First Contact:

gather% / fish % / hunt %
fat % / protein % / carb%

A rough estimate to help us understand how carnivorous and how ketogenic these people were before being exposed to western civilization


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About the Tribe


Importance of Animal Products

Importance of Plants

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Transition to Industrialized Food Products

Aug 1, 1774

Ketones: The Fourth Fuel


Joseph Priestly carries out an experiment and realizes that life, flame, and air are woven together after noticing that he could isolate oxygen and observe a mouse fainting after a flame consumes the air.


"A few days prior, Priestly had made a curious discovery: He had lit a flame in a large jar, then sealed the container until the flame burned itself out. He then place a mouse in the container and watched as it soon collapsed, apparently due to the lack of air. Had the flame consumed the life-giving gas within the ar? Inspired, Priestly then repeated the same experiment--depleting the air inside the constainer with the candle--but this time, in addition to placing the mouse inside the container, he added a mint plant from the garden, sealed the container quickly before gas could be exchanged with the outside air, and set the container in the sunlight. The mouse regained consciousness. Somehow, the combination of plant and sunlight revitalized the air and infused the mouse with life force. Additionally, he found that the flame would again burn inside the container after the plant had "restored" the air. Life, flame, and air, Priestly realized, were somehow woven together.

For today's experiment he would again use the sun. He magnified the sunlight spilling through the laboratory's only window onto a small amount of a reddish substance known as mercuric oxide. He then used his apparatus to capture the gas that was released as the mercuric oxide began to burn. For the remainder of the day Priestly would perform a series of experiments with the newly isolated gas. He began with the flame. He noticed that it burned with much more intesity when placed inside a container with the new gas. He again filled ethe container with the new gas and sealed the mouse inside. Amazingly, when comparing results to those seen with a container filled with normal air, the mouse stayed conscious four times longer. This new gas, declared Priestly , was "five or six times as good as common air."

"The feeling of it in my lungs was not sensibly different from that of common air, but I fancied that my breast felt peculiarly light and easy for some time afterwards. Who can tell but that in time, this pure air may become a fashionable article in luxury. Hitherto only two mice and myself have had the privilege of breathing it," he wrote, late in the night. 

Jan 1, 1820



Reverend Metcalfe began to try to get his message across by publishing his religious ideas. "The words of the Bible, Bible Christians believed, clearly called for the abstinence from the flesh of animals as food, intoxicating liquors as beverages, as well as war, capital punishment, and slavery."


In 1820, Metcalfe began trying to appeal to a wider audience, utilizing the development of the printed press while connecting the ideas of the Bible Christian Church with those of a variety of reform movements.  

Under Metcalfe’s guidance, ten prevailing principles of the Bible Christian sect were codified in a constitution, emphasizing the real world applications of a biblically guided life. While existing biblical interpretations were invaluable and even prophetic, Bible Christians argued that continued study and interpretation was necessary to avoid the pitfalls of narrow, sectdriven loyalties. The Bible, when approached with an open, scientific mind would continue to reveal new secrets to healthy, ethical living. The Bible Christians emphasized the power of revelation through concerted study rather than blind adherence to the dictates of religious leaders or sects. Meat abstention, temperance, and moral living served to transform an individual “conjoined to the Lord, and the Lord to him.” Thus believers had the capacity to be reformed, regenerated, and finally saved.

The Bible Christians argued that religion, like science, could be rationally understood—emphasizing the power of individual, lay study over bombastic sermonizing. The group downplayed the idea of heavenly revelation in favor of learned epiphany, even questioning the ultimate divinity of Jesus Christ in favor of strict monotheism. The group emphasized that right living in body, mind, and soul ensured salvation for the individual as well as the community at large. The words of the Bible, Bible Christians believed, clearly called for the abstinence from the flesh of animals as food, intoxicating liquors as beverages, as well as war, capital punishment, and slavery. The second coming of the messiah was not a literal, physical event but rather the personal attainment of the divine truths revealed by concentrated study. 

There were, of course, ironies in the principles of Bible Christianity. At the same time that the Bible Christians criticized established churches led by cults of personality, the group was led by a vocal, gregarious personality in Metcalfe. And as church ranks grew, the group sought to build institutions that provided social legitimacy. While the religious and political views of the Bible Christian Church were radical, the group was decidedly conservative in its structure and notion of self-righteousness, sharing these values with other more established Philadelphia churches.  

Metcalfe’s exhortations met harsh responses from Philadelphia’s established religious elite. Warning of the dangers of “wolves in sheep’s clothing,” one Philadelphia religious body accused the Bible Christians of having “attacked the most plain and important doctrines of our holy religion” while seeking to “impose their own creed upon mankind, and take away from us the doctrines for which martyrs bled.” Bible Christians were often met in the streets with accusations of heresy. It seemed apparent to the Bible Christians that meat did, in fact, stir up animalistic responses in its consumers.  

Despite the angry reactions, the church and its membership continued to grow, thanks in part to a series of articles published in The Rural Magazine and Literary Evening Friend , an agricultural and literary-themed periodical headquartered in Philadelphia. In a series of “Letters on Religious Subjects” published throughout 1820 and 1821, Metcalfe expounded on a variety of reformist ideals, connecting them with religious justifi cations and explanations. In “The Duty of Abstinence from All Intoxicating Drinks,” he off ered one of the fi rst arguments in the United States for total avoidance of alcohol.

