"Johannesburg, lust for gold, moral decay" Read the full letter
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Letter Reference Milner Papers, dep. 213, ff. 288-290
ArchiveSpecial Collections, Bodleian Library, University of Oxford
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date23 May 1900
Address FromWagenaars Kraal, Three Sisters, Northern Cape
Address To
Who ToAlfred Milner
Other Versions
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Legend
The Project is grateful to the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford, and the Warden and Scholars of New College, Oxford, for permission to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of their Special Collections.
1Wagenaar’s Kraal
2Three Sisters
3May 23 / 00
4
5Dear Sir Alfred Milner
6
7You will no doubt be surprised at my writing to you, especially as it
8is to ask a favour, but it is not a favour for myself.
9
10There is a delicate young Doctor staying here; he is he is consumptive.
11 He lived for a year in Reddersburg in the FreeState, but left before
12the war broke out leaving all his medical books instruments &
13household goods there, as he is strongly opposed to the Boers & did
14not wish to stay. He is now very anxious to get back to fetch his
15instruments &c & see how it goes with his household effects. He says
16he has written several times, but has not been able to get a pass, as
17many other people have been able to do. I have thought it was just
18possible that if I wrote & told you he was a violent Jingo (I know you
19will believe me as I should you) it might help him to get a pass, as
20the authorities may be withholding it not knowing his views. He and I
21are so opposed in politics that we never refer to them.
22
23I enclose his application. He has only been a few years in this
24country.
25
26You will perhaps be surprised at an enemy’s asking a favour of you,
27even for another person; but I am not your enemy if only you knew it!
28One day you will discover that the Uitlander knot were your enemies, &
29that I, if you would have allowed me would have pe been your loyal
30friend, tried to be.
31
32Yours faithfully,
33Olive Schreiner
34
35Do unreadable
36

Letter Reference Colenso Papers, MSS. Afr. s. 1293/8, 1-3
ArchiveBodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies, Rhodes House, University of Oxford
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date23 September 1908
Address FromDe Aar, Northern Cape
Address To
Who ToFrancis (Frank) Ernest Colenso
Other Versions
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Legend
The Project is grateful to the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford, for allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of their Special Collections. The name of the addressee of the letter has been provided by archival reference. The content of the letter, with phrases such as 'you & my brother', suggests that Harriet Colenso, working in close association with Will Schreiner, on the defence of Dinizulu in 1908, could have been its recipient, while its provenance in the Frank and Sophia Colenso papers in Oxford support this being Frank, who although resident in Britain remained very involved in South African matters. The letter is a copy of Schreiner’s original written out in an unknown hand, and is marked ‘copy’.
1de Aar
2Sept 23rd Sept 1908
3
4My dear Friend
5
6Thank you for your letter.
7
8I don’t think you can dream how my thoughts are with you in this
9matter. If ever you & my brother think I could be of any use by
10writing anything please let me know. It has been rather hard for my
11brother to give up the conference, & I feel deeply that we need at
12least one man there whose strength as well as his good intentions will
13tend towards justice to our dark races. But undoubtedly at this moment
14the trial comes comes first: & whatever the result we shall all feel
15that whatever could be done was done. I cannot understand their not
16being willing to let Dinuzulu remain longer in the hospital, there is
17no possibility or danger of his escaping. But perhaps there are some
18who would not grieve if he quietly passed out of the way.
19
20I am feeling very very anxious about this Convention. I believe the
21darkest times South Africa has yet seen lie yet before us. If with so
22much else to think of, you could send me the papers now & then when
23this trial is on I should be so glad. I doubt much whether the Cape
24papers will report fully. Judging from my terrible experience at a
25trial of a so called rebel after the Boer War, I should strongly
26advise you to have your own verbatim reporter in court, & one on whom
27you can depend. I got a man up from Capetown on purpose, & at the last
28moment he was “got at” & refused to report. So no account of the trial
29is in existence, but the shamefully lying reports wilfully mistaken by
30the ordinary newspaper reporters. We may need in future to refer to
31what took place at the trial.
32
33It is such a comfort to me that you have my brother, & that I know all
34that can be done will be.
35
36Yours ever with warmest sympathy
37Olive Schreiner
38
Notation
A comment in an unknown hand has been written at the end of the letter as follows: ‘We must not publish Olive Schreiner without her brother’s sanction in the circumstances, but shew her letter to me (enclosed) to e.g. Miss Browne, Porchester Terrace.’

