1872 The Cutter Agnes: An extraordinary story of the lawless Queensland slave-trade and how a Queensland member of Parliament with a sugar plantations bought slaves from pacific pirates

The Cutter Agnes

 How men and women were trapped, killed or sold.

In the 1870s slaves were sold at Levuka to Heinnemann and Co for 30 pounds a person

“It was in the beginning of the (1870s), the good old Fiji cotton days.

Captain Phil MeKeever and myself, his mate Joe Barton of the 40-ton labor schooner Alert, were trudging down Beach Street, Levuka.

We had only arrived from the Solomons the night before, and had just handed over our live cargo of b blalckbirds (slaves) eighty souls all told, to our owners, a German firm, Messrs.Heinnemann and Co., who retailed them out at about 30 pound per head to plantation owners.

We had received our respective dollars, and commission per head recruiting and were steering a direct course for the Royal Hotel for a feed of gin, as was the custom in those days, and is still.

We ran out of liquor on board – a most unusual thing in n those days and our thirst as very great.

Phil used to tell me — sea he had a great long giraffe sort of thirst, and what a feed of gin he would have when he got to port; and he stuck to his word. I never knew Phil to lie in that respect.

Gin was only eighteen shillings per case, and Phil laid himself out for a gross, which he intended to demolish before he put foot on board another vessel. –

Phil (MeKeever ) was a good sort; handsome and fair, open-hearted and kind to a degree, gentlemanly in his ways and manner, but by continual intercourse with low beach-combers he descended low at times; a lover of adventure, but with an ungovernable temper.

He had been an old ‘Varsity man somewhere, nut where, he was loth to say. He was like a good many more in Fiji in those days, who had left their coun try for their country’s good, and had come to Fiji for the benefit of iheir health. “Climate so exhilarating!” they used to say. So it was square gin 18/ per dozen, other gins cheaper.

We duly arrived at the pub., and were greeted by our host with open arms. Recruiters were always wel come; they generally spent their cheque in the shortest time possible, like the proverbial shearer.

Louis Armstrong, our host, was a “hail fellow well met,” sort of chap. On our return from our last recruiting cruise he had given all the recruiters in town a picnic to the back of the island Ovalau, chartering a small cutter for the purpose. It was the usual kind of South Sea picnic; a case of gin and a tin of sardines per man were all that we had to eat or drink.

We were looking forward to another picnic, but after two or three nips Phil forgot about tbe picnic and had one on his own account for a fortnight.

Phil and I were not sailors in the proper sense of the word, but we had knocked about a bit in yachts in the old country and a great deal in cutters in the South Seas, and knew ab out as much as the average seaman. Certificates were not, required in those days no Government, no Customs, did as you liked, a regular go-as-you please.

If you were in the labor trade, recruits you must get either by fair ‘means or foul it was usually the lat ter way. Nobody to interfere with you; old Cakabau was rex, ( King) and everybody was the Government. They were great old times, as Phil used to say.

We had been kidnapping for about a year together, and had. always made successful trips. I was full, and in tended to “chuck it” this trip. It was a ghastly game, to say the least of it.

Phil’s burst progressed merrily for a fortnight, when our owners had a fresh order for eighty more labor and wanted Pbil and me to start at once. Phil was too drunk, I couldn’t sober him up. So he got the sack. The owners wished one to go; I declined, I intended to stay by my mate.

A new captain and mate -were soon procured, and were fitting out for the cruise when I managed to sober Phil up and tell him he bad been sacked. “The square-headed sons of guns,” he remarked, “we’ll be even with them yet. Joe, I”ll not touch another darned drop till I square with them.”

Phil sobered up very quickly. His recovery was a bit sudden, though. I offered hm gin to steady him. but it was hopeless, his mind was made up. His feelings were hurt to get the sack for such a paltry offence as drunkenness, and allowing his ship to take charge of herself for a fortnight. Why, the thought of it was ridiculous; it was unprecedented in Fiji. Why, it was the fashion to be drunk.

The new captain of the Alert, Bill Taylor by name, an old man-o’-war’s man, had been busy for a week getting – fitted out for an old-time recruiting trip. All the old crew left with Phil and me, so consequently there was new captain, mates and crew on board.

The day before they sailed from Levuka Phil held a council of the old crew and myself, when wo arrived at the follow ing plan to avenge Phil’s dismissal.

The old crew were to invite the new crew on shore for a farewell evening to commemorate their departure, which invitation we knew they would readily accept. .