Apr 1, 1831

Lectures on the Science of Human Life by Sylvester Graham


By the spring of 1831, Graham began delivering a series of lectures at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia on what he labeled “the Science of Human Life,” including instruction on meat-free living, temperance, and the dangers of masturbation.


Within this growing temperance environment the Pennsylvania Society for Discouraging the Use of Ardent Spirits was founded in 1827.  The name of the organization says much about its methodology, its attempt to discourage the use of alcohol through lectures, pamphlets, and education rather than advocating for the ban of spirits through legislation. Fear of alcohol abuse, including its medical, spiritual, and social eff ects, was widespread among members of Philadelphia’s medical elite, who saw the abuse of spirits as the primary cause of mortality and poverty in the 1820s and 1830s.

 Though reticent to legislate absolute prohibition, the society worked with 19 local magistrates to prosecute public drunkenness, gambling, and Sabbath violations.  The group warned against the destructive lives of both the “habitual drunkard” as well as the equally pernicious “occasional drunkard.”  The society advocated for stiff punishments under existing laws and believed in the need for internment in hospitals, almshouses, and prisons to reform alcohol abuse. In addition to its published reports, the Pennsylvania Society aimed to curb alcohol consumption through a network of agents and lecturers sent out to spread the gospel of sobriety, temperance, and clean living.  

In June 1830, Sylvester Graham set out to reach the masses, lecturing throughout Pennsylvania connecting alcohol consumption with both physical and spiritual debasement. Graham peppered his speeches with compelling evidence, anecdotes, and scientific reasoning, all under the umbrella of religious imagery. This methodology was part of Graham’s attempt to avoid “mere declamation against drunkenness” and instead provide his audiences with “the reasons why they should not use intoxicating drinks.” During this period Graham became fascinated with studying human physiology, connecting physical health with ethical development. Not surprisingly, given his existing preoccupation with the connections between alcohol and physiology, Graham eventually turned his attention to dietary habits.  

While Graham lectured throughout Philadelphia in 1830, he was introduced to members of the Bible Christian Church, beginning a correspondence with William Metcalfe that continued for most of their lives. Graham later claimed that his dietary decisions were “neither . . . founded on, nor suggested by, the opinions of others who have taught that vegetable food is the proper aliment of the human species,” though this was more a rhetorical device aimed at building personal credibility. The growing Bible Christian movement undoubtedly infl uenced Graham’s own dietary conversion, given his connection to Metcalfe. 

Graham’s specious claim that his vegetable diet was based purely on experimentation refl ected his methods as a lecturer, emphasizing rational science rather than loyalty to a mere philosophy.  Graham’s time working solely on temperance was short-lived, and he resigned from his post aft er just six months. But his life as a public reformer and lecturer was established. By the spring of 1831, Graham began delivering a series of lectures at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia on what he labeled “the Science of Human Life,” including instruction on meat-free living, temperance, and the dangers of masturbation. Despite these other concerns, Graham’s philosophy of healthy living hinged on the adoption of a meatless diet; of the twenty-four lectures included in the Lectures on the Science of Human Life , fourteen focused on food, digestion, and the benefits of avoiding flesh foods. At the core of this lecture series—which Graham delivered in New York City immediately after lecturing in Philadelphia— was the notion that the human body could be controlled and maximized through the mechanism of deep self-awareness. In this sense Graham’s lectures offered a democratic notion of personal health care, arguing that it was the individual’s responsibility to understand how the human body functioned and to react by initiating the healthiest path of living.  

Graham presented a vegetable diet as “ the diet of man,” proven by a combination of anatomical and historical study. The fact that most Americans lived omnivorous lives was not proof of the dominant diet’s validity; rather, it reflected a general disconnect between humans and their natural, physiological state. Graham recognized the potentially controversial nature of his dietetics. A vegetable diet was not antireligious, he assured his audiences. Rather, there was “the most entire harmony between the Sacred Scriptures, and the dietetic and other principles” that he advocated.  While Graham’s ideas about meat were radical, the traditional awareness of the need to keep the humoral body in balance provided some familiarity and legitimacy to Graham’s dietary dictates, as he claimed that meat overheated the body.  

In the Science of Human Life lectures Graham presented the first unified theory of a meatless diet to general audiences, expunging the notion from the purely religious and placing it within the temporal and physical. Even though Graham’s dietary principles were controversial, they offered practical advice and reasoning on how to improve day-to-day life. Connecting the benefits of a vegetable diet to a variety of social changes, Graham successfully exploited the social reform spirit of the 1830s.

Jun 1, 1832

A Lecture on Epidemic Diseases Generally, and Particularly the Spasmodic Cholera by Sylvester Graham - 1838


Sylvester Graham uses the cholera epidemic as a way to gain religious believers, arguing that overstimulation through meat and alcohol caused the epidemic. He also arged that the physiology of humans matched herbivores, that it wasn't about animal rights and that the goal of a meatless diet was a “more healthy, vigorous and long-lived” life, allowing for a “more active and powerful” intellect able to develop the most “moral faculties . . . rendered by suitable cultivation.”


