adhered to as if they had been engrossed on parchment,
or engraven on tablets of stone. Their political society
was also formed " in order to enable men to live, and it
has continued to exist in order that they might live,
happily," and though their peculiar code of polity may
not be best calculated to attain these desirable ends, an
acquaintance with it is yet indispensable, if we would be
successful in the government of these islanders. But if
we would iully confer on them the benefits without the
evils of civilisation, we must also "hasten slowly" with
this breaking into harness ; always remembering that,
digging and delving for a livelihood, and all laborious
exertion, have been hitherto to them, unnecessary and
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AN ACCOUNT OF THE VARIOUS PROPOSALS FOR THE
CESSION OF FIJI.*
In the year 1858, harassed by a claim of $45,000 —
about £9000 — preferred by Captain Boutwell, on behalf
of the United States Government (for which, as Tui Viti,
he had, under pressure, made himself responsible), and by
the insupportable exactions and tyrannies of the Tongans,
under the leadership of Maafu, Thakombau applied to the
British Consul t in Fiji for assistance and advice.
The result of this application was the conditional cession
of Fiji to Her Majesty the Queen, as set forth in the
following documents, which, in Mr. Pritchard's care,
reached this country in 1859.
Proposal of Cession. No. 1.
" Ebenezer Thakombau, by the grace of God, Sovereign Chief of Bau
aad its Dependencies, Vunivahi of the Annies of Fiji and Tui Viti,
&c., &c., to all and singular to whom these presents shall come.
" Whereas We, being duly, fully, and formally recognised in our
aforesaid state, rank, and sovereignty by Great Britain, France, and
the United States of America respectively, and having full and exclusive
sovereignty and domain in and over the islands and territories con-
stituting, forming, and being included in the group known as Fiji, or
Viti ; and being desirous to procure for our peoj)le aud subjects a good
* Vide ' How about Fiji.'
t Mr. W. T. Pritchard.
and permanent form of government, whereby our aforesaid people and
subjects sliall enjoy and partake of the benefits, the prosperity, and the
happiness wliich it is the duty and the right of all sovereigns to seek
and to procure for their people and subjects : and being in ourselves
unable to procure and provide such good and permanent government
for our aforesaid people and subjects ; and beins, moreover, in ourselves
unable to afford to our aforesaid people and subjects the due protection
and shelter from the violence, the oppression, and the tyranny of
Foreign Powers, which it is the duty and the right of all sovereigns to
afford to their people and subjects.
" And being heavily indebted to the President and Government of the
United States of America, the liquidation of which indebtedness is
pressingly urged, with menaces of severe measures against our person,
and our sovereignty, and our islands and territories aforesaid, unless
the aforesaid indebtedness be satisfied within a period so limited
as to render a compliance with the terms of the contract forced upon
us utterly impossible within the said period, this said inability not
arising from lack of resources within our dominions, but from the
inefficacy of any endeavours on our part under the existing state of
affairs in our islands and territories aforesaid to carry out such measures
as are necessary for, and would result in, the ultimate payment of the
aforesaid claims ; and having maturely deliberated, well weighed, and
fully considered the probable results of the course and the measures we
now propose, and being fully satisfied of the impracticability, by any
other course and measures, to avert from our islands and territories
aforesaid, and our people and subjects aforesaid, the evils certain
to follow the non-payment of the sum of money demanded from us by
the Government of the United States of America ; and being confident
of the immediate and progressive benefits that will result from the
cession herein now made of our sovereignty and our islands and
" Now know ye, that we do hereby, for and in consideration of certain
conditions, terms, and engagements hereinafter set forth, make over,
transfer, and convey unto Victoria, by the grace of God, Queen of Great
Britain and Ireland, &c., &c., &c., Her heirs and successors for ever, the
full sovereignty and domain in and over our aforesaid islands and
territories; together with the actual proprietorship and personal owner-
ship in certain pieces or parcels of land as may hereafter be mutually
agreed upon by a commissidu to consist of two chiefs from Great
Britain and two cliiefs from Fiji, the said commission to be appointed
by the representative of Great Britain in Fiji, who, in cases of dispute-,
PROPOSALS FOR THE CESSION OF FIJI. 81
shall himself be umpire ; the said pieces or parcels of land to be
especially devoted to Government purposes, and to be applied and
appropriated in manner and form appertaining to Crown lands in
British Colonies, or as the local Government of Fiji, appointed by
commission from the aforesaid Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom
of Great Britain and Ireland aforesaid, may deem fit, proper, and
necessary for the uses and requirements of the said local Government.
