Report of Mr. George H. Scidmore, special agent of the Department of State to investigate claims of American citizens to lands in Fiji.

No. 86.]

Sir: In compliance with the instructions of the Department numbered 29 and 30, of September 7, 1891, I have the honor to report that I left this post November 6, 1891, and, proceeding via Honolulu, Apia, and Auckland, arrived at Levuka, Fiji, January 8, 1892. I remained in Fiji until December 6, 1892, when I reembarked, and, traveling via Sydney, Hongkong, and Shanghai, returned to Kanagawa February 8, 1893.

The Department’s instructions directed me to visit Fiji as special agent for the purpose of investigating the alleged claims of American citizens to lands in that colony, of which lands the claimants asserted they had been unjustly deprived by the authorities of the British Government. Concerning these claims, I was further authorized to confer with the governor of Fiji, with a view of coming to an agreement with him, so far as possible, which agreement, however, was to be ad referendum to the Department, and I was to report upon any questions wherein an agreement could not be reached.

Upon my arrival at Levuka I consulted with Commercial Agent St. John, and after obtaining some preliminary information from the consular archives and from a number of the American claimants, on January 25, 1892, at Suva had my first interview with His Excellency Sir John B. Thurston, governor of Fiji. A report of that meeting is contained in my dispatch No. 62, of February 1, 1892.

His excellency assured me that he was prepared to furnish the fullest information and render every assistance in the prosecution of my inquiry, and this assurance he fulfilled in every instance where I thereafter had occasion to apply to him. The inclosures herewith bear testimony to [Page 741] the fact that my requisitions for data from the colonial records were extensive and frequent. Not only from his excellency, but from all of the officials of the colonial government with whom I came in contact, I received most courteous assistance and attention in the prosecution of this mission.

Under the circumstances which inquiry developed, it became evident that no satisfactory agreement could be reached between the governor and myself that would possibly lead to a final settlement of some of these claims. He expressed himself to me at our first meeting in very decided terms to the effect that he had always been opposed to a reopening of these cases after they had been, as he contended, duly and properly adjudicated by a competent tribunal, of which he had for a time been a member; and in one of our interviews, after I had received from him copies of the records in nearly all of the claims, he stated that he had not found a single claim among those upon my list that merited revision in the action of the governor in council. As will be seen in the inclosures herewith, the transcripts of record are accompanied by a note or memorandum expressing his opinion of the merits of each case. In some of his views I cordially concurred, but in others an agreement was impossible. A reference to each case will be necessary to an understanding of our respective positions.

My mission, therefore, became practically one of inquiry only, and to this I devoted all of the time at my disposal. And I now feel confident that the Department, after perusal of this report, will be in possession of all of the facts in the matter obtainable in Fiji and necessary to a clear comprehension of these long-standing complaints.

The following extract from my dispatch No. 65, of March 31, 1892, will indicate the method pursued in conducting part of the investigation:

Very soon after reaching Fiji I discovered that in order to obtain perfect information upon the subject of my mission personal interviews with the several claimants to land here with their witnesses and with disinterested parties would be necessary. These persons are scattered all over the Fiji group, which group, I may say, has an average diameter of 300 miles. All of the claimants are very poor and many of them old and decrepit. Very few of them, so far as I can learn, possess boats suitable for a voyage of any considerable length. There is a small steamer that calls fortnightly at a number of the islands, but were I to attempt to avail of her I should in nearly every instance be compelled to complete my journey in an open native canoe, if procurable, and in bad weather and at night put up with the far from attractive accommodations of a Fijian grass hut. I therefore assume that in such a case the Department would consider as reasonable and necessary expenses the costs of employment of a small, safe, and comfortable vessel suitable to the business in hand. The only craft answering this description that I could find was the 10-ton cutter Malua, belonging to Mr. W. H. Bruce, United States vice-commercial agent, which I secured and had overhauled and refitted. This being the hurricane season, and the Fijian seas with their thousands of coral reefs being at all times difficult of navigation, I employed a competent sailing master, two seamen, and a steward, who acted also as a pilot and interpreter.

In this vessel I visited nearly all of the localities in Fiji where there were American claimants, or their witnesses, or lands which were the subject of complaint. My constant companion during these voyages was Mr. Andrews A. St. John, United States commercial agent at Levuka, who in his dispatch to the Department, No. 88, of July 1, 1892, details some of the hardships and dangers encountered by us.

The last documents received from the colonial records bearing upon these claims reached me December 6, 1892, the date of my departure from Fiji, and since returning to Kanagawa a number of supplemental papers have been forwarded to me by claimants. While this investigation has been long and tedious it is trusted that the results now presented will suffice to enable the Department to make an exhaustive [Page 742] examination of the several cases and reduce to the narrowest limits any questions that may call for future diplomatic action—such being the manifest object of my instructions.

history of the claims.

By deed of cession, dated October 10, 1874, King Cakoban (the Tui Viti) and twelve others, principal chiefs of Fiji, stipulated with Sir Hercules Robinson, representative of Her Britannic Majesty:

That the possession of, and full sovereignty and dominion over, the whole of the group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean known as the Fijis (and lying between the parallels of latitude of fifteen degrees south and twenty-two degrees south of the equator, and between the meridian of longitude of one hundred and seventy-seven degrees west and one hundred and seventy-five degrees east of the meridian of Greenwich), and over the inhabitants thereof, and of and over all ports, harbors, havens, roadsteads, rivers, estuaries, and other waters, and all reefs and foreshores within or adjacent thereto, are hereby ceded to, and accepted on behalf of Her said Majesty the Queen of Great Britain and Ireland, her heirs and successors, to the intent that from this time forth the said islands, and the waters, reefs, and other places as aforesaid, lying within or adjacent thereto, may be annexed to and be a possession and dependency of the British Crown.
That the form or constitution of Government, the means of the maintenance thereof and the laws and regulations to be administered within the said islands, shall be such as Her Majesty shall prescribe and determine.
That pending the making by Her Majesty, as aforesaid, of some more permanent provision for the government of the said islands, His Excellency Sir Hercules George Robert Robinson, in pursuance of the powers in him vested, and with the consent and at the request of the said Tui Viti and other high chiefs, the ceding parties hereto, shall establish such temporary or provisional government as to him shall seem meet.
That the absolute proprietorship of all lands not shown to be now alienated, so as to have become bona fide the property of Europeans or other foreigners, or not now in the actual use or occupation of some chief or tribe, or not actually required for the probable future support and maintenance of some chief or tribe, shall be, and is hereby declared to be vested in her said Majesty, her heirs, and successors.
That Her Majesty shall have power, whenever it shall be deemed necessary for public purposes, to take any land upon payment to the proprietor of a reasonable sum, by way of compensation for the deprivation thereof.
That all the existing public buildings, houses, and offices, all inclosures and other pieces or parcels of land now set apart or being used for public purposes, and all stores, fittings, and other articles now being used in connection with such purposes, are hereby assigned, transferred, and made over to her said Majesty.
That on behalf of Her Majesty, his excellency Sir Hercules George Robert Robinson promises: (1) That the rights and interests of the said Tui Viti and other high chiefs, the ceding parties hereto, shall be recognized so far as is consistent with British sovereignty and colonial form of government. (2) That all questions of financial liabilities and engagement shall be scrutinized and dealt with upon principles of justice and sound policy. (3) That all claims to titles of land, by whomsoever preferred, and all claims to pensions or allowances, whether on the part of the said Tui Viti and other high chiefs or persons now holding office under them, or any of them, shall in due course be fully investigated and equitably adjusted.

