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Letter Reference The Times, Wednesday 12 January 1916, page 5, column 1
ArchiveThe Times
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateWednesday 12 January 1916
Address Fromna
Address To
Who ToThe Times
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This letter has been dated by reference to when it was published in The Times.
1SIR J. SIMON’S SUPPORTERS.
2---
3LETTER FROM 36 SYMPATHIZERS.
4
5The following letter was handed to Sir John Simon last evening:-
6
7We, the undersigned, desire to express our wholehearted appreciation
8of your action in regard to Conscription, and to assure you of our
9active and immediate support, whether as private individuals or in so
10far as we represent organizations in any opposition to the Bill you
11and your colleagues decide to organize.
12
13We realize that our names are representative of only a limited section
14of the public, but we have ventured to take the initiative through our
15conviction that these views reflect a widespread opinion in the
16country.
17
18Yours faithfully,
19C. G. AMMON
20W. A. APPLETON
21J. H. BANKS
22ELEANOR BARTON
23MARGARET BONDFIELD
24JOHN CLIFFORD
25G. D. H. COLE
26MARGARET LLEWELLYN DAVIES
27G. LOWES DICKINSON
28J. W. GRAHAM
29F. W. HIRST
30J. A. HOBSON
31HENRY T. HODGKIN
32GEORGE LANSBURY
33F. W. PETHICK LAWRENCE
34MARY MACARTHUR
35SAM MARSH
36CATHERINE MARSHALL
37H. W. MASSINGHAM
38FRANCIS MEYNELL
39J. S. MIDDLETON
40J. CAMPBELL MORGAN
41GRACE NEAL
42W. E. ORCHARD
43SYLVIA PANKHURST
44CLARISSA E. POTTER
45ALFRED SALTER
46OLIVE SCHREINER
47MARY SHEEPSHANKS
48ROBERT SMILLIE
49F. R. SWAN
50JOHN TURNER
51J. E. WILLIAMS
52ROBERT WILLIAMS
53J. WINSTONE
54---
55
Notation
Olive Schreiner and the other signatories, probably organised by Bertrand Russell, sent this letter of support for Sir John Simon to The Times in response to Asquith's wartime Coalition Government having introduced a Military Service Bill for compulsory conscription on 1 January 1916. Simon, the Home Secretary, resigned and led the Liberal, Quaker and ILP MPs opposing the Bill. After this letter was published, John Clifford, a leading Nonconformist, collected the signatures of more prominent thinkers and activists for a petition in support of Simon. However, the Government negotiated Labour Party support for conscription, and the Bill was swiftly passed into law. See Richard A. Hempel (ed, 1988) Bertrand Russell: His Works vol. 13 ‘Prophecy and Dissent’ 1914-1916 London: Unwin.

Letter Reference MS 18, 198 South African News, 6.2.05-p3-col3
ArchiveCory Library, Rhodes University, Grahamstown
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date3 February 1905
Address FromHanover, Eastern Cape
Address To
Who ToSocial Democratic Federation Cape Town
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1THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION
2MASS MEETING IN CAPE TOWN
3STIRRING SPEECHES
4OLIVE SCHREINER’S VIEWS
5-----
6OLIVE SCHREINER’S LETTER
7Hanover, February 3, 1905.
8
9Dear Sir, --- I deeply regret that I cannot be with you at the meeting
10on Sunday afternoon to express my sympathy with the Russian strike
11movement. Absent bodily, I shall yet be with you in thought; and yet
12more with those who in far-off Russia are today carrying on that
13age-long war of humanity towards a larger freedom and a higher justice,
14 a war which has been waged through the ages, now by this people, and
15now by that; now a small nation against one that would subjugate it;
16then by a class; then by a race; now, for religious freedom, then for
17the right of free thought and free speech; but which, when looked at
18from the highest standpoint, has always been essentially one battle,
19fought with one end, now with success, and then with seeming failure,
20but always bringing nearer by minute and imperceptible degrees that
21time, in the future, when for a free and united humanity, a truly
22human life shall be possible on earth. To-day the flag is passing into
23the hands of the great Russian people. With how much of immediate
24success, or failure, the battle will be fought, we cannot now say; but
25that it will be with ultimate success, we know, and that it is a
26battle not fought for themselves alone, but for all the world, that we
27know also. I see it stated in this morning’s paper that Maxim Gorki
28is to be hanged. A few years ago, I would have believed it impossible
29that such a thing should happen at the beginning of the twentieth
30century. I do not now. For the honour of human nature, we hope it may
31not be so; but I hardly know that for him we need so very deeply
32regret it. It is from the scaffold that the sons of humanity have
33passed into immortality in the hearts of the race. One very beautiful
34fact is brought home to us by this struggle of our fellows in Russia.
35Divided and half-developed as our human race yet is, a certain dim
36consciousness of human solidarity is beginning to dawn. From the
37drought-smitten, barren plains of South Africa, from the hearts of the
38great cities all over the world thoughts of sympathy and fellowship
39are stretching themselves out to our brothers in Russia, so that
40whether they are lying in Russian fortresses or perishing in the
41streets of Poland, they are not really dying or suffering alone. We
42are all with them. I regret especially that I cannot be at your
43meeting, because I should meet many of our Russian Jews, members of
44that great race which has given Europe its religion and to the world
45some of its sons. As a South African, it is a matter of pride and joy
46that we have been able to give refuge and to accept among our citizens
47many whom oppression drove from their birthland. If the great struggle
48of our fellows in Russia tends only to diminish their sufferings there,
49 it will now have been in vain. I believe that in this movement in
50Russia we are witnessing the beginning of the greatest event that has
51taken place in the history of humanity during the last centuries.
52
Notation
This open letter was written as an address to a meeting organised by the Cape Town branch of the Social Democratic Federation, held in the Good Hope Hall on Sunday 5 February 1905 in order 'to express sympathy with the struggle of the Russian people for complete representative institutions and full responsible government, and to open a fund for the relief of the sufferers'. An audience of around 2000 people was present. Schreiner's letter was read aloud and a speech made by the Rev Balmford, who also moved a resolution condemning the Russian government for its massacre of peaceful protestors on 22 January 1905. The letter was subsequently published in the South African News on 6 February 1905 (p.3, col 3), from which this transcription has been derived.