Bhil said would manage old Cap tain Bill Taylor’s two mates. When we got them all ashore we were to shove gin down their threats as fast as they would drink, get them hopelessly drunk, collect all our traps, meet at Hedemann’s wharf at midnight, take the ship’s boat and make off with the Alert.

Everything went splendidly. At mid night the new crew from the captain downwards were dead to the world.

An hour later we had shipped our anchor, and were standing out of the Passage heading for Wakaya, Phil having taken his bearings previous to darkness coming on.

Phil told me before he left he had posted a notice up on the owners’ office to this effect:

NOTICE
“Disappeared on the night of the 12th January, 187-, the forty-ton schooner Alert, the property of Messrs Heinneman and Co.500 pound reward will be paid to the per son or persons returning same or giving information as to her whereabouts.’

Phil was as cool as a bread-fruit, and thought it a huge joke. I must confess I was a little excited, and was even sorry I had had anything to do with the labor trade.

In the morning we inspected our prize. She was full of the usual re cruiting stares: yams, trade, powder, shot, muskets, pig iron, and gin.

We had a slashing breeze and sighted Kadavu that evening about five o’ clock, took our bearings, left Fiji behind us, and steered straight forthe Loyalties as Phil said, for repairs. Besides, it was a much safer anchorage than the Hebrides under the circumstances.

We fetched up at Mare on the seven teenth day out after an uneventful trip, and beached the schooner in a nice secluded spot on the Lifou side of Mare. The crew, being all Fiji half castes, were more or less carpenters.

We dismantled the schooner, turned her into a cutter rig, made new sails from canvas in the hold; being formerly painted olive-green we painted her white, changed her rig and appearance entirely within a month, and altered her name to the Cutter Agnes.

While at Mare we got on famously with the French missionaries, and had many an evening at Letou, their central station on the island. The traders were a little suspicious of our move ments for what I don’t know. We were supposed to be pirates of some sort, for the traders always had spies on us.

When our work was complete Phil convened another council of,the crew, when he threatened to put every man jack of them ashore and ship new hands who knew nothing of the cutter’s previous history if they did not swear to stick to the ship and keep mum under pain of death. All hands agreed, and the second mate, a half caste Fijian, known as Jimmy the Demon, said he would hold himself responsible for the crew.

We then directed our course for the Hebrides. On the voyage Phil shaved his beard, and dyed his moustache and hair black from native juices procured at Mare, and so altered his appearance that we didn’t recognise him. When he came on deck he gave instructions. for myself and crew to do likewise. In a couple of days we were transformed into new beings; it was a couple of days before we fell into each other’s looks and appearances and knew one another.

We were a happy family onl board – at first, and the crew had their nip according to captain’s instructions every seven bells. On the eighth day out of Mare the crew waited on us in a deputation to know where our destination was. Phil quite coolly replied “Malua” “Wait,” or “By and by.”

One of them answered rather sharply “Malua marusa! By and by be damn d. We want to know now.’ The man had scarcely finished speaking when a puff of smoke, a report, and a half-caste lay on the deck with a bul et through his brain, and Phil said quite calmly, “I want no mutineers on board this ship. You agreed to stick by me, and by God, I will make you.

Joe,” he said, turning to me, “throw that half-bred’s carcass overboard to show them what we think they are worth.” I shuddered, and passed the order on to Jimmy the Demon.

I went below to get a nip to steady my nerves after what I had seen, when Phil came down. I remonstrated with him for his harsh treatment of the sailor. Phil replied: “If you don’t show these brutes you mean business, they will take liberties,” and that ended the matter.

On the sixteenth day out we sighted Santo in the Hebrides. We avoided Sandwich and Mallicollo -, as we knew that the latest arrivals from Fiji would most probably be there, and-we wanted to avoid danger as much as possible.

‘Having groped our way through the many coral patches in Santo Bay, we finally entered in about eight fathoms of water. I immediately got the boat in the water ready to go ashore, but Phil stopped and said his intention was to wait for the niggers to come oft to us.

They had seen many a recruiter there before us, and fought shy for a day or two; but, seeing we didn’t move, they chanced it, and paddled out to us in their canoes only a few at first, as they were suspicious. We watched them very closely, too, as they are about the most treacherous race in the Hebrides, and many a recruiter has lost his life on the shores of Santo.

