The Origins of International Rivalry in Samoa: 1845–1884
The general acknowledgment of Malietoa, by the Lackawanna agreement of July 12, 1881, and a widespread desire for peace, produced a temporary lull in Samoa. It had been hoped that a suitable white man might be found to help Malietoa in his task of governing—a disinterested protagonist of native rights who would become a Samoan Pooh-Bah1 and assume every onerous duty of government—adviser-inchief, treasurer, head of police, of native troops, interpreter— in fact, all the tasks that Samoans appeared unable to do adequately. He would hold his position at the caprice of the natives, with no guarantee, or even mention of emolument. Sooner or later he would inevitably fall foul of either Samoans or whites, so that the risk was of murder or deportation.
Sir Arthur Gordon offered this position to W. B Churchward in 1881. Churchward indeed went to Apia to inquire further, but on learning the nature of his duties declined the position. So Malietoa, who was disgusted at Churchward's refusal, was left unwillingly to conduct the affairs of his kingdom unaided. He acknowledged that his invitations to become Prime Minister had never before been refused, but all previously had been rogues.2
1 Churchward, My Consulate in Samoa.
2 E.g. Hunt, Woods, Bartlett. Churchward became H.B.M. Acting-Consul in March 1882, when Graves went on furlough to England. He retained this position until 1885. Throughout a difficult period (1884–85) his action was wise and conciliatory.
3 See chap. vi.
6 This was difficult to carry out, as half-castes—themselves European subjects—often supplied drink to their native relatives.
Such regulations were only carried through amidst a scorching fire of criticisms from the disgruntled "beach." The success of the Municipal Government was possible only so long as the Consuls acted in unison. The departure of the German Consul, Stuebel, from this common accord in 1884. effectively dislocated the Municipality.