The TRUTH about SAMOA
An Old-Time Mau
An Old-Time Mau.
The white residents of the Municipality of Apia also took part in the opposition to the dictatorial methods of the President of the Municipality, whose communications and actions in conjunction with the Chief Justice aroused suspicion. The European and American residents took an active part in denouncing the form of dictatorship then being attempted. Amongst the British who opposed the Berlin officials was the late Robert Louis Stevenson, whose efforts brought about a change of officials. But after Mr. Stevenson's death in 1894 the German official still inclined towards the style of a dictator, and strong protests were made by the Europeans and Samoans against the unwarranted interference with the "Autonomy" of the Samoan Government and the rights of the hereditary chiefs. Samoan affairs continued in this unsatisfactory state for a number of years. The rivalries of the Consuls and their nationals did not improve conditions. The Samoans refused to pay their taxes. They would not contribute to the payment of salaries to officials who were ignoring their rights. They considered, also, the salaries of the Chief Justice and of the President too high in proportion to the revenues of the country, even if all taxes were paid.
Then, in 1898, King Malietoa Laupepa died and the case in the Supreme Court of Samoa between the adherents of Malietoa and Mataafa was concluded in December, 1898, when the Chief Justice declared Tanumafili, the son of Malietoa Laupepa, to be the rightful successor to the Kingship of Samoa. This decision led to active hostilities between the parties. Again the difference: of the Consuls were the cause of these troubles. The German Consul openly defied the Chief Justice, whose decision in matters concerning the Kingship of Samoa was final, as provided in the Berlin Treaty, and the adherents of Mataafa received both moral and active support from the German section and their friends, whilst the Malietoa Tanumafili King party was supported by the British and American forces and nationals.page 6
As a result of the unfortunate lighting which followed, when a number of European and American lives was sacrificed, the Powers found it necessary to appoint a High Commission to investigate into the cause of the troubles in Samoa. This Commission arrived in Samoa in the month of March, 1899, and began this investigation. At the time the High Commissioners arrived an armistice had been arranged between the warring parties as requested by the Consular Representatives of Great Britain and America, who, with their nationals, were taking an active part in the hostilities.