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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box8/Fold4/MMPr/AssortedCorres/FredPL/12
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date After Start: July 1909 ; Before End: August 1909
Address FromDe Aar, Northern Cape
Address To
Who ToFrederick ('Fred') Pethick-Lawrence
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. A typescript only of this letter is available. The transcription here follows this typescript and includes any uncertain dates, ellipses, mistakes and so on. Schreiner refers to this letter in her dated letter to Pethick-Lawrence of 31 August 1909, and thus its dating.
1 de Aar
2 nd, but 1909
4 Thanks so much for your letter, it is good to hear that all goes so
7 We are just going down to Cape Town for Parliament, I suppose the last
8we shall ever go to. I send you a cutting to show you what a storm in
9a tea cup my little remarks raised!
11 Things look very dark for justice & right towards the Native in this
12country. This Union is the rottenest affair that was ever brought
13about by man.
The enclosed newspaper cutting is:

Cutting: Olive Schreiner on Party Advantage.
It was only last week that Mr Malan’s speech upon the question of the Enfranchisement of Women made those who read it carefully believe that his enthusiasm for the cause he espoused was aroused by the possibility of party advantage. It is just possible that it may have been thought that the deduction was somewhat unjust, and that there was no ground for believing that anyone who supported the movement for Woman’s Suffrage could do so on any than the very highest grounds. By the mail last week came, however, the confirmation of the views expressed in these column: and from no less an authority than Mrs Olive Schreiner. Whatever may be said of our own views, the Authoress of the "Story of an African Farm" is hardly likely to unnecessarily condemn the motives of the party she has for some years past very actively supported. And yet Mrs Olive Schreiner is perfectly clear in her own mind that at the back of the movement to give votes to women in South Africa there is a desire to gain a party advantage. Writing to Mrs Pethwick Lawrence who is one of the chief exponents of women’s suffrage movement in England, Mrs Schreiner says: "I must write something to explain my feeling about the suffrage movement. The thing to me is not that you are winning the franchise, but fighting a free, determined fight for it! We might get the franchise by flattery or guile, or, as we shall get it here, because one political party believes it will add to their voting strength. It will be a comparatively worthless thing." A strange co-incidence, perhaps, that the belief expressed the other day should find almost immediate confirmation from such quarter. "Olive Schreiner" is right; the woman suffrage movement in this colony has already found support from the only party which is likely to obtain added strength from the enfranchisement of the gentler sex. There are, however thank goodness, a number of people of both sexes who support the movement on very different grounds. In future, unfortunately, it will be necessary to enquire how far Woman’s Suffrage is supported in South Africa for the less baser motives of Party gain.