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The chiefs convened a meeting to consider the course that ought to be pursued, but could come to no decision, in consequence of the general opinion that the conduct of Koraitamano was justifiable; although, on the other hand, they feared the wrath of the king, in case he should recover, particularly those who had advised and wished to uphold Koraitamano. The queen becoming aware of their hesitation, on the following morning took some whales' teeth and other valuables, and presented them herself to the chiefs, saying they were sent by the king to purchase the death of his son. Fearing to hold out any longer, they went to Koraitamano and announced to him the fatal mandate, and he was immediately killed. They then proceeded to the king's house to report that the deed was done, and on approaching the couch of the king, the putrescent odour which proceeded from the corpse at once disclosed to them the deception that had been practised. It was, however, too late to amend the matter, and Madonovi, the eldest son of the queen, now succeeded his father without opposition. One of the first acts of Madonovi was to build an mbure over the spot where his father was murdered. His succession deprived Seru and Thokanauto (Phillips) of their right to the throne, and of course excited their hostility to the reigning chief, who was by no means so popular as his father, and did not govern to the satisfaction of his subjects. Seru, who was the oldest of the two malcontents, was a very tall and remarkably handsome man, and had great influence among the people, which excited the jealousy of the king. Such was his strength that it is said he could knock down a full-grown hog by a blow on the forehead, and would break a cocoa-nut by striking it on his elbow.
Mutual words of defiance had passed between the two brothers, and they were living in daily expectation of some encounter that would bring on serious disturbances. During the height of this feeling, they met on the road, where the scene that was enacted was quite remarkable, and the narration of it by Phillips equally so.
Seru had one of the short missile clubs (ula) in his girdle, which Feejee men usually wear stuck in behind. As Madonovi approached, Seru placed his back against the fence, without any design. The king had three shaddocks (molitivi) in his hand, of which, as he came up to Seru, he held one up and called out in sport, that he meant to throw it at him. The thought then came into Seru's mind that if the king threw and hit him he would let him pass, but that if he missed he would take the opportunity to put him to death. He, therefore, replied to his brother in the same jocose manner, " Throw, but if you miss, I'll try.” The king threw, but missed. He then drew nearer, and holding up another of the shaddocks, cried out, “ This time I will hit you." To
which Seru replied, “ Take care; if you miss, then I'll try.” The king threw again, but Seru, by a quick movement, avoided the missile. Madonovi then advanced to within two or three yards of Seru, saying, “ This time I think I shall hit you.” Seru made himself ready to avoid it, and with his hands behind him, said, “ If you miss, then I take my turn.” The king threw the third time and missed, for Seru stooped, and the shaddock passed over his shoulder. Seru then drew himself up, flourished his club in the air, and exclaimed in tones of exulting mockery, “ Aha, I think you did not see this!" With that he hurled his weapon with so deadly an aim that it crushed the skull of the king, and killed him on the spot.
As soon as this event became known, the queen with her other sons fled to Ambau, leaving the supreme power in the hands of Seru, who, however, did not take the title of Ndraketi, but adopted that of Tui Sawau, after the chief town of Mbenga, on which he had made war and captured, and by which title he was thenceforth known. He was not, however, long left to enjoy his authority. The exiled family made several unsuccessful attempts to destroy him, and at last induced Vendovi, by a large bribe, to undertake his destruction. Vendovi managed to get to Rewa unobserved, and looking in at the door of Thokanauto's house, saw Tui Sawau lying on his mat eating. He immediately levelled his musket and shot him. Four balls passed through his breast, but such was the strength of his constitution, that he survived for eight days. This occurred in the year 1827.
When it became known at Ambau that this fratricide had been committed, the queen and her sons returned to Rewa, and Kania assumed the direction of the government, to the exclusion of Thokanauto.
