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Letter ReferenceJ.H. Hofmeyr MSB 8/Box9/1
ArchiveNational Library of South Africa, Special Collections, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date3 June 1899
Address From2 Primrose Terrace, Berea, Johannesburg, Transvaal
Address To
Who ToJan ('Onze Jan') Hendrick Hofmeyr
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
The Project is grateful to the National Library of South Africa (NLSA), Cape Town, for kindly allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of its Special Collections.
1 2 Primrose Terrace
2 Berea Estate
3 Johannesburg
4 June 3rd 1899
6 Dear Mr Hofmeyr
8 I hope you received the copy of my paper on the Situation which I sent
9to you.
11 I am going to republish it in pamphlet form, revised as there were
12many printers errors in the Standard & Diggers edition, & there are
13large numbers of farmers &c in the Eastern Province who will not have
14seen it in the African News. I am very anxious that during the next
15few years we should bring all our South Africans Dutch & English alike
16to present one solid front to capitalistic enemy. Will the Bond care
17to take any copies, & if so how many, at 3d each. I ha I cannot afford
18to republish it unless I know a certain number will be taken. I have
19already spend £9 on having it type written & copied, & have of course
20got nothing for it, & cannot afford to spend more on it.
22 I am going to have it translated into all the European languages. The
23ignorance of people in Europe as to the true state of affairs here is
24one of our great sources of danger & difficulty.
26 People seem to imagine if war is only staved off now, our difficulties
27are at an end; but surely we are only at the beginning of a 15 or 20
28years campaign. I do hope that Kruger & the Pretoria Government will
29see their way clear to granting a rather liberal par franchise.
31 That is what the war party here are afraid of -
33 Always give your enemies what they don't want!
35 ?Wyberg, the head of the League here said the other day to two friends
36of mine, "I hope to God, they don't grant the franchise, it takes a
37plank out of our boat & makes war more difficult."!! A great change
38has come over the feeling of Johannesburgers during the last few days.
39Not only are the mass of people here dead against war as they have
40always been; but if war were to break out now & we called a great
41meeting in the market square, we would get practically the entire
42people to protest against armed intervention in our affairs.
44 If you think the Bond would order any of pamphlets, please wire to me
45 Box 406 Johannesburg.
47 Yours sincerely
48 Olive Schreiner
Schreiner’s ‘paper on the Situation’ is An English South African's View of the Situation, 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.

There is an insertion in Hofmeyr's handwriting on the top of the first page of Schreiner's letter, ^see back page 3^, referring to where his list of things his secretary should do are listed. These notes are as follows:

R 7-6-99

Moloy ordered 100. Send 400 C.P. Schultz & ?acc to me.

I appreciate enthusiastic labours our common cause. Your burning words find entrance where nobody else can.

I think Kruger displayed an unexpectedly liberal spirit at BFT. am sure he could have done a great deal more if he had been encouraged by the other side. This morning wired to a Bloemfontein friend: -
(Insert wire to Fischer) “I deplore” &c)

He replied this afternoon
(Fischer’s wire 7th June) ‘I fear my friend does not see that by not making concessions which H Exc did not ask for then Kruger would be playing enemy’s game.’