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PUIVLISIIKD -WRKK'LV, AT HONOLULU,' OAIIU, SANIHVICH ISLANDS:
j j. JAltVKS, Editor.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 1840.
Vol. ! iVo. ltf.
COM .M UNI CAT K I).
Ihc jvia3r' oi Sanson 0s-
hmU. Their Manners, Custom:-, and
Superstition. Py T. Heath, Manono.
M ann mis, Slc.
The Navigator's Islands are situated
)i tvcc:i H!) and 17' west Long., and
,l0t far from M south latitude. Tho
native name of the group is Samoa. The
principal islands are live, namely: .Ma una,
the most eastward, Tutuila, perhaps cigh
lv miles to the westward of Manna, Upo
lortv miles west of Tutuila, Manono
i .1 tv r.. '
null islands Oroscga and Ofu ; near Tu
tuila is Auu-u, near Upolu,. Nuutelc, and
near Manono, its fortress, the almost in
accessible island, Aporima. The popula
tion of the whole group is between fifty
and sixtV thousand. ' '
As a Christian mission is now formed
there, in connection with the London
Missionary Society, and the group is at
tracting Some measure of public attention,
a brief account of the islands, and the
manners and customs of the people, will
not he uninteresting to your readers.
ScF.NKitv, N.vrritAL IIlSTORV, &e.
The Samoa Islands present many fea
tures in common with other Polynesian
groups. They present to the view splen
did forests of evergreen, stretching from
the beach to the vcrv - summit of the
mountains, and which contain thousands
l' . I i ' A 1 ' I T.I
oi I lie r lies! . iiiniior. in in vifiniti; rt
iL. t. .. .. . r : i
nic seuieniems, groves oi cocoa nut and
bread lnut trees combine to give the min
ted impression of beauty and of plenty.
So far ns yet examined the formation of
the whole group appears to be volcanic';
the whole surface, at least, is covered
with volcanic matter. As to the greater
portion, however,thc manifest ngq of many
of the trees, and the depth of thc,soil,shov
that a long period must have elapsed since
any volcano has been in action. Put
some spots are exceptions to this remark,
and on Savaii, especially, the largest . of
the group, there are tracts of almost bap?,
lava, one of them of several miles across.
The latter is properly enough called the
dii "tho Purnt."
Tutuila is very mountainous and crag
py, and has but little Hat land ; but it has
a very fine deep harbor, one of the best
in the Polynesian islands, where ample
supplies of water and wood may be ob
tained. Since it' became a missionary
station many vessels have anchored there.
IJpolu is the most picturesque of the
inlands, and there are few in the South
Pacific that surpass it in beauty. . As you
sail round it, you are at every turn pie
spited with some new features in the
scenery. The secret of the charnris the
variety in the mountains, both in foftn
and position ; on every side, "hills peep
er hills." iferc and there also is a "water
toll, or the mouth of a river. It has reefs
u'th generally good entrances, to the ex
,pnt of above half its coasts, and a great
(h-al of land capable of cultivation ; and,
fm these accounts, has a larger population'
jhan any other island in the group. It
; several harbors; the best of which,
Sf)lar as yet tried is Apia on the north side.
The small island of Manono is within
fhc same reef with IJpolu, from which it
Is but four miles distant. ' It is only five
wiles in circumference, but is a complete
forest to tho summit of the mountain.
Its resident population is about 1,000, but
its political importance is far greater than
that of the larger islands. This is part
ly owing to its having been the residence
of two successive chiefs, father ami son,
(ailed Tumafnla who united in their
persons attributes - and powers both'of
kings and gods ; and partly to its strong
fortress, which is the Small island of.
