FIJI ISLANDS

Cakobau's Fall And Restoration
1850 To Kaba (1855)
                            

During the lull in the war with Rewa, Cakobau turned his attention to his traditional enemies at Verata.

On 28th February, 1850, he sailed with a fleet of one hundred and twenty-nine canoes to attack the Verata stronghold. while the Bau warriors were building their war-fences, however, torrents of rain stopped the work and forced them to abandon the siege. They returned to Bau, drenched and shivering, but with shouting and the beating of drums, bringing the body of one of their enemies with them. quick to profit by his good fortune, the Verata chief sent to request Varani's help in re-establishing peace, and Varani went to Bau on 8th March, accompanied by Calvert. At first Cakobau would not listen to them: "Let me destroy this troublesome people and we shall have rest," he said. Undaunted by his obduracy, the two men pressed their plea, and at length Cakobau was persuaded to spare the Verata people on condition that they should remove to Viwa and leave their town to be burnt. These conditions were accepted; but when the time came for the Verata people to move, they refused to go. The Bauans again moved against Verata, and on 26th April they burnt the town, killing nine persons, while the defenders retired to the neighbouring stronghold at Nakoto. Elated by its early success, the Bau army followed without waiting for the customary feasting. The fighting had barely begun again, only one straggler having been cut off and killed, when the besieged made a sortie and fired on their assailants. The Bau warriors returned the fire, killing one man, and both sides rushed to secure the body. In the melee that followed, Gavidi, the notorious chief of Lauakau (Bau) ventured too far, and fell shot in the back. He died soon afterwards, whereupon the Bau army's morale collapsed; and when night fell they withdrew. On the following morning the Verata people ventured out and found deserted ovens full of food, and large quantities of supplies abandoned in the hurried retreat. The Bau fleet returned in silence, for the loss of Gavidi outweighed the victory gained, and the Verata army was still intact.
 

Fijians in fighting dress

 
During their bitter war against Somosomo the Natewa had sustained heavy losses, and at length, in 1850, their resistance collapsed and they capitulated at Tunuloa. Their peace offering was readily accepted, for Somosomo was threatened with a new war on the south coast of Vanua Levu, and at the same time was under heavy obligations to Bau. Five large double canoes, each carrying about a hundred and fifty men, and all deeply laden with tribute to tapa, coconut cordage, and other property, left for Bau in June, 1850. The fleet anchored at Ovalau on the 26th, and the crews were entertained by Tui Levuka with two or three bodies taken in war. Conspicuous among the canoes was one just completed at Somosomo for Ma'afu, and manned by a hundred and twenty Tongans. Ma'afu himself was on board; but, while he was quietly building up a fleet, he was content to be ranked "among those present" at the festivities at Bau.
 
 
In Bua, the tension between Christians and heathen flared up in open hostilities on 17th November, 1850, when Christian sheltering in the hill fortress at Nakorobase were attacked. Soon afterwards a party of Christian chiefs - unarmed, and advancing to parley with their opponents at Nawaca - were fired on, Ratu George of Dama and some others being killed. Too late the missionary and his people realized that a savage foe could not be placated by "turning the other cheek", and on 13th December, Williams armed his people. This was an extreme step for one who taught peace; but that it was necessary few will doubt. News had just come that Cakobau had declared war on all Christians which, in effect, meant those on Viwa  and at Bau. From Cakobau's point of view there was reason enough for his hostility. He aligned that the mission stations gave refuge to disaffected natives who, for any reason, had incurred the displeasure of their chiefs; and that the teaching of the missionaries led the people to denounce war and refuse to fight. It is surprising that he did not take action earlier; but it is perhaps less surprising that, having failed, as fail he did, he made no second attempt to stamp out the new teaching. 
 
The Tongans supported the Christian party, being in theory Christians themselves; and on 2nd January, a party of them made contact with the Nawaca people. After this skirmish there was a lull in the fighting until an affray on 20th February. Attacks on the Dama Christians followed during March; then, for over a year, the war dwindled to desultory fighting. In the middle of 1852, however, the Christian party was hard pressed; and in September there were rumours that Ritova (Tui Macuata) was on his way to attack Bua, the town of Tavea having been burnt after a brisk encounter. Relief came when, on 19th October, H.M.S. Calliope anchored at Bua, having on board David Whippy, with Varani as Cakobau's representative. Williams learned with relief that Calvert had induced Captain Sir Edward Home to interview. Armed as he was with Cakobau's instructions (conveyed through Varani) that the attacks on the Chrisitnas were to cease, Home was successful beyond all expectations. The rival chiefs gathered on the deck of the warship and were addressed by the captain; Tamaivunisa (Tui bua), who had taken no part in the fighting, supported Home's efforts; and on the following day, at a meeting held on shore, peace was concluded. 
 
