THREE times has Mataafa been anointed King of Samoa, only to have the cup of happiness dashed from his lips after his coronation. In one way or another, nearly all the political disturbances which have occurred in the island kingdom for the past fifteen years, have had Mataafa as their central figure. As South Sea islanders go, he is worthy of having been the principal factor in these stirring events. His admirer and defender, Robert Louis Stevenson, thus describes him:
“He is a tall and powerful person, sixty years of age, white haired and with white moustache; his eyes bright and quiet, his jaw perceptibly underhung, which gives him something of the impression of a benevolent mastiff, his manners dignified and a thought Insinuating, with an air of a Catholic prelate. 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. He was the Idol of the whole nation, except a fragment of opponents. Speaking for myself, 1 have visited and dwelt In almost every scat of the Polynesian race, and have met but one man who gave me a stronger Impression of character and parts.”
Nearly every American who has passed any time in Samoa since Mataafa became a factor in its politics, has entertained a great admiration for his personal qualities, and however much his action is to be deprecated in the controversies that have arisen, the personal sympathies of those who have known him have nearly all been in his favor. There would have been a strong feeling of satisfaction, if his right to the kingship could have been established by the recent decision of the Chief Justice.
In 1886, Malictoa Laupepa was king of Samoa. The Germans, bent upon securing the exclusive control of the islands, made demands upon Malietoa which were not, and could not be, fulfilled, and caused the High Chief, Tamasese, to be proclaimed King. Malietoa fled to the bush, but was followed by a message that, if he did not give himself up within a few hours, great sorrows must befall his country. Therefore he came down from the recesses of the mountain, bequeathed the care of his native land to his kinsman, Mataafa, and put forth a touching farewell to his country, and to the different provinces thereof:
“To all Samoa: On account of my great love to my country and my great affection to all Samoa, this is the reason that I deliver up my body to the German Government. That Government may do as they wish to me. The reason of this is because I do not desire that the blood of Samoa shall be spilled for me again, but I do not know what Is my offence which has caused their anger to me and to my country. Tuamasaga, farewell! Manono and family, farewell! So also Salalafai, Tutuila, Aana and Atua, farewell! If we do not again see one another in this world, pray that we may be again gathered above.”
He went from his weeping people to the German warship which lay in the barber, and was borne away to Australia, to South Africa, to the German Cameroons, to Germany, and again through the Red Sea, still on to Jaluit, one of the coral lagoons of the German Marshall Islands, lying under the equator, where he was destined to pass the years of his lonely exile.
Around Mataafa, rallied all the native elements that were opposed to the Germans and to their puppet King, Tamasese. The Americans and English, resident in Samoa, joined in the support of Mataafa. Civil war raged. Arms, ammunition, food and sympathy were provided for Mataafa by the English and Americans, while Tamasese received similar support from the Germans. In December, 1888, at Fagalli, three or four miles east of Apia, a battle was fought between the Mataafa -natives and 140 German sailors, who had been landed to protect German property and to fortify the waning cause of Tamasese. The Germans fought bravely, but in the dark and among cocoanut trees, and lost 56 in killed and wounded. The heads of several German sailors were taken by the natives, and this fact ultimately defeated Mataafa’s first kingship. But the cause of Tamasese was now beyond resurrection, and he himself retired into oblivion and soon died.
Thus was Mataafa King of Samoa from 1887 to near 1890. He succeeded to the boners and title of Malietoa Laupepa, but the military disaster at Fagalii and the belated, but finally effectual, remonstrance of England and the United States, brought Germany to a standstill, and the conference was proposed which resulted in the Berlin Treaty of June 14, 1889. In that instrument, the three powers agreed thereafter to respect the independence and autonomy of Samoa, to establish a protectorate over the islands, and to return Malietoa Laupepa and recognize him as King, Mataafa being rejected on the ground of the German insistence that he was responsible for the beheading of German sailors at Fagalii. This was the end of Mataafa’s first kingship.
Meanwhile, the country was being governed under the Berlin Treaty. That international compact contained some indefinite references to an election of a King; and, after a time, when the Treaty had failed instantly to bring the prosperity, happiness, abundance and content which the simple-minded natives had expected to follow it, they began to look upon Mataafa as the hero of the war, who had fought side by side with them, in the bush, along the shore, and in the forest plantations, and to insist that there should be an election, and that he should be their King once more. Gradually, he yielded to their persuasions, retired to Malie, west of Apia, was crowned as King by the malcontents. and there established a rival government, with the state and ceremony incident to a Samoan monarch. Thus the two governments went on side by side from 1891, until the summer of 1893, when Malietoa made an stack upon Mataafa, defeated him and scattered his forces. Mataafa was captured by British and German warships, and held as a prisoner of the powers. They decreed that he should be taken to Jaluit, in the Marshall Islands, where Malietoa had so long been prisoner. So his people came upon the warship, and in solemn form, with cocoanut water, poured upon his head, washed out the royal title, to which he had been anointed, and he sailed away to exile. This ended big second kingship.