I have quoted above only such portions of the deed as bear upon the subject now in hand. A copy of the full text of the document and of Governor Robinson’s proclamation announcing the assumption of sovereignty over Fiji by Her Majesty will be found with Mr. Scott’s letter to me, dated December 7, 1892, herewith. (Inclosure No. 6.)

Preliminary to the execution of this deed an interview took place between King Cakoban and Governor Robinson on board H. M. S. Dido, during which the following statements were made, showing further the understanding arrived at by the contracting parties:

His Excellency. As to the land question, I have been surprised to hear that some misapprehension exists as to what might be the intentions of Her Majesty’s Government with respect to land. That misapprehension, I am told, has arisen in consequence of the recent discussion in the House of Lords. You may be perfectly certain that nothing unjust will be done. What has occurred to me as the fairest way of [Page 743] arranging the matter I have this morning discovered to be included in the code of laws of the Lan Confederacy, viz, that all lands which can be shown to have been fairly and honestly acquired by whites shall be secured to them; that all lands that are now in the actual use or occupation of any chief or tribe, and such land as may be necessary for the probable future support and maintenance of any chief or tribe, shall be set apart for them; and that all the residue of the land shall go to the Government, not for the personal advantage of Her Majesty or the members of any government, but for the general good, for the purposes of rule and order. The more public land there is the less necessity for taxation, the less burdensome to the people will be the maintenance of peace, the administration of justice, the building of hospitals and other institutions of public utility. For such purposes as these, and not for adding to the wealth of the Queen, is it a matter of necessity to have public land.

The King. I am very much pleased to hear your sentiments as to the land question, and that disputed titles will be finally adjusted. In some cases I fear both sides will suffer, but it is better that such questions should be set at rest, even at the cost of a little suffering. Of one thing I am afraid, that if we do not cede Fiji the white stalkers on the beach, the cormorants, will open their maws and swallow us up. The white residents are going about influencing the minds of Tui Cakan and other chiefs so as to prevent annexation, fearing that in case order is established a period may be put to their lawless proceedings. By annexation the two races, white and black, will be joined together, and it will be impossible to sever them; the “lacing” has come. The Fijians, as a nation, are of an unstable character, and a white man who wishes to get anything out of a Fijian, if he does not succeed in his object to-day, will try again to-morrow, until the Fijian is either worried out or overpersuaded and gives in. But law will bind us together.

One of the first official acts of the new governor of Fiji, after the signature of the deed of cession, was the prohibition of land transactions between natives and foreigners, pending the investigation of then existing titles.

Sir Arthur Hamilton Gordon was appointed governor of the new colony and entered upon his duties in the following summer. His instructions from the Earl of Carnarvon, secretary of state for the colonies, dated March 4, 1875, will be found, in part, on page 107 of the British Blue [Book?], marked A, herewith.* The following extracts relative to titles to land are selected, as they indicate the exact intentions of the British Government:

The broad principles to be followed in the difficult and very exceptional case of Fiji are:

That it should be declared that the whole of the land within the limits of Fiji, whether in the occupation of, or reputed or deemed to have been, prior to the cession of the islands, the property of either Europeans or natives, as well as all waste and unclaimed land, has, by virtue of the instrument which ceded to Her Majesty the possession of and full sovereignty and dominion over the whole of the islands, become absolutely and unreservedly transferred to the Crown, and that the Queen has the full power of disposing of the whole of the land in such manner as to Her Majesty may seem fit, having due regard to such interests as may be entitled to recognition under article 4 of that instrument.
That, with the view of disturbing as little as possible existing tenures and occupations, and of maintaining (as far as practicable and with such modifications only as justice and good policy may in any case appear to demand) all contracts honestly entered into before the cession, the Colonial Government, to which the rights of the Crown are delegated in that behalf, should forthwith require all Europeans claiming to have acquired land by purchase to give satisfactory evidence of the transactions with the natives on which they rely as establishing their title; and, if the land appears to have been acquired fairly “and at a fair price, should issue to the persons accepted, after due inquiry, as owners a Crown grant in fee simple of the land to which they may appear entitled, subject to any conditions as to further payments and charges or otherwise which may appear just. * * *
That the native titles to land not so granted to Europeans should, in the next place, be as far as possible verified and simplified, and when it has been determined what lands are now in the occupation of or actually required for the probable future support or maintenance of chiefs and tribes, the Crown should hold such lands in trust for and leave them for the present in the occupation of the tribes, families, or chiefs by whom it is at present possessed.
That henceforth all dealings in land between Europeans and natives shall not only be invalid and not recognizable by any court of law, but shall be expressly forbidden by enactment; that whenever any European desires to purchase any native lands his application must be addressed to the Colonial Government, which, if it thinks fit to sanction such purchase, shall itself acquire the land and fix the price at which it shall be granted by the Crown to the applicant, and that as between Europeans no land shall be transferable except under the provisions of the ordinance for land transfer through the registration office, which it will be your duty at once to cause to be enacted on the model of the acts on this subject now in force in Australia.
That in all Crown grants full power shall be taken to resume at any time such land as may be required for roads or public works, and that as far as practicable such resumptions should be made before the grants are issued and specified in them.

I believe that this sketch of the principles, according to which the settlement of the land question in Fiji should be undertaken, will be found sufficient to guide you as to the general course to be taken. It will be necessary that a commission should be at once appointed, as suggested by Sir H. Robinson, to deal with the whole question of the ownership and occupation of the land. I do not propose, however, that it should be left to this commission to decide any of the broader questions of principle, such as I have already referred to. I have preferred to give you express instructions on the principal points, in order that questions may not hereafter be raised upon them in the colony, and you will refer to me for further directions on any point as to which you are not assured that you clearly understand the views of Her Majesty’s Government.