 
Fiji Island photo postcard, Main Street, Suva, Fiji
 
 
Phillips of Rewa was dissolute and besotted. He purveyed grog distilled at Beta by his own Tahitians, made from bananas, sugar-cane, and the root of the wild dracaena; and his spacious house resounded with laughter and jokes, brawling and revelry, and boisterous feasting. His rude still produced - and he and his companions consumed - three or four gallons of the fiery liquor every day, and the inevitable end came in 1851, when, at the age of forty years, he died of dysentery aggravated by alcohol poisoning. The Rewa chiefs acted quickly, seizing the opportunity to throw off the yoke of Bau. They killed and ate the Bau governor and seven of his associates. They sent to urge Qaraniqio to forget the past and to return . They put Rewa in a state of defence in a single night. And, secure within the fences, Qaraniqio defied Cakobau to do his worst. His forces possessed less than ten muskets among them, and little ammunition; but the chiefs had learned much from the oppression of Bau, and for once they were united. Cakobau led an array of two thousand warriors against them, but was forced to retreat, his only success being the capture of a Rewa war-canoe, which furnished thirty-three bodies for the ovens.
 
Qaraniqio's return and successful resistance were the beginning of a new place of the war, during which Cakobau continually lost ground and saw his prestige decline. He attacked Rewa again and again, but without success; and his earlier triumph were forgotten in the shame of present failure. Qaraniqio got muskets powder and hall from visiting ships, and paid Cakobau in his own coin. Sir Everard Home attempted to reconcile the rival chiefs (13th October, 1853), but without success; and a letter which he addressed to Qaraniqio five days later left that chief unmoved. Qaraniqio had endured much from Cakobau, and was naturally unwilling to forego his present advantage. The burden of his hymn of hate was that the proud Cakobau should cook for him - or be eaten.
 
 
Notwithstanding his reverses, Cakobau's ambition was as great as ever. He arrogated to himself the title of Tui Viti, King of all Fiji, though he was far from occupying that position in fact; and, bearing that the rulers of Hawaii and Tonga each boasted a ship of his own, he conceived the idea that he also should own a ship, so that he might sail wherever he would, and travel in fitting state. The schooners built by the local traders were beneath is dignity; he wanted a ship of distinction. Captain Wallis of Salem, who has already figured largely in this narrative, was commissioned to obtain  a vessel in America, for which Cakobau agreed to pay a thousand piculs of beche-de-mer. The months went by, and there was no appearance of the ship. Meanwhile the matter became known, and Cakobau received offers from the Australian colonies. Impatient at the delay, he asked his missionary, Calvert, to write and accept a ketch offered by William Own of Adelaide. Calvert demurred, reminding him of the previous engagement with Wallis, and question questioning if the people would submit to any more of these despotic levies. but Cakobau and his friend Varani were confident of success; and, under protest, Calvert wrote ordering the ketch and offering five hundred piculs of beche-de-mer in payment. The vessel arrived in August, 1851, closely followed by Owen himself, who hopefully brought a large brigantine in which to carry away to china the promised beche-de-mer, which Cakobau and Varani immediately set to work to collect. The work had scarcely begun, however, when the ship ordered from America also arrived - a fine new vessel of 76 tons, appropriately named the Cakobau. Captain Wallis followed in September, in a large barque, in which he too expected to carry away the promised beche-de-mer.   
 
 
Fiji ladies
 
After a delay of several weeks, during which he got no more than a third of his five hundred piculs, Owen protested; and Cakobau, whose vanity was tickled by the more pretentious American vessel, gave up the attempt to pay for the ketch and asked for his money back - in ammunition. He appeared to be surprised and hurt when Owen's counter-claim for expenses and cancellation of contract absorbed all of it, and more. Cakobau and Varani now began all over gain, collecting beche-de-mer to pay Wallis by making levies on districts in which the "fish" were plentiful. Quantities of bags were made to hold the cured product, and sent far and wide among the islands; but the people either grumbled, working grudgingly, or refused to have anything to do with paying for the ship. When Cakobau visited the islands, sailing in delighted state in the Cakobau, instead of beche-de-mer he found empty bags, or none at all. He had been foiled by passive resistance. Many of the chiefs had refused to take the bags, others had taken them and let them rot on the ground, and some had burnt them.
 
Captain Goodridge of the Cakobau became impatient at this profitless sailing and picnicking, which Cakobau and his chiefs were enjoying thoroughly. There was heated argument, the upshot of which was that Cakobau told Goodridge that if he did not like to obey orders he might keep his ship. Cakobau's attitude was that of an irresponsible and peevish child, and in the end he had his way. The best fishing-ground for beche-de-mer was in the shallow seas off the Macuata coast; but the Macuata chiefs refused to interest themselves in what they regarded as an illegal and unjustifiable tax. In January, 1852, Cakobau assembled from ten to twelve thousand fighting men - probably the largest army Fiji ever saw - and transported them in eighty large canoes to Bua, and thence to Macuata; and, while war-parties bullied the Macuata people into helping in the work, the remainder of the men fished. But all worked with a bad grace, notwithstanding the strenuous example set by Cakobau and Varani, who themselves dived and fished industriously. Cakobau was again defeated by passive resistance, and the expedition was a failure. As a last resort, Captain Wallis took his own barque and the Cakobau, with a large complement of labourers, to New Caledonia, where beche-de-mer was plentiful. Nevertheless, the ships returned in October with only about half the promised thousand piculs. Finally Wallis gave up in disgust, and, leaving the ship in Cakobau's hands, he cut his loss and sought a cargo elsewhere.
 
