"In 1674, Thomas Willis treated diabetes by recommending a diet high in sugar, in order to replace the sugar being leaked by the kidneys, thereby inadvertently hastening patients’ deaths." via David Haslam
"Thomas Willis pensively sipped from his glass. It was sweet, even a little delicious. In 1674 the Oxford University physician was far from the first doctor to taste urine, but he was the first Western doctor we know of to connect the sweetness of urine to the condition of its owner, a person suffering the effects of diabetes. Willis was baffled by his findings and recorded his experience in Pharmaceutice rationalis: “But why that it is wonderfully sweet like sugar or honey, this difficulty is worthy of explanation.” Sickening Sweet
Thomas Willis treats diabetes by recommending diet high in sugar to replace leaking sugar, discovered sweet taste of pee.
Eating the flesh of animals, considered in itself, is somewhat profane; for in the most ancient times they never ate the flesh of any beast or bird, but only grain . . .especially bread made of wheat . . . the fruits of trees, vegetables, milks and such things as are made from them, as butter, etc. To kill animals and eat their flesh was to them unlawful, being regarded as something bestial. They only took from them uses and services, as is evident from Genesis 1, 29-30. But in the course of tiume, when mankind became cruel like wild beasts, yea more cruel, then first they began to kill animals and eat their flesh. And because man had acquired such a nature, the killing and eating of animals was permitted and is permitted at the present day. -Heavenly Arcana
Michaels recounts that William Heberden, one of the “most learned physicians of the day,” presented the first properly recorded cases of chest pain to the Royal College of Physicians of London on July 21, 1768. The afflicted “are seized, while they are walking . . . a painful and most disagreeable sensation in the breast, which seems as if it would take their life away if it were to increase or to continue.” These attacks would continue for months, or even years, until the final blow came. Heberden called the condition angina pectoris (severe pain of the breast) (Michaels 2001, 9).
"Nevertheless, it was the simple observation of Willis that gave the disease its new name “diabetes mellitus,” but it was more than a century later that his argument was substantiated by the demonstration of sugar in the blood and urine of diabetics by Robert Wyatt in 1774 and subsequently by the more thorough studies of Matthew Dobson (1732–1784), who had a fairly good of knowledge of chemistry. In 1776, Dobson showed that the sweetness of urine is caused by sugar, which he quantified and showed to be subject to alcohol and acetate fermentation, and that its appearance in the urine is preceded and accompanied by a similar sweetness and sugar in the blood, albeit not as much as that detected in the urine. Diabetes now came to be viewed as a disorder of nutrition in which sugar accumulates in the blood and is excreted in the urine. This was to launch a whole new approach for the dietary treatment of diabetics and with it a shift to the digestive organs as the site of the disease and more specifically to the absorption of “saccharine matter” in the stomach."
Dobson showed that the sweetness of urine is caused by sugar, which he quantified and showed to be subject to alcohol and acetate fermentation, and that its appearance in the urine is preceded and accompanied by a similar sweetness and sugar in the blood, albeit not as much as that detected in the urine.
Experiments and Observations on the Urine in Diabetes.
"It was agreed to try the effects of animal food. He is directed to abstain from vegetable food in every shape. To have two eggs for breakfast. Boiled meat and steaks alternately for dinner. Eggs, or cheese for supper. For drink eight pounds of weak beef tea, and two pounds of weak peppermint water. Solid ingested about two pounds. "
Dr Rollo suggests 2 pounds on only meat, cheese, or eggs for diabetes.
"I therefore immediately suggested to him the propriety, and the absolute necessity, of abstaining ridigly from all fermented liquors and vegetables, with everything else that could impart oxygen to the system by the primae viae; and at the same time ordered that his diet should consist principally of fat beef, pork, and such ailments as were of a gross or unctuous quality, and most likely to produce hydrogen in the greatest abundance. After this patient had persevered in the above medicines and regiment during a fortnight only, he found his thirst by no means so excessive. The quantity of his urine was considerably diminished, and became also of a quality more urinous, and less sweet. His amendment continued to be progressive, without feeling any interruption, either from natural or adventitious causes; and he was completely free from every symtom of the disease in less than three months after the medicines were first administered. He never once deviated from the regimen prescribed. My patient has now continued perfectly well for more than eight months, and to my enquires, very lately, he declared, that he never enjoyed a better state of health, than he does at the moment."
Dr Redfearn uses a diet principally of fat beef and pork to treat diabetes.
A case of the Diabetes Mellitus, which terminated in a complete, and, as far as can be judged by apparent Circumstances, a permanent Cure, by Medicines, abstracting Oxygen from the System, and a Diet consisting totally of Animal Matter.
