16 December, 1859: Fijian chiefs sign over to total power to govern Fiji to William Pritchard

On December 16 , the Fijian chiefs in council unanimously agreed:
” That we hereby delegate, cede and makeover 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.
“That this enactment and 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 nenewed by us in council assembled on the 14th day of December, 1859
“.
Pritchard admitted that this delegation of powers was made to him at his own instigation.
Lord Russell tells Pritchard he has gone too far: The only comment on this agreement was to come from Great Britain was a despatch from Lord John Russel to Pritchard. The Consul was informed that in accepting the powers of government entrusted to him by the agreement, he had exceeded his authority. Russell doubted the competency of the chiefs to “understand the real import’ of what they were doing.

Ward, John M, British Policy in the South Pacific ( 1866 – 1983) P173. Australiasian Publishing Co, 1950.

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