While, under the control of Europeans, the Tongans have shown some aptitude for administration, they fail when left to themselves.
The missionaries, finding their position secure, presently began to take action in political affairs, and persuaded the king to grant a constitution to the Tongans, who welcomed it with a kind of childish enthusiasm, but were far from fitted to receive it.
The natives are keen traders, and though uncouth in manners when compared with their nearest neighbours, the Tongans and Samoans, are friendly to Europeans.
The Fijians are a people of Melanesian (Papuan) stock much crossed with Polynesians (Tongans and Samoans).
The Tongans, who had long frequented Fiji (especially for canoe-building, their own islands being deficient in timber), now came in larger numbers, led by an able and ambitious chief, Maafu, who, by adroitly taking part in Fijian quarrels, made himself chief in the Windward group, threatening Thakombau's supremacy.