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[Page 194]


The Colony of New Guinea.

What was understood by "Das Deutsche Sudsee Schutzgebiete," or as it would be in plain English, "The German Pacific Protectorate," comprises Bismarck Archipelago, the two northern-most islands of the Solomon Group (Bougainville and Buka), the choicest island of the Samoan Group (now occupied by New Zealand), the Marshall Islands, the Carolines, Pelew, and the Ladrones with the exception of Guam which belongs to America. The Caroline, Pelew and Ladrone Groups were purchased from the Spaniards after the Spanish-American War for 850,000l.

Of the above group Bismarck Archipelago - better known as German New Guinea - is the most important. It comprises a large slice of New Guinea and includes New Britain, New Ireland, New Hanover, and numerous small islands - the Admiralty, Natty, Exchequer, Hermit, Anchorite, French, Gervit Denys, Sir Charles Hardy, St. John, St. Mathas, Squally Islands, and others.

An English missionary, Dr. Brown, tells us that when he arrived in the Bismarck Archipelago in 1875, there was not a single white man there. A little trade with Sydney had commenced - by Sydney vessels calling off the coast and Purchasing food and tortoise-shell from the natives, who put off to them in canoes. Shortly after, Captain Hernsheim, a German, came along and settled in the islands and that was really the commencement of German trade in that part of the world.

Most of the German Pacific possessions fell into her hands between 1884 and 1899. Dr. Brown, in a recent interview with a newspaper representative in Sydney, expressed regret that it ever became German property. "In 1886," he said, "we worked up a very strong agitation. We pleaded with the British Government to annex the whole of the islands, not in a spirit of earth hunger, but for the protection of the natives. We warned the British Government about the danger of German annexation. The only result of our agitation and our pleading, however, was that we were openly laughed at in the House of Commons. Lord Berby replied to us to say that he had the most authentic information that Germany had not the faintest idea or intention of stepping in to annex the islands. And yet the ink was hardly dry on the official cablegrams before the news arrived that Germany had annexed them."

Yet the veteran missionary spoke well of German rule in the Pacific. He said the military caste of Germany had not shown its head in the Pacific. The great advantage to German rule was that they sent peaceful methodical men as administrators - Dr. Solf to Samon and Dr. Hahl to New Britain, and the system of government initiated by these two men has, invariably, been fair to all classes, natives Germans and British alike.

The high opinion expressed about Dr. Hahl is, we believe, shared by the native population, in whom the Doctor took a fatherly interest, considering it a sacred trust to raise these ignorant, primitive children of the wilds to a higher plane. The same view, however, is not held by the German residents. In their opinion, Dr. Hahl's philanthropic ideas greatly checked the development of the possessions, and on him is also thrown the blame for Rabaul not being fortified and garrisoned with Germany troops. However that may be Dr. Hahl's influence in Berlin had been undermined, and when he went to Germany some time ago on a 12 months' holiday, it was considered that he had left for good. His place was temporarily filled by Dr. Haber, the official in charge of affairs at the time of the British annexation.

To what extent Dr. Hahl's efforts, in elevating the native population, succeeded is perhaps hard to say. They have partly been transformed from cannibals to an apparently peace-loving people; nor is the general opinion of a decline in number verified by statistics - just the opposite; they have so far been kept fairly clean from venereal diseases. The experimental attempts in introducing the German language amongst them has, however, utterly failed, whereas most of them can speak a quasi English - "Pigeon English" - as it is called. probably from "Beach English," signifying the fragments of English picked up by the coast population from early traders. It is extremely interesting that a German in speaking to his native servant must resort to English, and it proves that also in regard to languages - "the fittest survive."

With regard to the development of German New Guinea from a purely commercial point of view, it appears to us that the Germans have done remarkably well, and, although the German Government in its colonial politics has often spent money more lavishly than wisely, considerable progress has certainly been made. One need only look at the beautiful plantations scattered all over her Pacific possessions, one of them so huge that it employs 1000 native labourers, or pay a casual visit to places like Rabaul, Herbertshohe, Friederick Wilhelmshafen or Kawieang. Take Rabaul, the capital, as the most striking sample - beautifully laid out, fine Government and private buildings, a splendid jetty, boat building establishment, spacious warehouses, a well rega-

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