In appointing the commission you should accordingly be careful not to confer upon its members any further powers than those of inquiring and reporting to you, and it will be for you, with the advice of your executive council, to direct the action to be taken in each case. It will be necessary that the commission should inquire most strictly into the claims of European occupants, which, as Her Majesty’s Government has been repeatedly warned, are likely to be in many cases excessive or unfounded; and in the case of native claims, also, great care should be taken to protect the interests of the Crown by allowing no more than a fair and liberal interpretation of the fourth article of the instrument of cession, as illustrated by the conversation between Sir H. Robinson and Thakomban on the 25th of September.

As it is most important that the commission should be independent of local influence, it will be desirable that it should be composed, as far as possible, of persons unconnected with the colony prior to the cession, and the secretary for native affairs, with the royal engineer officer, who will probably be appointed to act as surveyor-general, would probably be suitable members of the commission, with, perhaps, one or two other persons who may be selected in Australia or New Zealand.

On June 26, 1875, Sir Arthur Gordon issued a notification to claimants to land to file particulars of their claims within a specified time, which was subsequently extended. On October 30, 1875, the land commission was appointed, consisting of the chief justice, Sir W. Hacketts; Lieutenant-Colonel Pratt, of the royal engineers; Mr. C. Mitchell, commissioner of land, and Mr. H. Emberson. The last named gentleman was an old resident of Fiji, and is still in the service of the colonial government. None of the commissioners, then or afterwards, were selected from Australia or New Zealand. Subsequently appointed members were Mr. James Blyth, a stipendiary magistrate, in lieu of Mr. Emberson, July 13, 1876; Mr. W. S. Carew, May 5, 1877, and Mr. Hamilton Hunter, August, 1877, both stipendiary magistrates, old residents of the colony, and still in the Government service; Mr. A. J. L. Gordon, August, 1877, a protégé of the governor, and Mr. Mandsley, January 25, 1875, a member of the governor’s personal staff. Mr. Le Hunte, a stipendiary magistrate, was appointed in May, 1877, but never served. From 1879 to the conclusion of the labors of the commission, the members were Messrs. Carew, Blyth, and Williamson, the last-named gentleman being a British barrister of high reputation and not connected with the colony.

At the earlier hearings, the commissioners sat together, but later the investigations were conducted most frequently by single commissioners sitting in different parts of the islands at the same time. The reports of investigations made by the commissioners were forwarded to the [Page 745] governor in council, and considered in camera. The claimants were not permitted access to such reports, and copies were refused. Governor Gordon, in a memorandum forwarded by Governor Des Voeux, under date of July 18, 1882, with his dispatch to the Earl of Kimberley (see British Blue Book A, p. 85, herewith),* answers the complaint of the claimants on this point as follows:

It was felt that those of the commissioners who belonged to the colony could hardly be expected to state with perfect freedom their impression of the transaction of individual claimants, unless sheltered by the knowledge that their reports would be regarded as confidential. It was, moreover, thought inexpedient that any differences of opinion between the commissioners and the council in those cases where the recommendations of the former did not coincide with the final adjudication of the latter should be made public.

This is indeed a frank and instructive admission, and, while emphasizing the propriety of Lord Carnarvon’s instructions to Sir Arthur Gordon that “in appointing the commission to deal with the question, it is most important that it should be independent of local influence and composed as far as possible of persons unconnected with the colony prior to the cession,” it is evidence that those instructions were disregarded.

It is a sad commentary, too, upon the character of the commissioners to assume that they had not the courage of their opinions, and that their investigations could not be safely disclosed to public comment, but needed executive “shelter.” That a free man’s title to his land, to his home, even, should be finally adjudicated upon in his absence, and testimony considered vitally affecting his rights in this manner, reminds one strongly of the star chamber.

The peculiar constitution of the body that dealt with these claims, it should be noted, was directed by Lord Carnarvon’s personal instructions to Sir Arthur Gordon, and none of its principal powers were derived from legislation until the passage of the Ordinance No. XXV of 1879 (see British Blue Book marked A, p. 4, herewith)* by the governor and legislative council. Previous to its passage, in the language of Sir Arthur Gordon, “the governor in council strictly followed the instructions of the secretary of state,” and “the question whether legislation was in the first instance necessary was carefully considered and decided in the negative by Chief Justice Sir W. Hackett.”

The commission completed its work in December, 1881, having sent to the governor 1,335 reports of cases investigated. The results of these reports were as follows:

Granted as claimed 517
Disallowed as of right, but granted “ex gratia” wholly or in part, or with modification 390
Disallowed 361
Withdrawn and otherwise disposed of 56
Not finally decided 11

The methods of conducting inquiries by the land commissioners were in many instances not calculated to do full justice to claimants, and conclusions and recommendations in the reports sent to the governor were frequently erroneous. To avoid unnecessary repetition of facts hereunder, I refer for confirmation of these assertions to the inclosures herewith, particularly Mr. Scott’s letter to me, No. 6, and the claim of Shute to Naidi, No. 39 A feature deserving special attention also is [Page 746] that frequently the recommendations of the commissioners were not confirmed by the governor in council; but I can not find an instance among the claims herewith where the governor’s opinion, when different from that of the commissioner, was favorable to the claimant. It was either the native or the Crown that benefited in such cases.

Indeed, to such an extent were disallowances decreed by the governor in council that intense and indignant protests went up from the dissatisfied claimants, the majority of whom were Americans, British, and Germans, and the colonial government was practically forced by the clamor to make a show of a desire to render impartial justice in the matter. This effort to quiet the malcontents and at the same time give an appearance of legality to the proceedings was embodied in the Ordinance XXV of 1879. The novel features of this enactment were provisions for the appointment of an additional commissioner, who was to be a barrister or advocate of seven years’ standing, and, if possible, unconnected with the colony; claims to lands arising before October 10, 1874, were to be submitted to the commission for investigation within six months from the passage of the ordinance, otherwise to be barred; the governor in council was to give public notice of the decisions upon the reports of the commissioners; any person feeling himself aggrieved by any of such decisions might, within two months after publication of such notice, or, if absent from the colony, within six months thereafter, present a petition to the governor, setting forth the grounds of his objection to the decision and praying that the matter might be reheard; rehearings of decisions already made were to be petitioned for within two and six months from the passage of the ordinance; decisions of claims upon rehearing were made final and the questions involved were not to be thereafter reopened in any court of law; petitions involving any proprietary right of the Crown to lands were to be referred to the barrister member of the commission for report, and such report was to be referred to the chief justice for his opinion, and the decision of the governor in council was to be in accordance with such opinion.

This legislation did not allay the discontent, and claimants complained that what at a cursory glance looked like an appeal, was in reality nothing more nor less in nearly every case than a request to the governor in council to reverse his previous judgment, a request which they contend was invariably followed by unsatisfactory, if not disastrous, results.

