-eating is a hygienic error, the question remains; Why then do we find the majority of people in these islands freely partaking of butcher meat? Is it the effect of climate, civilisation or custom?
Most evolutionists are agreed that Man originally inhabited a hot country, where he could more easily obtain his natural food than in cold climates. As he migrated north, several important changes took place in his mode of living. The glacial period, or age of ice, separated mankind into distinct races, and forced Man to resort to all kinds of foods through long periods of famine. Hunting and killing animals for food then became the law of necessity for those cut off from tropical regions, but the idea that food is regulated solely by climate will not bear the light of investigation. The reason the Esquimaux live largely on blubber is simply because they can get nothing else, which no doubt has something to do with their abbreviated lives.
It is notable, too, that where we find the diet almost exclusively of animal food, as in Iceland, diseases such as scurvy and leprosy are quite common. In striking contrast we have the case of the inhabitants of the Ladrone Islands, discovered by the Spaniards in 1620. The Ladronians lived entirely on uncooked fruits, nuts and vegetables, and were a remarkably vigorous people. Disease was unknown to them, and many amongst them were centenarians. Such facts go to prove that Man in his migrations must not forsake his natural dietary. This no doubt was the original idea in planting fruit trees in the north or wherever Man went. (4)
The subject of scientific dietetics is one of the most necessary and interesting subjects that we have at the present day.
The meat-eater may think it strange to be told that his dietary is wrong, but why refuse enlightenment upon diet as in other things? Surely we ought to choose as wisely the materials for building the living temple as for any other habitation. And the vegetarian must not say that only the humane aspect of vegetarianism appeals to him, for without a sound knowledge of food-values there is great danger of underfeeding.
The beginner who wishes to abstain from flesh-meat must see that his body gets properly nourished. He must be reasonable above all things, and not make many rash experiments. Food must be studied in relation to health, or else the advice of an expert taken upon the subject. And it must be remembered that hitherto the physiology of food has been a most neglected subject, and that we are only beginning now to construct a food science.
Food is eaten to build and repair the tissues of the body, and also to supply it with heat and energy. The chief elements found in the body are oxygen, hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, calcium, potassium, sodium, phosphorus, sulphur, chlorine, iron, magnesium, and fluorine. These are formed into combinations of water, protein, fats, carbohydrates, and mineral salts.
Water, composed of hydrogen and oxygen, makes up at least 60 per cent, of the weight of the body, and is always largely present in our food.
Protein, composed of nitrogen, carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, sulphur and phosphorus, forms 18 per cent, of the weight of the body. The chief function of protein is to act as a flesh-former and is found as proteids in nuts, legumine in pulses, gluten in wheat, casein in milk or cheese, and albumen in the white of eggs.
Fats, composed of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen form nearly 15 per cent, of the weight of the body. Their purpose is to maintain, heat and create muscular energy. Nuts are especially rich in fats, and oatmeal contains more than any other cereal.
Carbohydrates, are composed of the same elements as the fats, but in less concentrated form.While they only form about one per cent, of the body tissues, they should nevertheless form the chief part of our food, as their function is to produce heat by combustion, and thus keep up the muscular activity and normal temperature of the body.
Mineral Matter, or Salts, are found in the body as sodium chloride, calcium phosphate, compounds of magnesium, iron and silicon. They form about six per cent, of the weight of the body, and are necessary to build up the bones and teeth as well as to carry on the processes of nutrition. Mineral matter is contained in the purest form in fruits, vegetables, nuts and cereals.
Some imagine that because flesh-meat is more like our human composition than vegetable food,it is therefore more easily digested, but the facts are otherwise. All proteids, whether vegetable or animal, must be made into a diffusible liquid before they can be absorbed by the tissues.
Another popular idea with regard to butcher’s meat is that it above all other foods contains the maximum of nourishment. The roast beef of old England is credited with almost marvellous powers of vitality and sustenance. Concurrently with these ideas we have the steady increase in the consumption of meat with statistics to show that during the last fifty years the British people have doubled their use of flesh-meat as food.
Alongside with this increase we have the question of physical degeneracy, and a Royal Commission to investigate the cause of the “Physical Deterioration of the British People.” (5) The mortality from cancer is increasing by leaps and bounds, and an operation for appendicitis will soon be quite fashionable.
