University of Delaware Library

Special Collections Department


George Handy Bates
Samoan Papers

1869 - 1916
(bulk dates 1880 - 1899)

Manuscript Collection Number: 125
Accessioned: Gift of Daniel Moore Bates, 1942.
Extent: 2 linear ft.
Content: Correspondence, photographs, newspapers, clippings, financial records, protocols, magazines, notes, and minutes of meetings.
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: 1942 by William D. Lewis; and updated 1992 by Anita Wellner.

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Table of Contents


Biographical Note

George Handy Bates was born November 19, 1845, at Dover, Delaware. Mr. Bates was a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard Law School. After being admitted to the bar in 1869 he opened a law office in Wilmington, Delaware. He became a successful attorney and was considered an expert on international and constitutional law.

Bates was also active in Delaware politics. In 1881 he was elected to the Delaware Legislature as a Democrat and by 1882 he was the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

In 1886 President Grover Cleveland appointed Mr. Bates as a special agent to investigate the conditions in Samoa. Bates was subsequently appointed as a United States Commissioner to the 1889 Joint Conference on Samoan Affairs held in Berlin. As a special envoy he participated in the negotiations with England and Germany over the ownership of the Island of Samoa.

George Handy Bates died at his home in Philadelphia, Pa. on October 31, 1916 at the age of 73.

Source:

"George Handy Bates Dead." The New York Times, November 1, 1916. p. 11.

Scope and Content Note

The George Handy Bates Samoan Papers consists of two linear feet of material, spanning the dates 1869-1916. The papers are comprised of correspondence, documents, memoranda, clippings, photographs, and other material relating to George Handy Bates's tenure as a special investigator into Samoan affairs beginning in 1886, and as a commissioner to the 1889 Berlin Conference on Samoan Affairs.

Correspondence from the Berlin Conference in 1889 includes letters from the U.S. Secretary of State James G. Blaine as well as copies of letters from Bates and an abstract of the correspondence between the U.S. Secretary of State Blaine and the U.S. commissioners. The documents from the Berlin Conference include protocols for ten sessions of the negotiations, minutes of the meetings taken by Bates, drafts of Bates' remarks at the sixth session, reports on the negotiations, and drafts of the treaty on Samoa.

The material gathered by Bates in his investigation of the Samoan situation prior to the Berlin Conference includes publications by the Samoangovernment and financial records for the Apia Agency and the Deutsches Handels and Plantagen Gesellschaft. Newspaper clippings, a proposed constitution for Samoa under King Malietoa, correspondence with U.S. Secretary of State T. F. (Thomas F.) Bayard, lists of exports, imports, and land holdings are also present. A photocopy of Jan Thurston's Report of the Condition of the Samoan Islands, issues of the Tonga Government Blue Book and Samoa Times, and a copy of Arthur Gordon's British Despotism in the South Sea Islands are also included in these papers.

The papers also include over one hundred and forty photographs of persons and scenic views of Samoa, Pago Pago, Fiji, and Hawaii.

These papers are valuable for studying the culture and history of Samoa, particularly during the 1880s. The issues of colonialism and foreign intervention are chronicled in these papers. In addition, the material related to the 1889 Berlin Conference on Samoan Affairs provides insight into diplomatic relations among Germany, Great Britain, and the United States during the late 1880s.

Related sources:

A copy of the calendar to the Bates Samoan Papers, prepared by William D. Lewis in 1942, is available with the print finding aid in the University of Delaware Library, Special Collections.

MF 687
A microfilm copy of selected material from the George Handy Bates Samoan Papers is also available in the University of Delaware Library. MF 687 is a copy of a series of papers from the Department of State and was filmed at the National Archives. The microfilm is located in the Microform Unit of Media Services.

MF 2354
A microfilm copy of the George Handy Bates Samoan Papers is available in the University of Delaware Library. The microfilm includes a copy of the calendar prepared by William Ditto Lewis as well as the contents of the collection. The collection was filmed in 1973 by the Church of the Latter Day Saints. The microfilm is located in the Microfilm Unit of Media Services.


