1850: Rev. Joseph Waterhouse described 1836 cannibal cultures to his sponsors as he seeks funds for mission in Fiji

These pamplet draft by –Rev. Joseph Waterhouse – was designed to raised funds – and appear based on reports by John Calvert and John Hunt.

Hobart Town, 4th April 1850

Very dear Sirs,

By the permission of Providence I expect to sail for Auckland, New Zealand, next Tuesday, the 9th. Inst. I cannot leave for my station without giving you some particulars of Feejee which may be interesting to the subscribers of the fund.
“The isles afar off, that have not heard my fame” Isa. 66.19

The Feejee islands were discovered by Tasman in the year 1643. They lie between 15° and 20° South latitude, and between 177° east and 178° west longitude, occupying an area of about 40,000 square miles. Their number is about two hundred and the population is estimated at 300,000.

Commencement of the Mission
“Teach the Gospel to every creature” Jesus Christ

Two Missionaries, of the Wesleyan Methodist Society, landed at Lakemba, Feejee on the 12th. October 1836. They found human death to be an accident! No word expressive of a dead body was discovered in the language but there was a term signifying “an eatable corpse”!! On one occasion, two hundred men and one hundred women had been slaughtered, cooked, & eaten!!! Another time two hundred & thirty were consumed like sheep!

Rites and Customs of the Feejeeans
Romans 1. 29 – 31

The religious rites of the Feejeeans are numerous. Some of them are associated with deeds of horrid cruelty, & have a most demoralizing influence. One distinguishing feature of their religion is, that the gods are never approached immediately by the people. This is the exclusive duty of the Ambati or Priests, who are the representative of the respective tribes. They do not worship images.

Temples and spirit houses: Their sacred rites are performed in temples or Spirit-houses, dedicated to certain deities. Of such edifices each town has one; and often several. Women are not allowed to enter these temples. The priests have great influence over the people who consult them on all occasions. The natives seldom seperate the idea of the god from that of the priest, who is viewed with almost divine reverence. The office of ambati is usually hereditary. The people consult and propitiate the gods, through the medium of the ambati, on the following occasions; to implore good crops; on going to battle; for successful voyages; for rain; for storms to drive boats, ships, and canoes ashore, in order that the natives may seize the lives & property with which they are freighted; for the destruction of their enemies; and for the removal of pestilences. They endeavour to propitiate the deities with suitable oblations, such as cloth, yams, taro, pigs, whale’s teeth, or anything rare & valuable. Frequently a part of the little finger is cut off and presented to the god: on other occasions, human beings are the devoted victims!

Reader, are you a friend to religious education?

Go to Feejee and behold the training of the infant, his lips rubbed with human flesh in order that a taste for such food may be excited and early acquired. Of the boy, playing with dead human bodies as toys. Of the youth, aiming his poisoned arrows at the eyes of a captive lad or lass and making the body of the little suffering innocent his target! Does not your heart pity poor Feejee?

Are you a protector of religious liberty?

The Feejeean priest is reverenced as a demi-god, and threatens to eat the people of his charge unless they provide every thing he wants or fancies!
Give Feejee your Magna Charta, the Gospel.

Are you opposed to war?

Yon Feejeean tribe is building war-canoes. As each canoe is launched, a human being is laid hold of, and carried home for a feast. It is decked, – ten or more men are slain on it & the deck is washed with human blood. At last the war fleet is completed, it sets sail; some of the vessels carry upwards of two hundred warriors. To every land at wh. the new canoes touch they carry terror, for men must be slaughtered & eaten! The fleet reaches its destination – the warriors disembark & scale the town of the enemy – the battle is fought – the invaders win the victory – & the beseiged are bound hands & feet together. A number of the captives are then placed in the usual oven, upon hot stones, and covered with leaves and earth, where they are roasted alive, and then eaten by their conquerors! Others of the conquered are killed, their blood drunk, and their bodies sent as choice morsels to the friends of the victors who bake and eat them! But the poor little children! they are carried by the conquerors to their own offspring, in baskets elevated to the tops of the masts, where, dangling in the wind, they feel every lurch the canoe makes & when the voyagers land at home, these innocents are used as targets! Pity poor Feejee.

Do you relieve the destitute?

If you are really anxious to alleviate human suffering & woe pity poor Feejee. The cripple is thrown to the shark. The aged are buried alive. When a native is sick of a lingering disease their relations will either wring their heads off, or strangle them!

Are you a friend of the oppressed?

