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Letter ReferenceThe Standard / Saturday 9 January 1887, page 5
Archive
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date6 January 1887
Address Fromna
Address To
Who ToThe Editor, The Standard
Other Versions
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Legend
1THE POLICE AND THE PUBLIC
2TO THE EDITOR OF THE STANDARD
3
4Sir, -
5
6In reply to the courteous letter of your Correspondent “B.,” I would
7note two points.
8
9He inquires why, instead of making the matter public, the facts were
10not privately reported to the Inspector. I would answer that it was my
11desire to make the matter as little as possible a personal one. Had I
12done as he suggests, the probability is that the man would have been
13dismissed, and nothing further would have been heard on the matter by
14the public. I should much regret that any individual should suffer for
15an insult offered to myself; and if this case were an isolated one it
16might most suitably be allowed to drop. But it appeared possible that
17it was not so.
18
19The important point in the case is this: Of two individuals alighting
20from a cab and pursuing an exactly similar course of action, the older,
21 stronger, and apparently more responsible was treated with a
22deference which might be well described as reverential; the smaller,
23weaker, and apparently more helpless with a brutality which it would
24not be very easy to transfer to paper. The suggestion then arises – in
25those cases in which the stronger members of our community come into
26relationship with the most helpless class, does something of the same
27kind never occur? Is there no trembling in the cool, evenly-balanced
28hand of the law? Is the woman never taken and the man left? This
29appeared to me to be a question to be put to the general public, and
30not to the Police Inspectors.
31
32Your Correspondent suggests that “enthusiastic action and a warm
33feeling about the defence of women” have blinded the writer of the
34letter. What my personal views are appears of no importance. To woman
35as woman I am indifferent. The line which divides humanity into two
36parts is not the line of sex; but that which divides the strong from
37the weak. In feeling and sympathy I am a man.
38
39I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
40Olive Schreiner
41January 6.
42
Notation
This letter was the second of two Schreiner send to the Standard. For the first letter and the reply to it by ‘B’, see The Standard / 5 January 1887, page 5, col 6.