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 89 Vic. Evidence before Select Committee on Ogden Point Lands. 745
Monday, 24th April, 1876.
Mr. Hett, examined, said :—
18 acres and seventy-nine one-hundredths of an acre sold for $6,416 ; the whole
sum expended on Ross Bay Cemetery. Medana's Grove, 11J acres ; Nias' Point, 9-1, and
2 acres in sub-section 28; sub-section 31, containing 9 acres. The rest of the 48 acres
have been sold. There is a mortgage of $4,000 on the property unsold ; its term was
two years, at 10 per cent, interest.
Question—Out of the proceeds of the land sold, have you purchased any other
property ?
Answer—They have purchased about 12 acres at Ross Bay. No incumbrance on
this property at present. Three hundred dollars an acre was paid for it. The four
thousand dollars loan has been spent on the Ross Bay Cemetery, in fencing, housebuilding.
Mr. Turner, examined.
Question—Whether the whole of the land at Ross Bay is a public cemetery ?
Answer—I think it is a public cemetery.
Question—Has any person the right of burial in all portions of the cemetery ?
Answer—Yes ; subject to the Rules and Regulations of the Cemetery Board and of
the religious denominations to which certain portions of the land has been allotted.
Question—To what religious denominations has the land been allotted ?
Answer—The Roman Catholics have Block C and D ; the Episcopal Church, A and
B ; Presbyterian, H ; Wesleyan, G; Eeformed Episcopal, F.
Question—What portion of the cemetery is unallotted ?
Answer—K and D, Block L, is allotted to Mongolians and Indians.
Question—What proportion doe's the unallotted portion bear to the whole ?
Answei—Probably a tenth.
Question—Is the unallotted suitable for cemetery purposes?
Answer—1 believe it to be thoroughly drained.
Question—Under what authority do the board claim the power to allot portions of
the cemetery to different denominations ?
Answer—The board considered that the Act contemplated such a distribution, and
that the interest of the public warranted it.
Question—What section of the " Cemetery Ordinance, 1870," bears you out in that
Answo—Section 5.
Question—Carrying out that view, how could the Cemetery Board provide for other
denominations which might come into existence ?    •
Answer—They had other lands at Ogden Point which they could sell, and buy land
adjoining the Ross Bay Cemetery.
Question—Do you know any instances where parties have been refused burial in the
cemetery ?
Answer—None have come under my personal knowledge. 746 Evidence before Select Committee on Ogden Point Lands. 1876
Question—Has the trust been applied to any other public purpose, excepting for
cemetery purposes ?
Mr. Hett was here again questioned.
Question—Whether any of the public have been refused burial in any particular
portions of the cemetery ?
Answer—They have.
Question—Upon what grounds were they refused?
Answer—Because they were not members of the church to which the particular
portion had been allotted.
Question—Who are the parties who have refused burial to the public in different
allotments ?
Answer—Bishop Seghers refused the Odd Fellows leave to bury Mr. Fiterre in the
Roman Catholic portion.
Question—Do you know of any other instance ?
Answer—Yes ; Bishop Hills has refused. In one instance he refused Mrs. Thorne,
who was subsequently buried in the Reformed Ej)iscopal portion.
Question—Do you know of any other instance ?
Answer—1 think he refused in the case of Mr. Theodore Davie's infant.
Question—Do you know of any other denominations that have refused the right of
burial in these allotments ?
Answer—No ; I do not.
Question—W.hat improvements have been made in the cemetery that will represent
the $6,000 expenditure ?
Answei—There is a new fence on the south side next to the sea; the land ploughed
all over; the cemetery drained by a brick drain; the house moved, altered, and repaired ; entrance gates were put up ; roads laid out and gravelled; grounds surveyed
into blocks and plots.
Question—How was this work generally done ?
Answer—By contract.
Question—Are the blocks E and L properly drained ?
Answer—E and L have the benefit of natural as well as artificial drainage. The
only water seen in graves during the winter season is surface water.
Mr. -Dbummond examined.