Arrangement Note

This collection is arranged first by type of material and then chronologically. The four series are: I. Correspondence and Documents, II. Clippings, III. Photographs, and IV. Newspapers. Within each series, material is arranged in chronological order.

Numerous enclosures, such as protocols and copies of original clippings, are found with the correspondence in Series I. The clippings which were enclosed in the letters in Series I have been removed to Series II, but preservation photocopies of these clippings have been made and placed with the letters.


Series Outline

.
I.	Correspondence and Documents

II.	Clippings

III.	Photographs

IV.	Newspapers


Contents List

Box -- Folder -- Contents

1              Series I.  Correspondence and Documents, 1869-
                    1916.
                    Consists of correspondence, reports, government
                    publications, photocopies of clippings, financial
                    documents, lists of imports and exports, lists and
                    deeds of land holdings, and other material gathered by
                    Bates in his investigation of Samoan affairs.  Also
                    included is material related to the 1889 Berlin
                    Conference on Samoan Affairs.  Items   included are
                    correspondence, protocols for the ten sessions, drafts
                    of Bates' remarks and of a treaty, minutes of the
                    meetings, and printed material.  The letters from
                    James G. Blaine, U.S. Secretary of State, to the U.S.
                    commissioners to the Berlin Conference contain
                    extensive instructions concerning U.S. policy on
                    Samoa.

          F1   1869 [1875].
               Correspondence.  2 items (19 pp).

          F2   1880-1882.
               Apia Agency Balance Sheets.  3 items (3 pp).

          F3   1883 Apr 16.
               Tonga Government Gazette.  1 item (21 pp).

          F4   1883. 
               British Despotism in the South Sea Islands, and
               the Persecution of Mr. W. J. Hunt by Sir Arthur
               Gordon...1877-79.  1 item (48 pp).

          F5   1883 Dec 31. 
               Head Agency, Apia Balance Sheet.  1 item (1 p).

          F6   1884 Aug 27. 
               Tonga Government Blue Book.  1 item (19 pp).

          F7   1884-1885.
               Deutches Handels & Plantagen Gesellschaft
               Financial Records.  3 items (5 pp).

          F8   1886 Jan 19.
               Schedule of Deeds, Letters, etc. in Auckland.  
               1 item (2 pp).

          F9   1886 May.
               Proposed temporary constitution for Samoa under
               King Malietoa.  1 item (7 pp).

          F10  1886 Jul 17.
               Letter from U.S. Secretary of State T. F. Bayard
               to Bates regarding his appointment as envoy to
               Samoa.  1 item (3 pp.)

               Series I.  Correspondence and Documents (cont'd)
  
1         F11  1886 Aug 1-27.
               Consists of correspondence, photocopies of
               newspaper clippings, and notices.  Material
               concerns the resignation of B. Greenbaum as U.S.
               consul to Samoa, economy of Samoa, and Samoan
               plantations.  11 items (15 pp).

          F12  1886 Sep.
               Consists of correspondence, lists of imports and
               exports, and land holdings in Samoa.  Material
               details the financial affairs of Samoa.  9 items
               (13 pp).

          F13  1886 Oct.
               Consists of correspondence, photocopies of
               newspaper clippings, and financial documents.
               Includes two letters from Bayard to Bates.
               4 items (16 pp).

          F14  1886 Nov-Dec.
               Photocopy of a newspaper clipping, reports, and a
               document containing an extract from a report on
               Samoa German Consul General Travers to Prince
               Bismark included.  9 items (31 pp).

          F15  1887 Jan.
               Photocopy of J. B. Thurston's Report...Condition
               of the Samoan Islands....   1 item (75 pp). 

          F16  1887 Feb-Dec.
               Consists of correspondence, and printed material
               regarding Samoan politics and economy.  Includes
               copies of the Tonga Government Blue Book. 
               10 items (22 pp).

          F17  1888.
               Correspondence, issues of the Tonga Government
               Blue Book, and the Tonga Government Gazette are
               included.  Material details the increasing
               political and economic problems in Samoa,
               especially problems of what currency will be
               legal tender in Samoa.  20 items (41 pp).

