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A Footnote to History by Robert Louis Stevenson

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whites immediately face to face in a spirit of ill-favoured
animosity. Knappe was mourning the defeat and death of his
country-folk, he was standing aghast over the ruin of his own
career, when Mullan boarded him. The successor of Leary served
himself, in that bitter moment, heir to Leary's part. And in
Mullan, Knappe saw more even than the successor of Leary,--he saw
in him the representative of Klein. Klein had hailed the praam
from the rifle-pits; he had there uttered ill-chosen words,
unhappily prophetic; it is even likely that he was present at the
time of the first fire. To accuse him of the design and conduct of
the whole attack was but a step forward; his own vapouring served
to corroborate the accusation; and it was not long before the
German consulate was in possession of sworn native testimony in
support. The worth of native testimony is small, the worth of
white testimony not overwhelming; and I am in the painful position
of not being able to subscribe either to Klein's own account of the
affair or to that of his accusers. Klein was extremely flurried;
his interest as a reporter must have tempted him at first to make
the most of his share in the exploit, the immediate peril in which
he soon found himself to stand must have at least suggested to him
the idea of minimising it; one way and another, he is not a good
witness. As for the natives, they were no doubt cross-examined in
that hall of terror, the German consulate, where they might be
trusted to lie like schoolboys, or (if the reader prefer it) like
Samoans. By outside white testimony, it remains established for me
that Klein returned to Apia either before or immediately after the
first shots. That he ever sought or was ever allowed a share in
the command may be denied peremptorily; but it is more than likely
that he expressed himself in an excited manner and with a highly
inflammatory effect upon his hearers. He was, at least, severely
punished. The Germans, enraged by his provocative behaviour and
what they thought to be his German birth, demanded him to be tried
before court-martial; he had to skulk inside the sentries of the
American consulate, to be smuggled on board a war-ship, and to be
carried almost by stealth out of the island; and what with the
agitations of his mind, and the results of a marsh fever contracted
in the lines of Mataafa, reached Honolulu a very proper object of
commiseration. Nor was Klein the only accused: de Coetlogon was
himself involved. As the boats passed Matautu, Knappe declares a
signal was made from the British consulate. Perhaps we should
rather read "from its neighbourhood"; since, in the general warding
of the coast, the point of Matautu could scarce have been
neglected. On the other hand, there is no doubt that the Samoans,
in the anxiety of that night of watching and fighting, crowded to
the friendly consul for advice. Late in the night, the wounded
Siteoni, lying on the colonel's verandah, one corner of which had
been blinded down that he might sleep, heard the coming and going
of bare feet and the voices of eager consultation. And long after,
a man who had been discharged from the colonel's employment took
upon himself to swear an affidavit as to the nature of the advice
then given, and to carry the document to the German consul. It was
an act of private revenge; it fell long out of date in the good
days of Dr. Stuebel, and had no result but to discredit the
gentleman who volunteered it. Colonel de Coetlogon had his faults,
but they did not touch his honour; his bare word would always
outweigh a waggon-load of such denunciations; and he declares his
behaviour on that night to have been blameless. The question was
besides inquired into on the spot by Sir John Thurston, and the
colonel honourably acquitted. But during the weeks that were now
to follow, Knappe believed the contrary; he believed not only that
Moors and others had supplied ammunition and Klein commanded in the
field, but that de Coetlogon had made the signal of attack; that
though his blue-jackets had bled and fallen against the arms of
Samoans, these were supplied, inspired, and marshalled by Americans
and English.

The legend was the more easily believed because it embraced and was
founded upon so much truth. Germans lay dead, the German wounded
groaned in their cots; and the cartridges by which they fell had
been sold by an American and brought into the country in a British
bottom. Had the transaction been entirely mercenary, it would
already have been hard to swallow; but it was notoriously not so.
British and Americans were notoriously the partisans of Mataafa.
They rejoiced in the result of Fangalii, and so far from seeking to
conceal their rejoicing, paraded and displayed it. Calumny ran
high. Before the dead were buried, while the wounded yet lay in
pain and fever, cowardly accusations of cowardice were levelled at
the German blue-jackets. It was said they had broken and run
before their enemies, and that they had huddled helpless like sheep
in the plantation house. Small wonder if they had; small wonder
had they been utterly destroyed. But the fact was heroically
otherwise; and these dastard calumnies cut to the blood. They are
not forgotten; perhaps they will never be forgiven.

In the meanwhile, events were pressing towards a still more
trenchant opposition. On the 20th, the three consuls met and
parted without agreement, Knappe announcing that he had lost men
and must take the matter in his own hands to avenge their death.
On the 21st the Olga came before Matafangatele, ordered the
delivery of all arms within the hour, and at the end of that
period, none being brought, shelled and burned the village. The
shells fell for the most part innocuous; an eyewitness saw children
at play beside the flaming houses; not a soul was injured; and the
one noteworthy event was the mutilation of Captain Hamilton's
American flag. In one sense an incident too small to be
chronicled, in another this was of historic interest and import.
These rags of tattered bunting occasioned the display of a new
sentiment in the United States; and the republic of the West,
hitherto so apathetic and unwieldy, but already stung by German
nonchalance, leaped to its feet for the first time at the news of
this fresh insult. As though to make the inefficiency of the war-
ships more apparent, three shells were thrown inland at Mangiangi;
they flew high over the Mataafa camp, where the natives could "hear
them singing" as they flew, and fell behind in the deep romantic
valley of the Vaisingano. Mataafa had been already summoned on
board the Adler; his life promised if he came, declared "in danger"
if he came not; and he had declined in silence the unattractive
invitation. These fresh hostile acts showed him that the worst had
come. He was in strength, his force posted along the whole front
of the mountain behind Apia, Matautu occupied, the Siumu road lined
up to the houses of the town with warriors passionate for war. The
occasion was unique, and there is no doubt that he designed to
seize it. The same day of this bombardment, he sent word bidding
all English and Americans wear a black band upon their arm, so that
his men should recognise and spare them. The hint was taken, and
the band worn for a continuance of days. To have refused would
have been insane; but to consent was unhappily to feed the
resentment of the Germans by a fresh sign of intelligence with
their enemies, and to widen the breach between the races by a fresh
and a scarce pardonable mark of their division. The same day again
the Germans repeated one of their earlier offences by firing on a
boat within the harbour. Times were changed; they were now at war
and in peril, the rigour of military advantage might well be seized
by them and pardoned by others; but it so chanced that the bullets
flew about the ears of Captain Hand, and that commander is said to
have been insatiable of apologies. The affair, besides, had a
deplorable effect on the inhabitants. A black band (they saw)
might protect them from the Mataafas, not from undiscriminating
shots. Panic ensued. The war-ships were open to receive the
fugitives, and the gentlemen who had made merry over Fangalii were
seen to thrust each other from the wharves in their eagerness to
flee Apia. I willingly drop the curtain on the shameful picture.

Meanwhile, on the German side of the bay, a more manly spirit was
exhibited in circumstances of alarming weakness. The plantation
managers and overseers had all retreated to Matafele, only one (I
understand) remaining at his post. The whole German colony was
thus collected in one spot, and could count and wonder at its
scanty numbers. Knappe declares (to my surprise) that the war-
ships could not spare him more than fifty men a day. The great
extension of the German quarter, he goes on, did not "allow a full
occupation of the outer line"; hence they had shrunk into the
western end by the firm buildings, and the inhabitants were warned
to fall back on this position, in the case of an alert. So that he
who had set forth, a day or so before, to disarm the Mataafas in
the open field, now found his resources scarce adequate to garrison
the buildings of the firm. But Knappe seemed unteachable by fate.
It is probable he thought he had

"Already waded in so deep,
Returning were as tedious as go o'er";

it is certain that he continued, on the scene of his defeat and in
the midst of his weakness, to bluster and menace like a conqueror.
Active war, which he lacked the means of attempting, was
continually threatened. On the 22nd he sought the aid of his
brother consuls to maintain the neutral territory against Mataafa;
and at the same time, as though meditating instant deeds of
prowess, refused to be bound by it himself. This singular
proposition was of course refused: Blacklock remarking that he had
no fear of the natives, if these were let alone; de Coetlogon
refusing in the circumstances to recognise any neutral territory at
all. In vain Knappe amended and baited his proposal with the offer
of forty-eight or ninety-six hours' notice, according as his
objective should be near or within the boundary of the Eleele Sa.
It was rejected; and he learned that he must accept war with all
its consequences--and not that which he desired--war with the
immunities of peace.

This monstrous exigence illustrates the man's frame of mind. It
has been still further illuminated in the German white-book by
printing alongside of his despatches those of the unimpassioned
Fritze. On January 8th the consulate was destroyed by fire.
Knappe says it was the work of incendiaries, "without doubt";
Fritze admits that "everything seems to show" it was an accident.
"Tamasese's people fit to bear arms," writes Knappe, "are certainly
for the moment equal to Mataafa's," though restrained from battle
by the lack of ammunition. "As for Tamasese," says Fritze of the
same date, "he is now but a phantom--dient er nur als Gespenst.
His party, for practical purposes, is no longer large. They
pretend ammunition to be lacking, but what they lack most is good-
will. Captain Brandeis, whose influence is now small, declares
they can no longer sustain a serious engagement, and is himself in
the intention of leaving Samoa by the Lubeck of the 5th February."
And Knappe, in the same despatch, confutes himself and confirms the
testimony of his naval colleague, by the admission that "the re-
establishment of Tamasese's government is, under present
circumstances, not to be thought of." Plainly, then, he was not so
much seeking to deceive others, as he was himself possessed; and we
must regard the whole series of his acts and despatches as the
agitations of a fever.

The British steamer Richmond returned to Apia, January 15th. On
the last voyage she had brought the ammunition already so
frequently referred to; as a matter of fact, she was again bringing
contraband of war. It is necessary to be explicit upon this, which
served as spark to so great a flame of scandal. Knappe was
justified in interfering; he would have been worthy of all
condemnation if he had neglected, in his posture of semi-
investment, a precaution so elementary; and the manner in which he
set about attempting it was conciliatory and almost timid. He
applied to Captain Hand, and begged him to accept himself the duty
of "controlling" the discharge of the Richmond's cargo. Hand was
unable to move without his consul; and at night an armed boat from
the Germans boarded, searched, and kept possession of, the
suspected ship. The next day, as by an after-thought, war and
martial law were proclaimed for the Samoan Islands, the
introduction of contraband of war forbidden, and ships and boats
declared liable to search. "All support of the rebels will be
punished by martial law," continued the proclamation, "no matter to
what nationality the person [Thater] may belong."

Hand, it has been seen, declined to act in the matter of the
Richmond without the concurrence of his consul; but I have found no
evidence that either Hand or Knappe communicated with de Coetlogon,
with whom they were both at daggers drawn. First the seizure and
next the proclamation seem to have burst on the English consul from
a clear sky; and he wrote on the same day, throwing doubt on
Knappe's authority to declare war. Knappe replied on the 20th that
the Imperial German Government had been at war as a matter of fact
since December 19th, and that it was only for the convenience of
the subjects of other states that he had been empowered to make a
formal declaration. "From that moment," he added, "martial law
prevails in Samoa." De Coetlogon instantly retorted, declining
martial law for British subjects, and announcing a proclamation in
that sense. Instantly, again, came that astonishing document,
Knappe's rejoinder, without pause, without reflection--the pens
screeching on the paper, the messengers (you would think) running
from consulate to consulate: "I have had the honour to receive
your Excellency's [Hochwohlgeboren] agreeable communication of to-
day. Since, on the ground of received instructions, martial law
has been declared in Samoa, British subjects as well as others fall
under its application. I warn you therefore to abstain from such a
proclamation as you announce in your letter. It will be such a
piece of business as shall make yourself answerable under martial
law. Besides, your proclamation will be disregarded." De
Coetlogon of course issued his proclamation at once, Knappe
retorted with another, and night closed on the first stage of this
insane collision. I hear the German consul was on this day
prostrated with fever; charity at least must suppose him hardly
answerable for his language.

