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mand a fresh inquiry, conducted upon very different principles ; and such an inquiry will lead to very different results.

Thus much for the subject of " injury to health :” and, if there be offences to "public decency,” your Bill is not required for their correction. The existing powers and authorities are amply sufficient to meet every exigency of this description.

October 10, 1842.

LETTER II.

CLERICAL TAXATION OF CEMETERIES-CLERICAL COMPENSATION-FAMILY

GRAVES-DESECRATION OF BURIAL GROUNDS.

Sir,While your Bill proposes to close all existing places of sepulture, under the circumstances specified, it particularly exempts all Cemeteries established under the authority of an Act passed specially for that purpose, within ten years prior to the passing of your Bill, whatever be their state or position. This is a dexterous stroke. Is it your own or the Bishop's ? Unreflecting persons may, perhaps, think it a generous exception ; but assuredly generosity makes no part of your Bill. The problem will be readily solved, however, when we apprise them, that every Act which has been passed within that period, constitutes the ground to which it refers, a spontaneous harvest for the clergy! All those Acts are before us; and we find that the Act for Kensal-green, to the north-west of London, which was the first Cemetery, passed just ten years ago.

This Act was procured by the “General Cemetery Company,” and governs their proceedings wherever they may construct places of interment. The next Act was obtained, in 1836, by the “ London Cemetery Company," and authorised them to establish Cemeteries "northward, southward, and eastward of the Metropolis. This Bill, we shall see, even enhances the interests of the clergy, The third Act was that procured by “ The West of London and Westminster Cemetery Company,” in 1839, which enormously enhances the privileges of the ghostly Corporation. The fourth Act was passed in behalf of the “ City of London and Tower Hamlets Company," which is equally oppressed by

clerical burdens. These facts solve the mystery of “ ten years" and an “ Act." The time is of value only as connected with the Act. The Bishop of London, during that period, has taken care that no Act should pass the House of Lords which did not pay a heavy tribute to the clergy; this was the unalterable condition; and even respectful refusal entailed certain discomfiture. “Ten years" comprise the mystic cycle. All grounds established eleven or twelve years ago, whether conjoined with or apart from chapels, may be well situated, well conducted, and every way unexceptionable ; but, as they yield no gold for the surpliced sons of Mother Church, they must perish!

The progress of clerical rapacity, as traced in these Acts, is very remarkable, when viewed in relation to the peculiar principles of your Bill. If any thing can illustrate the real character of the Established Church, and excite the public alarm at your measure, it is a simple statement of the facts of this history.

The Act relating to the Kensal-green Cemetery provides, that, for every corpse brought from parishes within the Bills of Mortality, within the diocese of London, or from the parishes of St. Marylebone, St. Pancras, Paddington, or St. Mary Abbotts, Kensington, and buried in the vaults, catacombs, or brick graves of the consecrated ground, the Company shall pay to the clergymen respectively, a fee of Five Shillings; and, if in the open ground, of One Shilling and Sixpence. This is not amiss, seeing that such clergymen are required to do nothing whatever in the way of earning these sums.

Their happy province begins with receiving, and ends with spending them. The genius of cupidity, however, became sharpened by reflection; and, accordingly, the Bill of the “ London Cemetery Company” provides, that, in addition to the limits of the Weekly Bills of Mortality, bodies brought from "any Parish or Ecclesiastical District or Division, the Church or Chapel whereof shall be within the distance of five miles from the Cemetery,” shall be taxed to the same amount as at Kensal-green, for the benefit of the clergy. This is a great improvement. Success begets confidence: and hence the Bishop of London, the next year, inserted in the Act of " The West of London and Westminster Cemetery Company" a clause so perfectly monstrous, that, were the Act not before our eyes, we should deem it impossible that

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such a clause could have received the sanction of the Legislature. It is the following:

“XVIII.--And be it further enacted, That, upon the interment of every person within any part of the consecrated part of the said Cemetery, who shall appear, by the books of the Company, to have been removed, for the purpose of such interment, from any Parish, or Ecclesiastical District or Division of a Parish, within the distance of ten miles of the said Cemetery, the said Company shall pay unto the Incumbent for the time being of the Church or Chapel of the Parish, or other Ecclesiastical District or Division of the Parish, from which such persons shall be so removed, the sum of TEN SHILLINGS; and also to every person, at the time of passing this Act, holding the office of the Clerk of the Parish, or other Ecclesiastical District or Division of the Parish, from which such person shall be removed, the sum of ONE SHILLING."