Letter Reference Milner Papers, dep. 210, ff. 396-7
ArchiveSpecial Collections, Bodleian Library, University of Oxford
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date10 July 1899
Address FromJohannesburg, Transvaal
Address To
Who ToAlfred Milner
Other VersionsRive 1987: 368
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
The Project is grateful to the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford, and the Warden and Scholars of New College, Oxford, for permission to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of their Special Collections.
1Box 406
2Johannesburg
3
4Dear Sir Alfred Milner
5
6I wrote you a letter of 16 sheets yesterday, but thinking it over it
7seems, why should I send it?
8
9I would have answered your kind note from Bloemfontein, but I have put
10it of continually meaning to write a long letter & never been able.
11Have you read the new life of Sir George Grey? If you have not I
12should like to send you my copy to read, if you would care to. You
13know we all met you with open arms & open hearts in South Africa
14saying, “Here is our new Sir George Grey.” We would all have loved you
15so if you would have let us.
16
17Yours very sincerely
18Olive Schreiner
19
20July 10 / 99
21
Notation
The ‘new life’ of Grey referred to is likely to be: James Milne (1899) The Romance of a Pro-Consul: Being the Personal Life and Memoirs of the Right Hon Sir George Grey London: Chatto & Windus. Rive’s (1987) version of this letter is incorrect in minor ways.

Letter Reference Milner Papers, dep. 46, ff. 183-184
ArchiveSpecial Collections, Bodleian Library, University of Oxford
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date3 July 1919
Address From9 Porchester Place, Edgware Road, Westminster, London
Address To
Who ToAlfred Milner
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
The Project is grateful to the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford, and the Warden and Scholars of New College, Oxford, for permission to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of their Special Collections.
19 Porchester Place
2Edgware Rd
3W.
4July 3rd 1919
5
6Dear Lord Milner
7
8My sister-law showed me your note to her. I valued it more than all
9the hundreds of letters we got from people who had always agreed with
10him. It was beautiful to me that you have always realized his
11singleness of aim, & the absolute absence of self-seeking in his
12nature.
13
14I suppose no two human beings differ more widely in their view as to
15what the supreme ends of human life on earth are, than you & I. But I
16have always believed in your absolute sincerity & faithfulness to your
17own sense of duty. As one nears the end of the passage, one feels more
18& more that nothing else matters in the characters of men & women.
19
20Yours very sincerely
21Olive Schreiner
22

Letter Reference Colenso Papers, MSS. Afr. s. 1293/8, 7-9
ArchiveBodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies, Rhodes House, University of Oxford
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date After Start: October 1914 ; Before End: December 1914
Address FromKensington Palace Mansions, De Vere Gardens, Kensington, London
Address To
Who ToSophie Colenso nee Frankland (m.1880)
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
The Project is grateful to the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford, for allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of their Special Collections. The year has been written on the letter in an unknown hand. Schreiner was resident at Kensington Palace Mansions from late October 1914 to late July 1915. The letter is on printed headed notepaper.
1Kensington Palace Mansions & Hotel
2De Vere Gardens, W.
3Telephone: 3675 Kensington. Telegram: Apartment, London
4
5Dear Mrs Colenso
6
7I fear neither I nor my brother could do anything about the matter you
8wrote of. South Africa has no connection with that part, & if I were
9in Africa & wanted to get news of any one there, I should write to the
10military authorities here, in London. They are the only people who
11could allow news to get through. I feel much for the poor mother.
12Uncertainty is more killing than any knowledge. I do wish I could help her.
13
14I shall be so glad to see you if ever you can come. I am out every day
15from 2 to nearly four, but otherwise I never go out. I should always
16be in after 4 o’clock
17
18Yours very sincerely
19Olive Schreiner
20
21Yes, indeed, one is very lonely here now. Even in the Boer war one was
22not so lonely because though one was divided from one’s own old
23friends & relations, one had the Boers. I cannot glory in any war. It
24is always to me a crime.
25

