Infomotions, Inc.Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa / Stevenson, Robert Louis, 1850-1894



Author: Stevenson, Robert Louis, 1850-1894
Title: Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): tamasese; mataafa; brandeis; apia; mulinuu; samoa; laupepa; samoan; knappe; becker; samoans; consul
Contributor(s): Munguia, E. Jr. [Translator]
Versions: original; local mirror; HTML (this file); printable
Services: find in a library; evaluate using concordance
Rights: GNU General Public License
Size: 64,111 words (short) Grade range: 12-15 (college) Readability score: 52 (average)
Identifier: etext536
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Title: A Footnote to History
       Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa


Author: Robert Louis Stevenson

Release Date: April 26, 2005  [eBook #536]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)


***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK A FOOTNOTE TO HISTORY***






Transcribed from the 1912 Swanston edition by David Price, email
ccx074@coventry.ac.uk




A FOOTNOTE TO HISTORY
EIGHT YEARS OF TROUBLE IN SAMOA
by Robert Louis Stevenson




PREFACE


An affair which might be deemed worthy of a note of a few lines in any
general history has been here expanded to the size of a volume or large
pamphlet.  The smallness of the scale, and the singularity of the manners
and events and many of the characters, considered, it is hoped that, in
spite of its outlandish subject, the sketch may find readers.  It has
been a task of difficulty.  Speed was essential, or it might come too
late to be of any service to a distracted country.  Truth, in the midst
of conflicting rumours and in the dearth of printed material, was often
hard to ascertain, and since most of those engaged were of my personal
acquaintance, it was often more than delicate to express.  I must
certainly have erred often and much; it is not for want of trouble taken
nor of an impartial temper.  And if my plain speaking shall cost me any
of the friends that I still count, I shall be sorry, but I need not be
ashamed.

In one particular the spelling of Samoan words has been altered; and the
characteristic nasal _n_ of the language written throughout _ng_ instead
of _g_.  Thus I put Pango-Pango, instead of Pago-Pago; the sound being
that of soft _ng_ in English, as in _singer_, not as in _finger_.

R. L. S.
VAILIMA,
UPOLU,
SAMOA.




CHAPTER I--THE ELEMENTS OF DISCORD: NATIVE


The story I have to tell is still going on as I write; the characters are
alive and active; it is a piece of contemporary history in the most exact
sense.  And yet, for all its actuality and the part played in it by mails
and telegraphs and iron war-ships, the ideas and the manners of the
native actors date back before the Roman Empire.  They are Christians,
church-goers, singers of hymns at family worship, hardy cricketers; their
books are printed in London by Spottiswoode, Trubner, or the Tract
Society; but in most other points they are the contemporaries of our
tattooed ancestors who drove their chariots on the wrong side of the
Roman wall.  We have passed the feudal system; they are not yet clear of
the patriarchal.  We are in the thick of the age of finance; they are in
a period of communism.  And this makes them hard to understand.

To us, with our feudal ideas, Samoa has the first appearance of a land of
despotism.  An elaborate courtliness marks the race alone among
Polynesians; terms of ceremony fly thick as oaths on board a ship;
commoners my-lord each other when they meet--and urchins as they play
marbles.  And for the real noble a whole private dialect is set apart.
The common names for an axe, for blood, for bamboo, a bamboo knife, a
pig, food, entrails, and an oven are taboo in his presence, as the common
names for a bug and for many offices and members of the body are taboo in
the drawing-rooms of English ladies.  Special words are set apart for his
leg, his face, his hair, his belly, his eyelids, his son, his daughter,
his wife, his wife's pregnancy, his wife's adultery, adultery with his
wife, his dwelling, his spear, his comb, his sleep, his dreams, his
anger, the mutual anger of several chiefs, his food, his pleasure in
eating, the food and eating of his pigeons, his ulcers, his cough, his
sickness, his recovery, his death, his being carried on a bier, the
exhumation of his bones, and his skull after death.  To address these
demigods is quite a branch of knowledge, and he who goes to visit a high
chief does well to make sure of the competence of his interpreter.  To
complete the picture, the same word signifies the watching of a virgin
and the warding of a chief; and the same word means to cherish a chief
and to fondle a favourite child.

Men like us, full of memories of feudalism, hear of a man so addressed,
so flattered, and we leap at once to the conclusion that he is hereditary
and absolute.  Hereditary he is; born of a great family, he must always
be a man of mark; but yet his office is elective and (in a weak sense) is
held on good behaviour.  Compare the case of a Highland chief: born one
of the great ones of his clan, he was sometimes appointed its chief
officer and conventional father; was loved, and respected, and served,
and fed, and died for implicitly, if he gave loyalty a chance; and yet if
he sufficiently outraged clan sentiment, was liable to deposition.  As to
authority, the parallel is not so close.  Doubtless the Samoan chief, if
he be popular, wields a great influence; but it is limited.  Important
matters are debated in a fono, or native parliament, with its feasting
and parade, its endless speeches and polite genealogical allusions.
Debated, I say--not decided; for even a small minority will often strike
a clan or a province impotent.  In the midst of these ineffective
councils the chief sits usually silent: a kind of a gagged audience for
village orators.  And the deliverance of the fono seems (for the moment)
to be final.  The absolute chiefs of Tahiti and Hawaii were addressed as
plain John and Thomas; the chiefs of Samoa are surfeited with lip-honour,
but the seat and extent of their actual authority is hard to find.

It is so in the members of the state, and worse in the belly.  The idea
of a sovereign pervades the air; the name we have; the thing we are not
so sure of.  And the process of election to the chief power is a mystery.
Certain provinces have in their gift certain high titles, or _names_, as
they are called.  These can only be attributed to the descendants of
particular lines.  Once granted, each name conveys at once the
principality (whatever that be worth) of the province which bestows it,
and counts as one suffrage towards the general sovereignty of Samoa.  To
be indubitable king, they say, or some of them say,--I find few in
perfect harmony,--a man should resume five of these names in his own
person.  But the case is purely hypothetical; local jealousy forbids its
occurrence.  There are rival provinces, far more concerned in the
prosecution of their rivalry than in the choice of a right man for king.
If one of these shall have bestowed its name on competitor A, it will be
the signal and the sufficient reason for the other to bestow its name on
competitor B or C.  The majority of Savaii and that of Aana are thus in
perennial opposition.  Nor is this all.  In 1881, Laupepa, the present
king, held the three names of Malietoa, Natoaitele, and Tamasoalii;
Tamasese held that of Tuiaana; and Mataafa that of Tuiatua.  Laupepa had
thus a majority of suffrages; he held perhaps as high a proportion as can
be hoped in these distracted islands; and he counted among the number the
preponderant name of Malietoa.  Here, if ever, was an election.  Here, if
a king were at all possible, was the king.  And yet the natives were not
satisfied.  Laupepa was crowned, March 19th; and next month, the
provinces of Aana and Atua met in joint parliament, and elected their own
two princes, Tamasese and Mataafa, to an alternate monarchy, Tamasese
taking the first trick of two years.  War was imminent, when the consuls
interfered, and any war were preferable to the terms of the peace which
they procured.  By the Lackawanna treaty, Laupepa was confirmed king, and
Tamasese set by his side in the nondescript office of vice-king.  The
compromise was not, I am told, without precedent; but it lacked all
appearance of success.  To the constitution of Samoa, which was already
all wheels and no horses, the consuls had added a fifth wheel.  In
addition to the old conundrum, "Who is the king?" they had supplied a new
one, "What is the vice-king?"

Two royal lines; some cloudy idea of alternation between the two; an
electorate in which the vote of each province is immediately effectual,
as regards itself, so that every candidate who attains one name becomes a
perpetual and dangerous competitor for the other four: such are a few of
the more trenchant absurdities.  Many argue that the whole idea of
sovereignty is modern and imported; but it seems impossible that anything
so foolish should have been suddenly devised, and the constitution bears
on its front the marks of dotage.

But the king, once elected and nominated, what does he become?  It may be
said he remains precisely as he was.  Election to one of the five names
is significant; it brings not only dignity but power, and the holder is
secure, from that moment, of a certain following in war.  But I cannot
find that the further step of election to the kingship implies anything
worth mention.  The successful candidate is now the _Tupu o Samoa_--much
good may it do him!  He can so sign himself on proclamations, which it
does not follow that any one will heed.  He can summon parliaments; it
does not follow they will assemble.  If he be too flagrantly disobeyed,
he can go to war.  But so he could before, when he was only the chief of
certain provinces.  His own provinces will support him, the provinces of
his rivals will take the field upon the other part; just as before.  In
so far as he is the holder of any of the five _names_, in short, he is a
man to be reckoned with; in so far as he is king of Samoa, I cannot find
but what the president of a college debating society is a far more
formidable officer.  And unfortunately, although the credit side of the
account proves thus imaginary, the debit side is actual and heavy.  For
he is now set up to be the mark of consuls; he will be badgered to raise
taxes, to make roads, to punish crime, to quell rebellion: and how he is
to do it is not asked.

If I am in the least right in my presentation of this obscure matter, no
one need be surprised to hear that the land is full of war and rumours of
war.  Scarce a year goes by but what some province is in arms, or sits
sulky and menacing, holding parliaments, disregarding the king's
proclamations and planting food in the bush, the first step of military
preparation.  The religious sentiment of the people is indeed for peace
at any price; no pastor can bear arms; and even the layman who does so is
denied the sacraments.  In the last war the college of Malua, where the
picked youth are prepared for the ministry, lost but a single student;
the rest, in the bosom of a bleeding country, and deaf to the voices of
vanity and honour, peacefully pursued their studies.  But if the church
looks askance on war, the warrior in no extremity of need or passion
forgets his consideration for the church.  The houses and gardens of her
ministers stand safe in the midst of armies; a way is reserved for
themselves along the beach, where they may be seen in their white kilts
and jackets openly passing the lines, while not a hundred yards behind
the skirmishers will be exchanging the useless volleys of barbaric
warfare.  Women are also respected; they are not fired upon; and they are
suffered to pass between the hostile camps, exchanging gossip, spreading
rumour, and divulging to either army the secret councils of the other.
This is plainly no savage war; it has all the punctilio of the barbarian,
and all his parade; feasts precede battles, fine dresses and songs
decorate and enliven the field; and the young soldier comes to camp
burning (on the one hand) to distinguish himself by acts of valour, and
(on the other) to display his acquaintance with field etiquette.  Thus
after Mataafa became involved in hostilities against the Germans, and had
another code to observe beside his own, he was always asking his white
advisers if "things were done correctly."  Let us try to be as wise as
Mataafa, and to conceive that etiquette and morals differ in one country
and another.  We shall be the less surprised to find Samoan war defaced
with some unpalatable customs.  The childish destruction of fruit-trees
in an enemy's country cripples the resources of Samoa; and the habit of
head-hunting not only revolts foreigners, but has begun to exercise the
minds of the natives themselves.  Soon after the German heads were taken,
Mr. Carne, Wesleyan missionary, had occasion to visit Mataafa's camp, and
spoke of the practice with abhorrence.  "Misi Kane," said one chief, "we
have just been puzzling ourselves to guess where that custom came from.
But, Misi, is it not so that when David killed Goliath, he cut off his
head and carried it before the king?"

With the civil life of the inhabitants we have far less to do; and yet
even here a word of preparation is inevitable.  They are easy, merry, and
pleasure-loving; the gayest, though by far from either the most capable
or the most beautiful of Polynesians.  Fine dress is a passion, and makes
a Samoan festival a thing of beauty.  Song is almost ceaseless.  The
boatman sings at the oar, the family at evening worship, the girls at
night in the guest-house, sometimes the workman at his toil.  No occasion
is too small for the poets and musicians; a death, a visit, the day's
news, the day's pleasantry, will be set to rhyme and harmony.  Even half-
grown girls, the occasion arising, fashion words and train choruses of
children for its celebration.  Song, as with all Pacific islanders, goes
hand in hand with the dance, and both shade into the drama.  Some of the
performances are indecent and ugly, some only dull; others are pretty,
funny, and attractive.  Games are popular.  Cricket-matches, where a
hundred played upon a side, endured at times for weeks, and ate up the
country like the presence of an army.  Fishing, the daily bath,
flirtation; courtship, which is gone upon by proxy; conversation, which
is largely political; and the delights of public oratory, fill in the
long hours.

But the special delight of the Samoan is the _malanga_.  When people form
a party and go from village to village, junketing and gossiping, they are
said to go on a _malanga_.  Their songs have announced their approach ere
they arrive; the guest-house is prepared for their reception; the virgins
of the village attend to prepare the kava bowl and entertain them with
the dance; time flies in the enjoyment of every pleasure which an
islander conceives; and when the _malanga_ sets forth, the same welcome
and the same joys expect them beyond the next cape, where the nearest
village nestles in its grove of palms.  To the visitors it is all golden;
for the hosts, it has another side.  In one or two words of the language
the fact peeps slyly out.  The same word (_afemoeina_) expresses "a long
call" and "to come as a calamity"; the same word (_lesolosolou_)
signifies "to have no intermission of pain" and "to have no cessation, as
in the arrival of visitors"; and _soua_, used of epidemics, bears the
sense of being overcome as with "fire, flood, or visitors."  But the gem
of the dictionary is the verb _alovao_, which illustrates its pages like
a humorous woodcut.  It is used in the sense of "to avoid visitors," but
it means literally "hide in the wood."  So, by the sure hand of popular
speech, we have the picture of the house deserted, the _malanga_
disappointed, and the host that should have been quaking in the bush.

We are thus brought to the beginning of a series of traits of manners,
highly curious in themselves, and essential to an understanding of the
war.  In Samoa authority sits on the one hand entranced; on the other,
property stands bound in the midst of chartered marauders.  What property
exists is vested in the family, not in the individual; and of the loose
communism in which a family dwells, the dictionary may yet again help us
to some idea.  I find a string of verbs with the following senses: to
deal leniently with, as in helping oneself from a family plantation; to
give away without consulting other members of the family; to go to
strangers for help instead of to relatives; to take from relatives
without permission; to steal from relatives; to have plantations robbed
by relatives.  The ideal of conduct in the family, and some of its
depravations, appear here very plainly.  The man who (in a native word of
praise) is _mata-ainga_, a race-regarder, has his hand always open to his
kindred; the man who is not (in a native term of contempt) _noa_, knows
always where to turn in any pinch of want or extremity of laziness.
Beggary within the family--and by the less self-respecting, without
it--has thus grown into a custom and a scourge, and the dictionary teems
with evidence of its abuse.  Special words signify the begging of food,
of uncooked food, of fish, of pigs, of pigs for travellers, of pigs for
stock, of taro, of taro-tops, of taro-tops for planting, of tools, of
flyhooks, of implements for netting pigeons, and of mats.  It is true the
beggar was supposed in time to make a return, somewhat as by the Roman
contract of _mutuum_.  But the obligation was only moral; it could not
be, or was not, enforced; as a matter of fact, it was disregarded.  The
language had recently to borrow from the Tahitians a word for debt; while
by a significant excidence, it possessed a native expression for the
failure to pay--"to omit to make a return for property begged."  Conceive
now the position of the householder besieged by harpies, and all defence
denied him by the laws of honour.  The sacramental gesture of refusal,
his last and single resource, was supposed to signify "my house is
destitute."  Until that point was reached, in other words, the conduct
prescribed for a Samoan was to give and to continue giving.  But it does
not appear he was at all expected to give with a good grace.  The
dictionary is well stocked with expressions standing ready, like
missiles, to be discharged upon the locusts--"troop of shamefaced ones,"
"you draw in your head like a tern," "you make your voice small like a
whistle-pipe," "you beg like one delirious"; and the verb _pongitai_, "to
look cross," is equipped with the pregnant rider, "as at the sight of
beggars."

This insolence of beggars and the weakness of proprietors can only be
illustrated by examples.  We have a girl in our service to whom we had
given some finery, that she might wait at table, and (at her own request)
some warm clothing against the cold mornings of the bush.  She went on a
visit to her family, and returned in an old tablecloth, her whole
wardrobe having been divided out among relatives in the course of twenty-
four hours.  A pastor in the province of Atua, being a handy, busy man,
bought a boat for a hundred dollars, fifty of which he paid down.
Presently after, relatives came to him upon a visit and took a fancy to
his new possession.  "We have long been wanting a boat," said they.  "Give
us this one."  So, when the visit was done, they departed in the boat.
The pastor, meanwhile, travelled into Savaii the best way he could, sold
a parcel of land, and begged mats among his other relatives, to pay the
remainder of the price of the boat which was no longer his.  You might
think this was enough; but some months later, the harpies, having broken
a thwart, brought back the boat to be repaired and repainted by the
original owner.

Such customs, it might be argued, being double-edged, will ultimately
right themselves.  But it is otherwise in practice.  Such folk as the
pastor's harpy relatives will generally have a boat, and will never have
paid for it; such men as the pastor may have sometimes paid for a boat,
but they will never have one.  It is there as it is with us at home: the
measure of the abuse of either system is the blackness of the individual
heart.  The same man, who would drive his poor relatives from his own
door in England, would besiege in Samoa the doors of the rich; and the
essence of the dishonesty in either case is to pursue one's own advantage
and to be indifferent to the losses of one's neighbour.  But the
particular drawback of the Polynesian system is to depress and stagger
industry.  To work more is there only to be more pillaged; to save is
impossible.  The family has then made a good day of it when all are
filled and nothing remains over for the crew of free-booters; and the
injustice of the system begins to be recognised even in Samoa.  One
native is said to have amassed a certain fortune; two clever lads have
individually expressed to us their discontent with a system which taxes
industry to pamper idleness; and I hear that in one village of Savaii a
law has been passed forbidding gifts under the penalty of a sharp fine.

Under this economic regimen, the unpopularity of taxes, which strike all
at the same time, which expose the industrious to a perfect siege of
mendicancy, and the lazy to be actually condemned to a day's labour, may
be imagined without words.  It is more important to note the concurrent
relaxation of all sense of property.  From applying for help to kinsmen
who are scarce permitted to refuse, it is but a step to taking from them
(in the dictionary phrase) "without permission"; from that to theft at
large is but a hair's-breadth.




CHAPTER II--THE ELEMENTS OF DISCORD: FOREIGN


The huge majority of Samoans, like other God-fearing folk in other
countries, are perfectly content with their own manners.  And upon one
condition, it is plain they might enjoy themselves far beyond the average
of man.  Seated in islands very rich in food, the idleness of the many
idle would scarce matter; and the provinces might continue to bestow
their names among rival pretenders, and fall into war and enjoy that a
while, and drop into peace and enjoy that, in a manner highly to be
envied.  But the condition--that they should be let alone--is now no
longer possible.  More than a hundred years ago, and following closely on
the heels of Cook, an irregular invasion of adventurers began to swarm
about the isles of the Pacific.  The seven sleepers of Polynesia stand,
still but half aroused, in the midst of the century of competition.  And
the island races, comparable to a shopful of crockery launched upon the
stream of time, now fall to make their desperate voyage among pots of
brass and adamant.

Apia, the port and mart, is the seat of the political sickness of Samoa.
At the foot of a peaked, woody mountain, the coast makes a deep indent,
roughly semicircular.  In front the barrier reef is broken by the fresh
water of the streams; if the swell be from the north, it enters almost
without diminution; and the war-ships roll dizzily at their moorings, and
along the fringing coral which follows the configuration of the beach,
the surf breaks with a continuous uproar.  In wild weather, as the world
knows, the roads are untenable.  Along the whole shore, which is
everywhere green and level and overlooked by inland mountain-tops, the
town lies drawn out in strings and clusters.  The western horn is
Mulinuu, the eastern, Matautu; and from one to the other of these
extremes, I ask the reader to walk.  He will find more of the history of
Samoa spread before his eyes in that excursion, than has yet been
collected in the blue-books or the white-books of the world.  Mulinuu
(where the walk is to begin) is a flat, wind-swept promontory, planted
with palms, backed against a swamp of mangroves, and occupied by a rather
miserable village.  The reader is informed that this is the proper
residence of the Samoan kings; he will be the more surprised to observe a
board set up, and to read that this historic village is the property of
the German firm.  But these boards, which are among the commonest
features of the landscape, may be rather taken to imply that the claim
has been disputed.  A little farther east he skirts the stores, offices,
and barracks of the firm itself.  Thence he will pass through Matafele,
the one really town-like portion of this long string of villages, by
German bars and stores and the German consulate; and reach the Catholic
mission and cathedral standing by the mouth of a small river.  The bridge
which crosses here (bridge of Mulivai) is a frontier; behind is Matafele;
beyond, Apia proper; behind, Germans are supreme; beyond, with but few
exceptions, all is Anglo-Saxon.  Here the reader will go forward past the
stores of Mr. Moors (American) and Messrs. MacArthur (English); past the
English mission, the office of the English newspaper, the English church,
and the old American consulate, till he reaches the mouth of a larger
river, the Vaisingano.  Beyond, in Matautu, his way takes him in the
shade of many trees and by scattered dwellings, and presently brings him
beside a great range of offices, the place and the monument of a German
who fought the German firm during his life.  His house (now he is dead)
remains pointed like a discharged cannon at the citadel of his old
enemies.  Fitly enough, it is at present leased and occupied by
Englishmen.  A little farther, and the reader gains the eastern flanking
angle of the bay, where stands the pilot-house and signal-post, and
whence he can see, on the line of the main coast of the island, the
British and the new American consulates.

The course of his walk will have been enlivened by a considerable to and
fro of pleasure and business.  He will have encountered many varieties of
whites,--sailors, merchants, clerks, priests, Protestant missionaries in
their pith helmets, and the nondescript hangers-on of any island beach.
And the sailors are sometimes in considerable force; but not the
residents.  He will think at times there are more signboards than men to
own them.  It may chance it is a full day in the harbour; he will then
have seen all manner of ships, from men-of-war and deep-sea packets to
the labour vessels of the German firm and the cockboat island schooner;
and if he be of an arithmetical turn, he may calculate that there are
more whites afloat in Apia bay than whites ashore in the whole
Archipelago.  On the other hand, he will have encountered all ranks of
natives, chiefs and pastors in their scrupulous white clothes; perhaps
the king himself, attended by guards in uniform; smiling policemen with
their pewter stars; girls, women, crowds of cheerful children.  And he
will have asked himself with some surprise where these reside.  Here and
there, in the back yards of European establishments, he may have had a
glimpse of a native house elbowed in a corner; but since he left Mulinuu,
none on the beach where islanders prefer to live, scarce one on the line
of street.  The handful of whites have everything; the natives walk in a
foreign town.  A year ago, on a knoll behind a bar-room, he might have
observed a native house guarded by sentries and flown over by the
standard of Samoa.  He would then have been told it was the seat of
government, driven (as I have to relate) over the Mulivai and from beyond
the German town into the Anglo-Saxon.  To-day, he will learn it has been
carted back again to its old quarters.  And he will think it significant
that the king of the islands should be thus shuttled to and fro in his
chief city at the nod of aliens.  And then he will observe a feature more
significant still: a house with some concourse of affairs, policemen and
idlers hanging by, a man at a bank-counter overhauling manifests, perhaps
a trial proceeding in the front verandah, or perhaps the council breaking
up in knots after a stormy sitting.  And he will remember that he is in
the _Eleele Sa_, the "Forbidden Soil," or Neutral Territory of the
treaties; that the magistrate whom he has just seen trying native
criminals is no officer of the native king's; and that this, the only
port and place of business in the kingdom, collects and administers its
own revenue for its own behoof by the hands of white councillors and
under the supervision of white consuls.  Let him go further afield.  He
will find the roads almost everywhere to cease or to be made impassable
by native pig-fences, bridges to be quite unknown, and houses of the
whites to become at once a rare exception.  Set aside the German
plantations, and the frontier is sharp.  At the boundary of the _Eleele
Sa_, Europe ends, Samoa begins.  Here, then, is a singular state of
affairs: all the money, luxury, and business of the kingdom centred in
one place; that place excepted from the native government and
administered by whites for whites; and the whites themselves holding it
not in common but in hostile camps, so that it lies between them like a
bone between two dogs, each growling, each clutching his own end.

Should Apia ever choose a coat of arms, I have a motto ready: "Enter
Rumour painted full of tongues."  The majority of the natives do
extremely little; the majority of the whites are merchants with some four
mails in the month, shopkeepers with some ten or twenty customers a day,
and gossip is the common resource of all.  The town hums to the day's
news, and the bars are crowded with amateur politicians.  Some are office-
seekers, and earwig king and consul, and compass the fall of officials,
with an eye to salary.  Some are humorists, delighted with the pleasure
of faction for itself.   "I never saw so good a place as this Apia," said
one of these; "you can be in a new conspiracy every day!"  Many, on the
other hand, are sincerely concerned for the future of the country.  The
quarters are so close and the scale is so small, that perhaps not any one
can be trusted always to preserve his temper.  Every one tells everything
he knows; that is our country sickness.  Nearly every one has been
betrayed at times, and told a trifle more; the way our sickness takes the
predisposed.  And the news flies, and the tongues wag, and fists are
shaken.  Pot boil and caldron bubble!

