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The Laws of England, Compiled and translated into the Māori language.

§ 2

[i roto i te reo Māori]

§ 2.

Formerly, when the ancestors of the Pakeha lived in ignorance, England possessed no good Law. There was then no Restrainer of the wrong. Then a man's own strength was his Law; a law of oppression towards the weak. Men lived then in anarchy and fear. It was a state of things like that which prevailed throughout New Zealand but a short time ago. Men lived in disorder, strife, and mutual aggression;—killing each other, and doing every evil thing natural to a state of ignorance.

page ii

After a while, Christianity was brought to England. Then arose the thought is the minds of men to lay down a law to suppress evil, to cause good to flourish, and to secure peace. Thoughtful men saw that without law and order they could never become a great, noble and wealthy people. So they framed and laid down Laws.

The men who framed these laws were the principal Chiefs, the Sages, the Bishops, and men appointed for that purpose by the people. The King was the head, to make sacred and to confirm them. These formed a council for the laying down of laws; and whenever it was desired to make any new law, or to alter an existing one, it was for these councils to do so: and down to this day is the same plan adopted. The councils for framing laws are still engaged upon this work. Therefore all men greatly honour, magnify, uphold and highly prize their Law. No man may resist that law or trample on it, nor disobey those who administer and guard it,—the magistrates and the constables: the body of the people uphold and strengthen it. No one opposes the Law, which is the parent of men, except the wrong-doer; and the rest of the community will not allow him to have his will. All the people will support the law; and, if the wrong-doer resist, all the people will as it were become constables, and will take him where he will be tried and punished for his offences by the Law.