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I have brought with me a sample of the cotton, at present growing at Fiji, which of course, would improve with attention. The sample I have is at your Lordship's disposal.
An important consideration in connexion with the cultivation of cotton in these islands, is the fact that there will be no scarcity of labour, for the 200,000 natives, estimated as the population of Fiji, will afford a large supply. Nature contributes every requisite to make its cultivation easy, its growth rapid, and its produce prolific. And since neither mechanical skill nor hard manual labour is required, my knowledge of the native character and habits persuades me the Fijians will turn their whole attention to cotton, in preference to every other employment. But, my Lord, I would observe that notwithstanding all these great advantages, it is only in the security of British protection, that cotton will be cultivated in Fiji.
I will refer for one moment, my Lord, to the present state of trade in this group. I can conceive that it will hardly be credited that in American vessels only, from September, 1857, to September, 1858, the imports amounted to 100,000 dollars, and the exports to 160,000. The imports consisted chiefly of dry goods, and hardware, and muskets and powder, and exports are cocoa-nut oil, turtle-shell, and beche-de-mer. This information I obtained from the American Consul. Had there been any one to note the imports and export* in English vessels, during the same period, I am satisfied the amounts would equal, if not exceed the American trade. There is also a large business done by some German merchants in connexion with Hamburgh.
I would mention for your Lordship's information, that coffee, sugar-cane, nutmegs, turmeric, ginger, and indigo, are indigenous to the islands.
Antimony is found in the interior; and I am inclined to give credence to the opinion that coal exists on the largest island. In enumerating the productions of Fiji, I should not omit to name the "Kaurie," so well known as the valuable New Zealand pine. It grows to a large size and in extensive forests.
There are also many other kinds of timber, available both for house building and ship building, as well as for furniture and ornamental work.
Several of the harbours have been surveyed by Captain Denham, of Her Majesty's ship ILcrald, and the surveys forwarded to the Admiralty.
It was to bring the subject thus prominently, and in these various bearings, under your Lordship's notice, and to be at your Lordship's command to render information, that I ventured to leave my post. With regard to minor details, and the force necessary to govern the natives, and the possibility of immediately raising a revenue equal to the cost of such Government, I am prepared to tender my estimates whenever your Lordship may deem it proper.
To explain more explicitly the position of Thakombau, and the claims cf The United States' Government as set forth in the deed of cession, I should feel honoured by your Lordship grantiug me an interview.
Again expressing the hope that my conduct will be honoured with your Lordship's approval, and awaiting instructions.
I have, &c.
The Earl of Malmesbury. "WILL. T. PKITCHAKD.
(Inclosure 2.)—Act of Cession of Fiji Islands to Great Britain.
Whereas We, being duly, fully, and formally recognized in our aforesaid state, rank, and sovereignty by Great Britain, France, and the United States of America respectively, and having full and exclusive sovereignty and domain in and over the islands and territories constituting, forming, and being included in the group known as Fiji, or Viti; and being desirous to procure for our people and subjects a good and permanent form of government, whereby our aforesaid people and subjects shall enjoy and partake of the benefits, the prosperity, arid the happiness which it is the duty and the right of all sovereigns to seek and to procure for their people and subjects; and being in ourselves unable to procure and provide such good and permanent government for our aforesaid people and subjects; and being, moreover, in ourselves unable to afford to our aforesaid people and subjects the due protection and shelter from the violence, the oppression, and the tyranny of Foreign Powers, which it is the duty and the right of all Sovereigns to afford to their people and subjects.
And being heavily indebted to the President and Government of the United States of America, the liquidation of which indebtedness is pressingly urged, with menaces of severe measures against our person, and our sovereignty, and our islands and territories aforesaid, unless the aforesaid indebtedness be satisfied within a period so limited as to render a compliance with the terms of the contract forced upon us utterly impossible within the said period, this said inability not arising from lack of resources within our dominions, but from the inefficacy of any endeavours on our part under the existing state of affairs in our islands nnd territories aforesaid to carry out such measures as are necessary for, and w ould result in, the ultimate payment of the aforesaid claims; and having maturely deliberated, well weighed, and fully considered the probable results of the course and the measures we now propose, and being fully satisfied of the impracticability, by any other course and measures to avert from our islands and territories aforesaid, and our people and subjects aforesaid, the evils certain to follow the nonpayment of the sum of money demanded fi om us by the Government of the United States of America; and being confident of the immediate and progressive benefits that will result from the cession herein now made of our sovereignty and our islands and territories aforesaid.
Now know ye, that we do hereby, for and in consideration of certain conditions, terms, and engagements hereinafter set forth, make over, transfer, and convey unto Victoria, by the grace of God, Queen of Great Britain and Ireland, &c, her heirs and successors for ever, the full sovereignty and domain in and over our aforesaid islands and territories; together with the actual proprietorship and personal ownership in certain pieces or parcels of land as may hereafter be mutually agreed upon by a Commission to consist of two Chiefs from Great Britain and two Chiefs from Fiji, the said Commission to be appointed by the representative of Great Britain in Fiji, who, in cases of dispute, shall himself be umpire; the said pieces or parcels of land to be especially devoted to Government purposes, and to be applied and appropriated in manner and form appertaining to Crown lauds in British Colonies, or as the local Government of Fiji, appointed by commission from the aforesaid Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland aforesaid, may deem fit, proper, and necessary for the uses and requirements of the said local Government.
