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A Final Attempt at Reconciliation

A Final Attempt at Reconciliation.

After that enquiry I sought audience of the Administrator to seek his assistance to make my request to the Samoans effective on his behalf. This interview was not granted until a week later. Meanwhile he had firstly informed me by letter that my evidence on my own behalf was not satisfactory to him, and he had placed the matter in the hands of the Governor-General-in-Council for Cabinet to agree to further action.

Two days later he sent me an order to depart from Samoa and to remain away for five years. The day after this order reached me I was granted an interview. I explained to the Administrator that my influence on the Samoans was not omnipotent, but that he had evidently over-rated it. However, if he would allow me to deliver some conciliatory offer from him I felt confident that a basis of negotiations towards a settlement might be arrived at. This was done by me with full knowledge that I had not not only to leave Samoa by the first outgoing steamer, but that I also page 36 felt it my duty for the preservation of peace in Samoa to do all I could to convince the Samoans of the wisdom of the necessity for them to permit me to carry out the Administrator's order without any opposition from them.

On Christmas Eve I arranged a meeting of the Mau and. whereas they were at first unwilling to meet me, owing to Mr. Lewis' pr rice, I persuaded them to allow the meeting to take place. On the previous night the Administrator sent me an order containing conditions which he wanted me to place before the Samoans. Some of these conditions were so arbitrary and harsh that the Secretary of Native Affairs advised me not to acquaint the Samoans with them. The Secretary of Native Affairs, the Rev. Mr, Lewis, I am told, reported very favourably of my attempt to get the Samoans to agree to the Administrator's terms.

In spite of the negative answer received from the Samoans, I addressed Mr. Lewis a letter on Christmas Day advising a further meeting. In the feeling that the Christmas spirit might meanwhile have persuaded the Samoans to the extent of giving us a better hearing. No reply came to hand for a few days. Meanwhile the Mau leaders held a meeting and decided on a course to pursue which convinced me that any further attempts by me to bring about a reconciliation would be futile. I promptly addressed another letter to Mr. Lewis and advised him of this. To neither letter have I been given the courtesy of a reply.

After my case was dealt with, Mr. E. W. Gurr was charged on similar grounds as myself with hindering the functioning of the Administration, It was also alleged that, as Editor of the "Samoa Guardian," he had published "false and misleading statements" and influenced the Samoans by "sensational falsehood." Mr. Gurr also denied being an active member of the Mau after the Minister's request had been made, and denied writing or publishing anything "sought to bring the Government of the Territory and its officials into the hatred and contempt of its Samoan subjects."

In spite of Mr. Gurrs denial of inciting the Mau to defy the authorities, and requests for proof, General Richardson failed to quote one article, or one single sentence, from the "Guardian" in support of his charges. Then Mr. A. G. Smyth was charged only with being "a member of the Mau." Mr. Smyth denied this, and pointed out that he could not speak the Samoan language, and had no association with the Mau natives since the Minister's visit six months before. General Richardson again refused to produce any evidence in support of his "charges," and refused to give any details. He made it clear that Mr. Smyth's crime was going to New Zealand in June to give evidence on the Samoan Petition to Parliament. Mr. Gurr was deported for five years, and Mr. Smyth for two, after this travesty of "British Justice"!