"Even Lewis and Clark reported this problem during their travels in 1805: Clark returned from a hunting party with forty deer, three buffalo, and sixteen elk, but the haul was considered a disappointment because most of the game "were too lean for use." That meant plenty of muscle meat but not enough fat.
-Nina Teicholz - The Big Fat Surprise - page 18
Lewis and Clark discover that wild hunted game can be too lean for use.
From The Development of the Movement by The Vegetarian Society UK:
Two followers of the Reverend Cowherd, the Reverend William Metcalfe and the Reverend James Clark, set sail for the United States with thirty-nine other members of the Bible Christian Church in 1817. Some of them remained vegetarian and provided a nucleus for the American vegetarian movement.
The current and increasingly publicized debate over the vegetarianism of Jesus Christ, brought to the mainstream largely by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, has a history in the United States. In 18th-century America various Christian sects practiced ascetism that included the "self-denial" of vegetarianism. However, it wasn't until the 19th century (as far as this historian has thus far been able to discern) that vegetarians took their contention about Jesus and vegetarianism public. It began in 1817, when Reverend William Metcalfe of England brought a small group of Bible-Christians, members of a church established a decade before by the Swedenborgian Reverend William Cowherd, to Pennsylvania.
Once settled in America, Metcalfe and his wife, Susanne, tried to teach their neighbors in Philadelphia about pacifism, temperance, abolitionism and vegetarianism--major tenets of their religion. His church did not enjoy widespread success, but what it lacked in size it gained in loyalty.
Metcalfe's little group of loyal vegetarians and their leader not only abstained from meat, they believed that Jesus had been a vegetarian. On account of teaching such a belief, Reverend Metcalfe, a congenial, pious and well-liked man, was unable to build a large congregation and sometimes suffered the slings of opposition to vegetarianism. Metcalfe's wisdom as a preacher and a person was attacked in the newspapers, and he was called "Infidel."
As a result, Metcalfe constantly had to struggle to keep the church financially stable. When he wasn't preaching, he was busy teaching in the church's tiny school, or writing and publishing two newspapers that reported on issues such as slavery, temperance and, it can be assumed, vegetarianism. Metcalfe's legacy of vegetarianism doesn't end at the church gate, for he was a force that brought together two other determined and courageous vegetarians. Those two individuals were Sylvester Graham and William Alcott, M.D. Together, Metcalfe and the two renowned vegetarian advocates formed the first national vegetarian organization in Americ
Rev Metcalfe brings 40 Englishmen to Philadelphia with vegetarian ideals tied to their faith
Reverand William Metcalfe sails to Philadelphia from England with 40 members of Bible Christian Church
French lawyer and gourmand Brillant-Savarin publishes The Physiology of Taste, in which he says he has identified the cure for obesity: “More or less rigid abstinence from everything that is starchy or floury.”
Brillant-Savarin writes the cure for obesity: “More or less rigid abstinence from everything that is starchy or floury.”
Following up Back, let us turn to his colleague Richard King's Narrative of a Journey to the Shores of the Arctic Ocean in 1833-35 ... (2 vols., London, 1836). We fail to learn anything pertinent about cancer on Lake Superior; but the expected Lake Athabaska reference turns up on page 108 of the first volume:
“... I proceeded (from Fort Chipewyan) to the woods with my gun and vasculum in search of specimens of botany and natural history; in which employment, and in administering relief to the sick people at the fort, my time was entirely engaged. Amongst those who daily came for medical advice was a half-breed woman with her upper lip in a highly cancerous state. It was a case wherein a surgical operation was absolutely necessary, to which the poor woman readily submitted. She bore it with much fortitude, fully justifying the character imputed to these people.”
Richard King also finds emerging evidence of cancer in westernized native populations.
Narrative of a Journey to the Shores of the Arctic Ocean
During the early summer of 1833, the future Admiral Sir George Back, after whom Back's River in arctic Canada has since been named, was on his way from Britain to discover it. With his later equally famous surgeon-naturalist companion, Dr. Richard King, Back traversed the St. Lawrence River and followed the north shore of Lake Superior westward before crossing northwest to the Mackenzie system at Fort Chipewyan, both doctor and captain interested in what they could learn about disease. Most pertinent to our study of frontier beliefs related to cancer, is an extract which begins on page 187 of Back's Narrative of the Arctic Land Expedition (London, 1836):
“While at Chipewyan, Mr. King had performed a successful operation on a woman's upper lip, which was in a shocking state from cancer, brought on, as he thought, from the inveterate habit of smoking, so common among the half-breeds. He had met with two or three cases of it before; one, at Fort William, was incurable, and very loathsome. His presence was hailed with delight at every post beyond Jack River, either by the natives or those who resided with them; and it surprised me to learn how much disease has spread through this part of the country.”