Early on the 21st, Mr. Mansfield Gallien, a passing traveller, was
seized in his berth on board the Richmond, and carried, half-
dressed, on board a German war-ship. His offence was, in the
circumstances and after the proclamation, substantial. He had gone
the day before, in the spirit of a tourist to Mataafa's camp, had
spoken with the king, and had even recommended him an appeal to Sir
George Grey. Fritze, I gather, had been long uneasy; this arrest
on board a British ship fitted the measure. Doubtless, as he had
written long before, the consul alone was responsible "on the legal
side"; but the captain began to ask himself, "What next?"--
telegraphed direct home for instructions, "Is arrest of foreigners
on foreign vessels legal?"--and was ready, at a word from Captain
Hand, to discharge his dangerous prisoner. The word in question
(so the story goes) was not without a kind of wit. "I wish you
would set that man ashore," Hand is reported to have said,
indicating Gallien; "I wish you would set that man ashore, to save
me the trouble." The same day de Coetlogon published a
proclamation requesting captains to submit to search for contraband
of war.

On the 22nd the Samoa Times and South Sea Advertiser was suppressed
by order of Fritze. I have hitherto refrained from mentioning the
single paper of our islands, that I might deal with it once for
all. It is of course a tiny sheet; but I have often had occasion
to wonder at the ability of its articles, and almost always at the
decency of its tone. Officials may at times be a little roughly,
and at times a little captiously, criticised; private persons are
habitually respected; and there are many papers in England, and
still more in the States, even of leading organs in chief cities,
that might envy, and would do well to imitate, the courtesy and
discretion of the Samoa Times. Yet the editor, Cusack, is only an
amateur in journalism, and a carpenter by trade. His chief fault
is one perhaps inevitable in so small a place--that he seems a
little in the leading of a clique; but his interest in the public
weal is genuine and generous. One man's meat is another man's
poison: Anglo-Saxons and Germans have been differently brought up.
To our galled experience the paper appears moderate; to their
untried sensations it seems violent. We think a public man fair
game; we think it a part of his duty, and I am told he finds it a
part of his reward, to be continually canvassed by the press. For
the Germans, on the other hand, an official wears a certain
sacredness; when he is called over the coals, they are shocked, and
(if the official be a German) feel that Germany itself has been
insulted. The Samoa Times had been long a mountain of offence.
Brandeis had imported from the colonies another printer of the name
of Jones, to deprive Cusack of the government printing. German
sailors had come ashore one day, wild with offended patriotism, to
punish the editor with stripes, and the result was delightfully
amusing. The champions asked for the English printer. They were
shown the wrong man, and the blows intended for Cusack had hailed
on the shoulders of his rival Jones. On the 12th, Cusack had
reprinted an article from a San Francisco paper; the Germans had
complained; and de Coetlogon, in a moment of weakness, had fined
the editor twenty pounds. The judgment was afterwards reversed in
Fiji; but even at the time it had not satisfied the Germans. And
so now, on the third day of martial law, the paper was suppressed.
Here we have another of these international obscurities. To Fritze
the step seemed natural and obvious; for Anglo-Saxons it was a hand
laid upon the altar; and the month was scarce out before the voice
of Senator Frye announced to his colleagues that free speech had
been suppressed in Samoa.

Perhaps we must seek some similar explanation for Fritze's short-
lived code, published and withdrawn the next day, the 23rd. Fritze
himself was in no humour for extremities. He was much in the
position of a lieutenant who should perceive his captain urging the
ship upon the rocks. It is plain he had lost all confidence in his
commanding officer "upon the legal side"; and we find him writing
home with anxious candour. He had understood that martial law
implied military possession; he was in military possession of
nothing but his ship, and shrewdly suspected that his martial
jurisdiction should be confined within the same limits. "As a
matter of fact," he writes, "we do not occupy the territory, and
cannot give foreigners the necessary protection, because Mataafa
and his people can at any moment forcibly interrupt me in my
jurisdiction." Yet in the eyes of Anglo-Saxons the severity of his
code appeared burlesque. I give but three of its provisions. The
crime of inciting German troops "by any means, as, for instance,
informing them of proclamations by the enemy," was punishable with
death; that of "publishing or secretly distributing anything,
whether printed or written, bearing on the war," with prison or
deportation; and that of calling or attending a public meeting,
unless permitted, with the same. Such were the tender mercies of
Knappe, lurking in the western end of the German quarter, where
Mataafa could "at any moment" interrupt his jurisdiction.

On the 22nd (day of the suppression of the Times) de Coetlogon
wrote to inquire if hostilities were intended against Great
Britain, which Knappe on the same day denied. On the 23rd de
Coetlogon sent a complaint of hostile acts, such as the armed and
forcible entry of the Richmond before the declaration and arrest of
Gallien. In his reply, dated the 24th, Knappe took occasion to
repeat, although now with more self-command, his former threat
against de Coetlogon. "I am still of the opinion," he writes,
"that even foreign consuls are liable to the application of martial
law, if they are guilty of offences against the belligerent state."
The same day (24th) de Coetlogon complained that Fletcher, manager
for Messrs. MacArthur, had been summoned by Fritze. In answer,
Knappe had "the honour to inform your Excellency that since the
declaration of the state of war, British subjects are liable to
martial law, and Mr. Fletcher will be arrested if he does not
appear." Here, then, was the gauntlet thrown down, and de
Coetlogon was burning to accept it. Fletcher's offence was this.
Upon the 22nd a steamer had come in from Wellington, specially
chartered to bring German despatches to Apia. The rumour came
along with her from New Zealand that in these despatches Knappe
would find himself rebuked, and Fletcher was accused of having
"interested himself in the spreading of this rumour." His arrest
was actually ordered, when Hand succeeded in persuading him to
surrender. At the German court, the case was dismissed "wegen
Nichtigkeit"; and the acute stage of these distempers may be said
to have ended. Blessed are the peacemakers. Hand had perhaps
averted a collision. What is more certain, he had offered to the
world a perfectly original reading of the part of British seaman.

Hand may have averted a collision, I say; but I am tempted to
believe otherwise. I am tempted to believe the threat to arrest
Fletcher was the last mutter of the declining tempest and a mere
sop to Knappe's self-respect. I am tempted to believe the rumour
in question was substantially correct, and the steamer from
Wellington had really brought the German consul grounds for
hesitation, if not orders to retreat. I believe the unhappy man to
have awakened from a dream, and to have read ominous writing on the
wall. An enthusiastic popularity surrounded him among the Germans.
It was natural. Consul and colony had passed through an hour of
serious peril, and the consul had set the example of undaunted
courage. He was entertained at dinner. Fritze, who was known to
have secretly opposed him, was scorned and avoided. But the clerks
of the German firm were one thing, Prince Bismarck was another; and
on a cold review of these events, it is not improbable that Knappe
may have envied the position of his naval colleague. It is
certain, at least, that he set himself to shuffle and capitulate;
and when the blow fell, he was able to reply that the martial law
business had in the meanwhile come right; that the English and
American consular courts stood open for ordinary cases and that in
different conversations with Captain Hand, "who has always
maintained friendly intercourse with the German authorities," it
had been repeatedly explained that only the supply of weapons and
ammunition, or similar aid and support, was to come under German
martial law. Was it weapons or ammunition that Fletcher had
supplied? But it is unfair to criticise these wrigglings of an
unfortunate in a false position.

In a despatch of the 23rd, which has not been printed, Knappe had
told his story: how he had declared war, subjected foreigners to
martial law, and been received with a counter-proclamation by the
English consul; and how (in an interview with Mataafa chiefs at the
plantation house of Motuotua, of which I cannot find the date) he
had demanded the cession of arms and of ringleaders for punishment,
and proposed to assume the government of the islands. On February
12th he received Bismarck's answer: "You had no right to take
foreigners from the jurisdiction of their consuls. The protest of
your English colleague is grounded. In disputes which may arise
from this cause you will find yourself in the wrong. The demand
formulated by you, as to the assumption of the government of Samoa
by Germany, lay outside of your instructions and of our design.
Take it immediately back. If your telegram is here rightly
understood, I cannot call your conduct good." It must be a hard
heart that does not sympathise with Knappe in the hour when he
received this document. Yet it may be said that his troubles were
still in the beginning. Men had contended against him, and he had
not prevailed; he was now to be at war with the elements, and find
his name identified with an immense disaster.

One more date, however, must be given first. It was on February
27th that Fritze formally announced martial law to be suspended,
and himself to have relinquished the control of the police.

March 1889

The so-called harbour of Apia is formed in part by a recess of the
coast-line at Matautu, in part by the slim peninsula of Mulinuu,
and in part by the fresh waters of the Mulivai and Vaisingano. The
barrier reef--that singular breakwater that makes so much of the
circuit of Pacific islands--is carried far to sea at Matautu and
Mulinuu; inside of these two horns it runs sharply landward, and
between them it is burst or dissolved by the fresh water. The
shape of the enclosed anchorage may be compared to a high-
shouldered jar or bottle with a funnel mouth. Its sides are almost
everywhere of coral; for the reef not only bounds it to seaward and
forms the neck and mouth, but skirting about the beach, it forms
the bottom also. As in the bottle of commerce, the bottom is re-
entrant, and the shore-reef runs prominently forth into the basin
and makes a dangerous cape opposite the fairway of the entrance.
Danger is, therefore, on all hands. The entrance gapes three
cables wide at the narrowest, and the formidable surf of the
Pacific thunders both outside and in. There are days when speech
is difficult in the chambers of shore-side houses; days when no
boat can land, and when men are broken by stroke of sea against the
wharves. As I write these words, three miles in the mountains, and
with the land-breeze still blowing from the island summit, the
sound of that vexed harbour hums in my ears. Such a creek in my
native coast of Scotland would scarce be dignified with the mark of
an anchor in the chart; but in the favoured climate of Samoa, and
with the mechanical regularity of the winds in the Pacific, it
forms, for ten or eleven months out of the twelve, a safe if hardly
a commodious port. The ill-found island traders ride there with
their insufficient moorings the year through, and discharge, and
are loaded, without apprehension. Of danger, when it comes, the
glass gives timely warning; and that any modern war-ship, furnished
with the power of steam, should have been lost in Apia, belongs not
so much to nautical as to political history.

The weather throughout all that winter (the turbulent summer of the
islands) was unusually fine, and the circumstance had been
commented on as providential, when so many Samoans were lying on
their weapons in the bush. By February it began to break in
occasional gales. On February 10th a German brigantine was driven
ashore. On the 14th the same misfortune befell an American
brigantine and a schooner. On both these days, and again on the
7th March, the men-of-war must steam to their anchors. And it was
in this last month, the most dangerous of the twelve, that man's
animosities crowded that indentation of the reef with costly,
populous, and vulnerable ships.

