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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box1/Fold2/1895/4
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateFriday 24 May 1895
Address FromThe Homestead, Kimberley, Northern Cape
Address To
Who ToBetty Molteno
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
The Project is grateful to Manuscripts and Archives, University of Cape Town, for kindly allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of its Manuscripts and Archives Collections. The date has been written on this letter in an unknown hand. The name of the addressee is indicated by content.
1 The Homestead
2 Friday morning
3
4 Dear Heart,
5
6 Yes, Merriman has made a splendid stand. I have had several very
7interesting letters from him lately.
8
9 Innes, dear old Innes, God bless him! has made a good stand too, but I
10wish he & Merriman were not divided. I am doing what little, very
11little it is, I can do to bring them together. Your brother’s speech
12was good too: is he sound on the native question? Please send me your
13other brothers book when you’ve done with ul it. You say there’s
14too much Mill & Spencer in it. Well, a great soul may be dished up in
15any way; but Mill, Mill himself is to my mind the purest & greatest
16soul God has yet given the English Race.
17
18 They wrote & asked me some time ago (some English paper did) to
19mention for publication the passage in the bible any other work that
20had been of most aid to my moral & spiritual growth. I wrote back I
21could not give a ^one^ passage, but the book which has had most effect
22on my spiritual life was Mill’s Logic, & more or less all his works
23especially his political economy. I think they hardly believed me;
24that they fancied I was confusing between the intellectual knowledge
25of facts, & the spiritual attitude of soul. But I was not. Modern
26Political Economists such as Karl Marks have gone much further than
27Mill in in the analysis of economic fact, & as far as mere technical
28knowledge of logic goes other writers will will now reproduce for you
29all Mill stated, but the spiritual, the pure soul searching after the
30truth which is God, seeking to know nothing, to seek nothing, to
31discover nothing but truth, that, just that you will find no where
32else as in following & watching the mind of Mill work! I never read a
33page of Mill but I seem to reach a higher holier atmosphere, even
34Plato does not affect me in the same way. I have owed spiritually
35singularly little to other people; but to Mill my debt can never be
36paid. In the little p book if I wrote for my baby before it was born,
37in case I died, I begged it to re-read Mill all its life. Spencer has
38also helped me, but less than Mill. When I was sixteen & doubted every thing,
39 his First Principles showed me the unity of existence; but it was an
40intellectual aid, which
41
42^I myself had to transmute into spiritual bread. Mill’s aid was
43directly spiritual. ^
44
45 Good bye dear Heart
46 Olive
47
48 ^I’m so glad Miss Green liked my paper.^
49
Notation
The papericular paper which Alice Greene liked cannot be established, but could have been The Political Situation or one of Schreiner's 'Returned South African' essays. The books referred to are: Percy Alport Molteno (1895) A Federal South Africa London: John Murray; John Stuart Mill (1843) A System of Logic London: Parker; Herbert Spencer (1862) First Principles London: Williams & Norgate.