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parents went into the house, and looked anxiously for the children, but they were not.—I said, I would go and awake the children, exclaimed the mother, and behold they are not here, but are gone.-The parents saw the children, and pursued to seize them; but the children, the boy first and his sister after him, flew up to the skies. The end of their girdles being towards the earth, the parents took hold of them, and all were carried to the sky, and became stars.
Like most uninformed persons, they supposed the earth was stationary, being borne on the shoulders of a god, fixed upon a rock, which they called the rock of foundation supported by pillars, and that the sun, moon, and stars, moved from one side of the arched heavens to the other. When we at first endeavoured to impart to them more correct ideas of astronomy, and exhibited a terrestrial globe, explanatory of the shape of our earth, and illustrative of that of the moon, of the planets, and other heavenly bodies, they were greatly surprised; but when we called their attention to a celestial globe, and represented to them the relative position of the heavenly bodies, and explained the motion of the planets of our system round the sun, they were at first invariably sceptical. It could not possibly be, they said, that the earth went round, as all things remained stationary during the twenty-four hours; which would not be the fact, if the earth on which they stood moved. Frequently they have said, If such was the fact, when our beds were turned downwards we should all fall off, and all our vessels of food, &c. would be upset or lost. Finding, however, that we persevered in the expression of our sentiments to the contrary, they would
sometimes remark, "We believe it because you say so, but we cannot understand it." These observations were made only when the subject was first brought under their notice. The intelligent among
them now entertain more consistent views.
Among the Hervey Islands, they worshipped a god of thunder; but he does not appear to have been an object of great terror to any of them. The thunder was supposed to be produced by the clapping of his wings. The ignis fatuus they considered as one of their most powerful gods, proceeding, in his tutelary visitations, from one marae to another.
But it is now high time to return from this apparently long digression, which, though somewhat diffuse, has an immediate bearing on the astronomical knowledge and the nautical acquirements of these islanders, and bring our voyage to its termination.
The wind being light but fair through the night, and the sea pleasantly smooth, we kept on our course till the dawn of morning began to appear, and when the day broke, had the satisfaction of beholding the island of Huahine at no very great distance, and immediately before us. We approached on the eastern side, but the wind being unfavourable for sailing to the settlement, we stood towards the shore. When we found ourselves within half a mile of the reef, we lowered our sails, and, manning the oars, rowed round the northern point of the island. By eight o'clock, on the 5th of May, we entered Fare harbour, and, on our landing, had the happiness to find our families and friends well. It was the Sabbath, and we repaired with gratitude to the house of God, to render our acknowledgments for preservation.
Promulgation of the new code of laws in Huahine-Literal translation of the laws on Murder-Theft-Trespass
Stolen property-Lost property-Barter - Sabbathbreaking-Rebellion-Bigamy, &c.-Divorce,&c.-Mar
riage-False accusation-Drunkenness-Dogs-PigsConspiracy Confessions - Revenue for the king and chiefs-Tatauing-Voyaging-Judges and magistrates— Regulations for judges, and trial by jury-Messengers or peace-officers-Manner of conducting public trialsCharacter of the Huahinean code-Reasons for dissuading from capital punishments-Omission of oaths-Remarks on the different enactments-Subsequent amendments and enactments relative to the fisheries-Land-marksLand rendered freehold property-First Tahitian parliament Regulations relating to seamen deserting their vessels-Publicity of trials-Beneficial effects of the laws.
THE laws and regulations which had received the sanction of Teriiteria at Tahiti, were approved by the chiefs of Huahine, at a public national assembly held in the month of May, 1822. Mamae, a leading raatira, requesting that the laws might be enacted, his request was acceded to, and, after some slight modifications, they were promulgated in Huahine, and Sir Charles Sander's island, under
the authority of the queen, governors, and chiefs. They were subsequently printed, and circulated in every part of the islands.
In a letter which Mr. Barff transmitted with a printed copy, speaking of the laws, he remarks, "You will find them, in every material point, the same as when you left the islands!" I insert a literal translation of this code, not because it was the last promulgated, nor that I consider it superior in every respect to those by which it was preceded, but because it was adopted by the people with whom I was most intimately connected, and received a greater degree of the attention of my colleague and myself, than any of the others. It might, perhaps, have been abridged, or a mere enumeration of the laws might have furnished all the information that is interesting; yet the first code of laws adopted, written, and printed among a people, who, but a few years before, were ignorant heathen, and lawless savages, is a document so important in the history of the people, as to justify its entire insertion. The title is E Ture na Huahine: "A Law,* or Code of Laws, for Huahine, caused to grow in the government or reign of of Teriiteria, Hautia, and Mahine, subordinate (rulers)" and the Imprint is-" Huahine, printed at the Mission Press, 1823."
The following is the Introduction immediately after the names of the queen and two principal
"From the favour of God, we have our government. Peace to you (People) of Huahine.'
There is no word in their language for law. The Hebrew word has been introduced, as according with the genius and idiom of Tahitian better than any other.
Literal Translation of the Laws of Huahine and Sir Charles Sander's Island.
I. CONCERNING MURDER.
If parents murder their infants, or children unborn, if not the parents but the relatives, if not them, a stranger, or any person who shall wantonly commit murder, shall be punished-shall be transported to a distant land, uninhabited by men-such (a land) as Palmerston's Island. There shall (such criminals) be left until they die, and shall never be brought back.
II. CONCERNING THEFT.
If a man steal one pig, four shall he bring as a recompense; for the owner of the pig two, for the king two. If he have no pigs, two single canoes, for the owner of the pig one, for the king one. If (he have) no canoes, bales or bundles of native cloth, two of them, if the tusks of the pig were growing up out of its mouth.* Each bale shall contain one hundred fathoms (200 yards) of cloth, four yards wide. If a half-grown pig, five fathoms. If a small pig, twenty fathoms in the bale. For the owner of the pig one half, and for the king the other. If he have no cloth, arrow-root. If the pig stolen was a large one, forty measures.+ For a half-grown pig twenty measures, and for a small one ten. For the owner of the pig one part, for the king the other. Let the arrow-root of the king, and the owner of the pig, be equal. If not arrowroot, some other property. Thus let every thing stolen be paid for. Let four-fold be returned as a recompense, double for the king, and double for the owner. If he (the thief) have no property, let him be set to work on the lands of the person he has robbed. If he refuse, his land shall be the king's, and he shall wander on the road for an unlimited period. If the king restore him, he shall return to his land, if not (thus) restored he shall not return. The magistrates or judges shall award the punishment annexed to this crime in the laws, and that only. The judge shall not demand the value of the property from the relatives of the thief."
* A full-grown hog, of the largest size, is thus denominated.
† A measure contains five or six pounds weight.
The figurative term for banishment.