Volume 83 1974 > Volume 83, No. 3 > An early public war of words in Pacific politics: Tonga 1860-1890, by Ralph D. Barney, p 349-360
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AN EARLY PUBLIC WAR OF WORDS IN PACIFIC POLITICS: TONGA, 1860—1890

When the Tonga Chronicle and its Tongan language counterpart, the Ko e Kalonikali, were established by the Government of Tonga in 1963, they were described as Tonga's first newspapers. 1 Yet, nearly a century earlier, a verbal war had erupted in Tonga that involved three and perhaps four Tongan newspapers. Further, in propaganda campaigns that were quite sophisticated for their time and place, at least four foreign newspapers were used in attempts to influence public opinion regarding relationships between Europeans and the Government. Expatriate groups were the driving force as they argued for relief from what they felt were excessive local government restrictions in Tonga. The tangle of events even led, on the same day in 1882, to the contradictory approval of a new Constitution containing free speech and press provisions, and three laws that were restrictive of the press.

The communications battle of which the above events were elements climaxed a short series of attempts to establish newspapers in Tonga, perhaps as a means of speeding Westernisation of those islands. The central figure in these efforts was a controversial Wesleyan minister who had arrived in Tonga in 1860 and who rather quickly became confidant and political adviser to King Siaosi Tupuo, Tonga's first Christian monarch. Shirley Waldemar Baker had been in Tonga less than two years when he drafted a set of laws King Tupou submitted to a great meeting of the chiefs (fakataha). The laws won acceptance by the chiefs, an occasion that perhaps cemented Baker's relationship to the King, since Tupou had failed to win approval of his own reform proposals in three such sessions in the three years preceding the 1862 fakataha. 2 Among other things, the laws formalised government to the extent that taxes became necessary, with a consequent stimulation of a cash economy in the islands. The cash economy and other inducements attracted European traders during the next few years to set the stage for ofttimes bitter confrontations that would last for nearly three decades.

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The early strength of Rev. Baker's position in Tonga is demonstrated by the actions of the Wesleyan Mission board in Australia which, on the one hand, censured him for his part in the drafting of the 1862 Code (missionaries were prohibited by Mission rules from participating in politics), yet also elected him to the chairmanship of the Friendly Islands District in 1869. 3

A factor that may have hastened later attempts to establish newspapers, and one which apparently led to the King's insistence on the Code of 1862, was the King's apparent feeling that, in order to avoid being swallowed up in the major-nation colonial expansions through the Pacific, the Tongans must demonstrate a level of civilised development that would allow the Kingdom to deal with representatives of potential colonisers as sophisticated equals, rather than as uncivilised savages of whom advantage could be easily taken. In line with this, Tupou moved consistently toward the adoption of Western forms as a continuing means of keeping European governments from forcing European methods on Tonga, or of extending a protectorate influence over the Tongans. The wily King's efforts appear to be responsible for the appearances that Oliver comments on:

From the decks of a copra steamer pulling in to Nuku'alofa, this capital of the Kingdom of Tonga looks more like Cape Cod than South Seas. The illusion remains even after stepping ashore, because Tongans learned long ago that the easiest way to remain Tongan is to appear western. 4 (Emphasis added).

Early Western tools to assist in this process were introduced shortly after the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society arrived in Tonga, with the first mission printing plant being installed in April, 1831. It was immediately put to work producing 9,000 copies of various printed pieces, totalling some 200,000 pages in the first 6 months of operation. 5

The printed materials were generally used to speed the spread of the Christian gospel to the Tongans. A school had been established in Nuku'alofa in 1828 to teach reading and writing in the Tongan language, indicating the language had been reduced to writing by that time. 6

By 1869, perhaps because it was felt there were now a sufficient number of Tongans able to read, the government established a quarterly newspaper, Fetu'u 'o Tonga (Star of Tonga) as a means of discussing aspects of the reform laws of 1862. 7 This appears to have been Tonga's first newspaper.

