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«TE WIREMU, TE PUHIPI, HE WAKAPUTANGA ME TE TIRITI HENRY WILLIAMS, JAMES BUSBY, A DECLARATION AND THE TREATY A report commissioned by the Waitangi ...»

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The third paragraph specified how the United Tribes were to conduct the business of government – in Congress at Waitangi in the autumn of each year. Busby defined the purposes as legislating on the subjects of justice (probably criminal justice), the peace of the realm, and commercial regulation. The article also contained an appeal to ‘the Southern tribes’ to join this new confederate state, so unifying the country.

Johnson’s Dictionary (1824 edition) defined confederation simply as a ‘league’ or ‘alliance’ (from Sir F Bacon). ‘Congress’, from the Latin congressus, the Dictionary defined as a meeting (Dryden); a meeting for settlement of affairs between different nations (Pennant) [for example, the Congress of Vienna, 1815]; a meeting of ceremony (Sir K Digby).117

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Busby’s commentary on the nature and workings of this New Zealand confederation also suggests these basic meanings. This new confederate state of the United Tribes was not intended to dissolve individual hapū and iwi structures, nor the individual authority of rangatira.

Nevertheless, it was meant to unify their authority for the purpose of national government and dealings with foreign nations. The 1781 Articles of Confederation formed a unicameral Congress of ‘the United States of America’. This Congress exercised both legislative and executive powers until replaced by the new Constitution of the United States in 1789.

It was the ‘hereditary chiefs and heads of tribes’ who both declared the independence of the new state (article one) and who declared themselves possessed of all ‘sovereign power and authority’ within that state’s territories (article two). This state sovereignty was only possessed by the rangatira collectively (article two); though from the appeal to rangatira in other rohe it was envisaged that others would add their individual sovereignties and their whenua hapū to that of the collective (article three). The state of the United Tribes could grow both in numbers and territory by simple aggregation of new rangatira. Quite what the balance of power, or the differing functions, would be within the United Tribes – that is, between iwi and hapū and the collective power of Congress – was not however specified (though Busby’s commentary might assist in constructing this picture – see below). In a similar way, neither was it specified in te Tiriti o Waitangi, the division of responsibility or the differing powers between the British Crown (kāwanatanga) and Chiefs (rangatiratanga).

Article 4

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Paragraph four consisted of diplomatic overtures to the English monarch, thanking him for acknowledging the New Zealand flag and asking for his parental protection of their independent ‘infant State’. This article contained Busby’s conception of New Zealand – British relations already referred to, namely independence founded on protection or dependence. This idea contained at least two strands of thought. One was the feudal notion whereby the monarch was akin to a protecting parent for the realm, to whom subjects owed obedience. Clark argues that allegiance of subject to (a Protestant) monarch was the British conception of nationality until well into the nineteenth century: the state was conceived as essentially a personal or familial relationship rather than a collection of individuals of a particular ethnicity, language or culture owing allegiance to an abstract government or state (a definition more relevant to revolutionary regimes like America and France and later nineteenth-century ethnic nationalism).118 The idea of familial dependence on, indeed allegiance to, the British Crown – especially a Crown backed by a powerful apparatus of empire – was an idea even the American revolutionaries struggled to overcome. Thomas Jefferson himself said, as late as August 1775, that he ‘would rather be in dependence on Great Britain, properly limited, than on any nation upon earth, or than on no nation’.119 The other strand of thought present in the Declaration’s fourth article – implied by Busby’s use of the term ‘infant State’ – can be attributed to the influence of Scottish stadial theory, which saw societies emerging from savagery and barbarism to civilization in a series of ‘stages’.120 In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the state of aboriginal peoples was likened to the ‘childhood’ or ‘infancy’ of more advanced nations: Māori were, on this view, like a mirror reflecting the early progressions of British civilization. Different prescriptions followed the ascription of barbarism. For James Mill, followed to a large extent by his son John Stuart Mill, the barbarous state of India was a reason why it needed ‘despotic’ government – that is directive, nonparticipatory rule – to raise it to a more educated and civilized state. Some of the Mills’