Question—Have the Corporation of Victoria ever made application to the Cemetery
Board for any portions of the trust fund, on behalf of the City of Victoria ?
Answer—They have not.
Question—Is there any particular reason why they have not applied ?
Answer—No.    Did not know they had any claim.
Question—The corporation has frequently undertaken to bury paupers, have they
not ?
Answer—Yes. They have been obliged to pay for the graves for such purposes.
We contested the claim, but were obliged to pay the claim. We had to pay $7.50 for
each pauper's grave, many of whom came from different parts of British Columbia.
This was merely the cost of digging and filling the ground, and for the right of burial
there.    There is a spot set apart for Indians, Mongolians, and paupers.
Question—Is there any religious service read over paupers ?
Answer—No. They are conveyed to the cemetery in an express waggon. The
total cost of a pauper's burial comes to $15. We have frequently to bury paupers from
all parts of the world.
Question—Has any foreign Consul contributed anything to the burial of paupers ?
Answer—No ; not in my experience of five years.
Mr. Drummond—I wish to make a claim on the lands situate at Ogden Point, for a
place of recreation and instruction, &c.
Question—Have the corporation any lands within the city limits ?
Answer—No ; except what they have purchased with municipal funds. They have
applied on several occasions to the Dominion Government, for the control of public
lands—Beacon Hill, for instance—but have not received a satisfactory answer. 39 Vic. Evidence before Select Committee on Ogden Point Lands. 747
Question—Do you know of any parties who have been refused burial in Ross Bay
Cemetery ?
Answer—I do.
Question—To whom do you refer ?
Ansiver—I refer to the case of Mr. Fiterre.
Question—Will you state any of the circumstances ?
Answer—Mr. Fiterre died as an Odd Fellow, and as such was refused burial in the
public grounds by Mr. Hett, unless he received the sanction of the clergyman having
control of the ground.
Question—Has application been made, on behalf of the Odd Fellows, for a separate
allotment ?
Answer—Yes ; but was refused by the Cemetery Board.
Question—Was application made in consequence of other allotments ?
Answer—No ; he believed it was one of the first applications to the board, after it
was first constituted. The fact that the cemetery was to be allotted was not generally
known, and the Odd Fellows were prepared to purchase a piece.
Question—On what principle, in your opinion, as Mayor of the City, should the
cemetery be conducted for the general benefit ?
Answer—As a public cemetery, under the control of the. Municipal Council.
Mr. C. Thorne examined. 25th April.
Statement by Mr. Thorne :—
On the 27th day of January, 1875,1 applied to Mr. Hett, Secretary of the Cemetery
Board, for a plot to inter my deceased mother, Elizabeth Thorne. Mr. Hett asked me
who was to conduct the service. I told him Mr. Cridge. Mr. Hett then informed me
that I could not have that plot in consequence of Bishop Hills having issued an edict
to that effect, unless a clergyman of the Church of England conducted the service, and
under no consideration would Mr. Cridge be allowed to perform the religious service.
Mr. Hett also informed me Bishop Hills had expressed regret at having allowed Masons
and Odd Fellows permission to inter in the Anglican plot; but that it would be discontinued in the future. I subsequently was compelled to select a plot in another part of
the cemetery, contrary to the wishes expressed by the deceased during life.
Mr. Hughes examined. (Signed)       0. Thorne.
Question—You knew Mr. Fiterre ?
Answer—Yes; I did.
Mr. Hughes made a statement, as follows :—
I first waited on Mrs. Fiterre, as principal officer of the Odd Fellows, to ask her her
wishes with regard to the burial of her husband, the late Mr. Fiterre, and she expressed
her wish that he should be interred in the Roman Catholic portion of the cemetery, and
from the Roman Catholic Church. I then waited on the parish priest, telling him what
Mrs. Fiterre desired. He said certainly, he had no objection. He then told me to wait
a little. He then went upstairs, and came down accompanied by Bishop Seghers. He
then asked me if Mr. Fiterre had been a Mason. I said I didn't know, but I told
him that he was a member of the Odd Fellows. The priest then said, as he had become
a member of a secret society, he had severed all connection with the church. I then
asked him if he would not permit him to be interred in the Roman Catholic portion of
the cemetery. He said, decidedly not, but he was sorry it was a law of the church and
could not be delegated. I sent a fiiend of mine to Mr. Hett. Mr. Hett said, no ; permission must be had from the minister to whom the plot was allotted to. To make it
certain that Mr. Hett's decision was usual, I went to the cemetery and saw the keeper.