As they came closer to the vessel Phil, by means, of owe of the crew, interpreted to them we weren’t recruiters, but wished to buy cccoanuts, copra, and pigs. The news spread quickly, and soon the water was black with canoes about us. When there were about sixty ‘in the immediate vicinity.

Phil gave the order to have our fire arms ready, bring up the pig-iron, and swamp the canoes which the crew did most effectually. Most of the natives were on board the cutter at the time buying muskets and bullets, but we had not sold them any powder.

The pig iron knocked the bottoms out of the .canoes, and we drove those on deck down the already prepared hold. Some jumped into the water some started to swim for shore Demon had his boat’s crew out and picked them all up, shoved them in with their mates, closed the hatches down, hoisted sail and made tracks for Aneitium in the south of the Group, where Phil said he wished to call on his friend, the Rev. Mr Thompson, the Presbyterian missionary, before leaving for Queensland with our booty, which consisted of fifty-four men and eight women.

There was great wailing and gnash ing of teeth that night down the hold. They wouldn’t stop the row till Phil ordered the cook to open the hatches and throw a couple of buckets of boiling water on them to quieten them; need less to say, it had the desired effect.

Anchored at Aneitium the fourth day out, about a quarter mile from the shore in the bay where the old pioneer mission station stands a large build ng built out of coral and lime.

Phil left Jimmy the Demon in charge, with instructions not on any account to open the hatches, and watch the labor carefully, while he and I went ashore, .and he introduced himself as a planter, and I as captain of tbe cutter.

The missionary prevailed upon us to stay for tea and prayers, which we did. At prayers Phil sang most devout edly; he looked so beastly religious that I laughed outright; and when the Rev Mr Thompson ended up the proceedings: with the Lord’s Prayer,,and said:

“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive, them their trespasses against us, and lead us not into temp tation, but deliver us from evil, etc.,”

I wondered what Phil’s thoughts were, and what he was scheming in his mind; and when the missionary said “Amen” so did Phil so loud that Jimmy the Demon swore he heard him on board ship.

I could not “follow the drift of things at all. What the devil Phil wanted to run his nose into danger for like this I couldn’t make out; but when prayers were finished, and a very, pretty Samoan girl about sixteen came into the room to take the children to bed, I got an inkling, and began to get the hang of things.

Mrs Thompson had on a recent visit to Fiji picked up Solotosoa, the Samoan girl, who had just arrived from Samoa with a batch of young girls who were to be handed over to the whites as wives pro. tern on the payment of 10 pound per head to the captain of the vessel. She induced her to come as nurse-girl to her mission station.

The missionary questioned us as to our movements, and where we came from, and what were our intentions. Phil in his fine suave manner to Fiji to take up land. Solotosoa, hearing the name Fiji, rushed to the conclusion we were going there, and im plored Phil to take her back to Fiji, ”Faamelemole oe le alii ia e ave ane au i fitto,” “please sir, you are a gentle man, take me back to Fiji.” to which Phil readily consented if Mr Thompson was willing.

Mrs Thompson said it was rather hard for the girl being away so far from her friends and anybody of her own color, and she was always pining to get away, and this was a fine opportunity Phil being of so taking a manner and gentlemanly appearance, and so well read that no doubts were afloat as to his character. He spoke of his college life, his ‘Varsity friends, his people how they lost all their e tates owing to speculation, and he the eldest son was now looking out for land in the South Pacific with what little money was left, to make a pile out of cotton; and restore the old family estates and their long-honored name, and sixty-two niggers on board our hooker, with the crew all armed guard ing the hatches! Honored name, for sooth, Aneinitum was a fool to him!

Next day we got Solotosoa on board with her belongings, and were making preparations to go, after many inducements being offered by Mr and Mrs Thompson to stay for a few days, when a cry of “Sail ho” from thie natives on the beach was heard. Phil was on deck in a brace of shakes, and recognised the Meg Merrilees schooner from Fjii, and sailing straight into the harbour. “Damn her” was all I heard him say, and he dived below, to reappear in a few minute in a black felt missionary hat, black trousers, and close ” buttoned-up long silk dust-coat; called me aft and said

‘that old idiot Captain Giles on the Meg must be bluffed, and mighty smart too.

He is after us. Get the boat’s crew in the boat, tog yourself up, and come aboard with me; I will do the talking, you listen all you know.”

We pulled off, and before the Meg Merrilees had her galls furled Phil and I jumped on board.