From 1893 to 1898, Malietoa Laupepa continued to be the recognized King of Samoa, but he was never able to receive the undivided support of his people. In August, 1898, he was ill of a fever. He was taken to Vailima, the Robert Louis Stevenson homestead, to get the benefit of the mountain air. But the original vigor of his constitution had been impaired by his years of captivity and sorrow, and contention, and the fever did its work. He was a courteous, gentle, kindly man, illy-fitted for scenes of bloodshed and turmoil. A short time before his illness, the powers had concluded that Mataafa had been sufficiently punished, and that he should be returned to his beloved Samoa, upon his solemn pledge that he would render loyal obedience to the government, and in all ways encourage peace and loyalty.
When Mataafa arrived in Samoa, Malietoa had just been gathered to his fathers, and the Treaty then, beyond question, provided for the long-sought election of a successor, “according to the laws and customs of Samoa.” The candidacy of Mataafa was inevitable and natural. He had the whole Catholic party to support him, and a great Protestant following of those who admired him for his stand against the Germans in 1886-7, and for his chiefly qualities, and who had stood beside him when he had twice before been King, and who pitied him on account of his long exile. According to Samoan custom, therefore, he was again chosen King and anointed as such in November last. Meanwhile, other candidates had appeared -Tamasese, the son of the deceased German puppet King, and Malietoa Tanus, the son of the lately deceased King, a boy of 16 or 17 years of age, still under the tutelage of the London Missionary School. Tamasese withdrew his claims in favor of Malietoa Tanus, with the understanding that he should have a position of influence in the Government. Malietoa Tanus was chosen King by his supporters, and claimed to have been lawfully elected. Thereupon, the decision fell to the Chief Justice, by the terms of the Treaty. In the meantime, the natives from the remote districts began to gather in force at the capital, and the situation became threatening in the extreme. It was apparent that the followers of Mataafa, at least in and,about Apia, were far more numerous and better equipped than those of his adversary. On the 31st day of December, the Chief Justice announced his decision that Mataafa was ineligible for the kingship, and that, therefore, Malietoa Tanus was King.
Before another day had elapsed, that judgment was reversed by force of arms. Malietoa Tanus was in hiding at a missionary’s house and, later, upon a British warship. Tamasese was with him, and his followers were scattered or slain, their houses burned, and the whole government in possession of Mataafa. Mataafa was King again, this time not only by virtue of the anointing, but by virtue of the military strength of his followers, supported and recognized by all the German officials and people in Samoa. The situation was exceedingly embarrassing for the Chief Justice, living a mile back from town, the whole neighborhood being occupied by natives who regarded his decision as an injustice, and who had overthrown it by violence and bloodshed. He retired to the British warship, “Porpoise”; and the British and American Consuls, apparently terrified by the exciting course of events, thereupon met with the German Consul and recognized a Provisional Government, consisting of Mataafa and a Council of thirteen of his chiefs, with Dr. Raffel, the German President of the Municipality of Apia, as chief executive officer. Herein a great mistake was made. There is no provision in the Treaty for a Provisional Government. The Consuls had no authority to recognize it or to take any action with reference to it, and they played directly into the hands of Mataafa and the Germans by so doing.
The Germans were not glow to seize their advantage. The Provisional Government declared the office of Chief Justice vacant. The Treaty provides that, in the case of a vacancy, the President of the Municipal Council shall perform the duties of Chief Justice, and Dr. Raffel was instantly installed as acting Chief Justice. This was a manifest violation of the Treaty. The Chief Justice could only be removed by the concurrence of at least two of the powers, whereas, none of them had concurred. By this time, the English and American Consuls had apparently rallied sufficiently from their dazed condition to protest against this revolutionary proceeding on the part of the Germans, and proceeded, with a body of marines from the “Porpoise”, to reinstate the Chief Justice, a course of conduct which was ultimately approved by the three powers, the German Government having repudiated the summary act of its officials in attempting to set aside the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, the Chief Justice became involved in a series of proceedings against German subjects and officials for contempt of court, in which difficult questions of jurisdiction and international law were involved, and which resulted in intensifying, if possible, the already extremely bitter feelings prevailing. But the Provisional Government, with Mataafa as King, still held sway.