I asked him if that was the usual method, and if we couldn't purchase a plot. He said
in no portion of the cemetery could we purchase a lot, unless in a portion allotted to
Indians and Chinamen. I then waited on Mrs. Fiterre, to inform her of the whole circumstances of the case. She said, not being permitted to inter her husband in the
Roman Catholic portion of the cemetery, she wished the Odd Fellows to take the matter
fully in hand. I then applied to the Rev. Mr. Russ, for permission to inter the late Mr.
Fiterre in the Methodist portion. He said, certainly, with the greatest of pleasure, and
would perform religious services, if required. He made a remark, at the same time,
that if many similar cases occurred, he couldn't give permission.
(Signed)       L. M. Hughes. 748 Evidence before Select Committee on Ogden Point Lands. 1876
26th April.
Bishop Seghers examined.
Copy of letter from Mr. Hett to Bishop Seghers, 25th February, 1873 :—
"Rev. Sir,—I am directed by the Cemetery Board to inform you that a portion of
"the Ross Bay Cemetery has been set apart for the use of the Roman Catholic Church,
" and that such portion is marked ' C upon the map of the cemetery, which may be seen
"at my office.   I have, &c.   J. Roland Hett, Secretary."
Copy. "Humboldt Street, Victoria, March 4th, 1873. Mr. J. Roland Hett, Secre-
"tary to the Cemetery Board, Bastion Street. Sir,—1 acknowledge the receipt of your
" communication of the the 25 ult., notifying me that a portion of the Ross Bay Cemetery,
"marked 'Con the diagram in your office, has been set apart for the use of the Roman
" Catholic Church. This intelligence shall be communicated to our congregation in due
"time. In the meanwhile you will oblige by kindly answering the following questions :
"1st—What power is vested in the clergy of each denomination, with regard to the use
"of the portions of the cemetery respectively allotted to them ? 2nd—In whose power
"is it to decide and determine who shall and who shall not be buried in such or such
"portion of the said cemetery? In other words, in case of doubt, who shall decide and
" determine whether a deceased person did or did not die a member of such or such
"religious congregation, and, consequently, may or may not be buried in such or such
"portion of the Ross Bay Cemetery.    I have, &c.    Chs. J. Seghers."
Copy. Mr. Hett to Father Seghers. "Bastion Street, Victoria, 7th March, 1873.
" Rev. Sir,—In reply to your letter of the 4th instant, I am directed by the Cemetery
"Board to state, that the clergy of each church shall have power to decide who shall
"or shall not be buried in the ground set apart for the use of such church, and that in
" all other respects tho Board retain full control over the ground. Any further infor-
" mation or explanation which you may require 1 shall be happy to afford, either by
"letter or verbally.   I have, &c.    J. Roland Hett."
Bishop Seghers stated that the facts as read to him from evidence taken before this
Committee are substantially correct, although he could not answer for the correctness
of all the conversation reported. In 1873 he received a communication from the Secretary of the Cemetery Board, notifying that a portion of the Ross Bay Cemetery had
been set apart for the use of the Roman Catholic Church, and that such portion was
marked "C" on the map of the Cemetery. Wrote to the Secretary of Cemetery Board,
4th March, 1873 (copy in possession of Secretary), and received reply dated 7th March
(also attached). My power having been acknowledged by the board, I applied the
rules of the church to the case of Mr. Fiterre.
Had no allotment been made, we would consider it a grievance.
Question—What would be the nature of this grievance?
Answer—The nature of the grievance would be that we would not be able to comply
with the rules of the church with regard to funerals.