I was rather nervous. I didn’t know Giles, but knew the mate; we had a drink or two together in Levuka before I started. But my luck was in there was a new mate.

Phil introduced himself as Dr Selton, of the Presbyterian mission from Sydney, visiting the various stations for the first time in these seas in their new cutter the Agnes. Turning to me, he said: “This is Captain Burton. We all shook hands, Giles telling us his name, telling us he was down on a trading trip.

Phil advised him to deal honestly with the natives, and he would never regret it. Captain Giles questioned us how long we had bsen at Aneitium “Two weeks,” said Phil.

I nearly fell overboard at his answer; at any rate, I had to go to the side and spit.

Giles questioned us if we had seen a schooner, the Alert by name, anywhere in the islands. Phil answer ed in the affirmative, and turning tome, said: “Captain wasn’t that the name of the green colored schooner we oberved on the beach near the Rev. Mr Robertson’s place?.” I said yes.

Old Giles I could see wanted to go and have a nip on the strength of what he had heard, but lacked pluck while Dr Selton was present.

He eagerly asked me if Phil McKeever was with her, and Joe Barton his mate, I said yes, they were beached at Eromango, and were repairing the copper on her bottom.

Then Giles told us how Phil McKeever had run away with the Alert, and had the cheek to post a notice up on Heinnemann’s office door that 500 pounds would be paid on information as to her whereabouts, and how Heinnemann and Co had confirmed the reward.

Giles asked us if we had seen the brig Carl, and being answered in the negative, told us Captain Dupont, of the H.M.S. Rosario, was after the two of us, the Carl and the Alert.

Giles begged to be excused; he was so eager to get that 500 pound reward, he up anchor and was away an hour after he arrived. It was lucky old Giles had been drinking square-face himself, or he would have smelt Dr Selton had likewise been drinking, and no doubt got suspicious.

We returned to the cutter, had a good second-mater each came on deck to find about twenty native teachers with food from Mr Thompson, yams, pigs, turtle, drinking nuts, etc. Phil got them all down in the cabin to have a look at the Bibles he had on board, when the sails were hoisted, and we too sailed out of Aneitium harbor with twenty more recruits than we came in with.

What Mr Thompson’s opinion of his fine English gentleman was I don’t know.

We directed our course to the Ellis Group to dispose (sell) Solotosas, the Samoan (Solo I called her) to Ben Taylor, the trader, for one thousand dollars, as he told Phil he would give that for a Samoan wench some fourteen months previously.

Ben also had oil. So this was Solo’s destination, to be the . .wife of an old shell-back.

Solo and I became great friends. She always radiant and happy, thinking or seeing all her friends again in Fiji; I pitied her, and a love grew out of my pity. I was resolved to baulk Phil. and prevent him from selling so pretty a creature to such a brute as I heard Ben Taylor was.

My love increased daily, for she was as simple and pretty very nice-mannered, and quite unconscious of her beauty. I made my mind to marry her myself, and settle down to a trader’s life. I was full up with buccaneering.

Phil tried hard to make her his wife for the time being on – board before he handed her over to Taylor. I protested, and she always clung to me for protection. “Papalaga le ua pepclo ia le au” (he is a l)-”he is abad white man; he lies to me), she would say.

We were three weeks in arriving st Nakafatau; and before we knew it were up to the passage, and for the first time saw lying in the lagoon the H.M.S. Rcsario. Strange none of m saw her, and it gave us a start when we did we were wholly unprepared for such a surprise. To delay matters we pretended not to know the passage in the reef, and cruised about for an hour before we attempted to go inside.

Safely anchored, Phil went off this time by himself, dressed as an ordinary captain. He was frightened to present him self as Dr Selton, for most probably Captain Dupont and Dr Selton knew each other; , so he personated a Queensland labor captain, showed forged papers as toname of cutter, crew, etc.

In about an hour’s time Phil returned, saying everything was all serene, had a nip, and told me his story. “They questioned me,” he said, ‘if I had seen the brig Carl or the Alert. I told Du pont they were both in the Solomons, and had fired three villages in Malatta.”

The Rcsario was in for water, and was going away that night, so we waited patiently for her to get before-,we moved. What Captain Dupont thought of our recruiting labor for Queensland in the Eilice Group it is hard to say. I never knew anyone to come from the Solomons to the Ellice Group for la bor; however, he departed, add glad we were.

Old Ben Taylor came off shortly af terwards in his whaleboat, recognised Phil, saw Solo, and got gloriously drunk.

