Mr. Lincoln to Mr. Foster.

No. 910.]

Sir: Referring to your instruction numbered 988, of December 7, and to Mr. White’s dispatch in reply, dated the 4th of January last, numbered 885, I have the honor to inclose herewith a copy of a note which I have received from the Earl of Rosebery, with a series of accompanying documents relative to the complaint of Capt. Kustel against Capt. Davis, of Her Majesty’s ship Royalist.

I have, etc.,

Robert T. Lincoln.
[Inclosure 1 in No. 910]

Lord Rosebery to Mr. Lincoln.

Sir: With reference to my note to Mr. White of the 27th December last, I have the honor to inform you that I learn from Her Majesty’s secretary of state for the colonies that he has requested the Admiralty to forward to Capt. Davis for his observation the statement which you communicated to me on the 22d of December relative to the conduct of that officer towards Mr. Kustel, an American citizen trading in the Gilbert Islands.

Fending the receipt of Capt. Davis’s reply, I take this opportunity of transmitting to you for the consideration of your Government a report on Mr. Kustel’s proceeding’s sent home by that officer in July last.

I have, etc.,

Rosebery.
[Inclosure 2 in No. 910.]

Mr. Davis to the British Commander of naval farces in Australia.

My Lord: I have the honor to inform you that on my arrival at Tarawa Island, Gilbert Group, on the 7th of June, 1892, a native Tabantia laid before me a complaint against one Albert Kustel, an American subject, a trader on that island. Tabantia handed me a revolver and five cartridges, also a letter from the Rev. A. C. Walkup, who is in charge of the American mission in the Gilbert Group.

Kustel being absent in a schooner, I left a letter for him, acquainting him of the charge preferred against him.

On a subsequent date, I obtained sworn evidence concerning this outrage from Peter Grant, an American subject, also a trader in the same island.

[Page 310]

On arrival at Butaritari Island, on the 6th of July, I found Kustel’s schooner lying there. I requested Kustel to meet me on shore at the king’s house the following day in connection with this case.

I read the evidence I had taken to him. He acknowledged that the native’s statement was correct except that the revolver was taken from his pocket, not his hand. He also took exception to the language stated by Peter Grant to have been used on the occasion, stating that it was not his habit to use bad language.

I pointed out to him that although the offense had been committed before the protectorate was established, the complaint had been made since. This being the case I would give him the opportunity of making reparation to the native. After some hesitation he offered to pay him $10. I told him I did not consider that sum sufficient compensation for pointing a loaded revolver at a native’s head, threatening to shoot him, and tying him up. He then said he wished the matter referred to his own Government. Seeing no other course open to me, I informed him I would grant his request.

As this man bears a very bad character in the group, I took the opportunity to personally inform him of the British law concerning the supplying of arms, etc., and intoxicating liquors to natives; at the same time warning him that a repetition of such an offense as that to which he had pleaded guilty would probably lead to his expulsion from the Gilbert Islands.

Calling at Tarawa on my way south, I made further inquiries concerning this man, and obtained sworn depositions from his wife (a half-caste woman), from the King, also from Kamudgi, the King’s son, and Mr. Meyer, a trader, which prove without doubt this man’s ill doings in the island of Tarawa.

I beg to inclose papers concerning this matter; also an extract from the minutes of proceedings of a court held for the trial of Eno, a trader of Kustel’s.

I trust that, for the welfare of the islands over which Her Majesty has assumed a protectorate, no time may be lost in this case being fully reported to the United States Government.

I have, etc.,

Ed. H. M. Davis,
Captain.
[Inclosure 3 in No. 910.]

Mr. Walkup to whom it may concern.

To whom it may concern:

Tabantia, a native of Tarawa, gave me the following testimony and showed me a revolver and five shells and handkerchief:

That Capt. Kustel, a trader of Tarawa, met him on the path south of the village of Ukiangang, caught him and pulled him, pointing a revolver at his forehead saying, “Go to the boat.” Also tied his left hand with his handkerchief and was pulling him, when he snatched the revolver and ran and fired off a shell.