Back's saying that it surprised him “to learn how much disease had spread through this part of the country” is, of course, confirmatory of the general belief of the time, that in their native state the Indians of northern Canada were healthy; and that most sicknesses which he found among them were of European introduction.
Back's saying that it surprised him “to learn how much disease had spread through this part of the country”
Fortunately I have long been in touch with the Moravians and their records. The records of the Russians, however, pertained to a field I had never much cultivated — the Aleut Eskimos. So I appealed to my friend Professor William S. Laughlin of the Department of Anthropology, University of Wisconsin. He replied from Madison on March 14, 1958:
“First, I should like to call your attention to the splendid table in Veniaminov, Vol. II, table 4, in which ages of those who died between 1822 and 1836 are given ...
“I have seen a number of skeletons of advanced age at death. Thus, one Aleut from Umnak Island gave every evidence of being over 80 years of age. I do not have enough records of this sort to be of much statistical value. They do serve to confirm my belief in the validity of local traditions about aged persons ...
“Concerning Anaktuvik persons [inland Alaska Eskimos] I have the list of birth places and birth dates which Mr. Robert Elsner of the Aeromedical Laboratory kindly made available to me. The number of aged men was notable, as was the absence of aged women ...”
Here Professor Laughlin goes into the details of a study being made jointly by himself and Professor Leopold Pospisil of Yale's Department of Anthropology on a small group of inland Eskimos at the Anaktuvik Pass. Of this group one subgroup of 8 consists of men all of whom were born during or before 1900, all thus 58 years old or older.
When I finally got around to formulating this chapter I wrote Professor Laughlin again. He replied on February 4, 1959:
“Concerning the diet of the Aleuts, we can happily document the fact that not only were they living on fish and sea mammals in the time reported (Veniaminov, Vol. II) but they still have a diet which is heavy in flesh foods ... The Aleuts still depend on salmon, sea lion, seal and store foods, in this descending order.”
Veniaminov's table, from which Professor Laughlin sent extracts, is for the Unalaska district of the Aleutians only, and records 1,170 deaths:
“For the period 1822-36 inclusive, the following numbers died: 92 for ages 1 to 4; 17 for ages 4 to 7; 41 for ages 7 to 15; 41 for ages 15 to 25; 103 for ages 25 to 45; 66 for ages 45 to 55; 29 for ages 55 to 60; 22 for ages 60 to 65; 24 for ages 65 to 70; 23 for ages 70 to 75; 11 for ages 75 to 80; 20 for ages 80 to 90; 2 for ages 90 to 100.”
Aleut Eskimos who died between 1822 and 1836 are recorded with their age.
On receiving Professor Laughlin's letters, I sent copies of them along to Superintendent the Reverend F. W. Peacock, M.A., Moravian Mission, Labrador. His records go back well toward 1771, the founding date of the mission; and there are several stations. Knowing that I had available only limited comparison figures for the Aleutians, he sent me only records from his Hopedale community and covering only the same years as Veniaminov's. Superintendent Peacock's letter is dated at Happy Valley, Labrador, March 25, 1959:
“Upon receipt of your letter I went to the records of the Hopedale [mission] from 1822-36. I discovered that 110 people were born during this period ... 29 died before reaching the age of 10 years; 9 died between the ages of 11 and 15; 4 between the ages of 16 and 20; 6 between 21 and 25; 7 between 26 and 30; 10 between 31 and 35; 4 between 36 and 40; 8 between 41 and 45; 2 between 46 and 50; 10 between 51 and 55; 4 between 56 and 60; 4 between 61 and 65; 8 between 66 and 70; 4 between 71 and 75; 1 reached the age of 79.
“From 1860 to 1879 there were 150 births in the same district, of which number 79 died before they were 5 years old, and a further 10 before they were 10 years old. Another 30 died before they were 60 years old; 30 died between the ages of 61 and 82. One is still living at the age of 81 [in March 1959] ...”
We have examined, then, the mortality records of 1822-36 for 1,170 cases from Alaska and 110 from Labrador. The base line of our immediate concern we shall take at 60, because of the assertion that “a primitive Eskimo over the age of 50 is a great rarity.”