Within the memory of man, the white people of Apia lay in the worst
squalor of degradation.  They are now unspeakably improved, both men and
women.  To-day they must be called a more than fairly respectable
population, and a much more than fairly intelligent.  The whole would
probably not fill the ranks of even an English half-battalion, yet there
are a surprising number above the average in sense, knowledge, and
manners.  The trouble (for Samoa) is that they are all here after a
livelihood.  Some are sharp practitioners, some are famous (justly or
not) for foul play in business.  Tales fly.  One merchant warns you
against his neighbour; the neighbour on the first occasion is found to
return the compliment: each with a good circumstantial story to the
proof.  There is so much copra in the islands, and no more; a man's share
of it is his share of bread; and commerce, like politics, is here
narrowed to a focus, shows its ugly side, and becomes as personal as
fisticuffs.  Close at their elbows, in all this contention, stands the
native looking on.  Like a child, his true analogue, he observes,
apprehends, misapprehends, and is usually silent.  As in a child, a
considerable intemperance of speech is accompanied by some power of
secrecy.  News he publishes; his thoughts have often to be dug for.  He
looks on at the rude career of the dollar-hunt, and wonders.  He sees
these men rolling in a luxury beyond the ambition of native kings; he
hears them accused by each other of the meanest trickery; he knows some
of them to be guilty; and what is he to think?  He is strongly conscious
of his own position as the common milk-cow; and what is he to do?  "Surely
these white men on the beach are not great chiefs?" is a common question,
perhaps asked with some design of flattering the person questioned.  And
one, stung by the last incident into an unusual flow of English, remarked
to me: "I begin to be weary of white men on the beach."

But the true centre of trouble, the head of the boil of which Samoa
languishes, is the German firm.  From the conditions of business, a great
island house must ever be an inheritance of care; and it chances that the
greatest still afoot has its chief seat in Apia bay, and has sunk the
main part of its capital in the island of Upolu.  When its founder, John
Caesar Godeffroy, went bankrupt over Russian paper and Westphalian iron,
his most considerable asset was found to be the South Sea business.  This
passed (I understand) through the hands of Baring Brothers in London, and
is now run by a company rejoicing in the Gargantuan name of the _Deutsche
Handels und Plantagen Gesellschaft fur Sud-See Inseln zu Hamburg_.  This
piece of literature is (in practice) shortened to the D. H. and P. G.,
the Old Firm, the German Firm, the Firm, and (among humorists) the Long
Handle Firm.  Even from the deck of an approaching ship, the island is
seen to bear its signature--zones of cultivation showing in a more vivid
tint of green on the dark vest of forest.  The total area in use is near
ten thousand acres.  Hedges of fragrant lime enclose, broad avenues
intersect them.  You shall walk for hours in parks of palm-tree alleys,
regular, like soldiers on parade; in the recesses of the hills you may
stumble on a mill-house, toiling and trembling there, fathoms deep in
superincumbent forest.  On the carpet of clean sward, troops of horses
and herds of handsome cattle may be seen to browse; and to one accustomed
to the rough luxuriance of the tropics, the appearance is of fairyland.
The managers, many of them German sea-captains, are enthusiastic in their
new employment.  Experiment is continually afoot: coffee and cacao, both
of excellent quality, are among the more recent outputs; and from one
plantation quantities of pineapples are sent at a particular season to
the Sydney markets.  A hundred and fifty thousand pounds of English
money, perhaps two hundred thousand, lie sunk in these magnificent
estates.  In estimating the expense of maintenance quite a fleet of ships
must be remembered, and a strong staff of captains, supercargoes,
overseers, and clerks.  These last mess together at a liberal board; the
wages are high, and the staff is inspired with a strong and pleasing
sentiment of loyalty to their employers.

Seven or eight hundred imported men and women toil for the company on
contracts of three or of five years, and at a hypothetical wage of a few
dollars in the month.  I am now on a burning question: the labour
traffic; and I shall ask permission in this place only to touch it with
the tongs.  Suffice it to say that in Queensland, Fiji, New Caledonia,
and Hawaii it has been either suppressed or placed under close public
supervision.  In Samoa, where it still flourishes, there is no regulation
of which the public receives any evidence; and the dirty linen of the
firm, if there be any dirty, and if it be ever washed at all, is washed
in private.  This is unfortunate, if Germans would believe it.  But they
have no idea of publicity, keep their business to themselves, rather
affect to "move in a mysterious way," and are naturally incensed by
criticisms, which they consider hypocritical, from men who would import
"labour" for themselves, if they could afford it, and would probably
maltreat them if they dared.  It is said the whip is very busy on some of
the plantations; it is said that punitive extra-labour, by which the
thrall's term of service is extended, has grown to be an abuse; and it is
complained that, even where that term is out, much irregularity occurs in
the repatriation of the discharged.  To all this I can say nothing, good
or bad.  A certain number of the thralls, many of them wild negritos from
the west, have taken to the bush, harbour there in a state partly
bestial, or creep into the back quarters of the town to do a day's
stealthy labour under the nose of their proprietors.  Twelve were
arrested one morning in my own boys' kitchen.  Farther in the bush, huts,
small patches of cultivation, and smoking ovens, have been found by
hunters.  There are still three runaways in the woods of Tutuila, whither
they escaped upon a raft.  And the Samoans regard these dark-skinned
rangers with extreme alarm; the fourth refugee in Tutuila was shot down
(as I was told in that island) while carrying off the virgin of a
village; and tales of cannibalism run round the country, and the natives
shudder about the evening fire.  For the Samoans are not cannibals, do
not seem to remember when they were, and regard the practice with a
disfavour equal to our own.

The firm is Gulliver among the Lilliputs; and it must not be forgotten,
that while the small, independent traders are fighting for their own
hand, and inflamed with the usual jealousy against corporations, the
Germans are inspired with a sense of the greatness of their affairs and
interests.  The thought of the money sunk, the sight of these costly and
beautiful plantations, menaced yearly by the returning forest, and the
responsibility of administering with one hand so many conjunct fortunes,
might well nerve the manager of such a company for desperate and
questionable deeds.  Upon this scale, commercial sharpness has an air of
patriotism; and I can imagine the man, so far from haggling over the
scourge for a few Solomon islanders, prepared to oppress rival firms,
overthrow inconvenient monarchs, and let loose the dogs of war.  Whatever
he may decide, he will not want for backing.  Every clerk will be eager
to be up and strike a blow; and most Germans in the group, whatever they
may babble of the firm over the walnuts and the wine, will rally round
the national concern at the approach of difficulty.  They are so few--I
am ashamed to give their number, it were to challenge contradiction--they
are so few, and the amount of national capital buried at their feet is so
vast, that we must not wonder if they seem oppressed with greatness and
the sense of empire.  Other whites take part in our brabbles, while
temper holds out, with a certain schoolboy entertainment.  In the Germans
alone, no trace of humour is to be observed, and their solemnity is
accompanied by a touchiness often beyond belief.  Patriotism flies in
arms about a hen; and if you comment upon the colour of a Dutch umbrella,
you have cast a stone against the German Emperor.  I give one instance,
typical although extreme.  One who had returned from Tutuila on the mail
cutter complained of the vermin with which she is infested.  He was
suddenly and sharply brought to a stand.  The ship of which he spoke, he
was reminded, was a German ship.

John Caesar Godeffroy himself had never visited the islands; his sons and
nephews came, indeed, but scarcely to reap laurels; and the mainspring
and headpiece of this great concern, until death took him, was a certain
remarkable man of the name of Theodor Weber.  He was of an artful and
commanding character; in the smallest thing or the greatest, without fear
or scruple; equally able to affect, equally ready to adopt, the most
engaging politeness or the most imperious airs of domination.  It was he
who did most damage to rival traders; it was he who most harried the
Samoans; and yet I never met any one, white or native, who did not
respect his memory.  All felt it was a gallant battle, and the man a
great fighter; and now when he is dead, and the war seems to have gone
against him, many can scarce remember, without a kind of regret, how much
devotion and audacity have been spent in vain.  His name still lives in
the songs of Samoa.  One, that I have heard, tells of _Misi Ueba_ and a
biscuit-box--the suggesting incident being long since forgotten.  Another
sings plaintively how all things, land and food and property, pass
progressively, as by a law of nature, into the hands of _Misi Ueba_, and
soon nothing will be left for Samoans.  This is an epitaph the man would
have enjoyed.

At one period of his career, Weber combined the offices of director of
the firm and consul for the City of Hamburg.  No question but he then
drove very hard.  Germans admit that the combination was unfortunate; and
it was a German who procured its overthrow.  Captain Zembsch superseded
him with an imperial appointment, one still remembered in Samoa as "the
gentleman who acted justly."  There was no house to be found, and the new
consul must take up his quarters at first under the same roof with Weber.
On several questions, in which the firm was vitally interested, Zembsch
embraced the contrary opinion.  Riding one day with an Englishman in
Vailele plantation, he was startled by a burst of screaming, leaped from
the saddle, ran round a house, and found an overseer beating one of the
thralls.  He punished the overseer, and, being a kindly and perhaps not a
very diplomatic man, talked high of what he felt and what he might
consider it his duty to forbid or to enforce.  The firm began to look
askance at such a consul; and worse was behind.  A number of deeds being
brought to the consulate for registration, Zembsch detected certain
transfers of land in which the date, the boundaries, the measure, and the
consideration were all blank.  He refused them with an indignation which
he does not seem to have been able to keep to himself; and, whether or
not by his fault, some of these unfortunate documents became public.  It
was plain that the relations between the two flanks of the German
invasion, the diplomatic and the commercial, were strained to bursting.
But Weber was a man ill to conquer.  Zembsch was recalled; and from that
time forth, whether through influence at home, or by the solicitations of
Weber on the spot, the German consulate has shown itself very apt to play
the game of the German firm.  That game, we may say, was twofold,--the
first part even praiseworthy, the second at least natural.  On the one
part, they desired an efficient native administration, to open up the
country and punish crime; they wished, on the other, to extend their own
provinces and to curtail the dealings of their rivals.  In the first,
they had the jealous and diffident sympathy of all whites; in the second,
they had all whites banded together against them for their lives and
livelihoods.  It was thus a game of _Beggar my Neighbour_ between a large
merchant and some small ones.  Had it so remained, it would still have
been a cut-throat quarrel.  But when the consulate appeared to be
concerned, when the war-ships of the German Empire were thought to fetch
and carry for the firm, the rage of the independent traders broke beyond
restraint.  And, largely from the national touchiness and the intemperate
speech of German clerks, this scramble among dollar-hunters assumed the
appearance of an inter-racial war.

The firm, with the indomitable Weber at its head and the consulate at its
back--there has been the chief enemy at Samoa.  No English reader can
fail to be reminded of John Company; and if the Germans appear to have
been not so successful, we can only wonder that our own blunders and
brutalities were less severely punished.  Even on the field of Samoa,
though German faults and aggressors make up the burthen of my story, they
have been nowise alone.  Three nations were engaged in this infinitesimal
affray, and not one appears with credit.  They figure but as the three
ruffians of the elder play-wrights.  The United States have the cleanest
hands, and even theirs are not immaculate.  It was an ambiguous business
when a private American adventurer was landed with his pieces of
artillery from an American war-ship, and became prime minister to the
king.  It is true (even if he were ever really supported) that he was
soon dropped and had soon sold himself for money to the German firm.  I
will leave it to the reader whether this trait dignifies or not the
wretched story.  And the end of it spattered the credit alike of England
and the States, when this man (the premier of a friendly sovereign) was
kidnapped and deported, on the requisition of an American consul, by the
captain of an English war-ship.  I shall have to tell, as I proceed, of
villages shelled on very trifling grounds by Germans; the like has been
done of late years, though in a better quarrel, by ourselves of England.
I shall have to tell how the Germans landed and shed blood at Fangalii;
it was only in 1876 that we British had our own misconceived little
massacre at Mulinuu.  I shall have to tell how the Germans bludgeoned
Malietoa with a sudden call for money; it was something of the suddenest
that Sir Arthur Gordon himself, smarting under a sensible public affront,
made and enforced a somewhat similar demand.




CHAPTER III--THE SORROWS OF LAUPEPA, 1883 TO 1887


You ride in a German plantation and see no bush, no soul stirring; only
acres of empty sward, miles of cocoa-nut alley: a desert of food.  In the
eyes of the Samoan the place has the attraction of a park for the holiday
schoolboy, of a granary for mice.  We must add the yet more lively
allurement of a haunted house, for over these empty and silent miles
there broods the fear of the negrito cannibal.  For the Samoan besides,
there is something barbaric, unhandsome, and absurd in the idea of thus
growing food only to send it from the land and sell it.  A man at home
who should turn all Yorkshire into one wheatfield, and annually burn his
harvest on the altar of Mumbo-Jumbo, might impress ourselves not much
otherwise.  And the firm which does these things is quite extraneous, a
wen that might be excised to-morrow without loss but to itself; few
natives drawing from it so much as day's wages; and the rest beholding in
it only the occupier of their acres.  The nearest villages have suffered
most; they see over the hedge the lands of their ancestors waving with
useless cocoa-palms; and the sales were often questionable, and must
still more often appear so to regretful natives, spinning and improving
yarns about the evening lamp.  At the worst, then, to help oneself from
the plantation will seem to a Samoan very like orchard-breaking to the
British schoolboy; at the best, it will be thought a gallant
Robin-Hoodish readjustment of a public wrong.

And there is more behind.  Not only is theft from the plantations
regarded rather as a lark and peccadillo, the idea of theft in itself is
not very clearly present to these communists; and as to the punishment of
crime in general, a great gulf of opinion divides the natives from
ourselves.  Indigenous punishments were short and sharp.  Death,
deportation by the primitive method of setting the criminal to sea in a
canoe, fines, and in Samoa itself the penalty of publicly biting a hot,
ill-smelling root, comparable to a rough forfeit in a children's
game--these are approved.  The offender is killed, or punished and
forgiven.  We, on the other hand, harbour malice for a period of years:
continuous shame attaches to the criminal; even when he is doing his
best--even when he is submitting to the worst form of torture, regular
work--he is to stand aside from life and from his family in dreadful
isolation.  These ideas most Polynesians have accepted in appearance, as
they accept other ideas of the whites; in practice, they reduce it to a
farce.  I have heard the French resident in the Marquesas in talk with
the French gaoler of Tai-o-hae: "_Eh bien, ou sont vos prisonnieres_?--_Je
crois, mon commandant, qu'elles sont allees quelque part faire une
visite_."  And the ladies would be welcome.  This is to take the most
savage of Polynesians; take some of the most civilised.  In Honolulu,
convicts labour on the highways in piebald clothing, gruesome and
ridiculous; and it is a common sight to see the family of such an one
troop out, about the dinner hour, wreathed with flowers and in their
holiday best, to picnic with their kinsman on the public wayside.  The
application of these outlandish penalties, in fact, transfers the
sympathy to the offender.  Remember, besides, that the clan system, and
that imperfect idea of justice which is its worst feature, are still
lively in Samoa; that it is held the duty of a judge to favour kinsmen,
of a king to protect his vassals; and the difficulty of getting a
plantation thief first caught, then convicted, and last of all punished,
will appear.

During the early 'eighties, the Germans looked upon this system with
growing irritation.  They might see their convict thrust in gaol by the
front door; they could never tell how soon he was enfranchised by the
back; and they need not be the least surprised if they met him, a few
days after, enjoying the delights of a _malanga_.  It was a banded
conspiracy, from the king and the vice-king downward, to evade the law
and deprive the Germans of their profits.  In 1883, accordingly, the
consul, Dr. Stuebel, extorted a convention on the subject, in terms of
which Samoans convicted of offences against German subjects were to be
confined in a private gaol belonging to the German firm.  To Dr. Stuebel
it seemed simple enough: the offenders were to be effectually punished,
the sufferers partially indemnified.  To the Samoans, the thing appeared
no less simple, but quite different: "Malietoa was selling Samoans to
Misi Ueba."  What else could be expected?  Here was a private corporation
engaged in making money; to it was delegated, upon a question of profit
and loss, one of the functions of the Samoan crown; and those who make
anomalies must look for comments.  Public feeling ran unanimous and high.
Prisoners who escaped from the private gaol were not recaptured or not
returned and Malietoa hastened to build a new prison of his own, whither
he conveyed, or pretended to convey, the fugitives.  In October 1885 a
trenchant state paper issued from the German consulate.  Twenty
prisoners, the consul wrote, had now been at large for eight months from
Weber's prison.  It was pretended they had since then completed their
term of punishment elsewhere.  Dr. Stuebel did not seek to conceal his
incredulity; but he took ground beyond; he declared the point irrelevant.
The law was to be enforced.  The men were condemned to a certain period
in Weber's prison; they had run away; they must now be brought back and
(whatever had become of them in the interval) work out the sentence.
Doubtless Dr. Stuebel's demands were substantially just; but doubtless
also they bore from the outside a great appearance of harshness; and when
the king submitted, the murmurs of the people increased.

But Weber was not yet content.  The law had to be enforced; property, or
at least the property of the firm, must be respected.  And during an
absence of the consul's, he seems to have drawn up with his own hand, and
certainly first showed to the king, in his own house, a new convention.
Weber here and Weber there.  As an able man, he was perhaps in the right
to prepare and propose conventions.  As the head of a trading company, he
seems far out of his part to be communicating state papers to a
sovereign.  The administration of justice was the colour, and I am
willing to believe the purpose, of the new paper; but its effect was to
depose the existing government.  A council of two Germans and two Samoans
were to be invested with the right to make laws and impose taxes as might
be "desirable for the common interest of the Samoan government and the
German residents."  The provisions of this council the king and vice-king
were to sign blindfold.  And by a last hardship, the Germans, who
received all the benefit, reserved a right to recede from the agreement
on six months' notice; the Samoans, who suffered all the loss, were bound
by it in perpetuity.  I can never believe that my friend Dr. Stuebel had
a hand in drafting these proposals; I am only surprised he should have
been a party to enforcing them, perhaps the chief error in these islands
of a man who has made few.  And they were enforced with a rigour that
seems injudicious.  The Samoans (according to their own account) were
denied a copy of the document; they were certainly rated and threatened;
their deliberation was treated as contumacy; two German war-ships lay in
port, and it was hinted that these would shortly intervene.

Succeed in frightening a child, and he takes refuge in duplicity.
"Malietoa," one of the chiefs had written, "we know well we are in
bondage to the great governments."  It was now thought one tyrant might
be better than three, and any one preferable to Germany.  On the 5th
November 1885, accordingly, Laupepa, Tamasese, and forty-eight high
chiefs met in secret, and the supremacy of Samoa was secretly offered to
Great Britain for the second time in history.  Laupepa and Tamasese still
figured as king and vice-king in the eyes of Dr. Stuebel; in their own,
they had secretly abdicated, were become private persons, and might do
what they pleased without binding or dishonouring their country.  On the
morrow, accordingly, they did public humiliation in the dust before the
consulate, and five days later signed the convention.  The last was done,
it is claimed, upon an impulse.  The humiliation, which it appeared to
the Samoans so great a thing to offer, to the practical mind of Dr.
Stuebel seemed a trifle to receive; and the pressure was continued and
increased.  Laupepa and Tamasese were both heavy, well-meaning,
inconclusive men.  Laupepa, educated for the ministry, still bears some
marks of it in character and appearance; Tamasese was in private of an
amorous and sentimental turn, but no one would have guessed it from his
solemn and dull countenance.  Impossible to conceive two less dashing
champions for a threatened race; and there is no doubt they were reduced
to the extremity of muddlement and childish fear.  It was drawing towards
night on the 10th, when this luckless pair and a chief of the name of
Tuiatafu, set out for the German consulate, still minded to temporise.  As
they went, they discussed their case with agitation.  They could see the
lights of the German war-ships as they walked--an eloquent reminder.  And
it was then that Tamasese proposed to sign the convention.  "It will give
us peace for the day," said Laupepa, "and afterwards Great Britain must
decide."--"Better fight Germany than that!" cried Tuiatafu, speaking
words of wisdom, and departed in anger.  But the two others proceeded on
their fatal errand; signed the convention, writing themselves king and
vice-king, as they now believed themselves to be no longer; and with
childish perfidy took part in a scene of "reconciliation" at the German
consulate.

Malietoa supposed himself betrayed by Tamasese.  Consul Churchward states
with precision that the document was sold by a scribe for thirty-six
dollars.  Twelve days later at least, November 22nd, the text of the
address to Great Britain came into the hands of Dr. Stuebel.  The Germans
may have been wrong before; they were now in the right to be angry.  They
had been publicly, solemnly, and elaborately fooled; the treaty and the
reconciliation were both fraudulent, with the broad, farcical fraudulency
of children and barbarians.  This history is much from the outside; it is
the digested report of eye-witnesses; it can be rarely corrected from
state papers; and as to what consuls felt and thought, or what
instructions they acted under, I must still be silent or proceed by
guess.  It is my guess that Stuebel now decided Malietoa Laupepa to be a
man impossible to trust and unworthy to be dealt with.  And it is certain
that the business of his deposition was put in hand at once.  The
position of Weber, with his knowledge of things native, his prestige, and
his enterprising intellect, must have always made him influential with
the consul: at this juncture he was indispensable.  Here was the deed to
be done; here the man of action.  "Mr. Weber rested not," says Laupepa.
It was "like the old days of his own consulate," writes Churchward.  His
messengers filled the isle; his house was thronged with chiefs and
orators; he sat close over his loom, delightedly weaving the future.
There was one thing requisite to the intrigue,--a native pretender; and
the very man, you would have said, stood waiting: Mataafa, titular of
Atua, descended from both the royal lines, late joint king with Tamasese,
fobbed off with nothing in the time of the Lackawanna treaty, probably
mortified by the circumstance, a chief with a strong following, and in
character and capacity high above the native average.  Yet when Weber's
spiriting was done, and the curtain rose on the set scene of the
coronation, Mataafa was absent, and Tamasese stood in his place.  Malietoa
was to be deposed for a piece of solemn and offensive trickery, and the
man selected to replace him was his sole partner and accomplice in the
act.  For so strange a choice, good ground must have existed; but it
remains conjectural: some supposing Mataafa scratched as too independent;
others that Tamasese had indeed betrayed Laupepa, and his new advancement
was the price of his treachery.

So these two chiefs began to change places like the scales of a balance,
one down, the other up.  Tamasese raised his flag (Jan. 28th, 1886) in
Leulumoenga, chief place of his own province of Aana, usurped the style
of king, and began to collect and arm a force.  Weber, by the admission
of Stuebel, was in the market supplying him with weapons; so were the
Americans; so, but for our salutary British law, would have been the
British; for wherever there is a sound of battle, there will the traders
be gathered together selling arms.  A little longer, and we find Tamasese
visited and addressed as king and majesty by a German commodore.
Meanwhile, for the unhappy Malietoa, the road led downward.  He was
refused a bodyguard.  He was turned out of Mulinuu, the seat of his
royalty, on a land claim of Weber's, fled across the Mulivai, and "had
the coolness" (German expression) to hoist his flag in Apia.  He was
asked "in the most polite manner," says the same account--"in the most
delicate manner in the world," a reader of Marryat might be tempted to
amend the phrase,--to strike his flag in his own capital; and on his
"refusal to accede to this request," Dr. Stuebel appeared himself with
ten men and an officer from the cruiser _Albatross_; a sailor climbed
into the tree and brought down the flag of Samoa, which was carefully
folded, and sent, "in the most polite manner," to its owner.  The consuls
of England and the States were there (the excellent gentlemen!) to
protest.  Last, and yet more explicit, the German commodore who visited
the be-titled Tamasese, addressed the king--we may surely say the late
king--as "the High Chief Malietoa."

Had he no party, then?  At that time, it is probable, he might have
called some five-sevenths of Samoa to his standard.  And yet he sat
there, helpless monarch, like a fowl trussed for roasting.  The blame
lies with himself, because he was a helpless creature; it lies also with
England and the States.  Their agents on the spot preached peace (where
there was no peace, and no pretence of it) with eloquence and iteration.
Secretary Bayard seems to have felt a call to join personally in the
solemn farce, and was at the expense of a telegram in which he assured
the sinking monarch it was "for the higher interests of Samoa" he should
do nothing.  There was no man better at doing that; the advice came
straight home, and was devoutly followed.  And to be just to the great
Powers, something was done in Europe; a conference was called, it was
agreed to send commissioners to Samoa, and the decks had to be hastily
cleared against their visit.  Dr. Stuebel had attached the municipality
of Apia and hoisted the German war-flag over Mulinuu; the American consul
(in a sudden access of good service) had flown the stars and stripes over
Samoan colours; on either side these steps were solemnly retracted.  The
Germans expressly disowned Tamasese; and the islands fell into a period
of suspense, of some twelve months' duration, during which the seat of
the history was transferred to other countries and escapes my purview.
Here on the spot, I select three incidents: the arrival on the scene of a
new actor, the visit of the Hawaiian embassy, and the riot on the
Emperor's birthday.  The rest shall be silence; only it must be borne in
view that Tamasese all the while continued to strengthen himself in
Leulumoenga, and Laupepa sat inactive listening to the song of consuls.