The editor told readers “you should thank God for all you have enjoyed in this life . . . and thank King George and the Nobles for providing the press by which this newspaper can be published.” 8 The editor encouraged contributions, but warned would-be writers he did not have time to make corrections. Readers were instructed to take their writings “to someone - 351 who knows the language” to correct the spelling of the words — “for which the back” of the writer's sheet should be left. Readers wishing to place ads in the new quarterly were invited to contact the editor about rates. It was explained that the newspaper would contain listings of births, deaths, marriages, and divorces, and it was noted that in other countries, readers pay for their newspapers. “Here you don't have to bring money, but if you want to the newspaper will not refuse it,” the editor stated. The editor's prospectus also declared that: (1) the newspaper would call attention to meetings that interest the public; (2) anyone with questions “about the government or Tongan traditions or any question about anything the people should know” was asked to write a letter to the editor, which, “if the editor sees it is important,” would appear in the paper “along with a reply;” and (3) “we hope it [the newspaper] will help us to communicate and to spread news from other countries. 9 Making clear the informational nature of the newspaper, the editor invited letters with questions of “thanks,” but pointed out that letters likely “to arouse anger between two people or two villages” or “anything bad about the Church” would not be printed. “Anything concerning the Church should be left up to the missionaries of the two churches.” In a column titled “Law of Tonga,” the emergency powers of the King were outlined, the principle of limited monarchy explained and compared favourably with the absolute monarchies “of Europe”, and the desirability of the Tongan laws was emphasised. 10 There is no indication the Star of Tonga survived the first issue.

Controversy between Shirley Baker and other Europeans in Tonga, however, shortly gave rise to publication of what was, for the time and place, a virtual flood of newspapers.

After being censured, Rev. Baker had kept clear of Tongan politics for only a short time until it appeared that one of the European Powers might make efforts to annex Tonga, when he began to influence King Tupou more and more. 11 His return to political influence may have been partly caused by a move by British residents in the early 1870s to “press their own case for the Friendly Islands to be included in the (British) Empire.” 12 Strong European opposition appeared when Baker, who was still head of the Wesleyan mission in Tonga, “virtually became the King's secretary.” 13

Baker is credited by Rutherford with launching the Tongan-language newspaper Ko e Boobooi 14 as a method of providing a public forum for - 352 Baker's views on religious and political matters mixed with selected items of local and foreign news. 15 The newspaper was evidently established late in 1874. On April 28, 1875, a Fiji Times writer told of being shown “a copy of a Tongan newspaper printed in the Tongan language and published by Alexander Malani at the Government Printing Office in Nuku'alofa.” 16 Photostatic copies of Ko e Boobooi dated through November 1877, are lodged in the Central Archives of Fiji. The October 1877 issue in the Fiji Archives bears a Vol. II, No. 12 legend, indicating it was the twelfth issue of the second year of publication. Reference was also made to a January 1882 17 issue, placing the life of that newspaper at at least seven years.

Baker's influence on the King apparently was growing so rapidly that by 1876 the Europeans in Tonga were complaining to both the British authorities in Fiji (which had been ceded to Britain in 1874) and Wesleyan mission authorities in Australia that he was “virtually ruler of Tonga” because of the King's age (at least 76 years), and senility, as well as the emotional control Baker exercised over him as a result of the medical and spiritual service the missionary had rendered the royal family through the years. 18 These complaints apparently were biting enough that Baker felt called upon to defend himself formally before the English-speaking community in Tonga and other islands of the Pacific. He established the Tonga Times in January, 1876 with a public purpose of bringing the islands of Tonga into a greater degree of world prominence than they had heretofore enjoyed. 19

Again active in politics, Baker had been the molder of the Constitution of 1875 that irritated the Europeans — because it made them liable for taxes and responsible to Tongan courts — and the chiefs of the country, whose power was further diluted. The discontent led to an active rebellion movement by the unhappy chiefs, which was supported by the Europeans, in an effort to have Baker deported. The Tonga Times became the government's and Baker's mouthpiece before the English-speaking world, as the European community launched a two-pronged verbal attack on the government in an effort to remove Baker from the country. The fate of the English-language Tonga Times is obscure, since there is no mention of it in later years.

