W.T. Stead to Madame Koopmans de Wet
(November 24, 1900)
My Dear Friend,
I was so glad to get your letter, but so sorry to hear that you had been very ill. I rejoice, however, to see that not withstanding your physical weakness your confidence and faith are increased, rather than diminished. Your people, indeed, are splendid, and one’s admiration grows more and more as we realise the nature of the storm which has burst over their country. I do not know whether you have received my broadsheet of Hell Let Loose. I sent 5000 copies to the S.A. News. I hope that they are putting them in circulation. Copies have been sent to most newspapers on the Continent, and all in England, to M.P.s, clergy, editors &c. The response from the clergy is most appalling. These men seem to be among the very worst. However, the protest is good, and the [illegible] is working, and when Parliament meets the matter will be discussed. What is wanted above everything else is authentic well-evidenced statements verified by the name and address, as to the actual facts. Mr. Morley published in the [illegible] a very good letter…[illegible]… how her farm had been burnt down. The more of that kind of thing we have, the better. It is necessary to bring home to the imagination and the conscience of the public the kind of devil’s work that actually goes on in South Africa. At present, owing to Lord Roberts’s astonishing declarations as to the immaculate character of the British soldiery, and General Buller’s declarations that the army is absolutely free from any attacks upon the honour of women, I am generally denounced as a false witness, and traducer of the [illegible], and so forth. Now that Mr. Kruger is in Europe, and has sounded the true keynote in declaring that this is a barbarous war, waged by barbarians against the people of the Republics, it is most urgent that statements of fact, absolutely verified and well-evidenced, should be constantly forewarded from Capetown to London. It is an opportunity not to be lost of rousing the attention of the world to the realities of war.
I hope that you are [illegible]. I hear indirectly through Mrs. Green, who visited St. Helens, that the spirit of the Boer captives is magnificent, and their faith unshaken.