who have made away with themselves occupy a separate part of the village of the dead, but that their condition in no other wise differs from that of the other ghosts.

It is, however, hard to believe that the fate of the selfmurderer, whether it be annihilation, a vagrant existence on earth, or separation in the other world, was originally meant as a punishment ; for a similar lot is assigned to the souls of persons who have been drowned, or who have died by accident or violence. It seems that the suicide's future state is in the first place supposed to depend upon the treatment of his corpse. Frequently he is denied burial, or at least the ordinary funeral rites," and this may give rise to the notion that his soul never comes to rest or, possibly, even ceases to exist. Or he is buried by himself, apart from the other dead, in which case his soul must naturally remain equally isolated. Among the Alabama Indians, for instance, “ when a man kills himself, either in despair or in a sickness, he is deprived of burial,

a and thrown into the river.” In Dahomey “the body of any person committing suicide is not allowed to be buried, but thrown out into the fields to be devoured by wild beasts.”? Among the Fantis of the Gold Coast "il y a 7

y des places réservées aux suicidés et à ceux qui sont morts de la petite vérole. Ils sont enterrés à l'écart loin de toute

1 Matthews, Ethnography violence, or starvation, go to a land of Philology of the Hidatsa Indians, plenty in the sky, where there is light,

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food, and water in abundance ; whereas 2 Teit, loc. cit. p. 359 (Thompson the shades of people who die from Indians).

natural causes go to the underground Soppitt, Kuki-Lushai Tribes, land of the dead (Nelson, “Eskimo p.

Anderson, Mandalay to about Bering Strait,' in Ann. Rep. Momien, p. 146 (Kakhyens). Müller, Bur. Ethn. xviii. 423). Geschichte der Amerikanischen Urreli- 4 See Lasch, Die Behandlung der gionen, p. 287 (Brazilian Indians). Leiche des Selbstmörders,' in Globus, Supra, ii. 237. The Central Eskimo believe that all who die by accident or

5 Ibid. p. 65. by violence, and women who die in 6 Bossu, Travels through Louisiana, childbirth, are taken to the upper, happier world (Buas, 'Central Eskimo,' ? M‘Leod, Voyage to Africa, p. 48 in Ann. Rep. Bur. Ethn. vi. 590).

I am indebted to Mr. N. W. According to the belief of the Behring Thomas for drawing ny attention to Strait Eskimo, the shades of shamans, this and a few other statements in the or persons who die by accident, present chapter.

P. 49.


lxxvi. 63 sqa

i. 258.


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habitation et de tout chemin public.” In the Pelew Islands a self-murderer is buried not with his own deceased

a relatives, but in the place where he ended his life, as are also the corpses of those who fall in war. Among the Bannavs of Cambodia “anyone who perishes by his own hand is buried in a corner of the forest far from the graves of his brethren.” 3 Among the Sea Dyaks " those who commit suicide are buried in different places from others, as it is supposed that they will not be allowed to mix in the seven-storied heaven with such of their fellow-countrymen as come by their death in a natural manner or from the influence of the spirits.” 4 The motive for thus treating self-murderers' bodies is superstitious fear. Their ghosts, as the ghosts of persons who have died by any other violent means or by accident, are supposed to be particularly malevolent, owing to their unnatural mode of death or to the desperate or angry state of mind in which they left this life. If they are not buried at all, or if they are buried in the spot where they died or in a separate place, that is either because nobody dares to interfere with them, or in order to prevent them from mixing with the other dead. So also murdered persons are sometimes left unburied, and people who are supposed to have been killed by evil spirits are buried apart ;8 whilst those struck with lightning are either denied interment," or buried where they fell and in the position in which they died. 20 We sometimes hear of a connection between the way in which a suicide's body is treated and the moral opinion as regards his deed. Among the Alabama Indians his corpse is said


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i Gallaud, “A la Côte d'Or,' in Les missions catholiques, xxv. 347.

2 Kubary, in Original-Mittheil. aus der ethnol. Abtheil. d. königl. Museen 21 Berlin, i. 78.

3 Comte, quoted by Mouhot, op. cit. ii. 28. See also Das Volk der Bannar,' in Mittheil. d. Geogr. Ges. zu Jena, iii. 9.

6 Lippert, Der Seelencult, p. 11. Kubary, in Original-Mittheil. aus der ethnol. Abtheil. d. königl. Museen zu Berlin, i. 78.

? Rosenberg, Der malayische Archipel, p. 461 (Papuans of Dorey).

8 Hodson, Native Tribes of Manipur,' in Jour. Anthr, Inst. xxxi. 305 sq.

* St. John, Life in the Forests of the Far East, i. 69.

Lasch, in Globus, lxxvi. 65. Cf. Liebrecht, Zur Volkskunde, p. 414 sq.

9 Burton, Mission to Gelcle, ii. 142 sq. (Dahomans).

10 La Flesche, in Jour. American Folk-Lore, ii. 11 (Omahas).


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to be thrown into the river “because he is looked upon as a coward”;and of the Ossetes M. Kovalewsky states that they bury suicides far away from other dead persons because they regard their act as sinful. But we may be

” sure that moral condemnation is not the original cause of these practices.

