FOREIGN AFFAIRS: 1840 - 1849


The outstanding event of 1840 was the visit of the United Starts Exploring Expedition. The squadron of four ships - the sloops-of-war Vincennes (flagship of Commodore Charles wiles) and Peacock (Captain Wm. L. Hudson), the brig Porpoise (Lieut.Commandant C. Ringgold), and the tender Flying fish, with a staff of scientists including zoologists and geologists (among them the famous Dana), botanists and artists, and a philologist - arrived by way of Vatoa Passage, on 5th May. The Expedition spent three months in Fiji waters, during which time the officers made surveys of all the important islands and reefs, and gathered material for a new chart of the Group; and it left again, by Mali Passage in the Great Sea Reef, on 10th August.

Within a week of his arrival, Wilkes negotiated a treaty with the Bau chief Tanoa, regulating the treatment of visiting ships and the conditions under which they were to be suppled with water and provisions. In the conversations with Tanoa, Whippy of Levuka translated the Regulations, "but the old chief seemed dull and confused, and unable to take their meaning". Wilkes took advantage of the presence in Tanoa's party of the Tongan chief Tubou Totai, who spoke English, and readily understood and explained the terms of the treaty; and on 14th May, Tanoa affixed his mark. The Regulations were subsequently approved by tui Dreketi of Rewa (about 20th May), Tui Bua (5th June), Tui Kilakila of Cakaudrove (10th June), and tui Macuata (21st June).

Officers of the squadron inquired into the attempted seizure of the shi Charles Doggett, nearly six years before, when ten of the crew had been murdered. the beachcomber Paddy Connel, who witnessed the massacre, gave evidence which clearly established the quilt of the Rewa king's brother, Veidovi; and, on 22nd May, he was captured by a ruse. On the 21st, the friendly king and queen, with Qaraniqio, Cokanauto (Phillips), and about eighty of their people, were entertained with fireworks on the Peacock, then lying off Nukulau Island. when the visitors were about to leave, the crew were piped to stations, and the king was informed that no one would be allowed to leave the ship until Veidovi was produced. The whole party were, in fact, under temporary arrest; but their fears were quieted by theatricals and other entertainments provided by the sailors, while Qaraniqio, with another chief, was sent to bring his brother. Veidovi came quietly. He was examined by Captain Hudson and officers of the ship, in the presence of the king and chiefs; and, being found guilty (indeed be boasted of his exploits), he was put in irons, and carried away, with his Hawaiian barber for company, when the squadron sailed. Presumably he served a sentence in America; but nothing more was heard of him, and the lesson was not lost upon the other Fijian chiefs.

In July, the Expedition met with trouble from hostile natives. On the 11th one of the cutters was seized by the people of Solevu, Bua, though the crew were unharmed. A force landed from the ships, and burst the houses at Tai and Solevu without loss of life on either side. Through Whippy the interpreter, wiles demanded the surrender of his cutter, which was recovered, through all the gear had been removed. A more serious affair occurred at Malolo Island a fortnight later (24th July), when the Expedition was almost at the end of its work in the Group. the fact that such areas as the Yasawas had been surveyed without any clash with the untamed people who inhabited them was highly creditable; but at Malolo, as a result of an indiscretion, two of the officers were murdered; and one of them was Wilkes's nephew. Strong feeling was aroused among the men of the squadron. Two days later Wilkes landed parties, who laid waste the food gardens, burnt the villages of Yaro and Soleva, and killed fifty-seven of the natives without suffering any loss themselves. On the following day the surviving chiefs made an object surrender. That was not, however, the end of the matter. During later stages of the voyage, certain officers of the Expedition became disgruntled, and were disciplined and sent home in disgrace. These men laid complaints against Wilkes, and on his return to America he was faced with charges which included harsh treatment of the people of Tai and Solevu, and "the murder of natives of Malolo".  

