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SEIZURE OF RAIATEA BY THE FRENCH.

DESTRUCTION OF NATIVE VILLAGES.

THE FRENCH ASSUME THE GOVERNMENT.

THE EUROPEAN RESIDENTS ARE PLEASED AT FRENCH INTERVEN-

TION. Bt the arrival of Messrs. Donald and Edenborough's steamer, the Richmond, last night, we have news that the French have taken possession of the island of .Raiatea, and are destroying the settlements of one section of the natives, with the view of compelling them to come in and submit to one rule. THK STATS OF THK ISLAND. For some years past Raiatea, which is only about 100 miles from Tahiti, has been in a disturbed and unquiet state. The King, in whose name the government was oarried on, is named Tamatoa, but he has never been able to maintain order in a satisfactory manner. The whole of the European houses carrying on business in the island, have been sorely tried by the utter incapacity of the native government to carry out its functions, and have been anxious that the Freuoh should assume complete oontrol.

THK IMMEDIATE CAUSE OF ACTION. The causes which have led to the French taking the present action date from the 14th of July last, when the uational celebration took place in Tahiti. The chiefs of Raiatea were as usual invited to attend the ceremonies in 1 alsiti, but decided not to go. Afterwards, at the last moment, several of the chiefs and officials altered their minds and went. Not being expected, no preparation had been made for their reception. This caused a good deal of disappointment and quarrelling among them, some wishing toreturn. and others insisting ou staying. On their return to Raiatea several were deposed from their offices by the native government, and banished. Among these was a chief called PBU, who for years has been the pilot of Raiatea, and who is the only native who is capable of handling the large vessels which constantly arrive at Kaiatea to load copra for Europe. Another pilot was appointed in his place in whom no captain had any confidence. The white resident shipowners protested against the deposition of Peu and the appointment of this use less man, and requested the French commandant to ask the King to retain Peu in office, as they had to pay very heavy pilot and harbour charges, and they wanted a competent man for their money. The King consented, and a meeting was called on the 3rd Ootober to consider the matter. At this meeting Peu was reinstated, and sentence of banishment was remitted. On the 4tn October the chief Teraupoo sent all his people to the meeting armed, with instructions to compel the banishment sentence to be carried into effect,and there was every appearanceof a serious trouble taking place. The King abdicated and took refuge on board it French mau-o'-war. Six of the principal chiefs then requested the French to land and compel orner on the island by force if necessary. The commandant refused to do this, unless he was left fre to punish those who made the trouble. This was granted, and he then landed a force, and the rebel natives took to the bush. After some time spent in endeavouring to induce them to come in, and he judged by the law, the French Commandant issued a proclamation outlawing the following chiefs and their followers, and giving them 24 bonrs to deliver themselves up :— Teraupoo, Tetspu, Tetupuatua, Utu, Mauraa, Tiafariu, and Maipoto. On the time expiring, the Frenoh troops landed and destroyed their property. On the 9th December Commandant Le Guerre issued a proclamation calling on Teraupoo and five other chiefs with their followers to come in and surrender to the law before 8 a.m. on 10th December.

LANDING OF AN ARMED FOKOfi. On the 10th December, the natives not having come in, the Frenoh waited until 12 noon, when the Scorpion went round to the town ef Vaiaau (Teraupoo's district) and bombarded it, afterwards landing a party and burning and destroying all the houses and property of the rebel natives. The Decres meantime landed a party at Uteroa, the principal town, and destroyed the town houses and property of these people. THE WHITE RESIDENTS. The French were most careful not to injure or annoy anyone whatever, except the natives actually in rebellion. With the exception of the missionaries almost the whole of the white residents uphold the action of the French, aud hope that the French occupation will be permanent, as for some years the native government has been so weak and corrupt that foreigners could obtain no redress or justice except through French intervention. The principal foreign house i established on the island are : Societe Oommerciale de l'Oceacie (German), Darsie and Co. (English), Higgins and Co. (American), Donald and Edenborough (New Zealand), W. Riddell (American), Piatt Bros. (English), W. Hebb (English), Lufkin and Co. (American), besides a number of plantations and trading stores in the hands of foreigners of almost all nations. ACTS OF THE FRENCH. It is said that the chiefs who are against the Frenoh have 800 or 900 men under them. The French are destroying the villages in detail, and in some cases they have foolishly destroyed oocoanut trees, which is an injury that cannot easily be replaced. The Frenoh have broken up boats and killed pigs, but they have not fired on any natives as yet, They have, however, issued a proclamation j that if the rebels do not come in by a certain time they will fire on them.

ENGLAND AND RAIATEA. For tome years past the English have taken no part in the affairs of Raiatea, deeming it out of their jurisdiction, as it is one of a group of islands where for many years past the Frenoh have exercised supreme authority. Lately, Lord Salisbury made a distinct statement that the English Government would not interfere in the affairs of Raiatea, and probably it was this declaration which induced the Frenoh to take decided action. THE MISSIONARIES. The missionaries on the island are the Rev. Mr. Richards and the Rev. Mr. Cooper, who were sent out by the London Missionary Society, and who object to the dominance of the French because they fear the introduction of French manners amongst the natives, and the strengthening of the Roman Catholic inflaence.

■xpz GROUP. The group of islands of which Raiatea is the chief, is composed of the following :— Huahina, Tahaa, Borabora, Maupiti, and Tubal.

THE TRENCH SQUADRON. - The French men-of-war at Raiatea when the s.s. Richmond left were the Decres, the Scorpion, and the Orohena.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/NZH18871228.2.61

Bibliographic details

SEIZURE OF RAIATEA BY THE FRENCH., New Zealand Herald, Volume XXIV, Issue 8936, 28 December 1887

Word Count
1,087

SEIZURE OF RAIATEA BY THE FRENCH. New Zealand Herald, Volume XXIV, Issue 8936, 28 December 1887

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