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The Fellowship of the New Life was a British organization in the 19th century, most famous for a splinter group, the Fabian Society.

It was founded in 1883, by the Scottish intellectual Thomas Davidson[1] . Fellowship members included poets Edward Carpenter and John Davidson,animal rights activist Henry Stephens Salt[2], sexologist Havelock Ellis, and future Fabian secretary Edward R. Pease. Future UK Prime Minister Ramsey MacDonald was briefly a member. According to MacDonald, the Fellowship's main influences were Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson[3]. The Fellowship published a journal called Seed-Time.

Its objective was "The cultivation of a perfect character in each and all." They wanted to transform society by setting an example of clean simplified living for others to follow. Many of the Fellowship's members advocated pacifism, vegetarianism and simple living, under the influence of Leo Tolstoy's ideas.[4] But when some members also wanted to become politically involved to aid society's transformation, it was decided that a separate society, the Fabian Society, would also be set up. All members were free to attend both societies. The Fellowship of the New Life disbanded sometime in the early 1890s.

Although not a member, Patrick Geddes was influenced by some of the organisation's ideas [5].


  1. ^ The Development of Thomas Davidson's Religious & Social Thought by James A. Good.[1]
  2. ^ See George Hendrick, Henry Salt: Humanitarian Reformer and Man of Letters (1977).
  3. ^ MacDonald quoted on pg. XV of Henry S. Salt's "Life of Thoreau", University of Illinois Press, 2000.
  4. ^ See Colin Spencer, The Heretic's Feast:A History of Vegetarianism,pg. 283 (1996).
  5. ^ Elisee Reclus and Patrick Geddes: Geographies of the Mind [2]


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