The first prong in the Europeans' attack was a flow of writings to the Fiji Times and the British High Commissioner for Polynesia, Sir Arthur Gordon, in Fiji. This led to an 1878 visit by Sir Arthur to Tonga during which he investigated complaints by British residents against the Tongan government. He found “these were for the most part of a trivial nature, and it speaks well for both parties that no serious misunderstandings should exist in an island in which for nearly ten years no Consul or other British official has been resident.” 20 However, some critical comments - 353 about the laws of Tonga were added to the story reporting Sir Arthur's visit that shed some light on Europeans' ideas about conditions in the Kingdom:

Pecuniary penalties appear rather as a source of revenue than as an instrument to deter from the commission of offenses. . . . Much has been done to Europeanize Tonga in external appearance. It is stated that nearly 90 per cent of the population were last year fined or imprisoned for breaches of the sumptuary laws as to clothing, smoking, playing at games, etc. . . . In these circumstances it is not surprising that the aspect of the people should be sullen and dejected, or that a general listlessness and apathy should everywhere appear to prevail among lower orders of the population. 21

Apparently the Commissioner gave the Tongans some advice about the nature of the laws because, said the story, “in the Parliament about to be held, some of the more obnoxious and oppressive laws it is hoped will be repealed.” 22 It was also noted that Rev. Baker was absent for six months in Australia or New Zealand during Sir Arthur's visit.

Later that year an editorial comment in the Fiji Times made more specific the target of European discontent:

. . . it has been notorious that the acting power has been vested in certain European advisers, who have imposed regulations and restrictions as far removed from common sense — so far as their applicability to those whom they were intended to serve is concerned — as opposed to the spirit of the age upon which they were attempted to be forced. 23

And, three months later, in a writing apparently from a Tonga correspondent (earlier in November 1878 a “Mr Wilkinson” had been identified as the Fiji Times' correspondent from Tonga) there were comments about the “utter stagnation” of Tonga, with specific mention of anti-dancing and anti-wrestling laws and calling generally for more “real and personal freedom” in a country that should be “governed more in accordance with the dictates of common sense than they are at present.” 24

That the discussion was reaching distant ears becomes evident in a writing picked up by the Fiji Times from a “Weekly Advocate” quoting a letter from Prince Wellington T. Gu, aide-de-camp to his father, King George. In the letter, Prince Wellington defended the validity of the laws, but more significantly he noted that discussions had appeared in Sydney newspapers over the “repressive” Tongan laws. 25 The apparently widespread discussion in Fiji, and, perhaps more significantly for this particular time, in Australia, over the involvement of Shirley Baker in Tongan government may have been a factor in Baker's dismissal from his mission position, a move that enabled him to surface again almost immediately as the King's nominee for Prime Minister, Minister for External - 354 Affairs, and Minister for Lands on July 24, 1880. 26 From that time the public rhetoric increased in bitterness and in volume though Baker's power remained great in Tonga until 1881 when the event began that culminated in his removal from the islands in 1889 by the British High Commissioner of the Western Pacific.

If 1882 is a high-water mark indicating the start of the decline of Shirley Baker in Tonga, it was also a year marked by legal inconsistencies. In October 1881, a European named Robert Hanslip had started a handwritten Tongan-language newspaper, called the Niu Vakai (The Lookout Cocoanut Tree), 27 in which the actions of the government were condemned, particularly the “forcing” of the constitution on to the country. The Niu Vakai claimed that King Tupou had acted illegally in calling the chiefs into session, and charged that Baker had uttered malicious libels in his Ko e Boobooi articles. 28 The bitter tone in the Niu Vakai and the general support it received from the European community were further accented by harassing letters and stories in the Fiji Times, which was beyond the government's reach.

Perhaps as a counter to such tactics, a pro-government Tongan-language Tonga Times, the Ko e Taimi O Tonga, appeared in March 1882, under the editorship of the Prince Wellington Gu mentioned above. 29 Rutherford concludes, however, that this paper only “supplied Hanslip with material to criticize.” 30

A second factor emerged also in 1882 with the expansion of the Niu Vakai from a manuscript paper to a letterpress publication when the head of the Wesleyan college in Tonga, an independent-minded man who had been regularly in conflict with Baker during and before Baker's years as head of the mission, made the mission's type and other printing equipment available to Hanslip. 31

It was this set of conditions that apparently set the stage for the first recorded press-government confrontation in the Western Pacific.