Early in March. the American warship, “Philadelphia”, appeared upon the scene. Rear Admiral Kautz, in command, as. sembled a conference of the Consuls and naval officers of the three powers, and thereafter issued a manifesto, declaring the Provisional Government to be unauthorized by the Treaty, commanding its members to retire to their homes, and threatening violence if they failed to do so, and caused Malietoa Tanus to be anointed King. The German Consul General, never having consented to these proceedings, issued a counter proclamation, asserting that the Provisional Government had been authorized by the action of all the Consuls, and urging that Government to stand steadfast. Thus fortified, the Provisional Government stood by its guns, literally. It refused to disband. The Rear Admiral, accordingly, aided by the English ships, but not by the German, proceeded to carry his threat into execution, bombarding portions of the town and its environs, and the towns along the coast, and brought back the deported Malietoa chiefs, who instantly reorganized their faction of natives, so that civil war again prevailed. Meanwhile, the experiment which the Germans had tried in 1888, of landing sailors to fight in the midst of the cocoanut plantations against the nimble natives, was repeated in the same locality and with the same results. American and English officers and sailors were slain and compelled to retreat, and some of them were beheaded. Since that time, the fighting has gone on at intervals, the only result being that a gentle, picturesque and kindly people are engaged, under the auspices of three great powers, in exterminating one another.
In this connection, perhaps, a word should be said about the Samoan custom of taking heads. It is justly regarded as barbaric, and is forbidden by Samoan law; yet, it is not done as an act of cruelty, but solely to secure a trophy of war. The Samoans are well versed in Scripture, and justify this practice from the sacred Word. They will say: “Is it not so that when David killed Goliath, he cut off his head and carried it before the King?” They have been recently denounced as “savages,” and so they are, in a certain sense. They are tattooed, wear but little clothing, though enough for the climate, their land titles and system of living are communistic and patriarchal, like those of Abraham. At the same time, they have a nobility of rank, courtliness and politeness and dignity of manner. They are Christians, builders and supporters of churches. They read and write, conduct family worship every day, have their books printed in London, and play cricket, polo and games of cards. But the fact that the taking of heads in the German-Samoan war of 1888, was regarded as sufficient reason for excluding Mataafa from the kingship when the Treaty was made, is an indication of how the taking of American and English heads in the present war will affect his candidacy. He will be regarded by England and the United States as absolutely disqualified, and it will be impossible for Germany, in view of the position which she took in 1889, to oppose that contention. It is highly improbable now that Mataafa will be longer recognized as King and the probability is that the noblest Samoan of them all, owing to bad advice and misguided ambition, will again take his station upon the shores of the lagoon at Jaluit.
Samoa is without telegraphic communication with the rest of the world. One of the great difficulties, both before and since the making of the Treaty, has been unauthorized and extreme action on the part of officials located there, remote from controlling authority, magnifying their own positions and powers, and inclined to take extraordinary action under the impulse of sudden and insular excitement.
Great mischief comes from these unauthorized acts, even though they are repudiated later. It is safe to say that, if there had been telegraphic communication with Samoa. a great proportion of the difficulties of the last fifteen years would have been avoided. At present, it requires weeks to secure communication with the home Governments. But with an opportunity to receive immediate instructions from home, officials would be sure to avoid unauthorized extreme action, and all dangerous matters would be determined in advance by instructions from the several foreign offices, where there is a larger range of vision, free from the heat of insular prejudice and personal jealousies and animosities. If the cable from Vancouver to the Australasian British colonies is laid, and a connection made with Samoa, the Samoan problem will be greatly simplified.
In a previous article, the present writer traced the political history of Samoa down to 1897. and expressed the opinion that the Treaty ought to be amended in important respects, but that its abrogation would be a mistake. Recent events have not modified, this opinion. The Treaty was our deliberate act, after years of negotiation and investigation. and when we were in possession of all the facts now known, except such as have resulted from the practical working of the Treaty itself. It was a national, not a political, act, negotiated by a commission of high standing, appointed by a Republican administration, in pursuance of arrangements made for that purpose by a Democratic administra. tion. Its fundamental purpose, as far as our country was concerned. was to secure the neutralization of the islands lying at the center of the South Pacific, as the Hawaiian Islands do at the center of the North Pacific, in the direct pathway of the commerce ever increasing between our country and the British colonies, and for the protection of our rights and interests in the admirable harbor of Pago Pago. Every other important group in the South Seas bad been seized and appropriated by some foreign Government. Samoa was the only foothold left for us. Its appropriation was eagerly sought, both by Great Britain and by Germany. It was a source of constant international irritation. We were brought to the verge of war with Germany by her persistent attempts to annex the islands. Congress appropriated five hundred thousand dollars for the defence of our interest in Samoa. The Treaty constituted a law binding upon the great nations, and defining the rights of all. It substituted the rule of law for that of force, It is the standard by which every act of either party to the international compact can be measured. It preserves our rights in the Pago Pago harbor, it secures to all our citizens now in Samoa, and to those who may wish hereafter to carry our flag and commerce thither, absolute equality in trade, the protection of the laws, and freedom from aggression of other nationalities. It has given efficient government to the Municipality of Apia, where most of the foreigners reside, it has established a local government that owns its own buildings, pays its own bills, and has done more road building than had been done in Samoa in all time before. It has prevented the destructive sale of intoxicating liquors to natives; it has completely and finally settled titles to all lands claimed by foreigners, and has perfected an admirable systein of registration of titles; it has provided a court in which, all internal controversies can be settled, an impartial tribunal for the adjustment of controversies which, heretofore, could be settled only by force.
The Spanish-American war has emphasized the importance of coaling stations in remote parts of the world. With coal treated as contraband of war, a modern warship is absolutely helpless in times of war, unless it can reach a base of supplies belonging to its own country. Unless we retain our grasp upon Pago Pago, the whole of the South Pacific would be closed to us the instant war was declared with any naval power. With the tremendous development that is going on upon the shores of the Pacific, making it the theatre of some of the vastest political and commercial events of this age, and with the United States taking its position as a world power, and being from its location more interested than any other great power in occurrences throughout every portion of the Pacific, we cannot afford to make the slightest relaxation of the rights in Samoa that have been secured to us by the Berlin Treaty. “The white man’s burden” in Samoa rests as heavily upon German shoulders as upon those of England and America. The Germans have there a larger interest than any other nationality. They have a solemn compact with us, as to the manner in which those interests and their people shall be safeguarded and preserved. Samoa has been made a most important point in the policy of the German colonial Party. The German Government would not. for a moment, consider any abatement of its rights in Samoa, and we are bound to recognize them to the fullest extent, under the Treaty.
Some of the difficulties of administration are plainly avoidable. The construction of a cable, as has already been indicated, would be a great help. Likewise our own Government might fulfill its obligations under the Treaty, which it has been exceedingly remiss in doing. What would be thought of the policy of a Government in the Philippines, if it should send out a Chief Justice, and a Chief Executive Officer of Manila, and a Consul or equivalent officer, and withdraw its army and warships for a series of years, and tell those officials to conduct the Government, preserve the peace and enforce the laws? Yet, that is just what our Government has done as to Samoa. From 1892 to 1899, no American warship visited Samoa, a period of practically seven years, in which officials were left to struggle on as best they could, without the slightest aid from the Government at Washington. The Germans, during nearly all that period, maintained two warships in Samoa. The British Government has every year sent one or more warships to the islands. This costs money. It is not strange that the Germans, having had to bear most of the heat and burden, should have come to think that they are entitled to a greater voice in the management of affairs than their partners who had contributed next to nothing.
Our influence there has been greatly impaired by our failure to do our part in support of the Treaty. Let our Government fulfill its duty under the Treaty, furnish its fair share of the naval force necessary for the proper policing of the islands, and lend its actual support to the Treaty officials, and the troubles in Samoa will largely vanish. Our newly awakened interest in the Pacific should enable us to see that our rights in Samoa are to be protected in precisely the same way as in the Philippines and Hawaii, namely, by establishing and actually supporting a just government.
