Page:A Lady's Cruise in a French Man-of-War.djvu/13

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NOTE TO THE FIRST EDITION.

THE KEY TO THE PANAMA CANAL.




While these pages were passing through the press, I have received details from various sources, which prove that the policy referred to at p. 241 is being actively carried out.

Not content with holding the Marquesas, the Paumotus, Tahiti, and the Gambler Isles, France seems resolved to annex every desirable island lying to the east of Samoa, thus securing possession of every good harbour and coaling-station lying between New Zealand and the coast of South America; and also, diverting all the trade of these isles, from Britain's Australian colonies, to a French centre, which shall command the great commercial highway of the future, when the Panama Canal shall be completed. Raiatea in the Society Isles has recently been formally annexed, and the independence of Huahine and Bora-Bora threatened.

Now a further step is contemplated. The Austral and Hervey groups still remain free. They are self-governed, and Christianity is firmly established among their people.

According to the latest information, a French man-of-war visited their principal isles last August, to command the inhabitants to divert their present trade from New Zealand to Tahiti, assuring them that Great Britain had undertaken not to interfere with