A logical beginning for an account of the confrontation may be to cite the Tonga Constitution of 1875, which provided that:

It shall be lawful for all people to speak, write, and print their minds and opinions, and no law shall be enacted to forbid this for ever (sic). There shall be freedom of speech and newspapers (Press) for ever. But this does not nullify the law relative to libel, and the law for the protection of His Majesty and the Royal Family. 32

The Niu Vakai was established in October 1881. Eight months later, the British High Commissioner for the Western Pacific was asked to issue a writ of prohibition against Hanslip that would have allowed for the editor's deportation.

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But the High Commissioner, Sir Arthur Gordon, on a visit to Tonga in July 1882, signed a judgement that refused to find Hanslip “to be dangerous to the peace and good order of the Western Pacific.” 33

He had been asked to agree to the banishment of Hanslip from Tonga on the basis of five accusations that he was inciting natives against their King and government.

All five related to the effect of Hanslip's newspaper on the native population. 34

The Fiji Times contributor assessed the effect of the Niu Vakai on its audience as considerable:

In parliamentary parlance it was the mouth-piece of his Majesty's opposition in Tonga, and a very remarkably warm opposition it constituted. It could scarcely be said to posses (sic) any super-eminent literary merit from a European point of view, but had it done so, it would have been altogether unsuited for the purpose it was intended to serve. From a Tongan standpoint it was, however, admirably calculated to attain its object, and it became a weapon which its writer used to very considerable advantage. 35

And the refusal of Sir Arthur to find sufficient fault with Hanslip to justify his removal allowed the editor to continue in opposition:

. . . the jubilant “Look Out” man prepared to make things still more tropical for them (the King, the Premier, the Crown Prince, and the Minister of Police) in the future. 36

However, other actions designed to dilute Hanslip's effectiveness soon took place. He was denied permission, for example, to attend sessions of Parliament by a resolution of that body “at the special request of King George, made through the Premier;” 37 and it was during these parliamentary sessions that Tonga's new constitution was revised and the press restriction laws passed.

In a remarkable series of events, the amended constitution containing the free press provision cited earlier was approved by the Legislature and Privy Council and signed by King George on October 23, 1882. On the same day, as Table 1 shows, King George approved three Acts in apparent contradiction to the free speech and free press spirit of the Constitution: (1) a Sedition Act; (2) an Act to Regulate the Printing of Newspapers; and (3) a libel law. The sedition and newspaper Acts were published a month later in the official Tonga Government Gazette, but the amended Constitution with

TABLE 1: PASSAGE AND PUBLICATION DATES OF PROVISIONS RELATING TO THE PRESS IN TONGA.
  Passed Published
Sedition Act Oct. 23, 1882 Nov. 22, 1882
Newspaper Printing Oct. 23, 1882 Nov. 22, 1882
Constitution Oct. 23, 1882 Apr. 16, 1883
Libel Oct. 23, 1882 Mar. 14, 1888
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its free speech provision was not published until April 1883, while official publication of the libel law was, for some reason, delayed more than five years. 38

The “Act Relative to Sedition” provided a prison term of from 2 to 24 years for any who would “usurp or attempt to usurp the prerogatives of His Majesty or for any person to libel or curse His Majesty,” or who would attempt to influence rebellion against the laws, “or for any person who shall do anything to produce hatred or contempt to the Government or His Majesty.” Further, the law could be violated by “speaking, writing, or printing.” 39

The “Act to Regulate the Printing of Newspapers” required a permit from the Minister of Police to print or distribute a newspaper, and specified that the name of the editor be printed on the front page. In order to obtain a permit, the applicant was required to find two bondsmen, each for £500:

. . . such being given to guarantee that no blasphemous articles shall be printed or seditious libels, or libel on any of the Chiefs of the land, or anything which shall produce hatred or contempt to the Chiefs of the Government or the Government of His Majesty, or anything which shall cause sedition against His Majesty. 40

Penalties for violation of the Newpaper Regulation Act were set at a fine of from $100 to $500 or six months' to three years' imprisonment. There was also a provision vesting in the Cabinet the right to decide on the acceptability of the proposed bondsmen and one requiring renewal of the bond each year. 41

The third Act defined libel as follows:

Should any one speak or say or write or print anything so as to defame the good name of another or to cause the same to be held in public hatred ridicule or held in contempt. 42