As a result of the Expedition's surveys, the United States government published the first reasonably complete chart of the Fiji group; and much valuable information in the form of sailing directions and scientific reports, was made available. It was a considerable achievement for three months' work; though, of course, there were inaccuracies: the height of Mount Washington, for example, was greatly overstated while that given for Taveuini was far too low; and geological information gathered by the surveyors was not always reliable. But these were minor matters. The vast amount of good work done was an important contribution to the knowledge of the Group, and the new charts made Fiji waters much safer for shipping.

While the squadron was in the Group, H.M.S. Sulphur (Captain Sir Edward Belcher), and H.M. schooner Starling, arrived at Rewa. Belcher applied to the chiefs for water and provisions, and they gleefully demanded the payment promised in the new Regulations. the irate Englishman roundly abused the Americans and the new-fangled Regulations, for by common custom warships were exempt from the payment of port dues, and Wilkes had omitted to provide for this in his treaty. While at Rewa, the Sulphur struck a coral patch and damaged her ruder. Hearing of the mishap, Wilkes took no little trouble to obtain and send materials to repair the damage but he got scant thanks for it.
By 1840, Levuka was already the principal. European settlement in the islands, having a population of about thirty men, mostly British or American, who, with their native wives, and families, made a community of nearly two hundred people. some of the men built small schooners, in which they traded amount the islands for tortoise-shell and other saleable products; and Wilkes says he met with no better behaved or better disposed white men during his voyage in the Pacific. There was a rude system of justice among these people and when, in March, 1842, the Englishman James Carter was killed at Wakaya by a Fijian and a native of Hawaii, the men of Levuka pursued and captured the murderers, held an inquiry, and banged them both. The settlement was strung along the beach, on the narrow strip of flat land between the foot-hills and the sea; behind the houses the mountain ridge rose like a wall of rock; and beyond lay the green valley of Lovoni, occupied by a wild and hostile tribe whose pilferings kept the traders on the alert. For thirty years the Levuka people lived under the constant threat of raids by the Lovoni. In November, 1840, Lovoni warriors raided the settlement and carried off nine women. In the following July, they swooped down in the night, set fire to the houses and stores, adjacent native village. The buildings were easy enough to replace, for they were of bush materials; indeed, the settlement gained from its rebuilding; but the loss of the merchandise was not so readily made good, for visits of overseas vessels were infrequent.
Levuka fell upon evil days in 1844, when some of the traders incurred Cakobau's displeasure, and he drove them all out of his dominions. there was at Rewa a man named Charles Pickering, said to be a native of New South Wales, who was a source of trouble between whites and natives wherever he went. During the Bau-Rewa war Pickering abused the position of neutrality enjoyed by foreign residents by carrying information to Quraniqio, and becoming that chief's active agent. In May, 1844, Pickering sailed his schooner Jane to Lau, ostensibly on a trading trip, but there were ground for believing that his real purpose was to take one of Tanoa's run-away wives to Lakeba, in order to stir up revolt against Bau. he was unfortunate. The Jane was wrecked on Cicia Island; and the havoc wrought by reef and sea was completed by the natives, who killed one of the crew and salvaged and seized the cargo. Pickering escaped to Lakeba, where he was given food and shelter by the missionaries. News of the wreck reached Levuka and Bau at about the same time. A Levuka schooner sailed at once for Cicia, to try and buy anchors and chains from the wreck; but, fearing reprisals, the natives would not come off to trade, and the crew knew better than to land. The schooner sailed on to Lakeba. Meanwhile, Cakobau sent Mara in hot pursuit of Pickering, with a large war-canoe. Pickering, knowing what to expect if Cakobau should capture him, offered liberal payment to the Levuka boat to take him and his women to Rewa. Though the Levuka men were not behind the natives in their dislike of the man, they were tempted by the opportunity to redeem an unprofitable trip, and took him. After a fruitless call at Somosomo, the Bau canoe reached Lakeba in July, to find that its quarry had escaped.