Graham’s lectures emphasized the naturalness of a vegetable diet based on the study of physiology, arguing that the human dental and alimentary systems were constructed to chew and digest only vegetable-based products. Carnivorous members of the animal kingdom had sharp, elongated teeth, perfect for chewing through flesh and sinew. Humans, in contrast, were blessed with flat teeth, perfect for the grinding necessary to break down fruits, vegetables, and grains. The goal of a meatless diet was a “more healthy, vigorous and long-lived” life, allowing for a “more active and powerful” intellect able to develop the most “moral faculties . . . rendered by suitable cultivation.” A moral and intellectually driven individual would not debase him-or-herself with the evils of stimulants such as meat. History, Graham argued, pointed toward the benefits of a vegetable diet. Ancient Romans, Greeks, Phoenicians, and Jews all expounded on the virtues of the “natural diet.” A vegetable diet worked for Plutarch, Ovid, Hesiod, and Pythagoras; it was only logical that Americans, the torchbearers of modern republicanism, should follow this lead. 

Graham, however, was not arguing for animal rights. In fact, he referred to nonhumans as “the lower animals,” driven strictly by instinct, a quality to be managed and sublimated by humanity.  Meat abstainers feared humanity’s inclination to act like the rest of the animal world. Exposure to all kinds of sensory experiences—whether culinary, alcoholic, or sexual—worried dietary reformers, who believed that Americans had relinquished themselves to the most primal, animalistic urges. Proto-vegetarianism put little emphasis on the effects of meat production on the animals themselves, focusing instead on human ethics and their eff ect on physical functions.  

The concept of overstimulation was at the center of Graham’s antimeat doctrine, an idea derived from the traditional view of the balanced humoral body. Humanity’s natural state—which included a meatless diet—kept the body in a mode of regulated stasis. Substances such as meat, alcohol, and spices served to throw off this natural balance, overstimulating and overheating the human body, mind, and soul. Once the body was out of balance it would become susceptible to any number of serious physical and moral maladies.  

Graham’s claims about the dangers of meat and other stimulants gained more traction with the outbreak of a mass cholera epidemic. The simultaneous  growth of American cities and waves of new immigrants entering urban areas contributed to overcrowding. A lack of available municipal services ensured that impoverished urban areas remained dirty and disease-ridden. By June 1832 cholera appeared in North America in Quebec and quickly spread to the United States before the month was over. In just two months nearly 3,500 New Yorkers—primarily working-class inhabitants of the crowded slums— died from the epidemic. Diarrhea, vomiting, and intense stomach cramping culminated in the eventual collapse of the circulation system. Cities large and small along the East Coast were gripped by fear and hysteria. Wealthy citizens fl ed to the countryside fearing the spread of the disease, leading one New York reporter to refl ect that “the roads, in all directions, were lined with wellfilled stagecoaches, livery coaches, private vehicles and equestrians, all panicstruck, fleeing the city, as . . . the inhabitants of Pompeii fled when the red lava showered down upon their houses.” 

The medical response to the epidemic was slow and usually ineffective. In a pre–germ theory generation, cholera was not perceived as being communicable via interpersonal contact; rather, it was seen as an airborne illness, apt to attack the physically and morally weakest in the cities. Mercury chloride was given out to those afflicted as a strong purgative to induce purification, while laudanum—a powerful opiate that includes opium and morphine— was administered in a glass of hot brandy to treat intense stomach pains. On a federal level, all that Congress could offer was Senator Henry Clay’s call for a national day of fasting and prayer for a providential cure.

  As these treatments proved to be ineffective and Americans struggled to understand the reasons for the epidemic, Sylvester Graham offered strikingly different advice on how to best treat and avoid cholera. Graham argued that a combination of factors contributed to the epidemic, especially diet and overstimulation. Americans, Graham preached, were detached from and ignorant of the natural laws that regulated the human body, and drunk from a diet heavy in stimulants. Animal flesh was essentially rotting and inorganic, leading to impure blood and the draining of vital power in order to digest unnatural substances.  

Laying the blame squarely on meat-eating and alcohol consumption, Graham pointed toward “dietetic intemperance and lewdness” as the primary causes of the spread of cholera.  Only by adhering to natural laws—a flesh- and alcohol-free diet; cold, pure water; frequent bathing; exercise; and fresh air—could one avoid contracting the disease. Graham pointed further toward emotional strength as a weapon in the fi ght against choleric agents. Fear of the disease weakened the body’s constitution, making it more apt to overtax itself. Only through strength of mind, body, and soul could individuals avoid the importation of impurities. Through a vegetable diet and mastery over the laws of nature, Graham argued, individuals could avoid the perils of illness.

Dec 13, 1834

A Defence of the Graham System of Living


Just as Graham claimed that the benefit of a vegetable diet was scientifically observable, his new followers attested to the natural life’s ability to ward off disease. These stories—often similar to Graham’s own account of his moral and physical ascension—presented common narratives of the evolution from darkness to light, all thanks to a meatless diet.