Two degrees were cited, the first degree involving the “libel of anyone who holds a high position,” with penalties of two to seven years' imprisonment or a $50 to $500 fine. Second degree libel protected others who may have been the subject of libel, with penalties of “not more than three months” imprisonment or not more than $25 fine. The Court or jury was designated to specify the degree of libel. There was, however, a proviso that:

This Act shall not prevent any statement being made which ought to be made in any Court or to be printed in any newspaper should it appear that it was not maliciously done. 43

Since there is little evidence that the early controversies tearing Tonga at that time were directed at the Monarch, it is significant to note that the wording of all three restrictive laws first made it unlawful to direct criticism at the King, who had — it would appear — a generally favourable image - 357 with the people, and secondly extended the protective umbrella to include criticism directed at either holders of “high position” or at members of “His Majesty's government.” In either case, it seems the laws were intended primarily to subdue criticism of the King's European premier, an accusation later publicly expressed by the Fiji Times correspondent. He observed that laws passed late in 1882 “seem generally to have been passed in a spirit totally opposed to that displayed by the draughtsman when he concocted the Tongan constitution.” 44 Commenting specifically on personal freedoms related to speech and the press, the correspondent declared that:

The people who first utilised the privilege granted of meeting fo purposes of discussion have long since learned at bitter cost that their boasted privileges were nothing more or less than snares and delusions. 45

Apparently commenting on Hanslip's Niu Vakai, the correspondent directed a scathing attack at Baker's own newspaper, declaring that:

The freedom of the press was a fine institution when it could be made the means of aiding the propagation of Bakerian views or in accomplishing Bakerian self-glorification (Baker's newspaper was the only one in existence when the Constitution of 1875 made the first guarantees of a free press), but when an opposition paper is started: hey, presto! how different everything appears.
The country is not ripe for such advanced notion, besides, the new paper is libellous, seditious, and revolutionary in its tenor, or rather, opposition to the policy of the King's Premier. Translated with Tongan it becomes sedition and libel and requires, nominally for the maintenance of public order, really for the better security of the Premiers [sic] position, to be repressed. Such a naughty paper must be silenced at any cost and constitution oaths must not be obstacles.
A law has therefore been passed making such restrictions as make a publication of a newspaper, if not done in accordance with impossible regulations, punishable with imprisonment for three years. 46

The rhetoric was not one-sided, however, as it appears Mr Baker was making use of other newspapers in the Pacific to tell his side of the events that were occurring in Tonga under his premiership. The Fiji Times correspondent commented that:

Doubtlessly many of your readers have seen a series of letters from Tonga published from time to time in the “Auckland Weekly News,” and will have noticed how roseate everything Tongan appears in them. The self-styled honorable S. W. Baker is the reputed author and it must be amusing to disinterested persons to observe the exculpatory literary efforts of the ex-reverend gentleman, in his attempt to make the outside world believe that his policy, universally condemned by those who understand its true meaning as nefarious in the extreme, is dictated by motives of the most exalted philanthrophy [sic]. 47

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By late 1883, a new line of attack was taken in an apparent effort to (1) strike at the ability of the Niu Vakai to reach a wide audience through the taking away of Hanslip's press facilities and (2) remove a thorn in Baker's side, the school headmaster who allowed the use of the press and who had published critical materials of his own. The attack assumed the form of a “Tongan Government Blue Book” containing, in three series, 22 accusations against Rev. J. E. Moulton. According to the Fiji Times, the accusations were made to be presented to the General Church Conference in an effort to persuade the Church to remove Moulton from Tonga:

As a British subject Mr Moulton was beyond the reach of his opponent's most venomous direct attack, or he might have had an opportunity of experiencing in his proper person the tender mercies of a Tongan gaoler. In this direction, however, malice might expend itself in vain, as there is first such a person as the High Commissioner to be dealt with. With respect to his popularity with the members of the Church in Tonga, Mr Moulton's position was equally unassailable. But Baker's knowledge of Church Government suggested to him that if he could sufficiently blacken his adversary by any sort of accusation, the General Church Conference would be bound to take notice of it; and if he could influence the Conference through its fears or its interest it was clear that his end, namely the ousting of Moulton from Tonga, might be possible of attainment. 48

In mid-February, 1884, the Fiji Times ran the first of a series of five weekly columns from Tonga discussing in condemnatory language the accusations Baker brought against Rev. Moulton, the head of the Wesleyan College in Tonga. 49 Baker is reported to have made the accusations before a local “district meeting” of church leaders in an effort to have them referred to a General Church Conference that would have the power to “oust” Rev. Moulton from Tonga.

