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learning and science, the votaries of inventive art, and the teacher of the philosophy of nature, come. Here let youth and beauty, blighted by premature decay, drop like tender blossoms into the virgin earth ; and here let age retire, ripened for the harvest. Above all, here let the benefactors of mankind, the good, the merciful, the meek, the pure in heart, be congregated; for to them belongs an undying praise. And let us take comfort, nay, let us rejoice, that in future ages, long after we are gathered to the generations of other days, thousands of kindling hearts will here repeat the sublime declaration, “ Blessed are the dead, that die in the Lord, for they rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.”
" Erewhile, on England's pleasant shores, our sires
Left not their churchyards unadorned with shades
Came often, o'er the recent graves to strew
-These gentle rites
It is highly improbable that the general reader will be fully aware of the painful necessity which has existed for many years, and even generations, for a thorough reformation of the burial practices in the metropolis.
The parties interested in the continuance of these customs, so shocking to the common feelings of humanity, have taken every pains to conceal them; and, if by chance they have become exposed, to defend them. If any board of health, worthy of the name, had existed in this metropolis, these abominations must have long since ceased. Much credit is doubtless due to the present Bishop of London for his exertions towards bettering the condition of the poor and promoting their health and comfort; and it is wholly unaccountable and inexplicable, that the “churchyard nuisance" should have been so long encouraged, excepting on the assumption, that the authorities, civil and ecclesiastical, have smoothed over the difficulty, or altogether concealed it from the notice of their superiors. We hear much of “ Sanatoriums " and Hospitals built for the sick and the convalescent, and most heartily do we wish these true and genuine blessings to society every success ; but it will avail little if the poor, and others dwelling
near the unroofed charnel-houses of putridity and
understand the real position of the matter, in a statistical point of view, and to invite increased attention to this most important feature of our domestic policy, I beg to present to their notice the following extracts, from Mr. Walker's Gatherings from Grave Yards.”
CLEMENT'S LANE. This is a narrow thoroughfare on the eastern side of Clare Market; it extends from Clare Market to the Strand, and is surrounded by places, from which are continually given off emanations from animal putrescence. The back windows of the houses on the east side of the lane look into a burying-ground, called the “ Green Ground,” in Portugal Street, presently to be described, on the west side the windows (if open) permit the odour of another burying-place-a private one, called Enon Chapel-to perflate the houses; at the bottom-the south end of this lane, is another burying-place, belonging to the alms' houses. Within a few feet of the Strand are the burying-ground and vaults of St. Clement Danes; in addition to which, there are several slaughterhouses in the immediate neighbourhood; so that in a distance of about two hundred yards, in a direct line, there are four burying-grounds; and the living here breathe on all sides an atmosphere impregnated with the odour of the dead. The inhabitants of this narrow thoroughfare are very unhealthy; nearly every room in every house is occupied by a separate family. Typhus fever in its aggravated form has attacked by far the majority of the residents, and death has made among them the most destructive ravages.
5 P. M.,
BURYING-GROUND, PORTUGAL STREET. This ground belongs to the parish of St. Clement Danes ; it is commonly known by the name of the Green Ground” and has been in use as a burying-place beyond the memory of man.
The soil of this ground is saturated with human putrescence. On Saturday the 27th April, 1839, at
I went, accompanied by a friend, to Nos, 30 and 31, Clement's Lane, and, upon looking through the windows of the back attics, we saw two graves open, close to the south-eastern extremity of this burying-ground. Several bones were lying on the surface of the grave nearest to us—a large heap of coffin wood was placed in readiness for removal--and, at a small distance, a heap, covered with coarse sacking, was observed, which, when the covering was taken off, proved also to be long pieces of coffin wood, evidently not in a decayed state. The nails were very conspicuous. Several basketfuls of this wood were taken to a building at the south-west extremity of the ground. We were informed that this sight was by no means a novel one; it was commonly -almost daily-observed. The cloth covering of the wood appeared to be nearly as fresh as when interred. The grave-diggers were seen to take off tin plates from the coffins broken up. This desecration of the grave has not escaped the notice of the passer-by, as is proved from the following letter to the Editor of the Times newspaper, which was published on the 25th of June last :