" Provided always, and this cessio;i of our sovereignty and our islands
and territories is on these conditions, terms, and considerations ; that
is to say,
"That the aforesaid Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great
Britain and Ireland aforesaid, shall permit us to retain the title and
rank of Tui Viti, in so far as the aboriginal population is concerned,
and shall permit us to be at the head of the department for governing
the afoi'esaid aboriginal population, acting always under the guidance
and by the counsels of the representative of Great Britain, and head
of the local Government appointed by commission from the aforesaid
Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
aforesaid ; that the aforesaid Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom of
Great Britain and Ireland aforesaid, shall pay the sum «f forty-five
thousand dollars (145,000) unto the President of the United States of
America, being the amount of the claim demanded from us ; procuring
for us and for our people a full and absolute acquittance from any farther
liabilities to the said President or Government of the United States of
" For and in consideration of which outlay, not less than two hundred
thousand (200,000) acres of land, if required, shall be made over,
transferred, and conveyed, in fee simple, unto Victoria aforesaid. Queen
of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland aforesaid, the
selection of which said land shall be made by the commission herein-
before named and referred to, to reimburse the immediate outlay
required to liquidate the aforesaid claim of the President and Govern-
ment of the United States of America.
" And we, the aforesaid Ebenezer Thakombau, by the grace of God,
Sovereign Chief of Ban and its Dependencies, Vunivalu of the Armies
of Fiji and Tui Viti, &c., &c., &c., do hereby make this cession, transfer,
and conveyance of our sovereignty, and of our islands and territories
aforesaid, unto the aforesaid Victoria, by the grace of God, Queen of
the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, &c., &c., &c.,
aforesaid, Her heirs and successors for ever; on behalf of ourselves,
our heirs, and successors for ever ; on behalf of our chiefs, their heirs,
and successors for ever ; on behalf of our people and subjects, their
heirs, and successors for ever ; — hereby renouncing all right, title, and
claim unto our sovereignty, islands, and territories aforesaid, in so far
as is herein stated.
" In witness whereof we have hereunto set our hand and affixed our
seal, this twelfth day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand
eight hundred and fifty-eight.
"(Signed) Tux Viti (his x mark).
" Signed, sealed, and ratified by the aforesaid Tui Viti, and by him
formally delivered, in our presence, unto William Thomas Pritchard,
Esquire, Her Britannic Majesty's Consul in and for the aforesaid Fiji ;
the said Tui Viti at the same time affirming and admitting to us
personally that he, the said Tui Viti, fully, wholly, perfectly, and
exi^licitly understands and comprehends the meaning, the extent, and
the purpose of the foregoing document or deed of cession ; and I, the
undersigned John Smith Fordham, formerly of Sheffield, England,
but now temporarily resident at Bau, Fiji, aforesaid, do hereby solemnly
affirm that I myself fully, wholly, and explicitly translated the said
foregoing deed of cession unto the said Tui Viti, in the presence of the
aforesaid William Thomas Pritchard, Esquire, Her Britannic Majesty's
Consul in and for the said Fiji ; Kobert Sherson Svvanston, Esquire,
his Hawaiian IMajesty's Consul in and for Fiji aforesaid ; and John
Binner, formerly of Leeds, England, but now resident at Levuka, Island
of Ovalau, Fiji, aforesaid.
" In witness whereof we have, each and all, set our respective names
and seals, this twelfth (12th) day of October, in the year of our Lord
one thousand eight hundred and fifty-eight aforesaid.
"(Signed) JoHX Smith Fordham,
" Wesleyan Missionary. (Seal.)
" Wesleyan Mission. Trainer. (Seal.)
" Robert S. Swaxston,
" Hawaiian Consul, Fiji. (Seal.)
" Will. T. ruiTCUAUi),
" Iler Britannic Majesty's Consul. (Seal.)
" Recorded in the archives of Her Britannic Majesty's Consulate, and
designated ' Register No. 6, folio 14.'
" (Signed) Will. 'J'. Pkitciiaud,
"Her Britannic Majesty's Consul."
PROPOSALS FOR THE CESSION OF FIJI. 83
Ratification of the Cession.
"We hereby acknowledge, ratify, and renew the cession of Fiji to
Great Britain made on the 12th day of October, 1858, by Thakombau.
" In witness whereof we have hereto affixed our names this 14th day
of December, 1859.
"(Signed) Rambithi, Roko Tui Dreketi (his x mark), of
Giogi Nanovo (his x mark), of Nadroga.
N"a Waqnalevu (his x mark), of Ralciraki.
Yui Levuka (his x marlv), of Ovalaii.
Koroi Tliokanauto (his x mark), of Ban.
Koroi Tumbuna (his x mark), of Tavna.
Naimbiika Koroikasa (his x mark), of Nakelo Ratu
Isikeli, of Veiva.
Tukana (his x mark), of Notlio.
Tumbavivi (his x mark), of Rakiral^i.
Thuruitha (his x mark), of Korotumu Ra.
Sesembualala (his x mark), of Korolumbu.
Tundraw (his x mark), of Dravo Samisoni, of
Na Galu (liis x mark), of Namena.
Koroi Kaiy-anuyauu (his x mark), of Lasakau.
Dabea (his X mark), of Kuku (Viti Levu).
Komai Vunivesi (his x mark), of Nakelo.
Pita Paula (his x mark), of Vewa.
Tui Bua (his x mark), of Bua.
Thakombau (his x mark), of Fiji.
