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Fiji and the Fijians 1835-1856

Chapter VII — mission work 1835-40

page 101

Chapter VII
mission work 1835-40

The reader will now have some idea of the magnitude of the task undertaken by the missionaries in Fiji. Let us see how they acquitted themselves up to the date of the arrival of Thomas Williams in July 1840.

William Cross and David Cargill arrived at Lakemba on 12 October 1835.1 Their first report forecasted a rapid overthrow of Heathenism: but they were soon disillusioned. In their second report on 8 July 1836 nothing is said of any new Fijian converts. A list of the members of their Society is given. It includes twelve of four different nationalities and languages—four Fijians whom they had brought from Tonga; three others whom they found at Lakemba, but had been members of the Society in Tonga; two natives of Tonga, one of Samoa and the wives of the missionaries. In their school work they had been more successful: they had two schools in which sixteen teachers2 were instructing one hundred and twenty-two pupils to read and write. The missionaries were disappointed, and blamed Tuinayau the king whom they had expected to lotu.3 Such was the power of a chief in Fiji, they argued, that the people were afraid to act on their own initiative. If the king led the way his page 102people would follow.4 But Tuinayau did not intend to lotu; he said that he was afraid to do so until his superior chief Tanoa of Mbau had set the example. He agreed that it would be well for Mr Cross to go to Tanoa; if he embraced Christianity Tuinayau promised to follow. After talking the matter over Cross and Cargill agreed that this would be the most effective way of pushing the mission.5 The big populations were on the island of Viti Levu, and Joshua the teacher who had just returned from Rewa gave good reports of the people. But no ship was available to take Cross and his family over till 27 December 1837 and then only at great expense. Chevalier Dillon, who was at that time sailing among the islands with a commission from the King of France, demanded £150, urging the danger of sailing over such reef-strewn waters and entering an uncharted harbour.6 Ultimately he agreed to accept £125. Cross and his family arrived at Viti Levu on 3 January 1838 and five days later his goods were landed at Rewa. But the great chief Tanoa7 was not at Rewa. After Thakombau's success-page break
Joeli MbuluSee p 155

Joeli Mbulu
See p 155

Tanoa, King of Mbau and Father of ThakombauFrom Wilkes's Narrative of U.S.A. Expedition

Tanoa, King of Mbau and Father of Thakombau
From Wilkes's Narrative of U.S.A. Expedition

page 103ful
coup he had gone to Mbau. Cross decided to go and interview him at once on the question of forming a mission centre at Mbau. Tanoa was away when Cross arrived; but he had a long talk with his son Seru (Thakombau) on whom the government chiefly devolved. "He said it would be most agreeable to him, if I thought well, for me to take up my residence with him; but that he would not hide it from me that at present he was engaged in war, and could not attend to things about which I came, or assure me of my safety." Cross thought it well to have a look round, and what he saw was not at all reassuring.

Four persons of the rebels had just been killed: two had been eaten, the other two were in the oven. I was informed that there had been more than 1000 houses in the town of Mbau where Tanoa resided. If this be true more than 900 must have been destroyed in the present war as there are not 100 left. These stand in a part of the town belonging to the Fishermen, and there is not a good house among them. There are no houses into which we could go and take our stores, and if I had one built there was great probability of its being burnt down in the night by the rebels. Further there was no water in the town which stands on a small island about half a mile from the mainland. Hence our water must have been obtained from the immediate vicinity of the enemy. These are my principal reasons for declining to go to Bau.

The fateful decision was taken and Cross went back to Rewa to begin work under conditions that broke his health and well-nigh his spirits too.

The king Tuidreketi was his friend and protector; but his brother Nggara-ni-nggio, a sincere Heathen with a powerful following, did all he could to annoy. He would not allow a chapel to be built, and Cross had to preach in the page 104open air, or in any hut that was open to him. The district was unhealthy; the house in which he and his family lived little better than a hovel with one room only "which served for bed-room, sitting-room, servants' apartments and stores. It stood on low ground, and was nearly surrounded by water, part of which was stagnant, and in time of heavy rains the stench was almost intolerable. There were no windows and the place of entrance was not more than 3 feet high." Cross soon fell ill with ague and intermittent fever, and suffered intensely in body and mind. "What made my circumstances particularly trying was to see in a land of cannibals, without a single earthly friend, a weeping wife and three helpless children." In his affliction he wrote to the District Meeting asking leave to go to New South Wales and labour there till he knew the mind of the London Committee. But in May he felt better and found that by taking regular exercise in his garden his spirits revived. He decided to stay on.