Repeated representations of their grievances were made by the claimants to their respective home governments, but without results affording any relief or compensation, except in the case of the German subjects, who, in spite of the stubborn and prolonged resistance of the British Government, succeeded in having their claims reopened before joint commissioners of Germany and Great Britain. These joint commissioners sat in London during March and April, 1885, and awarded compensation to the German claimants to the extent of £10,620. The British Blue Book relating to this matter will be found herewith, marked D.*

The present governor of Fiji, Sir John B. Thurston, stated to me at Suva that he considered the settlement of these German claims more of a diplomatic compromise than a determination of right, or as establishing the fact that the governor in council had erred in his decisions. From an outsider’s point of view, however, it does seem that less per [Page 747] functoriness on the part of the joint commissioners would have resulted in a much larger award of damages.

The American claimants have also brought their complaints to the notice of their Government through the correspondence of the commercial agent at Levuka, but their representations were not well concerted or in tangible shape until the presentation of their petition to the President and Congress, under date of July 1, 1887. (See Inclosure No. 2.) This petition was duly forwarded to the Department, and a copy was laid before the Senate June 24, 1890, referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations, and ordered to be printed. (See Senate Mis. Doc. No. 173, Fifty-first Congress, first session.)

The claims covered by this petition, and which I have investigated, are 95 in number. The area of land disallowed, so far as the accompanying papers indicate, is 170,117 acres, but this estimate does not include 26 cases wherein the claimants were ignorant of the areas or where surveys have never been made. The total amount of the compensation demanded from the British Government, so far as ascertainable, is £234,637 (about $1,141,860.96), with interest and costs.

I come now to a discussion of the mode of treatment of claims before the governor in council, which treatment is the gravamen of the complaints.

grounds alleged for the disallowance of claims.

An examination of the separate cases herewith inclosed will show that claims to land were disallowed in toto or reduced upon one or more of the following grounds:

Nonoccupation by claimant.
Adverse occupation by natives.
Defective title deeds.
No title in vendor, or defective right of vendor.
Inadequacy of price.
Nonconcurrence of “tankeis “in sale.
No payment to “tankeis.”

(1) Of nonoccupation by claimant.—It hardly seems necessary here to enter upon an extended discussion of the well-settled fundamentals of the law of real property recognized in both the United States and England, yet some of the leading principles of that law bear directly upon the subject in hand. A complete title, according to Blackstone, consists in the elements of (a) possession, (b) the right of possession, and (c) the right of property.

The first-mentioned element if held alone, continuously, and adverse to all the world for twenty years, would in most cases extinguish the two remaining elements in favor of second parties, and a complete title would be acquired by the occupant by operation of law, or lapse of time. There was no prescriptive term under the customs or laws of Fiji at the time of these purchases, and I should assume, as the result of my inquiries there, that a much shorter period than twenty years would establish a good title in a white occupant of land, provided the occupation was acquiesced in by the surrounding natives.

The affidavit herewith (Inclosure No. 7) of William Miller, over forty years resident in Fiji, contains the following statement:

I know of my own knowledge that undisturbed occupation of land for agricultural or grazing purposes by a foreigner in Fiji was, up to the time of such annexation, sufficient evidence of a good title in the foreigner to said land; and I do not [Page 748] know of a single instance of a foreigner taking possession of land in Fiji for said purposes, and not having purchased such land, or received it as a gift from the chief or owners, without the natives attempting to eject the foreigner by force, if they could not induce him to leave peaceably.

Mr. Ezra W. Work, resident in Fiji since the year 1855, states in his affidavit in re claim of heirs of J. H. Williams (Inclosure No. 19) that—

Up to the time of British annexation of Fiji the occupation of land in Fiji by a white man, without molestation by the natives, was considered by both whites and natives as of the very best evidence of such white man’s ownership of such land. No people that I have ever met were then more jealous of and more disposed to resist trespassing upon their lands than the Fijians.

The Department’s instruction to Commercial Agent St. John, No. 20, of October 9, 1888, contained a statement of one of the grounds of objection by the British Government to the reopening of these claims, as follows:

In no case was any American claimant ejected from his land, and anything approaching to real occupancy was habitually accepted by the tribunal as sufficient proof of good faith and of a previous purchase, even where documentary evidence was defective.

Sir Arthur Gordon, in his dispatch of May 25, 1880, to the colonial office (see British Blue Book marked A, p. 14, herewith),* referring to the claims of the heirs of J. B. Williams, said:

Dr. Brower’s special complaint is that in two instances—those, namely, of Lanthala and Nabunociri—Mr. Williams’s claims have been disallowed. Dr. Brower endeavors to show the conduct of the colonial government to be inconsistent, inasmuch as, while the Williams claim has been disallowed, a portion of land originally included in it, and consequently possessing only as good a title, but which had been sold by Williams to Mr. Hennings, has been allowed to the purchaser. Mr. Hennings’s claim as to the land in question, as of right, was disallowed, but the land was granted to him in virtue of his bona fide occupation of it. This course has been followed in every case, where there is now, or was at the date of cession, bona fide occupation of the land, whether the title was originally bad or good, a striking proof of the indulgence shown by the Government in the investigation of these claims.

It should be borne in mind that Williams was for a long time resident on his claim at Lancala (Lanthala), that being the location of the American consulate.

Mr. Victor A. Williamson, chairman of the land commission, on page 60, British Blue Book, marked A, herewith,* says:

The principle which appeared to me to move the governor in council was that occupation acquiesced in by the natives was the best test of the legitimacy of the sale, and that such occupation should render valid a transaction which, perhaps, in strictness was doubtful and even bad; while, on the other hand, there might be cases in which no objection could be taken to the sale, but when the purchasers had slept upon their rights for years, leaving the natives in undisturbed possession, in which case it might be held that the neglect to occupy had been continued so long as to extinguish any rights acquired by the purchase. Such cases were, however, rare, and I can not recollect any case in which an unimpeachable sale has been wholly disallowed merely on the ground of nonoccupation. In many cases, no doubt, the reason for nonoccupation was the inability of the vendors to nut their vendees in possession, owing to their right to such being disputed by the tankeis (occupiers), and many cases have come under my experience in which, had the purchasers attempted to take possession, they would in all probability have been eaten, according to the customs which then prevailed in many parts of Fiji.

To what extent the governor in council gave effect to the lex loci rei sitæ and to title by occupancy may be seen in a marked manner in the decision in the claim of the heirs of John Brown, Inclosure No. 51. Brown acquired the land from natives, as he alleged, by purchase. His [Page 749] deed was lost or destroyed by fire. He and his heirs enjoyed quiet possession for nearly twenty years. Area claimed, about 150 acres. Allowed 50 acres. Upon rehearing, however, without any new testimony being introduced, the claim was entirely disallowed upon the ground that “the occupation was merely according to Fijian customs and not such as to entitle the respondent to a crown grant.” This claim was sub judice nearly six years, October 30, 1875, to September 28, 1881.

