ISLAND NEWS. MORE ANNEXATION. FRENCH PROTECTORATE OVER RURUTU AND RIMUTARA.
The " Journal Official " of Tahiti received per steamer Richmond contains particulars of the establishment of a French protectorate over the islands of Rurutu, Rimutara, and dependences. Rurutu and Rimutara are two jf the Austral Islands, a group of five islands in the South Pacific between lat. 22.27 and 27.26 South, 144.11, 150.47 west, chief islands being Raiva\ai, Tubuci, Rurutu, Rimutara, and Rapa. The account of the annexation as given in the" Journal Officiel" states that on the 27th March last a deputation consisting of King Teuruarii, of Rurutu, and members of his native Government, presented a petition tip M. Lacascade, the Governor of Tahiti, soliciting the establishment of a French protectorate over Rurutu and Rimutara. Their request was acceded to, and the document was signed by the six natives the Governor of Tahiti and three of his officers, giving effect to the establishment of a French protectorate over the two islands. On the 29th of March the French Government dispatched the war vessel Dives having on board M. Lacascade and the natives petitioning in order to formally proclaim a French protectorate over the islands, and hoist the French flag. After the conditions of the protectorate bad been examined in the presence of the commander of the Dives, M. Vienot, Pasteur and Consul - General and other naval officers, and the Governor, the authorities ot the islands unanimously agreed to the terras of annexation, viz. :— " That the Queen and the Government of Rimutara reserve all their rights and privileges which prevailed previous to this, that there will be no alteration in the laws or customs by the French administration." In consequence of this proceeding the Governor of Tahiti, in virtue of the powers conferred upon him, decided to place Rimutara and dependencies under the protection of France, by hoisting the French colours. The terms were signed by eight Rimutara chiefs, the Governor, and other officials. The Governor and party then resumed the voyage, previously having saluted the French flag with a salute of twenty guns from the Dives. This, of course, is purely the French version of the affair. On the other hand it is stated that the annexation was effected contrary to the desire of the majority ot the natives interested, and that the chiefs who are reported as having agreed to the terms of the protectorate are not representative of the people, they having been unwisely persuaded by the French authorities to cede the control of their islands to France. It is thought unlikely that the natives will submit peaceably to French rule.
ATTEMPTED ANNEXATION OF MANAHIKI. A very good story of attempted annexation by the French man -o J - war Volage, of the islands of Kotohunga and Manahiki, of the Humphrey Group. The captain of the Volage went ashore in a boat to induce the natives to accept a French protectorate, and the natives met the party half-way. They asked the captain what he came there for, and an explanation having been offered, the natives replied that; they were English, and had an English flag and wanted no French protectorate. They were informed that they were liable to a heavy penalty for hoisting the British flag without authority, but elected to take the risk there was on that head. They advised the Frenchmen to go away in the meantime, and thus the interview was concluded. The '* Messager de Tahiti " published an account of the French expedition to annex Manahiki, which gave offence to the French authoaties and in the fo lowing issue of the paper, April 27, there appeared an apology by order of the Government. The statements made regarding the expedition were withdrawn, and an apology made for their account of the proceedings.
NEWS FROM RAIATEA. When the steamer Richmond lefb Raiatea, the conditon of affairs was much the same as when previously reported. The native flag: and the Fiench flag were both hoisted, and a sort of armed neutrality was preserved between the opposing parties. Trade was almost completely at a standstill, the natives being all in the hills, living on cocoanuts instead of pursuing their usual task of converting them into a marketable commodity, and it was impossible to say what was likely to be the ultimate result of this very unsatisfactory state of affairs.
RARATONGA NEWS. Towards the end of the present month the natives of Rarotonga intend to assemble for a lengthy discussion of the laws of the island. Amongst the questions to come on will be the state of the liquor law, the question of a British Government Resident, &c.
SAMOA NEWS. From Samoa by the Richmond, we learn that all is quiet at Apia at present. The United States raan-o'-war Alert was expected daily from San Francisco.