Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

The Origins of International Rivalry in Samoa: 1845–1884

Chapter VI — The Years of Unrest That Led to the German, American, and British Treaties with Samoa, 1876–79

page 131

Chapter VI
The Years of Unrest That Led to the German, American, and British Treaties with Samoa, 1876–79

The civil war that followed the deportation of Steinberger and the deposition of Malietoa brought the native question, as it affected the white community in Samoa, to a head. From the first Great Britain had maintained the ideal which she had absorbed from the missionaries, the ideal of native autonomy. The history of Samoa is indeed the history of the failure of that ideal either to profit natives or white men, or indeed eventually to be compatible with civilized law and order. In face of foreign enterprise and native impotence and vacillation, Great Britain was forced to admit that the islands must be submitted to some form of foreign government, whether to the condominium of several Powers or to the annexation by one.

The establishment of a unified and peaceable government had been in Tahiti, in Hawaii, in Tonga, and even in Fiji, very greatly simplified by the native form, or acceptance of the form, of monarchical government under missionary influence. The king became Christian, the people followed his example. He made laws that applied to all. The matter resolved itself into one problem, that of winning the ear of the king. In Samoa, however, the kingship or highest title carried no powers of legislation or, more important, for the enforcement of laws; neither was he supreme over all districts in his rule. If the Samoan "king" (lit. high chief) became Christian, this was sufficient reason for a large party to remain heathen, or to join an opposition sect. The districts that elected high chiefs were by tradition opposed to one another. "There are rival provinces," wrote R. L. page 132Stevenson, "far more concerned in the prosecution of their rivalry than in the choice of a right man for king. If one of these shall have bestowed its name on competitor A, it will be the signal and sufficient reason for the other to bestow its name on competitor B or C."1

Thus, with a powerless king having only a shadow of authority over the bare majority of the districts in his kingdom, surrounded by powerful and autocratic chiefs, it was inevitable that wars between rival chiefs should rend the islands frequently. There were wars when Williams visited the islands in 1830.2 For a time peace followed the introduction of Christianity, but another outbreak in 18453 lasted ten years. In 1869 two claimants of the Malietoa family, the uncle, Malietoa Talavou, and the nephew, Malietoa Laupepa, disputed the power and again caused intermittent wars for twelve years. Talavou was established in 1873, but Steinberger replaced him by Laupepa in 1875. In 1876 Laupepa was deposed by Steinberger's Parliament, the Taimua and Faipule, who attempted to rule without any king. Malietoa's party, the Puletua, however, increased in strength by slow degrees, partly through supplies of ammunition from European traders, partly through the decline in power, incident upon their inefficiency, of the Taimua and Faipule. The eventual support by the Consuls and British and German battleships of the Puletua, or royal party, involved the anointing of Malietoa Talavou as king on May 5, 1879.4 Still the foreign Powers were not able to induce the rebel party to acquiesce in this arrangement until 1880.5 Even then the death of Malietoa Talavou in 1881 involved temporary disorders. An agreement made on

1 Stevenson, R. L., A Footnote to History, p. 73.

2 Williams, A Narrative of Missionary Enterprise.

3 Samoan Reporter, 1845 seq.

4 F.O. 58/165. Swanston to Salisbury, June 2, 1879.

5 June 4, 1880. Graves to Granville, June 5, 1880.

page 133board the U.S. ship Lackawanna (July 12, 1881) gave peace for some four years.1

Nowhere was it more clearly shown than in Samoa that a king, or a constitution, set up by Europeans could not be maintained except by those who had given the authority in the first place. Autonomous government as applied to Pacific states was a myth covering an unsatisfactory condition of partial and half-hearted interference. In 1855 Mr. Charles St. Julian had emphasized this.2 "By the influence of the great maritime Powers, or any one of them," he had written, "especially Great Britain, the native chieftains might be induced to combine for the construction of a Government among themselves. But such a Government, when constructed, would have to be supported by the same influence which called it into existence, or it would not long endure. And while it did endure, it would exist only in name, and would be powerless for good."