The Roman Catholic burial ground in Ross Bay Cemetery is not consecrated. We
cannot consecrate a burial ground unless in possession of title deeds thereto. Whenever we have only the exclusive use of a portion of a cemetery then we bless the grave
at each funeral. Should the cemetery be thrown open to the public promiscuously, we
would have to abstain from blessing any grave.
Question—Does your Lordship consider it to be the duty of the Province to provide
a burial ground for tho exclusive use of the Roman Catholic Church ?
Answer—If the Government is willing to do us full justice we would expect the right
of property and title deeds of the cemetery allotted to us.
Question—In the event of the Government finding itself not in a position to render
the full justice you claim, would your church be willing to purchase the fee simple of
that portion of the cemetery now set apart for its use ?
Answer—We would at a reasonable rate.
Question—-If the Trustees by rule had decided to throw open the cemetery promiscuously, would such a course have interfered, directly or indirectly, with the performance of any religious ceremonies in the burial of 'the dead, according to usage of your
communion ?
Answer—Most decidedly. (Signed)   .   t Chas- j- Seghers,
Bp. of V. I. 39 Vic. Evidence before Select Committee on Ogden Point Lands. 749
Bishop Hills.
Question—On what grounds was the late Mrs. Thorne refused burial in the portion
allotted to the Anglican Church ?
Answer— Certain regulations were necessary to be made with respect to interments
within the ground ; and the general rule is that only those burials take place there that
are performed by a minister of the Church of England. Then it was necessary that
exceptions, of course, should be made, and the rule that I have laid down with a view
of meeting the feeling of relatives in exceptional cases, is this : If the near relative, say
husband or wife or child of a person already buried in the ground be desired burial by
the friends, or by wish expressed before death, so as to be laid by the grave, burial in
that case is allowed by the minister of the denomination to which the party belonged.
Several instances have already occurred of that kind. The application was for Mrs.
Thorne to be buried in the Church of England ground by a minister of her own denomination. She had no near relative laid there, and there was a ground belonging to her
own denomination. But even, in such a case, there was no objection to burial being
performed by a clergyman of the Church of England, should the wish have been expressed.
Here Mr. Thome's evidence was read.
The Bishop said, with regard to the Masons and Odd Fellows, the case was this :
If I remember rightly, there were two deaths at the time ; one was a Mason, the other
an Odd Fellow ; both burials the same day. The friends had made all their arrangements to bury in the Church of England ground, and the service to be performed by a
minister of another denomination from that of the Church of England. There was no
reason for this to be an exceptional case, on the ground already stated of near relationship to any person previously buried ; but, as they had made all their arrangements in
ignorance of the rule referred to, not wishing to put them to inconvenience, I allowed
the burials to be taken as they had arranged, but I expressed the desire that it should
not be taken as a precedent, my remarks not having reference to Masons or Odd Fellows.
Question—Your Lordship claims the right to refuse burial in the allotment, under
authority from the Cemetery Trustees ?
Answer—I have assumed from the fact of a certain portion of the cemetery having
been assigned for the use of the Church of England, that it was my duty to carry out,
as far as possible, the rules of the Church of England as to the interment of those deceased ; and, therefore, if any case was in contravention of the rules of the church in
such cases, not to perform the usual offices.
Question—Evidence has been given to this Committee that an application was made
to the Trustees of the Cemetery that a portion of the ground should be set apart
for the Anglican Church ?
Question—On what ground did you think it necessary to make that application ?
Answer—It is an invariable rule of the Church of England to have separate grounds
for burial, if possible.    In England universally.
Question—-Would the non-possession of the ground interfere in any way with the
rites and ceremonies of the church ?
Question—Do you consider it the duty of the Province to provide such a ground ?
Question—Why ?
Answer—Because there are conscientious feelings amongst very many members of
the Church of England upon the subject, and considering that the members of the Church
of England contribute their share of the taxes, it is only fair that the.feeling npon so
sacred a subject as the burial of the dead should be respected, where no injury is done to
any other portion of the community, to whom the same privileges may be granted if desired.