_Captain Brandeis_.  The new actor was Brandeis, a Bavarian captain of
artillery, of a romantic and adventurous character.  He had served with
credit in war; but soon wearied of garrison life, resigned his battery,
came to the States, found employment as a civil engineer, visited Cuba,
took a sub-contract on the Panama canal, caught the fever, and came (for
the sake of the sea voyage) to Australia.  He had that natural love for
the tropics which lies so often latent in persons of a northern birth;
difficulty and danger attracted him; and when he was picked out for
secret duty, to be the hand of Germany in Samoa, there is no doubt but he
accepted the post with exhilaration.  It is doubtful if a better choice
could have been made.  He had courage, integrity, ideas of his own, and
loved the employment, the people, and the place.  Yet there was a fly in
the ointment.  The double error of unnecessary stealth and of the
immixture of a trading company in political affairs, has vitiated, and in
the end defeated, much German policy.  And Brandeis was introduced to the
islands as a clerk, and sent down to Leulumoenga (where he was soon
drilling the troops and fortifying the position of the rebel king) as an
agent of the German firm.  What this mystification cost in the end I
shall tell in another place; and even in the beginning, it deceived no
one.  Brandeis is a man of notable personal appearance; he looks the part
allotted him; and the military clerk was soon the centre of observation
and rumour.  Malietoa wrote and complained of his presence to Becker, who
had succeeded Dr. Stuebel in the consulate.  Becker replied, "I have
nothing to do with the gentleman Brandeis.  Be it well known that the
gentleman Brandeis has no appointment in a military character, but
resides peaceably assisting the government of Leulumoenga in their work,
for Brandeis is a quiet, sensible gentleman."  And then he promised to
send the vice-consul to "get information of the captain's doings": surely
supererogation of deceit.

_The Hawaiian Embassy_.  The prime minister of the Hawaiian kingdom was,
at this period, an adventurer of the name of Gibson.  He claimed, on the
strength of a romantic story, to be the heir of a great English house.  He
had played a part in a revolt in Java, had languished in Dutch fetters,
and had risen to be a trusted agent of Brigham Young, the Utah president.
It was in this character of a Mormon emissary that he first came to the
islands of Hawaii, where he collected a large sum of money for the Church
of the Latter Day Saints.  At a given moment, he dropped his saintship
and appeared as a Christian and the owner of a part of the island of
Lanai.  The steps of the transformation are obscure; they seem, at least,
to have been ill-received at Salt Lake; and there is evidence to the
effect that he was followed to the islands by Mormon assassins.  His
first attempt on politics was made under the auspices of what is called
the missionary party, and the canvass conducted largely (it is said with
tears) on the platform at prayer-meetings.  It resulted in defeat.
Without any decency of delay he changed his colours, abjured the errors
of reform, and, with the support of the Catholics, rose to the chief
power.  In a very brief interval he had thus run through the gamut of
religions in the South Seas.  It does not appear that he was any more
particular in politics, but he was careful to consult the character and
prejudices of the late king, Kalakaua.  That amiable, far from
unaccomplished, but too convivial sovereign, had a continued use for
money: Gibson was observant to keep him well supplied.  Kalakaua (one of
the most theoretical of men) was filled with visionary schemes for the
protection and development of the Polynesian race: Gibson fell in step
with him; it is even thought he may have shared in his illusions.  The
king and minister at least conceived between them a scheme of island
confederation--the most obvious fault of which was that it came too
late--and armed and fitted out the cruiser _Kaimiloa_, nest-egg of the
future navy of Hawaii.  Samoa, the most important group still
independent, and one immediately threatened with aggression, was chosen
for the scene of action.  The Hon. John E. Bush, a half-caste Hawaiian,
sailed (December 1887) for Apia as minister-plenipotentiary, accompanied
by a secretary of legation, Henry F. Poor; and as soon as she was ready
for sea, the war-ship followed in support.  The expedition was futile in
its course, almost tragic in result.  The _Kaimiloa_ was from the first a
scene of disaster and dilapidation: the stores were sold; the crew
revolted; for a great part of a night she was in the hands of mutineers,
and the secretary lay bound upon the deck.  The mission, installing
itself at first with extravagance in Matautu, was helped at last out of
the island by the advances of a private citizen.  And they returned from
dreams of Polynesian independence to find their own city in the hands of
a clique of white shopkeepers, and the great Gibson once again in gaol.
Yet the farce had not been quite without effect.  It had encouraged the
natives for the moment, and it seems to have ruffled permanently the
temper of the Germans.  So might a fly irritate Caesar.

The arrival of a mission from Hawaii would scarce affect the composure of
the courts of Europe.  But in the eyes of Polynesians the little kingdom
occupies a place apart.  It is there alone that men of their race enjoy
most of the advantages and all the pomp of independence; news of Hawaii
and descriptions of Honolulu are grateful topics in all parts of the
South Seas; and there is no better introduction than a photograph in
which the bearer shall be represented in company with Kalakaua.  Laupepa
was, besides, sunk to the point at which an unfortunate begins to clutch
at straws, and he received the mission with delight.  Letters were
exchanged between him and Kalakaua; a deed of confederation was signed,
17th February 1887, and the signature celebrated in the new house of the
Hawaiian embassy with some original ceremonies.  Malietoa Laupepa came,
attended by his ministry, several hundred chiefs, two guards, and six
policemen.  Always decent, he withdrew at an early hour; by those that
remained, all decency appears to have been forgotten; high chiefs were
seen to dance; and day found the house carpeted with slumbering grandees,
who must be roused, doctored with coffee, and sent home.  As a first
chapter in the history of Polynesian Confederation, it was hardly
cheering, and Laupepa remarked to one of the embassy, with equal dignity
and sense: "If you have come here to teach my people to drink, I wish you
had stayed away."

The Germans looked on from the first with natural irritation that a power
of the powerlessness of Hawaii should thus profit by its undeniable
footing in the family of nations, and send embassies, and make believe to
have a navy, and bark and snap at the heels of the great German Empire.
But Becker could not prevent the hunted Laupepa from taking refuge in any
hole that offered, and he could afford to smile at the fantastic orgie in
the embassy.  It was another matter when the Hawaiians approached the
intractable Mataafa, sitting still in his Atua government like Achilles
in his tent, helping neither side, and (as the Germans suspected) keeping
the eggs warm for himself.  When the _Kaimiloa_ steamed out of Apia on
this visit, the German war-ship _Adler_ followed at her heels; and
Mataafa was no sooner set down with the embassy than he was summoned and
ordered on board by two German officers.  The step is one of those
triumphs of temper which can only be admired.  Mataafa is entertaining
the plenipotentiary of a sovereign power in treaty with his own king, and
the captain of a German corvette orders him to quit his guests.

But there was worse to come.  I gather that Tamasese was at the time in
the sulks.  He had doubtless been promised prompt aid and a prompt
success; he had seen himself surreptitiously helped, privately ordered
about, and publicly disowned; and he was still the king of nothing more
than his own province, and already the second in command of Captain
Brandeis.  With the adhesion of some part of his native cabinet, and
behind the back of his white minister, he found means to communicate with
the Hawaiians.  A passage on the _Kaimiloa_, a pension, and a home in
Honolulu were the bribes proposed; and he seems to have been tempted.  A
day was set for a secret interview.  Poor, the Hawaiian secretary, and J.
D. Strong, an American painter attached to the embassy in the surprising
quality of "Government Artist," landed with a Samoan boat's-crew in Aana;
and while the secretary hid himself, according to agreement, in the
outlying home of an English settler, the artist (ostensibly bent on
photography) entered the headquarters of the rebel king.  It was a great
day in Leulumoenga; three hundred recruits had come in, a feast was
cooking; and the photographer, in view of the native love of being
photographed, was made entirely welcome.  But beneath the friendly
surface all were on the alert.  The secret had leaked out: Weber beheld
his plans threatened in the root; Brandeis trembled for the possession of
his slave and sovereign; and the German vice-consul, Mr. Sonnenschein,
had been sent or summoned to the scene of danger.

It was after dark, prayers had been said and the hymns sung through all
the village, and Strong and the German sat together on the mats in the
house of Tamasese, when the events began.  Strong speaks German freely, a
fact which he had not disclosed, and he was scarce more amused than
embarrassed to be able to follow all the evening the dissension and the
changing counsels of his neighbours.  First the king himself was missing,
and there was a false alarm that he had escaped and was already closeted
with Poor.  Next came certain intelligence that some of the ministry had
run the blockade, and were on their way to the house of the English
settler.  Thereupon, in spite of some protests from Tamasese, who tried
to defend the independence of his cabinet, Brandeis gathered a posse of
warriors, marched out of the village, brought back the fugitives, and
clapped them in the corrugated iron shanty which served as gaol.  Along
with these he seems to have seized Billy Coe, interpreter to the
Hawaiians; and Poor, seeing his conspiracy public, burst with his boat's-
crew into the town, made his way to the house of the native prime
minister, and demanded Coe's release.  Brandeis hastened to the spot,
with Strong at his heels; and the two principals being both incensed, and
Strong seriously alarmed for his friend's safety, there began among them
a scene of great intemperance.  At one point, when Strong suddenly
disclosed his acquaintance with German, it attained a high style of
comedy; at another, when a pistol was most foolishly drawn, it bordered
on drama; and it may be said to have ended in a mixed genus, when Poor
was finally packed into the corrugated iron gaol along with the forfeited
ministers.  Meanwhile the captain of his boat, Siteoni, of whom I shall
have to tell again, had cleverly withdrawn the boat's-crew at an early
stage of the quarrel.  Among the population beyond Tamasese's marches, he
collected a body of armed men, returned before dawn to Leulumoenga,
demolished the corrugated iron gaol, and liberated the Hawaiian secretary
and the rump of the rebel cabinet.  No opposition was shown; and
doubtless the rescue was connived at by Brandeis, who had gained his
point.  Poor had the face to complain the next day to Becker; but to
compete with Becker in effrontery was labour lost.  "You have been
repeatedly warned, Mr. Poor, not to expose yourself among these savages,"
said he.

Not long after, the presence of the _Kaimiloa_ was made _a casus belli_
by the Germans; and the rough-and-tumble embassy withdrew, on borrowed
money, to find their own government in hot water to the neck.

* * * * *

_The Emperor's Birthday_.  It is possible, and it is alleged, that the
Germans entered into the conference with hope.  But it is certain they
were resolved to remain prepared for either fate.  And I take the liberty
of believing that Laupepa was not forgiven his duplicity; that, during
this interval, he stood marked like a tree for felling; and that his
conduct was daily scrutinised for further pretexts of offence.  On the
evening of the Emperor's birthday, March 22nd, 1887, certain Germans were
congregated in a public bar.  The season and the place considered, it is
scarce cynical to assume they had been drinking; nor, so much being
granted, can it be thought exorbitant to suppose them possibly in fault
for the squabble that took place.  A squabble, I say; but I am willing to
call it a riot.  And this was the new fault of Laupepa; this it is that
was described by a German commodore as "the trampling upon by Malietoa of
the German Emperor."  I pass the rhetoric by to examine the point of
liability.  Four natives were brought to trial for this horrid fact: not
before a native judge, but before the German magistrate of the tripartite
municipality of Apia.  One was acquitted, one condemned for theft, and
two for assault.  On appeal, not to Malietoa, but to the three consuls,
the case was by a majority of two to one returned to the magistrate and
(as far as I can learn) was then allowed to drop.  Consul Becker himself
laid the chief blame on one of the policemen of the municipality, a half-
white of the name of Scanlon.  Him he sought to have discharged, but was
again baffled by his brother consuls.  Where, in all this, are we to find
a corner of responsibility for the king of Samoa?  Scanlon, the alleged
author of the outrage, was a half-white; as Becker was to learn to his
cost, he claimed to be an American subject; and he was not even in the
king's employment.  Apia, the scene of the outrage, was outside the
king's jurisdiction by treaty; by the choice of Germany, he was not so
much as allowed to fly his flag there.  And the denial of justice (if
justice were denied) rested with the consuls of Britain and the States.

But when a dog is to be beaten, any stick will serve.  In the meanwhile,
on the proposition of Mr. Bayard, the Washington conference on Samoan
affairs was adjourned till autumn, so that "the ministers of Germany and
Great Britain might submit the protocols to their respective
Governments."  "You propose that the conference is to adjourn and not to
be broken up?" asked Sir Lionel West.  "To adjourn for the reasons
stated," replied Bayard.  This was on July 26th; and, twenty-nine days
later, by Wednesday the 24th of August, Germany had practically seized
Samoa.  For this flagrant breach of faith one excuse is openly alleged;
another whispered.  It is openly alleged that Bayard had shown himself
impracticable; it is whispered that the Hawaiian embassy was an
expression of American intrigue, and that the Germans only did as they
were done by.  The sufficiency of these excuses may be left to the
discretion of the reader.  But, however excused, the breach of faith was
public and express; it must have been deliberately predetermined and it
was resented in the States as a deliberate insult.

By the middle of August 1887 there were five sail of German war-ships in
Apia bay: the _Bismarck_, of 3000 tons displacement; the _Carola_, the
_Sophie_, and the _Olga_, all considerable ships; and the beautiful
_Adler_, which lies there to this day, kanted on her beam, dismantled,
scarlet with rust, the day showing through her ribs.  They waited
inactive, as a burglar waits till the patrol goes by.  And on the 23rd,
when the mail had left for Sydney, when the eyes of the world were
withdrawn, and Samoa plunged again for a period of weeks into her
original island-obscurity, Becker opened his guns.  The policy was too
cunning to seem dignified; it gave to conduct which would otherwise have
seemed bold and even brutally straightforward, the appearance of a timid
ambuscade; and helped to shake men's reliance on the word of Germany.  On
the day named, an ultimatum reached Malietoa at Afenga, whither he had
retired months before to avoid friction.  A fine of one thousand dollars
and an _ifo_, or public humiliation, were demanded for the affair of the
Emperor's birthday.  Twelve thousand dollars were to be "paid quickly"
for thefts from German plantations in the course of the last four years.
"It is my opinion that there is nothing just or correct in Samoa while
you are at the head of the government," concluded Becker.  "I shall be at
Afenga in the morning of to-morrow, Wednesday, at 11 A.M."  The blow fell
on Laupepa (in his own expression) "out of the bush"; the dilatory fellow
had seen things hang over so long, he had perhaps begun to suppose they
might hang over for ever; and here was ruin at the door.  He rode at once
to Apia, and summoned his chiefs.  The council lasted all night long.
Many voices were for defiance.  But Laupepa had grown inured to a policy
of procrastination; and the answer ultimately drawn only begged for delay
till Saturday, the 27th.  So soon as it was signed, the king took horse
and fled in the early morning to Afenga; the council hastily dispersed;
and only three chiefs, Selu, Seumanu, and Le Mamea, remained by the
government building, tremulously expectant of the result.

By seven the letter was received.  By 7.30 Becker arrived in person,
inquired for Laupepa, was evasively answered, and declared war on the
spot.  Before eight, the Germans (seven hundred men and six guns) came
ashore and seized and hoisted German colours on the government building.
The three chiefs had made good haste to escape; but a considerable booty
was made of government papers, fire-arms, and some seventeen thousand
cartridges.  Then followed a scene which long rankled in the minds of the
white inhabitants, when the German marines raided the town in search of
Malietoa, burst into private houses, and were accused (I am willing to
believe on slender grounds) of violence to private persons.

On the morrow, the 25th, one of the German war-ships, which had been
despatched to Leulumoenga over night re-entered the bay, flying the
Tamasese colours at the fore.  The new king was given a royal salute of
twenty-one guns, marched through the town by the commodore and a German
guard of honour, and established on Mulinuu with two or three hundred
warriors.  Becker announced his recognition to the other consuls.  These
replied by proclaiming Malietoa, and in the usual mealy-mouthed manner
advised Samoans to do nothing.  On the 27th martial law was declared; and
on the 1st September the German squadron dispersed about the group,
bearing along with them the proclamations of the new king.  Tamasese was
now a great man, to have five iron war-ships for his post-runners.  But
the moment was critical.  The revolution had to be explained, the chiefs
persuaded to assemble at a fono summoned for the 15th; and the ships
carried not only a store of printed documents, but a squad of Tamasese
orators upon their round.

Such was the German _coup d'etat_.  They had declared war with a squadron
of five ships upon a single man; that man, late king of the group, was in
hiding on the mountains; and their own nominee, backed by German guns and
bayonets, sat in his stead in Mulinuu.

One of the first acts of Malietoa, on fleeing to the bush, was to send
for Mataafa twice: "I am alone in the bush; if you do not come quickly
you will find me bound."  It is to be understood the men were near
kinsmen, and had (if they had nothing else) a common jealousy.  At the
urgent cry, Mataafa set forth from Falefa, and came to Mulinuu to
Tamasese.  "What is this that you and the German commodore have decided
on doing?" he inquired.  "I am going to obey the German consul," replied
Tamasese, "whose wish it is that I should be the king and that all Samoa
should assemble here."  "Do not pursue in wrath against Malietoa," said
Mataafa "but try to bring about a compromise, and form a united
government."  "Very well," said Tamasese, "leave it to me, and I will
try."  From Mulinuu, Mataafa went on board the _Bismarck_, and was
graciously received.  "Probably," said the commodore, "we shall bring
about a reconciliation of all Samoa through you"; and then asked his
visitor if he bore any affection to Malietoa.  "Yes," said Mataafa.  "And
to Tamasese?"  "To him also; and if you desire the weal of Samoa, you
will allow either him or me to bring about a reconciliation."  "If it
were my will," said the commodore, "I would do as you say.  But I have no
will in the matter.  I have instructions from the Kaiser, and I cannot go
back again from what I have been sent to do."  "I thought you would be
commanded," said Mataafa, "if you brought about the weal of Samoa."  "I
will tell you," said the commodore.  "All shall go quietly.  But there is
one thing that must be done: Malietoa must be deposed.  I will do nothing
to him beyond; he will only be kept on board for a couple of months and
be well treated, just as we Germans did to the French chief [Napoleon
III.] some time ago, whom we kept a while and cared for well."  Becker
was no less explicit: war, he told Sewall, should not cease till the
Germans had custody of Malietoa and Tamasese should be recognised.

Meantime, in the Malietoa provinces, a profound impression was received.
People trooped to their fugitive sovereign in the bush.  Many natives in
Apia brought their treasures, and stored them in the houses of white
friends.  The Tamasese orators were sometimes ill received.  Over in
Savaii, they found the village of Satupaitea deserted, save for a few
lads at cricket.  These they harangued, and were rewarded with ironical
applause; and the proclamation, as soon as they had departed, was torn
down.  For this offence the village was ultimately burned by German
sailors, in a very decent and orderly style, on the 3rd September.  This
was the dinner-bell of the fono on the 15th.  The threat conveyed in the
terms of the summons--"If any government district does not quickly obey
this direction, I will make war on that government district"--was thus
commented on and reinforced.  And the meeting was in consequence well
attended by chiefs of all parties.  They found themselves unarmed among
the armed warriors of Tamasese and the marines of the German squadron,
and under the guns of five strong ships.  Brandeis rose; it was his first
open appearance, the German firm signing its revolutionary work.  His
words were few and uncompromising: "Great are my thanks that the chiefs
and heads of families of the whole of Samoa are assembled here this day.
It is strictly forbidden that any discussion should take place as to
whether it is good or not that Tamasese is king of Samoa, whether at this
fono or at any future fono.  I place for your signature the following:
'_We inform all the people of Samoa of what follows: (1) The government
of Samoa has been assumed by King Tuiaana Tamasese.  (2) By order of the
king, it was directed that a fono should take place to-day, composed of
the chiefs and heads of families, and we have obeyed the summons.  We
have signed our names under this, 15th September_ 1887."  Needs must
under all these guns; and the paper was signed, but not without open
sullenness.  The bearing of Mataafa in particular was long remembered
against him by the Germans.  "Do you not see the king?" said the
commodore reprovingly.  "His father was no king," was the bold answer.  A
bolder still has been printed, but this is Mataafa's own recollection of
the passage.  On the next day, the chiefs were all ordered back to shake
hands with Tamasese.  Again they obeyed; but again their attitude was
menacing, and some, it is said, audibly murmured as they gave their
hands.

It is time to follow the poor Sheet of Paper (literal meaning of
_Laupepa_), who was now to be blown so broadly over the face of earth.  As
soon as news reached him of the declaration of war, he fled from Afenga
to Tanungamanono, a hamlet in the bush, about a mile and a half behind
Apia, where he lurked some days.  On the 24th, Selu, his secretary,
despatched to the American consul an anxious appeal, his majesty's "cry
and prayer" in behalf of "this weak people."  By August 30th, the Germans
had word of his lurking-place, surrounded the hamlet under cloud of
night, and in the early morning burst with a force of sailors on the
houses.  The people fled on all sides, and were fired upon.  One boy was
shot in the hand, the first blood of the war.  But the king was nowhere
to be found; he had wandered farther, over the woody mountains, the
backbone of the land, towards Siumu and Safata.  Here, in a safe place,
he built himself a town in the forest, where he received a continual
stream of visitors and messengers.  Day after day the German blue-jackets
were employed in the hopeless enterprise of beating the forests for the
fugitive; day after day they were suffered to pass unhurt under the guns
of ambushed Samoans; day after day they returned, exhausted and
disappointed, to Apia.  Seumanu Tafa, high chief of Apia, was known to be
in the forest with the king; his wife, Fatuila, was seized, imprisoned in
the German hospital, and when it was thought her spirit was sufficiently
reduced, brought up for cross-examination.  The wise lady confined
herself in answer to a single word.  "Is your husband near Apia?"  "Yes."
"Is he far from Apia?"  "Yes." "Is he with the king?"  "Yes."  "Are he
and the king in different places?"  "Yes."  Whereupon the witness was
discharged.  About the 10th of September, Laupepa was secretly in Apia at
the American consulate with two companions.  The German pickets were
close set and visited by a strong patrol; and on his return, his party
was observed and hailed and fired on by a sentry.  They ran away on all
fours in the dark, and so doing plumped upon another sentry, whom Laupepa
grappled and flung in a ditch; for the Sheet of Paper, although infirm of
character, is, like most Samoans, of an able body.  The second sentry
(like the first) fired after his assailants at random in the dark; and
the two shots awoke the curiosity of Apia.  On the afternoon of the 16th,
the day of the hand-shakings, Suatele, a high chief, despatched two boys
across the island with a letter.  They were most of the night upon the
road; it was near three in the morning before the sentries in the camp of
Malietoa beheld their lantern drawing near out of the wood; but the king
was at once awakened.  The news was decisive and the letter peremptory;
if Malietoa did not give himself up before ten on the morrow, he was told
that great sorrows must befall his country.  I have not been able to draw
Laupepa as a hero; but he is a man of certain virtues, which the Germans
had now given him an occasion to display.  Without hesitation he
sacrificed himself, penned his touching farewell to Samoa, and making
more expedition than the messengers, passed early behind Apia to the
banks of the Vaisingano.  As he passed, he detached a messenger to
Mataafa at the Catholic mission.  Mataafa followed by the same road, and
the pair met at the river-side and went and sat together in a house.  All
present were in tears.  "Do not let us weep," said the talking man,
Lauati.  "We have no cause for shame.  We do not yield to Tamasese, but
to the invincible strangers."  The departing king bequeathed the care of
his country to Mataafa; and when the latter sought to console him with
the commodore's promises, he shook his head, and declared his assurance
that he was going to a life of exile, and perhaps to death.  About two
o'clock the meeting broke up; Mataafa returned to the Catholic mission by
the back of the town; and Malietoa proceeded by the beach road to the
German naval hospital, where he was received (as he owns, with perfect
civility) by Brandeis.  About three, Becker brought him forth again.  As
they went to the wharf, the people wept and clung to their departing
monarch.  A boat carried him on board the _Bismarck_, and he vanished
from his countrymen.  Yet it was long rumoured that he still lay in the
harbour; and so late as October 7th, a boy, who had been paddling round
the _Carola_, professed to have seen and spoken with him.  Here again the
needless mystery affected by the Germans bitterly disserved them.  The
uncertainty which thus hung over Laupepa's fate, kept his name
continually in men's mouths.  The words of his farewell rang in their
ears: "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 spilt for me again.  But I do not know what is my offence
which has caused their anger to me and to my country."  And then,
apostrophising the different provinces: "Tuamasanga, farewell!  Manono
and family, farewell!  So, also, Salafai, Tutuila, Aana, and Atua,
farewell!  If we do not again see one another in this world, pray that we
may be again together above."  So the sheep departed with the halo of a
saint, and men thought of him as of some King Arthur snatched into
Avilion.

