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(Inclosure 6.)—Commission authorizing the Constitution of a Consular
Court. December 15, 1859.
Kirow all men by these presents, that I, Thakombau, Vunivalu and Tui Yiti, do hereby, in virtue of the enactments or agreements of 14th and 15th December, 1859, delegate and cede to and vest in "William Thomas Pritchard, Esquire, Her Britannic Majesty's Consul in and for Fiji, full, all, and every power and authority, to form, constitute, and hold a court or courts for the hearing and adjudging of all cases or causes wherein British subjects, or their property or interests, are in any way affected or concerned; and to carry out enforce, and direct all and every judgment, finding, or decision of the said court.
THAKOMBAU, Vunivalu X
Done at a meeting of the Chiefs this 15th day of December, 1859, in the British Consulate, Levuka.
THAKOMBAU, Vunivalu, X
We hereby certify that the foregoing commission was duly translated by us, to Thakombau, who thoroughly understands the same, and signed in our presence.
W. COLLIS, Wesleyan Training Master and Interpreter.
(Inclosttre 7.)—Consul Pritchard to the Secretary of State for
My Lobd, Fiji, December 31, 1859.
I Have the honour to report that on the 16th inst. the Chiefs of Fiji, in council assembled, have unanimously and urgently requested me to assume the management of their political and commercial affairs; and that to give effect to their request the enclosed enactment has been passed.
I transmit on this occasion a copy of the original document, as there are several Chiefs anxious to sign who were unable to attend on the 16th.
In reply, I have informed the Chiefs that I cannot pledge myself to any action other than provisionally until your Lordship's pleasure be known.
In all the native cases which have thus been brought before me, as well as the cases where foreigners have been concerned, the parties thereto have promptly submitted to my decisions. This tractable temper I attribute to the frequent visits of Her Majestv's ships; though, of course, as the white population increases, they will be more difficult to mnnage, and a permanent local force will become necessary.
For the present, however, if it be possible for one of Her Majesty's vessels on the Australian station to visit this group at intervals not exceeding 6 months, and to remain 3 or 4 weeks, British influence and British interests will continue to preponderate; and while the general trade with the Australian colonies will rapidly increase, the production of cotton will be especially forwarded, the presence of the Commander adding weight to my representations on this subject.
The foreign population has latterly increased so rapidly that the Chiefs feel their inability to control and guide their state affairs; and while they profess to be conscious that if abandoned to themselves they must inevitably sink uuder the weight of that foreign population, they conceive that if the political power be vested where there is ability and competence to manage and control the foreign element, they have still a fair prospect of maintaining their status socially and commercially, as well as politically.
Hence, my Lord, the extreme and restless anxiety manifested by the Chiefs to place themselves under British rule.
I have, therefore, to beg your Lordship's instructions in this matter. I have, &c.
Lord J. Russell. AVILL. T. PRITCHARD.
(Inclosure 8.)—Power vested in British Consul to transact all Political and Commercial Affairs.—December 16, 1859. At a meeting held this day at the British Consulate, Levuka, Fiji, the parties present being William Thomas Pritchard, Esq., Her Britannic Majesty's Consul; Thakombau and his Chiefs representing Fiji. Being deemed expedient for the effectual protection of trade, for the development of Fiji, for the progress of civilization, and for the maintenance of amicable relations with all countries, it is hereby enacted and agreed to.
I. That all transactions, communications, and intercourse of every nature soever between Fiji and all Foreign Powers shall bo conducted solely through and by William Thomas Pritchard, Esq., Her Britannic Majesty's Consul for Fiji.
II. That we hereby delegate, cede, and make over to, and vest in the said William Thomas Pritchard, the full, unreserved, entire, and supreme right, authority, and power to govern Fiji, according to the broad and plain principles of justice and morality; and to make, enact, and decree whatever and all laws, regulations, and measures he may deem necessary, proper, and expedient therefore, and to summon, convene, and assemble us and our Chiefs, each and all severally and personally, to appear and present ourselves at his office; and such meeting or assembly shall have the right, authority, and power to constitute itself into a council of advice and reference
[18C2-63. ion.] II
under the presidency of the said William Thomas Pritchard; and we hereby bind and pledge ourselves, and our Chiefs, and our people to obey all and every such summons.
III. That all just and lawful acts which the said William Thomas Pritchard may perform or do, or cause to be done on or for our behalf and name, we hereby bind and pledge ourselves thereunto to acknowledge, obey, and support; and any and every contract, engagement, transaction, Treaty, or law the said William Thomas Pritchard may deem necessary, proper, and expedient for the benefit, progress, development, and civilization of Fiji, to do, make, enter into, perform, contract, or promulgate on or for our behalf and name, we hereby bind and pledge ourselves and our Chiefs, each and all, thereunto, as if we did severally and personally do, make, enter into, perform, contract, or promulgate the same.
