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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner: Ruth Alexander MSC 26/2.1.29
ArchiveNational Library of South Africa, Special Collections, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeOther
Letter Date After Start: January 1912 ; Before End: March 1912
Address Fromna
Address To
Who ToUnknown
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 other, which is part of its Special Collections. These inserted words are written on the first page of a Women's Enfranchisement League Cape Colony leaflet. A photocopy only of the leaflet exists and the whereabouts of the original is unknown. There are considerable difficulties in dating when Schreiner wrote these comments, which have been approximately dated by reference to when the political differences it refers to regarding the 'coloured vote' surfaced within the Women's Enfranchisement League. There were two or three occasions when disagreements about the basis of the franchise became at issue, and Schreiner appears to have stopped being a Vice-President of the WEL by mid to late 1909, although she retained close links with many WEL women and also continued many of her own enfranchisement activities. However, as other early 1912 letters convey, matters took a new turn at that point and in March she attended a meeting at her niece Lyndall's request and finally resigned from the WEL.
1 It was not a personal matter than made me leave the society
3 The women of the Cape Colony all women of the Cape Colony
5 These were the terms on which I joined
The Women's Enfranchisement League Cape Colony leaflet is as follows:

Women’s Enfranchisement League, Cape Colony.

OBJECT. – To promote an intelligent interest in the question of the political enfranchisement of Women in Cape Colony, and advocate the granting of the vote to them on the same terms as men.

President: Mrs. A.N. Macfadyen, Plumstead.
Hon. Treasurer: Mrs. Solly, Sir Lowry’s Pass.
Hon. Secretary: Mrs. Chandos Pringle, Rhine Road, Sea Point.


Because it is unjust that those women who are taxed equally with men should have no direct representation in the Parliament which decides how the public money should be raised and how it should be spent.
Because women, no less than men, must obey the laws.
Because some laws affect the interests of women specially.
Because women as a class must be the best judges of their own interests.
Because political experience shows that no large class of citizens is fully protected without a share in the making of the laws which affect them.

‘The Woman’s cause is man’s:
They rise or sink together,
Dwarfed or godlike,
Bond or free.’ - Tennyson.

In the first paragraph, Schreiner has underlined ‘in Cape Colony’ and ‘vote to them on the same terms as men.’ She has double underlined ‘them’ and next to this has written her comment ‘^the women of the Cape Colony all the women of the Cape Colony.^’