THE “call of the wild,” where the love of flowers is concerned, has an attraction which is not the less powerful because it is difficult to explain. The charm of the garden may be strong, but it is not so strong as that which draws us to seek for wildflowers in their native haunts, whether of shore or water-meadow, field or wood, moorland or mountain. A garden is but a “zoo” (with the cruelty omitted); and just as the true natural history is that which sends us to study animals in the wilds, not to coop them in cages, so the true botany must bring man to the flower, not the flower to man. That the lovers of wildflowers--those, at least, who can give active expression to their love--are not a numerous folk, is perhaps not surprising; for even a moderate knowledge of the subject demands such favourable conditions as free access to nature, with opportunities for observation beyond what most persons command; but what they lack in numbers they make up in zeal, and to none is the approach of spring more welcome than to those who are then on the watch for the reappearance of floral friends.
It is the special purpose of this book to set forth in a clear and rational manner the logic of vegetarianism. To the ethical, the scientific, and the economic aspects of the system much attention has already been given by well-accredited writers, but there has not as yet been any organised effort to present the logical view—that is, the dialectical scope of the arguments, offensive and defensive, on which the case for vegetarianism is founded. I am aware that mere logic is not in itself a matter of first rate importance, and that a great humane principal, based on true natural instinct, will in the long run have fulfilment, whatever wordy battles may rage around it for a time; nevertheless, there is no better method of hastening that result than to set the issues before the public in a plain and unmistakable light. I wish, therefore, in this work, to show what vegetarianism is, and (a scarcely less essential point) what vegetarianism is not.