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Letter ReferenceT120 (M722): W.T. Stead Papers/63- pages 243-246
ArchiveNational Archives Depot, Pretoria
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date After Start: September 1895 ; Before End: December 1895
Address FromKimberley, Northern Cape
Address To
Who ToWilliam Thomas Stead
Other VersionsCronwright-Schreiner 1924: 205; Rive 1987: 292-3
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
The Project is grateful to the National Archives Repository, Pretoria, for kindly allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of its Micofilm Collections. The date and place this letter was written from are provided by content.
1Dear Friend
3I am sending you a paper by containing a speech by my husband. It will
4show you why persons of a liberal or progressive tendency in this
5country cannot back Rhodes, without sacrificing all their principles. I
7I am also sending you a picture of Sir George Grey^’s statue.^ The
8gentle man who took the photograph, Mr F W Dugmore, is a very great
9admirer of yours, & has asked me to send it you from him, with
10friendly greetings.
12I wish you could find place for it in the Review of Reviews, it would
13show the dear old man that he was not forgotten in South Africa; &
14that thousands who like myself are not able to remember him, yet
15cherish the memory of his life & work here. Of the three large English
16speaking men who have during the last fifty years appeared on the
17South African stage - William Porter, Saul Solomon & Sir George Grey -
18I think the last was the greatest & most unique. A “God’s Englishman”
19if you like it. It is the thought knowledge ^that^ there have been such
20Englishmen that take away ones despair for England’s future.
22His statue, of which I enclose the photograph, stands in the public
23gardens in the centre of Cape Town. Beh The building behind him with
24the pillars is public library which he laboured for & so richly
27I have walked out of the Cape Parliament, which stands just over the
28way, where strop debates were going on & in which the most
29talented & wealthy Englishmen in the world were voting for the Strop
30Bills (a bill for flogging native servants, which if passed would make
31their condition not very much better than that of slaves), & in which
32personal ambitions & the greed for wealth & power showed at every turn
33- & I've felt a curious consolation in coming across that statue.
34Greed & ambition may conquer for a moment; but there are also other
35elements in our national existence. If Ahriman exists, so also does
36Ormuzd. Yet hath the Lord kept to him self seven thousand, in Israel
37who have not bowed the knee to Baal.
39^Drop me a line & let me know if you are feeling better in health.^
41Your friend
42Olive Schreiner
The ‘speech of my husband’s’ refers to Schreiner’s The Political Situation, which Cronwright-Schreiner read out as a public address in Kimberley Town Hall in late August 1895, and was reported in local newspapers. The Political Situation was published as a small book in Schreiner’s name in 1896, confirming her authorship. Rive’s (1987) version omits part of this letter and is incorrect in minor respects. Cronwright-Schreiner’s (1924) extract is incorrect in a range of ways.