It has been suggested that the islands should be divided, and Savaii taken by Great Britain, Upolu by the Germans, and Tutuila by the United States. Upolu is at the center of the group, and is by far the richest and most valuable of all the islands. This scheme is an old one. In 1866, President Cleveland appointed George H. Bates as a special commissioner to proceed to Samoa in connection with like commissioners appointed by England and Germany, to make investigation and report as to what ought to be done. In his report, Mr. Bates refers to “the suggestion made in Berlin for a partition of Samoa, the United States to have Tutuila, England Savaii, and Germany Upolu,” but he makes no recommendation in favor of such a course. This suggestion does not seem entitled to more consideration now than in 1886. The people of Samoa coins and go constantly between the islands, to so marked an extent that the early discoverers named the group the “Navigators’ Islands.” The same chief often holds sway of the lands and people situated in two or more of the islands. In their wars, they are divided into factions according to their tribal relations, without reference to the island upon which they reside for the time being. The natives from the German island, in case of division, would continue to take part, as they always have clone, in the political affairs of the other islands and vice versa. It would be impracticable to determine whether depredations committed upon the American island, for instance, were committed by natives for whose acts Germany was responsible. The islands are so near together that constant collisions of interest would arise, both between natives and aliens subject to the different jurisdictions. It would be unjust to the natives, who are one race and one people, to apportion them out into three different nationalities.
While the harbor of Pago Pago is an admirable one, the best in Samoa and entirely safe in times of storm, yet its surroundings are such as to make it an undesirable place for our warships to remain in for a long time. It is entirely land locked and cut off from the trade winds, with frequent tropical showers—caused by the condensation of the vapors by the high mountains-followed by a scorching sun. It is an unfit place for the establishment of a town of any size, and the whole island of Tutuila, upon which it is situated, is rugged and mountainous, and more nearly worthless than Upolu or Savaii. The trans-Pacific steamers all touch at Apia, 75 miles away from Pago Pago, and the cable, when it comes, will doubtless land at Apia. It would be exceedingly undesirable to have it wholly within German territory. But if the United States tookTutuila, nobody would think of governing it without support from home, so that the necessity of naval aid would be at least as imperative under such a scheme as under the Berlin Treaty.
In its general lines the Treaty embraces the important features essential to such an international protectorate. It is doubtful if anything would be gained by an attempt to recast the whole Treaty. But it was realized at the time that events would show points of friction in its working and defects in its provisions, and that such changes should subsequently be made as experience had shown to be expedient and desirable, and three years was deemed a sufficient time for such actual trial. The Eighth Article provides:
“Upon the request of either power after three years from the signature hereof, the powers shall consider by common accord what ameliorations, if any, may be introduced into the provisions of this General Act.”
The Treaty has now been ill operation for nine years. No amendments have been adopted. Manifestly, it is unfair to criticise the Treaty for failure to work satisfactorily, when no effort has been made to effect the modifications that were originally contemplated, and no support whatever has been given by our country to the Treaty officials with the single exception of the recent action of Rear Admiral Katitz in the attempt to enforce the decision of the Chief Justice. The system of taxation provided in the Treaty is both impracticable and unjust. It imposes equal head taxes upon every man, woman and child of the Samoan race, without the slightest regard to capacity to meet the exaction. This is unjust. But it has uniformly proven to be vain and ineffectual. Natives resent and avoid it. It is a constant stimulus to rebellion, because the native who joins the rebellion at once gets out of reach of the tax collector, and escapes taxation altogether. A reasonable customs duty, imposed upon such articles of import as are largely used by the natives, not high enough to stimulate smuggling, but high enough to compel the traders to add it to the selling price of their commodities, would make every trader a collector of taxes without friction, and would supply all the revenue needed for the support of the Government and for steady prosecution of internal improvements. This would remove one of the great causes of friction and rebellion.
The jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in certain classes of cases should be more clearly defined. Whether the Chief Justice may deal with members of the different nationalities for contempt, when that contempt consists, not in acts done in open court, but in acts done at other times and places, which tend to degrade and lower the court, and to interfere with its processes, is a very serious question under the present reading of the Berlin Act. Each Consul has exclusive jurisdiction of all criminal offences committed by people of his own nation. We have now the unseemly and demoralizing spectacle of seeing the Chief Justice pursuing, with proceedings for contempt, and writs of ne exeat, German subjects for alleged contempts of his court and the processes thereof, each of which consists of acts done beyond the presence of the court, while the German Consul General takes the defendants under his immediate consular protection, and denounces the proceedings as an invasion of his jurisdiction. There is something to be said upon both sides, and the Treaty can easily he so modified as to prevent such unseemly controversies in the future.
