« EelmineJätka »
MEMBER OF SEVERAL LEARNED AND SCIENTIFIC SOCIETIES, AND AUTHOR
INTERMENT AND DISINTERMENT," A PRACTICAL CHART OF DISEASES
"No burying-places should be tolerated within cities or towns, much less in or about CHURCHBS and
From long observation I can attest that CHURCHES and CHAPBLS situated in grave-yards, and
WHEN a man feels strong in the conviction that what he is about to do is for the well-being of his fellow-creatures,--that he is striving to effect a great MORAL and SANATORY reformation, he may expect to encounter the opposition and malignity of those whose very existence sometimes depends on the corruption he would remove or destroy. This has been my case.
Forced by circumstances to occupy a peculiar and difficult position before a Committee of the Imperial Legislature, my very honesty of intention, my disinterested exertions, made at much personal sacrifice, could not propitiate the malignant hatred of those whose right to derive a guilty revenue by the corruption of the atmosphere, I had dared to question in my previous writings.
I knew that in laying bare, however guardedly, the condition of the METROPOLITAN GRAVE-YARDS, I should evoke a host of unflinching and unscrupulous detractors, who derive profit direct or indirect from what they call BURIAL-GROUNDS ; many of which places are in FACT what the within little history demonstrates them to be most scandalous, most disgraceful receptacles for the DEAD, — centres whence radiate, in every direction, gaseous, invisible compounds to poison the LIVING. Having traced, to their origin from such places, forms of disease, of varied, but sometimes most malignant character, I thought that to remain quiescent would be criminal. I have seen individuals droop, die— from causes that never should have existed, and the further progress of which at least ought to be put an end to, at once and for ever. I devoted time and means, nay, partially sacrificed health, to a revolting and searching investigation, and collected together a mass of evidence that ultimately led to an inquiry before a Committee of the House of Commons. The resolution of the Committee (see p. 6) proves that all the allegations contained in
my Petition (p. 5) were substantiated; whilst the testimony accorded in the Report was to me an acknowledgment of the services I had rendered.
But there were individuals, who, objecting to Mr. Mackinnon's Bill, were made mere tools in the hands of those who, whilst they recklessly assail the PUBLIC HEALTH, and are themselves laying the axe to the very root of PUBLIC MORALITY, with brazen front, and false tongue, prate of “ CIVIL FREEDOM, RELIGIOUS EQUALITY,
RIGHTS OF PROPERTY.” This is really too bad. A parade of principles when PRACTICES are so foul, gives one bad impression of profession-mongers. Such men, whilst they corrupt the bodies, degrade also the minds of those whom they profess to reclaim or reform.
My countrymen have yet much to learn in the special branch of public health, connected with the burial of the dead. I know that attempts have been made to lead them in an opposite direction. I am also aware that deputations have more weight with a Secretary of State than the representations of an humble individual like myself. I would have given the names of those who, whilst they conversed of PRIVATE interests, seemed to forget that there were PUBLic interests, above all purchase or price, utterly lost sight of, or shamelessly repudiated; but as I believe they erred from ignorance, I forbear the exposure ; they may ultimately have cause for congratulation that they subsequently relinquished such companionship.
If it were possible to wield even a grosser vituperative power than my assailants, I would not employ it; let them resort to foul language to excuse foul deeds; I, in despite, will do them the severest injury by adhering to the truth; in fact, I cannot well do otherwise, since to magnify the abominations I have exposed, or to overrate the results, were impossible.
Individuals who are unaffected with the spirit of mammon worship, who are unacquainted with the lengths to which a sordid and unprincipled avarice will lead men in the unholy pursuit of gold,—will be somewhat staggered at the simple recital of the facts which I have adduced in the following pages. They will most probably, in their simplicity, exclaim-how is it possible that such unheard of abominations can have existed so long, and have reached to so fearful a height? I prefer leaving the solution of the question to my readers ; assuring them that although it has often presented itself to my mind, the only conclusion I have arrived at, has been so little to the credit of the decency, the morality, and the honesty of certain individuals, that had I not a higher feeling of respect for some good men among them, than detestation of the filthy, scandalous, and sordid conduct of others, I would long ere this have denounced as indignantly as I have hitherto reasoned, I trust, calmly and dispassionately; there is a limit to forbearance, however, and insolent, audacious, and unprincipled replication may meet with a rejoinder it may find difficult to answer.
At the request of Sir James Graham, Mr. Chadwick instituted a special inquiry, and made a Report on the subject of Interment in Towns in the year 1843. The Report confirms, in every particular, the statements made in my writings, and in the evidence I brought before Parliament in 1842. It will be to me a source of sincere satisfaction if the present exposition, short and imperfect as it is, should further convince the Legislature of the absolute necessity that exists for an immediate reform in the present miserable and destructive system of intra-mural burials.
I have deemed it advisable to throw together in a brief form an account of my labours and their results. I put it forth fearlessly, secure of the good wishes, and, I venture to hope, the cordial cooperation, of all good men.
LAST FIRE AT THE BONE-HOUSE
The recent exposure of the practices so long and so systematically pursued in the SPA-Fields BURIAL-GROUND having confirmed and conclusively established all that I have repeatedly urged upon my countrymen and the legislature, it has seemed to me advisable to bring once more the question of Interment in Towns before the public. I have arrived at this determination, primarily, from a deep conviction of the immense importance of the question ; and, secondly, from find. ing that the PRESS, the grand pioneer and enunciator of public opinion, has in many instances spoken in terms of indignant reprehension of the practice of Town Burials. The cool effrontery of certain persons in hazarding assertions as unprincipled as they are untrue, will, I trust, meet with the castigation it deserves,and I confess it will be to me a matter of great and sincere satisfaction if my fellow-citizens, on this momentous subject, consult their own judgments, and not suffer themselves to be made passive instruments in the hands of those who, whilst serving their own personal ends, degrade religion, and inflict the most serious and frequently irreparable injury on individuals and the empire at large.
Some years previous to the present period, the circumstance of the altered relative condition of the agricultural and manufacturing districts had forced itself upon the attention of the legislature and the public. It was gradually discovered that from the vast influx of population into the large manufacturing ns of the empire, a state of things had grown up during the latter part of the eighteenth century which bore no proportion to that which had existed previously. It was