1848: Seven killed and town burned over dispute over barrel of coconut oil

A barrel of oil drifted ashore at Taileva; a Manila man living at Viwa tried to drive a bargain for its purchase, and having failed, enlisted the help of the chief Gavidi of Lasakau (Bau), by the gift of a musket.
Gavidi sent to demand the oil, which was quite properly refused; and the enraged chief had five of the towns-people shot out of hand. Such incidents laid all white traders, good and bad, open to treachery and attack; and when H.M.S. Calypso (Captain Worth) visited Fiji in the middle of 1848, bringing the British consul from Samoa, there were several incidents awaiting investigation and punishment.

On 12th June, 1848: while the Calypso was at Somosomo, a boat was sent to Koro Island to inquire into and avenge the murder of two Englishmen. Guilt being proved, the town was burnt. At Bau, early in July, Captain worth heard of the murder of two Englishmen at Macuata; being unable to visit that coast, he sent a letter to the chief Ritova (Tui Macuata) protesting against the outrage, and promising strong action if the report proved to be true. The warship sailed, however, before Ritova could reply.

Bombardment of Bau mooted: Cakobau took advantage of the visit of the Calypso to lay charges against Pickering; but while Captain worth recognized a degree of truth in them, he could not find sufficient grounds for legal action. On the contrary, Cakobau’s insolent bearing so incensed the British captain that, suspecting the chief of hostile intentions, he considered ordering the bombardment and destruction of Bau


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