In Feejee kings order the limbs of refractory chiefs to be cut off, cooked, & eaten in the presence of the living trunk. A chief had ordered his slave to get him some bread-fruit at a time whenit was out of season, & when the servant returned to his master to inform him of his want of success, he was ordered to heat an oven, after which he himself was roasted alive & eaten by the tyrant! A chief wants a nurse for his child. He goes to a poor Mother, kills her infant, & commands her to suckle his own.

Pity, poor Feejee.

Do you befriend the shipwrecked?

Hear a Missionary speaking from Feejee: “Sometime since a Rewa canoe was wrecked near Natewa; the people swam to shore where they were found by the Natewa people. They took them into the town, & prepared for eating them. They would not club them lest any of the blood would be lost, but they bound them ready for the oven. Some of them could not wait till they were cooked, but came & pulled off the poor fellows’ ears & ate them. They afterwards cut off their arms, placing a bowl under to catch the blood. If any of the blood fell on the ground, they fell down & licked it up most greedily. They ate the poor fellows’ arms in their presence, & then their legs, and then cut pieces off their bodies. Many of the poor fellows lived during this part of the operation & pleaded most earnestly for life, but these wolves were too fond of blood to pity or to spare. They ate every one of them. They never let a single drop of blood be lost if they could help it.”

Are you a woman?

Then pity poor Feejee where females are treated with the greatest contempt & cruelty. In some instances they have been sold for an old paltry musket. They exist in a state of the most abject slavery. Many well-authenticated facts on this subject are too horrifying for publication.

Each man may have as many wives as he can maintain. The latter are almost completely slaves, and if they misbehave they are either tied up or flogged. They are often strangled or buried alive at the funeral of their husband & generally at their own request. If a woman refuses to be strangled, her relatives compel her to submit.

Are you a parent?

In Feejee infanticide is a daily occurrence.

It is the custom for the parent to wish the son to put him to death: Sometimes the child gives notice to the parents that they are a burden & must die! The aged persons are allowed their choice of being strangled or buried alive, in the completion of which work no time is lost. The late Rev John Hunt witnessed several of these diabolical acts. On one occasion a young man called upon him who desired Mr Hunt to pray to his Spirit for his mother who was dead. The Missionary told him to lead the way to the funeral, and that he would then offer up prayer, – not for the dead but for the living – They soon met the procession, when the young man said that this was the funeral, & pointed out his Mother, who was walking along with them, as gay & as lively as any of the Company, & apparently as much pleased. Mr Hunt expressed his great surprise to the Feejeean & enquired how he could deceive him so much by saying his Mother was dead, when she was alive & well. He replied that they had made her death feast & were going to bury her; that she was old; that his brother & himself had thought she had lived long enough; and that it was time to bury her, to which she had willingly assented, & that they were now to terminate the business. He had come to the Missionary to ask his prayers as they did those of the priest. He added that is was from love to his Mother that they had done so; that in consequence of the same love they were now going to bury her, and that none but themselves could or ought to do so sacred an office. Mr Hunt exerted his utmost to prevent so fiendish an act. The only reply he received was, that she was their Mother, & they were her children & they ought to put her to death! On reaching the grave the parent sat down, when her children, grandchildren & relations took an affectionate leave of her; a rope made of twisted tapa was then placed twice round her neck by her sons, who took hold of it

d her! After which She was interred with the usual ceremonies. Her descendants then retired to feast & mourn, after which the deceased was entirely forgotten as though she had never lived. Parents, pity poor Feejee!

Obstacles surmounted by the Missionaries

“He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me.” Matt. 10:37

The Missionaries have left heir families, to live among strangers; they have denied themselves the comforts of civilised society, to dwell among a deeply degraded heathen people, to teach them to know & love & serve their redeeming Lord and Saviour. They have acquired the language; & some of them have mastered other languages in order to benefit poor Feejee. They have assailed Heathenism in its strongest citadel. Like the Apostle Paul, at Athens, the Missionary, at Feejee, has often found himself the only Christian among thousands of superstitious idolaters. They have been the Antagonists of hell-peopling and soul destroying Popery. They have endured the wastings of climate which is very oppressive. They have shortened their lives by living on improper food. They have been rendered houseless by hurricanes & deluges and their property spoiled. They have been in perils in the sea, being obliged to voyage from place to place in the native canoes, which are often capsized, and the travellers have to swim for their lives. On one of these occasions Mrs. Cross was drowned. They have felt severely the want of medical assistance. On one occasion, the Missionary, with his wife, & children were all ill at the same time, & there was no European to wait on them.