I have shown, perhaps already at too great a length, how violently
passion ran upon the spot; how high this series of blunders and
mishaps had heated the resentment of the Germans against all other
nationalities and of all other nationalities against the Germans.
But there was one country beyond the borders of Samoa where the
question had aroused a scarce less angry sentiment. The breach of
the Washington Congress, the evidence of Sewall before a sub-
committee on foreign relations, the proposal to try Klein before a
military court, and the rags of Captain Hamilton's flag, had
combined to stir the people of the States to an unwonted fervour.
Germany was for the time the abhorred of nations. Germans in
America publicly disowned the country of their birth. In Honolulu,
so near the scene of action, German and American young men fell to
blows in the street. In the same city, from no traceable source,
and upon no possible authority, there arose a rumour of tragic news
to arrive by the next occasion, that the Nipsic had opened fire on
the Adler, and the Adler had sunk her on the first reply.
Punctually on the day appointed, the news came; and the two
nations, instead of being plunged into war, could only mingle tears
over the loss of heroes.

By the second week in March three American ships were in Apia bay,-
-the Nipsic, the Vandalia, and the Trenton, carrying the flag of
Rear-Admiral Kimberley; three German,--the Adler, the Eber, and the
Olga; and one British,--the Calliope, Captain Kane. Six merchant-
men, ranging from twenty-five up to five hundred tons, and a number
of small craft, further encumbered the anchorage. Its capacity is
estimated by Captain Kane at four large ships; and the latest
arrivals, the Vandalia and Trenton, were in consequence excluded,
and lay without in the passage. Of the seven war-ships, the
seaworthiness of two was questionable: the Trenton's, from an
original defect in her construction, often reported, never
remedied--her hawse-pipes leading in on the berth-deck; the Eber's,
from an injury to her screw in the blow of February 14th. In this
overcrowding of ships in an open entry of the reef, even the eye of
the landsman could spy danger; and Captain-Lieutenant Wallis of the
Eber openly blamed and lamented, not many hours before the
catastrophe, their helpless posture. Temper once more triumphed.
The army of Mataafa still hung imminent behind the town; the German
quarter was still daily garrisoned with fifty sailors from the
squadron; what was yet more influential, Germany and the States, at
least in Apia bay, were on the brink of war, viewed each other with
looks of hatred, and scarce observed the letter of civility. On
the day of the admiral's arrival, Knappe failed to call on him, and
on the morrow called on him while he was on shore. The slight was
remarked and resented, and the two squadrons clung more obstinately
to their dangerous station.

On the 15th the barometer fell to 29.11 in. by 2 P.M. This was the
moment when every sail in port should have escaped. Kimberley, who
flew the only broad pennant, should certainly have led the way: he
clung, instead, to his moorings, and the Germans doggedly followed
his example: semi-belligerents, daring each other and the violence
of heaven. Kane, less immediately involved, was led in error by
the report of residents and a fallacious rise in the glass; he
stayed with the others, a misjudgment that was like to cost him
dear. All were moored, as is the custom in Apia, with two anchors
practically east and west, clear hawse to the north, and a kedge
astern. Topmasts were struck, and the ships made snug. The night
closed black, with sheets of rain. By midnight it blew a gale; and
by the morning watch, a tempest. Through what remained of
darkness, the captains impatiently expected day, doubtful if they
were dragging, steaming gingerly to their moorings, and afraid to
steam too much.

Day came about six, and presented to those on shore a seizing and
terrific spectacle. In the pressure of the squalls the bay was
obscured as if by midnight, but between them a great part of it was
clearly if darkly visible amid driving mist and rain. The wind
blew into the harbour mouth. Naval authorities describe it as of
hurricane force. It had, however, few or none of the effects on
shore suggested by that ominous word, and was successfully
withstood by trees and buildings. The agitation of the sea, on the
other hand, surpassed experience and description. Seas that might
have awakened surprise and terror in the midst of the Atlantic
ranged bodily and (it seemed to observers) almost without
diminution into the belly of that flask-shaped harbour; and the
war-ships were alternately buried from view in the trough, or seen
standing on end against the breast of billows.

The Trenton at daylight still maintained her position in the neck
of the bottle. But five of the remaining ships tossed, already
close to the bottom, in a perilous and helpless crowd; threatening
ruin to each other as they tossed; threatened with a common and
imminent destruction on the reefs. Three had been already in
collision: the Olga was injured in the quarter, the Adler had lost
her bowsprit; the Nipsic had lost her smoke-stack, and was making
steam with difficulty, maintaining her fire with barrels of pork,
and the smoke and sparks pouring along the level of the deck. For
the seventh war-ship the day had come too late; the Eber had
finished her last cruise; she was to be seen no more save by the
eyes of divers. A coral reef is not only an instrument of
destruction, but a place of sepulchre; the submarine cliff is
profoundly undercut, and presents the mouth of a huge antre in
which the bodies of men and the hulls of ships are alike hurled
down and buried. The Eber had dragged anchors with the rest; her
injured screw disabled her from steaming vigorously up; and a
little before day she had struck the front of the coral, come off,
struck again, and gone down stern foremost, oversetting as she
went, into the gaping hollow of the reef. Of her whole complement
of nearly eighty, four souls were cast alive on the beach; and the
bodies of the remainder were, by the voluminous outpouring of the
flooded streams, scoured at last from the harbour, and strewed
naked on the seaboard of the island.

Five ships were immediately menaced with the same destruction. The
Eber vanished--the four poor survivors on shore--read a dreadful
commentary on their danger; which was swelled out of all proportion
by the violence of their own movements as they leaped and fell
among the billows. By seven the Nipsic was so fortunate as to
avoid the reef and beach upon a space of sand; where she was
immediately deserted by her crew, with the assistance of Samoans,
not without loss of life. By about eight it was the turn of the
Adler. She was close down upon the reef; doomed herself, it might
yet be possible to save a portion of her crew; and for this end
Captain Fritze placed his reliance on the very hugeness of the seas
that threatened him. The moment was watched for with the anxiety
of despair, but the coolness of disciplined courage. As she rose
on the fatal wave, her moorings were simultaneously slipped; she
broached to in rising; and the sea heaved her bodily upward and
cast her down with a concussion on the summit of the reef, where
she lay on her beam-ends, her back broken, buried in breaching
seas, but safe. Conceive a table: the Eber in the darkness had
been smashed against the rim and flung below; the Adler, cast free
in the nick of opportunity, had been thrown upon the top. Many
were injured in the concussion; many tossed into the water; twenty
perished. The survivors crept again on board their ship, as it now
lay, and as it still remains, keel to the waves, a monument of the
sea's potency. In still weather, under a cloudless sky, in those
seasons when that ill-named ocean, the Pacific, suffers its vexed
shores to rest, she lies high and dry, the spray scarce touching
her--the hugest structure of man's hands within a circuit of a
thousand miles--tossed up there like a schoolboy's cap upon a
shelf; broken like an egg; a thing to dream of.

The unfriendly consuls of Germany and Britain were both that
morning in Matautu, and both displayed their nobler qualities. De
Coetlogon, the grim old soldier, collected his family and kneeled
with them in an agony of prayer for those exposed. Knappe, more
fortunate in that he was called to a more active service, must,
upon the striking of the Adler, pass to his own consulate. From
this he was divided by the Vaisingano, now a raging torrent,
impetuously charioting the trunks of trees. A kelpie might have
dreaded to attempt the passage; we may conceive this brave but
unfortunate and now ruined man to have found a natural joy in the
exposure of his life; and twice that day, coming and going, he
braved the fury of the river. It was possible, in spite of the
darkness of the hurricane and the continual breaching of the seas,
to remark human movements on the Adler; and by the help of Samoans,
always nobly forward in the work, whether for friend or enemy,
Knappe sought long to get a line conveyed from shore, and was for
long defeated. The shore guard of fifty men stood to their arms
the while upon the beach, useless themselves, and a great deterrent
of Samoan usefulness. It was perhaps impossible that this mistake
should be avoided. What more natural, to the mind of a European,
than that the Mataafas should fall upon the Germans in this hour of
their disadvantage? But they had no other thought than to assist;
and those who now rallied beside Knappe braved (as they supposed)
in doing so a double danger, from the fury of the sea and the
weapons of their enemies. About nine, a quarter-master swam
ashore, and reported all the officers and some sixty men alive but
in pitiable case; some with broken limbs, others insensible from
the drenching of the breakers. Later in the forenoon, certain
valorous Samoans succeeded in reaching the wreck and returning with
a line; but it was speedily broken; and all subsequent attempts
proved unavailing, the strongest adventurers being cast back again
by the bursting seas. Thenceforth, all through that day and night,
the deafened survivors must continue to endure their martyrdom; and
one officer died, it was supposed from agony of mind, in his
inverted cabin.

Three ships still hung on the next margin of destruction, steaming
desperately to their moorings, dashed helplessly together. The
Calliope was the nearest in; she had the Vandalia close on her port
side and a little ahead, the Olga close a-starboard, the reef under
her heel; and steaming and veering on her cables, the unhappy ship
fenced with her three dangers. About a quarter to nine she carried
away the Vandalia's quarter gallery with her jib-boom; a moment
later, the Olga had near rammed her from the other side. By nine
the Vandalia dropped down on her too fast to be avoided, and
clapped her stern under the bowsprit of the English ship, the
fastenings of which were burst asunder as she rose. To avoid
cutting her down, it was necessary for the Calliope to stop and
even to reverse her engines; and her rudder was at the moment--or
it seemed so to the eyes of those on board--within ten feet of the
reef. "Between the Vandalia and the reef" (writes Kane, in his
excellent report) "it was destruction." To repeat Fritze's
manoeuvre with the Adler was impossible; the Calliope was too
heavy. The one possibility of escape was to go out. If the
engines should stand, if they should have power to drive the ship
against wind and sea, if she should answer the helm, if the wheel,
rudder, and gear should hold out, and if they were favoured with a
clear blink of weather in which to see and avoid the outer reef--
there, and there only, were safety. Upon this catalogue of "ifs"
Kane staked his all. He signalled to the engineer for every pound
of steam--and at that moment (I am told) much of the machinery was
already red-hot. The ship was sheered well to starboard of the
Vandalia, the last remaining cable slipped. For a time--and there
was no onlooker so cold-blooded as to offer a guess at its
duration--the Calliope lay stationary; then gradually drew ahead.
The highest speed claimed for her that day is of one sea-mile an
hour. The question of times and seasons, throughout all this
roaring business, is obscured by a dozen contradictions; I have but
chosen what appeared to be the most consistent; but if I am to pay
any attention to the time named by Admiral Kimberley, the Calliope,
in this first stage of her escape, must have taken more than two
hours to cover less than four cables. As she thus crept seaward,
she buried bow and stem alternately under the billows.

In the fairway of the entrance the flagship Trenton still held on.
Her rudder was broken, her wheel carried away; within she was
flooded with water from the peccant hawse-pipes; she had just made
the signal "fires extinguished," and lay helpless, awaiting the
inevitable end. Between this melancholy hulk and the external reef
Kane must find a path. Steering within fifty yards of the reef
(for which she was actually headed) and her foreyard passing on the
other hand over the Trenton's quarter as she rolled, the Calliope
sheered between the rival dangers, came to the wind triumphantly,
and was once more pointed for the sea and safety. Not often in
naval history was there a moment of more sickening peril, and it
was dignified by one of those incidents that reconcile the
chronicler with his otherwise abhorrent task. From the doomed
flagship the Americans hailed the success of the English with a
cheer. It was led by the old admiral in person, rang out over the
storm with holiday vigour, and was answered by the Calliopes with
an emotion easily conceived. This ship of their kinsfolk was
almost the last external object seen from the Calliope for hours;
immediately after, the mists closed about her till the morrow. She
was safe at sea again--una de multis--with a damaged foreyard, and
a loss of all the ornamental work about her bow and stern, three
anchors, one kedge-anchor, fourteen lengths of chain, four boats,
the jib-boom, bobstay, and bands and fastenings of the bowsprit.