After the Rosario had gone; Phil and I went ashore to see what oil Old Ben had. We were immediately ac costed by his old Tokalau wife, asking us in Fijian what we wanted ashore while Peni (Ben) was aboard our hooker. She was rather suspicious in our movements, having been taken in by the famous Bully of the South Seas some months previously in the same way. When we ventured to .peer into Bern’s oil-house, a thatched native house on the beach, she started to finger a six-inch knife she carried in her waist, too familiarly, for mr.

“Where’s the oil, Makereta?” I asked. “Sa, se hone lako tanua” (clear out) she replied.

“‘We can’t do anything, Jce,” Phil said,’”till we get the old girl drunk,” so accordingly I sent the beat off for a, couple of bottles of square-face. While we went up to Ben’s house and had a glass of Tokalau coconut toddy made by Makereta the gin arrived, and we made the old lady as tight as a fiddler. “What are your movements now, Phil?:’ I asked.

“Take every damned drop of oil in that oil-house on the beach and leave the Samoan piece as compensation. If I-don’t get that oil, Jce, Billy Hayes will get it; I will.”

I remonstrated, but of no avail. I declined to let Solo come ashore, for if she did that old Tok would put six inches of steel into her as soon as she put foot inside Ben’s house. Besides I loved Solo, and the first sky-???? I dropped across we were to be married.

The sailors burst the store, door open according to Phil’s instructions, shipped twenty tons of oil in two tides and kept Ben and his missis drunk alll the time, left him a case of gin to recover on, and made tracks for Gilberts. I heard afterwards that old Bill put day light through his Old Tok for allowing us to steal the oil.

We played the same trick on Ted Eaves in the Gilberts, relieving him of five tons of oil, and would have filled tip there only for Bully Hayes; coming in on top of us, when we thought it time to get. If you crossed his path he made it warm foryou; he carried cannon.

The Aneitium boys fell out with the Santo boys, and there was a devil of a row in the hold. Phil would never let them up on deck as was the custom.

When the row started he ordered the hatches to be opened a little, and was going to fire in amongst ifcem, but I stopped him. He was growing more fiendish every day.

“Where to now, Phil?” I asked as we left the Gilberts.

“To the Solomons for sandalwood” I told him that we were full up, and couldn’t carry another ton.

“Well, we can stow about five tons on deck.

I protested, and he gave in, and we turned our heads for Moreton Bay where, after an eventful trip of two months, with ten of our labor dead, and five more dying who we threw over board to end their misery we sighted Cape Moreton, and were soon irside the bay, taking us a couple of days to get to the mouth of the river. Our crew towed us up to Petrie’s Bight, where we anchored. The Customs officer was easily bluffed by Phil, who, “when had got rid of the officer, went ashore dressed ‘,up to ‘kill, leaving man in charge, to return in about two hours With a great fat member of the (Queensland) Upper House who was a partner in a Mackay sugar plantation, to inspect our recruits, who ultimately bought them at 20 pound per head.

Next day Phil sold the cutter and the oil, paid off the crew, and gave me 500 pounds, and said he was going to retire.. The sugar planter had a fifty-ion schooner chartered to take the labor up to Flat Top, had all the labor transhipped into her, jaud was making preparations for a start.
Phil and I dined at Lennon’s Hotel that night, and drank to the health of the cutter Agnes. Dinner being fin ished, Phil left me saying he would be back in an hour or so, and to wait for him. I never saw him again.

Two days afterwards I was surprised to read in the “Brisbane Courier” of the disappearance of the schooner Westward Ho with sixty-seven recruits on board. It was at first surmised that the labor themselves hadmade off with the vessel; but on further-Inquiry it was ascertained that a lot of half castes and a white man had come on board about nine p.m two evenings ago, the captain being ashore and all the labor locked down below, overpow ered the mate and two of the crew on board, towed the vessel down the riv er, landed the mate and crew at Lytton, the mouth of the river, hoisted sail and off. I knew it was Phil by the description given of him, and I never saw any of the crew again in Brisbane.

I married Solo in the old Creek Street Presbyterian Church, not faa Samoa (Saimoan fashion) but English fashion. I was very proud of So’o, she being admired by everyone, ‘no Samoan having been seen in Brisbane before. She used to wonder at the greatness of the white man’s town, and the beauti ful dresses the ladies wore, and enjoyed herself thoroughly.