 
Suva, Fiji
 
Cakobau now had his ship, but at the cost of lowered prestige, for his continued failure to secure the collection of his levies weakened his influence everywhere. Districts which once had trembled at his very word had dared to resist his demands, and so far from realizing his ambition to make himself Tui Viti, he found himself farther from that coveted position than ever. Even among the Europeans he lost ground. It had been the practice for beche-de-mer traders to pay fees to him when they established a new station; but his large-scale entry into the trade had damaged their business, and, quick to profit by his lowered authority, many of them now ignored him and opened stations when and where they pleased. Cakobau's attempt to enforce a form of tribute unsanctioned by custom was not only ineffective, but it proved to be one of the most unpopular things he ever did, and contributed in no small measure to the defeat and humiliation he was to experience during the next few years.
 
*   *   *   *   *   *   *  
Tanoa, Vunivalu and Chief of Bau, senile, dingy, and decrepit, died on 8th December, 1852. After having wielded the supreme power for years, Cakobau now succeeded to the title, and was formally invented on 26th July, 1853. The ceremony gained added lustre and dignity from the presence of Tui Kilakila of Somosomo and an imposing retinue. Tui Kilakila planned the visit in the grand manner. Not to be outdone by the fact that his over-lord at Bau possessed a fine new ship, he chartered Owen's ship, the Pachet, for the use of which he ceded the ownership of Kioa Island, at the entrance of Buca Bay. A formal transfer was executed, for Owen was a keen man of business; the Pachet was then deeply laden with tribute, and Tui Kilakila with a hundred followers sailed in state to Bau. A raid against the Dauninakelo people furnished eighteen victims for the feast of welcome. One of them escaped in the night; but despite all Calvert's efforts, the others were clubbed, cut up, and put in the ovens. All other means of preventing the horrible feast having failed, Calvert appealed to Owen, who was staying on his ship, then lying off Bau. Owen willingly supported the missionary, and threatened that if the bodies were eaten the Somosomo people might find their own way home, for he would not carry them; and he demanded that the cooked limbs then in the ovens should be given up for burial. The chiefs were forced to agree, and Owen appeared at Viwa on the following morning, bringing for decent burial a cargo of eighty-four well-cooked portions of human bodies. 

The Somosomo people and their lavish gifts were doubly welcome at Bau, for Cakobau's prestige had continued to decline. An expedition against the Rewa party at Nakelo had failed; and all his attempts to dislodge Qaraniqio from Rewa had been ostentatious act of homage did something to bolster up Cakobau's waning authority. However, he did not long survive his return to Somosomo. His murder, and the events that followed it, have already been described. The new Tui Cakau, who achieved notoriety during the next twenty five years, was the eldest surviving son of Tui Kilakila. Seemann described him as "a miserable-looking man, without any chiefly attributes, possessing appearance". Fison calls him a drunken chief who, to pay for liquor and arms, sold whole islands over the heads of his wretched people. In 1800, when Seemann was at Somosomo, this man and his young brother Ratu Golea were the only survivors of the family, but the feud begun in 1854 was still going on. On 31st May, Seemann saw Golea return from punishing the people who had murdered his brother three years before; he had taken and burnt nine empty towns, and killed one old woman and one child.  

Fiji warriors

The final stages of the war between Bau and Tewa were powerfully influenced by an incident apparently far removed from affairs in the delta lands. In August, 1853, the Levuka  traders took the law into their own hands and set off to avenge the outrage. Tui Levuka insisted upon joining the expedition, with a party of his warriors. The white members of the captured crew, who had been set free, were on their way home when they met and joined the positive expedition, which hurried on with the intention of making a demonstration that would prevent any recurrence of such attacks. But Tui Levuka had other and deeper designs. He had an old grudge against the Malake people; and when the demonstration began, his warriors turned it into a massacre, in which fourteen of the Malake people fell, and thirteen others were captured, among them several women.
 
When the heat of action had passed, the Levuka traders realized that the raid had been open defiance of Viwa and Bau; and, since their hostile neighbours and tormentors, the Levuni, were subject to Viwa, they lost no time in putting the settlement in a state of defence, and setting a nightly watch. Nevertheless, on the night of 20th September, the settlement was burnt, and stores valued at several thousands of dollars were destroyed. Fearing further attacks, the traders gave Tui Levuka goods with which to bribe the Lovoni to revolt against Viwa and Bau; and the ruse was successful. The traders were convinced that Cakobau and Varani had instigated the attack on the settlement; but, at an inquiry held fourteen months later by Captain Denham of H.M. survey ship Herald, their representatives offered no proof of Cakobau's responsibility. Arbitrarily and unjustly, however, the Court found that, since Cakobau was King of the Fijis, or so styled, the act must have been done under his knowledge as a matter of course, and the responsibility was therefore his until he should fix it upon someone else. 
 
