The Littlewood Treaty, The True English Text of the Treaty of Waitangi, Found

Chapter: Précis 1 2 3 4 5a,5b,5c,5d,5e 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 Lord Normanby's Brief

Chapter 8


As stated, if the Littlewood Treaty text was written on the 4th of February 1840, then it is, without any doubt, Busby’s final lost draft that historians have been looking for since 1840. There was no Maori Tiriti O Waitangi until the 5th of February. If anyone were intent upon destroying the credibility of the Littlewood Treaty document, they would first attack, and cast serious doubt upon, the written date at the end of the document.

With that in mind, let’s undertake a historical study of the chronology of events, which prove, very adequately, that the date of the 4th of February 1840, as recorded on the document, is correct. We will consider surviving letter, diary or official report accounts of events, written between the 1st and 5th of February 1840 to show the circumstances and setting in which the final draft was written.

It is critical to establish where Hobson was on the 3rd and 4th of February 1840 especially and whose company he was in. What is the evidence that puts Hobson in the near vicinity of James Reddy Clendon on the 4th of February and, thus, lends credence to the final drafting session being held ashore at Clendon’s estate, rather than aboard H.M.S Herald.

Who did Hobson meet with in the Paihia-Kororareka district on the 3rd and 4th of February 1840 to discuss and finalise the English text for the treaty? There was a final meeting of sorts, but how formal, how large or, specifically, which transient attendees and advisors met with Hobson during those two final days prior to the grand assembly at Waitangi?

Felton Mathew’s account.

The entries within Felton Mathew’s letters to his wife, Sarah provide us with a chronology of events that cover the period when the final draft of the treaty was completed. Due to having left the ship, H.M.S. Herald, very early on Sunday the 2nd of February 1840 and, also, having suffered illness on the Saturday, for which he’d taken calomil* medication, Felton Mathew made no entries concerning Sunday until Monday the 3rd of February. From what can be deduced within his letter entry to Sarah, he went ashore on Sunday to Paihia with other members of Hobson’s staff to attend church. Hobson did not accompany them, as he was too ill. On this day Felton listened to a sermon by Reverend Henry Williams and met Busby there, which resulted in being formally introduced to Busby’s wife for the first time. This was, without doubt, the occasion when George Cooper handed Busby the rough notes of a ‘treaty draft’ that had been prepared by Hobson and Freeman in days previous.
Busby was to state in later years that on the occasion when Cooper brought the rough notes to him that ‘Hobson was so unwell as to be unable to leave the ship’.

Certainly, from Felton’s diary entries, we can glean that Hobson was feeling much better on Monday the 3rd of February and spent the day in the company of missionaries Henry Williams, Richard Taylor and George Clarke, amongst others. Taylor and Clarke had rowed out to H.M.S Herald and found Hobson having a tête à tête with Reverend Henry Williams. They then ‘stayed tea’ aboard, which would infer afternoon tea.
On Monday the 3rd of February Felton Mathew, Surveyor General, had left the ship early to ‘explore some of the bays and look for a site for a settlement’. He had been assessing many sites around the bay in search of a good location for a town. Busby, who Felton Mathew and, we suppose, George Cooper had met with at Paihia church the day before, was entertaining a scheme of establishing a township, which he proposed calling ‘Victoria’, on land he owned adjacent to his Waitangi house. Felton Mathew found the site unsuitable for a settlement and later commented:

‘The spot which next demanded my attention was that portion of the land claimed by Mr. Busby, on which his present residence stands; bounded on one side by the Bay, and on another by the Waitangi River, and which it appears that gentleman has laid out for a town, under the name of Victoria, several allotments having been already sold.
The land itself is far more level and suitable for building than any other spot in the Bay of Islands, but is fully exposed to almost every wind that blows; it is open to the full set of the sea, and its shore is surrounded by a most dangerous shoal, extending many hundred yards from the land, which renders it perfectly inaccessible to ships and nearly so to boats, unless the weather be perfectly fair and calm. The river itself is very shoal, and the only practicable channel very narrow and precarious; this spot does not present one solitary advantage as a site of settlement (see Enclosure 1, in No. 41, B of Islands, N Zealand, 23 Mar. 1840).

