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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box4/Fold1/1908/26
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date6 May 1908
Address FromMatjesfontein, Western Cape
Address To
Who ToJulia Solly nee Muspratt
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
The Project is grateful to Manuscripts and Archives, University of Cape Town, for kindly allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of its Manuscripts and Archives Collections.
1 Matjesfontein
2 May 6th 1908
3
4 My dear Mrs Solly
5
6 I was so very sorry I could not come to see you, I was so very very
7ill. I couldn’t even write. I am getting better here.
8
9 I enclose a letter in strict confidence to you, trusting Ple you not
10to mention or show it. Can you not try, by ask speaking kindly &
11sympathetically to Mrs Macfadyen, to stop the ^her^ if she goes to the
12Transvaal as Delegate from the Loyal Ladys League, from also acting in
13any way
as a representative of our little society? It would do
14incalculable harm if she does. Many of my friends in the Transvaal
15Miss Hobhouse among them are just in June going to try & start a
16woman’s organization. The Loyal Ladies League has announced itself
17as opposed to womans enfranchisement & Mrs Macfadyen ought not to act
18in the two characters ^at once^. I think those who voted for her
19re-election as president should act in this manner. I was given no
20vote. The paper saying the meeting was to be held reached me four days
21after the meeting, & enclosed no voting card or anything of the kind.
22We have now a powerful party in power ^in South Africa^ some of whose
23most powerful members like Malan are deeply strongly in favour of
24womans enfranchisement. If we lose the franchise during the next three
25years, it will I fear be largely through the unwise action of our
26little organization. Suppose it were needed to go to members of
27parliament about anything, or it were desired to influence them, Mrs
28Macfadyen
should go to the the members of her own party Jameson, Crewe
29&c. You should go to Mr Sauer who I know much respects you, Mrs Murray
30be sent to my brother Will who profoundly respects & admires her
31character. (A little serious talk he once had with her once went far I
32think I think in determining his position) & I might go to ^my^ old
33friend Malan. If we don’t act with judgement we shall do harm. Let
34us leave the men ^in Parliament^ alone & not force ourselves
35individually ^or as an organization^ upon them: this men like Malan & my
36husband will do all they can quietly & with judgement to influence
37other members; if we leave them alone at i there is no knowing what
38they may succeed in doing. After all, all, we want is the franchise;
39we don’t care, I’m sure unreadable Mrs Macfadyen in her heart
40doesn’t, to have to have our little organization or any of the
41individuals forced to the front. If by by remaining quiet we can help
42on the cause I’m sure we all will.
43
44 If a bill is brought in this ca
45 I wish I would see you & try have a long talk. I am too ill to write
46clearly. I am going to write a little letter to Mrs Macfadyen of which
47I will send you a copy. It is the most unfortunate thing that could
48have happened to the cause of woman’s enfranchisement that Mrs Ma
49she should have been re-elected as president at the last meeting. Any
50other woman in the whole organization would have been better! She is
51the only woman who rouses fr bitter dislike among both men & women to
52our cause; ^& among progressives as well as S.A. Party men.^ You are the
53back-bone of the little organization; it’s spine & strength. Mrs
54Macfadyen
should be its brilliant debater in public arguments. Some
55well known South African woman of old family & standing (not myself of
56course, I am too strongly anti Jingo though I don’t belong to any
57other South African organization) who both both men & women like &
58both political parties are not roused by; should be the president, or
59head.
60
61 These should all be unreadable
62 There are forty or fifty women I could have got to join the society if
63Mrs Macfadyen had not been president. I ^have^ fight for her everywhere;
64but having re-elected her is fatal. The difficulty is, she is such a
65brilliant, clever, delightful little woman to those of us who
66understand her, that it’s difficult for us to speak. One cannot bear
67to hurt her. But she absolutely must not destroy the movement in the
68Transvaal. Please regard all I’ve said as strictly private & return
69the enclosed.
70
71 Yours ever faithfully
72 Olive Schreiner
73
74