Secondly, by killing himself a person does an injury to the community of which he is a part. Thirdly, “life is a gift divinely bestowed on man, and subject to His power who killeth and maketh alive'; and therefore he who takes his own life sins against God, as he who kills another man's slave sins against the master to whom the slave belongs, and as he sins who usurps the office of judge on a point not referred to him ; for to God alone belongs judgment of life and death." i The second of these arguments is borrowed from Aristotle, and is entirely foreign to the spirit of early Christianity. The notion of patriotism being a moral duty was habitually discouraged by it, and, as Mr. Lecky observes, “it was impossible to urge the civic argument against suicide without at the same time condemning the hermit life, which in the third century became the ideal of the Church.” 2 But the other arguments are deeply rooted in some of the fundamental doctrines of Christianity—in the sacredness of human life, in the duty of absolute submission to God's will, and in the extreme importance attached to the moment of death. The earthly life is a preparation for eternity ; sufferings which are sent by God are not to be evaded, but to be endured. The man who deliberately takes away the life

3 which was given him by the Creator displays the utmost disregard for the will and authority of his Master ; and, worst of all, he does so in the very last minute of his life, when his doom is sealed for ever. His deed, as Thomas Aquinas says, is “the most dangerous thing of all, because no time is left to expiate it by repentance.

He who kills a fellow-creature does not in the same degree renounce the protection of God; he kills only the body, whereas the self-murderer kills both the body and the soul. By denying the latter the right of Christian

4 ܙܕ

| Thomas Aquinas, op. cit. ii.-ii 24: Lecky, History of European Morals, ,


4 Thomas Aquinas, op. cit. ii.-ii. 64. 5. 3. Cf. St. Augustine, De Civitate Dei, i. 25.

6 Damhouder, op.cit. lxxxviii. 1 sq.,

ii. 44.

3 Cf. St. Augustine, De Civilate Dei,

p. 258.

i. 23.



burial the Church recognises that he has placed himself outside her pale.

The condemnation of the Church influenced the secular legislation. The provisions of the Councils were introduced into the law-books. In France Louis IX. enforced the penalty of confiscating the self-murderer's property, and laws to the same effect were passed in other European countries.2 Louis XIV. assimilated the crime of suicide to that of lèze majesté. According to the law of Scotland,“ self-murder is as highly criminal as the killing our neighbour.” 4 In England suicide is still regarded by the law as murder committed by a man on himself ; and, unless declared insane, the self-murderer forfeited his property as late as the year 1870, when forfeitures for felony were abolished. In Russia, to this day, the testamentary dispositions of a suicide are deemed void by the law.?

The horror of suicide also found a vent in outrages committed on the dead body. Of a woman who drowned herself in Edinburgh in 1598, we are told that her body was “harled through the town backwards, and thereafter hanged on the gallows. In France, as late as the middle of the eighteenth century, self-murderers were dragged upon a hurdle through the streets with the face turned to the ground; they were then hanged up with the head downwards, and finally thrown into the common sewer. However, in most cases the treatment to which suicides' bodies were subject was not originally meant as a punishment, but was intended to prevent their spirits

1 Les Établissements de Saint Louis, suetudinibus Anglia, fol. 150, vol. ii. 92; vol. ii. 150.

504 sy. Bourquelot, op. cit. iv. 263. Mor- Stephen, op. cit. iji

. 105, selli, op. cit. p. 196 sq.

? Foinitzki, in von Liszt, La législa. 3 Louis XIV., Ordonnance crimi- tion penale comparée, p. 548. nelle,' A.D. 1670, xxii. 1, in Isambert, * Ross, ‘Superstitions as to burying Decrusy, and Taillandier, Recueil général Suicides in the Highlands,' in Celtic des anciennes lois françaises, xviii. 414. Magazine, xii. 354.

+ Erskine-Rankine, Principles of the Serpillon, Code Criminel, ii. 223. Law of Scotland, p. 559.

Cf. Louis XIV., Ordonnance crimi* Stephen, History of the Criminal nelle,' A.D. 1670, xxii. 1, in Isambert, Law of England, iii. 104. For earlier Decrusy, and Taillandier, op. cil. xviii. times see Bracton, De Legibus et Con- 414.

