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A BATTLE IN SAMOA.

[By an eta Witness— now a Resident ♦» op wbu.ingxolc 3 The battle was oaased by disputes between the Malletoa, and other chiefs, and seems at the bottom to have been a war of disputed succession. Malletoa, like Oakabaa, of the Fijls, had always bad a titular supremacy over the other ohlefs of Samoa, and was no doubt their lawfal generally reoognlsed feadal head. Bat the native tribes m the neighborhood of Apia, whose intercourse with as whites had been more intimate, and whose ideas had possibly thereby become unsettled, determined to throw off the yoke of Malietoa. Their head quarters were m Apia itself, and we knew them only by the name of " Tv» MaeagKß," or sometimes as the " Small Party. "■ The Malletoas were much superior In numbers, for they not only drew their forces from all Sav»il but from a great portion of Upolu and Tutulla. The Savallan chieftains m espeoial mastered strong m defenoe of their liege lord. la larg% war oanoes, and with a fleet of boats well freighted with provisions, they crossed the sea that separates them from : Upolu, and hugging the coast of the small Island of Anuu, landed unnoticed, Their favorite method of fighting was to make a descent Bomefwbere on the' coast where' least likely to be noticed, and barn and waste everything thatcame In their way and then retire to their canoes. Sometimes however they would attack the forts of the Taa Massgas, aud theojbbe fighting would be severe. These forts were ballt of cocoanot wood hard and thiok enough to tarn' a rifle ballet, and ooald only be taken by storm. When this was done, the fort was burned and the country for mile* around or up to the next stronghold, was laid watte On thii particular oooaalon a pitched battle was fought jast outside Apia. Neither, party gave or asked quarter, and neither, prisoner no wounded was spared ; as seen immediately after the battle, the c»mp of the .Malietoaa presented a strange spectacle. At the entrance stood a pyramid of human heads, as grim and ghastly as the head of John the Baptist m the Italian painting. Bound this hideous tropby stood some women with baskets, waiting until the enemy should give them permission to take them away and bary them. One was the head of an old chief, whom his daughter m vain begged for, another, was that of a Tongan, who that morning had at his wife's request, volunteered his services In an evil hour — impar congressus Achillu Farther on lay a man badly wounded with a rlfla ballet, and, Indeed, sinking fast. Those aroand knew it, and with a wovse than animal want of sympathy would scarcely give him a drink of water, or a bit of calico where* with to make a bandage. Hard by was another . woanded man, tended by a Somoan doctor, who, like Hr-jj ct ' fl was both soldier ap^ B argeon. This gentleman waa dre»-; ed j n Adamlo fashion— ln leavea and wltQ body o U e d and face paln^ ha if b u ok and half red--1 andloo*- Q a8 ua uk e a Wellington learned as anything it Is possible to oonoeive. Every house was fall of armed men begrimed with dost, paint, and gunpowder. On them were a number of attending Hebes, who shampooed (lomi llomi) the weary ones and brought food aud water for all. The appearance of the men was strange and romantio. Some of them had their browa bo and, not with laurel, bat with shells, while their bodies were only clad with a few soaoty Ivy leaves } others had dressed their long looks In elaborate style, and had painted their faces black, red, or blue, as the taste of the owcer had prompted. Muskets, rifles, battle-axes, spears and shields, were lying about m all direo? tions, while amid ail the oonfasloh were a nuaiber of young girls, bnslly and quietly engaged In chewing kava. With this native neotar the warriors pledged eaoh othet as they sang their Deans of victory. The whole aoene baffled description, and was one of intense excitement and novelty, and bad it not been for the oooaslonal whistle of a round-shot through the camp, might have been mistaken for aome soenio melodrama rather than real downright bitter warfare. Apart In a lonely house, alone In death, as he bad been m life, lay a great ohlef. He had'been among the other Samoan ohiefs what Oapaneus had been amongst — the Seven against Thebes— the bravest, the sternest, the most determined and least forgiving of them all. This day he had rushed to the fatal breach as gaily as King Rlobard at Asoalon, and had found death [m the moment of vlotory. In life he had 1 been a redoubtable and pitiless slaver 6f men, more feared than liked by his own. He lay quiet enough now, bat still grim m his war paint, and wearing even m death the haughty look. He hated missionaries and died as he bad lived— a stern, proud, Impenitent, unbending man. The prayer that was offered up for the bold moss trooper must needs be offered for him too, and we will say "May God have more meroy than man oa the sonl of aueh a bold rider " During this battle the good and bad In the Samoan oharacter were amply displayed. Of individual bravery there was no laok, while the fidelity of the retainers to their ohiefs, and the chiefs to their feadal lorda shone is brightly aa at Creasy or Onlloden : but this Is the most that oan be said m their praise. The whole conduct of the battle was stained by wanton cruelty and unnecessary bloodshed. The demoralisation of all ranks was complete, Ererv oheok to vloe seemed to be removed, and even the semblance to Christianity was pat away. In suQh a crisis It waa fortunate, perhaps that the power of each patty to do evil was Btslotly limited— the Tua Maatgaa by their want of food and the Mali»* oaß by tb«l* want of amuumUloD _ ,< Weekly Betald." ...... == I

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http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18890216.2.13

Bibliographic details

A BATTLE IN SAMOA., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2065, 16 February 1889

Word Count
1,022

A BATTLE IN SAMOA. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2065, 16 February 1889

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