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Dundee Courier and Daily Argus 29 March 1858


The ghosts of subjects, which one would have thought dead and gone, sometimes rise up as if from their graves. We thought we had done with the Howff for good and all. That when it was closed there was an end of it, and that we should hear no more about it. Of the wisdom of closing it there were more opinions than one; but the one for shutting it up having triumphed, we supposed that the topic was shut up too, and that silence would reign supreme over the tombstones, and the calm reflections of Bank Street never again be disturbed by a Howff discussion. "To err is human," and, in thinking that way, we have, if the poet be right, only proved or humanity. We were mistaken. The Howff has risen again into notice. It has penetrated to the Town Council. There is a proposal or suggestion on foot for beautifying it, planting it, laying it out and preserving its tombstones, and other antiquities. We protest about this Howff revival. We suspect the public at large does not wish to hear any more of the matter. Those who wanted the Howff closed, denounced it as a nuisance; we shall have to label it as a bore. We have nothing to say against preserving the antiquities. It is not our wont to join the cry against things which are old, because they are antiquated, and clamour for their destruction. If any private individual, or combination of private individuals, having antiquarian tastes, choose to find the funds for tombstone preservation, and securing the legibility of inscriptions, well and good. we have no objection to offer, rather we should applaud the blending of tastes, and reverence for the relics of the past.
Let them set to work at their task, by all means, but as to the ideas of new walks and fresh trees, and other improvements, we enter our protest. No doubt the suggested alterations would place before some windows a pleasanter prospect than that they now command, but there are other things to be considered than the creation of a pretty view. We speak in the interest of the public. We suppose the Howff is not to be beautified for the purpose of being shut up, and peeped at through iron railings. We should rather presume that the intention is to make it a place of resort. We have heard that men and women loll on the graves, and talk in a fashion which would not be tolerated in a drawing-room, and the thought which arises to our mind is, that the place should be locked up; but if it were to be made pleasanter ladies and gentlemen would, perhaps, walk there, and nursemaids lead their infant charges over the nicely gravelled walks, or sit with them beneath the trees which are proposed to be planted. We do not think the change would be for the better. Apart from the consideration that a graveyard is not the place for recreation, there is the question - Why was the Howff given up as a place of burial? It was because of allegations that the place was over full of the remains of the dead - that it was not so much full of the remains of the dead- that it was not so much earth as a collection of organic matter in a state of decomposition- that the mass could not be disturbed without setting free disease-producing gases- that the place was pestiferous. All that, and more than that, was said. Why, then, in the name of reason, or perhaps we should say unreason, is the Howff to be made gay and pretty, and turned into a place of resort- a promenade over putrifying corpses? We are aware of the importance of "lungs" for large towns, and that Dundee has a few of them; but better for a town to have no lungs, than those which breathe poison. It is not such a lung as the Howff which will make the roses of health bloom on the cheek of youth. It would be more conducive to the salubrity of the neighbourhood to have the place covered with a thick coating of asphalte, than to remodel and beautify it, and if there were no feelings involved, that is what should be done


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