Provided always, and this cession of our sovereignty and our islands and territories is on these conditions, terms, and considerations; that is to say,
That the aforesaid Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland aforesaid, shall permit us to retain the title and rank of Tui Viti, in so far as the aboriginal population i3 concerned, and shall permit us to be at the head of the department for governing the aforesaid aboriginal population, acting always under the guidance aud by the counsels of the representative of Great Britain, and head of the local government appointed by commission from the aforesaid Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland aforesaid; that the aforesaid Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland aforesaid, shall pay the sum of 45,000 dollars unto the President of the United States of America, being the amount of the claim demanded from us; procuring for us and for our people a full and absolute acquittance from any further liablities to the said President or Government of the United States of America aforesaid.
For and in consideration of which outlay, not less than 200,000 acres of land, if required, shall be made over, transferred, and conveyed, in fee simple, unto Victoria aforesaid, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland aforesaid, the selection of which said land shall be made by the commission hereinbefore named and referred to, to reimburse the immediate outlay required to liquidate the aforesaid claim of the President and Government of the United States of America.
And we, the aforesaid Ebenezer Thakombau, by the grace of God, Sovereign Chief of Ban and its dependencies, Vunivalu of the Armies of Fiji, and Tui Viti, &e., do hereby make this cession, transfer, and conveyance of our sovereignty, and of our islands and territories aforesaid, unto the aforesaid Victoria, by the grace of God, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, &c, aforesaid, her heirs and successors, for ever; on behalf of ourselves, our heirs, and successors, for ever; on behalf of our Chiefs, their heirs, and successors, for ever; on behalf of our people aud subjects, their heirs and successors for ever; hereby renouncing all right, title, and claim unto our sovereignty, islands, aud territories aforesaid, in so far as is herein stated.
In witness whereof we have hereunto set our hand and affixed our seal, this 12th day of October, in the year of Our Lord, 1858.
TUI VITI M
Signed, sealed, and ratified by the aforesaid Tui Viti, and by him formally delivered, in our presence, unto William Thomas Pritchard, Esq., Her Britannic Majesty's Consul in and for the aforesaid Fiji . the said Tui Viti at the same time affirming and admitting to us personally that he, the said Tui Viti, fully, wholly, perfectly, and explicity understands and comprehends the meaning, the extent, and the purpose of the foregoing document or deed of cession; and I, the undersigned John Smith Fordham, formerly of Sheffield, England, but now temporarily resident at Bau, Fiji aforesaid, do hereby solemnly affirm that I myself fully, wholly, and explicitly translated the said foregoing deed of cession unto the said Tui Viti, in the presence of the aforesaid William Thomas Pritchard, Esq., Her Britannic Majesty's Consul in and for the said Fiji; Eobert Sherson Swanston, Esq., His Hawaiian Majesty's Consul in and for Fiji aforesaid; and John Binner, formerly of Lei?ds, England, but now resident at Levuka, Island of Ovalau, Fiji, aforesaid.
In witness whereof we have, each and all, set our respective names and seals, this 12th day of October, in the year of Our Lord, 1858 aforesaid.
(L.S.) JOHN SMITH FOEDHAM, Wesleyan Missionary.
(L.S.) JOHN BINNEE, Wesleyan Mission, Trainer.
(L.S.) EOBT. S. SWANSTON, Hawaiian Consul, Fiji.
(L.S.) "WILL. T. PE1TCHARD, IF.B.M.'s Consul.
JSo. 2.—Mr. Merivale to the Secretary to the Admiralty. Sib, Downing Street, March 9, 1859.
I Am directed by Sir Edward Lytton, to request that you will lay before the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty the enclosed papers relating to the proposed cession by the King of the Fiji Islands of his territories to Great Britain.
The proposal has been brought before Sir Edward as one likely to be of material advantage to this country, but previous to coming to any decision on the subject, he is desirous of obtaining the opinion of the Lords Commissioners on some parts of the question which appear to have a naval bearing, and on which the experience of no other Department of State could equally furnish an answer.
In the first place, it is essential to know that if we obtain the Fiji Islands, we thereby obtain all the available harbours in that part of the Pacific. Sir Edward Lytton is inclined to believe from the papers which have been submitted to him, and which are herewith inclosed, that there are many other islands not included iu the Fiji group which would afford equal facilities as regards harbour and anchorage.
In the next place, Sir Edward Lytton requests to be informed whether the Datural harbours now exis-ting require much, if any, artificial development for naval purposes; whether such harbours are few or many ; whether there are peculiar tides and currents which render entranre into or egress from them dangerous; and whether our possession of them would involve any considerable expense in erecting lights or improving the navigation.
Lastly, it is important to know whether the Fiji Islands lie in the most convenient line of passage between Australia and New Zealand and Panama; whether an intermediate station between those points is a naval requirement, and if so, whether, taking winds and tides into account, the Fiji Islands form the most advantageous station. I am, &c.
The Right Hon. H. Corry. HEEMAN MEEIVALE.
No. 3.—Mr. Cony to Mr. Merivale. SlE, Admiralty, March 14, 1S59.
Having laid before my Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty