"Dinuzulu trial, white races plan to take away franchise from natives" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceJohn X. Merriman MSC 15/1898:8
ArchiveNational Library of South Africa, Special Collections, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date9 February 1898
Address FromThe Homestead, Kimberley, Northern Cape
Address To
Who ToJohn X. Merriman
Other VersionsRive 1987: 325
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. Schreiner was resident in Kimberley from early August 1894 to November 1898, with visits, sometimes extended, elsewhere over this period. There is a page or pages missing from the letter after 'told, on very' at the end of the penultimate paragraph.
1 Feb 9 / 98
3 My dear Mr Merriman
5 I was indeed sorry to receive your letter which confirmed the bad news
6with regard to your election which I had heard else-where. Politics
7are so sad & depressing at the present time that one hardly likes to
8think of them. The thought that always forces itself on one, is, how
9few men & women there are in a community who cannot be bought; & it is
10this which depresses one so, because of the side light it throws on
11human nature. It is not the deliberately anti-social folk who depress
12one particu ^such as^ Sievewright or Rhodes or Harris; but the people
13who would be social, & are not, when pressure is put on them. You must
14not risk standing for Namaqualand if you are not sure to win. You must
15not give them the triumph.
17 I was so grateful, grateful beyond words, when my husband gave up all
18thought of standing for Parliament. This is not the time for a
19straight independent man of any school to enter public life at the
20Cape. He must either make a martyr ?of of himself or sell his
21principles I am told, on very
23[page/s missing]
25 ^Let me know if you have any good news with regard to your election.^
Rive's (1987) version omits part of the letter and is also in a number of respects incorrect.