Mr. White to Mr. Gresham.

No. 961.]

Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith for your information a letter from Mr. Robert Louis Stevenson, the well-known author, to the Times newspaper, in which it is published to-day, inclosing a regulation issued by the British high commissioner for the western Pacific “For the maintenance of peace and good order in Samoa.”

It would appear from Mr. Stevenson’s letter that the regulation in question has been promulgated in consequence of certain letters of his to the Times on the subject of Samoa, most, if not all of which have been forwarded at different times to your Department by this legation.

I also inclose a Berlin telegram which has appeared in the Standard newspaper announcing the resignation of the chief justice of Samoa, Baron Cedercrantz.

I have, etc.,

Henry White.
[Inclosure 1 in No. 961.]

Sedition in Samoa.

[The Times, Tuesday, April 4, 1893.]

To the Editor of the Times:

Sir: Will you allow me to bring to the notice of your readers the sedition (Samoa) regulation, 1892, for the western Pacific and, in particular, the definition in section 3?

[Page 741]

My letters have been complained of, my statements called in question, and I was content to wait until facts and the publication of official papers should justify me. This new style of controversy appears more barbarous. I am content to take that also. If any further scandal happen, I shall take the freedom to report it to your paper and endure my three months in Apia gaol with as much patience as I may.

But I think these are new experiences for a British subject. I think this is a new departure in British legislation. I ask myself how it would be liked at home—in Ireland, for example—and Iain curious to learn what will be thought of it even as applied to British residents in that singular limbo, the western Pacific. The high commission has done good service in the past. It was created to deal with anomalous circumstances, which exist no longer. I wonder if its existence or nature are generally understood, and I wonder whether this last instance of its power and discretion will be palatable to the Government of England.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,

Robert Louis Stevenson.

Victoria, by the grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Queen, Empress of India, Defender of the Faith, etc. A regulation (made in the name of and on behalf of Her Britannic Majesty by Her Majesty’s high commissioner for the western Pacific, under the provisions of the western Pacific order in council of 1879), for the maintenance of peace and good order in Samoa.

[l. s.] John B. Thurston.
Any British subject who shall be guilty of sedition towards the Government of Samoa shall be liable, on conviction, to a fine not exceeding £10 or to imprisonment without hard labor for not more than three months, with or without a fine not exceeding £10.
The expression “Government of Samoa” shall mean the government recognized as such in Samoa by the principal British consular officer for the time being in Samoa.
The expression “sedition towards the Government of Samoa” snail embrace all practices, whether by word, deed, or writing, having for their object to bring about in Samoa discontent or dissatisfaction, public disturbance, civil war, hatred or contempt towards the King or Government of Samoa or the laws or constitution of the country, and generally to promote public disorder in Samoa.
If at the trial of any person under this regulation it shall appear that the offense charged is one which would, if this regulation had not been made, be punishable as criminal libel or otherwise by English law-, or under any order in council issued by Her Majesty and being in force in Samoa, or by any other regulation made in the name and on behalf of Her Majesty by Her Majesty’s high commissioner for the western Pacific, the court may either proceed with the trial under this regulation or may order that the charge under this regulation be dismissed and that the accused be put on his trial for criminal libel or otherwise, as the case may be.
This regulation shall come into operation on the 1st day of January, in the year of our Lord 1893, and may be cited as “the sedition (Samoa) regulation, 1892.”

Given this 29th day of December, 1892.

By command:

Wilfred Collet,
Secretary to the High Commissioner.
[Inclosure 2 in No. 961.]


[The Standard, Wednesday, April 5, 1893.]

[From our correspondent.]

The chief judge of Samoa, the Swedish lawyer, Baron Cedercrantz, has repeated his request to be released from his office on the ground that the Berlin-Samoan treaty appears to be a farce, and that he can do no good with his present situation. His wish in this matter will, I believe, shortly be complied with.