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ecclesiastical interment became general after the
10th century, when the clergy succumbed to
the power of money, and the sale of the
indulgence proved too profitable to be
abandoned. To show by what frauds the
unhealthy custom was kept up, we may cite a
legend relating to St. Dunstan. An unbaptised
son of Earl Harold having been deposited
within the church where the deceased saint
rested, St. Dunstanso the fable runs
appeared twice to the chaplain to complain
that he could not rest in his grave for the
stench of the young Pagan. Other
underground saints were, however, consulted on
the matter, and they silenced St. Dunstan
by acquiescing in the abuse. It therefore
not only continued but gave rise to another
evil. Tombs came to be erected, and these
became convenient as lurking-places and
rendezvous for various immoral and
improper purposes. The Council of Winchester,
in 1240, forbade the holding of markets,
gaming and other iniquities performed among
the tombs in churches and cemeteries. But
this injunction was of little avail, as we learn
from the History of St. Paul's. Duke
Humphrey's Tomb in 'Paul's walk' (the middle
aisle of the Cathedral), was the occasional
resort for ages of the idleness and infamy of
London. It was a regular mart and meeting
place for huxters, gossips, gamblers, and
thieves. In 1554 the Lord Mayor prohibited
the church to be used for such 'irreverent'
purposes, under pain of fine. Still it was not
till the great fire that Duke Humphrey's tomb
was utterly deserted.

Meanwhile in every part of the country,
families who could afford the expense, were
buried inside in preference to outside the
various places of worship, and, until the
present year, no effective stop has been put
to the evil. Our French neighbours were
before us in this respect. Inhumation inside
churches was forbidden except in rare cases,
by a royal ordinance dated Versailles, 10th
March, 1777. We perceive by the excellent
report of Dr. Sutherland to the Board of
Health on the practice of interments in
Germany and France, that cemeteries have
been since substituted by law in almost
every considerable town in those countries.
It has therefore been continued, almost
exclusively in this empire.

At last, however, we have good reason to
hope that intramural burials, with all their
attendant evils, will speedily be themselves
buried with the barbarous relics of the past.
The comprehensive suggestions of the Board
of Health appear to meet every difficulty, and
as a strong stream of common sense has, we
hope and believe, set in in favour of funereal
reform, we trust they will pass into the statute
book without much opposition; some they
will inevitably encounter, in compliance with
the fixed law of English obstinacy.

It may console those in whom lingers, from
old association, almost a religious prejudice in
favour of churchyards, to be reminded that
some of the most eminent Christians, both lay
and clerical, have earnestly pleaded for
extra-mural cemeteries. Evelynthe model of a
Christian gentlemanregretted that after
the Fire of London advantage had not been
taken of that calamity to rid the city of its
burial-places, and establish a necropolis without
the walls. 'I yet cannot but deplore,' says
he, in his 'Silva,' 'that when that spacious
area was so long a rasa tabula, the churchyards
had not been banished to the north
walls of the city, where a grated inclosure of
competent breadth for a mile in length, might
have served for an universal cemetery to all
the parishes, distinguished by the like separations,
and with ample walks of trees, the
walks adorned with monuments, inscriptions,
and titles, apt for contemplation and memory
of the defunct, and that wise and excellent
law of the Twelve Tables renewed.' The
pious Sir Thomas Browne says quaintly in
his 'Hydriotaphia,' 'To live indeed is to be
again ourselves; which being not only a hope
but an evidence in noble believers, 'tis all one
to lie in St. Innocent's Churchyard, as in the
sands of Egypt, ready to be anything in the
ecstasy of being ever, and as content with six
foot as the moles of Adrianus.'

Would it not then be well to reflect, in the
year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred
and fifty, whether any of the best customs,
whether the very worst customconsidering
the state of society in which it has obtained
is so degrading as that of burying the
dead in the midst of the living, to generate
an amount of human destruction, compared
with which the slaughter attendant on an
African funeral is as a drop of water in
an ocean. It should be remembered that, in
the barbarous customs we have cited there is
always to be traced the perversion of an
idea:—as that the dead man will want food,
passage money, attendants, beasts of burden,
something that benighted ignorance is unable
to separate from the wants incidental to this
earthly state. There is no such poor excuse
for the custom into which this civilised age
has insensibly lapsed, until its evils have
become too great to bear. The affection which
endures beyond the grave is surely more fitly
associated with a tomb in a beautiful solitude
than amidst the clamour and clatter of a city's
streets. If, in submission to that moral law
of gravitation, which renders it difficult to
separate our thoughts of those who have
departed from some lingering association with
this earth, we desire to find a resting-place
for our dead which we can visit, and where
we may hope to lie when our own time shall
come, reason and imagination alike suggest
its being in a spot serenely sacred to that
last repose of so much of us as is mortal,
where natural decay may claim kindred with
nature, in her beautiful succession of decay
and renovation, undisturbed by the strife of
the brief scene that has closed.