When Busby wrote his first treaty draft on the 2nd and 3rd of February 1840 he saw no harm in adding a reference to ‘Victoria’ township as the place where the treaty assembly would convene. This addition was, conceivably, to give his Victoria township business venture a needed helping hand. Hobson and the other advisors, however, took a rather different view and did not allow the ‘assembled in congress at Victoria in Waitangi’ text to be included in the final English draft of the 4th of February 1840. Consequently, Reverend Henry Williams made no mention of Busby’s Wikitoria subdivision in the Maori version.

Felton wrote in a letter to his wife:

Monday 3rd Feby. half past 6 A.M. I was prevented from writing to you at all yesterday mine own, by a variety of circumstances - and I am now doing so before breakfast, as I am going from the ship for the whole day to explore some of the Bays and look for a site for a settlement - First and foremost therefore, I am happy to say that our disturbances are all amicably arranged - Captain Nias is more accommodating than ever and we are all good friends again....’ [There had been a major row between Hobson & Nias on Saturday evening, which seems to have led to Hobson’s stress-related sickness on Sunday].

And now for our proceedings of yesterday [Sunday 2nd]. I was very unwell indeed on Saturday & compelled to take Calomil. O’ I should have used [it] early yesterday morning to write to you dearest. Immediately after breakfast we started for Paihia to Church & arrived there in very good time - The station is very prettily situated and in a firm sandy Bay, backed in by an amphitheatre of lofty hills - and the houses are very good and neatly finished - The gardens redolent by the perfumes of sweet briar and clover, evinces also English feelings - The service was very creditably performed by Mr. Williams & with very little variation from the usual church service, except the long hymns and the omission of the litany - The sacrament was administered, of which we all partook - and great indeed was the satisfaction I experienced in doing so; although I could have wished that you mine own, had been with me to participate in the rite - but separated as we now are, I felt the greatest satisfaction in such an opportunity of commending you specially to the protection of the Almighty - and praying for a blessing of our enterprise - They have a very pretty little organ in the chapel and the whole service was conducted in a very creditable manner - Busby and his wife were there and I was formally introduced to the latter - She is a very gentile person, both in appearance and manner; which you will wonder at when I tell you that is very like Mrs. Roger Therry! and like her has a very loud voice. -

We rowed some distance up a creek near Busby’s house. I then returned on board to Governor - In the afternoon we all landed for the purpose of accompanying the Governor to look at a cottage which is to let at Kororarika - and I believe he has made his mind to take it and write by the Samuel Winter for Mrs. Hobson to come immediately. - Indeed by the store ship, if she can possibly get ready. We have all persuaded him to do so, fully convinced that it will be much pleasanter for all parties. I dare say they will not mind detaining the ship a few days for Mrs. Hobson (see Letter from Felton Mathew to Sarah Mathew, pg. 19, Special Collections, Auckland Public Library). Underlining added.

Felton Mathews displays considerable piety in what he wrote about religious sentiments for Sunday and it would seem he was cognisant of the obligation to ‘Remember the Sabbath day to keep it Holy’. Being in the presence of the missionaries, whose cooperation Hobson was anxious to cultivate, would seem to intimate that Felton’s Sunday row up a creek near Busby’s house constituted more of a relaxing Sunday outing than any actual surveying work.

It will be remembered that Hobson had a terrible argument with Captain Nias on the Saturday night, the resultant stress from which rendered Hobson ill on Sunday. It would appear that he was determined to seek a composed, onshore location where he could escape Captain Nias and complete the treaty draft. It’s very probable that Felton Mathew made an account to Busby on Sunday 2nd concerning Hobson’s difficulties with Nias, which had resulted in Hobson’s stress related illness.

