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and yet possesses the most desirable qualities of retirement and seclusion. The soil is dry, and formed of the chalk peculiar to the district. This cemetery has been consecrated by the Bishop of Rochester; and the distinctive line separating the consecrated from the unconsecrated ground, is formed so as to be as little offensive as possible in its appearance. The separation is effected by small posts of iron, placed in the ground equidistantly along the boundary of the consecrated portion-with their crowns just visible upon the turf. The catacombs are at the extreme end of the ground: and the separating line pursuing a straight course through the cemetery divides the catacombs into two nearly equal parts.
In the erection of the catacombs, the directors have, I think, not acted wisely; as the extensive provision which has been made will, I fear, greatly exceed any probable demand.
This cemetery possesses a considerable advantage over those under the authority of the Bishop of London, in the matter of the tax levied on its income on behalf of the parochial clergy-as the incumbents of the parishes of Northfleet and Gravesend only have any claim upon the company. The incumbents of these parishes are entitled to a fee of two shillings for every corpse taken from their parishes for interment in the consecrated part of the cemetery.
The Act also provides, that the rector or incumbent for the time being of the parish of Gravesend shall be the chaplain of the company, and shall receive a fee of three shillings and sixpence upon every interment in the consecrated ground.
The Act of Parliament by which the Gravesend Cemetery is constituted is disgraced by a tyrannical clause, which forbids the burial-service of the Established Church to be used in the unconsecrated ground. By this prohibition a great, and I think unjustifiable hardship is inflicted on the Wesleyans and Dissenters generally, as the former class of Christians usually, and the latter not unfrequently, adopt the form of burial-service provided by the Book of Common Prayer.
This project bears every prospect of moderate success.
In the neighbourhood of many other large towns, convenient and attractive cemeteries have been established upon the broad and liberal principles of the episcopally-unconsecrated cemetery at Liverpool. The visitor to that wealthy and public-spirited metropolis, as it may almost be called, New-castle-upon-Tyne, and to the large and important towns of Leeds, Stafford, Sheffield, Birmingham, Manchester, and Glasgow, will be amply repaid if he passes a leisure and meditative hour in their quiet“ cities of the dead."
The degree of public favour which has been bestowed upon these principal cemeteries, is a a sufficient proof of the increasing desire for cemetery interment—and of the readiness of the public in general to abandon the old practice of town inhumation: it is also a proof that the ignorant prejudices respecting the necessity of burial-grounds being consecrated as a charm against the “ Evil One," are fast subsiding under the more pleasant influences of reason, and of religion freed from superstition,
ABNEY PARK CEMTERY.
«« 1 st.
It has been a custom for some ages in Roman Catholic countries, to have a particular form of consecration for all churches and chapels; and not for these only, but for every thing pertaining to them; such as fonts, chalices, bells, sacredotal vestments, and churchyards in particular. And all these customs universally prevailed in England, as long as it was under
the papal power. 2nd. From the time of our Reformation from
Popery, most of these customs fell into disuse. Unconsecrated bells were rung without scruple, and unconsecrated vestments worn.
But some of these remained still; the consecration of churches and churchyards in particular; and many scrupled the performing divine service in an unconsecrated church, and could not consent that their bodies should be buried in unconse
crated ground. “ 3rd. Accordingly, the consecrating of churches
and churchyards has been practised in England ever since. But it is a thing purely indifferent; being neither forbidden nor established by law. The case is different in Ireland.