 
Fiji lady
 
Wherever the blame for the Levuka fire lay, a breach between Bau and the white traders had been made. The whole of Ovalau - traders, coastal villages, and hill people - was ranged against Cakobau. Hitherto the whit3es in Fiji had been content to accept what treatment their patrons the high chiefs should see fit to accord them; when the chiefs frowned, they had bowed their heads to the storm; but the determination they showed on this occasion raised them to a new position, from which they never retreated, and which later events served only to strengthen. As usual, the wily Tui Levuka managed to "eat in both camps". He schemed to get his allies involved as deeply as possible; he persuaded the traders to send to Kakeba, where the Bau chief Mara had been in exile since Cakobau's ill-fated beche-de-mer fishing expedition, inviting him to come and lead the rebel forces; he allowed his people to kill and eat Cakobau's cattle pasturing on Ovalau; and then, having involved everyone else, he secretly made his peace with Bau. Whether the impending campaign should go well or ill, he felt he was safe. Mara, Cakobau's half brother and implacable enemy, came to Levuka and placed himself at the head of the native forces in alliance with qaraniqio of Rewa. by November, Cakobau's enemies, both old and new, had organized a League the membership of which included Qaraniqio, Williams (the U.S. commercial agent), Mars, Tui Levuka, and the traders. All were pledged to effect the blockade at Bau and the utter defeat of Cakobwau. Thereafter, no ship was allowed to approach Bau, and the supplies of food and ammunition upon which Cakobau depended were cut off.  
 
Varani felt that the only way to avert disaster was for Bau to regain the allegiance of the Lovoni and so out-flank the people of Levuka. He sent messengers to Lovoni, but as they were afraid to land he went himself. Whatever may be said of the Fijians generally, there can be no doubt that Varani did not lack courage. He and six others landed at night, made their way through the scrub, and appeared at dawn in the chief Levoni village. Their mission seemed to be proceeding favourably when a rival emissary arrived from Levuka, and the scales were weighted against them. Unarmed, they were treacherously clubbed and shot as they passed a temple in the village square, all but one being killed, and doubtless eaten. When the party was fired on, a man attacked Varani with a club; he wrested the club from his assailant, but spurning to use it, flung it away. Wounded by a musket shot, he could offer no further resistance and fell with blows raining on his head. So died one of the finest men Fiji ever produced. As a heathen warrior, he was famed throughout the islands; as a Christian chief, he proved himself a man of highest principle and courage, loyal to his heathen friend Cakobau, yet maintaining against all odds the traditions of his newly adopted religion. 
 
 
Fiji woman
 
Meanwhile, Cakobau suffered a serious reverse at Kaba, the finger-like peninsula of the mouth of the river leading to Rewa, and about five miles south-east from Bau. A strategic point, it was held by five hundred of Cakobau's own men, who had in their keeping a large war-canoe, the sails and stores of the gun-boat Cakobau, and a magazine of ammunition. This garrison rebelled, seized the king's property, and went over to the enemy. In August, 1853, Cakobau led a flotilla of war-canoes and a large force against Kaba; but, whether because of treachery or about resistance, he accomplished nothing. His warriors broke and fled, and he was forced to retreat leaving several of his principal men dead on the beach. Without its sails, his proud ship now swung useless at anchor; his stores of ammunition were depleted, and the blockade presented him from getting more; and now, when five hundred rebels had defied his army, his prestige collapsed. Qaraniqio poured warriors into Kaba, and strengthened its defences; and many of the boarder people and coastal towns deserted and went over to Rewa. Three months later, King George of Tonga, then on his way to Sydney, paid a visit to Cakobau, and showed keen interest in the military situation and in the recent unsuccessful campaign. He is reported to have said, "The rebel fortress (Kaba) seems to me to be anything but impregnable" - which was construed as a promise to help; and Cakobau, with such a promise in view, gave to him the canoe Ra Marama, the pride of his fleet, King George arranging to come and take it away after his return from Sydney. 
 
The war now took the usual course of plots and raids. When some of the Kaba garrison visited Levuka, the double-dealing Tui Levuka sent to inform Cakobau, who laid an unsuccessful ambush. On the night of 4th March, 1854, Bau was destroyed by fire, and among the many buildings burnt was an important temple, dedicated to the war god Cagawalu, recently built, and full of valuable property.
 
Cakobau was planning a second attack on Kaba, but he was embarrassed by affairs at home. Coroi Ravulo, an influential chief of Bau, had thrown in his lot with the rebels; but instead of going to Kaba he had gone to Sawakasa, a town on the Tallevu coast, about twenty miles from Bau. Cakobau had now to wage war on two fronts. On 12th March, Nagalu, the chief of Namena - a district near Sawakasa - arrived at Bau with reinforcements totalling six hundred warriors; but Cakobau's forces were less than he had expected, for five hundred others, promised and expected, had been bribed by Koroi Kavalo to stay away on the pretext of home defence, while other chiefs, though loyal, feared an attack in the rear should they leave for Bau, and stayed at home. Nevertheless, Cakobau was determined to press on with the campaign, and on 15th March he reviewed his army of fifteen hundred men, who made a brave show in the ceremony of bolebole or challenge to the absent enemy. Two days later a hurricane broke over western Fiji. The gale levelled what the fire on Bau had left standing; it also blew down the war-fences and many of the houses at Kabu, leaving that stronghold practically without defences. Unaccountably, however, Cakobau failed to seize the opportunity to attack. Valuable time was spent in consulting the gods, and in working up the army's courage by dancing; at length the warriors were ferried across to Cautata, a town on the coast, about four miles from Kaba, where Koroi Ravulo had mustered his men in preparation for an attack on Bau. Having dispersed the rebel force, Cakobau was joined by another five hundred men, and more time was wasted in the customary reviews and boasting. A full week had passed since the hurricane before Cakobau's army, now numbering two thousand, moved across the river mouth, laid seige to Kaba, and proceeded to cut and clear paths for attack and retreat. but the defences had by this time been rebuilt, and the garrison reinforced by Europeans and half-castes from Levuka, who realized that Kaba was the first line of defence for Levuka itself. The assault, such as it was, was made on 27th March. Of the two thousand warriors, scarcely three hundred did any fighting; and when a few small parties took panic and fled, the whole army stampeded to the canoes.  
 
