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A Military Dictatorship Develops

page 20

A Military Dictatorship Develops.

Following Mr. Nosworthy's visit came a reign of terror as the Administration frantically strove to suppress the movement by force and punishment. The velvet glove which the military Administrator sported in his early days of office had worn itself threadbare, and the mailed fist was visible on all hands. The military complex began to dominate the mind which had once set itself on functioning as an administrative faculty; moral suasion, diplomacy, patience, and an attempt to grasp the Samoan viewpoint totally disappeared as arrogance and dictatorship developed. There was a reversion to type as the Administrator threw back to the drill sergeant who regarded Samoa as his barrack square, and a state of martial law prevailed. That view was expressed by many independent observers and unbiased visitors, like Sir Joseph Carruthers, a former Prime Minister of New South Wales, and Mr. W. E. Clarice, Principal of the Wesley College in New Zealand.

In one month fifty Chiefs of the Mau were dealt with. Banishments deprivation of titles, imprisonment, and other degradations were the means adopted to smother the Mau. But still the movement spread, and every victim of the military dictatorship brought more and more recruits to the ranks of the oppressed. Rival clans who had long been at enmity with each other forgot the feuds and rivalries of generations, and became close-knit in a common cause against a military martinet who was trampling ruthlessly on all that the Samoans have held sacred for centuries past. That, in brief, describes the origin and rise of the Mau. which now embraces 90 per cent, of the Samoans, and has penetrated to persons and places little dreamed of in official circles.