1868: Levuka Mountain Lovonis captured and enslaved to cotton planters: Thakombau at the head of the Government

“The first partially-successful attempt at the establishment of a Government was made in June, 1871, by some adventurers from Australia, with whom were associated two of the business men of Levuka.
These placed an old chief named Thakombau at the head of the Government and constitution as King of Fiji, and he in turn appointed them his Ministers.
 Self-appointed Government created: “They were afterwards joined by Mr. J. B. Thompson, the present Administrator, and others, and continued to conduct the business of the Government aftor a style for some time, in face of numerous obstacles and difficulties, amongst which was a war with the Lovonis, a mountain tribe, which occupied the fastnesses in the centre of Ovalau.. (the Lovoni valley, occupying the centre of Ovalau, the beautiful scenery of which is a great attraction to tourists.)
Better to be enslaved, than eaten? …..”but who being at last totally defeated and taken prisoners, wero allotted to the planters as labourers for a term of years, a happy escape, as they thought, for they expected nothing loss than to be killed and eaten in accordance with time-honoured custom”.
 Rebellion against Thompson Government: “A large section of the European population nlao persistently opposed their solf-elcclcd rulors, whoao régime was of a most arbitrary character, and in 1873 this culminated in open rebellion, until at last, finding it impossible to continue the (facade?) of self-Government any longer, the Ministers accoptd the inevitable, and, with the consent  of the chiefs, made an offer of cession to Great Britain.
The Mercury Supplement, (Hobart, Tasmania)  Saturday 13 February, 1886.  This item appears written by a Levuka resident in early 1886, or late 1885.  It encourages tourism to Levuka, as a rest from an overheated Australia.  Author uses the name “Tasmanian”. Possibly Frederick Langham   Perhaps ship-owner and trader with a long term trading relationship with Levuka and Suva, for at least five years – since 1880.

20 July 1871: Hennings, Sagar and Woods create Fiji “Government”, at Levuka, fund private army; drill 29 Fijians to fight “Ba mountaineeers”

26april-fji-soldiers-1872-janeThe North Otago Times, reported “A body of over over 29 natives were being put through their facings in July 20 ( 1871), by Lieutenant Woods and the fact of discplining them in the white man fashion caused much indignation”.

1871 image?  This unsourced image shows about 29 soldiers at a place that looks like Levuka. It was published by Jane Resture (see links at left).  The two men at the right are perhaps Woods (later Prime Minister), and Hennings or Sagar.

Public meeting at Levuka: In the evening a public meeting was held in the (Levuka) Reading room, presided over by Dr Ryley. Opinion were expressed and resolutions passed to the effect that training them to act in concert was a dangerous and impolitic measure, and fraught with great danger to the white residents of Fiji. A delegation, consisting of Dr Ryley, Messers E. S. Smith, Cussake, Sumner, Jackson, Ross and Nicholls, was appointed to wait upon Mr Woods and protest against his action. The proceeded for the purposed of interviewing him, but he was “out;” and, expressing their determination to see him in the morning, they departed.
Office of Fiji “Government”  not recognised: Accordingly the next morning they waited upon him. Mr Burt as “Premier” wished to meet them; but stating they did not not recognise the “Ministry” they insisted on seeing Mr Woods, who appeared, Messrs Hennings and Sagar entered soon after and took part in the conversation. Mr Woods threw to onus of his action on the government, and stated that it was intended to drill some men for the purpose of acting against the Ba Mountaineers.

NZ war example – ‘natives with guns‘: The deputation argued the drilling of the natives was dangerous in the extreme and instanced New Zealand. It was replied the Ministry intended to subjugate the mountaineer and did not recoginise the right of a public meeting to control their actions If any were dissatisfied with the actions of the Government they could leave the country. The deputation again urging the discontinuance of the drill, then withdrew.
Large meeting assembled in the Reading-room: In the course of the day a letter was despatched to the chairman of the committee, stating that the object the Government had in view of drilling the natives was to get their cooperation in the expedition to capture the Ba murderers. In the evening a large meeting assembled in the Reading-room to the hear the report of the deputation, Dr Ryley in the chair. The letter was read, after which Mr Manton proposed, seconded by Mr Rogalsky, “That this meeting still is off opinion that drilling the natives is highly injudicious, but at the same time, while desiring Mr Woods to desist, wishes to express a hope that nothing done at this meeting should in aany way delay active measures being taken against the Ba murderers”.

North Otago Times, 1871