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.
On the 10th September, 1858, the new British Consul arrived in Levuka. William Pritchard rented two rooms from John Binner. Binner was the Wesleyan mission Training Master at Levuka, and under another hat a considerable trader.
Binner’s fleet of trading boats: William Pritchard reported “Another of the complaints thus early brought before me was against the natives of Waca, a small island on the western limits of the group. Mr. Binner, Wesleyan Mission Training Master at Levuka, had several boats, manned by mixed crews of whites and natives, trading amongst the islands for cocoa- nut oil, beche-de-mer, and turtle-shell.
Waea peoples ate Binners crew: A few weeks before my arrival, one of his boats had gone to Waea, in charge of two white men and some natives; one of the former was an Englishman, and the other an American.The natives of Waea had captured the boat, killed and eaten the crew, and appropriated the merchandise. Mr. Binner, as a British subject and owner of the boat and cargo, now pressed his ” claim for redress and indemnity.”
Binner calls in US fire power: ... the U.S. corvette ‘ Vandalia ‘ arrived at Levuka, and at the request of the American Consul, her commander,
Mission politics: Captain Sinclair, took up the matter on behalf of the murdered American, and who it now appeared was in some manner interested with Mr. Binner in the ownership of the boat or cargo, a fact which had not been made apparent in the first statement of the case to me. Mr. Binner was now convinced that it would be less injurious to the Wesleyan mission for Captain Sinclair to inflict retributive punishment for the murder of the American and his companion, rather than for me to press the savages ” for redress and indemnity ” for Mr. Binnes’s calicoes and hatchets. And so, much to my satisfaction, the case passed out of my hands into those of Captain Sinclair. A party of fifty men was quickly dispatched to Waea, to demand the murderers and to obtain indemnity.
500 men at Waea prepare to fight; The Waea people, mustering nearly five hundred fighting-men, defied the party and declined all communications. The Americans attacked them in their fort on the summit of a hill some 800 feet high. Some twenty of the natives were killed, as many wounded, and their town and fort burnt ; of the Americans five were wounded.
IN December, 1856, my father sailed from Samoa for England, leaving me as Acting Consul. On the 28th of September, 1857, I was appointed H. M. Consul at Fiji, though I still served in Samoa until the middle of 1858. Prior to my appointment there had not been a British Consul resident in Fiji, for though the group was included in my father’s consular district, his residence was at Samoa.
At this period there were not living in Fiji more than thirty or forty Europeans and Americans, and but few vessels trading were there.
Bad behaviour on all sides: The unenviable character of the natives, their cannibalism, their frequent outrages upon the few whites already settled amongst them, and their constant intertribal wars, deterred the colonial traders from visiting them ; the reported difficult navigation of the group led shipmasters to give it a wide berth ; and indeed the character attributed to the whites themselves, represented them all most unjustly I afterwards found as little better than the Fijians.
Polynesian Reminiscences; Ob, Life In The South Pacific Islands. By W. T. Pritchard, F.R.G.S., F.A.S.L.
1829: birth of first Fiji Consul, W. T. Pritchard, son of George Pritchard counseller to Queen Pomare, later, British Consul to Tahiti
First Fiji Consul, W. T. Pritchard, was the son of Missionaries (London Missionary Society) and born in Tahiti, of English parents. ”I hardly knew whether to call England or Tahiti my fatherland. When, as a boy, playing at my mother’s feet, I heard her talk of ” Old England ” as every daughter of England speaks of her native land, I used to feel proud, and flattered myself that I too was English”.
Date of birth: “Such is the case in my study of the mid-19th century British Consul, William Pritchard, who was born in Tahiti in 1829 and served in Samoa and Fiji before being fired, following a Commission of Inquiry that I show to have been little more than a kangaroo court”. On Writing a Biography of William Pritchard Andrew E. Robson,
Favourite of Tahiti Queen: William Pritchard himself wrote “But when patted on the head by Queen Pomare and called her little favourite, carried about on the backs of her attendants, and every juvenile whim quickly humoured, I forgot all the pretty little stories of the far-off land, and thought only of the present of the actual before and around me; then, there was no place like Tahiti, and I have a lingering fancy that in my childish vanity there was the thought that after all it was perhaps better to be bom a Tahitian than an Englishman”.
Sent to England to study: But when, at the age of ten, I was … sent to the home of my parents, England soon became the fatherland ; and as years rolled on Tahiti was remembered only as the lovely little spot where I was bom where I played and romped under the shade of breadfruit-trees and orange groves, and along the sandy beaches and over the reefs of the seashore, without thought of Latin grammars or Greek hexameters, of puzzling circles and triangles, or mysterious signs and quantities. When at last as a schoolboy I learnt that Tahiti was no longer the Tahiti of my childhood, that from the Tahiti of Queen Pomara it had become the Tahiti of Louis Philippe, I hardly cared to remember even that much..”.
On Writing a Biography of William Pritchard Andrew E. Robson, and
Polynesian Reminiscences; Ob, Life In The South Pacific Islands. By W. T. Pritchard, F.R.G.S., F.A.S.L., F Ormerl Y H.M. Consul At Samoa Fiji. Preface By I) Berthold Seemann (R. Seemann). London : Chapman And Hall, 1932, Piccadilly. J. B. Taylor And Co. http://books.google.com.au/books?hl=en&lr=&id=krOxFi-KHVAC&oi=fnd&pg=PA320&dq=Polynesian+Reminiscences:+Life+in+the+South+Pacific+Island+(First+Published+in+London+1866+ed.)&ots=l4FMvmBzh1&sig=vScUWL_vw_23ncTgnqhVFAHVinI#PPA357,M