1840: Fijians at Rewa see no trade value in alcohol or salted foods; but do want tobacco

Leaving the Vincennes at (Levuka) Ovolau, the Peacock sailed for the island of VITI-LEVU; and on the 16th, (May 1840) reached the anchorage about six miles below the town of Rewa. They offered goods for trade, but tobacco was the only good wanted, and demand was mild:

Trade goods wanted at Rewa: “Salt is readily obtained from sea-water, but the Feejeeans use very little; and they uniformly manifested dislike on tasting our salted provisions”.

Tobacco wanted: “Spirituous liquors do not meet with more favour, although tobacco in one locality was making some slight progress”.

Cooking – Fijians use earthen pots, not hot stones: “Cooking is not, as with the Polynesians, conducted exclusively by the use of heated stones, and in the open air ; but articles of food are steamed rather than boiled, in earthen pots.

Yams the prime food: “Yams constitute the principal support of the population ; and are kept for months in elevated storehouses: a paste is likewise prepared from them which resembles the fermented bread-fruit of Taheiti, and in like manner ” is deposited in the ground.”

Warfare, but not over food: “The Feejeeans have besides a variety of compound dishes. They dwell in the midst of abundance ; and it has been truly remarked of them, that ” no people in the South Seas could live more comfortably and happily, but for their continual treachery towards each other.”


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: