The Origins of International Rivalry in Samoa: 1845–1884
ii. New Zealand Intrigue
ii. New Zealand Intrigue
Special blame for this cannot be thrust upon the Germans, though in the later part of the story (October-November 1884 onwards) much attaches to them. Trouble came inevitably upon Samoa. Peace increased the prosperity of the islands, and prosperity brought more traders, from 1880 onwards.
2 John Lundon's activities are described in: (a) F.O. 58/199. Dispatches by Acting-Consul Churchward for 1884. (b) United States Papers, 50 Congress 1. Hse. Ex. Doc. No. 238. Appendix A. Report by Bates. New Zealand annexation projects, pp. 158–67. (c) Mention also in Churchward, My Consulate in Samoa, pp. 275–77.
3 50 Congress 1. Hse. Ex. Doc. No. 238. Report of Bates, p. 167.
2 F.O. 58/199. Malietoa to Her Most Gracious Majesty, November 19, 1883. This petition was never answered—Lord Derby preferred to "shelve the question," and the F.O. only heard of it a year later when another petition (November 5, 1884) arrived.
4 F.O. 58/199. Des Voeux to Derby. Confidential, November 19, 1883. Encl. Malietoa to Queen Victoria, November 19, 1883.
"Whether the annexation of Samoa to New Zealand be desirable or not," he wrote, "it is to be borne in mind that it would not probably be sanctioned without the previous consent of Germany, which has interests in the islands considerably greater than those of any other Power, and which deserves special consideration as having afforded for years past the principal protection to all white settlers by keeping ships of war almost continually in Samoan waters. As Germany is not a colonizing Power, it is not impossible that her Government might regard with favour the annexation of these islands by England, on the assurance that the possession of the private property of German subjects would be thereby guaranteed. But however this may be, a disposition of this kind is not likely to be induced by an agitation which places in immediate peril interests which have hitherto been preserved at so heavy a sacrifice"1 (October 26, 1883).
The British Government indicated its line of policy by withholding its assent to Grey's Act. It had undoubtedly been framed to enable the New Zealand Government to annex Samoa.2 New Zealand did not in the least appreciate the immediate difficulties that arose with Germany and the United States when she began an aggressive line of action in Samoa.
1 P.P., c. 3863, quoted in Scholefield, The Pacific, p. 153.
2 In 1885 the Samoan native Government passed an Act annexing themselves to New Zealand. Had Grey's Act been law this would have caused a difficult situation with Germany.
1 Victoria 2nd Session, 1883. Papers presented to Parliament, vol. 3. Correspondence relating to the Australasian Convention of Annexation of adjacent islands and the Federation of Australasia.
2 N.S.W. Parliament. Votes and Proceedings, 1883–84, vol. 9. Proceedings of the Inter-Colonial Convention, November 28–December 6, 1883.
The importance of the Convention lay in the unanimity with which all the Colonies supported this measure, and in their offer to "defray, in proportion to the population, such share of the cost … as Her Majesty's Government, having reasonable regard to the importance of Imperial and Australasian interests, may deem fair and reasonable."3
1 N.S.W. Parliament. N.S.W. Papers, 1883–84, vol. 9, p. 177. Memo. by Des Voeux.
2 This was not the case. There was a slight falling off in its importation in Great Britain, but since then the import of copra has steadily risen. The estimates are inaccurate and based only upon knowledge of sugar culture in the West Indies and Fiji. Nevertheless, the report is interesting as illustrating a new point of view.
3 N.S.W. Parliament. First day proceedings, November 28, 1883.
The importance of the Convention in Samoan affairs was not direct. It had, however, an immediate influence upon German opinion and activity.1 Further, it may also safely be inferred that the British Colonial Office, with Lord Derby as Secretary of State for Colonies, realizing that the feeling in the Colonies was undoubtedly genuine, became more sympathetic to their demands, and in succeeding discussions upon the fate of Samoa the feeling in the Australasian Colonies was put forward as a bar to German annexation of Samoa.2
1 E.g. the Consuls at Apia and Sydney protested against the Australian proposals in their Home dispatches, and Weber and Hanshem pressed the claims of their trading establishments. See German Weissbuch (Auswartiges Amt.), 1885, pt. 2, pp. 95–185. Deutsche Interessen in der Süd See.
2 F.O. 58/199. Branston to Under-Secretary of State. F.O., February 23, 1884. Derby put the case of the Colonies in such a way as to preclude Granville's assent to Germany obtaining preponderating influence in the islands. Granville, therefore, proposed what in 1881 had been rejected as a solution, i.e. tripartite government.