Of the “no less than twenty-two counts” brought against Rev. Moulton in “three sets,” nine dealt with the use of the printing press, with seditious actions toward the Tongan Government or with other areas having to do with discussion of contemporary events in Tonga. The first series contained four charges, according to the Fiji Times correspondent, all dealing with public discussions of public issues. In two, the Rev. Moulton was charged with slander, libel and treason and in two others the accusation was that he engaged in sedition. Both accusations of sedition involved printed materials. The first emerged after the Rev. Moulton had produced a piece called “The Local Preacher's Paper” that was defended in the hearings as Mr Moulton's “retort courteous” for “certain strictures upon ‘church burdens’ which Baker published in his ‘Boobooi’, . . . he has in no wise exceeded the liberty of fair criticism to which he lays claim.” Moulton was charged here with bringing into hatred and contempt His Majesty's Government as established by the law of Tonga.

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The second sedition charge, the third in the series, accused the Rev. Moulton of using the Mission press against His Majesty and his government in two ways. The first was “by printing Mr Hanslip's case” and the second was by assisting the Niu Vakai. In the first instance, the Rev. Moulton apparently reproduced and distributed the statement made by Sir Arthur Gordon nearly a year and a half earlier in refusing to have Hanslip removed from Tonga, and in the second event, the Fiji Times writer indicates the aid given to Niu Vakai consisted of a Tongan printer who had been trained in the mission press being hired for the Niu Vakai by Hanslip.

To the first charge, above, the 15-member district committee voted not guilty and on the second, five voted guilty and nine abstained from voting, and “the jubilant Baker claims that the charge is sustained . . . .”

In the two lible charges, the Rev. Moulton was accused, on one count, of secretly translating a petition submitted by a group of native Tongans to the Queen of England that contained strictures on King George and malicious libels on the Rev. S. W. Baker, without giving copies to the government. The Rev. Moulton admitted to the translations, but “as to this talk about treason I shall not condescend to answer it for it is rubbish.”

The focus points of this charge indicate the type of public utterances for which Baker's government took offence:

The words upon which the charge is founded are: 1. “The King is advanced in years” — intimating, according to Baker, that he is no longer able to govern righteously, 2. “Its no use our saying anything — we people of the land” — intimating according to the same authority, that they can no longer get what is right so they appeal to the Queen of England, 3. “He was deposed for wrongdoing” — intimating the Rev. S. W. Baker, and meaning precisely what appears on its face.

The writer argued that “all these matters are absolutely and emphatically true, both as regards statement and implication, notwithstanding the quibble which may be raised on the point last recorded.”

The fourth charge in this series accused Mr Moulton of “uttering a gross libel against my character in a sermon delivered by him on November 19, 1882.” The Fiji Times correspondent called reader attention to the personal pronoun “my” above in a “charge asserted to be instituted on behalf of The Tongan Government.” The sermon, according to the writer:

. . . was one Mr Moulton preached after Baker had horsewhipped one of his native ministers, and Mr Moultan [sic] spoke his mind freely without noticing that Mr Baker was present. The gravamen of the charge was that the preacher declared Baker to be possessed of an evil spirit.

On the charge of translation of the petition without notifying the government, the district committee hearing the accusations voted the Rev. Moulton guilty. In relation to the libel of Mr Baker, the correspondent notes seven voted a guilty verdict and the rest “refused to vote.”

District committee action on the remaining five charges having to do with speech were apparently similar, although the Times writer does not - 360 indicate specific action in most cases. At any rate, Moulton soon went to Sydney to defend himself against the charges and returned by mid-April with the committee's vote of confidence. 50

One final public volley, apparently by Baker, was fired in Sydney with the publication of the Tongan Government Blue Book, “apparently published with the idea of prejudicing the (Wesleyan) conference in favour of the author, Mr Baker.” 51 The “Blue Book” was apparently more than a series of charges against Mr Moulton and a general denunciation of Mr Baker's opponents.

