1) Its inception occurred in two stages during 1881 which were recorded in The Dietic Reformer and Vegetarian Messenger:
"The new Anglo-Catholic Guild, the 'Company of St. James', seeks to promote the glory of God and the good of man - 'by living and inculcating a life of simplicity in eating and drinking', by 'encouraging self-denial in each other in regard to diet', and 'remembering man's fellowship with the lower animals'. Health and prosperity to the Company of St. James! We will not quarel about names. Be as 'Anglo' as you please, and take any Saint you like for patron, you will do well to stop eating the dead bodies of your warm-blooded friends, the sheep who clothe you, and the cows who give you milk. As for pigs, when you consider what they eat, you will not much care to eat them. We welcome the new guild as a sign of the times, men and women are beginning to think of the important matter of the right of building up and daily renewal of their bodies. As the casket of the soul, the body needs care; but it is much more than a casket. It is the organ of the soul as well. How we think and how we feel depends upon the proper nourishment and exercise of the body. Pure food makes pure blood. Brain and nerves require the purest and finest elements. A gross animal diet has never, in any age, been the promoter of spirituality. Brahmin, Buddhist, and Christian have agreed in this, and the Company of St. James but revives the doctrines and practice of the founders of the Christian faith, and of all the religious orders of the Church. All men who have most aspired to purity of thought and life have been vegetarians. The rule of abstinence from debasing foods and drinks has been universal. Pure eating and drinking has accompanied pure feeling and thinking. Therefore, there can scarcely be a greater scandal than the English mode of keeping Christmas, with its display of incitements to the two deadly sins of gluttony and drunkenness."
The Dietic Reformer and Vegetarian Messenger, March 1881.
(Reprinted from The Herald of Health - published in Glasgow and London)
"We have been requested to chronicle the founding of the Order of Companions of the Golden Age, dedicated to the memory of St. James the Less,* whose appropriate motto is "Non nocebunt et non occident": -
The first general meeting of the above Order was held at Brympton, Yeovil, on Thursday, September 8. After the opinions of those unable to be present had been read, the rules and constitutions, as sent in draft to the members of the Order, were adopted without substantial alteration. It was agreed tp print 100 copies, one copy to be sent to each member, the remainder to be sold to inquirers at 6d each. The officers for the ensuing year were elected, viz:- Provost, the Rev. H.J. Williams, Brympton, Yeovil; Deputy - Provost, R. Bailey Walker, 56 Peter Street, Manchester; Bursar, F.L. Latcheside, St. Cuthbert's College, Aylesbury; Registrar, G.W. Gulliver, Bramshott, Liphook, Hants.
* Hegesippus, a Jewish Christian very near the Apostles' times, tells us that he (St. James) drank no wine or strong drink, nor ate animal food. - Sanctorale Catholicum.
The Dietic Reformer and Vegetarian Messenger, October 1881.
"The Order of the Golden Age. - The tendency of a section of Churchmen to abstinent, if not ascetic, vows is curiously illustrated by the proposals now being formulated for a new guild, to be called the " Order of Companions of the Golden Age." Each companion must be a baptised Christian, professing the faith as set forth in the Apostles Creed, be an early riser ( at least as early as seven a.m.), use prayers and intercessions for the objects of the Order, dress soberly, and lead a life which is "tender, temperate and humane." So qualified and accepted, he shall be distinguished by a purple badge, and may at any time after six months' probation proceed to the following grades, with at least six months interval between each:- The crimson - abstinence from the flesh of birds and beasts; the blue - additional abstinence from fish; the white - additional abstinence from alcoholic beverages and tobacco. The motto of the Order is the prophetic Non noncebunt et non occident. If a word of criticism may be offered, it is that the "Golden Age" is a pagan and not a Christian tradition, though doubtless in all ages of the Christian Church there have been individuals and congregations who have carried out such a rule of life as is laid down for the members of the new Order."
(Reprinted from: The Manchester Guardian)
Reproduced with kind permission of The Vegetarian Society
2) A dispute occurred in the correspondence pages of The Vegetarian early in 1896:
To the Editor of The Vegetarian.
Sir, - An "order" having lately arisen (only a month old) to do the work which the Vegetarian Society seems to do exceedingly well already, we wish to say that our "Order of the Golden Age," known also as the "Order of Atonement," and the "United Templars Society," incepted in 1881 and promulgated 1888, with a literature of forty various publications, is the Original Order, and must not be confounded with the recent one which has taken our name. Our Order was founded for an object distinct from all others, and has its own special work, which is to select, revise, and re-issue (as the scanty means at our command will enable us) the forms of worship of the Catholic Church, Eastern and Western, Greek and pre-Christian, purified and filled with the Christian spirit of humaneness, justice, and righteousness and love to all the creatures of God, as they never before have been, and the lack of which has been at the root of the indifference of the Christian Churches to animal suffering. Where in our dogmas, liturgies, or rites is this humaneness and love to all creatures and abstinence from all cruelties inculcated? We know not of one instance - all for man, nothing for our lesser brothers and sisters. No end of shedding blood of the innocent for self, nothing of tenderness for all God's creatures, or suggestive of it even, except it be hymns or prayers in time of "cattle plague" that our lesser brothers and sisters may be spared in order that we may hunt, worry, torture, and kill and eat them. We are therefore doing a work that no one else will do, and for which we are specially qualified, having the necessary acquaintance with the dogmas, liturgies, and rites of the Greek, the Latin, and the non-Christian religions. The only pledge we require of members is total abstinence from flesh, alcohol, tobacco, from all cruelty and from all things gotten by cruelty, for we feel that they who engage in such work must come with clean hands. -Yours,
I. G. Ouseley, Sec.,
3, Evelyn Terrace,
M .A. Londini, President,
Victoria Park,
30th January, 1896.
From The Vegetarian of February 8th, 1896.
To the Editor of The Vegetarian.
Sir, - I was surprised to see in your correspondence column last week a letter from the Rev. I. G. Ouseley, containing certain statements concerning the Order of the Golden Age, which has recently been re-established at Exeter, and the Official Journal of which is the Herald of the Golden Age.
Although I have no wish to emulate the example of your correspondent by saying anything which might tend to lessen his influence for good, or to hinder his efforts to promote Social Reform, yet I feel it to be my duty to reply to his statements, and to show first, that they are incorrect, second, that the writer knew them to be so - lest unworthy motives should be attributed to those who are associated with me in a movement which has already gained the sympathy and co-operation of the most earnest Vegetarians in the country.