The bereaving hand of death is, if possible, more affective to the Missionary, when in a heathen land, than when placed in any other circumstances. With what sorrow must he consign the last earthly remains of his best human friend – the partner of his joys & the companion of his sorrows – himself the only European mourner – to

the dust of Feejee!

The Cruelty of the Heathen.
“Lo! I am with you alway” Jesus Christ.

The Missionary, who has left a comfortable home, good food & kind friends, to go and dwell among Feejeeans, and at such great personal inconveniences, to instruct these Cannibals in the truths of the Divine Religion, is in peril among the cruel Heathen. They have feasted on human flesh, in front of the Mission premises, and have then enquired of the Missionary the reason of his closing the doors & shutters of his house. On being informed that it was to keep out the sickening sight & the unpleasant smell, they have declared that if such conduct were repeated, they would kill, cook, & eat the Mission families! Messages have been received, by the Missionaries, to prepare for death on the morrow. A chief has held an immense club over the head of a Missionary, for a considerable time, threatening him with immediate death, if he would not give the savage his own wife! Mr. Sythe narrowly escaped death, while administering medicine to a chief, who was very ill, but who could not brook correction, when he vaunted of the power of his false gods. Whilst Mr Williams was packing a trunk, a Feejeean raised his club, and would, without the slightest warning, have killed him on the spot, had not Mr. Calvert perceived the danger, & parried off the blow. A girl endeavoured to crush Mr. Watsford’s infant to death, by squeezing it in her arms. A chief threw one of Mr William’s children to a fierce dog. The late Rev John Hunt was stripped of his shoes & stockings, by some of the natives, who examined his legs to pass judgment, whether he would eat well or not!

The obligations of the Church.

“Cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness.” Matt.25: 30

Is the Christian Church laid under any obligation to help Feejee?
Ought not motives of gratitude impel her to make sacrifices to send

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the gospel to these habitations of cruelty? Let the members of the Church ask what the Lord has done for them? Are they themselves not monuments of his goodness, power, & grace? Say – “how much owest thou unto my Lord?”

Your crucified Redeemer asks “Lovest thou Me?” You enjoy friends, ease and property. “Lovest thou me more than these?” The self denial you practise, the sacrifices you make, to help the Heathen, will answer. Let your actions show the meaning of your words when you pray “Thy Kingdom come”.

Wesleyan Methodists are placed under peculiar obligations to help poor Feejee. By an existing arrangement with the London Missionary Society, this group of islands is placed entirely under the care of the Wesleyan Churches. Our fathers have solemnly engaged to supply the spiritual wants of this people. They have said in effect, “the blood of the Feejeeans be upon us and upon our children”. The Wesleyan Churches are responsible to Almighty God for the salvation of Cannibal Feejee; no earthly power can release them from this engagement. Ignorance of this duty can be pleaded no longer, as an excuse, for our neglect!

At the present moment there are but five Missionaries, labouring among three hundred thousand of these Cannibals, and the health of two of these has failed. Three young men, of whom the writer is one, are about to engage in this responsible and arduous, but sublime & heavenly work.

Although God has been removing his workmen, yet he still carries on his work in Feejee. This is her day of grace. The principal subject of conversation among all ranks is the lotu (Christian religion). An impression is abroad that the lotu must prevail. There exists a great desire to hear the gospel. The following is a pleasing instance of this: – A chief applied for a Missionary. When informed that there was no supply for him, he said “Then let me have a Teacher”. But all the native Teachers were engaged for other tribes. “Then”, continued he, “let me have anyone who can

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teach my people the religion of the heart”. Now the only individual who was at all suitable was a boy, and he was a leper! The leprosy in Feejee is very loathsome & it is also infectious. And yet, rather than forego the teaching of the gospel, this Chief and his people ran the risk of introducing the leprosy into their tribe!

I entreat you, Very Dear Sirs, to pray for me; and let your actions show you pity poor Feejee!

I remain, Very Dear Sirs,

Your faithfully,
Joseph Waterhouse
Wesleyan Missionary to Feejee.

Messrs. G.M. Waterhouse
F. Reynolds
J. Colton,
T. Padman
The subscribers to the fund.

Rev. Joseph Waterhouse – papers, 1826-1876http://image.sl.nsw.gov.au/Ebind/mss554/a310/a310000.html


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