Such is the narrative of this simple exile. I have not sought to correct it by extraneous testimony. It is not so much the facts that are historical, as the man's attitude. No one could hear this tale as he originally told it in my hearing--I think none can read it as here condensed and unadorned--without admiring the fairness and simplicity of the Samoan; and wondering at the want of heart-- or want of humour--in so many successive civilised Germans, that they should have continued to surround this infant with the secrecy of state.

CHAPTER IV--BRANDEIS September '87 to August '88

So Tamasese was on the throne, and Brandeis behind it; and I have now to deal with their brief and luckless reign. That it was the reign of Brandeis needs not to be argued: the policy is throughout that of an able, over-hasty white, with eyes and ideas. But it should be borne in mind that he had a double task, and must first lead his sovereign, before he could begin to drive their common subjects. Meanwhile, he himself was exposed (if all tales be true) to much dictation and interference, and to some "cumbrous aid," from the consulate and the firm. And to one of these aids, the suppression of the municipality, I am inclined to attribute his ultimate failure.

The white enemies of the new regimen were of two classes. In the first stood Moors and the employes of MacArthur, the two chief rivals of the firm, who saw with jealousy a clerk (or a so-called clerk) of their competitors advanced to the chief power. The second class, that of the officials, numbered at first exactly one. Wilson, the English acting consul, is understood to have held strict orders to help Germany. Commander Leary, of the Adams, the American captain, when he arrived, on the 16th October, and for some time after, seemed devoted to the German interest, and spent his days with a German officer, Captain Von Widersheim, who was deservedly beloved by all who knew him. There remains the American consul-general, Harold Marsh Sewall, a young man of high spirit and a generous disposition. He had obeyed the orders of his government with a grudge; and looked back on his past action with regret almost to be called repentance. From the moment of the declaration of war against Laupepa, we find him standing forth in bold, consistent, and sometimes rather captious opposition, stirring up his government at home with clear and forcible despatches, and on the spot grasping at every opportunity to thrust a stick into the German wheels. For some while, he and Moors fought their difficult battle in conjunction; in the course of which, first one, and then the other, paid a visit home to reason with the authorities at Washington; and during the consul's absence, there was found an American clerk in Apia, William Blacklock, to perform the duties of the office with remarkable ability and courage. The three names just brought together, Sewall, Moors, and Blacklock, make the head and front of the opposition; if Tamasese fell, if Brandeis was driven forth, if the treaty of Berlin was signed, theirs is the blame or the credit.

To understand the feelings of self-reproach and bitterness with which Sewall took the field, the reader must see Laupepa's letter of farewell to the consuls of England and America. It is singular that this far from brilliant or dignified monarch, writing in the forest, in heaviness of spirit and under pressure for time, should have left behind him not only one, but two remarkable and most effective documents. The farewell to his people was touching; the farewell to the consuls, for a man of the character of Sewall, must have cut like a whip. "When the chief Tamasese and others first moved the present troubles," he wrote, "it was my wish to punish them and put an end to the rebellion; but I yielded to the advice of the British and American consuls. Assistance and protection was repeatedly promised to me and my government, if I abstained from bringing war upon my country. Relying upon these promises, I did not put down the rebellion.

Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa Page 25

Robert Louis Stevenson

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