The king, who received the support of foreign Consuls, was in no enviable position. He was expected to control local chiefs, to promulgate laws, to punish offenders, to raise taxes, to build roads—all, it may be said, for the eventual benefit of the foreigner. Gradually to instil foreign principles of liberty, of justice, or of law might be the work of a Steinberger in Samoa, or a Pritchard in Tahiti. That was not the method of the Consuls. They agreed on the appointment of a king, and they badgered him to set up his government according to their ideas. Little wonder was it that the much-harassed Malietoa offered his uneasy crown to England or New Zealand or America.

Besides the conflict arising from the vague, indefinite Samoan theory of kingship and the closely defined, authoritative European one, Samoan usage clashed with foreign upon

1 F.O. 58/177. Graves to Granville, November 18, 1881.

2 See chap. ii. F.O. 58/82. Memo, by St. Julian to Governor Denison, May 10, 1855.

page 134other points. Two particular points of variance chafed foreigners and Samoans alike. As has already been pointed out,1 one of the features of Samoan custom was their communism. This made the sale of land of unusual difficulty. In the decades 1860 to 1896 very large tracts of land were sold. In fact, in 1889 the land claims were estimated as follows2:
British, about 950,000 acres
German, about 100,000 acres
American, about 650,000 acres

The total area claimed was 1,700,000 acres—some 1,000,000 acres more than the total estimated area of land on all the islands!

Land was sold twice, was inadequately paid for, was sold dishonestly to honest buyers, was settled and not bought. Natives were cheated and defrauded—as were probably some of the white men. Speculators3 bought large tracts of land at low prices to sell again at a profit. Natives having once parted with their lands often lived to regret the sale, and among the most popular schemes in this troubled period prior to 1879 were those to sell back land to the natives. Consul Liardet attributes Steinberger's early success to his promises to get the land for the natives.4 Land disputes inevitably caused friction either between two white claimants or between white and native. In both events the result was much bad blood, sometimes retaliation, and often participation in intrigue. By 1889 the land question was among the most pressing to be settled by the Berlin Congress.5 The Commission appointed then did not finish its work until 1894.

1 See supra, Introduction.

2 Br. & For. St. Pap., vol. 85, p. 954. Hatzfield to Salisbury, February 10, 1892.

3 E.g. Polynesian Land Co., McArthur & Co. of Auckland, who between 1883 and 1887 had bought two-thirds of the land on Savaii.

4 F.O. 58/156. Liardet to Wylde. Confidential, October 18, 1877.

5 B.F.S.P., vol. 81, pp. 1217–73. Protocols of Berlin Conferences, April 29-June 14, 1889.

page 135

The extent of land owned by the Germans was begrudged by the Samoans, and accounts in part for German unpopularity. Disputed lands caused friction between rival traders. As disputes became more intense1 they became also international, the German Consul supporting the German claimant, the American Consul the Californian, and the British the British trader.2 Thus the land question served to foment international hostility.

We find, then, the Samoans often dispossessed of their lands by unfair means, with little to control them beyond ancient custom and a tribal chief, breaking free of the former under the influence of Christianity, and of the latter under the persuasion of white men. The area from which they could obtain their food was thus greatly diminished. They themselves, occupied between 1876–81 in warfare, neglected to cultivate their own village plantations. Warfare meant not merely destruction of villages and plantations, but also that the hungry natives, unable to conceive of stored-up private property, regarded the fruit-laden lands of the Europeans (primarily German) as fair game for spoliation.

Indignant German planters demanded the seizure and punishment of offenders. The first offered a big problem, the second a bigger. There was no one to take the responsibility of seizing or punishing effectively. There were indeed native courts, but they were of little use. Maudslay, who after Liardet's death became Consul in Samoa for a few months, describes the ineffectiveness of native courts.3 A

1 When others began buying land. Americans bought from 1871 onward. New Zealand firms only began to buy land on a large scale after 1883.

2 E.g. in 1887, a dispute between Weber (German) and McArthur (New Zealand) over the land on Mulinuu Point. Correspondence between Great Britain, Germany, and the United States, 1885–88. B.F.S.P., vol. 79 (No. 178, Wilton to Salisbury, September 26, 1887), pp. 963–1053.