It is comparatively seldom that savages are reported to attach any stigma to suicide. To the instances mentioned above a few others may be added. The Waganda, we are told, greatly condemn the act. Among the Bogos “a man never despairs, never gives himself

up, and considers suicide as the greatest indignity.' The Karens of Burma deem it an act of cowardice ; but at the same time

: they have no command against it, they “seem to see little or no guilt in it,” and “we are nowhere told that it is displeasing to the God of heaven and earth.” 5 The Dacotahs said of a girl who had destroyed herself because her parents had turned her beloved from the wigwam, and would force her to marry a man she hated, that her spirit did not watch over her earthly remains, being offended when she brought trouble upon her aged mother and father. In Dahomey “it is criminal to attempt to commit suicide, because every man is the property of the king. The bodies of suicides are exposed to public execration, and the head is always struck off and sent to Agbomi ; at the expense of the family if the suicide were a free man, at that of his master if he were a slave." ; On the other hand, it is expressly stated of various savages that they do not punish attempts to commit suicide. The negroes of Accra see nothing wrong in the act. Why,” they would ask, “should a person not be 1 Bossu, op. cit. i. 258.

Ewe - speaking Peoples, 2 Kovalewsky, poraine et loi ancienne, p. 327.

8 Leuschner,

Steinmetz, 3 Felkin, in Proceed. Roy. Soc.

Rechtsverhältnisse, p. 24 (Bakwiri). Edinburgh, xiii. 723.


(Diakité 4 Munzinger, Die Sitten und das Sarracolese). Lang, ibid. p. 262 Recht der Bogos, p. 93.



7 Ellis,



p. 224.





(Washambala). Rautanen, ibid. p. 5 Mason, in Jour. Asiatic

343 (Ondonga). Sorge, ibid. p. 421 Bengal, xxxvii. pt. ii. 141.

(Nissan Islanders). Senfft, ibid. p. 6 Eastman, op. cit. p. 169.

452 (Marshall Islanders).


allowed to die, when he no longer desires to live? ” But they inflict cruel punishments upon slaves who try to put an end to themselves, in order to deter other slaves from doing the same. Among the Pelew Islanders suicide “is neither praised nor blamed.”? The Eskimo around Northumberland Inlet and Davis Strait believe that

anyone who has been killed by accident, or who has taken his own life, certainly goes to the happy place after death. The Chippewas hold suicide “to be a foolish, not a reprehensible action, and do not believe it to entail any punishment in the other world. In his sketches of the manners and customs of the North American Indians, Buchanan writes :-“Suicide is not considered by the Indians either as an act of heroism or of cowardice, nor is it with them a subject of praise or blame. They view this desperate act as the consequence of mental derangement, and the person who destroys himself is to them an object of pity.” 5

From the opinions on suicide held by uncivilised races we shall pass to those prevalent among peoples of a higher

a culture. In China suicide is extremely common among all classes and among persons of all ages.

For those who have been impelled to this course by a sense of honour the gates of heaven open wide, and tablets bearing their names are erected in the temples in honour of virtuous men women. As honourable self-murderers are regarded servants or officers of state who choose not to survive a defeat in battle or an insult offered to the sovereign of their country ; young men who, when an insult has been paid to their parents which they are unable to avenge, prefer not to survive it; and women who kill


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themselves on the death of their husbands or fancés.? In spite of imperial prohibitions, sutteeism of widowed wives and brides has continued to flourish in China down to this day, and meets with the same public applause as ever; 2 whilst those widowed wives and brides who have lost their lives in preserving their chastity, are entitled both to an honorary gate and to a place in a temple of the State as an object of worship. Another common form of suicide which is admired as heroic in China is that committed for the purpose of taking revenge upon an enemy who is otherwise out of reach—according to Chinese ideas a most effective mode of revenge, not only because the law throws the responsibility of the deed on him who occasioned it, but also because the disembodied soul is supposed to be better able than the living man to persecute the enemy. The Chinese have a firm belief in the wandering spirits of persons who have died by violence ; thus self-murderers are supposed to haunt the places where they committed the fatal deed and endeavour to persuade others to follow their example, at times even attempting to play executioner by strangling those who reject their advances.”

“ Violent deaths,” says Mr. Giles, “ are regarded with horror by the Chinese" ; and suicides committed from meaner motives are reprobated.? It is said in the Yü Li, or “Divine Panorama Taouist work which is very popular all over the Chinese Empire—that whilst persons who kill themselves out of loyalty, filial piety, chastity, or friendship, will go to heaven, those who do so “in a trivial burst of rage, or fearing the consequences of a crime which would not amount to death, or in the hope of falsely injuring a


1 Gray, op. cit. i. 337 sqq.

2 de Groot, Religious System of China (vol. ii. book) i. 748. Ball, op. cit. p. 565. Cathonay, in Les missions catholiques, xxxi. 341.

3 de Groot, op. cit. (vol. ii. book)

* Huc, op. cit. p. 181. Matignon, in Archives d'anthropologie criminelle,

xii. 371 599. de Groot, op. cit. (vol. iv. book) ii. 450 sq.

Cathonay, in Les missions catholiques, xxxi. 341 sq. Ball, op. cit. p. 566 sq.

5 Davis, China, ii. 94. Dennys, Folk-Lore of China, p. 74 sq.

6 Giles, Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio, ii. 363, n. 9.

Gray, op. cit. i. 337.

i. 792.

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