King George, on Moulton's return to Tonga, refused to see the Rev. Moulton, and in January 1885, the Tongan government announced formation of a separate Church, independent of Sydney control. This new “Free Church of Tonga” was to be “Wesleyan in doctrine, but independent of the Sydney conference.” 52 Persecutions followed as Wesleyan churches were confiscated and Tongans were forced to join the new Church. Finally, the zeal with which the new Church was favoured at the expense of the Wesleyan Church led to the firing of Mr Baker by the King in 1889 and his permanent departure from the islands.

Subsequently, the British government assumed more of a paternal interest in Tonga and assisted in bringing order and solvency to the islands so that public debate became less necessary and the newspapers of the 1870s and 1880s, their usefulness gone, died as quickly as they were born.

REFERENCES
  • Chronicle (Tonga), issues in October, 1969.
  • Gazette (Tonga Government) issues from 1882-1888 period.
  • LATUKEFU, Sione 1966. Church and State Relationships in Tonga 1827-1875. Doctoral thesis, Australian National University.
  • LINGENFELTER, Richard E. 1967. Presses of the Pacific Islands, 1817-1867. Los Angeles: Plantin Press.
  • OLIVER, Douglas L. 1967. The Pacific Islands. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
  • Pacific Islands Monthly, June 1963. “Tonga Plans Its First Newspaper.”
  • RUTHERFORD, Noel 1966. Shirley Baker and the Kingdom of Tonga. Doctoral thesis, Australian National University.
  • Times (Fiji), various issues.
1   Pacific Islands Monthly, 1963.
2   Rutherford 1966:46, 53.
3   Rutherford 1966:70.
4   Oliver 1967:179.
5   Lingenfelter 1967:46.
6   Latukefu 1966:160-1.
7   Chronicle, October 17, 1969.
8   Chronicle, October 17, 1969.
9   Chronicle, October 17, 1969.
10   Chronicle, October 17, 1969, and October 31, 1969.
11   Rutherford 1966:135.
12   Rutherford 1966:131.
13   Latukefu 1966:369.
14   Professor Eric Shumway, Assistant Professor of English at the Church College of Hawaii, explains in a letter of October 4, 1972, that Boobooi, now in the “new” orthography spelled Po'opo'oi, is the name of a famous old native Tongan pudding. It is the Tongan version of the Hawaiian poi. In the old days it was a commonly favourite dessert all over Tonga. Many Tongans (now) have never seen, let alone tasted, the pudding. Po'opo'oi may have suggested to Rev. Baker the “feeding” of Tongans with the real native stuff, especially since it was always the most elite dessert at any kind of a feast. Apparently, in the old days no feast was complete or authentically Tongan without po'opo'oi.
15   Rutherford 1966:116.
16   Times, April 28, 1875.
17   Times, June 14, 1882.
18   Rutherford 1966:179.
19   Rutherford 1966:166.
20   Times, May 8, 1878.
21   Times, May 8, 1878.
22   Times, May 8, 1878.
23   Times, November 20, 1878.
24   Times, February 26, 1879.
25   Times, March 15, 1879.
26   Rutherford 1966:253.
27   Times, November 4, 1882.
28   Rutherford 1966:299-300.
29   Times, June 3, 1882.
30   Rutherford 1966:323.
31   Rutherford 1966:323.
32   Gazette, April 16, 1883.
33   Times, November 29, 1882.
34   Times, November 29, 1882.
35   Times, November 18, 1882.
36   Times, November 29, 1882.
37   Times, December 6, 1882.
38   Gazette, March 14, 1888.
39   Gazette, November 22, 1882.
40   Gazette, November 22, 1882.
41   Gazette, November 22, 1882.
42   Gazette, March 14, 1888.
43   Gazette, March 14, 1888.
44   Times, May 5, 1883.
45   Times, May 5, 1883.
46   Times, May 5, 1883.
47   Times, May 5, 1883.
48   Times, February 13, 1884.
49   Commentary on the three series of charges attributed to the “Blue Book” were contained in Fiji Times issues of February 20, March 1, and March 24, 1884. Unless otherwise noted, quotations come from those reports.
50   Fiji Times, April 30, 1884.
51   Fiji Times, April 30, 1884.
52   Rutherford 1966:334.