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Disposal of our dead by cremation

Sprott, Gregory 1897 , 'Disposal of our dead by cremation' , Papers & Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania , pp. 13-23 .

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The subject of to-night's paper is perhaps a somewhat sad one, and
appeals largely to the sentimental part of our natures, but it is nevertheless
of the greatest importance from a sanitary point of view, and that shall be
my apology for bringing it under your notice. The disposal of our dead
by some other and better method than earth burial is one of the sanitary
reforms that must be adopted sooner or later. Cremation is the only
practicable mode that we know of at present, which gives the greatest
protection to the living, and if decently and reverently carried out cannot
insult the dead nor hurt the feelings of those left to mourn their loss. Old
time usages and prejudices have led many to believe that earth burial is
the only Christian method, and that cremation is of heathenish origin, and
all those who advocate the burning of dead bodies are without religious
feeling. I trust I will be able to show you that not only need no religious
feelings be violated, but that the beautiful service for the dead may be
made even more impressive. Still there are some who will have sentimental
objections to urge, but as we become better acquainted with the life history of
disease germs, and the part they play in the causation of infectious diseases,
we will be forced, whether we like it or not, to find a more sanitary way of
disposing of our dead than by our present mode of burial. It may be the
full benefit of cremation would not be felt in our time, but assuredly our
children's children would enjoy the good that would come of it when our
colony is more densely populated and our cities more crowded.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Sprott, Gregory
Keywords: Royal Society of Tasmania, Van Diemens Land, VDL, Hobart Town, natural sciences, proceedings, records
Journal or Publication Title: Papers & Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania
Collections: Royal Society Collection > Papers & Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania
Additional Information:

In 1843 the Horticultural and Botanical Society of Van Diemen's Land was founded and became the Royal Society of Van Diemen's Land for Horticulture, Botany, and the Advancement of Science in 1844. In 1855 its name changed to Royal Society of Tasmania for Horticulture, Botany, and the Advancement of Science. In 1911 the name was shortened to Royal Society of Tasmania.

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