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.

‘Whole-hogger Humanitarian’ H. S. Salt, Dead

Chronicle, April 20, 1939

Mr. Henry S. Salt, famous humanitarian and friend of Bernard Shaw, Gandhi and many other celebrities, died yesterday at Brighton, aged 87.

He was the founder and the honorary secretary of the Humanitarian League, the objects of which were to abolish blood sports and vivisection, reform prisons and education, and popularise humane diet.

Mr Salt did not eat meat for over 60 years, and it is said that it was through his writings that Gandhi became a vegetarian.

Mr. Salt was a prolific writer, and in one of his books, “Memories of Bygone Eton,” he recalled that his father-in-law, the Rev. J. L. Joynes, had Swinburne as a pupil in his house and related this anecdote about the famous poet.

WHY SWINBURNE THREW

“He had once an illness when at Eton, and his mother, Lady Jane Swinburne, who had come to be with him there, was beguiling the hours by reading his beloved Shakespeare to him as he lay in bed.

“She left the room for a time, and her maid undertook to act as deputy-reader in her absence, but had not read many lines before Swinburne, infuriated by the outrage done to the sacred text, dashed into her face a glass of water which was standing by the bedside.”

H. W. Massingham once said of Mr. Salt that he was “a whole hogger.”

“Flogging and vivisection were two planks in the Humanitarian League platform,” he wrote, “and Mr. Salt was never running to and fro between the people who wanted the floggers vivisected and the people who wanted the vivisectors flogged. He stood four square.”