IV. That this enactment or agreement shall be in force and valid until the final answer of the Queen of Great Britain to the cession of Fiji made on the 12th day of October, 1858, and duly ratified and renewed by us in council assembled on the 14th day of December, 1859.
In witness whereof we have hereunto affixed our names this 16th
December 31, 1859. I hereby certify the foregoing to be a true copy.
WILL. T. PEITCHAED, Consul.
We hereby certify that we translated the foregoing document to the Chiefs who have signed, and that they thoroughly understand its meaning.
W. COLLIS, Wesleyan Mission Trainer.
iVo. 9.—Sir F. Rogers to Lord Wodehou.se. My Lord, Downing Street, July 81,1860.
Iff reply to your Lordship's letter of the 2nd instant, I am directed by the Secretary of State to express his regret that by some inadvertence no official intimation was conveyed to the Foreign Office of the appointment of a Commissioner to visit the Fiji Islands, for the purpose of inquiring into the reasons for and against accepting the offer which has been made to cede to Her Majesty the sovereignty over those islands.
I am now to request that you will inform Lord John Eussell that Colonel Smythe, E.A., is the person who has been selected for this important duty, and I am to enclose a copy of the instructions for his guidance with which he was furnished.
I am also to transmit a copy of a despatch from the Governor of New South Wales, reporting the arrival at Sydney of Colonel Smythe, en route for his destination, and to request that you will draw the attention of Lord John Eussell to the opinion expressed by Sir W. Denison, of the danger to this country of becoming involved in a sanguinary war with the native inhabitants, if an attempt be made to settle a large white population amongst these islanders.
With regard to the communications contained in Mr. Consul Pritchard's despatches which accompanied your letter, and which are herewith returned, I am to state that, until the receipt of Colonel Smythe'8 report, no final opinion can be expressed upon the proposal made last year for accepting the sovereignty of these islands.
It seems, however, that in anticipation of this acceptance, Mr. Pritchard has procured a provisional cession of the country to Great Britain, and the enactment of a law giving to himself, "full, unreserved, entire, and supreme authority and power to govern Fiji according to the broad and plain principles of justice and morality," and to make what laws he pleases. Whether the persons making this law are competent to bind the other natives, or whether they understood themselves the real import of what they were doing, are questions on which it is impossible here to form any opinion, but on which the future peace of the Fiji Islands may in no slight degree depend.
Jfot satisfied with these steps, which may be undone by the disavowal of Her Majesty's Government, Mr. Pritchard seems (not indeed from his cvn letters, but from the despatch of Sir \V. Denison) to have issued advertisements, in order to attract white settlers to the islands.
If unhappily he should have succeeded in this object, it may not be easy to foretel or to prevent the mischief which might ensue from the unauthorized action of Her Majesty's Consul in such a matter.
The Secretary of State is persuaded that Lord John Eussellwill not approve of any subordinate agents taking steps that maj commit this country to serious enterprises, for which he may himself be anxious, but which he must well know not to have been sanctioned by his superiors. The experience of this department has proved that it is difficult to exaggerate the importance of the consequences which may flow from such steps as Mr. Pritchard seems to have thought proper to adopt on his own authority.
I have, &c.
Lord Wodehouse. FEEDEEIC EOGEKS.
(Tnclosure 1.) [See Page 87.]
(Tnclosure 2.)—Sir W. Denison to the Duke of Newcastle. Mr Lord Duke, Government House, Sydney, April 10, I860.
I Hate the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your confidential despatch, dated January 12, 1860, enclosing a copy of the instructions issued to Colonel Smythe, E.A., /or his guidauce in the performance of his duty in his mission to the Fiji Islands.
Colonel Smythe arrived here in the mail steamer, and I at once introduced him to Commodore Loring for the purpose of making arrangements for his conveyance to the Fijis, and also to the Chiet of the Weslejan missionary establishment at Sydney, from whom he would be enabled to procure such information as might guide him in the inquiries he would have to institute.
The disturbed state of New Zealand has unfortunately compelled Commodore Loring to concentrate all his force at that island. Colonel Smythe will therefore proceed from, hence to Auckland m the mail steamer, and when there will be able to arrange with the Commodore for his convoyance to the Fijis, either in a ship of »'Wi or some vessel which can be procured on the spot.
I may, perhaps, without presuming too much on your Grace s patience, or in any way attempting to forestal Colonel Sinythc's report, call the attention of Her Majesty's Government to the