Some two months later I read in the “Courier” how Phil ended up. He made for Mackay, there being no steam communication in those days; retold the labor to a local planter for 10 per head, and disappeared as suddenly as he had come.

* * *

Now twenty years odd have passed by, and I look back with regret at, my sad past in the old South Sea labor days and of my experiences with Captain Phil McKeever. I am again in Fiji with my old Samoan belle of twenty odd years ago and my son Filemu (Peace) who helps me work my cocoa nut plantation in Vanua Levu, where he is a great help to me in my old age, little knowing of how romantic a na ture was his mother’s and my wooing.
Some years ago I heard Phil was competing in the opium trade in China

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1868: Levuka cotton boom begins: 20 hotels built, boat charters and slave businesses expand

From 1868 to 1871, Levuka was in its (bosom?) of greatest prosperity.
But it was not until 1868,  when it was found cotton would grow would grow in Fiji, and the now historical “cotton (boom)” took place, that Levuka began to rise in importance, as population began to flock in from Australia and New Zealand.
Intending settlers and ootton growers came from all parts.
20 new hotels:  Hotel accommodation was at a premium, and some 20 were erected.
Boats imported from New Zealand:  Boats were eagerly chartered to convoy new arrivals round the group in search of eligible sites for planting, so many were imported from Now Zealand, and things gnnerally were a very rosy asppect.
Slave trade begins:  Money was plentiful, and times were good. With the acquirement of land came the necessity for labourers to till it, and as it was thus early found that the Fijian was not to be relied on for continuous work, the Polynesian labour trade, whioh had boen carried on for some time in Queens land, was inaugurated in Fiji.
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.

1859: Tannese kill Levuka plantation owner, Norman, of Sandhurst, Victoria, enroute from Levuka to Norman’s plantation at Nasavusavu: Jimmie Lasulasu survives

The Daily Southern Cross, Volume XXVI, Issue 4070, 7 September 1870, Page 3  reported Levuka trader Mr, Norman, well known in Sandhurst, Victoria, was murdered, and his body cooked after a group of 22 unnamed (slave labour) Tannese took over Norman’s boat, taking them from Levuka to Norman’s plantation. They wanted to go back home .
Meeting at Tanna: Captain Field, of the Mary Ann Christina,’ informs us that on board the ‘Colleen Bawn,’ at Tanna, he met with Jimmie Lasulasu, who has long since been reckoned with the dead. Our readers will remember that a’  William and Julia.’ which left Levuka for Nasavusavu about twelve months ago, with seventeen New Hebrides labourers, their employer, Mr. Norman, late of Sandhurst, near Melbourne, and the aforesaid Jimmie, never reached its destination. The boat was thought to have been wrecked, and all on board lost.
Tannanese wanted to go home: Jimmie Lasulasu informed Captain Field that when on their way to Nasavusavu the natives took possession of the boat, compelling them to steer first one way, and then another, and threatened to kill them if they did not land them on their own island.
Killed with a Tomahawk: On the seventeenth, day they murdered Mr. Norman, splitting his head open with a tomahawk. They cooked and ate the body, thrusting portions of his cooked companion into the face of Jimmie. The journey was long, and no food or water on board the hardships may be imagined. He reported the natives died one after the other, till by a lucky chance the boat was cast upon the shore leef of an island, only twenty miles from that to which they belonged. Jimmie has been living on that island for the last twelve months, and was perfectly nude when rescued by the ‘ Colleen Bawn ‘ a week or two since.
Another report on the same event: “One who knows ” writes to us to say that the Mr. Norman, of Melbourne, reported as having been murdered, was a Fijian planter who engaged 22 imported labours from the ‘ William and Julia,’ in June, 1869, and with one of his overseers, a man named Jimmy Lasulasu, started from Levuka to his plantation.  They always believed their countrymen had quarrelled with poor Norman (who was a well know n Melbourne grocer), and, after killing him and his overseer, had run away with the boat, probably eating their unfortunate victims on the road. The account of slaughter on the Ba coast is most likely correct, as the mountaineer natives have long been very troublesome m that part of the country, and have frequently attacked the Christian natives on the coast. It is probably the first result of the indiscriminate manner in which, these mountaineers have been supplied with arms by the white men, indirectly through the coast natives.’ Norman a managed a plantation in Fiji,  and had a grocery business at Sandhurst, Fiji. in charge of which he left left wife, now his widow, when he came down here
Tannase brought to Levuka by  Captain McLiver: He procured the labourers from the ‘ William and Julia.‘ They had been engaged and brought here by Captain McLiver, and some who came with them are said to be now on Mr. Scott’s plantation (at Vido?). A report reaches us of the murder of a man named Malony, by some white men, on the Sigo Toko River.The Daily Southern Cross, Volume XXVI, Issue 4070, 7 September 1870,

1840: Levuka Chief offers gifts of women United States Exploring Expedition finds refusal hard as gifts refused, are “destroyed”

“This custom of the country may not be so easily avoided; for as gifts when refused are destroyed, in the case of the present of a wife, considerations of humanity will place a resident stranger in a dilemma.