There have been, in times past, unfortunate controversies between the native government and the President of the Municipality of Apia, who is, by the terms of the Treaty, receiver and custodian of all the funds of the native government as to the right to control the disbursement of public funds. Under the Treaty, as it exists, the native government manifestly has the right to control the disposition of its own funds, and such has been the decision of the Supreme Court; but, inasmuch as the native gov. ernment at times would be inclined to use the funds for distribution among its own members, without any adequate equivalent to the public, and as those funds have been largely realized from customs taxes paid by foreigners, and as the President is largely considered responsible for the public expenditures, he is manifestly entitled to have his recommendations upon that subject carefully considered by the native Government, and to be a potent factor in the disbursements of those revenues. But that he should have the sole determination as to what should be done with the public funds, would be a degradation and humiliation to the native element that is unnecessary and inexpedient; and, inasmuch as the President is always a German, it would be placing the whole control of all the finances of the country absolutely in the hands of the Germans, a condition of things to which the other two powers never ought to, and probably never will, consent. A suitable provision would require the native Government and the President either to agree upon necessary and reasonable expenditures, before public funds could be disbursed, or, when they disagreed, to refer the matter to the Chief Justice for final decision. This would afford protection to the treasury, to the native Government, and to the President.
The Treaty ought to make definite provision for assistance in enforcing the decrees, mandates and judgments of the Supreme Court. It is practically silent upon this subject, and, from the time the court was established down to March, 1899, there has not been one instance in which aid has been furnished, directly or indirectly, to the Supreme Court by the powers, or any of them. Imagine a Supreme Court of one Judge to be established by the United States in the Philippines, and that court being left for eight or nine years to maintain itself among an alien people of divers nationalities, most of them utterly unfamiliar with the proceedings of such a court. What could we expect the result to be? Yet, the Supreme Court of Samoa has been left in just that situation, and it is a marvel, under the circumstances, that it has been able to become the central institution of the country, and to command general respect and obedience.
A commission has now been appointed, consisting of one commissioner from each of the three powers, to agree upon measures that shall be taken, both for redressing wrongs that have been done in the recent disturbances, and for introducing such ameliorations as may be necessary for the future government of the islands. The full text of the instructions has not been made public. After contention upon that point, it has been agreed that their action must be unanimous in order to make any measure which they may take immediately effective. The gentlemen who have been appointed upon the commission are of high character. They will doubtless approach the performance of their delicate duties with a lofty purpose, and with the intention to make such reasonable concessions and modifications of preexisting views as may be necessary to secure unanimous action. It is probable that they will be able to take such action as will end the disastrous and deeply to be regretted division of counsels that now exists among the foreign Samoan officials, and to agree upon immediate plans of action that will relieve the existing strain. There is no reason. in the nature of things, why they should not be able to formulate amendments to the Treaty that, so far as foreigners are cocerned, will be unanimously supported by the powers.
The greatest difficulty will be in dealing with the native question. They have no knowledge of native character or modes of thought, and cannot acquire such knowledge within the limits of their probable stay in Samoa. They will be apt to think, as others have so many times thought before them, that, when the three powers agree upon a course of conduct and issue their mandates, the natives will acquiesce. Outwardly, they probably will do so; but, as a matter of fact, they will not do so unless an adjustment is made which commends itself to them as fair and just. They may retire to their homes while the commissioners sail smilingly away; but if a King is installed at the behest of the powers, and against the protest of the great mass of the Samoan people, he will have little more authority than the President of a debating club. The natives will refuse to pay taxes or to obey the commands of the King, they will identify all foreign officials with the attempt to force upon them a native ruler whom they loathe, will commit depredations upon the plantations of foreigners and will decline to obey the summons of the Supreme Court. They will refuse to build roads, or to allow the King’s adherents to come into the localities possessed by his opponents. The King will be a King of a few natives about Apia. The processes of the court will reach only through practically the same territory, while all the rest of Samoa will sit sullen, obstinate and disloyal. It will be a paper government and not an actual one.
Of course, it is in the power of the three great Governments to crush all native opposition, if they see fit to do so, and to kill, if need be, those who resent what they deem to be injustice; but that is an unworthy thing for three of the mightiest Governments on earth to set their hands to. The Samoans are an interesting, picturesque and kindly people, by nature and training; and it would be horrible, an act to be execrated by mankind, to see them trampled and crushed under the iron heel and torn and mangled by shells. The solution of the native problem is one that will tax the ability and insight of the commission to the highest degree; and if they are able so to shape their course as to secure the substantial, sincere and loyal support of the Samoan people and the unanimous approval of the powers, they will have accomplished a result that tends to secure the peace of the world and the preservation of a noble race from extermination, and they will be entitled to high recognition for valuable services in a difficult field.
BY HENRY C. IDE, FORMERLY CHIEF JUSTICE OF SAMOA,