1838 LAWS OF PITCAIRN ISLAND and ESTONIAN CONSTITUTION OF 1992
the one hand, culture is very old and digital technology relatively new. On the
other hand, Pitcairn-Norfolk culture, established on Pitcairn Island in 1789,
is a relatively new culture. Aspects of the 1838 Laws passed on Pitcairn Island,
a constitution of sorts, are utilised as the starting context for exploring cultural
culture was established on Pitcairn Island following the mutiny on HMS Bounty.
The starting cultural influences were mainly Tahitian and English. After arrival
on Pitcairn, basically there was a race war which killed most of the adult men
within ten years. The resultant culture was strongly influenced by women and peace
loving; there was not a single murder for another two hundred years on either
island. In 1856 the entire community of Pitcairn Island moved to Norfolk Island
and most descendant lives there today. The people living on Pitcairn today are
mainly descendants of those who returned.
Pitcairn's 1838 Laws, both genders were given the vote and education was compulsory
for both sexes. Sustainable use of wood resource was vital to the community, and
practice around the use of wood was codified in the Laws. The gravest criminal
act in 1838 was to kill a cat, for which there was a fine of $50. There were no
laws against assault, stealing or murder as these were unknown. White birds and
cats in particular, were protected in the Laws.
of the Pitcairn Laws used as context for cultural interconnection in this project
are gender equality, sustainability, and birds & cats. From this background
and related discussion a codification of Leistavian practices will take place,
using an as yet undecided filtering method. It is noted that there is likely to
be a strong connection between cultures in the context of boat mythology. All
is open to discussion.
the 1992 Constitution of Estonia stated that natural resources shall be used sparingly;
no one's honour may be defamed; there shall be no torture; everyone has the right
to free self-realisation, education, to preserve his or her ethnic identity, to
hold his or her opinions; and science and the arts shall be able to exist freely.
Some articles of Estonian Constitutional Law are given below after the Laws of
is a transcription of the actual 1838 Laws of Pitcairn. Please note there is no
specific Law giving women the vote, rather there is no law excluding women, and
the number of women voting was recorded each year in the Pitcairn Island Register.
Pitcairn Island Laws of 1838
No. 1 - Laws and Regulations
of Pitcairn's Island
The Magistrate is to convene the public on occasions of
complaints being made to him; and on hearing both sides of the question, commit
it to a jury.
is to see all fines levied, and all public works executed; and everyone must treat
him with respect.
He is to assume any power or authority on his own responsibility,
or without the consent of the majority of the people.
A public journal shall
be kept by the Magistrate, and shall from time to time be read; so that no one
shall plead ignorance of the law for any crime he may commit. The journal shall
be submitted to the inspection of those Captains of British men-o-war, which occasionally
touch the island.
2 - Laws for Dogs
If anyone's dog is found chasing a goat, the owner of that
dog shall pay a fine of one dollar and a half; one dollar to the owner of the
goat or goats, and the other half to the informer.
If any dog kills or otherwise
injures a goat, the owner of the dog so offending must pay the damages; but should
suspicion rest on no particular dog, the owners of dogs generally must pay the
damage. The foregoing law is of no effect when the goat or goats are upon cultivated
Persons who have fowls or hogs in the bush may take dogs to hunt them,
but should the dogs commit damage during the hunt, the person taking the dogs
to hunt must pay the damage.
3 - Laws for Cats
If any person under the age of ten years shall kill a cat,
he or she shall receive corporal punishment. If any one, between the ages of ten
and fifteen, kill a cat, he or she shall pay a fine of twenty five dollars; half
the fine to be given to the informer, the other half to the public. All masters
of families convicted of killing a cat shall be fined fifty dollars; half the
fine to be given to the informer, the other half to the public.
person, from the age of fifteen upwards, shall pay a fine similar to masters.
- Laws for Hogs
If a pig does any damage, the person who sustains the damage
may take the pig so trespassing, no matter whether he sees the pig committing
damage, or another person see the pig committing damage.
If any person or persons,
see a pig, or pigs, committing damage, and neglect to inform the person sustaining
the damage, the person guilty of such neglect must pay the damage.
- Law Regarding the School
There must be a school kept, to which all parents
shall be obliged to send their children, who must previously be able to repeat
the alphabet, and be of the age from six to sixteen.
Mr Nobbs shall be placed
at the head of the school, assisted by such persons as shall be named by the Chief
The school hours shall be from seven o'clock in the morning until
noon, on all days except Saturdays and Sundays, casualties and sickness excepted.
shilling, or an equivalent as marked below, shall be paid for each child per month,
by the parents, whether the child attended school or not.
In case Mr Nobbs
does not attend, the Assistant appointed by the Chief Magistrate shall receive
the salary in proportion top the time Mr Nobbs is away.
Equivalent for money (shillings and pence)
One Barrel of Yams valued at 8
One Barrel of Sweet Potatoes 8 0
One Barrel of Irish Potatoes 12 0
Three good Bunches of Plantains 4 0
One Day's Labour 2 0
Chief Magistrate is to see the labour is well performed; and goods which may be
given for money, shall be delivered, either at the market place, or at the house
of Mr Nobbs, as he may direct.
6 - Miscellaneous
If any person wants to cultivate any lands, he is to give
notice of it to the public; and any person wanting any wood is to go on the aforesaid
land and get it. If any person cuts more wood than is sufficient to build his
house, the wood that remains after his house is finished is to be given to the
next person who may want to build a house. This extends only to the mero and borou
Any person who may want any trees to break off the wind from his plantations
or houses, is to make it known; and no one is allowed to cut them down, even if
they be upon his own land.
At any meeting which may take place, there shall
be no bringing up things that are past to incriminate others, with a view to prevent
justice with a case before the Magistrate. Any one doing so shall be punished
by such a fine as a jury may think proper to award.
The Magistrate is to appoint
churchwardens, four in number, beginning on the first of every month.
detected in shooting, or in any way killing white birds (unless for the sick)
shall, for each bird that is killed, pay a dollar.
7 - Laws for Wood
If any person goes to cut logs, to enclose a piece of ground,
or any other purpose, he is not to cut any fit for building a dwelling house.
The Magistrate is to appoint four men to inspect the logs after they are brought
home; and should any be found serviceable for building dwelling houses, they are
to be taken from him and given to the next person who builds a house.
year from a time a person commences cutting wood he is to pick a share of thatch
for covering dwelling-houses.
If the wood is left longer than the time specified,
it is to be taken from him and given to the next person who builds a house.
person cutting logs, must not cut green ones until no more dry ones can be found.
Any person without a pig-sty and wanting one, is allowed to cut green logs to
make it with if dry logs are not to be found.
No person is allowed to cut down
any trees for logs on which there are young ones growing, which may be serviceable
for building in the future.
Any person having a large enclosure round his pig-sty,
cutting down any tree on which there is any good logs [sic], is not allowed to
take the logs, but he is to leave it for the benefit of those who have no enclosure.
He is also bound to inform those who have no enclosure where the logs are to be
found; but if they do not cut them at the end of two weeks, any one may be allowed
to cut them, and keep them for such service as they please. No one may cut green
logs to repair his large enclosure, save what he may find on trees which have
been cut and left above two weeks.
8 - Laws Respecting Landmarks
On the first day of January, after the Magistrate
is elected, he shall assemble all those who should be deemed necessary; and with
them he is to visit all landmarks that are upon the island, and replace those
that are lost. Should anything occur to prevent it's accomplishment in the time
specified (the 1st of January), the Magistrate is bound to see it done the first
9 - Laws for Trading with Ships
No person or persons shall be allowed to get
spirits of any sort from any vessel, or sell it to strangers or any person upon
the island. Any one found guilty of so doing shall be punished by fine, or such
other punishment as a jury shall determine on. No intoxicating liquor whatever
shall be allowed to be taken on shore, unless it be for medical purposes. Any
person found guilty of transgressing this law, shall be severely punished by a
No females are allowed to go on board a foreign vessel, of any size or
description, without the permission of the Magistrate; and in case the Magistrate
does not go on board himself, he is to appoint four men to look after the females.
10 - Law for the Public Anvil &c.
Any person taking the public anvil and
public sledge hammer from the blacksmith's shop is to take it back after he has
done with it; and in case the anvil and the sledge hammer should get lost by his
neglecting to take it back, he is to get another anvil and sledge hammer, and
pay a fine of four shillings.
The Laws here are those given in Nicolson's The Pitcairners. Auckland:
Pasifica Press (1997, p. 162-167).
2. Nicolson (1997, p. 164) reports that
the value of yams and potatoes was also recorded as two dollars, the plantains
as one dollar, and a day's labour at half a dollar. Clearly there is a mix of
US dollars and UK shillings and pence.
Estonian Constitution of 1992 [edited]
(1) Estonia is an independent and sovereign democratic republic
wherein the supreme power of the state is held by the people.
independence and sovereignty is interminable and inalienable.
(1) The land area, territorial waters and airspace of Estonia are
an inseparable and indivisible whole.
(2) Estonia is politically a unitary
state wherein the division of its territory into administrative units shall be
determined by law.
3 Rule of Law, International Law
(1) Governmental power shall be exercised
solely on the basis of this Constitution and such laws which are in accordance
with the Constitution. Universally recognized principles and norms of international
law shall be an inseparable part of the Estonian legal system.
5 Natural Resources
The natural wealth and resources of Estonia are national
assets, which shall be used sparingly.
The official language of Estonia is Estonian.
The national colors of Estonia are blue, black and white. The dimensions
of the national flag and the national coat-of-arms shall be determined by law.
16 Right to Life
Everyone has the right to life. This right is protected by
law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his or her life.
No one's honor or reputation may be defamed.
18 No Torture or Cruel Punishment
(1) No one may be subjected to torture or
to cruel or degrading treatment or punishment.
(2) No one may be subjected
to medical or scientific experiments without his or her freely given consent.
Right to Self-Realization
(1) Everyone shall have the right to free self-realization.
In exercising their rights and liberties and fulfilling their duties, everyone
must respect and consider the rights and liberties of other persons and observe
(1) Everyone shall have the right to an education. Education shall
be compulsory for school-age children to the extent specified by law, and free
of school fees in state and local government general education schools.
38 Freedom of Science and Teaching
(1) Science and the arts, and their instruction,
shall be able to exist freely.
41 Freedom of Belief
(1) Everyone shall have the right to hold his or her opinions
and persuasions. No one may be coerced to change them.
49 Ethnic Identity
Everyone shall have the right to preserve his or her ethnic
(1) The Parliament shall have the right to put draft legislation
or other national issues to a referendum.
(2) The decision of the people shall
be determined by the majority of those participating in the referendum.
A law which has been adopted by referendum shall be immediately proclaimed by
the President of the Republic. The referendum decision shall be binding on all
(4) Should the draft law which has been put to referendum not
receive a majority of yes-votes, the President of the Republic shall declare early
elections for the Parliament.
provided by Martin Scheinin to the International Constitutional Law (ICL) website
retrieved 27 July 2004 from http://www.oefre.unibe.ch/law/icl/en00000_.html
[full text available on that page].