Angry at the frustration of his plans, Cakobau made reprisals not only against the men who had been the cause of it, but against the whole settlement. Early in 'August, the white men and their families were given three days in which to leave Levuka. Whippy and his friends offered gifts, but in vain. Even Tui Levuka, under whom protection they had hitherto lived, had become perturbed at their growing prosperity, and in any case he was too much under Cakobau's influence to oppose his will. the Bau's attacks; they moved, however, to Makogai, but finding that place too unprotected, they went on to Solevu Bay, near the southernmost point of Vanua Levu, and settled at Nawaido. In their haste, they were forced to abandon everything they could not carry away in their little ships. The hull of a 70-ton schooner, which whippy and his partner were building for trading to the colonies, was left on the stocks; the houses fell into ruins, and scrub invaded the clearings; and the beach and harbour, which had seen so much activity, were deserted by all but a few roving whites attracted to the place.
the traders found the site of the new settlement at Nawaido unhealthy, and too far removed from visiting ships. they longed for the clear streams, cool breezes and safe harbour of Levuka. Lacking Cakobau's protection, they were harried by hostile natives; and, on 24th September, 1845, one of their cutters was seized when opposite Korrolevu Island, near Somosomo, five white men of the crew being killed. The missionary Thomas as Williams, however, bought the cutter from its captors, and wrote to inform the men of Solevu of the outrage; and four months later the ship was returned to William Valentine. There was much sickness in the little community. Whippy himself being so seriously ill in May, 1847, that he sent to Tiliva mission station for John Hunt. finally, in 1848, dysentery claimed sixteen victims, and the survivors begged to be allowed to return to Levuka. Cakobau agreed readily enough for both he and the young Tui Levuka had missed the merchandise and munitions they were accustomed to get so easily. On 28th February, 1849, the boats left Solevu Bay, laden with the families and their goods. On the morning of their departure, hot words passed between Whippy and some of the others, and he remained behind but on 6th March, a party arrived from Levuka and persuaded him to return.
Dealings in land were becoming more frequent. In December, 1840, Cakobau sold Wakaya Island to Houghton, the owner of the schooner Currency Lass, which was a frequent visitor to Fiji and was then lying at Levuka. The traders, also had been acquiring land from old Tui Levuka, and his son's regret and alarm were among the causes of his hostility. In land-grabbing, however, the United States commercial agent outdistanced all others. John Brown Williams of Salem, U.S.A., formerly United States consul in New Zealand, was appointed commercial agent for Fiji about the year 1840. After a preliminary visit to the islands, he obtained permission in 1845 to remove to Fiji, leaving a vice-consul in New Zealand. He arrived early in 1846, settling first Naqara Island, near Mau; and within a few months he and his associates began to buy land. they acquired Nukulau Island and Laucala Point in June, and Nukubalavu (on the Namosi coast) in the following October, the purchase prices being thirty dollars for Nukulau coast) in the following October, the purchase prices being thirty dollars for Nukulau and fifty dollars twenty cents for Laucala, all paid in muskets, ammunition, and trade goods. Williams was frequently involved in disputes with the natives about his boundaries, and his title deeds, which were registered by himself and with himself (acting as American consul) ten years later, were the most irregular that came under the notice of the Lands Commission. He became sole owner of the Nukulau and Laucala properties by the simple process of scratching out the names of his partners without any note or explanation. In June, 1846, he moved to Nikulau Island, where he built a two-storied wooden house, with a cellar beneath, which he used as office and store; for, in addition to his official duties, he held profitable agencies for several business houses in Salem and Boston.
In 1849, Williams was celebrating the fourth of July, with salvoes from cannon and muskets, when one of his cannon, being fired by a negro named William James, burst at the touch-hole. James's arm was torn off, and the house caught fire. There were many natives staying on Nukulau at the time, from Beqa Island and the coastal districts of Rewa; and, since among the Fijians a fire was always an occasion for legitimate plunder rather than for assistance in putting it out, these people seized what they could and made off with the loot. The affair seemed unimportant enough at the time, except to Williams; but it had international repercussions, and before long Williams had involved Cakobau and other high chiefs in a dispute with the Government of the United States. This dispute assumed such proportions that it overshadowed and conditioned the affairs of the next twenty years. Indeed, Williams's fire, and the unnoticed advent of the Tongan chief Ma'afu, both of which seemed at the time to be more incidents, set a motion such a train of events that, taken together, they mark an epoch in the history of Fiji.
