"Downward movement of England, of South Africa, downtrodden millions" Read the full letter
Saul Solomon (1817 - 1892) was a printer, newspaper proprietor and Cape parliamentarian. He was born on St Helena and educated in England but in 1829 was sent out to the Cape to be educated at the newly established South African college and his family later settled in Cape Town. Solomon developed a career in the printing business, and with his brother Henry formed Saul Solomon & Co in 1847. He became the proprietor of the Cape Argus in 1863, and was elected to the Cape legislative assembly in 1854, a position he retained for 28 years. Solomon was politically liberal and along with John Charles Molteno and others played a key role in securing self-government for the Cape colony in 1872. He was well-known as a champion of ‘the natives’ and “determinedly opposed any legislation that might result in what he held to be unjust treatment of the natives of the country” (Herrmann 1969: 760). Solomon was also instrumental in the repeal of The Cape Contagious Diseases Act in 1872 and an early proponent of a South African federation.
In 1874 he married Georgiana Margaret Thomson, the first principal of the Good Hope seminary and later a correspondent of Olive Schreiner’s. Poor health eventually forced Solomon’s retirement from public life, and his businesses also began to decline. He and his family moved to England in 1888 where he died four years later. For Schreiner, Saul Solomon represented a more principled liberalism that prevailed in the Cape in the 1890s.
For further information see:
L. Herrman (1968) ‘Solomon, Saul’ in (ed) W.J. de Kock Dictionary of South African Biography Vol I Pretoria: National Council for Social Research, pp. 759 - 761
Stanley Trapido (2004) ‘Solomon, Saul (1817-1892)’ Oxford Dictionary of National Biography Oxford University Press http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/51112
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