"Dream for federation of South Africa, one day we shall need love & devotion of black & coloured man" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceSmuts A1/186/87
ArchiveNational Archives Repository, Pretoria
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date22 August 1899
Address From2 Primrose Terrace, Berea, Johannesburg, Transvaal
Address To
Who ToIsie Smuts nee Krige
Other VersionsRive 1987: 374-5
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
The Project is grateful to the National Archives Repository, Pretoria, for kindly allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of its Special Collections. The date has been written on this letter in an unknown hand. Schreiner was resident in Johannesburg from December 1898 to late August 1899.
1 Dear Mrs Smuts
2
3 Thank you for your kind letter: if it were possible I much should like
4to come to Pretoria. Thank you so much but the doctor will not allow
5me to go over even for a day. He says it was the last day I spent
6there made me so bad.
7
8 I shall perhaps leave this week on a few ^two^ weeks visit to my
9husbands cousin farm in the Colony. but I am so afraid of war breaking
10out while I am gone. I have such a strange feeling that I want to be
11here in time of war that there is something I could do if I get better.
12 But if war does come I don’t see how it can be for another 2 months.
13 They cannot fight till they have the troops from India here, unless
14they have a larger body in the country than they pretend.
15
16 A great friend of ours from England Mr John Hobson arrived here
17yesterday. He is going late to Pretoria. He is strongly on our side, a
18man as true & honest as steel. He is going to Pretoria later. He has
19come out to study the South African question & write on it. Would it
20be possible instead of having me for you to invite him to spend a few
21days with you? He is a very simple dear old fellow, would give you no
22trouble; & I want him really to get to see & know our people in
23Pretoria which he won’t do if he goes to an hotel. He is one of the
24most brilliant writers in England, was at one time the Editor of the
25Progressive Review. He can & will do our cause great service.
26
27 Good bye. My love to you all, & thank you for your loving wish to have
28me. I am so ill now I should only be a trouble to everyone if I could
29come.
30
31 Olive Schreiner
32
33
34
Notation
From his study of the South African question referred to here, Hobson published: John A. Hobson (1900) War In South Africa London: James Nisbet; John A. Hobson (1902) Imperialism: A Study London: Allen and Unwin. Rive's (1987) version of this letter is in a number of respects incorrect.