The claimants justly contend that they should not be deprived of their lands where they have proved right of possession and right of property, but have failed to show continuous occupation, the rule as to which, as enforced by the governor in council, being in many cases impossible to be complied with. It will be seen that numbers of the claimants were purchasers of various tracts of land widely separated from each other. The law does not require ubiquity in the person of a landowner, and actual possession, while good prima facie evidence of title, was neither absolutely essential nor was it always possible.

(2) Adverse occupation by the natives.—This subject is mainly covered by the preceding remarks. I beg to call attention, nevertheless, to the claim of the heirs of T. B. Shute to Naidi, Inclosure No. 39, wherein permissive occupation by the natives was sought to be construed as adverse possession.

(3) Abandonment.—This ground for disallowance also is included under the discussion of the subject of occupancy. The claim of Messrs. Halstead and Brower to the Ringgold Islands, Inclosure No. 52, is one wherein abandonment is alleged against the claimants as a reason for recommending disallowance.

(4) Defective title deeds.—The final report of the land commissioners (p. 30, British Blue Book A, herewith)* contains the following very apposite remarks:

In many eases the so-called deed has been merely a sale note of the most irregular and informal character, written on any scrap of paper procurable, and by any person who could be found to write it; but the largest allowance has always been made for informalities where no defect graver than informality has attached to them, and, considering the class of persons who constituted the majority of the early land purchasers in Fiji, and the rough, half-savage manner in which they lived, it is perhaps surprising that the informalities and irregularities have not been even greater than they are. The following remarks, therefore, must be taken to apply equally to the more pretentious documents drawn by persons assuming to be conveyancers and embodied in legal forms; and it is among these that we have detected some of the most scandalous frauds of any that have come under our notice, and we are of opinion, for reasons which will appear hereinafter, that the majority of the deeds which have come before us are of very little value as evidence of any particle of the transaction, except, perhaps, of the intentions of the purchaser, and we further are of opinion that in the construction of these documents the well-known maxim of English law that a grant should always, in ease of doubt, be construed adversely to the grantor, should, under the very peculiar conditions which formerly prevailed in Fiji, be inverted.

In civilized countries the execution of a deed is, of course, the most solemn and conclusive form of recording a contract, and consequently courts of law have been very cautious in admitting evidence to explain or modify deeds, and have always viewed with great suspicion any attempt to do so. But in civilized countries a deed is an instrument carefully prepared and fully considered in all its details by all parties, who presumably are in a position to deal together upon equal terms, and such is not the case here.

The vendors, being, of course, unable to read the documents they professed to be executing, were entirely dependent for their comprehension of their acts upon such explanation as was given them from the purchaser or the interpreter supplied by him, paid by him, and who was in many cases himself continually mixed up with similar transactions.

[Page 750]

Still less were they able to sign them, and consequently the execution is almost invariably by mark; and we need not point out the great facilities which this fact alone afforded to unscrupulous persons to obtain deeds which are little better than fraudulent. * * *

In English deeds we may as a rule rely upon the accuracy of a sum stated to have been given as consideration. In Fiji it is quite the reverse. In the vast majority of cases the actual payments have been made in trade, and the difficulty we have always had to encounter has been to arrive at an approximate estimate, first, of what were the articles given, and second, how far such articles fairly represented the consideration alleged upon the face of the deed. In some cases we have detected the grossest and most scandalous untruthfulness as to the sums alleged to have been given.

The most striking instances of irregularities in the deeds produced by American claimants appear in the claims of the heirs of J. B. Williams (inclosures herewith Nos. 15 and 18), where the names of some [of] the grantees were erased and no satisfactory explanation was offered for such alterations.

It is very noticeable that in some of the decisions of the governor in council but scant regard was paid to the boundaries stated in the deeds. For examples, see case of Work, Byrne and Bounds, Inclosure No. 37, and that of O. Farra, Inclosure No. 59. It is quite true, as stated by the commissioners, that in a great majority of eases the boundaries were a matter of vagueness and uncertainty to both parties, and were not, and indeed could not be, clear to either.

(5) No title in vendor, or defective right of vendor.—So far as affects the American claimants these matters will be found treated mainly in connection with the powers of alienation by the chiefs and “tankeis.”

(6) Inadequacy of price.—Considering the conditions of society in Fiji in former times it is impossible to apply strictly the rules that would govern in civilized communities. The Fijians were debased in savage cannibalism, war was ever present, life and property were continually threatened by neighboring enemies, land was overplentiful, arms and ammunition were dear but necessary, and the white men had them as well as many other strange, atttractive, and useful articles. The white man wanted land and the Fijians were eager to part with it to satisfy their necessities or gratify their temporary caprices. The matter is well summed up in the very interesting affidavit of Mr. R. S. Swanston, herewith, Inclosure No. 5, as follows:

The question of what was an adequate consideration for lands purchased from natives can, to my mind, have but one answer, namely, that consideration with which the seller was satisfied. Wild lands in a savage country have no established value. The necessities of warfare, love of adornment, or childish cupidity, in most cases decided the price to be paid, and the European or American monetary value of the consideration was not a fair criterion. To my own knowledge in early days in Samoa, a large blue bead was the purchasing price of a young girl, and in Fiji a whale’s tooth was the value of a man’s life.

The final report of the land commissioners (see British Blue Book A, p. 31, herewith)* contains the following very appropriate remarks:

A large proportion of the sales were effected in order to obtain arms and ammunition for offensive and defensive purposes. To many this may seem iniquitous in the extreme on the part of the purchasers, but upon reflection we deem the iniquity of the transaction to rest chiefly with those, whoever they may have been, who first introduced such means of warfare into a country then in a state of rampant savageness and cannibalism.

When guns fell thus into the hands of a tribe upon whose shores the vessel conveying the first firearms was anchored, their neighbors would soon discover that it was a matter of life and death that they should likewise procure the same means of defense. And when land buying commenced, what easier than to sell a portion of land upon the desire of a white to buy? For before the arrival of whites the absolute alienation of land, in our sense of the term, must have been unknown, [Page 751] when the families could only understand that they had the usufruct alone of the soil for themselves and their heirs. When there were no buyers there could be no sellers.

In the matter of such sales for firearms, we are of opinion that when all interests were properly consulted before the completion of the contract, it became competent and proper for the people to alienate a part of their land to procure the means of defense against neighboring tribes and strangers at a time when the term “stranger” meant also enemy.

By Fijian custom, that is by Fijian law, the absolute alienation of land as understood by us was unknown, and, therefore, strictly speaking, illegal; yet, can it be doubted they had a perfect right in common prudence to procure by any means in their power the safety of their lives and the lives of their wives and families? Where would be the utility of preserving land when by so doing they subjected themselves to extinction altogether, and consequently left no posterity to enjoy the lands thus spared by a too rigid adherence to their old customs?