Just as Graham claimed that the benefit of a vegetable diet was scientifically observable, his new followers attested to the natural life’s ability to ward off disease. These stories—often similar to Graham’s own account of his moral and physical ascension—presented common narratives of the evolution from darkness to light, all thanks to a meatless diet. They used language similar to that of the conversion narratives of born-again evangelicals swept up in the period’s Second Great Awakening. The difference was that the Grahamites’ conversions occurred at the table, rather than at a revival meeting or church.  

These narratives outlined a timeline of sickness, transformation, and finally conversion that led the individual to advocate for a Grahamite diet. Nicholas Van Heyniger, a promoter of Grahamism, explained: “For some time previous to my adopting your plan of living, my health was a good deal impaired; and I was afflicted with many bodily pains; and particularly troubled with impaired sight.” Conversion stories connected a wide variety of physical maladies with meat consumption, while a meat-free diet was claimed to produce instantaneous improvements. Van Heyniger adopted a Graham diet and reported that his “bodily pains are gone, and my sight is perfectly restored, so that I can read all the evening without the least inconvenience.” 

Asenath Nicholson presented her own conversion story, recounting that until age sixteen she consumed tea, coffee, meat, and alcohol to the extent that her “nerves became so completely unstrung that the sight of a book put me in an universal tremor.”  After attending a Graham lecture Nicholson was overcome by an almost spiritual rapture. She wrote that she “heard and trembled: the torrent of truth poured upon me, effectually convinced my judgment, and made me a thorough convert.” A regimen of fresh air, Graham bread, and vegetables cured Nicholson, making her “entirely exempt from pain or weakness.” In the process, everything from her sleep to her singing voice improved. Nicholson believed her life was saved: “Nearly four years have passed, and not the slightest indisposition, except a trifling cold, has ever returned, to remind me I was mortal. Good bread, pure water, ripe fruit and vegetables are my meat and drink exclusively.”  

Conversion narratives were oft en published in volumes of Graham’s writings. In the closing pages of A Defence of the Graham System of Living, a series of testimonials from “respectable individuals” is offered, all following the pattern of the conversion narrative. Years of abuse and woe were followed by multiple visits to doctors who did little to alleviate their suffering. But the adoption of a Graham diet cured all ills. Lavinia Wright, a teacher in New York’s rough Bowery neighborhood, reported the end of “physical and mental lethargy” caused by “the injustice and cruelty of destroying animal existence” and “the injurious eff ects produced by the undue stimulation resulting from the use of animal food.” 

Amos Pollard, a medical doctor, said that after living meatless for five years “my health is much better, and my strength far greater, than when I used a mixture of animal food.” Pollard used his personal example to encourage the universal adoption of a vegetable diet to benefit all of mankind. William Goodell, an influential abolitionist, suffragist, and early temperance reformer, claimed a vegetable diet cured him from chronic diarrhea that no doctor ever alleviated. Goodell also said that his “wife is relieved from her headaches, my child from summer complaints, and all of us in a good degree, from nervous irritability.”  An early conversion testimonial from December 13, 1834, came in the form of a letter that called for “a total abstinence from all artificial stimuli. . . . The general adoption of a vegetable diet would tend, in a remarkable degree to meliorate the condition of mankind, both physical and moral.” Included in the group of thirty-one cosignatories was Horace Greeley, who that year met his wife Mary Chency while living in the Beekman Street Grahamite boardinghouse in New York City. 

While much changed about movement vegetarianism during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, one constant feature was the use of the conversion narrative in order to justify the diet. Conversion narratives simultaneously reached out for converts and created a sense of community among dietary reformers. The conversion narrative also reflected the dedication and self-righteousness felt by Grahamites, compelled to share their personal stories of change. Grahamites also faced external social forces that reinforced feelings of inferiority, forcing meat abstainers to justify their life choices in order to gain credibility and create self-confidence.  

These competing forces of self-rectitude and external mockery pushed Grahamites to seek each other out, build communities, and formulate a common lifestyle around meat abstention. With boardinghouses in place in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia, Grahamites created supportive, localized communities. It was the printed word, however, that expanded the community of Grahamites beyond the local and into a larger movement throughout the United States.

May 1, 1836

Vegetable Diet: As Sanctioned by Medical Men, and by Experience in All Ages


Library of Health sought to distance itself from the claims of pseudo-science and religious heresy that traditionally followed meat abstainers, arguing that dietary reform “is indeed nothing less than the application of Christianity to the physical condition and wants of man.”