On board the _Bismarck_, the commodore shook hands with him, told him he
was to be "taken away from all the chiefs with whom he had been
accustomed," and had him taken to the wardroom under guard.  The next day
he was sent to sea in the _Adler_.  There went with him his brother Moli,
one Meisake, and one Alualu, half-caste German, to interpret.  He was
respectfully used; he dined in the stern with the officers, but the boys
dined "near where the fire was."  They come to a "newly-formed place" in
Australia, where the _Albatross_ was lying, and a British ship, which he
knew to be a man-of-war "because the officers were nicely dressed and
wore epaulettes."  Here he was transhipped, "in a boat with a screen,"
which he supposed was to conceal him from the British ship; and on board
the _Albatross_ was sent below and told he must stay there till they had
sailed.  Later, however, he was allowed to come on deck, where he found
they had rigged a screen (perhaps an awning) under which he walked,
looking at "the newly-formed settlement," and admiring a big house "where
he was sure the governor lived."  From Australia, they sailed some time,
and reached an anchorage where a consul-general came on board, and where
Laupepa was only allowed on deck at night.  He could then see the lights
of a town with wharves; he supposes Cape Town.  Off the Cameroons they
anchored or lay-to, far at sea, and sent a boat ashore to see (he
supposes) that there was no British man-of-war.  It was the next morning
before the boat returned, when the _Albatross_ stood in and came to
anchor near another German ship.  Here Alualu came to him on deck and
told him this was the place.  "That is an astonishing thing," said he.  "I
thought I was to go to Germany, I do not know what this means; I do not
know what will be the end of it; my heart is troubled."  Whereupon Alualu
burst into tears.  A little after, Laupepa was called below to the
captain and the governor.  The last addressed him: "This is my own place,
a good place, a warm place.  My house is not yet finished, but when it
is, you shall live in one of my rooms until I can make a house for you."
Then he was taken ashore and brought to a tall, iron house.  "This house
is regulated," said the governor; "there is no fire allowed to burn in
it."  In one part of this house, weapons of the government were hung up;
there was a passage, and on the other side of the passage, fifty
criminals were chained together, two and two, by the ankles.  The windows
were out of reach; and there was only one door, which was opened at six
in the morning and shut again at six at night.  All day he had his
liberty, went to the Baptist Mission, and walked about viewing the
negroes, who were "like the sand on the seashore" for number.  At six
they were called into the house and shut in for the night without beds or
lights.  "Although they gave me no light," said he, with a smile, "I
could see I was in a prison."  Good food was given him: biscuits, "tea
made with warm water," beef, etc.; all excellent.  Once, in their walks,
they spied a breadfruit tree bearing in the garden of an English
merchant, ran back to the prison to get a shilling, and came and offered
to purchase.  "I am not going to sell breadfruit to you people," said the
merchant; "come and take what you like."  Here Malietoa interrupted
himself to say it was the only tree bearing in the Cameroons.  "The
governor had none, or he would have given it to me."  On the passage from
the Cameroons to Germany, he had great delight to see the cliffs of
England.  He saw "the rocks shining in the sun, and three hours later was
surprised to find them sunk in the heavens."  He saw also wharves and
immense buildings; perhaps Dover and its castle.  In Hamburg, after
breakfast, Mr. Weber, who had now finally "ceased from troubling" Samoa,
came on board, and carried him ashore "suitably" in a steam launch to "a
large house of the government," where he stayed till noon.  At noon Weber
told him he was going to "the place where ships are anchored that go to
Samoa," and led him to "a very magnificent house, with carriages inside
and a wonderful roof of glass"; to wit, the railway station.  They were
benighted on the train, and then went in "something with a house, drawn
by horses, which had windows and many decks"; plainly an omnibus.  Here
(at Bremen or Bremerhaven, I believe) they stayed some while in "a house
of five hundred rooms"; then were got on board the _Nurnberg_ (as they
understood) for Samoa, anchored in England on a Sunday, were joined _en
route_ by the famous Dr. Knappe, passed through "a narrow passage where
they went very slow and which was just like a river," and beheld with
exhilarated curiosity that Red Sea of which they had learned so much in
their Bibles.  At last, "at the hour when the fires burn red," they came
to a place where was a German man-of-war.  Laupepa was called, with one
of the boys, on deck, when he found a German officer awaiting him, and a
steam launch alongside, and was told he must now leave his brother and go
elsewhere.  "I cannot go like this," he cried.  "You must let me see my
brother and the other old men"--a term of courtesy.  Knappe, who seems
always to have been good-natured, revised his orders, and consented not
only to an interview, but to allow Moli to continue to accompany the
king.  So these two were carried to the man-of-war, and sailed many a
day, still supposing themselves bound for Samoa; and lo! she came to a
country the like of which they had never dreamed of, and cast anchor in
the great lagoon of Jaluit; and upon that narrow land the exiles were set
on shore.  This was the part of his captivity on which he looked back
with the most bitterness.  It was the last, for one thing, and he was
worn down with the long suspense, and terror, and deception.  He could
not bear the brackish water; and though "the Germans were still good to
him, and gave him beef and biscuit and tea," he suffered from the lack of
vegetable food.

Such is the narrative of this simple exile.  I have not sought to correct
it by extraneous testimony.  It is not so much the facts that are
historical, as the man's attitude.  No one could hear this tale as he
originally told it in my hearing--I think none can read it as here
condensed and unadorned--without admiring the fairness and simplicity of
the Samoan; and wondering at the want of heart--or want of humour--in so
many successive civilised Germans, that they should have continued to
surround this infant with the secrecy of state.




CHAPTER IV--BRANDEIS


_September '87 to August '88_

So Tamasese was on the throne, and Brandeis behind it; and I have now to
deal with their brief and luckless reign.  That it was the reign of
Brandeis needs not to be argued: the policy is throughout that of an
able, over-hasty white, with eyes and ideas.  But it should be borne in
mind that he had a double task, and must first lead his sovereign, before
he could begin to drive their common subjects.  Meanwhile, he himself was
exposed (if all tales be true) to much dictation and interference, and to
some "cumbrous aid," from the consulate and the firm.  And to one of
these aids, the suppression of the municipality, I am inclined to
attribute his ultimate failure.

The white enemies of the new regimen were of two classes.  In the first
stood Moors and the employes of MacArthur, the two chief rivals of the
firm, who saw with jealousy a clerk (or a so-called clerk) of their
competitors advanced to the chief power.  The second class, that of the
officials, numbered at first exactly one.  Wilson, the English acting
consul, is understood to have held strict orders to help Germany.
Commander Leary, of the _Adams_, the American captain, when he arrived,
on the 16th October, and for some time after, seemed devoted to the
German interest, and spent his days with a German officer, Captain Von
Widersheim, who was deservedly beloved by all who knew him.  There
remains the American consul-general, Harold Marsh Sewall, a young man of
high spirit and a generous disposition.  He had obeyed the orders of his
government with a grudge; and looked back on his past action with regret
almost to be called repentance.  From the moment of the declaration of
war against Laupepa, we find him standing forth in bold, consistent, and
sometimes rather captious opposition, stirring up his government at home
with clear and forcible despatches, and on the spot grasping at every
opportunity to thrust a stick into the German wheels.  For some while, he
and Moors fought their difficult battle in conjunction; in the course of
which, first one, and then the other, paid a visit home to reason with
the authorities at Washington; and during the consul's absence, there was
found an American clerk in Apia, William Blacklock, to perform the duties
of the office with remarkable ability and courage.  The three names just
brought together, Sewall, Moors, and Blacklock, make the head and front
of the opposition; if Tamasese fell, if Brandeis was driven forth, if the
treaty of Berlin was signed, theirs is the blame or the credit.

To understand the feelings of self-reproach and bitterness with which
Sewall took the field, the reader must see Laupepa's letter of farewell
to the consuls of England and America.  It is singular that this far from
brilliant or dignified monarch, writing in the forest, in heaviness of
spirit and under pressure for time, should have left behind him not only
one, but two remarkable and most effective documents.  The farewell to
his people was touching; the farewell to the consuls, for a man of the
character of Sewall, must have cut like a whip.  "When the chief Tamasese
and others first moved the present troubles," he wrote, "it was my wish
to punish them and put an end to the rebellion; but I yielded to the
advice of the British and American consuls.  Assistance and protection
was repeatedly promised to me and my government, if I abstained from
bringing war upon my country.  Relying upon these promises, I did not put
down the rebellion.  Now I find that war has been made upon me by the
Emperor of Germany, and Tamasese has been proclaimed king of Samoa.  I
desire to remind you of the promises so frequently made by your
government, and trust that you will so far redeem them as to cause the
lives and liberties of my chiefs and people to be respected."

Sewall's immediate adversary was, of course, Becker.  I have formed an
opinion of this gentleman, largely from his printed despatches, which I
am at a loss to put in words.  Astute, ingenious, capable, at moments
almost witty with a kind of glacial wit in action, he displayed in the
course of this affair every description of capacity but that which is
alone useful and which springs from a knowledge of men's natures.  It
chanced that one of Sewall's early moves played into his hands, and he
was swift to seize and to improve the advantage.  The neutral territory
and the tripartite municipality of Apia were eyesores to the German
consulate and Brandeis.  By landing Tamasese's two or three hundred
warriors at Mulinuu, as Becker himself owns, they had infringed the
treaties, and Sewall entered protest twice.  There were two ways of
escaping this dilemma: one was to withdraw the warriors; the other, by
some hocus-pocus, to abrogate the neutrality.  And the second had
subsidiary advantages: it would restore the taxes of the richest district
in the islands to the Samoan king; and it would enable them to substitute
over the royal seat the flag of Germany for the new flag of Tamasese.  It
is true (and it was the subject of much remark) that these two could
hardly be distinguished by the naked eye; but their effects were
different.  To seat the puppet king on German land and under German
colours, so that any rebellion was constructive war on Germany, was a
trick apparently invented by Becker, and which we shall find was repeated
and persevered in till the end.

Otto Martin was at this time magistrate in the municipality.  The post
was held in turn by the three nationalities; Martin had served far beyond
his term, and should have been succeeded months before by an American.  To
make the change it was necessary to hold a meeting of the municipal
board, consisting of the three consuls, each backed by an assessor.  And
for some time these meetings had been evaded or refused by the German
consul.  As long as it was agreed to continue Martin, Becker had attended
regularly; as soon as Sewall indicated a wish for his removal, Becker
tacitly suspended the municipality by refusing to appear.  This policy
was now the more necessary; for if the whole existence of the
municipality were a check on the freedom of the new government, it was
plainly less so when the power to enforce and punish lay in German hands.
For some while back the Malietoa flag had been flown on the municipal
building: Becker denies this; I am sorry; my information obliges me to
suppose he is in error.  Sewall, with post-mortem loyalty to the past,
insisted that this flag should be continued.  And Becker immediately made
his point.  He declared, justly enough, that the proposal was hostile,
and argued that it was impossible he should attend a meeting under a flag
with which his sovereign was at war.  Upon one occasion of urgency, he
was invited to meet the two other consuls at the British consulate; even
this he refused; and for four months the municipality slumbered, Martin
still in office.  In the month of October, in consequence, the British
and American ratepayers announced they would refuse to pay.  Becker
doubtless rubbed his hands.  On Saturday, the 10th, the chief Tamaseu, a
Malietoa man of substance and good character, was arrested on a charge of
theft believed to be vexatious, and cast by Martin into the municipal
prison.  He sent to Moors, who was his tenant and owed him money at the
time, for bail.  Moors applied to Sewall, ranking consul.  After some
search, Martin was found and refused to consider bail before the Monday
morning.  Whereupon Sewall demanded the keys from the gaoler, accepted
Moors's verbal recognisances, and set Tamaseu free.

Things were now at a deadlock; and Becker astonished every one by
agreeing to a meeting on the 14th.  It seems he knew what to expect.
Writing on the 13th at least, he prophesies that the meeting will be held
in vain, that the municipality must lapse, and the government of Tamasese
step in.  On the 14th, Sewall left his consulate in time, and walked some
part of the way to the place of meeting in company with Wilson, the
English pro-consul.  But he had forgotten a paper, and in an evil hour
returned for it alone.  Wilson arrived without him, and Becker broke up
the meeting for want of a quorum.  There was some unedifying disputation
as to whether he had waited ten or twenty minutes, whether he had been
officially or unofficially informed by Wilson that Sewall was on the way,
whether the statement had been made to himself or to Weber {1} in answer
to a question, and whether he had heard Wilson's answer or only Weber's
question: all otiose; if he heard the question, he was bound to have
waited for the answer; if he heard it not, he should have put it himself;
and it was the manifest truth that he rejoiced in his occasion.  "Sir,"
he wrote to Sewall, "I have the honour to inform you that, to my regret,
I am obliged to consider the municipal government to be provisionally in
abeyance since you have withdrawn your consent to the continuation of Mr.
Martin in his position as magistrate, and since you have refused to take
part in the meeting of the municipal board agreed to for the purpose of
electing a magistrate.  The government of the town and district of the
municipality rests, as long as the municipality is in abeyance, with the
Samoan government.  The Samoan government has taken over the
administration, and has applied to the commander of the imperial German
squadron for assistance in the preservation of good order."  This letter
was not delivered until 4 P.M.  By three, sailors had been landed.
Already German colours flew over Tamasese's headquarters at Mulinuu, and
German guards had occupied the hospital, the German consulate, and the
municipal gaol and court-house, where they stood to arms under the flag
of Tamasese.  The same day Sewall wrote to protest.  Receiving no reply,
he issued on the morrow a proclamation bidding all Americans look to
himself alone.  On the 26th, he wrote again to Becker, and on the 27th
received this genial reply: "Sir, your high favour of the 26th of this
month, I give myself the honour of acknowledging.  At the same time I
acknowledge the receipt of your high favour of the 14th October in reply
to my communication of the same date, which contained the information of
the suspension of the arrangements for the municipal government."  There
the correspondence ceased.  And on the 18th January came the last step of
this irritating intrigue when Tamasese appointed a judge--and the judge
proved to be Martin.

Thus was the adventure of the Castle Municipal achieved by Sir Becker the
chivalrous.  The taxes of Apia, the gaol, the police, all passed into the
hands of Tamasese-Brandeis; a German was secured upon the bench; and the
German flag might wave over her puppet unquestioned.  But there is a law
of human nature which diplomatists should be taught at school, and it
seems they are not; that men can tolerate bare injustice, but not the
combination of injustice and subterfuge.  Hence the chequered career of
the thimble-rigger.  Had the municipality been seized by open force,
there might have been complaint, it would not have aroused the same
lasting grudge.

This grudge was an ill gift to bring to Brandeis, who had trouble enough
in front of him without.  He was an alien, he was supported by the guns
of alien war-ships, and he had come to do an alien's work, highly needful
for Samoa, but essentially unpopular with all Samoans.  The law to be
enforced, causes of dispute between white and brown to be eliminated,
taxes to be raised, a central power created, the country opened up, the
native race taught industry: all these were detestable to the natives,
and to all of these he must set his hand.  The more I learn of his brief
term of rule, the more I learn to admire him, and to wish we had his
like.

In the face of bitter native opposition, he got some roads accomplished.
He set up beacons.  The taxes he enforced with necessary vigour.  By the
6th of January, Aua and Fangatonga, districts in Tutuila, having made a
difficulty, Brandeis is down at the island in a schooner, with the
_Adler_ at his heels, seizes the chief Maunga, fines the recalcitrant
districts in three hundred dollars for expenses, and orders all to be in
by April 20th, which if it is not, "not one thing will be done," he
proclaimed, "but war declared against you, and the principal chiefs taken
to a distant island."  He forbade mortgages of copra, a frequent source
of trickery and quarrel; and to clear off those already contracted,
passed a severe but salutary law.  Each individual or family was first to
pay off its own obligation; that settled, the free man was to pay for the
indebted village, the free village for the indebted province, and one
island for another.  Samoa, he declared, should be free of debt within a
year.  Had he given it three years, and gone more gently, I believe it
might have been accomplished.  To make it the more possible, he sought to
interdict the natives from buying cotton stuffs and to oblige them to
dress (at least for the time) in their own tapa.  He laid the beginnings
of a royal territorial army.  The first draft was in his hands drilling.
But it was not so much on drill that he depended; it was his hope to
kindle in these men an _esprit de corps_, which should weaken the old
local jealousies and bonds, and found a central or national party in the
islands.  Looking far before, and with a wisdom beyond that of many
merchants, he had condemned the single dependence placed on copra for the
national livelihood.  His recruits, even as they drilled, were taught to
plant cacao.  Each, his term of active service finished, should return to
his own land and plant and cultivate a stipulated area.  Thus, as the
young men continued to pass through the army, habits of discipline and
industry, a central sentiment, the principles of the new culture, and
actual gardens of cacao, should be concurrently spread over the face of
the islands.

Tamasese received, including his household expenses, 1960 dollars a year;
Brandeis, 2400.  All such disproportions are regrettable, but this is not
extreme: we have seen horses of a different colour since then.  And the
Tamaseseites, with true Samoan ostentation, offered to increase the
salary of their white premier: an offer he had the wisdom and good
feeling to refuse.  A European chief of police received twelve hundred.
There were eight head judges, one to each province, and appeal lay from
the district judge to the provincial, thence to Mulinuu.  From all
salaries (I gather) a small monthly guarantee was withheld.  The army was
to cost from three to four thousand, Apia (many whites refusing to pay
taxes since the suppression of the municipality) might cost three
thousand more: Sir Becker's high feat of arms coming expensive (it will
be noticed) even in money.  The whole outlay was estimated at
twenty-seven thousand; and the revenue forty thousand: a sum Samoa is
well able to pay.

Such were the arrangements and some of the ideas of this strong, ardent,
and sanguine man.  Of criticisms upon his conduct, beyond the general
consent that he was rather harsh and in too great a hurry, few are
articulate.  The native paper of complaints was particularly childish.
Out of twenty-three counts, the first two refer to the private character
of Brandeis and Tamasese.  Three complain that Samoan officials were kept
in the dark as to the finances; one, of the tapa law; one, of the direct
appointment of chiefs by Tamasese-Brandeis, the sort of mistake into
which Europeans in the South Seas fall so readily; one, of the enforced
labour of chiefs; one, of the taxes; and one, of the roads.  This I may
give in full from the very lame translation in the American white book.
"The roads that were made were called the Government Roads; they were six
fathoms wide.  Their making caused much damage to Samoa's lands and what
was planted on it.  The Samoans cried on account of their lands, which
were taken high-handedly and abused.  They again cried on account of the
loss of what they had planted, which was now thrown away in a high-handed
way, without any regard being shown or question asked of the owner of the
land, or any compensation offered for the damage done.  This was
different with foreigners' land; in their case permission was first asked
to make the roads; the foreigners were paid for any destruction made."
The sting of this count was, I fancy, in the last clause.  No less than
six articles complain of the administration of the law; and I believe
that was never satisfactory.  Brandeis told me himself he was never yet
satisfied with any native judge.  And men say (and it seems to fit in
well with his hasty and eager character) that he would legislate by word
of mouth; sometimes forget what he had said; and, on the same question
arising in another province, decide it perhaps otherwise.  I gather, on
the whole, our artillery captain was not great in law.  Two articles
refer to a matter I must deal with more at length, and rather from the
point of view of the white residents.

The common charge against Brandeis was that of favouring the German firm.
Coming as he did, this was inevitable.  Weber had bought Steinberger with
hard cash; that was matter of history.  The present government he did not
even require to buy, having founded it by his intrigues, and introduced
the premier to Samoa through the doors of his own office.  And the effect
of the initial blunder was kept alive by the chatter of the clerks in bar-
rooms, boasting themselves of the new government and prophesying
annihilation to all rivals.  The time of raising a tax is the harvest of
the merchants; it is the time when copra will be made, and must be sold;
and the intention of the German firm, first in the time of Steinberger,
and again in April and May, 1888, with Brandeis, was to seize and handle
the whole operation.  Their chief rivals were the Messrs. MacArthur; and
it seems beyond question that provincial governors more than once issued
orders forbidding Samoans to take money from "the New Zealand firm."
These, when they were brought to his notice, Brandeis disowned, and he is
entitled to be heard.  No man can live long in Samoa and not have his
honesty impugned.  But the accusations against Brandeis's veracity are
both few and obscure.  I believe he was as straight as his sword.  The
governors doubtless issued these orders, but there were plenty besides
Brandeis to suggest them.  Every wandering clerk from the firm's office,
every plantation manager, would be dinning the same story in the native
ear.  And here again the initial blunder hung about the neck of Brandeis,
a ton's weight.  The natives, as well as the whites, had seen their
premier masquerading on a stool in the office; in the eyes of the
natives, as well as in those of the whites, he must always have retained
the mark of servitude from that ill-judged passage; and they would be
inclined to look behind and above him, to the great house of _Misi Ueba_.
The government was like a vista of puppets.  People did not trouble with
Tamasese, if they got speech with Brandeis; in the same way, they might
not always trouble to ask Brandeis, if they had a hint direct from _Misi
Ueba_.  In only one case, though it seems to have had many developments,
do I find the premier personally committed.  The MacArthurs claimed the
copra of Fasitotai on a district mortgage of three hundred dollars.  The
German firm accepted a mortgage of the whole province of Aana, claimed
the copra of Fasitotai as that of a part of Aana, and were supported by
the government.  Here Brandeis was false to his own principle, that
personal and village debts should come before provincial.  But the case
occurred before the promulgation of the law, and was, as a matter of
fact, the cause of it; so the most we can say is that he changed his
mind, and changed it for the better.  If the history of his government be
considered--how it originated in an intrigue between the firm and the
consulate, and was (for the firm's sake alone) supported by the consulate
with foreign bayonets--the existence of the least doubt on the man's
action must seem marvellous.  We should have looked to find him playing
openly and wholly into their hands; that he did not, implies great
independence and much secret friction; and I believe (if the truth were
known) the firm would be found to have been disgusted with the
stubbornness of its intended tool, and Brandeis often impatient of the
demands of his creators.

But I may seem to exaggerate the degree of white opposition.  And it is
true that before fate overtook the Brandeis government, it appeared to
enjoy the fruits of victory in Apia; and one dissident, the unconquerable
Moors, stood out alone to refuse his taxes.  But the victory was in
appearance only; the opposition was latent; it found vent in talk, and
thus reacted on the natives; upon the least excuse, it was ready to flame
forth again.  And this is the more singular because some were far from
out of sympathy with the native policy pursued.  When I met Captain
Brandeis, he was amazed at my attitude.  "Whom did you find in Apia to
tell you so much good of me?" he asked.  I named one of my informants.
"He?" he cried.  "If he thought all that, why did he not help me?"  I
told him as well as I was able.  The man was a merchant.  He beheld in
the government of Brandeis a government created by and for the firm who
were his rivals.  If Brandeis were minded to deal fairly, where was the
probability that he would be allowed?  If Brandeis insisted and were
strong enough to prevail, what guarantee that, as soon as the government
were fairly accepted, Brandeis might not be removed?  Here was the
attitude of the hour; and I am glad to find it clearly set forth in a
despatch of Sewall's, June 18th, 1888, when he commends the law against
mortgages, and goes on: "Whether the author of this law will carry out
the good intentions which he professes--whether he will be allowed to do
so, if he desires, against the opposition of those who placed him in
power and protect him in the possession of it--may well be doubted."
Brandeis had come to Apia in the firm's livery.  Even while he promised
neutrality in commerce, the clerks were prating a different story in the
bar-rooms; and the late high feat of the knight-errant, Becker, had
killed all confidence in Germans at the root.  By these three impolicies,
the German adventure in Samoa was defeated.

I imply that the handful of whites were the true obstacle, not the
thousands of malcontent Samoans; for had the whites frankly accepted
Brandeis, the path of Germany was clear, and the end of their policy,
however troublesome might be its course, was obvious.  But this is not to
say that the natives were content.  In a sense, indeed, their opposition
was continuous.  There will always be opposition in Samoa when taxes are
imposed; and the deportation of Malietoa stuck in men's throats.  Tuiatua
Mataafa refused to act under the new government from the beginning, and
Tamasese usurped his place and title.  As early as February, I find him
signing himself "Tuiaana _Tuiatua_ Tamasese," the first step on a
dangerous path.  Asi, like Mataafa, disclaimed his chiefship and declared
himself a private person; but he was more rudely dealt with.  German
sailors surrounded his house in the night, burst in, and dragged the
women out of the mosquito nets--an offence against Samoan manners.  No
Asi was to be found; but at last they were shown his fishing-lights on
the reef, rowed out, took him as he was, and carried him on board a man-
of-war, where he was detained some while between-decks.  At last, January
16th, after a farewell interview over the ship's side with his wife, he
was discharged into a ketch, and along with two other chiefs, Maunga and
Tuiletu-funga, deported to the Marshalls.  The blow struck fear upon all
sides.  Le Mamea (a very able chief) was secretly among the malcontents.
His family and followers murmured at his weakness; but he continued,
throughout the duration of the government, to serve Brandeis with
trembling.  A circus coming to Apia, he seized at the pretext for escape,
and asked leave to accept an engagement in the company.  "I will not
allow you to make a monkey of yourself," said Brandeis; and the phrase
had a success throughout the islands, pungent expressions being so much
admired by the natives that they cannot refrain from repeating them, even
when they have been levelled at themselves.  The assumption of the Atua
_name_ spread discontent in that province; many chiefs from thence were
convicted of disaffection, and condemned to labour with their hands upon
the roads--a great shock to the Samoan sense of the becoming, which was
rendered the more sensible by the death of one of the number at his task.
Mataafa was involved in the same trouble.  His disaffected speech at a
meeting of Atua chiefs was betrayed by the girls that made the kava, and
the man of the future was called to Apia on safe-conduct, but, after an
interview, suffered to return to his lair.  The peculiarly tender
treatment of Mataafa must be explained by his relationship to Tamasese.
Laupepa was of Malietoa blood.  The hereditary retainers of the Tupua
would see him exiled even with some complacency.  But Mataafa was Tupua
himself; and Tupua men would probably have murmured, and would perhaps
have mutinied, had he been harshly dealt with.