3 Maudslay, A. P., Life in the Pacific Fifty Years Ago, p. 212.

page 136judge pleading with a convicted prisoner begged him to pay the fine "for my sake," but the prisoner replied that he would die first! On another occasion the Christian judge, when the prisoner pleaded guilty, fell upon his neck and said, "Then I, too, will forgive you."
In 1881 this burden of ensuring the punishment of offenders was placed upon Malietoa Laupepa, and he shouldered it unwillingly and shirked it unceasingly. This inability to secure just chastisement for those who despoiled plantations very naturally irritated the Germans. Though Americans and British were also obtaining possession of lands, the Germans were the only possessors of large areas under cultivation.1 Consequently the problem of securing punishment for plantation thieves was a German problem. In 1874 a dispute on this question of intrusion upon German land led to the shelling of the native village, Fuaiupolu, by the H.I.M.S. Arcona.2 In 18773 and 18794 efforts were made to secure the neutrality of German lands, but in face of the civil war this was unsuccessful. When the establishment of peace (1881) still failed to give security to property outside Apia, it became clear that the native Government under Malietoa Laupepa was incompetent. In face of Samoan custom it was very doubtful whether any punishment, according to civilized ideas, could be secured. The Germans demanded the imprisonment of offenders, but this was entirely contrary to Samoan usage. Punishment, according to Samoan custom, should be quickly administered and quickly forgotten. For dire offences it might be death or, more terrible, banishment; for light offences some corporal infliction, e.g. the eating of an unpleasant root. Most popular with chiefs was the administration of a fine, paid in food or

1 See Map VI, p. 166.

2 See chap. iii.

3 German-Samoan agreement of July 3, 1877. F.O. 58/160. Swanston to Salisbury, No. 36/78, July 22, 1878.

4 German-Samoan treaty of January 24, 1879. B.F.S.P., vol. 70, pp. 241–46.

page 137mats, and they enjoyed with gusto the feast thus afforded.1 But to keep a man locked up or at work on a road was to make him an object of pity. Relatives would come and picnic with convicts,2 and the king, despite his fear or powerful foreigners, had not the heart to close the prison gates firmly or, at any rate, regularly.3

It is, therefore, hardly remarkable that those who suffered most should seek most persistently to gain the control of the weak Government. It was not, however, until Bismarck showed signs of favouring a colonial policy, and until the acquisition of colonies gained national and popular support, or at any rate interest, that the German Consul, Stübel, and the head of the German firm, Weber, dared to attempt to gain a monopoly of the Samoan Administration. Quite apart from establishing German sovereignty in the islands, this practical problem of gaining security for German plantations was essential to German commerce. It was therefore, in the first place, the Samoans who so irritated the planters that, on the first indication of support from Berlin, they resolved to obtain control of the native Government.

In the years of confusion that followed the deportation of Steinberger each of the three Powers concerned in Samoa secured a treaty with whatever Government was in power. The importance of the treaties was that they were witnesses to the rights of each Power; or, rather, each Power by a treaty established its claim to certain rights in the islands.

1 Turner, Nineteen Tears in Polynesia. Turner also records how in the early days of missionaries chiefs would insist on fining Samoans who came late to missionary schools.

2 Stevenson, A Footnote to History, p. 93.

3 Churchward, My Consulate in Samoa, p. 185. Churchward recounts how after some very serious burglary, when the criminal could not be traced, it was discovered to have been done by a convict, who, having skeleton keys of the prison, roamed at large during the night, but preferred the comforts of gaol to escaping.

page 138The Consuls of all three Powers were highly suspicious of each other, and each feared lest Samoa should fall to one or other of the Powers. It was only in 1879, when the Home Governments united in making fresh appointments, when the German Consul was no longer an employee of the Godeffroy firm, that friendly relations were established. In 1879 the Consuls were clearly informed that their respective Home Governments had no aggressive designs whatever upon the islands.1

Prior to 1879, however, the suspicion and intrigue were such that every action was construed as a step toward annexation. In 1876 Commodore Hoskins on H.M.S. Pearl was sent to inquire into the skirmish that had taken place in March 1876 between English sailors and Samoans.2 He demanded an indemnity of $2,000 for this outrage, which was eventually paid in 1878 to Maudslay,3 the Acting British Consul.