According to our Russian information on 1,170 Aleutian Eskimo births, 46 died in the decade immediately past 60, 34 in the one past 70, 20 in the one past 80, and only 2 lived past 90.
According to our Moravian information on 110 Labrador Eskimo births, 8 died in the decade next past 60 and 5 in the one next past 70, only one of these reaching 79.
Thus the most nearly “primitive” sample group I was able to obtain does not support Dr. Keys very strongly in his contention that “a primitive Eskimo over the age of 50 is a great rarity.” Nor does it quite confirm Dr. Greist's statement that “the Eskimo of the North ... lived to a very great age.” More nearly do the largely non-Europeanized natives of Veniaminov and Peacock accord with the Biblical: “The days of our years are threescore years and ten ..
Further evidence of old age Labrador Eskimos exists.
Superintendent Peacock's letter is dated at Happy Valley, Labrador, March 25, 1959
Mary Gove Nichols was a leading crusader for vegetarianism during the mid 19th century. She was a disciple of Sylvester Graham - perhaps the foremost vegetarian advocate of the century - and as a "Grahamite" her major form of activism was to teach physiology and anatomy to Americans.
To this end, Gove, who was a physician and proprietor of a water cure establishment (a non drug, "nature cure" facility), presented a series of lectures to female-only audiences eager to learn about the human body and how it functions. At the time, women were not supposed to lecture to audiences including males, but Gove managed to reach them as well through her published lectures, her magazine, and other works. Gove was also a novelist, acknowledged by no less a literary figure than Edgar Allan Poe, whose dying young wife Gove attempted to save from a fatal case of consumption (tuberculosis).
Gove couldn't save Poe's beloved cousin/wife, but she did help many people regain good health. Women (and men) were interested in what Gove had to teach, because they wanted to take control of their health and the health of their families instead of relying on the often treacherous, sometimes fatal drug medicine prevalent throughout the century.
Nichols and her lectures were popular. History records that at one lecture, the audience numbered as many as 2,000 - and that lecture was delivered in a small city. Vegetarianism was an integral component of Gove's teachings. Like her mentor Graham, Gove explained that God did not design the human body for flesh eating but to eat of the foods of the vegetable kingdom.
Gove, like Graham, was not typical of today's vegetarian advocate. It's doubtful that she would have approved of many vegetarian convenience foods, although she probably would have liked those low in fat and high in fiber. One's diet had to be heavy on whole grains, vegetables, and fruits - devoid of coffee, tea, condiments, and grease as well as meat - to pass inspection by her. Gove and other vegetarian crusaders contended that in some cases a diet that included flesh foods might be more wholesome than one that was vegetarian but loaded with grease and pastries. This was a concession evidently born out of compromise, which all but the staunchest vegetarian activists (those motivated primarily by religion or animal rights) seem to have made. Most likely they made this concession because they lived in a virulently meat-hungry and vegetarian-suspicious time that lacked hard scientific evidence proving the benefits of rejecting meat.
Besides the "vegetable diet," Gove and other "physiologists" called for a long list of daily practices, from bathing and exercise to adequate rest and cheerful attitude, as the prescription for health. If that advice seems familiar, the next time it is mentioned remember Gove, who like Graham, journeyed from city to city preaching physiology and a vegetable diet. Over time, many of the ideas of the American veg pioneers - derived from observation, the Bible, and natural history - have been scientifically verified and adopted by mainstream medicine. Until now, Graham, Gove, and company have rarely received credit for their attempts to aid ailing America. When they have been recognized, they and their groundbreaking work have usually been portrayed more as caricatures than as people of strong character, out to save the sick from unhealthful habits.
Mary Gove Nichols, disciple of Graham, taught physiology and anatomy and claimed that God designed humans to eat vegetables.
John Le Conte (1818-91) received his degree in medicine in 1841 from the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York and was preparing himself for graduate medical study in France when circumstances changed his plans and he took up instead a general practice in his native Georgia. There he read, in French and British medical journals, summaries of a memoir on cancer which had been submitted by Stanislas Tanchou in 1843 to the Academy of Sciences in Paris. No doubt Le Conte's interest and approval were strengthened through his discovery that the Parisian scientist had independently reached conclusions in regard to malignant disease that were similar to those Le Conte had himself published eight months ahead of Tanchou, in a “Monograph on Cancer” which he read before the Society of Alumni of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of the State of New York on October 18, 1842.
Now from his Savannah address where he was a beginner in the practice of medicine, Le Conte sent to the Southern Medical and Surgical Journal of Augusta, Georgia, to be printed in its issue for May 1846, the paper that introduced the views of Tanchou to the United States: “Statistical Researches on Cancer.” Among the points of agreement between the unpublished Tanchou memoir of 1843 and a published Le Conte paper of 1842, were that (1) cancer, while found in children, is pre-eminently a disease of middle and old age; and that (2) its incidence is greater in cities than in rural districts.
The Tanchou pronouncement, which Le Conte seemingly expected would be startlingly novel to his readers, and in which Le Conte does not claim to have himself preceded Tanchou, is broached first on pages 273-74:
“M. Tanchou is of opinion that cancer, like insanity, increases in a direct ratio to the civilization of the country and of the people. And it is certainly a remarkable circumstance, doubtless in no small degree flattering to the vanity of the French savant, that the average mortality from cancer at Paris during 11 years is about 0.80 per 1,000 living annually while it is only 0.20 per 1,000 in London!!! Estimating the intensity of civilization by these data, it clearly follows that Paris is 4 times more civilized than London!!
“Seriously, however, the greater frequency of carcinoma in France, as compared with England, is a very curious fact.” Le Conte discusses whether differences in registration methods can account for this difference in figures and concludes that there could be some difference; but he decides that “it is totally inadequate to account for the remarkable disparity in the mortality from this cause (cancer) in the two countries.”
Here Le Conte introduces a table, apparently copied from Tanchou, comparing cancer deaths in England and Wales with the French, and concludes that “after making due allowance for the difference in the systems of registration, the mortality from cancer in the department of the Seine is nearly quadruple what it is in England and Wales. Hence it is clear that the general preponderance of the disease on the continent cannot be reasonably ascribed to any diversity in the classification of kindred diseases.”
On page 275 Le Conte asks, “How will we account for the supposed fact that carcinomatous affections are on the increase? To some extent, the augmentation may be only apparent ...” This he considers, and his verdict is that “if this is the true cause of the increase in frequency, it must indeed be co-extensive with the progressive advancement of civilization, unless some countering influences are brought to bear ...”
M. Tanchou is of opinion that cancer, like insanity, increases in a direct ratio to the civilization of the country and of the people.
Report of Dr. Philip R. White on his Tanchou Inquiry
On February 13, 1959, Carol and Phil White wrote from Paris. Phil's part of the letter said:
“Yesterday I sent you a packet of papers on the Tanchou affair. Today ... Carol urged me to write a little squib of a different sort [for possible use in a magazine]. I have written one; but clearly it should have your approval, if forthcoming, before being submitted.” It received my approval and I present it here:
“There is probably no more august body of savants in the world than that created by Descartes and Pascal, sanctified by Richelieu and the Roi Soleil, abolished by the French Revolution, rejuvenated by Napoleon; the Académie Française and its associated academies which make up the Institut de France: ‘The Immortals.’ Under the dark dome of the institute, on the Left Bank of the Seine, in the old Palace of the Four Nations, these men meet to ponder the problems of the world ...
“A year ago one of the youngest old men I know, Vilhjalmur Stefansson, arctic explorer, authority on Eskimo life, teetotal carnivore at eighty (he eats only [fat] meat), still exploring new trails, set me on one which has led me a merry chase. The Eskimos seem not to have had cancer under their primitive way of life. Neither do certain South American Indians, so the tale goes. Nor do the natives of Central Africa.
“A century ago a French doctor, Stanislas Tanchou, who had served with Napoleon in Russia and at Waterloo, retired to Paris and private practice after the wars. At the end of a lifetime of experience and study of the statistical distribution of cancer, by peoples, by profession, by sex, age, and habits, Tanchou propounded the theory that cancer was a disease of civilization. Coming to the attention of Californians ... the idea impressed itself upon the minds of doctors and sea captains in the Alaska trade so that the early observations on the Eskimos were more than casual notations; these men were looking for cancer. That they did not find it gives their data added weight.
“But this information in the hands of Arctic ship surgeons was second or third hand. Just what had Tanchou himself said, and what was the basis for his conclusions? My friend Stef wanted to know. And the Surgeon-General's lists, the Archives of the Library of Congress, were rather reticent. A few brief notes but nothing like the extensive papers which the British and American medical journals of the 1840's had ‘reviewed.’ Where were the originals? Perhaps somewhere in Paris, where one can find anything if one looks long enough. I was going for some months to Paris. Would I see what I could find?