Shortly after Kane had slipped his cable, Captain Schoonmaker,
despairing of the Vandalia, succeeded in passing astern of the
Olga, in the hope to beach his ship beside the Nipsic. At a
quarter to eleven her stern took the reef, her hand swung to
starboard, and she began to fill and settle. Many lives of brave
men were sacrificed in the attempt to get a line ashore; the
captain, exhausted by his exertions, was swept from deck by a sea;
and the rail being soon awash, the survivors took refuge in the

Out of thirteen that had lain there the day before, there were now
but two ships afloat in Apia harbour, and one of these was doomed
to be the bane of the other. About 3 P.M. the Trenton parted one
cable, and shortly after a second. It was sought to keep her head
to wind with storm-sails and by the ingenious expedient of filling
the rigging with seamen; but in the fury of the gale, and in that
sea, perturbed alike by the gigantic billows and the volleying
discharges of the rivers, the rudderless ship drove down stern
foremost into the inner basin; ranging, plunging, and striking like
a frightened horse; drifting on destruction for herself and
bringing it to others. Twice the Olga (still well under command)
avoided her impact by the skilful use of helm and engines. But
about four the vigilance of the Germans was deceived, and the ships
collided; the Olga cutting into the Trenton's quarters, first from
one side, then from the other, and losing at the same time two of
her own cables. Captain von Ehrhardt instantly slipped the
remainder of his moorings, and setting fore and aft canvas, and
going full steam ahead, succeeded in beaching his ship in Matautu;
whither Knappe, recalled by this new disaster, had returned. The
berth was perhaps the best in the harbour, and von Ehrhardt
signalled that ship and crew were in security.

The Trenton, guided apparently by an under-tow or eddy from the
discharge of the Vaisingano, followed in the course of the Nipsic
and Vandalia, and skirted south-eastward along the front of the
shore reef, which her keel was at times almost touching. Hitherto
she had brought disaster to her foes; now she was bringing it to
friends. She had already proved the ruin of the Olga, the one ship
that had rid out the hurricane in safety; now she beheld across her
course the submerged Vandalia, the tops filled with exhausted
seamen. Happily the approach of the Trenton was gradual, and the
time employed to advantage. Rockets and lines were thrown into the
tops of the friendly wreck; the approach of danger was transformed
into a means of safety; and before the ships struck, the men from
the Vandalia's main and mizzen masts, which went immediately by the
board in the collision, were already mustered on the Trenton's
decks. Those from the foremast were next rescued; and the flagship
settled gradually into a position alongside her neighbour, against
which she beat all night with violence. Out of the crew of the
Vandalia forty-three had perished; of the four hundred and fifty on
board the Trenton, only one.

The night of the 16th was still notable for a howling tempest and
extraordinary floods of rain. It was feared the wreck could scarce
continue to endure the breaching of the seas; among the Germans,
the fate of those on board the Adler awoke keen anxiety; and
Knappe, on the beach of Matautu, and the other officers of his
consulate on that of Matafele, watched all night. The morning of
the 17th displayed a scene of devastation rarely equalled: the
Adler high and dry, the Olga and Nipsic beached, the Trenton partly
piled on the Vandalia and herself sunk to the gun-deck; no sail
afloat; and the beach heaped high with the debris of ships and the
wreck of mountain forests. Already, before the day, Seumanu, the
chief of Apia, had gallantly ventured forth by boat through the
subsiding fury of the seas, and had succeeded in communicating with
the admiral; already, or as soon after as the dawn permitted,
rescue lines were rigged, and the survivors were with difficulty
and danger begun to be brought to shore. And soon the cheerful
spirit of the admiral added a new feature to the scene. Surrounded
as he was by the crews of two wrecked ships, he paraded the band of
the Trenton, and the bay was suddenly enlivened with the strains of
"Hail Columbia."

During a great part of the day the work of rescue was continued,
with many instances of courage and devotion; and for a long time
succeeding, the almost inexhaustible harvest of the beach was to be
reaped. In the first employment, the Samoans earned the gratitude
of friend and foe; in the second, they surprised all by an
unexpected virtue, that of honesty. The greatness of the disaster,
and the magnitude of the treasure now rolling at their feet, may
perhaps have roused in their bosoms an emotion too serious for the
rule of greed, or perhaps that greed was for the moment satiated.
Sails that twelve strong Samoans could scarce drag from the water,
great guns (one of which was rolled by the sea on the body of a
man, the only native slain in all the hurricane), an infinite
wealth of rope and wood, of tools and weapons, tossed upon the
beach. Yet I have never heard that much was stolen; and beyond
question, much was very honestly returned. On both accounts, for
the saving of life and the restoration of property, the government
of the United States showed themselves generous in reward. A fine
boat was fitly presented to Seumanu; and rings, watches, and money
were lavished on all who had assisted. The Germans also gave money
at the rate (as I receive the tale) of three dollars a head for
every German saved. The obligation was in this instance
incommensurably deep, those with whom they were at war had saved
the German blue-jackets at the venture of their lives; Knappe was,
besides, far from ungenerous; and I can only explain the niggard
figure by supposing it was paid from his own pocket. In one case,
at least, it was refused. "I have saved three Germans," said the
rescuer; "I will make you a present of the three."

The crews of the American and German squadrons were now cast, still
in a bellicose temper, together on the beach. The discipline of
the Americans was notoriously loose; the crew of the Nipsic had
earned a character for lawlessness in other ports; and recourse was
had to stringent and indeed extraordinary measures. The town was
divided in two camps, to which the different nationalities were
confined. Kimberley had his quarter sentinelled and patrolled.
Any seaman disregarding a challenge was to be shot dead; any
tavern-keeper who sold spirits to an American sailor was to have
his tavern broken and his stock destroyed. Many of the publicans
were German; and Knappe, having narrated these rigorous but
necessary dispositions, wonders (grinning to himself over his
despatch) how far these Americans will go in their assumption of
jurisdiction over Germans. Such as they were, the measures were
successful. The incongruous mass of castaways was kept in peace,
and at last shipped in peace out of the islands.

Kane returned to Apia on the 19th, to find the Calliope the sole
survivor of thirteen sail. He thanked his men, and in particular
the engineers, in a speech of unusual feeling and beauty, of which
one who was present remarked to another, as they left the ship,
"This has been a means of grace." Nor did he forget to thank and
compliment the admiral; and I cannot deny myself the pleasure of
transcribing from Kimberley's reply some generous and engaging
words. "My dear captain," he wrote, "your kind note received. You
went out splendidly, and we all felt from our hearts for you, and
our cheers came with sincerity and admiration for the able manner
in which you handled your ship. We could not have been gladder if
it had been one of our ships, for in a time like that I can truly
say with old Admiral Josiah Latnall, 'that blood is thicker than
water.'" One more trait will serve to build up the image of this
typical sea-officer. A tiny schooner, the Equator, Captain Edwin
Reid, dear to myself from the memories of a six months' cruise,
lived out upon the high seas the fury of that tempest which had
piled with wrecks the harbour of Apia, found a refuge in Pango-
Pango, and arrived at last in the desolated port with a welcome and
lucrative cargo of pigs. The admiral was glad to have the pigs;
but what most delighted the man's noble and childish soul, was to
see once more afloat the colours of his country.

Thus, in what seemed the very article of war, and within the
duration of a single day, the sword-arm of each of the two angry
Powers was broken; their formidable ships reduced to junk; their
disciplined hundreds to a horde of castaways, fed with difficulty,
and the fear of whose misconduct marred the sleep of their
commanders. Both paused aghast; both had time to recognise that
not the whole Samoan Archipelago was worth the loss in men and
costly ships already suffered. The so-called hurricane of March
16th made thus a marking epoch in world-history; directly, and at
once, it brought about the congress and treaty of Berlin;
indirectly, and by a process still continuing, it founded the
modern navy of the States. Coming years and other historians will
declare the influence of that.


With the hurricane, the broken war-ships, and the stranded sailors,
I am at an end of violence, and my tale flows henceforth among
carpet incidents. The blue-jackets on Apia beach were still
jealously held apart by sentries, when the powers at home were
already seeking a peaceable solution. It was agreed, so far as
might be, to obliterate two years of blundering; and to resume in
1889, and at Berlin, those negotiations which had been so unhappily
broken off at Washington in 1887. The example thus offered by
Germany is rare in history; in the career of Prince Bismarck, so
far as I am instructed, it should stand unique. On a review of
these two years of blundering, bullying, and failure in a little
isle of the Pacific, he seems magnanimously to have owned his
policy was in the wrong. He left Fangalii unexpiated; suffered
that house of cards, the Tamasese government, to fall by its own
frailty and without remark or lamentation; left the Samoan question
openly and fairly to the conference: and in the meanwhile, to
allay the local heats engendered by Becker and Knappe, he sent to
Apia that invaluable public servant, Dr. Stuebel. I should be a
dishonest man if I did not bear testimony to the loyalty since
shown by Germans in Samoa. Their position was painful; they had
talked big in the old days, now they had to sing small. Even
Stuebel returned to the islands under the prejudice of an
unfortunate record. To the minds of the Samoans his name
represented the beginning of their sorrows; and in his first term
of office he had unquestionably driven hard. The greater his merit
in the surprising success of the second. So long as he stayed, the
current of affairs moved smoothly; he left behind him on his
departure all men at peace; and whether by fortune, or for the want
of that wise hand of guidance, he was scarce gone before the clouds
began to gather once more on our horizon.

Before the first convention, Germany and the States hauled down
their flags. It was so done again before the second; and Germany,
by a still more emphatic step of retrogression, returned the exile
Laupepa to his native shores. For two years the unfortunate man
had trembled and suffered in the Cameroons, in Germany, in the
rainy Marshalls. When he left (September 1887) Tamasese was king,
served by five iron war-ships; his right to rule (like a dogma of
the Church) was placed outside dispute; the Germans were still, as
they were called at that last tearful interview in the house by the
river, "the invincible strangers"; the thought of resistance, far
less the hope of success, had not yet dawned on the Samoan mind.
He returned (November 1889) to a changed world. The Tupua party
was reduced to sue for peace, Brandeis was withdrawn, Tamasese was
dying obscurely of a broken heart; the German flag no longer waved
over the capital; and over all the islands one figure stood
supreme. During Laupepa's absence this man had succeeded him in
all his honours and titles, in tenfold more than all his power and
popularity. He was the idol of the whole nation but the rump of
the Tamaseses, and of these he was already the secret admiration.
In his position there was but one weak point,--that he had even
been tacitly excluded by the Germans. Becker, indeed, once
coquetted with the thought of patronising him; but the project had
no sequel, and it stands alone. In every other juncture of history
the German attitude has been the same. Choose whom you will to be
king; when he has failed, choose whom you please to succeed him;
when the second fails also, replace the first: upon the one
condition, that Mataafa be excluded. "Pourvu qu'il sache signer!"-
-an official is said to have thus summed up the qualifications
necessary in a Samoan king. And it was perhaps feared that Mataafa
could do no more and might not always do so much. But this
original diffidence was heightened by late events to something
verging upon animosity. Fangalii was unavenged: the arms of
Mataafa were

