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The text of the several proclamations issued m Samoa by the respective Consuls of Germany, Great Britain and America shows very clearly the gravity of the situation. First we have a proclamation by Dr Knapp, German Consul, proclaiming martial law " irrespective of nationality," followed by another by Mr H. De Coetlegan, Consul .'for Great Britain and British DeputyCommissioner for Samoa, m which, while British subjects are enjoined to observe strict neutrality, they are at the same time commanded to take notice that, the German proclamation notwithstanding, they are and remain subject solely to the jurisdiction of Her Majesty the Queen, and to the authority of the Consul and of the High Commissioner of the Pacific, and the other appointed servants of Her Majesty, and to Her Majesty's orders m Council. Thereupon Captain Corvette, commandant of the German warship Adlor. issued a counterproclamation declaring that notwithstanding the proclamation of the British Consul all British subjects were under martial law, and. would be tried by martial law if they should interfere m any way with the German authorities. Contemporaneously, or nearly so, with the appearance of the German counterproclamation, Dr Knapp, as German Consul, or. Commandant Corvette ap pears to have officially informed Mr Coeltegan that " war had been declared by the Imperial German Government against the Samoan Islands," and thereapon by jk further proclamation the British Consnl strictly enjoined masters and others m charge of British vessels m Samoan waters " to submit themselves peacefully to all reasonable search for 'contraband of war." A like intimation, as to a declaration of war was also made by Dr Knapp to Mr Black, United States Vice-Con sal at Apia, though according to the terms of a proclamation issued by the latter there was this important difference that whereas the British Consul had been informed that war had been declared "by the Imperial German Government against the Samoan Islands" the American Consul was notified that " Germany is at war with Mataafa and his followers." There is here not only a distinction but a very pronounced difference, and that m two most important particulars. For it is one thing to say that Germany (as represented by the Samoan Consul and the Commandant of the German squadron tt £amo») is engaged m hostilities with Mataafa as the leader of the insurrectionary party, and quite another to say that the German Empire has declared war against Samoa. As a matter of fact no Imperial proclamation has been issued from Berlin declaring war with Samoa, and the attitude now taken up by Prince Bismarck leads to the conclusion that none will be, but that tho action taken by the German Consul will be disavowed as being an exceeding dflHstruCtions, prudence dictating that course m view of the determined attitude taken up by the United States. n the meantime the American Consul forbids the subjects of his Republio to take part m hostile preparations on either Bide, but declares thaf so long as they remain non-combatants they are entitled to personal immunity and protection, and that any offence committed against them or their property is an offence against the laws of war and should be promptly reported to him so that the offender or offenders may be jbruugbt to justice.

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Bibliographic details

Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2060, 11 February 1889

Word Count

THE BAMOAN QUESTION. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2060, 11 February 1889