The part played by the British Consuls and residents increased rather than lessened the unrest during these years. Commodore Hoskins, in his report upon the Barracouta affray of March 13, 1876, had stated that he had not considered the Acting-Consul, S. F. Williams, a suitable person to hold such an office, and he hinted that both he and Foster were, in the Steinberger affair, "much influenced and embittered by private motives and reasons." Williams was consequently replaced by Consul Liardet, who was

1 How far this was true is indicated in the next chapter.

2 See infra, chap. v. Stevens' misguided attempt to reinstate Malietoa, March 13, 1876.

3 Maudslay, A. P., The Pacific Fifty Years Ago, p. 191. Maudslay was in the Colonial Government in Fiji, 1875–80, as Secretary, Deputy Commissioner, and Consul-General for Tonga. He describes the Samoans complaining bitterly and begging from door to door in Apia to get more money from anti-British residents, even though they had already collected the full sum. By mistake they handed over $100 too much, and when this was returned they had a right royal feast on the strength of it.

page 139appointed from England. Liardet's short term of office1 was filled with difficulties, with both Samoan and foreign affairs. He appealed constantly to Sir Arthur Gordon to come and use his influence to promote peace. Gordon was, however, too occupied with affairs in Fiji, and until he received his appointment as High Commissioner he did not feel justified in leaving his post. On October 2, 1877, Liardet left Samoa for Fiji to explain his difficulties to Gordon, but for this desertion of his post he was severely reprimanded2 and recalled, but the day before this news reached him he died (February 1878), on the very day that Sir Arthur Gordon arrived to deal with the situation.
Liardet was evidently quite unequal to the very difficult situation that the islands presented. He had constant opposition from Europeans.3 One trader Woods, of Fiji notoriety, brought a law-suit against him for "refusing to protect British interests."4 Liardet complained that the opposition he met was so strong that he was not able to cash a cheque in Apia.5 Much of his misfortune he attributes to the new firm under the control of a certain Captain J. Stewart,6 in fact a resuscitated Polynesian Land Company. He complains that they fomented the civil war so as to ensure a market for their arms and ammunition, and intrigued with the natives that they should appeal to England for annexation. The confusion was such that on one occasion, in September 1877, the United States Consul, Griffin, determined to seize Stewart's store where these schemes were hatched, but in order to do so he appealed to the

1 January 29, 1877-February 22, 1878, when he died.

2 F.O. 58/160. Telegram. Derby to Liardet, February 23, 1878.

3 A fact which he attributes to his refusal to "work with Weber" as did the American Consul. F.O. 58/156. Liardet to Wylde, October 18, 1877.

4 F.O. 58/156. Liardet to Derby, July 17, 1877.

5 F.O. 58/156. Liardet to Wylde, October 18, 1877.

6 F.O. 58/156. Liardet to Wylde. Confidential, October 18, 1877. Constant references to the intrigues of Stewart, Woods, and others in Liardet's dispatches.

page 140Taimua and Faipule for a hundred Samoan warriors to help him. Fortunately, the other Consuls and Europeans were able to intervene to prevent this.1 On another occasion, December 1877, a United States citizen who had committed a murder was lynched.2

The lawlessness amongst Europeans was quite sufficient to create numberless difficulties for a Consul who, fresh from England, was unfamiliar with conditions in the South Seas. In native affairs war continued, and frequent skirmishes occurred in and near Apia. An example of difficulties that arose from this may be given. In July 1877 certain chiefs of the Puletua sought sanctuary from attack in the grounds of the British Consulate. The opposing party dared not attack them there, but surrounded the Consulate to prevent their escape. Consequently the Consul was forced to allow the chiefs to encamp in his grounds, a concession they appreciated and enjoyed for some seven months!3

In this period the natives were inveigled into intrigues again, and began a series of petitions to England.4 Liardet was convinced that the natives could not under existing circumstances set up an ordered government, so he encouraged the natives to petition England for protection. A petition was sent to Queen Victoria and a telegram was sent to New Zealand to be dispatched from thence. "Civil war imminent," it read. "Great risk to life and prosperity

1 As a result of this, however, there was an attack on the United States Consulate and Griffin only escaped with difficulty.