In December 1838 three more missionaries arrived at Lakemba in the schooner Letitia—John Hunt, James Calvert and Thomas Jaggar. They brought with them a printing-press, and authority to constitute Fiji a district separate from the Friendly Islands. A meeting was held on the 27th and it was decided that John Hunt should go to Rewa at once leaving Calvert and Jaggar, who were trained printers, to set the press in order. Hunt arrived at Rewa on 27 January 1839 and remained in that circuit till the arrival of Dr Lyth who reached Lakemba on 30 June.

Though Cross had settled down in Rewa he did not abandon the hope of establishing a centre at Mbau, and he visited it frequently with that intent. Tanoa seemed willing, and even offered to share his home with the missionary; but Thakombau was more cautious now than he had been on the occasion of the first visit, and in August 1839 told Cross that no missionary would be permitted to settle page 105in Mbau till he had fought Verata. Two months later he said definitely: "It is very well for some lands to worship your God; but Mbau will not do so." Fourteen years were to pass away before a missionary was allowed to make his home in Mbau.

There was, however, a small island called Vewa only a couple of miles away where the prospects of forming a centre were distinctly encouraging. There lived a crafty old chief called Namisomalua whose nephew had murdered the captain and most of the crew of the French ship L'Aimable Josephine in 1834. When Dumont D'Urville was carrying out some surveys in the waters close by in 1838 he sent a troop of marines to destroy Vewa from which Namisomalua and his people, suspecting reprisals, had made their escape. In November of that year some natives came from Vewa to inform Mr Cross that their chief wished to lotu, having come to the conclusion that the gods of the Fijians were no good since they had allowed their temple to be burnt down by the French. Namisomalua had an evil reputation for treachery and butchery and Cross was cautious. In the course of their conversation the messengers wished to know whether, in the event of their chief becoming a Christian, and building his town again, the French or English would destroy it? "No," replied Cross, "not if he behaves himself." Shortly afterwards the messengers came again to report that Namisomalua and nine of his people had lotued. When David Cargill and Thomas Jaggar came to Rewa in July 1839 William Cross took up his residence in Vewa, which, because of its proximity to Mbau and Levuka, was considered a very appropriate place for a settlement.

On 27 July 1839 John Hunt and Dr Richard Burdsall Lyth arrived at Somosomo in the island of Taviuni bearing presents from the King of Rewa and a request that the old king Tuithakau and his son Tuikilakila would be "of good page 106mind" toward the missionaries. Two years before both these chiefs of Somosomo had paid a visit to Lakemba, and in the course of a conversation there with Tuikilakila Cargill explained what Christianity was.8 "Do you think it is true?" said Cargill, after his address. "True," he replied, "every thing is true that comes from the white man's country: muskets and gunpowder are true, and your religion must be true." But Tuikilakila had said more than his father the old king was prepared to support. Later on he and Tuithakau promised that if missionaries went to Somosomo they would allow their children to be taught in the schools, and would themselves listen to what the missionaries had to say "to find out if their religion was true or false, beneficial or useless."

Lyth and Hunt were received in a most hospitable manner on their arrival at Somosomo. Tuithakau, who by this time had shaken most of the cares and business of the kingdom from his own shoulders, and let them fall on Tuikilakila, turned out of his house, old as he was, and handed it over to them for a residence. It was a spacious building, capable of being divided into four apartments by piling up boxes for partitions. This was living in the grand style from the very beginning! The conduct of the people surprised them even more: not a single article was stolen on the way from the boats to the house! After their experiences on landing at Rewa this was most reassuring. Their hopes soared—only to be dashed to the ground, and there to remain except for an occasional flutter with the help of British medicine and Dr Lyth's professional skill.

