§ The EARL of HARROWBY
moved, as an Amendment, that the Bill be read a second time that day three months. He objected to this Bill because it was in contravention to the general policy of the measure which had been adopted by Parliament last year, which authorised the Secretary of State to cause all the burial grounds within the Metropolis to be closed, and to enable new cemeteries to be opened without the metropolitan districts. The site proposed under this Bill was in the parish of Willesden, and was therefore comprised within the prohibited limits.
§ Amendment moved, to leave out ("now") and insert ("this day Three Months.")
The BISHOP of LONDON
supported the Amendment on the ground stated by the noble Earl, namely, that the Bill contravened the general policy of their legislation with respect to intramural interments. The previous Secretary of State (Mr. Walpole) had the scheme of the promoters of this Bill submitted to him, and refused to give it his approval; and he (the Bishop of London) could not but think that the noble Viscount the present Home Secretary had been grievously imposed upon by the statements which had been made with regard to this Bill, and which had induced him to give it his sanction.
§ LORD BEAUMONT
admitted that there might be defects in the Bill, which could, however, be remedied in Committee; but he maintained that by rejecting the measure altogether, they would defeat the object of their sanitary legislation of last year with regard to extramural interments. In London, up to the present moment, comparatively few of the obnoxious graveyards had been closed, the reason assigned being that no other sites could be procured at which the accommodation of cheap burials for the poorer classes could be obtained; but the power which had been given to the Secretary of State last year of authorising the establishment of cemeteries as private speculations at a certain distance from London, would facilitate the closing of metropolitan graveyards by providing places for the interment of the dead. Here, then, was a private company coming forward to supply what was wanted. The cemetery to which this Bill referred, was, he understood, at a considerable distance from any habitation, and was some 134 miles further from London than the Kensall Green cemetery. He had been informed that the right rev. Prelate (the Bishop of London) had given a quasi consent to this Bill on a former occasion, provided a clause which he suggested was introduced. It was therefore fair to infer that unless there had been very strong recommendations in favour of this measure, and very few objections to it, the Secretary of State would not have adopted an exceptional course, and have allowed the promoters to proceed with the Bill. It was objected that, by sanctioning the establishment of private cemeteries, they would discourage parishes from providing such receptacles for the dead; hut he believed that if the competition of private companies was prohibited, the accomplishment of this important species of sanitary reform would be materially retarded.
The BISHOP of LONDON
said, it seemed the noble Lord had been informed that he had given, not his consent, but his quasi consent to this Bill. He (the Bishop of London) did not exactly understand what the noble Lord meant by a quasi-consent, unless it was the sort of consent which a young lady gave to an offer when it was first made to her. When the Bill was submitted to him, he had recommended the clergy of his diocese to look after their own interests, and promised to support them as far as he could; but he never gave his consent to the measure.
§ LORD BEAUMONT
had merely concluded that the Bill had the assent of the right rev. Prelate, from the circumstance that he had sent a clause to its promoters for insertion in their Bill.
§ LORD REDESDALE
wished to say, that when the parties came before him, they assured him that they had the consent of the Secretary of State to the Bill, and he therefore pursued the ordinary course, and gave his consent to proceeding with the Bill.
The EARL of WICKLOW
considered, that by assenting to this Bill, the House would violate the engagements into which they had entered by the measure of last year, and would commit an act of gross injustice towards the parishes of London, many of which had, he believed, already made arrangements for obtaining extramural burial grounds.
§ The EARL of SHAFTESBURY
thought, that although this Bill was not in consistency with the spirit of the Act of last year, it was quite in consistency with the 135 letter of that Act. One section of the Act provided that no new burial ground, parochial or non-parochial, should be provided or used in the Metropolis, or within two miles of any part thereof, without the previous approval of the Secretary of State. The place in which this cemetery was to be established was within the prohibited distance; but the consent of the Secretary of State had been obtained to the measure. Dr. Sutherland, who had been appointed by the Secretary of State to examine the locality and report upon its fitness for a burial ground, had expressed his opinion that, although there was no habitation near the place, and although the access to it was easy, the clayey nature of the soil rendered it objectionable as a place of interment. He (the Earl of Shaftesbury) would suggest, however, after what had taken place, whether the best course would not be to afford the Company an opportunity of explaining their case before a Committee?
§ On Question, That ("now") stand part of the Motion, their Lordships divided:—Content 37; Not Content 36: Majority 1.
§ Resolved in the Affirmative. Bill read 2a accordingly, and committed.