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To the Honorable the House of Nobles and Representatives of the Hawaiian Islands in Legislative Council assembled:

It is with unfeigned diffidence that I now submit to your honorable body an act to establish a criminal code, in part compliance with your resolution passed on the 27th day of September, 1847. By that resolution I was requested to prepare a civil and criminal code of laws adapted to the wants and condition of the Hawaiian nation, and it is proper that I should give you the reasons why I have so long delayed, and, even at this late date, have but partially completed, the work assigned to me.

By the request of the King and Privy Council, I accepted in August, 1847, the post of President of the Board of Commissioners to quiet land titles, and the duty of presiding over the labors of that Board, which, during my connection with it, has heard some twelve thousand claims and counter claims, in conjunction with my judicial duties, has rendered it impossible for me to find time for the reading and study necessary to the preparation of so important a work. It was only in November last that I was able to write the first line, and soon discovering that I could not, by the most untiring industry, during the little time I could devote to this task, prepare both a civil and criminal code, I directed my labors to the latter, as the one most needed.

The distrust in my power to perform this work well, with which I began it, has increased with every step of my progress, and in its execution, I have had constant resort to the wisdom of others. I am greatly indebted to the labors of the commissioners appointed to pres pare a penal code for Massachusetts, as given in their report, and also to those of Mr. Livingston in the penal code of Louisiana. From both of these able works I have borrowed largely.

In this chrysalis state of the nation, I have thought it proper to keep an eye to the future as well as to the present. Accordingly, while I have studied, as far as is consonant with justice, to conform to the ancient laws and usages of the kingdom, I have in the main, adopted the principles of the English common law, as the foundation of a code best adapted to the present and approaching wants and condition of the nation. To prepare a system of laws equally well adapted to the native and foreign portions of our community,—one not too refined for the limited mind of the former, and yet enough so to meet the wants and capacity of the latter, it will be evident, is no easy task.— I have no confidence to believe that I have performed it successfully. My chief aim has been to be so brief, simple, clear and direct, in thought and language, as not to confuse the native, and yet so full as to satisfy his increasing wants, together with those of the naturalized and unnaturalized foreigner.

I have submitted this code to several gentlemen in the profession of the law,—to the representatives of foreign governments resident in this kingdom,—to merchants, and missionaries well acquainted with the wants and condition of the natives, requesting them to make such suggestions for its improvement, as their wisdom might dictate. They have done so, and I have in the main adopted such suggestions, without any pride of opinion or strong attachment to preconceived ideas. In no instance have I discarded a proposed amendment, without the most serious reflection, or adopted one without being convinced of its wisdom. I would not have it inferred from what I have said, that any one beside myself is at all responsible for aught contained in this code, and I only mention this matter, by way of acknowledging my indebtedness to those gentlemen, and to show that I have not submitted this work to your honorable body without taking all the care in my power to free it from errors.

As soon as my time will permit, I shall commence the preparation of the civil code contemplated in your resolution, and I hope, in the mean time, that some other person than myself may be appointed to prepare a code of procedure.


Honolulu, May 20, 1850.




Section 1. No person subject to punishment but on due and legal conviction.

2. Indictment.

3. Right of the accused to meet the witnesses and be heard.

4. Conviction in a case in which the accused has a right of trial by


5. But one trial on the merits is to be had for the same offense.

6. Presumption of innocence.

7. The natural consequences of acts are presumed to be intended.

8. Criminal prosecution does not take away the right of civil action.

9. Fines appropriated to the government.


Section 1. Assault defined.

2. Battery—assault and battery—defined.

3. Maiming or disfiguring.

4. Assault with intent to murder, maim or disfigure.

5. Assault with a dangerous weapon with intent to commit burglary, rob-

bery, manslaughter or murder.

6. Without a dangerous weapon, with intent to commit burglary, robbery,

or theft.

7. Assault or assault and battery on any public officer,

8. Assault or assault and battery with a knife, sword cane, or other danger-

ous weapon.

9. Slight corporal injuries.

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