After the fire, Williams was said to have moved first to Moturiki; but he soon settled at Laucala Point, where he erected a flagstaff, and built a house and a store, from which he supplied arms and ammunition to both sides in the Bau-Rewa war. While cultivating the friendship of Qaraniqio by sending him supplies during his exile in the hills, he bribed the puppet king Phillips into confirming land-sales made by his brother, and enemy, Qaraniqio. As for his losses, he awaited the arrival of an American warship to press a claim for compensation. In August, 1849, he sought to repair his damaged fortunes by hiring Fijians from Phillips for the purpose of setting up a beche-de-mer fishery at the northern end of New Caledonia, in partnership with an Englishman named Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald took twenty of these men, in two small ships, and on his arrival at New Caledonia, set about collecting beche-de-mer with the usual disregard of the rights of the local natives. The ships were attacked, and one of them was seized, four of the crew being killed. Alarmed, Fitzgerald landed his Fijian labourers under the command of an American negro, and, giving them a little ammunition, abandoned them, sailing off to Sydney himself in the remaining ship. The roman Catholic Bishop found the marooned Fijians in dire straits, their numbers thinned by starvation and the attacks of the natives. He took them to Aneityum Island, in the New Hebrides, where they suffered greatly from sickness. One of them ran amuck; the survivors were taken to Sydney, where they arrived in a deplorable condition. The colonial government took charge of them, treating them kindly, and lodging them in a public hospital. Nine emaciated survivors were conveyed back to Fiji in H.M. schooner Bramble; and of these, one died on the voyage, and the remaining eight reached their homes near Nukulau on 10th June, 1850. The chief Phillips was of course unconcerned at the suffering and loss of life that had resulted from his friend Williams's business venture. What Williams himself thought of it is not recorded.
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In 1847, Cakobau ventured beyond the traditional limits of tribute, and raised money to carry on his wars by means of levies of coconut oil. the scheme had no sanction in custom, and the natural resentment of the natives was not infrequently vented upon the white traders who, having the necessary casks, collected and bought oil. The traders on their part were rapacious, exacting all they could; there were disputes about the capacity of the casks supplied, and the missionaries found evidence of attempts to exploit the ignorance of the common people. The natives, however, retaliated with a dark ingenuity of deceit: casks were said to have been fitted with ham tubes fixed directly under the bung-holes; and, while the gauge-stick showed oil in plenty - in the bamboos - it failed to detect the sea-water in the casks. A barrel of oil drifted ashore at Taileva; a Manila man living at Viwa tried to drive a bargain for its purchase, and having failed, enlisted the help of the chief Gavidi of Lasakau (Bau), by the gift of a musket. Gavidi sent to demand the oil, which was quite properly refused; and the enraged chief had five of the towns-people shot out of hand. Such incidents laid all white traders, good and bad, open to treachery and attack; and when H.M.S. Calypso (CaptainWorth) visited Fiji in the middle of 1848, bringing the British consul from Samoa, there were several incidents awaiting investigation and punishment. On 12th June, while the Calypso was at Somosomo, a boat was sent to Koro Island to inquire into and avenge the murder of two Englishmen. Guilt being proved, the town was burnt. At Bau, early in July, Captain worth heard of the murder of two Englishmen at Macuata; being unable to visit that coast, he sent a letter to the chief Ritova (Tui Macuata) protesting against the outrage, and promising strong action if the report proved to be true. The warship sailed, however, before Ritova could reply.