Cakobau now resorted to tactics in which he was more adept, and induced Negalu to simulate disloyalty and offer to join Koroi Ravulo. but that experienced warrior was not so easily deceived, and sent a Sawakasa chief to the parley; and, as he expected, the man did not return. Three days later the Bau fleet and army made a combined sea and land attack upon Sawakasa; but this, too, was a complete failure. Almost in despair, Cakobau returned to B au, where news awaited him of Tui Kilakila's tragic end, which, the missionaries urged, was a divine judgement for that chief's opposition to the Lotu. There was also a letter from the Tongan King, dated 28th February, which told of an open letter from Williams - the U.S. commercial agent - published in the Sydney newspapers, and appealing to civilized nations to destroy Bau - "which a warship might easily do while one is smoking a cigar"; William's letter accused Bau of every kind of savagery and oppression, and asserted that the place ought to be destroyed and its people swept from the face of the earth. King George went on to say, "I expect to visit you with the Tongan friends to bring away my canoe and when we have finished planting we shall come to you". After urging Cakobau to lotu, and to be humble, he concluded, "It will be well for you, Cakobau, to think wisely in these days".
 
Three days later, Cakobau had a long conversation with the missionary, Waterhouse; and on the following day there was a full meeting of the remaining chiefs of bau and of the towns on the mainland. but though the chiefs were by no means unanimous in support of their lender's projected step, Cakobau's mind was made up. After discussing the political aspect with the principal chiefs of Bau, he publicly renounced his old way of life and the gods of his fathers, and became a Christian, on Sunday, 30th April, 1854. The temples were despoiled; a sacred grove of casuarina (nokonoko) trees, gnarled with age, was felled; and cannibalism and widow-strangling ceased at Bau. The long-withheld permission was given to the people to lotu, and old and young thronged the mission house, begging for alphabets.
 
Cakobau's enemies regarded his conversion as a scheme to gain time; and, so far from strengthening his position, it led to the secession of many who hitherto had supported him. A subject tribe on Koro Island revolted, and the loss of the whole island was threatened, while three towns within a mile or two of Bau placed themselves under Koroi Ravulo. Indeed, whole districts deserted. Bau itself was full of plots and rumours of plots, and a canoe-load of chiefs, among them two of Cakobau's younger brothers, went over to the rebels. The bills of Kaba peninsula swarmed with warriors, easily seen through a glass from Bau, which was now in a state of siege, best from without, divided within. Harassed, and deserted by those upon whom he had relied, Cakobau fell sick from depression and anxiety, and Calvert urged him to fly. But, though he had lost so much, his courage and pride were undiminished. "I cannot run away," he said; "if evil comes I must die". His astuteness also remained; and, having reason to believe that his cousin Nayagodamu - Reivalita's friend - was disloyal, he despatched him to subdue the rebellion on Koro, which he did through the agency of prayer meetings and muskets. 
 
The long blockade had reduced Bau almost to impotence; and muskets, ammunition, and food were nearly exhausted when the American ship Dragon (Captain Dunn) arrived at Levuka with supplies. Learning of the pass to which Cakobau was reduced, Dunn announced his intention of sailing to Bau; and, despite the pleadings and even threats of the Lewvuka traders, he boldly ran the blockade. His cargo staved off the crisis, and with new supplies the Bau forces were able to repel a formidable attack at Dravo. But that was the only gleam of light, for Qaraniqio now took the offensive and his skirmishers approached close to Bau. Cakobau himself was now worn, sick, and covered with sores; yet in October, when his fortunes seemed at their lowest ebb, Waterhouse proposed to him nine singularly inappropriate articles of "political reform" - impracticable moves in the direction of a liberal constitution. These measure, ill-adapted at any time to Fijian conditions, were, at the moment, highly inexpedient. but Cakobau had more wisdom than his spiritual adviser. After listening respectfully he replied, "No. I was born a chief, and I will die a chief".
 
On 8th November, Captain Dunn arranged a meeting on his ship between Cakobau and Mara; but after a long discussion they failed to reach any agreement. On the following day Cakobau accepted an invitation from Captain Denham, of H.M. survey ship Herald, to visit the warship and meet the disaffected chiefs who had fled from Bau; but none of the rebels appeared. Cakobau had already intimated to Captain Denham that he had "very grave charges" to make against certain British subjects, and also that he wished for an opportunity to clear himself of the blame laid upon him for the Levuka fire; Captain Denham therefore took advantage of his presence on the ship, and held an inquiry. Cakobau's charges, however, proved paltry; and the Levuka people, for their part, failed to produce any evidence of his responsibility for the fire - indeed, most of them refused even to appear. 
 