These, then, were the four established mission centres on the arrival of Thomas Williams in July 1840—Lakemba, Rewa, Vewa, Somosomo. How had they been progressing?

page break
Towns and Villages, Lakemba,1835-56

Towns and Villages, Lakemba,

page 107

In the circuit of Lakemba some progress had been made, more especially on the island of Ono. The headquarters were at Buthainambua where there were two schools, a chapel and the houses of the missionaries.9 Preaching centres had been established at Wathiwathi, Waitambu, Narothake and Nukunuku, and visits had been paid to Yadrana and Nasangkalou on the north of the island. Teachers were at work on the islands of Oneata, Mothe, Namuka, Vatoa and Ono, and there were a few Christians on Vanua Mbalavu who had been "converted" while paying a visit to Oneata. Cargill had visited the islands near to Lakemba in canoes. On one voyage, extending over twelve days, he took with him his wife and children who suffered severely from sea-sickness. Calvert had ventured farther, and on one risky voyage had reached Ono in a canoe after calling at Ongea and Vatoa. In 1839 there were 14 schools in the circuit, 54 teachers and 564 scholars.10 Very few of the native Fijians except at Oneata, Vatoa and Ono had embraced Christianity, and the missionaries were dependent upon King George of Tonga for a supply of teachers. The first company arrived on 26 June 1838 and the second on 27 July 1839. Four had been sent to Rewa, the rest were kept in the Lakemba circuit.

All the native Fijian "converts" in Lakemba had been attracted in the first instance by extraneous aids; not one, so far as I am aware, by the preaching of the Gospel of Christ. The second and more genuine conversion came later, when page 108it came at all, through the influence of the Society, love-feasts, the schools and personal contact with the missionaries and the teachers.

At Rewa the results were deeply disappointing. Of the seventy-five natives who lotued11 none had undergone any spiritual change. "They are, in general, induced to do so," says John Hunt, "from a fear lest they should die and go to Hell, while a few are influenced by a hope of their being thereby recovered from some affiction." At one of the love-feasts where open confessions were encouraged one old "convert" rejoiced because "he could now eat with impunity certain articles of food which he formerly considered sacred and worshipped as gods!" No conversions had been made at Rewa by the preaching of the Gospel.

At Vewa there were about seventy professing Christians, and the outlook was a little brighter, mainly because of the earnestness and local influence of Namisomalua's highlyborn wife who was diligently striving to learn how to read and write. Namisomalua's conduct had been correct. He had built a chapel, and had refrained from taking part in Thakombau's war on Verata. In May 1839 Cargill, who was writing only from the experience of a few days during his visit to Viti Levu, described Namisomalua's conversion as "a great victory for the Gospel." He was mistaken. That wily old chief had only insured his life and property against naval gunnery and marines. His heart remained unchanged, as the remaining years of his life proved to the missionaries themselves. At the District Meeting in 1852 it was reported that "the old chief Melchizedek Namisomalua had been removed by death. His end as his life was very unsatisfactory. Renowned for treachery, murder and wickedness before he became a nominal Christian, and for hypocrisy and badness while connected with us his death page 109is unlamented." William Cross reports no instance of a man or woman being converted at Vewa by faith in Christ.

Lyth and Hunt had been at Somosomo twelve months before the arrival of Thomas Williams at Lakemba. Up to that time they had witnessed many horrors, but no genuine conversions. On 14 January 1840, six months after their arrival, Dr Lyth reports a declaration by Tuikilakila that "he hated the lotu, and would not suffer his people to embrace it," and this, as usual, was offered as the explanation of their failure. But there is no evidence whatever to show that the people of Somosomo were disposed to renounce their own religion in favour of Christianity. On 30 April 1840 John Hunt reported some signs of awakening interest in the mission; but it was simply because Dr Lyth had cured a patient whom the native doctors had given up; and although two or three sufferers embraced Christianity in consequence it was "for the only reason of obtaining bodily health." They believed that Jehovah would decline to heal them so long as they were labelled heathen. In Somosomo no man or woman was converted by the preaching of the Gospel.

