In 1847, Cakobau raised money to fund wars, with a coconut-oil levy

In 1847, Cakobau ventured beyond the traditional limits of tribute, and raised money to carry on his wars by means of levies of coconut oil. The ingenious response was “casks were said to have been fitted with sham tubes fixed directly under the bung-holes; and, while the gauge-stick showed oil in plenty – in the bamboos – it failed to detect the sea-water in the casks. A barrel of oil drifted ashore at Taileva (a Manila man (MANILLA-MAN, s. This term is applied to natives of the Philippines, who are often employed on shipboard, and especially furnish the quarter-masters (Seacunny, q.v.) in Lascar crews on the China voyage. But Manilla-man seems also, from Wilson, to be used in S. India as a hybrid from Telug. manela vadu, ‘an itinerant dealer in coral and gems’;),  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.

Traders own casks, control coconut oil trade: 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. The white traders..had ..the necessary casks, collected and bought oil. The traders on their part were rapacious, exacting all they could; there were disputes about the capacity of the casks supplied, and the missionaries found evidence of attempts to exploit the ignorance of the common people. The natives, however, retaliated with a dark ingenuity of deceit: casks were said to have been fitted with ham tubes fixed directly under the bung-holes; and, while the gauge-stick showed oil in plenty – in the bamboos – it failed to detect the sea-water in the casks.” http://www.janesoceania.com/fiji_discovery2/index.htm

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