2 He was solemnly tried and condemned and executed by an assembly of white residents—partly, indeed, as a demonstration of the need for some authority to control the lawlessness. Many troublesome people had come from Fiji to Samoa after Great Britain annexed Fiji.

3 Maudslay, The Pacific Fifty Years Ago, p. 187. F.O. 58/160. Liardet to Derby, July 17, 1877.

4 Liardet states that these were fostered by Stewart. F.O. 58/156. Liardet to Derby, March 30, 1877. Also another deputation sent to Fiji in April and in September. F.O. 58/156. Liardet to Gordon, September 12, 1877.

page 141of British subjects, both factions petition H.M. The Queen to grant a Protectorate which would avert war. Will take responsibility of granting this temporarily."1 At the same time he sent a whole deputation of twenty-one chiefs from both parties to present the petition to Sir Arthur Gordon, the Governor of Fiji.2 Each chief was given a "shiny black leather box" and was feasted at public expense, so it was hardly surprising that deputations became popular in succeeding years.

The deputation, however, returned somewhat crestfallen at Gordon's refusal to grant what they wished, and the Consuls who succeeded Liardet3 received strict injunctions not to countenance petitions for annexation.

The deputation left Samoa on April 14, 1877. On the 16th the German man-of-war Augusta arrived. Alarm lest the petition to England should be successful, and lest the Germans should take aggressive action, drove the United States Consul, Colmesnil, to hoist the American flag (May 24, 1877). Further, when they failed to get British support, the Samoans determined to appeal to the United States, and in 1877 a Samoan, Mamea, went to Washington to petition the United States Government to annex Samoa. The outcome of this was the American-Samoan treaty of January 1878, by which America gained rights over Pago-Pago harbour, and promised the Samoans her "good offices" in the event of a dispute with another Power.4 Until the news of this treaty reached Samoa, there was a very sanguine hope

1 F.O. 58/156. Liardet to Derby, April 9, 1877.

2 Who in November 1877 received his commission as High Commissioner of the Western Pacific. As Governor of Fiji only he had no authority to deal with Samoan affairs.

3 March 12, 1878, Consul Maudslay (temporarily appointed from Fiji, where he was Colonial Secretary to Gordon); April 1878, Acting-Consul Swanston; August 1878, Consul Graves, who remained until 1882; March 1882, Acting-Consul Churchward. (See infra, chap, viii.)

4 B.F.S.P., vol. 69. American-Samoan treaty signed January 17, 1878, in Washington.

page 142among Americans and Samoans that the United States might annex. This feeling led, in February 1878, to a second demonstration by the United States Consul, Griffin, when, fearing British aggression,1 he again hoisted the Stars and Stripes over the Samoan flag (February 22, 1878). It was, therefore, with disappointment that the Samoans learned that the American treaty did not fulfil their expectations.
Meanwhile, during these years of American and English intrigue the Germans had also been active. In 1876 the German warship Hertha was ordered from China to Samoa to negotiate a trade treaty with the Government. When Captain von Werner arrived, however, the confused state of the islands made this impossible. Consequently he proceeded to Tonga, where he was successful in obtaining a treaty2 (November 2, 1876). In April 1877, however, the man-of-war Augusta arrived at Apia (April 10, 1877). Captain Hassenpflug made a speech defining the German attitude toward Samoans.3 He had come to protect German life and property. "It is my commission," he said, "to remain in these waters, and there will be always in future a German ship-of-war here. You perceive from this the great favour the German Government shows for the welfare of these islands…. The German Government has got no intention to annex these islands…. All such rumours are spread by people animose to Germany."4 Nevertheless, Weber was determined that the war should not handicap his firm's trade. A treaty, or rather an ultimatum, was prepared for the Taimua and Faipule.5 Liardet declared that Weber gained the friendship of the Puletua (royal) Party by

