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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box8/Fold4/MMPr/AssortedCorres/FredPL/5
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date1 January 1909
Address FromMatjesfontein, Western 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, misdated as 1907 - Schreiner's Closer Union appeared duuring 1909. The transcription here follows this typescript and includes any uncertain dates, ellipses, mistakes and so on, apart from the change of date.
1 Matjesfontein
2 January 1st, 1909
4 Dear Fred,
6 I have written a little paper on Closer Union which I had published in
7a Johannesburg paper: the copyright is mine, they paid me nothing for
8it. It has attracted an astonishing amount of attention and interest
9here. More than anything I ever wrote. Soon all the English papers
10will be full of the matter of Closer Union of the South African states
11as the National Convention will publish the results of its sitting in
12February. It is said English people will probably be much interested
13in the matter and I have been wondering whether some good publisher
14might be willing to publish the article in the form of a little
15booklet at 1/- or 2/- as they did my paper on peace before the Boer
16War. Hodder & Stoughton? I kept the copyright but they published it &
17gave me a percentage of the profits which came to a couple of hundred
18pounds. I wonder whether with all your work you would have time to try
19and get this published by a good honest firm giving me so much a
20royalty on each copy sold. I would give ten per cent of all I earned
21to your women’s work. With what I get I want to start a league of
22men and women together to be called, "The Citizen Franchise League",
23to work for all forms of enfranchisement, the women and the native,
24and to resist all attempts to take the franchise from those who have
25it now. (This is private, don’t let it get into the papers till the
26League is started). If you are too busy, please send the copy of my
27paper I am sending with this to Dr. Alice Corthorne. Please let me
28have a line. Our Woman’s work will get on much better here if we
29work men & women together.
31 The women here are all far behind. There are three men in Africa who
32want to see women enfranchised for every one woman. Three men who
33voted for us in Parliament, have wives who are bitterly opposed to our
34getting the franchise. The condition of affairs here is entirely unlike
35that in England. I believe your tactics are absolutely wise and right
38 All good be with you in your work. My heart rejoices over it.
Schreiner's Closer Union originated as a lengthy article published in the Transvaal Leader on 21 December 1908 and the Cape Times on 22 December 1908 (p.9); it appeared as a short book in 1909.