Letter Reference Colenso Papers, MSS. Afr. s. 1293/8, 6
ArchiveBodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies, Rhodes House, University of Oxford
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date After Start: October 1914 ; Before End: December 1914
Address FromKensington Palace Mansions, De Vere Gardens, Kensington, London
Address To
Who ToSophie Colenso nee Frankland (m.1880)
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
The Project is grateful to the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford, for allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of their Special Collections. The year has been written on the letter in an unknown hand. Schreiner was resident at Kensington Palace Mansions from late October 1914 to late July 1915. The letter is on printed headed notepaper.
1Kensington Palace Mansions & Hotel
2De Vere Gardens, W.
3Telephone: 3675 Kensington. Telegram: Apartment, London
4
5Dear Mrs Colenso
6
7I got your wire & note this morning. But I had an engagement I had to
8keep & could not telephone to you as you gave no address But I shall
9try to be back by four, a little before, I hope. If I don’t come don’t
10wait. I shall be so sorry if I miss you. I shall surely be in at 5.
11
12Yours sincerely
13Olive Schreiner
14

Letter Reference Colenso Papers, MSS. Afr. s. 1293/8, 4-5
ArchiveBodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies, Rhodes House, University of Oxford
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date After Start: Saturday October 1914 ; Before End: December 1914
Address FromKensington Palace Mansions, De Vere Gardens, Kensington, London
Address To
Who ToSophie Colenso nee Frankland (m.1880)
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
The Project is grateful to the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford, for allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of their Special Collections. The year has been written on the letter in an unknown hand. Schreiner was resident at Kensington Palace Mansions from late October 1914 to late July 1915. The letter is on printed headed notepaper.
1Kensington Palace Mansions & Hotel
2De Vere Gardens, W.
3Telephone: 3675 Kensington. Telegram: Apartment, London
4
5Saturday
6
7Dear Mrs Colenso
8
9Thank you for your letter. I should much like to come out & see you
10some day, but I could not stay the night as I find the country too wet
11in winter.
12
13My heart feels much draw to all people who are pacifists in this
14terrible time. Worse than any of the physical suffering, is the hate &
15the complex moral evils which come from war.
16
17I hope I shall be able to come & see you some day soon.
18
19Yours very sincerely,
20Olive Schreiner
21
22I did not have the pleasure of seeing your dear sister in law before I
23left South Africa as I live in such a far distant part. She is
24certainly one of the greatest women South Africa possesses.
25

Letter Reference Colenso Papers, MSS. Afr. s. 1293/8, 16-17
ArchiveBodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies, Rhodes House, University of Oxford
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date1 April 1919
Address From9 Porchester Place, Edgware Road, Westminster, London
Address To
Who ToSophie Colenso nee Frankland (m.1880)
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
The Project is grateful to the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford, for allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of their Special Collections.
19 Porchester Place
2Edgeware Rd
3^London^
4April 1st 1919
5
6Dear Mrs Colenso
7
8It is ages since I had any news of any of you. I often have wondered
9how the world went with you. I hope if ever you are coming to town I
10may see you.
11
12I am writing to ask a favour of you. I have a little niece, Mrs Scott
13lately married to a Dr in the who’s been in the army. She is expecting
14her first little baby next June & longs to get out of London for a
15month or six weeks to a quiet country place, to rest. She wants much a
16tiny cottage I have been trying to find her one every where, but tiny
17country cottages seem almost impossible to get near London Do you
18perhaps, by any chance know of one in or near Amersham? Or is there a
19quiet country fied hotel there where she might get quarters. It would
20be no use her going to a noisy town hotel, but sometimes little Inn’s
21in a village are quite nice & restful.
22
23Please forgive my troubling you, but I know you won’t mind telling me
24if you know of one.
25
26Give my kindest greetings to your daughters. I should so much like to
27know how the world has gone with you all.
28
29Yours ever
30Olive Schreiner

Letter Reference Colenso Papers, MSS. Afr. s. 1293/8, 10
ArchiveBodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies, Rhodes House, University of Oxford
Epistolary Type
Letter Date28 December 1914
Address FromKensington Palace Mansions, De Vere Gardens, Kensington, London
Address To1 Marina, Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex
Who ToSophie Colenso nee Frankland (m.1880)
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
The Project is grateful to the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford, for allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner postcard, which is part of their Special Collections. The date has been derived from the postmark on the postcard. Schreiner was resident at Kensington Palace Mansions from late October 1914 to late July 1915.
1Dear Mrs Colenso
2
3I hope you got my letter explaining my being out when you came. They
4told me ^you^ I had hardly gone when I returned. I hope I shall see you
5soon. When the weather is better I should like to come & see you.
6
7Yours ever
8Olive Schreiner
9