Peter Grant, Eno (native of Tahiti), Tabantia, a native, were with Kustel, while ten Tiraki and ten Zenoi were with him.

A. C. Walkup,
Missionary of A. B. C. F. M., Boston, Mass. in charge of Gilbert Island work, on Morning Star.
[Inclosure 4 in No. 910.]

Tabantia, a native of Tarawa, states: About six or eight months ago, whilst walking along to pick cocoanuts, Capt. Kustel came up to me and told me to go to his boat. I told him I did not want to go. He caught hold of my hand and told me again to go. I said, “No.” He tied his handkerchief around my wrist and pointed a loaded revolver at me. I snatched it from him and ran away. He has since asked me to give him back the revolver, but I would not. I have it now in my possession and five cartridges which I took out of it. Mr. Walkup, the missionary, told [Page 311]me to keep it and give it to a man-of-war when one came to Tarawa. He also gave me the letter which I now give you.

When Capt. Kustel tried to take me to his boat Peter Grant, a trader, and Eno, a native of Tahiti, were with him.

Tabantia (his x mark).

Witnesses:
F. St. L. Luscombe, Lieutenant.

Duncan S. O. Grant, Assistant Paymaster.

Before me.

Ed. H. M. Davis,
Captain Her Majesty’s Ship Royalist.
[Inclosure 5 in No. 910.]

Mr. Davis to Mr. Kustel.

Sir: I have to acquaint you that Her Majesty, Victoria, Queen of Great Britain and Ireland, has assumed a protectorate over the Gilbert Islands, and that it is contrary to British law that any arms, ammunition, explosive substances, or intoxicating liquors be supplied to natives of the Pacific Islands.

I also have to acquaint you that charges of intimidation and threatening the lives of natives have been preferred against you, and it will be my duty to forward these charges to the United States authorities, as I understand you are an American citizen, I take this opportunity to warn you that a repetition of the offenses with which you have been charged will probably lead to your expulsion from the Gilbert Islands.

I am, etc.,

Ed. H. M. Davis,
Captain.
[Inclosure 6 in 910.]

Peter Grant, trader of Tarawa, having been sworn, stated:

About four months ago I was walking along the road with Kustel and Eno. We met Tabantia, and Kustel tied Tabantia’s hands with his handkerchief and said: “You son of a______, if you don’t come on board my ship I’ll kill you.” When Kustel was about to tie up Tabantia’s hands he had a revolver in his hand, which he pointed at the native’s head, and whilst he was tying Tabantia’s hands the man snatched it out of his pocket and ran away and fired it in the air.

“Kustel, Eno, and myself then went to my house, and the native the other way.

P. Grant.

Witness:
Duncan S. O. Grant,
Assistant Paymaster, R. N.

Before me.

Ed. H. M. Davis,
Captain Her Majesty’s Ship Royalist.
[Inclosure 7 in No. 910.]

Mr. Davis to Mr. Kustel.

memorandum.

You having this day declined to make suitable reparation to Tabantia, the Tarawa native, whom, by your own admission, you assaulted on Tarawa Island, about November, 1891, I shall request the commander in chief to communicate with the United States Government on the subject.

Ed. H. M. Davis,
Captain and one of Her Majesty’s Deputy Commissioners for the Western Pacific.
[Page 312]
[Inclosure 8 in No. 910.]

Emma Kustel, wife of Albert Kustel, have been sworn, states:

I am the wife of Albert Kustel, have lived on Tarawa for about four years. I saw Eno this morning; Eno trades for my husband. Everything Eno sells he sells for my husband. He does not trade on his own account. Eno lives about 4 miles from here. He buys his own trade. My husband pays him for trading. No license is being paid now for traders. When it was paid Eno’s license was paid by my husband. My husband has never authorized Eno to sell firearms or ammunition. All trade in firearms from this house is done by my husband. Eno once bought fifty cartridges. Whatever gin Eno has brought here, he has always said it has been for his own use. My husband has sold 10 rifles and 800 rounds of ammunition to the King’s party. My husband has sold gin to the King; the first bottle he wanted was because his wife was sick, which he took away and drank himself. He came again and got a second bottle from the Fleur-de-Lys (Kustel’s schooner), for which he did not pay. The last bottle he got was before the Royalist came here first.