8 ܙܙ







from causing mischief. All over Europe wandering tendencies have been ascribed to their ghosts. In some countries the corpse of a suicide is supposed to make barren the earth with which it comes in contact, or to produce hailstorms or tempests3 or drought." At Lochbroom, in the North-West of Scotland, the people believe that if the remains of a self-murderer be taken to any burying-ground which is within sight of the sea or of cultivated land, this would prove disastrous both to fishing and agriculture, or, in the words of the people, would cause “ famine (or dearth) on sea and land”; hence the custom has been to inter suicides in out-of-the-way places among the lonely solitudes of the mountains. The practice of burying them apart from other dead has been very wide-spread in Europe, and in many cases there are obvious indications that it arose from fear. In the North-East of Scotland a suicide was buried outside a churchyard, close beneath the wall, and the grave was marked by a single large stone, or by a small cairn, to which the passing traveller was bound to cast a stone ; and afterwards, when the suicide's body was allowed to rest in the churchyard, it was laid below the wall in such a position that no one could walk over the grave, as the people believed that if a woman enceinte stepped over such a

I Ross, in Celtic Magazine, xii 352 2 Schiffer, in Am Ur-Quell, iii. 52 (Highlanders of Scotland). Atkinson, (Lithuanians). Forty Years in a Moorland Parish, p. 3 Ibid. pp. 50 (Polanders), 53 (Lithu217. Hyltén-Cavallius, Marend och anians). von Wlislocki, Volksglaube und Wirilarne, i. 472 54. (Swedes). Allardt, religiöser Brauch der Magyaren, p. 61. Nylandska folkseder och bruk,' in Strausz, Die Bulgaren, p. 455. Prexl, Nyland, iv. 114 (Swedish Finlanders). 'Geburts- und Todtengebräuche der Wuttke, Der deutsche Volksaberglaube Rumänen in Siebenbürgen,' in Globus, der Gegenwart, $ 756, p. 474 sq. Schiffer, “Totenfetische bei den Polen,' in 4 Strausz, op. cit. p. 455 (Bul. Am Ur-Quell, iii. 50 (Polanders), 52 garians). (Lithuanians). Volkov, Der Selbst- Ross, in Celtic Magazine, xii. morder in Lithauen,' ibiil, v. 87. von 350 sq. WTislocki, “Tod und Totenfetische im 6 Gaidoz, in Melusine, iv. 12. Frank, Volkglauben der Siebenbürger Sachsen,' System einer vollständigen medicini. ibid. iv. 53. Lippert, Christenthum, schen Polizey, iv. 499. Moore, op. cit. Volksglaube und Volksbrauch, p. 391. i. 310 (Danes). Schiffer, in Am Ur. Dyer, The Ghost World, pp. 53, 151. Quell, iii. 50 (Polanders), 53 (LithuGaidoz, ‘Le suicide,' in Melusine, iv. anians). Volkov, ibid. v. 87 (Lithu

lvii. 30.


anians). Strausz, op. cit. p. 455 (Bulgarians).




grave, her child would quit this earth by its own act. In England persons against whom a coroner's jury had found

a a verdict of felo de se were buried at cross-roads, with a stake driven through the body so as to prevent their ghosts from walking. For the same purpose the bodies of

i Gregor, Folk-Lore of the North- cit. p. 115). The Gypsies of Servia East of Scotland, p. 213 59.

believe that a thief may divert from Stephen, History of the Criminal himself all suspicions by painting with Law of England, iii. 105. Atkinson, blood a cross and a dot above it on the op. cit. p. 217. This custom was formally spot where he committed the theft (von abolished in 1823, by 4 Geo. IV. c. 52 Wlislocki, “Menschen blut im Glauben (Stephen, op. cit. iii. 105). Why were der Zigeuner,' in Am Ur-Quell, iii. 64 suicides buried at cross-roads? Possibly sq.). In Morocco the cross is used as a because the cross was supposed to dis- charm against the evil eye, and the chief perse the evil energy ascribed to their reason for this is, I believe, that it is bodies. Both in Europe and India the regarded as a conductor of the banerul cross-road has, since ancient times, been energy emanating from the eye, dispersa favourite place to divest oneself of ing it in all the quarters of the wind and diseases or other evil influences (Wuttke, thus preventing it from injuring the Der deutsche Volksaberglaube der Gegen. person or object looked at (Westerwart, SS 483, 484, 492, 508, 514, 522, marck, “Magic Origin of Moorish De545, pp. 325, 326, 331, 341, 345, 349, signs,' in Jour. Anthr, Inst. xxxiv, 361. Hymns of the Atharva-Veda, pp. 214). In Japan, if a criminal belonging 272, 473, 519. Oldenberg, Die Religion to one of the lower classes commits des Veda,

