Other formats

    Adobe Portable Document Format file (facsimile images)   TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

The Samoan Massacre: December 28th, 1929

[Letter to] His Excellency, The Administrator of Western Samoa, Apia

page break
Apia, Samoa. His Excellency, The Administrator of Western Samoa, Apia.

Your Excellency,

Referring to correspondence between Your Excellency and myself relating to acts of violence perpetrated by members of the Police or other uniformed Persons, and referring to my application on behalf of the Samoan Ladies that they should meet you tomorrow morning, namely, February 12th at 9 a.m. at Mulinuu, I am instructed to report that the Leading Ladies concerned in these acts of violence have already this morning brought before Your Excellency the gist of what would be represented to you tomorrow. These Leading Ladies departed from your presence this morning with the full conviction that no protection against terrorisation of Women and Children could be granted by Your Excellency and that your Excellency's attitude was such that terrorisation must be expected to be continued until the Women of Samoa can persuade their hunted and hounded men to surrender themselves to an unknown fate.

It is true that Your Excellency has averred that "wanted" men (whoever they may be and for what they may be "wanted") are supposed to submit themselves to the High Court for trial. It is equally true that the High Court, in its Coronial Judgement, has found that the Rifle Fire resulting in the death of Prince Tamasese and other Samoans has been pronounced by the Coroner (namely, the Chief Judge) as being without his ability to find that fire necessary. The Ladies of Samoa remember the tragic circumstances surrounding the death of Molia. This matter was brought to the notice of Your Excellency and the Commodore this morning by Chieftainess Taisi. An authority informed her that she had been misinformed. She responded by saying that she had been present personally at the Hospital when the dying depositions of Molia were recorded by the Chief Judge as Coroner. In all the circumstances, and in view of Your Excellency's repeated asseverations to the effect that the Samoan men must "come in" and surrender, and in view of Your Excellency's apparent attitude that the Mau must be broken, and in view of the fact that page 4 the Mau as such has been scattered by Gunfire to the four winds of Heaven, the Women of Samoa feel that it would be at once futile and stultifying to themselves to ask Your Excellency tor protection against the ravages of uniformed persons. The Ladies of Samoa feel that if the terrorisation of the Women and Children is ordained under Your Excellency's authority to continue, then it must continue.

I am instructed that it appears to the Ladies of Samoa that their representations to Your Excellency as to the safety of themselves and their children are regarded as of no consequence. The said Ladies are aware that the Commodore has firmly intimated that there will be no further shooting, but they are unable to ignore the fact that Civil Government still remains, and it is Your Excellency, and not the Commodore to say whether or not there shall be further shooting.

The plea of the Ladies to the Commodore was made in desperation. To these Ladies the matter of life and death is more than a matter of obedience to Laws that have never been promulgated, either by the Electors of New Zealand or the People of Samoa. They can but die, as Tamasese and others have died. It is regrettable that death and bloodshed appear to be of small consequence to Your Excellency, as compared with the desire evident and expressed of absolutism.

In view of these circumstances, the Ladies of Samoa desire me to say, on their behalf, that they are unable to keep the suggested appointment at 9 a.m. on the 12th instant at Mulinuu. They desire me to forward a copy of this letter to the Commodore, and another copy to His Honour the Chief Judge, and another copy to the Prime Minister of New Zealand.

On behalf of my Lady Clients, I have the honor to subscribe myself,

Your Excellency's most obedient Servant,

Thos. B. Slipper.