Sir, this is alike original and bold. The distance is doubled as compared even with Highgate ; the fee in the vaults, &c., is doubled ; the distinction between the vaults and the open ground is annihilated; Ten Shillings is demanded for all burials, without distinction of place, and no consideration is made of the rank or circumstances of parties ! The distinctions of age, too, are lost: the infant of a week old and the man of grey hairs are put upon a level. The parish clerk, also, is admitted to share the spoil! In the history of ecclesiastical extortion, fertile as it is in examples of unblushing rapacity, we have seldom met with anything equal to this. Why, this mere tax for the clergy is equal to the whole charge of a burial in some of our best Cemeteries. The entire charge for an adult in Abney Park, is 10s.; for a child, 8s. ; but, in the case before us, the clerical impost alone on the little dust of an infant that has just seen the light, is 10s.! This cruel exaction was the result of deliberate counsel between the-Bishop and his clergy, as he avows in his own evidence. Are these, then, the persons in whose hands you propose to place the whole management of your new system of sepulture? Are these the persons whom you would empower to "fix and settle a Table of Fees to be paid on interments ?" We do trust the eyes of the country, if not your own, will open to the injustice of this most nefarious project.

As this point will be discussed more advantageously at a subsequent stage of our examination, we shall, for the present, drop it. What has now been said, may serve to illustrate the character of your exception in favour of Cemeteries established within “ ten years," and by “ Act of Parliament;" and to show that small praise on that ground is due either to you or your clients, the clergy. You take for your example the Beys of the East, who first plunder the caravan, and then grant it a passport through the desert!

Let us now, leaving the exception, proceed to the rule. You propose to prohibit all interments within the distance of two miles from the public lamps and paving of the Cities of London and Westminster, or the Borough of Southwark, or within one mile of cities, towns, or boroughs, containing a given number of houses rated at ten pounds or upwards : or within the distance of one mile from the boundary of any place of the extent of fifty acres, containing more than five hundred houses rated at ten pounds or upwards.

Sir, this proposition is fraught with a multitude of momentous consequences. How came you to take so limited a view of its general bearings? In your Report, you profess great concern about “vested rights." You are shocked to think of even the slightest infringement of the privileges of the parochial clergy! Favoured men! The health of the British metropolis, the salvation of the whole empire, would be far too dearly purchased at the expense of a single comfort to the most insignificant among them! Marvellous fondness! Your quondam friends, of the mountains of the north, will be sorely puzzled to account for your devotion to the English mitre. The brave and highminded men of the Clan Mackinnon, whose fathers stained their and your native hills with their blood, in defending their civil liberties and their Presbyterian religion against the cruel invasion of “ Black Prelacy,” will blush to witness you, Sir, the head of their Clan, so entirely forgetting, throughout this whole business, what is due to your own manhood, to your magnanimous ancestors, and to the land of your birth. Those hardy and chivalrous men will feel degraded by your cringing and despicable deportment, both to the Bishop and to the clergy. They will mark and scorn this servile and fawning spirit, as displayed by you when the imperious Prelate gave his evidence. It is likewise obvious, in your Report, in which you, nevertheless, to serve your end, repeatedly pervert his testimony, while you lick his jewelled hand. Throughout your Bill, also, it is offensively prominent. “ Particular attention," says your Report, " ought to be paid to the peculiar situation of the parochial clergy, whose chief source of income, in some cases, is derived from fees received from interments. Of these fees it would be great injustice to deprive the parties.” No doubt of it; their claims are indefeasible. But your humanity and justice do not end here. Everything appertaining to the church is vested. Even the twittering swallows have a “ vested right” to build their nests in the belfry! " The effects of the contemplated change on the emoluments of the parish clerks, is also a matter to be taken into consideration." Your benevolence increases as you advance: in your Bill you extend your sympathy to the very sexton!

We should like much to know, how, amidst all this solicitude to preserve “ vested rights” intact, you excluded from your thoughts all regard to the rights of the class of people called Dissenters? A stranger might be led to suppose you were not aware of the existence of such people. But this cannot be, since we find you, in your Bill, carefully providing indignity for the dead Dissenter, and taxation for the living one! In the Evidence, too, we observe, and have in previous letters reprobated, your anxiety to have it proved, that the profits of sepulture are one of the main supports of the Dissenting interest; that, but for these, many of its metropolitan chapels would never have existed ; and that their continuance chiefly depends on the

Sir, if these allegations be true, will not your Bill bring on the Dissenters of England a most grievous calamity ? Will it not prove the ruin of all or most of their town and city chapels? Is such an event, assuming its probability, or even its possibility, beneath your notice? If it inflict severe pain on multitudes, is it not cruelty ? If it destroy property, is it not injustice? If it impair the religious privileges of numbers of Christian men, is it not impiety? On what ground, then, do you rest your right, or consider it your duty to propose a measure which is revolting to justice, honour, and religion? Haye you, a senator, to learn that, next to life, it is your first

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