The native opposition, I say, was in a sense continuous.  And it kept
continuously growing.  The sphere of Brandeis was limited to Mulinuu and
the north central quarters of Upolu--practically what is shown upon the
map opposite.  There the taxes were expanded; in the out-districts, men
paid their money and saw no return.  Here the eye and hand of the
dictator were ready to correct the scales of justice; in the
out-districts, all things lay at the mercy of the native magistrates, and
their oppressions increased with the course of time and the experience of
impunity.  In the spring of the year, a very intelligent observer had
occasion to visit many places in the island of Savaii.  "Our lives are
not worth living," was the burthen of the popular complaint.  "We are
groaning under the oppression of these men.  We would rather die than
continue to endure it."  On his return to Apia, he made haste to
communicate his impressions to Brandeis.  Brandeis replied in an epigram:
"Where there has been anarchy in a country, there must be oppression for
a time."  But unfortunately the terms of the epigram may be reversed; and
personal supervision would have been more in season than wit.  The same
observer who conveyed to him this warning thinks that, if Brandeis had
himself visited the districts and inquired into complaints, the blow
might yet have been averted and the government saved.  At last, upon a
certain unconstitutional act of Tamasese, the discontent took life and
fire.  The act was of his own conception; the dull dog was ambitious.
Brandeis declares he would not be dissuaded; perhaps his adviser did not
seriously try, perhaps did not dream that in that welter of
contradictions, the Samoan constitution, any one point would be
considered sacred.  I have told how Tamasese assumed the title of
Tuiatua.  In August 1888 a year after his installation, he took a more
formidable step and assumed that of Malietoa.  This name, as I have said,
is of peculiar honour; it had been given to, it had never been taken
from, the exiled Laupepa; those in whose grant it lay, stood punctilious
upon their rights; and Tamasese, as the representative of their natural
opponents, the Tupua line, was the last who should have had it.  And
there was yet more, though I almost despair to make it thinkable by
Europeans.  Certain old mats are handed down, and set huge store by; they
may be compared to coats of arms or heirlooms among ourselves; and to the
horror of more than one-half of Samoa, Tamasese, the head of the Tupua,
began collecting Malietoa mats.  It was felt that the cup was full, and
men began to prepare secretly for rebellion.  The history of the month of
August is unknown to whites; it passed altogether in the covert of the
woods or in the stealthy councils of Samoans.  One ominous sign was to be
noted; arms and ammunition began to be purchased or inquired about; and
the more wary traders ordered fresh consignments of material of war.  But
the rest was silence; the government slept in security; and Brandeis was
summoned at last from a public dinner, to find rebellion organised, the
woods behind Apia full of insurgents, and a plan prepared, and in the
very article of execution, to surprise and seize Mulinuu.  The timely
discovery averted all; and the leaders hastily withdrew towards the south
side of the island, leaving in the bush a rear-guard under a young man of
the name of Saifaleupolu.  According to some accounts, it scarce numbered
forty; the leader was no great chief, but a handsome, industrious lad who
seems to have been much beloved.  And upon this obstacle Brandeis fell.
It is the man's fault to be too impatient of results; his public
intention to free Samoa of all debt within the year, depicts him; and
instead of continuing to temporise and let his enemies weary and
disperse, he judged it politic to strike a blow.  He struck it, with what
seemed to be success, and the sound of it roused Samoa to rebellion.

About two in the morning of August 31st, Apia was wakened by men
marching.  Day came, and Brandeis and his war-party were already long
disappeared in the woods.  All morning belated Tamaseseites were still to
be seen running with their guns.  All morning shots were listened for in
vain; but over the top of the forest, far up the mountain, smoke was for
some time observed to hang.  About ten a dead man was carried in, lashed
under a pole like a dead pig, his rosary (for he was a Catholic) hanging
nearly to the ground.  Next came a young fellow wounded, sitting in a
rope swung from a pole; two fellows bearing him, two running behind for a
relief.  At last about eleven, three or four heavy volleys and a great
shouting were heard from the bush town Tanungamanono; the affair was
over, the victorious force, on the march back, was there celebrating its
victory by the way.  Presently after, it marched through Apia, five or
six hundred strong, in tolerable order and strutting with the ludicrous
assumption of the triumphant islander.  Women who had been buying bread
ran and gave them loaves.  At the tail end came Brandeis himself, smoking
a cigar, deadly pale, and with perhaps an increase of his usual nervous
manner.  One spoke to him by the way.  He expressed his sorrow the action
had been forced on him.  "Poor people, it's all the worse for them!" he
said.  "It'll have to be done another way now."  And it was supposed by
his hearer that he referred to intervention from the German war-ships.  He
meant, he said, to put a stop to head-hunting; his men had taken two that
day, he added, but he had not suffered them to bring them in, and they
had been left in Tanungamanono.  Thither my informant rode, was attracted
by the sound of wailing, and saw in a house the two heads washed and
combed, and the sister of one of the dead lamenting in the island fashion
and kissing the cold face.  Soon after, a small grave was dug, the heads
were buried in a beef box, and the pastor read the service.  The body of
Saifaleupolu himself was recovered unmutilated, brought down from the
forest, and buried behind Apia.

The same afternoon, the men of Vaimaunga were ordered to report in
Mulinuu, where Tamasese's flag was half-masted for the death of a chief
in the skirmish.  Vaimaunga is that district of Taumasanga which includes
the bay and the foothills behind Apia; and both province and district are
strong Malietoa.  Not one man, it is said, obeyed the summons.  Night
came, and the town lay in unusual silence; no one abroad; the blinds down
around the native houses, the men within sleeping on their arms; the old
women keeping watch in pairs.  And in the course of the two following
days all Vaimaunga was gone into the bush, the very gaoler setting free
his prisoners and joining them in their escape.  Hear the words of the
chiefs in the 23rd article of their complaint: "Some of the chiefs fled
to the bush from fear of being reported, fear of German men-of-war,
constantly being accused, etc., and Brandeis commanded that they were to
be shot on sight.  This act was carried out by Brandeis on the 31st day
of August, 1888.  After this we evaded these laws; we could not stand
them; our patience was worn out with the constant wickedness of Tamasese
and Brandeis.  We were tired out and could stand no longer the acts of
these two men."

So through an ill-timed skirmish, two severed heads, and a dead body, the
rule of Brandeis came to a sudden end.  We shall see him a while longer
fighting for existence in a losing battle; but his government--take it
for all in all, the most promising that has ever been in these unlucky
islands--was from that hour a piece of history.




CHAPTER V--THE BATTLE OF MATAUTU


_September 1888_

The revolution had all the character of a popular movement.  Many of the
high chiefs were detained in Mulinuu; the commons trooped to the bush
under inferior leaders.  A camp was chosen near Faleula, threatening
Mulinuu, well placed for the arrival of recruits and close to a German
plantation from which the force could be subsisted.  Manono came, all
Tuamasanga, much of Savaii, and part of Aana, Tamasese's own government
and titular seat.  Both sides were arming.  It was a brave day for the
trader, though not so brave as some that followed, when a single
cartridge is said to have been sold for twelve cents currency--between
nine and ten cents gold.  Yet even among the traders a strong party
feeling reigned, and it was the common practice to ask a purchaser upon
which side he meant to fight.

On September 5th, Brandeis published a letter: "To the chiefs of
Tuamasanga, Manono, and Faasaleleanga in the Bush: Chiefs, by authority
of his majesty Tamasese, the king of Samoa, I make known to you all that
the German man-of-war is about to go together with a Samoan fleet for the
purpose of burning Manono.  After this island is all burnt, 'tis good if
the people return to Manono and live quiet.  To the people of
Faasaleleanga I say, return to your houses and stop there.  The same to
those belonging to Tuamasanga.  If you obey this instruction, then you
will all be forgiven; if you do not obey, then all your villages will be
burnt like Manono.  These instructions are made in truth in the sight of
God in the Heaven."  The same morning, accordingly, the _Adler_ steamed
out of the bay with a force of Tamasese warriors and some native boats in
tow, the Samoan fleet in question.  Manono was shelled; the Tamasese
warriors, under the conduct of a Manono traitor, who paid before many
days the forfeit of his blood, landed and did some damage, but were
driven away by the sight of a force returning from the mainland; no one
was hurt, for the women and children, who alone remained on the island,
found a refuge in the bush; and the _Adler_ and her acolytes returned the
same evening.  The letter had been energetic; the performance fell below
the programme.  The demonstration annoyed and yet re-assured the
insurgents, and it fully disclosed to the Germans a new enemy.

Captain Yon Widersheim had been relieved.  His successor, Captain Fritze,
was an officer of a different stamp.  I have nothing to say of him but
good; he seems to have obeyed the consul's requisitions with secret
distaste; his despatches were of admirable candour; but his habits were
retired, he spoke little English, and was far indeed from inheriting von
Widersheim's close relations with Commander Leary.  It is believed by
Germans that the American officer resented what he took to be neglect.  I
mention this, not because I believe it to depict Commander Leary, but
because it is typical of a prevailing infirmity among Germans in Samoa.
Touchy themselves, they read all history in the light of personal
affronts and tiffs; and I find this weakness indicated by the big thumb
of Bismarck, when he places "sensitiveness to small
disrespects--_Empfindlichkeit ueber Mangel an Respect_," among the causes
of the wild career of Knappe.  Whatever the cause, at least, the natives
had no sooner taken arms than Leary appeared with violence upon that
side.  As early as the 3rd, he had sent an obscure but menacing despatch
to Brandeis.  On the 6th, he fell on Fritze in the matter of the Manono
bombardment.  "The revolutionists," he wrote, "had an armed force in the
field within a few miles of this harbour, when the vessels under your
command transported the Tamasese troops to a neighbouring island with the
avowed intention of making war on the isolated homes of the women and
children of the enemy.  Being the only other representative of a naval
power now present in this harbour, for the sake of humanity I hereby
respectfully and solemnly protest in the name of the United States of
America and of the civilised world in general against the use of a
national war-vessel for such services as were yesterday rendered by the
German corvette _Adler_."  Fritze's reply, to the effect that he is under
the orders of the consul and has no right of choice, reads even humble;
perhaps he was not himself vain of the exploit, perhaps not prepared to
see it thus described in words.  From that moment Leary was in the front
of the row.  His name is diagnostic, but it was not required; on every
step of his subsequent action in Samoa Irishman is writ large; over all
his doings a malign spirit of humour presided.  No malice was too small
for him, if it were only funny.  When night signals were made from
Mulinuu, he would sit on his own poop and confound them with gratuitous
rockets.  He was at the pains to write a letter and address it to "the
High Chief Tamasese"--a device as old at least as the wars of Robert
Bruce--in order to bother the officials of the German post-office, in
whose hands he persisted in leaving it, although the address was death to
them and the distribution of letters in Samoa formed no part of their
profession.  His great masterwork of pleasantry, the Scanlon affair, must
be narrated in its place.  And he was no less bold than comical.  The
_Adams_ was not supposed to be a match for the _Adler_; there was no
glory to be gained in beating her; and yet I have heard naval officers
maintain she might have proved a dangerous antagonist in narrow waters
and at short range.  Doubtless Leary thought so.  He was continually
daring Fritze to come on; and already, in a despatch of the 9th, I find
Becker complaining of his language in the hearing of German officials,
and how he had declared that, on the _Adler_ again interfering, he would
interfere himself, "if he went to the bottom for it--_und wenn sein
Schiff dabei zu Grunde ginge_."  Here is the style of opposition which
has the merit of being frank, not that of being agreeable.  Becker was
annoying, Leary infuriating; there is no doubt that the tempers in the
German consulate were highly ulcerated; and if war between the two
countries did not follow, we must set down the praise to the forbearance
of the German navy.  This is not the last time that I shall have to
salute the merits of that service.

The defeat and death of Saifaleupolu and the burning of Manono had thus
passed off without the least advantage to Tamasese.  But he still held
the significant position of Mulinuu, and Brandeis was strenuous to make
it good.  The whole peninsula was surrounded with a breastwork; across
the isthmus it was six feet high and strengthened with a ditch; and the
beach was staked against landing.  Weber's land claim--the same that now
broods over the village in the form of a signboard--then appeared in a
more military guise; the German flag was hoisted, and German sailors
manned the breastwork at the isthmus--"to protect German property" and
its trifling parenthesis, the king of Samoa.  Much vigilance reigned and,
in the island fashion, much wild firing.  And in spite of all, desertion
was for a long time daily.  The detained high chiefs would go to the
beach on the pretext of a natural occasion, plunge in the sea, and
swimming across a broad, shallow bay of the lagoon, join the rebels on
the Faleula side.  Whole bodies of warriors, sometimes hundreds strong,
departed with their arms and ammunition.  On the 7th of September, for
instance, the day after Leary's letter, Too and Mataia left with their
contingents, and the whole Aana people returned home in a body to hold a
parliament.  Ten days later, it is true, a part of them returned to their
duty; but another part branched off by the way and carried their
services, and Tamasese's dear-bought guns, to Faleula.

On the 8th, there was a defection of a different kind, but yet sensible.
The High Chief Seumanu had been still detained in Mulinuu under anxious
observation.  His people murmured at his absence, threatened to "take
away his name," and had already attempted a rescue.  The adventure was
now taken in hand by his wife Faatulia, a woman of much sense and spirit
and a strong partisan; and by her contrivance, Seumanu gave his guardians
the slip and rejoined his clan at Faleula.  This process of winnowing was
of course counterbalanced by another of recruitment.  But the harshness
of European and military rule had made Brandeis detested and Tamasese
unpopular with many; and the force on Mulinuu is thought to have done
little more than hold its own.  Mataafa sympathisers set it down at about
two or three thousand.  I have no estimate from the other side; but
Becker admits they were not strong enough to keep the field in the open.

The political significance of Mulinuu was great, but in a military sense
the position had defects.  If it was difficult to carry, it was easy to
blockade: and to be hemmed in on that narrow finger of land were an
inglorious posture for the monarch of Samoa.  The peninsula, besides, was
scant of food and destitute of water.  Pressed by these considerations,
Brandeis extended his lines till he had occupied the whole foreshore of
Apia bay and the opposite point, Matautu.  His men were thus drawn out
along some three nautical miles of irregular beach, everywhere with their
backs to the sea, and without means of communication or mutual support
except by water.  The extension led to fresh sorrows.  The Tamasese men
quartered themselves in the houses of the absent men of the Vaimaunga.
Disputes arose with English and Americans.  Leary interposed in a loud
voice of menace.  It was said the firm profited by the confusion to
buttress up imperfect land claims; I am sure the other whites would not
be far behind the firm.  Properties were fenced in, fences and houses
were torn down, scuffles ensued.  The German example at Mulinuu was
followed with laughable unanimity; wherever an Englishman or an American
conceived himself to have a claim, he set up the emblem of his country;
and the beach twinkled with the flags of nations.

All this, it will be observed, was going forward in that neutral
territory, sanctified by treaty against the presence of armed Samoans.
The insurgents themselves looked on in wonder: on the 4th, trembling to
transgress against the great Powers, they had written for a delimitation
of the _Eleele Sa_; and Becker, in conversation with the British consul,
replied that he recognised none.  So long as Tamasese held the ground,
this was expedient.  But suppose Tamasese worsted, it might prove awkward
for the stores, mills, and offices of a great German firm, thus bared of
shelter by the act of their own consul.

On the morning of the 9th September, just ten days after the death of
Saifaleupolu, Mataafa, under the name of Malietoa To'oa Mataafa, was
crowned king at Faleula.  On the 11th he wrote to the British and
American consuls: "Gentlemen, I write this letter to you two very humbly
and entreatingly, on account of this difficulty that has come before me.
I desire to know from you two gentlemen the truth where the boundaries of
the neutral territory are.  You will observe that I am now at Vaimoso [a
step nearer the enemy], and I have stopped here until I knew what you say
regarding the neutral territory.  I wish to know where I can go, and
where the forbidden ground is, for I do not wish to go on any neutral
territory, or on any foreigner's property.  I do not want to offend any
of the great Powers.  Another thing I would like.  Would it be possible
for you three consuls to make Tamasese remove from German property? for I
am in awe of going on German land."  He must have received a reply
embodying Becker's renunciation of the principle, at once; for he broke
camp the same day, and marched eastward through the bush behind Apia.

Brandeis, expecting attack, sought to improve his indefensible position.
He reformed his centre by the simple expedient of suppressing it.  Apia
was evacuated.  The two flanks, Mulinuu and Matautu, were still held and
fortified, Mulinuu (as I have said) to the isthmus, Matautu on a line
from the bayside to the little river Fuisa.  The centre was represented
by the trajectory of a boat across the bay from one flank to another, and
was held (we may say) by the German war-ship.  Mataafa decided (I am
assured) to make a feint on Matautu, induce Brandeis to deplete Mulinuu
in support, and then fall upon and carry that.  And there is no doubt in
my mind that such a plan was bruited abroad, for nothing but a belief in
it could explain the behaviour of Brandeis on the 12th.  That it was
seriously entertained by Mataafa I stoutly disbelieve; the German flag
and sailors forbidding the enterprise in Mulinuu.  So that we may call
this false intelligence the beginning and the end of Mataafa's strategy.

The whites who sympathised with the revolt were uneasy and impatient.
They will still tell you, though the dates are there to show them wrong,
that Mataafa, even after his coronation, delayed extremely: a proof of
how long two days may seem to last when men anticipate events.  On the
evening of the 11th, while the new king was already on the march, one of
these walked into Matautu.  The moon was bright.  By the way he observed
the native houses dark and silent; the men had been about a fortnight in
the bush, but now the women and children were gone also; at which he
wondered.  On the sea-beach, in the camp of the Tamaseses, the solitude
was near as great; he saw three or four men smoking before the British
consulate, perhaps a dozen in all; the rest were behind in the bush upon
their line of forts.  About the midst he sat down, and here a woman drew
near to him.  The moon shone in her face, and he knew her for a
householder near by, and a partisan of Mataafa's.  She looked about her
as she came, and asked him, trembling, what he did in the camp of
Tamasese.  He was there after news, he told her.  She took him by the
hand.  "You must not stay here, you will get killed," she said.  "The
bush is full of our people, the others are watching them, fighting may
begin at any moment, and we are both here too long."  So they set off
together; and she told him by the way that she had came to the hostile
camp with a present of bananas, so that the Tamasese men might spare her
house.  By the Vaisingano they met an old man, a woman, and a child; and
these also she warned and turned back.  Such is the strange part played
by women among the scenes of Samoan warfare, such were the liberties then
permitted to the whites, that these two could pass the lines, talk
together in Tamasese's camp on the eve of an engagement, and pass forth
again bearing intelligence, like privileged spies.  And before a few
hours the white man was in direct communication with the opposing
general.  The next morning he was accosted "about breakfast-time" by two
natives who stood leaning against the pickets of a public-house, where
the Siumu road strikes in at right angles to the main street of Apia.
They told him battle was imminent, and begged him to pass a little way
inland and speak with Mataafa.  The road is at this point broad and
fairly good, running between thick groves of cocoa-palm and breadfruit.  A
few hundred yards along this the white man passed a picket of four armed
warriors, with red handkerchiefs and their faces blackened in the form of
a full beard, the Mataafa rallying signs for the day; a little farther
on, some fifty; farther still, a hundred; and at last a quarter of a mile
of them sitting by the wayside armed and blacked.

Near by, in the verandah of a house on a knoll, he found Mataafa seated
in white clothes, a Winchester across his knees.  His men, he said, were
still arriving from behind, and there was a turning movement in operation
beyond the Fuisa, so that the Tamaseses should be assailed at the same
moment from the south and east.  And this is another indication that the
attack on Matautu was the true attack; had any design on Mulinuu been in
the wind, not even a Samoan general would have detached these troops upon
the other side.  While they still spoke, five Tamasese women were brought
in with their hands bound; they had been stealing "our" bananas.

All morning the town was strangely deserted, the very children gone.  A
sense of expectation reigned, and sympathy for the attack was expressed
publicly.  Some men with unblacked faces came to Moors's store for
biscuit.  A native woman, who was there marketing, inquired after the
news, and, hearing that the battle was now near at hand, "Give them two
more tins," said she; "and don't put them down to my husband--he would
growl; put them down to me."  Between twelve and one, two white men
walked toward Matautu, finding as they went no sign of war until they had
passed the Vaisingano and come to the corner of a by-path leading to the
bush.  Here were four blackened warriors on guard,--the extreme left wing
of the Mataafa force, where it touched the waters of the bay.  Thence the
line (which the white men followed) stretched inland among bush and
marsh, facing the forts of the Tamaseses.  The warriors lay as yet
inactive behind trees; but all the young boys and harlots of Apia toiled
in the front upon a trench, digging with knives and cocoa-shells; and a
continuous stream of children brought them water.  The young sappers
worked crouching; from the outside only an occasional head, or a hand
emptying a shell of earth, was visible; and their enemies looked on inert
from the line of the opposing forts.  The lists were not yet prepared,
the tournament was not yet open; and the attacking force was suffered to
throw up works under the silent guns of the defence.  But there is an end
even to the delay of islanders.  As the white men stood and looked, the
Tamasese line thundered into a volley; it was answered; the crowd of
silent workers broke forth in laughter and cheers; and the battle had
begun.

Thenceforward, all day and most of the next night, volley followed
volley; and pounds of lead and pounds sterling of money continued to be
blown into the air without cessation and almost without result.  Colonel
de Coetlogon, an old soldier, described the noise as deafening.  The
harbour was all struck with shots; a man was knocked over on the German
war-ship; half Apia was under fire; and a house was pierced beyond the
Mulivai.  All along the two lines of breastwork, the entrenched enemies
exchanged this hail of balls; and away on the east of the battle the
fusillade was maintained, with equal spirit, across the narrow barrier of
the Fuisa.  The whole rear of the Tamaseses was enfiladed by this flank
fire; and I have seen a house there, by the river brink, that was riddled
with bullets like a piece of worm-eaten wreck-wood.  At this point of the
field befell a trait of Samoan warfare worth recording.  Taiese (brother
to Siteoni already mentioned) shot a Tamasese man.  He saw him fall, and,
inflamed with the lust of glory, passed the river single-handed in that
storm of missiles to secure the head.  On the farther bank, as was but
natural, he fell himself; he who had gone to take a trophy remained to
afford one; and the Mataafas, who had looked on exulting in the prospect
of a triumph, saw themselves exposed instead to a disgrace.  Then rose
one Vingi, passed the deadly water, swung the body of Taiese on his back,
and returned unscathed to his own side, the head saved, the corpse filled
with useless bullets.

At this rate of practice, the ammunition soon began to run low, and from
an early hour of the afternoon, the Malietoa stores were visited by
customers in search of more.  An elderly man came leaping and cheering,
his gun in one hand, a basket of three heads in the other.  A fellow came
shot through the forearm.  "It doesn't hurt now," he said, as he bought
his cartridges; "but it will hurt to-morrow, and I want to fight while I
can."  A third followed, a mere boy, with the end of his nose shot off:
"Have you any painkiller? give it me quick, so that I can get back to
fight."  On either side, there was the same delight in sound and smoke
and schoolboy cheering, the same unsophisticated ardour of battle; and
the misdirected skirmish proceeded with a din, and was illustrated with
traits of bravery that would have fitted a Waterloo or a Sedan.

I have said how little I regard the alleged plan of battle.  At least it
was now all gone to water.  The whole forces of Mataafa had leaked out,
man by man, village by village, on the so-called false attack.  They were
all pounding for their lives on the front and the left flank of Matautu.
About half-past three they enveloped the right flank also.  The defenders
were driven back along the beach road as far as the pilot station at the
turn of the land.  From this also they were dislodged, stubbornly
fighting.  One, it is told, retreated to his middle in the lagoon; stood
there, loading and firing, till he fell; and his body was found on the
morrow pierced with four mortal wounds.  The Tamasese force was now
enveloped on three sides; it was besides almost cut off from the sea; and
across its whole rear and only way of retreat a fire of hostile bullets
crossed from east and west, in the midst of which men were surprised to
observe the birds continuing to sing, and a cow grazed all afternoon
unhurt.  Doubtless here was the defence in a poor way; but then the
attack was in irons.  For the Mataafas about the pilot house could
scarcely advance beyond without coming under the fire of their own men
from the other side of the Fuisa; and there was not enough organisation,
perhaps not enough authority, to divert or to arrest that fire.

The progress of the fight along the beach road was visible from Mulinuu,
and Brandeis despatched ten boats of reinforcements.  They crossed the
harbour, paused for a while beside the _Adler_--it is supposed for
ammunition--and drew near the Matautu shore.  The Mataafa men lay close
among the shore-side bushes, expecting their arrival; when a silly lad,
in mere lightness of heart, fired a shot in the air.  My native friend,
Mrs. Mary Hamilton, ran out of her house and gave the culprit a good
shaking: an episode in the midst of battle as incongruous as the grazing
cow.  But his sillier comrades followed his example; a harmless volley
warned the boats what they might expect; and they drew back and passed
outside the reef for the passage of the Fuisa.  Here they came under the
fire of the right wing of the Mataafas on the river-bank.  The beach,
raked east and west, appeared to them no place to land on.  And they hung
off in the deep water of the lagoon inside the barrier reef, feebly
fusillading the pilot house.

