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Letter ReferenceJohn X. Merriman MSC 15/1911:48
ArchiveNational Library of South Africa, Special Collections, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date12 May 1911
Address FromDe Aar, Northern Cape
Address To
Who ToJohn X. Merriman
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
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.
1 De Aar
2 May 12 / 11
3
4 Dear Mr Merriman
5
6 Pray don't trouble about the Economist. I thought you took it & might
7have it lying about your study. As a rule I don't read reviews of my
8books, but anything that deals "seriously" with economic aspect of
9woman's position is always of great interest to me. Merely from the
10academic standpoint it is a fascinating study, as indeed all economic
11& financial problems are. I am always longing for a new Bagehot to
12arise to illuminate the financial problems of our day with his genius,
13as he did those of a generation ago.
14
15 I shall certainly get "The Beast" I have just finished Chestertons
16book on the "Party System," lay awake half last night to finish it.
17His statement of present conditions is true, but I think he doesn't
18quite enough see that the fault lies with the people at large. ^Though
19I have held for 20 years that proportional representation would tend
20to set things right.^ It has always been matter of astonishment to me
21how not only the lower middle class, but people of the highest culture
22& who profess to be dominated by the highest sense of honour could
23submit to seeing brewers & the new rich generally put into the house
24of Lords & set to govern the nation, without rising as a body &
25smiting down the Government who attempted it, instead of accepting it
26as a perfect right & proper thing with smiling calm.
27
28 Yes, it is sad for those of us who feel our journey is not a long one
29now, to know we shall never live to see the better time which after 15
30or 16 years of blood shed struggle & retro-gression will I believe
31begin to dawn on South Africa. For you there is this thought that you
32will always be remembered as a man whose financial integrity was
33unshaded Men will say these things couldn't have been done in the days
34when Merriman was there to protest.
35
36 I am going up to the Victoria Falls by the excursion that leaves Cape
37Town on the 1st of June, with my brother Will's wife & children. It
38would be rather fine if you & Mrs Merriman were coming too.
39
40 Yours sincerely
41 Olive Schreiner
42
Notation
An unsigned review of Woman and Labour appeared in the Economist. See 'Review of Books. Woman?s Place in Industry' Woman and Labour 1 April 1911, page 685-6; this comment: 'This remarkable book is devoted to the advocacy of a far wider change than that involved in political franchises - nothing less, in fact, than the introduction of women into the labour market of the world on equal terms with the other sex... This brings us to mention what some people will think not the least interesting part of this book ? namely, the Introduction. In this restrained, but none the less moving, exordium to her argument, Olive Schreiner explains how the book came to be written in the form in which it has been published..... The books referred to are: J. Cathcart (nd) The Beast London: P.S. King; Hilare Belloc; Cecil Chesterton (1911) The Party System London: Stephen Swift.