1 This was the occasion when Maudslay arrived and demanded the indemnity for the Barracouta outrage.

2 F.O. 58/150. Williams to Lister, December 4, 1876.

3 It was at this that Consul Colmesnil first hoisted the United States flag.

4 F.O. 58/156. Liardet to Derby, April 23, 1877.

5 F.O. 58/156. Liardet to Wylde, December 20, 1877. Enclosure, Weber to T. and F., June 15, 1877.

page 143supplying them with ammunition. He then threatened the Taimua and Faipule (Parliament Party) that he would continue to supply the Puletua with ammunition until they, the Taimua and Faipule, consented to his agreement.1 They reluctantly complied on July 3, 1877.

This informal agreement was primarily commercial.2 By the first two clauses the Samoans promised to clear warriors off Mulinuu and to guarantee its neutrality. The third clause secured the inviolability of the German plantations and the promise of the Samoans to pay for damage. The fourth clause in the Samoan-English translation reads thus:

We are bound not to ignore the German Government. We are bound not to give superiority to any of the great Governments over Germany.

For the time Weber was satisfied with his agreement. Civil war, however, continued and a fruitless appeal to England directed Samoans to hope for American protection. The return of Mamea's deputation in June 1878 was to the Samoans disappointing.3

Weber none the less regarded the ratification of the American treaty as a direct breach of the "most favoured nation" clause (No. 4) of his agreement of 1877. On the same day that the American treaty was ratified by the Taimua and Faipule, Captain von Werner of H.I.M.S. Ariadne occupied Saluafata harbour; the next day Falealili was seized.4 A proclamation was read in the market place

1 F.O. 58/156. Liardet to Wylde. Confidential, October 18, 1877. It is possible that this may not be true, as Liardet was ill and rather unbalanced at this time (Maudslay, p. 187). He died on February 22, 1878, in Apia. At the same time it is quite in accordance with general accounts of the firm's methods.

2 F.O. 58/160. Swanston to Derby, July 22, 1878. Encl. 1.

3 See supra, p. 155.

4 F.O. 58/160. Swanston to Gordon, July 17, 1878. Encl. 1, Weber to Swanston, July 16, 1878.

page 144of Saluafata. "We have no idea," it read, "why the chiefs of the Taimua and Faipule are objecting [to our agreement], hence has sprung up our doubt as to the evil schemes and desires on the part of the chiefs of the Taimua and Faipule to transfer the whole of Samoa to some great Government. The German Government has already told you that neither England nor the United States have any interest in occupying these islands. In order to secure the rights of Germany is the reason why we take possession of the harbour of Saluafata and of all its shores…. We have no desire to seize these islands, but it is due to us that we should obtain some security for German rights."

To this occupation of the two harbours of Saluafata and Falealili the Samoans had to submit, and the British Consul was instructed to use his best endeavours to persuade the Samoans to give Germany the treaty "on a just and reasonable basis."1 In January the Germans secured their treaty2 from the Taimua and Faipule.

Meanwhile the Royal Party, the Puletua, gained in strength, and in May Malietoa Talavou was "anointed king."3 The Taimua and Faipule were expelled from Mulinuu, the seat of government. Nevertheless, Malietoa made a declaration that he would regard the validity of the German and American treaties even though they were made by the faction in opposition to his Government.

Meanwhile, the Acting-Consul, Swanston, received instructions that "in view of the welfare of British subjects and property H.M. Government considered themselves" justified in proposing that a treaty should also be entered into with them.4 Consul Graves, who arrived in Samoa August 6, 1879, entered into negotiations with Malietoa for

1 F.O. 58/165. Salisbury to Swanston, January 2, 1879.

2 The terms of all three treaties are discussed in chap. vii. See also Appendix.

3 May 5, 1879.

4 F.O. 58/165. Salisbury to Swanston, January 2, 1879.

page 145a treaty between Great Britain and Samoa, which was procured on August 28, 1879.1

