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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box2/Fold1/Jan-June1899/23
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date30 May 1899
Address FromJohannesburg, Transvaal
Address ToPrime Minister's Office, Cape Town, Western Cape
Who ToWilliam Philip ('Will') Schreiner
Other VersionsRive 1987: 354
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
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 May 30 / 99
3 Dear Laddie
5 I am anxious to know what you think of it ^my article^. It has made much
6stir here today. What the full effect is we shall see here. It was
7written under terrible stress. I sat up three nights running till
8morning to get it done so that send Milner an advanced copy, to read
9in the train.
11 Our All those cowards, who have stirred up war are leaving by trains
12for all parts.
14 N.B. I have absolute evidence that the League knows of the plot: Mr a
15Leaguer told me so, & others have in speaking given themselves away. I
16wish Reitz instead of Smuts had gone to Bloemfontein. War must come
17some day between the capitalist & South Africa: but but if we could
18put it off 20 years it will be a war of all South Africa, the united
19South Africa.
21 The next three days will decide the future. I am going out to buy some
22provisions meal &c, to draw my £50 from the from the bank when we
23shall have made all the preparation we can.
25 Will you have no idea how strong the feeling among the mass of
26Johannesburg is against war; this is not like Cape Town – people I
27have never met came to see me yesterday, people rushed up to me in the
28street ^& shook my hand.
30 God bless you dear.
31 Olive^
On the right-hand side of the first page and upside down, Schreiner has started and struck through the beginnings of another letter:

2 Primrose Terrace
Berea Estate
Monday morning
Dear Mr Moneypenny
I am sending you a copy of my article though no doubt you have seen it

She has also written ‘Personal’ on the attached envelope, which provides the address this letter was sent to.

The article referred to is An English South African’s View of the Situation, originally published in the South African News over three successive days; see 'Words in Season. An English South African's View of the Situation' South African News 1 June 1899 (p.8), 2 June 1899 (p.8) and 3 June 1899 (also p.8). It was also reprinted in a number of other newspapers. It then was published as a pamphlet, then as a book. A second edition of the book was ready but withdrawn from publication with Hodder and Stoughton by Schreiner when the South African War started in October 1899, so as not to profit from this.

Schreiner was resident in Berea, Johannesburg, from December 1898 until late August 1899. Rive’s (1987) version omits part of this letter and is also in a number of respects incorrect.