From July 1840 to July 1853 Thomas Williams served successively at Lakemba, Somosomo and Bua

Disillusioned by wars, cannibalism, widow-strangling and general opposition Williams broke down and left the mission, reaching Sydney with Rev. Walter Lawry in December 1853 after several months in New Zealand.

Ex-printer, Calvert aids publication: While in Fiji Williams developed an interest in ethnography, illustrating his material with detailed sketches. His manuscript ‘The Islands and their Inhabitants’ was taken to London in 1856 by his colleague James Calvert and edited by G. S. Rowe as Fiji and the Fijians, 1 (London, 1858), which is accepted as a classic account of Fijian society before the conversion of Cakobau, chief of Bau, in 1854. He also published Memoir of the Late Rev. John Hunt, Feejee.
Image;  Australasian Art Collection LINDSAY, Lionel Creswick, Victoria, Australia 1874 – Hornsby, New South Wales, Australia 1961 Reverend Thomas Williams Print, intaglio Technique: drypoint, printed in black ink, from one plate Support: paper Bequest of Alan Queale, 1982. Accn No: NGA 83.906 NGA IRN: 93032 Courtesy of the National Library of Australia
Provenance : Alan Queale, Brisbane. Bequeathed to the National Gallery of Australia by Alan Queale, Brisbane, 1982. Alan Queale Bequest accepted by the National Gallery of Australia, 1983.

August 1, 1842 four English sandalwood ships from New Hebrides at Somosomo to seek Tongan woodcutters; report death of Waterhouse

The Journal of John Williams reported on August 1st, 1842;

Williams by canoe, in starlight, to buy yams: ‘ – Left home a little after midnight for Nasagalou in our canoe intending to purchase yams to set, and return by the next tide. Before I had got my trading finished a messenger came into the village where I was and informed me as well as she could from shortness of breath that I was to return without delay as four English vessels had arrived, one of which was believed to be the Triton. I was not much startled by this information as, from my knowledge of the native habit of exaggeration, I did not credit the report to its full extent’.
Runs barefoot 7 miles: ‘For a moment I hesitated, my shoes being about a mile and a half another way; but having ascertained the nearest route home I started off in the direction pointed out, and after having run over hill and dale for the distance of 7 miles I beheld, with feelings of a mixed and indescribable nature, four vessels near the S.S.W. entrance. I could easily distinguish our own; but was at a loss what to make of the rest. I found on inquiry that they were on their way to the New Hebrides in search of sandalwood, and had called here in hopes of increasing the number of Tonguese natives whom they had on board to serve as woodcutters.
Death of Waterhouse reported: ‘Bro. C. had just returned from the Triton as I finished putting on a change of clothing, and brought us the..painful intelligence that our father, the much respected General Superintendent of these Missions, had gone the way of all flesh. We wept together, and felt that the loss was a great one. Who can supply his place? Who will be so much our father?
Williams sales on Triton: ‘The Triton being in haste we endeavoured to complete our business on shore as speedily as possible and succeeded in getting on board and on our way two or three hours before sunset. Conversed with Capt Buck about New Zealand and Colonial affairs and learnt that Mr Cargill is expected soon’.

April 1844: Wesleyan religious conversion fails in Somosomo and Thomas Williams turns to anthropological research: starts work which will lead to “Fiji and the Fijians”

English Wesleyan missionary, Thomas Williams, in his Journal under date 10 April 1844 he writes: “Commenced the first of a series of chapters on the customs, etc., of Feejee. I labour in concert with Bro. Lyth.”
Missionary turns anthropologist: “This is an important entry. It marks the beginning of a course of careful investigations that ended in the publication of Fiji and the Fijians fourteen years later. Up to the date of this entry Williams had displayed a lively interest in native customs and beliefs, and many valuable observations had been made in his letters to his father, and recorded in his Notes on the Fijians; but it was from April 1844 that he became the man whom Dr Lyth described as “my observant colleague who is always all-eye and all-ear.”
” a born anthropologist”: “The born anthropologist soon realized that he had found congenial work, and every year after this up to the time he left Somosomo found him more and more absorbed in it. That was a piece of rare good fortune for Thomas Williams coming, as it did, so soon after his arrival at Somosomo. There was little chance of doing effective religious work in that Circuit. The natives almost to a man declined to abandon their heathen worship; and had Williams found no other outlet for his energy, his spiritual acquiescence in the will of God, sustaining as it was, would not of itself have saved him from chafing, disappointment and discontent.

A man who needed a work:” To be at peace in his mind Thomas Williams needed not only a spiritual conviction, but also a definite lasting work on which he could exercise the gifts that Nature had bestowed upon him. There was nothing of the dilettante in his nature} the urge to do and to do well was strong within him. Work, continuous work, was necessary even for his bodily health. His medical practice, translation of parts of the Bible, philanthropic work and the voyages he made in canoes helped to fill in time; but intermittent work was not enough. What he needed was some absorbing occupation that had in it the quality of permanence and the prospect of success. Such an occupation he found in anthropological research”.
The Journal Of Thomas Williams, Missionary In Fiji, 1840-1853 By G. C. Henderson, M.a. (Oxon.) Emeritus Professor Of History, Adelaide University Author Of Sir George Grey : Founder Of Empire In Southern Lands, Fiji And The Fijians 1845-1856 In Two Volumes Vol. I Australia Angus & Robertson Ltd,1931. The manuscript is in the Mitchell Library, Sydney, in two folios, containing 874 pages and about 250,000 words.

1849: after three years of warfare at Mbua Bay from 1849 to 1852 fighting ships, big guns and marines ‘indispensable to the missionaries’

G. C. Henderson reported missionary, Thomas Williams’  “history of these three years of warfare at Mbua Bay from 1849 to 1852 is full of instruction for those who think that peace can be attained in this world of conflicting interests and passions simply by pacifist teaching”.
Guns, and the Bible, firm friends: “Among other things it proves that, in the middle of last century in Fiji, British naval officers with their fighting ships, big guns and marines were emissaries of peace quite as truly as the missionaries with their Bible, creed and native agents; and that in times of great suffering and danger their help was indispensable to the missionaries, the  pacifism which he had contended for against Tuikilakila of Somosomo was too superficial, abstract and visionary to be applicable to the turbulent conditions”.
The Journal Of Thomas Williams, Missionary In Fiji, 1840-1853 By G. C. Henderson, M.a. (Oxon.) Emeritus Professor Of History, Adelaide University Author Of Sir George Grey : Founder Of Empire In Southern Lands, Fiji And The Fijians 18s5-1856 In Two Volumes Vol. I Australia Angus & Robertson Ltd, 1931.  The original manuscript of the journal is in the Mitchell Library, Sydney, in two folios, containing 874 pages and about 250,000 words.