By this time it was evident to all white people that without a co-operative effort of the foreigners there could be no peace in Samoa. By mutual agreement between the Governments at London, Berlin, and Washington2 the Consuls were instructed to act in unison to force the hostile Samoan party to submit. United action was facilitated by the opportune appointment of a new German Imperial Consul-General, Captain Zembsch, "one still remembered," wrote Stevenson in 1892, "as the gentleman who acted justly."3 He was quite unconnected with the German firm, and consequently was free to act as he considered right. Stevenson implied that his recall was due to Weber's dislike of Zembsch's interference to prevent some of the shadier transactions of the firm.4 All reports from British officials express satisfaction at their happy relations with the German Consul at this time.5

The Consuls combined to issue a proclamation (September 5, 1879) begging the parties to cease hostilies until a decision of the Home Governments upon the fate of Samoa should be reached.6 This was, however, ineffective, and more stringent measures were taken. The British and German warships entered into the conflict against the rebel chiefs, and on at least two occasions native villages were shelled by men-of-war.7 Such drastic action was, however, strongly discouraged by the British Government.8 The continued

1 B.F.S.P., vol. 76, pp. 133–35. Treaty between Great Britain and the malo of Samoa.

2 F.O. 244/341. F.O. to Russell (Cons. 13). Encl. dispatch, Thornton to Salisbury, January 26, 1880.

3 Stevenson, A Footnote to History, p. 89.

4 Ibid.

5 Both Consul Graves and Sir A. Gordon. See F.O. 244/341. Salisbury to Russell. Encl. Gordon to F.O., December 3, 1879.

6 F.O. 58/165. Graves to Salisbury, October 17, 1879.

7 November 21, 1879, by Capt. Deinhardt of H.I.M.S. Bismarck; January 5, 1880, Capt. Purvis of H.I.M.S. Danaii shelled Lufilufi.

8 F.O. 58/169. Granville to Graves, September 7, 1880.

page 146disorder produced from the Consuls a plan for a tripartite government of the islands, with representatives of each of the three Powers acting on an executive council.1 This was later disapproved by the Governments in Europe.2

Accordingly the fighting continued. Consul Graves describes the intermixture of primitive and civilized warfare. "The Malietoa party," he wrote, "have been bombarding the villages of their opponents from a forty-ton schooner, purchased two months ago from a British subject, with a 12 lb. gun—one of those with ammunition presented to Samoans by Colonel Steinberger on behalf of the U.S. Government in 1875. No quarter is given by either side, and the barbarous custom of parading the heads of the slain on spears is still continued."3

The rebels submitted in June 1880, and there was peace until Malietoa Talavou died in 1881. His death threw the country again into confusion. While the majority supported Malietoa Laupepa, two districts gave their support to two other high chiefs, Tamasese and Mataafa. Hostile to the more generally accepted ruler, they united in a decision to support each other's nominee in an alternate monarchy, each chief to rule for a year at a time. The Consuls were able to prevent a further convulsion of civil war. On board the U.S.S. Lackawanna an agreement was reached which lasted for some three years.4 Malietoa Laupepa was to be king. Tamasese was to be vice-king. Mataafa, who, according to Stevenson, was the only regal and decisive personality of the three, was left out of account.

Actually the solution made only another problem. "To the constitution of Samoa, which was already all wheels and no horses, the Consul had added a fifth wheel." In addition

1 Graves to Salisbury, March 24, 1880.

2 There is further discussion of this in chap, vii infra.

3 F.O. 58/165. Graves to Salisbury, October 17, 1879.

4 F.O. 58/177. Graves to F.O., June 5, 1880.

page 147to the old conundrum "Who is the King?" they had supplied a new one, "What is the Vice-King?"1 If Malietoa was a helpless shuttle thrown between Consul and Consul, the existence of a more impotent second-in-command served only to thicken intrigues.

The most successful outcome of these troubled years was the establishment of municipal government in Apia (September 2, 1879). All Europeans except some eight or nine missionaries and their families, certain German planters, and a few store-keepers at Pago-Pago2 were in Apia. In 1874 the total number of European residents in Apia was estimated at about 158.3 This number is surprisingly small when compared with the population of Fiji in 1874, which was reckoned at 2,000.

