No. 437.
Mr. Pendleton to Mr. Bayard.

No. 566.]

Sir: I have the honor to inclose herewith, with translation, a narrative published in the Kreuzzeitung, a leading conservative newspaper of this city, of the election of Tamasese as king of the Samoan Islands, and of other events occurring there in the months of August and September last. The narrative of these events is from the pen of a marine chaplain on board the German war vessel Sophie.

I have, etc.,

Geo. H. Pendleton.
[Inclosure in No. 566.—Translation.]

the royal festival at leülumoënga, samoan islands.

[By the Marine Chaplain Wangemann, on board Her Majesty’s ship Sophie.]

Leülumoënga is the principal village of Aana, the western province of the island of Upolu. This is the second in size, by far the most cultivated of the three principal islands of the Samoan group, and has at area of 16 square miles (German).

Westward of Upolu lies Savaii, with an area of 31 square miles, but almost without a harbor; to the eastward, Tutuila, only 2 or 3 square miles in size, but distinguished by its excellent harbor Pango-Pango

King Tamasese lived in the village of Leülumoënga, until August 23, 1887. Descended from the oldest and most distinguished Samoan family, he and his family have during decades stood in opposition to the family of Malietoa, who, by the expulsion [Page 592] of the Tongans from Upolu in the second decade of this century, achieved under his leadership, had placed most of the districts of the Archipelago under his rule. When, on the 24th of August last, Commodore Heusner, commanding the German squadron, had, in the name of His Majesty the German Emperor, declared war against the reigning King Malietoa, a descendant of the one first named, because Malietoa, as was announced in the declaration of the commodore, had been guilty of insulting the German Emperor; had further, by disregard of the treaties concluded with the German Government, and by refusing protection to the Germans living in Samoa, manifested the purpose of not observing those treaties; and finally because he had refused to furnish the guaranties considered necessary by the German Government for the protection of the lives and property of the Germans living in Samoa, His Majesty’s corvette Carola had been dispatched from Apia, the principal port of Upolu and the chief place of the entire Samoan group, to Leülumoënga, situated to the westward at a distance of six hours, to inform the rival king, Tamasese, that the German Government recognized and would support his claims to the royal sovereignty over all Samoa, summoning him to embark, in consequence, for Apia on board His Majesty’s ship Carola.

On the morning of the 25th of August following, the Carola steamed into the harbor of Apia flying Tamasese’s flag at the mast-head. The field of the same is divided by a cross into four equal parts, of which three are white, the left upper one being red. In the middle of the red field is the, white five-pointed star of Samoa, intended to represent the five more important islands of the group—Savaii, Manono, Upolu, Tutuila, and Tau. Seen at a distance, this flag can hardly be distinguished from the German war flag. H. M. frigate Bismarck saluted the new flag of Samoa with the customary twenty-one guns. Tamasese at once paid his visit to the commodore on board H. M. S. Bismarck, and later, at about noon, went ashore with the latter to repair to his new capital, at Mulinuu, which lies on the western side of the harbor of Apia, on a low, narrow tongue of land extending from the south to the north, where the King has since lived in his Samoan hut, under palm and bread-fruit trees, after the manner of his fathers.

Tamasese is a tall, imposing-looking personage. His hair and short mustache have already turned gray. The upper part of his light-brown body and his feet are always uncovered; about his loins he wears, wrapped around him several times, according to the Samoan custom, a large piece of cloth—siapo—of a brown-and-black pattern, which the Samoan women know how to manufacture out of the bark of the paper-mulberry tree. In addition to the garland of flowers customary in the country, his neck and breast are adorned by a silver chain with the five-pointed star of Samoa. He carries in his hand an immense black umbrella, whether there be rain or sunshine. He sits in his hut, as is the custom at Samoa, with his legs crossed beneath him, holding a fly-brush in his hand, which he swings to and fro, especially when speaking. The umbrella and chain are of European manufacture; the fly-brush, made of cocoa fibers, is Samoan work.

On the day before the arrival of Tamasese hostilities had been inaugurated by an armed landing. Our sailors, however, met with no resistance. The Samoan Government building, a shed-like structure of wood, was arranged as the chief guard-house, and a second guard was placed in the German vice-consulate, at the time unoccupied. Malietoa had, however, with some of his adherents, fled into the interior of the island, his other adherents remaining quietly in their huts. This state of war, proclaimed over Samoa, lasted for several weeks still, until finally, on September 17, Malietoa decided to quit his hiding-place in the brush and surrender to the German power. No fighting whatever ensued. Malietoa, with his few followers, had several times been driven out of his hiding-place by small detachments of sailors sent in pursuit of him, but had never allowed himself to be captured, the interior of Upolu being so impassable, so full of ravines, masses of lava, and intertwined roots, and covered with so dense a forest, that hardly the few roads connecting the northern with the southern coast, leaving the jungle out of consideration, are available for white men.

