The Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit MONDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 1889. THE SAMOAN DIFFICULTY.
The time is evidently coming, ' and that, perhaps, m the not far distant future, when the archipelagoes of the Pacific will become the theatre of struggles between the Great Powers of the old world. Indeed, the present I Samoan difficulty, unless very carefully handled, may easily lead to a struggle of Titans, and history has innumerable . examples of a Bmaller Bpark than this leading to a great conflagration. The action taken by Germany is clearly m, breach of international treaties, and be trays a set determination to achieve the annexation of Samoa to the Empire, and that purpose will most certainly be carried out unless America and England show unmistakably that they are determined to veto it, and to back their veto by force if necessary. The British Government appears to regard the matter with remarkable equanimity, and we are not surprised that m America its attitude of intouciance is regarded with suspicion and attributed to a secret understanding with Bismarck that m return for being permitted to dominate Samoa, Germany is to acquiesce later on m the British annexation of Tonga. Probably there is no sufficient ground for such a suspicion, but that it should be cherished is, nevertheless, under the circumstances, by no means surprising. At the same time, if the autonomy of Samoa is to be preserved, it will, it is plainly to be seen, be chiefly due to the attitude of the United fetates, whose Government, Parliament and people are evidently determined that Germany shall not be permitted to play a lone hand m the Samoan group. German planters have undoubtedly large interests m Samoa, and Qermgn merchants have the control of the lion's share of the trade with the islands, but America also has interests m Samoa of dimensionsonly second to those of Germany, and Eng lish and American interests are together fully equal to, if they do not outweigh, those of the great limpire whose destinies are gnided by Bismarck with such marvellous ability. And as. all three Powers have entered into written agreements to maintain Samoan independence, Germany is breaking faitb, not only with Samoa, but with the other two treaty powers, m the action which she has already taken, and still more m that which she evidently contemplates. The irritation displayed by the American Senate and House of Representatives, is therefore, not pnly natural, but justifiable, and the great ftepublic is evidently determined, to back her protest against German action by force, if necessary. England can do no less than stand shoulder to shoulder with her, and if she be equally firm m her attitude Germany is certain to give way at least for the present, and postpone her designs until a more favorable opportunity presents itself for putting them into pxecutioo. Already we see ! that Bismarck has instructed the German Consul m Samoa to exempt foreign residents from the operation of martial law, and is evidently chary about precipitating a war m which he would find the united forces of America and England arranged against him, with France ready to seize the opportunity of crossing the Rhine. That he will stay his hand, we have no doubt, and will try what he can achieve by diplomacy. Be objects it seems to a Conference at Washington, and wants to have the question argued out at Berlin upon a basis of parleying laid down by himself. He will scarcely ge£ his own way m this matter either, we shoqk} imagine, as to the basis of the conference or the place at which it is to be held which will doubtless have to be the subject of mutual agreement, Still it is I scarcely conceivable that a great war will be entered upon, at least until all chance of settling the question diplomatically has been exhausted, and the result of the present trouble will probably be the arranging of a fresh tripartite treaty. The element of danger m the case is that, if the cable news is to be relied upon, Germany proposes to take a. step which may precipitate a collision, as we are informed that she is sending out reinforcements, and proposes to occupy a second position m the islands as well as Apia. This with an American Admiral with American menof war m Bamoan waters would scarcely be permitted without a protest m the shape of powder and ehot, and that would mean the beginning of a war the results of which no one can foresee. The position is one of grave difficulty, anjd (brings ofiMnthe strongest possible light the folly of Great Britain m not taking effectual steps, as she might have done years ago without any other Power objecting, to prevent the growing up of conflicting interests m the Pacific, which might and ought to jbave besn made an Engliih pet, -