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Letter ReferenceSmuts A1/187/88
ArchiveNational Archives Repository, Pretoria
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date30 July 1902
Address FromHanover, Northern Cape
Address To
Who ToJan Smuts
Other Versions
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 Special Collections. The name of the addressee is indicated by salutation and content. Schreiner was resident in Hanover from September 1900 to October 1907, after 1902 with visits, sometimes fairly lengthy, elsewhere.
1 July 30 / 02
3 Dear Friend
5 I hope I shall be able to leave this about the 16th for Johannesburg,
6but have not been able to hear of any place I can get a bed in. Do you
7perhaps know the address of any Africander boarding house where I
8might get a bed for a couple of nights? If so please write at once &
9give me the address. If I could only get a bed I could go out for my
12 Thankyou for your letter I will answer it in person. Will you be in
13Pretoria if I came over for a day about the 2 19th or 20th?
15 I have had two letters from Isie this week. It is a bitter
16disappointment to me that I can’t see her. If it were possible I
17should like to go to Maritzburg to see her. I think only a woman can
18understand what the disappointment must have been to her of being so
19ill when you returned. We have General Olivier here just now, & we had
20Malan here last week as a witness in the case of a ^Hanover^ rebel who
21is being tried for his life & whose case Cron is defending: but he was
22here as a prisoner under guard, & is now in prison at Nauwpoort
23awaiting his trial. He ^(Commandant Malan)^ strikes me as a most
24remarkable man; not cultured, but one of the most strongly marked
25individualities I ever met. It seems strange that he should be in
26prison & Olivier walking about here, free, & they are both Transvaal
27Commanders! – but there are some things "that no feller can
28understand" as Lord Dundreary would say; in fact, a good many just now.
30 When I write to you may I address your letters General Smuts, or must
31it be Advocate? I would write you a long letter but that I hope to see
32you so soon & writing is a poor matter.
34 Give my love to Isie when you write. I have spent many anxious hours
35thinking of you during the past.
37 Olive Schreiner
Soon after this letter was written, Smuts sent a telegram to Olive Schreiner, which received an immediate reply from Cronwright-Schreiner writing on her bahalf:

Hanover, C. C.
9. Aug. 02

My dear Smuts,

Your very kind wire to my wife came this morning. I at once replied 'Malan is said to be out on parole now. Writing'. The facts are as follows. Among the surrendered rebels was a man of this district names P. A. Pienaar, who was at once arrested on a charge of Train-wrecking & murder, for being concerned in the ?Taribosch incident in Feb. 1901. (You will remember that, under the same charge, 3 Hanover men were found guily guilty by a military court at De Aar, & shoot there in and shot there in March 1901, while two of their companions were sentenced to 5 years hard labour. S. The chief witness in securing these sentences was one of the companions named Jan V. d. Berg, who turned King's evidence.) It was on the account of Jan v. d. Berg, the supported by that of two Tothies, that Pienaar was arrested. I know quite well that the above 5 men were innocent & that v. d. Berg had perjured himself throughout. Pienaar's preliminary was held here & I defended him. Among my witnesses was General Malan who was then at NaauwPoort. I had him summoned. In my correspondence with the Military authorities at N. Poort, he was referred to as the 'prisoner Malan' by them, and I was informed that he was in the Military Prison. He came here, in perfect health, & was found under military unreadable, & was handed over here to the civil authorities, & only by a lucky accident unreadable imprisonment in the local goal, where private persons had prepared a room for him. He was kept guarded in a private house & marched up & down to the court room, & people were allowed to see him, each for 15 minutes time limit, on a written permit. With his help (he swore, as did one of the Tothies - a crown witness) that v. d. berg perjured hims that v. d. Berg was never with the commando, & I found through other witnesses that ^where^, v. d. Berg was that night. Malan (who by the way is a very remarkable man) was then taken away again & lodged in the military prison at N'Poort. Soon afterwards, General Oliver came here on a visit, & he heard from me and others how Malan was being treated. Next day he called at my office & instructed me to write a letter, which he signed, to unreadable unreadable. A few days thereafter we heard that Malan had been allowed to go out on parole to Cradock. I hope this is true, though why parole should be ?commanded I don't know. I think the matter is worth inquiring into. These are all facts.

Please write to me immediately on receiving this, or rather, please wire and write at once that I may know you have received this and that it has not been stopped by the military.

I hope we shall meet again some day - when, I can't say. Ever yours, my dear Smuts,
S C CronwrightSchreiner