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|Letter Reference||Olive Schreiner BC16/Box11/Fold1/Dated/27
|Archive||University of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
After Start: Tuesday May 1908
; Before End: December 1908
|Address From||Matjesfontein, Western Cape
|Who To||Anna Purcell nee Cambier Faure
The manuscript of this letter by Olive Schreiner belongs to the Archive referenced above; its ownership of the original should be acknowledged by referencing the letter as indicated: Copyright transcription: © Olive Schreiner Letters Project. This transcription can be freely used as long as copyright is acknowledged and it is referenced using the following citation: ‘Olive Schreiner to Anna Purcell nee Cambier Faure, May 1908, UCT Manuscripts & Archives, Olive Schreiner Letters Project transcription’. Please also supply letter line numbers for specific quotations.
The Project is grateful to Manuscripts and Archives, University of Cape Town, for kindly allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of its Manuscripts and Archives Collections. The month and year have been written on this letter in an unknown hand; however, content suggests that December is a more likely date given when 'the troubles' in the Cape Women's Enfranchisement League occurred.
My darling Anna
I’ve not been out any where or written a letter or done anything
7: since my spree last Friday & Saturday, thats why I’ve not written.
8: Joey will have given you my message.
What I mean is that I can’t interfere with your way of working out
11: the matter. Everything goes wrong if different people with different
12: ideas work at the same thing. Do you see what I mean darling.
My idea of the whole matters was very simple. As the committee
15: (according to my idea) had exceeded their powers in joining us to the
16: National union), a union called into being before there was a union or
17: National government at all!!!) - & my idea was that the committee
18: should simply say it had exceeded its powers & rescind by a vote all
19: it had done. It would have taken about five minutes. Mrs Macfadyen &
20: Mrs Garrett had not a majority so they could have done nothing – &
21: the thing would have ended. It was all done by the committee – as
22: far as I understand – & what they did they had a right to take back.
23: Why you want it to come before the general yearly meeting I can’t
24: understand. We didn’t pass it, & we have have nothing to do with y
25: it. Mrs Solly is such a wise business like woman that she must see a
26: way out & I leave it all in her hands. But I can hardly second her
27: proposal, because my conclusion position is that you could not legally pass
28: such a thing & therefore your passing it was so much wasted breath,
29: – it doesn’t exist as a resolution of our society because there
30: was no right to pass it.
If however you need my vote at the general comm yearly meeting I will
33: give it in any way you & Mrs Solly wish. I will be guided by Mrs Solly.
34: She will understand my position even if she does not agree with it.
35: The petition is a small matter which need not have been mentioned
36: because if you do away with the unreadable connection with the
37: National Committee the petition goes if itself! You would never have
38: been quite within your rights if you as a committee had decided that
39: we the women of the Enfranchisement League of the Cape of the Cape
40: Colony", should present a petition asking for the vote on the same
41: terms as the men of the Cape Colony. I would have thought it a mistake,
42: but I should ^not^ have questioned. Where you seemed exceeding your
43: right was in giving us over into the hands of persons whom we did not
44: elect in other states, & in appointing the permanent chairman of the
45: National Union which I do not think you were competent to do.
My idea was to get 50 or 60 of the members of the society to sign a
48: paper saying – that we had heard a report that the committee of the
49: "Woman’s Enfranchisement League of the Cape Colony", had given over
50: the control of our affairs in connection with the Union Parliament
51: into the hands of women of whom we had not elected, & binding us to
52: support petitions from other states with which we might not agree, &
53: we therefore begged the committee to rescind what it had done, the
54: report saying they had done it was true."
There would have been no need to need to mention Mrs Macfadyens name
57: at all.
59: I called an ^informal^ meeting ^of some friends^ to discuss this plan. I
60: was going to have it in my own room at Tamboer’s Kloof, but as I
61: thought it would have been too difficult for Mrs Brown to come & I
62: would have liked her to be present I proposed our meeting at her house
63: in Rondebosch. When I got there I had no opportunity given me to put
64: the plan forward as the paper Dr Brown read took up the whole time. I
65: still think my way was the best if I had been allowed to suggest it.
66: As you are conducting it in quite a different way; a way I can’t
67: understand I can’t do any more acting. But if you need my vote at
68: the general yearly meeting or at any other time to rescind what the
69: committee did I will give it.
Please send this letter to Mrs J E de Villiers & ask her to send it at
72: once to Mrs Solly & ask her to send it on to Mrs Brown at once.
The paper read to the WEL meeting by John Brown cannot be traced.