THE BURIALS QUESTION.
[TO THE EDITOR OF THE " SPECTAT011.1
SIR,—Mr. MacColl writes so confidently, that people who do not know better may be misled by his assertions. He may not know -of 'a single case in which a clergyman has illegally refused to bury -a baptised person, but I can tell him of several.
At Betson, near Gravesend, in November, 1871, a young woman, who had been baptised by a Wesleyan minister, had to be, buried in silence, because of the rector's refusal to read the service. In the autumn of 1873, there was a substantially similar case at Kenn, in Kent. In June last year, the Vicar of Ryde refused to perform the service over a child who had been baptised by a Primitive Methodist minister. In February last year, Mr. Hedley, of Beckley, was threatened with a prosecution by the Wesleyan authorities, and thereupon wrote a letter, which was published, in which he expressed his regret at having, in ignorance, committed an illegal act.
No doubt others could give additional instances, while I could also state several painful facts which show that some clergymen, who do not go the length of refusing to officiate, either keep the parties in a state of painful suspense, or omit a portion of the service, or otherwise act in the spirit of the Rev. R. Pinckney, of High Cliffe, who writes in the Church Review (February 5,1875) :- " The burial of Dissenters is certainly an unpleasant duty, but I make it as little unpleasant as I. can, as 1 never take them into .church."
Mr. Blomfield's " scandal " is certainly not " of weekly occur- rence," but neither is it a " myth " or " a malicious fable."—I .am, Sir, &e.,