The savage believed that to every man there is an
appointed time to die; to anticipate that period by suicide, was detested as the meanest cowardice.
For the dead he abounds in his lamentations, mingling them with words of comfort to the living: to him death is the king of terrors.
He never names the name of the departed; to do so is an offence justifying revenge.
To speak generally of brothers to one who has lost her own, would be an injury, for it would make her weep because her brothers are no more; and the missionary could not speak of the Father
of man to orphans, without kindling indignation.
And yet they summon energy to speak of their own approaching death with tranqlillity ‘Full happy am I,’ sings the warrior, ‘full
happy am I to be slain within the limits of the land of the enemy!’
While yet alive, the dying chief sometimes arrayed himself in the garments in which he was to be buried, and, giving a farewell festival, calmly chanted his last song, or made a last harangue, glorying in the remembrance of his deeds, and commending to
his friends the care of those whom he loved; and when he had given up the ghost, he was placed by his wigwam in a sitting posture, as if to show that, though life was spent, the principle of being was not gone; and in that posture he was buried.
Every where in America
this posture was adopted at burials.
, it was the usage of every Nation—an evidence that some common sympathy pervaded the continent, and struck a chord which vibrated through the heart of a race.
The narrow house, within which the warrior sat, was often hedged round with a light palisade; and, for six months, the women would repair to it thrice a day to weep.
He that should de spoil the dead was accursed.