 Cakobau took advantage of the visit of the Calypso to lay charges against Pickering; but while Captain worth recognized a degree of truth in them, he could not find sufficient grounds for legal action. On the contrary, Cakobau's insolent bearing so incensed the British captain that, suspecting the chief of hostile intentions, he considered ordering the bombardment and destruction of Bau. It might have been better had such action been taken, for at this time Cakobau was the recognized champion of ruthlessness and savagery, and the source of most of the unrest and bloodshed.

During the following year (1849) two British warships visited Fiji. H.M.S. Havannah (Captain Erskine) came in august, and when Cakobau was entertained on board at Levuka, Erskine treated him to a demonstration of the power and accuracy of the ship's cannon. Later, Cakobau confided to Calvert: "This makes me tremble. Should I offend these people they have but to bring their ship to Bau, when, having found me out with their spy-glasses, my head would fall at the first shot. It is to be wondered if he knew how narrowly he had escaped that very fate a few months before. Encouraged by Erskine's friendly attitude, Cakobau revived his charges against Pickering, hinting that the latter's deportation would be a great service to the islands, and alleging that, for his own ends, he constantly stirred up enmity between white settlers and natives. Erskine says that, while the charges were doubtless founded on facts, they were exaggerated from motives of jealousy; and, like Captain worth, he found insufficient grounds for action. He also inquired into the murder of the chief Batinamu, of Bua, and did what he could to make peace in that part of Vanua Levu. While at Bua he received a letter from Ritova, in reply to that sent by Captain Worth. After declaring that he knew nothing of the murders - "the common people alone know about them" - Ritova went on to allege that his rival Bonaveidogo was responsible: a contradiction that was unlikely to carry conviction.

In October, H.M. sloop-of-war Daphne (Captain Fanshawe) arrived; and as the Consul was still in the Group, an attempt was made to bring about a settlement of the war between Bau and Rewa. The rival chiefs of Rewa, Phillips and Qaraniqio, met on the warship, in the presence of Cakobau, Calvert, the Consul, and the officers, Cakobau demanded that Qaraniqio should go to Bau, but he refused, fearing treachery, and saying that he had nothing to do with Bau; but he expressed his willingness to make peace with his brother Phillips, "who might go to Rewa and be king for all he cared". but the negotiations broke down over the fate of Buretu, whose destruction Cakobau had decreed on account of its support of Rewa: Qaraniqio stipulated that as a necessary condition of peace, the people of Bureta should be spared, and this Cakobau refused to consider. Before leaving Fiji waters (10th October) Captain Fanshawe addressed a letter to Cakobau, urging him to abandon savage practices. "Depend upon it," he wrote, "such practices cannot last and great will be the honour acquired by that chief who has the courage to oppose them. There is one man, and only one, who can effectually do this; that man is yourself." Fanshawe then referred to the expected death of the aged king of Bau, Tanoa, and asked as a personal favour that Cakobau interpose his authority to save the widows from becoming the victims of "atrocious superstition." The letter was no more productive of results than the discussions between the rival chiefs.
Notwithstanding the apparent lack of results, the pressure exerted by naval officers and by missionaries was not without its effect upon the chiefs. They began to make concessions to outside opinion, and to understand that they could not murder and slay as the whim of the moment dictated; they were learning, also, that sure retribution followed any molestation of foreigners living among them.