Map VI shows the situation of the town of Apia, between the arm of land at Mulinuu, the seat of native government, and the other arm Matautu, where at this time there was a native fort. With swamps between Mulinuu and the coast to the westward, armed parties inevitably passed through Apia en route to Mulinuu unless they chose, as they frequently did, to go by sea. Both town and harbour were frequently the scenes of skirmishes, and the disturbance of shots and street fighting became annoying and destructive. On these occasions the Consulates were barricaded with empty cases and barrels, and nationals were invited to take refuge there.

From 1869 onward efforts were made to induce the Samoans to recognize the town and harbour as neutral

1 Stevenson, op. cit.

2 Also a small number of whites who lived amongst the natives on Savaii, known as "Savaii Squires." Churchward, op. cit.

3 P.P. 1875, vol. 76, c. 1284: English, 75; United States, 22; German, 33; French, 19; Portuguese, 2; Swedes, 5; Spanish, 1; Dane, 1; Total 158. There are no estimates of residents given later than this. In 1871 an estimate of 445 is given in Seed's report, but this probably includes half-castes. Appendix to Journal of House of Representatives. Papers relating to South Sea Islands, Pt. A. 3, p. 21.

page 148territory.1 Foreign property was to be distinguished by either a national or white flag. But in an affray that followed soon after, an English flag was torn up, and rioting was as bad as ever. The chiefs apologized, handed over the offender, and made further pledges which were not strictly kept. A similar agreement was made in 1872, which, though sometimes transgressed, helped to establish a precedent of regard for foreign property. Between 1876–79, however, in the stress of the wars, neutrality of foreign property was constantly disregarded.

It was clear by 1879 that in war-time no territory could be neutral unless there was a power created to enforce the neutrality by punishing all who violated it. The Apia residents combined in finding a solution. Under the leadership of the three Consuls they set up a Municipal Board. This consisted of eight men. Each Consul appointed one, the king appointed one, and the Samoans in Apia one, and four were elected by the Apia residents. They made arrangements for raising revenue, policing the town, construction of public works, supervising sanitation, and other useful and necessary works. In particular they demarcated certain boundaries of neutral territory, where all fighting must cease.2

The measure was at first only to be for four years, until the Samoan Government should be able to take over its functions. In 1883, however, the Convention for the Municipal Government was renewed. It was clear by then that the Samoan Government under Malietoa Laupepa was steering a very shaky course in dangerous waters.

The success of the Municipal Government depended upon friendly relations between the Consuls, and the residents and Consuls. After the failure to control the whole native Government it represented a determination to enforce some order at least upon the town where most of the foreigners

1 P.P. 1871, vol. 65, c. 343, p. 156.

2 See Map VI, p. 166.

page 149lived and most of the wealth, stores, and offices were concentrated. Moreover, with increasing numbers of residents, public works such as roads and bridges became necessary. For this, rates were imposed and licences issued.1 The weakness of the Municipal Government, thus constituted, was that it depended upon a good feeling among residents which seldom existed. The lawlessness of the 1870's was sufficient incentive for those who remembered it to further the work of the Municipality, but as the memory of those days became dimmer, disunion threatened and eventually broke up the Municipal Government. The Consuls, upon whom the responsibility of its success largely depended, were criticized and blamed, but other residents avoided the duties involved by participation in the Government. Its collapse was occasioned, in 1887, by an open breach between the German, and the English and American Consuls. As a form of government for the Europeans it was considered of sufficient importance to be revived in 1889 by the Berlin Act. In the years that followed, increasing friction between the Chief Justice and the President of the Municipal Council showed plainly the difficulties of the dual government, one nominally native for the whole group, the other foreign for the township alone.2

However open to criticism, it was yet the only attempt to expel disorder from Apia, and as such its efforts deserve praise.

1 Not merely for selling liquor but for practically almost any trade or profession a licence was required.

2 By the Berlin Act of 1899, both Chief Justice and President of the Municipal Council were appointed by the King of Sweden.