Nondum inexpiatis uncta cruoribus,
Still soiled with the unexpiated blood

of German sailors; and though the chief was not present in the
field, nor could have heard of the affair till it was over, he had
reaped from it credit with his countrymen and dislike from the

I may not say that trouble was hoped. I must say--if it were not
feared, the practice of diplomacy must teach a very hopeful view of
human nature. Mataafa and Laupepa, by the sudden repatriation of
the last, found themselves face to face in conditions of
exasperating rivalry. The one returned from the dead of exile to
find himself replaced and excelled. The other, at the end of a
long, anxious, and successful struggle, beheld his only possible
competitor resuscitated from the grave. The qualities of both, in
this difficult moment, shone out nobly. I feel I seem always less
than partial to the lovable Laupepa; his virtues are perhaps not
those which chiefly please me, and are certainly not royal; but he
found on his return an opportunity to display the admirable
sweetness of his nature. The two entered into a competition of
generosity, for which I can recall no parallel in history, each
waiving the throne for himself, each pressing it upon his rival;
and they embraced at last a compromise the terms of which seem to
have been always obscure and are now disputed. Laupepa at least
resumed his style of King of Samoa; Mataafa retained much of the
conduct of affairs, and continued to receive much of the attendance
and respect befitting royalty; and the two Malietoas, with so many
causes of disunion, dwelt and met together in the same town like
kinsmen. It was so, that I first saw them; so, in a house set
about with sentries--for there was still a haunting fear of
Germany,--that I heard them relate their various experience in the
past; heard Laupepa tell with touching candour of the sorrows of
his exile, and Mataafa with mirthful simplicity of his resources
and anxieties in the war. The relation was perhaps too beautiful
to last; it was perhaps impossible but the titular king should grow
at last uneasily conscious of the maire de palais at his side, or
the king-maker be at last offended by some shadow of distrust or
assumption in his creature. I repeat the words king-maker and
creature; it is so that Mataafa himself conceives of their
relation: surely not without justice; for, had he not contended
and prevailed, and been helped by the folly of consuls and the fury
of the storm, Laupepa must have died in exile.

Foreigners in these islands know little of the course of native
intrigue. Partly the Samoans cannot explain, partly they will not
tell. Ask how much a master can follow of the puerile politics in
any school; so much and no more we may understand of the events
which surround and menace us with their results. The missions may
perhaps have been to blame. Missionaries are perhaps apt to meddle
overmuch outside their discipline; it is a fault which should be
judged with mercy; the problem is sometimes so insidiously
presented that even a moderate and able man is betrayed beyond his
own intention; and the missionary in such a land as Samoa is
something else besides a minister of mere religion; he represents
civilisation, he is condemned to be an organ of reform, he could
scarce evade (even if he desired) a certain influence in political
affairs. And it is believed, besides, by those who fancy they
know, that the effective force of division between Mataafa and
Laupepa came from the natives rather than from whites. Before the
end of 1890, at least, it began to be rumoured that there was
dispeace between the two Malietoas; and doubtless this had an
unsettling influence throughout the islands. But there was another
ingredient of anxiety. The Berlin convention had long closed its
sittings; the text of the Act had been long in our hands;
commissioners were announced to right the wrongs of the land
question, and two high officials, a chief justice and a president,
to guide policy and administer law in Samoa. Their coming was
expected with an impatience, with a childishness of trust, that can
hardly be exaggerated. Months passed, these angel-deliverers still
delayed to arrive, and the impatience of the natives became changed
to an ominous irritation. They have had much experience of being
deceived, and they began to think they were deceived again. A
sudden crop of superstitious stories buzzed about the islands.
Rivers had come down red; unknown fishes had been taken on the reef
and found to be marked with menacing runes; a headless lizard
crawled among chiefs in council; the gods of Upolu and Savaii made
war by night, they swam the straits to battle, and, defaced by
dreadful wounds, they had besieged the house of a medical
missionary. Readers will remember the portents in mediaeval
chronicles, or those in Julius Caesar when

"Fierce fiery warriors fought upon the clouds
In ranks and squadrons."

And doubtless such fabrications are, in simple societies, a natural
expression of discontent; and those who forge, and even those who
spread them, work towards a conscious purpose.

Early in January 1891 this period of expectancy was brought to an
end by the arrival of Conrad Cedarcrantz, chief justice of Samoa.
The event was hailed with acclamation, and there was much about the
new official to increase the hopes already entertained. He was
seen to be a man of culture and ability; in public, of an excellent
presence--in private, of a most engaging cordiality. But there was
one point, I scarce know whether to say of his character or policy,
which immediately and disastrously affected public feeling in the
islands. He had an aversion, part judicial, part perhaps
constitutional, to haste; and he announced that, until he should
have well satisfied his own mind, he should do nothing; that he
would rather delay all than do aught amiss. It was impossible to
hear this without academical approval; impossible to hear it
without practical alarm. The natives desired to see activity; they
desired to see many fair speeches taken on a body of deeds and
works of benefit. Fired by the event of the war, filled with
impossible hopes, they might have welcomed in that hour a ruler of
the stamp of Brandeis, breathing hurry, perhaps dealing blows. And
the chief justice, unconscious of the fleeting opportunity, ripened
his opinions deliberately in Mulinuu; and had been already the
better part of half a year in the islands before he went through
the form of opening his court. The curtain had risen; there was no
play. A reaction, a chill sense of disappointment, passed about
the island; and intrigue, one moment suspended, was resumed.

In the Berlin Act, the three Powers recognise, on the threshold,
"the independence of the Samoan government, and the free right of
the natives to elect their chief or king and choose their form of
government." True, the text continues that, "in view of the
difficulties that surround an election in the present disordered
condition of the government," Malietoa Laupepa shall be recognised
as king, "unless the three Powers shall by common accord otherwise
declare." But perhaps few natives have followed it so far, and
even those who have, were possibly all cast abroad again by the
next clause: "and his successor shall be duly elected according to
the laws and customs of Samoa." The right to elect, freely given
in one sentence, was suspended in the next, and a line or so
further on appeared to be reconveyed by a side-wind. The reason
offered for suspension was ludicrously false; in May 1889, when Sir
Edward Malet moved the matter in the conference, the election of
Mataafa was not only certain to have been peaceful, it could not
have been opposed; and behind the English puppet it was easy to
suspect the hand of Germany. No one is more swift to smell
trickery than a Samoan; and the thought, that, under the long,
bland, benevolent sentences of the Berlin Act, some trickery lay
lurking, filled him with the breath of opposition. Laupepa seems
never to have been a popular king. Mataafa, on the other hand,
holds an unrivalled position in the eyes of his fellow-countrymen;
he was the hero of the war, he had lain with them in the bush, he
had borne the heat and burthen of the day; they began to claim that
he should enjoy more largely the fruits of victory; his exclusion
was believed to be a stroke of German vengeance, his elevation to
the kingship was looked for as the fitting crown and copestone of
the Samoan triumph; and but a little after the coming of the chief
justice, an ominous cry for Mataafa began to arise in the islands.
It is difficult to see what that official could have done but what
he did. He was loyal, as in duty bound, to the treaty and to
Laupepa; and when the orators of the important and unruly islet of
Manono demanded to his face a change of kings, he had no choice but
to refuse them, and (his reproof being unheeded) to suspend the
meeting. Whether by any neglect of his own or the mere force of
circumstance, he failed, however, to secure the sympathy, failed
even to gain the confidence, of Mataafa. The latter is not without
a sense of his own abilities or of the great service he has
rendered to his native land. He felt himself neglected; at the
very moment when the cry for his elevation rang throughout the
group he thought himself made little of on Mulinuu; and he began to
weary of his part. In this humour, he was exposed to a temptation
which I must try to explain, as best I may be able, to Europeans.

The bestowal of the great name, Malietoa, is in the power of the
district of Malie, some seven miles to the westward of Apia. The
most noisy and conspicuous supporters of that party are the
inhabitants of Manono. Hence in the elaborate, allusive oratory of
Samoa, Malie is always referred to by the name of Pule (authority)
as having the power of the name, and Manono by that of Ainga (clan,
sept, or household) as forming the immediate family of the chief.
But these, though so important, are only small communities; and
perhaps the chief numerical force of the Malietoas inhabits the
island of Savaii. Savaii has no royal name to bestow, all the five
being in the gift of different districts of Upolu; but she has the
weight of numbers, and in these latter days has acquired a certain
force by the preponderance in her councils of a single man, the
orator Lauati. The reader will now understand the peculiar
significance of a deputation which should embrace Lauati and the
orators of both Malie and Manono, how it would represent all that
is most effective on the Malietoa side, and all that is most
considerable in Samoan politics, except the opposite feudal party
of the Tupua. And in the temptation brought to bear on Mataafa,
even the Tupua was conjoined. Tamasese was dead. His followers
had conceived a not unnatural aversion to all Germans, from which
only the loyal Brandeis is excepted; and a not unnatural admiration
for their late successful adversary. Men of his own blood and
clan, men whom he had fought in the field, whom he had driven from
Matautu, who had smitten him back time and again from before the
rustic bulwarks of Lotoanuu, they approached him hand in hand with
their ancestral enemies and concurred in the same prayer. The
treaty (they argued) was not carried out. The right to elect their
king had been granted them; or if that were denied or suspended,
then the right to elect "his successor." They were dissatisfied
with Laupepa, and claimed, "according to the laws and customs of
Samoa," duly to appoint another. The orators of Malie declared
with irritation that their second appointment was alone valid and
Mataafa the sole Malietoa; the whole body of malcontents named him
as their choice for king; and they requested him in consequence to
leave Apia and take up his dwelling in Malie, the name-place of
Malietoa; a step which may be described, to European ears, as
placing before the country his candidacy for the crown.

I do not know when the proposal was first made. Doubtless the
disaffection grew slowly, every trifle adding to its force;
doubtless there lingered for long a willingness to give the new
government a trial. The chief justice at least had been nearly
five months in the country, and the president, Baron Senfft von
Pilsach, rather more than a month before the mine was sprung. On
May 31, 1891, the house of Mataafa was found empty, he and his
chiefs had vanished from Apia, and, what was worse, three
prisoners, liberated from the gaol, had accompanied them in their
secession; two being political offenders, and the third (accused of
murder) having been perhaps set free by accident. Although the
step had been discussed in certain quarters, it took all men by
surprise. The inhabitants at large expected instant war. The
officials awakened from a dream to recognise the value of that
which they had lost. Mataafa at Vaiala, where he was the pledge of
peace, had perhaps not always been deemed worthy of particular
attention; Mataafa at Malie was seen, twelve hours too late, to be
an altogether different quantity. With excess of zeal on the other
side, the officials trooped to their boats and proceeded almost in
a body to Malie, where they seem to have employed every artifice of
flattery and every resource of eloquence upon the fugitive high
chief. These courtesies, perhaps excessive in themselves, had the
unpardonable fault of being offered when too late. Mataafa showed
himself facile on small issues, inflexible on the main; he restored
the prisoners, he returned with the consuls to Apia on a flying
visit; he gave his word that peace should be preserved--a pledge in
which perhaps no one believed at the moment, but which he has since
nobly redeemed. On the rest he was immovable; he had cast the die,
he had declared his candidacy, he had gone to Malie. Thither,
after his visit to Apia, he returned again; there he has
practically since resided.