Letter Reference Colenso Papers, MSS. Afr. s. 1293/8, 13
ArchiveBodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies, Rhodes House, University of Oxford
Epistolary Type
Letter Date1 March 1915
Address FromKensington Palace Mansions, De Vere Gardens, Kensington, London
Address ToElangeni, Amersham, Buckinghamshire
Who ToSophie Colenso nee Frankland (m.1880)
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
The Project is grateful to the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford, for allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner postcard, which is part of their Special Collections. The date of the postcard is provided by the postmark and the address it was sent to is on its front. Schreiner was resident at Kensington Palace Mansions from late October 1914 to late July 1915.
1Dear Mrs Colenso
2
3I am so sorry I gave away all the copies of Colonal Maudes article. It
4was in the Evening Standard a short time after the air raide on
5Scarborough. About 4 or five days after. I should have answered you at
6once but I have been laid up for ten day.
7
8Yours with warm greetings
9Olive Schreiner
10
Notation
An article by Colonel Maude in the Evening Standard at around the date of this postcard cannot be established.

Letter Reference Colenso Papers, MSS. Afr. s. 1293/8, 14
ArchiveBodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies, Rhodes House, University of Oxford
Epistolary Type
Letter DateSunday 15 March 1915
Address FromKensington Palace Mansions, De Vere Gardens, Kensington, London
Address ToElangeni, Amersham, Buckinghamshire
Who ToSophie Colenso nee Frankland (m.1880)
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
The Project is grateful to the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford, for allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner postcard, which is part of their Special Collections.
1I shall be very glad to see you at 4 on Thursday I don’t generally
2leave my room till after one as I’m not very well. I shall be very
3glad to see you.
4
5Olive Schreiner
6Sunday
7
Notation
The date is provided by the postmark on this postcard and the address it was sent to is on its front. Schreiner was resident at Kensington Palace Mansions from late October 1914 to late July 1915.

Letter Reference Colenso Papers, MSS. Afr. s. 1293/8, 11-12
ArchiveBodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies, Rhodes House, University of Oxford
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date After Start: October 1914 ; Before End: December 1914
Address FromKensington Palace Mansions, De Vere Gardens, Kensington, London
Address To
Who ToSophie Colenso nee Frankland (m.1880)
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
The Project is grateful to the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford, for allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of their Special Collections. The year has been written on the letter in an unknown hand. Schreiner was resident at Kensington Palace Mansions from late October 1914 to late July 1915. The letter is on printed headed notepaper.
1Kensington Palace Mansions & Hotel
2De Vere Gardens, W.
3Telephone: 3675 Kensington. Telegram: Apartment, London
4
5Dear Mrs Colenso
6
7Yes, that is my brother, there are only 3 of us left.
8
9Thank you so much but I am too ill to go out any where. I do wish you
10lived somewhere near here. I should so like to see more of you & your
11dear daughter who attracted me so much.
12
13If ever you are in town & could spare time to some & see me & would
14not mind coming up to my room I should so like to see you.
15
16Yours most sincerely
17Olive Schreiner
18
19PS
20If ever you should be coming please let me know before hand if
21possible. I am never out but when I go to get some electric heart
22treatment but it might just happen I was out there when you came & I
23would be so sorry to miss you.
24

Letter Reference Colenso Papers, MSS. Afr. s. 1293/8, 18
ArchiveBodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies, Rhodes House, University of Oxford
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date After Start: Monday 1914 ; Before End: 1916
Address From30 St Mary Abbotts Terrace, Kensington, London
Address To
Who ToSophie Colenso nee Frankland (m.1880)
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
The Project is grateful to the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford, for allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of their Special Collections. The letter has been dated approximately by reference to the period over which Schreiner lived intermittently at St Mary Abbotts Terrace.
130 St Mary Abbotts Terrace
2Kensington
3London W
4Tuesday Monday
5
6Dear Mrs Colenso
7
8I return the cards.
9
10I am glad to have news of you. I shall be so glad to see you if you
11come to town. I have only a bedroom here, but if you don’t mind
12climbing three flights of stairs, I’ll be very glad to see you if ever
13you come to Town.
14
15I hope your daughter has had good news of her friend.
16
17Good bye, with
18best wishes
19Olive Schreiner
20
21Can you send me Mrs
22