The year 1854 closed withy Cakobau in such poor health that his enemies feared he might die before they captured him. There were almost nightly desertions from Bau, and open tr4eachery with frequent alarms kept the king's nerves on edge. The morale of the allied forces on Kaba, on the other hand, was high; they repaired old temples, built new ones, tightened their grip on Bau, and drew in their cordon of strong posts. The peninsula was packed with men ; rebels from Bau, volunteers from Levuka, parties of the best warriors from every fighting town in Rewa, with food, arms, and ammunition in plenty; and all looked across the mirror-calm waters of the lagoon to Bau, isolated in its little bay, and waited for the moment to strike. but the blow server fell. Qaraniqio died on 28th January, 1855. Too weak to speak when the end came, he failed to observe the custom of naming a successor to carry on the war; and, its people war-weary and its chiefs divided, Rewa collapsed. Qaraniqio had been ill with dysentery for some time, and Moore, the missionary at Tewa, gave him what medicine was available. Unfortunately, shortly after taking it, Qaraniqio died; and as Moore had just returned from a peace mission to Bau, his well-meant aid compromised him in the eyes of the natives. Believing that his medicine had killed their chief, they fired his house at midnight, and he and his family barely escaped with their lives. William's house at Laucala was also burnt. 
 
The Rewa people wanted peace; Cakobau welcomed it. The customary offering was presented at Bau, and the war was formally ended on 9th February, 1855. But the Bau rebels on Kaba still held out: "Peace? there is one man to be killed then there will be peace." Mara rallied his forces and prepared to strike. Warriors from many Rewa towns remained at Kaba, in no way disheartened by the defection of their superiors. Indeed, the peace brought little relief to Cakobau. Help from Tonga was rumoured and expected, but the only immediate effect was an accession to the rebel ranks of many who were prepared to sink local differences in order to repel and humble the Tongan invader. Angered by Cakobau's profession of Christianity and his abandonment of the gods of Fiji, heathen chiefs everywhere joined Mars. The war took on an entirely new character. It ceased to be a struggle between Bau and Rewa; all that was forgotten. It was now a conflict of the rebels of Bau against a few loyalists, of the old ways of life against the new, of heathenism against Christianity, of savagery against civilization. The reform party was led by Cakobau, until now the foremost enemy of all reforms; and the reactionaries followed Mara, the late champion of the new ideas.
 
The Tongan fleet was reported on 24th March. Two thousand warriors and many of their women-folk had left Tonga in thirty large canoes; the fleet had called at Lakeba, where Ma'afu and a large following of Tongans had joined it; and the combined fleets, thirty-nine canoes in all, had come by easy stages to western Fiji, in time to save Cakobau from almost certain defeat and death. Messages were sent to the Tongan king, asking him to spend Sunday at Moturiki, to allow time in which to make preparations at Bau for his reception. Since he was the bearer of letters to the priests at Levuka, from the French Governor of Tahiti and priests in Tonga, he took the opportunity to send one of his canoes to Levuka to deliver them. Tui Levuka and the traders had agreed to allow this canoe to land without molestation, but Mara arranged otherwise. As the canoe was being poled to the beach it was fired upon by natives in the crowd, and the Tongan chief Tawake, owner of the canoe and a relative of King George's, was mortally wounded. The firing was suppressed by Tui Levuka, who with others waded into the water to receive the letters; and the Tongans got away in time to avoid Mara's canoe, which was even then entering the passage through the sea reef. The incident boded ill for the rebels. King George had come intending to mediate, not to fight; but after Tawake's death Tongan intervention was inevitable. Calvert did all he could to secure peace by negotiation, but Mara laughed him and his messengers to scorn. Pointing to his army, his fortification, and his stores, he asked, "Are these Tongans stones, that they can withstand our muskets? Let them come."
 
The Tongan fleet left Bau on 3rd April, and sailed in stately procession past Kaba to Kiuva, a town on the coast beyond, and the rendezvous with Cakobau's fighting men. four days later, the combine4d forces, consisting of two thousand Tongans and upwards of one thousand Fijians, moved against Kaba. There was a fortified outpost, Koro i cubu, near the end of the peninsula; the landward base was protected by a long fence extending from coast to coast; and between these lay Kaba, the principal stronghold. The Fijian army was sent to attack the fence and cut off the rebel retreat, while the Tongans landed at the seaward end. Desiring that the reduction of the stronghold should, if possible, be bloodless, King George led a party to cut down trees with which to build fences, in order to invest the place and reduce it by starvation. but, seeing some of their number shot or clubbed, and the bodies dragged within the fences of Koro i Cubu, the warriors of Vavau, carrying all before them, stormed the place and set fire to the houses within. The garrison of Koro i Cubu fell back upon Kaba itself, where they were joined by the defenders of the fence, who had  been driven in by the Fijian attack. An assault was now made upon the main fortifications of Kaba, from which a brisk fire was opened upon the advancing Tongans, who attacked with great dash and bravery. According to the rules of Fijian warfare they were defeated before the real attack developed, for some of their number had already fallen; but knowing nothing of such rules, they stormed the barricades, leaving their wounded to be succoured by the women, who had insisted on accompanying them. At the critical moment, Ma'afu threw a fresh division into the attack, the fences were breached, and the town was taken. but Mara was not among the prisoners. "The man is a fool who fights with Tongans," he cried as he ran through Cautata; "they are gods, not men." In the excitement of victory, the Fijian warriors were not to be restrained. Though they had contributed little to the assault, they now rushed in; and before their frenzy could be curbed they had butchered men, women, and children, bringing the defenders' total losses to a hundred and eighty killed, and as many wounded. The Tongans, for all their bravery under fire and the verve of their attack, lost only fourteen killed and less than twenty wounded.
 
