HC Deb 17 May 1887 vol 315 cc246-7

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies, Whether the Governor of Fiji has made any Report concerning the public flogging of Zephaniah, a Native member of the Wesleyan Methodist Church in the Rewa District, for having complained of the pillage of his gardens; and. if so, what steps Her Majesty's Government have taken to prevent the repetition of such a barbarous punishment?


A Report upon this matter was received by the last mail. Some damage was done to Zephaniah's garden by a party of his own friends, not for purposes of pillage, but out of high spirits. The accounts differ as to the amount of damage. Upon this he wrote a letter to a Chief, which he admits to have been insolent and improper. This so incensed a large assembly of Natives present that they demanded that he should be subjected to a Native punishment called "buturaki," which involves being knocked down and jumped and stamped upon by a crowd of angry men, which, must be at all times unpleasant and is sometimes followed by fatal results. An affray became imminent, and the Chief of the town restored peace by ordering Zephaniah to receive six strokes and another man five strokes. Zephaniah himself says—"I thought I had deserved my fate and was satisfied." The rest of the story is said to be exaggeration mixed with much pure invention. The "frightful wale" said to have been visible after the whipping was caused by a burn sustained some years before.