The former King had already, on September 18, sailed on the cruiser Adler for his place of banishment, after having manifested the magnitude of his grief to his people in touching letters, which have been published in the Australian journals. The adherents of Malietoa in other parts of the country had, by repeated visits by our war vessels, been made acquainted with the situation of affairs. H. M. S. Carola visited several of the ports of Upolu, and in particular Safata, situated on the southern coast, a chief stronghold of the opposing party; Her Majesty’s corvette Olga went to Tutuila, and finally Her Majesty’s corvette Sophie touched at all of the larger places of Savaii, sending regularly a deputation of two chiefs of the Tamasese party, who were on board, under the conduct of Lieutenant Kalan von Hofe, ashore, who, by printed proclamation and speeches, summoned their country people to submit to Tamasese’s rule. At the beginning several places maintained a very cowl attitude toward these visits, Satupaitea, on the southern coast, going so far as to refuse [Page 593] to receive the chiefs. But when this village had been destroyed by fire for its disobedience, its inhabitants had fled precipitately to the bush before the landing of the armed boats; all who had at first exhibited coolness, upon a second visit of the Sophie hastened to manifest their entire loyalty.

Tamasese was now the sole ruler of all Samoa, for on the occasion of the assemblage of the people, held at Mulinuu on September 15, the chiefs of all the places of the archipelago had appeared, and had, although in many a case with a trembling hand, subscribed the document in which they recognized Tamasese as the sole and rightful King of Samoa. This document read, translated into German: “We make known to all the people of all Samoa the following: ‘The Government of Samoa has been assumed by His Majesty King Tamasese. It has been ordered by His Majesty the King that an assemblage of all the representatives of the people take place to-day, and that every one yield implicit obedience to this order. We have subscribed our names thereto.’” Two hundred and seventy-seven names, arranged according to provinces and districts, follow.

In order to give evidence of his power to all the people, Tamasese had ordered his armed forces to Mulinuu for the afternoon of this important day. The adherents from Aana came from the west, those from Atua, the eastern province of Upolu, from the east, the latter in sixty large canoes, to the number of two thousand warriors under the conduct of the chief Tafua. It was an interesting spectacle as this stately fleet came around Matautu, the eastern point of the harbor of Apia, passing through the same in beautiful order, with uniform strokes of the oars, and singing in unison. The well-built brown figures in the boats had hung garlands of leaves and flowers about themselves, and had wound broad fire-red ribbons, in token of their being Tamasese’s warriors, about their black hair. The other items of their uniforms consisted of the customary lavalava (the waist-cloth), of a Snider rifle, and a large leather cartridge-box. It is said of these people, by the way, that they know how to use their rifles well, although they have been instructed in their use but a short time as yet. Their organization has been effected by the former artillery captain of Baden, Herr Bran de is, who, as long ago as January, 1887, was appointed by King Tamasese president of the state council, “o le alii fili o le vasenga o le tupu,” as the title reads in Samoan, and had in that capacity exercised the widest influence in the Kingdom of Samoa. Herr Brandeis also conducted the proceeding of the people’s assemblage on this day.

It was Tamasese’s purpose to inaugurate his new rule by a grand festival. To this end he commanded his subjects to send large deputations from their villages to Leülumoënga, and to have them make their appearance handsomely adorned. At the same time he also requested Commodore Heusner and Captains Kuhn, Strauch, Cochins, and Aschman, as well as the corps of officers of the cruising squadron, to attend the festival as guests of honor. A festival of such dimensions could, however, not be held at Mulinuu. The tongue of land but four weeks before had been uninhabited, Malietoa then living at Afenga, a village situated three hours west of Apia. When Tamasese moved into the old royal hut, his followers built themselves huts in the neighborhood in order that they might at least find some shelter from the rain and sun, but this settlement did not as yet suffice for the accommodation of thousands of guests. Moreover there grow at Mulinuu only a few cocoa and banana palms; and there is no spring water, thus the journey to Leülumoënga became the business of the whole archipelago. In Samoa, the natives travel long distances almost solely in canoes, Europeans sometimes on horseback; on foot, people travel rarely, the roads being too bad, the streams that have to be waded too numerous and swift and deep, the heights and declivities too difficult to ascend. Traveling in boats, however, presents but little difficulty, owing to the regularity of the winds and the security of the water within the coral reefs which surround these islands as with wide rings.