#10 Who Will Go With Me?
     (George Turner, 1884)

. . . In encouraging each other, on going to battle, they said, “Well, if we die, we shall not have to die over again. It is only the death we should have to die some other day.” Suicide was common. In a fit of anger they jumped from the rocks into the ocean and were seen no more.

. . . On the neighbouring island of Aneiteum it was common, on the death of a chief, to strangle his wives, that they might accompany him to the regions of the departed. The custom has been found in various parts of the Pacific. The poor deluded woman rejoices in it, if she has any affection for her husband, and not only shows us the strength of her attachment, but also her firm belief in the reality of a future state. An old chief will say as he is dying, “Now, who will go with me?” and immediately one and another will reply, “I will.” On the island of Aneiteum this revolting custom has entirely fled before the light of Christianity. By the common consent of the chiefs and people all over the island it is strictly forbidden, but, strange to say, it has found a refuge and a resting-place still in the group on Tana. About twenty years ago they commenced there to strangle the wives of a departed chief, and the custom spread over the island—another proof of the downward tendency of heathenism, and of its usual development in the increase of human wretchedness.

[#10] George Turner, “Who Will Go With Me?” Samoa: A Hundred Years Ago and Long Before (London: Macmillan, 1884), pp. 305, 324-25.

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