William Alcott was one of the founding and leading members of the APS and lent credibility to the growth of the meatless cause. He began advocating for a vegetable diet by the early 1830s, the heyday of Grahamism. Unlike Graham, however, Alcott was a formally trained physician, graduating from Yale University in 1836. He began publishing a series of treatises attacking such vices as alcohol, tobacco, and sexual intemperance. Alcott’s advocacy of a meatless diet gained mass exposure for the first time in a letter supporting the Graham system, which he published in the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal in May 1836.  A war of words had broken out in the journal between Sylvester Graham and Thomas Lee, superintendent of the McLean Asylum in Charlestown, Massachusetts. Lee claimed that Grahamism was “destructive in its operation,” a cause of insanity and “emasculation.” Graham, charged Lee, was “an intolerable impostor.” Further, Lee claimed, Graham believed that it would be better for a patient to starve to death rather than dine on flesh foods. Graham, in response, defended himself and his dietary system, accusing Lee of being driven by “a morbidly excited imagination” and producing a “most dangerous article to be thrown before the public.” Graham concluded that Lee was threatened by new ideas, part of a medical establishment apt to treat its patients with “flesh, wine and opium.”  A month later, William Alcott entered the fray. Writing to the journal in defense of the Graham system, Alcott emphasized his own credentials as a trained medical professional. Alcott claimed that doctors like Lee were driven by “prejudice” and “supposed facts.” Medical doctors were usually reasonable and rational. When it came to the Graham system, however, established medicine was “exceedingly lame” in its observations. Alcott argued that millions of laborers worldwide—particularly in northern Europe—had subsisted on vegetable diets for years and did not go insane. The letter closed with Alcott’s own conversion story, claiming to have “abstained suddenly, about six years ago, from animal food, and from all fermented, narcotic, and alcoholic drinks; and have confi ned myself, to this hour, to vegetable food and water.” The results were immediately observable to himself and those around him, causing “great gain” in mind and body. Alcott ended his missive by asking the public at large to judge whether or not he—a medical doctor, aft er all—was in the throes of insanity. 

This debate illustrated a larger change for proto-vegetarianism as the movement began shifting. Graham and his followers were harsh critics of doctors and established medical science. However, in the late 1830s food reformers began emphasizing meatless fare’s legitimacy based on the scientific principles of physiology. Proto-vegetarians during this period defi ned themselves by proclaiming their medical expertise rather than their perspectives as outsiders. Organizations such as the American Physiological Society used medical credentials to support their controversial calls for dietary reform.  

The closing of the Graham Journal of Health and Longevity at the end of 1839 enabled Alcott’s Library of Health to emerge as the new public voice of meat abstention in the United States. Although not an official voice of the APS, Library of Health frequently reported on its activities. Originally published in 1837, Alcott’s journal was similar to the Graham Journal in structure. However, Library of Health touted its writers’ credentials as medical experts, advocating a vegetable diet as one component of healthy living. The journal hoped to take advantage of Alcott’s medical pedigree, assuring readers that “we began the following volume with the full intention of striking a heavy blow at quackery. . . . Quackery is not confined to the venders of nostrums, nor to any one class of citizens; it is rife everywhere.” Library of Health sought to distance itself from the claims of pseudo-science and religious heresy that traditionally followed meat abstainers, arguing that dietary reform “is indeed nothing less than the application of Christianity to the physical condition and wants of man.”

Library of Health featured medical experts in its defense of a meat-free diet, further diff erentiating itself from the Grahamites’ more personal notion of medical care, a view that attacked mainstream medical practitioners. Amariah Bringham, superintendent of the Retreat for the Insane in Hartford, Connecticut, argued that flesh foods caused “an inflammatory fever of an unusual character for children” and that “infants who are accustomed to eat much animal food become robust, but at the same time passionate, violent and brutal.” Alcott noted the efforts of one medical doctor who opposed the use of emetics to induce vomiting. The doctor’s opinion was reached through years of observation, viewing irritated, expanded stomachs that suffered from poor digestion for years afterward.  Reuben Mussey, a medical doctor, dietary and health reformer, and future president of the American Medical Association, frequently contributed to the journal. Mussey was regarded for his work exposing the poisonous nature of tobacco, which he claimed caused dizziness, stomach pain, and swollen feet. Another medical expert reported that hot drinks and foods made individuals more apt to catch a cold because extreme temperatures acted as a stimulant on the body. Alcott emphasized scientific credentials in appealing to the masses, subtitling a treatise on the merits of a vegetable diet “ As Sanctioned by Medical Men .”

 Library of Health warned against the perils of dietary intemperance in all its forms. Poisoned cheese was widely available in the marketplace; an article claimed that small amounts of arsenic were used to tenderize curds, an assertion similar to Graham’s criticisms of the bread making industry. Late, heavy suppers were described as being “prejudicial to health,” leading to digestive problems and poor sleep. Condiments and sweets were condemned, as were complex, diversified diets; simplicity was far more advantageous and less stimulating. These criticisms were similar to Graham’s but were expressed through the language of medical expertise. Through 1839, the journal dealt with dietary issues in a generalized manner, rather than advocating the specific advantages of a meatless diet.

Apr 2, 1837

The Graham Journal of Health and Longevity


Graham started publishing a journal to recommend vegetarianism, even using diagrams to make scientific cases for it, however an anonymous person wrote back to say “there are far worse articles of food in common use than healthy flesh-meat. . . . A man may be a pure vegetable liver, and yet his diet be far less favorable to health than a diet of animal food might be."