Question—Does your Lordship consider it necessary that the ground should be consecrated ?
Answer—Certainly, according to the rujes of the Church of England.
Question—To carry out that rule, is it necessary you should be put in possession of
the fee simple of the ground ?
Answer—Usually this is the case, but not necessarily, so long as the separate use
can be secured for the Church of England. In England cemeteries are invested in the
Municipal Council, and a portion is set apart and consecrated and yet retained under the
management of the Board of Health. Some such arrangement would, I think, be satisfactory in this case. 750 Evidence before Select Committee on Ogden Point Lands. 1876
Question—In the event of the Government finding itself not in a position to carry out
your views, would your church purchase the fee simple of the ground set apart for its use ?
Answer—If we have to purchase ground, we might possibly desire to have it elsewhere, under our immediate control, at the same time I do not feel able to give a definite
reply, though my opinion is that such an arrangement might be desirable.
Question—If the Trustees by rule had thrown open the cemetery promiscuously,
would such a conrse have interfered, directly or indirectly, with the performance of any
religious ceremonies in the burial of the dead, according to the usage of your communion?
Answer—We should have considered it so inconsistent with the rules of the Church
of England as to have been driven to obtain a separate ground elsewhere for ourselves^
Question—Has the Church of England allotment been consecrated in the Ross Bay
Cemetery ?
Answer—No, it has not; but we desire that it should be consecrated, with permission
to build a chapel upon it.
Question—Would the fact that the deceased having been a Mason or an Odd Fellow, or
having belonged to other secret societies, exclude such person from burial in ground set
aside for or consecrated by the Anglican Church ?
Answer—Certainly not, on such a ground.
Question—Would objection be made to the performance of the Masonic service, or
the service of other secret societies, at the grave ?
Answer—We consider it objectionable, after the final christian burial service has been
concluded, that another burial service, not professing to be christian, should be performed;
but, though having such an objection, I should not refuse burial in such a case, if the
friends of the deceased insisted upon some further ceremony. In England, the Masons
attend funerals in honour of their deceased brethren, but where the funeral service of
the Church of England is performed, they do not add their own burial service.
(Signed)       G. Columbia.
James Judson Young. 28th April.
Question—What do you know as to the burial of the late Captain McNeill ?
Answer—Captain McNeill, on his death bed, requested that he should be buried near
my children, in the public cemetery, and'I was told by several that Bishop Hills would
object on account of my having joined the Reformed Episcopal Church, to which also
the deceased. Captain McNeill, belonged. Bishop Hills permitted the interment and
performance of service by our clergyman, only because I owned burial ground in the
Church of England allotment of the public cemetery, which land I obtained before the
division in the church. (Signed)       Jas. Judson Young.
Robert Patkrson Rithet—I am a trustee of the Cemetery Board.
Question—When the division of the cemetery into separate lots was mooted, were
you in favour of such division ?
Answer—I was not, because I did not believe in the principle.
Question—As a trustee, do you know of any religious denomination objecting to this
division ?
Ausioer—I do not know of any formal objection having been made.
Question—As a trustee, do you know from whom the request for allotment came ?
Answer—From the Roman Catholics first, through Mr. McTiernan, also a trustee.
Question—What other applications followed ?
Answer—From the Episcopal Church, through Mr. Pearse, likewise a trustee ; from
the Presbyterians, through myself as Secretary, by letter to the Secretary of Cemetery
Board. Am a member of the Presbyterian Church (St. Andrew's) ; from the Methodists,
through Mr. James E. McMillan, a member of the Cemetery Board.
Question—Did each member of the board happen to be an adherent of each church
at that time in Victoria ?
Answer—Yes ; I believe so.
Question—Did you divide the greater part of the cemetery amongst the religious
bodies you were attached to ?
Question—Was it the intention of the Trustee Board, at time of making these allotments, to give exclusive rights to those bodies ?
Answer—We didn't see what good the allotments would be unless we did so.
(Signed)       R. P. Rithet.


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