Montreal Daily Star, 8 July 1880, page 2
A Foolish Fellow
An American physician named Tanner, who for some time past has been trying to convince the medical world that by following out certain rules it is possible for a man to do without food of any kind for weeks, and not only keep alive, but cause no injury to his physical or mental health. Finding words of no avail, he intends now to convince his confreres by a practical illustration of his plan. For ten days past, at Clarendon Hall, New York, this man has been watched continuously, not only by members of the medical fraternity, but by hundreds of curious spectators, and as yet nothing has passed his lips but a little drop of ice water. The Doctor is confident that he will succeed in his undertaking, and spends his time conversing gaily with his numerous visitors. Starving matches will, in the event of Dr Tanner’s success, become as frequent as pedestrian matches now are. They will be far less brutal and much more interesting. The spectacle of a dozen men sitting in rocking chairs and engaged in the effort to outstarve one another in a “starve as you please” match will be much more inspiring than that of a number of men limping and staggering around the track in the hope of sharing some of the gate money. With the arrangements that have been made it is morally impossible that Dr Tanner can obtain any food or in fact anything but air and water, and it is proposed to keep him thus without food until his inability to carry out his philanthropic undertaking or until he dies. If this eccentric individual succeeds in establishing without doubt, that men can live forty days without food, the cost of living will materially decrease, and the benefit derived by the human family from the adoption of his system will be very great. Famines will then be at a discount, and the business of the tramp will be, in vulgar parlance, “played out”. The debt of gratitude owing by all good citizens to Dr Tanner will be something enormous, and words will be inadequate to resound the praises of the man who invented the only true and correct method of ridding the country of the tramp nuisance. The result of the voluntary fast will be watched with no little interest by the people of all classes. As for ourselves, we prophesy that inside of a week the foolish doctor will have come to his food or be lying under six feet of mother earth.