The character of Phillips, who calls himself the white man's friend, is rather equivocal. He is said while young to have been fed mostly on human flesh. When I saw him on board my ship at Levuka, I told him I had heard that he liked this food, and I thought that he showed much shame at being considered a cannibal by us. His youthful practices, which he told as though some credit were due to himself for a change in his latter conduct, will tend to show how early these natives employ themselves in inflicting pain on each other. One of these was to set a sharp-pointed stick in the ground, cover it with earth, and then challenge another boy to jump with him. He would then leap in such a manner that the boy on following his example would alight upon the pointed stick, and run it through his foot. He is said also to be frequently employed by the king as an instrument of his vengeance. The missionaries relate that
he was once sent to kill a native by the king's order, upon which he went to the person's house, and told him that “ The king has sent me to kill you;" to which he replied, “ It is good only that I should die.” Phillips struck, but only stunned him, after which he returned, and told the king he had not succeeded in killing him. When the man recovered, Phillips was again sent back, and succeeded in giving him his deathblow, which he received with the same resignation as before. Notwithstanding his bad traits, he is certainly one of the most intelligent natives that I have met with in all Polynesia. He possesses much information respecting his own people, and would, if the king allowed it, be the means of effecting many improvements. He has already introduced some into his own establishment, and is very desirous of learning, but he unfortunately has not sufficient knowledge to distinguish between good and evil. He visits all the vessels that touch at this group, and says that he passes most of his time on board of them. He produces many recommendations from their commanders, which, besides recommending him, give the very salutary precaution of always being on their guard while among these natives.
The prisoners on board the Peacock were early in motion on the following morning, looking anxiously for the return of Ngaraningiou ; and many speculations were thrown out as to whether he would succeed in his errand, or connive at the escape of Vendovi. The hatred he was known to bear Vendovi, was in favour of his return with him, either dead or alive. These surmises were shortly put to rest, by the appearance of the large canoe emerging from the mouth of the river, which drew all to watch its approach. It soon came alongside, and Vendovi was recognised as a prisoner on board. The mode of his capture was singular, and shows the force of the customs to which all ranks of this people give iinplicit obedience. Ngaraningiou, on arriving at Rewa, went at once to Vendovi's house, and took him by surprise. Going in, he took his seat by him, laid his hand on his arm, and told him that he was wanted, and that the king had sent for him to go on board the man-of-war. He immediately assented, and was preparing to come at once, but Ngaraningiou said, “ Not till to-morrow.” They passed the evening and night together, and in the morning embarked to come on board.
Vendovi was at once brought on board and delivered to Captain Hudson, who forthwith examined him before the king and chiefs, and in the presence of the officers of the ship, assembled in the cabin. Vendovi acknowledged his guilt in causing the murder of part of the crew of the Charles Doggett, and admitted that he had held the mate
by the arms while the natives killed him with clubs. Captain Hudson now explained why he had thought proper to retain the king and the others as prisoners, saying that the course the affair had taken had saved them much trouble, and probably fighting, for he would have thought it incumbent upon him to burn Rewa, if Vendovi had not been taken. The king replied, that Captain Hudson had done right; that he would like to go to America himself, they had all been treated so well; that we were now all good friends, and that he should ever continue to be a good friend to all white men. Vendovi was now put in irons, and the others were told that the ship would go to Kantavu, to punish any other chiefs that had participated in the act, and burn their towns. They were assured of our amicable disposition towards them so long as they conducted themselves well; and in order to impress this fully upon them, after their own fashion, presents were made them, which were received gratefully.
When the leave-taking came, Phillips appeared the most dejected of all. This seemed strange after the part Vendovi had taken in the murder of his brother, of one whom he represented as having been very kind to him as a protector, and with whom he lived when the fatal shot was fired by Vendovi. Phillips expressed himself in this way, " That as long as Seru lived he could be saucy, but after his death he was all alone, just like a stick.” This kind of opposite conduct is conformable to the usual policy of this people, and is characteristic. Vendovi, at this time, was the only one of his brothers who favoured the party of Phillips, and was among his strongest adherents. I could mention many other instances of the same inconsistency of conduct on the part of chiefs.
All the party were now much affected. Kania, the king, seated himself on the right side of Vendovi, taking hold of his arm, while Navumialu placed himself on the left. Phillips walked up and down in front. All shed tears, and sobbed aloud while conversing in broken sentences with their brother. The natives shed tears also, and none but Ngaraningiou remained unmoved. The king kissed the prisoner's forehead, touched noses, and turned away. The inferior chiefs approached and kissed his hands, whilst the common people crawled up to him and kissed his feet. One young man who belonged to the household of Vendovi, was the last to quit him; he wished to remain with his master, but was not permitted. In bidding farewell to the chief, he embraced his knees, kissed his hands and feet, and received a parting blessing from Vendovi, who placed both his manacled band's on his head. The young man then retreated backwards towards the ladder, sighing and sobbing as though his heart would break. The last