In August, 1844, missionaries of the roman Catholic church landed at Lakeba, where Wesleyan missionaries had already been at work for nine years. The unhappy relations that soon developed can scarcely be understood without some reference to events in Tahiti and other Pacific groups during the previous decade. Catholic missionaries from Peru had visited Tahiti during the closing years of the eighteenth century, but after several years of fruitless labour they had abandoned the field. The Duff took Protestant missionaries there in 1797, and for fifteen years they were little more successful than the Catholics. When, however, King Pomare renounced heathenism, the work prospered, and by 1822, "the missionaries had really effected considerable social improvement among the Tahitians". In November, 1836, by which time most of the people were already nominally Christian, two French Fathers landed without permission and were expelled; and soon afterwards French warships intervened. Events moved fast. On 30th August, 1838, Vice-Admiral du Petit-Thomars of the French frigate Venus presented an ultimatum to the queen, demanding an indemnity of 2,000 Spanish dollars, and a salute of twenty-one guns for the French flag; and, to prevent bloodshed, the queen complied with his demands and agreed to receive the priests. thus one wrong begot another: the Protestant missionaries had it in their power to prevent ill-treatment of the Catholic Fathers by the natives, missionaries intruded themselves, under the guns of the French warships, upon a group already fully and successfully occupied; and the French commander bullied a defenceless people into paying an exorbitant indemnity, and relinquishing the right to exclude what was to them a strange creed which they did not want. The queen and her chiefs appealed to England, but Lord Palmerston was non-committal. The climax came in 1842, when du Petit Thomars again appeared and presented a new ultimatum; and, since no help was forthcoming from England, the queen was forced to request French protection. the announcement, in March 1843, that France had been offered and had accepted a Protectorate over Tahiti caused uneasiness in England, where serious aspect when the French Minister for Marine asked for an extraordinary credit of nearly six million francs for the naval establishment in the Pacific. Her Majesty's Government nevertheless did nothing to pose or question the French occupation of Tahiti; and on 7th November, the royal standard was struck and the French flag was hoisted in its place. H.M. consul Pritchard was arrested soon afterwards, and forced to leave Tahiti under circumstances which caused a ferment of excitement and indignation in England, and strained relations with France. Within a few months missionary circles in the Pacific had died down, French missionaries gained a foothold in Tonga and Fiji. In Tonga, King George had striven for seven years to prevent any repetition in his domains of what had occurred in Tahiti, and had successfully resisted an ultimatum from a French warship. In 1842, however, French Fathers established themselves at Bea, on Tongatabu; and in the following year Aleamotu'a (King Josiah) petitioned Queen Victoria for protection against the French.  
From Tonga, Mgr. Bataillon brought to Fiji the Marist Fathers Breheret and Roulleaux, with Brother Annet. The party landed at Lakeba on 9th August, 1844, and were coldly received by the chiefs. The natural alarm of the chiefs, at the intrusion of French interests, and of the missionaries, at the arrival of ambassadors of a rival faith, was far from being allayed when it was reported that Mgr. Bataillon had attempted to induce Finau - a Tongan prince then at Lakeba - to embrace his religion, offering in return to make him king at Vavau in place of the obstinate King George.
Finau refused to have anything to do with such a scheme, and Mgr. Bataillon tuned to Tui Nayau, the king of Lakeba, who objected that he had already received one lot of priests - though he had done little but oppose them and their teaching - and, landing the two Fathers and their attendant on Namuka Island, Mgr. Bataillon departed on the French ship Adolphe. "The Fathers found it necessary to return to Lakeba at all risks,  and to establish themselves there. For seven years, until the return of Mgr Bataillon in 1851, they endured extreme privations and were continually subjected to ignominy and persecution and to the humiliation of apparent failure in their mission." They indeed "baptized a few dying children, and won some adherents who soon fell away again, being intimidated by threats and persecution"; but they suffered much from want of clothing and food. The Wesleyan missionaries at Lakeba had the grace to send food to the starving men, which, though refused at first from a natural pride, was accepted later.
The situation that resulted needs to be viewed against the background of the narrow religious beliefs and the political jealousies of the period. There were mutual recriminations, and bickerings in which the respective merits and demerits of France was an unseemly competition for souls. Under the circumstances, incidents of the kind were inevitable. Commenting upon the situation, Dr. Lyth - who was one of the Wesleyan missionaries at Lakeba at the time - wrote: "The Bishop committed an overnight in leaving his priests so destitute. A Fijian hates poverty, and charity is as cold here as in civilized lands." After the priests had endured their humiliation resolutely for a year, a French vessel called and left supplies for them; but the differing religious tenets of the two groups rendered collaboration and co-operation impossible, and the Fijians must have found it difficult to reconcile Christian teaching with the ecclesiastical bitterness and bigotry that accompanied it. Nevertheless, these unfortunate rivalries should not prevent recognition of the quality of the work done by both missions; though it is regrettable that the new=-comers did not select some unoccupied place - of which there were many - in which to begin their work. The two priests of Lakeba held on bravely for nearly eleven years; but in 1855, the roman Catholic Mission abandoned Lau, and also its stations on Taveuni and at Rewa, and concentrated its work at Lavuka.
