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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box11/Fold1/Dated/26
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date After Start: May 1908 ; Before End: December 1908
Address From
Address To
Who ToJulia Solly nee Muspratt
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 and May has been written on this letter in an unknown hand; however, content suggests that December is a more likely date given when 'the troubles' in the Cape Town Women's Enfranchisement League occurred.
1 Dear Mrs Solly
3 I can’t quite understand your letter & perhaps you don’t quite
4understand me. I don’t mind personally about Mrs Macfadyen or Mrs
or any person; what matters to me is that I cannot directly or
6indirectly, have the slightest connection the League in the Transvaal
7&c which are fighting for woman’s suffrage on terms I would not
8accept, & am as a matter of conscience opposed it. It is not for me a
9question of “tactfully” getting out of the relation, if such a
10relation can or does exist I ought not to belong to the society.
12I hold it does not that the committee violated the terms of our
13constitution, which can only be modified legally by a two thirds
14majority & that therefore you have only to say it does not exist &
15those members who voted for recognize this & we are free of it.
17I believe that every court of law would give it that by operating with
18those societies, we violated our constitution & that those who did so
19must either abide by the constitution or leave it. I cannot from
20understand why you are all so unwilling to base your action in this
21matter if modifying the constitution of the society. From a mere low
22matter of tactics I cannot understand it.
24 You are determined to carry it on to the general meeting. Well & good.
25If you bring it up as a matter touching the constitution Mrs Macfadyen
26must get a two thirds majority to carry her point. It is is simply
27discussed & put to the vote as an ordinary little matter as we would
28discuss a petition &c then if she gets a majority of one she carries
29it. I know that you & Anna Purcell at least, & I believe all the other
30members of the committee are to large to refuse to allow you might
31have made a constitutional mistake so that I absolutely cannot
32understand why you have refused so to deal with the matter, & to
33lengthen such a simple easy little matter out month after month.
35 Mrs Browns daughter writes me that her mother refuses to come to the
36meeting. It seems to me an absolutely wrong thing for those who have
37done to undo it & put the anguish & labour & misery on those who have
38not. Couldn’t you or Anna see Mrs Brown & get you to give her in
39writing the fact that she recognizes it was unintentional & that she
40votes to have all they did undone? Couldn’t Anna go out to Kalk Bay.
41I did not intend to speak at the meeting. All I want to do is hand in
42my resignation if the committee still decides that their action was
43lawful. I would prefer stopping in the tea room, than simply coming in
44& voting when the time comes. I have nothing to say but that from my
45point of view the thing was unlawful. That I blame no one specially;
46we are all new at practical political work & can easily as committees
47transcend our powers.
49 Yours ever
50 Olive Schreiner
52 This is for yourself & Anna Purcell otherwise private.