Clash of cultures: “European ideas’ of ” loyalty ” make but a slight approach to the deep feeling entertained by the Feejeeans towards their chiefs. In this the women appear even to exceed the men; and their devotion to their chiefs was said to be so entire, ” that they regard it as an honour to receive death from their hands…No point of difference from the Polynesians was so striking as this political change”.
The Races Of Man; By Charles Pickering, M.D., Member Of The United States Exploring Expedition.

1869: Tannese kill Levuka plantation owner, Norman, of Sandhurst, Victoria, enroute from Levuka to Norman’s plantation at Nasavusavu: Jimmie Lasulasu survives

The Daily Southern Cross, Volume XXVI, Issue 4070, 7 September 1870, Page 3  reported Levuka trader Mr, Norman, well known in Sandhurst, Victoria, was murdered, and his body cooked after a group of 22 unnammed Tannese took over Normans boat taking them from Levuka to Norman’s plantation, and  wanted to go back home
‘Colleen Bawn,’ at Tanna: Captain Field, of the Mary Ann Christina,’ informs us that on board the ‘Colleen Bawn,’ at Tanna, he met with Jimmie Lasulasu, who has long since been reckoned witn the dead. Our readers will remember that a’  William and Julia.’ which left Levuka for Nasavusavu about twelve months ago, with seventeen New Hebrides labourers, their employer, Mr. Norman, late of Sandhurst, near Melbourne, and the aforesaid Jimmie, never reached its destination. The boat was thought to have been wrecked, and all on board lost.
Tannanese wanted to go home: Jimmie Lasulasu informed Captain Field that when on their way to Nasavusavu the natives took possession of the boat, compelling them to steer first one way, and then another, and threatened to kill them if they did not land them on their own island.
Killed with a Tomahawk: On the seventeenth, day they murdered Mr. Norman, splitting his head open with a tomahawk. They cooked and ate the body, thrusting portions oi his cooked companion into the face of Jimmie. The journey was long, and no food or water on board the hardships may be imagined. He reported the The natives died one after the other, till by a lucky chance the boat was cast upon the shore leef of an island, only twenty miles from that to which they belonged. Jimmie has been living on that island for the last twelve months, and was perfectly nude when rescued by the ‘ Colleen Bawn ‘ a week or two since.
Another report on the same event: “One who knows ” writes to us to say that the Mr. Norman, of Melbourne, reported as having been murdered, was a Fijian planter who engaged 22 imported labours from the ‘ William and Julia,’ in June, 1869, and with one of his overseers, a man named Jimmy Lasulasu, started from Levuka to his plantation.  They always believed their countrymen had quarrelled with poor Norman (who was a well know n Melbourne grocer), and, after killing him and his overseer, had run away with the boat, probably eating their unfortunate victims on the road. The account of slaughter on the Ba coast is most likely correct, as the mountaineer natives have long been very troublesome m that part of the country, and have frequently attacked the Christian natives on the coast. It is probably the first result of the indiscriminate manner in which, these mountaineers have been supplied with arms by the white men, indirectly through the coast natives.’ Norman a managed a plantation in Fiji,  and had a grocery business at Sandhurst, Fiji. in charge of which he left left wife, now his widow, when he came down here
Tannase brought to Levuka by  Captain McLiver: He procured the labourers from the ‘ William and Julia.’ They had been engaged and brought here by Captain McLiver, and some who came with them are said to be now on Mr. Scott’s plantation “at Vido. A report reaches us of the murder of a man named Malony, by some white men, on the Sigo Toko River.
Daily Southern Cross, Volume XXVI, Issue 4070, 7 September 1870, Page 3