Letter Reference Milner Papers, dep. 209, ff. 278-280
ArchiveSpecial Collections, Bodleian Library, University of Oxford
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date30 May 1899
Address FromJohannesburg, Transvaal
Address To
Who ToAlfred Milner
Other VersionsRive 1987: 354
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
The Project is grateful to the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford, and the Warden and Scholars of New College, Oxford, for permission to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of their Special Collections.
1Box 406
2Johannesburg
3May 30th 1899
4
5Dear Sir Alfred Milner,
6
7I have much wished to see you or to write to you. I have tried to
8write many times during the last three days, but I am not able, my
9health prevents it. May I beg of you, please to read my article, & ill
10expressed as it is, to consider whether no truth lies in it.
11
12I do not ask you to forgive my writing to you because there are times
13when a man has a right to do almost anything.
14
15Yours sincerely,
16Olive Schreiner
17
18I have much wished to see you apart from all political considerations.
19Many of my friends in England are those who know and value^d^ you: &
20life in Africa is a little lonely to those who have spent their
21forming years in England.
22
23Can you understand my position - it is that of many others? We are
24like a man born in a log cabin, who afterwards goes to live in a
25palace, & all his affections & interest centre in the palace. But one
26day he finds the the palace is beginning to oppress the cabin, & then
27he says, “I belong to the cabin.” – but he loves the palace still.
28
Notation
The article which Schreiner ‘begs’ Milner to read is likely to be the newspaper article that became An English South African’s View of the Situation. This was originally published in the South African News over three successive days; see 'Words in Season. An English South African's View of the Situation' South African News 1 June 1899 (p.8), 2 June 1899 (p.8) and 3 June 1899 (also p.8). It was also reprinted in a number of other newspapers. It then was published as a pamphlet, then as a book. A second edition of the book was ready but withdrawn from publication by Schreiner when the South African War started in October 1899, so as not to profit from this. Rive’s (1987) version of this letter is incorrect in minor ways.

Letter Reference Rhodes Papers, MSS. Afr. s. 228, C28 (5-6) 40
ArchiveBodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies, Rhodes House, University of Oxford
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date15 November 1890
Address Fromna
Address To
Who ToCecil John Rhodes
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
The Project is grateful to the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford, for allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of their Special Collections.
1Dear Mr Rhodes
2
3I am afraid to speak to you so I must write this line to tell you how
4very sorry I was I troubled you with that letter. The train had not
5left five minutes when I wanted it back, & I have suffered the agony
6of a lost spirit about it ever since. Please forgive me, & don’t
7mention it to me.
8
9I am very grateful to you, though I have not shown it, for the
10sympathys you expressed with my work the other night. No one has ever
11done so in just the same way. I am very thankful to you for having
12told me it helps me to decide.
13
14You have never felt the same sympathy with my work that I have with
15yours. It is just as creative, only you have to realize your
16imaginations in things, which which more permanent.
17
18Yours faithfully
19Olive Schreiner
20
Notation
The date has been written on this letter in an unknown hand.

Letter Reference Rhodes Papers, MSS. Afr. s. 228, C27 (142) 12
ArchiveBodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies, Rhodes House, University of Oxford
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateAugust 1891
Address FromInternational Hotel, Gardens, Cape Town, Western Cape
Address To
Who ToCecil John Rhodes
Other VersionsRive 1987: 192
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
The ‘three articles’ which Schreiner refers to in an excision are likely to be her ‘Returned South African’ ones, indicating a probable date of 1891 for this letter. She stayed in O’Callaghan’s International Hotel for part of August 1891, thus the dating of the letter.
1Dear Mr Rhodes
2
3I shall be leaving Cape Town in about a fortnight. I want to have a
4talk with you before I go, as I may not have a chance of meeting you
5again before I leave Africa. Will you, if ever you have an hour to
6spare, come & see me? I tell you frankly, it will be a favour to me &
7help me in my work; but you must not allow this to influence you, if
8you are not inclined to come, or feel the conventionalities of Cape
9Town life make it fe difficult for a man to visit a woman as he would
10another man. I have lived so long in a larger atmosphere that they
11have almost lost this hold on me, & I am no judge in such matters.
12
13I should like to show you three articles I have I am often at the
14library & Botanical Gardens in the morning; if it would be more
15convenient for you to call there than to come up here. Don’t think I
16have anything interesting or important to tell you, because I want to
17have your opinion on some points rather than to give you mine.
18
19This note is for yourself; alone, not even for your secretary. You are
20the only man in South Africa I would ask to come & see me, because I
21think you are large enough to take me impersonally. If you don’t want
22to come, simply don’t write. It will be all right.
23
24Yours faithfully,
25Olive Schreiner
26
Notation
Rive’s (1987) version of this letter is incorrect in minor ways.