Thus was created in the islands a situation, strange in the
beginning, and which, as its inner significance is developed,
becomes daily stranger to observe. On the one hand, Mataafa sits
in Malie, assumes a regal state, receives deputations, heads his
letters "Government of Samoa," tacitly treats the king as a co-
ordinate; and yet declares himself, and in many ways conducts
himself, as a law-abiding citizen. On the other, the white
officials in Mulinuu stand contemplating the phenomenon with eyes
of growing stupefaction; now with symptoms of collapse, now with
accesses of violence. For long, even those well versed in island
manners and the island character daily expected war, and heard
imaginary drums beat in the forest. But for now close upon a year,
and against every stress of persuasion and temptation, Mataafa has
been the bulwark of our peace. Apia lay open to be seized, he had
the power in his hand, his followers cried to be led on, his
enemies marshalled him the same way by impotent examples; and he
has never faltered. Early in the day, a white man was sent from
the government of Mulinuu to examine and report upon his actions:
I saw the spy on his return; "It was only our rebel that saved us,"
he said, with a laugh. There is now no honest man in the islands
but is well aware of it; none but knows that, if we have enjoyed
during the past eleven months the conveniences of peace, it is due
to the forbearance of "our rebel." Nor does this part of his
conduct stand alone. He calls his party at Malie the government,--
"our government,"--but he pays his taxes to the government at
Mulinuu. He takes ground like a king; he has steadily and blandly
refused to obey all orders as to his own movements or behaviour;
but upon requisition he sends offenders to be tried under the chief

We have here a problem of conduct, and what seems an image of
inconsistency, very hard at the first sight to be solved by any
European. Plainly Mataafa does not act at random. Plainly, in the
depths of his Samoan mind, he regards his attitude as regular and
constitutional. It may be unexpected, it may be inauspicious, it
may be undesirable; but he thinks it--and perhaps it is--in full
accordance with those "laws and customs of Samoa" ignorantly
invoked by the draughtsmen of the Berlin Act. The point is worth
an effort of comprehension; a man's life may yet depend upon it.
Let us conceive, in the first place, that there are five separate
kingships in Samoa, though not always five different kings; and
that though one man, by holding the five royal names, might become
king in ALL PARTS of Samoa, there is perhaps no such matter as a
kingship of all Samoa. He who holds one royal name would be, upon
this view, as much a sovereign person as he who should chance to
hold the other four; he would have less territory and fewer
subjects, but the like independence and an equal royalty. Now
Mataafa, even if all debatable points were decided against him, is
still Tuiatua, and as such, on this hypothesis, a sovereign prince.
In the second place, the draughtsmen of the Act, waxing exceeding
bold, employed the word "election," and implicitly justified all
precedented steps towards the kingship according with the "customs
of Samoa." I am not asking what was intended by the gentlemen who
sat and debated very benignly and, on the whole, wisely in Berlin;
I am asking what will be understood by a Samoan studying their
literary work, the Berlin Act; I am asking what is the result of
taking a word out of one state of society, and applying it to
another, of which the writers know less than nothing, and no
European knows much. Several interpreters and several days were
employed last September in the fruitless attempt to convey to the
mind of Laupepa the sense of the word "resignation." What can a
Samoan gather from the words, ELECTION? ELECTION OF A KING?
What are the electoral measures, what is the method of canvassing,
likely to be employed by two, three, four, or five, more or less
absolute princelings, eager to evince each other? And who is to
distinguish such a process from the state of war? In such
international--or, I should say, interparochial--differences, the
nearest we can come towards understanding is to appreciate the
cloud of ambiguity in which all parties grope -

"Treading the crude consistence, half on foot,
Half flying."

Now, in one part of Mataafa's behaviour his purpose is beyond
mistake. Towards the provisions of the Berlin Act, his desire to
be formally obedient is manifest. The Act imposed the tax. He has
paid his taxes, although he thus contributes to the ways and means
of his immediate rival. The Act decreed the supreme court, and he
sends his partisans to be tried at Mulinuu, although he thus places
them (as I shall have occasion to show) in a position far from
wholly safe. From this literal conformity, in matters regulated,
to the terms of the Berlin plenipotentiaries, we may plausibly
infer, in regard to the rest, a no less exact observance of the
famous and obscure "laws and customs of Samoa."

But though it may be possible to attain, in the study, to some such
adumbration of an understanding, it were plainly unfair to expect
it of officials in the hurry of events. Our two white officers
have accordingly been no more perspicacious than was to be looked
for, and I think they have sometimes been less wise. It was not
wise in the president to proclaim Mataafa and his followers rebels
and their estates confiscated. Such words are not respectable till
they repose on force; on the lips of an angry white man, standing
alone on a small promontory, they were both dangerous and absurd;
they might have provoked ruin; thanks to the character of Mataafa,
they only raised a smile and damaged the authority of government.
And again it is not wise in the government of Mulinuu to have twice
attempted to precipitate hostilities, once in Savaii, once here in
the Tuamasanga. The fate of the Savaii attempt I never heard; it
seems to have been stillborn. The other passed under my eyes. A
war-party was armed in Apia, and despatched across the island
against Mataafa villages, where it was to seize the women and
children. It was absent for some days, engaged in feasting with
those whom it went out to fight; and returned at last, innocuous
and replete. In this fortunate though undignified ending we may
read the fact that the natives on Laupepa's side are sometimes more
wise than their advisers. Indeed, for our last twelve months of
miraculous peace under what seem to be two rival kings, the credit
is due first of all to Mataafa, and second to the half-heartedness,
or the forbearance, or both, of the natives in the other camp. The
voice of the two whites has ever been for war. They have published
at least one incendiary proclamation; they have armed and sent into
the field at least one Samoan war-party; they have continually
besieged captains of war-ships to attack Malie, and the captains of
the war-ships have religiously refused. Thus in the last twelve
months our European rulers have drawn a picture of themselves, as
bearded like the pard, full of strange oaths, and gesticulating
like semaphores; while over against them Mataafa reposes smilingly
obstinate, and their own retainers surround them, frowningly inert.
Into the question of motive I refuse to enter; but if we come to
war in these islands, and with no fresh occasion, it will be a
manufactured war, and one that has been manufactured, against the
grain of opinion, by two foreigners.

For the last and worst of the mistakes on the Laupepa side it would
be unfair to blame any but the king himself. Capable both of
virtuous resolutions and of fits of apathetic obstinacy, His
Majesty is usually the whip-top of competitive advisers; and his
conduct is so unstable as to wear at times an appearance of
treachery which would surprise himself if he could see it. Take,
for example, the experience of Lieutenant Ulfsparre, late chief of
police, and (so to speak) commander of the forces. His men were
under orders for a certain hour; he found himself almost alone at
the place of muster, and learned the king had sent the soldiery on
errands. He sought an audience, explained that he was here to
implant discipline, that (with this purpose in view) his men could
only receive orders through himself, and if that condition were not
agreed to and faithfully observed, he must send in his papers. The
king was as usual easily persuaded, the interview passed and ended
to the satisfaction of all parties engaged--and the bargain was
kept for one day. On the day after, the troops were again
dispersed as post-runners, and their commander resigned. With such
a sovereign, I repeat, it would be unfair to blame any individual
minister for any specific fault. And yet the policy of our two
whites against Mataafa has appeared uniformly so excessive and
implacable, that the blame of the last scandal is laid generally at
their doors. It is yet fresh. Lauati, towards the end of last
year, became deeply concerned about the situation; and by great
personal exertions and the charms of oratory brought Savaii and
Manono into agreement upon certain terms of compromise: Laupepa
still to be king, Mataafa to accept a high executive office
comparable to that of our own prime minister, and the two
governments to coalesce. Intractable Manono was a party. Malie
was said to view the proposal with resignation, if not relief.
Peace was thought secure. The night before the king was to receive
Lauati, I met one of his company,--the family chief, Iina,--and we
shook hands over the unexpected issue of our troubles. What no one
dreamed was that Laupepa would refuse. And he did. He refused
undisputed royalty for himself and peace for these unhappy islands;
and the two whites on Mulinuu rightly or wrongly got the blame of

But their policy has another and a more awkward side. About the
time of the secession to Malie, many ugly things were said; I will
not repeat that which I hope and believe the speakers did not
wholly mean; let it suffice that, if rumour carried to Mataafa the
language I have heard used in my own house and before my own native
servants, he would be highly justified in keeping clear of Apia and
the whites. One gentleman whose opinion I respect, and am so bold
as to hope I may in some points modify, will understand the
allusion and appreciate my reserve. About the same time there
occurred an incident, upon which I must be more particular. A was
a gentleman who had long been an intimate of Mataafa's, and had
recently (upon account, indeed, of the secession to Malie) more or
less wholly broken off relations. To him came one whom I shall
call B with a dastardly proposition. It may have been B's own, in
which case he were the more unpardonable; but from the closeness of
his intercourse with the chief justice, as well as from the terms
used in the interview, men judged otherwise. It was proposed that
A should simulate a renewal of the friendship, decoy Mataafa to a
suitable place, and have him there arrested. What should follow in
those days of violent speech was at the least disputable; and the
proposal was of course refused. "You do not understand," was the
base rejoinder. "YOU will have no discredit. The Germans are to
take the blame of the arrest." Of course, upon the testimony of a
gentleman so depraved, it were unfair to hang a dog; and both the
Germans and the chief justice must be held innocent. But the chief
justice has shown that he can himself be led, by his animosity
against Mataafa, into questionable acts. Certain natives of Malie
were accused of stealing pigs; the chief justice summoned them
through Mataafa; several were sent, and along with them a written
promise that, if others were required, these also should be
forthcoming upon requisition. Such as came were duly tried and
acquitted; and Mataafa's offer was communicated to the chief
justice, who made a formal answer, and the same day (in pursuance
of his constant design to have Malie attacked by war-ships)
reported to one of the consuls that his warrant would not run in
the country and that certain of the accused had been withheld. At
least, this is not fair dealing; and the next instance I have to
give is possibly worse. For one blunder the chief justice is only
so far responsible, in that he was not present where it seems he
should have been, when it was made. He had nothing to do with the
silly proscription of the Mataafas; he has always disliked the
measure; and it occurred to him at last that he might get rid of
this dangerous absurdity and at the same time reap a further
advantage. Let Mataafa leave Malie for any other district in
Samoa; it should be construed as an act of submission and the
confiscation and proscription instantly recalled. This was
certainly well devised; the government escaped from their own false
position, and by the same stroke lowered the prestige of their
adversaries. But unhappily the chief justice did not put all his
eggs in one basket. Concurrently with these negotiations he began
again to move the captain of one of the war-ships to shell the
rebel village; the captain, conceiving the extremity wholly
unjustified, not only refused these instances, but more or less
publicly complained of their being made; the matter came to the
knowledge of the white resident who was at that time playing the
part of intermediary with Malie; and he, in natural anger and
disgust, withdrew from the negotiation. These duplicities, always
deplorable when discovered, are never more fatal than with men
imperfectly civilised. Almost incapable of truth themselves, they
cherish a particular score of the same fault in whites. And
Mataafa is besides an exceptional native. I would scarce dare say
of any Samoan that he is truthful, though I seem to have
encountered the phenomenon; but I must say of Mataafa that he seems
distinctly and consistently averse to lying.