Meat contains 19 per cent, of proteids against 25/7 in lentils and 23/7 in almonds. If, then, you leave off eating flesh-meat, you need only to include in your dietary such foods as nuts, cheese, eggs and legumes to get a sufficient quantity of protein to satisfy the demands of the body. Besides, remember that in every pound weight of flesh meat purchased you pay for three-quarters of a pound in weight of water, a fact which ought to be well known, especially amongst the poor and working classes.
It is a mistake, however, to imagine that food should be chosen solely for its quantity of proteids, for a comparatively small quantity of proteid is ample to meet the requirements of the body. According to the researches of Voit (6) and Chittenden (7) a maximum of two to three ounces of proteid daily is held to be sufficient.
The stimulating properties of meat, often mistaken for nourishment, is due to the effects of the waste products, leukomain, urea, creatin, etc., which call out the reserve forces of the body, thus causing a subsequent exhaustion of nerve power.
Cereals, the chief of which is wheat, contain almost a right proportion of food elements for the body and should be used without any interference with the outer parts of the grains. They should be slowly cooked and chewed almost to a liquid so as to obey nature and assist digestion.
Cereals are deficient in calcium and sodium, so we must include a good supply of fruits and vegetables in our food to provide the chief mineral matter of our body. The water in which vegetables are cooked must not be thrown away, as this contains the valuable organic salts. Vegetables should be steamed, or, better still, eaten as uncooked salads. They are especially useful to eliminate the poisons in the usual meat diet.
A great change has taken place in recent years in our knowledge of diet, owing to the results of modern investigators. The body is no longer thought of as a machine or an engine only needing fuel to give out work, but more as a living organism with a vital force independent of food to supply energy. This life-force flows through the body and generates heat and energy.
The effect of eating warm cooked foods is to cause this flow to be abnormal, and the body becomes stimulated instead of nourished. In this way we weaken the assimilative properties of our digestive organs and render the body more susceptible to cold. The remedy for this state of affairs is to eat uncooked foods which are true heat givers and which contain in their living cells forces which increase the magnetism of the blood. Cooking devitalises food, as seen when we kill seeds by boiling them; and by coagulating albuminous matter renders it more indigestible.
Another effect of cooking is to partially mineralise the organic salts contained in food. In this connection warning must be given of the various so-called ” nerve foods ” on the market. Owing to the fact that we find phosphorus in the brain, iron in the blood, etc., we must not conclude that these minerals should be taken in a crude form, for it is practically certain that they can only be assimilated in an organic form, that is, in the living tissues of vegetables, fruits, cereals, etc. Whole wheat, leeks and spinach are rich in iron, and are therefore useful in cases of anaemia.
At the mere mention of nuts as food most people usually retort that they are very indigestible. As this conclusion has been largely arrived at through partaking of nuts on some festive occasion when appetites have been more than satisfied, it is therefore of no account. Certainly, if nuts are eaten in the irrational manner in which most foods are, by washing down with all kinds of drinks, they will prove indigestible; but not if well masticated, or put previously through a nut mill, and eaten only with fruit.
A splendid combination of nuts and fruits with which to make sandwiches for the worker away from home, is to stone three pounds of dates and mix through a mincer with one pound of ground hazel nuts. Besides being cheap, it is a food sufficient to sustain the body during the most severe manual labour.
Money spent on fruit is never wasted, for fruit is Nature’s medicine, and will prove the cheapest doctor. If eaten in its raw state, its value as a blood purifier cannot be over-estimated, and not only does it supply the needed liquid for our bodies in its purest form, but also the organic salts which are necessary for the processes of healthy nutrition.
Those beginning a fruitarian dietary should see that their whole lives are correspondingly natural. A reformation in diet will not of itself bring about Man’s physical salvation. The vital forces in uncooked foods can only be liberated by those living a healthy life, with plenty of exercise in the open air. Otherwise the body must be stimulated with tasty dishes to suit other unnatural practices.
After all has been said, the best test of Fruitarianism is a personal trial, and this depends largely upon its motive. After eight years’ experience I am firmly convinced that wherever this diet is given a fair trial it will prove much superior to the average meat diet. But do not imagine, if your trial be for health reasons, that years of wrong living can be made up for in a few weeks, or that diet alone will cure all diseases.
The greatest obstacle to Fruitarianism is not direct refutation, but gross indifference as to whether it is right or wrong. This attitude, along with its sister one, namely, “What will so-and-so think?” indicates, I believe, the true position shown by most outsiders towards this question of Food-Reform.
As to being indifferent, certainly it is not difficult so long as you can get others to kill what you eat, but how can you square this with the ethics of “Doing unto others as ye would that they should do to you?” And instead of wondering what so-and-so will think, rather reflect upon what we owe to those in all ages who have suffered for the cause of Truth.
Lastly, remember, that what we fruitarians stand for is not mere sentimentality, but justice and love to all sentient creatures; and that a life lived in obedience to one’s highest convictions is the only one which will give peace and happiness.*
Truth is mighty and will prevail. No matter what the world may say, “One with God is a majority.” Therefore, whatever you have to do, whatever you believe to be right, do it with all your might, and you will not be left alone in weakness to establish the truth. To be one with Spirit and united with Soul is to be a co-worker with the Angels. Therefore let the world say of you what it will, you may defy it and all its rulers for Truth’s sake. You have to establish the Kingdom of God and the spiritual light in this fair land. – Rev. J. C. Street. (8)
God and humanity are one. There is no chasm between God and ourselves unless we create one. We can be like God by living in Him and his law. His only law is love. Let us bring it into the daily exercise of this life. Let us lead a simple life and be kind and gentle to one another.
When we see about us men and women whose hearts are pierced by calumny and slander, let us give them words of sympathy and comfort. Let the clasp of our hand assure them of mutual helpfulness. The strength lies within us; let us exercise it. A Heaven on Earth is necessary; a Heaven beyond is useless to us now. A Heaven on Earth will be ours when we have earned it. Atmos. (9)
* Reprints of this article can be obtained from the Author, Wheelhouse, Bridge of Weir, 1 1/2d., post free. (10)
Dugald Semple – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dugald_Semple
(1) Georges Cuvier – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georges_Cuvier.
(2) Sir Benjamin Ward Richardson – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Ward_Richardson – quoted in Henry S. Salt’s book – The Logic of Vegetarianism – http://archive.org/stream/logicvegetarian00saltgoog#page/n32/mode/2up
(3) Refer to The Jungle – a 1906 novel written by the American journalist and novelist Upton Sinclair. – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Jungle – vivid descriptions of Chicago’s meatpacking district.
(4) The Ladrone Islands – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mariana_Islands
(5) The Inter-departmental Committee on Physical Deterioration 1903/4 — http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/education/britain1906to1918/timeline/g2_timeline.htm & http://www.sirc.org/timeline/1904.shtml
(6) Carl von Voit – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_von_Voit
(7) Russel Henry Chittenden – http://www.sportsci.org/news/history/chittenden/chittenden.html
(8) James Christopher Street – active vegetarian & prohibitionist – http://www.ivu.org/history/vfu/meeting18.html
(9) Atmos – cannot identify this quote – any help appreciated..
(10) Not any more – …..over the next months & years we will be systematically reprinting Cathie & Dugald Semple’s books, articles, pamphlets.
Our Own Projects
The Henry Salt Archive is one of our, almost completed, projects.
The Humanitarian League is our Hong Kong registered charity.
The Ernest Bell Library was conceived in 1934. It is still strong & active eighty years later – its primary objectives are to: –
Collect all of Ernest Bell’s book & non-book works and make them easily accessible to everyone.
Collect the literature of vegetarianism and all the other humanitarian movements in which Ernest Bell was so deeply involved.
Assist students and scholars in their research.
Introduce all aspects of Ernest Bell’s life, including his writings, campaign work, influences and his circle of friends.
Undertake our own research into missing aspects of Ernest Bell’s life and work.
We already have more than 300 pieces of Ernest Bell’s own writings.
We have a passion for sharing excellent quality vegan articles / items – making them easily available to 21st C folk.
Most early books & magazines on veganism were originally only published in the hundreds or in the low-thousands of copies.
Wars, weather, insects, careless humans, etc. have combined to make many of them very hard to find.
We are actively building a collection of examples of promotional material, campaign material, fundraising & marketing activities etc. – related to: –
veg(etari)an books & other publications.
animal rights organisations.
animal rights publications.
rambling clubs run by members of the above groups & related publications.
the work of Richard St. Barbe Baker & the ‘Men of the Trees’ organization & its many sub-branches.