In April 1837, the fi rst issue of the Graham Journal of Health and Longevity became available to the public. The journal served as a catalyst for a significant shift in the development of proto-vegetarianism. The new journal promoted Sylvester Graham’s diet as well as his writings, lecture tours, and other public appearances, helping to expand the diet’s prominence and reputation. Graham regularly contributed to the journal, providing both new essays as well as excerpts from his previously published books and pamphlets. However, the journal—despite bearing the name of the movement’s founder—was published independently of Sylvester Graham, who was not directly involved in its production. Thus while the Graham Journal of Health and Longevity helped further expose the masses to Sylvester Graham and his ideology, it also emphasized that the actions of individuals helped determine its success. The journal helped further develop a nationwide community that, for the time being, bore Graham’s name. However, the journal relied on the work of other writers, editors, and reformers to accelerate the spread of meatless dietetics.  

The publisher of the new journal was David Cambell, owner of the first Graham boardinghouse in Boston. The journal quickly spread its reach throughout the United States. During its first three months of publication, only thirty-eight local agents were listed as selling the Graham Journal in twelve states. By October of the same year, 108 agents were selling the journal in fift een states, as far west as St. Louis; south to Macon, Georgia; and throughout all of New England. 123 In 1839, its final year of publishing, New Jersey was added to this list of states, and the journal was sold by a total of 140 agents.  

The journal featured a wide variety of articles and followed a similar structure in each of its biweekly issues. It opened with a series of letters and endorsements, offering the familiar conversion narrative structure of redemption. Nathaniel Perry of Boston, writing in the first issue, recollected that soon after marrying he “began to indulge in what is called by most people, good living,” consisting of “roast and fried meats, of all kinds, and poultry with their rich gravies.” Meat and alcohol led to a battle with rheumatism, constant headaches, canker sores, and tooth decay.  

Perry hit bottom when a dyspeptic stomach left him unable to attend to his business dealings or even leave his house. After hearing Graham lecture in Boston, Perry “became interested in the principles he taught; and finally adopted them in diet and regimen.” The results were nearly immediate, Perry reported, with all maladies gone within a month. He slept soundly, and at fifty years of age could attest to “good health,” “the keenest relish for my food,” and an “elastic, energetic, untiring” ability to labor.  Both lay Grahamites and professional medical doctors wrote testimonials, attempting to lend populist and professional credibility to the cause. 

In each issue Sylvester Graham himself was represented by an article, often a summary, excerpt, or reworking of themes and arguments made in lectures and published works on the science of human life or bread making.  The journal also included articles focused on anatomy and the inner workings of the human body as proof of the benefits of a meatless diet. Charts, figures, and drawings frequently accompanied these articles, attempting to make scientific arguments accessible to the average reader.  

In a series of articles appearing in the journal, William Beaumont—a famed U. S. army surgeon—wrote on his observations of human digestion. Beaumont’s research was based on fi rsthand observation of Alexis St. Martin, a patient who had been accidentally shot in the stomach. This wound caused a fistula, an observable hole in St. Martin’s stomach leading to the digestive track. Beaumont placed various foods on a string in order to observe how food stuff s were broken down, leading to the observation that stomach acids helped digest food into various nutrients. Beaumont’s experiments illustrated that vegetables were easily broken down by stomach acid, in contrast to various meat products, which were “partly digested,” observable proof of Grahamites’ claims that meat was difficult to break down into digestible matter.  

Issues also included recipes, further linking Grahamites through common gastronomy. The recipes expanded the Grahamite diet beyond cold water and Graham bread, teaching meatless epicures how to properly prepare vegetables, bake pies, and prepare grains. By expanding the repertoire of meatless cookery, the Graham Journal ironically further shifted proto-vegetarianism away from Graham. The publication closed with an advertising section, offering information on where to buy the journal and find Grahamite boardinghouses, literature, and dietary products.  

Health advocates frequently wrote letters to the journal, though not always in support of meatless dietetics. One concerned reformer wrote with the desire to express a few “hasty remarks” regarding the journal’s advocacy for a vegetable diet. Not all advocates of dietary reform were followers of Graham, he argued. While admitting that Graham’s diet had beneficial effects, the writer said he would call “no man master” and was writing to the journal to “protest against the common notion that the efforts of the advocates of physiological reform are designed solely or mainly to bring about the disuse of animal food.” The writer believed that “there are far worse articles of food in common use than healthy flesh-meat. . . . A man may be a pure vegetable liver, and yet his diet be far less favorable to health than a diet of animal food might be.” The letter concluded with a call for further scientific study into the eff ects of all dietary practices, stating that “we do not aim at dietetic reform solely—we advocate physiological reform.”  The anonymous writer raised an important question for those interested in dietary reform to consider: Should the movement focus on a dogmatic dedication to a meatless diet or advocate for scientific study to continually redefi ne the most benefi cial diet?  

The fate of the journal at the end of 1839 seems to have offered an answer to the lingering question over the aims of dietary reformers, indicating that total dietary reform had become preferable to Grahamism. After three years of weekly publication, the Graham Journal of Health and Longevity ceased production, with its last issue dated December 14, 1839. The journal had originally planned to release a fourth edition, promising potential subscribers seven free issues for the remainder of 1839 when opening a new account for the coming year. This enticement to subscribe seems to indicate significant financial diffi culty for Cambell and the journal.

