Some atheistic funerals in the public cemetery of Kidderminster lately
induced the local burial board to take counsel's opinion as to their powers of
control. Counsel held that the board could not prevent any burial service, provided it was not blasphemous or tending to a breach of the peace. Counsel
was further of the opinion that atheists had no right to the use of the
Nonconformist chapel of the cemetery, and that a mere oration over a dead body was
not a funeral service within the meaning of the Burial Act.
Any person, who at the grave delivered an address tending to bring into
---- or contempt the Christian religion or belief in God would do an act
tending to a breach of the peace, and be punishable by fine and imprisonment.
THE POSTMASTER GENERAL AND
MR. BRADLAUGH'S EXPULSION.
A Hackney elector having asked the Postmaster-General why his name did
not appear in the division list on the question of Mr. BRADLAUGH's expulsion
from the House of Commons, when Mr. John HOLMS, the right hon. gentleman's
colleague, recorded his vote on that occasion, Mr. FAWCETT replied to the
following effect: - "51, The Lawn, South Lambeth-road, March 4th, 1882. -
Dear Sir, - The reason why I did not take part in the recent division on
Mr. BRADLAUGH's expulsion was simply this. I strongly disapproved of Mr.
BRADLAUGH's action in taking the oath in defiance of the order of the house,
while at the same time I considered that expulsion, was too strong a measure to
adopt. This being the case, I felt that I could not rightly express my
opinion on the subject by voting either for the motion or against it. With regard
to my future action, I can only say that I shall continue to vote in favour of
Mr. BRADLAUGH being allowed to take the oath; and if a bill should be
brought forward to substitute an affirmation for the present oath, I shall give it
my most cordial support. Apologising for this delay in answering your
letter, believe me, yours very truly, Henry ... (the rest is cut off).