It is clear, then, that up to the middle of 1840 the Gospel of Christ as preached by the missionaries had failed to make a single genuine convert in the Leeward Islands of the archipelago, and the reason is that it was quite beyond their comprehension, just as were the sermons on repentance, justification by faith, holy living and dying, spiritual regeneration and the like. There was nothing in the religion of the Fijians that enabled them to appreciate the meaning or importance of these things. What they did understand and believe in was the existence of gods who had the power both to confer favours upon them and to do them harm. Herein lies the explanation not only of the failure of the Gospel, page 110but also of the measure of success which the missionaries achieved by the use of extraneous aids such as the threat of hell-fire; the possession and sale of British goods; the use of British medicine that could cure diseases without incantations; the printing-press that made those wonderful books that had strange marks inside them by which people could talk to others away; the protection they enjoyed from those "islands of the sea" mounted with powerful guns and carrying spirits that soared up into the air, burst into flames and sparks, and then, like spirits, disappeared. The God who gave all these things to the white man must be a powerful God: powerful to confer favours as well as to inflict injury and death; and it was the god of power they had been trained all their lives to respect, fear and understand.

And so it came about, in those early years before the middle of 1840, that while the Gospel message failed to impress the Fijians, their respect for and fear of Jehovah was profound. He was undoubtedly a great God on an equality with Dengei, and they would gladly have given him an honoured place in Mbulu. But as for Christ, though they were interested in the story of his love and work, they saw no reason as yet to fear and propitiate him. As for turning their backs on their own powerful gods, and following him, that would only expose them to all the misery that their own outraged gods could and would inflict. They would not do that even for Jehovah, much as they already respected and feared His power.

It is interesting to see how, even in those early days, the missionaries had to make use of the native dread of the gods to extricate themselves from some of their most difficult situations. When Dr Lyth arrived in Rewa on his way to Somosomo Tuidreketi's brother was ill, and he was anxious that the doctor should stay and tend him. Lyth, impatient to get to his post, demurred; but the king page 111persisted and the situation promised to become embarrassing. At last the missionaries said that it was their God's will that Dr Lyth should go to Somosomo at once. That settled the matter: the king was satisfied. "Nothing affected him so much," says John Hunt,12 "as our fear of offending God. He saw the danger of acting contrary to what we believe to be the will of God." William Cross knew quite well how to work on the same susceptibility of the Fijian mind. At the close of 1838 he was placed in an awkward dilemma by a searching question put to him by one of the native chiefs: 13 "Namisomalua's son (I think he means nephew—Varani) asked me what those must do who have embraced Christianity if Tanoa sends a command for them to kill men for him? I replied that they should say that it is forbidden by God, and therefore we are afraid to do it. I further observed—I think this will satisfy Tanoa." Certainly it would be more likely to satisfy him than any argument that Cross could have used; but apprehension of disloyalty of the Christians in time of war had already entered into the minds of some of the chiefs, and it was to cause John Hunt a good deal of uneasiness in the years that followed. But for the present both Hunt and Cross had chosen the most effective way of overcoming and disarming resentment. In his Journal William Lockerby tells us that on one occasion when he was hard-pressed for an excuse that would turn away wrath he was pardoned for not eating bakola "by saying that his Callow would punish him if he did."14 The Fijian had no difficulty whatever in understanding and sympathizing with a man who refrained from doing anything that would arouse the anger of his God. He lived continually in dread of offending his own gods.

It was the policy of the missionaries in those early years page 112to show the ruling chief every mark of outward respect mainly because they believed that it was only through them that a rapid conversion of "the people could be effected; but also because they found soon after their arrival that the chiefs were becoming more and more suspicious of the influence of the new religion on their authority and the loyalty of their subjects, especially in times of war.