King George disciplined the Vavau warriors, who had disregarded his orders and turned the siege into an assault. Their defence was that they pressed on, "looking for the fortifications", and were actually in the town before they realized that they had passed their objective. Cakobau, for his part, acted with commendable restraint in his hour of triumph. Two hundred prisoners-of-war were at his mercy, and were spared. Koroi Ravulo was among those taken, and him, indeed, Cakobau wished to execute; but miler counsels prevailed, and the wondering chief was freed. Mars took refuge at Kumi; but when the combined fleets appeared off the town on 13th April, he fled to Ovaluau. The revolt collapsed, the rebel districts suing for peace, which was granted on generous terms. Under Mara, the Levuka traders and natives made some show of continuing the war; but soon afterwards Cakobau and Mara were brought together on the deck of a British warship then at Levuka, and peace was restored. Mara, however, continued to nurse his animosity in secret, waiting only for a favourable opportunity to strike again.
 
The Battle of Kaba marks the point where western Fiji turned away from the old dark ways to adopt the customs of more enlightened peoples. There were wars and desultory fighting after 1855; but, except for Tongan wars of aggression and conquest, they were mostly outbreaks of the old savagery, and in remote districts. In August, 1856, there was a shooting affray at Nasavu (a village on Nadi Bay, Bua) in which the missionary, Fordham, was forced to defend his home against marauders. Captain Denham of H.M.S. Herald later held an inquiry, the result of which was that Fordham was exonerated from blame; and hostilities were ended for the time being by an argument signed on the warship. The smouldering hatred flared up again, however, in Aril, 1858, when the heathen party at Bua was joined by Tui Levuka and Mara. Claiming to have come to prot4ect the missionary and mission property, Tui Levuka was admitted within the defences of the Christian town, whereupon the heathen warriors rushed and took it. Tui Levuka refused, indeed, to allow a general massacre; but the Christians were spared only to be dispersed as prisoners among the towns on the coast.
 
Though Cakobau had, since his conversion to Christianity, but some of his lust for conquest, he still dreamed of the title and position of King of all Fiji and, indeed, the Tongan intervention had brought him nearer to a realization of that dream than he had ever been. But his plans did not include the complete subjugation of other kingdoms; and the peace of February, 1855, was an understanding between war-weary chiefs rather than a conquest. Rewa was now tributary to Bau, and its power was broken; but it still retained its status as a kingdom. The sixty days' war that ended at Kaba was concluded by an equally generous settlement. The intransigent Mara was pardoned and left free to renew his scheming, and undermining of his brother's authority. Tui Levuka pursued his crooked and dissolute course, but with more circumspection. Most of the chiefs, and their people, accepted the new conditions which the conclusion of hostilities brought about. Violent as the reaction to Cakobau's conversion had been, now that his enemies were overthrown and humbled, the religion of the chief became the religion of the people. To this day, old men refer to Christianity as Na Lotu nei Ratu Cakobau - Cakobau's religion. The people lotu-ed by royal command. For many years native opinion had been suffering a succession of rude shocks, yet belief in the local gods had persisted in spite of accumulating evidence of visiting warships and trading vessels, and by the better class of local whites. A sweeping change though inevitable, had been damned back by chiefly authority. Then Cakobau himself changed, and a howl of rage went up from his late allies. After Kaba, however, the flood burst through and swept all before it; whole towns, even whole districts, lotu-ed, and the missionaries were hard put to it to find teachers to instruct their new converts. They wrote to Tonga, and to Lakeba, asking each to send thirty teachers; from Tonga they got four, from Lakeba seven. Twenty-one towns on Kadavu were calling for teachers, and only four were available King George diverted one of his canoes to Lakeba, with a further appeal for help, and arranged for the transport of new workers. A year later the missionary at Rewa reported sixteen thousand attendants at public worship in that district alone. Evidences of the adoption of a new code began to appear. There was, for example, a changed conception of justice, in which the influence of the missionaries of plainly to be seen. A chief of Batiki waylaid and shot his rival; and he was seized, taken to Bau, tried, found gu8ilty, and condemned to death. However, feeling that the notice had not been given that acts of murder were no longer to go unpunished, missionaries and chiefs agreed that the sentence should be commuted into a heavy fine; but it was announced that future offences would be punished with death. Within a few weeks (March, 1856) a Bau chief living in a town on the mainland butchered his wife, omitting no horror that the imagination of an angry save might devise. He was taken and tried, and, having admitted his guilt, was publicly hanged four days later.
*   *   *   *   *   *  *
 
On 11th May, five weeks after Kaba, King George and his party, accompanied by Cakobau, left Bau for Rewa and Kadavu. The king travelled on Ra Marama, which carried a crew of one hundred and forty men ; and, with a fleet of forty large canoes, he progressed in regal state through the delta, past Bureta, Nakebo, Tokatoka, to Rewa. chiefs who little more than a month before had been bitter enemies ate and drank in company, and fraternized on the canoes. The rival sons of old Tui Nakebo were reconciled, thus removing the only remaining canoe for anxiety in the relations between Bau and Rewa. Of all the delta towns, only Daku remained obdurate; for two and a half years its chiefs refused to lotu, and over thirty thousand other Fijians had done so before they made the change. At Rewa, King George promulgated a plan for collective security, a decree ordaining that "any town offending by taking steps towards war should be considered the enemy of all, and liable to chastisement by the combined powers of Bau and Rewa". The Rewa chiefs formally renounced their old gods and savage customs; but they managed to postpone an inquiry which King George threatened to make into the burning of the mission house. At Kadavu, the expedition learned that twenty-one out of the hundred or more towns on the island had already lotu-ed.
 
