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Letter ReferenceJohn X. Merriman MSC 15/1911:44
ArchiveNational Library of South Africa, Special Collections, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date3 May 1911
Address FromDe Aar, Northern Cape
Address To
Who ToJohn X. Merriman
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
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 De Aar
2 Ap May 3rd 1911
3
4 Dear Mr Merriman
5
6 Thanks for your letter. I have not seen the article in the "Economist"
7you mention. In this out of the world place one sees nothing. I am
8quite curious to know what it has to say! If you could without too
9much trouble send it me I would at once return it.
10
11 The serious matter to me in the present political condition is that
12there seems to be no opposition. I am no admirer of party government;
13I hold it far from the last word of human wisdom as regards forms of
14government - but where there are two strongly opposed & nearly more
15equal parties, the swing of pendulum as the one goes in & the other
16goes out, does keep things more or less balanced & straight. Where the
17leaders of one party are playing into the hands of the ^leaders of the^
18other it becomes abut the rottenest system we can conceive of. To me
19things in South Africa have not looked so grey since the time Rhodes &
20the Bond were hand in glove. I am glad Sauer & Burton are in the
21ministry - they are our safe guard as far as the native question is
22concerned - & in as far as any thing can safe guard us, in that
23direction - which isn't far! The blind forces of ignorance & greed in
24our white population are slowly but surely driving us towards a great
25tragedy.
26
27 Thanks very much for the book, but I'm such a bad French scholar I
28only plough through a work with the help of a dictionary. I can read
29George Sand as easy as English, but then hers is such a wonderfully
30clear, practical French.
31
32 Yours very sincerely
33 Olive Schreiner
34
Notation
An unsigned laudatory review appeared under as: ?Woman?s Place in Industry?, The Economist 1 April 1911, pp.685-6; it commented: ?This remarkable book is devoted to the advocacy of a far wider change than that involved in political franchises ? nothing less, in fact, than the introduction of women into the labour market of the world on equal terms with the other sex... This brings us to mention what some people will think not the least interesting part of this book ? namely, the Introduction. In this restrained, but none the less moving, exordium to her argument, Olive Schreiner explains how the book came to be written in the form in which it has been published...? . The book Merriman sent to Schreiner cannot be established.