, pp. 267, 268 n. 1). In the sacred suicide, his body is crucified (Globus, books of India it is said that “a student xviii. 197). When, under Tarquinius who has broken the vow of chastity Priscus (or Tarquinius Superbus), many shall offer an ass to Nirriti on a cross- Romans preferred voluntary death 10 road” (Gautama, xxiii. 17), and that a compulsory labour in the cloaca, or person who has previously undergone artificial canals by which the sewage certain other purification ceremonies was carried into the Tiber, the king “is freed from all crimes, even mortal ordered that their bodies should be sins, after looking on a cross-road at a crucified and abandoned to birds and pot filled with water, and reciting the beasts of prey (Pliny, Historia naturalis, text, Simhe me manyuh ?" (Baud- xxxvi. 24; Servius, Commentarii in hiyana, iv. 7. 7). In the hills of l'irgilii Eneidos, xii. 603). The reason Northern India and as far as Madras, for thus crucifying the bodies of selfan approved charm for getting rid of a murderers is not stated; but it is interest. disease of demoniacal origin is to plant ing to notice, in this connection, the a stake where four roads meet, and to idea expressed by some Christian bury grains underneath, which crows writers that the cross of the Saviour disinter and eat (North Indian Notes symbolised the distribution of his benign and Queries, i. $ 652, p. 100; Madden, influence in all directions (d’Ancona, · The Turace and Outer Mountains of Origini del teatro italiano, i. 646 ; Kumaoon,' in Jour. Asiatic Soc. Bengal, Tauler, quoted by Peltzer, Deutsche xvii. pt. i. 583 ; Crooke, Popular Reli- Mystik und deutsche Kunst, p. 191. I gion and Folk-Lore of Northern India, am indebted to my friend Dr. Yrjö i. 290). In the Province of Bihār, “in Hirn for drawing my attention to this cases of sickness various articles are ex- idea). With reference to persons who posed in a saucer at a cross-road " had killed a father, mother, brother, or (Grierson, Bihar l'easant Life, p. 407). child, Plato says in his · Laws' (ix. According to a Bulgarian tale, Lot was 873) :-"If he be convicted, the ser. enjoined by the priest to plant on a cross- vants of the judges and the magistrates road three charred twigs in oriler to shall slay him at an appointed place free himself from his sin (Strausz, op. without the city where three ways meet,



suicides were in many cases burned. And when removed from the house where the act had been committed, they were commonly carried out, not by the door, but by a window, or through a perforation specially made for the occasion in the door, or through a hole under the threshold,in order that the ghost should not find its way

back into the house, or perhaps with a view of keeping the entrance of the house free from dangerous infection.

However, side by side with the extreme severity with which suicide is viewed by the Christian Church we find, even in the Middle Ages, instances of more humane feelings towards its perpetrator. In mediæval tales and ballads true lovers die together and are buried in the same grave; two roses spring through the turf and twine lovingly together. In the later Middle Ages, says M. Bourquelot, voit qu'à mesure qu'on avance, , and there expose his body naked, and im Volkglauben der Siebenbürger each of the magistrates on behalf of the Sachsen,' in Am Ur-Quell, iv. 53. whole city shall take a stone and cast it 2 Wuttke, op. cit. $ 756, p. 474 ; upon the head of the dead man, and so Frank, op. cit. iv. 498 sq. ; Lippert, deliver the city from pollution ; after Der Seelencult, p. II (people in various that, they shall bear him to the borders parts of Germany). Schiffer, in Am of the land, and cast him forth unburied, Ur. Quell, iii. 50 (Polanders). according to law.” The duels by which Bourquelot, loc. cit. iv. 264 (at the ancient Swedes were legally com- Abbeville). pelled to repair their wounded honour 4 Grimm, Deutsche Rechtsalterthüs were to be fought on a place where mer, p. 726 s99: Hyltén-Cavallius, op. three roads met (Leffler, Om den forn- cit. i. 472 sq. (Swedes). svenska hednalagen, p. 40 sq. ; supra, i. 5 See infra, on Regard for the Dead. 502). In various countries it has been Contact with a self-murderer's body is the custom to bury the dead at cross- considered polluting (Prexl, ‘Geburtsroads (Grimm, 'Ueber das Verbrennen und Todtengebräuche der Rumänen in der Leichen,' in Kleinere Schriften, ii. Siebenbürgen,' in Globus, lvii. 30 ; 288 (Bohemians); Lippert, Die Reli- Hyltén-Cavallius, Wärend och Wir. gionen der europäischen Culturvölker, darne, i. 459, 460, and ii. 412). We p. 310 (Slavonians); Winternitz, Das are told that in the eighteenth century altindische Hochzeitsrituell, p. 68 ; people did not dare to cut down a Oldenberg, Die Religion des Veda, pp. person who had hanged himself, though 267, 268, 562 n. 3)—a custom which he was found still alive (Frank, op. cit. may have given rise to the idea that

iv. 499).

Among the Bannavs of Cross-roads are haunted (Winternitz, Cambodia everybody who takes part in op. cit. p. 68; Oldenberg, op. cit. p. the burial of a self-murderer is obliged 267 sq. ; cf. Wuttke, op. cit. $ 108, p. to undergo a certain ceremony of puri89 sq.).

fication, whereas no such ceremony is Bourquelot, loc. cit. iv. 263. Ilyltén- prescribed in the case of other burials Cavallius, op. cit. i. 459 ; Nordström, (Mittheil. d. Geogr. Ges. zu Jena, iii. Bidrag till den svenska samhälls- 9). förfatiningens historia, ii. 331 (Swedes). 6 See Bourquelot, loc. cit. iv. 248 ; von Wlislocki, ‘Tod und Totenfetische Gummere, Germanic Origins, p. 322. VOL. II



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