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between the contending factions. These became aggravated in 1869 by a split in the Malietoa camp, when, on the death of the reigning chief, his two sons contested the succession. The chiefs of Savaii supported the claims of the elder brother, while those of the isle Monono elected the second, justly believing that the chiefs of Apia were becoming mere tools in the hands of the foreigners.
This double civil war, fomented as usual by the whites, raged till 1872, when the United States assumed a sort of protectorate over the group, and in the following year a republic was declared, the supreme power being vested in the hands of a representative body of seven high chiefs. These were called the Taimua—i.e., the "Pioneers."
I must tell you that the great nobles of Samoa are called Alii, and the greatest care is taken td preserve their line in direct lineal descent from the ancient chiefs. It is not necessary that the title should descend from father to son, only that it should be bestowed on a member of the family, who can trace back his clear pedigree to the true source. Therefore, on the death of a high chief, the minor chiefs of the tribe elect the member of the principal family, whom they will henceforth acknowledge as their political head, reserving to themselves the power of deposing him should he prove unsatisfactory.
These minor chiefs also hold their title as head of the family by election—a son being often passed over in favour of a cousin, and sometimes even of one who is no blood relation, but is adopted for some political reason. These head men are the Faipule, who act as local magistrates in each village, the affairs of which they discuss in solemn conclave. They have the name of being great orators, and much eloquence flows in these legislative assemblies. The great chiefs never speak in public, that office being deputed to their official spokesman. In a general way the Samoan isles have divided themselves into ten districts, each of which has its distinct fono or parliament, and no action is taken in any matter , till the members of one council have arrived at something very near a unanimous decision. Of course, in times of war like the present, these matters are very irregular.
In January 1875, a new experiment was tried. Unheeding the wisdom which forbids having " two queens in Brentford," the Samoans resolved to have a king of each dynasty, who should reign jointly: so Pulepule of the ancient Tupua race ascended the throne in company with Malietoa Laupepa; and the number of the Taimua was raised from seven to fourteen. How long this amicable arrangement might have continued, it is impossible to say; for on the 1st April 1875, a very serious phase of
April fooling was enacted by an American adventurer, known as Colonel Steinberger, who, by some means not clearly explained, obtained a passage to Apia in the United States man-of-war Tuscarora, and on landing stated that he had been sent from Washington to organise a new government. As his sole credentials, he presented the Samoans with four pieces of cannon and a Gatling gun, which, he said, were a gift from President Grant.
Utterly ignoring all the foreign consuls, including the representative of the States, he proceeded, under protection of the American man-of-war, to draw up a new constitution, declaring Malietoa sole king, and himself (Steinberger) prime minister, and, in fact, supreme ruler. This matter being settled, the Tuscarora sailed, and Steinberger proceeded to arm the schooner Peerless (which he had purchased in San Francisco) with guns and ammunition, and sailed to Tutuila to put down the disturbances in that island. The American consul (Mr Foster) vainly remonstrated against the proceeding of this unlicensed vessel flying the American flag; and taking advantage of the arrival of H.M.S. Barracouta, commanded by Captain Stevens, he seized the Peerless for breach of the neutrality laws.
Then followed a meeting of all the foreign residents, resolving to free themselves from the tyranny of this self-constituted dictator. Many of the
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Samoan chiefs joined with the foreigners in claiming British protection—the German consul, Godeffroy's representative, being the only one to stand aloof. The Barracouta arrived on the 12th December; and on the 7th February, Malietoa appealed to the United States consul to aid him in getting rid of his arrogant premier. Mr Foster forwarded thi3 petition to the British consul and Captain Stevens, who, after an interview with the king and the Samoan representatives—the Taimua and the Faipule—agreed to arrest Steinberger, who, accordingly, was carried on board the Barracouta for safe keeping.
His right hand, Jonas Coe, was however left at large, and by his advice the Steinberger faction proceeded that night to seize the king and carry him off to the isle of Savaii, where they forced him to sign a deed of abdication, vesting all power of government in the Taimua and Faipule. Within a week Malietoa contrived to send a message to Captain Stevens, acquainting him with these circumstances, and requesting his further aid. The Barracouta accordingly went to the rescue, and brought the king back to Apia, where he was landed with a salute of twenty-one guns, and a guard of marines was told off to protect him. The town was now full of armed mobs, who surrounded the British consulate in a threatening manner, so
that Mr Williams, the consul, was obliged to swear in special constables for its protection.
So matters went on till the 13th March, when the king, wishing to explain to his people his reasons for dismissing Steinberger, summoned all the chiefs to meet him at the neighbouring village of Mulinunu, which lies on a green peninsula beyond Apia. Malietoa was escorted by his principal chiefs, the consuls, and foreign residents, and Captain Stevens, with a guard of sailors and marines; the latter with unloaded arms, which were piled on reaching the village. Then, in their rear, appeared a strong party of armed natives, cutting off their retreat, and evidently meditating an attack. An officer, with a small party of marines, advanced to parley with these men, but were received with a volley of musketry, which killed and wounded several. Then followed a sharp skirmish, in which the sailors fought at a great disadvantage— the enemy being 500 strong, and concealed by the dense thickets of bananas and sugar-cane. Eleven sailors and marines were killed and wounded, and the assailants lost about double that number. Grave fears were entertained that the British and American consulates would be attacked; so they were put in a state of defence, which proved a sufficient precaution. Next day Mr Jonas Coe was tried by his consul and country