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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box3/Fold6/1907/12
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date7 May 1907
Address FromHanover, Northern Cape
Address To
Who ToJulia Solly nee Muspratt
Other Versions
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 Hanover
2 May 7 / 07
4 Dear Mrs Solly
6 Thank you much for your letter. I asked what C.T. meant because I
7fancied it might mean Christian Temperance; & it seems to me we should
8keep all party & all religious differences out of any woman’s
9Emancipation League. Christianity & Temperance have nothing to do with
10woman as woman. They are just as much men’s concerns. How could Jews
11or Mahomudans or Freethinkers like myself join a Christian society, &
12yet we might want the emancipation of women? We have Loyal Leaguers &
13we have Africander Leaguers, & we have temperance & Christian
14organizations from end to end of the land. What we have not got is a
15league to fight simply & solely for the emancipation of woman from sex
16disabilities. I think we should keep to that simply; "Are you a woman
17who desires the doing away with sex disabilities
?" should be our only
18question. A believer in the divine right of Kings & the British
19holiness of Empires, & a strong Republican, like myself, who believes
20that Empires always spell "Death" to the Imperial Dominator & the
21nations dominated over; a Jew or a Christian, should all equally be
22able to join. We should not bring up these controversial questions.
23There should be no "God save the King" or "God bless Paul Kruger"
24about it. I think its success will depend on this, clinging close to
25our own end & nothing else.
27 //I think your plan is quite right, to begin in a very quiet way, hold
28little private meetings &c. Our work for some years must be mainly
29educational, as the woman’s movement was in England when I first
30took part in it 20 odd years ago, & I think it would be well if we had
31affiliated men members in time, who could attend & speak at our
32meetings if they wish I object to anything that divides men & women
33too sharply, don’t you?
35 I may not be able to stay more than a few days in Cape Town, but if I
36can shall stay for the meeting.
38 I wish I could see you & have a long talk with you. I shall likely
39come to town on 21 of June & if you are coming to town please come &
40spend a day with me. Then you & my husband might have a long talk.
42 Yours ever
43 Olive Schreiner
45 I am afraid very much of the work of the society will fall on you; but
46in time there are time sure to be some more helpers. You are so right
47in your idea of working slowly & quietly.
49 P.S. I have a dear friend Mrs John Brown
50 2 Glebe Terrace
51 Rondebosch the wife of Dr John Brown who intends to join the woman’s
52Enfranchisement League. She might write a paper or give a speech if
53you asked her. Her health is very very delicate, but if she has
54strength I know she will. You might write to her, or you or Mrs
might if you could make time to get to see her. She’s a
56wonderful & beloved little woman.
58 OS
60 ^I’ve just read Mrs M’s letter in the news with interest. How well
61she writes. I may write a little letter which I’ll send for you &
62Mrs M to see whether you think it worth printing in the news & times
63which will do away with the mistaken view some people have, that this
64society is (in spite of all said at the meeting) in a kind of
65opposition to other existing womans societies but in deep sympathy
66with them
in as far as their members are working for woman’s
A report appeared in the South Arican News on 7 May 1907 of a debate on women's suffrage held in the YMCA in Long Street, Cape Town, at which Irene MacFadyen spoke, while a comment (with no signature) was published about this in the 10 May issue. An audience of around 300 attended the debate and Macfadyen is reported as saying ?The natives are taking on political responsibility more and more, and into the hands of natives they were going to place the management of the affairs of women who had generations of democratic government behind them.' See South Arican News 7 May 1907, 10 May 1907.