–  –  –

contemporaries agreed neither with this description of nor this prescription for Indian society – the ‘orientalists’ saw Indian society as considerably advanced in languages and the arts.121 Adam Smith’s ‘four stages’ version of stadial history did not represent the entire field of late eighteenth and early nineteenth century historical thought. In more orthodox and evangelical Christian versions of civilization, societies could progress or regress. This was seen primarily in moral and relational terms, and only secondarily in economic or material terms. The real test was man’s relationship with God – supposedly ‘polite’ civilized societies such as England could display barbarous features.122 Nevertheless a generic ‘civilizational perspective’ did predominate in British and European Enlightenment culture of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Peter Mandler characterizes this paradigm as one in which ‘the ladder of civilization, rather than the branching tree of peoples and nations, remained the dominant metaphor’.123 The Evangelicals shared in this generic Enlightenment culture, believing their faith both reasonable and rational.





Nonetheless it is true to say that their emphasis differed from the more materialistic and ‘philosophical’ versions of civilization.

Mandler describes the Evangelical view in this fashion:

The civilisational perspective was thus not tutelary – it gave much scope to individual conscience and action – and required only a minimum of exclusive political institutions (particularly churches, to disseminate a proper understanding of revelation) for its smooth functioning … adding to older Scottish requirements for ‘commerce’ and ‘manners’ a narrower Protestant idea of ‘character’, the civilisational perspective remained potentially universal, available to all peoples.124 Busby grew up in an Edinburgh moulded by secularists Smith and Hume as well as the orthodox Calvinist Church. His statements on Māori culture reflect this combination of perspectives.

Busby approved the missions’ work amongst Māori as a civilizing influence, coming into conflict with them only in political matters. It is quite clear that he also saw his ‘civil’ or 121 Carpenter, ‘History, Law and Land’, pp 6-9, 30, 34-35.

122 S Dingle, ‘Gospel Power for Civilization: The CMS Missionary Perspective on Māori Culture 1830-1860’, PhD history thesis, University of Adelaide, 2009 (chs 1, 4 & 5 especially).

123 P Mandler, ‘ “Race” and “Nation” in Mid-Victorian Thought’ in S Collini, R Whatmore and B Young, eds, History, Religion, and Culture: British Intellectual History 1750-1950 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), p 233.

124 Ibid, p 227. And see discussion in Dingle, ‘Gospel Power for Civilization’, pp 91-92.

45 governmental influence as integral to their future progress. His address to Māori on his arrival in Paihia in 1833 expressed a natural mingling of these two views. It is worth quoting at length as it reflects a very British Protestant conception of national identity and providential purpose (one with which the missionaries would have supported wholeheartedly). This should also be seen in the context of Bourke’s 13 April 1833 instructions requiring Busby to cooperate with the

missionaries. In his address, Busby first placed his appointment within the providential metanarrative:

It is the custom of HIS MAJESTY, THE KING OF GREAT BRITAIN, to send one or more of His servants to reside as His Representatives in all those countries of Europe and America, with which He is on terms of friendship; and in sending one of His servants to reside among the Chiefs of New Zealand, they ought to be sensible not only of the advantages which will result to the people of New Zealand, by extending their commercial intercourse with the people of England, but of the honour THE KING of a great and powerful nation like Great Britain, has done their country, in adopting it into the number of those countries with which He is in friendship and alliance.

Later, he continued this providential meta-narrative with an account of Christianity’s critical role in civilizing the barbarous society of his European ancestors: as it had had this effect on his

tūpuna, so it would have the same effect on Māori. He said:

–  –  –

They peaceful inhabitants of the country began to build large houses, because there was no enemy to pull them down. They cultivated their land and had abundance of bread, because no hostile tribe entered into their fields to destroy the fruits of their labors. They increased they numbers of their cattle because no one came to drive them away. They also became industrious and rich, and had all good things they desired.

Do you, then, O Chiefs and Tribes of New Zealand, desire to become like the people of England? Listen first to the word of GOD, which HE has put it[sic] into the hearts of HIS servants, THE MISSIONARIES, to come here to teach you. Learn that it is the will of GOD that you should all love each other as brethren, and when wars shall cease among you, then shall your country florish. Instead of the roots of the fern, you shall eat bread, because the land shall be tilled without fear, and its fruits shall be eaten in peace. When there is abundance of bread, men shall labor to preserve flax, and timber, and provisions for the ships that come to trade; and the ships which come to trade, shall bring clothing and all other things which you desire. Thus shall you become rich. For there are no riches without labor, and men will not labor unless there is peace, that they may enjoy the fruits of their labor [emphasis added].125 The emphasis on Christianity first, or conversion first, would surely have satisfied those like Te Wiremu who had brought this change to the CMS missions’ policy in New Zealand – from the emphasis of Marsden’s earlier policy of teaching the ‘arts of civilization’ first.126 Apart from the centrality of teaching and translating the Word of God (the Bible) Busby’s emphasis on peacemaking was another significant missionary endeavour amongst Māori. The infant Māori state or nation, in the view of Busby and the missionaries, was founded on Māori acceptance of the Gospel of Peace along with the fostering care of a Protestant British monarch. The placing of Māori within this providential (British) meta-narrative in Busby’s 1833 speech – a picture 125 Rt Hon Lord Viscount Goderich, and J Busby, Letter of the Right Honorable Lord Viscount Goderich, and Address of James Busby, Esq. British Resident, to the Chiefs of New Zealand. Ko te Pukapuka o te Tino Rangatira o Waikauta Koreriha, me te Korero o te Puhipi, ki nga Rangatira o Nu Tirani (Sydney: Anne Howe, 1833), DU 418, AML.

126 Elizabeth Elbourne writes that the Evangelical renewal (or revival) marked a move away from eighteenth century critiques of civilization (or civility) and distinctions between races and social groups to a nineteenth century emphasis on individual conversion, see E Elbourne, ‘Religion in the British Empire’, in S Stockwell, ed, The British Empire: Themes and Perspectives (Massachusetts: Blackwell, 2008), pp 131-156.

47 painted in broad scriptural and historical brush-strokes – befitted the nature of an introductory address. Busby’s more specific civil or governmental policies were soon to follow (the flag, and ultimately the Declaration and Confederation). Nevertheless, the idea of the ‘infant State’, articulated in paragraph four of the Declaration, should be understood in light of this British meta-narrative – as much as it should be understood in light of any specific policy of Busby’s or the British Empire.

The parent-infant metaphor and language recurs a number of times in Busby’s post-Declaration despatches. The clearest articulation of it occurs in his 16 June 1837 ‘protectorate’ despatch in which he advocated much greater British Government involvement.127 The providential motif

was also present. Busby argued that:

it seems not more consistent with the arrangement of the Divine Providence, that an infant people which by its intercourse with a powerful state, is subject to all the injury and injustice which weakens[sic, ‘weakness’] and ignorance must suffer[,] being thrown into a competition of interests with knowledge and power[,] should as naturally fall under, and be not less entitled to the protection of the powerful state, than the weakness of infancy and childhood is entitled to the protection of those who were the Instruments of bringing it into an existence, which requires such protection.128 In this passage Busby cast Britain as both the parent and instigator of the Māori ‘infant State’ of the Declaration. In a fascinating concluding comment, Busby further suggested that the ‘infant’ had to some degree requested the language of ‘parenthood’ in the Declaration: ‘[The chiefs] prayed that His Majesty “would continue to be their parent, and that he would become their protector” – The sentiment and the language were their own [emphasis added]’.129 It is quite possible that this final sentence was self-serving – that it formed part of Busby’s attempt to acquire greater British control: if the idea of British protection could be attributed to Māori desires then how could the British parent refuse?

127 The specifics of Busby’s extensive recommendations are set out in a section below.

128 Busby to Col Sec, 16 Jun 1837, No 112, p 263.

129 Busby to Col Sec, 16 Jun 1837, No 112, p 263.



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