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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box 12/Fold1/Undated/18
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateSunday 1900
Address Fromna
Address To
Who ToWilliam Philip ('Will') Schreiner
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
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. The year has been written on this letter in an unknown hand.
3Dear Laddie
5I find that the Rhodesian curs of Adderly St have been diverting
6themselves by Premier bating! Both there & in England it is the
7Rhodesite money that is at work. I think they are making a mistake. It
8is short sighted. If they don’t absolutely kill a man they injure
9themselves. I wish I had been with you.
11My dear Laddie, you know what my veiw has always been, & I have found
12no reason to change it. The Republics not only ought to be free, the
13greatest crime of Englands carreer being perpetuated if she attempts
14to take them, but they will be! Their assured independence will come
15at once perhaps if they can hold out another six months or a year, or
16it may come in a few years – but it will come. It is round the
17Republics & under the f Vier Kleurs that the United States of South
18Africa will form if they ever form here.
20I think England has committed suicide here: (this is not what I wish
21or don’t wish; ) this is what I think is) One thing only could give
22her any kind of perminant hold in South Africa in the future, & that I
23fear will not be. If the war were to continue for another year with
24such enormouse expense & lose to England that the Capitalist part was
25thrown out. That a revolution practically occurred in England, & the
26workingman’s & New Radical Party were to gain power & so cardially
27to join & sympathize with the South Africans that the past was
28obliterated to a large extent. This will not be unless there are some
29almost inconceivable reverses to the English on the battle field, &
30perhaps not even then so it is not worth seriously discussing. There
31are two courses open to England if she conquers in the immediate
32struggle & neither America or any European power intervenes at the
33settlement: - she may try by military force to keep down the bulk of
34the people in South Africa ^& to make the English-capitalist sector
35dominant^; in which case within five years, there will be the bloodiest
36& most fierce war & England will be cast out bag & baggage forever: -
37or she will try & make very ^more^ generous & considerate terms, but
38short of the Independence of the Republics, in which case she may hold
39on for ten or fifteen years, & then go in a less terrible manner:
40Either of these two things may happen. If England wins now. The ho
41thing one really desires that the bulk of the English people should
42repent, should over throw the government & join cordially with the the
43Republics & the bulk of the South African people in over throwing the
44Capitalist & jingo will not happen. The English people as a whole is
45not sound; & England must go on to her doom. My exact logical grounds
46for holding these views I could not state under fifty pages; but those
47are the views I am compelled to hold.
49From my stand point, this war is the opening of the great campaign of
50the 20th century against capitalism; &, as England is the power which
51has most identified herself with the the international capitalist
52system, & who depends most on the measured interest of capital, & ^who^
53will suffer most whenever it is brought to an end; I fear it is she
54who will first go ^to the wall^ in the struggle – of which the end is
55not uncertain.
57Of course our simple Boer does not realize for a moment what it is he
58is really doing, as the ^average^ Hollander of the 16th century had no
59idea when he resisted Philip & Spain that he was fighting to release
60^not only himself^ the world from the dominance of the Inquisition & the
61oppressive forces of the past. I feel for the English soldiers who die
62here today as for Alvas brave soldiers who were swept down like mice
63into the see when the Dutch men opened their dikes & flooded the
64country, dying bravely for a cause that had to go.
66Something greater & far more powerful than the Boers little Tribal God
67is fighting with him & for him; & victory is [papertorn] ured to him in a
68sense deeper than he understands. I think that the little battle of
69Doorn Kop will stand as a land mark in history, for there the troops
70of the International Speculator & Capitalist, armed, paid, & equiped
71by him met the simple citizens of a country, & were defeated. It will
72happen again & again on larger & bloodier fields; but I think the
73world will not forget those two kopjes, with the little mud vley below
74them. (Of course, this war is just as much though in a subtler manner,
75because veiled behind the semblance of nationality, a capitalist war!)
76Feeling as I do, you see I must hold that we cannot be defeated,
77 [papertorn] no loss of life on our side is real loss, - “They that be
78with us are more than they that be against us.”
80This is rather muddled up, dear, you will think, but I’m tired, &
81yet wanted to answer your question as to what ought to be or will be.
82I can’t answer it or dis-cuss any thing with you unless you
83understand a little what my view of the whole is. If one once knows
84clearly ones direction, it is easy to determine from moment to moment
85the little practical steps that must be taken to bring one nearer to
86ones end. It is a big battle & a big battle field, & we must each
87stand in our own places.
89Good bye darling.