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The Life of James Stewart
Lovedale To-Day


Principal Henderson’s Testimony—Last Year’s Report—The Future of Lovedale—The Career of Lovedale Boys and Girls.

‘When I hear any one objecting to missions, my reply is "Lovedale."—A Glasgow Merchant.

‘Lovedale is the very best possible institution for Africa.’—Major Malan.

‘Our aim is not to glorify Lovedale or ourselves by reflected rays.’— Dr. Stewart

THE Rev. James Henderson, M.A., J.P., Stewart’s successor, thus describes the present position of Lovedale :— ‘Lovedale To-day. The circumstances of the Institution from the outstart made for greatness. The presence of European pupils postulated well-trained teachers. It became the principal high school—for long it was the only one—in that part of the country. It was the centre of a great and successful missionary movement. It inevitably attracted to itself men of force with an outlook upon the future. One of the most difficult problems of the age is being worked out in practice by a European population no larger than that of a second-rate city, spread over territory of greater extent than the Continent of Europe. Lovedale was from the outstart the leading force making for a peaceful solution of the Native question; and that position it has retained, changing and adapting itself to the changing circumstances of the times. Lovedale stood for a clear-cut policy when there was no definite Native policy of any kind in the minds of the non-missionary settlers. The same statement applies to it to-day. There is a Lovedale policy to-day, believed in and disbelieved in, respected and hated, but, however regarded, a force to be always reckoned with. That this is so is unquestionably due in great measure to the faith, the courage, the sagacity, and foresight of the late Dr. Stewart. Lovedale was Dr. Stewart and Dr. Stewart was Lovedale for nearly half a century.

‘What first strikes strangers visiting Lovedale from elsewhere in South Africa is the attention given to outward arrangements and amenities. No where in the Eastern Province are there grounds so well laid out and kept in such good order as those at Lovedale. The stately oak and pine avenues, the well-kept gravelled roads and paths, the trimmed turf, the flower and shrub plots, the substantial and well-appointed buildings are worthy of a great English school, and there is a spaciousness in the distribution of the buildings that few schools enjoy. The dining-halls may even be described as noble. The class-rooms are worthy of a University College. [Some thought that too much money had been spent on these buildings. By far the greater part of it had been secured by Dr. Stewart himself. He wished everything to be done adequately and handsomely, so that Lovedale might supply tangible evidence of the greatness of its aims. The avenue was worthy of the buildings.] The staff has generally been of a high order. These circumstances have been regarded by critics as extravagances on the part of Dr. Stewart. Some of the visitors who come to Lovedale are sorely grieved at all this "waste" upon Natives. They do not see that these elevating circumstances are of the essence of Dr. Stewart’s Native policy. His aim was to bring the Native people into line with the European occupants of the same land, and he realised that the basal necessity on the part of those that would uplift them was respect for them. He believed that they were capable of high attainments, and he made it his business to bring the best and highest influences, outward and inward, to bear upon them. Time is, of course, vindicating his faith.

‘It is apt to be supposed that the development of Lovedale to what it now is involved no excessive effort or strain, and that it grew like a river receiving many tributaries. But the contrary is written large across every block of its buildings. The Institution has grown by accretion. Dr. Stewart did not hesitate to enter upon new branches of work when necessity arose, whatever the difficulties were. Consequently buildings were incessantly undergoing extension, and all kinds of makeshifts to surmount financial difficulties were devised. I have seen the remains of three marquees that did service as dormitories and class-rooms to meet emergencies. No doubt Dr. Stewart had large-minded and very liberal friends, but the needs of his work and his daring outstripped even their generosity.

‘The Institution has tended latterly to become an unwieldy organisation. This is to be met, and has been met so far, by breaking it up into complete individual entities as in the case of the Girls’ School and the Hospital. This process must be carried further to make the Industrial Departments also a separate entity, all of course under one head. If this is done, further development, should such become necessary, may be undertaken with safety. The finances of the Institution steadily improve, the burden falling increasingly upon the beneficiaries, and they are becoming stable. The Institution, under the hand of God, has the promise of a future even greater than its past.’

During his last visit home Stewart collected about £7000 for extensions at Lovedale. That sum has recently been spent in enlarging the buildings for boys and girls. During the past year the enrolments of students rose to 894, the highest number yet reached. The Rev. F. B. Meyer writes that ‘he addressed there between thirty and forty sons of chiefs, some of whom are heir-presumptive to vast territorial influence.’ The other year one hundred applicants had to be turned away for want of room. You can hardly go to any town or village in South Africa where you will not find Lovedale pupils. In spite of the prevailing financial depression, the income from the fees showed a decided increase. [The sum for last year was over £5500, and the whole sum paid for fees since the commencement is £83,988.] It is a remarkable fact that cultivated Hindus pay less money for education than savage Kafirs pay at Lovedale. The host of Clubs and Societies with which the Institution abounds maintains a vigorous life. Many reasons dispose us to believe that Stewart’s work at Lovedale will be permanent. For it is in very capable hands; great is the power of its past and traditions; its palpable atmosphere of goodwill to the natives is very attractive: it will be reinforced by the Native College; it appeals to the chief needs of the natives, many of whom are ambitious to better their lot. It will probably thus continue to be the mother and model of South African Educational Institutions, and the fosterer of peaceful and blessed revolutions. The name of Lovedale will thus be a symbol of that co-operation between the white and the native races, without which the prosperity of the country cannot be secured. And it will be Stewart’s best monument—more enduring than brass and loftier than the pyramids.

[In 1900 a record was published of 6640 Lovedale students, including 753 Europeans. The following is a list of their occupations:—

Missionaries or Ministers 57
Evangelists or Catechists 55
Teachers—Male, 458; female, 310, Total 768
Farming their own land 385
Tradesmen, Carpenters, Printers, etc. 352
Interpreters, Magistrates’ Clerks, or in Postal and Telegraph Work 112
In Railway and Police Work 86
Law Agents and Clerks 15
Engaged in Transport, General Labour, or at the Diamond and Gold Fields, about . . . 1000
In Domestic Service, or Married Women, or Girls employed at their Homes, about . . . 500

The numbers employed at the mines and other labour centres and in domestic service are constantly varying, and are thus stated approximately. These numbers are significant as supplying one answer to the frequently repeated statement that Christianity and education spoil the native and make him lazy.

Lovedale has been a good recruiting ground for ‘Christ’s militia.’ During 1906, 46 of the pupils volunteered for Foreign Missions.


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