For the affair of the Manono prisoners, the chief justice is only
again in so far answerable as he was at the moment absent from the
seat of his duties; and the blame falls on Baron Senfft von
Pilsach, president of the municipal council. There were in Manono
certain dissidents, loyal to Laupepa. Being Manono people, I
daresay they were very annoying to their neighbours; the majority,
as they belonged to the same island, were the more impatient; and
one fine day fell upon and destroyed the houses and harvests of the
dissidents "according to the laws and customs of Samoa." The
president went down to the unruly island in a war-ship and was
landed alone upon the beach. To one so much a stranger to the
mansuetude of Polynesians, this must have seemed an act of
desperation; and the baron's gallantry met with a deserved success.
The six ringleaders, acting in Mataafa's interest, had been guilty
of a delict; with Mataafa's approval, they delivered themselves
over to be tried. On Friday, September 4, 1891, they were
convicted before a native magistrate and sentenced to six months'
imprisonment; or, I should rather say, detention; for it was
expressly directed that they were to be used as gentlemen and not
as prisoners, that the door was to stand open, and that all their
wishes should be gratified. This extraordinary sentence fell upon
the accused like a thunderbolt. There is no need to suppose
perfidy, where a careless interpreter suffices to explain all; but
the six chiefs claim to have understood their coming to Apia as an
act of submission merely formal, that they came in fact under an
implied indemnity, and that the president stood pledged to see them
scatheless. Already, on their way from the court-house, they were
tumultuously surrounded by friends and clansmen, who pressed and
cried upon them to escape; Lieutenant Ulfsparre must order his men
to load; and with that the momentary effervescence died away. Next
day, Saturday, 5th, the chief justice took his departure from the
islands--a step never yet explained and (in view of the doings of
the day before and the remonstrances of other officials) hard to
justify. The president, an amiable and brave young man of singular
inexperience, was thus left to face the growing difficulty by
himself. The clansmen of the prisoners, to the number of near upon
a hundred, lay in Vaiusu, a village half way between Apia and
Malie; there they talked big, thence sent menacing messages; the
gaol should be broken in the night, they said, and the six martyrs
rescued. Allowance is to be made for the character of the people
of Manono, turbulent fellows, boastful of tongue, but of late days
not thought to be answerably bold in person. Yet the moment was
anxious. The government of Mulinuu had gained an important moral
victory by the surrender and condemnation of the chiefs; and it was
needful the victory should be maintained. The guard upon the gaol
was accordingly strengthened; a war-party was sent to watch the
Vaiusu road under Asi; and the chiefs of the Vaimaunga were
notified to arm and assemble their men. It must be supposed the
president was doubtful of the loyalty of these assistants. He
turned at least to the war-ships, where it seems he was rebuffed;
thence he fled into the arms of the wrecker gang, where he was
unhappily more successful. The government of Washington had
presented to the Samoan king the wrecks of the Trenton and the
Vandalia; an American syndicate had been formed to break them up;
an experienced gang was in consequence settled in Apia and the
report of submarine explosions had long grown familiar in the ears
of residents. From these artificers the president obtained a
supply of dynamite, the needful mechanism, and the loan of a
mechanic; the gaol was mined, and the Manono people in Vaiusu were
advertised of the fact in a letter signed by Laupepa. Partly by
the indiscretion of the mechanic, who had sought to embolden
himself (like Lady Macbeth) with liquor for his somewhat dreadful
task, the story leaked immediately out and raised a very general,
or I might say almost universal, reprobation. Some blamed the
proposed deed because it was barbarous and a foul example to set
before a race half barbarous itself; others because it was illegal;
others again because, in the face of so weak an enemy, it appeared
pitifully pusillanimous; almost all because it tended to
precipitate and embitter war. In the midst of the turmoil he had
raised, and under the immediate pressure of certain indignant white
residents, the baron fell back upon a new expedient, certainly less
barbarous, perhaps no more legal; and on Monday afternoon,
September 7th, packed his six prisoners on board the cutter
Lancashire Lass, and deported them to the neighbouring low-island
group of the Tokelaus. We watched her put to sea with mingled
feelings. Anything were better than dynamite, but this was not
good. The men had been summoned in the name of law; they had
surrendered; the law had uttered its voice; they were under one
sentence duly delivered; and now the president, by no right with
which we were acquainted, had exchanged it for another. It was
perhaps no less fortunate, though it was more pardonable in a
stranger, that he had increased the punishment to that which, in
the eyes of Samoans, ranks next to death,--exile from their native
land and friends. And the Lancashire Lass appeared to carry away
with her into the uttermost parts of the sea the honour of the
administration and the prestige of the supreme court.

The policy of the government towards Mataafa has thus been of a
piece throughout; always would-be violent, it has been almost
always defaced with some appearance of perfidy or unfairness. The
policy of Mataafa (though extremely bewildering to any white)
appears everywhere consistent with itself, and the man's bearing
has always been calm. But to represent the fulness of the
contrast, it is necessary that I should give some description of
the two capitals, or the two camps, and the ways and means of the
regular and irregular government.

Mulinuu. Mulinuu, the reader may remember, is a narrow finger of
land planted in cocoa-palms, which runs forth into the lagoon
perhaps three quarters of a mile. To the east is the bay of Apia.
To the west, there is, first of all, a mangrove swamp, the
mangroves excellently green, the mud ink-black, and its face
crawled upon by countless insects and black and scarlet crabs.
Beyond the swamp is a wide and shallow bay of the lagoon, bounded
to the west by Faleula Point. Faleula is the next village to
Malie; so that from the top of some tall palm in Malie it should be
possible to descry against the eastern heavens the palms of
Mulinuu. The trade wind sweeps over the low peninsula and cleanses
it from the contagion of the swamp. Samoans have a quaint phrase
in their language; when out of health, they seek exposed places on
the shore "to eat the wind," say they; and there can be few better
places for such a diet than the point of Mulinuu.

Two European houses stand conspicuous on the harbour side; in
Europe they would seem poor enough, but they are fine houses for
Samoa. One is new; it was built the other day under the apologetic
title of a Government House, to be the residence of Baron Senfft.
The other is historical; it was built by Brandeis on a mortgage,
and is now occupied by the chief justice on conditions never
understood, the rumour going uncontradicted that he sits rent free.
I do not say it is true, I say it goes uncontradicted; and there is
one peculiarity of our officials in a nutshell,--their remarkable
indifference to their own character. From the one house to the
other extends a scattering village for the Faipule or native
parliament men. In the days of Tamasese this was a brave place,
both his own house and those of the Faipule good, and the whole
excellently ordered and approached by a sanded way. It is now like
a neglected bush-town, and speaks of apathy in all concerned. But
the chief scandal of Mulinuu is elsewhere. The house of the
president stands just to seaward of the isthmus, where the watch is
set nightly, and armed men guard the uneasy slumbers of the
government. On the landward side there stands a monument to the
poor German lads who fell at Fangalii, just beyond which the
passer-by may chance to observe a little house standing back-ward
from the road. It is such a house as a commoner might use in a
bush village; none could dream that it gave shelter even to a
family chief; yet this is the palace of Malietoa-Natoaitele-
Tamasoalii Laupepa, king of Samoa. As you sit in his company under
this humble shelter, you shall see, between the posts, the new
house of the president. His Majesty himself beholds it daily, and
the tenor of his thoughts may be divined. The fine house of a
Samoan chief is his appropriate attribute; yet, after seventeen
months, the government (well housed themselves) have not yet found-
-have not yet sought--a roof-tree for their sovereign. And the
lodging is typical. I take up the president's financial statement
of September 8, 1891. I find the king's allowance to figure at
seventy-five dollars a month; and I find that he is further (though
somewhat obscurely) debited with the salaries of either two or
three clerks. Take the outside figure, and the sum expended on or
for His Majesty amounts to ninety-five dollars in the month.
Lieutenant Ulfsparre and Dr. Hagberg (the chief justice's Swedish
friends) drew in the same period one hundred and forty and one
hundred dollars respectively on account of salary alone. And it
should be observed that Dr. Hagberg was employed, or at least paid,
from government funds, in the face of His Majesty's express and
reiterated protest. In another column of the statement, one
hundred and seventy-five dollars and seventy-five cents are debited
for the chief justice's travelling expenses. I am of the opinion
that if His Majesty desired (or dared) to take an outing, he would
be asked to bear the charge from his allowance. But although I
think the chief justice had done more nobly to pay for himself, I
am far from denying that his excursions were well meant; he should
indeed be praised for having made them; and I leave the charge out
of consideration in the following statement.


Salary of Chief Justice Cedarkrantz $500
Salary of President Baron Senfft von Pilsach (about) 415
Salary of Lieutenant Ulfsparre, Chief of Police 140
Salary of Dr. Hagberg, Private Secretary to the Chief Justice 100

Total monthly salary to four whites, one of them paid against His
Majesty's protest $1155


Total monthly payments to and for His Majesty the King, including
allowance and hire of three clerks, one of these placed under the
rubric of extraordinary expenses $95

This looks strange enough and mean enough already. But we have
ground of comparison in the practice of Brandeis.

Brandeis, white prime minister $200
Tamasese (about) 160
White Chief of Police 100

Under Brandeis, in other words, the king received the second
highest allowance on the sheet; and it was a good second, and the
third was a bad third. And it must be borne in mind that Tamasese
himself was pointed and laughed at among natives. Judge, then,
what is muttered of Laupepa, housed in his shanty before the
president's doors like Lazarus before the doors of Dives; receiving
not so much of his own taxes as the private secretary of the law
officer; and (in actual salary) little more than half as much as
his own chief of police. It is known besides that he has protested
in vain against the charge for Dr. Hagberg; it is known that he has
himself applied for an advance and been refused. Money is
certainly a grave subject on Mulinuu; but respect costs nothing,
and thrifty officials might have judged it wise to make up in extra
politeness for what they curtailed of pomp or comfort. One
instance may suffice. Laupepa appeared last summer on a public
occasion; the president was there and not even the president rose
to greet the entrance of the sovereign. Since about the same
period, besides, the monarch must be described as in a state of
sequestration. A white man, an Irishman, the true type of all that
is most gallant, humorous, and reckless in his country, chose to
visit His Majesty and give him some excellent advice (to make up
his difference with Mataafa) couched unhappily in vivid and
figurative language. The adviser now sleeps in the Pacific, but
the evil that he chanced to do lives after him. His Majesty was
greatly (and I must say justly) offended by the freedom of the
expressions used; he appealed to his white advisers; and these,
whether from want of thought or by design, issued an ignominious
proclamation. Intending visitors to the palace must appear before
their consuls and justify their business. The majesty of buried
Samoa was henceforth only to be viewed (like a private collection)
under special permit; and was thus at once cut off from the company
and opinions of the self respecting. To retain any dignity in such
an abject state would require a man of very different virtues from
those claimed by the not unvirtuous Laupepa. He is not designed to
ride the whirlwind or direct the storm, rather to be the ornament
of private life. He is kind, gentle, patient as Job, conspicuously
well-intentioned, of charming manners; and when he pleases, he has
one accomplishment in which he now begins to be alone--I mean that
he can pronounce correctly his own beautiful language.