During Sunday, we can safely presume from the historical record, Busby had been handed the rough draft notes of the treaty by Cooper and had volunteered to advance the work, as Hobson was too ill to carry on. Busby, in assessing the causes and effects of Hobson’s shipboard situation, seems to have proffered the suggestion that Hobson occupy his two-room cottage at Kororareka. Needless to say, Felton Mathew and others took the otherwise ill Hobson to Busby’s cottage on Sunday afternoon and Hobson was sufficiently impressed by what he saw to begin thinking of sending for his family. On this occasion, it would seem that Busby did not accompany them. He remained at his Waitangi home hard at work in trying to organise the very rough treaty notes he’d been given by Cooper and to flesh them out into a more coherent body of text.

Felton Mathew makes the following entry for Tuesday:
‘Tuesday 4th Feby-1840 - Yesterday after breakfast dearest Sarah, I started away from the ship for the purpose of exploring one of the inlets of the Bay - calling expectantly at the Post Office, where during the night, the Diana had arrived from Sydney - I was much disappointed at not finding a letter; altho’ as she sailed on the Tuesday after as, perhaps I could not expect it, as you probably did not hear of her - I am looking most anxiously for the Victoria, when I trust to feast my eyes and delight my heart with a letter from my precious wife...
I discovered nothing yesterday, except there is nothing to discover - The country is so very much broken and rugged as to be really almost impractible...’

On the Monday morning, knowing that the passenger ship Diana had arrived in the night, Felton Mathew went to the Kororareka Post Office to see if a letter had arrived from Sarah. He was doing his exploration work on the northern side of the Bay on Monday the 3rd and Tuesday the 4th of February and the focus of his attention seems to have been Hutia Creek, which is a large area inlet, bordered by mangroves in the shallows and extensive low-lying, damp marshy ground on the land-proper. Felton Mathew found little solid, even terrain that was suitable for building sites in that area, let alone a complete township. He resumed his explorations on the northern side of the harbour on Tuesday the 4th of February 1840 with Willoughby Shortland as his companion.
Wednesday 5th Feby 1840.
‘... - After breakfast yesterday, Shortland and I started away in our whaleboat to explore some of the bays and inlets on the Northern side of the harbour - We found the face of the country just the same as the other parts - so broken and rugged that you cannot find an acre of level ground anywhere - There is a magnificent harbour with space and depth sufficient for all the ships in the world; but on shore there is nowhere room even for a fishing village...’

Whereas Felton Mathew and Willoughby Shortland were engaged in exploration work on the Monday and Tuesday, William Hobson and James Freeman were aboard H.M.S. Herald through much of the day on Monday the 3rd but, later, stayed overnight ashore at Kororareka. We know from a diary account written by Taylor, as well as by reference to the location named in a despatch title written by Freeman, that Hobson was on the ship until Monday afternoon. However, Freeman’s late afternoon despatch was written ashore at Kororareka.

In returning to the ship on the night of Tuesday the 4th, Felton Mathew found Hobson had returned also. Hobson had spent Monday night and much of Tuesday the 4th ashore on the Kororareka side of the bay. Of this Felton Mathew writes concerning events of the 4th of February 1840:
‘... - We reached the ship just at dark, after a very pleasant day - Captain Hobson agreed yesterday
[the 4th of February] to take Busby’s house [two room cottage at Kororareka] for his family, for a year at a rent of £200 - It contains two rooms! He intends to send for her by the “Samuel Winter” (see Felton Mathew’s letter to Sarah Mathew, pg. 22 Special Collections, Auckland Public Library).
*Footnote: ‘Soda went on insect stings and bites, fat meat poultice on boils and calomil and salts inside for whatever ailed you’ (see Stories of Hub & Anne Moore).

We know from the testimony of Busby that he went to Hobson on the afternoon of the 3rd of February and “submitted” an English draft of the Treaty of Waitangi for consideration. Busby most certainly went to Hobson that late afternoon or evening and the venue was certainly ashore, as Freeman wrote his afternoon despatch letter from Kororareka and not from H.M.S. Herald. It would appear that Hobson was going to try out Busby’s cottage and spend the night there, as well as assess and discuss Busby’s treaty draft.

