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the people, led by the tools of Steinberger, were naturally indignant at the seizure of their ' vessel, the Peerless), stated that he did not credit the hostile projects attributed to Captain Stevens, and said he and his subjects desired to live at peace with all men. Captain Stevens closed the meeting by saying that it was impossible for British subjects to recognise such a government as that inaugurated by Steinberger, and he would consult with the foreign representatives as to what steps should be adopted for the protection of their interests. A meeting of the foreign residents, headed by their Consuls, the Messrs. Williams (British), Foster (American), and Pöppe (German), was then held, at which a proclamation was agreed upon and issued, withdrawing citizens and subjects of England, America, and Germany from the jurisdiction of the Steinberger administration. I have passed over many extraordinary proceedings of the colonel, his ill-treatment of British and American subjects, and his attempts to levy taxes by way of licenses, and what is to be particularly noted at this stage, his studied neglect of the complaints of certain Line Island labourers, who were the victims of alleged ill-treatment on the plantations of the Messrs. Godeffroy.
In answer to the proclamation of the foreign residents, the Steinberger Government announced that they desired recognition by the great powers, but answer was made that no such recognition could be afforded to a constitution whose sole object seemed to be to place all power in the hands of one man, and which failed to give liberty or protection to either foreigners or Samoans — for numerous chiefs had claimed British protection against the colonel. This answer was not signed by the German Consul, but the British and American Consuls added a postscript, stating that Mr. A. L. Pöppe had refused to sign, ' because he thinks it might injure his business relations, and that it is altogether unnecessary to reply to the absurd proclamation of the 22nd. inst.' Whether to the credit of the great Hamburg house of Godeffroy remains to be seen, but there can be no doubt that their faithful employé (the German Consul) had very good reason for his abstinence, I can well imagine.
On February 7th the King wrote to the United States Consul, telling him he was convinced Mr. Steinberger was a liar and an impostor, and requested Mr. Foster's assistance in removing him from the group
Mr. Foster, as well as the King, having applied to Captain Stevens and Mr. Williams, the British Consul, for assistance in the matter of arresting and deporting Mr. Steinberger, the naval officer, accompanied by the two Consuls, and a body of seamen and marines, proceeded to the seat of Government on the 8th of February, and there met the King, the Taimua, and Faipule. The King pronounced the sentence of dismissal, and the correspondence was read. Mr. Foster, as United States Consul, then formally claimed the aid of H.B.M. naval officer, and the colonel was forthwith arrested, and taken aboard the Barracouta, to wait there till Mr. Foster could find means to deport him from the islands.
The Steinberger party, ashore were, of course, not inactive. On that night the King was seized by force and sent under a guard to the Island of Savaii. This was done under the influence of the office-holders, and notably of one Jonas M. Coe, who had lately acted as interpreter for the colonel. By Coe's advice the King was compelled to sign a deed of abdication, and a proclamation was issued, saying that in future the Taimua and Faipule would carry on the government.
The exiled King managed to send messages to Captain Stevens, stating that he had been removed by his rebellious subjects, and requesting the captain's assistance to bring him back to Apia. Accordingly the Barracouta proceeded to Savaii, and brought off the King, who landed on the 15th February, under a salute of twenty-one guns from H.M.S., a guard of four marines being left with him for his personal protection.
He did not attempt to form a government, but he wished to justify his acts before the Samoans. The documents found among the effects of Colonel Steinberger, over which Mr. Geo. F. Waters (his secretary) held a bill of sale for money advanced, amply demonstrated the truth of the character Malietoa had given the American, it is, of course, fair to suppose that Messrs. J. C. Godeffroy and Son were thoroughly deceived. At any rate, I shall give these documents, and will leave my readers to form their own conclusions.
In the meantime, Steinberger's more prominent tools left for San Francisco, and the United States Consul now determined to arrest the ringleader of the opposition to Malietoa, Mr. J. M. Coe, who at one time
was United States Commercial Agent in the group: Coe had immense influence with the natives, owing to this fact, and to his constantly holding out the threat that an American war-ship would visit the group to punish them unless they followed his advice.
On the 27th February, four of the Faipule (or Lower House of Representatives) were arrested by the Steinberger party among the natives still in power, and forcibly deported from Upolu, on the grounds that they had expressed themselves favourable to the restoration of their King. Armed mobs now began to surround the British consulate, and Mr. Williams had to swear-in certain British subjects as special constables for the maintenance of order. In the meantime the Barracouta, which had been investigating into British claims, returned with three of the Faipule who were deported, the fourth having already eluded his guardians, and was safe under the Union Jack at Mr. Williams's house.
The King now sought a public justification for his dismissal of the American adventurer who had brought about all this trouble, and accordingly, on the 13th of March, Malietoa, accompanied by several of his chiefs, left Apia for the neighbouring township of Mulinunu. He was followed by the British and American Consuls, Captain Stevens (who had with him a guard of marines and blue-jackets), and a party of the foreign residents.
Arrived at the place of meeting, there were no signs of any of the Taimua or Faipule, or of any preparations to receive the King, though information had been given of his coming. After an interval of ten minutes, during which the Barracouta men piled arms, a force of armed natives were seen moving about, and crossing the road by which the procession had come from Apia, with the evident intention of attacking the whites and cutting off their retreat.
A small party of marines, under the command of Lieutenant McLeod, proceeded towards them (a distance of about one hundred yards), to ascertain the meaning of their threatening gestures. In a few minutes, while the armed men were being remonstrated with, and the arms of one or two of the most demonstrative laid hold of by the marines, a shot was fired by one of the natives, which was immediately followed by a volley from forty or fifty men, killing and wounding several of the marines. Our troops had not their arms loaded when this attack was made, but in a short time returned the fire.
A hot engagement ensued, lasting for about fifteen minutes, in which, owing to the dense thicket of bananas and undergrowth occupied by the natives, the guard suffered severely, eleven being killed or wounded. The natives lost about twelve to fifteen killed and an equal number wounded. It is unnecessary to say that our blue jackets and jollies exhibited their usual pluck and forbearance in this unfortunate business. They might have slaughtered sixty of the treacherous soldiers of Steinberger's army;' but although many of the natives fired till our people were close to them, and then laid down their arms, their lives were humanely spared. The number of the native soldiery thus engaged was about five hundred. Captain Stevens, outraged at this