The Tongan king had political interests, as well. Hearing that the people on Rabe Island were defying Tui Cakau, he offered his services, which were readily accepted. After the Tongans had subdued the rebels, the cloven hoof appeared. Payment was demanded, and Ma'afu retained control of Rabe Island until 1860, when Tui Cakau was at last able to buy him off. Cakobau also, was not to be allowed to forget how and by whom his restoration had been accomplished. The Tongans had arrived at a time when he was facing defeat and death; and, having scattered his enemies, they had settled him more firmly than ever in his lace as the principal chief of Western Fiji. Then the king-makers returned to their own land, taking with them Ra Marama, the canoe they had come to receive, and the Cakobau, which had brought its owner nothing but trouble. Cakobau would have kicked away the leader by which he had climbed; but the events of April, 1855, had brought Ma'afu and his Tongans such prestige that he feared to oppose them, though they became more over-bearing than ever. Cadobau found all his wider schemes baulked by Tongans, or the threat of Tongan intervention, and soon realized that he had merely exchanged one menace for another. 
*   *   *   *   *   *  *
 
The time and manner of Cakobau's conversion laid upon him a suspicion of opportunism. Having at the time little to lose by the change, for his situation was desperate, he imagined at first that by serving the god of the missionaries he might enlist his support; and he sought to derive a bargain to that end with Waterhouse. But it was made clear to him that such considerations must be put aside. Disillusioned, yet still resolute, he took the long-postponed step, and if the missionary had needed evidence that he had not taken it solely for what he could gain by it, that evidence was provided by the events of the months that followed. Deserted by friends and allies, he saw a desperate situation deteriorate into something worse. His ruin seemed inescapable, yet he did not waver. It is true that at first "the power of religion had not gone very deep"; and "his hatred of his enemies was still fierce". nevertheless, in the hour of his triumph he evinced a generous spirit. That the implacable Cakobau should spare the enemies who had brought him to humiliation and shame, and who had so nearly accomplished his destruction, is evidence of an advance towards a civilized outlook.
 
Cakobau was born during the darkest years of the century. In his youth, Europeans were known only through worthless beach-combers and the ghastly memories of the sandalwood trade. He lived the best years of his life through a violent period of bloodshed and cannibalism, and he took a leading part in all its horrors. He raised himself to be the champion of its savagery against the newly-introduced religion and culture of the Western World. That he should have emerged, in his later years, a refined gentlemen, courtly and dignified, and the trusted friend of colonial administrators, s testimony both to his native qualities and to the power of religion. That, having surrendered his cherished authority to the British Crown, he should have remained loyal while his favourite son was disciplined and disgraced, making himself amenable to law where before he had been the sole arbiter, is altogether admirable. Judged by civilized standards, he lacked much. He was without education, though he could, with painful scare, write his own name. He understood little of civilized ways of government, and much of the duplicity and cynicism of savage diplomacy - for which, indeed, he showed an extraordinary capacity. He had lived too long in an environment of barbarism and bloody despotism ever to have become a successful administrator; and the attempt of ambitious men to set themselves up as a government under the shadow of his authority made for him many enemies and detractors. But these were faults less of character than of circumstance. In these islands, he towered head and shoulders above every other native chief of his time.
*   *   *   *   *   *  *

The policy to be developed by Ma'afu was laid down by King George before the Tongans left Lakeba on the last stage of their return journey. How much of what followed was due to the Tongan king's instructions, and how much to Ma'afu's personal ambition, can never be known. From that time Ma'afu openly pursued a course of personal aggrandisement. He established his headquarters at Lomaloma, on Vanua Balavu. He added to his fleet by laying down the keel of a 45-ton schooner, which would have obvious advantages over the war-canoes of his rivals. He held the balance of power in Fijian politics, and was able to pursue a policy of Divide et imopera. Under his astute leadership the Tongans in Fiji won prestige and power altogether out of proportion to their numbers, which fluctuated, but were at all times comparatively small. Minor Fijian chiefs were ever ready to grasp any opportunity to achieve notoriety by resisting the ruling chiefs; and the Tongans had only to make a gesture of support to such men, to precipitate a crisis in almost any district in Fiji. Playing off one chief's party against another, and posing as deliverers while meaning to be exploiters, they divided the Fijian forces and dealt with each faction in turn. so far-reaching, indeed, was Tongan influence upon the events of the twenty years that elapsed between the Battle of Kaba and the establishment of British colonial government in Fiji, that it forms the background against which all these events must be viewed.

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(E-mail: jane@pacificislandsradio.com -- Rev. 7th March 2011)