The missionaries had not been in Lakemba eighteen months before the chiefs were becoming uneasy about the influence of their teaching on the whole political and economic structure of their government. On 3 May 1837 Cargill tells us that Tuinayau "had accused Christianity of levelling distinctions of rank, sanctioning insubordination and of producing poverty and famine." Nearly all the chiefs in Lakemba were of the same opinion. Next year there was an attack on the Christians of the village of Waitambu: the workmen returned from the fields to find their homes desolate. Cargill blamed Tuinayau and his brother Soroangkali. The year after that Tuinayau decided to attack Ono because, on Calvert's own showing, the people of that island were not preparing to send the customary tribute, and had even decided to contest one of the most valuable and time-honoured privileges of a chief—his claim to add to the number of his wives a woman to whom he had been betrothed for years. The conduct of the people of Ono, however justified from the point of view of the missionaries, was proof that Tuinayau's charges were not unfounded. The teaching of Christianity was undoubtedly weaving itself into the business or his kingdom. The missionaries did show respect to the king, and they did tell their people to render as much tribute as before their conversion; but it is also clear that important reservations were made by James Calvert himself. There is no need to go further than his printed statements in The second volume of Fiji and the page 113Fijians to prove this. On page 75 he commends the Christians at Ono for their willingness to resist the king's commands if obedience were contrary to God's law. But who was to decide what was or was not contrary to God's law? In the context it is the question of polygamy that is under review. The missionaries acting under strict instructions from the London Society were strongly opposed to the admission of any member to the Society of the Church who had more than one wife. But the British government does not now interfere with the custom of the natives in that respect. In the same book Calvert tells us that they taught the natives to willingly obey the chiefs in all reasonable labour and service. But, again, who was to decide what was "reasonable?" It is very clear that the opinions of the chiefs and the missionaries on this question were widely divergent. No doubt the missionaries were more reasonable than the chiefs on some, but by no means all, economic and political questions; but the government of the archipelago, such as it was, was in the hands of the chiefs not the missionaries; and they believed that directly and indirectly, notwithstanding all the outward respect shown by the missionaries, the lotu was undermining their authority.

The native way of conducting business was a cause of frequent and bitter contention between the missionaries and the chiefs. As William Cross said in his letter of 29 June 1839: "They prefer to do business in a friendly way. They make presents; but, with equals, in the hope of getting more than the value of their gift." The missionaries soon found out that this method did not suit them. Apart from the prepossessions which they brought from England they quickly realized it would cost them more than they could afford. The chiefs wanted a lot for the mere asking; but as the missionaries regarded themselves as trustees for the trade they held, they felt bound to insist on the chiefs pay-page 114ing in kind for what they got. There was not a chief in any of the mission centres that did not resent this. Thakombau quarrelled with Cross about it, and Tuikilakila of Somosomo threatened to slaughter Lyth and Hunt when they reproved his wives for begging. Knowing their danger the missionaries sent a present to Tuithakau forthwith.15 That lulled the tempest, and the old king intimated his pleasure by sending back a pig. The same troubles arose at Rewa. "Qara says he hates us because we won't give without talking a lot about it," says Thomas Jaggar, in October 1839— the very time when they were being pelted with stones three or four pounds weight, and their houses fired upon. "The giving or withholding of a knife or an axe," says John Hunt, "may be the pivot on which the most important concerns may turn." True, but mainly because the whole system of transacting business, and raising revenue was involved. The chiefs had a very strong preference for their own as against the British way of carrying on business. But before the close of the half century the missionaries had their way because the weight of European civilization was behind them.

There has been strong feeling in the Pacific Islands against missionary trading, as Robert Louis Stevenson well knew. It is true that the missionaries were in competition with the local traders. They traded with the natives in spades, hatchets, knives, prints, calico, shirts, trousers, looking-glasses, razors and many other useful implements. The lay traders were at a disadvantage because they had no fixed salary, and therefore could not afford to sell at mission prices. But that was only one side of the question; the other was the interests of the natives. Whether the missionaries of a later time abused the privileges of their position and were dominated by a mercenary spirit in disposing of page 115their trade I am unable to say; but there is no evidence in Fiji not only up to 1840 but also right on to 1856 to prove that the missionaries dealt unfairly. On the other hand there is abundant evidence to show that they taught the natives what was the reasonable exchange value of their commodities; and that was much to be desired, because some of the bargains made by unscrupulous traders were out-rageous. This must not be taken to mean that the missionaries never made good bargains. Sometimes they did. In the account books of Thomas Williams and Dr Lyth I find that they sometimes received one hundred yams for a knife valued at 1s., and thirty-five for a yard of calico valued at 4½d; four turkeys were paid for a copy of the New Testament valued at 2s. and on another occasion two pigs were given in exchange for a New Testament. But these were exceptional prices at exceptional times. The law of supply and demand had to be reckoned with even in Fiji; and Captain Cook, who always tried to deal fairly with the natives in trading, made some very good bargains too. There were ups and downs, and much depended on the relations between the missionaries and the natives. Where the value of their religious work was recognized as at Ono the missionaries could get a lot for small payments, or, had they been willing, nothing at all. But at Somosomo, where their religion was not wanted, they had to pay more than the exchange value. On the whole I am persuaded that the missionaries of this period used their trade under a proper sense of responsibility to the London Society, and in the interests of the natives. It is idle to say that they should have refrained from using trade at all. They could not have done without it. British money was of little use in Fiji, and they could not depend on getting a regular supply of whales' teeth to take its place. The best and easiest way was to barter British goods, which were eagerly page 116sought after by the natives, for the purchase of food and labour.