2         F18  1889 Jan.
               Includes a copy of Consul-General of the U.S. 
               to Samoa Harold M. Sewell's testimony before a 
               subcommittee of the Committee on Foreign
               Relations of the U.S. Senate, copies of the
               Tonga Government Gazette, and photocopies of
               newspaper clippings.    5 items (85 pp).

          F19  1889 Feb.
               Includes a copy of Punch and correspondence
               between R.W. Gilder and Bates concerning articles
               on Samoa in The Century Magazine.  11 items
               (46 pp).

               Series I.  Correspondence and Documents (cont'd)

2         F20  1889 Mar.
               Includes correspondence and photocopies of 
               newspaper clippings.  Material concerns Bates'
               appointment as a commissioner to the Berlin
               Conference and current events and civil unrest
               in Samoa.  9 items (28 pp).

          F21  1889 Apr 1-15.
               Includes correspondence and photocopies of 
               newspaper clippings.  An extensive letter from 
               U.S. Secretary of State, James G. Blaine, to the
               three U.S. commissioners, Bates, William Walter
               Phelps, and John A. Kasson, details the general
               principles to guide U.S. decisions at the Berlin
               Conference and their limited powers as U.S.
               commissioners.  7 items (34 pp).

          F22  1889 Apr 16-25.
               Includes correspondence and photocopies of
               newspaper clippings.  Includes an editorial from
               the German Cologne Gazette which criticizes the
               appointment of Bates.   42 items (42 pp).

          F23  1889 Apr 26-28.
               Includes correspondence and photocopies of
               newspaper clippings.  Includes information about
               the lack of Samoan representation at the Berlin
               Conference, a fraudulent affidavit, and the Samoan
               Battle.  43 items (39 pp).

          F24  1889 Apr 29-30.
               Consists of correspondence, photocopies of
               clippings, the Protocol for the First Session
               of the Berlin Conference on Samoa, and a copy of
               Century Illustrated Magazine, which contains 
               comments by Bates on the Samoan issue.  49 items
               (310 pp).

3         F25  1889 May 1-7.
               Consists of correspondence, photocopies of
               newspaper clippings, and the Protocol for the
               Second Session of the Conference.  Includes
               a letter and copies of telegrams from James
               G. Blaine.  One letter to Blaine from Bates
               discusses Bates' concern that Kasson is receiving
               secret instructions.   68 items (67 pp).

          F26  1889 May 8-16.
               Includes correspondence, photocopies of newspaper
               clippings, the Protocol of the Third Session, and
               minutes from various subcommittees at the
               conference.  Includes letters of instruction from
               James G. Blaine.   27 items (85 pp).

               Series I.  Correspondence and Documents (cont'd)

3         F27  1889 May 17-22.
               Includes correspondence, photocopies of newspaper
               clippings, the Protocol of the Fourth and Fifth
               Sessions, and minutes of sessions taken by Bates.
               Includes letters from James G. Blaine with policy
               instruction from the President.  14 items (75 pp).

          F28  1889 May 23-31.
               Includes correspondence, photocopies of newspaper
               clippings, a draft of Bates' remarks at the Sixth
               Session, Protocols for the Sixth and Seventh
               Sessions, photocopy of Bates' article, "Our
               Relations to Samoa," which appeared in The Century
               Magazine.  Letters from James G. Blaine are 
               included.  23 items (182 pp). 

          F29  1889 Jun 1-11.
               Includes correspondence, photocopies of newspaper
               clippings, the Protocol for the Seventh Session,
               and notes concerning a treaty.  One letter from 
               Bates to Blaine details his views which are at
               variance with those of the commission.  Also
               includes letters from Blaine.  10 items (43 pp).

          F30  1889 Jun 12-23 and [June].
               Includes correspondence, photocopies of newspaper
               clippings, Protocols for the Eighth and Ninth
               Sessions, notes, and an abstract of correspondence
               between the U.S. Secretary of State and the U.S.
               commissioners to the Berlin Conference.  17 items
               (113 pp).