Letter Reference South African News 18 October 1909 page 3
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Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date18 October 1909
Address Fromna
Address To
Who ToSouth African News
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1One quality has always for me made J.H. Hofmeyr a great man. His
2ability, his energy and his tact were enormous; but these qualities
3alone could not, and did not, give him greatness. His greatness lay in
4this, that he was a man who never put the tinsel and show of things
5before the substance. With his vast ability and under the conditions
6of South African life, he might have been a man of gigantic wealth;
7there was no post or honour or decoration which he might not have
8obtained; no external show of power which he might not have grasped.
9Jan Hofmeyr walked quietly past all these things, and concentrated
10himself upon his work. His work was Jan Hofmeyr!
11
12Therefore, I think, whether they have agreed or not with his policy
13and aims, there is no man or women who has studied his life, who was
14not able to feel when the news of his death reached us yesterday, that
15a great South African had gone to rest.
16
17In a world where men and women are running restlessly hither and
18thither after paper crowns and tinsel robes, so thin that the wind
19blows holes through them, the element of true greatness in the life of
20the man who is gone, is one we cannot afford to forget.
21
22I am inclined to think that his loss at the present moment to both the
23English and Dutch-speaking inhabitants of the Cape Colony is almost
24irreparable.
25
Notation
This extract from a letter, which Olive Schreiner had either sent to the South African News or which was solicited by its editor, was published with other statements from a range of people following the mid October 1909 death of 'Onze Jan' Hofmeyr.

Letter Reference The Standard / 5 January 1887, page 5, col 6
Archive
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date4 January 1887
Address Fromna
Address To
Who ToThe Editor, The Standard
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1THE POLICE AND THE PUBLIC
2TO THE EDITOR OF THE STANDARD
3
4Sir, -
5
6A short time back the remark was made in my presence, that in London
7no Englishwoman was safe from the hands of the Police. I regarded this
8statement with the cool scorn with we are apt to regard remarks that
9we consider uncritical. A few miserable and forlorn women, without
10money or friends, might suffer; but the mass of Englishwomen armed
11with friends and intellectual power, were safe from insult. There is a
12delightful philosophic calm with which from one’s study fireside we
13survey the wrongs of our fellows.
14
15Before setting down the facts which I wish to make public it may be
16necessary to state, to avoid misconception, that I am a writer, that I
17have taken an interest in the raising of the protected age in girls,
18and that my name will be found among the two hundred Englishwomen who
19signed the recently published letter on that subject.
20
21On a recent Sunday I spent the evening with a friend whose husband is
22a well-known medical man at the West-end. On leaving, a friend, a
23well-known physician, connected with one of our large hospitals
24offered to accompany me home. The square in which I live is a large
25and quiet one, well-lighted, and closed at one end by a convent. The
26cabman drew up at the wrong door. Alighting, we walked slowly up and
27down for a few moments, continuing the discussion we had begun. A
28policedman passed us and said “Good evening,” in rather an insulting
29manner. He then turned round shortly, and said, “What’s going on here,
30what are you up to here; I won’t have this; what are you doing here?”
31(I believe the words are quite accurate.) My friend said that the
32house before which we stood was the one in which I lived. The
33policeman said he did not believe it – “what was I doing out at that
34time of night,” &c, and he threatened to ring the bell. We said that
35he might do so, my friend remarking, with self-restrained politeness,
36that he was astonished at an interference with persons who were in no
37way breaking the public peace. The policeman continuing his insults,
38my friend gave him his card. He then said, “I’ve nothing to do with
39you, Sir; I don’t want to interfere with you; it’s her want.” After a
40time he rang the bell very lightly. We moved on a few steps. He said
41to me, “You’d better stand still, or I’ll walk you off to the station.
42” I then asked my friend for his pencil and a piece of paper that I
43might take the man’s number. “Want my number, do you, I’ll take yer
44off to the station,” he said, and added something about keeping his
45eye on me. He then came down the steps, and said, in a skulking kind
46of whisper, that if I would tell him my name he would go away. It was
47evident that he wanted money. I told told him to ring the front door
48bell again loudly, that it would be answered, and that he would learn
49my name. He touched the knocker lightly, and someone who was expecting
50me opened the door. We asked him if he were satisfied, and he slunk
51down the steps with the look of unsatisfied greed.
52
53That anyone thinks it a matter of importance that individuals well
54able to defend themselves should be insulted would be an entire
55mistake. But there are in London some hundred thousand women who are
56unable to defend themselves against the hands of the police.
57
58I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
59O.S
60January 4.
61
62
Notation
Schreiner wrote two drafts of this letter, for which see HRC/OliveSchreinerLetters/OS-DailyNews/1 and HRC/OliveSchreinerLetters/OS-DailyNews/2. A reply following publication of Schreiner’s letter appeared in the newspaper the following day, as follows:

THE POLICE AND THE PUBLIC
TO THE EDITOR OF THE STANDARD

Sir, - I venture to suggest with all courtesy, and with deep respect for the good work done by your Correspondent “O.S.” on behalf of women, that both she and her companion acted very unwisely on the Sunday evening to which her letter in The Standard of to-day refers.

Her original opinion of the generally proper and courteous behaviour of the Metropolitan Police is better founded than her later impression. The folly or misconduct of an individual constable ought not to condemn the whole of our Police Force.

But, besides this, your Correspondent and her friend acted without good judgement. There should on their part have been no argument or wrangling with the foolish constable. They should have taken his number, and reported the circumstances the next day to the Superintendent, whose interest, indeed, in the quiet sensible and polite conduct of each of his men is of the utmost importance to him – his own character at Scotland-yard depends much on this.

I think that “O.S.,” and most especially the “well-known physician” who escorted her, have behaved unfairly to the Superintendent and the public, and, looking at all her story, I must confess that it impresses me with the belief that enthusiastic action and warm feelings about the defence of women have rather blinded your Correspondent to the fact that men also, especially in official positions, deserve consideration.

I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
B.
January 5.

(The Standard Wednesday 6 January page 2, col 2)

This response from ‘B’ then produced a second public letter from Schreiner, for which see The Standard / Saturday 9 January 1887, page 5.

Letter Reference The Standard / Saturday 9 January 1887, page 5
Archive
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date6 January 1887
Address Fromna
Address To
Who ToThe Editor, The Standard
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1THE POLICE AND THE PUBLIC
2TO THE EDITOR OF THE STANDARD
3
4Sir, -
5
6In reply to the courteous letter of your Correspondent “B.,” I would
7note two points.
8
9He inquires why, instead of making the matter public, the facts were
10not privately reported to the Inspector. I would answer that it was my
11desire to make the matter as little as possible a personal one. Had I
12done as he suggests, the probability is that the man would have been
13dismissed, and nothing further would have been heard on the matter by
14the public. I should much regret that any individual should suffer for
15an insult offered to myself; and if this case were an isolated one it
16might most suitably be allowed to drop. But it appeared possible that
17it was not so.
18
19The important point in the case is this: Of two individuals alighting
20from a cab and pursuing an exactly similar course of action, the older,
21 stronger, and apparently more responsible was treated with a
22deference which might be well described as reverential; the smaller,
23weaker, and apparently more helpless with a brutality which it would
24not be very easy to transfer to paper. The suggestion then arises – in
25those cases in which the stronger members of our community come into
26relationship with the most helpless class, does something of the same
27kind never occur? Is there no trembling in the cool, evenly-balanced
28hand of the law? Is the woman never taken and the man left? This
29appeared to me to be a question to be put to the general public, and
30not to the Police Inspectors.
31
32Your Correspondent suggests that “enthusiastic action and a warm
33feeling about the defence of women” have blinded the writer of the
34letter. What my personal views are appears of no importance. To woman
35as woman I am indifferent. The line which divides humanity into two
36parts is not the line of sex; but that which divides the strong from
37the weak. In feeling and sympathy I am a man.
38
39I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
40Olive Schreiner
41January 6.
42
Notation
This letter was the second of two Schreiner send to the Standard. For the first letter and the reply to it by ‘B’, see The Standard / 5 January 1887, page 5, col 6.