Jan 1, 1842

Lectures to Ladies on Anatomy and Physiology


Mary Gove Nichols, disciple of Graham, taught physiology and anatomy and claimed that God designed humans to eat vegetables.

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.

May 1, 1842

My sixty years on the plains, trapping, trading, and Indian fighting by William Thomas Hamilton


Hamilton describes how the Cheyennes hunt buffalo, drying and turn the meat and tallow into pemmican, being 5 times as energy dense as fresh meat. He also describes the practice of using dupuyer - a long fatty strip of flesh along the buffalo backbone that is cherished above all else.

CHAPTER II Buffalo Hunt with Cheyennes. A Stirring Picture. My First Buffalo. Perils of the Chase. We are Feasted on our Return. Character of the Cheyennes. Pemmican and Depuyer a Substitute for Bread. We Leave the Cheyennes. 

The next morning, before daylight, fifty hunters and about twenty squaws with pack animals were assembled, ready to start on the buffalo hunt. We travelled about ten miles, when the scouts discovered a herd and reported their location to the hunting chief. He was thoroughly acquainted with the topography of the country and led us on a long detour, so as to get on the leeward side of the herd. As soon as we reached there, the Indians stripped to breech-clout and advanced, leading their running horses. The chief now divided the hunters in two divisions, in order to get what buffalo were wanted in the smallest possible area. It is necessary to approach as close as possible before raising the herd, for when raised they travel fast and no laggard of a horse can overtake them. Generally each division has a leader, who gives the order to go. We rode to within a quarter of a mile of the herd before the word was given. Here would have been a grand scene for an artist to put on canvas—this wild array of naked Indians, sending forth yell after yell and riding like demons in their eagerness to bring down the first buffalo. For this is quite a feat and is commented upon by the whole village. Swift Runner and his cousin had the fastest horses in our division and brought down the first buffalo, much to the chagrin of many a young brave, who coveted that honor that they might receive smiles from their lady loves. My pony was close on the heels of the leaders, and Swift Runner pointed out a fat cow for me. In a few jumps I was alongside and fired, greenhorn like, at the cow's kidneys. As luck would have it, however, I broke her back and she dropped. Swift Runner gave a yell of delight at my success. I should have put the shot just behind the shoulder. There was yelling and shooting in every direction; and many riderless ponies were mixed in with the buffalo, with Indians after them, reckless if they in turn were dismounted as their friends had been, by the ponies stepping into prairie-dog or badger holes. Many an Indian has come to grief by having an arm or leg broken in this way. Ponies are sure-footed, but in a run such as this one, where over a thousand buffalo are tearing at full speed over the prairie, a dust is created which makes it impossible for the ponies to see the holes, hence the mishaps, which are very common. All the meat required lay in an area of three quarters of a mile. I had brought down four and received great praise from the Indians. I could have done much better, but, boy-like, I wanted to see the Indians shoot their arrows, which many of them used. One arrow was sufficient to bring the buffalo to its knees. They shot behind the shoulder, sending the arrow deep enough to strike the lungs. One shot there is enough for any animal in the United States. 

Now came the butchering, which was completed in two hours, and each pony was packed with three hundred pounds of the choicest of meat. Several Indians who had been thrown, limped somewhat, but none were seriously hurt. 

We arrived at the village about sundown and found the whole tribe lined up to greet us and to ascertain how successful we had been. A feast had been prepared and was awaiting our coming; and as for myself, I was "wolfish,” —which is a mountain man's expression for hungry,—for I had tasted no food since five o'clock in the morning. After supper incidents of the hunt were gone over, and listened to with interest by all. Our party congratulated me warmly on my success, and it was commented on also by the Indians, which pleased the boys immensely. If a white man fails to acquit himself creditably it invariably casts a reflection on all whites. The Cheyennes were and are today a proud and brave people. Their domestic habits were commendable and could be followed to advantage by many white families. To violate the marriage vow meant death or mutilation. This is a rule which does not apply to all tribes. Meat is their principal food, although berries of different kinds are collected in season, as well as various roots. The kettle is on the tripod night and day. They use salt when they can get it, and are very fond of molasses, sugar, coffee, and flour. They are hospitable to those whom they respect, and the reverse to those for whom they have contempt.

Most tribes of plains Indians dry their meat by cutting it in thin flakes and spreading it on racks and poles in the sun; although in damp or wet weather it is put inside of lodges, where it will dry, but not so well as in the sun. Mountain men follow the same practice and use the meat when game is scarce, and this often occurs. Pemmican is manufactured in the following manner. The choicest cuts of meat are selected and cut into flakes and dried. Then all the marrow is collected and the best of the tallow, which are dissolved together over a slow fire to prevent burning. Many tribes use berries in their pemmican. Mountaineers always do unless they have sugar. The meat is now pulverized to the consistency of mince meat; the squaws generally doing this on a flat rock, using a pestle, many specimens of which may be seen on exhibition in museums. A layer of meat is spread, about two inches thick, the squaws using a wooden dipper, a buffalo horn, or a claw for this work. On this meat is spread a certain amount of the ingredients made from the marrow and tallow, the proportion depending on the taste. This same process is repeated until the required amount is secured. One pound of pemmican is equal to five pounds of meat.