Alternatively, it’s highly likely that Hobson, Busby and Freeman spent the night at the spacious new home of Busby’s close friend and confederate, James Reddy Clendon. The Littlewood Treaty document was positively written on Clendon’s personal stock of paper.
Hobson most definitely stayed ashore on Monday night, as despatches prepared that evening for Governor Sir George Gipps gave the location as Kororarika, Bay of Islands rather than the usual, H.M.S Herald, Bay of Islands.

From the historical record it would be easy to deduce that some semblance of a group, composed of William Hobson, James Busby and James Freeman in company with, possibly, Reverend’s Henry Williams, Richard Taylor and George Clarke, went ashore to Kororareka to Busby’s two-room cottage. The 3 missionaries, who’d spent part of the afternoon with Hobson aboard H.M.S Herald on Monday the 3rd of February also needed to go ashore, although Williams, possibly, went directly to Paihia on the opposite side of the bay. As for Reverend’s Richard Taylor and George Clarke, they remained at Kororareka that night, it would seem, as they were still visiting people on that side of the bay the next day, including James Reddy Clendon, U.S. Consul.

By Tuesday the 4th of February, Hobson agreed to pay Busby £200 per annum for rental of the premises, which would infer that Hobson and Busby were still together on the Tuesday. Any such agreement could only have been concluded with the two men being together to discuss and finalise the transaction. Hobson being ashore is further corroborated by the fact that the final English draft of the Treaty of Waitangi was handed, by Hobson, to Reverend Henry Williams at 4 p.m. on the 4th of February 1840. In Reverend Williams’ account he describes how Hobson came to him with the final draft and requested it be translated into the Maori language by the next morning.

So, what do we know or what can we safely surmise?

The main purpose of the visits and, subsequent, stay ashore was, plausibly, to find a composed environment in which to finalise the English draft of the treaty. We know that Hobson met with Busby during the late afternoon or evening of the 3rd with this purpose in mind and went over the treaty draft that Busby had prepared.

We know from historical records that Busby went to Hobson in the late afternoon on the 3rd of February and ‘submitted’ his treaty draft for consideration.

We know that Hobson spent a segment of the afternoon of Monday the 3rd of February in the company of three senior missionaries and that all must have left the ship at approximately the same time in the afternoon, with all or some accompanying Hobson to Kororareka.

We know that Hobson was ashore on the afternoon/ evening of the 3rd of February because that’s the location from whence James Stuart Freeman wrote a despatch letter and stated the location of writing as “Kororarika” in the title.

We know that Hobson was still ashore on the morning of the 4th because Freeman’s despatch letter failed to mention H.M.S. Herald in the title. On this day Hobson also arrived at an agreement with Busby to rent Busby’s two-room cottage at Kororareka. Hobson had visited the cottage on the 2nd and 3rd and negotiated an agreement for its rental on the 4th of February 1840.

We know that Hobson was still ashore on the afternoon of the 4th of February 1840 because he went to Reverend Henry Williams with the completed final English draft of the treaty at 4 p.m. The evidence would suggest he went by boat from Okiato across to Paihia to deliver the document, which was positively written on Clendon’s personal stock of paper. The original Paihia missionary settlement where Williams lived was quite close to Okiato, via the narrowest shoreline-to-shoreline stretch of harbour. In today’s terms the Paihia missionary station and settlement was at Te Haumi.

James Reddy Clendon hand-drew his map in the 1830’s from an admiralty chart of the Bay of Islands. It shows all of the channel depths and safe passage routes for ships. Clendon has added a, b, c, d, e, f, g, as well as, + & 0 signs to show where various important places around the bay were found. The “0” shows where his Okiato land and house of the time were located. The “+” shows where the new, substantial home was being built. The “a” seems to indicate where his 1836 ten acre block was located, although his notes describe the location as ‘Captain Wright’s and the missionary schooner - his wife and family reside there’. The “e” shows where the Paihia missionary settlement was situated [present day Te Haumi]. The “b” shows where Pomaré II’s PA was located. The designations, “c, f, g” show where other missionary stations were located. The “d” shows the home of a settler family.