The pioneer missionary, William Cross, fell ill in April, 1842, and after being moved to Somosomo in order to be under the care of Dr. Lyth, died there on 15th October. John Hunt began the translation of the New Testament into the Bauan dialect in 1846, finishing it early in 1847, and by June of that year the first complete and bound copies - entirely produced at Viwa - were available. In October, 1847, the missionaries at Viwa drew up "rules for civil government" to be recommended to Christian chiefs as soon as it appeared expedient to do so. The attempt to introduce a system of government based upon European ideas was both premature and ill-advised, and does not appear to have met with any success. Missionary influence is seen, however, in the manner in which a young man of Viwa was brought to justice, and punished. The people gathered to hear the case, and the man was found guilty and flogged with a rope's end; elsewhere in Fiji he would probably have been clubbed if a commoner, and smiled upon if a chief.
Missionary enterprise was concerned with more than preaching and the suppression of savage customs, and David Hazlewood, who arrived in Fiji in August, 1844, compiled a Dictionary and Grammar of the Fijian Language. The book was completed by September, 1850, printed on the mission press at Viwa, and published in March, 1851; and it remains the standard work of reference for the language. Other practical arts were not neglected; the mission house at Viwa, for example, built under John Hunt's supervision and completed in 1845, was constructed of stone set in lime obtained by burning coral; and being the first stone house seen in Fiji, it attracted much attention among the natives. for many articles of food, and for housing and transport, the missionaries were generally dependent upon the Fijians; and they paid for these things by giving an equivalent in goods - spades, hatchets, knives, prints, calico, shirts, trousers, looking-glasses, razors, and other useful articles. This system of barter was resented by certain of the traders, and not without reason; but the lack of currency, and the natives' inexperience in the use of it, left the missionaries no choice, and they benefited the natives; their possession of iron tools and implements and of European fabrics did much to improve their condition, enabling them to hew and dig more easily and to live in greater comfort; while the knowledge they gained of the fair value of the articles commonly offered by traders made it more difficult for unscrupulous men to exploit their inexperience.
Broken by ten years of ceaseless struggle against the horrors among which he lived, John Hunt died at Viwa on 4th October, 1848. Hitherto, the important chiefs had resisted all attempts to convert them; but on 19th October, 1849, tui Vayau adopted Christianity. This was a blow to Cakobau. Though more bitterly opposed than ever to the new teaching, he was powerless to hinder its progress, despite the fact that it threatened his position and that of the other high chiefs. Knowing that in the end he must give way, he nevertheless delayed as long as he could. The Viwa chiefs and Tui Nayau had turned; Bua was already divided; and, stung to action , he took the offensive at the end of 1849. The missionaries he feared to harm, remembering Erskine's guns; but he imagined that the common people among the Christians were his own property, and that they lived only at his pleasure. He was mistaken. His life-long friend Varani placed himself at the head of the Christian party, and sent his uncle Namosimalua to throw himself into the Christian town of Dama (Bua) at the head of some hundreds of warriors armed with muskets and ammunition provided by the Levuka traders; and the missionaries appealed to a Tongan chief then visiting Bau with three hundred followers. The Tongans bared their teeth, the Christians prepared to defend themselves, and Cakobau called off the whole campaign. This episode was a blow to his pride and prestige, and left no doubt in his mind that he was waging a losing battle against Christianity, progress, and civilization - and against Tongans.
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