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Letter ReferenceJohn X. Merriman MSC 15/1899:477
ArchiveNational Library of South Africa, Special Collections, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date12 June 1899
Address From2 Primrose Terrace, Berea, Johannesburg, Transvaal
Address To
Who ToJohn X. Merriman
Other VersionsRive 1987: 361-2
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
The Project is grateful to the National Library of South Africa (NLSA), Cape Town, for kindly allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of its Special Collections. The date of this letter has been written on in an unknown hand. Schreiner was resident in Johannesburg from December 1898 to late August 1899.
1 Dear Mr Merriman
3 I wish I could feel as confident as you do about no war. I hope that
4you know more than I do; of course if Chamberlain gives up the
5colonial department it to Salisbury it will show that the more
6rational party is conquering at home, but that seems to be only a
7report. I have just spent two days over at Pretoria. The panic is not
8nearly so great there as here. Here all the women & children are
9fleeing. It is curious to see a city in this condition: all business
10is suspended. Evidently some here are working up the panic, because
11they wish the women & children out of the place, before they make a
12last effort to bring on war.
14 Go I hope if war does break out you men down there in the ministry
15will keep yourselves exceedingly cool. If things go against us we
16shall have to look to you to make terms for us. Why don't you some of
17you write more, & educate people in Europe on South African affairs;
18the other side, are mis-educating them as hard as they can
20 Thank you much for your interest in seeing the pamphlet published in
21Cape Town. I hope it will have some circulation in the Eastern
22Province. I Reitz has translated it into Dutch, & we are going to
23circulate it among the Burgers during the next few weeks. Edwar
24Boucher the French Consul here has translated it into French & is
25sending it home by this mail to Paris.
27 Yours ever sincerely
28 Olive Schreiner
'The pamphlet' and various translations refers to is An English South African's View of the Situation, originally published in the South African News over three successive days; see 'Words in Season. An English South African's View of the Situation' South African News 1 June 1899 (p.8), 2 June 1899 (p.8) and 3 June 1899 (also p.8). It was also reprinted in a number of other newspapers. It then was published as a pamphlet, then as a book. A second edition of the book was ready but withdrawn from publication by Schreiner when the South African War started in October 1899, so as not to profit from this. Rive's (1987) version of this letter is in a number of respects incorrect.