(7) Nonconcurrence of tankeis, and

(8) No payment to tankeis.—The following definition of the term “tankeis” was furnished me by Mr. B. S. Swanston (see Inclosure No. 5), whose long residence in Fiji, familiarity with the people and language, and intelligence and social standing render his opinion in such a matter of great weight. He says:

The word tankei is generally accepted to mean owner or proprietor, but it has a more realistic meaning, and that is tenant or occupant. It means proprietorship for the time being, a proprietorship subject to the capricious will of another. A tankei ni vanua was the occupant for the time being, and his children after him did, and might continue occupants in possession for any indefinite term, the limits of which term, however, at all times subject to the pleasure of the chief, and to the calls for service and supplies by the chief. During such term the tankei ni vanua must comply with these demands or take the consequences; as, for instance, if called upon for a pig, and failing to promptly deliver it, he was liable to be ordered and compelled to prepare an oven, into which oven his own carcass would most certainly be put in place of that of the pig. A tankei ni vale was simply a householder, not a house owner, and his tenure was, in like manner, subj ect to the pleasure of the chief. * * *

The Kaisis, or people of the land, were divided into two classes, namely, Bati and Qali.

The Bati were mercenaries whose services as fighting men were rendered to the chiefs to whom they might be for the time being Bati, and they held land as occupants from such chiefs in consideration of services. For instance, the Kai Kuku and Kai Namata were mountaineers to whom the chief of Bau gave lands on Bauan territories near the coast adjoining Rewan territory, and these people became Bati to Bau, and the lands they occupied were called after them the land of the Kai Kuku and lands of the Kai Namata, respectively; or, more directly after them, Kuku and Namata.

Again, the Nakelo lands are Bauan Qali lands, given to the Kai Nakelo, who were Rewans and Bati to Rewa, to occupy on condition that they would render Qali service to Bau. Cakoban was dissatisfied with this arrangement, and under a decision of the last court of appeal in Fiji, namely, the court of clubs, enforced his will against these Kai Nakelo, and compelled them to become Bati as well as Qali to Bau and de facto Bauans. It can be well understood how, under such customs, maintained by club law, tribal squabbles should have a continuous existence and titles to lands be involved in inextricable confusion, and only to be dealt with by recognizing the man in possession with power to hold and transfer possession as the owner with the right to transfer.

Qali were the recognized peons or serfs of a chief—menials of the lowest class—who provided food and rendered all and every kind of servile labors to their masters.

The intricacies connected with landownership and the right of any chief to sell land would lead to a waste of time to discuss in detail; and I think that the general principle, as acted on by the whites and supported by the respective consuls in Fiji, in reference to lands purchased by the whites from the natives, namely, that a sale made by a paramount chief was conclusive, provided always that the bona fide on each side was clear, was right, and an appeal to club law by the natives, or against a white man, in any case where his claim had received consular recognition, was justifiably suppressed with a strong hand. After the hoisting of the British flag, however, instances of the repudiation by natives of bona fide sales of land to whites have occurred, by the consent if not by the instigation of the colonial authorities. I make this statement knowing that the Fijians would not have dared to take such action unless with the consent, approval, and orders of their chiefs in former times, or under the warrant of the authorities of the colony in these times.

The customs and laws in reference to land while Fiji was under native rule were practically the same throughout the group.

[Page 752]

Mr. Swanston further gives numerous illustrations of the relative positions of the chiefs and people, and his entire affidavit is worthy of most careful study.

In the earlier adjudicated cases it was recognized that the chiefs had power to dispose of tribal lands without the concurrence of the commoners or “tankeis,” but, becoming alarmed at the large concessions to the whites that this recognition would involve, Sir Arthur Gordon, undoubtedly as a matter of expediency, adopted the rule of disallowing claims on the ground of nonparticipation of the “tankeis” in the sale. I use the word “expediency” for the reason that legality is not an appropriate term in this connection.

To assist the natives in disputing claims an advocate, Mr. E. O’B. Hefferman, was appointed by the Government. He preceded the commissioners in their visits to localities where investigations were to be held, interviewed the natives, collected their witnesses, and conducted their side of the cases at the hearings. The appointment of such an agent was in itself eminently just and proper, seeing that in most instances the white claimants had the assistance of trained attorneys, and that the natives were ignorant of procedure; but it has been asserted that this advocate conveyed to his clients the impression that it was the desire of the Government that claims should be disputed and disallowance effected whenever possible, and that with such ideas once implanted in their minds the Fijians resorted to the grossest perjury.

So far as I was able, I made diligent investigation of this grave charge. That the natives frequently prevaricated in their testimony there can be no doubt. The papers herewith in the matter of the claim of the heirs of T. B. Shute (Inclosure No. 39) furnish illustrations. That Mr. Hefferman was in any way instrumental in producing such irregularities, I prefer to doubt. He, however, as appears from Commercial Agent St. John’s official certificate herewith (Inclosure No. 8), made an ante-mortem statement, confessing that he had been employed by the Colonial Government of Fiji to precede the lands commission in their tours of investigation and “coach the natives to dispute claims to land,” and that he deeply regretted many things that he had done injurious to the interests of American claimants to land.

This seems to me to be too general and indefinite to be of much value.

Mr. Swanston in his affidavit (Inclosure No. 5) says:

After the earlier portions of the land claims had been gone into, the members of the commission were changed and the mode of conducting the inquiry became markedly adverse to white claimants, with a strong bias toward the natives, evidently the result of a change in the policy of the governor, and the natives were advised and urged—I regret that I have to say this advisedly—to dispute the claims of whites to lands that up to that time had been held in peaceable and undisputed possession and occupation. The agents in this nefarious collusion were men holding official positions under the Crown, and who did their behests, representing themselves as mouthpieces of the governor.