Busby’s two-room cottage at Kororareka, for which Hobson negotiated a rental from Busby on the 4th of February 1840 for £200 per annum, was later used as the Colonial Secretary’s office. It became Willoughby Shortland’s domicile and work premises when Hobson and other members of his staff sailed to Thames on the 21st of February 1840.

Prior to Hobson going ashore on the afternoon of the 3rd of February he was presented with a letter of welcome from 45 of Kororareka’s leading men. The purpose of the letter was to state their grateful acceptance of a British colony in progress in New Zealand and to sustain the British incentive. Their letter acknowledged the momentous event of January 30th, related to Hobson’s official landing, in full dress uniform, to read his commission from Queen Victoria at Kororareka Church. The welcome letter was accompanied by a second, memorial letter, signed by 41 witnesses to the proceedings of the 30th of January. This was to record the auspicious occasion as a historical, founding event, such that it would always be remembered by posterity. Listed within the first 3 names of the witnesses were James Busby and James Reddy Clendon.

We know that Hobson had several visitors aboard H.M.S. Herald through the morning and afternoon of the 3rd of February, any of whom could have brought him the letter. It’s highly likely that Surveyor General, Felton Mathew, who had gone ashore to the Post Office to see if there was a letter from his wife, had carried the letter from Kororareka’s leading men to Hobson. Felton seems to have been concentrating his exploration work on the Waitangi and northern side of the bay. This being the case, he would have returned to the ship that morning, before heading across the bay to commence work.

Upon receipt of the letter on the 3rd of February James Stuart Freeman immediately set about writing a despatch to Governor Sir George Gipps to inform him of this welcome from the townsmen. Because Freeman wrote to Gipps in the morning or early afternoon, while still aboard H.M.S. Herald, he gave the location and date of writing as: H.M.S. Herald, Bay of Islands, 3 Feb. 1840.
Later in the day, Hobson and his party were ashore at Kororareka and etiquette or good manners demanded that Hobson give a dignified response to the citizenries’ formal pledge of support. During the evening James Stuart Freeman wrote the reply thereto and, because he was ashore at the time, gave the location as: Kororarika, Bay of Islands, 3 February 1840.
The next morning, Freeman continued working on the Gipps despatch and wrote out a full copy of the memorial letter, signed by 41 witnesses to the auspicious, 30th of January 1840 proclamation and commission reading occasion. On this morning Freeman wrote the date and location for his letter-writing task as: Bay of Islands, 4 February 1840.

By the evening of the 4th of February Hobson and Freeman were aboard the ship once again. Freeman added yet more to the despatch he’d been preparing, over several days, for Governor Sir George Gipps. On this occasion Freeman reverted to his normal way of writing the location as: H.M.S. Herald, Bay of Islands 4 February 1840.
Again, the next day, another newly written document said: H.M.S Herald, Bay of Islands, 5th Feb. 1840.

The following is a page from the British Parliamentary Papers, showing (a) Hobson’s response to the townsfolk, (b) Hobson’s account of the assembly at Kororareka Church on the 30th of January where the proclamations were read and (c) the memorial letter for posterity, related to the events of the 30th of January 1840 and witnessed by some of those in attendance, including James Busby and James Reddy Clendon. The original documents and transcriptions can be viewed on microfilm (see Microfilm no.1805, New Zealand despatches, 1830 - 1846, University of Auckland Library).


This page from the British Parliamentary Papers begins by giving Hobson's response letter to the one received from and signed by 45 leading men of Kororareka (written as Kororarika). Hobson's despatch letter to his superiors, sent onward to Britain via Governor Sir George Gipps in Australia, shows that it was dictated ashore at Kororareka.

The use of "Most Gracious" or the repeated use of "most", seems to indicate Freeman as both the author and scribe of this response letter. Only a few days prior to this, Freeman wrote his own "Most Gracious" Majesty Preamble in a rough English draft of the treaty. By about July 1840 he would manufacture at least 3 composite versions of the treaty in English, incorporating his own, "Most Gracious Majesty" Preamble, one copy of which was despatched to the United States.