' Aporima, only a few miles distant ; it
is accessible only at a single, narrow point,
which may easily be defended against
Savaii is the largest of the group, and
its inouutains arc the highest. No ineas-
furcment has yet been made of their
height.' 1 hey appear to be from six thou
sand to seven thousand feet. Savaii has
much more barren and useless land in
proportion, than the other islands, but has
nevertheless, several beautiful and fertile
districts.'-It has reefs. only here and there,
and for short distances.; so that it is more
difficult1 to navigate with canoes than
the' island of .Upolii-. There are two
small bays to the westward, in which ves
sels of small size may anchor, except
when W esterly winds prevail.
It has been stated that the surface of
this 'group is almost entirely volcanic, so
that the Ceologist will not find much va
riety At Tutuila, however, is found the
hard stone, (Trap,) of which the Poly
nesian adzes" and other tools -were nmde
previously to the introduction of iron. At
the other islands the stone is almost uni
formly porous,ofa.dull black color ; often
a Inixture of iron stone occurs, and, in
some places, a species of red ochre, .which
the natives . use in painting, or rather
printing, their cjoth;
The "islands are . very rich in timber,
and present an interesting, though not
extensive field to the Potanist. All the
timber and other trees, specified by Mr.
Kllis, in his Polvnesian Researches, as
found in the Society Islands, abound also
in Samoa ; but the latter group contain
a great many more species, and some of
them are most valuable to the builder and
As to Zoology, the pig, the dog and the
rat arc the only quadrupeds known ; but
birds, the smaller reptiles,' including the
snake, and fish, are extremely abundant.
Living, as tbo'missionnrios and other for
eigners generally do, on thft roast, little is
known by them of the birds; but the
people of the inland villages hunt them
in the mountains, and partly live upon
them, as the others do on fish. Their
children 'are early trained to scale the
mountain sides,"hunt and kill their feath
ery prey. Many species, including some
of large sue, are eaten and considered
excel lent, food.
The climate is in general salubrious,
yet the habits of the natives subject them
to frequent cutaneous, rheumatic and pul
monary disorders. The thermometer
ranges, in the shade, from 70 to 8(i.
Tho tides, unlike those of Tahiti, observe
the usual law's.
From April to October, the trade winds
generally- prevail, though with many in
terruptions. 'During the" other-months
they are very changeable, and generally
about Christmas, but sometimes later,
there are strong westerly and n. w. winds
for two or (luce weeks together.
To bo continued.
LAW l'HOHUUTKVJ TIIK1T.
Trnnnhition. . .
"Wo hereby prohibit all steaJing, and
felonious seizure, and violent plundering,
and taking secretly the property of others.
Whosoever does any of these ihings with
a real thievish intent, is obnoxious to tins
law, and shall be 'punished as follows :
Whosoever shah steal, or take secretly
with a thievish -design the property of an
other, and whosoever shall lyiiigly carry
away and secrete in a thievish manner
the property of another, shall be punish
cd'thus : , v
I. If-the stolen property be less limn
two dollars, then he shall be! lined four
times the amount of Hhe property which
he stole. If one dollar be stolen, four
dollars shall be the fine, which with the
original sum -makes live dollars, two 'to
the government, and two to tho owner of
the stolen properly, together with the
original sum, which makes three dollars.
If two dollars be stolen', then the fine
.shall be eight dollars; four to, the govern
ment, and four to the owner of the stolen
property. If he fail to pay these, he
shall be put to hard' labor, which he shall
perform of a value equal to the line, a
portion of the-labor for the government,
and a portion for the owner of the prop
ii. If the amount of property stolen
be more than two dollars, but less than a
hundred, the thief shall then be fined ac
cording to the first section of this law,
and shall, moreover, be put to hard labor
for a term of from four to eight months,'
as the judges shall determine from the
character of the theft.
II. If the property stolen amount to
more than a hundred dollars, then tluM
stolen property shall all be restored, and
(the thief, shall pay all t'he'loss sustained
by the owner of the property. "When all
this is. paid, then the thief shall be trans
ported to another land, there to remain
for a term of from five to ten years, ac
cording to the aggravation of the theft,
as decided by the judges.