The government of Brandeis accomplished a good deal and was
continually and heroically attempting more. The government of our
two whites has confined itself almost wholly to paying and
receiving salaries. They have built, indeed, a house for the
president; they are believed (if that be a merit) to have bought
the local newspaper with government funds; and their rule has been
enlivened by a number of scandals, into which I feel with relief
that it is unnecessary I should enter. Even if the three Powers do
not remove these gentlemen, their absurd and disastrous government
must perish by itself of inanition. Native taxes (except perhaps
from Mataafa, true to his own private policy) have long been beyond
hope. And only the other day (May 6th, 1892), on the expressed
ground that there was no guarantee as to how the funds would be
expended, and that the president consistently refused to allow the
verification of his cash balances, the municipal council has
negatived the proposal to call up further taxes from the whites.
All is well that ends even ill, so that it end; and we believe that
with the last dollar we shall see the last of the last functionary.
Now when it is so nearly over, we can afford to smile at this
extraordinary passage, though we must still sigh over the occasion

Malie. The way to Malie lies round the shores of Faleula bay and
through a succession of pleasant groves and villages. The road,
one of the works of Brandeis, is now cut up by pig fences. Eight
times you must leap a barrier of cocoa posts; the take-off and the
landing both in a patch of mire planted with big stones, and the
stones sometimes reddened with the blood of horses that have gone
before. To make these obstacles more annoying, you have sometimes
to wait while a black boar clambers sedately over the so-called pig
fence. Nothing can more thoroughly depict the worst side of the
Samoan character than these useless barriers which deface their
only road. It was one of the first orders issued by the government
of Mulinuu after the coming of the chief justice, to have the
passage cleared. It is the disgrace of Mataafa that the thing is
not yet done.

The village of Malie is the scene of prosperity and peace. In a
very good account of a visit there, published in the Australasian,
the writer describes it to be fortified; she must have been
deceived by the appearance of some pig walls on the shore. There
is no fortification, no parade of war. I understand that from one
to five hundred fighting men are always within reach; but I have
never seen more than five together under arms, and these were the
king's guard of honour. A Sabbath quiet broods over the well-
weeded green, the picketed horses, the troops of pigs, the round or
oval native dwellings. Of these there are a surprising number,
very fine of their sort: yet more are in the building; and in the
midst a tall house of assembly, by far the greatest Samoan
structure now in these islands, stands about half finished and
already makes a figure in the landscape. No bustle is to be
observed, but the work accomplished testifies to a still activity.

The centre-piece of all is the high chief himself, Malietoa-
Tuiatua-Tuiaana Mataafa, king--or not king--or king-claimant--of
Samoa. All goes to him, all comes from him. Native deputations
bring him gifts and are feasted in return. White travellers, to
their indescribable irritation, are (on his approach) waved from
his path by his armed guards. He summons his dancers by the note
of a bugle. He sits nightly at home before a semicircle of
talking-men from many quarters of the islands, delivering and
hearing those ornate and elegant orations in which the Samoan heart
delights. About himself and all his surroundings there breathes a
striking sense of order, tranquillity, and native plenty. He is of
a tall and powerful person, sixty years of age, white-haired and
with a white moustache; his eyes bright and quiet; his jaw
perceptibly underhung, which gives him something of the expression
of a benevolent mastiff; his manners dignified and a thought
insinuating, with an air of a Catholic prelate. He was never
married, and a natural daughter attends upon his guests. Long
since he made a vow of chastity,--"to live as our Lord lived on
this earth" and Polynesians report with bated breath that he has
kept it. On all such points, true to his Catholic training, he is
inclined to be even rigid. Lauati, the pivot of Savaii, has
recently repudiated his wife and taken a fairer; and when I was
last in Malie, Mataafa (with a strange superiority to his own
interests) had but just despatched a reprimand. In his immediate
circle, in spite of the smoothness of his ways, he is said to be
more respected than beloved; and his influence is the child rather
of authority than popularity. No Samoan grandee now living need
have attempted that which he has accomplished during the last
twelve months with unimpaired prestige, not only to withhold his
followers from war, but to send them to be judged in the camp of
their enemies on Mulinuu. And it is a matter of debate whether
such a triumph of authority were ever possible before. Speaking
for myself, I have visited and dwelt in almost every seat of the
Polynesian race, and have met but one man who gave me a stronger
impression of character and parts.

About the situation, Mataafa expresses himself with unshaken peace.
To the chief justice he refers with some bitterness; to Laupepa,
with a smile, as "my poor brother." For himself, he stands upon
the treaty, and expects sooner or later an election in which he
shall be raised to the chief power. In the meanwhile, or for an
alternative, he would willingly embrace a compromise with Laupepa;
to which he would probably add one condition, that the joint
government should remain seated at Malie, a sensible but not
inconvenient distance from white intrigues and white officials.
One circumstance in my last interview particularly pleased me. The
king's chief scribe, Esela, is an old employe under Tamasese, and
the talk ran some while upon the character of Brandeis. Loyalty in
this world is after all not thrown away; Brandeis was guilty, in
Samoan eyes, of many irritating errors, but he stood true to
Tamasese; in the course of time a sense of this virtue and of his
general uprightness has obliterated the memory of his mistakes; and
it would have done his heart good if he could have heard his old
scribe and his old adversary join in praising him. "Yes,"
concluded Mataafa, "I wish we had Planteisa back again." A quelque
chose malheur est bon. So strong is the impression produced by the
defects of Cedarcrantz and Baron Senfft, that I believe Mataafa far
from singular in this opinion, and that the return of the upright
Brandeis might be even welcome to many.

I must add a last touch to the picture of Malie and the pretender's
life. About four in the morning, the visitor in his house will be
awakened by the note of a pipe, blown without, very softly and to a
soothing melody. This is Mataafa's private luxury to lead on
pleasant dreams. We have a bird here in Samoa that about the same
hour of darkness sings in the bush. The father of Mataafa, while
he lived, was a great friend and protector to all living creatures,
and passed under the by-name of the King of Birds. It may be it
was among the woodland clients of the sire that the son acquired
his fancy for this morning music.

I have now sought to render without extenuation the impressions
received: of dignity, plenty, and peace at Malie, of bankruptcy
and distraction at Mulinuu. And I wish I might here bring to an
end ungrateful labours. But I am sensible that there remain two
points on which it would be improper to be silent. I should be
blamed if I did not indicate a practical conclusion; and I should
blame myself if I did not do a little justice to that tried company
of the Land Commissioners.

The Land Commission has been in many senses unfortunate. The
original German member, a gentleman of the name of Eggert, fell
early into precarious health; his work was from the first
interrupted, he was at last (to the regret of all that knew him)
invalided home; and his successor had but just arrived. In like
manner, the first American commissioner, Henry C. Ide, a man of
character and intelligence, was recalled (I believe by private
affairs) when he was but just settling into the spirit of the work;
and though his place was promptly filled by ex-Governor Ormsbee, a
worthy successor, distinguished by strong and vivacious common
sense, the break was again sensible. The English commissioner, my
friend Bazett Michael Haggard, is thus the only one who has
continued at his post since the beginning. And yet, in spite of
these unusual changes, the Commission has a record perhaps
unrivalled among international commissions. It has been unanimous
practically from the first until the last; and out of some four
hundred cases disposed of, there is but one on which the members
were divided. It was the more unfortunate they should have early
fallen in a difficulty with the chief justice. The original ground
of this is supposed to be a difference of opinion as to the import
of the Berlin Act, on which, as a layman, it would be unbecoming if
I were to offer an opinion. But it must always seem as if the
chief justice had suffered himself to be irritated beyond the
bounds of discretion. It must always seem as if his original
attempt to deprive the commissioners of the services of a secretary
and the use of a safe were even senseless; and his step in printing
and posting a proclamation denying their jurisdiction were equally
impolitic and undignified. The dispute had a secondary result
worse than itself. The gentleman appointed to be Natives' Advocate
shared the chief justice's opinion, was his close intimate, advised
with him almost daily, and drifted at last into an attitude of
opposition to his colleagues. He suffered himself besides (being a
layman in law) to embrace the interest of his clients with
something of the warmth of a partisan. Disagreeable scenes
occurred in court; the advocate was more than once reproved, he was
warned that his consultations with the judge of appeal tended to
damage his own character and to lower the credit of the appellate
court. Having lost some cases on which he set importance, it
should seem that he spoke unwisely among natives. A sudden cry of
colour prejudice went up; and Samoans were heard to assure each
other that it was useless to appear before the Land Commission,
which was sworn to support the whites.

This deplorable state of affairs was brought to an end by the
departure from Samoa of the Natives' Advocate. He was succeeded
pro tempore by a young New Zealander, E. W. Gurr, not much more
versed in law than himself, and very much less so in Samoan.
Whether by more skill or better fortune, Gurr has been able in the
course of a few weeks to recover for the natives several important
tracts of land; and the prejudice against the Commission seems to
be abating as fast as it arose. I should not omit to say that, in
the eagerness of the original advocate, there was much that was
amiable; nor must I fail to point out how much there was of
blindness. Fired by the ardour of pursuit, he seems to have
regarded his immediate clients as the only natives extant and the
epitome and emblem of the Samoan race. Thus, in the case that was
the most exclaimed against as "an injustice to natives," his
client, Puaauli, was certainly nonsuited. But in that intricate
affair who lost the money? The German firm. And who got the land?
Other natives. To twist such a decision into evidence, either of a
prejudice against Samoans or a partiality to whites, is to keep one
eye shut and have the other bandaged.

And lastly, one word as to the future. Laupepa and Mataafa stand
over against each other, rivals with no third competitor. They may
be said to hold the great name of Malietoa in commission; each has
borne the style, each exercised the authority, of a Samoan king;
one is secure of the small but compact and fervent following of the
Catholics, the other has the sympathies of a large part of the
Protestant majority, and upon any sign of Catholic aggression would
have more. With men so nearly balanced, it may be asked whether a
prolonged successful exercise of power be possible for either. In
the case of the feeble Laupepa, it is certainly not; we have the
proof before us. Nor do I think we should judge, from what we see
to-day, that it would be possible, or would continue to be
possible, even for the kingly Mataafa. It is always the easier
game to be in opposition. The tale of David and Saul would
infallibly be re-enacted; once more we shall have two kings in the
land,--the latent and the patent; and the house of the first will
become once more the resort of "every one that is in distress, and
every one that is in debt, and every one that is discontented."
Against such odds it is my fear that Mataafa might contend in vain;
it is beyond the bounds of my imagination that Laupepa should
contend at all. Foreign ships and bayonets is the cure proposed in
Mulinuu. And certainly, if people at home desire that money should
be thrown away and blood shed in Samoa, an effect of a kind, and
for the time, may be produced. Its nature and prospective
durability I will ask readers of this volume to forecast for
themselves. There is one way to peace and unity: that Laupepa and
Mataafa should be again conjoined on the best terms procurable.
There may be other ways, although I cannot see them; but not even
malevolence, not even stupidity, can deny that this is one. It
seems, indeed, so obvious, and sure, and easy, that men look about
with amazement and suspicion, seeking some hidden motive why it
should not be adopted.

To Laupepa's opposition, as shown in the case of the Lauati scheme,
no dweller in Samoa will give weight, for they know him to be as
putty in the hands of his advisers. It may be right, it may be
wrong, but we are many of us driven to the conclusion that the
stumbling-block is Fangalii, and that the memorial of that affair
shadows appropriately the house of a king who reigns in right of
it. If this be all, it should not trouble us long. Germany has
shown she can be generous; it now remains for her only to forget a
natural but certainly ill-grounded prejudice, and allow to him, who
was sole king before the plenipotentiaries assembled, and who would
be sole king to-morrow if the Berlin Act could be rescinded, a
fitting share of rule. The future of Samoa should lie thus in the
hands of a single man, on whom the eyes of Europe are already
fixed. Great concerns press on his attention; the Samoan group, in
his view, is but as a grain of dust; and the country where he
reigns has bled on too many august scenes of victory to remember
for ever a blundering skirmish in the plantation of Vailele. It is
to him--to the sovereign of the wise Stuebel and the loyal
Brandeis,--that I make my appeal.

May 25, 1892.


{1} Brother and successor of Theodor.

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