HL Deb 14 March 1850 vol 109 cc881-2

would take that opportunity of asking a question of the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Lansdowne) regarding the laws affecting burial societies. Nothing could be more painful than to see by the reports of the proceedings in our criminal courts, the vast increase of crimes of a most horrible nature—domestic murders, poisonings, and other violent deaths, inflicted by persons between whom and their victims ties of the most tender and the closest nature existed; and it was most shocking to observe that these crimes were perpetrated chiefly in those districts in which burial clubs or societies existed, by the present rules and arrangements of which a pecuniary interest was given to some members of families on the decease of others. He trusted those dreadful crimes and their origin had attracted the attention of Her Majesty's Government, and that some remedy would be applied as soon as possible. He believed that a simple enactment, which need not cover more than a sheet of note paper, providing that the duty of burial should be performed by those clubs for their members, instead of giving any money upon death taking place, would amply suffice to meet the exigencies of the case; and he wished to know whether any such measure was in contemplation, as, if it were not, he would himself take the liberty of introducing one?


replied that the subject was one extremely deserving the attention of Her Majesty's Government. There could be no doubt that crimes of the most horrible and iniquitous nature had been perpetrated to a degree perfectly surprising, under the inducement of the burial money to be derived from those clubs, and that the effect was most injurious to public morality. He need not add that the subject was one which had attracted the attention of Her Majesty's Government, and his noble Friend near him (the Earl of Carlisle) hoped to include it in a general measure upon the subject of interment which would be brought in before the end of the present Session of Parliament. He could only add, in answer to the concluding portion of his noble Friend's (Lord Mont-eagle's) question, that, although his noble Friend (the Earl of Carlisle) would hardly forgive him if he expressed any doubt upon the subject, yet, if such a Bill should happen not to be passed during the present Session, he would be ready to support such a one as that which his noble Friend said he would introduce.

House adjourned till To-morrow.