A careful study of this question of the right of sale of native lands in Fiji prior to annexation leads to the conclusion that such right was vested in the chiefs. The general custom supporting the right was, of course, affected by the fact that while the chiefs in some places were all powerful, in other localities their authority was limited; but it must be observed that the latter were exceptional eases, and as such tend to prove or establish the prevalence of the rule. Whatever may have been the exclusive rights of the tankeis in the remote past, it is clear that with the introduction of white men and firearms there came about an increase in the authority of the chiefs, and this authority became so [Page 753] firmly established over the ancient customs of the people that the chiefs were masters absolute, not only of the tribal lands, but of the lives of all their people. The present governor of Fiji, Sir John B. Thurston, in 1874, in a memorandum attached to the report to the British Government by Commodore Goodenough and Consul Layard, stated:

The ownership of the land in Fiji, whether absolute or qualified, is based upon well-settled law or custom; in some matters of detail only is this law or custom obscure. Since the advent of Europeans, Fijian customs have been slowly altering. Old ideas and usages have undergone important changes, and in no respect have they changed so much as in the relation existing between the chief and his people. * * *

From long and careful inquiry, I am of opinion that the people hold their land from their chiefs—that is to say, from their fathers or their gods—under a feudal system which has existed from time immemorial. The principle of this system recognizes the supreme chief as the grantor of land, and leaves the usufruct only, subject to certain conditions, in the hands of the grantee, i. e., quali chief and people. * * *

When a cabora (presentation) is made by any quali (subject, province, or town), its mata or herald lays hands upon the offering, and says, addressing the chief: “Be favorably disposed to accept this. We know it is little, but if it is little, ‘keimani na kenai kuri’ (literally, ‘our bodies can be added to it to make it more’). Be favorably disposed to us; accept this, that we may continue to occupy your land.” * * * All these well-established customs point to the fact that the lands belong to the head or ruling chief of the tribe and are held by his subordinate chief or vassals, subject to a service called “lala.” * * * All evidence tends to show that the lands of Fiji are vested in the ruling chiefs of tribes, occupied by their subordinate chiefs or vassals, and people, in consideration of past, present, or future service. * * * I do not think any subordinate Fijian landholder or occupant can or should alienate land without the consent of the ruling chief, inasmuch as the chief holds most important rights in respect to such land, the loss of which would seriously affect his position in regard to other chiefs, and possibly render him unable to perform certain obligations due by him to other families of the tribe. Nor, on the other hand, do I think the ruling chief should alienate land, except with the consent of the occupants, so long as they (the occupants) render the services demanded by such chief and sanctioned by immemorial usage and custom.

In their general report upon land claims in the Dreketi district (see British Blue Book B, p. 187, herewith)* the land commissioners say:

No “tankeis” were ever consulted by the chief on the sale of lands, and the munitions procured by such sales were distributed as appeared to him most advisable at the time. Land belonging to one division was sold and the arms obtained handed over to the people of another division, and again, vice versa, in the perfect discretion of the chief, whose position and rights appear to have been that of a commander in chief of an army engaged in perpetual warfare. In this condition of affairs it seems to us everyone interested acquiesced.

The power of the chiefs Ritova and Tui Cakan is exemplified in the same Blue Book, pp. 236–239.* Neither of the chiefs consulted the views of the “tankeis”in effecting sales. In the judgment of the governor in council on rehearing the claim of T. B. Shute to land near Levuka (see Blue Book C, herewith, p. 31), the following significant language is used:

At the time when there was no law in the colony except the will, of the native chiefs, Tui Levuka, who then had the power, took from William Miller, a half-caste, a portion of land, etc.

The contradictoriness of insisting upon the title of the “tankeis” as superior or even equal to that of the chiefs is manifest in the position of the British Government at the time of the deed of cession, for it was by acknowledging the feudal tenure to be the only one in actual operation that possession was obtained of the group.

[Page 754]

After full investigation, conducted at various times and by different agents, but more particularly by Commodore Goodenough and Consul Layard, assisted by the present governor of Fiji and others, that Government professed itself satisfied of the power and right of the chiefs to cede not only their seignorial rights but the absolute proprietorship of all lands not previously alienated.

The titles of these claimants, derived from the chiefs of Fiji, were equal in origin with that of the British Crown, and being prior in time were superior in right, and could not be affected in their validity by the deed of cession or by any subsequent departmental instructions or ordinances or judgments of the British authorities.

the interests acquired by the british government by reason of disallowed claims.

In the rejection of claims, the consequent benefit of the Crown in the disallowed lands, either directly or as ultimus hæres, is also the basis of serious complaint. Executive, officers were made judges in these cases, where often the interests of the Crown were involved. Sir Arthur Gordon contends that such interests were “not direct, but very indirect and remote,” and that the Crown could only become ultimus hæres “in the improbable case of the entire failure of the native owners” and “white proprietors,” and I am informed that it has even been contended by members of the colonial government that there are no Crown lands in Fiji.

Actual facts, however, show that the Crown has acquired very extensive landed interests. During the first two years after the cession it is estimated that about one-third of the natives died from an epidemic of measles, and since then there has been no increase of population, but, on the contrary, regularly compiled statistics show a diminution; and while I was in Fiji the government was engaged in an inquiry into the causes that were producing what threatens in the near future the disappearance of the Fijian race. Since annexation, the white population of the islands has decreased in numbers, and there are few, if any, inducements at present to attract European immigrants.

As early as June 3, 1876, as will be seen by the copy of the Royal Gazette of that date herewith (Inclosure No. 10), the government had Crown lands in Fiji, which were offered for sale at upset prices ranging from 10s. to £1 per acre. The following advertisement, which appeared in the Fiji Times of December 12, 1891, is further evidence in the matter:

V. R.—Notice.

Notice is hereby given that any person found cutting or removing timber of any description from Crown lands will be prosecuted.

John Berry,
Commissioner of Lands.

Land Office,
Suva, 8th December, 1891.

By reference also to the claims of Messrs. Copeland and Henry (Inclosure No. 20), it will be observed that the Crown is now occupying, for prison, hospital, immigration, and other purposes, at Suva, land that was disallowed claimants. The Island of Mukulan, claimed by the heirs of J. B. Williams (see Inclosure No. 15), and disallowed, is also occupied as a Government quarantine station. Finally, a most important question that should be answered is: By what right could the governor in council issue Crown grants ex gratia? This was done [Page 755] in a great many eases, and extensive tracts of land were thus vested in white proprietors.

These facts, I conceive, are an ample answer to the contention of the British foreign office that “there have been no conflicting claims between the Crown and any alien proprietors, and that dispute in every case was between native owners of the land and persons who claimed to have bought from natives.”

half-caste claimants.

In every case, where practicable, the accompanying inclosures furnish the evidence obtainable in Fiji of the American citizenship of claimants. It will be noted that many of the parties are the descendants of American fathers by native mothers, and have never lived in the United States. The unions of the parents in such cases were sometimes preceded by a marriage ceremony performed by a missionary, and frequently were only marriages “vaka viti” (i. e., according to the custom of Fiji). These latter nuptial contracts were, as is usual in savage countries, of a very loose and irregular character, and practically amounted to gross concubinage. Polygamy was common among the natives, especially the chiefs, and some of the early white settlers were not guiltless of it. The pleas are of the parties, particularly that of the man, determined the duration of the relation.