Retova (his x mark), of Mathuata.
Tui Thakau (his x mark), of Taviruni.
"We hereby certify that the foregoing chiefs signed this document
with a full understanding of its meaning, in our presence, this 14th day
of December, 1859.
" I have, &c.
" (Signed) H. Campion,
" Commander R.N., H.M.S. Elk.
" (Signed) Will. T. Pritchard, H. B. M. Consul.
" We hereby certify that we translateil the foregoing docun^^ent to
tlje chiefs who have signed, and they thoroughly iinderstand its
meaning. " (Signed) W. Collis,
" Wesleyan Mission Training Master.
" (Signed) E. P. ]\Iartin,
" Wesleyan Mission Printer.
" I hereby certify the foregoing to be a true copy.
"(Signed) Will. T. Peitchaki),
" Decemher 31, 1859."
The desirability of accepting: the sovereignty of these
ishmds, thus proffered, was generally recognised, not only
by those in high office, but by all who were capable of
forming an opinion on the subject. An occupation of the
group had already been recommended by many naval
officers well conversant with the question ; notably by
Admirals Sir Edward Belcher and Washington.
In order further to remove any obstacles in the way of
of the cession, Captain Towns, a patriotic citizen of Sydney,
offered a cheque for the indemnity claimed by the United
States, and on the motion of ]\Ir. IMcArthur, the Legislative
Assembly of New South Wales voted an address to tlie
Queen in support of the proposed annexation.
It appeared necessary to the Grovernment, however, that
they should be more fully supplied with information on the
question, and accordingly, with this object, in the early
part of the year 1860, Colonel W. J. Smythe, having been
duly appointed Her Majesty's Commissioner in that behalf,
proceeded to Fiji under instructions from the Duke of
The following extracts from Parliamentary Returns
relate the views entertained on the question by Her
Majesty's Government and the result thereof.*
* In my pamphlet, 'How about Fiji,' will be found Colonel Sniythe's
Pf port, in which the reasons for the rejection of the cession are stated
PROPOSALS FOR THE CESSION OF FIJI. 85
The Duke of Newcastle to Governor Sir John Young, Bart.
" Downing Street, 2Gth March, 1862.
" With reference to my Despatch to your predecessor, marked ' Sepa-
rate,' Oi the 4th September, 1860, enclosing copy of a correspondence
wliich had passed between this department and the Foreign Office, re-
lating to the proposed cession of the Fiji Islands, and also to certain
unauthorised measures adopted by Mr. Consul Pritchard, which bad
been brought under the serious consideration of Her Majesty's Govern-
ment, I transmit, for your information, a copy of the Report which was
furnished by Colonel Smythe on his return to this country, together
with copies of the communications which passed with the Foreign
Office upon the receipt of that Report.
" You will learn from thesedocuments that Her Majesty does nut
intend to assume the sovereignty of those islands.
" Lord Russell considers that, from your position as Governor of New
South Wales, you are the most fitting person to assume the direction
in the inquuy to be instituted, and the proper medium for communi-
cating to the chiefs of Fiji the regret of Her Majesty's Government that
the sovereignty intended cannot be accepted."
Extract from a Despatch from Governor the Bight Hon. Sir John
Young, Bart., to the Duke of Newcastle, dated Government
House, Sydney, 21st May, 1862.
" I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your Grace's
Despatch, No. 15, of date 26th March, 1852, witti numerous enclosures
and papers with regard to the Fiji Islands.
" I have lost no time in communicating with Commodore Seymour
on the subject, and he has made arrangements for the early despatch of
Her Majesty's ship Miranda on this special service, and Captain
Jenkins, the officer commanding, will communicate to the chiefs the
decision of Her Majesty's Government with regard to the sovereignty of
Governor the Eight Hon. Sir John Young, Bart., to the Duke of
" Government Bouse, Sydney, 10th October, 1862.
" My Lord Duke, — With reference to your Grace's instructions,
directing me to communicate to the chiefs of the Fiji Islands the decision
of Her Majesty to decline the proffered sovereignty of those Islands, I
have now tlie honour to forward a commnnication which I have received
from Captain Jenkins, of Her Majesty's ship Miranda, showing the
manner in which that service was performed.
" 2. Captain Jenkins has addressed a communication giving full details
on this subject to Commodore Burnett, who is now absent on an
expedition with Governor Sir George Bowen, for the purpose of selecting
a site for the foundation of a new settlement on the north-eastern coast
of Queensland. I presume that on his return Commodore Burnett will
forward Capitain Jenkins' report to the Admiralty.
" 3. In my former Despatch, No. 58, of date 20th June, 1862, I
forwarded copies of the message which I addressed to the various chiefs.
From an enclosure to Captain Jenkins' communication to me, your
Grace will j^erceive that Commodore Seymour seems to have added a
message of his own, which I have not seen, but which will, I have no
doubt, be duly transmitted to your Grace through the Admiralty.
" I have, &c.,
" (Signed) John Young.
" His Grace the Duke of 'Newcastle,
"■ dx. &C.