"Predicts how war will be drummed up, strive to regard native as brother, Boer do so regard" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceSmuts A1/186/79
ArchiveNational Archives Repository, Pretoria
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date1899
Address FromJohannesburg, Transvaal
Address To
Who ToJan Smuts
Other VersionsRive 1987: 350-1
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
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 year has been written on this letter in an unknown hand.
1 Box 406
2 Johannesburg
4 Dear Mr Smuts
6 It was a great pleasure to me to meet your wife. My heart has seldom
7gone out so to any woman at first meeting her. I am coming over to
8Pretoria on Friday next with an American friend Mrs Chapin. We shall
9be at the hotel. Would you & Mrs Smuts be able to come & have lunch
10with us at mid-day? I have asked the Reitzes. If you can come would
11you name the time that would be most convenient for you & Mr Reitz. I
12know you are too busy to spare much time, & Mrs Chapin is very anxious
13to meet you. She leaves for England in a few days. She is a great
14friend of ha the Governors & in constant correspondence with
15him; she also knows the Chamberlains with whom she will probably stay
16on her return to England; ^as she did before she came out here,^ yet she
17is an American & I believe her sympathies are largely with us. I tell
18you all this because anything said will go straight to Chamberlain -
19Mr Bene Milner; & it might be well to impress her with the fact
20that while we don’t want to fight if Chamberlain is determined to
21drive us to war, it will not be the walk over the field that they
22dream of
! A well-known man ^from Cape Town^ with whom I dined the other
23evening scouted the idea that 9,000 (nine thousand) English troops
24could not walk over the Transvaal and Free State! And I think it is
25the widely spread idea that if the war does come it will be a
26comparatively light matter, which makes many so eager for it.
28 I know that Mrs Chapin has been asked to investigate matters while
29here & report to Chamberlain & Milner, so it is not unimportant she
30should be rightly impressed.
32 Yours sincerely
33 Olive Schreiner
35 If you should be coming to Johannesburg I shall be very glad to see
36you, at any time. There is much I should like to discuss with you.
37Please give the enclosed note to Mr Reitz, & explain why I want him &
38you to meet Mrs Chapin.
The enclosed note is no longer attached. Rive's (1987) version of this letter is in various respects incorrect.