Henry Salt Archive

Henry Salt (1853-1939) was the author of the Life of Henry David Thoreau, Animals Rights and A Plea for Vegetarianism which inspired Gandhi for follow a vegetarian diet.

Vegetarianism

In proportion as man is truly “humanised”, not by schools of cookery but by schools of thought, he will abandon the barbarous habit of his flesh-eating ancestors, and will make gradual progress towards a purer, simpler, more humane, and therefore more civilised diet-system. - Henry Salt

Salt, who was very much a man of letters, wrote nearly 40 books during his lifetime including biographical studies of Shelley, Thoreau, De Quincey, James Thompson ("B.V.") and several others. He was also a great amateur botanist, specialising in wild flowers.

One of the books that gave him greatest satisfaction was A Plea for Vegetarianism (1886) because of its effect on Mahatma Gandhi who, during his student days in London (1888-91) had read Salt's book. At the meeting of the Vegetarian Society of 20th November 1931, Salt was honoured by Gandhi's opening remarks: “It was Mr. Salt's book, A Plea for Vegetarianism, which showed me why, apart from hereditary habit, and apart from my adherence to a vow administered to me by my mother, it was right to be a vegetarian. He showed me why it was a moral duty incumbent on vegetarians not to live upon fellow-animals.”