20 FEBRUARY 1875, Page 24


Ashes to Ashes : a Cremation Prelude. By the Rev. H. R. Haweis. (Daldy and Isbister.)—Mr. Haweis pleads the cause of cremation, putting his arguments into the month of an enthusiastic young doctor. A slight thread of story serves to connect the various chapters together, and the author points his moral by the tragical end of the young enthusiast, whose remains are made to suffer the indignities which he had denounced on behalf of others. We do not care to rediscuss the question ; nor, indeed, are we really out of sympathy with Mr. Haweis. To escape absolutely the horror of burying alive is alone an almost sufficient motive for a change of practice. And it is certainly true that before many years are past the necessities of London will imperatively demand some relief. As to the process of burning, if the Romans, with their defective appliances could manage it, much more could

we, with modern science to help us. Some passages, indeed, in the Roman poets make us think that the funeral pyre was not without its horrors. They speak of the cheeks eaten away with fire and the half-burnt hair as among the terrors of death. But the furnace which Sir Henry Thompson describes would show nothing to offend any sense. Still, the prejudice in England against the practice is deep in the popular mind, more than deep, even inveterate. And webelieve that the simpler remedy proposed by Mr. Seymour Haden would pro- bably answer the purpose as well, and excite far less resistance.