Between four and five, the Fabeata regiment (or folk of that village) on
the Mataafa left, which had been under arms all day, fell to be withdrawn
for rest and food; the Siumu regiment, which should have relieved it, was
not ready or not notified in time; and the Tamaseses, gallantly profiting
by the mismanagement, recovered the most of the ground in their proper
right.  It was not for long.  They lost it again, yard by yard and from
house to house, till the pilot station was once more in the hands of the
Mataafas.  This is the last definite incident in the battle.  The
vicissitudes along the line of the entrenchments remain concealed from us
under the cover of the forest.  Some part of the Tamasese position there
appears to have been carried, but what part, or at what hour, or whether
the advantage was maintained, I have never learned.  Night and rain, but
not silence, closed upon the field.  The trenches were deep in mud; but
the younger folk wrecked the houses in the neighbourhood, carried the
roofs to the front, and lay under them, men and women together, through a
long night of furious squalls and furious and useless volleys.  Meanwhile
the older folk trailed back into Apia in the rain; they talked as they
went of who had fallen and what heads had been taken upon either
side--they seemed to know by name the losses upon both; and drenched with
wet and broken with excitement and fatigue, they crawled into the
verandahs of the town to eat and sleep.  The morrow broke grey and
drizzly, but as so often happens in the islands, cleared up into a
glorious day.  During the night, the majority of the defenders had taken
advantage of the rain and darkness and stolen from their forts
unobserved.  The rallying sign of the Tamaseses had been a white
handkerchief.  With the dawn, the de Coetlogons from the English
consulate beheld the ground strewn with these badges discarded; and close
by the house, a belated turncoat was still changing white for red.
Matautu was lost; Tamasese was confined to Mulinuu; and by nine o'clock
two Mataafa villages paraded the streets of Apia, taking possession.  The
cost of this respectable success in ammunition must have been enormous;
in life it was but small.  Some compute forty killed on either side,
others forty on both, three or four being women and one a white man,
master of a schooner from Fiji.  Nor was the number even of the wounded
at all proportionate to the surprising din and fury of the affair while
it lasted.




CHAPTER VI--LAST EXPLOITS OF BECKER


_September-November_ 1888

Brandeis had held all day by Mulinuu, expecting the reported real attack.
He woke on the 13th to find himself cut off on that unwatered promontory,
and the Mataafa villagers parading Apia.  The same day Fritze received a
letter from Mataafa summoning him to withdraw his party from the isthmus;
and Fritze, as if in answer, drew in his ship into the small harbour
close to Mulinuu, and trained his port battery to assist in the defence.
From a step so decisive, it might be thought the German plans were
unaffected by the disastrous issue of the battle.  I conceive nothing
would be further from the truth.  Here was Tamasese penned on Mulinuu
with his troops; Apia, from which alone these could be subsisted, in the
hands of the enemy; a battle imminent, in which the German vessel must
apparently take part with men and battery, and the buildings of the
German firm were apparently destined to be the first target of fire.
Unless Becker re-established that which he had so lately and so artfully
thrown down--the neutral territory--the firm would have to suffer.  If he
re-established it, Tamasese must retire from Mulinuu.  If Becker saved
his goose, he lost his cabbage.  Nothing so well depicts the man's
effrontery as that he should have conceived the design of saving both,--of
re-establishing only so much of the neutral territory as should hamper
Mataafa, and leaving in abeyance all that could incommode Tamasese.  By
drawing the boundary where he now proposed, across the isthmus, he
protected the firm, drove back the Mataafas out of almost all that they
had conquered, and, so far from disturbing Tamasese, actually fortified
him in his old position.

The real story of the negotiations that followed we shall perhaps never
learn.  But so much is plain: that while Becker was thus outwardly
straining decency in the interest of Tamasese, he was privately
intriguing, or pretending to intrigue, with Mataafa.  In his despatch of
the 11th, he had given an extended criticism of that chieftain, whom he
depicts as very dark and artful; and while admitting that his assumption
of the name of Malietoa might raise him up followers, predicted that he
could not make an orderly government or support himself long in sole
power "without very energetic foreign help."  Of what help was the consul
thinking?  There was no helper in the field but Germany.  On the 15th he
had an interview with the victor; told him that Tamasese's was the only
government recognised by Germany, and that he must continue to recognise
it till he received "other instructions from his government, whom he was
now advising of the late events"; refused, accordingly, to withdraw the
guard from the isthmus; and desired Mataafa, "until the arrival of these
fresh instructions," to refrain from an attack on Mulinuu.  One thing of
two: either this language is extremely perfidious, or Becker was
preparing to change sides.  The same detachment appears in his despatch
of October 7th.  He computes the losses of the German firm with an easy
cheerfulness.  If Tamasese get up again (_gelingt die Wiederherstellung
der Regierung Tamasese's_), Tamasese will have to pay.  If not, then
Mataafa.  This is not the language of a partisan.  The tone of
indifference, the easy implication that the case of Tamasese was already
desperate, the hopes held secretly forth to Mataafa and secretly reported
to his government at home, trenchantly contrast with his external
conduct.  At this very time he was feeding Tamasese; he had German
sailors mounting guard on Tamasese's battlements; the German war-ship lay
close in, whether to help or to destroy.  If he meant to drop the cause
of Tamasese, he had him in a corner, helpless, and could stifle him
without a sob.  If he meant to rat, it was to be with every condition of
safety and every circumstance of infamy.

Was it conceivable, then, that he meant it?  Speaking with a gentleman
who was in the confidence of Dr. Knappe: "Was it not a pity," I asked,
"that Knappe did not stick to Becker's policy of supporting Mataafa?"
"You are quite wrong there; that was not Knappe's doing," was the reply.
"Becker had changed his mind before Knappe came."  Why, then, had he
changed it?  This excellent, if ignominious, idea once entertained, why
was it let drop?  It is to be remembered there was another German in the
field, Brandeis, who had a respect, or rather, perhaps, an affection, for
Tamasese, and who thought his own honour and that of his country engaged
in the support of that government which they had provoked and founded.
Becker described the captain to Laupepa as "a quiet, sensible gentleman."
If any word came to his ears of the intended manoeuvre, Brandeis would
certainly show himself very sensible of the affront; but Becker might
have been tempted to withdraw his former epithet of quiet.  Some such
passage, some such threatened change of front at the consulate, opposed
with outcry, would explain what seems otherwise inexplicable, the bitter,
indignant, almost hostile tone of a subsequent letter from Brandeis to
Knappe--"Brandeis's inflammatory letter," Bismarck calls it--the
proximate cause of the German landing and reverse at Fangalii.

But whether the advances of Becker were sincere or not--whether he
meditated treachery against the old king or was practising treachery upon
the new, and the choice is between one or other--no doubt but he
contrived to gain his points with Mataafa, prevailing on him to change
his camp for the better protection of the German plantations, and
persuading him (long before he could persuade his brother consuls) to
accept that miraculous new neutral territory of his, with a piece cut out
for the immediate needs of Tamasese.

During the rest of September, Tamasese continued to decline.  On the 19th
one village and half of another deserted him; on the 22nd two more.  On
the 21st the Mataafas burned his town of Leulumoenga, his own splendid
house flaming with the rest; and there are few things of which a native
thinks more, or has more reason to think well, than of a fine Samoan
house.  Tamasese women and children were marched up the same day from
Atua, and handed over with their sleeping-mats to Mulinuu: a most
unwelcome addition to a party already suffering from want.  By the 20th,
they were being watered from the _Adler_.  On the 24th the Manono fleet
of sixteen large boats, fortified and rendered unmanageable with tons of
firewood, passed to windward to intercept supplies from Atua.  By the
27th the hungry garrison flocked in great numbers to draw rations at the
German firm.  On the 28th the same business was repeated with a different
issue.  Mataafas crowded to look on; words were exchanged, blows
followed; sticks, stones, and bottles were caught up; the detested
Brandeis, at great risk, threw himself between the lines and expostulated
with the Mataafas--his only personal appearance in the wars, if this
could be called war.  The same afternoon, the Tamasese boats got in with
provisions, having passed to seaward of the lumbering Manono fleet; and
from that day on, whether from a high degree of enterprise on the one
side or a great lack of capacity on the other, supplies were maintained
from the sea with regularity.  Thus the spectacle of battle, or at least
of riot, at the doors of the German firm was not repeated.  But the
memory must have hung heavy on the hearts, not of the Germans only, but
of all Apia.  The Samoans are a gentle race, gentler than any in Europe;
we are often enough reminded of the circumstance, not always by their
friends.  But a mob is a mob, and a drunken mob is a drunken mob, and a
drunken mob with weapons in its hands is a drunken mob with weapons in
its hands, all the world over: elementary propositions, which some of us
upon these islands might do worse than get by rote, but which must have
been evident enough to Becker.  And I am amazed by the man's constancy,
that, even while blows were going at the door of that German firm which
he was in Samoa to protect, he should have stuck to his demands.  Ten
days before, Blacklock had offered to recognise the old territory,
including Mulinuu, and Becker had refused, and still in the midst of
these "alarums and excursions," he continued to refuse it.

On October 2nd, anchored in Apia bay H.B.M.S. _Calliope_, Captain Kane,
carrying the flag of Rear-Admiral Fairfax, and the gunboat _Lizard_,
Lieutenant-Commander Pelly.  It was rumoured the admiral had come to
recognise the government of Tamasese, I believe in error.  And at least
the day for that was quite gone by; and he arrived not to salute the
king's accession, but to arbitrate on his remains.  A conference of the
consuls and commanders met on board the _Calliope_, October 4th, Fritze
alone being absent, although twice invited: the affair touched politics,
his consul was to be there; and even if he came to the meeting (so he
explained to Fairfax) he would have no voice in its deliberations.  The
parties were plainly marked out: Blacklock and Leary maintaining their
offer of the old neutral territory, and probably willing to expand or to
contract it to any conceivable extent, so long as Mulinuu was still
included; Knappe offered (if the others liked) to include "the whole
eastern end of the island," but quite fixed upon the one point that
Mulinuu should be left out; the English willing to meet either view, and
singly desirous that Apia should be neutralised.  The conclusion was
foregone.  Becker held a trump card in the consent of Mataafa; Blacklock
and Leary stood alone, spoke with all ill grace, and could not long hold
out.  Becker had his way; and the neutral boundary was chosen just where
he desired: across the isthmus, the firm within, Mulinuu without.  He did
not long enjoy the fruits of victory.

On the 7th, three days after the meeting, one of the Scanlons (well-known
and intelligent half-castes) came to Blacklock with a complaint.  The
Scanlon house stood on the hither side of the Tamasese breastwork, just
inside the newly accepted territory, and within easy range of the firm.
Armed men, to the number of a hundred, had issued from Mulinuu, had
"taken charge" of the house, had pointed a gun at Scanlon's head, and had
twice "threatened to kill" his pigs.  I hear elsewhere of some effects
(_Gegenstande_) removed.  At the best a very pale atrocity, though we
shall find the word employed.  Germans declare besides that Scanlon was
no American subject; they declare the point had been decided by court-
martial in 1875; that Blacklock had the decision in the consular
archives; and that this was his reason for handing the affair to Leary.
It is not necessary to suppose so.  It is plain he thought little of the
business; thought indeed nothing of it; except in so far as armed men had
entered the neutral territory from Mulinuu; and it was on this ground
alone, and the implied breach of Becker's engagement at the conference,
that he invited Leary's attention to the tale.  The impish ingenuity of
the commander perceived in it huge possibilities of mischief.  He took up
the Scanlon outrage, the atrocity of the threatened pigs; and with that
poor instrument--I am sure, to his own wonder--drove Tamasese out of
Mulinuu.  It was "an intrigue," Becker complains.  To be sure it was; but
who was Becker to be complaining of intrigue?

On the 7th Leary laid before Fritze the following conundrum: "As the
natives of Mulinuu appear to be under the protection of the Imperial
German naval guard belonging to the vessel under your command, I have the
honour to request you to inform me whether or not they are under such
protection?  Amicable relations," pursued the humorist, "amicable
relations exist between the government of the United States and His
Imperial German Majesty's government, but we do not recognise Tamasese's
government, and I am desirous of locating the responsibility for
violations of American rights."  Becker and Fritze lost no time in
explanation or denial, but went straight to the root of the matter and
sought to buy off Scanlon.  Becker declares that every reparation was
offered.  Scanlon takes a pride to recapitulate the leases and the
situations he refused, and the long interviews in which he was tempted
and plied with drink by Becker or Beckmann of the firm.  No doubt, in
short, that he was offered reparation in reason and out of reason, and,
being thoroughly primed, refused it all.  Meantime some answer must be
made to Leary; and Fritze repeated on the 8th his oft-repeated assurances
that he was not authorised to deal with politics.  The same day Leary
retorted: "The question is not one of diplomacy nor of politics.  It is
strictly one of military jurisdiction and responsibility.  Under the
shadow of the German fort at Mulinuu," continued the hyperbolical
commander, "atrocities have been committed. . . . And I again have the
honour respectfully to request to be informed whether or not the armed
natives at Mulinuu are under the protection of the Imperial German naval
guard belonging to the vessel under your command."  To this no answer was
vouchsafed till the 11th, and then in the old terms; and meanwhile, on
the 10th, Leary got into his gaiters--the sure sign, as was both said and
sung aboard his vessel, of some desperate or some amusing service--and
was set ashore at the Scanlons' house.  Of this he took possession at the
head of an old woman and a mop, and was seen from the Tamasese breastwork
directing operations and plainly preparing to install himself there in a
military posture.  So much he meant to be understood; so much he meant to
carry out, and an armed party from the _Adams_ was to have garrisoned on
the morrow the scene of the atrocity.  But there is no doubt he managed
to convey more.  No doubt he was a master in the art of loose speaking,
and could always manage to be overheard when he wanted; and by this, or
some other equally unofficial means, he spread the rumour that on the
morrow he was to bombard.

The proposed post, from its position, and from Leary's well-established
character as an artist in mischief, must have been regarded by the
Germans with uneasiness.  In the bombardment we can scarce suppose them
to have believed.  But Tamasese must have both believed and trembled.  The
prestige of the European Powers was still unbroken.  No native would then
have dreamed of defying these colossal ships, worked by mysterious
powers, and laden with outlandish instruments of death.  None would have
dreamed of resisting those strange but quite unrealised Great Powers,
understood (with difficulty) to be larger than Tonga and Samoa put
together, and known to be prolific of prints, knives, hard biscuit,
picture-books, and other luxuries, as well as of overbearing men and
inconsistent orders.  Laupepa had fallen in ill-blood with one of them;
his only idea of defence had been to throw himself in the arms of
another; his name, his rank, and his great following had not been able to
preserve him; and he had vanished from the eyes of men--as the Samoan
thinks of it, beyond the sky.  Asi, Maunga, Tuiletu-funga, had followed
him in that new path of doom.  We have seen how carefully Mataafa still
walked, how he dared not set foot on the neutral territory till assured
it was no longer sacred, how he withdrew from it again as soon as its
sacredness had been restored, and at the bare word of a consul (however
gilded with ambiguous promises) paused in his course of victory and left
his rival unassailed in Mulinuu.  And now it was the rival's turn.
Hitherto happy in the continued support of one of the white Powers, he
now found himself--or thought himself--threatened with war by no less
than two others.

Tamasese boats as they passed Matautu were in the habit of firing on the
shore, as like as not without particular aim, and more in high spirits
than hostility.  One of these shots pierced the house of a British
subject near the consulate; the consul reported to Admiral Fairfax; and,
on the morning of the 10th, the admiral despatched Captain Kane of the
_Calliope_ to Mulinuu.  Brandeis met the messenger with voluble excuses
and engagements for the future.  He was told his explanations were
satisfactory so far as they went, but that the admiral's message was to
Tamasese, the _de facto_ king.  Brandeis, not very well assured of his
puppet's courage, attempted in vain to excuse him from appearing.  No _de
facto_ king, no message, he was told: produce your _de facto_ king.  And
Tamasese had at last to be produced.  To him Kane delivered his errand:
that the _Lizard_ was to remain for the protection of British subjects;
that a signalman was to be stationed at the consulate; that, on any
further firing from boats, the signalman was to notify the _Lizard_ and
she to fire one gun, on which all boats must lower sail and come
alongside for examination and the detection of the guilty; and that, "in
the event of the boats not obeying the gun, the admiral would not be
responsible for the consequences."  It was listened to by Brandeis and
Tamasese "with the greatest attention."  Brandeis, when it was done,
desired his thanks to the admiral for the moderate terms of his message,
and, as Kane went to his boat, repeated the expression of his gratitude
as though he meant it, declaring his own hands would be thus strengthened
for the maintenance of discipline.  But I have yet to learn of any
gratitude on the part of Tamasese.  Consider the case of the poor owlish
man hearing for the first time our diplomatic commonplaces.  The admiral
would not be answerable for the consequences.  Think of it!  A devil of a
position for a _de facto_ king.  And here, the same afternoon, was Leary
in the Scanlon house, mopping it out for unknown designs by the hands of
an old woman, and proffering strange threats of bloodshed.  Scanlon and
his pigs, the admiral and his gun, Leary and his bombardment,--what a
kettle of fish!

I dwell on the effect on Tamasese.  Whatever the faults of Becker, he was
not timid; he had already braved so much for Mulinuu that I cannot but
think he might have continued to hold up his head even after the outrage
of the pigs, and that the weakness now shown originated with the king.
Late in the night, Blacklock was wakened to receive a despatch addressed
to Leary.  "You have asked that I and my government go away from Mulinuu,
because you pretend a man who lives near Mulinuu and who is under your
protection, has been threatened by my soldiers.  As your Excellency has
forbidden the man to accept any satisfaction, and as I do not wish to
make war against the United States, I shall remove my government from
Mulinuu to another place."  It was signed by Tamasese, but I think more
heads than his had wagged over the direct and able letter.  On the
morning of the 11th, accordingly, Mulinuu the much defended lay desert.
Tamasese and Brandeis had slipped to sea in a schooner; their troops had
followed them in boats; the German sailors and their war-flag had
returned on board the _Adler_; and only the German merchant flag blew
there for Weber's land-claim.  Mulinuu, for which Becker had intrigued so
long and so often, for which he had overthrown the municipality, for
which he had abrogated and refused and invented successive schemes of
neutral territory, was now no more to the Germans than a very
unattractive, barren peninsula and a very much disputed land-claim of Mr.
Weber's.  It will scarcely be believed that the tale of the Scanlon
outrages was not yet finished.  Leary had gained his point, but Scanlon
had lost his compensation.  And it was months later, and this time in the
shape of a threat of bombardment in black and white, that Tamasese heard
the last of the absurd affair.  Scanlon had both his fun and his money,
and Leary's practical joke was brought to an artistic end.

Becker sought and missed an instant revenge.  Mataafa, a devout Catholic,
was in the habit of walking every morning to mass from his camp at Vaiala
beyond Matautu to the mission at the Mulivai.  He was sometimes escorted
by as many as six guards in uniform, who displayed their proficiency in
drill by perpetually shifting arms as they marched.  Himself, meanwhile,
paced in front, bareheaded and barefoot, a staff in his hand, in the
customary chief's dress of white kilt, shirt, and jacket, and with a
conspicuous rosary about his neck.  Tall but not heavy, with eager eyes
and a marked appearance of courage and capacity, Mataafa makes an
admirable figure in the eyes of Europeans; to those of his countrymen, he
may seem not always to preserve that quiescence of manner which is
thought becoming in the great.  On the morning of October 16th he reached
the mission before day with two attendants, heard mass, had coffee with
the fathers, and left again in safety.  The smallness of his following we
may suppose to have been reported.  He was scarce gone, at least, before
Becker had armed men at the mission gate and came in person seeking him.

The failure of this attempt doubtless still further exasperated the
consul, and he began to deal as in an enemy's country.  He had marines
from the _Adler_ to stand sentry over the consulate and parade the
streets by threes and fours.  The bridge of the Vaisingano, which cuts in
half the English and American quarters, he closed by proclamation and
advertised for tenders to demolish it.  On the 17th Leary and Pelly
landed carpenters and repaired it in his teeth.  Leary, besides, had
marines under arms, ready to land them if it should be necessary to
protect the work.  But Becker looked on without interference, perhaps
glad enough to have the bridge repaired; for even Becker may not always
have offended intentionally.  Such was now the distracted posture of the
little town: all government extinct, the German consul patrolling it with
armed men and issuing proclamations like a ruler, the two other Powers
defying his commands, and at least one of them prepared to use force in
the defiance.  Close on its skirts sat the warriors of Mataafa, perhaps
four thousand strong, highly incensed against the Germans, having all to
gain in the seizure of the town and firm, and, like an army in a fairy
tale, restrained by the air-drawn boundary of the neutral ground.

I have had occasion to refer to the strange appearance in these islands
of an American adventurer with a battery of cannon.  The adventurer was
long since gone, but his guns remained, and one of them was now to make
fresh history.  It had been cast overboard by Brandeis on the outer reef
in the course of this retreat; and word of it coming to the ears of the
Mataafas, they thought it natural that they should serve themselves the
heirs of Tamasese.  On the 23rd a Manono boat of the kind called
_taumualua_ dropped down the coast from Mataafa's camp, called in broad
day at the German quarter of the town for guides, and proceeded to the
reef.  Here, diving with a rope, they got the gun aboard; and the night
being then come, returned by the same route in the shallow water along
shore, singing a boat-song.  It will be seen with what childlike reliance
they had accepted the neutrality of Apia bay; they came for the gun
without concealment, laboriously dived for it in broad day under the eyes
of the town and shipping, and returned with it, singing as they went.  On
Grevsmuhl's wharf, a light showed them a crowd of German blue-jackets
clustered, and a hail was heard.  "Stop the singing so that we may hear
what is said," said one of the chiefs in the _taumualua_.  The song
ceased; the hail was heard again, "_Au mai le fana_--bring the gun"; and
the natives report themselves to have replied in the affirmative, and
declare that they had begun to back the boat.  It is perhaps not needful
to believe them.  A volley at least was fired from the wharf, at about
fifty yards' range and with a very ill direction, one bullet whistling
over Pelly's head on board the _Lizard_.  The natives jumped overboard;
and swimming under the lee of the _taumualua_ (where they escaped a
second volley) dragged her towards the east.  As soon as they were out of
range and past the Mulivai, the German border, they got on board and
(again singing--though perhaps a different song) continued their return
along the English and American shore.  Off Matautu they were hailed from
the seaward by one of the _Adler's_ boats, which had been suddenly
despatched on the sound of the firing or had stood ready all evening to
secure the gun.  The hail was in German; the Samoans knew not what it
meant, but took the precaution to jump overboard and swim for land.  Two
volleys and some dropping shot were poured upon them in the water; but
they dived, scattered, and came to land unhurt in different quarters of
Matautu.  The volleys, fired inshore, raked the highway, a British house
was again pierced by numerous bullets, and these sudden sounds of war
scattered consternation through the town.

Two British subjects, Hetherington-Carruthers, a solicitor, and Maben, a
land-surveyor--the first being in particular a man well versed in the
native mind and language--hastened at once to their consul; assured him
the Mataafas would be roused to fury by this onslaught in the neutral
zone, that the German quarter would be certainly attacked, and the rest
of the town and white inhabitants exposed to a peril very difficult of
estimation; and prevailed upon him to intrust them with a mission to the
king.  By the time they reached headquarters, the warriors were already
taking post round Matafele, and the agitation of Mataafa himself was
betrayed in the fact that he spoke with the deputation standing and gun
in hand: a breach of high-chief dignity perhaps unparalleled.  The usual
result, however, followed: the whites persuaded the Samoan; and the
attack was countermanded, to the benefit of all concerned, and not least
of Mataafa.  To the benefit of all, I say; for I do not think the Germans
were that evening in a posture to resist; the liquor-cellars of the firm
must have fallen into the power of the insurgents; and I will repeat my
formula that a mob is a mob, a drunken mob is a drunken mob, and a
drunken mob with weapons in its hands is a drunken mob with weapons in
its hands, all the world over.

In the opinion of some, then, the town had narrowly escaped destruction,
or at least the miseries of a drunken sack.  To the knowledge of all, the
air of the neutral territory had once more whistled with bullets.  And it
was clear the incident must have diplomatic consequences.  Leary and
Pelly both protested to Fritze.  Leary announced he should report the
affair to his government "as a gross violation of the principles of
international law, and as a breach of the neutrality."  "I positively
decline the protest," replied Fritze, "and cannot fail to express my
astonishment at the tone of your last letter."  This was trenchant.  It
may be said, however, that Leary was already out of court; that, after
the night signals and the Scanlon incident, and so many other acts of
practical if humorous hostility, his position as a neutral was no better
than a doubtful jest.  The case with Pelly was entirely different; and
with Pelly, Fritze was less well inspired.  In his first note, he was on
the old guard; announced that he had acted on the requisition of his
consul, who was alone responsible on "the legal side"; and declined
accordingly to discuss "whether the lives of British subjects were in
danger, and to what extent armed intervention was necessary."  Pelly
replied judiciously that he had nothing to do with political matters,
being only responsible for the safety of Her Majesty's ships under his
command and for the lives and property of British subjects; that he had
considered his protest a purely naval one; and as the matter stood could
only report the case to the admiral on the station.  "I have the honour,"
replied Fritze, "to refuse to entertain the protest concerning the safety
of Her Britannic Majesty's ship _Lizard_ as being a naval matter.  The
safety of Her Majesty's ship _Lizard_ was never in the least endangered.
This was guaranteed by the disciplined fire of a few shots under the
direction of two officers."  This offensive note, in view of Fritze's
careful and honest bearing among so many other complications, may be
attributed to some misunderstanding.  His small knowledge of English
perhaps failed him.  But I cannot pass it by without remarking how far
too much it is the custom of German officials to fall into this style.  It
may be witty, I am sure it is not wise.  It may be sometimes necessary to
offend for a definite object, it can never be diplomatic to offend
gratuitously.

