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feeling of the country will approve of a
practice which certainly seems rather like an
attempt to arrest a decree of Providence;
and would, besides, be very expensive. Here
I am reminded of another danger, to which
our prospects are exposed. It is that likely
to arise from serious parties, in consequence
of growing more enlightened, thinking
consistently with their religious principles,
instead of their religion being a mere
sentimental kind of thing which they never reason
upon. We often, you know, gentlemen,
overhear the bereaved remarking that they trust
the departed is in a better place. Why, if
this were not a mere customary saying on
mournful occasions––if the parties really
believed this–––do you think they would attach
any importance to the dead body which we
bury underground? No; to be sure: they
would look upon it merely as a suit of left-off
clothes–––with the difference of being
unpleasant and offensive, and not capable of
being kept. They would see that a spirit
could care no more about the corpse it had
quitted, than a man who had lost his leg,
would for the amputated limb. The truth is
–––don't breathe it, don't whisper it, except to
the trade that the custom of burying the
dead with expensive furniture; of treating a
corpse as if it were a sensible being; arises
from an impression–––though parties won't
ovn it, even to themselves–––that what is
buried, is the actual individual, the man
himself. The effect of thinking seriously, and at
the same time rationally, will be to destroy
this notion, and with it to put an end to all
the splendour and magnificence of funerals,
arising from it. Moreover, religious parties,
being particular as to their moral conduct,
would naturally consider it wrong and wicked
to spend upon the dead an amount of money
which might be devoted to the benefit of the
living; and no doubt, when we come to look
into it, such expenditure is much the same
thing with the practice of savages and
heathens in burying bread, and meat, and clothes,
along with their deceased friends.

I have been suggesting considerations which
are very discouraging, and which afford but
a poor look-out to us undertakers. But,
gentlemen, we have one great comfort still.
It has become the fashion to inter bodies with
parade and display. Fashion is fashion; and
the consequence is that it is considered an
insult to the memory of deceased parties not
to bury them in a certain style; which must
be respectable at the very least, and cost, on
a very low average, twenty-five or thirty
pounds. Many, such as professional persons
and tradespeople, who cannot afford so much
money, can still less afford to lose character and
custom. That is where we have a pull upon
the widows and children, many of whom, if it
were not for the opinion of society, would be
only too happy to save their little money, and
turn it into food and clothing, instead of
funeral furniture.

Now here the Metropolitan Interments
Bill steps in, and aims at destroying our only
chance of keeping up business as heretofore.
We have generally to deal with parties whose
feelings are not in a state to admit of their
making bargains with us––a circumstance, on
their parts, which is highly creditable to
human nature; and favourable to trade.
Thus, in short, gentlemen, we have it all our
own way with them. But this Bill comes
between the bereaved party and the undertaker.
By the twenty-seventh clause, it empowers
the Board of Health to provide houses
and make arrangements for the reception and
care of the dead previously to, and until
interment; in order, as it explains in a
subsequent clause, to the accommodation of
persons having to provide the funerals––
supposing such persons to desire the accommodation.
Clause the twenty-eighth enacts "That
the said Board shall make provision for the
management and conduct, by persons
appointed by them, of the funerals of persons
whose bodies are to be interred in the Burial
Grounds, to be provided under this Act,
where the representatives of the deceased, or
the persons having the care and direction of
the funeral, desire to ' have the same so
conducted; and the said Board shall fix and
publish a scale of the sums to be payable for
such funerals, inclusive of all matters and
services necessary for the same, such sums to
be proportioned to the description of the
funeral, or the nature of the matter and
services to be furnished and rendered for the
same; but so that in respect of the lowest of
such sums, the funerals may be conducted
with decency and solemnity." Gentlemen, if
this enactment becomes law, we shall lose all
the advantages which we derive from bereaved
parties' state of mind. The Board of Health
will take all trouble off their hands, at whatever
sum they may choose to name. Of
course they will apply to the Board of Health
instead of coming to us. But what is beyond
everything prejudicial to our interests, is the
proviso " that in respect of the lowest of such
sums, the funerals may be conducted with
decency and solemnity."  Hitherto it has
been understood that so much respect could
not be paid in the case of what we call a low
affair as in one of a certain style. We have
always considered that a funeral ought to cost
so much to be respectable at all. Therefore
relations have gone to more expence with us,
than they would otherwise have been willing
to incur, in order to secure proper respect.
But if proper respect is to be had at a low
figure, the strongest hold that we have upon
sorrowing relatives, will be taken away.

It is all very fine to say that we are a
necessary class of tradesmen, and if this Bill
passes must continue to be employed. If this
Bill does pass we shall be employed simply as
tradesmen, and shall obtain, like other tradesmen,
a mere market price for our articles, and
common hire for our labour. I am afraid that