The native Jacob signed articles on board my husband’s ship for a month, I believe. After being there a week he went away to get his clothes, and then did not return. The King ordered him to return, and he ran away again, and the schooner went away without him.

I do not know anything of my husband’s trouble with native Tabantia, as I was on board the ship at the time.

I know there was a fine on the island, agreed to by the traders, that whoever sold liquor to a native should be fined $100. Ah Tong, a trader Chinaman, was fined $100 for doing this. When my husband sold grog to the King, he did not pay this fine. When the Chinaman was accused of selling gin it appears that Kamudgi (King’s son) went to the house and demanded it for his father. The Chinaman not being willing to sell it, Kamudgi took it. This is what I have heard.

Emma Kustel (her x mark).

Witness:
George D. Twigg, Staff Surgeon.

Duncan S. O. Grant, Assistant Paymaster
.

Before me.

Ed. H. M. Davis,
Captain Her Majesty’s Ship Royalist and Deputy Commissioner.
[Inclosure 9 in No. 910.]

Tenmaton, king of Tarawa, having been cautioned to speak the truth, states: About three months ago I purchased about six bottles of gin from Kustel—one time two bottles and one time three, for which I paid $1.50 for each bottle. Kustel’s wife handed me the gin. Kustel asked for the money, which she took and passed to him for payment.

I also bought one Martini-Henry rifle and one Snider rifle, for which I paid $25 the first and $20 the other; and thirty rounds of ammunition. These I purchased from Kustel’s wife in his house. Kustel told me to go and see them and buy them. Tentickimarch and Kamudji were with me when I bought them. Kunstel told Ten-tokorigi to tell me to go and fight quick, which he did.

Tenmaton.

Witnesses:
F. St. L. Luscombe, Lieutenant.

Duncan S. O. Grant, Assistant Paymaster.

Jem Macke, Native (King’s Secretary).

Tekiatowa, Interpreter.

Before me:

Ed. H. M. Davis,
Captain and Deputy Commissioner.
[Inclosure 10 in No. 910.]

Kamudgi, native of Tarawa, having been cautioned to speak the truth, said:

I have been on two or three occasions to Kustel’s house with the late King’s wife to buy gin. I did not go inside the house, but waited until she came out. I have [Page 313]seen her carry it to the King. On one occasion she took $2 and brought away one big bottle and two small bottles of gin.

On one occasion I got a revolver from Kustel’s wife; it was broken, but I mended it.

Tekamatie.

Witnesses:
F. St. L. Luscombe,
Lieutenant.

Tekiatowa,
Interpreter.

Duncan S. O. Grant,
Assistant Paymaster.

Before me:

Ed. H. M. Davis,
Captain Her Majesty’s Ship Royalist, and Deputy Commissioner.
[Inclosure 11 in No. 910.]

John Herman Edward Meyer, having been sworn, stated:

About two months ago I saw Kustel give the King of Tarawa a glass of gin, which he drank. It is known throughout the island that Kustel has sold spirituous liquor to the late King, the present King, and to Kamudgi, a chief, son of the present King. Kustel has sold ammunition and firearms to natives. About six months ago he sold some Winchester rifles, with ammunition, to the late King. I know Kustel sold a rifle to a native, Tauginou, a few months ago, for which he had not sufficient money to pay, so is now, to the best of my belief, paying in copra.

E. Meyer.

Witness:
Duncan S. O. Grant, Assistant Paymaster.

Before me:

Ed. H. M. Davis,
Captain Her Majesty’s Ship Royalist, and Deputy Commissioner.
[Inclosure 12 in No. 910.]

Extract from minutes of proceedings of a court held on July 15, 1892, on board Her Majesty’s ship Royalist, at Tarawa Island, for the trial of Eno, a native of Raratonga.

4. For that he, the said Eno, did burn down the house of Jacob, a native of Tarawa.

* * * * * * *

He admitted the truth of the charges, but said * * * with reference to fourth charge, he was ordered to do it by Kustel.

Ed. H. M. Davis,
Captain.