But the point to notice particularly here is that the possession and use of British goods enhanced the prestige of the missionary, ensured him a welcome in the towns where the ruling chiefs lived, and helped the religious work of the mission by demonstrating to the natives in a way they could understand that Jehovah was a great God who gave His people many valuable and desirable things. But it must not be forgotten that every white trader in Fiji helped to make the same impression on the minds of the natives.

The missionaries would have been greatly surprised and indignant had any impartial observer informed them that the white traders were working (even though unconsciously) for the triumph of Christianity in Fiji, and for many reasons their indignation would have been justified—always admitting that there were some good settlers among them. There was bad blood between the missionaries and the white settlers in this period, and no wonder. The majority of the whites did all they could to discredit the missionaries for reasons that were far from creditable. The statement made by Thomas Williams in his book that "about the year 1804 a number of convicts escaped from New South Wales and settled in the island" is erroneous, as Sir Everard im Thurn has already pointed out; but the worst characters in Fiji at this time were quite as dissolute and irresponsible as the average convict in New South Wales. When Cross arrived in Rewa at the beginning of 1838 he found some European sailors whom he described as "bad characters."16 In his report dated 6 April 1840 David Cargill expressed pretty well the feeling of the missionaries with respect to the influence of the whites on the minds of the natives, and its reaction on their mission work.

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Charlie Howard of RotumahAdventurer and Settler, Early 19th Century From a daguerreotype in the possession of Father Griffon of Sumi, Rotumah

Charlie Howard of Rotumah
Adventurer and Settler, Early 19th Century From a daguerreotype in the possession of Father Griffon of Sumi, Rotumah

page 117

When the crew of a vessel which was wrecked on a reef near the island of Nairai17 were waging war on the Fijians, insulting the chiefs, possessing themselves of females of the highest rank for wives, and forcibly collecting a seraglio of the finest women18 they were in fact instilling into the minds of the natives a notion that the religion of the white man sanctions the greatest atrocities, and inspires its own votaries with a contempt of those laws by which human society is held together. Such enormities do not now exist in Fiji; but they once existed, and the impression which they produced is deep and lasting. They are still remembered and are still a barrier to missionary enterprise.

Cargill now proceeds with his indictment against the whites then living in the archipelago:

They tell the natives that fornication and adultery are not crimes, and that they are sanctioned by British and American customs…. A report has been circulated at Ovalau (he suggests by the whites living there) that the missionaries are the precursors of Government officers who will colonize and dispossess them of their lands…. The majority of the Natives believe this and it is difficult to disabuse their minds.

He concludes with a suggestion that the Society should bring these abuses under the notice of the British Parliament.

This is typical of the complaints made by the missionaries concerning the conduct of white settlers in Fiji; but it must not all be accepted at its face value. There were good and bad settlers in 1840. Nobody would dream of classing David Whippy with Paddy Connell; nor did it follow that the more licentious among the very early settlers were detested by the natives for that specific reason. Paddy Connell, who boasted that he had forty-nine children and hoped he would live till he had fifty, was for a long time in high favour at the court of Rewa. The king enjoyed his jokes, and would have sent natives to the oven for incurring the displeasure of his jester. Charles Savage did not need to collect a seraglio of the finest women by force; they were given him in return for his services in educating the chiefs in the use of the musket. He was a powerful man at Mbau page 118and occupied an important place in their Councils. When the chiefs found white men who could humour them or help them in their wars they were quite willing to look with a tolerant eye on their moral defects. The rumours which the white trash circulated about the missionaries acting in concert with officers to take the islands from the natives did make the natives suspicious of the missionaries for a time. "If we worship your God will your countrymen come and live in our land" was a question that Thomas Jaggar was called upon to answer at Rewa in October 1839. But it was only for a time. The chiefs soon discovered that the missionaries had come to Fiji from disinterested motives.

1 The date inscribed on the memorial stone at Suva is 14 October, but in his letter to London on 17 January 1837 David Cargill says that he and Cross arrived at Lakemba "on October 12th five days out from Vavau."