1. If a man be punished according 'to
the above requisitions, and afterwards,
steal again, either little or much, it shall
then be proper to transport him to anoth
er land, at the discretion of the judges,
according to the degree of his incorrigi
bility, or ihe'greatness of his crime.
.r). If the thief be unknown or is not
seized by the owner of the properly, and
lie does ndt know who slide it, then who
soever brings if lo light shall receive one
fourth' of .the fine, and the owner of the
property one fourth, together with the
original amount. ' , . .
..(, If a man steal property and be de
tected by the owner, and they shall agree
together as to the settlement, they may do
it, and that agreement ot theifs """shall
stand. Put if it become public after
their settlement, then the thief shall pay
the government portion of the 'fine ac
cording to law, but shall pay nothing more
to the owner of the property.
7. If any one be condemned to reside
in another land,' according to the require
ment of this law, and he.. prefer to pay a
fine jn money, this is the amount he shall
pay, two hundred dollars for t ach year for
which he is sentenced by the judges.
Whoever pays a fine thus, shall be freed
from transportation, though at the discre
tion of the judges.
"8. Should this law be proclaimed in
any village by a crier, then the day of its
proclamation shall be the day that it takes
effect; -Put if not proclaimed, then the
first day. of December, 1810, shall be the
lay that it takes clfect, and by this act all
former laws respecting theft arc repealed.
This act is passed by the government of
these Sandwich Islands, on this tenth day "
of September, in tho year of our Lord
1 o 10, at Lahaina, Maui.
Hsiwd,' KAMEITAMF.ITA III.
. LAW niOIIMMTlNCJ BURGLARY.
We hereby prohibit the breaking open
of houses, and tho secret entering of win
dows, and" also the forcing of doors and
windows. If any man does 'either of
these things to the house of another, he
is obnoxious to this law.
I . .if any man secretly break open a
substantial house of another in the night,
and -outer, and steal property", little or
much, tho crime is similar, and he shall
be punished according to the requirement
of the third section of the law prohibiting
'2. If any man secretly break open a
substantial house of another in the night,
and enter with felonious intcnt.though no
thing be taken away by him, he shall, ne
vertheless, be punished by transportation
to another land for the term of three
years. ' .
J. If any man secretly break open a
substantial house of another in the night,
with a felonious intent, and while some
person is resident in the house, said bur
glar having weapons of death in his pos
session, that is a great crime, and the man
committing it shall be condemned to re
side oii another land till death.
.4. If the house broken open be one of
thatch, or not a substantial house, or if
there be some other thing which shall
materially mitigate the crime, then it shall
be in the power of the judges to diminish
the punishment or change it, and 'not ad
here rigorously. to, the above specifications.
The judges are to look at the nature and
magnitude of the offence.
". Should this law be proclaimed by a
crier in any village, then the day of its
proclamation shall be the day of its taking
effect in that place. Put if not. proclaim
ed, then the fi'rstday of December, 1840,
.shall be the day of its taking clfect, and
by this act idl former laws relative to bur
glary are repealed.
This act is passed by the government of these
rsumwicn islands; Uus tctitn day of Sep
tember, in the year of our Lord, 18 10, at
i,'iied, KAMPIIAMFJIA III.
The above laws were sent to tho Polyne-
sion, with a request for publication. Having
complied with it, we shall venture a few re
marks upon the principles evolved in their
construction, and their probablo influence.
They are- said to be the solo work of tho
government, and as. such, they reflect credit
upon the authors, and give encouragement
to hope for a tolerable code of laws at somo
future period. The .principle of different
degrees of guilt in burglary, and distinguish--
'ing between 'the young and hardened offen
der appears to be tul'y recognized. Still
there are somo inherent defects, which wo
shall briefly notice, not for the mere purpose
of criticism,but to point out the abuses which
they are liable to. - ,