The Origins of International Rivalry in Samoa: 1845–1884
iii. The Change in German Attitude
iii. The Change in German Attitude
The intrigues of Lundon gave rise to counter-intrigues by Germans—Weber, Ruge, and even the Consul Stuebel. By 1884 German patriots began to see hope of State support— which in 1880 had not been accorded to their endeavours.
3 Townsend, Origins of Modern German Colonialism, p. 86.
Fig. 5.—German, British, and American Imports and Exports of
(From U.S. Monthly Consular Reports, July 1885, No. 54)
Fig. 6.—Foreign Imports and Exports of Samoa, 1880–84
(From the report of the German Consulate in Samoa, 1883, in "Parliamentary Papers," 1889. Figures for 1884 from U.S. Monthly Consular Reports, July 1885, No. 56 (except German Imports, 1884), Vol. 86, c. 5672. U.S. Consular Reports give higher figures for Germany's export and lower for her import trade)
1 Townsend, op. cit., pp. 140–44.
2 "Frisch einen Griff in der Welt zu thun."
3 Kolonial Zeitung, vol. i, p. 2.
4 E.g. in vol. i; in vol. ii, 1885, there are five articles on Samoa and Pacific trade; in vol. iii, 1886, there are four articles on Samoa and Pacific trade; in vol. iv, 1887, there are six articles on Samoa and Pacific trade.
5 Kolonial Zeitung.
The Australasian Inter-Colonial Convention of 1883 further stirred German feelings of anxiety, particularly in the Pacific, lest British colonists and traders should be enabled—by the absence of German State support to German enterprise—to forestall Germany in New Guinea, and perhaps even to secure Samoa. Moreover, England's apparent unwillingness to allow other claims, while she herself was unwilling to undertake annexation,1 had the effect of promoting popular support for a colonial policy. Lord Ampthill, indeed, warned Granville that Bismarck was being driven, "contrary to his convictions and will, into the inauguration of the colonial policy he had hitherto denounced as detrimental to the concentration of German strength and power."2 When Great Britain protested against the Samoan-German agreement of November 10, 1884, Bismarck complained to Malet "that at every point at which Germany had endeavoured to found a colony, England had closed in, making new acquisitions so as to restrict Germany's power of expansion."3 Further: "The Imperial Government intended to place under the direct protection of the Empire, as had been done in West Africa, so now also in the South Seas, those districts in which German commerce had become predominant, or to which expeditions were about to be undertaken."4
1 E.g. at Angra Pequeña in Africa. See Townsend, op. cit., p. 168.
2 Fitzmaurice, Lord E., Life of Lord Granville, vol. ii, p. 355, quoted in Scholefield, The Pacific, p. 291.
3 B.F.S.P., vol. 76, p. 786. Malet to Granville, January 24, 1885.
4 Ibid., p. 789. Count Münster to Granville, January 28, 1885.
In this atmosphere, when the Germans saw at last the shaping of a policy of State protection to the trader by annexation of those parts where he had acquired interests, it is hardly surprising that Germans should have looked with irritation upon Lundon's intrigues. The manifest preference of Samoans for English made the annoyance greater.4 So, with hopes for support from Berlin, intrigue was devised to counter intrigue.
1 See p. 187, infra.
4 This became, at times, somewhat glaring. For example, the Samoans cultivated a habit of wearing the Union Jack as a lava-lava (or waist cloth), an act which certain British residents considered disrespectful. Their attempts to suppress this only made matters worse, and a culminating point was reached when a Samoan gentleman walked the length of the town draped in the Royal Standard. He was, however, run in.
Weber's avowed motive in bullying the Samoan Government was to secure what had for long been a grievance, the due punishment of plantation thieves.3 The Municipal Government had control only over Apia. Neutral territory extended only a little way beyond the bounds of the Municipality. Despite the cessation of war, depredations on German plantations had continued because the Samoan Government was too weak to stop thieves and too lenient to punish offenders.
But though this was Weber's avowed and immediate aim, his general actions as reported by the Consuls leave no doubt that he desired the real and effective control of the islands by Germany. Indeed, it is difficult to say where his efforts for the German commercial firm ended and where his work for the honour and glory of Germany began. To add to the efficiency and power of the firm was to add to the efficiency and power of Germany in the islands. "In such an atmosphere," wrote Stevenson, "commercial sharpness has an air of patriotism."4 Thus, ostensibly for the benefit of the wide plantations of the Deutsche Handels und Plantagen Gesellschaft, Weber set his plans.
1 An action taken by Weber two years later.
2 A full account of Weber's method of obtaining possession is given in F.O. 58/188. Thurston to Granville January 28, 1884.
3 See chap. vi.
4 Stevenson, A Footnote to History.
1 Probably, surveying flags.
Weber, however, wished for a more definite assurance. Four days later, on November 10, 1884, he forced Malietoa and Tamasese the vice-king to sign an agreement for the future regulation of the government of Samoa. Malietoa submitted for the sake of peace, but the next day appealed again to England. "Your Majesty," he wrote to Queen Victoria, "we are in distress on account of the Government of Germany lest they should take our islands. Therefore we have accepted another treaty with Germany. I wish to make clear to Your Majesty in consequence that I have accepted the treaty against my will, likewise against the will of my Government, but I have accepted it on account of my fear, for I have thought that if your Government should be set up in these islands, then that treaty will be of no effect."2
4 Stevenson, p. 96.
2 November 19, 1884. Jervois telegraphed New Zealand Ministers, hoping Great Britain would claim Samoa and Tonga in the negotiations that were proceeding with Germany (F.O. 58/199. Telegram. Jervois to Derby, November 19, 1884). The attitude of the C.O. is illustrated by a memo. by Herbert that "as far as the C.O. were concerned, they would not be sorry if Germany took Samoa, and perhaps Tonga also" (F.O. 58/199. Memo, for F.O., C.L.H., December 16, 1884).
1 F.O. 58/199. Granville to Malet. Cons. 29, December 2, 1884. On the receipt of assurances from Berlin, Derby cabled to New Zealand that "foreign interests in the islands precluded H.M. Government from accepting the cession of the Navigator Islands" (F.O. 58/199. F.O. to C.O., December 11, 1884).
2 This had been strongly urged by Des Voeux. "It would be far better for the interests not only of British subjects but of the Samoans, that the country should be altogether taken by Germany rather than that the government should be carried on under the conditions indicated in the agreement, which attaches to Germans all the advantages without the corresponding responsibilities of annexation" (F.O. 58/199. Des Voeux to Granville, No. 23, December 10, 1884).