"Everything so dark & mysterious, going to be a great European war" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceJames Rose Innes MSC 21/2/1896:55
ArchiveNational Library of South Africa, Special Collections, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date7 May 1896
Address FromThe Homestead, Kimberley, Northern Cape
Address To
Who ToJames Rose Innes
Other VersionsRive 1987: 276-7
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. This letter has been dated in an unknown hand. Schreiner was resident in Kimberley from early August 1894 to November 1898.
1 My dear Friend
2
3 What tidings are these that I hear of thee on every hand???
4
5 Since I came out from England primed il with Stead's stories about
6Rhodes as the lover of Humanity, the ideal millionaire-leader-of the
7people, & found when I got to know Rhodes personally, that he was none
8of these things, I shall have had no blow of disappointment equal to
9^that^ which I shall feel, if you really - after all the evidence which
10I know you have in your hand - back up Rhodes & the Chartered Company.
11This is our one chance of crushing the powers which are corrupting our
12public life. Passed it will never come back again.
13
14 If you waver now, it will be to you a life long regret.
15
16 Yours ever
17 Olive Schreiner
18
19 I did not think there would have been any use in your writing to the
20papers now. If you had written during the first six days, or even
21during the first month, while men in the East were uncertaint & their
22opinions wavering - you would have modified all English opinion there,
23& you would have educated the men who were to follow you up to your
24own standard. It's too late now.
25
Notation
Rive's (1987) version of this letter is in a number of respects incorrect. Cronwright-Schreiner's 1896 letters to Rose Innes are concerned with Innes accepting leadership of the opposition and opposing Rhodes and the Chartered Company in the wake of the Jameson Raid, and also the punitive measures against the Ndebele and Shona which occasioned Schreiner's Trooper Peter Halket of Mashonaland.