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British Consul of the group in 1877. By a comparison with the table of Fiji, it will be seen what a vast commerce the Messrs. Godeffroy had centred at Apia, and it may be stated that as far back as 1870, no less than eight large vessels loaded for Europe in Samoa and the neighbouring isles for this firm.
The Messrs. Godeffroy gradually abandoned the Tuamotus, and other islands claimed as dependencies of France, partly for the reason that about 1867, mother-of-pearl commanded an unusually low price ; but more in consequence of their determination to strike out new channels for themselves. With this view they pushed their agencies southward to the Friendly Archipelago, including Nieuè or Savage Island, Fortuna and Wallis Island, northward throughout the whole range of the Kingsmills and the isles in their vicinity, that is to say, the Tokalau, Ellis, and Gilbert Groups. Then they approached the Marshall Group, and so got to the Carolines, and as far as Yap, a great island at the entrance of the Luzon Sea, where they purchased three thousand acres of land, and established a large depot, intended to be an intermediate station between their trading post at Samoa and their old-established agencies at Cochin and China. A glance at a chart of the Pacific will show the extent of their operations, Samoa being in 169° W., and Yap, one of the Pelew islands, in 134° 21' E. According to Mr. Sterndale, they had an agent in every productive island inhabited by natives sufficiently well-disposed to permit a white man to reside In 1873, Messrs. Godeffroy maintained agents in the following islands to the north of the Samoan Group :
The Union Group (or Tokelau) which consists of three islands, Takafao, Nukunono, and Oatafu.
The Ellis Group, Nukufetau, which is the property of Messrs. Godeffroy, they having purchased it from the natives. It has an excellent harbour, and is the only island of the archipelago, extending between the Navigators and the Carolines, which contains
any deposit of pearl oyster ; but the quality is very inferior, the shell being small, and the pearls of little value.
Oaitapu and St. Augustine.
The Tarawau or Gilbert Group, commonly spoken of as the Kingsmills ; Arorai, Tamana, Peru, Onotoa, Nukunau, Tapetuia Nonoiti, Maiana, Tarawa, Apiang, Marakei, Makiu, and Puturitari. This includes all the Kingsmills, with the exception of Apemama, Kuria, and Aranuka, which belonged to the King Tem Baiteke, who for years would not allow any Europeans to settle on his islands. While in the Pacific I heard that the great Hamburg monopoly bad an agent there, but of this I am doubtful.
In the Marshall Group: Ebon, Jaluit, Namerick, Mille, and Awe.
In the Carolines : Strong Island, Ascension, and Yap, and also in the Palaos or Pelew Group.
And in Western Polynesia, in New Britain and New Ireland, and also in the New Hebrides.
We have so far traced the scope of the operations of this gigantic establishment before the flash-in-thepan prosperity of Berlin tempted them to speculations which had such unfavourable results. Let me now quote from the New Zealand blue-book (printed, by authority, at Wellington in 1874) the statements of their ex-employé, Mr. Sterndale, explaining what was their modus operandi. These are Mr. Sterndale's words :
• One remarkable circumstance in respect to the operations of this famous mercantile house, and to which their great success may in some degree be attributed, is that they pay as a rule very low wages, but liberal commissions. Thus masters of ships belonging to them, and ranging from five hundred to a thousand tons, receive no more than $25 per month on voyages which extend from one to three years out and home; but over and above this, they receive 3 per cent on the net profits of the venture ... The profits on their European goods are very great, insomuch as a strict regulation exists among them all that to no person whatsoever, including the servants of the firm, are they permitted to sell any article of trade at less than a hundred per cent. advance on the cost price, exclusive of freight and commission. The manager for Messrs. Godeffroy, in the choice of his employés on the various isles of the Pacific, takes no account of nationality ; most of his agents are naturally English or American, as are most of the mariners who have run wild in these seas during past years, and so got a thorough knowledge of the native language and habits. He is a very shrewd man of the world, although young. I am speaking of Theodore Weber, who really made Godeffroys' business what it is. He had but three questions usually to put to a man who sought employment of him : “Can you speak the language ?”
the natives without quarrelling with them ?” “ Can you keep your mouth shut ?" i.e., concerning your masters' business when you meet with white men.
To a man who can return satisfactory answers to these queries, Godeffroy never refuses employment. He gets the means of transport to those isles
those isles upon which he is to be at home ; everything necessary to build a stone house, and a stock-of-trade to put into it. They pay no salaries ; they simply trust a man with so much goods, and expect of him, within a reasonable time, so much produce at a fixed rate. There is another point upon which they lay great weight : “Have a woman of your own, no matter what island you take her from ; for a trader without a wife is in eternal hot water.” Lastly, they impose the condition : “Give no assistance to missionaries either by word or deed (beyond what is demanded of you by common humanity); but wheresoever you may find them, use your best influence with the natives to obstruct and exclude them.” It would occupy too much space for me to explain the reasons of this last condition ; it is enough to say, that it has originated on very simple grounds. Throughout the Pacific for the past twenty-five years, there has been a constant struggle for the mastery between missionaries and merchants, each being intensely jealous of the influence over native affairs obtained by the other. Merchants make the greatest profits out
savages, for the reason that savages are content to sell their produce for blue beads, tomahawks and tobacco. When these savages are brought under the influence of the missionaries, they are instructed to demand payment in piece goods wherewith to clothe themselves with, and in coin for the purpose of subscribing to the funds of the missionary societies. This reduces the profits of the merchants, who bitterly resent such interference. Moreover, the English missionaries were for yea
the grand opponents of the Messrs. Godeffroy in the matter of Bolivian coin, and although the firm came off victors, they have never forgotten or forgiven their ancient antagonists.
I am no great admirer of the principles commonly attributed to Exeter Hall, but in view of the enormous benefits which have undoubtedly followed the labours of all Christian missionaries in the Pacific, I cannot but feel that the religious differences of Christian Englishmen which are not so very deep should not interpose, and that our love for the elements of a common Christianity should bind us more together.
Another singular feature of the Godeffroy system, so essentially peculiar in many respects, is the sending of their vessels to sea from their headquarters at Samoa with sealed orders, so that no one on board knows positively where they are bound to, until in a certain latitude the master opens his instructions in the presence of his mate. Furthermore, they ship no man as mate who is not fully competent to fulfil the duties of captain in case of need, and they do not insure their ships. It has been a matter of conjecture with many