"War sent humanity back 300 years, distant future of justice & freedom" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box2/Fold2/July-Dec1899/7
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date13 July 1899
Address From2 Primrose Terrace, Berea, Johannesburg, Transvaal
Address To
Who ToBetty Molteno
Other VersionsRive 1987: 361
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. The date has been written on this letter in an unknown hand. The name of the addressee is indicated by salutation and content.
1 2 Primrose Terrace
2 Berea Estate
3 Johannesburg
5 Dear Friend
7 Things are looking pretty war like here; but it is not we, it is
8England who will suffer most if war does come. A Dutch translation of
9my paper by Reitz is being printed & is being circulated among the
10burgers during the next weeks, while they are deliberating on the
11presidents proposals. A French gentleman here, Mr Bonthier has
12translated it into French, & it is being set to France today to be
13published through the French Consul here. If Chamberlain & Rhodes mean
14to make war of course they will make it & nothing we give or say or do
15will save us.
17 I see old Palmer wants to withdraw from his petition against your
18brother. It shows he feels he has no ground.
20 I have been over at Pretoria for two days. They will do all they can
21to keep peace, but if they will fight they must. We are going to try &
22start a big peace organization here. Aren’t there enough women in
23Cape Town interested in the matter could start one there? I’m
24feeling very dazed & dead, but if there were need to come to life I
25could. I seem to have lost the power of sleeping or eating, I never
26feel sleepy or hungry any more like one feels when one is watching at
27the bedside of one one loves. If everything were settled I could sleep.
28 I am very sorry to hear old J.H. Hoffmeyr’s health is bad. They say
29he may have a paraletic stroke at any instant the Doctors say.
31 Good bye dear heart. Our love to you both.
32 Olive
34 Did I tell you Alice Corthorn was head of the large women’s hospital
35at Bombay. The largest woman’s hospital in the world.
36 OS
The paper 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 by Schreiner when the South African War started in October 1899, so as not to profit from this. Rive's (1987) version of this letter has been misdated, omits part of the letter, and is also in a number of respects incorrect.