Buffalo tongues are split the long way and dried for future use, and thus prepared are a delicacy fit for a prince. Another important article of food, the equal of which is not to be had except from the buffalo, is “depuyer” (dépouille). It is a fat substance that lies along the backbone, next to the hide, running from the shoulder-blade to the last rib, and is about as thick as one's hand or finger. It is from seven to eleven inches broad, tapering to a feather edge on the lower side. It will weigh from five to eleven pounds, according to the size and condition of the animal. This substance is taken off and dipped in hot grease for half a minute, then is hung up inside of a lodge to dry and smoke for twelve hours. It will keep indefinitely, and is used as a substitute for bread, but is superior to any bread that was ever made. It is eaten with the lean and dried meat, and is tender and sweet and very nourishing, for it seems to satisfy the appetite. When going on the war-path the Indians would take some dried meat and some depuyer to live on, and nothing else, not even if they were to be gone for months. I have been asked many times regarding depuyer by different ones who have been astonished when told of its merits as a substitute for other food, and surprised that it was so little known except by mountain men and Indians. Trappers would pay a dollar a pound for it, and I do not believe that bread would bring that price unless one were starving. As I have said, it is a substitute for bread; and when you are invited to an Indian lodge your host will present you with depuyer just as you would present bread to a guest. You may be sure should they fail to present you with depuyer that you are an unwelcome guest.;page=ssd;view=plaintext;seq=44;num=34

Oct 18, 1842

Monograph on Cancer


M. Tanchou is of opinion that cancer, like insanity, increases in a direct ratio to the civilization of the country and of the people.

Professor John LeConte (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 ...”

Jul 6, 1843

Memoir on the Frequency of Cancer


Cancer is very old in the civilized world, but rare in the native world based on research by Tanchou

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.

Nov 1, 1843

Journal of a Trapper


A trapper provides various references to the important of fat meat, which was plentiful in the areas to the west of the Rockies. "The Sheep were all very fat so that this could be called no other than high living"

...we travelled down this stream about 15 Mls and stopped to kill and dry Buffaloe meat sufficient to load our loose horses. On the 22d We moved down 10 mls. where we found thousands of Buffaloe Bulls and killed a great number of them as the Cows were very poor at this season of the year.

Here we Killed a couple of fine Bulls and took some of the best meat.

These peaks bear the French name of Tetons or Teats - The Snake Indians call them the hoary headed Fathers. This is a beautiful valley consisting of a Smooth plain intersected by small streams and thickly clothed with grass and herbage and abounds with Buffaloe Elk Deer antelope etc.

Here we again fell on to Lewis' fork which runs in a Southern direction thro. a valley about 80 mls long then turning to the west thro. a narrow cut in the mountain to the mouth of Salt River about 30 miles. This Valley is called "Jackson Hole" it is generally from 5 to 15 mls wide: the Southern part where the river enters the mountain is hilly and uneven but the Northern portion is wide smooth and comparatively even the whole being covered with wild sage and Surrounded by high and rugged mountains upon whose summits the snow remains during the hottest months in Summer. The alluvial bottoms along the river and streams inter sect it thro. the valley produce a luxuriant growth of vegetation among which wild flax and a species of onion are abundant. The great altitude of this place however connected with the cold descending from the mountains at night I think would be a serious obstruction to growth of most Kinds of cultivated grains. This valley like all other parts of the country abounds with game.

On the North and West were towering rocks several thousand feet high which seem to overhang this little vale - Thousands of mountain Sheep were scattered up and down feeding on the short grass which grew among the cliffs and crevices: some so high that it required a telescope to see them.

We now seated ourselves for a few minutes to rest our wearied limbs and gaze on surrounding objects near us on either hand the large bands of Mountain Sheep carelessly feeding upon the short grass and herbage which grew among the Crags and Cliffs whilst Crowds of little lambs were nimbly Skipping and playing upon the banks of snow.

The next morning at daybreak I arose and kindled a fire and seeing the mules grazing at a short distance I filled my tobacco pipe and sat down to Smoke, presently I cast my eyes down the mountain and discovered 2 Indians approaching within 200 yards of us I immediately aroused my companion who was still sleeping, we grasped our guns and presented them upon the intruders upon our Solitude, they quickly accosted us in the Snake tongue saying they were Shoshonies and friends to the whites, I invited them to approach and sit down then gave them some meat and tobacco, they seemed astonished to find us here with Mules saying they knew of but one place where they thought mules or horses could ascend the mountain and that was in a NE direction.

But for my part I was well contented for an eye could scarcely be cast in any direction around above or below without seeing the fat sheep gazing at us with anxious curiosity or lazily feeding among the rocks and scrubby pines. The bench where we encamped contained about 500 acres nearly level. 16th We staid at this place as our wounded comrade had suffered severely the day before. Some went down the stream to hunt a passage while others went to hunt Sheep. Being in Camp about 10 ock I heard the faint report of a rifle overhead I looked up and saw a sheep tumbling down the rocks which stopped close to where I stood but the man who shot it had to travel 3 or 4 miles before he could descend with safety to the Camp. The Sheep were all very fat so that this could be called no other than high living both as regarded altitude of position and rich provisions