4         F31  1889 Feb-Jul.
               Consists of a scrapbook of clippings from the
               Samoa Times.  1 item (32 pp).

          F32  1889 Jul-Dec.
               Includes correspondence, photocopies of newspaper
               clippings, and issues of the Tonga Government Blue
               Book.  13 items (37 pp).

          F33  [1889].
               Includes correspondence, a copy of the treaty
               which resulted from the 1889 Berlin Conference on
               Samoa, notes, subcommittee reports, and a map
               titled, "Speziale-Karte der Samoa-Inseln.  
               11 items (36 pp).

          F34  [1889].
               Consists of a printed report on Samoa with
               autograph notes.  1 item (86 pp).

               Series I.  Correspondence and Documents (cont'd)

4         F35  [1889].
               Consists of the U.S. Commissioners to Berlin
               Report titled "Correspondence...Affairs in Samoa."
               1 item (80 pp).

          F36  [1889].
               Consists of correspondence, notes, and drafts of
               reports concerning the Berlin Conference.  5 items
               (38 pp).

          F37  1890-1893, 1899 and 1916.
               Includes correspondence and photocopies of
               newspaper clippings.  Includes a letter from James
               G. Blaine.  13 items (37 pp).  

          F38  [n.d.]. 
               Includes notes, a cartoon about the Berlin
               Conference, and a copy of Bates' article,
               "American Intervention in the Pacific."  10 items (27 pp).

          F39  [n.d.].
               Covers and Envelopes.  29 items.


5              Series II.  Clippings, 1885-1916.
                    The clippings in this series detail the
                    developments of the political problems in
                    Samoa and the public reporting on the 1889
                    Berlin Conference on Samoa.  Photocopies of
                    these clippings are also found in Series I. 

          F40  1885-1889 Apr 24.
               Clippings.  56 items.

          F41  1889 Apr 27-30.
               Clippings.  67 items.

          F42  1889 Apr 9 and May 12.
               Clippings.  2 items.

          F43  1889 May.
               Clippings.  62 items.

          F44  1889 Jun-Sep.
               Clippings.  4 items.

          F45  1889 Feb-Jul.
               Clippings from the Samoa Times.  63 pp.

          F46  1890-1893, 1899, 1916.
               Clippings.  9 items.


6              Series III.  Photographs, 1886-1889.
                    Consists of mounted and loose photographic portraits
                    of the people and scenic views of Hawaii, Fiji, Pago
                    Pago, and Samoa.  Also included are photographs of
                    diplomats at the 1889 Berlin Conference on Samoa.

          No Fs.  Photographs, 1871-1889.
                  Includes photographs of Samoan King Malietoa,
                  diplomats at the Berlin Conference, the Queen
                  of Hawaii, Samoan women, Hawaiian and Samoan
                  homes, a lava flow in 1871, views of Pago Pago
                  and Fiji, Samoan Chief Asi, ships of the U.S.
                  Navy, and various other persons and views.  
                  Most of the photographs have some labeling.
                  143 items.  SEE Photographs APPENDIX


               Series IV.  Newspapers and Magazines, 1887-1893.
                    Includes issues of Samoa Times, City Argus of
                    San Francisco, Wasp, Uber Land und Meer,
                    Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, English
                    & American Register, Galignani's Messenger,
                    and National-Zeitung.  14 items.
                    
                    This material is shelved in the oversize
                    section in two folders.
               
               One folder consists of issues of the Samoa Times
               dated:
 
                    1877 Dec 1  
                    1889 Feb 9 
                         Feb 16
                         Feb 23
                         Apr 27

               A second folder contains the following newspapers
               and magazines in chronological order:

                    1889 Mar 16  City Argus (San Francisco)
                    1889 Mar 23  Frank Leslie's Illustrated
                                 Newspaper
                    1889 Mar 30  Wasp
                    1889 May 10  National-Zeitung
                    1889 May 11  English & American Register
                    1889 Jul 10  Galignani's Messenger
                    1893 Jul 15  Harper's Weekly
                    Vol. 62 #30  Uber Land und Meer
                    Vol. 62 #35  Uber Land und Meer
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