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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box1/Fold5/1898/10
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date12 June 1898
Address FromThe Homestead, Kimberley, Northern Cape
Address To
Who ToWilliam Philip ('Will') Schreiner
Other VersionsRive 1987: 330-1
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.
1 The Homestead
2 June 12th 1898
3
4 Dear Laddie,
5
6 I am full of anxiety as to how things will go next Tuesday. I fear me
7there is but little hope, of real success, but to have made Rhodes (if
8you can) take a clear side on any question or speak out, is a gain ^, &
9weakens him in his interests.^
10
11Cron returned yesterday from Johannesburg. He had been ill in bed
12there for two or three days with a return of his old malarial fever &
13a bad throat. He still looks very unfit, but better already since he
14returned. He is not going to Johannesburg for the present. Mullins has
15advised him to work up Dutch & law for a few months here, & then they
16have promised or practically promised to take him on at a salary of
17£15 or £20 a month. Mullins is an old school friend of Crons & a man
18he much likes, so it will be a great deal pleasanter for him than to
19be with a stranger. I can well manage our living for another year &
20give Cron's mother the £7.10 a month. I know, it’s that I should be
21giving money to his mother & sister, which Cron can’t bear, & I
22quite understand my darling’s feeling; & I know so can you. But my
23living alone at Johannesburg would cost me more than his & mine & the
24t £7.10 a month to his mother here. In Johannesburg servant cost £5
25a month in wages alone, & a house like this in which we live here,
26rent free, here, would cost us at least £15!! ^a month^ But the whole
27question to me is not one of money, there are other complications
28which I can’t explain in a letter. However I shall stand by my
29darling, whatever he determines to do. When once one sees clearly what
30is your path of duty, there is no more reason to worry yourself as to
31consequences.
32
33 I enclose you a cutting from the Advertiser.
34
35 Dear Laddie, don’t have more to do with Rhodes than you can help.
36And the first day he gives you any lawful ground for doing so, cut him
37openly & forever
. There are a certain class of human being,
38fortunately a small one, with whom the only course is openly &
39avowedly to declare war against them. I speak from the depths of
40bitter experience. Good bye, dear Laddie. I am busy cooking dinner, or
41have much I would like to say.
42
43 Your little chum
44 Olive
45
46 I am strongly opposed to the redistribution bill. I am a one adult one
47vote man. I believe that every adult inhabiting a land irrespective of
48race, sex, wealth or poverty should have the vote; & that it is a
49power more needed by the poor, the weak, & feeble than the wealthy or
50strong. I regard the vote as a small & feeble weapon, but still a
51weapon by which the weak may be able to defend themselves a little
52against the exactions of the strong, the poor against the rich, –
53which I regard as the main purpose of government.
54
55 I hold this view with exceeding conviction, & can give reason for the
56faith that is in me. But, if one once has a fancy franchise, a
57franchise which disenfranchises me because I happen to have the
58physical sexual attributes of the female sex, & Smith over the way
59because he has not quite so many pounds in his pocket, as the law
60considers essential to the making of a man: - if we are to have a
61fancy franchise, if the government is in the hands of the few, then I
62have exactly as much right to wish it in the hands of the Dutch or of
63farmers, as another man has to wish it in the hands of males, & rich
64males. If we are to bass the franchise not on the right of each
65individual to a share in his own government, but on the ground that we
66think certain individuals ought to rule, that let us each fight for
67that class of the community whom we wish to see in power, & believe
68would be beneficial to the country as a whole!
69
70 There is no abstract reason in "God & Nature" why Barney Barnato or a
71Bay merchant should make laws for me & the poor man over the way than
72a Dutchman! Therefore, if I prefer the Dutchman let me try & increase
73his power!!! That’s my position.
74
75 I hope old Hofmeyr has dropped Sievewright forever. Work with Sauer
76but don’t trust him
absolutely!!!
77
78
79
80
Notation
Rive's (1987) version omits part of this letter and is also in a number of respects incorrect.