The views of the Department in this connection appear to have been expressed in the instruction to Consul-General Sewall, at Apia, Samoa, under date of July 19, 1888, in these words:

One of the tests of a valid marriage in the United States is that it must he exclusive and for life. The question is not one of the intention of the parties in this regard; it is whether by the law of the place the union is compulsory and not at the will of the parties. If, by the Samoan law or custom, a man and a woman who cohabit with the intention of living together in exclusive union for life may, nevertheless, at any time freely separate and treat the union as at an end, the law or custom which permits this does not constitute such a marriage as is recognized by the laws of this country. Whatever may be the intention of the parties, such a union is, from a legal point of view, merely cohabitation at will and not of that permanent and exclusive character which American law demands.

value of lands.

Almost all of the claimants demand compensation for their lands, based upon the values thereof at the time of disallowance. This appears to me to be the only fair basis of measuring any damages that may be awarded. Land in Fiji is now of very little value as compared with the period when the British Government took over the islands. Owing to the complete stoppage of purchases from the natives, to the uncertainty of title acquired by whites (which titles in many oases remained in abeyance for nearly five years after annexation), to the great fall in the cotton market, and to general financial stringency naturally following, almost universal ruin fell upon planters and upon traders who had given them credit. European immigration into the islands ceased, and has not been encouraged by the colonial government, Sir Arthur Gordon going so far as to remark that Fiji was not a white man’s country. The government offered crown lands in 1876 for sale at prices varying from 10 shillings to £1 sterling per acre (see Inclosure No. 10), but this offer was practically a farce, for I have in mind a number of persons who went to Fiji to purchase such lands and met with disappointment. Wherever possible, I have endeavored in each case herewith presented to obtain tangible evidence of values, and, as will be seen, have not [Page 756] hesitated to express my opinions of the correctness of estimates made by claimants.

Interest and costs are also frequently asked for in these claims. The customary rate of interest in Fiji previous to cession was 10 per cent per annum. The present rate on judgments in the supreme court of the colony is 8 per cent per annum.

Respectfully referring to the inclosures herewith for details in each claim,

I have, etc.,

  • Geo. H. Scidmore,
    Special Agent of the Department of State and Consular Clerk.
  • Hon. Josiah Quincy,
    Assistant Secretary of State.

List of inclosures.

Petition of American claimants, July 1, 1887.
Chart of the Fiji Islands.
Chart-Suva to Levuka.
Affidavit of R. S. Swanston.
Letter from W. Scott, December 7, 1892.
Affidavit of W. Miller.
Certificate of Commercial Agent St. John in re E. O’B. Hefferman.
Certificate of same in re feeling among natives.
Fiji Royal Gazette of June 3, 1876.
Sundry correspondence with governor of Fiji.
Sundry newspaper articles.
Pamphlet—A Land Appeal Case.


Heirs of John Brown Williams, Laucala Island.
Same heirs, Nukulau Island.
Same heirs, Nabunocere.
Same heirs, Wai Na Beragaga, Na Kocu, and Na Vuvu.
Same heirs, Nukubalavu.
Heirs of James Hartwell Williams, Namuka Island.
T. A. Copeland and B. R. Henry, land near Suva.
The Polynesia Company.
W. H. Bruce, Wai Wai.
G. R. Burt, Emuri.
W. Berwick, various claims.
W. Berwick, Koala.
W. Berwick, Dere.
W. Berwick, Vuci Levu.
W. Berwick, Koro Nubu.
W. Berwick, Sagunu.
W. Berwick, Na Vua Vua.
W. Berwick, Narewa.
W. Berwick, cutter Psyche.
Heirs of John Sparr, Vesa Island, Vanua Tabu Island, Tawadromu Island, and part of Ono Island.
Heirs of George Winter, Dreketi, Bulu, Mamanuca Islands, Gavo, and Veitoga and Drasa.
B. Morris, Udu, Naola, and Levuka town lots.
E. W. Work and J. Byrn, Sa Solo.
E. W. Work and J. Byrn, and heirs of Charles Rounds, Gau.
Heirs of Charles Rounds, Mataidravuni.
J. M. Shute, Naidi.
Heirs of T. R. Shute, Eld, Fox, Agate, and Sinclair islands.
Same heirs, Matana Levu.
Same heirs, Vuni Sawana.
Same heirs, Vuna Balavu, Na Sarawaga, and Vuni Cibi Cibi.
Isaac Driver, Na Sinu and Noloa.
Soe King, Onelasi.
William Peckkam.
Robert Forbes.
Thomas Farrel, Toguru, and Nukuloa.
William Ross.
George Trask, Wai Savu Savu, Yagaga Island, and Dreki-ni-Wai.
Heirs of John Brown, Bulu.
G. Halstead, J. M. Brower, and W. Valentine, Yanuca-i-Lau, or Ringgold Islands.
Heirs of John Gallagher, Nadamanu and Nataci, Navusova, and Natuvu
Henry Baily, Toguru.
J. A. Parrott, Warikaba.
Mary Dyer, Na Vuni Ivi Deke, or Toga Island.
Mrs. K. W. Hathaway, Namena, or Direction Island.
Isaac Driver, Yanawai.
John O’Farra, Ucu-ni-Vatu.
Jacob Steiner.
John Hale, part of Toga Island.
Heirs of John Ryder, Drui.
Heirs of James McGoon, Wai Lai Lai, Rei Rei, Buri Lai Lai, and Naidiri.
Heirs of Thomas Hoyt.
Samuel Whippy and heirs of Peter Whippy, Ko-na-Lovo-ni-Sikeci, Sogobuli, Nagadi, and Koro Levu.
Burns, and eleven others.
Notice to claimants by Commercial Agent St. John, November 28, 1888.
British Blue Book A.
British Blue Book B.
British Blue Book C.
British Blue Book D.
Report from Consular Bureau, January 6, 1890.
  1. “Fiji. Correspondence relative to land claims in Fiji. Presented to both Houses of Parliament * * * April, 1883.”
  2. “Fiji. Correspondence relative to land claims in Fiji. Presented to both Houses of Parliament * * * April, 1883.”
  3. “Fiji. Correspondence relative to land claims in Fiji. Presented to both Houses of Parliament * * * April, 1883.”
  4. Further correspondence respecting claims of German subjects to lands in Fiji laid before Parliament May, 1885.
  5. Fiji. Correspondence relative to land claims in Fiji. Presented to both Houses of Parliament * * * April, 1883.
  6. Fiji. Correspondence relative to land claims in Fiji. Presented to both Houses of Parliament * * * April, 1883.
  7. Fiji. Correspondence relative to land claims in Fiji. Presented to both Houses of Parliament * * * April, 1883.
  8. Fiji. Correspondence relative to land claims in Fiji. Presented to both Houses of Parliament * * * April, 1883.
  9. Fiji. Further Correspondence relative to land claims in Fiji. Laid before Parliament, August, 1883.
  10. Fiji. Further Correspondence relative to land claims in Fiji. Laid before Parliament, August, 1883.
  11. “Minutes of the executive council of Fiji sitting for the rehearing of land claims August 29 to October 17, 1881.”