“I love a hunt. Starting from the Surgeon-General's list I went first to the Library of the Académie des Sciences. Yes, Tanchou had presented many papers before the Academy, on a variety of subjects; in fact he had three times presented himself as a candidate for election to that body, and three times failed. Among the papers published in the Comptes rendus des séances hebdomadaires were two which dealt with distribution of cancer, presented in 1843 and 1844. I asked to see them. No, these were only brief notes: ‘M. Tanchou summarized as follows. ...’ And no bibliography, no cross references. Perhaps at the library of the École de Médecine? The Surgeon-General listed four papers there by or about Tanchou. One was clearly wrong: it said 1844 but the journal named didn't start publishing until 1847. Another proved to be only an obituary notice. A third was also partly wrong — the journal had twiced changed its name in 100 years — but by persistence we tracked it down, only to find that the particular weekly number which should have contained Tanchou's article was missing from the file. That left only one, an English journal of 1843. Not very promising. But here we were in better luck, for the Lancet appeared to have translated almost literally the missing article from the Gazette des Hôpitaux Civiles et Militaries. But this again was clearly an abbreviated version of a longer paper which Tanchou said he had published elsewhere. Where?
“On a hunch I went back to the Academy and asked if Tanchou might perhaps have filed a manuscript with them, a manuscript which he had hoped to publish but had not done so. Into the archives again, this time not just to their index but into the actual files for 1840 to 1845. There were many items; twenty-two case histories gleaned from the literature of the world, drawings of operations for cancer of the breast, notes on dissolving bladder stones without operation and, ah, yes, two of interest. One was a twenty-page manuscript which appeared to be, in fact, what I was looking for, though upon closer study it proved disappointing, adding nothing essential to the material in the shorter summaries. The other, however was intriguing. It was simply a notation: ‘Tanchou, deposited June 5, 1843, a sealed packet.’ That was all.
“Early in its existence the Academy took upon itself the responsibility of serving as custodian of ideas, public or private. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in particular, ideas might be dangerous, and since plagiarism was common, even perfectly safe ideas might be hoarded. If a man had such an idea and wanted to establish his right to it without making it public, he could deposit it with the Academy. Thereafter he could, during his lifetime, request the return of his deposition; after his death his heirs could request that it be opened and read but could not have it relinquished to them; and, after 100 years, if requested by anyone not an heir, the Academy reserved the right to open such a packet and decide whether its contents should be published, should be destroyed, or should be returned to the archives for another century. In practice they never destroy anything.
“Was this another manuscript? It had been sealed for 116 years, I could at least see it. This required a formal letter ... A letter was dispatched and permission duly granted to ‘examine’ the packet. On my next visit to the Academy the librarian brought it to me. No, this could not be a long manuscript; it was too small, no larger than a letter, probably only a single sheet of paper. But permission to ‘examine’ did not include permission to open ... So I sat down to write a second letter ... Official approval was granted and a date set for the formal opening.
“Such occasions are impressive. The long paneled hall, a central podium for the president and the two secretaries, an oval series of desks with six transverse lines seating the eighty Immortals, benches along the walls for visitors (the sessions are open to the public), to the left, right, and front statues of Molière, Racine, and Corneille, between these, busts of Buffon, Lamartine, Pascal, Chateaubriand, Laplace, and others. The Immortals file in, sign the register, take their places. There is the usual reading of minutes; a paper is presented ... And then the announcement, ‘The Academy has before it a request from an American colleague, M. White, that a sealed packet deposited in 1843 by M. Tanchou, physician to the King, be opened ... Do I hear any objections? If not it will be done ... In that case we will open the packet.’ An officer beckoned to me to step forward ... He broke the seal and with some difficulty opened the brittle folded paper. It contained a second sealed paper. This seal was also broken and a double sheet of paper spread out ... The ink was dim and the writing ancient ... There was a word underscored in the second line, a short word. What was it? ... It was ‘SEXE’! The paper had nothing to do with cancer.
“My search was ended. I am not sure my friend Stefansson will be content with the result ...”
In a way, I am content with the result. Dr. White's search has, for one thing, indicated what sorts of difficulties may have hampered Dr. John Le Conte in a search for the Tanchou memoir which, it is hard to doubt, he must at some time have made — perhaps in the 1880's, with all the dignity of a university president, preparing for his third statement on Tanchou, the one he issued in 1888.
The more formal report from Dr. White was dated February 11, 1959, two days earlier than the one just quoted. It is to the same effect, and concludes: “... Tanchou had a good idea on the effects of civilization ... He should be remembered for having tried to deal with the question on a statistical basis. His idea of the influence of civilization was fruitful in pointing to facts which need to be studied ...”
With the Dead Sea Scrolls throwing unexpected light on the founder of Christianity, with family revelations throwing expected light on the founder of Darwinism — with such portents, the expected or unexpected may happen to throw new light on Tanchou. But it will then probably be too late for use in this book. Therefore I shall summarize and add further bits.
Though Tanchou is now forgotten in his homeland, and though Africa may be fulfilling his prophecies without knowing they are his, it was not always thus.
It was not so in 1850, the year Tanchou died. That year, pages 487-90 of the Revue Médicale Française et Étrangére carry an affectionate, heartbroken, laudatory appraisal by Boys de Loury, secretary general of the Paris Society of Medicine. However, though the memorial praises Tanchou as a soldier and citizen, and is full of admiration for him as a leading and inspiring figure in the domain of medicine, it says of him in relation to cancer only, “Tanchou's researches on the diseases of women stand out particularly, and especially those on cancer.”
The “Memoir on the Frequency of Cancer,” which Tanchou in 1843 “addressed to the Academy of Sciences,” appears to have made the following points, among others:
According to the Hospital Gazette (Civilian and Military) for July 6, 1843, charts show that cancer is much more frequent in Paris proper than in its suburbs: “... [the like] has been noticed in Berlin and in England ... we know that the number of cancer cases is increasing ... this disease seems to be very old in the civilized world. The first example is that of Atossa, daughter of Cyrus and wife of Cambyses, in 521 B.C. ... many cancers have been found among the mummies of Egypt; and M. Homem ... who spent 14 years in the service of Mahomet Ali, never saw cancer among the peasant women but only among the [aristocratic] Turkish women.
“Cancer is like insanity, found most often in the most civilized countries ... in the Orient it has been found more frequent among Christians than Moslems. Fabrice de Hilden believed that cancer appeared more often in the temperate zone than in the other zones. M. Rouzet says that it is very rare in Africa.
“We have gathered information on this last point that leaves no doubt. Dr. Bac, surgeon-in-chief of the Second African Regiment, never found a case in Senegal, where he practiced medicine for six years. Many other health officers of our brave army have told us the same thing. M. Baudens, surgeon-in-chief at Val-de-Grâce, who practiced civilian medicine in Algiers for eight years, said he met only two or three cases. Finally: Dr. Puzin established a civilian hospital in 1835, 10 leagues from the front; out of 10,000 sick whom he examined there was only one cancer case, the breast cancer of a woman.”
So far as it is possible yet to tell from the documents studied, Tanchou's chief material for arriving at his law came from North Africa, and involved a higher observed cancer rate among the dominant French than among the lowly peasants. The main observations Tanchou bolstered with like Asiatic testimonies, and with statistics comparing metropolitan with suburban Paris, and Paris with England and Wales, also Paris with London. In Europe this all seemingly passed without creating emotional flurries.
Cancer is very old in the civilized world, but rare in the native world based on research by Tanchou
Indeed, for the first 250 years of American history, even the poor in the United States could afford meat or fish for every meal. The fact that the workers had so much access to meat was precisely why observers regarded the diet of the New World to be superior to that of the Old. “I hold a family to be in a desperate way when the mother can see the bottom of the pork barrel,” says a frontier housewife in James Fenimore Cooper’s novel The Chainbearer.
Like the primitive tribes mentioned in Chapter 1, Americans also relished the viscera of the animal, according to the cookbooks of the time. They ate the heart, kidneys, tripe, calf sweetbreads (brains), pig’s liver, turtle lungs, the heads and feet of lamb and pigs, and lamb tongue. Beef tongue, too, was “highly esteemed.”
“I hold a family to be in a desperate way when the mother can see the bottom of the pork barrel,”
The Rev. William Metcalfe on taking the chair, addressed the Convention in a few appropriate remarks, expressive of the objects of the Convention. So far as he was informed, he believed the objects contemplated to be, to promote a knowledge of the principles, and an extension of the practice of a Vegetable Diet in the community; - to induce habits of abstinence from fish, flesh and fowl, as food; and secure the adoption of a principle which would tend essentially to promote a "sound mind in a sound body." He observed that the subject was one of a deeply interesting nature. The preservation of health, and hte attainment of longevity were objects of desire with every human being, whatever might be the tenure by which life was held. The subject of diet was confessedly one of interest to all, and one on whichall ought to have an accurate knowledge, especially as to its main principles, and their more immediate personal application. He had long ago laid aside the use of the flesh of animals, and had confined himself to the products of the vegetable kingdom. "It was nearly forty-one years since he had made use of any kind of flesh-food. He had raised a family, some of his children being present; and he had children and grandchildren who had never tasted flesh. The consequence of that system of dietetics had been altogether satisfactory. As a general thing they had enjoyed good health - better in fact, than their neighbours. When the yellow fever broke out in Philadelphia, in 1818, his residence was in the immediate vicinity of its appearance. He visited families afflicted with that disease, and yet neither himself nor his family were affected by the epidemic. The same exemption was experienced during the cholera of 1832 and 1849. All those facts went to confirm more fully, the sentiment in favour of vegetable food, long ago embraced, that the diet best adopted to health - best adapted to the true enjoyment of life, and to the development of all the higher powers of our nature, was that known as the Vegetarian Diet (Applause). They had met there to endeavour to form a Vegetarian Society, composed of individuals favourable to the adoption and dissemination of principles advocating the Vegetable Diet. It would be for that assembly to consider whether it would be well to organize an association of that kind then, or not, and to act accordingly. Some discussion followed these remarks of the President.
That comaprative anatomy, human physiology, and chamical analysis of different animal and farinaceous substances, uniteldly proclaim the position, that not only the human race may, but should, subsist upon the productions of the vegetable kingdom.
That the Vegetarianm principle of diet derives the most ancient authority from the appointment of the Creator to man - when he lived in purity and peace, and was blessed with health and happiness - in Paradise.
That though the use of animal food be claimed, under the sanction of succeeding times, it rests only on the permissions accorded to man in his degraded condition, and is a departure from the appointment of the creator.
That if any man would return to Paradise and purity, to mental and physical enjoyment, he must return to the Paradisaical diet, and abstain from the killing and eating of animals as food.
That there is found in the vegetable world every element which enters into the animal organization; and that combinations of those elements in the vegetable kingdom are best adapted to the most natural and healthy nourishment of man.
That the approbation of man's unsophisticated and unbiassed powers of taste, sight, and smell, are involuntarily given to fruits, farinacea, and vegetable substances, in preference to the mangled carcases of butchered animals.
That flesh-eating is the key-stone to a wide-spread arch of superfluous wants, to meet which, life is filled with stern and rugged encounters, while the adoption of a vegetarian diet is calculated to destroy the strife of antagonism, and to sustain life in serenity and strength.
That as there are intellectual feasts and a mental being into which the inebriate can never enter, and delights which he can never enjoy - so there are mental feasts, and a moral being, which to the flesh-eater can never be revealed, and moral happiness in which he cannot fully participate.
That cruelty, in any form, for the mere purpose of procuring unnecesary food, or to gratify depraved appetites, is obnoxious to the pure human soul, and repugnant to the noblest attributes of our being.
That the evidence of Linnaeus, Sir Richard Phillips, Franklin, Sir Isaac Newton, John Wesley, Swedenborg, Howard, Jefferson, Rouseau, Akenside, Pope, Shelley, Sir John Sinclair, Arbuthnot, and a host of others, living as well as ancient observers of nature, testify to the truth of vegetarianism.
That in the vegetarian cause, a new field of exercises is opened up to the moral reformer, in which he is most earnestly and cordially invited to become a co-worker with truth, by adopting its teachings in the government of his own life, and by diffusing its principles in all his efforts for the elevation of his fellow man.
That we will personally interest ourselves in promoting the circulation of publications calculated to advance our cause - such as the London Vegetarian Advocate, the water cure and phrenological journals of New York, and all publications having for their objects the promotion of a knowledge of the laws of our being.
That we hail with great joy the progress of the vegetarian cause in England, where large societies exist, which, in one or two instances, embrace nearly five hundred members.
That it is advisable to organize State and local vegetarian societies wherever practicable, with as littel delay as possible - lecturing and diffusing facts and principles in the science of man.
Rev. Metcalfe describes the tenets of the American Vegetarian Society
A food budget published in the New York Tribune in 1851 allots two pounds of meat per day for a family of five. Even slaves at the turn of the eighteenth century were allocated an average of 150 pounds of meat a year. As Horowitz concludes, “These sources do give us some confidence in suggesting an average annual consumption of 150–200 pounds of meat per person in the nineteenth century.”
About 175 pounds of meat per person per year! Compare that to the roughly 100 pounds of meat per year that an average adult American eats today. And of that 100 pounds of meat, about half is poultry—chicken and turkey—whereas until the mid-twentieth century, chicken was considered a luxury meat, on the menu only for special occasions (chickens were valued mainly for their eggs). Subtracting out the poultry factor, we are left with the conclusion that per capita consumption of red meat today is about 50 pounds per person—or only a third to a quarter of what it was a couple of centuries ago.