1870: English Consul, Mr Williams chases Bully Hayes from Samoa

1870: It happened in this wise. A month or two before our arrival, (October) Hayes had dropped anchor in Apia, and some ugly stories of recent irregularities in the labour trade had come to the ears of Mr Williams, the English Consul. Mr Williams, with the assistance of the natives, very cleverly seized his vessel in the night, and ran her ashore, and detained Mr Hayes pending the arrival of an English man-of-war to which he could be given in charge. But in those happy days there were no prisons in Samoa, so that his confinement was not irksome, and his only hard labour was picnics, of which he was the life and soul. All went
pleasantly until Mr Pease–a degenerate sort of pirate who made his living by half bullying, half swindling lonely white men on small islands out of their coconut oil, and unarmed merchantmen out of their stores–came to Apia in an armed ship with a Malay crew. From that moment Hayes’ life became less idyllic. Hayes and Pease conceived a most violent hatred of each other, and poor old Mr Williams was really worried into an attack of elephantiasis (which answers to the gout in those latitudes) by his continual efforts to prevent the two desperadoes from flying at each other’s throat. Heartily glad was he when Pease–who was the sort of man that always observed LES CONVENANCES when possible, and who fired a salute of twenty-one guns on the Queen’s Birthday–came one afternoon to get his papers “all regular,” and clear for sea. But lo! the next morning, when his vessel had disappeared, it was found that his enemy Captain Hayes had disappeared also, and the ladies of Samoa were left disconsolate at the departure of the most agreeable man they had ever known.
Introduction to “By Reef and Palm” by “Pembroke”, by Becke, Louis, 1855-1913. Michael Sturma reported “At the end of the nineteenth century one of Australia’s most popular writers was George Lewis `Louis’ Becke. Some hailed him as the `Rudyard Kipling of the Pacific’. Although these days Becke is little known, during the course of his writing career between 1894 and his death in 1913, he published some thirty-five books. His speciality was the south sea tale”. By Reef and Palm: Sexual Politics and South Seas Tales
Journal article by Michael Sturma; Journal of Australian Studies, No. 53, 1997

1875: Anthony Trollope: “How is it possible for a humane and pious man moving about among these poor creatures not to attempt to endow them with the glorious gifts which he himself feels that he possesses?”

What are we to do with the South Sea Islands? It might seem that this is a needless question, and that we Englishmen as Englishmen are not required to do anything with the South Sea Islands. At home, perhaps, as a people, we do not trouble ourselves much about them. We are aware that there are many hundred little specks of land lying about the Pacific Ocean, chiefly within the tropics, inhabited by savage races, many of them inhabited by cannibals, among whom missionaries have gone from ourselves and other civilised people; but the islands do not belong to us.

English subjects, gone half-wild: “Why, then, should it be a care to us to ask what is to be done with them? And yet the question is constantly getting itself asked, and is forcing an answer. Englishmen go and settle among them, and have to be looked after. It cannot be permitted that English subjects, gone half-wild with the license begotten by long absence, but still with enough of civilisation left for ascendency over the absolute savage, should be allowed to live as they please in these remote spots.

The question of slavery: “And then there is that great question of labour, with the attendant question of slavery. Kidnapping cannot be allowed. At any rate, let there be no British kidnapping. These poor cannibals have thews and sinews, and if taken to other lands can be made to work and become profitable. Let them go and work like other labourers if they please; but they shall not be taken against their will. At any rate they shall not be taken by English ships or by English speculators.

Next stop PNG: “In this way there has grown up a most complicated question. The islands which we call Fiji have forced themselves upon us, and have become a British colony, from these causes. We are now being invited to undertake the difficult and very disagreeable task of annexing the enormous island called Papua, or New Guinea.

Ships of war go island-hopping: “And we maintain ships of war running about among the islands generally, trying to maintain justice, struggling to do some little good among these poor people; making an effort—alas, too often futile—to carry Christianity with them, at considerable expense, and sometimes with results to ourselves which are most disastrous”.

Mission in life: “The missionary work, too, superadds itself so naturally to that which we must suppose to be more distinctly authorised by the Government at home. How is it possible for a humane and pious man moving about among these poor creatures not to attempt to endow them with the glorious gifts which he himself feels that he possesses? Thus attempts are made, and intercourse is established.
Trollope, Anthony. The Tireless Traveler: Twenty Letters to the Liverpool Mercury. Berkeley: University of California Press, The articles, which bear Trollope’s signature, can be found on page five every Saturday from July 3, 1875, through November 13, 1875. [1978,c1941] 1978. http://ark.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/ft1d5nb0hv/