World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Howard Williams (humanitarian)

Article Id: WHEBN0022550813
Reproduction Date:

Title: Howard Williams (humanitarian)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: History of vegetarianism, Leo Tolstoy, Veganism, Rynn Berry, Index of modern philosophy articles
Collection: 1837 Births, 1931 Deaths, English Humanists, English Writers
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Howard Williams (humanitarian)

Howard Williams (1837-1931) was an English humanitarian and vegetarian, and author of the book The Ethics of Diet, an anthology of vegetarian thought.

The book, first published in 1883, tells the history of vegetarianism since the writings of the first Pythagorean philosophers of the Ancient World until the author’s time. Among the authors mentioned in the book are: Ovid, Plutarch, Porphyry, Luigi Cornaro, Michel de Montaigne, John Ray, Voltaire, Alexander Pope, Percy Shelley, Alphonse de Lamartine, Joseph Ritson, and Gustav Struve.[1] Not all authors mentioned in the book were vegetarians (Thomas More, for example, was probably not a vegetarian[2]), but they all had critical views of meat-eating).[3]

It was of some importance at the time. As Jon Gregerson wrote in Vegetarianism: A History, “Not unimportant in the momentum gathered by the Vegetarian Movement in late Victorian England was a book by one Howard Williams entitled The Ethics of Diet, which was published in 1890”.[4] It was read by Indian spiritual leader Mohandas Gandhi, Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, English social reformer Henry Stephens Salt, and Portuguese philosopher Jaime de Magalhães Lima (as he mentioned in his conference O Vegetarismo e a Moralidade das Raças).

Gandhi, who met Williams in Ventnor, wrote in his autobiography: "My faith in vegetarianism grew on me from day to day. Salt's book Plea for Vegetarianism whetted my appetite for dietetic studies. I went in for all books available on vegetarianism and read them. One of these, Howard Williams' The Ethics of Diet, was a 'biographical history of the literature of humane dietetics from the earliest period to the present day'".[5]

Tolstoy considered it an “excellent book”, and in 1892 he wrote the preface to the Russian translation.[6] According to Tolstoy (1911, pp. 91–92) “The precise reason why abstinence from animal food will be the first act of fasting and of a moral life is admirably explained in the book, The Ethics of Diet; and not by one man only, but by all mankind in the persons of its best representatives during all the conscious life of humanity."[6] Henry Stephens Salt commented that “Of all recent books on the subject of animals’ rights this is by far the most scholarly and exhaustive”.[7] Jaime de Magalhães Lima, (a vegetarian and a Tolstoyan), used Williams book as a reference to write his 1912 conference O Vegetarismo e a Moralidade das raças .

In 1896 a new edition appeared with additional material (chapters on Asoka, Oliver Goldsmith, Henry David Thoreau, Richard Wagner, and Anna Kingsford, among others). The book however became a rarity, only available in certain libraries.[8] In 2003, the University of Illinois Press edited a new edition with an additional introduction by eco-feminism author Carol J. Adams.


  1. ^ Howard Williams, The Ethics of Diet
  2. ^ International Vegetarian Union – Thomas More
  3. ^ See, for example Jean Jacques Rousseau, George Louis Le Clerc de Buffon, Lord Byron and Arthur Schopenhauer
  4. ^ Jon Gregerson, Vegetarianism: A History, Jain Publishing Company, California, 1994, p. 78.
  5. ^ Mohandas Gandhi,An Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments With Truth, Part I, chapter XV.
  6. ^ a b Leo Tolstoy, Essays and Letters, Oxford University Press, 1911, 53-93
  7. ^ Henry S. Salt, Animals’ Rights considered in relation to Social Progress, London, 1894, p. 128.
  8. ^ Aaron Sommers. Why Tolsoy Would Never Supersize It.Coastline Journal.[1]/

Further reading

  • Jon Gregerson, Vegetarianism: A History, Jain Publishing Company, California, 1994, p. 78, 89.
  • , 1912O Vegetarismo e a Moralidade das raçasJaime de Magalhães Lima,
  • Howard Williams and Carol J. Adams, The Ethics of Diet: A Catena of Authorities Deprecatory of the Practice of Flesh-Eating, University of Illinois Press, 2003.
  • International Vegetarian Union - Howard Williams
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Hawaii eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.