2 It is necessary to distinguish between school-teachers, who were untrained, and without pay, and teachers trained for religious work, who were paid £2 a year.

3 Lotu is a noun and a verb; its literal meaning is prayer or to pray; but it was commonly used for the Christian religion or, as a verb, to profess or embrace Christianity.

4 The missionaries no doubt believed this at the time; but they were mistaken. The people generally had no real desire to change their religion.

5 There is good ground for believing that there was another reason. In a letter written to the secretaries in London in January 1841 Cross said: Mr Cargill and I were never happy as fellow-labourers…. Mr Cargill has now left the field and I would that the very many things of a painful nature which occurred between us were gone from my mind" (the italics are his own). According to James Calvert in a letter written to the Rev. E. Hoole in London in 1843 (M.M.S.M.) Cargill was a difficult man to get on with, and he drank sometimes to excess. Calvert and Cargill worked together for a short time at Lakemba before Cargill went across to Rewa in 1839. Lest anything worse should be suspected I have decided that it is better to make known that James Calvert was of the opinion that Cargill's intemperance was the cause of his committing suicide at Vavau later on after his return from a visit to England.

6 This was not mere bluff: the Active and the Harriet had been wrecked on the reefs shortly before, and in 1840 Captain Belcher's ship Sulphur had the pintles of her rudder broken going into Rewa Harbour. But it was a heavy charge for so short a journey. For this, and still more for a letter which he wrote to the Rev. J. Thomas in Tonga accusing him of murdering men, women and children to propagate the Gospel the missionaries never forgave Chevalier Dillon. Note what Thomas Williams says of him in his Journal.

7 David Cargill gives the earliest description of Tanoa's personal appearance that I have seen. It is worth reproducing: "Tanoa the King of Bau appears to be on the verge of 70. He is tall and slender in person, and forbidding in aspect. His eye still retains considerable lustre and keenness. The hair of his head is closely shaven; his beard is bushy and long. Age and infirmities have made them white, but through a desire of appearing young his head, face, beard and breast are generally daubed with an earth that produces a jet-black colour. On the back of his head and near his right ear are two fearful scars occasioned by the blows of a club which was wielded by the arm of his brother Naulivou the late King of Bau in an attempt to kill Tanoa. His conduct to us was kind and respectful, and his conversation cheerful. He presented us with a fine large hog. His house is incomparably the largest and best that I have ever seen in the South-Sea Islands. The workmanship displays great ingenuity. Its length is 135 feet and its width 42 feet."—Extract from Cargill's Journal accompanying his letter to the London Society dated 27 June 1839 (M.M.S.M.).

8 See Cargill's letter dated 23 May 1837 (M.M.S.M.).

9 It is not difficult to fix the actual site. Some of the stones round the edge of the raised ground on which the houses of the mission were built may still be seen, and the old graveyard is easily located. Fruit and ornamental trees grow a few yards away up the valley, and the upper portion of a cemented well is exposed. The remains do not receive the attention or care that the first European missionary settlement in Fiji warrants. The same may be said of the grave of Maafu in Tumbou. The value of historical monuments is not yet realized in Fiji, least of all by the natives themselves. "When the attractions of the archipelago as a tourist resort are better known more attention will be paid to them. Fiji is full of memories, many of them wildly romantic.

10 I could not find the mission statistics for 1840.

11 See report of the Rewa circuit for 1839.

12 See his letter dated at Rewa 1 July 1839 (M.M.S.M.).

13 See letter by W. Cross dated 31 January 1839 (M.M.S.M.).

14 See Sir Everard im Thurn's edition of the Journal, p. 45. "Callow" is, of course, Kalou, meaning God.

15 See R. B. Lyth's letter, Somosomo, 14 January 1840, and another written by John Hunt on 30 December 1839 (M. M. S. M.).

16 He also found there a Mr Fox, a botanist.

17 Cargill is no doubt referring here to the wreck of the Eliza on 20 June 1808 near the extremity of the reef running south from Nairai. The famous Charles Savage was on board.

18 Compare this with the narrative of Samuel Patterson, one of the survivors of the wrecked Eliza. See Sir Everard im Thurn's Journal of William Lockerby, pp. 89,115.