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Richard Solomon

Richard Prince Solomon (1850 - 1913) was a South African barrister and politician. He was a nephew of Saul Solomon. He studied in Britain before returning to South Africa and becoming politically involved. Between 1887 and 1888 he represented King William’s Town in the Cape House of Assembly, and then later settled in Kimberley where he was elected as an independent in 1893. While he at first seemed to back Rhodes’s policies, the Jameson Raid changed his views and in 1898 he became attorney-general in Schreiner’s cabinet. Solomon was a firm supporter of Will Schreiner in the internal cabinet dispute which resulted in Schreiner’s resignation in June 1900. Solomon was later attorney-general of the Transvaal from 1902 until 1906. In 1907 Solomon was defeated by a Progressive, Sir Percy Fitzpatrick, in his bid for the Pretoria South Central Constituency. Solomon was the first South African High Commissioner to London from 1910 until 1913 and knighted in 1911.

Richard Solomon was a strong supporter of Union and disregarded the rights of black South Africans. In a 1909 letter to her brother Will, Schreiner wrote swingeingly that she had “Got a long letter from Dick Solomon who sends affectionate greetings to you. He writes strongly sympathizing with my view of the native question - & they strangely enough adds that the only point on which he differs from me is that he prefers Unification to Federation! Even the half dozen English men I heard just now discussing the matter in the smoking room could give him points - they were all more or less opposed to the result of the Convention, but added, that it was only by Unification that we could "wash out" the native &c &c.”. Clearly some letters were exchanged between Schreiner and Richard Solomon, although none have been traced; equally clearly, she found his political acumen wanting.

For further information see:
E. A. Walker rev. Christopher Saunders (2004) ‘Solomon, Sir Richard Prince (1850-1913)’ Oxford Dictionary of National Biography Oxford University Press http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/36184
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collection icon SCCS Edited Extracts: Four groups of edited extracts from Olive Schreiner's letters can be accessed from here, made by her estranged husband Cronwr... Show/Hide Collection Letters
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