Becker was more explicit, although scarce less curt.  And his defence may
be divided into two statements: first, that the _taumualua_ was
proceeding to land with a hostile purpose on Mulinuu; second, that the
shots complained of were fired by the Samoans.  The second may be
dismissed with a laugh.  Human nature has laws.  And no men hitherto
discovered, on being suddenly challenged from the sea, would have turned
their backs upon the challenger and poured volleys on the friendly shore.
The first is not extremely credible, but merits examination.  The story
of the recovered gun seems straightforward; it is supported by much
testimony, the diving operations on the reef seem to have been watched
from shore with curiosity; it is hard to suppose that it does not roughly
represent the fact.  And yet if any part of it be true, the whole of
Becker's explanation falls to the ground.  A boat which had skirted the
whole eastern coast of Mulinuu, and was already opposite a wharf in
Matafele, and still going west, might have been guilty on a thousand
points--there was one on which she was necessarily innocent; she was
necessarily innocent of proceeding on Mulinuu.  Or suppose the diving
operations, and the native testimony, and Pelly's chart of the boat's
course, and the boat itself, to be all stages of some epidemic
hallucination or steps in a conspiracy--suppose even a second _taumualua_
to have entered Apia bay after nightfall, and to have been fired upon
from Grevsmuhl's wharf in the full career of hostilities against
Mulinuu--suppose all this, and Becker is not helped.  At the time of the
first fire, the boat was off Grevsmuhl's wharf.  At the time of the
second (and that is the one complained of) she was off Carruthers's wharf
in Matautu.  Was she still proceeding on Mulinuu?  I trow not.  The
danger to German property was no longer imminent, the shots had been
fired upon a very trifling provocation, the spirit implied was that of
designed disregard to the neutrality.  Such was the impression here on
the spot; such in plain terms the statement of Count Hatzfeldt to Lord
Salisbury at home: that the neutrality of Apia was only "to prevent the
natives from fighting," not the Germans; and that whatever Becker might
have promised at the conference, he could not "restrict German
war-vessels in their freedom of action."

There was nothing to surprise in this discovery; and had events been
guided at the same time with a steady and discreet hand, it might have
passed with less observation.  But the policy of Becker was felt to be
not only reckless, it was felt to be absurd also.  Sudden nocturnal
onfalls upon native boats could lead, it was felt, to no good end whether
of peace or war; they could but exasperate; they might prove, in a
moment, and when least expected, ruinous.  To those who knew how nearly
it had come to fighting, and who considered the probable result, the
future looked ominous.  And fear was mingled with annoyance in the minds
of the Anglo-Saxon colony.  On the 24th, a public meeting appealed to the
British and American consuls.  At half-past seven in the evening guards
were landed at the consulates.  On the morrow they were each fortified
with sand-bags; and the subjects informed by proclamation that these
asylums stood open to them on any alarm, and at any hour of the day or
night.  The social bond in Apia was dissolved.  The consuls, like barons
of old, dwelt each in his armed citadel.  The rank and file of the white
nationalities dared each other, and sometimes fell to on the street like
rival clansmen.  And the little town, not by any fault of the
inhabitants, rather by the act of Becker, had fallen back in civilisation
about a thousand years.

There falls one more incident to be narrated, and then I can close with
this ungracious chapter.  I have mentioned the name of the new English
consul.  It is already familiar to English readers; for the gentleman who
was fated to undergo some strange experiences in Apia was the same de
Coetlogon who covered Hicks's flank at the time of the disaster in the
desert, and bade farewell to Gordon in Khartoum before the investment.
The colonel was abrupt and testy; Mrs. de Coetlogon was too exclusive for
society like that of Apia; but whatever their superficial disabilities,
it is strange they should have left, in such an odour of unpopularity, a
place where they set so shining an example of the sterling virtues.  The
colonel was perhaps no diplomatist; he was certainly no lawyer; but he
discharged the duties of his office with the constancy and courage of an
old soldier, and these were found sufficient.  He and his wife had no
ambition to be the leaders of society; the consulate was in their time no
house of feasting; but they made of it that house of mourning to which
the preacher tells us it is better we should go.  At an early date after
the battle of Matautu, it was opened as a hospital for the wounded.  The
English and Americans subscribed what was required for its support.  Pelly
of the _Lizard_ strained every nerve to help, and set up tents on the
lawn to be a shelter for the patients.  The doctors of the English and
American ships, and in particular Dr. Oakley of the _Lizard_, showed
themselves indefatigable.  But it was on the de Coetlogons that the
distress fell.  For nearly half a year, their lawn, their verandah,
sometimes their rooms, were cumbered with the sick and dying, their ears
were filled with the complaints of suffering humanity, their time was too
short for the multiplicity of pitiful duties.  In Mrs. de Coetlogon, and
her helper, Miss Taylor, the merit of this endurance was perhaps to be
looked for; in a man of the colonel's temper, himself painfully
suffering, it was viewed with more surprise, if with no more admiration.
Doubtless all had their reward in a sense of duty done; doubtless, also,
as the days passed, in the spectacle of many traits of gratitude and
patience, and in the success that waited on their efforts.  Out of a
hundred cases treated, only five died.  They were all well-behaved,
though full of childish wiles.  One old gentleman, a high chief, was
seized with alarming symptoms of belly-ache whenever Mrs. de Coetlogon
went her rounds at night: he was after brandy.  Others were insatiable
for morphine or opium.  A chief woman had her foot amputated under
chloroform.  "Let me see my foot!  Why does it not hurt?" she cried.  "It
hurt so badly before I went to sleep."  Siteoni, whose name has been
already mentioned, had his shoulder-blade excised, lay the longest of
any, perhaps behaved the worst, and was on all these grounds the
favourite.  At times he was furiously irritable, and would rail upon his
family and rise in bed until he swooned with pain.  Once on the balcony
he was thought to be dying, his family keeping round his mat, his father
exhorting him to be prepared, when Mrs. de Coetlogon brought him round
again with brandy and smelling-salts.  After discharge, he returned upon
a visit of gratitude; and it was observed, that instead of coming
straight to the door, he went and stood long under his umbrella on that
spot of ground where his mat had been stretched and he had endured pain
so many months.  Similar visits were the rule, I believe without
exception; and the grateful patients loaded Mrs. de Coetlogon with gifts
which (had that been possible in Polynesia) she would willingly have
declined, for they were often of value to the givers.

The tissue of my story is one of rapacity, intrigue, and the triumphs of
temper; the hospital at the consulate stands out almost alone as an
episode of human beauty, and I dwell on it with satisfaction.  But it was
not regarded at the time with universal favour; and even to-day its
institution is thought by many to have been impolitic.  It was opened, it
stood open, for the wounded of either party.  As a matter of fact it was
never used but by the Mataafas, and the Tamaseses were cared for
exclusively by German doctors.  In the progressive decivilisation of the
town, these duties of humanity became thus a ground of quarrel.  When the
Mataafa hurt were first brought together after the battle of Matautu, and
some more or less amateur surgeons were dressing wounds on a green by the
wayside, one from the German consulate went by in the road.  "Why don't
you let the dogs die?" he asked.  "Go to hell," was the rejoinder.  Such
were the amenities of Apia.  But Becker reserved for himself the extreme
expression of this spirit.  On November 7th hostilities began again
between the Samoan armies, and an inconclusive skirmish sent a fresh crop
of wounded to the de Coetlogons.  Next door to the consulate, some native
houses and a chapel (now ruinous) stood on a green.  Chapel and houses
were certainly Samoan, but the ground was under a land-claim of the
German firm; and de Coetlogon wrote to Becker requesting permission (in
case it should prove necessary) to use these structures for his wounded.
Before an answer came, the hospital was startled by the appearance of a
case of gangrene, and the patient was hastily removed into the chapel.  A
rebel laid on German ground--here was an atrocity!  The day before his
own relief, November 11th, Becker ordered the man's instant removal.  By
his aggressive carriage and singular mixture of violence and cunning, he
had already largely brought about the fall of Brandeis, and forced into
an attitude of hostility the whole non-German population of the islands.
Now, in his last hour of office, by this wanton buffet to his English
colleague, he prepared a continuance of evil days for his successor.  If
the object of diplomacy be the organisation of failure in the midst of
hate, he was a great diplomatist.  And amongst a certain party on the
beach he is still named as the ideal consul.




CHAPTER VII--THE SAMOAN CAMPS


_November_ 1888

When Brandeis and Tamasese fled by night from Mulinuu, they carried their
wandering government some six miles to windward, to a position above
Lotoanuu.  For some three miles to the eastward of Apia, the shores of
Upolu are low and the ground rises with a gentle acclivity, much of which
waves with German plantations.  A barrier reef encloses a lagoon passable
for boats: and the traveller skims there, on smooth, many-tinted
shallows, between the wall of the breakers on the one hand, and on the
other a succession of palm-tree capes and cheerful beach-side villages.
Beyond the great plantation of Vailele, the character of the coast is
changed.  The barrier reef abruptly ceases, the surf beats direct upon
the shore; and the mountains and untenanted forest of the interior
descend sheer into the sea.  The first mountain promontory is Letongo.
The bay beyond is called Laulii, and became the headquarters of Mataafa.
And on the next projection, on steep, intricate ground, veiled in forest
and cut up by gorges and defiles, Tamasese fortified his lines.  This
greenwood citadel, which proved impregnable by Samoan arms, may be
regarded as his front; the sea covered his right; and his rear extended
along the coast as far as Saluafata, and thus commanded and drew upon a
rich country, including the plain of Falefa.

He was left in peace from 11th October till November 6th.  But his
adversary is not wholly to be blamed for this delay, which depended upon
island etiquette.  His Savaii contingent had not yet come in, and to have
moved again without waiting for them would have been surely to offend,
perhaps to lose them.  With the month of November they began to arrive:
on the 2nd twenty boats, on the 3rd twenty-nine, on the 5th seventeen.  On
the 6th the position Mataafa had so long occupied on the skirts of Apia
was deserted; all that day and night his force kept streaming eastward to
Laulii; and on the 7th the siege of Lotoanuu was opened with a brisk
skirmish.

Each side built forts, facing across the gorge of a brook.  An endless
fusillade and shouting maintained the spirit of the warriors; and at
night, even if the firing slackened, the pickets continued to exchange
from either side volleys of songs and pungent pleasantries.  Nearer
hostilities were rendered difficult by the nature of the ground, where
men must thread dense bush and clamber on the face of precipices.  Apia
was near enough; a man, if he had a dollar or two, could walk in before a
battle and array himself in silk or velvet.  Casualties were not common;
there was nothing to cast gloom upon the camps, and no more danger than
was required to give a spice to the perpetual firing.  For the young
warriors it was a period of admirable enjoyment.  But the anxiety of
Mataafa must have been great and growing.  His force was now
considerable.  It was scarce likely he should ever have more.  That he
should be long able to supply them with ammunition seemed incredible; at
the rates then or soon after current, hundreds of pounds sterling might
be easily blown into the air by the skirmishers in the course of a few
days.  And in the meanwhile, on the mountain opposite, his outnumbered
adversary held his ground unshaken.

By this time the partisanship of the whites was unconcealed.  Americans
supplied Mataafa with ammunition; English and Americans openly subscribed
together and sent boat-loads of provisions to his camp.  One such boat
started from Apia on a day of rain; it was pulled by six oars, three
being paid by Moors, three by the MacArthurs; Moors himself and a clerk
of the MacArthurs' were in charge; and the load included not only beef
and biscuit, but three or four thousand rounds of ammunition.  They came
ashore in Laulii, and carried the gift to Mataafa.  While they were yet
in his house a bullet passed overhead; and out of his door they could see
the Tamasese pickets on the opposite hill.  Thence they made their way to
the left flank of the Mataafa position next the sea.  A Tamasese
barricade was visible across the stream.  It rained, but the warriors
crowded in their shanties, squatted in the mud, and maintained an excited
conversation.  Balls flew; either faction, both happy as lords, spotting
for the other in chance shots, and missing.  One point is characteristic
of that war; experts in native feeling doubt if it will characterise the
next.  The two white visitors passed without and between the lines to a
rocky point upon the beach.  The person of Moors was well known; the
purpose of their coming to Laulii must have been already bruited abroad;
yet they were not fired upon.  From the point they spied a crow's nest,
or hanging fortification, higher up; and, judging it was a good position
for a general view, obtained a guide.  He led them up a steep side of the
mountain, where they must climb by roots and tufts of grass; and coming
to an open hill-top with some scattered trees, bade them wait, let him
draw the fire, and then be swift to follow.  Perhaps a dozen balls
whistled about him ere he had crossed the dangerous passage and dropped
on the farther side into the crow's-nest; the white men, briskly
following, escaped unhurt.  The crow's-nest was built like a bartizan on
the precipitous front of the position.  Across the ravine, perhaps at
five hundred yards, heads were to be seen popping up and down in a fort
of Tamesese's.  On both sides the same enthusiasm without council, the
same senseless vigilance, reigned.  Some took aim; some blazed before
them at a venture.  Now--when a head showed on the other side--one would
take a crack at it, remarking that it would never do to "miss a chance."
Now they would all fire a volley and bob down; a return volley rang
across the ravine, and was punctually answered: harmless as lawn-tennis.
The whites expostulated in vain.  The warriors, drunken with noise, made
answer by a fresh general discharge and bade their visitors run while it
was time.  Upon their return to headquarters, men were covering the front
with sheets of coral limestone, two balls having passed through the house
in the interval.  Mataafa sat within, over his kava bowl, unmoved.  The
picture is of a piece throughout: excellent courage, super-excellent
folly, a war of school-children; expensive guns and cartridges used like
squibs or catherine-wheels on Guy Fawkes's Day.

On the 20th Mataafa changed his attack.  Tamasese's front was seemingly
impregnable.  Something must be tried upon his rear.  There was his bread-
basket; a small success in that direction would immediately curtail his
resources; and it might be possible with energy to roll up his line along
the beach and take the citadel in reverse.  The scheme was carried out as
might be expected from these childish soldiers.  Mataafa, always uneasy
about Apia, clung with a portion of his force to Laulii; and thus, had
the foe been enterprising, exposed himself to disaster.  The expedition
fell successfully enough on Saluafata and drove out the Tamaseses with a
loss of four heads; but so far from improving the advantage, yielded
immediately to the weakness of the Samoan warrior, and ranged farther
east through unarmed populations, bursting with shouts and blackened
faces into villages terrified or admiring, making spoil of pigs, burning
houses, and destroying gardens.  The Tamasese had at first evacuated
several beach towns in succession, and were still in retreat on Lotoanuu;
finding themselves unpursued, they reoccupied them one after another, and
re-established their lines to the very borders of Saluafata.  Night fell;
Mataafa had taken Saluafata, Tamasese had lost it; and that was all.  But
the day came near to have a different and very singular issue.  The
village was not long in the hands of the Mataafas, when a schooner,
flying German colours, put into the bay and was immediately surrounded by
their boats.  It chanced that Brandeis was on board.  Word of it had gone
abroad, and the boats as they approached demanded him with threats.  The
late premier, alone, entirely unarmed, and a prey to natural and painful
feelings, concealed himself below.  The captain of the schooner remained
on deck, pointed to the German colours, and defied approaching boats.
Again the prestige of a great Power triumphed; the Samoans fell back
before the bunting; the schooner worked out of the bay; Brandeis escaped.
He himself apprehended the worst if he fell into Samoan hands; it is my
diffident impression that his life would have been safe.

On the 22nd, a new German war-ship, the _Eber_, of tragic memory, came to
Apia from the Gilberts, where she had been disarming turbulent islands.
The rest of that day and all night she loaded stores from the firm, and
on the morrow reached Saluafata bay.  Thanks to the misconduct of the
Mataafas, the most of the foreshore was still in the hands of the
Tamaseses; and they were thus able to receive from the _Eber_ both the
stores and weapons.  The weapons had been sold long since to Tarawa,
Apaiang, and Pleasant Island; places unheard of by the general reader,
where obscure inhabitants paid for these instruments of death in money or
in labour, misused them as it was known they would be misused, and had
been disarmed by force.  The _Eber_ had brought back the guns to a German
counter, whence many must have been originally sold; and was here
engaged, like a shopboy, in their distribution to fresh purchasers.  Such
is the vicious circle of the traffic in weapons of war.  Another aid of a
more metaphysical nature was ministered by the _Eber_ to Tamasese, in the
shape of uncountable German flags.  The full history of this epidemic of
bunting falls to be told in the next chapter.  But the fact has to be
chronicled here, for I believe it was to these flags that we owe the
visit of the _Adams_, and my next and best authentic glance into a native
camp.  The _Adams_ arrived in Saluafata on the 26th.  On the morrow Leary
and Moors landed at the village.  It was still occupied by Mataafas,
mostly from Manono and Savaii, few in number, high in spirit.  The
Tamasese pickets were meanwhile within musket range; there was maintained
a steady sputtering of shots; and yet a party of Tamasese women were here
on a visit to the women of Manono, with whom they sat talking and
smoking, under the fire of their own relatives.  It was reported that
Leary took part in a council of war, and promised to join with his
broadside in the next attack.  It is certain he did nothing of the sort:
equally certain that, in Tamasese circles, he was firmly credited with
having done so.  And this heightens the extraordinary character of what I
have now to tell.  Prudence and delicacy alike ought to have forbid the
camp of Tamasese to the feet of either Leary or Moors.  Moors was the
original--there was a time when he had been the only--opponent of the
puppet king.  Leary had driven him from the seat of government; it was
but a week or two since he had threatened to bombard him in his present
refuge.  Both were in close and daily council with his adversary, and it
was no secret that Moors was supplying the latter with food.  They were
partisans; it lacked but a hair that they should be called belligerents;
it were idle to try to deny they were the most dangerous of spies.  And
yet these two now sailed across the bay and landed inside the Tamasese
lines at Salelesi.  On the very beach they had another glimpse of the
artlessness of Samoan war.  Hitherto the Tamasese fleet, being hardy and
unencumbered, had made a fool of the huge floating forts upon the other
side; and here they were toiling, not to produce another boat on their
own pattern in which they had always enjoyed the advantage, but to make a
new one the type of their enemies', of which they had now proved the
uselessness for months.  It came on to rain as the Americans landed; and
though none offered to oppose their coming ashore, none invited them to
take shelter.  They were nowise abashed, entered a house unbidden, and
were made welcome with obvious reserve.  The rain clearing off, they set
forth westward, deeper into the heart of the enemies' position.  Three or
four young men ran some way before them, doubtless to give warning; and
Leary, with his indomitable taste for mischief, kept inquiring as he went
after "the high chief" Tamasese.  The line of the beach was one
continuous breastwork; some thirty odd iron cannon of all sizes and
patterns stood mounted in embrasures; plenty grape and canister lay
ready; and at every hundred yards or so the German flag was flying.  The
numbers of the guns and flags I give as I received them, though they test
my faith.  At the house of Brandeis--a little, weatherboard house,
crammed at the time with natives, men, women, and squalling
children--Leary and Moors again asked for "the high chief," and, were
again assured that he was farther on.  A little beyond, the road ran in
one place somewhat inland, the two Americans had gone down to the line of
the beach to continue their inspection of the breastwork, when Brandeis
himself, in his shirt-sleeves and accompanied by several German officers,
passed them by the line of the road.  The two parties saluted in silence.
Beyond Eva Point there was an observable change for the worse in the
reception of the Americans; some whom they met began to mutter at Moors;
and the adventurers, with tardy but commendable prudence, desisted from
their search after the high chief, and began to retrace their steps.  On
the return, Suatele and some chiefs were drinking kava in a "big house,"
and called them in to join--their only invitation.  But the night was
closing, the rain had begun again: they stayed but for civility, and
returned on board the _Adams_, wet and hungry, and I believe delighted
with their expedition.  It was perhaps the last as it was certainly one
of the most extreme examples of that divinity which once hedged the white
in Samoa.  The feeling was already different in the camp of Mataafa,
where the safety of a German loiterer had been a matter of extreme
concern.  Ten days later, three commissioners, an Englishman, an
American, and a German, approached a post of Mataafas, were challenged by
an old man with a gun, and mentioned in answer what they were.  "_Ifea
Siamani_?  Which is the German?" cried the old gentleman, dancing, and
with his finger on the trigger; and the commissioners stood somewhile in
a very anxious posture, till they were released by the opportune arrival
of a chief.  It was November the 27th when Leary and Moors completed
their absurd excursion; in about three weeks an event was to befall which
changed at once, and probably for ever, the relations of the natives and
the whites.

By the 28th Tamasese had collected seventeen hundred men in the trenches
before Saluafata, thinking to attack next day.  But the Mataafas
evacuated the place in the night.  At half-past five on the morning of
the 29th a signal-gun was fired in the trenches at Laulii, and the
Tamasese citadel was assaulted and defended with a fury new among
Samoans.  When the battle ended on the following day, one or more
outworks remained in the possession of Mataafa.  Another had been taken
and lost as many as four times.  Carried originally by a mixed force from
Savaii and Tuamasanga, the victors, instead of completing fresh defences
or pursuing their advantage, fell to eat and smoke and celebrate their
victory with impromptu songs.  In this humour a rally of the Tamaseses
smote them, drove them out pell-mell, and tumbled them into the ravine,
where many broke their heads and legs.  Again the work was taken, again
lost.  Ammunition failed the belligerents; and they fought hand to hand
in the contested fort with axes, clubs, and clubbed rifles.  The
sustained ardour of the engagement surprised even those who were engaged;
and the butcher's bill was counted extraordinary by Samoans.  On December
1st the women of either side collected the headless bodies of the dead,
each easily identified by the name tattooed on his forearm.  Mataafa is
thought to have lost sixty killed; and the de Coetlogons' hospital
received three women and forty men.  The casualties on the Tamasese side
cannot be accepted, but they were presumably much less.




CHAPTER VIII--AFFAIRS OF LAULII AND FANGALII


_November-December_ 1888

For Becker I have not been able to conceal my distaste, for he seems to
me both false and foolish.  But of his successor, the unfortunately
famous Dr. Knappe, we may think as of a good enough fellow driven
distraught.  Fond of Samoa and the Samoans, he thought to bring peace and
enjoy popularity among the islanders; of a genial, amiable, and sanguine
temper, he made no doubt but he could repair the breach with the English
consul.  Hope told a flattering tale.  He awoke to find himself
exchanging defiances with de Coetlogon, beaten in the field by Mataafa,
surrounded on the spot by general exasperation, and disowned from home by
his own government.  The history of his administration leaves on the mind
of the student a sentiment of pity scarcely mingled.

On Blacklock he did not call, and, in view of Leary's attitude, may be
excused.  But the English consul was in a different category.  England,
weary of the name of Samoa, and desirous only to see peace established,
was prepared to wink hard during the process and to welcome the result of
any German settlement.  It was an unpardonable fault in Becker to have
kicked and buffeted his ready-made allies into a state of jealousy,
anger, and suspicion.  Knappe set himself at once to efface these
impressions, and the English officials rejoiced for the moment in the
change.  Between Knappe and de Coetlogon there seems to have been mutual
sympathy; and, in considering the steps by which they were led at last
into an attitude of mutual defiance, it must be remembered that both the
men were sick,--Knappe from time to time prostrated with that formidable
complaint, New Guinea fever, and de Coetlogon throughout his whole stay
in the islands continually ailing.

Tamasese was still to be recognised, and, if possible, supported: such
was the German policy.  Two days after his arrival, accordingly, Knappe
addressed to Mataafa a threatening despatch.  The German plantation was
suffering from the proximity of his "war-party."  He must withdraw from
Laulii at once, and, whithersoever he went, he must approach no German
property nor so much as any village where there was a German trader.  By
five o'clock on the morrow, if he were not gone, Knappe would turn upon
him "the attention of the man-of-war" and inflict a fine.  The same
evening, November 14th, Knappe went on board the _Adler_, which began to
get up steam.

Three months before, such direct intervention on the part of Germany
would have passed almost without protest; but the hour was now gone by.
Becker's conduct, equally timid and rash, equally inconclusive and
offensive, had forced the other nations into a strong feeling of common
interest with Mataafa.  Even had the German demands been moderate, de
Coetlogon could not have forgotten the night of the _taumualua_, nor how
Mataafa had relinquished, at his request, the attack upon the German
quarter.  Blacklock, with his driver of a captain at his elbow, was not
likely to lag behind.  And Mataafa having communicated Knappe's letter,
the example of the Germans was on all hands exactly followed; the consuls
hastened on board their respective war-ships, and these began to get up
steam.  About midnight, in a pouring rain, Pelly communicated to Fritze
his intention to follow him and protect British interests; and Knappe
replied that he would come on board the _Lizard_ and see de Coetlogon
personally.  It was deep in the small hours, and de Coetlogon had been
long asleep, when he was wakened to receive his colleague; but he started
up with an old soldier's readiness.  The conference was long.  De
Coetlogon protested, as he did afterwards in writing, against Knappe's
claim: the Samoans were in a state of war; they had territorial rights;
it was monstrous to prevent them from entering one of their own villages
because a German trader kept the store; and in case property suffered, a
claim for compensation was the proper remedy.  Knappe argued that this
was a question between Germans and Samoans, in which de Coetlogon had
nothing to see; and that he must protect German property according to his
instructions.  To which de Coetlogon replied that he was himself in the
same attitude to the property of the British; that he understood Knappe
to be intending hostilities against Laulii; that Laulii was mortgaged to
the MacArthurs; that its crops were accordingly British property; and
that, while he was ever willing to recognise the territorial rights of
the Samoans, he must prevent that property from being molested "by any
other nation."  "But if a German man-of-war does it?" asked Knappe.--"We
shall prevent it to the best of our ability," replied the colonel.  It is
to the credit of both men that this trying interview should have been
conducted and concluded without heat; but Knappe must have returned to
the _Adler_ with darker anticipations.

At sunrise on the morning of the 15th, the three ships, each loaded with
its consul, put to sea.  It is hard to exaggerate the peril of the
forenoon that followed, as they lay off Laulii.  Nobody desired a
collision, save perhaps the reckless Leary; but peace and war trembled in
the balance; and when the _Adler_, at one period, lowered her gun ports,
war appeared to preponderate.  It proved, however, to be a last--and
therefore surely an unwise--extremity.  Knappe contented himself with
visiting the rival kings, and the three ships returned to Apia before
noon.  Beyond a doubt, coming after Knappe's decisive letter of the day
before, this impotent conclusion shook the credit of Germany among the
natives of both sides; the Tamaseses fearing they were deserted, the
Mataafas (with secret delight) hoping they were feared.  And it gave an
impetus to that ridiculous business which might have earned for the whole
episode the name of the war of flags.  British and American flags had
been planted the night before, and were seen that morning flying over
what they claimed about Laulii.  British and American passengers, on the
way up and down, pointed out from the decks of the war-ships, with
generous vagueness, the boundaries of problematical estates.  Ten days
later, the beach of Saluafata bay fluttered (as I have told in the last
chapter) with the flag of Germany.  The Americans riposted with a claim
to Tamasese's camp, some small part of which (says Knappe) did really
belong to "an American nigger."  The disease spread, the flags were
multiplied, the operations of war became an egg-dance among miniature
neutral territories; and though all men took a hand in these proceedings,
all men in turn were struck with their absurdity.  Mullan, Leary's
successor, warned Knappe, in an emphatic despatch, not to squander and
discredit the solemnity of that emblem which was all he had to be a
defence to his own consulate.  And Knappe himself, in his despatch of
March 21st, 1889, castigates the practice with much sense.  But this was
after the tragicomic culmination had been reached, and the burnt rags of
one of these too-frequently mendacious signals gone on a progress to
Washington, like Caesar's body, arousing indignation where it came.  To
such results are nations conducted by the patent artifices of a Becker.

The discussion of the morning, the silent menace and defiance of the
voyage to Laulii, might have set the best-natured by the ears.  But
Knappe and de Coetlogon took their difference in excellent part.  On the
morrow, November 16th, they sat down together with Blacklock in
conference.  The English consul introduced his colleagues, who shook
hands.  If Knappe were dead-weighted with the inheritance of Becker,
Blacklock was handicapped by reminiscences of Leary; it is the more to
the credit of this inexperienced man that he should have maintained in
the future so excellent an attitude of firmness and moderation, and that
when the crash came, Knappe and de Coetlogon, not Knappe and Blacklock,
were found to be the protagonists of the drama.  The conference was
futile.  The English and American consuls admitted but one cure of the
evils of the time: that the farce of the Tamasese monarchy should cease.
It was one which the German refused to consider.  And the agents
separated without reaching any result, save that diplomatic relations had
been restored between the States and Germany, and that all three were
convinced of their fundamental differences.

Knappe and de Coetlogon were still friends; they had disputed and
differed and come within a finger's breadth of war, and they were still
friends.  But an event was at hand which was to separate them for ever.
On December 4th came the _Royalist_, Captain Hand, to relieve the
_Lizard_.  Pelly of course had to take his canvas from the consulate
hospital; but he had in charge certain awnings belonging to the
_Royalist_, and with these they made shift to cover the wounded, at that
time (after the fight at Laulii) more than usually numerous.  A
lieutenant came to the consulate, and delivered (as I have received it)
the following message: "Captain Hand's compliments, and he says you must
get rid of these niggers at once, and he will help you to do it."
Doubtless the reply was no more civil than the message.  The promised
"help," at least, followed promptly.  A boat's crew landed and the
awnings were stripped from the wounded, Hand himself standing on the
colonel's verandah to direct operations.  It were fruitless to discuss
this passage from the humanitarian point of view, or from that of formal
courtesy.  The mind of the new captain was plainly not directed to these
objects.  But it is understood that he considered the existence of a
hospital a source of irritation to Germans and a fault in policy.  His
own rude act proved in the result far more impolitic.  The hospital had
now been open some two months, and de Coetlogon was still on friendly
terms with Knappe, and he and his wife were engaged to dine with him that
day.  By the morrow that was practically ended.  For the rape of the
awnings had two results: one, which was the fault of de Coetlogon, not at
all of Hand, who could not have foreseen it; the other which it was his
duty to have seen and prevented.  The first was this: the de Coetlogons
found themselves left with their wounded exposed to the inclemencies of
the season; they must all be transported into the house and verandah; in
the distress and pressure of this task, the dinner engagement was too
long forgotten; and a note of excuse did not reach the German consulate
before the table was set, and Knappe dressed to receive his visitors.  The
second consequence was inevitable.  Captain Hand was scarce landed ere it
became public (was "_sofort bekannt_," writes Knappe) that he and the
consul were in opposition.  All that had been gained by the demonstration
at Laulii was thus immediately cast away; de Coetlogon's prestige was
lessened; and it must be said plainly that Hand did less than nothing to
restore it.  Twice indeed he interfered, both times with success; and
once, when his own person had been endangered, with vehemence; but during
all the strange doings I have to narrate, he remained in close intimacy
with the German consulate, and on one occasion may be said to have acted
as its marshal.  After the worst is over, after Bismarck has told Knappe
that "the protests of his English colleague were grounded," that his own
conduct "has not been good," and that in any dispute which may arise he
"will find himself in the wrong," Knappe can still plead in his defence
that Captain Hand "has always maintained friendly intercourse with the
German authorities."  Singular epitaph for an English sailor.  In this
complicity on the part of Hand we may find the reason--and I had almost
said, the excuse--of much that was excessive in the bearing of the
unfortunate Knappe.

On the 11th December, Mataafa received twenty-eight thousand cartridges,
brought into the country in salt-beef kegs by the British ship
_Richmond_.  This not only sharpened the animosity between whites;
following so closely on the German fizzle at Laulii, it raised a
convulsion in the camp of Tamasese.  On the 13th Brandeis addressed to
Knappe his famous and fatal letter.  I may not describe it as a letter of
burning words, but it is plainly dictated by a burning heart.  Tamasese
and his chiefs, he announces, are now sick of the business, and ready to
make peace with Mataafa.  They began the war relying upon German help;
they now see and say that "_e faaalo Siamani i Peritania ma America_,
that Germany is subservient to England and the States."  It is grimly
given to be understood that the despatch is an ultimatum, and a last
chance is being offered for the recreant ally to fulfil her pledge.  To
make it more plain, the document goes on with a kind of bilious irony:
"The two German war-ships now in Samoa are here for the protection of
German property alone; and when the _Olga_ shall have arrived" [she
arrived on the morrow] "the German war-ships will continue to do against
the insurgents precisely as little as they have done heretofore."  Plant
flags, in fact.

Here was Knappe's opportunity, could he have stooped to seize it.  I find
it difficult to blame him that he could not.  Far from being so
inglorious as the treachery once contemplated by Becker, the acceptance
of this ultimatum would have been still in the nature of a disgrace.
Brandeis's letter, written by a German, was hard to swallow.  It would
have been hard to accept that solution which Knappe had so recently and
so peremptorily refused to his brother consuls.  And he was tempted, on
the other hand, by recent changes.  There was no Pelly to support de
Coetlogon, who might now be disregarded.  Mullan, Leary's successor, even
if he were not precisely a Hand, was at least no Leary; and even if
Mullan should show fight, Knappe had now three ships and could defy or
sink him without danger.  Many small circumstances moved him in the same
direction.  The looting of German plantations continued; the whole force
of Mataafa was to a large extent subsisted from the crops of Vailele; and
armed men were to be seen openly plundering bananas, breadfruit, and
cocoa-nuts under the walls of the plantation building.  On the night of
the 13th the consulate stable had been broken into and a horse removed.
On the 16th there was a riot in Apia between half-castes and sailors from
the new ship _Olga_, each side claiming that the other was the worse of
drink, both (for a wager) justly.  The multiplication of flags and little
neutral territories had, besides, begun to irritate the Samoans.  The
protests of German settlers had been received uncivilly.  On the 16th the
Mataafas had again sought to land in Saluafata bay, with the manifest
intention to attack the Tamaseses, or (in other words) "to trespass on
German lands, covered, as your Excellency knows, with flags."  I quote
from his requisition to Fritze, December 17th.  Upon all these
considerations, he goes on, it is necessary to bring the fighting to an
end.  Both parties are to be disarmed and returned to their
villages--Mataafa first.  And in case of any attempt upon Apia, the roads
thither are to be held by a strong landing-party.  Mataafa was to be
disarmed first, perhaps rightly enough in his character of the last
insurgent.  Then was to have come the turn of Tamasese; but it does not
appear the disarming would have had the same import or have been gone
about in the same way.  Germany was bound to Tamasese.  No honest man
would dream of blaming Knappe because he sought to redeem his country's
word.  The path he chose was doubtless that of honour, so far as honour
was still left.  But it proved to be the road to ruin.

Fritze, ranking German officer, is understood to have opposed the
measure.  His attitude earned him at the time unpopularity among his
country-people on the spot, and should now redound to his credit.  It is
to be hoped he extended his opposition to some of the details.  If it
were possible to disarm Mataafa at all, it must be done rather by
prestige than force.  A party of blue-jackets landed in Samoan bush, and
expected to hold against Samoans a multiplicity of forest paths, had
their work cut out for them.  And it was plain they should be landed in
the light of day, with a discouraging openness, and even with parade.  To
sneak ashore by night was to increase the danger of resistance and to
minimise the authority of the attack.  The thing was a bluff, and it is
impossible to bluff with stealth.  Yet this was what was tried.  A
landing-party was to leave the _Olga_ in Apia bay at two in the morning;
the landing was to be at four on two parts of the foreshore of Vailele.
At eight they were to be joined by a second landing-party from the
_Eber_.  By nine the Olgas were to be on the crest of Letongo Mountain,
and the Ebers to be moving round the promontory by the seaward paths,
"with measures of precaution," disarming all whom they encountered.  There
was to be no firing unless fired upon.  At the appointed hour (or perhaps
later) on the morning of the 19th, this unpromising business was put in
hand, and there moved off from the _Olga_ two boats with some fifty blue-
jackets between them, and a _praam_ or punt containing ninety,--the boats
and the whole expedition under the command of Captain-Lieutenant Jaeckel,
the praam under Lieutenant Spengler.  The men had each forty rounds, one
day's provisions, and their flasks filled.

In the meanwhile, Mataafa sympathisers about Apia were on the alert.
Knappe had informed the consuls that the ships were to put to sea next
day for the protection of German property; but the Tamaseses had been
less discreet.  "To-morrow at the hour of seven," they had cried to their
adversaries, "you will know of a difficulty, and our guns shall be made
good in broken bones."  An accident had pointed expectation towards Apia.
The wife of Le Mamea washed for the German ships--a perquisite, I
suppose, for her husband's unwilling fidelity.  She sent a man with linen
on board the _Adler_, where he was surprised to see Le Mamea in person,
and to be himself ordered instantly on shore.  The news spread.  If Mamea
were brought down from Lotoanuu, others might have come at the same time.
Tamasese himself and half his army might perhaps lie concealed on board
the German ships.  And a watch was accordingly set and warriors collected
along the line of the shore.  One detachment lay in some rifle-pits by
the mouth of the Fuisa.  They were commanded by Seumanu; and with his
party, probably as the most contiguous to Apia, was the
war-correspondent, John Klein.  Of English birth, but naturalised
American, this gentleman had been for some time representing the _New
York World_ in a very effective manner, always in the front, living in
the field with the Samoans, and in all vicissitudes of weather, toiling
to and fro with his despatches.  His wisdom was perhaps not equal to his
energy.  He made himself conspicuous, going about armed to the teeth in a
boat under the stars and stripes; and on one occasion, when he supposed
himself fired upon by the Tamaseses, had the petulance to empty his
revolver in the direction of their camp.  By the light of the moon, which
was then nearly down, this party observed the _Olga's_ two boats and the
praam, which they described as "almost sinking with men," the boats
keeping well out towards the reef, the praam at the moment apparently
heading for the shore.  An extreme agitation seems to have reigned in the
rifle-pits.  What were the newcomers?  What was their errand?  Were they
Germans or Tamaseses?  Had they a mind to attack?  The praam was hailed
in Samoan and did not answer.  It was proposed to fire upon her ere she
drew near.  And at last, whether on his own suggestion or that of
Seumanu, Klein hailed her in English, and in terms of unnecessary
melodrama.  "Do not try to land here," he cried.  "If you do, your blood
will be upon your head."  Spengler, who had never the least intention to
touch at the Fuisa, put up the head of the praam to her true course and
continued to move up the lagoon with an offing of some seventy or eighty
yards.  Along all the irregularities and obstructions of the beach,
across the mouth of the Vaivasa, and through the startled village of
Matafangatele, Seumanu, Klein, and seven or eight others raced to keep
up, spreading the alarm and rousing reinforcements as they went.
Presently a man on horse-back made his appearance on the opposite beach
of Fangalii.  Klein and the natives distinctly saw him signal with a
lantern; which is the more strange, as the horseman (Captain Hufnagel,
plantation manager of Vailele) had never a lantern to signal with.  The
praam kept in.  Many men in white were seen to stand up, step overboard,
and wade to shore.  At the same time the eye of panic descried a
breastwork of "foreign stone" (brick) upon the beach.  Samoans are
prepared to-day to swear to its existence, I believe conscientiously,
although no such thing was ever made or ever intended in that place.  The
hour is doubtful.  "It was the hour when the streak of dawn is seen, the
hour known in the warfare of heathen times as the hour of the night
attack," says the Mataafa official account.  A native whom I met on the
field declared it was at cock-crow.  Captain Hufnagel, on the other hand,
is sure it was long before the day.  It was dark at least, and the moon
down.  Darkness made the Samoans bold; uncertainty as to the composition
and purpose of the landing-party made them desperate.  Fire was opened on
the Germans, one of whom was here killed.  The Germans returned it, and
effected a lodgment on the beach; and the skirmish died again to silence.
It was at this time, if not earlier, that Klein returned to Apia.

Here, then, were Spengler and the ninety men of the praam, landed on the
beach in no very enviable posture, the woods in front filled with
unnumbered enemies, but for the time successful.  Meanwhile, Jaeckel and
the boats had gone outside the reef, and were to land on the other side
of the Vailele promontory, at Sunga, by the buildings of the plantation.
It was Hufnagel's part to go and meet them.  His way led straight into
the woods and through the midst of the Samoans, who had but now ceased
firing.  He went in the saddle and at a foot's pace, feeling speed and
concealment to be equally helpless, and that if he were to fall at all,
he had best fall with dignity.  Not a shot was fired at him; no effort
made to arrest him on his errand.  As he went, he spoke and even jested
with the Samoans, and they answered in good part.  One fellow was
leaping, yelling, and tossing his axe in the air, after the way of an
excited islander.  "_Faimalosi_! go it!" said Hufnagel, and the fellow
laughed and redoubled his exertions.  As soon as the boats entered the
lagoon, fire was again opened from the woods.  The fifty blue-jackets
jumped overboard, hove down the boats to be a shield, and dragged them
towards the landing-place.  In this way, their rations, and (what was
more unfortunate) some of their miserable provision of forty rounds got
wetted; but the men came to shore and garrisoned the plantation house
without a casualty.  Meanwhile the sound of the firing from Sunga
immediately renewed the hostilities at Fangalii.  The civilians on shore
decided that Spengler must be at once guided to the house, and Haideln,
the surveyor, accepted the dangerous errand.  Like Hufnagel, he was
suffered to pass without question through the midst of these platonic
enemies.  He found Spengler some way inland on a knoll, disastrously
engaged, the woods around him filled with Samoans, who were continuously
reinforced.  In three successive charges, cheering as they ran, the blue-
jackets burst through their scattered opponents, and made good their
junction with Jaeckel.  Four men only remained upon the field, the other
wounded being helped by their comrades or dragging themselves painfully
along.

The force was now concentrated in the house and its immediate patch of
garden.  Their rear, to the seaward, was unmolested; but on three sides
they were beleaguered.  On the left, the Samoans occupied and fired from
some of the plantation offices.  In front, a long rising crest of land in
the horse-pasture commanded the house, and was lined with the assailants.
And on the right, the hedge of the same paddock afforded them a dangerous
cover.  It was in this place that a Samoan sharpshooter was knocked over
by Jaeckel with his own hand.  The fire was maintained by the Samoans in
the usual wasteful style.  The roof was made a sieve; the balls passed
clean through the house; Lieutenant Sieger, as he lay, already dying, on
Hufnagel's bed, was despatched with a fresh wound.  The Samoans showed
themselves extremely enterprising: pushed their lines forward, ventured
beyond cover, and continually threatened to envelop the garden.  Thrice,
at least, it was necessary to repel them by a sally.  The men were
brought into the house from the rear, the front doors were thrown
suddenly open, and the gallant blue-jackets issued cheering: necessary,
successful, but extremely costly sorties.  Neither could these be pushed
far.  The foes were undaunted; so soon as the sailors advanced at all
deep in the horse-pasture, the Samoans began to close in upon both
flanks; and the sally had to be recalled.  To add to the dangers of the
German situation, ammunition began to run low; and the cartridge-boxes of
the wounded and the dead had been already brought into use before, at
about eight o'clock, the _Eber_ steamed into the bay.  Her commander,
Wallis, threw some shells into Letongo, one of which killed five men
about their cooking-pot.  The Samoans began immediately to withdraw;
their movements were hastened by a sortie, and the remains of the landing-
party brought on board.  This was an unfortunate movement; it gave an
irremediable air of defeat to what might have been else claimed for a
moderate success.  The blue-jackets numbered a hundred and forty all
told; they were engaged separately and fought under the worst conditions,
in the dark and among woods; their position in the house was scarce
tenable; they lost in killed and wounded fifty-six,--forty per cent.; and
their spirit to the end was above question.  Whether we think of the poor
sailor lads, always so pleasantly behaved in times of peace, or whether
we call to mind the behaviour of the two civilians, Haideln and Hufnagel,
we can only regret that brave men should stand to be exposed upon so poor
a quarrel, or lives cast away upon an enterprise so hopeless.

News of the affair reached Apia early, and Moors, always curious of these
spectacles of war, was immediately in the saddle.  Near Matafangatele he
met a Manono chief, whom he asked if there were any German dead.  "I
think there are about thirty of them knocked over," said he.  "Have you
taken their heads?" asked Moors.  "Yes," said the chief.  "Some foolish
people did it, but I have stopped them.  We ought not to cut off their
heads when they do not cut off ours."  He was asked what had been done
with the heads.  "Two have gone to Mataafa," he replied, "and one is
buried right under where your horse is standing, in a basket wrapped in
tapa."  This was afterwards dug up, and I am told on native authority
that, besides the three heads, two ears were taken.  Moors next asked the
Manono man how he came to be going away.  "The man-of-war is throwing
shells," said he.  "When they stopped firing out of the house, we stopped
firing also; so it was as well to scatter when the shells began.  We
could have killed all the white men.  I wish they had been Tamaseses."
This is an _ex parte_ statement, and I give it for such; but the course
of the affair, and in particular the adventures of Haideln and Hufnagel,
testify to a surprising lack of animosity against the Germans.  About the
same time or but a little earlier than this conversation, the same spirit
was being displayed.  Hufnagel, with a party of labour, had gone out to
bring in the German dead, when he was surprised to be suddenly fired on
from the wood.  The boys he had with him were not negritos, but
Polynesians from the Gilbert Islands; and he suddenly remembered that
these might be easily mistaken for a detachment of Tamaseses.  Bidding
his boys conceal themselves in a thicket, this brave man walked into the
open.  So soon as he was recognised, the firing ceased, and the labourers
followed him in safety.  This is chivalrous war; but there was a side to
it less chivalrous.  As Moors drew nearer to Vailele, he began to meet
Samoans with hats, guns, and even shirts, taken from the German sailors.
With one of these who had a hat and a gun he stopped and spoke.  The hat
was handed up for him to look at; it had the late owner's name on the
inside.  "Where is he?" asked Moors.  "He is dead; I cut his head off."
"You shot him?"  "No, somebody else shot him in the hip.  When I came, he
put up his hands, and cried: 'Don't kill me; I am a Malietoa man.'  I did
not believe him, and I cut his head off...... Have you any ammunition to
fit that gun?"  "I do not know."  "What has become of the
cartridge-belt?"  "Another fellow grabbed that and the cartridges, and he
won't give them to me."  A dreadful and silly picture of barbaric war.
The words of the German sailor must be regarded as imaginary: how was the
poor lad to speak native, or the Samoan to understand German?  When Moors
came as far as Sunga, the _Eber_ was yet in the bay, the smoke of battle
still lingered among the trees, which were themselves marked with a
thousand bullet-wounds.  But the affair was over, the combatants, German
and Samoan, were all gone, and only a couple of negrito labour boys
lurked on the scene.  The village of Letongo beyond was equally silent;
part of it was wrecked by the shells of the _Eber_, and still smoked; the
inhabitants had fled.  On the beach were the native boats, perhaps five
thousand dollars' worth, deserted by the Mataafas and overlooked by the
Germans, in their common hurry to escape.  Still Moors held eastward by
the sea-paths.  It was his hope to get a view from the other side of the
promontory, towards Laulii.  In the way he found a house hidden in the
wood and among rocks, where an aged and sick woman was being tended by
her elderly daughter.  Last lingerers in that deserted piece of coast,
they seemed indifferent to the events which had thus left them solitary,
and, as the daughter said, did not know where Mataafa was, nor where
Tamasese.

It is the official Samoan pretension that the Germans fired first at
Fangalii.  In view of all German and some native testimony, the text of
Fritze's orders, and the probabilities of the case, no honest mind will
believe it for a moment.  Certainly the Samoans fired first.  As
certainly they were betrayed into the engagement in the agitation of the
moment, and it was not till afterwards that they understood what they had
done.  Then, indeed, all Samoa drew a breath of wonder and delight.  The
invincible had fallen; the men of the vaunted war-ships had been met in
the field by the braves of Mataafa: a superstition was no more.  Conceive
this people steadily as schoolboys; and conceive the elation in any
school if the head boy should suddenly arise and drive the rector from
the schoolhouse.  I have received one instance of the feeling instantly
aroused.  There lay at the time in the consular hospital an old chief who
was a pet of the colonel's.  News reached him of the glorious event; he
was sick, he thought himself sinking, sent for the colonel, and gave him
his gun.  "Don't let the Germans get it," said the old gentleman, and
having received a promise, was at peace.




CHAPTER IX--"FUROR CONSULARIS"


_December_ 1888 _to March_ 1889

Knappe, in the _Adler_, with a flag of truce at the fore, was entering
Laulii Bay when the _Eber_ brought him the news of the night's reverse.
His heart was doubtless wrung for his young countrymen who had been
butchered and mutilated in the dark woods, or now lay suffering, and some
of them dying, on the ship.  And he must have been startled as he
recognised his own position.  He had gone too far; he had stumbled into
war, and, what was worse, into defeat; he had thrown away German lives
for less than nothing, and now saw himself condemned either to accept
defeat, or to kick and pummel his failure into something like success;
either to accept defeat, or take frenzy for a counsellor.  Yesterday, in
cold blood, he had judged it necessary to have the woods to the westward
guarded lest the evacuation of Laulii should prove only the peril of
Apia.  To-day, in the irritation and alarm of failure, he forgot or
despised his previous reasoning, and, though his detachment was beat back
to the ships, proceeded with the remainder of his maimed design.  The
only change he made was to haul down the flag of truce.  He had now no
wish to meet with Mataafa.  Words were out of season, shells must speak.

At this moment an incident befell him which must have been trying to his
self-command.  The new American ship _Nipsic_ entered Laulii Bay; her
commander, Mullan, boarded the _Adler_ to protest, succeeded in wresting
from Knappe a period of delay in order that the women might be spared,
and sent a lieutenant to Mataafa with a warning.  The camp was already
excited by the news and the trophies of Fangalii.  Already Tamasese and
Lotoanuu seemed secondary objectives to the Germans and Apia.  Mullan's
message put an end to hesitation.  Laulii was evacuated.  The troops
streamed westward by the mountain side, and took up the same day a strong
position about Tanungamanono and Mangiangi, some two miles behind Apia,
which they threatened with the one hand, while with the other they
continued to draw their supplies from the devoted plantations of the
German firm.  Laulii, when it was shelled, was empty.  The British flags
were, of course, fired upon; and I hear that one of them was struck down,
but I think every one must be privately of the mind that it was fired
upon and fell, in a place where it had little business to be shown.

Such was the military epilogue to the ill-judged adventure of Fangalii;
it was difficult for failure to be more complete.  But the other
consequences were of a darker colour and brought the 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.




CHAPTER X--THE HURRICANE


_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
tops.

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.




CHAPTER XI--LAUPEPA AND MATAAFA


1889-1892

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 Germans.

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 justice.

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_?
_election of a king according to the laws and customs of Samoa_?  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 it.

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.

   ON THE ONE HAND

   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

   ON THE OTHER HAND

   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 lost.

* * * * *

_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.




FOOTNOTES


{1} Brother and successor of Theodor.



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